ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that on the 6th instant the collector and two officers of Portsmouth Customs caused a quantity of tobacco and cigars, amounting together to about a ton, to be burnt at the back of the Custom House; and whether such waste can be stopped in future, by causing such contraband tobacco to be issued to troops proceeding on foreign service, or to hospitals, workhouses, and lunatic asylums, for the use of the poor and infirm inmates?
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
On the 6th instant there was destroyed at Portsmouth not a ton, but 164 lb., of tobacco, and no cigars. The tobacco is not contraband, but such as is known as "overtime" tobacco—i.e., deposited with the officers of Customs for security of the duty, but not claimed by the owners within three mouths. It was then put up to auction, and, no bids having been received was destroyed under Section 73 of the Act 39 & 40 Vict., c. 36. The authorities of hospitals, &c, could not be allowed to have tobacco, either by gift or purchase, without payment of the proper duties, as the effect would be to displace duty-paid tobacco. As, however, I agree that such waste should, if possible, be avoided, it may be a question whether tobacco unsaleable at a public auction should be served out free to troops proceeding on foreign service, who are at present entitled to tobacco free of duty.