HC Deb 24 February 1808 vol 10 cc712-3
The Chancellor of the Exchequer

rose, in consequence of the notice which he had given, to move that a Committee should be appointed to inquire into the best mode of granting relief to those engaged in the West India trade; and in directing the serious attention of the house to a subject which the whole house he was convinced, would agree with him in thinking worthy of the earliest inquiry, he did not think it necessary to use any arguments to press it upon their notice. Every gentleman, he was persuaded, would be of one opinion as to the propriety of obtaining all the information that could be collected upon the subject, in order that this information might be followed up by the remedy which might appear to be most applicable interested in obtaining relief. The first idea that had suggested itself was, extending the internal consumption of the staple article of West India produce, by renderaing it applicable to our home Distilleries. The select committee, which had already been appointed to inquire into the causes of the present embarrassments of the planters, had not, it was true, in their report been very favourable to the opinion, that much relief could be obtained by these means, but he was not without hope that it would be found on farther inquiry, that a measure might be so framed as materially to contribute to the object which he had in view. He thought, therefore, that a Committee should be again appointed, to inquire how far it might he proper to prohibit Distillation from any other articles than sugar and molassess, and whether such a regulation should be extended to England, Scotland, and Ireland, or to England. only. But though this was the first question to which the committee ought to direct their inquiries, there were others to which they might afterwards point their attention far the accomplishment of the great object. He concluded with moving "That a Committee be appointed to inquire and report how far, and under what circumstances, it may be practicable and expedient to confine the Distilleries of the united kingdom, or of any part of the united kingdom, to the use of sugar and molassess only; and also what other provision can be made for the relief of the growers of sugar in the British West India colonies, and to report the same, with their observations and opinion thereupon, from time to time, to the house." The motion was carried unanimously, and a select Committee appointed.