§ Mr. W. Whitmore
rose, pursuant to notice, to move for the appointment of a Select Committee, with a view to extend the trade between Great Britain and India. When the House considered the distress which was on all hands acknowledged to exist among the manufacturing population—the decline of the revenue, which decline, since last year, was not less than four or five millions; and the decline of our export trade, which in the same time amounted to an equal extent—it became important in the highest degree to inquire how those evils could be remedied. He trusted, therefore, that if he could show, that a great increase of employment would result, from extending the trade with India, to the weavers of Scotland and Lancashire, government would lend a favourable ear to his proposition. But it was not on the existence of this distress that he rested the question. That distress might be, and he hoped it was, of a temporary nature. The resources of the country could not be so much reduced as to prevent the return of the prosperity it had heretofore enjoyed. 815 He wished the subject to be viewed in a more comprehensive manner. Whoever considered the heavy burthen of debt which weighed down the energies of the country, and the part she must be destined to play among the nations of the world, in the wars in which, in all probability, she would be again engaged, must see how exceedingly desirable it was to extend, by all practicable means, the resources of the country, and to avail ourselves of a period of peace to lighten the springs of our industry, and restore their elasticity.—With regard to Ireland, it was evident, that every thing ought to be done that was possible to promote the growth of the manufactures which, he trusted, had commenced there. The friends of that country, who did not seek to serve it by that course, took a very limited—far from an enlightened—view of her interests. Much might be done, no doubt, by settling the religious differences that unhappily existed; but the mere removal of those dissensions would be no panacea for the ills of Ireland; which could be eradicated only by giving employment to the people. When habits of industry were formed, and began generally to take root, the most favourable hopes might be entertained of the deliverance of that country from the worst evils that oppressed it. After adverting to the mode in which the Corn-laws had operated to deprive our manufacturers of a large portion of their foreign trade, the hon. gentleman called the attention of the House to the increase that had taken place in our trade with India, since the renewal of the charter of the East-India Company in 1814. At that time, the whole of the continent of India, and the islands in the Indian Archipelago, were thrown open to the private trader. What had been the result? No man could have anticipated it. At the time of the discussions which led to that result, there was a considerable degree of opposition. It was said, that there was no hope of enlarging the trade, because of the strong religious prejudices of the Indian natives, and their own products, which worked against it. As to the cotton-trade, for example, it was conjectured, that there could be no increase whatever. The objectors admitted, that there might be a very trifling increase in woollens, and some articles of luxury, but nothing like a demand so considerable as to increase the exports of raw products from India. The 816 increase, however, upon the article of cotton had been truly marvellous. It was to be recollected, that the cotton manufacture originally existed in India—that our own people had taken both the patterns and the names of their cotton fabrics from India; and yet they were now underselling the Indian in his own market, though labour cost here seven or eight times as much as it did there; and though we had to draw the raw material from thence over half the globe, and send it back manufactured over the same half of the globe. He had spoken of names. They would find the definition of "calico" given in Johnson's Dictionary, to be—"cotton stuffs made at Calicut, in the East Indies, sometimes stained with gay and beautiful colours." We might look at this new and sudden enterprise of our commerce with astonishment and pride: but we were bound, by all the ties of honour and honesty, which belong to policy and good government, to consider the injury which this success must bring on our Indian fellow-subjects. He had returns of exports and imports to India, some of them as low as 1822. The hon. gentleman proceeded to state the annual averages of the exports and imports in several departments, which he stated nearly as follows:—
EXPORTS FROM GREAT BRITAIN TO INDIA. Woollens. Annual average from 1801 to 1810 £273,360 Ditto 1814 to 1822 376,399 Ditto 1823 and 1824 962,061 Cotton Goods Average of years from 1801 to 1810 £55,461 Ditto 1814 to 1822 568,358 Ditto 1823 and 1824 115,512 IMPORTS FROM EAST INDIA TO GREAT BRITAIN. Indigo. lb. Average of years from 1801 to 1820 3,513,053 Ditto 1814 to 1822 5,022,087 Cotton. Average of years from 1801 to 1810 5,896,300 Ditto 1814 to 1822 23,535,365 Bengal Silk. Average of years from 1801 to 1810 438,792 Ditto 1814 to 1822 899,507 Sugar. Cwt. Average of years from 1801 to 1810 77,325 Ditto 1814 to 1822 124,379 Ditto 1823 and 1824 244,658
These few details showed a most important increase in both ways in the trade with India. But while these important changes were, transacting, the duties imposed on East-India products were grievous in themselves, in comparison with the same 817 products of the West Indies, absolutely prohibitory. The duties on coffee were equal to ad valorem duty. On coffee from the East Indies, eighty-four per cent; from the West Indies, fifty-six per cent. On turmeric from the West Indies, eight per cent; from the East Indies, ten per cent. On rum from the West Indies, 8s. 6d. per gallon; from the East Indies, 20s. per gallon. On cotton wool from the East Indies, five per cent; from the West Indies, free. These, and such things as these, shewed the utter indifference to the prosperity of our trade, to the advantage of our cotton manufactures, or to the welfare, either of the mother country or the colonies, which characterised the whole system of our legislation, with respect to our possessions in the East Indies. Such was the utter indifference to all the principles, not only of sound commercial policy, but even of reason and justice, which the legislature manifested in all its regulations of the trade of those colonies. The whole system was most unfair and unjust; and, if ever the people of India began to feel it as they ought, if ever the vast population of our possessions in the East came to feel their importance, and the degree of injustice with which they had been treated, the House might rest assured, that the day of reckoning would come, and we should be made to suffer, as we deserved, for the course we were pursuing. What was it that lost this country the colony of North America? Why, precisely the same principle. We kept to ourselves all the advantages of their trade, and gave them none in return; and the consequence was, that they freed themselves, on the first opportunity, from the power which exercised over them its authority, in a manner so utterly repugnant to all the principles of honour, justice, or policy. It was not enough for this country to say, it had the power to do these things. It must shew that the course of its policy was founded in something like justice, or expect that those who were subjected to its influence would only continue to obey until an opportunity might present itself to oppose. Such a system was not only contrary to the principles of commerce and of justice, but even to that principle of reciprocity, which the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Huskisson) had advocated with so much ardour, and which he for one felt delighted in saying with so much success.—He would now turn to another part of the same 818 subject, and beg the attention of the House to the amount of the imports and exports to the East Indies, as the trade was at present carried on. In the year 1824, the total amount of the exports to the East Indies, was 4,335,437l. In the year 1826, there was but little difference. The amount then was, 4,394,380l. Now, he must take the liberty of begging them to attend to a most important subject arising out of one of those exports. He alluded to the article of East-India sugar—the dead weight, as it might be called, of what we were able to draw from the East Indies at this moment. He did not therefore take that article, because it was the most important, but because it was that which might be the most increased. He was aware of the state in which the sugar trade was placed at this moment, and that there was much more than sufficient for the general consumption of the country; but he did not consider that to be any reason why it could not be much increased. He was aware, too, that in such a state of things, when there was an excess of production beyond consumption, the price must be regulated, not by the monopoly at home, but the price which that sugar could procure in the market abroad. Granting that, however, he still contended, that the price could be raised, and the consumption increased too, at home. There was annually imported from the East Indies a quantity of sugar, to the amount of 244,000 cwt., upon which there was paid the extra duty of 10s. a cwt. Now, he would admit that this sugar was not sold even at a profit at this moment; and yet he was prepared to shew, that the consumption might be still very much increased. He was aware that it might at first appear, from the price at present, and from the supply being so much greater than the demand, that an increase of quantity could bring no increase of consumption; but, did the House take into its consideration the very great increase of demand for our manufactures, and the great consequent increase of population and production, which must follow the opening of such a market for the produce of this country? It might, he admitted, be asked, if the produce of sugar by the West-India islands was so much greater than the demand, how could we make any increase of consumption? He took it, however, to be quite clear, that the people of this country did not consume anything like what they 819 might be able to take, if a new market was opened to our manufactures. Let the House reflect for a moment upon what was the amount of the quantity of sugar consumed by the inhabitants of the United Kingdom. In England, the average quantity consumed by each individual was, annually, according to the best calculation, about twenty-three pounds and a half per head. In Ireland, the quantity consumed by each individual was about six pounds per head. Now, he would ask, if Ireland became a manufacturing country by the opening of a market, and the encouragement of a trade with India, what was there to prevent her people from becoming consumers to the extent of twelve, or even eighteen pounds a-head? in that way he was convinced that the right hon. gentleman ought to look for the ultimate improvement and happiness of that country—in that way he must look for the means of her prosperity and tranquillity. Let him, by opening the market of our extensive East-India possessions, give employment to her people, and encouragement to her manufacture; and he would find Ireland, instead of being, as at present, a source of endless alarm and discontent, become to England and her possessions a mine of wealth and a tower of strength. There would then be no occasion for emigration committees, to consider the best means of transplanting her people to other countries. Give but her manufactures encouragement by opening a market, and we should soon see, by its effect upon wages and labour, the people prosperous and the nation tranquillised. He was told, that a part of that country, Belfast and its vicinity, already shewed the capability of the country to manufacture, and to take advantage of the benefits which flowed from it. He was told that the town of Belfast afforded a most pleasing contrast to the general appearance of the other parts of Ireland. Manufactories had there been established and worked to a great extent; and he understood that when the manufacturers of England were pressed for time, they frequently sent quantities of yarn to Belfast, to be wove up, to supply their orders in proper time. Between India and Ireland there were some strong features of similitude. Both countries were oppressed by a redundancy of population. Both suffered from the low rate of wages; and both were constantly placed in a state of alarm and agitation by their White Boys, 820 and discontented and starving people. The evils of both were to be remedied in the same manner. Give them employment. Lay open a market to their several productions, and you strike at the root of the diseases under which they labour. It was by following up that principle of reciprocity, with regard to our own colonies, which had already been recognised and acted upon with regard to foreigners, that the right hon. gentleman would be enabled to relieve the miseries of Ireland and India, and promote the prosperity and security of the empire. His object at present was to move for the appointment of a committee, before which that information might be given, under which the measures he wished were to be carried into execution.—There was one subject, however, to which he must allude, although it was different from any to which he had yet drawn their attention—he meant the state of the free trade with India. He held in his hand a letter addressed to the East-India directors, from some persons engaged, to a great extent, in that trade, in which they complained of the great impediments thrown in the way of their intercourse with those places to which they were permitted to trade. That company derived some of their most considerable benefits from what was called the right of pre-emption. The company had commercial residents at each of the ports and settlements where the free trade was carried on. Those residents made advances to the factors who purchased the productions of this country, and by that means contrived so to keep them in dependence as to confine nearly the whole trade to the ships of the company. This was one of the consequences arising from the junction of sovereignty and trade in this company—a junction which never ought to have taken place, and which never could be found, without exhibiting consequences prejudicial to the freedom and prosperity of commerce. The Indian Archipelago was one of those places where the trade of this country could be most beneficially extended. Those islands abounded with all the various oriental productions most in request in this country. More than one eighth part of all the gold introduced into Europe was derived from them, in addition to great quantities of plate, diamonds, spices, and pearls. There, too, a vast proportion of the manufactures of this country found a market—greater, indeed, by many degrees, than we were 821 able to sell in any other place, if we excepted China. At that moment, unfortunately, there was but a very small portion of it open to the free trader; but, he trusted, the time was not far distant, when the abolition of this monopoly, which must expire in the year 1833, would enable the manufacturers and traders of the united kingdom to derive the full and unrestricted benefit of the almost boundless prospect of commerce which these islands presented. The duties upon East-India sugar were 37l. a ton; but the duties on that produced in the Archipelago was 64l. a ton; or, in other words, the sugar of those islands was totally prohibited, for the effect was nothing less. It was worth while, in considering the advantages we might derive from a free trade with those islands, to look at the evidence given on the subject by Mr. Craufurd, a gentleman whose accuracy of statement was as unquestioned as his means of information had been extensive. He said, in speaking of the possibility of extending our trade in that part of India, that it was now a very rare thing indeed to meet with any Javanese lady or person of any condition in life, except the lowest, who did not exhibit at least one article of British manufactured cotton in her dress; and even the woollens of this country were beginning to be in great request. In 1814, there were only one thousand pieces of cotton exported to the Archipelago; while in 1818, from a reduction of the duty, there were upwards of fifteen thousand pieces; and the quantity was likely to be very considerably increased. Such would be the benefit likely to arise from an opening of the trade. Give the people but a means of payment, and you may dispose of the productions of this country to an almost unlimited extent. No man, he apprehended, would be so insane as to propose that no more than a certain quantity of our manufactures were to be exported; and yet the effect, by the continuance of the system of prohibition, was precisely the same.—Another subject to which he wished to direct the attention of a committee, was the state of what are called the emporia for our India trade. The emporium of Sincapore, he believed to have been established on sound commercial principles; but, at the same time, he wished the state of that and other places to be submitted to the attention of a committee, because he thought it would be 822 found, that, without some such places of traffic, the trade could not be beneficially carried on. The House might probably not be aware, that there were several productions of the East, in which the trade was wholly prohibited, unless in particular places, and under particular restrictions. The trade in spice, for instance, was locked up under one of the most extraordinary systems of monopoly the world ever saw, by the Dutch East-India Company. That company having got possession of all those islands in which the spices grow, and in which, indeed, they were indigenous, resolved upon preserving their monopoly from all chance even of attack, by confining the production of particular spices to particular islands. For that purpose they selected the Island of Amboyna as the place to grow cloves, and prevailed upon the chiefs or princes of the other neighbouring islands to root up all the clove trees to be found in their possession. In the same manner they made the Banda Islands the place of growth for nutmegs, and sent yearly a fleet round the coasts of the whole of the islands, in order to secure the execution of their orders and the perfection of their monopoly. It was true that this proceeding did them no good, and reduced the islands to a state of poverty; but they succeeded in fully securing the monopoly they desired. It was obvious, therefore, that without an emporium the trade could not be successful. The only trade that ever was beneficial in India, or which greatly recompensed those engaged in it, was the free trade of the English and the Dutch before the monopolies established by the India Companies of those nations. At that time a trade of immense extent and importance was carried on with all the islands, and even with China and Japan; and it was only the fatal effects of the restrictive system which brought it to a termination. It was the opinion of Mr. Craufurd, that the free trade was the most beneficial, and that it can be carried on through the means of emporia alone. He hoped he should not trespass too much on the patience of the House, if he said a few words as to the trade now carried on with China through the means of the city of Canton. It was a very singular fact, that although all the purchases and sale of teas were made in Canton, there was not a leaf of the plant grown in that province, of which Canton 823 is the capital. The black teas, were grown in a province three or four hundred miles from that city; and the green teas were brought from another province, seven or eight hundred miles up the country. The teas were brought to Canton by the means of inland navigation; and it might be perhaps allowed, that there was an increase of full fifty per cent upon the cost of this transport. These provinces, however, from which the teas are taken, are maritime provinces, and it was proved, that the articles of their produce could be conveyed by sea to an emporium, a distance not greater than they were now conveyed to Canton. Mr. Craufurd, who makes these statements, argues with great truth and justice upon the benefits which must therefore accrue from such emporia, and upon the advantages which such a market must offer to the consumption, without restriction, of the manufactures and productions of this country.—To detail such as these, the House must turn, when it is called upon to consider the propriety of dissolving that monopoly, which has existence, by law, to the year 1833. With such information, collected by a committee, must the House be provided, when it is required to determine upon the great question which will then be submitted to its consideration; and therefore, if there was no better and stronger reason, he would contend, that a committee ought, in good time, to prepare that information, which will thus be necessary, in order to decide rightly and fairly between the East-India Company and the public. For that decision a thorough knowledge, by inquiry before a committee, on the state and resources of the Indian Archipelago, was, he repeated, indispensably requisite.—He had thus endeavoured to put the House in possession, within as small a compass as possible, of a general outline of the commercial advantages which must result to this country, from an extension of our trade with India; and he had proved, he hoped, enough to satisfy hon. members, that a trade of boundless extent might be carried on, by a removal of restrictions under which our commerce at present laboured. The policy had been too long pursued, of endeavouring to derive wealth from India by means of revenue; far better would it be to seek to derive wealth by improving our commercial relations with India; by promoting those liberal institutions that create wealth; and by 824 aiding her advancement by the application of those principles which we had called into action in our intercourse with the other nations of the world. A change was called for by justice; it was rendered requisite by what was due to the interests of India; and it was demanded by a due regard to the promotion of the commercial connexion between Great Britain and India. He would now move, "That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Trade between Great Britain and India."
in seconding the motion, said, he wished, while he consulted the interests of his fellow countrymen at home, likewise to regard those of their fellow-subjects in the East, who were neither really nor virtually represented in that House. The motion before them was well adapted to pave the way for that larger question which they would have to discuss a few years hence, involving the future government of so many hundred millions of human beings who were consigned to their sway. He entreated them to weigh well the value of a moral policy which would leave its enlightening tracks along its course, and mark the remembrance of British benefits, should the Indian empire ever pass from British rule. It was incumbent upon them to remove some blots from their legislative and commercial policy, and to show, that, however extraordinary was the origin of their eastern possessions, the natives had at least largely benefitted from the change. Mr. Gibbon, in referring to their Indian empire, had said, that "the richest and most extensive provinces of the great conqueror of the Mogul empire now belonged to a company of Christian merchants in an island of the northern ocean." It was time they should show the world, that, small as was their executive, they were yet governed by great principles. Their East-Indian possessions had been treated more commercially than morally; but he trusted it was reserved for those who had sowed the first seeds of liberty in America, to introduce, at some future time, the beneficial advantages of their free institutions into the heart of Asia.
§ Mr. Leycester
said, there were many reasons which induced him to support the motion for a repeal of the high duty on East-India sugar. First, he felt bound to support it from a regard to consistency; for what could be more inconsistent than 825 to adopt principles of free trade, in our commercial relations with all other nations, and to deny the extension of them to a country, with which we were so closely connected, and which was so fitted for the application and reception of them? Secondly, a motive of justice induced him to support the motion; for what, he would ask, could be more unjust than to cut down to the lowest the manufacturing classes of the community, by the high prices of agricultural produce, and deprive them of the opportunity of the probable reduction of those prices, by shutting them out from the most extensive market in the world? Thirdly, he thought the motion ought to be supported on the ground of humanity; for where was the humanity of seeing the working manufacturers reduced to the lowest wages, and by excluding East-India sugar, by the high duty imposed upon it, deprive them of the power of purchasing it, and of mixing one drop of sweet in the bitter cup which they were doomed to drink? Besides, the present high rate of duty tended to aggravate the dreadful tax imposed upon us by the maintenance of the slave system, the countenance and support of which were not only shocking to humanity, but tended to the depreciation of West-India property. Besides, it should be taken into consideration, that a perseverance in this denial of privileges might eventually create a discontent, which would be dangerous. He believed there were many ready and ripe for this discontented spirit to break out into violence; and that they only waited the signal from those who were considered their leaders to manifest that disposition. He, therefore, wished, while yet there was time, that motives of wisdom and conciliation should induce the adoption of the course now recommended by the hon. member. Lastly, he hoped the measure might be carried for the sake of Ireland; and he would take that opportunity of saying, that he was favourable to the present administration; and, principally, because he hoped that by the present ministry would be carried that measure which he owned he considered a sine qua non—Catholic emancipation; for, until that question was satisfactorily set at rest, there could not be peace or happiness for the empire. After referring to, and condemning, the outrageous apprehensions of some respecting the claims of the Catholics, and the 826 morbid sensibility of others concerning the interests of the Church, he concluded by giving his warm support to the motion. In the course of his observations, the hon. member touched upon the danger of a non-consumption agreement among the people, which would force government into the adoption of the measure.
§ Mr. Huskisson
began by observing, that his hon. friend had formerly introduced this subject to the attention of the House, by a simple proposition for an equalization of the rate of duty on East and West Indian sugars. In this simple proposition, he could not concur; and, if he concurred in the present, the hon. member must perceive, that the object of his former proposition would be as effectively carried as if that proposition were agreed to. With respect to the threat of a non-consumptive agreement of West-Indian produce, referred to by the hon. member, who spoke last, he could assure that hon. member—and he spoke from experience—that non-consumptive agreements of the description alluded to, seldom or ever met with the success which was anticipated from them. Of the produce of British plantation sugar in the West Indies last year, he could say that it had not been less than in any former year. Although it was well known that there was great pressure in trade every where last year, the amount paid in as duty on British plantation sugar imported into Great Britain, covering drawbacks and certain other charges, was 5,500,000l.; a greater sum than, since our connexion with the West Indies, had been ever paid in one year.—He admitted, that it was the interest and duty of a commercial country like this, to endeavour to open new channels, and to afford increased facilities to those that were already open; but it was its duty, likewise, in giving encouragement to individual enterprise and to new commercial speculation, to be cautious not to sanction any measure which might endanger or destroy established interests and rising institutions; especially institutions of our own creation, connected with our interests, and specially intitled to our protection. And here he would make a gratifying remark, in reply to what had been said, as to the low wages of the manufacturing classes. He was happy to state, that, after suffering great and long privations, which they bore with exemplary patience—he spoke of Manchester and the extensive manufacturing district about it 827 —there was an increased demand at present, which enabled the master manufacturers to give better wages, and a greater number of workmen to obtain employment. So much for the present prospect of increasing improvement in those parts of the country in which distress had been mostly felt. To proceed to the argument so strongly urged, as to the application of principles of free trade, and the extension of commercial intercourse. In these principles, it was not necessary that he should now inform his hon. friend, the House, and the country, that, as far as they could be made beneficially applicable, he concurred in the application of them; but it would be readily allowed, that all extensive Changes were attended with great difficulty, and should be proceeded in with circumspection, and a due regard to other general interests already widely established; and that, therefore, whatever new measures or new systems were introduced, they should be regulated in such a manner, as that in endeavouring to effect improvements for some, no sacrifice of essential import should be required from others. Now, his hon. friend had said, that the East Indies were rich in every kind of produce that prospered under a tropical climate. Granted. He admitted the capabilities of the climate; but he wished, for the better understanding of this subject, to call the attention of the House to the attitude in which we stood towards the West Indies, and to the circumstances under which trade was first opened between India and Great Britain. When it first opened, it opened under a strict monopoly of a company of merchants. We then received from them, under this monopoly, silk and cotton (the raw material), for which we exchanged the precious metals, which we obtained by the disposal of our manufactured goods in other parts of the world. This was the limited course of commerce that had commenced, and was long continued. Meanwhile, in another part of our dominions, the West Indies, and long before, great wealth had been acquired and accumulated, large interests had been united, and British property to a considerable amount had been vested. It was our duty to attend to and secure those interests. The East-India trade continued, since its commencement, under the same restraints, until the expiration of the East India charter. In 1814 it was renewed, and then new en- 828 couragements were given to individual enterprise, and new means opened to the accumulation of wealth and the exercise of skill. In the situation which he unworthily filled, he and those co-operated with him, had taken every opportunity of giving facilities to, and offering every suggestion that might, advance and improve that trade, and he knew that it continued greatly to improve and increase. It would, he had no doubt, so continue to prosper. Many encouragements, into details of which he need not enter, were held out to it; but, in all those encouragements and regulations, the House should be cautious not to proceed in their relaxations, to such an extent as to create just alarm in the minds of West-India proprietors, to whose interests they were strongly bound, but rather seek to reconcile those interests with those of the East Indies, by satisfying them that they might be both augmented and maintained, without unduly interfering or clashing with each other. It was his opinion, that the equalization of the rate of duties on sugar would not be the great advantage that the hon. gentleman seemed to contemplate from it. He would offer a few remarks upon this part of the Subject, as the hon. gentleman seemed to lay particular stress upon it. The British plantations grew fifty or sixty thousand hogsheads of sugar more than there was to be found consumption for in this country. Now this must find vent in foreign markets. And it was admissible for East-India sugar to find a vent in those markets, as the sugar of any other country. If the East-India sugar were so grievously taxed, and if it could be manufactured at a so much cheaper rate than British plantation sugar, why did it not enter the competition that was open to them at any of the foreign markets? A vessel might sail from Calcutta, or from any part of the East Indies, and enter into competition at Hamburgh or Dantzic, or any other European port, with the sugar of Cuba or Brazil, or any other country; and, if this superior cheapness was possessed in the manufacture, why was it not found to be preferred abroad to the sugar of every other country? Either, then, on this account, or on account of some accompanying and necessary increase of freightage, that would balance the cheapness of manufacture; or, again, unless they could convey the sugar so as to use it as ballast for their ships in conveyance, which would 829 require a corresponding but improbable increase of consumption, he apprehended that the advantages derivable to the East Indies from equalization of duties would be by no means so great as they had been described by some hon. gentlemen. Although he did not anticipate such important results from the proposed equalization of sugars, yet he was ready to admit, that there were many points touched upon by his hon. friend which required attention, and which he assured him had engaged much of his time; some difficulties had recently been removed; some facilities had been recently afforded; the removal and the granting of more were under consideration; and he thought the result would be more satisfactory if they were left in the course in which they now were, than if they were placed under the direction of such a committee as his hon. friend had moved for. Many alterations in other respects, relating to trade, which the country approved of, were introduced without such a committee. One topic he would mention, in which such changes as he alluded to might be made beneficially for the trade of India: it was that which related to the difference of duty between the raw material of silk and cotton imported from file East Indies and other countries. This was a subject that required re-consideration, and one in which the trade of India laboured under a disadvantage. He would propose, that these articles should be subjected to the same duty as similar articles imported from all other nations. The knowledge and information best calculated to effect these alterations with advantage, were to be procured more easily through the official means of intelligence which he possessed, perhaps, rather than through the committee proposed by the hon. member. The changes which it was expedient to introduce into the principles of our trade with India, were changes which circumstances rendered necessary. Circumstances must always enter into the consideration of every legislature. By circumstances their determination must be in every instance influenced. The relative circumstances of this country, and of India, commercially considered, had undergone a most material alteration. Instead of being a country importing manufactures extensively from that part of the world, we had become a country exporting extensively to it. In that part of the hon. gentleman's 830 speech which related to the making of free ports in India, there was much in which he entirely concurred. But he begged to state—and it was with a feeling of great personal satisfaction that he did so—that he had done all that he could to place the ports of Singapore, Penang, and Malacca, on the most perfect footing of free ports. In those places there did not at present exist any charge, nor any obstacle to perfect freedom of trade. It was infinitely better to look to the future for financial benefits to be derived from those sources, than to trust to the increased revenue which the growth of their prosperity would necessarily occasion, and of seeking for a trifling temporary advantage, by the imposition of duties which, however small, might have the effect of driving away commerce altogether. The effect of the system which had been introduced, as far as it could at present be judged of, was most satisfactory; and what might be its ultimate results upon the trade with China, and with the immense population in other parts of the Indian seas, no one could anticipate. For his own part, he confessed that he was exceedingly sanguine upon the subject; and that he looked forward to the most extensive commercial intercourse, under the British flag, between the Western parts of America and the eastern parts of Asia. It was the duty of the British government to prepare the ground, to lay the highway for such an intercourse; and he could assure the hon. member for Bridgenorth, that it was a duty of which his majesty's present government never for a moment lost sight. The only suggestion which he wished to throw out to the hon. gentleman, was the expediency of postponing an inquiry into this subject, until the result of the experiments which were at present trying had more distinctly manifested themselves. He had not the slightest inclination to throw any impediment in the way of eventual inquiry; on the contrary, he was solicitous that it might take place; but it certainly appeared to him, that it was desirable to defer it, until the success of the measures which had already been adopted, and the expediency of extending them, should be more fully ascertained. An investigation of the whole of this large and important question at some future period would, he was convinced, be at once more satisfactory to the House, and more advantageous to the 831 general interests of the state. It was not that he differed from the hon. gentleman on any of the principles which he had advanced. So far from that, as was well known, he was a warm advocate for the application of those principles as extensively and as promptly as they could be applied, consistently with what was due to existing interests; but it was because he was persuaded that the present was not the fittest moment for the inquiry, and that at a future period, when they were in possession of the result of what was now going on, they would proceed to that inquiry with a much greater probability of an advantageous issue. The appointment of a committee at present might create alarm, and excite exasperation, at a moment when he was most anxious to show the parties who were interested, that the alarm was unfounded, and the exasperation uncalled for. However reluctantly, therefore, he was compelled to object to the hon. gentleman's motion. There was only one point on which he differed in opinion from the hon. gentleman, and that was with respect to his recommendation to throw open to Ireland the trade with India. The hon. gentleman seemed to consider that that would have the effect of increasing the manufacturing industry of Ireland. Now, he was at a loss to see how that effect could be so produced. The probability of the increase of manufactures in Ireland must depend materially and principally on the protection experienced by property in that country, and the advantages thereby secured to those whose interests were connected with manufacturing prosperity. He was happy to say that manufactures had begun in Ireland. He sincerely trusted that they would increase. Many circumstances induced him to believe that they would do so; but he did not believe that any alteration of the law for regulating the duty on sugar (rather, as he thought, indiscreetly suggested) would have the effect of affording employment to the population of Ireland—an object which depended on very different circumstances. He would not take up any more of the time of the House. He had sketched an outline of what appeared to him to be some of the most important considerations in this most important subject. He hoped he had shewn that he did not entertain the slightest wish to interfere with the progress of improvement, or to prevent the extension of sound com- 832 mercial principles; but he repeated his conviction, that those objects would best be attained by abstaining at present from an inquiry which would be more beneficial at a future period. The time must come when the subject would be ripe for consideration, and when it would be imperative to enter into a full investigation of all the circumstances connected with it.
§ Lord Milton
expressed his entire satisfaction at what had fallen from the right hon. gentleman. He had felt exceedingly anxious to support his hon. friend's motion; and if the right hon. the President of the Board of Trade had opposed it, he should have felt himself bound to vote for it. After the fair and candid manner, however, in which the right hon. gentleman had treated the subject, he thought that a postponement of the inquiry would be more conducive to the object which his hon. friend had in view, than its immediate adoption; as he entirely agreed with the right hon. gentleman, that a premature consideration of the question might exasperate conflicting interests, and confirm prejudices which every well-wisher to his country would desire to see weakened rather than strengthened. With respect to the expediency of an inquiry at no distant period, he perfectly agreed with his hon. friend. He thought that the laws which related to the trade with India ought to be taken into consideration as early as it would be advisable to do so, with a view to such an alteration in them as might be advantageous to the general interests. Upon the whole, however, it appeared to him to be better to leave the subject in the hands of a government entertaining just views respecting it, rather than at present to appoint a committee, in which witnesses would be examined on one side and on the other, and the proceedings of which might be calculated to produce considerable irritation.
§ Mr. Philips
said, he had the satisfaction to state that the manufactures of Lancashire were greatly increasing in activity. In confirmation of this statement the hon. gentleman read extracts from two letters which he had recently received. The first was from a very intelligent individual, who said that the calico printers in Lancashire were doing more than they ever did; that of some descriptions of cloth three times as much could be sold as the manufacturers were able to make; that some of the 833 master-manufacturers were very desirous to take on an additional set of workmen; that at Blackburn and other places there had been an advance of wages; that many articles were sent off the moment they were out of the loom, &c. The second letter stated, that there appeared to be a considerable revival of trade; that everybody who chose it might be employed; that weaving wages were greatly advanced, &c. Although this revival of our manufactures had been tardy, the hon. gentleman said, he had always thought that it was certain. It appeared to him that the causes which had so long depressed our commerce and manufactures might be easily traced. There was one object to which a greater importance than it deserved seemed to him to be attached; and that was the lowering of the duties on East-India sugar. The effect of such a measure would be comparatively trifling, with reference both to the East and West Indies, and to Ireland. With regard to the trade to India, it was a subject on which he felt great interest. He recollected the time when he had anticipated many events connected with that trade, which had since come to pass. He recollected anticipating that cotton yarn would be sent from this country to the East Indies; the cotton of which it was spun having previously been brought from the East Indies to this country, and manufactured by the native Indians. He recollected anticipating that even cotton piece-goods would be sent from this country to the East Indies. At that period, he had been treated as an enthusiast and a visionary. What had since occurred, however, had proved the justness of his anticipations; and the advantages consequent on an adherence to the principles of free trade. He firmly believed that the exports from this country to India would be much greater than they were, if the India Company could be persuaded to divest itself of the jealousy which it entertained on the subject. He had always considered it most unfortunate, with reference to the interests of India, and of Great Britain, that the company threw so many obstacles in the way of the admission of individuals from England into India. He was persuaded that great advantages would result to the empire generally, were the company to pursue a more liberal policy. If, instead of deterring, they would encourage his majesty's subjects to go and settle in 834 India, they would at the same time increase their own revenue, and materially contribute to the improvement and extension of commerce. Was it not evident, that, if intelligent manufacturers were encouraged to go out and settle in India, the manufactures of that country would soon be greatly improved? He had heard of persons who were very anxious to send out persons to superintend the cultivation of cotton, and to take other measures calculated to be beneficial to commerce; but, so many obstacles were thrown in their way by the company, that they were obliged to abandon their plans in despair. The two manufactures which were of the greatest importance to this country were cotton and silk. The right hon. gentleman had conferred infinite benefit upon the latter; and it was in the power of the East-India Company, by changing their system with respect to the latter, at once to benefit themselves and greatly to improve the commerce of the country. He was surprised to hear any hon. member say, that, by the commercial policy which had lately been pursued in this country, they were cutting down the interests of the land-owner. It was quite the contrary; for, whatever was calculated to increase the prosperity of the empire, must be also calculated to increase the prosperity of all the classes of which the population of the empire was composed. With respect to his hon. friend's motion, although he perfectly concurred with him in opinion, he thought it might be desirable not to press it at the present moment, but to wait until the object in view could be obtained under circumstances of much greater advantage.
§ Sir C. Forbes
thanked the right hon. the President of the Board of Trade for the able, fair, and candid, exposition which he had made of his opinions; and congratulated the country and India on the unusual attention which such a question had experienced in that House. In general, the affairs of India, although of such great importance to the interests of the empire, had been sadly neglected; the very name of India clearing the House at once of half its members. He trusted, however, that in future the subject would receive the attention which it deserved. Feeling, as he did, the greatest attachment to India, he trusted that the question of its commercial interests would be left in the hands of the right hon. gentleman, who, he had 835 no doubt, would deal with it as he was dealing with all other questions of a similar nature. He was one of those who had the greatest confidence in the right hon. gentleman, and in the principles upon which he was acting, He trusted, therefore, that the hon. member for Bridgenorth would withdraw his motion.
§ Mr. Sykes
said, that, although he was quite satisfied with the tone of the right hon. the President of the Board of Trade's speech, and perfectly coincided with him in his general commercial principles, he was anxious that some measures should be adopted, with as little delay as possible, for the purpose of improving and extending the trade with India. He had not heard a single reason which to him appeared cogent for continuing the duties on East-India sugar. He entirely concurred in the sentiments contained in the luminous speech made by the right hon. gentleman. At the same time, he felt deeply for the present depressed situation of the shipping interest. Circumstanced as he was, he had ample opportunites of knowing the extent of the evils which they were enduring; evils of which neither the House nor the right hon. gentleman could have any adequate idea. He had told them, however, more than once, that those evils were not owing to the relaxation of the Navigation laws, or the introduction of the Reciprocity system. He firmly believed, not only that the relaxation of the Navigation laws was necessary at the time at which they were relaxed, but that, if it had not been necessary it would have been wise. And yet, knowing as he did, the distressed state of the shipping interest, he felt that it behoved parliament and his majesty's government to look out for quarters where that interest might obtain employment; and he could not see any opening so likely to be advantageous to the shipping interest as the encouragement of trade with the East Indies. If the duty were taken off East-India sugar, a larger quantity of sugar would necessarily be imported into this country; which, added to the distance from which it would be brought, must greatly increase the amount of tonnage that would be employed. It was principally on that ground that he was disposed to press the speedy consideration of this important subject. He did not see any way in which the shipping interest could be relieved from their present depression, except by increasing the commerce of the 836 country; and he did not see any way by which the commerce of the country could be so effectually increased as by opening and cultivating the trade with the East Indies. Nor did he believe that the repeal of the duty on East-India sugar would eventually be injurious to the West-India planter; who at present derived his profits principally from drawbacks and bounties.
§ Mr. Ross
observed, that the whole of the bounties to which the hon. gentleman, had just alluded, were abolished last year. The whole of the advantage which the West-India planter at present possessed in that respect was, that he was allowed to go into the foreign market, unloaded with those duties to which he was subject in the English, but nothing further. With respect to the surplus supply of sugar that came from the West Indies, the hon. member who had mentioned it had forgot the immense supply from the Mauritius. It ought to be remembered, that we ourselves had encouraged the West Indies to look for a monopoly, by the monopoly in supplying them with the articles they wanted, which we had established for a long time against them in our own favour. How far it might be proper to continue these protecting duties in favour of the West-India colonists, he would not undertake to say; but he thought that the best mode would be for the hon. member to withdraw his motion for the present, and leave the matter to his majesty's government.
§ Mr. W. Smith
said, that, whether his hon. friend chose to withdraw his motion or not, he could not help observing, that the argument, that the production of the duties on the East-India sugars would do no harm to the West-India sugar-growers, which was one which cut its own throat; for, if that was the case, why retain the duty on the East-India sugars, or why call for an inquiry? This was a proof, that the argument was not confided in, even by those who used it; or, at least, that they laboured under a very great delusion on the subject. If the argument, however, was good for any thing, and if the West-India sugar-growers would really not be injured by the reduction of the duty on East-India sugars, then let the people of England at least have that satisfaction which they craved by five hundred petitions. If the reduction would do no harm to the West-India growers, that was an 837 irrefragable reason why the reduction should take place. The right hon. gentleman had said, that it would be much more convenient to enter upon the full discussion of the subject at another period; and he could not help remarking, that in this way the matter might be postponed for five or six years, until the East-India Company came for a renewal of their charter. He would say, that such a postponement would be a great disadvantage; and he could not see why the matter should be so long delayed. An hon. gentleman had talked of the five millions sterling of revenue which the country derived from the West-India sugars; but why should not sugar pay the same revenue when brought from any other quarters? Yet the hon. gentleman seemed to think, that the sugars would not pay the same revenue when brought from other quarters, as they would when brought from the West Indies; or, if that was not the argument, he did not know what it was. The hon. gentleman had very truly observed, that some articles flourished best in particular quarters, but he ought to observe, that the article of indigo had of late flourished in a high degree in the East Indies, although before, it was chiefly produced in Carolina, in some parts of Europe, and in the West Indies. The East Indies had, no doubt, derived great benefit from the cultivation of that article; and this country had derived great advantage from the trade. It had been argued, that the East Indies were best adapted to the cultivation of cotton, and the West Indies to the cultivation of sugar. But it had been long an impression on his mind, that the cultivation of cotton would be much preferable, even for the West Indies themselves. It was well known, however, that within the last seven years the slave population of the West Indies had decreased, in proportion to the cultivation of sugar, and increased in proportion to the cultivation of cotton. A greater service, therefore, could not be done to the West Indies than to leave it to be the interest of the planters to decrease the cultivation of sugar, and increase the cultivation of other articles. It had been said, that we ought to allow the West-India planters a monopoly in favour of their sugars, since we had taken to ourselves the monopoly of supplying them with necessaries. But had we not now given up the greater part of our monopoly? He had heard the name of the 838 Mauritius mentioned; and with respect to that island, it was worthy of remark, that since we had got possession of it, the supplies of sugar from that quarter had increased seven-fold. The reason of this, he was informed, was, that the sugar was raised by slaves newly imported; and his firm conviction now was, that the cultivation was or had been lately so carried on. When we took possession of it, the exportation of sugar was from two to three millions of pounds; in the last year it was no less than twenty-three or twenty-four millions of pounds. He believed that this was owing to a clandestine importation of slaves; and, by allowing that importation, we had done much more injury to our own islands, than would be done them by this equalization of duty.
recalled to the recollection of the hon. member for Norwich, that he did not vote with the minority which opposed the exemption of the Mauritius from the protecting duty. He thought his hon. friend evinced rather a prejudiced feeling against the West Indies. He denied that the West-India slave population decreased in proportion to the increase of the cultivation of sugar; and he had expected more candour from his hon. friend, than that he would have encouraged the clamour out of doors against the West-India body. It might possibly be, that the country would derive equal duties from the sugars if brought from other quarters; but at least they ought not to give up a valuable revenue without inquiry. It ought to be recollected, that the West and East Indies stood in a very different situation with respect to this country. Englishmen were not allowed to colonize or hold lands in the East Indies. The case was widely different with respect to the West Indies. Other nations, particularly the States of America, had a longing eye after these colonies; which were considered of more importance than the political economists of the present day seemed to imagine. They had often been the scenes of war between the civilized nations of Europe, and our fleets had frequently met the French fleets in that quarter. The interest of the West Indies was a subject not to be trifled with.
Sir Robert Farquhar
begged to return thanks for the very candid manner in which the hon. member for Rochester had introduced the point of Mauritius sugar. Though that was a question affecting the 839 interest of the West-India planters, they all handsomely judged it upon its own merits and the justice of the case, and I spurned to be led astray by the artifices of a certain party, whose sole object was wantonly to run down and vilify the inhabitants of the Mauritius; not only the inhabitants, but the government and administration of the colony. With respect to the observations of the hon. member for Norwich, he would set the hon. member for Rochester right in informing him, in reply to his query, that the hon. member for Norwich had, two years ago, defended the justice and advocated the policy of allowing the sugars of the Mauritius to be introduced at the lower rate of duties, upon every principle of good faith, wisdom, and humanity. How the hon. gentleman could have so suddenly changed his opinions, it was difficult to conceive; unless in the blind compliance with the wish of a certain party combined to persecute that unfortunate island. With respect to the admission of Mauritius sugars in 1825, it was granted by that House as an act of good faith, after clearing the ground of any imputed slave-dealing. It was acknowledged, that not an instance of slave-dealing had occurred since the year 1820, with the exception of one single vessel in 1821, which was chased by his majesty's schooner, and burnt on the shores. "I then" (said sir Robert) "solemnly pledged to the House, that no illicit debarkation had taken place at the Mauritius since that period. I re-asserted the same fact in 1826; and I now, in the presence of this House and of the country, am prepared solemnly to declare, that not a single instance has occurred, up to the present day. I beg leave to refer to the hon. secretary of the Colonial Department for the truth of this assertion, which is vouched in the latest despatches by that distinguished public officer and honourable soldier, sir Lowry Cole.—The House will be guided in their judgment by such distinct and authentic information, in preference to the opinions of dissatisfied and discarded officers of the civil government, and to the evidence of perjured soldiers." He had admitted, in 1826, that there bad been cases of slave-dealing previously to that period; but he boldly asserted, and defied the hon. gentleman to prove the contrary, that every means within his power had been stretched in every case, to detect and defeat those abominable violators of the law. He applied to the 840 authorities at home and abroad to cooperate in those means; and in the instances of smuggling which did occur in those early periods, enormously exaggerated as they had been, he had not restricted his measures to the rigour of the laws then in force, but had done every thing in his power to punish the offenders; and where those powers were found inadequate, he could only apply to the competent authorities to make new and more efficient laws. He too justly appreciated the fallacy of those principles which the hon. gentleman advocated to seek the execution of the law by the violation of it, or to justify the means by the end proposed. The evidence, as far as it went, was in the possession of the House; to which he earnestly entreated, as an act of justice to himself and the Mauritius, the attention of every member. The nature and character of that evidence, and of that committee, were sufficient, in some measure, to enable gentlemen to form an opinion of the case which was introduced with so much pomp, upon the evidence of a common soldier, who had been since proved to be perjured, and who admitted himself, that he had been bribed to a subornation of felony. It was upon evidence got up in this most scandalous and foul manner, from the lowest and most profligate persons, that the case against him (sir R. Farquhar) and the colony rested. And was his public and private character to be dragged before the House on such testimony? With respect to the population, upon which some hon. members dwelt so much, he was prepared to prove that there had been little or no alteration since the capture, with the exception of seven thousand or eight thousand slaves carried off by cholera morbus in one year. The hon. gentleman had put off his promised motion from week to week; which had been naturally most irksome to him. He must add, that the cause of the increased culture of sugar was easily to be accounted for, by the destruction of all other kinds of cultivation, by the constant hurricanes to which this island was peculiarly subject, and by the separation of Bourbon; which, depriving the Mauritius of the advantages as being the emporium, forced the inhabitants to direct their habits of industry exclusively to cultivation.
§ Mr. F. Buxton
said, that if the hon. baronet alluded to him, he had much better 841 have deferred his attack, since he must know that a much fitter opportunity of making it would soon be afforded him. But, in the mean time he might say, that he would prove that the slave-trade had been carried on to a most enormous extent in the Mauritius, under the administration of the hon. baronet. From that he would not shrink; but he had not said, nor did he now say, that the slave-trade prevailed in the Mauritius at the present moment. He had always excepted the administration of sir L. Cole; because he did not as yet know whether, under his administration, it had existed or not. What he said was, that it prevailed to an enormous extent under the administration of the hon. baronet opposite; and that he would take the earliest opportunity of proving. The hon. baronet had said, that he had employed the power of the law, and a vigour beyond the law, against the slave-dealers; but it so happened, that not one of them was convicted. His hon. friend, the member for Norwich, had understated the quantity of sugar of late produced in the Mauritius. The quantity produced there was two and a half millions of pounds, when we got possession of it. In the three last years, the quantity was seventy three millions of pounds.
said, he could not but express his high satisfaction at the tone and temper in which a part of this debate had been conducted. He could not but congratulate the House and the country on the manner in which the right. hon. gentleman had expressed his own sentiments and those of his majesty's government, with reference to this most interesting question. Had his majesty's government met the subject in any other spirit—had the right hon. gentleman contented himself by a dry and hard statement of proofs and inferences, instead of openly avowing an inclination to treat the question as it deserved to be treated—then he should have been the last man in that House to have supported the right hon. gentleman; but, agreeing entirely as he did in the opinions expressed that night by the right hon. gentleman, and agreeing with him, that the subject now before the House was one of paramount importance, he must, of necessity, support the same views of this subject as those which the right hon. gentleman entertained. He was the last man who would willingly tender advice; and he was sure that his hon. 842 friend, the member for Norwich, was the last man to whom advice was needful. He hoped, however, that his hon. friend would excuse him, if he recommended him to treat a subject like the present in a different spirit than that which he had displayed that night. Feeling most forcibly the good which must be the result of the favourable opinion expressed by the right hon. gentleman, and in consideration that his majesty's government would at no distant day take up the subject, he had now to hope that his hon. friend, the member for Bridgenorth, would not press his motion. If his hon. friend should think fit to act upon that suggestion, but little would remain for him to add to what he had already stated. As errors might, however, go forth to the public if not corrected, it would be as well for him to state one or two particulars, in which he could not bring himself to agree with the right hon. gentleman. He remembered the right hon. gentleman stated, that the West Indies derived no benefit from discriminating duties. Now, if that position were well-founded, it would at once put an end to the argument. Because, if we were to pay a duty of 10s. on West-India produce, and if that duty was no protection to such produce, surely there was no proposal more fair and reasonable, than that we should no longer be called upon to pay that 10s. duty; it being admitted that it was of no benefit to the West Indies, and, in fact, was of no service whatever either to our possessions there, or to this country. An hon. member had said, that we ought not to force the Indies to raise sugar. We did not force them to raise any thing; but only said, "Withdraw your duty from their sugars, and let them raise whatever they like." They could not be forced to raise anything which they did not choose to raise; or, if there was any forcing in the case, the effect of the present system was, by heavy duties on the East-India sugars, to force the West-Indies to produce them. One hon. gentleman had admitted, that the duties on East-India sugars operated as a bounty on West-India sugars; and, therefore, the force of production, if applied anywhere, was to the West, and not to the East Indies. There was one circumstance to which he was particularly desirous to advert; and that was, the fact, that the Mauritius sugars had been exempted from the protecting duties imposed on the East-India sugars. His 843 hon. friend, the member for Norwich, seemed to admit that he had fallen into some mistake on that subject; and, indeed, he had not before been very accurately informed of the material facts; and, what was still more extraordinary with him, he had not reasoned accurately, even upon those facts with which he had been acquainted. But why these Mauritius sugar cultivators should have been put on the footing of diminished duties, with the West Indies, to which they did not belong, and exempted from the duties imposed on the East-India sugar cultivators, with whom they had a near connection, it was utterly impossible to conceive. In one view, the Mauritius had a greater resemblance to the West Indies, than to the East Indies; for there was strong reason to believe that its sugars were the produce of slaves; and he was afraid that this might have been one reason why the cultivators of that island had been exempted from the East-India duty. It appeared that the system had been, to give bounty and protection to the masters of slaves, and to withhold it from the masters of free men. He hoped that they might live to see the dawn of a better day in the management of the colonies; and, looking to what had been said by the right hon. gentleman, it might be expected, that that day was not very distant, and therefore he refrained from resorting, on the present occasion, to any harsh arguments.—With respect to the East Indies, he could not help looking with eager anticipation, and very high expectation, to the results of a full and complete inquiry into the commerce and the capabilities of that country, and the improvement in our own trade and manufactures which must follow. He could not help exulting in the brilliant prospects which such an inquiry presented, and in his opinion must almost necessarily lead. He was convinced that, upon a full revision of the condition of our Asiatic territories, it would appear that we did not at present at all understand the oxtent to which the East-India traffic might be carried on, and that the ultimate effects would be beyond every thing of which we had at present any conception. He should, perhaps, be permitted to mention one simple fact in illustration of what he meant. When he was lately at Lancaster, a commercial gentleman of that place shewed him orders which he had received for a vast number of pieces of calico for the East-India 844 market, and he desired him to look at Johnson's Dictionary, and there he would find the word "Calico" mentioned as the name of a fine fabric imported from Calicut, in the East Indies. In India, at that time, they imported the raw material from us and from other quarters, and then made as much of the fabric as supplied themselves, and exported largely to us. But now the process was reversed, and we imported the cotton and raw material from them, and exported to them the same fabric, but more highly finished, and of a better quality. This was only a small sample of what might be made of this trade, if it were left perfectly free and unfettered. Looking at the matter in this point of view, he was convinced that the investigation would enable the government to do its duty towards the countless millions of India; while the process would be attended with the double advantage of promoting the interests of the people of India, while it afforded the best relief to our population at home. There had been something a little personal in what had been said respecting the Mauritius — perhaps too much so; but he could not forbear saying, that his opinion as to the fact, was the same as it had been last session, and had been rather confirmed by the sort of defence made by the party accused, on the night when the subject was then under discussion. He wished that the hon. member to whom he alluded might be able to meet the charge, when it should be regularly brought forward against him. There was at present no charge made against him individually. It would be quite time enough to make his defence when he should be accused. For himself, he had only to repeat, that he had heard nothing as yet that had the least tendency to make him alter his former opinion.
Mr. W. Horton
said, that the late governor of the Mauritius considered himself as an injured man; and it was, therefore, natural that he should defend himself when attacked. He no doubt felt the necessity of repelling that attack the more incumbent upon him, the subject not being regularly before the House, but having been gratuitously brought forward for a purpose not altogether fair.
§ Mr. Wynn
observed, that as British manufactures had superseded those of India, we were bound, in justice and in sound policy, to extend the trade with that country as much as possible, for the sake 845 of the natives. The attention due to the commerce of India, as well as to its arts and literature, had been much too long delayed; but measures had latterly been taken, with relation to those subjects, which, he trusted, would redeem them from the neglect they had experienced. Under all the circumstances, he hoped that his hon. friend would withdraw his motion.
§ Mr. Whitmore,
in reply, said, that he yielded to the recommendation of the right hon. gentleman, and would withdraw his motion, and leave the subject altogether in his hands; as he had the assurance that the right hon. gentleman intended to institute inquiries, with a view to remedy what was objectionable in the existing system. He felt confident the right hon. gentleman would not postpone these inquiries for five years, till the expiration of the Charter of the East-India Company. If, however, he was disappointed, he should feel bound again to call the attention of the House to this important question.
The motion was then withdrawn.