HL Deb 01 August 1842 vol 65 cc889-90
The Earl of Ripon,

in moving the second reading of Bonded Corn Bill said, that its object was,— To enable the importer or proprietor of any foreign wheat secured in any bonded warehouse to take the same out of such warehouse upon his having previously deposited in lieu thereof, with the privity of the proper officers of the Customs, either in such warehouse, or some other warehouse in which foreign corn might be lawfully secured under bond, an equivalent quantity of fine wheat flour, or flour and biscuit, or biscuit only—there to be kept and secured in lieu of such wheat, subject to the same rules, regulations, restrictions, penalties, and forfeitures as such wheat, or any foreign flour or biscuit imported and secured in bonded warehouses under the laws in force, would be subject to. The flour was not to be taken out of bond except on payment of the duty to which foreign flour would, at such time, be subject, except for purposes of exportation. The same rule would apply to the biscuit. This would greatly tend to facilitate trade with those countries which depended on foreign states for a supply of biscuit and flour, and would not be liable to fraudulent transactions.

Lord Beaumont

felt himself under the necessity of opposing this bill. He did so, not from any factious motive, but because he believed it would open the door to numerous evasions of the Corn-laws to the prejudice of the home grower. Suppose, for instance, a farmer bad 1,000 quarters to sell, at the market price, say 60s., and the miller or speculator were to purchase one half. Thus far the farmer would not lose; but the miller or speculator could grind that corn, put it into bond, and take out an equivalent quantity of foreign corn, which he would be enabled to bring into the corn market, in order to oppose the farmer in his sale of the remaining 500 quarters. And as the speculator would be enabled to sell at a lower price than 60s., them farmer would be compelled to come down to the minimum price at which, after such a transaction, the speculator could sell in order to leave himself a profit. This was a gross evasion of the Corn-law. That law was working well at present, but the bill would completely overthrow its principle.

The Earl of Ripon

thought the objections of the noble Lord more ingenious than practical. Cases quite opposite to those which he put might arise, and thus one inconvenience would balance another. From the evidence which had been taken, it was quite clear there was no fear of illicit importation in so bulky an article as corn. The noble Lord seemed to forget that vessels could now provision themselves at Hamburgh, the United States, and elsewhere, which, by the operation of this bill, would be enabled to lay in their stock as cheaply at home. It appeared to him, that the bill would remedy a great inconvenience, and injure no one.

Lord Monteagle

agreed with the noble Lord that this bill was founded on quite an opposite principle to that of the present Corn-law, and, in his opinion, on a better one. The greatest advantage, however, which he expected, would be derived from it, was steadiness of intercourse with other countries.

Bill read a second time.

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