§ Mr. Mackinnon
wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade, whether or not the reduction in the duty on the wines of France, forming part of the arrangements in the pending negotiations for a commercial treaty with that country, was to be extended also to the wines of Portugal, Spain, Sicily, and the Rhenish provinces, as well as in a proportionate degree to those of our own colony, the Cape of Good Hope; whether, in the conclusion of a treaty with France, involving in public opinion, amongst other important considerations affecting our commercial interests, a loss to the revenue to an amount considerably exceeding half a million sterling, instead of the smaller sum indicated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in opening his budget—whether, in the conclusion of such a treaty, the Government would act upon their own responsibility, or call upon Parliament for a preliminary decision on the policy of the measure?
§ Mr. Labouchere
must decline, in the present state of the negotiation, to give any information as to what proposals had been, made on the part of the British Government. At the same time he would say, that it would be extremely impolitic to give any one foreign country an advantage with regard to the importation of their wines into England, over other foreign 967 countries. No treaty into which they might enter with France would debar them from conceding the same advantage to other countries.