HC Deb 13 March 1860 vol 157 cc444-5

said, perhaps he might be allowed to call the attention of the House, by way of explanation, to the fact that during the discussion of the Committee on Customs, a question was raised as to the interpretation of Article 5 in the Treaty with France, which expressed the obligation which Her Majesty incurred towards the Emperor of the French, with the consent of Parliament. The question was almost explanatory by itself; and he did not think that he could deal more fairly with the hon. and learned Attorney General than by asking it precisely in the terms in which it stood on the Paper. The Attorney General would remember that a somewhat protracted discussion [cries of "Order, order!"].


The hon. Gentleman has not asked his Question.


said, he would then beg to ask Mr. Attorney General, Whether Article 5 of the Treaty with France applies to goods imported from France only, or from all countries; and whether to French produce only, or to the produce of all countries?


said, it was no doubt the intention of Her Majesty's Government, as one of the contracting parties to the Treaty, that productions of all descriptions mentioned in the 5th Article should be admitted into our ports, as otherwise there would be a differential duty in favour of French produce. So far as the rights of France as the other contracting party were concerned, he was of opinion that she could require the admission of those productions only when brought from France proper or Algeria—that was to say, that so far as the contract involved in the Treaty was capable of being enforced by France, she could only demand that it should be carried out to the extent of goods imported from France itself or from Algeria. The effect of the Resolution of the House, he thought, would be to admit the productions of all countries coming within the description contained in the Article.