HC Deb 29 July 1842 vol 65 cc841-3
Mr. Thornely

wished to say he had received statement from several merchants connected with the American trade, begging him to communicate them to the House. It seemed that they had learned from the reports of the ebates in Parliament, that the right hon. Baronet (Sir R Peel) had lately asserted on the authority of Mr. M'Culloch, that no great amount of corn could be import from America, and that the principal imp portation into this country would be from Dantzic. This they affirmed was incorrect These merchants stated they laboured under great disadvantages from the operation o the sliding-scale. They also wished t Government to be reminded that there was a paper laid on the Table of the House in February last, from which it appeared that the exports of the United States, from the, year 1790 to the year 1838, of wheaten flour alone had been 1,100,000 barrels peannum; and they state that if they were exempt from the operation of the sliding scale they could supply this country wit a considerable quantity of provisions. On of these Gentlemen stated that he would import corn if there were a fixed duty, but that now not knowing whether the duty would he 8s. or 18s. per quarter, he did not venture to import it. It had been said, on the authority of Mr.M'Culloch, that America herself had imported corn, but that occurred only in the year 1837, and then it imported only 500,000 quarters. That was an unusual circumstance, and even at that time exportation was going in many of the American ports. He had thought it right to make these statements because many gentlemen had been under the apprehension that the Government had not properly considered the subject. He was sure that the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government must he as anxious as any to increase our trade with the United States of America.

Sir R. Peel

said, of course he could only answer for himself, anti this would be admitted by the hon. Gentleman, that supposing in any one year, from particular circumstances, there should be a failure of the harvest in America, and they should import corn to any great extent, no inference could be drawn from this casual; circumstance. It was of great importance that they should extend their trade with the United States; but there was this in- convenience in discussing these questions in the House of Commons, that when any one corrected what he considered an exaggerated statement, he was supposed to entertain an opinion the very opposite to it. ! Thus, because he had doubted some statements of the probable amount of the importation of corn from America, it was ! thought lie had been represented as believing that no corn would be imported at all, from that country, and that he had told the t agricultural interest that no such incorportation would take place. He believed the - statement to be an exaggeration, and that was all the observation he had made. He did not entertain the opinion that had been discribed to him, for he believed that flour f would be brought into this country from the United States under the existing law, and in considerable quantities; and he should be sorry if the law should interfere with the trade in flour and provisions between the two countries.

Mr. Ewart

said, he had understood the right hon. Baronet to say, that considerable quantities of corn and flour would be ported from America under the existing h law. Now if the law did not have that feet, they should have a claim on the right d hon. Baronet for the reconsideration of that law. He should bear in mind the declaration the right hon. Baronet had made this day.

Mr. William

said, that from what he had seen of the country, he believed that a considerable quantity of flour and provisions, the produce of the western States, would be brought in. But of course the cost of the transit would be very great. It was not generally known, that the Americans were the largest consumers of articles of clothing in the world. They were the best clothed people he ever saw, and he had been through most of the countries of Europe. An American would deprive himself of almost any comfort rather than not be well dressed according to the average opinion. There never was a more favourable period for their entering into a commercial treaty with America. America was on the eve of making a change in her tariff, but there was a strong party there most anxious for an increased intercourse with this country; and if her Majesty's Government encouraged that disposition, they could establish a favourable treaty of commerce.