HC Deb 12 February 1812 vol 21 cc751-3
Sir J. Newport

said, be did not entertain any doubt that if he bad made the complaint which now occasioned him to rise, to his Majesty's government, they would have paid every attention to it. But he considered, when the object was one of great national importance, it was better to state the grievance in the House than out of it; and whenever any attempt was made to place the letter of the Act of Union in competition with its spirit, he would always consider it his duty to notice it. By the Corn Intercourse Act of 1807, which was founded on the Act of Union, all vessels laden with corn from England and Ireland, were permitted to enter the ports of the two countries respectively, as if coasters, without being subjected to the difficulties of a formal entry at the Custom-house. This provision was complied with in all the ports of this country, with the exception of Liverpool and Bristol. Of the conduct pursued at the former port he had some time since complained. His present complaint related only to the latter, and the ground of it was this: every person knew, that when a vessel was laden with corn, it was necessary, for its preservation from the water, which exuded through the side of the ship, that it should be protected by mats; and as it was a cargo more likely than any other to shift, and thus endanger the safety of the crew and vessel, it was necessary that boards should be used to keep it steady. Now, when vessels arrived at the port of Bristol, laden with corn from Ireland, the Custom-house officers there insisted, that those mats and boards should be entered as being the produce of Russia. This was most unjust; for no fraud could possibly be intended. Those mats and boards were much cheaper here than in Ireland; and if any person thought proper to export them from that country, it would be at their own certain loss. He had received a representation from a respectable gentleman on the subject, and trusted that such an infraction" of the spirit of the Corn Intercourse Act would no longer be permitted.

Mr. W. Pole

said, that no application had been made either to the board of Customs or the Treasury, on the subject. If the circumstance had been stated to him, he would have apprised the Treasury of it, where, he was sure, no well-founded-complaint ever went unredressed. He would, however, immediately inquire into the circumstances. Certainly, the Custom-house officers at Bristol could have no wilful intention to infringe a law so, beneficial to both countries. They might have conceived that some smuggling was intended, and perhaps the act to which the right hon. baronet referred, might stand in need of some amendment.

Sir J. Newport

again observed, that he preferred mentioning the business publicly, than having recourse to a private communication.