HC Deb 05 July 1831 vol 4 c796

The House resolved itself into a Committee on the above Bill.

Mr. Warburton

said, the Bill, as introduced into the last Parliament, afforded facilities for the unlimited importation of tobacco, under the colour of its being the growth of Ireland. The onus of proving, that it was grown before 1832, would lie with the Government.

Mr. O'Connell

said, the hon. Gentleman made a mistake. The onus probandi always laid on the dealer, and, in point of fact, no inconvenience could arise from the growth of tobacco in Ireland, in respect to the facility afforded to smuggling, for that could hardly be the result of the allowing tobacco to be grown in Ireland.

Mr. Goulburn

observed, that the difficulty arose from this, namely, that tobacco grown in Ireland would be carried to Liverpool, under pretence that it was grown previous to 1832. How could this be disproved? Were the officers to undertake the task or not. The law, by allowing tobacco to be grown in Ireland at all, had given rise to the difficulty.

Mr. O'Connell

recollected a case that was tried before the Commissioners. It was a question regarding some condemned tobacco, and the point rested on the fact of its being of Irish growth. This was proved, and the Court decided that no duty was payable, and that, consequently, no permit was necessary. The onus probandi in every case laid on the dealer.

Mr. Warburton

had then no doubt there would be a great deal of false swearing. It would be much better to leave the period unlimited.

Mr. O'Connell

said, the dealer would have to prove the spot on which the tobacco had grown, to shew the process, and explain many other particulars. The case of proof would be most complicated.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, the fixing a limited period would perhaps diminish the risk of the sale of foreign tobacco, under the character of Irish tobacco.

House resumed.