HC Deb 24 February 1859 vol 152 cc769-70

asked the Secretary of the Treasury on what ground permission had been refused to Messrs. Rawlins to use, for weighing the paper charged with duty, the weighing-machine used in the Department of Customs; and what was meant by the Treasury Letter, stating that they must use a beam and scales, according to law?


said, he thought the form in which the question was put was likely to lead to confusion. The facts were these:—Messrs. Rawlins applied for permission to use a certain weighing-machine for weighing paper charged with duty. The machines were referred to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, who thought that such machines were not safe for the purpose of the public revenue. It was described here as the weighing-Machine used in the Department of Customs; and when an objection was raised against it that it was not secure, Messrs. Rawlins said it was used in the Department of Customs. It was true it had been used to a limited extent, but the Customs were by no means satisfied with it, as it was very liable to get out of order without the error being immediately detected. There was a further reason which rendered it unadvisable. The machines used by the Commissioners of Customs were kept under the Government lock. With regard to the last part of the hon. Gentleman's question, the Treasury Letter, no doubt, required the use of a beam sand scales. Exceptions might he taken to the word "beam," inasmuch as there was no such word in the Act of Parliament; nevertheless, it was quite clear that scales could not be used without a beam.