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Presented to the House of Commons, by the Queen's Command, in
pursuance of their Address of the 13th Feb., 1843.
PRINTED BY T. R. HARRISON.
LIST OF PAPERS.
1 The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir George Hamilton . 2 Sir George Hamilton to the Earl of Aberdeen .
One Inclosure. 3 Sir George Hamilton to the Earl of Aberdeen . 4 Mr. Kuper to the Earl of Aberdeen . 5 The Earl of Aberdeen to the Earl of Westmorland 6 The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir George Shee. 7 Sir George Shee to the Earl of Aberdeen . 8 The Earl of Westmorland to the Earl of Aberdeen 9 The Earl of Westmorland to the Earl of Aberdeen
One Inclosure. 10 Sir George Shee to the Earl of Aberdeen . 11 Sir George Shee to the Earl of Aberdeen . 12 Sir George Shee to the Earl of Aberdeen .. 13 Sir George Shee to the Earl of Aberdeen . 14 The Earl of Westmorland to the Earl of Aberdeen 15 Sir George Shee to the Earl of Aberdeen . 16 Sir George Shee to the Earl of Aberdeen . . 17 Mr. Henry Howard to Viscount Canning . .. 18 Sir George Shee to the Earl of Aberdeen
Two Inclosures. 19 The Earl of Westmorland to the Earl of Aberdeen
RELATIVE TO THE
RECENT MODIFICATIONS IN THE TARIFF
GERMAN CUSTOMS' UNION,
The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir George Hamilton.
Foreign Office, May 20, 1842. HER Majesty's Government having been informed that an intention is entertained at Berlin considerably to increase the duty payable in the German Commercial Union, upon British iron, I have to instruct you to take an early opportunity of expressing to Baron Bülow the deep regret with which Her Majesty's Government have learnt the likelihood of such a change. Her Majesty's Government certainly did not anticipate that, at a time when the British markets were about to be opened upon much more favourable terms than heretofore to many of the staple productions of the territories composing the German Commercial Union, such measures would be met on the part of that Union by the imposition of more onerous duties on one of the principal productions of the British empire; and Her Majesty's Government therefore still hope that there may yet be time to reconsider the proposed measure, if, indeed, it ever has been seriously entertained. Should this expectation, however, prove unfortunately to be erroneous, you will cause it clearly to be understood that, although the change now in progress in the commercial system of this country is the result of the conviction entertained by the British Government of its expediency and sound policy, and is not dependent upon specified engagements with Foreign Powers for the grant of reciprocal advantages to Great Britain, Her Majesty's Government will not consider themselves under any obligation to allow countries to continue to enjoy the advantages resulting from that change, which shall not be ready to meet it in a corresponding spirit.
It will not be a difficult matter for you to show how essentially interested are the various portions of the Prussian dominions in the changes in the import duties which have either been already effected by the British Government, or which are in progress of being so effected; and you will more particularly call the attention of the Prussian Government to the important advantages which Prussia is likely to derive from the new Corn Law, not only in respect to the great diminution in the amount of duties which will be levied under this law, but especially on account of the greater steadiness and regularity of the trade in corn, which cannot fail to be its consequence.
The contemplated change in the timber duties must likewise be of considerable importance to the Prussian Government, for no doubt can be entertained that the effect of this reduction of duty, applying as it does to an article of universal demand, will lead to a much more active intercourse with the countries to which it may be extended. The Tariff of Duties which has been submitted to Parliament-a copy of which I here
with inclose-contains many more articles of considerable importance to the industry of the various portions of the Prussian dominions; and you will take care, in any conversation which you may have with the Prussian Minister on these matters, to draw his attention to the important reduction in the duties on those articles which are in course of being effected.
I am, &c., (Signed) ABERDEEN.
No. 2. Sir George Hamilton to the Earl of Aberdeen.—(Received June 6.) (Extract.)
Berlin, June 1, 1842. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s despatch of the 20th ultimo, relative to the increase of the duty on iron, which Her Majesty's Government had heard it was in contemplation on the part of Prussia to propose to the German Union; and instructing me to observe to the Prussian Government that, at a time when the British markets are about to be opened upon much more favourable terms than heretofore, to many of the staple productions of the territories composing the German Commercial Union, it never could have been anticipated that such measures would be met on the part of that Union by the imposition of more onerous duties on one of the principal productions of the British empire.
I had already, in some measure, anticipated the instructions which I have now had the honour of receiving, as I had heard, some short time ago, that the possessors of mines in Silesia and in the Rhine provinces had been very active in moving the Government here to recommend an increased duty on iron. I made inquiries into the matter, and I found that meetings had taken place at Berlin for this purpose, and that the President of the Prussian Mining Department was also strongly in favour of the increased duty. I had afterwards a long conversation with the Prussian Minister for Foreign Affairs on the subject, and I made use of the same arguments which your Lordship has since instructed me to do, viz., that, at a time when Great Britain was opening her markets to many articles of Prussian produce, it is not the moment to choose to increase the restrictive duties already levied on an article of British export. Baron Bülow at that time assured me that the Prussian Government were determined not to yield to the request of the iron proprietors, and that the duty would not be altered.
. Since that period, I have again been informed that renewed efforts are making to induce the Government to alter its decision, and to recommend an increase of the duty; your Lordship's despatch, therefore, arrived most opportunely, and I read it yesterday to Baron Bülow. He told me that he should consult his colleagues on the subject, and that Her Majesty's Government might depend upon his using his best endeavours that no recommendation prejudicial to the commerce of Great Britain should be made which was not imperatively called for by the necessities of the German Union.
I subsequently addressed to Baron Bülow the note of which the inclosed is a copy.
Inclosure in No. 2.
Berlin, May 20, 1842. HER Britannic Majesty's Government having been informed that an intention is entertained at Berlin considerably to increase the duty payable in the German Commercial Union upon British iron, the Undersigned, Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affairs, has been instructed by the Earl of Aber