HC Deb 22 March 1843 vol 67 cc1285-6
Mr. Divett

said that reports were prevalent respecting the discovery of extensive frauds in the Customs. Silks and other goods to a large amount, it was said, had been smuggled, and it was added that the guilty parties had been allowed to compromise. He had little doubt that the current statements were exaggerated, but a strong impression upon the subject prevailed, and the injury and discouragement to the fair trader by such transactions were obvious. Seeing the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his place he wished, therefore, to put to him two questions—First, whether, in point of fact, any such compromise had been made? Second, if they had been made, whether there would be any objection, with a view to the protection of the fair trader, to make the public acquainted with the names of the parties against whom informations had been laid, when those informations had ended in conviction and compromise? He believed that such had been the course in the Excise department, and he saw no reason why the rule should not be extended to the Customs.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

replied, that as the hon. Member had been good enough to give him notice of his intended questions, he had made immediate inquiry at the Custom-house on the subject. He found that the Board of Customs had entered into no compromises as to the recent seizures of silks, or any other seizures, and that they would not enter into any such compromises. As to the publication of the names of convicted parties, he saw no objection to it, excepting during the pendency of proceedings; the hon. Member would be aware that until the parties were convicted such publication would be disadvantageous.

Mr. Divett

added that he had met a gentleman extensively engaged in the silk trade, who had informed him that it was a regular thing on going into a French silk warehouse to be asked whether the goods should be sent through the Customs or "under the moon;" if "under the moon," ten percent. more was charge.

Subject at an end.

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