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MISCELLANEOUS.—THE NAVIGATION Laws—Discussions in both Houses
on the Policy of the Act of 1849 for the Removal of Maritime Restrictions-Lord Derby presents a Petition from the Liverpool Shipping Association, and enters at length into an Examination of the Effects of the Free Trade Policy on ShippingHe is answered in an able Speech by Earl Granville, who declares that the Return to a restrictive Policy is impracticable-Remarks of the Earl of Hardwicke and Earl Grey -Mr. Herries, in the House of Commons, moves an Address to the Crown praying the Adoption of a retaliatory Policy towards nonreciprocating Foreign States—He descants at length upon the Impolicy of the Free-Trade System and its injurious Effects on NavigationMr. Labouchere and Mr. James Wilson combat his Arguments with statistical and other details-Mr. Disraeli advises the withdrawal of the Motion on the ground of Negotiations actually pending with Foreign Powers—Remarks of Lord John Russell and Colonel ThompsonMotion by leave withdrawn. PARLIAMENTARY REFORM— Debate on the Bill brought in by Mr. Locke King to assimilate the Elective Franchise in Counties to that of Boroughs—Speeches of Mr. Fox Maule, Mr. Bright, Sir B. Hall, Lord John Russell, and Mr. Disraeli— On a Division the Bill is lost by 299 to 83—Motion by Mr. Henry Berkeley in favour of the Ballot supported by Mr. Hume and Captain Scobeli, and carried against the Ministers by 87 to 50—The Motion, howeder, produces no further result. St. ALBAN'S ELECTION--Gross Bribery alleged to have been practised at that Borough-Bill proposed and carried for appointing Commissioners to investigate the Mode in which the Election had been conducted. PEACE POLICY–Mr. Cobden's Proposition in favour of a reciprocal National Disarmament-Speeches of Mr. Cobden, Mr. Mackinnon, Lord Palmerston, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Hume, and other Members-Several Members advise the withdrawal of the Motion in consequence of the language held by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs—Mr. Cobden accedes to that suggestion. MARRIAGES OF AFFINITY—The Bill rejected in the preceding Year for legalizing Marriages with a deceased Wife's Sister is again introduced in the House of Lords—Earl St. Germans proposes and argues in favour of the Measure—The Archbishop of Canterbury declares himself opposed to the principle of the Bill, and moves its postponement for six months The Bishops of Exeler, St. David's, and Norwich, support the Amendment—Lord Campbell argues forcibly against the Bill—Lord Gage supports the Measure—On a Division the Amendment is carried by a Majority of 34. THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND Convocation-Discussion in the House of Lords on the Motion of Lord Redesdale on this subject—The Archbishop of Canterbury argues with much force against the revival of Convocation-Important Speeches of Lord Lyttelton, the Marquis of Lansdowne, the Bishop of London, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Duke of Argyll, and the Bishop of Oxford.
sure for the repeal of the Na- British seamen and apprentices, vigation Laws was brought under — Lord Derby argued generally, discussion in both Houses in the that before the repeal of the Nacourse of the present session. vigation Laws these burdens were The more important debate took cheerfully borne by the shipping place in the House of Lords, interest, because they were necesand was originated by Lord Derby, sary to support the military navy who, on presenting a petition to and prosperity of England; but the House from a commercial when the shipping interest were body, complaining of the injuries deprived of the advantages they which they alleged to have re- obtained under the Navigation sulted to them from this relaxation Laws, the least they expected was in the maritime code, took the to be freed from burdens and reopportunity of entering at some strictions to which foreign shiplength into the merits of the owners are not subject. The illiquestion.
berality of foreign nations, in reThe petition was from the Li- fusing us reciprocity, he illusverpool Shipping Association : it trated by the examples of France stated that the petitioners were and Spain, with their high prohiowners of a large tonnage of ship- bitive import-tariffs, making a difping, and that they found all the ference against British shipping of anticipations of evil effects which cent. per cent. in favour of the home they urged against the last altera- shipping; and of the United States tion of the Navigation Laws had of America, who declared the Calibeen realized in practice; and it fornia trade to be a coasting trade, complained of a number of disad- which they would not open to foreign vantages which the British ship- ships, though the voyage from New owner laboured under, especially York to California was a voyage from the want of reciprocity by round the world. He adduced foreign nations in refusing us that some statistics, not to show that participation in their shipping our trade had been diminished by trade which we yielded to them. the repeal of the Navigation Laws,
In reference to the burdens but to support the point which and disabilities due to our own shipowners advanced, that that mealegislation, — such as the heavy sure had so reduced the amount of amount of duties on marine in- freight by unfair and unequal comsurance, the extraordinary fees petition that it was almost unre. charged by British consuls abroad munerative, especially on the long on British shipping, the practice voyage; and that though there peculiar to this country of giving had been an increase in the foreign salvage rewards to officers of the trade, the foreigners had reaped Royal Navy, the encouragement the advantage, and not the British given to the seduction of seamen owners. In 1849 the total tonnage from the mercantile into the Royal inwards was 5,579,461, in 1850 it Navy, and the restrictions in re- was 6,071,269, in 1851 it was
6,113,696; the increase last year were deemed fair. Thenegotiations was 42,421. But the British share with Portugal promised speedy and of that tonnage in each year satisfactory results. Spain "held was 4,020,415, 4,390,375, and out; but her policy would plainly 4,078,544; showing a decrease, last injure herself more than us. To year, of 311,831. And in the same the generosity of the United States periods the foreign share was we made an appeal in reference to 1,559,046, 1,680,994, 2,035,152; the indirect trade with California; showing an increase-larger than but there was not much to be obour decrease-of 354,258. In the tained from the generosity of naclearances outwards the increase on tions. However, we had entered the total shipping, beyond last year, beneficially into the direct trade was 477,070; but of this increase hence to California ; and if the foreign shipping got 278,488, and Government of the United States English shipping only 198,582. still excluded us from the indirect The disproportion was still greater trade, there was reason to believe for the last four months than for that that trade would itself suffer, the last year. Arguing on these and that a larger direct trade in general facts, Lord Derby con- European commodities hence to cluded with the question, whether California would spring up, in which Her Majesty's Government meant we should secureafull share. It was to counteract this state of things by no doubt true that the high freights the exercise of the retaliatory which American ships got to Calipower placed in their hands byfornia were a great assistance in Parliament ?
making the long voyage round the The Earl of Granville, in an- world; but we ourselves reaped much swer to Lord Derby, laid before advantage from the ability we now the House a series of facts to show enjoyed to take freight from New that the repeal of the Navigation York and the Atlantic cities of the Laws had not been injurious to the United States to China and the mercantile or shipping interests. East Indies—a similar link in the
On the repeal of the law, Her long voyage for us, to that round to Majesty's Government communi- California for the Americans. It cated the fact to Sweden, Holland, might be true that foreign ships Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, had reaped large advantages from and the United States. Sweden entering on the rivalry with us in at once announced her intention our direct trade; but there was to remove all restrictions. Holland reason to believe that we in our had displayed a liberal spirit, and turn were entering into the rivalry after negotiation resolved to give of the direct trade of those foreign us equality both in her foreign and nations in even a greater decolonial trade. If Belgian re- gree. Returns made by the United strictions remained against us, there States Government showed an inwere greater British restrictions crease of foreign shipping there in against Belgium; our duties were their direct trade, greater than the the more exclusive. Negotiations increase of foreign shipping here of with France had produced large which we complained at home. In and liberal concessions; and the the first six months of 1850, nearly Government was still negotiating, 70,000 tons of British shipping in hopes of terms yet nearer to what entered the ports of the United States with freights from third conversion of other countries to foreign ports, whence they could our more liberal policy, that event not have brought freights at all could not be expected with such under the old law: 10,000 tons rapidity while a great party, with a of British shipping left New York great leader at its head, was conalone for China, the first voyages stantlyinsisting that our new policy to that country that British ships was ruining the country; but for ever made from United States ports.us, patience would be the best poThough our American rivals had licy. Retaliatory measures might no doubt contended stoutly for the in some instances do ourselves inIndian trade, our tonnage in that jury; though it might become the trade increased : the tonnage out- duty of Government to consider wards had been, in 1848, 453,128; whether at some self-sacrifice it in 1850,522,056; in 1851,562,495. ought not to use the coercive powers Mr. Lindsay had launched nine intrusted to it by Parliament. new ships in the past year, of from The Earl of Hardwicke pre800 to 1200 tons burden; he had sented petitions from various parts, had them built by contract as the complaining of the repeal of the Americans do, and had for the first Navigation Laws, and, after comtime made his captains partners in plimenting Lord Granville on his the concern. Mr. Duncan of able speech, declared that he had Dunbar, who feared utter ruin to never heard a statement so little his 15,000 tons of shipping, was now calculated to restore confidence to the enviable holder of 30,000 tons. a drooping interest. It appeared Mr. Wigram, instead of being that Government would do all that driven abroad from the Thames it could for the shipowners in the with all his capital and skill, had way of negotiation, but it would established a new building-yard at do nothing else. The noble Lord Southampton, and was building at dwelt at some length on the decay a greater rate than ever. Ship- of the shipping interest, and conwrights were full of work; and it cluded by warning the House of was impossible to find a shipbuilder the decay of our maritime force. who would bind himself to supply Earl Grey defended the Minisa ship at any certain time.
terial policy, and, after a few words Every class must be allowed its from Lord Colchester, the petition prescriptive right to grumble. Very was ordered to lie on the table. likely old and second-rate ships Another attempt to obtain a refound less patronage; but men consideration of the question of would hardly be pushing to a gi- the Navigation Laws was made at gantic development a branch of a later period of the session, in the trade that was only leading them House of Commons, by Mr. Herto ruin.
ries, who entered at length into Lord Granville expressed him- the subject in an elaborate speech self gratified that not one word replete with statistical details. had fallen from Lord Stanley which The hon. Member began by callcould delude the shipowners into ing attention to the case of the the fallacious notion that there was shipowners, who complained loudly the slightest hope of a return to of the great reduction which had the system from which the country been occasioned by the Act of 1849 had departed. In reference to the in the rate of freights, whereby their business was rendered to a policy towards ourselves from fogreat extent unremunerative. He reign nations. As it had turned produced a tabular statement show- out, other countries had shown ing that an average reduction had little disposition to reciprocate our taken place of not less than 30 liberality. With the exception of per cent. in the freights of vessels Sweden, Denmark, and the northtrading from various foreign ports ern States of Europe, which had to those of England. Mr. Herries an obvious interest in such a rethen adduced evidence from Par- laxation, almost every nation had liamentary returns, to show that, kept aloof from us. Belgium, whereas, from the year 1842 to 1849, Prussia, France, Spain, Portugal, there had been a nearly proportion- and America, had all declined to ate increase of British and foreign imitate our example. The United tonnage inwards and outwards, in States, notwithstanding the liberal 1850 there had been a decrease in assurances held out to us originally the tonnage of British ships in- by Mr. Bancroft, had maintained wards, as compared with the pre- their own restrictive system. For ceding year, of 184,000 tons, and this, indeed, Mr. Herries, enteroutwards of 43,000; while, on taining the views he held on the the other hand, there had been an subject, did not blame them, and increase of foreign tonnage in- the result of their policy was exwards to the extent of 548,000 hibited in the more rapid increase tons, and outwards of 406,000. of American shipping, as compared Comparing the returns of 1850 with British, for some years past. with the average of the three pre- It had been alleged by the advoceding years, Mr. Herries stated cates of the new system, that there the result to be to the disadvantage had been no falling off, but rather of British shipping inwards to the an increased activity, in ship-buildextent of 414,000 tons, and out- ing in the last year; but to this wards of 578,000 tons, as com- allegation Mr. Herries opposed pared with foreign shipping. Healso the petition lately presented by cited Lloyd's Register to prove an himself, which bore the signatures actual decrease since the repeal of of some of the largest shipbuilders the Navigation Laws in the amount in the country, and which stated of British shipping.
He com- the fact of an unexampled depresplained that since that Act passed, sion in their business. It was an no steps had been taken by the additional hardship upon the BriGovernment to give effect to that tish shipowner, that, while he was clause, commonly called the Reta- unprotected against foreign comliatory Clause, by which the Queen petition, he was subject to the in Council is empowered to adopt burthensome condition of being countervailing measures towards obliged to man his vessels with a foreign countries refusing to reci- certain proportion of British seaprocate the privileges held out to men. Such a condition was plainly them by England. Mr. Herries at variance with the free-trade considered that our Government doctrine of resorting to the cheapest had begun at the wrong end in re- market for everything. In conmoving the restrictions imposed clusion, Mr. Herries cited an obby the Navigation Laws, without servation which had been made, at first being assured of a reciprocal the time when the Act of 1849