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MEMORIAL of the Earl of Galloway and others, to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury, dated London April 15, 1783.
SHEWETH, That attempts have been lately made in Scotland, to salt beef and pork to a considerable extent, both for use of ships in their voyages, and for exportation to foreign markets: And if reasonable encouragement is held out to such as may think proper to carry on this branch of trade in Great Britain, it might in time prove very beneficial both to the landed and commercial interests thereof ; because the farmers and graziers would then have stronger inducements to raise and fatten cattle and hogs, when they could at all times find a good and ready market for them; and the merchant would not always be under the necefsity of either importing these articles from Ireland, or sending his ships to that kingdom, not only for a supply to his correspondents abroad, but also for the very provisions requisite for the use of his fhip during her voyage. Neverthelefs, as the laws stand at present relative to the duties upon salt, and to the drawbacks upon the exportation of salted provisions, it appears absolutely impracticable, that any attempts made in Great Britain to cure beef and pork for exportation, or for the use of fhips during their voyage, can be attended with success to those who may engage in such a business. And, if such is the fact, which will appear by the following observations, it is equally impofsible, that the farmer or grazier can have sufficient encouragement to raise and fatten cattle and hogs, because he would not find a ready market for them, should he increase his present quantity to any considerable extent.
That, either owing to inattention, or some other cause, Scotland, as the laws stand at present, is not even upon a footing with England in the article of curing beef and pork for exportation, in two very efsential points, viz. 1. That in England, the drawback of five fhillings per barrel is received upon the exportation of a barrel containing 32 gallons of well cured beef or pork, whether it is cured with Englth or foreign salt separately, or with a mixture of each; whereas in Scotland, no such drawback, or any drawback whatever indeed, is allowed upon such a barrel, unless cured with foreign salt alone; nay, what is more remarkable, no beef or pork cured with a mixture of salt, can, as the law at present stands, be exported from Scotland, even without the bounty or drawback, and even although the Scots salt, used therein has paid the equalizing duty with England. It is true, the commifsioners of the customs, upon application, generally permit such to be exported; but they never, and it is presumed cannot allow the drawback of five fhillings per barrel on the exportation of provisions so cured with a mixture of salts. Now, this hardship will appear particularly distressing to Scotland, when it is considered, that in order to cure beef and pork properly to stand a warm climate, it is essentially necefsary that it should be first rubbed with small or bone made salt, as is the universal practice in Ireland, and lie in the pickle thereof from ten to twenty days, in order to draw off the blood and other superfluous juices, which is called pining; for, if great or foreign salt was used in this part of the process, the juices of the provisions would be so much exhausted by the strength thereof, and they would thereby become so dry and hard, that they would be unfit almost for use, at least for sale in a well supplied market. After being so rubbed and pined with small salt, the provisions are taken out of
the steeps, and then packed away with great salt in casks,
That the memorialists do not mean to insinuate, that even if Scotland was put upon a footing with England in these two particulars, any attempts made there to cure, provisions for exportation, or for the use of fhips during their voyages, will be attended with succefs, while the salt duties, and bounties or drawbacks on salted beef and, pork, remain as they at present are; neither can such attempts be attended with succefs in England, as will be evident from the following considerations:
First, At the time of the Union, the duty in England upon home made salt was only 3 s. 4 d. per bushel of 56 lib, and upon foreign great salt only 6 s. 11 d. per bufhel of 84 lib.; and, at that period, the drawback paid in England, upon the exportation of beef or pork properly cured, was 5 s. per barrel of thirty-two gallons wine measure; which article was, by the 8th article of the Treaty of Union, extended to Scotland, upon paying at the custom-house of exportation, the equalizing duty with England on Scots salt used in curing such provisions. Now, as it takes about a bufhel of home made salt, and pearly half a bufhel of foreign great salt, to cure a barrel
of beef or pork properly for exportation, and for the pickle to fill it up when fhipped, the duties thereon, ac cording the above mentioned rate, would be about 6 s. 9d. By this drawback, therefore, of 5 s. per barrel, there was about 1 s. 9d. paid to the revenue on each barrel exported, provided the proportions of home-made and foreign salt were used as above. If there was a greater proportion of home-made salt used than above mentioned, the duty to the revenue would be lefs, and vice versa. At present, however, the duty on home-made salt is 5s. per bushel of 56 lib. and upon foreign great salt 10s. 4d. per bufhel of 84 lib; the amount of which duty, in the above proportions used in curing a barrel of beef or pork, is ros. 6d.; while, the same time, the drawback upon exportation is no more still than 5s. Here, then, is an e vident disadvantage of 3s. 5d. per barrel, which a per son who cures beef or pork in Britain now labours under, more than he did before the late duties in 1780 and 1782 were laid upon salt.
2. The very heavy duties necefsary to be paid down upon foreign salt, before it can be removed from the King's cellars, is another very great disadvantage and discouragement to any person who cures beef for exportation in Great Britain. This duty, as stated above, is now about 10s. 4d. per bufhel of 84 lib.; so that the proportion thereof, being half-a bushel as above mentioned, used upon each barrel of salted beef or pork, is 5s. 2d. besides the duty upon a bushel of home-made salt also used therein, to be paid before it can be removed from the saltpans; making in all fully one-fourth part of the whole value of each barrel of beef or pork when ready for market. This requires a great stock to be employed in such a business, even if the whole duties were to be drawn back at exportation, which deters a British merchant from
engaging in it; especially when he considers, that in Ire land no duty whatever is paid upon Irish-made salt, only 31d. per bushel on British, and 44d. per bushel on foreign great salt; and on exportation of the provisions from thence, the merchant pays a farther duty of one shilling per barrel for beef, and is. 6d. for pork, all Irish money. The advantage, therefore, that the Irish has over the British merchant, is, in this respect, so evident, that it is unnecefsary to say any thing farther upon it.
3. A third disadvantage under which a person would labour who cures beef or pork in Great Britain is, That no drawback whatever is allowed on the exportation thereof, whether intended for the use of ship's crews during their voyage, or for home-consumption. When the duty upon the importation of Irish provisions into Great Britain was 3s. 4d. per barrel, and at the same time the duties payable in Great Britain were only 3s. 4d. per bushel on home-made, and 6s. 11d. per bufhel on foreign great salt, this restriction of the bounty upon beef and pork exported, would not materially affect the merchant who cured such provisions in Great Britain. But now, when it is considered that the duty upon importation of Irisha provisions into Britain is wholly withdrawn, or taken off, while at the same time the duty upon home-made salt is increased to 5s. and upon foreign to Ics. 4d. per bushel, it is evident that no British merchant can cure beef or pork, for the use of ship's crews, or for home-consumption, under such great disadvantages, but will import from Ireland all that is necessary for him to do, and that 7s. or 8s. cheaper per barrel than he can cure them in Great Britain, by the saving alone of the duties upon salt; and the consumption of salted provisions for fhips use in particu lar, is so very material, that few or no persons in Great Britain will engage in the curing beef or pork at all, unless