HC Deb 23 March 1842 vol 61 cc1113-4
Sir R. Peel

moved that the House at its rising do adjourn till Monday, the 4th of April. He made this motion now for the purpose of enabling the hon. Gentleman regularly to make any observations he thought necessary on the subject of his statement relative to the timber duties. He might also take this opportunity of stating, that as he could not undertake to make any progress either with the Corn-bill, so as to send it to the House of Lords, or with the Income-duty, as the debate might be again adjourned, he thought it more convenient, as the House had been accustomed to rise on Wednesday, to adjourn to-day instead of to-morrow.

Mr. Hawes

had no doubt the announce- ment of the right hon. Baronet of extending the time allowed, so as fairly to enable the holders of duty-paid timber to get rid of their stocks, would give very great satisfaction. There was another point he wished to recommend to the right hon. Baronet's notice—he meant the mode of taking the timber-duty. It was felt by the trade to be most desirable that the duty should be calculated on timber by tale instead of cubic measurement.

Sir R. Peel

was aware that the constituents of the hon. Gentleman were deeply interested in this question, and he must do them the justice to say, they had not made those extravagant demands that some had made. His great object was to strike a balance between the interests of the consumer and the parties interested. He had attempted to do so as fairly as he could, but he could not hold out an expectation that a very long interval would be allowed to elapse before the remission of the duty took place; because, if a long interval did elapse; it would, in fact, constitute for the time, a monopoly, and there would also be a great suspension of trade. As to the other point, he had had great satisfaction in communicating with many timber dealers on the banks of the river, and he had completely discussed the subject with them. With respect to timber in the log, and all similar classes of timber, there would be no difficulty in estimating the duty by the cubic contents; but the difference of opinion arose as to deals. The grossest injustice had been done by the mode of taking the duty on deals; in fact, the system had wholly excluded the timber of different places in the Baltic. He was informed, however, that his objection might be obviated by another mode of applying the duty, at the same time, that no impediments were thrown in the way of commerce; and when the plan suggested for that purpose had been communicated to him, he should refer it for the opinion of a most intelligent officer, his object being the prevention of any impediment to commerce or inconvenience to the trade, while he laid the duty fairly on all classes of timber of the same quality.