HC Deb 13 May 1842 vol 63 cc512-53

Order of the Day for going into committee on the Customs Acts read.

On the question that the Speaker do leave the Chair,

Viscount Howick

rose to move the following resolution:— That in making a new arrangement of the customs duties, it is not expedient to impose different rates of duty upon the same articles when imported from foreign countries or from British possessions, in any case where no such difference now exists; and that in those cases in which such a difference already exists, it is not expedient that it should be increased. He perceived that in the scale of duties, there were a number of cases in which a lower rate was charged on articles which came from the British colonies than was placed on articles of a similar kind coming from foreign countries. It was a matter well worthy of consideration to ascertain whether such a mode of legislating was a wise one, and he thought that it would save the time of the House to bring the principle into discussion in the shape of a resolution before going into committee, rather than test it by moving amendments on each particular item. His objection was to that system of imposing differential duties upon colonial as compared with foreign productions which it was now for the first time proposed to carry to an extent never yet contemplated. The ground of his objection to that principle of differential duties was, that he conceived that while they left the consumer in this country still subject to the burden of the tax, the Treasury was deprived of that income which, bearing as the public did the burden of the tax, it ought to receive; and that those differential duties entirely failed to accord to the colonies those advantages which it was the object of the system to confer. In order to show what was the operation of the principle of the differential duty, as well on the consumer as on the revenue, he would refer to two articles in the tariff of the right hon. Baronet in respect of which differential duties were proposed. They were under the head of provisions. Cheese and butter now paid duty at the same rate when imported from our colonies as when imported from abroad. Butter paid 1l. per cwt., and cheese 10s. the cwt. The consequence of this state of the duties had been that none, or very small quantities of these articles had been imported from British possessions, while the revenue on what had been imported from other countries amounted to 375,000l. But under the proposed tariff the duties were to be reduced to one-fourth the duty on foreign, as regarded those articles of consumption when imported from our own colonies. The duty on colonial butter was now proposed to be 5s. the cwt. instead of 1l., and on cheese only 2s. 6d. instead of 10s. Now, as the right hon. Baronet had told them in opening the tariff that the differential duties had been regulated after a careful consideration of their effect upon the prices of the articles, he was entitled, he conceived, to assume that her Majesty's Government expected that those changes in the duties would enable the productions of our colonies to compete on equal terms with those of foreign countries. Suppose this to be admitted, and suppose also that some of our North American colonies, which suffered under disadvantages in competing with countries in our more immediate neighbourhood, were by the operation of these differential duties to be enabled to compete successfully in importing butter and cheese with Holland, the country from which we now chiefly imported those articles —— suppose also that under the operation of those increased advantages we were hereafter to import one-half from the colonies in question, instead of, as now, the whole from the foreign countries —assuming all this to occur, still it must be obvious that the position of the consumer would remain unaltered. Whether the articles of produce came from British possessions or from colonies, the consumer would be in the same position. But how would the case stand with regard to the revenue? Why, that instead of, as now, receiving 375,000l. on these articles, the revenue would only amount to half that sum on the articles imported from abroad; and if the duty on the remaining half of the produce imported, that from British colonies, was reduced to one-fourth, the amount of revenue received upon them, would be somewhat less than 47,000l., thus producing upon the whole a loss of rather more than 140,000l. upon the whole revenue, without there being any diminution of the burden upon the consumer. This, as far as the measure would be operative at all, would clearly be the effect of it. He had stated the operation as far as these two articles were concerned, and the same principle would apply to all the other cases in which differential duties were proposed to be imposed. Now, in considering the subject of the imposition of duties in general, he held it to be an admitted principle that it was for the interest of the country not to allow the consumer to be subjected to the burden of any tax that was not productive to the Treasury. He knew he might be answered that there was a great distinction to be drawn between protective duties and revenue duties, and, also, that it would be urged that if foreign countries refused to give our colonies any advantage by taking their productions at reduced duties we ought to give them those advantages. Now, with reference to the first objection, that which related to the distinction between protective and revenue duties, he must say, that he for one was very reluctant to admit the principle of that distinction, and he would add, that he did hope, especially after what the right hon. Baronet had said a few evenings since, that the time would very soon arrive when they would have none but revenue duties. Even at present it was difficult to draw the line between the two descriptions of duty, for those which were called protective duties yielded a revenue, as in the instance of the Corn-duties. Those duties on cheese and butter, were they protective duties or were they revenue duties, if they were revenue duties the argument failed, for they were partially protective, and vice versa. This argument however, was not so much relied on in support of the principle of differential duties as that other which he had adverted to, and which was the real argument—viz., that as other countries did not receive the productions of our colonies on favourable terms, that therefore we ought to receive them on such terms. His answer to this argument was a reference to that passage in the speech of the right hon. Baronet the other evening in which he expressed his opinion that if other countries did not choose to buy cheap from us that was no reason why we should punish ourselves by refusing to buy cheap from them. It seemed to him that this opinion of the right hon. Baronet cut away altogether the ground upon which these differential duties were defended. But this brought him to the question whether or not the creation of these differential duties was really beneficial to the colonies for whose benefit it was presumed they were imposed. He was prepared to maintain that it was altogether delusive to suppose that differential duties conferred any such advantages on the colonies. He was prepared to assert that instead of such duties being really beneficial to the well-understood interests of the colonies, they were, on the contrary most injurious to them. He contended that the operation of these differential duties tended to divert the capital and industry of the colonies from their natural channels. He contended that their effect was to lead to a reliance on an artificial system of commerce, liable to all the dangers that attended every artificial system of the kind, and which exposed the colonies hereafter to all the suffering that might be occasioned by a change of commercial policy in this country. All experience showed the danger there was by legislative acts of creating vested interests in commerce of this description, subject to all these natural con- tingencies. But it would be said that it was necessary to apply a stimulus to the capital and the labour of the colonies. He rather thought that no such stimulus was required. Of course he knew that the principles he was avowing were contrary to the received opinions on the subject of the relation between the colonies and the mother-country. He knew well that it would be maintained that the true principle of colonial government was that there should be a reciprocal trade between the mother-country and the colonies, in which each party should receive the produce of the other at lower rates of duty than those imposed on the produce of other countries. But, however fortified by prescription such an opinion might be, he thought it was one which few would feel bound to maintain in principle, however they might in practice. It was now very generally abandoned, and for his own part he thought that a trade of this kind was very disadvantageous to both parties; because, if we received the produce of our colonies on terms more favourable than those on which we received the produce of other countries, it was obvious that we should expect the colonies to do the same, a principle which must go to restrict the general trade of the colonies, to injure both parties, and, ultimately, to weaken rather than to strengthen the connexion of the colonies with the mother-country. The true policy was to give the colonies the freedom to buy wherever they could buy cheapest, and to sell where they could get the best price; that they should have free access to our markets, but no superior advantages. If we pursued this policy, and abstained from vexatious interference in the internal government of the colonies —if we allowed them, as far as was consistent, to manage their own affairs in their own way, so far from such a policy weakening the connexion between the mother-country and the colonies, it would contribute to render it permanent and mutually beneficial. It might be said that he did not go as far as in point of consistency he ought, and that he should propose to sweep away the existing protections, as well as to prevent the creation of new protections. But he was one of those who were of opinion that where, by a mistaken course of policy, certain interests had been created, and expectations raised in connexion with the commerce of the country, it would not be just that they should hastily and at once make great alterations which would expose those interests to hazard. He felt that they could not sweep away the existing duties without greatly disturbing and sacrificing those interests, and it was this difficulty which, above all other considerations, strengthened his unwillingness to embark in the mistaken course which was now proposed. It was because he felt himself hampered and entangled by existing differential duties that he was unwilling to create new ones of a similar description. The House, he conceived, ought to deal with existing differential duties with great caution; but they should be sure, when they did make any change, that it was in the right direction—not a change creating fresh protections and fresh difficulties, but a decided move towards the establishment of a better and a sounder system. This was all he asked by his resolution, and after the speech of the right hon. Baronet he was at a loss to conceive how he could object to it. The right hon. Baronet in that speech adopted all the great principles of commercial freedom, and took credit to himself for being the supporter of those principles, and for having cordially cooperated with Mr. Huskisson in those measures of improvement which were founded on those principles. Now, he asked the House to look at Mr. Huskisson's measures and principles as laid down in his admirable speeches, not to take from them isolated passages, but to look at their general tone and spirit, and then to say whether they believed that if Mr. Huskisson were now alive, and possessed the same absolute power of dealing with the question which was now lodged in the hands of the right hon. Baronet, he would at this time of day create new differential duties in favour of the colonies? The right hon. Baronet, quoting the rule laid down by Mr. Huskisson, said, that in applying general principles you must deal cautiously with existing interests, and not wholly disregard the feelings of those who were to be made sufferers by a change in your policy. He cordially concurred in the soundness and wisdom of that maxim of Mr. Huskisson, and he considered the resolution he now proposed to be in strict conformity with it. The simple demand he made was, that if they could not undo all the impolitic acts of their predecessors, let them at least abstain from adding to their errors. Upon a careful examination of the scale of duties now before the House, he confessed he was unable to discover the principles upon which it was framed. He found, various articles dealt with in a totally different manner without any apparent reason. In some colonial articles protection was altogether withheld and in others granted. The cotton manufactures of our colonies, for instance, were protected, and the linen manufactures not. There was no less a difference than 50 per cent, between the amount of duty chargeable on cotton manufactures coming from our colonies and on those coming from foreign countries, while in the duty on linen manufactures there was no difference. Then again, manufactures made of goat's wool were protected; those made of sheep's wool were not. Why this difference? He found, too, that in those articles in reference to which a differential duty was to be established there was the greatest possible variety as to the extent of the advantage. In a great number of cases the duty upon articles from the colonies was only one-half the amount of duty charged on similar articles coming from foreign countries. On others it was to be one-third the amount, in some one-fourth, in others again one-fifth; and in the article of tallow, and he believed of wool, the duty was to be less than one-twentieth of the amount chargeable on the foreign article. Again, he asked, why this difference? Should not the right hon. Baronet at least show that if this was a mighty maze, it was, at all events, not without a plan? As regarded our commercial relations with foreign countries, he was persuaded that at this particular time, it was of the greatest importance that the example of this country should be a good one. The unhappy system of commercial jealousy and restrictions which so extensively prevailed throughout the civilised world had, he believed, derived its principal encouragement from the example of this great country, whose prosperity had been falsely attributed to that system. We were now feeling the inconvenience of that state of things. We were now endeavouring to persuade other countries to retrace their steps, and endeavouring to convince them that their own interests, no less than ours, required that they should abandon so narrow and so selfish a policy. But again, he must refer to the right hon. Baronet opposite, and say that in endeavouring to do this, our example would have a most powerful effect. All the ability and management which it was possible to display in our diplomatic negotiations would have infinitely less weight than the example which it was now in the power of this country to set to the rest of the world. If the Government continued to pursue the faulty course of former Governments, and increased instead of diminishing restrictions already existing, then did he fear that the attempt to persuade other nations to adopt a more liberal and enlightened policy towards this country would be utterly fruitless. To every one who considered how little a thing determined the direction of the tide of public opinion in America, it must appear unfortunate that in the new protective duties they were about to establish, there should be any likely to give rise to a feeling of jealousy amongst the people of that country. They had already passed one measure which was contrary to the principles, if not to the very letter of the reciprocity system. He alluded to the Corn Importation Act, the sliding-scale of which operated unmeasure was calculated to injure the United States of America in their trade with us, it was the more particularly necessary, in any other changes they made, to avoid inflicting on them any new blow of the same kind. Now, in the very first schedule of this amended tariff, a new protective duty was to be granted to the colonies in the article of provisions, which would materially affect our trade with America. In salted provisions he believed it possible that a considerable trade might grow up between this country and America. Was it then wise or politic, in the present state of public opinion in both countries, to grant to our colonies the right of sending us salted provisions at one-fourth of the duty paid on the articles from foreign countries? Would not this have a tendency to drive a usual trade in America from its natural channel, and to give rise to a contraband trade over the border into Canada, whence the article might come to this country at the lower duty? He thanked the right hon. Baronet for the advantages which his present measures would effect; he thanked him for the mitigation of those restictions which pressed upon the commerce of the country in so many of its branches; and he only had to regret, that in doing so much that was both wise and prudent, the right hon. Baronet did not carry further into effect those principles which he had so ably laid down in his speech. For the assertion of those principles he was even more grateful to the right hon. Baronet than for the measure itself, for he was persuaded that, although they might not be able immediately to carry those principles into effect, yet that, so announced as they had been by the right hon. Baronet many years could not elapse before they would be full and completely carried out.

Mr. Gladstone

said, that both the character of the noble Lord and the temper of his speech fully demonstrated that he had no motive whatever in his present proposition beyond that of the public advantage; and he quite concurred with the noble Lord that the mode he had chosen of submitting that proposition to the House was the most convenient he could have devised. At the same time, he was sure he might claim the noble Lord's acknowledgment of his belief that the Government would not have been slow to adopt the measure he recommended, if, like him, they had mote the public benefit. Without any sense of false shame, or without any great unwillingness to entertain suggestions, because they happened to proceed from one who was usually a political opponent, he might point to the state of the tariff in its first and its present forms respecting the protective duties in favour of our colonies, as affording a proof that Government were not unwilling to act upon the views and principles of the noble Lord, so far as they deemed them just. He thought, however, that the noble Lord had not apprehended aright-—he could not say the political and social, but even the commercial effects of the arrangements it was proposed to make. He meant especially the effect of the alterations in the customs' duties with regard to the differential duties on foreign and colonial produce. In order to lay before the House the spirit in which those changes were made, he would, in the first place, refer to the differential duties at present found on the statute. There were now 131 differences of duty in favour of colonial productions. Of these existing differences of duty, it was proposed to effect a reduction in ninety-eight cases; in no instance, however, was that reduction to be effected by raising the duty on the article proceeding from the colonies, but in every instance, let the House remark, it was to be brought about by lowering the rate of duty on the competing article which proceeded from foreign countries. In four cases, into which he need not enter at present, but one of which was tobacco, the differential principle was to be abolished. In twenty-one other cases, the rates would remain unchanged—sugar and spirits, as the House was aware, were the principal commodities of that class which would remain subject to the existing rates of duty. Eight cases remained, in which the amount of differential duty between the articles was to be increased, and he would very briefly state why that arrangement was proposed to be made. Four of the cases, indeed, those of Brazilletto wood, ebony, wrought copper, and pitch, he might dismiss without comment, as the rate upon them is very trifling, or the change is one incidentally made for the sake of classification. The four remaining cases, however, or at least three of them—isinglass, silk goods, and tallow, were more important. Now, the principle of proceeding in these instances was, that they would reserve the consideration of the alteration of the duties levied upon so much of these articles as was imported from foreign countries in consequence of the present state of our relations with those countries; but whilst on this ground they did not interterfere with the present rate of duty upon the foreign article, the same reason offered no excuse for not reducing or adjusting the duty upon the colonial article. In the case of tallow, for instance, the state of our foreign relations presented no reason whatever why they should not carry into effect the proposed reduction of the duty on tallow or colonial import. The only remaining article, and to it he must succinctly allude, was the article of coffee. At present, there were four several rates of duty upon the importation of that article. 1s. 3d. was charged upon coffee imported from abroad, 1s. upon coffee imported from any place within the limits of the East-India Company's charter not being a British possession, 9d. upon coffee imported from any British possession within the limits of that charter not being the produce thereof, and 6d. upon coffee the produce of any British possession in America, or within the limits of the Company's charter. Now, the higher rates had in this case been greatly reduced, and in the differential duty, as measured by those, there had also been a great reduction. By effecting a more simple classification, too, there would be a still greater saving, for a class of coffee, styled, he believed, by the merchants "naturalised coffee," would be admitted free from heavy charges now entailed upon it. At present 6d. was charged upon British coffee coming directly from our possessions within the limits of the East India Company's charter, whilst upon foreign coffee coming from those possessions 9d. was levied. The new duty would be 4d. on the one, and 8d. on the other, and the advantage gained by this would be considerable, because at present the importer of the latter class of coffee had not only to compete in the British market with coffee paying a duty of 3d. less, but his coffee was subjected to the cost of a second voyage; for, in order to obtain the advantage of importing from a British possession, the naturalized coffee was shipped to the place from which imported, there unshipped, and reshipped to Great Britain. He would hereafter show, that the practical effect was to subject the circuitous importations to charges exceeding the 1l., which it was now proposed, for the advantage of the revenue, to add directly to the 3d. which constituted the former nominal difference in duty. Thus, by the proposed reduction and equalization, all coffee of foreign countries would be put upon the same footing, and it would be needless to send coffee half round the world in order to save a small amount of duty. But he would not go further into this point, as the noble Lord had promised them a separate entertainment upon the proposed alteration of the coffee duties. He would only mention that he had referred to this case with a view particularly to show that any apparent increase in the differential duty was not in fact a real increase. Now, the article of tobacco deserved some notice; and here he might refer very appropriately to the conduct of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Whatever might be said as to the application of the rule the present Government had applied to the duties on colonial productions, certainly he must say that the perceptions of hon. Gentlemen on the other side had marvellously quickened with their change of seats. [Viscount Howick; No.] The noble Viscount cried "No, No," but how stood the facts? Really, he might say without much exaggeration, that if they had fallen into a wrong course respecting these colonial duties, (and so far as there had been haste or error, he was of course ready to bear the blame,) they had been in no small degree misled by the legislation of the party last in power. Why, the principal act of the commercial legislation of that party was the creation of new protected interests by the measure they had brought forward with regard to East India sugar. Under the cover of that protective duty they admitted an interest not before included in the protection, and had in consequence raised up a party against themselves, whose exertions in and out of that House they had subsequently cause to remember. With regard to East-India rum their conduct was precisely the same, and he could adduce many other cases equally or even more decisively in point. For instance, there were the articles of rough rice, imported from the western coast of Africa, and of bees wax, imported from the same district. What had they done in 1836? Had they not created a new differential rate of duty with respect to those articles? Then, in 1838, again they had created another new differential duty in favour of hides coming from the colonies, and in the same year a differential duty in respect of woods from Honduras. This was what they had done, but what was their tone with respect to these differential duties? What was their tone with regard to the change of the duties on tobacco, of which the noble Lord had that night urged the inexpediency? In 1840 the Government had been requested to put the East Indies on the same footing with regard to its productions as the West Indies. Of course, that proposition included the article of tobacco. If he remembered right, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose was one of those who most vehemently urged the Government to adopt that course. What did the late President of the Board of Trade, whom he did not now see in his place, say on that occasion? He had taken the trouble that morning to refer to the sentiments the right hon. Gentleman had expressed, unrebuked by his Colleagues or his party on the subject of East-India tobacco, and he found that lie fully admitted the justice of the claim set up for an equalization with the West-Indian producers, and only objected to alteration on considerations connected with the revenue. He might, too, take another case—the case of East India tea. It was then proposed to adopt a differential duty in favour of tea from the East Indies—a measure, the policy of which the noble Lord opposite had referred to that night in an argument which he must say he thought sound and valid. The right hon. Gentleman had in this matter said in 1840, he was not prepared to offer an opinion upon the proposition to create this new differential duty, because he had formed no opinion upon it. It was clear, therefore, that the perceptions of the hon. Gentlemen on the other side had been sharpened, and that the country had derived great advantage from the alteration in their Parliamentary position. But, returning to the speech of the noble Viscount, he would at once say with him that he believed the soundness of our true principles of commerce would, in the course of time, make their way, and be felt and appreciated in every part of the globe; and further, he also agreed that the example of England, in following out what she believed to be the true principles of trade, would be eventually most effectual with other countries. At the same time, looking at the present state of our foreign trade in some quarters, he could not help thinking that great uneasiness would be felt in England if it were to go forth that we were neglectful of the trade with our colonial dependencies. An impression already he knew existed that injury had been done to our colonies in some particulars. Several communications had been made to him, and he had found that the greatest anxiety was felt that the interests of the colonial markets should be maintained, and a peculiar value was attached to that trade. But it was not his object to dwell at any length upon the effects of our colonial system, either political or commercial—its encouragement of that marine which fostered our navy — and further, he was prepared to admit with the noble Lord that commercially a price had been paid for these advantages, either by a loss to the revenue on the one hand, or by an increase of price to the consumer on the other, or, as occasionally happened, by the conjunction of both results. Admitting this, however, he could not say that he thought the noble Lord had done his duty to this part of his argument. He believed there was even some truth in the proposition that these differential duties had sometimes had encouraging results in cheapening prices all over the world. The article of indigo was an instance in point. Before the East Indies became the great source of supply for the world as respects that article, indigo bore a price three or four times greater — certainly not less than twice as great as at present. It might be, that the preference accorded by our laws to East-Indian indigo, had materially contributed to causing that abundance of production which led to so satisfactory a result. Although, therefore, not prepared to defend the theory of a colonial system alike in all its particulars—admitting that there were objections to it in some points—he was, nevertheless, prepared to defend the position that it was in some cases even commercially and in direct money results beneficial. What he did say, too, was that the proposition of the Government, whilst it was open to few or none of the objections of that system, combined many, he might say the whole of its advantages. To illustrate this position—to show that the plan of these new differential duties, as they were termed, might be at the same time anything but detrimental to the revenue, and decidedly advantageous to the consumer, he would begin by remarking, it was admitted that price was governed by the rate at which the unprotected producer could bring his goods into the market. The new differential duties were all applicable to articles produced in the United Kingdom, as well as abroad; and whatever might come in under them, would therefore compete with a producer at home, as well as with the foreigner. This it was most important to bear in mind. Now in the case of an article grown at home, and highly protected against foreign competition, if they introduced an intermediate or second class of duty beneficially serving our own colonists, they did not raise the price, but, on the contrary, they augmented the supply, and by bringing a new party into the field produced a tendency to lower prices. The noble Lord had quoted, and as he thought very unfortunately quoted, the case of salt provisions. Now, if they had a good case in regulating their tariff with regard to American articles, it was the case of salt provisions, for the fact was, that our marine constituted the chief purchasers of these provisions, and the tariff provided that for the use of that service such provisions might be taken out of bond without payment of any duty whatever. But to return to his illustration. Supposing the admission of an article from the colonies following upon the reduction of the rate of duty in its favour, and increasing the consumption, it naturally followed that it added to the revenue by the duty payable upon the increase of supply; but if it did not increase consumption, but only displaced what was previously consumed, it still added to the revenue if it displaced what was produced at home, and what consequently had paid no duty at all; or if it displaced an article of foreign production being introduced at a lower duty, it had at least some tendency to the other good effect of benefitting the consumer by admitting of a sale at a lower price. It was an abuse of words to call this imposition of new rates of duty a creation of differential duties; the real effect of the measure would, in point of fact, be to admit the colonies pro tanto not absolutely to commercial equality, but to an approximation to commercial equality, with the British producers of any commodity. The noble Lord had spoken of the danger of raising up additional protected interests, which would be sure to throw obstructions in the way of Government, should it hereafter be desirous of introducing improvements into the commercial policy of the country. He thought that the course taken during the present Session with respect to the duties on important articles produced in the colonies would be a more than ample guarantee to the community, that when Parliament should judge it fit and wise to introduce some measure for the commercial benefit of the country at large, it would not be deterred from giving effect to that measure by any partial or selfish views. The noble Lord had said that the propositions of Government, if adopted, would have a tendency to lay further restrictions on the trade of the colonies themselves, for that if you gave the colonies such advantages, you must give the mother country corresponding artificial advantages in the markets of the colonies. The best answer to this argument was to be found in the fact that we were at this moment greatly reducing the duties on all foreign commodities imported into the great western market of the British colonies which could enter into competition with the productions of this country. That measure would, by removing restrictions, give great extension to the trade of our colonies and give new encouragement to their enterprise. Again, the noble Lord said, that the House should be careful as to what example they set at this moment to foreign countries in matters of commercial policy. He hoped that they would not be led to put an unfavourable interpretation on the propositions of Government, if they should be adopted by the House. Sure he was, they would have no right to construe them in a sense unfavourable to themselves, nor did he think they would be inclined to do so, unless they were in-instructed so to interpret them by others, as, for example, by the interpretations of the noble Lord. What was the real fact? The Legislature of a great empire, which had colonies subject to it that were parts of the same body, was establishing a system, which would effect an approximation to entire freedom of intercourse between the different regions of the empire. Was it to be supposed that any foreign country could take upon itself to interfere, and say that this country should not give commercial freedom to her own subjects and her own children, nor even an approximation to it? If the House should sanction the scheme, they would only be doing now for the colonies what they had done scores of years ago for Ireland. Ireland was then separated from us by commercial barriers, and when those restrictions were removed, that course was adopted which the House was now asked to apply to the colonies. The Legislature then, in fact, created so many differential duties in favour of Ireland against the rest of the world. Could any man deny that that was the practical effect of the measure? Take the case of Irish cattle, for instance. [Mr. C. Wood: The duties were removed]. He did not mean to say, that the course taken, or that the case of the colonies was exactly that of Ireland in form, but the cases were certainly in substance analogous, and the measures he now asked the House to adopt, while they would be socially and politically advantageous, would tend towards commercial freedom. He would take another case—that of the German Customs Union. He had heard an hon. Gentleman not now in his place, one of the most ardent admirers and zealous prosecutors of commercial freedom — the Member for Dum- fries describes that union as an establishment of freedom of trade within a large circle of population. Did any man ever make it a matter of objection against the great power at the head of that union, that it admitted to a perfect participation in its own privileges the other states which it took into the union? The objection made to its conduct was, not that it admitted other states to perfect commercial equality with itself, but that it caused exorbitant duties to be imposed in other states of Germany on many articles which would otherwise have been admitted on moderate terms under their own former tariffs. He did not think that foreign countries generally were in the wisest temper at the present moment with respect to commercial matters, but was it credible that they would urge it as a charge against England, that she was doing partially and incompletely for her own colonies what Prussia had done, not only without any complaint from, but with the loudest approbation of the champions of free-trade to other countries that were not her own subjects, but were, in reality, foreign countries, except as members of the Germanic body? In imposing a lower duty on colonial than on foreign produce, they were taking steps to lower and not to enhance the price—to increase and not to contract the supply; at the same time, that they would secure all those advantages of increasing their own trade and fostering the growth of the colonies which had always been an object—a justifiable and important object of the colonial system. He moreover held, that the colonies had a claim upon our mere justice for some preference, inasmuch as they were placed under disadvantages which they were called upon, to bear for the general benefit of the empire. Differential duties were still imposed in favour of our goods imported into the colonial markets. That had always—he believed he was right in saying always— been the principle of our law. It was the principle of our law at present, it was the principle of the bill introduced last year by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Labouchere), it was the principle of the bill introduced this Session under the auspices of his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government, to impose a differential duty, small as it might be, on all foreign articles whatever imported into our colonies, where they might compete with articles the produce of Great Britain. He was wrong in saying all; there were certain articles exempted on special grounds. But the rule was to tax every foreign article. The exemptions were the exceptions. It was true that the range of those differential duties was, by the new bill, to be very greatly contracted — he thought most justly and beneficially; but the principle was retained. It had at first been intended to abolish the duties generally, and restrict their application to a few specific articles, instead of retaining the duties generally with a few exceptions. But it was thought wiser, on reflection, and actually on the suggestion of the late President of the Board of Trade, to let the principle remain as it now stood. We laid restrictions on the colonies, also, with respect to the manner in which they were allowed to obtain the commodities they required. They were not permitted to receive any foreign commodity whatever, except under three conditions: first, unless with a differential duty; second, unless coming either from England, or from the country in which it was produced; third, unless coming in a British ship, or in a vessel belonging to the country in which it was produced. On the whole, he was convinced, that the proposed plan would insure increase of supply with reduction of price to the consumer, and benefit rather than detriment to the revenue. There was no reason whatever, therefore, why Parliament should be afraid of the name of a differential duty, but they ought to do that, which considering all the circumstances of the case would be most beneficial to our fellow subjects, and best for the interests of the whole empire. One point more, on the score of justice. He was not aware whether it were a rule of law; but it had, at all events, been a rule of Administration, to prohibit our colonies from levying taxes, even for purposes of revenue, on the introduction of British manufactures, beyond the most restricted rates, although we had ourselves raised heavy revenue duties from almost all colonial articles. [Mr. Labouchere: In Canada, a part of the revenue was raised from duties on British goods imported.] True; a portion of revenue was so raised, and the duties had just been raised; but to what point? To 5 per cent; and even that was a deviation from the old system, which permitted only a duty of 2½ per cent, ad valorem to be raised. That was the limit to which the colonial legislation had been formerly con- fined, but by a recent enactment passed only a few months ago, we had with a great stretch of generosity allowed it to be increased to 5 per cent. Many of the colonists were prevented from raising so much. He had stated these considerations to the House, because he trusted they would dispose hon. Gentlemen to regard with favour any duties tending so much to foster the general well-being of the country as the differential duties now recommended, while they likewise tended to foster the colonial trade. He had not thought fit to urge the importance of those political advantages which arose from colonial connexions, and which would be so much affected by commercial arrangements, for he was contented to rest the case of the Government wholly and solely on the commercial effect of the change now proposed in our tariff, by which the duties on certain colonial articles, heretofore subject to high rates, would be lowered. By those propositions they could afford to stand or fall, according as they should be proved to tend, or not to tend to increase the supply of the article and lower its price.

Mr. C. Wood

said, although he coincided in the expressions of opinion of the noble Lord, as to the benefit likely to arise to the country from the tariff, yet he must say, that the objections made by the noble Lord had met with no reply. This mode of proceeding was one that he thought must be preferred by the Government itself. They preferred rather discussing the tariff upon general principles, than upon the mere details, and thus having the matter decided at once. In the course of the proceedings upon this matter, the opinions of Mr. Deacon Hume had been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and yet Mr. Deacon Hume had given it as his opinion, that the colonial system, which they were still about to uphold, had been of no benefit whatever to the colonies. It had, indeed, been said, that the colonies were to be regarded as an integral portion of this country, like Ireland. He thought they might be so considered, if they contributed to the charges of the country, and if the same burdens were put upon them as were put upon Ireland, which bore her fair share of the expenditure of England. If that were done with the colonies, then the argument would be a fair one, that they should be put upon the same footing; but until that was done, no claim of that sort ought to be made. Instead of bearing a portion of the burden, the contrary would be found to have occurred; for instance, a large burden was imposed upon this country for the defence of the colonies. There was Canada, for which they had incurred a large expense for her defence; and large expenses, too, had been incurred for her internal improvement. Large burdens were borne by this country for the protection of their colonies. It was, in his estimation, one thing to deal with existing protections, and another to deal with new protections. The injury of the present course was, that they were raising up new vested interests in the colonies. This had already been proved in the case of timber, the duty on which was not originally imposed as a protecting duty, and yet upon which the injury at least was 500,000l. a-year for the last ten years. The same thing had occurred with regard to the sugar duties, they were at first not protecting duties, but at length they became a great injury to the revenue, and at the same time enhanced the price to the consumer.

Sir C. Lemon

so much approved of the tariff, that it was with reluctance he offered opposition to any part of it. But he considered that the differential duties on tin would open the door to frauds which no sagacity could guard against, and they would have a most injurious effect upon the mining interests in this country.

Lord Stanley

had not intended to make any observations in this debate, and now he should say but a very few words, as he did not wish to interfere with the division for which he saw that the House was most anxious. He could not, however, help pointing to the objection of the hon. Baronet opposite, as contrasted with the objection raised by his noble Friend to the principle of the tariff and the differential duties. What said his noble Friend? That they favoured the colonies, and gave them an undue advantage over foreigners; and doing this, they made the prices high for the home consumer, and diminished the amount of the revenue. But then when they came to apply the principles so much spoken of on the opposite side to the tariff, they found the hon. Member approving of a portion, but objecting to it on one article, and that article a most important one—tin ore. And why did the hon. Baronet make his objection as to that article? Was it that it would not increase the revenue and keep the prices high to the consumer? No, but it was because it would lower the price to the consumer, and raise the amount of the revenue. But why make the objection? Why dislike the lowering of the duties on tin ore, when it might bring them the importation of Indian ore? Because the producers in this country had a monopoly of the home market, and the constituents of the hon. Baronet were especially interested in keeping up the prices, in excluding the article from abroad, and in keeping down the revenue. With reference to the speech of the noble Lord, though it professed to object now only to the new differential duties, as affecting the British colonies, yet the whole speech and arguments of the noble Lord went to the annihilation of the total system of trade carried on in the wide spread colonies of the British empire. The position which he had the honour to hold, would, he trusted, excuse him for detaining the House, and he meant to do so but for a very few minutes; but he must enter his protest against the doctrine laid down by the noble Lord, that they were to put their connection with British colonies on no more advantageous terms than their connection with foreigners. Against the justice or policy of such a system he must altogether protest. They imposed on the colonies restrictions—they prevented them from purchasing in the cheapest markets—they prevented them from introducing goods from other countries on an equal footing with their own— they imposed restrictions upon their navigation and trade—and then the noble Lord turned round upon them, and said they should place their colonies upon the same footing as foreign countries. He admitted that the colonies were not entitled to be placed upon the same footing as this country, for they did not bear the same taxes, and did not pay for military protection; but then, if they were subjected to restrictions, upon the one hand, they might claim extension of protection upon the other. On the ground of justice, the colonies should be admitted on more advantageous terms to the markets of this country than foreigners; but, on the ground of policy, was it nothing that they had extended to all parts of the world—subject to no hostilities, subject to no caprice, to no embarrassment—the means of carrying on a trade unchained and unfettered by foreign restrictions—a trade the most beneficial of all which they were engaged in, a trade which more than any other employed our shipping, consumed the produce of our manufactures, and gave encouragement to native and to colonial industry— and, more than all that, which kept entire that strong, that beneficial tie of nationality, that tie of mutual connection between the different parts of this great empire, which constituted its protection from war, and its strength and glory in peace? What was the extent of this trade which the noble Lord proposed to treat so lightly? He had moved for, and he now held in his hand a return relative to the nature and extent of trade carried on by the British colonies; and he would ask the House to consider the extent of that trade with which it was proposed to deal so lightly? He would ask the House to look not only to the amount of that trade in numbers, but how much of it was carried on directly with the mother country, and the proportion of our manufactures consumed in the colonies with reference to their population. In 1837 the total amount of the trade carried on by our North American possessions—of the exports to these colonies was 3,844,000l. In 1838 the amount was 3,640,000l. The total average amount for those two years was 3,700,000l. Now, of that large amount what proportion came from foreign countries? That proportion amounted only to about 700,000l. Such was the proportion of imports into British North America not derived either directly or indirectly from the mother country—the remainder of the great traffic which he had cited was exclusively in their own hands, it consisted of their own manufactures. The total value of the trade of the British colonies, of the trade with British America, with the West Indies, and with Australia, was in 1837 upwards of 10,261,000l., and in 1838 upwards of 10,580,000l., and of this amount there was not above 2,000,000l. worth not directly derived from Great Britain or her other colonies; the returns of the exports of these colonies showed that of those exports, which were increasing in amount, upwards of eight-tenths were introduced into this country. Let them compare this trade with any commerce they carried on with any other parts of the world. Let them look to the consumption of their manufactured goods in proportion to the populations which they were supplying, and let them tell him whether or not it would be an advantageous step for them to allow the colonies still to keep up their trade, still to keep up the demand for British manufactures? But what was the relative proportion of our manufactures consumed in Canada, with respect to the population of that country, and the proportion consumed in the United States, with reference to its population? Taking the amount of British manufactures imported into Canada as 2,629,000l., and the population as amounting to 1,300,000l., the consumption amounted to the value of 39s. 2d. per head. Compare this with the consumption of the United States. He did not desire to disparage the trade with the United States; on the contrary, it was a most important traffic, and he wished most sincerely that it could be still further extended; but what was the comparative consumption of our manufactures in the United States in proportion to the population of that country? Taking that population as 17,000,000, there was consumed in the United States about the value of 7,236,000l. of our manufactures, or somewhere about the rate of 8s. 5d. per head. Although it was true that our exports to the United States had fallen off from the value of 65,000,000 dollars, at which they had stood in 1839, to 33,000,000, at which they had stood in 1840, he did not wish to refer in terms of reprehension to any causes which might have produced that falling off; but from whatever cause such decline might have arisen, it proved that trade with foreign countries was liable to embarrassment from caprice, and from hostile feeling, and was exposed to many other sources of interruption while it wanted all these elements of security and of safety which could be attained in colonial traffic. Let them look to the position of this country—to the magnitude of its interests, to the extent of its commerce, to the necessity of extending its commercial interests. He besought them —not from the adoption of any shortsighted principles of policy, however plausibly they might be supported—he besought them not to sacrifice the great, the increasing, the incalculable advantage which they possessed in the colonial traffic by putting the British colonies on the footing of foreign countries regarding their commercial relations with the mother country, and by the attempt—an attempt in which they could, no doubt, to a certain extent succeed—raise the amount of revenue by raising the amount of duty. In their efforts for the support and maintenance of unity and harmony between the various portions of this great empire, let them remember that it was not restraint which was best adapted to keep it together—the sense of union was to be cherished by means of strict commercial connection carrying with it mutual advantages. It was, he said, such a sense that would keep their colonies together The noble Lord himself, in talking of the colonies, had expressed an opinion that they ought to be integral portions of the empire, bound to it by ties of mutual self-interest, nationality, and commercial advantage. Let them rely upon it that, if they lightly threw away the advantages which they possessed—if they taught the colonies to consider that they were to be looked upon as foreign countries—let them rely upon it that they were shaking the main elements of the strength of the empire abroad, and with that strength only which arose from union could that empire be maintained. But if they deprived the colonies of the sense of mutual commercial advantage, they would diminish the strength arising from union, and if they abandoned the colonies, and commerce with the colonies, they would diminish their national power and glory, and sink into the condition of a second-rate power.

Mr. Baring

said, the course proposed by his noble Friend was with a view of saving the time of the House when in committee. His noble Friend proposed, instead of applying his principle to the numerous details of the tariff, when it should come to be considered in committee, to take the opinion of the House at once, whether or not it were proper and advantageous in cases where no differential duties at present existed, to create them. His noble Friend's resolution did not touch those duties which at present existed. He asked no opinion as to them; all he asked was a decision upon the principle whether they would abandon the course which they had hitherto pursued, and impose new differential duties in cases in which they did not at present exist? And what was the answer to this question just given by the noble Lord? Why, it was a panegyric on the system which at present existed, and an innovation in the name of all that was valuable, not to adhere to that system, but to one introduced for the first time. If there was any Gentleman, who had just entered the House, unaware of the nature of the question before it, he must have felt rather surprised at finding, that while the whole of the noble Lord's arguments were directed against change, he was, in fact, asking the House for a change. The speech of the noble Lord was an excellent one against the proceedings of the right hon. Gentleman near him, and against the whole of the tariff of the right hon. Gentleman. If the noble Lord had been but upon this side of the House, his speech would have been one of the most powerful speeches which could be pronounced against any change in the existing system, for every word was directed against the proposed measures of the right hon. Baronet, at the head of the Government. The noble Lord had told them, that the colonies were to be preserved by means of differential duties, that they were the ties which bound the colonies to the mother country; and what had the noble Lord proposed to do with these differential duties? In the latter part of his speech he had answered the former part, but towards its commencement, he had admitted to a very great extent the justice of the principles of his noble Friend (Lord Howick), and had even tried to show, that in the construction of the tariff he had been following out the opinions of his noble Friend—for what were to be the effects of his measures? There existed 131 differential duties. These duties were those under which the great trade the noble Lord had described had sprung up—they were the duties which, according to the noble Lord, bound the colonies to the mother country. He implored you not to touch those duties. But have they been, are they to be left untouched? He would tell them what had been done with them. Of the 131 differential duties, ninety-eight were to be reduced, four were to be abolished, and only eight were to be increased; and that only on account of particular and temporary circumstances. Of the 131 differential duties, there remained only twenty one which were to be left untouched. And they were now, forsooth, called on, in the name of the old principle, to reject the proposition of his noble Friend—a proposition not half so violent as that of Government, and which only proposed, that they would not enact new differential duties. His noble Friend did not propose rashly to deal with the duties upon which great existing interests had been founded. On the contrary, he expressly said, that when there were interests created under the concurrence of legislation, he would be the last man to deal rashly with such cases. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone) had said, that they were more sensitive upon the subject than they had been, when on the other side of the House. If it was so, he was happy, that they were now more enlightened. It had been said —and he admitted that it was so—that it was difficult to deal with those great interests which had grown up under differential duties; and it had been said, that those Gentlemen whose language was very liberal out of the House, when they got seals in it, were apt to shut the door in the face of others. He admitted, that this was, to a certain extent, correct. But was there no lesson to be derived from it? Did it not show, that if they created new differential duties, they would also be creating those powerful interests which were so hard to deal with. There were two cases which had been alluded to in the conduct of the late Ministry with regard to their alteration in the duties on rough rice and bees' wax. But that alteration had been dictated by a desire to promote a fair and legitimate trade on the coast of Africa, as it was represented to Government that the establishment of such a trade would be the best means of counteracting and putting an end to the slave-trade. But these were small and trifling articles, and his noble Friend had acceded to the reduction in these instances. For his own part he had not the slightest notion on what principle the tariff was founded. He could understand the first edition; but the alterations which were subsequently made rendered it utterly impossible to comprehend on what principle the differential duties were placed. He confessed, though the right hon. Gentleman had given him a principle, he was at a loss to understand on what good grounds it rested. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that where colonial produce met with the same produce of this country, and also with foreign produce of the same nature, the reductions proposed by the Government were such as must either reduce the price to the consumer or cause no loss to the revenue. But we had a case of this very nature. We had the case of timber. On that article there was a large differential duty, and the timber of Canada, it must be recollected, not only entered into competition with that which was produced at home, but with foreign timber. The definition of the right hon. Gentleman, then, exactly applied. He should like to ask how the introduction of Canada timber at a low differential duty, tended either to reduce the price or not to injure the revenue? What regulated the price of timber in this country? It was the price of foreign timber. The price of the colonial kept just under the foreign; and by the protecting duty on the foreign the price of the colonial was calculated. If a change was made which tended to raise the price of colonial timber, the difference would not go into the revenue, but into the pockets of the Canadian timber merchant. He thought it quite clear, then, that both in the case of timber and all such articles which came in large quantities into consumption under the circumstances which the right hon. Gentleman described, the price of colonial timber was a matter of indifference, as it was foreign timber which regulated the market price. The colonists were so well aware of this, that they were not so scrupulous about the duty on timber as the Imperial Legislature, and if he was not much mistaken, the article of timber was there subjected to an export duty. He had run his eye over various articles of the tariff, since the right hon. Gentleman had laid down this principle, and he could not see how it was made to operate with respect to them. On rosewood and mahogany be admitted that his objection did not apply, for high differential duties were still to be kept up. But there was the article of cinnamon, with respect to which it was plain that it was utterly useless to keep up a differential duty. Our colonies produced more of this article than was required for our supply; that the surplus went into foreign markets, and the prices in this country must be regulated by those in the foreign markets, just as it was with our West-Indian colonies in the case of sugar; and he might add, that a considerable part of the Ceylon revenue arose from cinnamon, of which the colony had such a monopoly as to enable it to impose thereon an export duty. But now to recur once more to the general principle of the tariff. Really, if there were one, he could not understand it, especially as to the new "differential" duties—if there were any principle at all in the imposition of any import duties, it must be the necessity of protecting home producers; but now that principle was violated in the differential duties which took away from the home producers much of the protection as to colonial produce which was maintained as to the foreign. What did it matter to our producers at home, whether the imports were from colonists or foreigners? This was, of course, adopting the argument of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, as to the justice of protection to the home producers. If that principle were sound, why then it was carried out most inconsistently and most unfairly as to those home producers, professedly the objects of protection. Again, he asked, what was the principle on which the tariff was formed? Its inconsistencies were palpable—but unaccountable. No reason could be assigned for the variations as to the mode of dealing with different articles. To instance the case of fruit:— on apples, pears, and medlars, there were differential duties; but on no other fruit. Why was this? What consistency was here? What reason could be given for such a preference of these particular fruits alone as objects of peculiar favour to the colonists? and the difficulty of comprehending the thing was enhanced by the fact, that, if these three sorts of fruit were dried, why, then, the "differential" duty in favour of our colonies ceased Where was the "principle" here? Further, as regarded seeds, like rape, linseed, &c, there were no differential duties, while, as to the oils expressed from them, there were such duties. Where was the principle here? Surely, in a great commercial reform, something like great leading principles, it might be expected, would be adhered to with consistency. Again, on liquids there were no protecting duties; and with respect to other articles of a like nature the case was the same. He should be glad, then, to know upon what principle the duties on the different articles were charged—upon what principles those duties were to be based. He did not now wish to trouble the committee for any longer time, but he should be happy to avail himself of a further opportunity to discuss the propositions of the tariff more in detail, and he hoped that they were speedily to receive a definition of the whole principles upon which the tariff was founded.

Sir R. Peel

I was in hopes, until I heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, that the object of the noble Lord was to save us the trouble and delay of a discussion on details, and that we were to get rid of further discussion by the motion of the noble Lord on the general principle of the tariff as far as the differential duties between articles the production of the colonies to those produced in foreign countries were concerned; but I am afraid, from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, that the object of the noble Lord will not be accomplished, for the right hon. Gentleman tells us that when we enter into the details of the tariff, then we must go into the consideration of these minute articles. Now, I confess I thought, from the indignation to which the right hon. Gentleman gave vent with respect to medlars, that it was his intention to promote discussion on details on the present occasion. I thought that the noble Lord had given notice of this motion for the purpose of rescuing the right hon. Gentleman from a difficulty, for if the noble Lord had not given notice of his motion, the division must have been taken on some individual article of the tariff. That article, the first in the list, would have been colonial asses, which so greatly excited the right hon. Gentleman's indignation the other night—and he would have had no alternative but to try this great question on the subject of imposing a duty of 1s. 3d. a-head on colonial asses. I certainly thought that the noble Lord had brought forward his motion by way of a pons asinorum for the right hon. Gentleman. I think we shall do better by following the example of the noble Lord, and discussing the question of principle rather than by entering into these details, which I should have been disposed, nevertheless, to treat in a better temper than the right hon. Gentleman has exhibited with regard to the subject of medlars, but which, in my opinion, would be, with better judgment, reserved for an earlier period of the evening, if we are to enter upon them at all. The right hon. Gentleman explained to those hon. Members who did not hear the early part of the dis- cussion, the nature of the motion made by the noble Lord (Lord Howick), but I protest against the correctness of the exposition given by the right hon. Gentleman. And I beg those hon. Gentlemen who were not present and did not hear the early part of the debate, to hear my version of the noble Lord's motion. It is neither more nor less than this: — That in making a new arrangement of the customs' duties it is not expedient to impose different rates of duty upon the same articles when imported from foreign countries or from British possessions in any case where no such difference now exists; and that in those cases in which such a difference already exists, it is not expedient that it should be increased. That is the question. We are required to lay down an abstract proposition that it is not desirable to raise in any case the duty on a commodity, the produce of foreign countries, above the duty on the same article produced in a colony. We are to lay down that as a principle. We are not merely to correct an error committed with respect to an individual article, but we are to lay this down as a principle of legislation, that the difference is not to be increased. But what is the principle for which the noble Lord contends? The principle is this: that you shall treat your colonies, without discrimination, as foreign countries in this respect. The noble Lord will not deny that such is the proposition for which he contends. But the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends, when in office, did not adhere to this rule. "True," replies the right hon. Gentleman, "there were slight exceptions. There was rough rice and bees'-wax from the western coast of Africa. "And what account does the right hon. Gentleman give of the motives which induced them to take this course? He says, "If you can confer a benefit on the natives of Africa, it would be by encouraging their trade. Give them the benefit of differential duties, and you will encourage their attention to domestic industry; and you cannot confer a greater benefit on a country like Africa than by encouraging the natives to devote themselves to industry." But what becomes of the argument of the noble Lord about inflicting injury on our colonies? The noble Lord says, "You only disturb the application of capital; and, under a notion of conferring a benefit, you are inflicting future injury." What humanity was it, then, to encourage the growth of rough rice on the coast of Africa? If the noble Lord's principle were correct, there was no humanity in giving peculiar encouragement and facilities to African produce. Humanity ought to have dictated the establishment of the same rate of duty on the productions of Africa and those of foreign countries. But the great principle of the noble Lord, on which the House is to decide to-night, is, whether it be just, with respect to all articles the produce of your colonies, that the same rate of duty should apply as applies to articles the produce of foreign countries. If that principle be correct there is an end of your colonial system. The noble Lord's argument strikes at the foundation of our colonial connection. Is it just to say to the colonies, "You shall import British articles on a more favourable footing than those of foreign nations." You are at the present moment passing an act through the House giving to British manufacturers advantages in the colonial markets—you restrict commercial intercourse with the colonies by preventing them from choosing their markets. Would it then, I ask, be just to say to the colonies, "You shall admit the manufactures of Great Britain on more favourable terms than the produce of foreign countries, but Great Britain shall give your produce no preference whatever?" Yet that is the principle for which the noble Lord contends. Then would the noble Lord do away with the privileges which British manufactures enjoy in the colonies? If he would, let me ask him, why would he maintain the colonies at all? The colonies are, according to the noble Lord, to have the unlimited right to buy in the cheapest market. This country ought to show no preference to colonial produce. If you think fit, for purposes of revenue, to lay a duty of 30 per cent, on any articles coming from Russia or France, in that case, according to the noble Lord's principle, you ought indiscriminately to lay the same rate on articles the produce of a colony. Be it so; but let me ask the noble Lord, why we should be at the expense of defending these colonies? The noble Lord says, "See what results followed in the United States by abolishing these distinctions since the independence of the United States was established—since the system of privilege and protection has been abolished? "Be it so; but why retain the colonies if we are to derive no ad- vantage whatever in respect to commercial intercourse—no advantages to navigation —no exclusive privileges for British shipping? Why abandon these advantages, whether real or supposed, and then garrison Canada with 15,000 men. The noble Lord's principle is to let the colonies govern themselves, and declare their separation from this country; for it is quite clear that our connection with the colonies can be of no possible advantage if we incur all the obligations of defence, but in every other respect place them on the footing of foreign countries. It appears to me that the colonies can be nothing but an onerous obligation to this country if the principle of the noble Lord be true. The noble Lord says that Mr. Huskisson's principles were adverse to the course now pursued. What! Mr. Huskisson, who proposed that Canada should be allowed to sell her corn in the British market at a fixed duty of 5s. With the noble Lord's resolution in force it would have been impossible for Mr. Huskisson to have applied, as he did, his principle to the sugar of the Mauritius, lowering the duty on it to 10s. the cwt. It would have been impossible for Mr. Huskisson, in 1826 or 1827, to have equalised the duty on the sugar of the Mauritius and that produced in the West Indies, if the House of Commons had determined to act on the principle laid down by the noble Lord. What did Mr. Huskisson say with respect to the East Indies? Mr. Huskisson complained of the conduct of the United States in refusing to our manufactures the privileges which had been given to other manufactures Mr. Huskisson intimated that there were two articles, the produce of the United States, of which we might derive an abundant supply from our own colonies. Mr. Huskisson said, We could, he was satisfied, soon be abundantly supplied with tobacco from the East Indies, by wise and prudent inducemens held out to induce its improved cultivation. The rice of India would soon (indeed it was already doing so) usurp the place in our list of imports which that of Carolina had held. In other articles the same change would soon be observed. With reference to cotton, that raw article so essential in our great staple trade, it was only necessary to give its culture in India the same encouragement and protection which the indigo-trade had obtained to insure its cultivation with equal success, and the growth of as good, as durable, and as fine an article. The result would soon be, that the cotton of India would rival and supplant the cotton of the western world, as the Indigo of India already excelled that of Guatemala, to which it was formerly so much inferior, and would still have continued so but for the judicious encouragement afforded to it. Therefore, for the noble Lord to contend that Mr. Huskisson was the patron of the principle that colonial articles in all cases should be subjected to the duty to which foreign articles were exposed, is entirely inconsistent with the fact. Take the case of India. You have ruined the cotton manufactures of India by the importation of your own. You insist upon India receiving it upon most favourable terms to yourself. If India attempted to get a revenue by subjecting your cotton manufactures to a duty you would take means to prevent it. But you contend that your cotton manufactures shall be introduced into India with great advantage, as compared with the manufactures of other states; and that the produce of India shall be subject to all the duties to which the produce of foreign states is subject. Is there any justice in that arrangement? Will the noble Lord be prepared in contending for this principle to subvert altogether the colonial interests? Are you prepared, for the purpose of increasing your manufactures in the colonies, to insist upon your manufactures being introduced at lower rates than the manufactures of other countries? I put it to any rational man who is actuated by equitable principles, whether it could be justly concurrent with the maintenance of the advantages which you derive from those colonies to contend that colonial produce shall have no advantage? It would be altogether inconsistent. You have told your colonies that you will maintain your connexion with them; you have pledged yourself to the Canadas to maintain your connexion with them; and I "should deeply regret if the House of Commons should propose either one or the other of these alternatives—either to tell the Canadas that "There must be no distinction in favour of British manufactures; you are at liberty to introduce French goods and the manufactures of other countries on terms equally advantageous with those on which British articles are imported;" or to take this other and still more impolitic course, and say, "We insist upon your introducing British goods, and upon depriving you of the discretion of carrying on intercourse with other countries in the cheapest manner—namely, by the ships of other countries; but, with respect to the introduction of your goods, they must be introduced upon the same footing as French and other foreign articles." Why, sir, to use such language as this, and to adopt such a course as this now suggested, would place us in that situation with our colonies that nothing but physical force could enable us satisfactorily to maintain any longer the connection. Sir, again I must repeat that I cannot answer for the justice with which every subject is treated, with respect to those 600 or 700 articles set forth in the tariff. I think it is impossible to answer for the justice of all those discriminating duties. If the course you mean to pursue be this—namely, to put us to the proof with respect to every article here described —if you take one article with the sum of 6d. attached to it, and say, "here I put it to you to defend this article at 6d., and this other which is marked at 9d," 1 say, Sir, that by adopting such a course of proceeding towards us, we should find it utterly impossible to give any satisfaction. Hon. Members must consider the complicated relationship of this country. They must consider the immense extent of capital which is involved—they must consider the enormous extent of our colonial empire, and the extensive field of our commerce. With these considerations they must be aware of the danger that would naturally arise by any attempt at legislation which would rashly shake the foundations of the empire. You must decide on the whole of those financial and commercial measures. And you must look to the practical results which were likely to follow. We have done all that a wise and prudent Government could do for the purpose of adopting this question. We have made an effort to restore the finances of the country and relieve the spirit of industry. I appeal to your justice to decide upon these measures as a whole, rather than to sacrifice the grand object we have in view by descanting upon its minute parts, in respect to which I confess it would be most difficult to give satisfactory and conclusive proofs in favour of. If this House should assent to this, I shall still hope that, as the course we have pursued has been hitherto approved of, and as the House has already decided upon the general principles involved in the noble Lord's amendment, we shall be still allowed to carry out our objects with- out being called upon to account for every item of the tariff. The amendment of the noble Lord cannot be entertained, for we are not yet prepared to create that alarm throughout India, the Canadas, and the whole of our colonial empire, which such a proposition was so well calculated to do; for, by adopting it, you would be only proclaiming the principle that they should be treated, in respect to colonial intercourse, in the same manner, and upon no more advantageous terms, than we should treat the foreigner. This was but a unilateral course, which, in justice to our own interests, as well as those of our colonies we cannot think of pursuing. [Viscount Howick; I urged it against any great alterations being made.] Why, I would ask, is not the whole of the noble Lord's principle this—that it must be desirable to maintain the duties with respect to the produce of the colonies and that of other countries on the same footing. The noble Lord stated that you were doing an injury to the colonies by supporting their permanent interest—his principle was this, that colonial produce ought not to be introduced on a more favoured footing than that of foreign countries. The noble Lord said, the system we pursued on this subject was vicious. I am now protesting against that unqualified and exceptionless doctrine—namely, that you ought to treat Canada in respect to colonial and commercial intercourse on the same footing as other countries. If such a proposition be entertained, there is an end at once to our colonial empire, and to maintain it will only be to place a useless burden on ourselves. If you sanction this proposition, then you ought also to say let the colonies assert their own independence, and provide for their own maintenance.

Mr. Villiers

assured the right hon. Baronet that the satisfaction which he presumed to exist on that side of the House with his commercial scheme, arose solely from its approximation to the principles of free-trade, the value of which they were told were now appreciated on the other side; but if they were now to collect from the speeches of Members of the Government that all the exploded doctrines connected with monopoly were yet held and adhered to, he for one, should say that there was little in the changes proposed to recommend them to the country. If he understood the objection which the right hon. Baronet offered to the noble Lord's motion, it was, that it was based on the policy of doing away with protective duties, and not that of preferring articles that came from the colonies to those imported from a foreign country, as this (said the light hon. Gentleman) would destroy all connection between the mother country and colony. Why, this was the old answer, given in support of every kind of colonial misgovernment, however injurious to this country as well as to the colony itself. It put out of question the real merits of the change proposed, and assumed that the existing system was attended with unqualified advantage, and could only be changed with detriment to the colony. Now he begged to say that it was precisely because the noble Lord did, in a certain measure, assail that system of differential duty, that he, and many around him, supported it; and it was indeed to prevent his being misunderstood in voting for it, that he then rose; for his objection to the motion was, that it was too limited, that it did not go far enough, that it did not fully and fairly recognise the principle laid down by the right hon. Baronet the other night, namely, that the real interest and true policy of the community was to get what they desired at the cheapest market, while the noble Lord's motion in fact, only referred to such duties that should be rendered differential in future, and not those that now existed. He would do away with all duties for protection, as impolitic and unjust. A differential duty was a duty to support some particular interest in a colony, very often prejudicial to the colony, as a protective duty was to support some monopoly in this country: the same arguments were required to support both, and the same party —namely, the English community—were equally aggrieved by both. If there was anything sound, or anything just in the principles now avowed by the right hon. Baronet, there is the same mischief in paying more for an article when it comes from a colony, as in paying more from monopoly, or not buying at the cheapest market on any other account; and to urge as an excuse, that unless you submit to this great disadvantage you cannot maintain the connection with the colony, is to show that this connection is an evil, not that paying more is a good. But what is the argument used by the Government to-night which seeks to rest their policy on justice to the colony? Why, that the colonies are subjected to certain restrictions for our advantage, to which foreign countries are not subjected, and that gave them a claim to be preferred in this market. But who wanted these restrictions to be maintained? Not the colonies—not the manufacturers here. It is the grievance of the colonies of long standing, that these restrictions still continue; if they were removed, they care not for competition, and they were promised by the late Government that they should be removed; indeed, he believed that they are to be favoured by this Government in having them mitigated or removed. It is absurd, also, to suppose that they benefit the manufacturer here, because he only exports to the colony what he exports to foreign countries, and he could not get more for his goods in the colony than he received in the foreign country; and if he sent the same goods to Canada and New York, he could only receive the price in the former that he did in the latter; and if foreign countries could produce them cheaper than they were made here, this country would not export them. The colonies, therefore, are really injured by those restrictions imposed upon their commerce with other countries, and the manufacturers here are not benefitted one bit more by their custom than by that of foreigners. But the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, defends the system, on the ground that the trade is more beneficial to the colonies than to other countries in proportion to their people, and compares the United States with our American provinces. But he asked why the trade with America was so limited? Why, solely on account of our own absurd restrictions on that trade, because we would not allow a beneficial trade to be carried on between the countries; which it was notorious might be done with America as well as with many other countries. The fact was, that this system of differential duties did nothing but mischief to both this country and the colony; they did, as the noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland said, divert capital and industry into wrong channels, and subjected this country to the burden of an unnecessary tax upon the articles imported; and he believed that, so far from strengthening our connection with the colonies, it had the opposite effect—it rendered them less prosperous, made the advantage of any connection a question with both, and loosened the tie which would derive strength from exhibiting to both a mutual advantage in its continuance. As a partial application then of a sound principle, he should support the noble Lord's motion.

Lord J. Russell

said, he would deal with the motion of his noble Friend as he found it, and as applicable to the tariff proposed by the Government. The noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, and the right hon. Baronet finding, he supposed, that the motion was reasonable in itself, had applied the whole of their arguments to some other proposition which was not before the House. The state of the question was this, that at the present moment there existed differential duties applying to colonial productions, and the Government purposed to impose new duties of the same description upon other articles. His noble Friend contended that those duties would occasion loss to the revenue, without being productive of any advantage to the consumer. His noble Friend's motion did not propose to put the trade of the colonies upon the same footing as that of foreign countries. Wheel other it would be right to allow the colonies to obtain what they wanted from any country they pleased, and to subject their produce to the same duties as that of other countries, was an abstract question, which it might be desirable to discuss at another time, but which had no relation to the motion before the House. As the right hon. Baronet had announced his intention of not explaining the grounds upon which the duties were laid upon particular articles, although he had taken the whole recess to consider the subject, he, or the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, ought, at least, to have given some general exposition of the reasons which had led to the establishment of the new differential duties. That, however, had not been done. He had heard nothing but declamation about the advantage of maintaining our connection with the colonies, all of which was totally beside the question. The other night the right hon. Baronet, after laying down some sound principles, and expatiating upon the advantages which must result from the people of this country being able to obtain commodities at a cheaper rate, concluded by assuring the House that there was little chance of the articles upon which he had lowered the duties in his tariff being procured at a less price than at present. He hoped, that when the House came to examine the tariff in detail, they would find that the changes proposed in it were not merely ideal, but that there would be something in it which would really benefit the public.

The House divided on the question that the Chairman do leave the Chair:—Ayes 281;, Noes 108: Majority 173,

List of theAYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Clerk, Sir G.
Acland, T. D. Clive, hon. R. H.
A'Court, Capt. Cochrane, A.
Ackers, J. Cockburn,rt. hn. Sir G.
Acton, Col. Codrington, C. W.
Adare. Visct. Collett, W. R.
Ainsworth, P. Colvile, C. R.
Alford, Visct. Compton, H. C.
Allix, J. P. Coote, Sir C. H.
Antrobus, B. Corry, rt. hon. H.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Courtenay, Lord
Archdall, Capt. Cresswell, B.
Arkwright, G. Cripps, W.
Ashley, Lord Damer, hon. Col.
Astell, W. Darby, G.
Attwood, M. Dawnay, hon. W. H.
Bagge, W. Denison, E. B.
Bagot, hon. W. Dickinson, F. H.
Bailey, J. D'Israeli, B.
Bailey, J. jun. Dodd, G.
Baillie, Col. Douglas, Sir H.
Bailey, H. J. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Baird, W. Drummond, H. H.
Baldwin, B. Dugdale, W. S.
Balfour, J. M. Duncombe, hon. O.
Barclay, D. East, J. B.
Baring, hon. W. B. Eaton, R. J.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Egerton, W. T.
Beckett, W. Egerton, Sir P.
Bell, M. Egerton, Lord F.
Beresford, Major Eliot, Lord
Bernard, Visct. Escott, B.
Blackburne J. I. Estcourt, T. G. B.
Blackstone, W. S. Farnham, E. B.
Bodkin, W H. Fellowes, E.
Boldero, H. G. Feilden, W.
Borthwick, P. Ferrand, W. B.
Botfield, B. Filmer, Sir E.
Bradshaw, J. Fitzroy, Capt.
Bramston, T. W. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Broadley, H. Fleming, J. W.
Broadwood, H. Flower, Sir J.
Brocklehurst, J. Follett, Sir W. W.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Ffolliott, J.
Brownrigg, J. S. Forbes, W.
Bruce, Lord E. Forester, hon. G.C.W
Bruce, C. L. C. Fuller, A. E.
Buck, L. W. Gaskell, J. Milnes
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Gladstone, rt. hn.W.E.
Bunbury, T. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Gore, M.
Burroughes, H. N. Gore, W. R. O.
Campbell, Sir H. Goring, C.
Campbell, A. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Cardwell, E. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Granby, Marquess of
Cayley, E. S. Greenall, P.
Chapman, A. Greene, T.
Charteris, hon. F. Gregory, W. H.
Chelsea, Visct. Grimsditch, T.
Chetwode, Sir J. Grimston, Visct.
Cholmondeley, hn. H. Grogan, E.
Christmas, W. Halford, H.
Christopher, R. A. Hamilton, C. J. B.
Chute, W. L. W. Hamilton, W. J.
Clayton, R.R. Hamilton, Lord C.
Hampden, R. Mundy, E. M.
Hanmer, Sir J. Muntz, G. F.
Hardy, J. Murray, C. R. S.
Hay, Sir A L. Neeld, J.
Hayes, Sir E. Neville, R.
Heneage, G.H. W. Newry, Visct.
Henley, J. W. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Norreys, Lord
Herbert, hon. S. O'Brien, A. S.
Hill, Sir R. O'Brien, W. S.
Hillsborough, Earl of Packe, C. W.
Hinde, J. H. Pakington, J. S.
Hodgson, F. Palmer, R.
Hodgson, R. Patten, J.W.
Hogg, J. W. Peel, right hon. Sir R.
Houldsworth, T. Peel, J.
Holmes, hn. W A'Ct. Plumptre, J. P.
Hope, hon. C. Polhill, F.
Hornby, J. Pollington, Visct.
Hutt, W. Pollock, Sir F.
Ingestre, Visct. Powell, Col.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Praed, W. T.
Irton, S. Price, R.
Jackson, J. D. Pringle, A.
Jermyn, Earl Pusey, P.
Jocelyn, Visct. Rashleigh. W.
Johnson, W. G. Reade, W. M.
Johnstone, A. Reid, Sir J. R.
Johnstone, Sir J. Richards, R.
Johnstone, H. Rolleston, Col.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Kemble, H. Round, C. G.
Kerrison, Sir E. Round, J.
Knatchbull, right hon. Sir E. Rous, hon. Capt.
Rushbrooke, Col.
Knight, F. W. Russell, J. D. W.
Knightley, Sir C. Ryder, hon. G. D.
Lawson, A. Sanderson, R.
Lefroy, A. Sandon, Visct.
Legh, G. C. Scarlett, hon. R. S.
Leicester, Earl of Scott, hon. F.
Lincoln, Earl of Shaw, right hon. F.
Lindsay, H. H. Sheppard, T.
Lopes, Sir R. Shirley, E. J.
Lowther, J. H. Sibthorp, Col.
Lowther, hon. Col. Smith, A.
Lyall, G. Somerset, Lord G.
Lygon, hon. General Sotheron, T. H. S.
Mackenzie, T. Stanley, Lord
Mackenzie, W. F. Stanley, E.
Maclean, D. Stewart. J.
M'Geachy, F. A. Stuart, H.
Mahon, Visct. Sturt, H. C.
Mainwaring, T. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Manners, Lord C. S. Taylor, J. A.
Manners, Lord J. Tennent, J. E.
Marsham, Visct. Thesiger, F.
Martin, C. VV. Thompson, Mr. Ald.
Master, T. W. C. Thornhill, G.
Masterman, J. Tollemache, J.
Maunsell, T. P. Trench, Sir F. W.
Meynell, Capt. Trollope, Sir J.
Miles, P. W. S. Trotter, J.
Miles, W. Tumor, C.
Milnes, R. M. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Mordaunt, Sir J. Vere, Sir C. B.
Morgan, O. Verner, Col.
Morris, D. Vernon, G. H.
Vesey, hon. T. Wood, Col. T.
Vivian, J. E. Worsley, Lord
Waddington, H. S. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Walsh, Sir J. B. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Wilbraham. hn. R. B. Young, J.
Williams, W.
Williams, T. P. TELLERS.
Wodehouse, E. Baring, H. B.
Wood, Col. Fremantle, Sir T. F.
List of the NOES.
Archbold, R. Macaulay.rt. hn. T. B.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Berkeley, hon. C. Maher, V.
Bernal, Capt. Marshall, W.
Bowring, Dr. Martin, J.
Brotherton, J. Mitchell, T. A.
Bryan, G. Mostyn, hn. E. M. L.
Buller, C. Murphy, F. S.
Byng, G. Murray, A.
Callaghan, D. Napier, Sir C.
Carew, hon. R. S. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Cavendish, hn. G. H. O'Connell, M. J.
Chapman, B. Ogle, S. C. H.
Childers, J. W. Ord, W.
Clay, Sir W. Palmerston, Visct.
Clements, Visct. Parker, J.
Cobden, R. Pechell, Capt.
Colborne, hn. W. N. R. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Philips, G. R.
Craig, W. G. Philips, M.
Crawford, W. S. Plumridge, Capt.
Curteis, H. B. Ponsonby, hon. J. G.
Divett, E. Redington, T. N.
Duff, J. Ricardo, J. L.
Duncan, Visct. Rundle, J.
Duncan, G. Russell, Lord J.
Duncombe, T. S. Rutherfurd, A.
Dundas, Admiral Scott, R.
Dundas, F. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Dundas, D. Shelborne, Earl of
Dundas, hon. J. C. Smith, B.
Easthope, Sir J. Smith, J. A.
Ellis, W. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Evans, W. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Ferguson, Col. Stuart, W. V.
Fitzroy, Lord C. Strutt, E.
Gibson, T. M. Talbot, C. R. M.
Gordon, Lord F. Tancred, H. W.
Granger, T. C. Thornely, T.
Greenaway, C. Traill, G.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Hall, Sir B. Turner, E.
Hastie, A. Vane, Lord H.
Hatton, Capt. V. Villiers, hon. C. P.
Hawes, B. Vivian, hon. Capt.
Heneage, E. Wakley, T.
Howard, hn. C. W. G. Walker, R.
Howard, P. H. Watson, W. H.
Howard, hon. H. Wilshere, W.
Howard, Sir R. Wood, B.
Howick, Visct. Wood, C.
Hume, J. Wrightson, W. B.
Jervis, J.
Lambton, H. TELLERS.
Layard, Capt. Hill, Lord M.
Lemon, Sir C. Tufnell, H.

House in committee.

House resumed.

Chairman reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again.

House adjourned till May 20th.