17 SEPTEMBER 1831, Page 17


MR. BRISCOE has said, that if the present prices of coals continue, he will, next session, move the-reimposition of the duty, and the reduction of some tax of which the people are sure to reap the benefit. The notion that the high price of coals is the result of a conspiracy among the coal-owners, is a very general one. It is of some importance to state what it involves.. The duty on coals was six shillings the ton. If they be as dear at present as before

the repeal of the duty, and if this dearth be the result of a mono- poly of the mine-proprietors, it follows, that these proprietors are now enjoying a profit of six shillings on every ton of coals, beyond what they enjoyed before, —that is, they now get twenty shillings where they formerly got fourteen. Now, we would wish Mr. Batscoz to solve this one question—How came these monopolists not to raise their coals from fourteen shillings to twenty before the duty was taken off ? It cannot be urged that taking off the duty has di- minished their numbers, or increased their power, or facilitated their combination in any one way. Assuredly, it was as much their interest to get a high price with the duty as without it. How, then, came they never to give way to the suggestions of interest, until within the last three months ? When Mr. BRISCOE has solved this difficulty—it is one to us—then let him set about reimposing the tax with what speed he pleases.