HC Deb 23 February 1860 vol 156 c1567

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is proposed by the new Treaty to give the French Government the power of increasing the existing Duties on English silk goods imported into France from their present rates to 30 per cent ad valorem.


Sir, with regard to the class of goods mentioned by the hon. Gentleman and to a great number of other articles forming part of the commerce between the two countries, there are no stipulations in the new French Treaty; but the two Governments are willing to place reliance on what they know of each other's intentions, and to confine their engagements to the articles mentioned in the Treaty. There are no engagements between the two Governments, except what are set forth in that document; but Her Majesty's Government believe they have adequate means of knowing that there is no intention on the part of France to raise the duties on articles imported from this country in cases where those duties happen to be below the rates specified in the Treaty. But it is the intention of the French Government, with a view to the information of parties in that country, and also of the Legislative Assembly, to publish in a very few days a detailed, statement, which will necessarily be of a more ample character than can be introduced into an official correspondence; and my hon. Friend will then have an opportunity of satisfying himself whether Ministers have rightly understood the intention of the French Government or not. Though I do not suppose they will relinquish the right to deal with any particular duty in special cases, I believe the general intentions of the French Government are unequivocally described in the Treaty.