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House in Committee on Lord North' s Motion


THURSDAY, April 27, 1775.

Ordered, That the Order of the Day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House, to consider of what Encouragements it may be proper to give to the Fisheries carried on from Great Britain and Ireland, be now read.

And the said Order being read accordingly —

Lord North observed, that when the present proposition was first moved, he wished it to be understood, and explained himself so at the time, that the only object meant to be considered was the Fishery alone; but since that time application had been made, and it had been thought reasonable, that as several Regiments serving in the West Indies, North America, and his Majesty' s Governments of Gibraltar and Minorca, were paid by that Kingdom, and by the law, as it now stood, no Clothing, Accoutrements, &c˙, could be sent from thence, to allow, such Clothing, &c˙, to be sent, under certain restrictions, directly from Ireland. His Lordship next proceeded to observe, that the Linen being the staple manufacture of Ireland, and it being dreaded that the American Non-Importation Agreement might cut that country off from the annual supplies of Flax-seed from North America, though, for his own part, he had no reason to think so, as he imagined such an unnatural combination, from the very nature of it, must shortly be dissolved: he begged leave to submit to the consideration of the House, considering the immediate urgent circumstances which now presented themselves, if it would not be proper to grant a small bounty on the importation of Flax-seed into Ireland, for a limited time. He said he was fully aware of the seeming oddity of such proposal, and of the jealousies and alarm such a measure might probably occasion; but when the motives which induced him were properly considered, and that no fraud could be carried into execution; doubted not but the House would


immediately subscribe to their propriety. He assured the House, before he sat down, that the indulgence given to export the Clothing for the Troops should be carefully guarded; and that as to the bounties paid on the importation of Flax-seed into Ireland, there could be no fraud, because the Parliament of that Kingdom had already granted a similar bounty, which usually amounted, on an average, to seven thousand five hundred Pounds per annum; therefore the certificates, in one instance, would be vouchers to the British Parliament, to prevent even the suspicion of fraud, or imposition of any kind whatever. His Lordship then moved the two following instructions: —

"Ordered, That it be an instruction to the said Committee, that they do consider of allowing the Clothing and Accoutrements necessary for his Majesty' s Forces, which are to be paid out of any of his Majesty' s Revenues arising in the Kingdom of Ireland, and are sent from thence, upon his Majesty' s service, to be exported from Ireland to the places where such Forces shall be so ordered to serve."

"Ordered, That it be an instruction to the said Committee, that they do consider of what Encouragement it may be proper to give to promote the importation of Flax-seed into Ireland, for a limited time."

Ordered, That the Minutes of the examination of witnesses, taken before the Committee of the Whole House, to whom the Bill to restrain the Trade and Commerce; of the Provinces of Massachusetts Bay and New-Hampshire, and Colonies of Connecticut and Rhode-Island, and Providence Plantation, in North America, to Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Islands in the West Indies; and to prohibit such Provinces and Colonies from carrying on any Fishery on the banks of Newfoundland, or other places therein to be mentioned, under certain conditions, and for a time to be limited, was committed, and also on the report of the said Bill, be referred to the said Committee.

Then the House resolved itself into the said Committee.

Mr˙ Speaker left the Chair.

Mr˙ Cooper took the Chair of the Committee.

Lord North moved the following Resolutions:

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee, that the following Bounties should be paid; that is to say, Forty Pounds for twenty-five Vessels, of the burthen of fifty tons and upwards, that shall first arrive from Newfoundland with a cargo of bank Fish, and not less than ten thousand in tale; and, disposing of the same, shall catch a second cargo of the same.

Resolved, That Twenty Pounds per Vessel, for one hundred Vessels that shall next arrive, as before mentioned, be paid.

Resolved, that Ten Pounds a Vessel, for the next one hundred Vessels that arrive, as above mentioned, shall be paid.

Upon this he remarked, that the design of it was to encourage the going out early enough to make two voyages a year, which was very practicable. He observed, that there could not be a doubt but it would be infinitely for the advantage of this country to make Newfoundland, as much as possible, an English Island, rather than an American Colony; that sedentary Fisheries ought to be discouraged, and the bank Ship Fishery encouraged, which was the great misery of Seamen; that the experiment was not an expensive one, as the whole demand could not exceed four thousand Pounds, a sum not great enough to alarm anyone.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee, that the following Bounties shall be paid: Five Hundred Pounds to the Ship that shall bring home the greatest quantity of Oil, being the Oil of not less than one Whale, caught in Seas to the South of the Greenland and Davis' s Straits' Fisheries; Four Hundred Pounds to the first that shall bring home the next greatest quantity; Three Hundred Pounds to the next greatest quantity; and Two Hundred Pounds to the next greatest quantity.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee, that the Duties on the import of Oil, Blubber, Bone, &c˙, from Newfoundland, &c˙, shall cease and determine.

He explained this point, by observing, that while these Imports from Greenland were allowed Duty-free, the same


from Newfoundland, &c˙, were charged with a Duty; an absurdity he was, till lately, ignorant of.

Resolved, It is the opinion of this Committee, that the Duties at present payable on the importation of Seal-skins, shall cease and determine.

Lord North said, that it appeared from Mr˙ Lyster' s examination, that many more Seal-skins would be imported, were it not for a Duty of about four Pence half-penny each, which they paid at present; it was, therefore, thought right to exonerate them from that charge.

Resolved, It is the opinion of this Committee, that it shall be lawful for the subjects of Ireland to export Provisions, Hooks, Lines, Nets, Tools, and Implements, for the purpose of the Fishery.

He remarked, that the Irish being tied from these Exports at present, was, in effect, excluding them from the Fishery. He, however, observed, that this Resolution must be followed with limitations, in order to prevent a clandestine supply of the Colonies with Irish Manufactures.

Resolved, It is the opinion of this Committee, that it shall be lawful to export from Ireland Clothes and Accoutrements for such Regiments on the Irish Establishment as are employed abroad.

His Lordship remarked on this Resolution, that as the Irish were burthened with the expense of several Regiments serving elsewhere, which they were ill able to bear, he thought it but fair to allow them to export the Clothing and Accoutrements of such Regiments, which, at present, they could not do by law; that the Export must be guarded very carefully against frauds, which would not be difficult, as the Clothes would consist only of Uniforms.

Resolved, It is the opinion of this Committee, that a Bounty of Five Shillings a barrel should be paid on the import to Ireland, of Flax-seed, from any place whatsoever.

Upon this Resolution, Lord North said, that he had framed it much more in obedience to the desires and apprehensions of others, than in consequence of any he had himself. But as some gentlemen were apprehensive that the Non-Exportation Agreements of the Colonies would be lasting, and have the effect of doing a great prejudice to Ireland, by withholding Flax-seed; and as it was found that the Seed raised in Ireland was not so good as that imported from abroad, he had, in compliance of these ideas, come into the present proposition; that his own opinion was directly contrary. He was clear, that engagements so very contrary to their interests, could never be lasting; however, for a limited time, he agreed to the Bounty.

These Resolutions were all agreed to without opposition.

Mr˙ Speaker resumed the Chair.

Mr˙ Cooper reported from the Committee, that they had come to several Resolutions, which they had directed him to report, when the House will please to receive the same.

Ordered, That the Report be received to-morrow morning.