« ZurückWeiter »
duty thereon is so high as to act like a prohibition, and any quantity coming from abroad would cause more than a total loss of the capital. But when the gentleman alluded to thinks that by excluding the im portation of foreign three inch plank altogether, (for an extraordinary high duty thereon would certainly act as a total prohibition,) this country and his saw-mills would benefit in having the timber, or perhaps the tree, brought here in its original state, by him to be converted into deals, surely he would, even if such were possible to be accomplished, find himself.very much puzzled how to go about it, and wonderfully differing from his present calculations.The timber as now brought to this country (and from the mere appearance of which that gentleman most likely has formed his ideas upon the subjects) is hewn and squared in the forests, accord. ing to the straightness and soundness of the tree, but not according to what is technically called, the grain, or rent, or heartshake of the wood; and thus it happens too frequently, that out of a hundred pieces, apparently the finest timber in the world, not ten pieces will answer the purpose of being converted into a smaller description of deals; for wherever that rent or heartshake happens to run differently from the squaring of the piece, (and in most instances, and particularly in long pieces of wood, it takes quite a dif ferent direction from what it apparently is on one end of the tree,) as sure will all the deals rent, shiver, and shake (as it is called here) into pieces, the moment they get dry and seasoned. It would therefore require a greater capital, and a greater stock of timber, as any man might possess, and found willing to load himself with, for the mere purpose of picking a few pieces, apparently an swering his views to convert them into deals, so as to keep his sawmills regularly going; nor would the advantage on these deals be at all adequate to the trouble and the loss, which he would have to sustain in disposing of the rest of the whole, and broken up pieces of timber, not answering his purpose. All those trees not perfectly straight, evidently unsound or otherwise defective, are conveyed in their original state to the sundry places, where saw-mills are established abroad, and where it often happens that the purchaser of those trees meets with a great proportion of rotten, and otherwise perfectly useless stuff, which in many instances is hardly good enough for fire wood. Would then that gentleman recommend that these trees, with all their defects, unsoundness, and offal upon them, should be shipped to England, and incur heavy expenses, heavy duty, and perhaps double and triple the freight to what other straight and squared timber would do? And would he find his account by such a purchase, when after divesting the tree of all the offal and rotten parts, (for although the people abroad are pretty good judges of sound and rotten timber, yet they would
have to learn from him how to distinguish whether such and such tree with the bark on, is sound or defective,) perhaps not one third or one fourth thereof would be found to produce a sound and useful deal, and consequently on two thirds or three fourths of waste, an enormous duty and a high freight, &c. would have been expended, that might not even sell for fire-wood in this country? I think that gentleman would, after a little experience, be sufficiently convinced that the tree in its original state would neither be the thing he could conveniently meddle with!
But then, says that gentleman from the north: ye Prussians and Russians, do all these jobs for us, cut away all the rotten parts, divest the tree from all the offal and defects, and bring us the log of wood in a perfect state, so as to be fit for being put into our saw-mills; ye may keep all the rotten parts and offal to yourselves, and we will pocket the profit, which the sound and serviceable part of the tree is sure to give us. To this I answer, that with exactly the same loss, labor, and expense, with which the tree can be disencumbered of its unsound and defective parts, and formed into a useful log of wood, so as to meet tha. gentleman's views, with the same loss, labor, and expense, can the log be at once converted into three inch plank abroad, and become thus still more useful to that gentleman; for even the log of wood so prepared is not always free from all defects, and often produces unsound and bad planks. His observation about the comparative duty on oak-plank and oak-timber, does not exactly bear upon this case; for if I comprehend the meaning of the duties on oak-wood rightly, they were increased chiefly to encourage the growth of the native oak, so as in time of war to be independent of foreign countries; nor is there any great consumption of foreign oak plank, beyond what the navy of this country requires, Government therefore have to pay the duty on oak plank with one hand what the Exchequer receive with the other hand. I am sure that on mature reflection, that gentleman will do me the justice to allow that my arguments in this respect are perfectly correct, and that it neither can be expedient nor advantageous to this country to take more upon herself than she really is capable of managing. Live and let others live, is a common but a true saying! The converting of the 3 inch plank, as imported from abroad, and the sawing up of the American timber, (for which purpose, and not for the converting of European timber into smaller deals, I rather think that gentleman's saw-mills to have been established, when taking advantage of the great increase of duties on European wood,) are sufficient objects to engage the industry of all the sawyers, and to employ all the saw-mills of Great Britain; and if more were to be conceded to them, the public that consumes and has consequently to pay for those articles, would soon feel the ill consequences of a growing monopoly.
I have now arrived to that state of the question in which it would be proper, in my humble opinion, to consider the best mode of raising the duty on foreign wood articles, and to what extent these duties had best be levied.
I think that any reduction in the present scale of duties, would not only materially affect the revenue, but also become of very serious consequences, when considered that property to an immense extent has been vested in houses and buildings of every description, and that property of this kind would not be the proper object of a greater reduction, as the depression thereon is felt already very seriously, owing to the cheaper rate at which labor and other materials have been had under late and present circumstances, to what they were formerly. Taking then as basis, that the present duties raised on European timber, deals, staves, and all other descriptions of wood, were to be levied upon exactly the same footing and under the same regulations as heretofore, and those on European deals now levied in Ireland, to be placed on the same rate as raised in England; and if a reasonable duty such as to bring the difference of freight between Canada and the Baltic ports, upon a nearer scale of equality, (the difference being at present as 17. 12s. 6d., and 21. in freight, to 31. 5s. per load, in duty on European timber) say about twenty shillings per load, were to be levied in future on the importation of timber, (and on oak staves in the same proportion) from the British American possessions, partly as a matter of revenue to this country and partly to discountenance the system of defrauding that revenue by the introduction of the United States timber duty free; (provided, however, his Majesty's Government do not consider it more advisable to allow the American timber in future stil! to be imported duty free, or against payment of a more moderate duty, such as ten shillings per load, and relieve the European timber in the same degree, namely, twenty shillings in the former, and ten shillings per load in the latter instance,) I humbly say, if this were the case, I think that his Majesty's Government would amply redeem that pledge given at the time of imposing the temporary war duties on wood, and satisfy the expectations which have been held out all along to the Northern States, to relieve them from a part of that extreme pressure under which they have been laboring hitherto, and which in the end would be found beyond the capability of carrying on trade altogether. I might as well make the remark here, that with a view of enabling the British shipowner to build ships in competition with other nations, and particularly with Norway, Sweden, and Holland, it would materially forward his object, if the duty on oak plank, and also on deck deals (being that description of deals above 20 feet long) were to be somewhat lowered. No country but Prussia produces particu
larly the deck deals; the revenue derived therefrom is extremely trivial, they pay at present doubly in duty, to what other deals pay, namely, 51l. 9s. 2d. in British ships, and 521. 16s. 2d. in foreign ships, the 120 pieces; and if that duty were to be reduced by about one third, it would certainly materially benefit the British shipping interest and lessen considerably the expense of building ships in this country.
I believe I have gone throughout the whole of the most objec tionable parts (as taken by the opposing interest of this country) with a view of proving the advantage to retain the present duties on European wood, and of imposing a duty of 20 shillings per load on American timber. (Staves to pay in the same proportion.) To speak fairly, I think Canada deals cannot bear a duty yet, if they are successfully to compete with Norwegian deals. Í farther think I have also established satisfactorily, that many of the objections to this measure rest on very erroneous foundations, and that others will correct themselves the moment this measure will be put in full operation and made to bear upon all the conflicting interests. Let it also be remembered that of all the nations now suffering in respect of the restrictions put on their trade, Prussia is the nation that suffers most; (though she at the same time is the most liberal of any nation, as respects her commercial code, and the trade in British goods,) for she has not only lost totally her once valuable and important linen trade, and feels at present the effects of the restrictive corn laws, more than any other nation does; but also two thirds of her former timber trade, and nearly one half of her stave trade are lost perhaps beyond recovery; to bear therefore still harder upon her with any new regulations, so as to give other powers greater advantage over her trade, that have no call for them; or not to relieve Prussia, if such can be done even with advantage to England, would be indeed to lose sight of all that liberality and fair reciprocity in trade, which has distinguished this country above all other nations.
Whatever Parliament and Government in its wisdom should decide upon, there can be only one universal desire, that such may be determined upon at once, so that the present feverish and uncertain state of trade may at length be brought to a settled, and if it should be so, to a happy conclusion.
London, the 3rd of February, 1821.
END OF NO. XXXV.
Total Amount of Funded Debt of
PAYABLE IN IRELAND.
1,211,585,738 6 4 102,867
21,436,865 18 5
1,061,630 15 4 12,828,712 15 10
31. 10s. per Cent. Debentures and Stock
51. per Cent. ditto
Charges of Management estimated
Annual Grant, 37 Geo. III.
By various Loans and Treasury Bills
Total Amount of Funded Debt of 1,246,912,947 15 11 110,065 the United Kingdom
In the Year ended 5th January, 1821, the following transferred from Great Britain to Ireland, are deducte funded Debt of Great Britain and added to the fund Ireland, viz. :—
31. per Cent. Consols
31. 10s. per Cent. Annuities
51. per Cent. ditto
2,000: 0: 210,650: 0:
The following Sums, being transferred in the Year January, 1821, to Ireland from Great Britain, are an add funded Debt of Ireland, and deducted from the fund Great Britain, viz. :—