HC Deb 04 June 1840 vol 54 cc924-5

On the report of the Customs Duties' Bill being brought up,

Mr. B. Wood rose

according to notice, to move the rejection of the seventh clause, which required the buyer of goods, & c, under a contract, to pay the increased duty. This clause was intended to charge 5 per cent, to those who may have bought, goods before the 15th of May, to be delivered on or after that day, whether they bought them with the "duty paid" or otherwise. Such a provision he considered unjust to the buyers. It gave an unexpected and uncalled for protection to sellers who had not been sufficiently cautious in making their bargains. He held in his hand a petition from the wholesale and other dealers in colonial, East Indian, Mediterranean, and other produce, in the port of London, complaining that they should be grievously injured by this 7th clause. The substance of their statement was, that the clause was intended to relieve those who had not used common prudence in making their contracts—that if a reduction, and not an increase of duty, had taken place, it was the seller and not the buyer who would have been benefitted; that the buyers would now have no means of redress, as it would be unsafe to add the duty to the selling price to their customers: and that it was an improper interference with existing contracts. He coincided in these views, and he should therefore move that the clause be expunged.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, the question for the House in this case to decide was which party, the seller or the buyer, was to pay the additional duly. He would state the case as it presented itself to him, and first of all he would observe, that such a clause was usual in former acts. Suppose a party sells a quantity of goods in bond for a given price, "duty paid," and before he delivers them out an additional duty is imposed. If that duty be imposed on the seller, he loses the money out of his pocket without having any means of recovering it, as he is obliged to deliver the goods to the purchaser at the price contracted for; but if it be imposed on the buyer, he can recover it against the consumer by adding it to the selling price of the goods. It appeared to him, that the justice of the case was in favour of the clause, and it was for that reason that he had introduced it into the bill.

Sir S. Lushington

said, that a considerable body of his constituents were deeply interested in this clause, and they conceived it to be utterly opposed to justice. He thought that it was incumbent on those who supported the clause to show the justice of such an innovation.

Mr. Bernal

said, it was truly stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that as there was a certain loss, it must fall somewhere, and it ought to fall on the purchaser. Common justice required that the loss should be dispersed over the largest surface, and consequently it must fall on the public.

Mr. Alderman Thompson

said, it was better to leave the buyer and seller to adjust their own affairs, than to leave them to be settled by Parliament, which would only tend to promote litigation.

The House divided on the question, that the clause do stand. Ayes 100; Noes 17:—Majority 83.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, Major Clive, E. B.
Ainsworth, P. Courtenay, P.
Alston, R. Cowper, hon. W.
Baring, F. T. Dalmeny, Lord
Barnard, E. G. Divett, E.
Berkeley, hon. H. Eliot, Lord
Bernal, R. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bewes, T. Euston, Earl of
Blackett, C. Fielden, W.
Blake, M. J. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Bodkin, J. J. Fleetwood, Sir P.
Bowes, J. Gillon, W. D.
Brabazon, Lord Greg, R. H.
Bridgeman, H. Greig, D.
Brocklehurst, J. Grey, right hn. Sir G.
Brotherton, J. Hawes, B.
Brownrigg, S. Hawkes, T.
Bruges, W. H. L. Hawkins, J. H.
Bryan, G. Hayter, W. G.
Buller, C. Heathcote, J.
Burr, H. Hoskins, K.
Busfeild, W. Howard, E. G. G.
Campbell, Sir J. Howard, P. H.
Chichester, J. P. Hughes, W. B.
Clay, W. Hutt, W.
Clements, Viscount Hutton, R.
Lemon, Sir C. Seymour, Lord
Lennox, Lord A. Sheil, right hon. R. L
Lushington, C. Shelborne, Earl of
Macaulay, rt. hn. T.B. Sheppard, T.
Mackinnon, W. A. Smith, B.
Maclean, D. Smith, R. V.
Macnamara, M. Somerville, Sir W. M
Maule, hon. F. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Morpeth, Viscount Stansfield, W. R. C.
Nagle, Sir R. Stuart, Lord J.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Stuart, W. V.
Palmer, R. Strutt, E.
Palmer, G. Surrey, Earl of
Parker, R. T. Wall, C. B.
Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H. Ward, H. G.
Patten, J. W. White, A.
Pigot, D. R. Wilbraham, G.
Rawdon, Colonel Wilde, Sir T.
Redington, T. N. Wilshire, W.
Rich, H. Wood, G. W.
Round, C, G. Wrightson, W. B.
Rumbold, C. E. Wyse, T.
Rushout, G. Yates, J. G.
Russell, Lord J. TELLERS.
Rutherfurd, A. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Sanford, E. A. Parker, J.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Neeld, J.
Attwood, W. O'Neil, hon. J. B.
Boldero, H. G. Sibthorp, Colonel
Dundas, C. W. D. Thompson, Alderman
Fector, J. M. Thornely, T.
Hastie, A. Vigors, N. A.
Hodgson, F. Wakley, T.
Hope, hon. C. TELLERS.
Mackenzie, W. F. Lushington, Dr.
Marsland, H. Wood, B.

Report agreed to.