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Customs Acts—Committee

Volume 156: debated on Tuesday 28 February 1860

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House in Committee, according to Order; Mr. MASSEY in the Chair.

(In the Committee.)

said, that in rising to move the third Resolution, he wished, in the first instance, to make the explanation for which the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had very reasonably and properly called with respect to the nature of the additional Article laid on the table that day as an appendix to the Commercial Treaty with France. The object of that Article was very simple, and was fully explained in its recital. The Treaty proceeded on the principle that in cases where a commodity was liable to Excise duty in England, the same commodity, when imported from abroad, should be liable to a Customs' duty equal to the Excise duty chargeable upon it when produced at home, and likewise comprehending an allowance for any money charges that might be entailed on the home-producer by the operation of the Excise regulation. He would not then enter at length on an explanation of the point that arose, but would simply state the fact. Upon a strict investigation it appeared that the differential duty of 2d. established in our law between colonial and home manufactured spirits, which primâa facie constituted the proper allowance to be made to the British distiller on account of the cost to which he was put by the indirect operation of the Excise regulations, did not, however, amount to a full compensation for those regulations. It, therefore, became necessary to make some provision for putting the British distiller on a footing as nearly as possible of equality with the Foreign distiller, now that he was about to be subjected to a general, and perhaps a sharp competition. The state of the case was accordingly made known to the French Government, who met it in a spirit of the utmost liberality, agreeing with the greatest readiness that the general principle of the Treaty, which recognized compensation for Excise regulations as well as for Excise duty, should be applied to this particular case with greater accuracy than in the body of the Treaty as it stood. On that account the change had been made in the scale of duties upon spirits, which he should explain more specifically when they came to vote on the Resolution relating to that subject. The additional Article of the Treaty reciting the grounds of the proceeding, likewise recited that the duty on French brandies and other spirits should be raised to a point beyond that indicated in the body of the Treaty and of course, also, to the point indicated in the amended Resolution now on the table. He should then move the third of his amended Resolutions,— "That the duties of Customs chargeable upon the goods, wares, and merchandise, herein after mentioned, imported into Great Britain and Ireland, shall cease and determine, namely, 'Agates, or Cornelians, set."

said, that as far as the explanation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer went, it was satisfactory, but he had hoped it would go a little further, and would have indicated a desire to do still more justice to the spirit trade.

said, he would remind the hon. Member that the question now before the Committee was upon the Resolution, which related to agates, cornelians, & c, and had nothing to do with the spirit duties.

said, that he wished to repeat his inquiry whether the article of the Treaty now before them was not ap- plicable to the admission of the produce of the whole world, as well as to the admission of that of France? On a former occasion the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had, in answer to his question, informed the House that the article was applicable to the admission of French produce only, and not to the admission of the produce of all the world. However, he (Mr. Newdegate) had referred to competent authority on the subject, and had by that authority been assured that, as the Treaty stood, Her Majesty would remain under an obligation to the Emperor of the French to admit the commodities mentioned in its schedules free of duty, whether they were the produce of France or of any other part of the world, the Emperor of the French admitting in return only the produce of the United Kingdom, not including even the Colonies. Now, it appeared to him that that was an absurd position, for if it was the desire of the British Government to admit the produce of all parts of the world, why had they put themselves under an obligation to the Emperor of the French in order to do that which they might have done without his assistance? The Emperor of the French was not in a position to stipulate on the part of all the world; and if he assumed the right to do so it would be very wrong of Her Majesty's Government to admit any such right on his part. Indeed it was a manifest absurdity; and it appeared to him that the matter should be re-considered by both Governments. Supposing that Parliament consented to the provisions of the Treaty, what would be the position of the Emperor of the French! He might say to the other nations of the world—to the Zollverein, to Spain, or Austria—"Do not trouble yourselves to negotiate with England: she is bound by treaty obligations to me not in any case to exclude your produce for the next ten years, even if you exclude from your markets every article of her produce and manufactures." It was but Christian charity to suppose that that was an oversight on the part of the negotiators. For ten years, however, if the Treaty stood, England would not be able to obtain a release from her obligations; and, therefore, if that House was anything more than a mere record-office they would not accept such a stipulation.

said that the hon. Gentleman seemed to think that by the first words of the 5th Article of the Treaty Her Majesty had contracted an engagement with France to abolish the duty on the importation of certain articles, not only when they were imported from France, but also from any other country. In fact, to name one country by way of illustration, that Her Majesty would be bound to receive any of the articles mentioned in the Treaty on the terms therein specified, if they came from Japan. [An hon. MEMBER: Or from Austria.] The Government were advised that that was not the real effect and construction of the Treaty. In the answer which he had given to the hon. Gentleman on a former evening he had stated what they were advised would be its true effect and construction. It was undoubtedly true that in the fifth and other Articles it was not stipulated that the commodities, the duties upon which were to be abolished or reduced, should be the produce of the dominions of His Majesty the Emperor of the French; but the words were general, and it was a canon both of law and good sense that where general words were used they should be construed with reference to the declared scope and purpose of the instrument. That was in this case set forth in the preamble, where it was declared that the high contracting parties "are equally animated with the desire to draw closer the ties of friendship which unite their two peoples, and the wish to improve and extend the relations of commerce between their respective dominions;" and the doctrine upon which the Government had proceeded was, that this preamble indicating clearly the intention of the instrument—which was indeed plain in every line—it was not open to any one to hold a construction so exaggerated and unsupported as that of the hon. Gentleman. He admitted that his construction involved an absurdity, and it was another received doctrine that a construction which involved an absurdity should never be put upon any instrument unless it was required by the words of the instrument. In this case no such necessity arose. The words of the fifth Article must be read with the words of the preamble, which showed plainly that this Treaty referred exclusively to commerce between the respective dominions of the two high contracting parties, and left no room for the construction proposed by the hon. Gentleman.

said, he could assure the Committee that he had not brought this matter forward without having pre- viously consulted high legal authority on the construction of the whole Treaty, to ascertain not only the effect of the words to which he more particularly referred, but also to ascertain whether there were other words in any other part of the document which would be held to mitigate the absurdity of which he had spoken, and he was advised that there were not. He hoped the Attorney General would, by favouring the Committee with his opinion, be able to relieve him from the impression on his mind.

said, that he understood the difficulty arose this way. The 5th Article of the Treaty was, "Her Britannic Majesty engages to recommend to Parliament to enable Her to abolish the duties on the following articles." The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate) thought this amounted to an engagement, not only with France, but with every nation in Europe. Were it not for the circumstance that a high legal authority had given an adverse opinion, he (the Attorney General) would not have found any difficulty in the clause. The Treaty was a contract between the two nations alone. France did not contract on behalf of all the nations in Europe, neither did Great Britain bind any other nation in Europe. It would be a great absurdity for France or for Great Britain to contract on behalf of the great Powers of Europe, without any engagement with them to do so. The result was that the Treaty as a contract could not bind any other Power in Europe; its obligations rested with the two Powers alone. The Treaty was between two parties—they were the domini—they could alone release, alter, or discharge, that contract. The key to the construction of the Treaty was plainly enough given in the preamble, in which the motive which animated the two high contracting parties was declared to be a desire to promote the mutual interests of the two countries and draw closer the ties of friendship between them.

said, he would submit that although the commerce of England with other nations than France was not affected by the Treaty, yet France had obtained by it the right of introducing into England the articles produced by those countries mentioned at fixed rates. The objection stated went only to this, that if we wished to obstruct the introduction of the manufactures of other countries, we could only do so directly, as indirectly such manufactures might be introduced into this country through France.

said, he did not think it at all likely that France would be the indirect means, for instance, of bringing Spanish wines into our markets to compete with her own. The French people would have good reason to laugh at so silly a discussion upon so great a subject, and he trusted they might be allowed to pass on to the discussion of matters of real importance.

said, he thought that this point was of too much importance to be treated so lightly as hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed disposed to treat it. He himself did not feel satisfied with the explanation of the Attorney General, and thought his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire had good reasons for objecting to the mode in which some of the articles were framed. The hon. and learned Gentleman appeared to have lost sight of the distinction between the 1st and 5th Clauses of the Treaty. His observation amounted to a condemnation of the language of the first Article; because, if all the subsequent Articles were limited by the preamble, the words "from the United Kingdom" in the engagement of the Emperor relative to the importation of goods must be surplusage. Where one found in two articles a marked difference of language it was natural to suppose a difference of meaning intended. He thought the Committee ought to have some more satisfactory explanation from the Government upon the point.

said, he thanked the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Selwyn) for supplying him with an argument, which, in his answer to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, he had omitted. There were in this Treaty correlative engagements; and if there were any ambiguity in the expressions used the language of the one would supply the meaning of the other. It was clear the engagement in the fifth Article was a correlative engagement to that contained in the first. England contracted on behalf of her manufactures, and France on behalf of the productions; and the more formal and exact expression used in the one case helped the Committee to determine what was the nature of the correlative engagement in the other—the one being a consideration for the other. Again, there was no better rule of interpretation than this,—that where there was ambiguity in the words the rational interpretation should be adopted rather than the unnatural and absurd? And it would be absurd to say that we, in consequence of what France did in our behalf, should introduce articles to rival and compete with the articles admitted from France.

said, the Resolution before the Committee referred to "articles to be made free of duty (under treaty);"and the words of it were,

"That the duties of Customs chargeable upon the goods, wares, and merchandise hereinafter mentioned, imported into Great Britain and Ireland, shall cease and determine."
It did not say from France; and the inference might be that the productions not only of France but of any other part of the world were meant.

said, that discussions of this kind arose frequently from the fact that hon. Members did not attend to what passed before them. He had already stated that the words "articles to be made free of duty under treaty" were no part of the Resolution. They did not enter into the mouth of the Chairman of Ways and Means at all; he did not put them to the Committee; and he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had stated to the Committee more than once that these words were simply put over the Resolution for the convenience and information of hon. Members. They referred to articles to be made free of duty and also to articles under the Treaty; but they were not meant to bear any such construction as the hon. Member (Mr. Howes) had sought to give them.

said, there were certain silk manufactures carried on in Spain. Supposing a French merchant purchased in France goods that had been manufactured in Spain, he would be clearly entitled to export them to this country under the Treaty; but, supposing an English merchant bought Spanish manufactured goods in this country, be would not be at liberty to export them in France under the Treaty, because they were not articles of British manufacture.

said, that was a new point, and he should think, though he had not had an opportunity of consulting any authority upon it, that his hon. Friend was right—that, inasmuch as the importation of Spanish manufactures from France might be understood to be a matter pertaining to the commercial intercourse between the two countries, such importation, on a fair and liberal construction of the Treaty, might fairly come within its spirit. That might be so. On the other hand, it was quite clear that the rights of England with respect to exportation to France were limited, by express and perfectly intelligible words, to British productions and manfactures.

said, that the case put by the hon. Member for London would be impracticable, even if his construction of the Treaty were correct, because if Spanish goods passed through the French Custom-house before being sent here, they would have to pay the French Customs duties, as well as any duties levied here. In this way, for instance, Spanish wine would have to pay two duties.

said, the first Article of the Treaty only applied to articles of British production and manufacture imported "from the United Kingdom into France." According to the interpretation put upon the Treaty by the hon. and learned Attorney General that Article was correlative to the fifth, and he, therefore, wished to know whether the words of the latter Article were to receive the same interpretation as if the words "from France into the United Kingdom" had been inserted in it; so that as Australian produce were excepted from the importation of British goods into France, Algerian productions would similarly be excepted from the imports into England?

said, he thought, from comparing Article 5 with Article 1, that Her Majesty had clearly contracted with the Emperor of the French to admit the produce of all the world. Article 6 made the case still stronger. He believed the difficulty arose from careless wording, and a too slavish adherence to the terms of the letter of the noble Lord the Secretary of State. The Attorney General's only argument was that it could not have been intended to bear the construction which he (Mr. Newdegate) had put upon it. There was no doubt of that, but if Parliament sanctioned it the result would be as he had stated.

said, he could not suppose that the Emperor of the French had intended to enter into a contract by which he should open the floodgates for the commerce of all nations. Such a construction was inconsistent with the expressed objects of the Treaty. He wished for information upon one point. It appeared that Spanish goods could not go from England into France, but they could be imported from France into England. He would refer to Articles 7 and 8, which contained the same extended views with regard to France and more restricted with respect to England.

said, that he based his interpretation not upon an hypothesis as to intention, but upon the intention as it could be collected from the words of the instrument. Supposing the case which was present to the mind of one hon. Member, that the Emperor of Japan were to send a ship freighted with manufactures and products of Japan to England, and we were to decline to admit it upon the terms of the Treaty, the Emperor of the French would have a ground of complaint of infraction of the Treaty and a casus belli. ["No!"] That really was so monstrous a proposition that it did not need contradiction. The nature of the Treaty was a larger contract on the part of France than on the part of England in this particular. All things coming from France were to be imported into this country provided they came within the description contained in Article 5. That was a concession made for the benefit of French colonies. Any production which had found its way into France might be imported in French bottoms into this country. On the other hand, the articles to be imported into France were articles of British produce or British manufacture, our system being much more liberal than theirs. The benefit of the Treaty, however, ensured to France alone, who would have no right to ask for its extension to other nations,

said, the hon. and learned Gentleman had not answered the question. What he wished to know was whether the produce of the French colonies was to be admitted direct from the colonies into this country; and, if so, whether the produce of British colonies would be admitted into France?

observed that the case put by the hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had not been fairly dealt with by the Attorney General. The case was rather, supposing a French subject with a French vessel had bought a cargo of goods in Japan, would he be entitled to the benefit of this clause?

, in reply to the hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. S. FitzGerald), said, that, if the assumption was correct that the first Article did not extend to British colonial productions, then by the same rule Article 5 would not extend to French colonial productions. He must not, however, be considered as subscribing to that interpretation.

The property of French colonists coining direct from a French colony?

repeated that every production coming from France itself would be entitled to admission into this country provided it came in under the description in the Article. With respect to the case of French colonial productions coming direct to the United Kingdom from the colony, if the right hon. Gentleman's construction was correct, they could not enter. But having regard to the preamble of the Treaty, his (the Attorney General's) construction was, British colonial productions, being a production of part of the British dominions, would be admissible into France direct from the colony, and the same rule would apply, of course, to French colonial productions, because the contract was, that the relations of commerce should be extended between the respective dominions of Her Majesty and the Emperor of the French, and that term must include the colonies of each. As to the case put by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton), he would say that if a French ship went to Japan, and there took in a cargo of Japanese commodities, and imported them direct to London, she could not be said to come from any port of the French dominions, and, therefore, was not entitled to the privileges of the Treaty.

said, he would admit that it was not enough in the case he had put that the goods should be imported in a French ship; but suppose they were also imported by French subjects.

said, there was nothing in the Treaty about French ships or French subjects; the reference was to the dominions and the produce of the two countries. As far as he understood the discussion, there was a disposition to complain that the terms set up in behalf of France were in a certain respect wider than those established on the part of this country, and that this constituted a grave defect in the Treaty. The history of this matter was this:—The intention in the first instance had been to provide for the produce of England and France, irrespective of any question about goods imported from the two countries. As far as he could remember, he believed that the enlargement of the terms on the side of France must have been assented to by the English negotiators at Paris with- out express reference to the Government at home. He did not hesitate to say, however, that if that were so, the Government were perfectly prepared, as a matter of principle, to stand by the terms of the Treaty us it stood, because they did not instruct the negotiators to introduce into it any limitations whatever, except those which were necessary either to secure equality for our own producers or which were required by the exigencies of our revenue. That was a question of principle, and the Government would have thought it wrong to take their stand upon any other limitations, or to refuse to France any commercial privilege except such as they were compelled to decline from one of those two considerations. But this was hardly a point for discussion now. It entered into the whole spirit of the Treaty; it constituted the essential difference between this and other abortive treaties made with different countries in former days; and at the proper time the Government would be prepared to defend the arrangement in this point of view. For the present, he hoped the Committee would proceed with the business more immediately before them.

said, the question was not one of principle. An opinion had been given by the Attorney General as to the interpretation of the Treaty, and he wished to know whether, under the 5th Article, it would be competent for French subjects to introduce the products of French colonies into the United Kingdom direct from those colonies when, in the correlative clause, no such privilege was given to English subjects.

said, he found the question was expressly answered by the 18th Article, in which the Emperor of the French contracted, on behalf of one of the colonies of France, that its products should be imported into the United Kingdom direct from that colony. According, therefore, to the well-known maxim ex-pressio unius est exclusio alterius, although French colonial products might be imported from France into this country, and British colonial products might be imported from the United Kingdom into France, the only exception in favour of direct importation from a French colony was in the case of Algeria, while direct importation from a British colony into France was prohibited.

observed that under the 13th Article the ad valorem duties were to be converted into specific duties, the medium prices during the six months preceding the date of the Treaty being taken as the bases for such conversion. He wished to ask whether it had not been discovered in Manchester that, prices in the last six months having ruled some 50 per cent higher than on an average of 10 years before, the specific duty would be not 30, but 45 per cent; and whether a deputation had not represented this unexpected result to the right hon. Gentleman.

said, the hon. Gentleman was a good deal in advance of him in his knowledge of what was going on at Manchester. He had not heard, and certainly be had great difficulty in believing, that prices had ruled so high there within the last six months as to have advanced 50 per cent on the average of the last ten years. No such deputation had waited upon him, and no representation had been made to him on the subject. It should be remembered that this commutation of the ad valorem duties applied to French as well as to English commodities, and the Government had great reason to be satisfied, and more than satisfied, with the fairness of the arrangement made as to the general provisions of the Treaty. No rated duty could be fixed on these articles without the consent of both Governments, and, of course, it would be the duty of the British Government to see that no rated duty should be imposed higher than the duties prescribed by the Treaty.

remarked, that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Blackburn) must have a very exaggerated idea of the prosperity of Manchester if he supposed that during the last six months the price of goods had risen 50 per cent. Certainly, the Manchester manufacturers were prosperous, but not to that extent. At the same time, any conversion of ad valorem into specific duties, on the bases of prices within the last six months, would establish a very erroneous duty, because there had undoubtedly, during our time, been a considerable advance in prices. He had an objection to Article 13, relative to charges on operations in warehouses as it was his belief that it would operate most injuriously, and in fact it would be almost impossible to carry it out.

observed, that after all he was not so very far wrong in the observation he had made; for it appeared, from the statement of the hon. Member for Manchester, that the average price there, during the last six months, had been over the average price of the last ten years; and he could assure the Chancellor of the Exchequer that some gentlemen had come up from the Manchester Chamber of Commerce to have an interview with the right hon. Gentleman.

said, that with reference to the 18th Article of the Treaty, which specified that the arrangements of the Treaty were applicable to Algeria, both for the exportation of her produce and the importation of British goods, he wished to ask whether the same advantage was to be given to any of the British Colonies as was there given to Algeria?

said, that whereas we stipulated for the productions of the United Kingdom generally, France stipulated for those of France, and also, by a separate Article, for those of Algeria also. To that extent Algeria was a favoured colony.

said, it would appear that the Government did not originally contemplate any favour being shown to any of the colonies of France, but the negotiators having shown a favour to Algeria the Government did not think it [worth while to demand any corresponding favour for the Colonies of Her Majesty.

said, that the noble Lord was entirely mistaken. The Government gave their entire approval to the 18th Article, because France was in a position to deal for Algeria, but England could not deal for her Colonies in the same manner. The great colony of Canada, for instance, had lately been raising her duties on manufactured goods, to the great dissatisfaction of many persons in England, who considered the duties established as protective duties against British manufactures. How would it have been possible, then, for the British Government to stipulate that certain French articles should be admitted free of duty into Canada? The exclusion of the British Colonies from the Treaty was a practical testimony to the liberty they enjoyed.

said, he understood then that England had no power to grant privileges to her own Colonies. The privileges of a colony were not to be considered, because they could not deal on behalf of a colony.

asked whether, if a cargo of goods were shipped from Ceylon to Britain, and thence to France, they would come under the same regulations as the produce of England itself?

said, he must answer that question with some hesitation and reserve, as the question was not approached by the Treaty.

said, that admission proved that the words in Article 1, respecting "British manufactures imported from the United Kingdom into France" did not include the produce of the British Colonies.

asked whether Her Majesty's Government contemplated making a supplemental treaty with respect to the British Colonies?

replied, that was a matter to be decided by the Colonies themselves. At present it was the intention of the Government to go through with what they had in hand before entering on any other question.

"Apples, raw."

said, he believed that the Treaty was a Gordian knot, which could only be unravelled in one way, and the result, sooner or later, must be an appeal to the sword. The apparently unimportant article now under consideration really raised an important question. The question of apples was one of considerable importance. The whole race of Freetraders—as well the original and consistent Free-traders, like the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), as the recent converts of the doctrine, such as the Chancellor of the Exchequer—had lately taken the line of ignoring the existence of the rural districts altogether in their financial arrangements. It was well that the attention of the inhabitants of the rural districts should be called to this, for unless, like other interests, they combined together for their own protection, they might very soon find the best part of the burden of taxation shifted to their shoulders. Apples, and other articles of that sort cultivated. were mainly produced by men who had but small patches of land—two or three acres—and who had little other produce on which to depend for their subsistence, and he could not understand on what principle the right hon. Gentleman now voluntarily proposed—for he had not heard of any meetings of the apple-growers or the apple consumers to petition for a reduction—to submit them to a competition with the foreign producer.

said, he had expected a dissertation upon Norfolk biffins from the hon. Gentleman, but he was surprised at his observations on the Treaty. The hon. Gentleman, however, might depend upon it that, if any differences should arise between the two great nations, parties to this Treaty, which could not be settled except by the sword, the hands of the country would be strengthened, not weakened, by the Treaty.

said, he was the Member of a Commission which had discussed the question of removing the duty on apples, and it was then shown that it would be largely for the benefit of the poor. The foreign apples came in at a time when the English were out, and therefore the home-grower would feel but little injury.

  • "Apples, of and from British Possessions,
  • Arms as denominated in the Tariff.
  • Brass, manufactures of.
  • Brocade of Gold.
  • ———of Silver
  • Bronze, manufactures of, or of metal bronzed or lacquered.
  • Canes, Walking Canes or Sticks, mounted, painted, or otherwise ornamented.
  • ———Umbrella and Parasol Sticks.
  • Caoutchouc, manufactures of.
  • Cherries, raw.
  • China or Porcelain Ware, Plain, Painted, Gilt, and Ornamented."

said, the mode of levying ad valorem duties on these articles had been a subject of great alarm among his constituents in Staffordshire. He, therefore, wished to ask whether the ad valorem duties which, under the provisions of Article 13, were to be converted into specific duties, would be calculated upon a medium price taken upon an average of different articles, or upon a medium price taken upon each specific article, inasmuch as plates differed from each other in cost, according to their style of manufacture, almost as much as pictures.

said, the hon. Member's question was certainly of great importance, and he would give what explanation he could, but that explanation must be founded upon the language of the Treaty, and upon that only; and, therefore, upon evidence which was as much before the hon. Gentleman as before himself. It might be that, upon a rigid examination of the Treaty, parts would be found requiring explanation; but the Supplementary Convention referred to in Article 13, would not touch any points in which there was likely to be a conflict of opinions or interests. It was emphatically declared in the Treaty that in no case was the duty on the great bulk of British manufactures to exceed 30 per cent ad valorem. It was proposed by Article 13 that the ad valorem duties should be converted into specific duties by a Supplementary Convention, but if those specific duties were not settled, that ad valorem duties should continue to be levied. Where they were agreed upon the fairness of the rated duty it would be passed; and if not, they had the remedy of retaining the ad valorem duty. In dealing with the question of rated duties it would be the duty of the English negotiator to satisfy himself that in no one article would the duty imposed exceed the value, and if it amounted to 30 per cent of the rated value, it would be the duty of the English negotiator to refuse it. Everything that had taken place was calculated to show that nothing could be fairer or more straightforward than the views and intentions of the French Government with reference to these duties; and he entertained a very strong impression that there would be but very little difference on the subject between them when the Treaty came to be carried into execution.

said, he wished to call attention to the great difference that existed between the English and French china and porcelain with reference to quality. The French had as many as seven descriptions, while we recognized only three—namely, coarse ware, common china, and porcelain. It was desirable that in any Supplementary Convention these distinctions should be clearly ascertained. If the French Government were disposed to meet the tiling in a fair spirit, they would adopt the American system; let the English manufacturer put his price on the commodity, with his invoice certified by the Consul, and take it on the 5 per cent principle. It should also be recollected that the manufacturers in the interior of England had large imposts in the way of inland carriage, and that France imported some 15,000 tons of clay, and a corresponding quantity of stone from this country for her manufactories on the coast of France.

Clocks, as denominated in the Tariff."

"Corks, ready made, and Squared for Rounding, after 31st March, 1862."

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That 'Corks, ready made, and squared for rounding, after the 31st March, 1862,' stand part of the proposed Resolution."

said, he rose to propose that the article of cork should be omitted from the Resolutions. He did so in the interest of the cork-cutters of England, who were a small but an important branch of the skilled industry of the country. Those hon. Gentlemen who deprecated interference with the Treaty on the ground that it might give offence to France need be under no alarm in the present instance, as there was nothing in his Amendment which could interfere with the interests of that country. France could not produce sufficient cork-wood for her own consumption, and therefore why it should have been introduced into the Treaty he did not know. In 1842 he had advocated the cause of the cork-cutters in this country, whoso interests were nearly destroyed by the reduction of duty at that time. There was this peculiarity in their case, that they relied entirely on the material which came from Spain and part of Portugal. The people of Catalonia, where the best corks were produced, from the moment the duty was abolished, had petitioned their Government not to allow the exportation of the raw material, and the Government consented to their request. The supply, which was not of equally good quality, was then derived from Andalusia and Portugal; but it was well known that since the present Treaty had been published the people of Andalusia in like manner were about to petition against the exportation of the raw material. If the Spanish Government consented to that petition, no raw material could come in here, and these men would be ruined. But if the English Government would secure them a supply of the raw material from Spain, they were ready to compete with any part of the world. Under the new tariff Spanish wines could be imported at the lowest duty. The least they could expect, then, from Spain was that its Government would allow this raw material to be exported. In addition to the duty, a penny was to be levied on every package; this would fall very unequally on the raw and manufactured article. By the duty and the tax together the raw material would be taxed 8s. 4d. per cent, and the manufactured article only 6½d. per cent. The trade could not stand against that. As he had said, they did not object to free trade, provided they could obtain a supply of the raw material; but unless that could be done they would be ruined as well as many other industries, such as floor-cloth, shoe-sole makers, life boats, and other interests, into whose operations the cork manufacture entered. He should move that the words "Corks ready made and squared for rounding" be struck out of the Resolution.

said, he believed there were some parties interested in maintaining the duty on the partially manufactured article. If that were not the case, he had no objection to removing at once the duty on corks squared for rounding. But that might be discussed hereafter. As to the penny package duty, he was not aware that all cork was imported in bales; but the penny would be a very simple matter of adjustment. The Government did not intend to levy a penny on all packages quite irrespective of value. As far as any restraints existed on the exportation of the raw material from foreign countries the Government would use every exertion to obtain the removal of restrictions; and he thought that the concession from Spain, in consideration of other concessions contained in the Treaty, might in fairness be asked and expected. This was not the first time they had heard of the cork trade in debate. There was no article which, in the legislation of 1842, had excited so great a degree of attention as that of cork wood, and he was quite ready to admit that the waste as between the raw material and the finished article was, perhaps, greater in the case of cork than in that of almost any other commodity. But if those circumstances afforded a sufficient reason why the trade, of whose interests his hon. Friend was the advocate, should be protected, he could only say that we must be prepared to adopt as a permanent rule the principle of Protection. But how, let him ask, stood the facts of the case? Why, the particular trade in question had been greatly enlarged since the principles of free trade had begun to be partially applied. In the years 1841-2-3 we had imported on an average into this country 2,606 tons of cork wood; in 1856-7-8, 5,114 tons, or nearly double that amount; and in 1858, 6,579 tons, or little short of the amount which had been imported when a monopoly existed. Nay more, an increased export trade in corks had since then been established, for whereas in 1841 we had exported only 92 barrels of British-made corks, we had in 1857-8 exported nearly double that amount—or 1G3 barrels. His hon. Friend, however, contended that the question was one in which France had no interest; but the fact was that France supplied us with three-fourth of the total quantity of cork imported, while Spain and Portugal between them supplied us with only one-seventh. Catalonia, he might add, was not the only country on which we depended for our supply of cork wood; it was grown in France, in the southern provinces of Spain, and in Morocco, in which countries, as far as he was aware, no restraint upon the exportation of the article existed. It would therefore, he thought, under all the circumstances of the case, be most unjust to levy a duty upon the importation of cork from France, who threw no difficulty whatever in the way of the export of the raw material, because it so happened that Spain, in respect to one of her provinces, had prohibited its exportation. Under these circumstances he could not assent to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman. All that he could do for the meritorious persons whose cause his hon. Friend had advocated was to follow the precedent which had been set in cases where the immediate repeal of a duty would too sharply affect a particular duty—that was, postpone the operation of the law for a certain time, which in this case he could not fix at a later date than the 1st of April, 1862.

said, he was glad to perceive that the hon. Member for Finsbury had at last found out that free imports did not, in all cases, mean free trade. He regretted, however, that the hon. Gentleman entertaining the views which he had just submitted to the Committee, should have deemed it to be his duty to vote a few evenings before in favour of the general scheme of the Government. But be that as it might, he (Lord J. Manners) had no hesitation in following the example of so venerable an authority on the subject of free trade as the hon. Member in voting for the retention of so innocuous a duty as that to which this Motion related, bringing in as it did some £7,000 or £8,000 a year to the Exchequer, and which had not been made the subject of complaint from any quarter.

said, he hoped the Committee would consider the question in a spirit of fairness, and without any desire on the part of hon. Members to twit one another with their departure from the principle of free trade. Some time ago he had felt it his duty to deal with the question before the Committee; and the consequence was that a deputation of cork-cutters had waited upon him for the purpose of stating to him their views of the proposed abolition of the duty. He could add that they had discussed the subject with great fairness and intelligence. The fact was that they did not object to free trade; they only asked for free trade. They were ready to compete upon equal terms with the foreign manufacturer; but those terms, they contended, would be denied to them if corks were allowed to be freely imported into this country while the raw material of which they were made was not allowed to be exported from the district in which it was grown in the greatest perfection. That was not free trade, it was protection to the foreigner. The right hon. Gentleman said that there had been an increase in the trade since the reduction of the duty in 1842; but he (Sir F. Baring) would explain to the Committee what it was that had really taken place. In 1842 there was a considerable reduction of the duty upon manufactured corks. Immediately afterwards the Spanish Government prohibited the exportation of the cork wood from Catalonia, where the best material was grown. The result was that the manufacture of best corks in England had ceased. It was true that the manufacture had since that time largely increased in this country, but it was confined to the production of the coarser descriptions of the article. Spain still allowed the coarser material to be exported, and the cork-cutters here, by their industry, had been able to keep up and increase their trade. But he would ask was the present proposal fair—was it common justice to our own people? Was it fair that the manufacturer abroad should have a monopoly of the best kinds of the raw material, and that he should then be allowed to import the manufactured article into the English market free of every duty? The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that they might feel assured the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs would use his best exertions to get rid of the prohibition of the export of cork wood from Catalonia. He (Sir F. Baring) supposed that some exertions were used when the prohibitory duty was imposed, but, so far from their having any effect, he believed the Spanish manufacturers were pressing upon the Spanish Government to extend the prohibition to the coarser material. If that were done the unfortunate cork-cutters would be in the old Scriptural position of having to make bricks without straw. They did not wish to interfere with any country from which the raw material was freely exported. [The CHAN-CELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: Hear, hear!] If the right hon. Gentleman would only take off the duty on manufactured corks, the produce and manufacture of the countries where there was no prohibition of the raw material, that would meet the case. He hoped that some consideration would be shown to persons who, in common justice and fairness, were entitled to it.

said, it appeared to him the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had put the case in so clear a manner that it did away with the necessity of arguing the subject in any other light. He might mention, however, that he had received many communications from various parts of the country, representing the great hardship which was about to be inflicted on these poor people. The whole Treaty was a system of protection to the foreigner and of free trade for the Englishman, and it applied most grievously to the cork-cutters. They could not rely on the noble Lord's (Lord J. Russell's) influence with the Court of Spain, seeing that he had been led to believe that the Spanish Government would not permanently occupy any portion of the territory of Morocco, which it now appeared would be done. He wished to hear, before the division which he hoped would take place, some reason, other than a blind adherence to a vicious principle, why they should reduce to absolute starvation some thousands of their fellow subjects, including great numbers of women and children.

said, that he had presented a petition from Dublin signed by persons engaged in the cork trade, in which they stated that if this provision of the Budget were carried out their trade would be abolished. In consequence of the tariff of 1842, the manufacture of the finer article had totally ceased, and it was only in consequence of the reduction of the duty on glass, causing a larger quantity of corks to be used, that the cork-cutters had been able to maintain their trade.

said, the proposal they were going to vote upon was whether they should put a high duty on manufactured cork coming, not from Catalonia, but from where it might. Again, he could not sec that if the duty were kept on manufactured corks from Catalonia, it would not afford that benefit to the cork manufacturers which the hon. Member for Finsbury was anxious to afford.

said, that with permission he would withdraw the Amendment as it now stood, striking out "cork" in the third Resolution, and propose instead the addition of these words after 1862—"the produce of countries from which the export of cork wood is free."

Amendment proposed, after"1862,"to add the words "the produce of Countries from which the export of Cork Wood is free."

said, he believed that this would so alter the issue that it would require some consideration how it should be met. They were about to give a great encouragement to the manufacture of corks by increasing the consumption of wine. He should like to know how the proposition of the hon. Member for Finsbury would be reconcilable with our obligations under the favoured nation's clause. He did not know whether we had such a clause in our treaties with Spain. The fact was simply this: the manufacturers of cork in this country wanted to have a protecting duty of 33 per cent, and nothing less than that would satisfy them.

said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. M. Gibson) had just adduced the strongest argument in favour of the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe). If the cork trade was about to be extended by the increase of the consumption of wine, that was a reason why they should try to procure a full supply of the raw material. With the greatest pleasure he would support the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman for that reason. He had presented a petition from persons engaged in this trade, and their statement was that they were now obliged to confine themselves entirely to the manufacture of the rougher description of cork, Spain having shut them out from the finer descriptions, and now the Government were proposing to admit the finer material in a manufactured state, which would altogether exclude the British cork-cutters from competition. It was of no use to say that the Foreign Minister would remonstrate and negotiate with Spain. The Government had had the same means of obtaining con- cessions from Spain as from Franco, but they had never asked for them; and it was idle now to talk of such negotiations after the steps the Government had taken, and which had given Spain everything she could desire. The time for remonstrance with Spain was passed, and therefore he with the more pleasure supported the Amendment. Indeed, the most effectual remonstrance with Spain would be the adoption of this Amendment, by which she would be excluded from participation in the benefits of this remission, unless she consented to the free export of the raw material.

said, that in his opinion the reasons of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade were frivolous. He (Sir J. Fergusson) had received strong remonstrances from constituents of his own, complaining of the proposal of the Government. He hoped the hon. Member for Finsbury would not shrink from going to a division in which he should receive his most cordial support. The Government would justly incur odium if they resisted the fair demands of a deserving and industrious class.

said, he wanted to know was the export trade from abroad free? ["No, no!"] It was free from Andalusia, and other parts of Spain. He did not think his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury could insist on his proposition, seeing the changes that were taking place. He was opposed to introducing a monopoly in their tariff for the sake of one trade. By so doing they would necessitate certificates of origin, and thus introduce into the Customhouse arrangements the very complication they were so anxious to avoid.

said, he did not understand that it was the desire of either the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe), or the right hon. Member for Portsmouth (Sir F. Baring), to prevent the Government from fulfilling the Treaty with France as it affected corks; and he was not able to say that the Amendment as it stood would satisfy the conditions of that Treaty. He was not aware of any restriction upon the export of corks from France, and understood it was practically free, but there might possibly be some nominal duty, which would render the Amendment, if carried, an obstacle to the fulfilment of he Treaty. The Resolution before the Committee went further because, acting on the general principle which they believed to be sound, they had not stopped at their engagement as it stood in the Treaty, but they had proposed that universally the import duty should be free irrespective of their engagement with France. Our manufacturers complained that in certain cases there was a prohibition on the export of cork wood to this country. The question whether we ought to take notice of the law of other countries in fixing the regulations of our own tariff was a question of the deepest and most vital importance, and he hoped the Committee would come to no hasty conclusion upon it, and that they would not come to a conclusion with reference to the article of cork without having considered where the principle was to lead them, because, as he understood it, the proposition was that they must inquire into the legislation of every foreign country, and unless they were satisfied with the terms of the legislation, they were not to give that nation the benefit of introducing the article. That was the doctrine at issue. It was a question, however, of such range, entering so largely, not only into the propositions of the Government, but into the whole of the proceedings of the British Parliament for the last eighteen years, that it was essentially necessary the House should have a full opportunity of considering its effects, both as a principle of commercial legislation, and also with regard to the present state of our international engagements. He did not think it was a question that could be fairly raised on the present occasion for the simple reason that nothing could be more inconvenient than that the question of the fulfilment of the French Treaty should be mixed up with the question of the importation of corks from Spain, in one quarter of which the exportation of the raw material was prohibited. Were the House, on a question of this kind, to prevent the Government from fulfilling their engagements with France? He had not objected, as he might have done, to the hon. Member for Finsbury, substituting a second Amendment for his first. Under these circumstances he hoped the hon. Gentleman would permit him to alter his original Motion so as to present to the Committee neither more nor less than was sufficient to fulfil our engagements with France. The Resolution would then be to this effect—That on and after the 31st March, 1862, cork ready made, and squared for rounding, the produce or manufacture of, or imported from, France or Algeria, should be admitted. It would be competent to the hon. Gentleman to move an Amendment on that. With regard to the time of making the second, and more general proposition, that cork should be admitted free of duty after the 31st of March, 1862, it would probably be more convenient to postpone it till another evening. At the same time, if his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury, wished it, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would not scruple to make the general proposition immediately; but, in the first place, he would propose that Resolution, which would enable them to carry out their engagements to Frauce.

I cannot suppose my hon. Friend understands the case. He found occasion to alter his Amendment. It was in my power to prevent it, but I made no objection whatever. I now propose, not for any purpose of convenience to myself, but for the general convenience, to separate the question of the importation from France under the Treaty and the general question, including the importation from Spain, and request permission to alter the original Resolution.

The right hon. Gentleman says he might have prevented me from altering my Amendment. Why, then, did he not take a vote of the House upon it immediately?

I speak to order. The hon. Gentleman has said that I could not have prevented him from altering his Amendment without a vote of the House upon it. Will you, Mr. Massey, state what is the rule of the House upon the point of order?

I did not understand the hon. Gentleman the Member for Finsbury to propose any Amendment. I understood it was his intention to meet the Resolution by a negative when it was put from the Chair. The hon. Gentleman subsequently desired to modify that intention by an Amendment which I put from the Chair. That Amendment is now before the House.

said, that the right hon. Gentleman had raised an important constitutional question. Were the Committee at liberty to make alterations and amendments in the tariff; and, if, so, were those alterations fatal to the Treaty? He had asked the right hon. Gentleman a few days ago whether the House of Commons was to have the power of altering the Treaty, but could get no answer to his question. He repeated the question a day or two afterwards in another shape, and then the Chancellor of the Exchequer refused to answer it, because, he said, if he did he could not reply to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), although that was incorrect. The Chancellor of the Exchequer now asked whether the Committee were about to prevent the Government from fulfilling the conditions of the Treaty? It therefore came to this, that all these discussions were perfectly useless. The people of England had now been told by the Chanceller of the Exchequer that the Resolutions and decisions of the British Parliament must be subservient to the French Treaty. Now, he maintained that the French Treaty should and ought to be subservient to the British Parliament, and with that view he had moved his Amendment. He said they were about to do an injury to industrious traders by taking off the protective duty, without giving them the raw material by which they carried on their trade. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade told the Committee the prohibition of the exportation of cork wood was the work of Catalonia; but who was responsible for that prohibition? The Government of Spain, and it was that Government he wanted to bring to book. Persuasion, they had been told, would be tried by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, but he had more confidence in a vote of that House than in the persuasion of the noble Lord. If the House agreed to his Amendment, France, which had no corks to send us, would induce Spain to let England have the raw material.

said, he wished to remind the House that the course proposed to be taken by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that which he last week in solemn terms told them could not be followed. When it was proposed to consider the Treaty before the reductions of duty, the right hon. Gentleman said that if the House went into Committee on the Treaty, and considered the reduction stipulations in the Treaty, they would be considering the reduction on French produce only, whereas by considering the Budget first, the Government would be proposing to reduce the duty upon the produce of every country whatever. Yet now, having got the House into Committee on Customs Acts, the right hon. Gentleman changed his field of battle, and asked the Committee to consider the duty on French produce alone, whereby to-morrow morning they might find French corks bearing a different duty from the corks of other countries.

said, that the course of which the hon. and learned Gentleman complained commended its own reasonableness. The Government had made certain arrangements with France, and they had now to consider how to ratify those engagements. The Government thought they were paying the greatest respect to the House by assuming that if those engagements were to be ratified it would be in the shape which the House had for years adopted—namely, by recognizing no distinction between produce of the same kind in reference to the country from which it came. They were now met, however, by an objection which raised a peculiar assumption, not known to the legislation of the House of late years—that it was the duty of the House to take cognizance of the state of the law of other countries when it fixed the duties to be levied upon our own produce. As that doctrine had no reference to the Treaty with France, he had asked the hon. Gentleman (Mr. T. Duncombe) to allow him to separate those two questions. Let the House first consider the Motion which submitted the engagement with France, and after that let the hon. Gentleman raise another Motion upon which he might raise the proposition he wished to enforce with reference to Spain. The hon. Gentleman refused him the courtesy of withdrawing his Amendment, as he hoped, under a misapprehension. He proposed now to make the same proposal, but to divide it into two parts, so as to separate that which belonged to the Treaty from that which belonged to general legislation. If, however, the hon. Gentleman would not permit him to amend the Resolution for the convenience of the Committee, he had no alternative but to divide against the hon. Gentleman. If, after the statement he had made, and the willingness he had expressed to give the fairest play and the fullest opportunity of raising the question, the hon. Gentleman persisted in dividing the House, he trusted that he should be supported by the Committee on a division, whatever the opinion of the Committee might he upon the question which the hon. Gentleman wished to raise.

expressed his opinion that there had been a good deal of dust thrown upon the cork question during the discussion; but he (Mr. Crossley) said that it simply resolved itself into the question of protection or no protection—protection meaning a favour shown to one man by the robbery of some one else. They had to deal with cork makers and cork users. Which was the more numerous class? Why should the less numerous be protected at the cost of the more numerous class? The Protectionists thought they were strong in the House that night, and therefore were making an effort to protect the makers of corks by causing the users of them to pay a larger price than they were worth in the market of the world.

said, he did not think that the question was one of protection or no protection. If it were, he confessed he should prefer following the hon. Member for Finsbury as a Free-trader rather than the hon. Member who spoke last or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, He thought the hon. Member for Finsbury was quite as old, as consistent, and as good a Free-trader as any other Member of that House. The point at issue was, whether, when we admitted the manufactured article from abroad, we should also extend that privilege to those who prohibited the exportation of the raw material. No doubt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposals were perfectly intelligible. Their only fault was that they were wholly contradictory. The right hon. Gentleman now wished to take the Resolution with especial reference to the French Treaty. Only half an hour before, when a similar question was raised by the hon. Member for Warwickshire, the right hon. Gentleman said the Treaty was not before the Committee.

said, he thought that the hon. Member for Finsbury would best serve the cause of the cork-'cutters by acceding to the offer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He should vote against the admission of corks from Spain while she prohibited the exportation of the raw material, but he could not vote against the admission of corks from France, which made no such prohibition.

said, his opinion coincided with that of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Clay) and he should follow the same course.

said, he wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he proposed to allow a French subject, in a French ship, to bring manufactured corks from Spain into England? If that was the proposal it would defeat the object of the hon. Member for Finsbury, but if it was proposed to prevent the bringing in of corks from Spain, directly or indirectly, upon the same terms as with France, he apprehended that the objection of the hon. Member would be met.

inquired whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer would bring forward the general question with respect to Spain immediately after the other points had been disposed, because, if so, he would earnestly appeal to the hon. Member for Finsbury to withdraw his Motion.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it would not be more convenient to adopt at once some terms which would apply to the Resolutions generally the rule he now proposed to apply to the article of cork. If he did distinctly limit the privilege of free importation to the produce of France and French possessions the same difficulty would arise with regard to every article.

said, he had three questions to answer. With regard to that put by the hon. Member who had last spoken, he had not the least hesitation to state that if at any time a practical inconvenience arose which would involve a difference of principle between the trade with France and the trade with other countries there would be no objection on the part of the Government to adopt the suggestion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate); but in the absence of any positive ground for such a course he should not depart from the usual proceeding. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets asked whether the Government would limit the legislation under the Treaty to cork the produce of Franco. He replied in the negative. Our legislation disclaimed these minute inquiries into the origin of goods which even when we had highly protective duties were exceedingly difficult and fertile of fraud, and which, now that we had an open system, it would be impossible to reintroduce. Touching at a port of France was not importation from France, the importation must be bona fide. To the third question, he would say that he had already given a positive pledge to go on with the general question immediately; but if hon. Members looked to the clock, he thought this would not be a convenient course tonight. But if it were the general wish of the Committee, he would concede his own opinion and do so. He certainly did not think it would be a convenient course to adopt the proposal of the hon. Member for Finsbury. At the same time he admitted that it was highly desirable that hon. Gentlemen should have an opportunity of considering a proposal so novel; and therefore he distinctly promised to offer no obstacle to its discussion after that portion of the Resolution that bore upon the Treaty was disposed of.

I propose to add at the end of the Resolution these words, "The produce or manufacture of or imported from France or Algeria." And then, subsequently, "Cork and cork woods without restriction."

said, he wished to point out that the words "produce or manufacture" might meet the view of the hon. Member for Finsbury, but that the use of the phrase "or imported from" would still admit Spanish corks. All Spain would have to do would be to transfer her corks to some French port, and that would be corks imported from France in the words of the Resolution. He would suggest to the hon. Member for Finsbury to give up his Amendment altogether, rather than to accede to the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I think the objection of the hon. and learned Gentleman to our proposal applies with greater force to that of the hon. Member for Finsbury. For, take the words of my hon. Friend and I defy any fiscal regulation to prevent the evasion of the restrictions which he means to propose. I should like to know, supposing his Motion carried, how we are to prevent corks manufactured in Spain from passing through France into England. My hon. Friend's Motion is, that we should not allow corks to come into this country duty free from any country which forbids the exportation of the raw material. Well, supposing it to be true, as the hon. Member affirms, that Spain does intend to prohibit the exportation of the raw material of corks, what would be more easy than that Spanish corks should come in through France, and then the object of my hon. Friend would be completely defeated. I think that nothing can be more intelligible or fairer than to say that, there being no prohibition in France against the raw material, we should not prohibit the importation of the manufactured article from France to England. But then, having agreed to that provision in the Treaty, the House might go on to consider whether or not it is consistent with our legislation, or whether it is practical, to adopt the proposal of the hon. Member for Finsbury, and say, with regard to Spain or any other country, that unless they allow the free exportation of the raw material, you will not allow the manufactured article to come in duty free. Every one must see the inconvenience that will be produced if, when a cargo of corks arrives in England, we shall be obliged to wait in order to ascertain, either from Andalusia or Catalonia, whether any duties had been levied on the cargo. It is obvious such a regulation would lead to altercations between the Custom-house authorities and the importers; and, besides baffling the ingenuity of the Customs' officers, it would produce the most serious confusion in mercantile transactions.

said, he would recommend the adoption of words in the fifth Article, similar to those employed in the first Article of the Treaty with reference to English goods—namely, "Articles of British production and manufacture imported from the United Kingdom." By this means they would get rid of the difficulty.

agreed that it would be much better if there were no distinctions with regard to produce. However, that was not the fault of England; and he hoped that the existing prohibitions would not be long maintained. Indeed, he had no doubt that if the House showed itself in earnest, and the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs were able to lay before the Spanish Government a Resolution of the House of Commons exempting cork the manufacture of Spain from the benefits of the present Resolution unless they took off the duty on the exportation of cork wood, that the Spanish Government would be induced to do so. On the one side they had the inconvenience which had been pointed out, and on the other the Resolution of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which would have the effect of ruining some very industrious men, unless they were provided with the raw material. There could be no doubt that the greater part of the cork imported from France now came from Spain. Unless the words "corks the produce of Spain" were added, the Resolution of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as it stood, would do nothing for the cork-cutters of this country, and, therefore, he thought it would be better to divide and settle the question at once.

said, that this was a question of free trade or protection. If the Government gave way upon this matter there would be similar discussions upon every other Article; he should therefore support the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

said, he thought that the most convenient course would be for the Committee to divide upon his Amendment, after which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer might, if he pleased, move the addition which he had suggested.

said, that the simple fact was that the proposal of his right hon. Friend was consistent with the French Treaty, and the Amendment was not. If carried, it would be necessary to have a supplemental treaty.

replied, that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had informed them that if any alteration were made, a supplementary treaty would be required. Why should they not have it? Indeed, they would require one with regard to spirits, and they could easily include corks. The Emperor was too sensible, too wise, and too just a man not to accede to it.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 118; Noes 191: Majority 73.

said, that although he was not bound by an offer to which his hon. Friend had agreed, he thought the best course he could now take was to move the insertion of the words which he had expressed his willingness to adopt before the division took place. ["No. no!"] He believed some Gentlemen had voted in the majority who would not have done so if they had thought that the whole question was going to be decided by that vote. He would therefore now propose the insertion of the following words—"The produce or manufacture of, or imported from, France or Algeria."

Amendment made, by adding the words "the produce or manufacture of, or imported from, France or Algeria."

Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

said, it would be impracticable to proceed to any contested questions at that period of the evening, and perhaps the most convenient course would be that corks other than those imported from France should be dealt with after the Committee had concluded the Resolutions which related to the Treaty.

said, he was induced, by the expression "contested questions," to ask how far, in the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Committee was free to deal with any of the Articles of the Treaty. It would appear, from the language held by Members of the Government, that every item to which the Committee was asked to consent was mixed up with the Treaty, and that the Committee was not at liberty to discuss it. That being so, it was a mere idle waste of time to consider the items one by one; at all events, it was desirable that the Committee should have a distinct declaration from the Government whether it was or was not free to reject any of the Articles of the Treaty which it might think impolitic.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That 'Cotton Manufactures, as denominated in the Tariff,' stand part of the proposed Resolution.

said, that he would move that part of the Resolution which related to cotton manufactures, not with the intention of raising a debate upon it, but for the purpose of enabling him to answer the question of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington). His right hon. Friend must see that his inquiry turned upon and involved the largest constitutional principles, and that it was not in the power of any Minister or Government to answer it in any form which could carry the slightest authority for the Members of that House. It was the duty of every hon. Member to answer it for himself. The Constitution had committed to the Crown the absolute power of concluding and ratifying treaties and of binding the faith of the country, but it had done so subject to the obligation of applying to Parliament for its sanction in cases where legislation was required, and likewise subject to the general responsibility of Ministers even in cases where legislation was not required. In the present case legislation was required. The contract into which the Crown had entered was an incomplete contract until it was submitted to and sanctioned by both Houses of Parliament. The consideration of high policy and convenience, which might render improper the exercise of even private judgment upon questions of secondary importance when the consequence was to defeat the application of a treaty or to create a necessity for new negotiations, was a matter that would occur to the mind of every reflecting man, but not one upon which he could for a moment presume to interfere between each hon. Member and his own sense of what was right and prudent.

said, he accepted the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as highly satisfactory. At the same time he trusted that when the Committee resumed the discussion of these Resolutions no more would be said of the bounden duty of Parliament to pass the Articles of the Treaty without any alteration whatever.

MR. BALL moved that the Chairman should report progress.

remarked, that he had not heard any one say that it was the bounden duty of Parliament to pass the Articles of the Treaty without alteration. Parliament had a perfect right to do what it pleased in the matter. It might begin with the wine duties and reject that and every other Article of the Treaty if it thought fit. The question was whether it would be prudent to take any step which might prevent the Treaty being carried into effect, or involve the necessity of fresh negotiations. That question, however, was entirely in the discretion of Parliament; its power to deal with the Treaty was undoubted.

maintained that the Treaty had been drawn up in such a manner as to impose upon Parliament the necessity of adopting it word for word as it had been placed upon the table. If such was not the case, why were they told, when they objected to any of the Articles, that they were interfering with what were called the obligations of the Treaty? The discussions of the Committee were not free.

asked, whether the words "cotton manufactures" included articles of clothing made up.

replied that they were. He trusted the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire would withdraw his Motion.

said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman, after answering questions all night, must be physically incapable of proceeding further at that hour.

said, he could not accept the favour which the hon. Gentleman offered him. The greatest favour the hon. Member could confer upon him would be to allow him to go on with the Resolutions. They might have a chance of taking these Resolutions to-morrow, but probably that would not suit the convenience of Members. He trusted there would be a disposition on other days, except in cases where business of a very urgent nature was involved, to proceed with these Resolutions. He hoped to be able to bring them on again at some period on Thursday evening, provided he could do so at a reasonable hour. He wished to take the sense of the Committee of Ways and Means to-morrow as to the duty of 8s. 1d. on British spirits, as it was desirable for the convenience of the revenue that effect should be given to that vote immediately after it was delivered.

said, if he rightly understood the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the order of proceeding on Thursday it amounted to this, that as soon as any discussion that might arise on the Reform Bill was concluded, the right hon. Gentleman should proceed with his Resolutions, and, as far as hon. Members on that (the Opposition) side of the House was concerned, there would be no objection to that course.

said, he wished to ask when it was intended to bring in the Irish Reform Bill?

stated that it was his intention to bring forward the Irish Reform Bill on Thursday evening, after his noble Friend the Foreign Secretary had introduced the measure relating to England.

said, he wished to know whether they were to have three Reform Bills on Thursday?

said, he wished to know how far the Committee was free to discuss the propositions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Part of the Resolutions now before the Committee stated that the Queen had recommended Parliament to do so and so, and he wished the Government to state how far the House would be free to discuss those propositions. It was also stated that the Emperor of the French was willing, he had no doubt in consequence of what had passed in the House, to modify that part of the Treaty which related to coals. He hoped, therefore, the Government would admit not only the constitutional right of this House to discuss the Treaty, but the willingness of the French Emperor to make any modification of the duties which the House of Commons might suggest.

said, it was obvious if the Emperor of the French was absolutely bound to make certain relaxations of duty and to remove certain prohibitions, and if the Queen was only bound to recommend to Parliament the abolition of the duties on a great number of articles, and Parliament rejected that recommendation with respect to any considerable number of those articles that that would not be a fulfilment of the engagements of the Treaty on our part. With regard to the Customs' duties, Parliament must consent to them before the requirements of the Treaty were fulfilled. It would be competent for the Emperor of the French to say, if the House of Commons should refuse its sanction to certain articles, that he was free from the engagement. He might, or might not, in that case choose to make another Treaty, or to modify the existing one; but he would be entirely free from the obligations imposed upon him by the present Treaty.

said, he must complain that in every previous instance in which he had put a question, bearing on this point, the answers of the Government had been evasive. He would not even except the answer given a short time before by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He (Sir John Pakington) had not asked any question about constitutional practice, but whether the Committee was free to reject certain items in a list of articles, with respect to which items many hon. Members were of opinion that we were about to throw away revenue, extravagantly and rashly, without any corresponding benefit to any class or interest in the country? The question was, whether the Committee was free or not to discuss the wisdom of certain provisions and to reject any of the articles which they might deem impolitic or unwise?

said, that was a question, not only for the decision of the Committee, but for the decision of the French Government. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to think it would be foolish to throw away revenue on many of the items in the Treaty. He would not dispute that question with the right hon. Gentleman. All he (Lord John Russell) contended for was, that if any material items were rejected by Parliament, the engagements on the part of the Queen would not be fulfilled. If such an item as that relating to artificial flowers, for instance, were rejected, he should certainly be surprised if the Emperor of the French were to say that in consequence of that decision he could not go on with the Treaty. But, supposing persons were to say in France, as they did say, that it was entirely a one sided Treaty, and that it made France the slave of England—there was no doubt that was said—no one could tell to what risk the Treaty might be exposed. Cannon balls might be required to enforce it. It was, therefore, a matter of discretion with Parliament on the one hand and the French Government on the other, but as a matter of discretion the Government certainly did recommend Parliament to sanction the engagements which had been entered into.

said, he had understood that the effect of the Treaty would be to unite the two nations; but if cannon balls were required to enforce it, surely the effect would be to separate them. It was a pleasant prospect to contemplate the possibility of such a specific being rendered necessary. The fact appeared to be that, supposing the Treaty to contain 250 Articles, and the House adopted 249, rejecting but one, then the Emperor of the French was at liberty to consider himself relieved of all his obligations respecting it. This was certainly an agreeable kind of arrangement.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress,"—put, and agreed to.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again on Thursday,

House adjourned at half-after Twelve o'clock.