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deen to express to his Excellency Baron Bülow, the Prussian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the deep regret with which Her Majesty's Goverument have learnt the likelihood of such a change.
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, Her Majesty's Government hope that such measures will not 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, more particularly as there is yet ample time to reconsider the proposed measure, if, indeed, it ever has been seriously entertained.
Should this expectation, however, prove unfortunately to be erroneous, the Undersigned has been instructed to point out to the Prussian Government that, although the change now in progress in the Commercial system of Great Britain is the result of the conviction entertained by Her Majesty's 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 entertain a confident hope that other countries will show themselves ready to meet such changes which must evidently redound to their benefit in a corresponding spirit of reciprocal concession.
It would be easy for the Undersigned 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 the Undersigned is directed more particularly to 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, contains, as his Excellency Baron Bülow will perceive from the inclosed copy, many more articles of considerable importance to the industry of the various portions of the Prussian dominions; and the Undersigned is specially directed to draw his Excellency's attention to the important reductions in the duties on those articles which are in course of being effected. The Undersigned, &c.,
(Signed) G. B. HAMILTON.
No. 3. Sir George Hamilton to the Earl of Aberdeen.—(Received June 13.) (Extract.)
Berlin, June 8, 1842. SINCE the receipt of your Lordship's despatch, instructing me to remonstrate against any increase of the duties levied on British iron by the German Commercial Union, I have used my utmost endeavours with different members of the Prussian Government, to prevent any instructions being given to the Commissioners about to be sent to the meeting of the German Union at Stuttgardt, which might be hostile to the interests of British commerce; and I avail myself with pleasure of this opportunity of informing your Lordship, that I have found the greatest anxiety on the part of all the members of this Cabinet to meet the wishes of Her Majesty's Government, and it has been truly gratifying to me to observe the friendly feeling displayed on this occasion towards Great Britain.
Mr. Kuper to the Earl of Aberdeen.-(Received. June 16.) My Lord,
Frankfort, June 10, 1842. I AM informed by several of the principal merchants in this city who import certain manufactured goods from England, that they have ascertained beyond a doubt that it is the intention of the Prussian Commissioners to propose at the next meeting of the Plenipotentiaries from the several States composing the German Customs' Union, that the duty upon British manufactured mixed cotton and woollen goods, and more especially upon the article called "mousseline de laine," be increased from 30 dollars per cwt., (the present duty,) to 50 dollars per cwt. (or 70 dollars ad valorem.) which is the duty in the Tariff of the Union upon printed cotton goods.
It appears from the statement of that gentlemen, that since the almost entire expulsion of British cotton prints from the German market, the British manufacturers have, for a considerable time past, devoted their labours to the manufacture of the aforesaid “ mousseline de laine,” immense quantities of which, they say, have been annually imported into the Union from England ; and it is this fact, coupled with the inability of the German manufacturers to produce a similar article, which has caused the outcry of the latter for protection; and I am further assured that the measure in question will be carried at Berlin.
I have, &c., (Signed) HENRY GEORGE KUPER.
The Earl of Aberdeen to the Earl of Westmorland. My Lord,
Foreign Office, June 28, 1842. · I HEREWITH transmit to your Lordship copy of a despatch from
Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires at Frankfort, relative to the intention of · the Prussian Government to propose at the next meeting of the Plenipotentiaries from the several States composing the German Customs' Union, a considerable increase of the import duties upon various British manufactured goods, and more especially upon the article called “mousseline de laine."
I also inclose to your Lordship copies of three communications upon this subject which have been received from some of the principal manufacturers interested in the question; and I have to desire that you will ascertain from the Prussian Government whether it be true, as stated in these communications, that the additional duty in question is about to be proposed to the Zoll Verein, and if so, whether it is probable that it will be adopted.
Her Majesty's Government, relying upon the language recently used by the Prussian Government upon the subject of certain additional duties which it was reported were to be imposed by the German League upon manufactures of iron and steel, are unwilling to give credence to the report referred to in these communications. If, however, their expectations should be disappointed, it will be with deep regret that they will learn the intention of Prussia to adopt measures so opposite to the enlightened principles which she has constantly professed. Her Majesty's Government are most unwilling to enter upon a war of tariffs, and have given proof of their desire to extend and improve their commercial intercourse with all nations. But if their endeavours in this respect meet with no reciprocity, and only lead to increased restrictions, it may then be absolutely necessary for the British Government to have recourse to retaliatory measures, and even 'to revise those portions of the new tariff framed in a spirit of liberality which appears to be so little appreciated.
I am, &c., (Signed) ABERDEEN. No. 6.
The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir George Shee. Sir,
Foreign Office, June 30, 1842. SINCE the date of my despatch of the 16th instant, granting you six weeks' leave of absence, I have been informed that the annual meeting of the Plenipotentiaries from the different States comprising the German Customs' Union will be held at Stuttgardt instead of at Berlin; and as the interests of Great Britain might considerably suffer by the absence of Her Majesty's Minister, I have to desire that you will remain at your post as long as the above-mentioned Plenipotentiaries are assembled at Stuttgardt.
I am, &c., (Signed) ABERDEEN.
Sir George Shee to the Earl of Aberdeen.—(Received July 10.) My Lord,
Stuttgardt, July 5, 1842. 1 HAVE to acknowledge the receipt this morning of your Lordship’s despatch dated the 30th ultimo, directing me to remain at my post so long as the Plenipotentiaries from the different States composing the German Customs' Union continue assembled at Stuttgardt.
The Plenipotentiaries in question have already arrived in Stuttgardt, and this morning they had their first meeting at the Foreign Office. But their proceedings, it is expected, will be very slow. They have in the first instance to receive such applications as may be made to them by any of the States composing the German Customs' Union, for modifications of the tariff upon points upon which its present working may have proved prejudicial to their interests; and, having considered these applications with reference to the general objects of the Union, the Plenipotentiaries will then write to their respective Governments for their instructions upon each case.
Upon such instructions the final arrangements are to be formed.
I beg to assure your Lordship that I shall not fail in taking such steps as may be practicable for obtaining the earliest information respect·ing any changes in the tariff that may have been suggested; and I shall from time to time communicate to your Lordship the result of my inquiries.
I have, &c., w (Signed) G. SHEE.
The Earl of Westmorland to the Earl of Aberdeen.--(Received July 11.) (Extract.)
Berlin, July 6, 1842. I HAVE the honour of acknowledging the receipt of your Lordship's despatch of the 28th ultimo, together with its inclosures. I waited immediately upon Baron Bülow, with the view of ascertaining whether there was any foundation in the report as to the increase of duties on British manufactures transmitted from Frankfort, of which, in my various conversations with him, I had never received the slightest intimation. I have to relate thereupon, that I found Baron Bülow in the perfect conviction that there was no such intention on the part of his Government as was attributed to it; but with the view of giving me a more decided and official answer, he requested me to call upon
him this morning, which I accordingly did. I found Baron Bülow greatly annoyed and distressed at having, only a few minutes before I saw him, received a report from the Minister of Finance, by which it appears that the increase of duty such as is reported from Frankfort upon the worsted and cotton goods, is placed amongst the objects to be proposed by his Government to the meeting of the German CustomHouse Union at Stuttgardt, and as such, has been communicated to the different States composing that Union.
I represented to Baron Bülow the arguments contained in your Lord ship's despatch to which I have above alluded, and which I read to him, and in which he appeared entirely to concur, feeling both that the British Government would be authorized in entertaining a sentiment of surprize and disappointment, supposing the present contemplated measure to be adopted, and also that it might naturally lead to retaliatory measures of increased restrictions on the commerce of Germany. It is very difficult to understand how this business has been managed, for my colleagues were, up to the present moment, in the same persuasion upon this subject as Baron Bülow and myself; and Count Alvensleben, the former Minister of Finance, and now the Minister charged with reports to His Majesty on financial matters, told me only two days ago, and since I received your Lordship's despatch, that no additional duty upon articles of British manufacture would be imposed.
It is impossible I should not express to your Lordship, the great regret I have felt on receiving the communication I have thus reported to you ; it is entirely at variance with what I had hoped or expected, and I can only feel some consolation in the conviction that Baron Bülow has been as much surprized and disappointed as myself. I still entertain hopes that these measures will not be carried into effect, and I shall endeavour by every possible exertion to arrive at such a result.
No. 9. The Earl of Westmorland to the Earl of Aberdeen.-(Received July 18.) (Extract.)
Berlin, July 13, 1842. BARON BULOW transmitted his explanation of the circumstances connected with the additional imposition of duties on the mixed cotton and woollen manufactures to the Chevalier Bunsen, on Sunday last, and he assures me that it was complete, disguising in no way the regret with which he had viewed it, the entire ignorance with regard to it in which he remained till his attention was called first by my application to him upon the subject, and next by that of the Chevalier Bunsen, and, lastly, the disbelief on the part of those ministers who were concerned in recommending the measure, that it would have any sensible effect upon the commerce of Great Britain.—All this I entirely believe to be the case; with respect to Baron Bülow's ignorance of the proposal there can be no doubt; his word is sufficient; next his first reply to me was a denial of the fact, and he only desired me to return to him the following day to receive it in a more official form; then with regard both to Monsieur Beuth and Monsieur Kühne, they are distinguished for their liberal views with respect to the commerce between England and Prussia, and consequently with the Zoll Verein. In the present case, unaware of the English traffic in this particular branch of trade, they yielded to the claims very forcibly put forward by Saxony to fulfil an engagement in the existing regulations of the Commercial Union, that when an article was produced, mixed of two substances, it should be taxed according to the duty levied upon the highest. This they state to be the constant practice in England, and they cite a cotton velvet, upon which their own endeavours to induce the British Government to allow a rating according to the duty upon the lowest taxed article contained in it, had been ineffectual. Notwithstanding this feeling, however, if they had been aware of the effects of the measure upon British commerce, they would not have adopted it.
The embarrassment they now feel is, that the proposition has, in a printed form, been transmitted to all the Governments of the Union, as a part of the proposals of Prussia, and I herewith transmit to your Lordship à translation of the two articles of these proposals which affect British commerce. .
Your Lordship will observe that these mixed goods must be either printed, or have patterns interwoven, or embroidery, to be made subject to the new regulations; every other sort of mixed cotton and woollen goods remain upon the footing on which they now stand. The ministers concerned in drawing up the document containing these proposals are distinguished for their liberal views with respect to commerce, and for their resistance to the claims of the German manufactures for an advance of duty upon iron and cotton twist, and they flattered themselves that by yielding upon a point which they considered of minor importance, they should (consistently with their commercial views) be better able to resist the more extensive menaced injury to the commerce of England.
Inclosure in No. 9.
Extracts from Memorandum respecting the Tariff of the Union for the
years 1843-1845, and the Proposals of the Prussian Government.
Proposals 1, 2, 3, 4.
1. Respecting the Tariff.
A. First Part.
B. Second Part.
5. Respecting Item 2. b. (of the Tariff.) Cotton yarn doubled with wool has frequently been produced of late, and it has been provisionally decided, on the part of this country, that it should be taxed according to the rate for yarn composed of cotton only. In order that the tariff should be made to correspond with this, it is proposed to say, with respect to Item 2 b, instead of “cotton yarn,” “cotton yarn as well as yarn mixed with cotton and wool.”
6. Respecting Item 2. c. Hitherto, in consequence of the absence of a corresponding provision in the tariff, dressed (?) (geschlichtete) chain yarn (the so-called warps) has been taxed like the common unbleached one and two-thread cotton yarn, two dollars per cwt., according to Item 2 b 1 (of the tariff). But as the dressed (?) (geschlichtete) yarn is in a higher state of preparation for further use, and is therefore of higher value than the common twist, it appears just, and is hereby proposed, that a difference should be made in the taxation of the two articles, and that a proportionably higher import duty should be imposed upon the dressed chain yarn, for which the rate of three dollars is proposed as fitting.
7. Respecting Item 2. c. Of late, cotton textures with inconsiderable ornaments in wool have lately appeared in the market, upon which, according to the letter of the tariff, it has not been possible to impose a higher duty than that of thirty dollars per cwt. levied on woollen goods. As this does not evidently