, seeing the right hon. Baronet the Vice President of the Board of Trade in his place, would beg to ask him whether there was any account kept by the Customs or Board of Trade of the amount of damage done to foreign wheat detained in our warehouses, owing to the inability of the importers to pay the high duty? He was induced to put this question from a statement he had got of a circumstance which took place a few days ago at Gloucester. The statement was this:—This week a quantity of foreign wheat, which had been imported by Messrs. Phillpotts and Co. of this port (Gloucester), but which had since be- 502 come damaged, so as not to be worth paying 17s. duty upon, was destroyed under the supervision of a very vigilant Custom-house officer, by throwing it into the river Severn, and by keeping a very close official watch till it was carried away by the stream, or so intermixed with the mud that it could not be in any way used. The wasteful official ceremony of total destruction is anything but calculated to impress the spectators of such a scene with the wisdom of the laws.He was quite aware that a similar occurrence took place some years ago in the port of London, when a large quantity of wheat was destroyed, owing to the inability of the importers to pay the high rate of duty. Again, he would ask, could the right hon. Baronet state the amount of corn thus destroyed from time to time?
§ SIR G. CLERK
said, that no return of that kind had been made by the Board of Customs to the Treasury or the Board of Trade; but he apprehended that there could be no difficulty in obtaining the information which the hon. Member required. He would make inquiries on the subject.