HC Deb 03 August 1843 vol 71 cc222-3
Mr. Christopher

wished to ask his right hon. Friend, the President of the Board of Trade whether, under the 3rd article of the treaty of Washington, as introduced in the 25th clause of the Customs' Bill, the agricultural produce of the state of Maine might not be sent down the river St. John, to New Brunswick and thus find its way to this country as colonial produce; and if so, what security had the agricultural interests of this country that the agricultural produce of other American states might not be sent through the state of Maine to this country, and imported as colonial produce?

Mr. Gladstone

understood the first question to be, whether under the clauses of the Customs Bill, which purported to give effect to the third article of the treaty of Washington, the produce of the state of Maine might be sent through the river St. John to New Brunswick, and thence imported into England as colonial produce? There was no reference whatever to the produce of the state of Maine in either case; but as he had stated on a former occasion, the produce referred to was that of the district of country which was now part of the state of Maine under the treaty, and which was what was called the disputed territory. This was now, beyond all dispute, part and parcel of the state of Maine. The third article of the treaty referred exclusively to this part of the territory, and to the admission of the produce of it. The second question was, how they could ascertain the produce from Maine imported into New Brunswick from that of other states, and how the origin of this was to be verified, and also what security was the agricultural interest to have, that produce from other parts would not be imported into this country at the colonial rates of duty? With respect to the first part of the question, there was a clause in the Customs Act of last year by which Government were empowered to call for a certificate of origin of produce coming from our colonial possessions, except the East Indies. As far as regarded the United States, he apprehended the Government were placed on a better footing by the treaty of Washington, than they were before that treaty was completed. The produce of the territory in question was almost exclusively timber, and formerly this disputed territory was always regarded as a British possession for the purposes of trade and commerce. Previous to the treaty of Washington there was a doubt as to the extent of the right we possessed to demand the certificate of origin of goods coming through that territory, and as to how far we could exercise it against American produce; but by the third article of the treaty of Washington all doubt on the subject was removed, for there was secured to us the means of ascertaining the origin of produce coming down the river St. John.

Back to