THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE
rose to call attention to the exclusion of British ships from the French coasting trade, and to move an Address for Correspondence relating thereto. As the matter now stood when our ships discharged a cargo at a French port they could not load another cargo for any other French port. Last year an application was made to the French Government on the subject. However favourable personally the French Emperor might be to the objects of the deputation, he could only, of course, refer the deputation to the Minister of Commerce, who said it was quite impossible to relax the existing laws in favour of British vessels, and that the exclusion must be strictly maintained. He begged to ask what had been done upon the subject, and hoped that whatever documents were in the possession of the Foreign Office would be produced, in order to enable their Lordships to form judgment on the matter.
§ Moved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty for, Copies of any Correspondence that may have taken place between the Foreign Office and Her Majesty's Ambassador at Paris, and of any Communications from British Shipowners, in reference to the Exclusion of British Vessels from the Coasting Trade of France, and to the existing Treaties between France and Spain or any other Country relating to that Trade.—(The Marquess of Clanricarde.)
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
said, that Her Majesty's Government had for some time directed their attention to the important subject which the noble Marquess had brought under their Lordships' notice, and Lord Lyons had been requested to avail himself of every opportunity of endeavouring to induce the French Government to take a more liberal course upon this subject. There was, however, no treaty to bind the French Government to do so, and we must continue to hope that they would consider the subject in the liberal spirit in which they negotiated the commercial treaty. In the present state 981 of the negotiations it would not be desirable to publish the Papers which the noble Marquess asked for; but he might rest assured that the Government was not inactive on the subject, and maintained communications with the French Government upon it.
§ LORD TAUNTON
did not quite agree with the noble Marquess in the way he had put the case. No doubt we had no direct treaty claim on the French Government on the subject; but he thought we had a good ground of appeal to them under the "most favoured nation clause," which entitled us to claim that we should be placed on an equal footing with the most favoured nation; and we were, he thought, under that entitled to the same privileges that had been conceded to Spain.
THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE
offered a few words in explanation, and said he would not press his Motion.
§ Motion (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.