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Coal Trade

coals, tons, foreign, quantity, exported and duty

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COAL TRADE. The quantity of coals shipped coastwise from ports of Great Britain to other ports of Great Britain and to Ireland amounted, in the year 1843, to 7,447,084 tons ; and the quantity exported to the British colonies and to foreign countries in the same year was 1,866,211 tons ; making an aggregate of 9,313,295 tons of coals sea-borne from the maritime districts. The market of London alone required a supply of 2,663,204 tons, for the conveyance of which 9593 ships (which make repeated voyages) were employed. The great towns of Lancashire, of the three Ridings of Yorkshire, of Nottinghamshire, Derby shire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and Staffordshire, are supplied by canals or by land-carriage from collieries in the respective counties here enumerated. In 1816 it was ascertained that the quantity of coals then sent by inland navigation and by land-carriage to different parts of the kingdom was 10,808,046 tons; and the quantity must now be very much greater, not only from the increase of population, but the growth of manufac tures. The quantity used in the imme diate neighbourhood of the collieries is also very great. The town of Sheffield, for example, alone requires for manufac turing and domestic purposes more than half a million of tons annually drawn from collieries on the spot; and it has been estimated that the iron-works of Great Britain, most of which are situated in spots where coal is found, require every year, for smelting the ore and converting the raw material into bars, plates, &c., nearly seven million of tons. There is good reason for believing that the annual consumption of coals within the United Kingdom is not far short of 35,000,000 tons. In 1841 the number of persons in Great Britain employed in coal-mines was 118,233. In Durham there were more persons employed under ground in coal mines than in cultivating the surface. On the 10th of August, 1842, an act was passed " to prohibit the employment of women and girls in mines and collieries, to regulate the employment of boys, and to make other provisions relating to per sons working therein." No boys can be

employed under ground in any colliery who are under the age of ten. This in terference of the legislature was founded on an extensive inquiry by the Children's Employment Commission, which pre pared three Reports that were presented parliament in 1842.

It was long considered politic to check the exportation of coals to other countries, both through fear ef exhausting the mines, and because it was imagined that our su periority as manufacturers might be en dangered. A heavy export day was accordingly levied, amounting to 178. the chaldron, Newcastle measure, or 6s. 5d. per ton upon large, and 4s. 6d. the chal dron, or is. 8d. per ton, upon small coals. In 1831 these duties were modified to 38. 4d. per ton upon large, and 2s. per ton upon small coals; and in 1835 they were repealed, with the exception of an ad valorem duty of 10s. per cent. ; but if exported in foreign ships not entitled to the privileges conferred by treaties of re ciprocity, the duty was 48. per ton, whe ther the coal was exported to foreign countries or to British possessions. In 1842 Sir R. Peel altered the duties to 2s. per ton on all large coal exported to foreign countries, and Is. per ton on small coals and calm ; but if exported in foreign ships not entitled to the privileges conferred by treaties of reciprocity, the duty was 48. per ton on large coal, and the same on small coals, culm, and cin ders. In the session of 1845 Sir R. Peel, in bringing forward the budget, an nounced his intention of abandoning the coal-duty ; and on the 12th of March it was abolished. This duty had the effect of checking the foreign coal-trade, which had been rapidly increasing for several years, and had, in fact, trebled in amount since 1835. The duty was comparatively in significant as a source of revenue ; it led to greater activity in foreign mines, and reduced the profits of the shipper of Eng lish coal, who had to meet foreign com petitors.

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