HC Deb 20 July 1843 vol 70 cc1291-2

House in Committee.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said that he rose to propose that the House should resolve itself into a committee, for the purpose of enabling him to propose a grant of Exchequer Bills towards the relief of the very great distress that had been produced in certain of our West India colonies by the late disastrous earthquake. The papers were on the Table, and hon. Members would be well able to see the frightful consequences produced in the course of a very few minutes by the earthquake, and they must also be aware of the admirable manner in which the labouring population had conducted itself in these colonies. He thought that it was impossible for the House to entertain a doubt that this calamity should be allowed to pass without making such a grant as he intended to propose. He intended to move that this grant should be made by an advance of Exchequer bills, the repayment of which was to be secured by the local legislatures passing a law for that purpose. He believed that under the circumstances the House would, without the slightest hesitation, come to the aid of these colonies. The amount which would be required altogether was between 200,000l. and 300,000l.; but he should propose that in the first instance the advance should not exceed 150,0001., and the repayment of this was to be secured by the local legislatures. The right hon.. Gentleman proposed a resolution to the effect, that her Majesty be enabled to issue Exchequer bills to an amount not exceeding 150,0001. for the relief of the distress caused by the late earthquake in Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat.

Resolution agreed to.

House resumed.