Mr. Thomas Dvncombe
presented a petition from two individuals resident in Bunhillrow, City, who were proprietors of a patent that had been granted to an individual of the name of Williams, in 1833, for the manufacture of an article to be substituted in many cases for paper and leather. They stated that at the time the patent was granted the Excise Board had reported that the article in question could never be considered paper, and that it would not be liable to paper duty—that they (the petitioners) had laid out a capital of 10,000l.; in the manufacture, and that they now found that in the Paper Duties Bill, which stood for a third reading that evening, a special clause had been introduced rendering this article liable to the excise duty. The petitioners thought that they had a right to complain of this as a gross case of injustice. The operation of the clause in question would prove ruinous to the manufacture of this article, of which great use would otherwise be made in the railroads to prevent the jar between the iron trams and the stones. As the good faith of the Excise Board was implicated in this matter, his right hon. Friend should, at all events, permit the petitioners to manufacture the article without the imposition of a duty until the expiration of their patent.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, it was true that in the year 1833 an individual who was about to establish a particular manufacture applied to the Board of Excise, and laid before them a specimen of the article which he intended to manufacture, and out of which were to be made papier maché, &c. He was then informed that such an article would not be liable to excise duty. A further application was made to the Board in 1835, and it was then first discovered that an alteration had been made in the manufacture so as to render the article liable to the paper duty. The parties were accordingly informed that it would be proposed to Parliament not to interfere in the slightest degree with the original article as manufactured in 1833, but to impose a duty on the altered manufacture of 1835. As, however, there existed a difference of opinion between the petitioners and the officers of Excise as to the statements made, and as the imposition of a duty might involve a breach of engagements he would postpone the third reading of the Bill, and would to-morrow, at an interview which he intended to give to the Excise, officers and the petitioners, take care to hear both sides of the question. If he should 137 then find that the statements contained in the petition were correct, he would introduce a clause into the Bill saving the petitioners from the duty for the period of their patent.
said, that the proposal of his right hon. Friend would be quite satisfactory to the petitioners.
§ Petition to lie on the table.