HC Deb 05 March 1838 vol 41 cc401-2
Sir R. Peel

rose to put a question to the noble Lord opposite on the subject of the Java Duties. The parties most interested in the question traded from the out-ports of this country with Java. These duties in which both the merchants of this country and the East India Company felt much interest, were levied in a manner contrary to the letter and spirit of our treaty with Holland on the subject. The noble Lord opposite some time ago said, that he soon expected to have a communication to make to the House relative to it; he wished now, therefore, to know whether her Majesty's Government were prepared to afford any information whether any satisfactory arrangement had been made with the Dutch Government, or whether there existed any prospect of such a result.

Viscount Palmerston

said, the Dutch Government had engaged to issue a tariff in conformity with the stipulations of the treaty. Such a treaty he understood had been published in Java, and he was in daily expectation of an official communication on the subject from the British Minister at the Hague. In the mean time, having received a copy of that document from a private source, he believed he might say it would be found in some respects satisfactory, in others not. The right hon. Baronet was aware that the stipulations of the treaty made the difference of duties depend not on the nationality of the goods, but of the vessels and importers. Goods imported into Java by British subjects in British vessels were to pay double the duty of goods imported in Dutch ships by the subjects of Holland; and where there was no duty levied upon articles imported by Dutch subjects and vessels, the duty of 6 per cent, only was to be levied on English goods. By this time a scale of duties had been properly arranged, and he was inclined to think the distinction would be made to depend on the commodities themselves, as well as on the nationality of the ships importing them. If, on receiving the official communication on this subject, which, as he had said, he daily expected from our Minister at the Hague, it were found that the stipulations of the treaty had not been duly attended to, it would be his duty to insist on such changes as were necessary.