HC Deb 28 September 1841 vol 59 cc915-6
Lord Sandon

presented a petition, signed by 9,000 of the citizens of Quebec, in Canada, stating the apprehension of the petitioners at the proposition made by the late Government to reduce the duties levied on Baltic limber, and enhance the duties laid on the timber of the North American colonies. The petitioners begged to call the attention of the House to the fact, that the present duties only afforded them a bare protection, considering the disadvantages under which they lay as compared with the Baltic; and that if the proposed alteration were made, it would involve those connected with the timber trade in ruin, as well as many other interests; that the subject of the discriminating duties between Baltic and Canadian timber was fully considered in 1821, and the present scale of duties was then adopted. In 1831, the subject was again considered, and the proposal for an alter- ation rejected by a large majority. In 1835, the subject was considered again, and the duties were left as before; they had therefore embarked their capital in this trade with confidence in the existing arrangement. The petitioners prayed that time might be afforded them to produce evidence on their own behalf before the Bar of the House. In this branch of trade they had embarked a very large capital —not less than 2,000,000l., and upwards of 1,200 cargoes of timber were annually exported. If the trade were stopped, the facilities and advantages which it held out to emigrants would be put an end to. The number of vessels now employed in the Canadian timber trade was only exceeded in the whole range of British commerce by the coasting trade.

Petition to lie on the Table.

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