HC Deb 14 June 1844 vol 75 cc907-71

House in Committee on the Sugar Duties' Bill.

On the first Clause,

Mr. Philip Miles

rose to propose the Amendment of which he had given notice. He must begin by stating to the House that several reasons prevented him from concurring in the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the first place, he did not think this was the proper time for bringing this question forward, nor did he think it should have been mooted at all. unless Government were disposed to look the whole question of the Sugar Duties boldly in the face, and put them on such a permanent footing as should be generally satisfactory) and set the question finally at rest. If they were not prepared to uphold the West India Colonies by granting them sufficient protection, it would be far better to throw off the mask at once and frankly say so, rather than encourage a further outlay of capital on the faith of protection which might soon be withdrawn. This measure was contrary to the policy hitherto pursued by the Government. When the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government brought forward the tariff, he expressly stated, that he thought no Government ought to look at one part of the question without maturely considering the whole of it, and having done so he unreservedly recommended his measure to the House, and asked for a fair and impartial opinion, not on one part, but on the whole question. His right hon. Friend, however, (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) admitted that the present was a partial and not a final measure. It was not a settlement of the question; for the Government intended to propose a further alteration of the duties. If so, this was in his opinion the very reason why this alteration ought to have been postponed till Ministers were prepared to deal with the whole question. Independent of other considerations, great difficulty would be thrown in the way of the colonists by the avowal that it was the intention of the Government to make another alteration of the duties on Colonial produce. A much more straightforward course for the Government would have been, to have come down to this House and to have stated their wish to make an alteration in the Sugar Duties, in order to cheapen that article to the consumer, but to have frankly stated, that in carrying out their scheme the revenue would have suffered, and to have asked for a continuance of the Income Tax, in order to enable them satisfactorily to deal with the whole question. When the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), in 1841, spoke on this question, he quoted several passages from a notorious pamphlet of that time, written by Mr. Greg, of Manchester; and he finished his quotations with this extract:— That the prosperity of the West Indies can only be continued and insured by an extensive and systematic system of immigration, and by the temporary continuation of the present protective discriminating duties on sugar. Where had that "extensive and systematic system of immigration" been put in practice? And what was the protective discriminating duty which they proposed? To use a common phrase, the right hon. Gentleman had left the West Indian Colonies a long way behind. For the right hon. Gentleman reduced almost to nothing the protective discriminating duties, and tells us, that he is about to grant a free system of immigration, and admit Coolie labourers, when he has effectually crippled the Colonies before the importation of labourers could have any result. The experiment of immigration would take at the very least two years to carry out, and would be attended with great expense, while, in the mean time, other countries which had cheap labour would be supplying the markets of this country at a great advantage. They had been told that the present measure was only a step towards free-trade, and when he coupled it with other measures which the present Government had brought in, he certainly concluded that the thoughts of the Treasury Benches were turning in that direction. If they thought such a system was for the benefit of this country, he did not blame them, but he asked them to carry out their principles a little further, and let the Colonies have the benefits of their first steps towards it. He thought the Colonies should have the benefit of the first reduction of duties, and were as fairly entitled to consideration as the agricultural or any other interest. If he looked at the tax which was levied upon them, he found that Colonial produce now bore a tax of 75 per cent., which increased as the price of the produce sunk in the home market. Canadian produce was now admitted at a nominal duty. Why not extend the same privilege to the West Indies. He had listened to his right hon. Friend in vain for information as to the grounds on which the present measure was introduced. He had heard no account of the quantity of sugar that was to be expected—no idea of the difference of price it would make to the consumer—nothing beyond the fact, that on the day when he gave his notice to the House sugar was 2s. per cwt. higher than it was at the same period last year, and that our treaty with the Brazils expired in November next. But the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade, did give them a little more information, for he guessed at the quantity to be introduced, but then the right hon. Gentleman told the House that the price had nothing to do with it. In this he agreed, and he rested his argument upon it; for, though the right hon. Gentleman stated it as an argument, yet he left the real state of the question out of consideration altogether. Both the right hon. Gentlemen admitted that they were disappointed in their calculations of the supply which they should receive from India, and it was his belief that if these duties were placed upon a firm footing for ten years, that there would be an enormous stimulus to the production of sugar in India, a country which had already increased its production from 5,000 tons in 1836 to 50,000 tons in 1841, that from that source alone a very large supply would be derived, even larger than the West Indies would like to see introduced. But the encouragement of the growth of sugar in India would greatly assist the trade and commerce of this country, which would not be the case by encouraging the importation of Java sugars, which country took but a small proportion of our manufactures, and that at a duty of nearly 50 per cent. ad valorem. It was because he thought that the supply this year would be greater than the demand that he said this measure was uncalled for. He denied that there would be any deficiency of Import, and that the price this year had been exorbitant. He thought that the prevalence of the easterly winds sufficiently accounted for the small rise in price which had been noticed by the right hon. Gentleman, The stock in the United Kingdom on the 12th of June was 38,100 against 31,000 tons at a similar period last year, and in London there was an excess of 3,100 tons as compared with a corresponding period last year. According to the Gazette the average price was, in 1841, 38s. 2d.; in 1842, 37s. 1d.; in 1843, 36s. 10d.; and 1844, 37s. 3d., up to the 1st of June, being 5d. higher than last year, and 2d. lower than the average of 1841, 1842, and 1843. On the 1st of January the stock in this country was 40,000 tons, and the supply this year, according to the best estimates, which were fully confirmed by recent letters, would be from the West Indies, 125,000 tons; Bengal, 60,000 tons; Madras, 5,000 tons; the Mauritius 30,000 tons—making, with the stock in hand, 260,000 tons. The consumption in 1843 was 202,000 tons, which would leave 58,000 tons to meet the increased consumption of the present year, and supposing, which was a high rate, that the increased consumption this year should be 18,000 tons, that would leave on the 31st of December, 1844, a stock on hand of 40,000 tons, being equal to the stock at the corresponding period of last year. His right hon. Friend might deny this, but the letters received by the last packet not only confirmed this estimate, but even put it at a higher rate. The noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, when he brought forward his Canadian measure last year said, that he did so as one of justice and protection to that Colony, and that the Colonies were entitled to be treated as integral parts of the Empire; but it appeared to him that Her Majesty's Government had this Session altered their line of policy, and had made up their minds to sacrifice the Colonies for the benefit of the mother country. But a few weeks ago they took off the wool duty. That might be a benefit to our manufacturers; but, in what position did it place the wool growers of the colony of Australia? Was not the effect of it to place that Colony in a worse position in regard to competition with the foreigner by a 1d. lb. than it was before? now the Government intended to commence their hostile operations against the West India Colonies. During the last year the House of Assembly of Jamaica sent home a memorial to Her Majesty, on which the hon. Member for Wolverhampton the other night made some comments, and said the picture of distress which it drew was exaggerated; this, however, he denied, and he ventured to call the attention of the House to it. It stated— The experience of another year evinces, we lament to state, that the situation of the proprietary body of this island becomes more and more appalling; that the abandonment of a great proportion of the sugar and coffee plantations seems fast approaching, involving the, as yet uncompensated, extinction of immense capital invested in freeholds and manu- factures. In almost every district of the island the progress towards abandonment is manifest, and the representation of the custodes and Chief Magistrates of the several parishes, made pursuant to the requisitions of this House, authenticate cases most distressing, of ruin perfected, and of peril impending, which cause the most fearful forebodings. In the midst of universal gloom and disasters we, however, look with confidence towards our gracious Sovereign and a Conservative Government, to throw over us the protection which we claim, as due to a long course of fidelity and loyalty, and to our great sacrifices in endeavouring to co-operate with your Majesty's Government in carrying out the benevolent scheme of Negro Emancipation. A reduction of the duties on British Muscovada sugar and British plantation coffee would afford signal relief to your Majesty's West India Colonies; but if that measure be accompanied by such a reduction of the duties on foreign slave-grown sugar and coffee as shall trench on that protection at present vouchsafed to us, then will the fate of your Majesty's ancient and loyal Colony of Jamaica be sealed, her suffering in the cause of philanthropy rendered abortive, negro emancipation proved a visionary phantom, and the fetters of the African elsewhere become riveted and extended. We, therefore, implore your Majesty to direct your Majesty's Government to take these facts into consideration, and to continue to your loyal colonists, the planters and emancipated labourers of Jamaica, a real and saving protection; so that by the exclusion from the British market of foreign slave-grown produce, slavery and the foreign slave-trade may be effectually discouraged. We acknowledge with thankfulness the disposition evinced by your Majesty's present Government to confer on this colony greater facilities for carrying out an enlarged immigration scheme. We only fear that this measure may be realised too late to resuscitate our expiring agriculture, and from our impoverished condition, come too sparingly to fill up the blank caused by the secession of our quondam labourers from many of the established plantations. And what was the answer which Her Majesty's Government, that Conservative Government on which they relied, would send back to the West India Colonies this year? They would say, "We will give you no relief: we deny your right to ask it, but on the contrary, we will give a spur to your production by the introduction of foreign free-grown sugar, at 34s. per cwt." Such an answer as this would not only create great dissatisfaction, but it would be considered a proof that Her Majesty's Government had no sympathy with, and no desire to assist, the distresses of these Colonies. To prove to the House that he was not desirous to exaggerate the distress of these Colonies, which the hon. Member for Wolverhampton the other night thought that many people were disposed to do, he would read the returns which he had received from one mercantile house of the losses on twelve different estates last year, made up to the 13th of April. Upon all of these estates there were heavy losses—and the losses were as follows:— The 1st estate 315l. 17s. 1d.; 2nd. 2,420l. 17s.; 3rd. 832l. 2s.; 4th. 5,083l. 8s. 2d.; 5th. 3,470l. 12s.; 6th. 3,444l. 17s. 5d.; 7th. 8,018l. 2s. 4d.; 8th. 10,301l. 8s. 2d.; 9th. 2,255l. 18s. 9d.; 10th. 442l. 11s. 9d.; 11th. 478l. 12s. 6d.; 12th. 770l. 18s. 5d. And yet his right hon. Friend the other evening endeavoured to persuade the House, that this was a measure best calculated to increase the permanent prosperity of those Colonies, and that it was of the greatest importance before an importation of Coolie labourers took place, that the West Indian planters should know the precise amount of their protection; but in the same breath the President of the Board of Trade told them that no Minister would be justified in giving them a protection of 10s. if Coolie labour were introduced, and that, in his opinion, no legislation whatever could restore the prosperity of these Colonies. Why, if this were the case—if this were the sort of protection that was to be given to them, far better would it be at once to strike out from the Map of our Empire, our West India Colonies, than to treat them in this inconsistent manner. The noble Lord, the Member for London, doubted whether the West India merchants were as well satisfied with the right hon. Gentleman's regulations as to certificates of origin, as the right hon. Gentleman himself appeared to be. Why, he could state, in reply to the noble Lord, that there was but one feeling on the subject, that was universal dissatisfaction and distrust. The difficulties were too great, and the temptation to evade the difference of duty too strong to enable the right hon. Gentleman to prevent the introduction of slave-grown sugar. He was quite ready to give the right hon. Gentleman full credit for his anxious wish to secure himself against any imposition. But he would tell him that his precautions would be ineffectual, and his regulations inoperative, for in spite of them, slave-grown produce would find its way into our markets. Why, even in the Custom-house here, where we take credit to ourselves for efficient management, we could not prevent frauds, how much less then could we hope to prevent them in foreign countries. What power he would ask did a Consul possess? Could he ascertain that sugar was grown where it was represented to be? and could he be aware of all the smuggling transactions and all the forms of imposition that would be practised? The right hon. Gentleman denied that any importation of sugar would take place from the United States, from Cuba, or Porto Rico. But just look at the position of New Orleans, one hundred miles from the mouth of the great river Mississippi. The sugar plantation of Louisiana reached to within thirty miles of the mouth of that river, and there was no reason why vessels from Cuba to Porto Rico, laden with slave-grown sugar, should not unload their cargoes at the planters' very doors, and the same cargoes be transshipped here as the produce of the United States. If there were only a line of seaboard there might be some security, but such a river as the Mississippi gave the greatest facilities for this species of smuggling. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, quoted the high price of sugar which prevailed in the New York market as a reason why the sugar-growers of America would not be tempted to send their produce to this market. But the market of New York was the highest in the United States, and bore no proportion to the general price in the country. He had received a letter by the last packet from Louisiana, in which it was stated that the price of sugar there, was six cents per lb., hut it also stated, that the planters were actually coining money at that price; thus showing, that this price was higher than the usual average, and by no means the prevailing one—and, taking everything into consideration, it would not be doubted that there would be many periods when it would be profitable to make shipments of sugar from the United States to this country. For the first five months in the year 1843, the average price was 2s. higher in Liverpool than in New York, so that this circumstance alone, would, if they then possessed the privilege which this Bill was to give them, have induced the sugar planters of Louisiana to prefer the former market. It appeared by the speech of one of the Members for Lousiana in Congress that an enormous extension of sugar plantations was taking place in that State, and that an increase of not less than 22,000 tons was expected on the crop of last year. Considering, then, the fertility of the soil in Louisiana, and the energy of its population, he could not doubt that when the market of this country should be opened to them, they would not only raise enough sugar to supply themselves, but an excess for export to this country. The President of the Board of Trade, said, that the noble Lord, the Member for London had made a very bold assertion when he stated that the freights from New Orleans to Liverpool were lower than the freights to New York, and quoted the instance of ships laden with cotton, as a proof of the noble Lord's error. But what is the actual fact? He found, on referring to the New Orleans Price Current, that the noble Lord was right—for whilst the freight to Liverpool was 9–16ths of a penny per lb. that to New York was 11–16ths. They had also been told, that the Treaty of this country with the United States, could be amended by giving twelve months' notice on either side; but Her Majesty's Government did not say they would give that notice. Neither did he believe that any Minister would consent to disturb the amicable relations between these two great countries on account of such an importation as he had alluded to. Foreign sugar, of which free-labour sugar formed a part, was now quoted at an average price of 18s. per cwt., at which price it could be profitably raised. This, added to the 35s. 8d. duty, made the price 53s. 8d.; and the price therefore, at which it could be brought into our markets under this Bill, would be sufficiently low to throw half the estates in the West Indies out of cultivation. Her Majesty's Government might derive a considerable revenue from this measure, but he contended, that the benefit which the consumer would derive from it, would be paid for out of the pockets of the Colonists, as it would be the ruin of the colonists, and the destruction of our valuable colonial trade; the decreased price which the colonists would get for coffee and sugar, would entail on them a loss of not less than 1,500,000l. annually, whilst the consumer would not benefit by a decrease in price of more than 1s. 2d. per pound. One word on the subject of coffee. When the Tariff was brought forward, the duties on foreign and colonial coffee were respectively 8d. and 4d. per lb., and the 8d. duty on foreign coffee, had since been reduced to 6d. the professed object being to benefit the consumers, and to encourage the trade with Brazil. But if the right hon. Gentleman would consult the City brokers, he would find, that very little Brazilian coffee was used in this country; for, in consequence of its disagreeable flavour, the people of this country would not buy it. And what had been the effect of thus settling and unsettling the duties on coffee? There were many persons in 1842, who thinking they could rely on the faith of Her Majesty's Government—invested large sums of money in the production of coffee, particularly in Ceylon; and yet, before their first crop could reach this country, the protection on which they calculated was diminished one-half, and they had to encounter great loss where they had a reasonable prospect of profit. Really, when he looked at the course taken by Her Majesty's Government, he could not help asking what confidence the merchants of this country could have in the stability of their commercial regulations. What assurance had they that his right hon. Friend would not come down next year, and diminish that protection which he proposed to give the colonies this year, by one-half. These continued changes were really productive of the most serious injury. He readily admitted, that the Amendment which he brought forward, and which had been submitted to and approved by the Members of the West Indian body, did not give as large an amount of protection as they desired, and as they thought it just they should retain; still it was far better for them, than the measure proposed by Her Majesty's Government. Her Majesty's Government had refused to listen to every remonstrance, and they could not therefore be surprised if the West India interest, on their part, endeavoured to make the best terms they could for themselves. He knew he should be taunted with endeavouring to gain support from the opposite side of the House. He did not deny it. If the Government would give them no relief, they must seek it for themselves; and they thought it the wisest course to give up the larger amount of protection, which they did not think exorbitant, and content themselves with that which they had a chance, though probably a remote one, of carrying. He believed, that a reduction of the duties generally on colonial and foreign sugar would give them more advantage, inasmuch as a protection of 10s. on 20s. was a larger protection than 10s. on 24s.; but he was precluded by the forms of the House from asking for a higher differential duty on the higher qualities of sugar. He was told that Her Majesty's Government did not contemplate letting in these higher qualities at the same duty; but in the Bill before him, he found the words "or sugar not being refined;" and he was assured by the best authority, that the higher qualities of Java sugar would be introduced under these words. He thought it was only right that the duties on such sugars should not be left to be determined, by the notions and caprice of Custom-house officers. Other countries placed discriminating duties on different qualities of sugar, according to the saccharine matter contained in them, and he did not see why the same thing could not be done in this country. The West Indian planters were frequently told that they had received full compensation, and that they ought not now to ask for protection. But what was the amount of the compensation which they had received—it was compensation for property which was five times the value of the compensation. If when this House voted that compensation, they had at the same time granted a system of free immigration of labour into the West Indies, the West Indians would not now have had to com-plain of the insufficiency of that amount. The amount of immigration had been so little adequate to the wants of the Colonies, that it had scarcely supplied the deficiency of labour created by the withdrawal of negroes who had gained sufficient capital to squat on their own land. He confessed the superiority of free over slave labour, provided there was a sufficient supply of the former; and if the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies would provide a sufficient supply; if all restrictions on immigration were removed, and time were allowed for this system to come into operation, he did not hesitate to say that the West India Colonies would require but a small amount of protection. Emancipation was a farce; the compensation money was thrown away; and the West India Colonies were not worth preserving, if they were not prepared to protect them, until they had emerged from the difficulties in which they were involved by no act of their own, but by an act of the Legislature of this country. Look to the wages of labour in these Colonies. In Jamaica, in British Guiana, and Trinidad it was from 3d. to 4½d. per hour, whilst in Barbados it was 2d. to 2½d., and there was the greatest difficulty, nay, it was almost impossible, to procure continuous labour. He was obliged to calculate labour by the hour, because such a thing as a fair day's labour was almost unknown in these colonies. If it were said, that they wished to grind the negroes down and return to a state of slavery, he denied it; all they wished was continuous labour—labour on which they could depend. What was the consequence of this state of things? In Jamaica, British Guiana, and Trinidad estates were scarcely saleable at any price, whilst, in Barbadoes, and other islands, where labour was more abundant, though they would not fetch the prices which they did formerly during the existence of slavery, yet still a tolerably fair price could be obtained. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton had stated in that House, that it was a common opinion, that the land in the West Indies was exhausted and would not yield the crops it formerly did. It was no more exhausted than the land in the neighbourhood of London was exhausted. It was worn out just in the same sense as the land in Virginia was said to be worn out, when the planter having taken large crops for twenty successive years without manuring, almost without cultivation, removed with his goods, chattels, and slaves into the far West, to seek a spot where the fertility of the soil was more remunerating, where his toil would be diminished, and where he might follow the same system of negligent husbandry for the next twenty years to come. The course that Her Majesty's Government were taking, was this. In one breath they denied to the West Indian planters that labour which alone enabled them to produce sugar, and consequently, the power of manufacturing it in the most profitable manner, and yet the Ministers told them that the time had now arrived when their monopoly must cease, and the consumer must have cheap sugar, and their protection must be taken from them. Perhaps hon. Members were not aware that one-tenth of the sugar imported from the West Indies was lost in the passage from the drainage of molasses, and that the quality was also deteriorated. He had letters in his pocket from practical refiners which stated, that the sugar from foreign countries was superior to our West Indian sugar by 4s. to 5s. per cwt.; and that they preferred it at that advanced price, if this was the case, it afforded another reason why discriminating duties should be allowed for the different qualities of foreign sugar. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might object to his Amendment on the ground of revenue, but he thought that even on his right hon. Friend's own showing, he could prove to him, that the revenue would nut be so much deteriorated. He at least was convinced from the present state of the sugar market, considering the probable crops and the amount of sugar on band, that the revenue would not be much diminished by his amendment. [The hon. Member read a series of Returns and calculations to elucidate this point, and then continued.] Some hon. Gentlemen might object to the Amendment, because it was not proposed to come into operation till the 10th of November, and from the fear that it would embarrass the markets, but he could tell them, that the markets could not well be worse than they now were, for it was scarcely possible to sell sugar at all. He had received that morning a Resolution from the body of merchants engaged in the West India trade in this city, approving of his Amendment, and he hoped that their opinions would be entitled to some consideration, whatever might be the case with his own. Considering the very low state of the stocks in this country, the approach of the fruit season, the circumstance that the great consumption of sugar was by the wealthier classes, he could not but believe that a considerable consumption must take place between this and November, although there might be some trifling falling-off in expectation of the reduction which would then take place. He thought that the continuance of the cultivation of sugar, both in the East and West Indies, was of the greatest importance to this country. Our exports to the West Indies were not less than 3,000,000l. per annum. The shipping engaged in this trade was by no means small, nor were the contingent advantages derived from it unimportant. Centuries ago it had laid the foundation of our prosperity; it was the origin of our naval superiority; it had pointed out to the successive rulers of this country the importance both of colonies and commerce; and it was, in short, the great commencement of that colonial empire which was the envy and admiration of modern times, and which, since its establishment, had continued a steady and never-failing source of Revenue to this country. He wished the Chancellor of the Exchequer would pay a visit to his estates in that part of the world, and take his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade with him. He would then see that those noble isles would become one of the brightest possessions of the British Crown, if dealt with as they ought to be—he would remember on those shores that the great principle of Emancipation was first carried out, and he would then be the last person to wish that these islands should afford an example to the world of the non-success of that great experiment, and thus deter other nations from following our philanthropic example. He would then ask the right hon. Gentleman to pass over the neighbouring island of St. Domingo—to view the land which was formerly fertile cane fields, now overrun with wood and a total wilderness as regards its towns, the very spectres of their former grandeur—its diminished and impoverished population, emulating each other in idleness and inactivity—its deserted ports—its trade ruined—and which had at last, by its despotic tyranny, goaded the people into insurrection. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to consider this, and though he did not pretend to say that such would be the fate of the West Indies, yet he put to the right hon. Gentleman most seriously the question, whether the white population would remain in those islands when they could no longer compete with foreigners — whether they would not carry their capital, their skill, their energy to a better market, and leave those once fine possessions a miserable waste? Already several estates had been thrown up. Let the Government take care, that they did not increase the quantity. It was bad faith to abandon these colonies to their fate now, merely because they were Dot so necessary as formerly to our home trade. New outlets for our manufactures, new sources of revenue had arisen—and, therefore, they despised them. All he asked of the House was, to save those noble possessions, if not from total ruin, at least from the deep distress and great embarrassments with which they were threatened. He knew that the arguments which he had brought forward would meet with but little mercy from the Treasury Benches, and that they might be annihilated and scattered by the talent which would be arrayed against him; but it was not because he was not able to state them as forcibly as he wished, that he was the less convinced of their justice and truth, and that the protection for which he asked was neither exorbitant nor unfair. It was with great pain that he opposed a Government which he generally supported. From the Ministers he was aware that he could not ask for assistance. Might he ask for support from hon. Gentleman opposite. They, who had hitherto asked for cheap sugar, would they refuse to vote for it now because it gave to the West Indies an insignificant and inadequate protection. To the agricultural Members in that House he also appealed. He asked them to support the Colonies in their just demands for protection. The colonist stood in the same position as the English agriculturist—as a cultivator of the soil, the only difference was, that the farmer in this country grew wheat, and the farmer in the West Indies grew sugar. He begged to remind the agricultural Members, that if the protection of the colonists was diminished now, with their consent, it might soon be their turn to have their own protection diminished without the colonist moving a finger in their behalf. He begged to thank the Committee for the patience with which they had heard him, and concluded by moving the Amendment of which he had given notice:— That from and after the 10th day of November, 1844, the duty upon sugar, the produce of British possessions, be reduced to 20s. the cwt.; and, that the duties on sugar, certified to be the growth of China, Java, or Manilla, or of any foreign country, the sugar of which Her Majesty in Council shall have declared to be admissible, as not being the produce of slave-labour, shall be as follows,— namely, brown, Muscovado, or clayed, the cwt. 30s.; white clayed, or sugar otherwise prepared, and equivalent to white clayed sugar 34s. With 5 per cent. thereon.

Mr. Baillie

said,—Sir, I rise to second the Amendment which has just been submitted to the House by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, and in so doing I confess I cannot refrain from expressing my regret that Her Majesty's Ministers, if they deemed it necessary to make an alteration in the existing duties upon sugar, should not have done so upon a more enlarged and liberal scale; for I believe the measure which has been proposed by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer possesses the singular infelicity of disappointing all parties, and of pleasing none. It has disappointed the free trade party as a matter of course, because it will not give them cheap sugar; it has disappointed the West Indian body, because it is no settlement of the question, but leaves them in a state of doubt and uncertainty as to the future, which is most injurious to their interests: and lastly, it has disappointed that body which I admit has become somewhat attenuated, and no longer possesses the same political influence which it did formerly, but which still adheres to the principle that the Government of this country should not, under any circumstances, give encouragement, either directly or indirectly, to the Slave Trade. I have often heard it asserted by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that the existing Sugar Duties were maintained at the instance, and through the influence of the West India body, and I really should feel obliged if any hon. Gentleman would inform me what influence that body possesses either in this House or out of it, because if the West India body possess any influence, I feel persuaded they will use it upon the present occasion, in order to defeat this measure of Her Majesty's Ministers; the fact is, however, that the West India interest possesses no political influence whatever, and I feel persuaded that I do but express the sentiments and feelings of that body, as well as of all those connected with our sugar-producing Colonies, when I state that they are most anxious for a final settlement of this question, whatever that settlement may be. They no longer wish to be kept in a state of doubt and uncertainty as to their future fate; they wish to be enabled at once to decide whether it will be for their interest to carry on the cultivation of their estates or to adandon them; and there is nothing which they more utterly deprecate than a measure like the present, which must of necessity be only of a temporary nature. Various plans have at different times been proposed for a more satisfactory settlement and adjustment of the Sugar Duties; some of those plans have emanated from hon. Gentlemen opposite, who entertain very extreme opinions with regard to free trade; others, again, from those who are connected with our West India Colonies; but of all the plans which have from time to time been given to the public, not one, I believe, has met with more general disapprobation, or created more universal discontent, than the measure now proposed by Her Majesty's Ministers. As far as the West India body are concerned, I have no hesitation in saying, that they would infinitely prefer the plan which was some years ago proposed by Mr. M'Gregor, of the Board of Trade—viz., that a duty of 15s.. per cwt. should be placed upon all British plantation sugar, and 30s.. per cwt. upon the sugar of all other countries. Such a plan is at least plain and intelligible; if it does not give a great protection to the West India interest, it does not, at all events, encourage fraud. They would know, at least, what they had to expect, and if this plan were carried into effect, there cannot be a doubt that it would greatly reduce the price of sugar, that it would stimulate consumption, and that it would ultimately, with benefit to the consumer, add to the revenue of the State. What, then, are the objections which have been raised against this plan? The only objection hitherto urged has been one of principle, viz., that it would be a direct encouragement to the Slave Trade. There cannot be a doubt that it would be so; and so long as the principle of not giving encouragement to the Slave Trade was maintained by the Government, it was no doubt a very valid and a very justifiable argument; but the plan now proposed by Her Majesty's Ministers, if not a direct, is at least an indirect violation of that principle, and, if this be true, which I think I shall have little difficulty in proving, then I say that the great body of consumers in this country have a right to enjoy all those advantages of which hitherto they have been deprived, solely upon the ground of maintaining this principle, and for the maintenance of which the people of this country have made such great and such generous sacrifices. What I contend then is, that the measure proposed by Her Majesty's Ministers violates the principle, and that it does not give to the people all the advantages that might be derived from it. What would be the effect of this measure as regards the United States of America? It has already been admitted that the southern states of America produce annually about 50,000 tons of sugar, that is, about one-fourth the consumption of this country; but my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not seem inclined to admit the possibility of American sugar entering into competition in the markets of this country with the produce of our own Colonies, and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade seemed to treat with contempt the argument of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London with respect to American sugar; he seemed to think that it was preposterous and absurd to suppose that American sugar could be brought with profit to this country; but how did he sustain his argument? By misquoting the prices of American sugar; that is, by quoting the prices of New York instead of New Orleans. Why, who ever dreamed of sugar coming to this country from New York? The right hon. Gentleman stated that the price of sugar in America was from 35s. to 40s. per cwt., which was about the price in this country, and therefore that it was impossible for American sugar to come to England subject to the additional duty and freight. Now, it so happens that the price of sugar at New Orleans rarely exceeds 25s.. per cwt.; and I now hold in my band an extract from a New Orleans newspaper which I will take the liberty of reading to the House, both to show the usual price of sugar at that place as well as the great increase and development of sugar cultivation which has taken place within a few years in the state of Louisiana. The paper says— 5½ cents per lb. (which is equal to 25s. per cwt.) is very rarely procured for sugar, and never, we believe, when the crop is full; sugar in the United States is a subject of increasing interest: the demand is rapidly advancing; the state of Louisiana has 700 plantations, 525 in operation, producing annually about 90,000 hogsheads of 1,0001b. each; the protection afforded by a tariff has greatly increased the production of sugar in the United States; from 1816 to 1828 this increase was from 5,000 to 45,000 hogsheads. Now, the question is, whether the sugar of the southern states could be profitably exported to this country, because, being the produce of slave-labour, it ought not to be admitted, according to the principle laid down by Government. In reference to this subject I shall take the liberty of reading an extract from a letter which I have received from a gentlemen, whose name was mentioned when this subject was last discussed, as having addressed a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, viz. Mr. Innes; the arguments in that letter were to a certain extent answered by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, who attempted to obscure by a very laboured argument what appears to me to be a very simple proposition. Mr. Innes states— In my letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer I say, as the southern states are large exporters of cotton to this country, and ships loaded with cotton require to be supplied with dead weight or ballast, the sugar may be all shipped to this country at as little if not less freight than is charged for its conveyance to New York. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) met this argument by stating that cotton is shipped from New Orleans to New York as well as to Liverpool, and that the one must require ballast as much as the other. If the quantity of sugar shipped to New York was no greater than to ballast the cotton ships, this reply would be conclusive; but such is not the fact. The sugar shipped from New Orleans to New York so greatly exceeds the quantity required for ballast, that the very first ship in the New York Shipping List, now before me, dated the 15th ult., is the Sabine, with a cargo, consisting exclusively of sugar and molasses. In a letter I have received from Liverpool it is stated— That the cotton ships from New Orleans to that port bring lead at a nominal freight, or more generally for nothing, as ballast, and that lard is brought as ballast for about 1s. per cwt., which I presume would be about the freight of sugar, whereas the freight from Jamaica is 5s. per cwt. The argument that the United States may grant a bounty on exportation equal to the duty on foreign sugar remains unanswered; it is clear such bounty would not occasion any sacrifice of revenue to the United States, whilst it would give to their sugar a decided advantage in the markets of this country over the sugar of our own possessions. Mr. Gladstone indeed said, that in the event of such a measure being resorted to it would be competent to this country to put an end to the treaty with the United States on twelve months' notice, but he did not add that such notice should be given. It is quite clear, then, that we place it in the power of the United States to send sugar to this country at a less price than is charged upon the sugar the produce of our own Colonies. It is quite immaterial whether any such Custom House regulation as that alluded to exists at present or not, since it is evident that if it suits the commercial interests of the United States, such a law may very soon be enacted, as it may be without injury to the revenue; and thus we shall not only receive the produce of slave-labour, but the vacuum created in the United States will be filled up from Cuba and Brazil, and we should thus give direct encouragement to the Slave Trade in those countries where for the last twenty years it has been carried on with the greatest activity and the greatest perseverance, and whose Governments even at this moment are giving open encouragement and protection to that trade; for by the last accounts received from Havannah, it is stated that the Slave Trade is openly encouraged and protected by the new Governor General, O'Donnell, and that there never were before at any period so great a number of slave ships fitting out at the port of Havannah, and this in spite of your threatened squadron upon the coast of Africa, which, I doubt not, will turn out, as all your previous efforts have done, to be utterly abortive; for when I see that, in spite of an army of Custom House officers and preventive-service men, with revenue cutters upon every point, you are unable to prevent smuggling from the coast of France—when I know that in spite of all your precaution goods may be obtained from France through the smuggler at a cost, I believe, of not more than 10 per cent.—when I know this, I cannot believe that a squadron of ships, even under the command of that experienced and able officer Captain Denman, will enable you to put down smuggling upon a coast of not less than 5,000 miles in extent. And now I should be glad to ask a question of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government of considerable importance to the West India interest, viz., whether it is his intention hereafter to make a treaty of commerce with the Brazils, because, if he does entertain any such intention, it is obvious that the first Article of that Treaty must be to place the Brazils upon the footing of the most favoured nation; no independent country would make a Treaty upon any other terms, and thus the sugar of Brazil would be admitted at a differential duty of 10 per cent. If the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to state that he will not make such a Treaty, the argument, of course, falls to the ground. I cannot suppose, however, that he is prepared to make any such absurd declaration; and what is the consequence? You leave the unfortunate planter in doubt and uncertainty from day to day, and from month to month, whether this new combination may not arise under your Bill, most injurious to his interests; and then you expect that the merchants of this country, in the face of these difficulties, are to embark fresh capital in order to bring labour to the West Indies from India and China. You may be perfectly satisfied that no man of sane mind will embark in any such speculations, your emigration scheme will now be a dead letter, and I understand that those planters who did intend to avail themselves of the permission to obtain labourers from Singapore have now relinquished all such intentions. If this, then, be a true representation of the real state of the case,—if these are the consequences likely to result from this measure, if it is calculated to give impulse either directly or indirectly to the Slave Trade, then I say that the people of this country have a just right to complain of the tortuous course adopted by Her Ma- jesty's Ministers. The West India body have a right to complain, because this is no settlement of the question, and the measure evidently contemplates further changes; and the Government ought at least to have been able to make out a strong case,—they ought at least to have been able to show-that a great necessity existed, that a great deficiency of supply was to be expected this year, in order to justify a measure which cannot be regarded in any other light than a mere temporary experiment; they have not attempted so to do, because they knew the very contrary to be the case. The supply from the Colonies last year exceeded the consumption of the country by 2,000 tons. On the 1st of January there were 46,000 tons in hand, and this year 13,000 tons more are expected from India than were imported last year; at least 5,000 more are expected from the Mauritius, and an equal importation is expected from the West Indies, notwithstanding a partial deficiency from the island of Jamaica, and that upon this ground there is no justification for a partial or temporary measure. If it is necessary for this country to raise a large revenue from sugar, common sense would dictate to us to endeavour to raise that revenue as much as possible upon foreign sugar, and not upon the produce of our own Colonies that is the only way in which we can give encouragement to free labour. No foreign country can have a right to complain of this, more especially when it is considered that the produce of our own Colonies is raised at so much greater an expense by free-labour, and that the sugar of foreign countries is raised for the most part by slave-labour; such a course would at least be intelligible, straightforward, and honest,—it is the course which I feel perfectly convinced will ultimately be adopted in this country; in the meantime, however, by a vacillating and uncertain policy, you will bring misery and destitution upon thousands of hapless individuals, for by keeping the unfortunate Colonists in a state of doubt and uncertainty as to the future, you will keep alive false hopes and false expectations; you will induce them, as you have induced them for some years past, to spend their last resources in the vain attempt to carry on under the existing system the cultivation of their estates, and you will thus lead them, step by step, into that irretrievable state of ruin in which I fear now they must be ultimately overwhelmed.

Mr. Ewart

said, that the proposition before the House was very clear and simple. It consisted in reducing the duty on a certain class of sugars, namely, Muscovado sugars to 20s., and other sugars to 30s. Now he thought that the same distinction should be made between our own white clay sugars and Muscovado sugars that were made between foreign sugars of the same description, for as the proposition now stood, it was but little calculated to stimulate the consuming power, and he could not therefore support it. He quite agreed with the hon. Member who seconded the Motion as to the tortuous course which the Government had pursued upon this subject, but he felt satisfied at the same time, that the question could never be settled to the satisfaction of the public, or the benefit of the revenue, until the duty on all sugars of home or foreign-grown should be equalised.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that it was very natural that his two hon. Friends the Mover and Seconder of the proposition before the House, should be desirous of expressing their opinions on the principle of the Bill, notwithstanding the previous discussions it had undergone interested as they both were in the well-being of our West India Colonies. But, at the same time, he must say that speeches upon the principle of the Bill did not well apply to the resolution before the House that evening; and if he did not go through those arguments again, it was only because he felt that they did not apply to the question then before them. Did not his hon. Friends see that every objection they urged against the Government measure, bore as strongly against their own resolution? His hon. Friends must feel this in their own minds, when they came to a reconsideration of the subject. He would recall to the recollection of the House what passed on a former occasion when he made his financial statement for the year. He then submitted to the House the state of the revenue and expenditure of the country, and the course which the Government intended to pursue with reference to both. He pointed out the impossibility in the present Session of making any large reductions of duty, because it would be necessary in the next Session to consider whether or not the Property Tax should be continued, and the Government did not feel that it would be just or reasonable to fetter the judgment of Parliament as to the continuance of the Property Tax next Session by any reduction of duty in the present that would so seriously affect the revenue as to leave Parliament no alternative. It was undoubtedly true that there were some individual objections made to his statement at the time; but he believed that generally it received the concurrence and confirmation of the House, as being, on the whole, the best arrangement that could be arrived at. Not only was there a general concurrence in the views of the Government on that occasion, but the reasons assigned for not making any material change in the duties on sugar were deemed satisfactory on the ground that it was improper this year to deal with so large a question of revenue and that it was necessary to provide in the present state of the market for an increased supply of sugar on the termination of the treaty with the Brazils. He called these circumstances to the recollection of the House to show that he then stated the same reasons against any reduction of duty which he now urged against the resolution of his hon. Friend. The effect of the proposition of his hon. Friend would be not to benefit the consumer, but to put money into the pocket of the intermediate parties between the consumer and the planter. He was glad to find that the resolution of his hon. Friend accorded with the views of the Government so far as to the admission of free sugar after the termination of the Brazilian treaty on the 10th of November, and so far as the estimate made by the Government as to the degree of protection that ought to be given to the West Indies. ["No."] Why surely the resolution proposed the same differential duties that the Government proposed, but with a very different effect upon the revenue. No greater protection could be given by a differential duty of 20s.. and 30s., than by one of 24s. and 34s., and therefore, both in the view of his hon. Friends and of the Government, a 10s.. protective duty was adequate. What, then, could be the advantage of adopting the resolution before the House? None whatever to the consumer, and a loss to the revenue of the country. By the proposition of the Government, his hon. Friends admitted that the consumer would benefit a halfpenny in the pound. Would their resolution give him a greater benefit? It must be recollected, that when that proposition was made, there was reason founded upon the consideration of facts connected with past years to apprehend a short supply of sugar. In 1843, the quantity calculated on was 220,000 tons, but the actual quantity imported was only 204,000. Now, as the quantity consumed in the last year had been 203,000 tons, nearly equal to the whole quantity imported, there was every reason to expect a large increase of consumption for the year 1844. The total supply for that year calculated on from our own possessions was 220,000 tons, about the same quantity that was calculated on in the year 1843. There would be a large decrease, he had himself reason to know in the produce of Jamaica, as the crops there had fallen short on various estates, and many estates had been given up altogether. Therefore they had reason to calculate on a deficiency of supply when from the great improvement that had taken place in the manufacturing districts there was a just expectation that the consumption would be largely increased. It was also seen that prices were progressively advancing, and it therefore became the duty of the Government to provide for the probable wants of the country by the introduction of a further supply. It was not at the same time proposed to introduce such a large quantity of sugar as could seriously affect, still less overwhelm as it was said, the West India planters. There could not be any importation of sugar from Java or Manilla for several months, and as certificates of origin were required to accompany their sugar, a considerable period must elapse before any supply could be had from any distant quarter. That part of the proposition of his hon. Friend which went to give notice that a reduction of the duty on British sugar would take place in November, would be attended with very injurious effects. No man would purchase sugar or increase his stock until the reduction actually took place, and the consequence would be, that the trade would during the interval be completely paralysed, and the market stinted in supply; and this would occur, too, at a period of the year when sugar would be in most demand, because it was the period at which it was required for the preservation of fruit. On the whole, then, his conviction was, that his hon. Friend greatly overrated the advantage which he calculated to the British sugar grower from his proposal, and equally underrated the injury likely to be produced to the consumer as well as to the revenue of the country. It was objected to the measure of the Government that it imposed an equal differential duty of 10s.. upon all foreign free labour sugar without distinction as to equality. But he (The Chancellor of the Exchequer) had stated as the result of his examination that there was no greater difference in equality between the high and low priced sugars of Java and Manilla than between the high and low priced sugars of British production, and if it were fair to impose an equal duty upon all British sugars, that principle would not be carried out unless it were also applied to the foreign sugars with which they competed. Another objection on points of detail had been made by hon. Members. It had been said by the hon. Member for Dumfries, that the time had been when a distinction was made as to the duties imposed on the different classes of British sugar. The hon. Member for Dumfries had therefore contended that there should be such a distinctive duty; but the difficulty of drawing the line between the various descriptions of British sugar had been the reason why it had been abandoned. Now, the difficulty—whatever it might have been formerly—must be enhanced by the resolution of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman said, let there be a light duty upon brown Muscovado, and upon white clay a duty of 34s.. Now he had consulted, during his examination of this subject, many of the most experienced officers of the Customs, and they had informed him that there was the greatest difficulty in drawing the line between white clayed sugar and a description of sugar slightly refined which was not admissible. Commercial Members would know that many cases had occurred in which certain sugars had approached so near refinement that a question had been raised whether it was or was not admissible. The white clayed was a new distinction, and the new difficulty would arise of drawing the line between clayed and white clayed. There was a risk to the British grower that refined sugar would come into competition with colonial sugar — and there was a risk to the revenue that the one would be substituted for the other. But with respect to the risk as to the introduction of white clayed sugar in great quantities from countries which the resolution admitted, he had made inquiry, with the view of ascertaining whether the general quality of sugars in Java and Manilla, was such as to give a superiority over those now introduced into the British market. Now there was no commodity from the best equivalent to the fine sugar of Havannah, and, therefore, having laid down the principle that the medium duty on British sugar ought to apply to foreign, he did not see the necessity for this additional item in the tariff, creating, as each additional item necessarily would, doubt and difficulty, and with them injury to the buyers and sellers of the article. Whether it might be possible to draw a more definite distinction between the classes of British and foreign sugar was a question into which he would not enter. If it were possible, it was a subject well worthy of consideration. At one time, in an earlier period of his life, he had brought forward a resolution in that House with that tendency, but it had not been favourably received, and he had not persisted in it. He had, however, the consolation of a subsequent confession from Lord Sydenham that the attempt was praiseworthy, and that he regretted that he had ever opposed it. This admission of former opponents to his resolution—that it had some merit—led him to be not so much terrified by the combination by which his present measure had been attacked. He believed that reflection now, as then, would lead to a change of opinion. His hon. Friend behind him had told him that this measure, admitting free-labour sugar, had caused great alarm to the Legislatures of the West Indian Colonies, and he had referred to an address of the Legislature of Jamaica. If his hon. Friend had read that address —as no doubt he had—he would see that it expressed no opinion unfavourable to the principle of the Bill— that sugar, the produce of free labour, should be admitted into the markets of this country. They prayed that "sugar, the produce of slave labour, should not be admitted;" but this exclusive and particular reference to slave-labour sugar — this request that such sugar should not be admitted—justified the inference that they were not desirous of excluding sugar the produce of free labour. His hon. Friend had entered into many topics rather applicable to general principles than to the immediate question before the Committee. Those questions were disposed of by the resolution which the hon. Gentleman had proposed, for that resolution admitted the same principle as that upon which the measure of the Government was established, viz., not only that foreign free-labour sugar should be admitted upon a differential duty, but upon that very differential duty which the Govern- ment had proposed. The hon. Gentleman had referred to free-trade. He knew that there was much objection to that phrase upon the part of many hon. Members; but it was not because that phrase had excited obloquy, in consequence of the manner in which it had been used, that he should be deterred from doing that which was reasonable and just to all classes of the country. It was because he had attempted to do justice to all classes and to all interests—to the revenue, to the producer, and to the consumer— that he had laid him self open to so many complaints. When they discussed the question of protection, he would repeat what he had before stated, that in the present state of the country, and with a due attention to the various interests which had grown up under existing laws, it was not for the benefit of any party either to abrogate all protection, or on the other hand to press for extravagant protection. He had selected the sum mentioned in both resolutions as the amount of differential duty because he thought that the Colonies of the country were fairly entitled to that amount of protection against free-labour sugar, and because he thought that, though the Bill was only for an annual duty, that amount could be permanently maintained. He thought it better for that body to give to them the present scale of protection with a fair prospect of permanence, than, by granting them a larger amount of protection now, to make further reductions hereafter. It was personally painful to him to be placed in opposition to the feelings and wishes of those with which he had a common interest, and towards many of whom he entertained great personal regard. He could assure them that he acted upon the firm impression that the measure was more for their ultimate interest than the resolution proposed by themselves—that it would be most adverse to their interests to throw any difficulties in the way of an increase of general consumption —that it would be the worst thing that could happen to them, if the price of sugar were raised to the price which it bore at an antecedent period — and that whatever claim they had to indulgence — however much they had suffered from the sudden abolition of apprenticeship—yet that the feeling of the country was so strong that individual interests must give way to public good, that he did not think it safe for individual interest to risk the failure of the present Bill or to hold out for a protection which was not consonant with the general wishes or the general welfare. He still believed that the measure was a sound one—that it would not prove adverse to the permanent interests of the West Indian body—and, being for a limited period, he trusted that it would receive the approval of the House.

Mr. Labouchere

said, the speech which had just been made by the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed the impression which he had expressed when the right hon. Gentleman made his financial statement, namely, that Government wished the House to understand that next year it would be their duty to submit to the consideration of Parliament the whole of the financial and commercial condition of the country, and to call upon them to consider whether it was or was not expedient to continue the Income Tax, and, if so, what qualification of our commercial system it might be necessary at the same time to introduce. It would be desirable that, in proposing any alteration in the Sugar Duties, Government should at the same time submit the other question, whether or not the Income Tax should be continued for a short time longer, and also what other qualifications of our commercial policy should be made. But by taking the Sugar Duties as an isolated question, and leaving the Income Tax uncertain as to what course might be taken in regard to it in the next Session, the House and the country were placed under great disadvantages in coming to the discussion of the present measure. Though he was not an advocate for abandoning the Sugar Duties as a great and important source of revenue in the present circumstances of the country, he thought it would have been more desirable for the sake of the consumer, of the colonists, of our foreign trade, and of the revenue itself, to ascertain whether it might not be a safe and successful experiment, even in the matter of revenue, to reduce the duty both upon foreign and colonial sugar. If it could be done consistently with the public credit, that was the kind of reduction which would, he thought, most recommend itself to both sides of the House; and, as far as the Colonies were concerned, he believed it would be the means of giving to them the most useful and permanent assistance, by extending the consumption of sugar in this country, while it would be of very considerable advantage in stimulating foreign trade; and in a few years he doubted not but that it would be found sound and successful, even in regard to the revenue. But that was a question which they could not, he admitted, advantageously consider apart from the other question to which he had referred, which the right hon. Gentleman had, as he thought, improperly deferred till the next Session. The House, however, could not now help themselves; they were now in Committee on the Sugar Duties Bill, and must discuss the various points as they arose, in the best way they could. For himself, he should support the Motion of the hon. Member for Bristol. When that hon. Gentleman first gave notice of his Motion, and proposed to reduce the duty on colonial sugar, but not on foreign sugar, he said at once he could not support it. Such a proposition would have been, no doubt, a measure of relief to the planters, but it would not have benefitted the consumers of this country. Consequently he could not support any Motion such as the hon. Gentleman had in the first instance given notice of; but he had stated at the same time his regret that the Government did not propose to reduce the duty on colonial as well as foreign sugar, and that he considered the colonists had a right to expect that if it could be done consistently with revenue considerations, as he thought it could, some reduction should be made in the duty on colonial sugar; therefore, finding the proposition of the hon. Gentleman for that purpose in a tangible shape before the Committee, he felt bound to support it. He did not, however, mean to say, that this was precisely the scheme he should have proposed; but that was not the question. The question was between the Government plan and that of the hon. Member for Bristol, and he preferred the latter. It was an important point in the consideration of the subject, how the proposition of the hon. Member would affect the interests of the British consumer; and he must say he was astonished when he heard the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer assert that, as compared with the Government plan, the proposal of the hon. Member for Bristol would be injurious to the British consumer. As to the permanence of the plan, he would ask, was the Bill of the Government a Sugar Duty Bill for one year or not? If Government intended to re-open the question next year, and make the present a mere temporary scheme to bolster up the revenue till it should be re-considered with other questions of commercial policy and the Income Tax, never was there a course proposed by a Government more unwise or more unjust to the mercantile and commercial interests of the country. The language which the Government had held, and the course they had adopted, had paralyzed all trade, no man believing that their present scheme would continue in operation for more than a year. But the Government seemed to think, that if they could by any means manage to keep up the revenue during the present year, they would next year come forward with a full Exchequer, and then ask the House to decide what changes should be made, and whether these, with other existing duties, should continue or not. If this were the intention of the Government, they had, he thought, trifled with some of the most important interests of the country. He thought it was impossible for any man to hold the argument, that as regarded the interest of the British consumer, the proposal of the hon. Member for Bristol was worse than that of the Government. In his opinion it was the better of the two, and he would state the reasons why he thought so. It was believed by some hon. Gentlemen that the description of sugar— free-labour sugar—that would be derived from Java, Siam, and Manilla, would be sugar in a higher state of refinement than would come in from other places, and subject to the 34s.. duty, and therefore the proposal would be not very advantageous to the British consumer. He, on the contrary, considered that the principal part of the sugar would be brown or Muscovado, which would come in at the 30s. duty, and that the public would have the advantage. He agreed in the opinion which, he believed, obtained generally in the mercantile world, that to attempt to exclude foreign slave sugar by means of certificates of origin was absurd, and that consequently the distinction drawn in the new rate of duties between slave-labour sugar and free-labour sugar, would, in effect, be a perfect illusion. He had no doubt whatever that the sugar of Cuba, the Brazils, and other slave-labour states, would find its way here under the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman. While upon this subject, he must observe, with respect to the principle of the Bill, that it was to exclude slave-labour sugar, and subject the country to all the evils which must result to any country being on bad terms with other states, and quarrelling with its best customers, and this for the sake of discouraging slave labour, and encouraging slave labour produce. That was the object of the Bill, but it would not be attained; and, what was remarkable, no Minister had yet risen to say he believed it would be attained. The right hon. the President of the Board of Trade had said, that if slave labour produce should come in under the Bill our consciences will be free. [Mr. Gladstone: I said nothing of the kind.] He understood the right hon. Gentleman to express himself to that effect in answer to his noble Friend the Member for London. But whether or not that slave-labour sugar would come in almost to as great an extent as if it were openly and at once admitted by the measure, he had but very little doubt, and he believed that was the opinion generally entertained by persons competent to form an opinion upon the subject. What was the opinion of the Havannah planters and merchants? He would read an extract from a Price Current of May 9th, published in the Havannah, showing the opinion there entertained after the Government measure had been announced. [Mr. Gladstone: The Government measure could not have been known at the Havannah on the 9th of May.] No; but it was pretty well understood there what the nature of the plan would be after the debate on the Brazilian Treaty. He would read from the Price Current to which he had before alluded what a Brazilian merchant said in writing to his correspondent, as to the effect of the Bill on Cuba sugar:— During the past month purchases of sugar have been made at higher prices, for the European markets, in consequence of the London advices of 16th March, when the hope was coufidently expressed of an alteration in the English duties, calculated (although indirectly) to improve the position of Havannah sugars in Europe. He had in his hand a statement of the average prices in bond of the various descriptions of sugar, founded upon the current prices of the months of May, June, July, and August, in the last five years, and he found that, in those months of the last year, the average price of Java, Manilla, and Siam sugar of all kinds, that was, brown Muscovado and white clayed, was 19s.. a cwt. The price of Brazilian sugar, during the same months, was— white, 23s.; yellow, 17s. 6d.; and the price of Havannah sugar, was—white, 28s.; yellow, 19s. Now, the consequence he deduced from those figures was, that the greater part of the sugar, the produce of Java, Manilla, and Siam, in bond, at that time, must have more closely resembled the low price brown sugar than the white clayed sugar—and this was the reason why he thought, if the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol were adopted, we should have a large supply of the brown Muscovado sugar at the lower, or 30s.. duty, instead of white clayed sugar at 34s., and that the consumer would have the benefit of the difference. So much as regarded the interests of the consumer. He was not, indeed, inclined to consider the question solely upon these grounds. The interests of the British planter had also a claim for consideration. He had never, he believed, been inclined to push that claim to undue lengths, but at the same time he would never refuse to listen to it. He was glad, however, upon this occasion that he could support a plan which he believed reconciled the interests of the colonists with those of the home consumer. It was, he repeated, an additional reason why he should support the amendment, that he could give his vote consistently with the interests of either party. Then with respect to the question of revenue. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not even affected to feel the slightest alarm as to the consequence of the proposed measure upon the revenue, and he did not anticipate any. But the circumstances under which Government had obliged them to discuss the question was a reason why the House should not venture upon any large reduction of duties, or any very important changes. No one, however, could say that the Motion proposed would be one dangerous to the revenue. He trusted that upon the next Clause they would have some more satisfactory explanation from Government than they had yet received relating to the certificates as to the free growth of foreign sugar, and the reasons which induced Government to believe that any credit could be attached to these certificates. For his own part, he believed that such a system as that proposed to be introduced by means of them had never entered into the heads of any Government except those of the present administration. The more he considered the certificate system, the more he was astonished at its being gravely propounded to the House. Only think of the circumstances in which it would place a Consul in a foreign slave-growing state. At New Orleans, for example, one gentle- man would swear that the sugar was free grown upon his estate, another that he was the shipper. There would be no lack of affidavits upon any point, and the result would be, that the poor Consul would be placed in a most perplexing predicament. Then, take the case of a ship laden with New Orleans sugar arriving here. They might have every reason to believe that it was slave-grown, and accordingly they would refuse it admittance. What would be the consequence? The next day the American Minister would come down, demand that the sugar should be admitted, and insist that they should prove that it was not the produce of America, as the affidavits produced declared it to be. See what difficulties they were plunging themselves into. Such an impracticable scheme never was proposed. Why it was not consistent with their conduct towards their own Colonies. They admitted sugars from certain Presidencies in India, but they insisted upon certificates of origin, signed by their own officers in these Presidencies. He remembered, upon a former occasion, having had much difficulty in inducing the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to accede to a change in the rum duties, because the certificates were to be signed, not by imperial officers of customs, but by officers in the service of the East India Company. But now the right hon. Gentleman was willing to leave this duty to foreign officials, checked only by the visa of our unfortunate consul. Again, they did not allow persons in India to send sugar into this country unless foreign sugar were excluded from their ports. This regulation prevented fraud—it prevented the fraudulent substitution of foreign sugar at these ports. But how completely was the principle upon which these precautions were taken thrown overboard by the present proposition ! He thought that nothing could better show its hollowness and delusion. In voting for the amendment, he could only do so as comparing it with the scheme of Government. One vice was common to both—that of supposing that they could draw a distinction between free and slave labour sugar. This was what they could not effect, and what they ought not to attempt. Any effort of the sort was fraught with evil consequences. If, at any future stage of the Bill, it should be pro-posed that foreign sugar, whether grown in Cuba or Manilla, should be put upon the same footing, he would support that proposition; for although the House had already negatived it, he did hope that hon. Gentlemen, who had attended to the declarations made to-night by the hon. Members representing the West India interest— to the effect that they had no belief in the power of Government to draw this distinction—that the great mercantile communities, which they, in many instances, represented, entertained the same opinion—he did hope that these hon. Gentlemen who had, on the late occasion on which it was discussed, supported Government upon the point, would hesitate before adopting the same course were that point again brought before the House. The evils, which the attempt to make the distinction in question would give rise to, were great and clear. It was not a light matter to insult and irritate great communities with which it was our interest to be on good terms politically and commercially. He called upon them to put the Sugar Duties upon the only permanent and rational footing on which they could rest—by fixing at once the amount of duty to be paid by colonial and foreign sugar, and giving up the absurd attempt to distinguish between slave and free grown produce. It was of the most vital importance to attempt a permanent settlement of the question. Depend upon it, it was more important that the matter should be put upon a secure and permanent footing, than that a shilling or two, more or less, should be added to or taken away from differential duties. Under bad systems of commercial legislation many nations, he believed, had flourished, but never under a system of constant tinkering and alteration. The results of the present measure would be such as it was impossible to anticipate. No one could tell what its operation would be. It would not depend upon the known movements of commerce, but upon the ingenuity which could be exhibited in eluding the regulations which they sought to set up. Such a measure could not be expected to be permanent. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said, that if the Brazils and Cuba were to consent to certain alterations in the slave trade, that the prohibition upon their produce would be removed. What was there of permanency in a measure accompanied by such declarations? He felt no hesitation in giving his vote in favour of the amendment of the hon. Gentleman, because it combined a reduction of duty both on foreign and colonial sugar, which must be of benefit to the consumer, with that encouragement to consumption, which was a fair relief to the West India proprietor.

Mr. Godson

was glad that they had at last agreed that some permanent and lasting arrangement should be come to with respect to the matter under discussion, so that—the rates of duty being clearly and permanently fixed—every one would know whether or not he could prudently venture money in the trade. He could not approve of the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol. It would not in the slightest degree assist the West-India planters. The reduction of 4s. per cwt. would find its way neither to the planter nor the general consumer, but into the pockets of the wholesale and retail grocers. It would thus benefit neither consumer nor raiser. But until a reduction, such as he expected next year, of 14s. or 15s.. per cwt. in the duty on Colonial sugar should take place, so that they could bring in a new class of consumers, unless they were to have such a reduction as this, they could not increase the revenue, and at the same time diminish protection. Were the duty reduced to 14s. or 15s.. then there would be a real benefit conferred both upon consumer and planter. The effect of the present proposition would be, were it carried, to introduce 4,000 or 5,000 tons at the end of the year. That would not lower prices to any great extent. In the spring of next year would come on the discussion on the Income Tax, and about that time they would know what differential duties were to be permanently imposed, so that the produce of next year would come in upon those duties. The question had been asked, why any difference should be made between foreign and colonial sugars? The answer seemed very plain. It was part of their own policy to give a profit to their own countrymen rather than to foreigners. Then what was the difference in cost of the foreign and native grown sugar? Foreign sugar was grown at a cost of 12s. per cwt.; add to this 5s.. for expenses in bringing it here, and thus 17s.. became the average value of foreign sugars. Now, they could not grow West-India sugar under 30s. per cwt.; 28s. was the lowest estimate. And why was this? An estate in Jamaica was cultivated at the same proportionate expense as an estate in England. All the agricultural implements used were brought from England. The wages paid to the labourers and artizans were upon the same scale as those paid in England. They paid in addition all the taxes which were paid in this country. They paid their highway-rate, their poor-rate, and for the support of their Church Establishment. Indeed, in Jamaica, they paid not only the Clergymen of the Established Church, but the Roman Catholic priests. They contributed also towards the Army and the Government of the Island. Paying, then, similar charges to those exacted in this country and being liable to similar expenses, he thought that they had a right to preference before foreigners in the disposal of their produce. And besides, the amount realized by that produce was subjected to English taxes: so that not only was the produce taxed in one country, but the means of production in the other. Under these circumstances, he did think that they had a right to a favourable differential duty. What that duty should be he was not prepared exactly to state—whether it should be 10s. 12s., or 15s.. But a distinction should always be made between Muscovado and clayed sugars, owing to the different value of the two articles arising from the different process employed in their production, and the distinction, although repudiated by a Committee of the House, was sanctioned by Mr. M'Gregor. The present discussion he took to be nothing more than a rehearsal of what would happen next year. He expected a much larger reduction than the present to be then proposed. Were he to vote for the 20s.. duty now, he should be precluded from voting for a further reduction next year. His vote, were he to give it, would be taken as a pledge; and he repeated that he did not look at this discussion in any other light than as a rehearsal of that of next year. But in dealing with this question they should not forget the sacrifices which they had made for the abolition of slavery in their Colonies, and that they were also legislating between their own people and foreigners. The differential duty to be imposed should be the amount of difference of expense incurred in raising foreign and colonial sugars. The plan of the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Bristol, he repeated, he could not agree to. It would benefit no interest—neither revenue, consumer, nor producer, and he should therefore vote against it.

Mr. Bernal

said, his hon. and learned Friend had stated, that they must have a final and general settlement of this question in the course of the next Session, and with that happy prospect before him, his hon. and learned Friend was induced not to take part with his hon. Friend the Member for Bristol; but he was surprised that his hon. and learned Friend had not addressed a little consideration and reflection to this point—whether with the chance of an eventual and permanent settlement, it was wise on the part of the Government to introduce the present measure? If his hon. and learned Friend was such a friend to a general settlement, and having one permanent and solid basis on which all fiscal and political considerations connected with this question ought to rest, how came his hon. and learned Friend to be so enamoured of the present temporary scheme? How did he justify the Government in introducing a tide of uncertainty and confusion amongst the great mercantile operations and concerns of the country upon this important question? He took the argument of his hon. and learned Friend to be quite conclusive. He did not remember having ever voted upon this question, nor would he have voted now, had not the Motion of his hon. Friend proposed to reduce the duty for the benefit of the public at large. When his hon. and learned Friend said he expected a larger protection than 10s., he would tell him to dismiss that from his mind. From what class of statesmen did he expect this happy consequence to follow? Could his hon. and learned Friend, with this prospect of happiness before him, tell him whence it was to emanate? From what new class of politicians—from Old England or Young England—from Old West Indians, or Young West Indians? from what part of the world or of that House was it to come? They must lock their difficulties in the face—it was idle to pretend that they would get a larger protection than 10s. from any Administration. But when his hon. and learned Friend spoke of the danger they were incurring by. voting for this Motion, as if they were thereby bound to the 20s., he saw no pledge in the matter, nor did he consider that he should be bound here after by having stated that he could not expect a larger protection than 10s., and he therefore should vote for his hon. Friend's Motion. A great deal had been hinted that evening, that there was some covert danger, some concealed conspiracy as to the 34s., as applicable to sugar from Manilla, Java, and other free-labour countries. He knew nothing of any such conspiracy—he was party to none. All he had endeavoured to do was to get all the information he could, and he believed there was no conspiracy or shadow of one. Unfortunately, this subject was little known, but it had been very ably explained in a letter from Mr. Gladstone, which had appeared in that morning's papers. Now, with respect to what was called clayed sugar, he would in a few words explain what it meant. The sugar, after boiling, was put into earthen vessels, and a quantity of humid clay being placed upon the top, the water gradually dropped through, and the impurities of the saccharine matter were drawn off. The upper part of the sugar was then called white clayed sugar, the middle part yellow clayed sugar, and the bottom part brown clayed sugar. The consequence of the process was this: that the top, or the white clayed sugar, appeared to a certain degree to be refined, and when packed and sent over to this country, cost less in the carriage than the other kinds. Now, it was calculated in Mr. Gladstone's letter, that sugar of this kind, called white clayed sugar, would give out of every 1121b. about 801b. of refined sugar on the average, whilst the same quantity of Muscovado would give only 681b., making a difference of 121b. That 121b. of refuse would fetch only 3d. or 3½d. a-pound, making altogether 3s. 6d.; whilst the 121b. of white clayed sugar would fetch 8½d. a-pound, or in all 12s. 6d.; so that the difference between the two out of 1121b. would be 9s., and that would immediately reduce the protective duty 5s. Now, they were as well aware of those facts in Havannah, as they were in that House. It had surprised him very much to hear from the hon. Member for Dumfries, that the difference of duties of which he had spoken had been removed at the intercession of the East-India planters, and he, for one, upon the strength of his impression, would venture to state, that such had not been the case. Leaving, however, the consideration of those points, he would point out the technical difficulties in its operation which the present measure would be exposed to, and would assert, that if the Bill were to be sent forth in its present state, the consequence would be, that most grievous injury would ensue not only to East, but West-Indian planters, from the practical deficiencies in its details and working. He would also point to the danger of the Siam sugar being admitted into the market as crushed lumps, a danger against which the Bill did not provide. He did not consider himself bound by his vote on this question, save in so much as it resulted from his conviction, that the principle of protection would be limited to 10s., and that no further amount could be expected for some time to come. In conclusion, he called the attention of the House to the great wrongs under which the interests he represented were labouring. He ventured to assure them, that he was by no means prepared to submit to the great injustice done to the West-Indian proprietary in excluding rum from the markets of Ireland and Scotland, by means of the present most ridiculous differential duty. Nor would he be at all contented with other branches of the same system, which in effect excluded molasses, another product of the West-India Colonies, from the large markets which would otherwise be opened for that article in the distilleries and breweries of those countries.

Mr. Bouverie

said, that with regard to the existence of a conspiracy among the West-Indian planters, in which the hon. Member who last sat down had so strenuously denied any participation, he thought there was very strong evidence indeed. The proofs of that conspiracy were undeniable, for the parties implicated had held their meetings, and published statements and letters in the newspapers supporting their views. Whether that were really the case or not, he could not agree with the arguments they had adduced in support of their proposition; and he would vote with the Government on the present question, because he thought that it was his duty in considering it to look at the nature of the answers which the contending parties could give to this inquiry,— "How can we raise money with the greatest facility for purposes of state, and with the least burden upon the people?" He looked upon all duties with a. view to this question, and he thought it was most expedient that the sum raised by these means should not go into the pockets of any class, but should proceed at once into the coffers of the State. In his opinion the differential duties of 1841 gave a monopoly to the West-Indian planters, and bestowed upon them a bonus equal to the whole amount of the difference of duty between that upon foreign and West-India sugar, and the adoption of this proposed differential duty of 4s.d. would take away about 818,000l., from Stale purposes, and give it, by way of bonus, to those persons for whose sake he could not consider that they were called upon to give the preference to the smaller sum over the proposed amount of 10s 6d. Indeed, he did not, he must confess, see that the House was at all called upon to consider the peculiar interests of those gentlemen, under the circumstances which brought them before the House. If they were in a state of high felicity, if "all went merry as a marriage bell" with them, he could understand the complaints they might make if any attempt were made to infringe upon their privileges; but such was not the case. Under a system of protection their murmurs were loud and universal, and it would not do, in the present state of things, for those gentlemen to get up, and trusting to the unfortunately short memories of hon. Members, to tell the House that it was the abolition of slavery which caused all their misfortunes. That statement would not avail them, for it was to be recollected that long before the passing of the measure of emancipation, and at a time when their monopoly was, or ought to have been, much more profitable, those same gentlemen had made the very same complaints of destitution and distress. As all their various forms of protection had failed, he would most heartily advise them to try what free trade could do for them. That principle had answered in the other things, and he could not see why that which had been applied so successfully to silk could not be equally beneficial to sugar. According to their own statements, the planters could not be worse off than they were at present, and he would most strongly recommend them to join with him in equalizing the duties.

Mr. F. Baring

said, that he was not at all surprised that the Chancellor of the Exchequer in considering the present question should have been disposed to confine his argument to the proposition before the House. When one recollected the arguments used in opposing his measure in 1841, and saw how slightly they had been passed over by hon. Members on the present occasion, he was not much inclined to wonder that the right hon. Gentleman should feel a little uncomfortable. At that period he was assured that there was plenty of produce in the colonial markets, that no necessity existed for alteration, that there were ample supplies of sugar in the East and West Indies; and that he might place the most perfect reliance on the estimates before the House. He had, however, ventured to suggest that those hopes might be fallacious, and that the estimates might be exaggerated, but the right hon. Gentleman would not listen to such suggestions, and had answered them by arguments which the right hon. Gentleman now found were used against himself. He confessed that he felt much surprised when he found how very lightly the Chancellor of the Exchequer had dealt with the very arguments the right hon. Gentleman himself had urged when seated upon the Opposition side of the House, and had adopted those views, for entertaining which he had been taunted night after night. The right hon. Gentleman now very quietly told the House that the estimates might be mistaken, or erroneous, and that he, indeed had no reliance upon them. That was one of the suggestions which he (Mr. F. Baring) had once ventured to make; another argument urged against his proposition on the same occasion was, "Oh, there is a great experiment going on in the West Indies, and how then can you reconcile it to your feelings to use slave-grown sugar and endanger our experiment?" Why, what were they doing now? What would the effect of this measure be upon their "experiment" and the introduction of slave-grown sugar? It could be clearly shown. The price of West-India sugar here would be regulated by the supply of that produced by free-labour. The price of free-labour grown sugar would depend upon the price in the markets of Europe; and that would most certainly be regulated by the price of the slave-grown commodity. In other respects, the right hon. Gentleman's measure did not differ so greatly from that he had introduced in 1841, except that the right hon. Gentleman gave 10s., and a shadow of something to the planter, whilst by his plan he would have given him 12s.; and that substance of 2s. was, he thought something better than the right hon. Gentleman's shadow. The last grand argument of the hon. Gentleman opposite had been to exclaim, "Oh, you are encouraging slavery." What was the right hon. Gentleman doing now? What other effect would this measure have than to encourage the sale of slave-grown sugar—not directly, he admitted, but still as surely as if they were to take 20,000 tons of such sugar at once from the market? Now, there had been no assertion to the contrary, nor had they even attempted to deny the fact. The House had heard the speeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other advocates of the measure, and could judge as to the truth of this statement; and yet the noble Lord opposite (Lord Sandon) had been one of the band who had turned him (Mr. Baring) out of office upon that very point. Without dwelling further on that point, he could not but advert to one striking feature in the present question, and that was the unfortunate, the highly unfortunate course the Government had adopted, by announcing that next year they would reconsider the subject. Nothing could in his opinion be more impolitic or unwise, for he considered that the really honest policy in all such cases was to make no previous announcement, so that there should be no time given to disturb the markets, and that the trading community should not be subjected to the disastrous effects of labouring for a long time under expectations of—they knew not what. Indeed, he had the authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for that statement, as the right hon. Gentleman had emphatically said, that nothing could be more unfortunate than to disturb the markets by such announcements. The House would most probably remember that early in the Session one of the Members for the City of London had ventured to ask the Government, "Do you intend to make any alterations in the Sugar Duties this year?" Did the House recollect the answer that hon. Member got? He was told, "The only possible excuse there is for your asking the question is, that you are the youngest Member of the House." That was the answer, and he remembered well how extremely delighted the majority of the House was at having a leader at once so wise and so witty. Well, hon. Gentlemen opposite had altered their minds since then, and they now told the House that they were prepared to consider this question, and to bestow further consideration on it next year; that was, they would leave the interests of the Colonies distracted by expectation and suspense for one whole year. Could anything, he asked, be more unwise, more inconsiderate, than such a course as that? He knew he would not receive the thanks of hon. Members opposite for saying that if he conceived any additional differential duty were about being proposed by the measure he would oppose it, but he did not conceive that such was the case; on the contrary, he believed it would reduce the price of sugar to the consumer, and that it would give him a legitimate advantage which he hoped the House would bestow upon him. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had argued that the Government measure would be more advantageous to the consumer than that proposed. He had examined into that particular class of sugar, and he could tell them that there was but a very small quantity of free-labour sugar in this country; and he could add, that he feared, under the new regulations, an advantage would be given to Cuba sugar —he said "feared," because if the thing was to be done at all he would wish to see it done frankly and openly, He might, perhaps, be permitted to add, as to clayed sugar, that he had himself formerly proposed its admission at a general duty of 36s., which would leave a protective duty of 12s., and at the time his proposal was made to the House many remonstrances were submitted to him against his plan. The result exposed him—perhaps not unfairly—to many attacks; but so convinced was he by those remonstrances of the propriety of not putting all sugar under the same duty that, although he had already announced his plan to the House, he did not hesitate to alter it afterwards on going into the question in detail. But it was not on his own opinion alone that he relied; he had the opinion of the late Mr. Hume, which was most decidedly in favour of having three scales of duties on sugar; but the right hon. Gentleman said that he had consulted with the Custom-house officers, and that they told him any such distinction would prove impossible in practice. He had a great respect for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he had not any great respect for impossibilities, and he had no doubt if the Act were once passed containing those differential scales, it would be found that what had been impossible to-day would become quite possible to-morrow. But had they no experience of the operation of such duties already? He held in his hand an extract from the present Tariff of the Americans, which, as it was rather long, he would not trouble the House by reading. In it he found the brown clayed and the Muscovado sugar in one class, and the white clayed sugar in a second class of duties; and he had been informed, though he was not quite sure of the fact, that in two other countries, Denmark and Holland, the white clayed sugar was charged with a separate duty from other qualities. Would any one tell him that what was done by the Americans and by the Dutch, who were our teachers in commerce, was an impossible plan, and could not be introduced into this country? He was, therefore, clearly of opinion that the introduction of three scales of duty on sugars would be a considerable improvement in the law. He should confess that he did not attach as much value as the Chancellor of the Exchequer did to the assertions of Custom-house officers. They might have good-humouredly stated the thing to be an impossibility, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer was happy to believe what they told him to be the fact. He would touch upon only one point more with regard to the revenue. He was bound to say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to behave with extreme fairness with regard to the revenue, for he did not seem to expect that at the beginning of next year the revenue would be a bit worse off under the new duties than it had been at the beginning of the present year. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that the whole of the operation would not be felt in the present year, and he thought that was very possible, and that though there would be some small loss to the revenue at the end of this year, it would recover itself altogether in another year. He would repeat what he before said when the right hon. Gentleman opened his budget, that if the right hon. Gentleman was satisfied, from a consideration of the finances of the country, that the Income Tax should be continued for the time originally proposed—namely, five years, though it had been taken for a period of but three years—he ought to have so told the House, and have then placed the Sugar Duties on a clear, a distinct, a permanent, and useful footing. Now, what was the sum that in strict figures they would risk by the proposed alteration in these duties? By the proposed reduction of the duty on colonial sugar, there would be a reduction of about 800,000l. from the present Sugar Duties, while in return for the falling-off in the colonial supply they expected under the new scale to get 20,000 tons of free-labour sugar from other countries. The duty on that would produce in all a revenue of 600,000l., so that if there was to be no additional consumption whatever, the risk would amount to no more than 200,000l., and he should consider such a risk one that might be very fairly run. It was well known that Mr. Huskisson had not been a speculator. In fact, there was no man who was more careful in having a proper relation between the revenues of the country and the expenditure. But what was his proposal in 1829? In that year the duties upon colonial sugar were:—on colonial sugar, 27s.; on Indian sugar, 37s.; and on foreign sugar 66s. per cwt. Mr. Charles Grant moved that a reduction should take place on these duties to 20s., 25s., and 28s. respectively. That was a reduction which was not likely to be brought up by the introduction of any considerable amount of foreign sugars, for it was clear from the state of the market, that such was not probable to take place at that time; and yet, what was Mr. Huskisson's declaration? When he was met by the argument of the risk to which it would subject the revenue, Mr. Huskisson said he had no doubt but that the revenue would be maintained, that the consumption would increase, and that there was no danger whatever of the revenue losing by the amount calculated on. He had himself made a reduction in the duty from 27s. to 24s., which was exactly about the reduction now proposed. By that reduction the loss ought to have been 542,000l., but in reality the loss did not amount to half that sum. Besides, that reduction had been made under most unfavourable circumstances in comparison with the present period; for, if they now had a large and increased consumption, the additional supply would consist of foreign sugar paying 30s. duty instead of British colonial sugar paying but 20s. duty. He should again say, that if he had the slightest conception that the proposal of the hon. Member would, under the colour of reduction of duty, have practically the effect of introducing an additional protection, he would be the first to stand up against it; but being satisfied that the benefit which the Motion of the hon. Gentleman was intended to confer, would be felt equally by the consumer and by the West India producer, he should give the Motion his decided support.

Mr. E. Gladstone

said, that the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down commenced his speech by stating that he was not surprised that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had expressed a desire to confine the discussion to the matter immediately before the House. When he considered how much of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House, and of that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Taunton, who preceded him, referred to matters not before that House—matters which had been discussed in former stages of this Bill, and which might be again discussed in other clauses of the Bill in Committee —and when he considered the arguments by which the right hon. Gentleman supported the vote which he was about to give he was not surprised that, instead of confining the attention of the Committee to the subject before them, he should have sought to distract their attention, and direct it to extraneous matters. He, however, acting upon the principle of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would resist the temptation to go into a discussion on the subject of frauds, prices at New Orleans, and a variety of other matters; and he would endeavour strictly to confine himself to the question immediately before the House. He would proceed, therefore, to enter into the nature of the plan proposed by his hon. Friend the Member for Bristol. The great charge against the Government was, why they disturbed the public mind and left the Colonies to uncertain changes of duty, instead of closing the question at once? The Government had three courses open to them to pursue: one of them was to have attempted in the present year to complete the final settlement of the Sugar Duties; but he would maintain that it was impossible for them to have adopted that course without either foreclosing the future settlement of the Income Tax, or else asking Parliament to continue in this Session a tax which was not to expire until the next Session. He granted that if, as the right hon. Member for Taunton was of opinion, a very small reduction in British plantation was sufficient to settle the question—if that right hon. Gentleman's ideas, expressed as they had been with great ability and feeling were correct, then that final settlement might have been made: but he should confess that his opinions on the subject were very different. There were many matters that might form part of a permanent settlement of the question, which he would admit could then be considered, but there were these four points which he thought stood in the way of any final settlement at present:— Firstly, that there ought to be a great reduction in the differential duties; secondly, that there ought to be a reduction in the revenue from British plantation sugar; thirdly, that there should be a transfer of the Sugar Duties question from being an annual Bill to be a part of the permanent revenue of the country. He would not say with the hon. Member for Kidderminster, that that transfer should be for a given number of years or some definite period, but that it should be adopted permanently. The fourth and last point was, whether the principle of classification into three heads should be introduced instead of the two classes of British colonial sugar and foreign sugar. Now, he was prepared to argue, that those matters could not possibly be disposed of in the present year. He should state that he had then adopted an assumption which was founded on the vote to which the House had already come on the question, namely, as to the necessity of the proposed duties not coming into operation until the month of November; for he thought it followed, that the conclusion to which that decision led was, that no reduction should take place until the foreign sugar came into competition in the market, since it was clear, that a reduction at an earlier period would be a clear bonus to the producers and holders of British sugar, and would be attended with no adequate benefit to the consumer. Looking at the second alternative, he would ask, could the Government have ventured to propose to Parliament the revival of the Sugar Duties as they stood at pretent? He did not think, that in justice to the consumers in these countries, they could; and if they had attempted it, he believed they would have been taking a very short-sighted view of the interests of the West-India producers also. He would grant that they had no reason to expect a deficiency of supply for the present year, as measured with the supply of former years; but he would ask was the demand now the same as it was formerly? Had they not, on the contrary, a great change in the state of the country in the present year? It was known to those whose duty it was to look from week to week to the state of the markets that the demand was not spread over the whole of last year, but only over one third of the year, and with the increasing trade and commerce of the country, there was no doubt but that that demand would continue to advance. What was the indication given by the market? Why, that in four months of the present year, during which the question of the Sugar Duties remained in uncertainty prior to the declaration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, there was, comparing those four months with the corresponding four months of 1843, a rise of 3s. 4d. in the price of sugar in the present year; and for five months in the present year that were passed, the quantity of sugar brought into the market was 9,000 tons less than the supply for the corresponding five months of last year, while the country was actually in a more flourishing and prosperous state. He was glad to observe that since the announcement of his right hon. Friend there had been an increase in the supply from the West Indies. The weather for the last six weeks since the announcement had been made, had certainly been more favourable to the arrival of ships than during the preceding period, and that might, perhaps, be one of the reasons why the improvement to which he alluded had taken place. But with respect to what had been stated about 20,000 tons of East India sugar coming into the market, he should altogether dispute the soundness of such estimates. If they were applied to crops to come next year, he hoped they would be realized; but the House had at present to look to the supply of the United Kingdom for the present year, and he would maintain that they had no right to expect any such supply for the immediate wants of the country. He could not help here mentioning the opinion of a most intelligent and respectable merchant, who had come to him on a deputation, he alluded to Mr. Ripley of Liverpool. That gentleman stated to him his admiration of the plan proposed by the Government, and said, that it would effect a reduction of 1½d. in the pound on sugar—that is, a halfpenny in the pound in the price at which the article is bought at the present moment, and a penny more in the rise which, if the present system had continued, would no doubt have taken place before the end of the year, but which, by the proposed plan would be prevented. He was justified, therefore, in saying, that Her Majesty's Ministers would not have met the expectations of the people if they had ventured to propose a renewal for the present year of the existing Sugar Duties. There was one other course which might have been pursued, and that was to introduce a measure which he should admit was in certain respects—and in certain respects alone—open to them to have taken into consideration. Before referring to that point, however, he would beg the Committee to recollect this—that in the very last Gazette average which had been published of the London market, it appeared that for the last week the price of sugar had advanced some pence; and he put it to the House whether even that was not a clear proof that it was necessary for the Government to adopt some measures for moderating the prices of sugars on the consumers. But to come to the consideration of the charge made against the Government that the measure which they proposed was calculated to lead to an unsettlement of that great question, while it afforded no adequate relief to the public. He should say in reply, that one of their great objects in adopting the course they had taken was to check the increasing advance in the market for the benefit of the consumer in the first place, and secondly for the benefit of the producer: for, he would ask the West India proprietors who listened to him, whether, if the present rate of duties had been continued for another year, and if prices had continued to advance, as there was no doubt they would have advanced, would the Parliament be disposed to deal with their interests in the beginning of the Session of 1845 as calmly and considerately as they will now be disposed to view them? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth complained of their having refused to state what their intentions with respect to the Sugar Duties were three months before they brought their plan forward, while they admitted their intention of opening the question in twelve months hence; but it would be admitted that it was a very different thing to state in February or March that they intended to reduce the duty in May or June, and to state that they regarded the general question of Sugar Duties as a subject fit to be inquired into when the state of the finances of the country enabled them at a future period to approach it more safely. One motive which induced the Government to propose the present measure was a sense of the great evils attending the present state of un- certainty with regard to this question. Did any degree of confidence exist on this subject, he would ask, before the announcement of the proposal of Government? Would they tell him that confidence had existed in the minds of the West-India proprietors, or of any persons, that they had more than twelve months' lease of the existing duties? These duties were renewed every twelve months; and to assure the West-India proprietor that he should have the continuance of his monopoly for a twelvemonth was giving him an assurance that was absolutely worthless; because, under such circumstances, he had no inducement to invest his capital for the promotion of immigration, or the improvement of cultivation. As long as they went on proposing the Sugar Duties from twelvemonth to twelvemonth, it was impossible that those gentlemen could take any important measure for increasing the supply. Now, he would ask the gentlemen connected with these interests in candour and fairness, whether there was any certainty with regard to this question before the Government proposed this measure? But what was the state of things now? Hon. Gentlemen said the matter would still be in a state of uncertainty. If they considered that the assurances of Parliament and the votes of Parliament were worthless they might say that the proposed measure conveyed no certainty as to the future. But with what statements did the Chancellor of the Exchequer announce his proposal? His right hon. Friend said that one of his objects was to check the tendency to increase of price; and that another was to make known to the producer of British sugar, in the first place, that it was intended by the Government and by Parliament, if it should adopt their plan to restrict the competition, he had to contend with the free-labour sugar of other countries and not to admit slave-sugar into that competition; and, secondly, to place clearly and fairly before him the amount of protection which he might expect to be maintained. He, therefore said, that with regard to the means afforded to the colonist for making calculations and adopting measures for the future, it was not just to state that the measure of the Government would leave the question in any uncertainty. On the contrary, the proposers of the measure had declared that the differential duty they had announced was, as nearly as they could state, the amount of protection they thought it just and fair on the whole—as between the people of England and the West-India planter—to maintain for the protection of colonial sugar. He considered that the proposal of the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. P. Miles), if it were adopted, would have a most injurious effect upon the sugar trade in this country, and upon the revenue derived from the Sugar Duty during the year that would elapse before Parliament could again give its consideration to this subject. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had, as he (Mr. Gladstone) conceived, assumed most erroneously, that the injurious effect upon the revenue would be limited to the period between the 10th of November, and the time at which, during the next Session, Parliament would be enabled to return to the question, and, if they saw fit, to enact a new law. He contended that the most injurious operation of the measure proposed by the hon. Member for Bristol would occur between the present time and the 10th of November. The hon. Member now, in the month of June, proposed to enact a law declaring to the dealers in sugar throughout the country, and especially to the wholesale grocers, that they might obtain the advantage of 4s. per cwt. upon all sugar they might delay taking out of bond until after the 10th of November. Now, how did the right hon. Gentleman apply his principle of a word and a blow? The right hon. Gentleman had said that was the true policy of humanity; but he had afterwards shrunk from his avowal. He agreed with the right hon. gentleman that, when an important transit was effected from one commercial system to another it was advisable to make the change with rapidity; for, although its first effect might possibly be more severe they avoided that great evil which resulted from suspense and langour of demand. He thought that nothing could be more dangerous on the part of Parliament, with a view to revenue, than to give parties the inducement, even of such a premium as 4s. per cwt. to postpone the delivery of sugar for home consumption from this time till November. He said, therefore, that in estimating the loss to the revenues for the present year, they ought not merely to take into consideration the 200,000l. which it was assumed would be the amount of loss from November to the termination of the financial year—the 5th of April; but, they must also consider the loss that would accrue from the inducement they would offer to parties to abstain from taking sugar out of bond until after the 10th of November. They had had some experience with reference to this question in the case of the Timber Duties. In that case, in a choice of difficulties the Government and Parliament were induced to postpone the operation of the change till the 10th of October. The consequence had been, that very little relief had been given to those whom it was their object to benefit, while very great difficulty and suffering was inflicted upon other classes, and considerable detriment ensued to the revenue of the country. He ventured to tell his hon. Friend (Mr. P. Miles) that if he carried a reduction of the duty, to take effect in five months hence, the benefit of the 4s. per cwt. would not be gained by the consumers. It had been complained that the Government had opened this question without closing it. He replied, that so far as it was in the power of the Government, they had closed this question, and they had held out to the colonists the expectation of that first measure of protection which they considered ought to be afforded to them. Hon. Gentlemen complained that the plan of the Government would not effect a permanent settlement of this question. He said it was permanent as far as the colonists were concerned. He would ask the hon. Member for Bristol if the reduction of a revenue duty on British plantation sugar which he had proposed was to be the permanent amount of reduction the colonists were to expect. Did he hear the hon. Member say, "no?" If the hon. Member for Bristol was so wily a tactician that he would not give an answer, he must assume that the hon. Gentleman would answer either no or yes. Either there was an intention of moving next year for a further reduction of duty, or there was not. He (Mr. Gladstone) would say, if you intend to ask for a further reduction of duty next year, what becomes of your argument of permanence? That was a great argument which had been urged against the proposition of the Government. He would ask the hon. Gentleman, "Do you anticipate a reduction of the duty below the amount you now propose?" If the hon. Gentleman did so, his objection to the proposal of the Government was groundless; but, on the other hand, if the hon. Gentleman did not anticipate a further reduction of duty next year, he was not acting justly either to the consumer or to the colonist by his proposal. If they were to benefit the consumer it must be by a considerable reduction of duty, and not by a reduction of 4s. per cwt. on British sugar. If they were to benefit the colonist it must be by compensating him for competition, by giving a lively stimulus to the demand. But the hon. Gentleman would not effect either of these objects by the proposed reduction of 4s. Whether the hon. Gentleman contemplated a further reduction or not, his proposal was open to just objections. A reference had been made by several hon. Members to a letter which had appeared in The Times newspaper that morning, written as he well knew, by a person of great experience in mercantile matters. The speakers against the plan of the Government had quoted the letter of Mr. Gladstone, as containing the opinion of a person well versed in West Indian affairs, who was opposed to the proposal of the Government. He might be allowed to state to the House what he believed had occurred between Mr. Gladstone and the hon. Member for Bristol. The hon. Member had, with great kindness and courtesy, waited upon Mr. Gladstone to discuss the subject of his Motion, and Mr. Gladstone who was deeply interested in this question told the hon. Member, in his character of West India proprietor, that he disapproved of the Government plan, but that he would rather see the proposal of the Government adopted than that of the hon. Member. If there was any inaccuracy in that statement, he hoped the hon. Member for Bristol would correct it; though it was not probable that he should be misinformed. He believed there was but one opinion among the West India proprietors as to the preferable operation of the plan of the Government to that of his hon. Friend. The hon. Member for Weymouth (Mr. Bernal) had complained that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had very indistinctly described the classes of sugar, to which different duties should apply. The best explanation he could give was, that the terms used were the usual terms which had been employed for a length of time in the proposal of the annual Sugar Duties, and which were fully understood by those connected with the trade. He had endeavoured to understand the terms used in the Motion of his hon. Friend, but, he had been unable to comprehend them, and he questioned whether his hon. Friend would be able to fix to them any very definite construction. He objected most strongly to the Motion of his hon. Friend, because it applied an entirely different principle of classification to foreign and to British sugar. He would put it to his hon. Friend, if he was not most unreasonable in applying this principle of distinction to foreign sugar, and not to sugar the produce of British possessions. The value of sugar produced in our Colonial possessions varied very considerably. He thought he was not far wrong when he said that the lowest price of British West-India sugar was from 27s. to 28s. per cwt., while the price of the better description was 40s. There was also a class of sugar introduced from the East Indies not possessing half the intrinsic value of the best West India sugar, but a much higher duty was imposed on this sugar than on that of a better description. How did his hon. Friend, in his settlement of this question, deal with that anomaly. Why he dealt with it by bestowing no relief whatever to the lower classes of British sugar, but by introducing a new distinction among the sugars of Java and Manilla, which already stood at a disadvantage in their competition with the best British sugars, as compared with those of an inferior quality. Nothing could be more unwise, especially in any measure tending to permanence, than to introduce the principle of classification in British and foreign sugars. He believed it was not true that any large portion in white clayed sugar was at present made at Java or Manilla. He thought it right to state to the House that according to the best information he could obtain the quantity of this sugar was small, consequently the effect in relieving the consumer would not be great. On this ground it appeared to him that the measure of Government was, in the choice of difficulties, the best measure that could have been proposed, and he considered it was a measure which ought to be adopted in preference to that of his hon. Friend.

Mr. M. Gibson

wished to state the grounds upon which he would give his vote on this question. When he first saw the Motion of the hon. Member for Bristol, he understood its effect would be to impose a duty of 20s. upon British Colonial sugar, and 30s. upon foreign sugar, the produce of free labour. He thought that proposition would be more advantageous to the consumer, and more productive to the revenue, than that of the Government. But upon taking up the votes this morning he found a passage in the notice of the hon. Member for Bristol to this effect—"that white-clayed sugar, or sugar otherwise prepared, and equivalent to white-clayed sugar, should be subjected to a duty of 34s." He (Mr. Gibson) thought something must be meant by this; and he went into the city to get the best information he could get on the subject. He applied to persons of great experience in the sugar trade; and one gentleman said to him, "Why, are you not awake to the trap that has been laid for the free-traders by the West India monopolist in introducing this distinction between white-clayed sugar and brown Muscovado sugar?" He was informed that, in point of fact, if the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol became law, the duty of 34s. would practically be applied to three-fourths of all the free-labour foreign sugar that could be introduced into this country under the proposition of the Government. He must be excused, therefore, if he looked at this proposal with some suspicion. He believed that, if the proposal of the hon. Member for Bristol should be carried, the West India colonists would give them sugar at the price of Java and Siam Sugar, plus the 4s. duty; and upon that they would only have to pay 20s. to the Exchequer. But if the Government plan were adopted, they would have to pay 24s. to the Exchequer. He therefore believed that the proposal of the hon. Member for Bristol was intended, instead of benefiting the consumer, to transfer 4s. per cwt. into the pocket of the West India proprietor. He must confess he did not understand, if it was right to draw this distinction between sugars of different qualities the produce of foreign countries, why the same distinction should not be drawn between the different descriptions of sugar produced in the British Colonies. He understood that the reason why the hon. Member for Bristol could not make that proposition was owing to the circumstance that, by so doing, he would set the East and West India interest by the ears. The hon. Member would place a higher duty upon East than on West India sugar. He thought that both the proposition of the Government and the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol maintained the principle of protection. The proposition of the Government was, however, in his opinion, a greater advance towards free trade than the Motion of the hon. Member for Bristol. He should be sorry to stand in the way of a real reduction of duty to the consumer, but he must support the plan of the Government in preference to the Motion of the hon. Member.

Mr. Hume

thought, that his hon. Friend who had just spoken had made a great mistake. His hon. Friend's statement was obscure; he (Mr. Hume) would endeavour to remove that obscurity and simplify the matter at issue. He thought that by the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol both slave-grown and free-labour sugar would alike find their way into the market. What was the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol? It was to reduce the duty upon sugar then paid by the consumer to the amount of 20 per cent., on an amount of 4,000,000 cwt. The question was who was to benefit by the present price of sugar? For the last fourteen years he found the following to be the consumption of sugar:—in 1820, the consumption amounted to 4,500,000 cwt.; in 1843, it was 4,360,000 cwt. During the fourteen years there had been no increase in the quantity of sugar consumed, notwithstanding the increase of the population. It was estimated that 20,000 tons additional of sugar would be admitted. He (Mr. Hume) looked to the interest of the consumers. They would benefit one half penny per lb. by the proposed reduction.

Mr. Colquhoun

addressed the House amidst many symptoms of impatience. The hon. Member said, that the proposition of the Government was ill-timed. He had listened with great surprise to several of the statements of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. The forms of the Committee precluded his hon. Friend from going beyond the Government in his proposition, and that was the reason he had taken 34s. If the Government wished to make a change next year, why not wait till next year? The argument of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) on that point were wholly unsatisfactory, and indeed there was nothing in the arguments either of the right hon. President of the Board of Trade, or of the Chancellor of the Exchequer which could induce him to change his resolution to vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Bristol.

Mr. Escott

wished to know if the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol was to be considered as a cure for the condition to which the West Indian in-interest was reduced?

Dr. Bowring

felt a great disposition to support the hon. Member for Bristol, because in a reduction of duty he saw a prospect of a reduction of price. The answer of the hon. Gentleman to the question of his hon. Friend near him, would decide the votes of himself and several hon. Gentlemen near him.

Mr. James

asked whether he had understood the right hon. Gentleman rightly to state that it was intended next year to apply the principle of an ad valorem duty to sugar. Let him apply the principle, and he should have his vote. He wished to know also, whether it were intended that Java and Manilla sugar should be imported in foreign vessels, or whether the importation should be confined to British vessels, as was the case with West India sugars?

Mr. Gladstone

said, he need hardly answer that question. These sugars would be subject to the general provisions of the navigation laws. Under certain conditions, they would be allowed to come in foreign vessels.

Mr. Hampden

was unwilling to obtrude himself on the attention of the House, and he was driven to make an effort from that instinct of self-preservation which impelled every man to struggle against a blow that threatened him with destruction. He entertained a strong conviction that protection was necessary for agriculture, and believing that he shared that opinion with several other Members then present, he ventured to expect that they would support the views which he entertained with regard to sugar. If Her Majesty's Government did not consider our Colonies worth preserving, then he could understand the policy which they pursued; but he could explain it upon no other imaginable hypothesis. Apprehensive then that they did not take sound views of our colonial policy, he should oppose the duties which they at present proposed. He should oppose them because he thought those duties cruel, unjust, and tyrannical. In deference to the Govern- ment, tie sometimes supported measures, the policy of which he very seriously doubted. He did that under a persuasion that the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, had means of information, which to him, as a private individual, were not accessible. Placed on the elevation where the first Minister of a great country necessarily stood, and with the grasp of mind which the present chief of the Ministry possessed, his means of coming to just conclusions would warrant any Member of that House in saying that it was sometimes both prudent and patriotic to forego his own opinions, and adopt those of the Government. He did not say that Members ought to pursue such a course on all occasions, where they conscientiously differed from the Government; for he, though a general supporter of Ministers, opposed them on the Poor Law and other questions affecting civil rights. He wished the Government to imitate the conduct of the noble Lord who brought forward the Bill for the emancipation of the slaves. He originally proposed a loan of fifteen millions, but it being represented that he had seriously underrated the value of the property of the slave owners, he had the manliness and courage to come before the House, and recommend that instead of a loan of fifteen millions, there should be an. absolute grant of twenty millions. He would recommend the House to follow that example.

Lord J. Russell

was not one of those who blamed the Government for having proposed some alteration in the Sugar Duties, nor did he think the reasons given as strong as those of 1841, though they were of a similar nature. But he did think that the manner in which they had brought their proposition forward, and the nature of the proposition itself, together with the prospect of another alteration next year, involved the question in great difficulties. The right hon. President of the Board of Trade, following the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had shown the objections there were to the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol, and the evils that would follow from the reduction of the duty not taking place in November; and no doubt some of the difficulties he mentioned might take place, but that was the consequence of the nature of the proposition of the Government; and they brought forward a proposition similar in its nature to what one saw in other times, and pro- posed a reduction of the duty on foreign sugar, that might have taken place; and with regard to colonial and foreign sugar, there would not have been those difficulties which the right hon. Gentleman feared. But the House, following the direction and guidance of the Government, had adopted that proposition, and a proposition that made a distinction between free-labour and slave-labour sugar, by which the hon. Member for Bristol was driven to frame his proposition according to that proposition; and having done so, he thought it was pretty clear that a reduction of not less than 9s. per cwt. would take place in the price of sugar in consequence of the proposition of the hon. Gentleman, and the result would be a reduction of a penny per pound in the price of sugar to the consumer, and would be a great advantage. That was the reason why he preferred the proposition of the hon. Gentleman to that of the Government. But the hon. Member for Manchester had said that there would be a greater protection given by the proposition of the hon. Member, and that there was something insidious in it, so that the consumer would not gain the advantage; but it would be given to the producer and the West-India interest. He did not think the hon. Member for Manchester correct in that statement. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said with great fairness that the proposition of the hon. Member and that of the Government gave equal protection; and therefore that no superior protection was given by the proposition of the hon. Gentleman. Another ground was, that the right hon. Member for Taunton had stated that the general prices of Java, Manilla, and Siam sugars corresponded with the prices of the brown sugar of Brazil and Cuba, and not with the white clayed sugar of those countries; and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade assented, as he understood, to the statement of his right hon. Friend. There appeared in the newspapers statements as to the importation into the United States of white and brown sugar at the same duty, and that they might find their way to this country. The fact was, that in respect to the two propositions before the House, it might be generally concluded that three-fourths of those sugars would be brown and Muscovado sugars, and not the white sugar of those Colonies. If that was the case, there had been enough said to show the great advantage of the proposition of the hon. Member. Upon the whole, he thought there was an advantage in the proposition of the hon. Member over that of the Government. There would be some loss of revenue, but it appeared that it would be very trifling: and if it was something in the present year, it would not be so in future years. The great advantage was, that the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol was an additional spring to consumption, putting the article in greater request. The right hon. President of the Board of Trade said it was impossible to consider this question in a large and comprehensive view, for this reason, that it would then be necessary to consider whether the Income Tax should be considered. But if it had been decided by the House that the Government contemplated the continuance of the Income Tax, then it would have been of the greatest advantage to consider this question with regard to the great articles of consumption, and particularly with regard to sugar. He did not agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it was impolitic to consider the question of the Income Tax in connexion with this subject; for the present proposition had created great alarm, and distrust, and disturbance in the market, and, it being doubtful if any settlement of that question could be made this year, it was not to be supposed that persons connected with the West Indies would employ that energy and capital which they otherwise would. That would occasion a great loss to the persons concerned; but all these evils might have been averted if the Government would have taken that question into consideration this year instead of the next. He did not say that the proposition of the hon. Member for Bristol was a perfect and entire settlement of the sugar question, but with the difficulties in which the House was now placed, and comparing the two propositions with one another, he thought it the better of the two, and therefore should give his vote for it.

Captain Berkeley

amidst general cries for a division, was understood to say that if his hon. Colleague would drop the As. he would vote with him; but as he saw he would not, he must vote against him.

Mr. Miles

in reply, said, that he had been asked why he had brought forward this measure? He did so because the West India interest thought his proposi- tion was better than that of the Government. He observed that a letter had been written to the Morning Post by the Chairman of the West India body from which he would read a passage. The hon. Gentleman then read the following article:— In further elucidation of the statement of your correspondent, in your paper of yesterday, on the Sugar Duties, it can be made clear that the proposed protecting duty of 10s. per cwt. is not a protecting duty at all, but an equalisation of duty between the three classes (with reference to their cost of production, their prices in the market, and their qualities respectively), viz., foreign slave-made sugar, foreign free-labour sugar, and British plantation sugar. It is self-evident that the question will not be settled unless slave-made sugar, as well as slave-made coffee and cotton, be admitted into the British market. It is worse than trifling to talk of maintaining the distinction for any length of time; and it is only a financial torture to the West-India planter and merchant to prolong the struggle, by not settling the question at once and for ever, or for a definite period, say for ten years certain. The merchants would then advance capital to promote cultivation and emigration. If not so done, the estates in the British Colonies will be generally abandoned, and the British public be equally abandoned to the supply of foreigners, who will thus acquire the monopoly. The mere substitution of a foreign market for British manufactures instead of a colonial one. To illustrate the statement of an equalisation of duty—Manilla sugar, which is imported here as free-labour sugar, is superior to the best Muscovado for refiners by 5s. per cwt. (It has no foot or bottom like the West India of inferior quality.) This Manilla sugar can be produced there at 14s. per cwt., and is sold here at 18s. per cwt. The British plantation, cannot, on an average, be raised under 24s. per cwt. (Mr. James stated in his place that his sugar cost him 38s. per cwt. here, or 4d. per lb.) Add 10s. per cwt. duty to the Manilla sugar at 14s. per cwt. the result is 24s. per cwt., or the cost of production of British plantation sugar; but the Manilla sugar is 5s. per cwt. better, which quoad quality is, in fact, a premium pro tanto of that amount in the British market. In order, then, to put the Manilla and British plantation sugar on an equality in this market, the discriminating duty should be 15s. per cwt., and then it would be merely an equalization of duty, not a protecting duty. The same reasoning and figures apply to the foreign Slave Trade sugar, both as regard the cost of production, the price of the British market and the quality. In consequence of an increased supply from the West Indies, the price of sugar has fallen 5s. per cwt., and the reduction of duty to 20s. per cwt.—5s. per cwt., making 10s. per cwt., or 1d. a pound. The relative duties, therefore, on all foreign sugar to British plantation should be as 35s. per cwt. to 20s. per cwt., which, on principle, should reconcile Mr. Ewart as an equalisation duty—Lord John Russell, as an advocate for slave-grown sugar —and Mr. Goulburn, as a protecting duty; but at all events, let the measure possess the character of finality. Mr. Gladstone, senior, had spoken both against his (Mr. Miles's) proposition, and also against that of the Government, but looking at the letter which Mr. Gladstone had addressed to the Times, he was of opinion that that Gentleman was more in favour of his (Mr. Miles's) proposition than of the one put forth by Her Majesty's Ministers. The hon. Gentleman read the following extract from Mr. Gladstone's letter:— It is the avowed desire of the Government to increase the supply, and by reducing the prices of sugar the consumption and comforts of the people. In my humble opinion, this can only be done by reducing the duty on British Muscovados to 10s., and in proportion on clayeds, with the required protection against foreign. Sugars now sold for 6d. per 1b. to the lower classes, would be sold for 4d.; they would thus be placed in quantity within the reach of their means, and, as a necessary of life, be consumed in largely increased quantity whether British or foreign; in the first instance the revenue would be reduced, but great increase of consumption would ensue, and their comforts increased, whilst the prosperity of the planters might be restored. I would then fondly hope the prosperous and increasing state of the revenue will ere long be found to admit and invite such a course to be taken by the Government. With respect to another question which had been put to him by the hon. Member for Stockport, and also by his hon. Colleague, he must say he was not prepared to give up the 4s. differential duty.

Viscount Howick

, amidst much confusion, explained to his hon. Friends around him the nature of the vote they were now called upon to give. The question which would be put to them by the Chairman would be, that the words in the original Motion proposed to be left out should stand part of the question. If the majority should negative these words, and thereby defeat the proposition of the Government, it would then be perfectly open to any Gentleman who wished to make a proposition different from that which had been made by the hon. Member for Bristol to move it. The question, therefore, upon which they were now about to vote, was not the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Bristol; but it was "Aye" or No," would they or would they not negative the plan of the Government. He believed that plan to be a bad one, and he should vote against it, without, however, pledging himself to adopt, without alteration, the suggestion of the hon. Member for Bristol.

The House divided on the question, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question*;. — Ayes 221; Noes 241: Majority 20.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Baird, W.
A'Court, Capt. Balfour, J. M.
Adare, Visct. Baring, hon. W. B.
Alford, Visct. Barneby, J.
Allix, J. P. Barrington, Visct.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Baskerville, T. B. M.
Archdall, Capt. M. Bateson, T.
Arkwright, G. Beckett, W.
Bailey, J. Bentinck, Lord G.

*As the division gave rise to some controversy, we think it right to subjoin from the Votes of the House the exact Motion and form in which the question was put.

Sugar Duties Bill,—(In the Committee):— First Clause (Duties imposed by Acts 6 and 7 William IV., c. 26, and 3rd and 4th Victoria, c. 17, continued till the 5th day of July 1845): — Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 21, to leave out from the words "continued until the" to the end of the Clause, in order to add the words "10th day of November 1844, and that from and after that date, until the 5th day of July 1845, in lieu of the duties now payable and hereby continued thereon, there that be charged the duties of Customs following: that is to say,

Sugar; videlicet, £ s. d.
Brown or Muscovado or clayed sugar, not being refined, the cwt. 3 3 0
The growth of any British possession in America, and imported from thence, the cwt. 1 0 0
The growth of any British possession within the limits of the East India Company's Charter, into which the importation of foreign sugar is prohibited, and imported from thence, the cwt 1 0 0
The growth of any other British possession with in those limits, and imported from thence, the cwt. 1 10 0
And on sugar which shall be certified as hereinafter is mentioned to be the growth of China, Java, or Manilla, or of any other foreign country the sugar of which Her Majesty in Council shall have declared in manner hereinafter mentioned to be admissible, as not being the produce of slave-labour,

Blackburne, J. I. Eliot, Lord
Blakemore, R. Ellis, W.
Blandford, Marq. of Escott, B.
Boldero, H. G. Estcourt, T. G. B.
Borthwick, P. Farnham, E. B.
Botfield, B. Fellowes, B.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Filmer, Sir E.
Bowles, Adm. Flower, Sir J.
Bramston, T. W. Forester, hn. G. C. W.
Bright, J. Forman, T, S.
Brisco, M. Forster, M.
Broadley, H. Fox, S. L.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Fremantle. rt. hn. Sir T.
Bruce, Lord E. Gardner, J.
Bruges, W. H. L. Gaskell, J. Milnes
Buck, L. W. Gibson, T. M.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Burroughes, H. N. Gladstone, Capt.
Campbell, Sir H. Glynne, Sir S. R.
Campbell, J. H. Godson, R.
Cardwell, E. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Chapman, A. Gore, M.
Chelsea, Visct. Gore, W. O.
Chetwode, Sir J. Gore, W. R. O.
Cholmondeley, hn. H. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Chute, W. L. W. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Clayton, R. R. Greenall, P.
Clerk, Sir G. Gregory, W. H.
Clive, Visct. Grimstone, Visct.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hale, R. B.
Cochrane, A. Halford, Sir H.
Cobden. R. Hamilton, C. J. B.
Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G. Hamilton, G. A.
Collett, W. R. Hamilton, Lord C.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Harcourt, G. G.
Courtenay, Lord Hayes, Sir E.
Cresswell, B. Hayter, W. G.
Cripps, W. Heathcote, J.
Darby, G. Heathcote, Sir W.
Davies, D. A. S. Heneage, G. H. W.
Dawnay, hon. W. H. Herbert, hon. S.
Denison, E. B. Hervey, Lord A.
Dodd, G. Hillsborough, Earl of
Douro, Marq. of Hodson, F.
Dowdeswell, W. Hodgson, R.
Drax, J. S. W. S. E. Hogg, J. W.
Drummond, H. H. Holmes, hn, W. A'C.
Dugdale, W. S. Hope, hon. C.
Duncombe, hon. A. Hope, A.
Duncombe, hon. O. Hope, G. W.
Du Pre, C. G. Hornby, J.
Eastnor, Visct. Hughes, W. B.
Egerton, W. T. Humphery, Ald.
Egerton, Sir P. Hussey, A.

and which shall be imported into the United Kingdom, either from the country of its growth, or from some British possession, having first been imported into such British possession from the country of its growth, the following duties, namely,

Brown, Muscovado, or clayed, the cwt. 1 10 0
White clayed, or sugar otherwise prepared, and equivalent to white clayed, the cwt. 1 14 0
Molasses, the cwt. 1 3 9

Hussey, T. Peel, J.
Ingestre, Visct. Pigot, Sir R.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Polhill, F.
James, Sir W. C. Pollington, Visct.
Jermyn, Earl Praed, W. T.
Jocelyn, Visct. Pringle, A.
Johnstone, Sir J. Ricardo, J. L.
Johnstone, H. Richards, R.
Jones, Capt. Rolleston, Col.
Ker, D. S. Round, C. G.
Kirk, P. Round, J.
Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E. Rushbrooke, Col.
Lefroy, A. Russell, C.
Lennox, Lord A. Sanderson, R.
Leslie, C. P. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Lincoln, Earl of Shirley, E. J.
Lockhart, W. Sibthorp, Col.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.
Mackenzie, W. F. Smyth, Sir H.
McNeill, D. Somerset, Lord G.
Mahon, Visct. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Mainwaring, T. Stanley, Lord
Manners, Lord C. S. Stuart, H.
March, Earl of Sturt, H. C.
Marsland, H. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Martin, C. W. Tennent, J. E.
Maunsell, T. P. Thesiger, Sir F.
Meynell, Capt. Thornely, T.
Milnes, R. M. Thornhill, G.
Mitchell, T. A. Tomline, G.
Mordaunt, Sir J. Trench, Sir F. W.
Morgan, O. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Morgan, C. Trotter, J.
Mundy, E. M. Verner, Col.
Murray, C. R. S. Vernon, G. H.
Neeld, J. Vesey, hon. T.
Neeld, J. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Neville, R. Warburton, H.
Newport, Visct. Welby, G. E.
Nicholl, rt. hon. J. Whitmore, T. C.
Norreys, Lord Wood, Col.
Northland, Visct. Wortley, hn. J. S.
Oswald, A. Wortley, hn. J. S.
Owen, Sir J. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Packe, C. W. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Palmer, R. TELLERS.
Patten, J. W. Young, J.
Peel, rt. hn. Sir R. Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, C. B. Anson, hon. Col.
Aglionby, H. A. Archbold, R.
Aldam, W. Armstrong, Sir A.

The produce of and imported from any British possession, the cwt. 0 7 0
Sugar refined, the cwt. 8 8 0
Candy, brown, the cwt. 5 12 0
—white, the cwt. 8 8 0
And so in proportion for any greater or less quantity than a hundred weight, together with an additional duty of five per centum on such aforesaid rates of duty." [Mr. Phillip Miles: Instead thereof:—Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."]

Bagge, W. Dundas, F.
Baillie, Col. Dundas, D.
Bannerman, A. Dundas, hon. J. C.
Barclay, D. East, J. B.
Baring, rt. hn. F. T. Easthope, Sir J.
Barnard, E. G. Ebrington, Visct.
Barron, Sir H. W. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Bell, J. Elphinstone, H.
Bellew, R. M. Entwisle, W.
Benett, J. Evans, W.
Berkeley, hon. C. Ewart, W.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Feilden, W.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Fielden, J.
Bernal, R. Ferguson, Col.
Bernal, Capt. Ferrand, W. B.
Blackstone, W. S. Fitzmaurice, hon. W.
Blewitt, R. J. Fox, C. R.
Bodkin, W. H. French, F.
Bowring, Dr. Fuller, A. E.
Brocklehurst, J. Gisborne, T.
Brotherton, J. Gore, hon. R.
Browne, hn. W. Goring, C.
Brownrigg, J. S. Granger, T. C.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Grey, rt. hn. Sir G.
Buller, C. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Buller, E. Guest, Sir J.
Busfield, W. Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Butler, P. S. Hampden, R.
Byng, G. Hanmer, Sir J.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Hastie, A.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Hawes, B.
Cavendish, hn. C. C. Heneage, E.
Cavendish, hn. G. H. Henley, J. W.
Chapman, B. Henniker, Lord
Christie, W. D. Hill, Lord M.
Christopher, R. A. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Clements, Visct. Hollond, R.
Clive, E. B. Horsman, E.
Codrington, Sir W. Howard, hn. C. W. G.
Colborne, hn. W. N. R. Howard, hon. J. K.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Howard, Lord
Collett, J. Howard, hn. E. G. G.
Collins, W. Howard, P. H.
Colquhoun, J. C. Howard, hn. H.
Colvile, C. R. Howard, Sir R.
Copeland, Ald. Howick, Visct.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hume, J.
Craig, W. G. Hurst, R. H.
Dalmeny, Lord Hutt, W.
Dalrymple, Capt. Irving, J.
Dashwood, G. H. James, W.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Jervis, J.
Denison, W. J. Johnson, Gen.
Denison, J. E. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Dennistoun, J. Langston, J. H.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T. Lascelles, hn. W. S.
Dick, Q. Layard, Capt.
Dickinson, F. H. Long, W.
Divett, E. McGeachy, F. A.
Douglas, Sir H. Maclean, D.
Douglas, J. D. S. McTaggart, Sir J.
Duff, J. Maher, N.
Duncan, Visct. Mangles, R. D.
Duncan, G. Manners, Lord J.
Duncombe, T. Marjoribanks, S.
Duncannon, Visct. Marshall, W.
Dundas, Adm. Martin, J.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Miles, W. Shelburne, Earl of
Mitcalfe, H. Shirley, E. P.
Morris, D. Smith, A.
Morrison, J. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Muntz, G. F. Smythe, hn. G.
Napier, Sir C. Standish, C.
Newdegate, C. N. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Stansfield, W. R. C.
O'Brien, A. S. Stanton, W. H.
O'Brien, J. Staunton, Sir G. T.
O'Connell, M. Stewart, P. M.
O'Connell, M. J. Stewart, J.
O'Conor, Don Stuart, Lord J.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Stuart, W. V.
Ogle, S. C. H. Strickland, Sir G.
Ord, W. Strutt, E.
Ossulston, Lord Talbot, C. R. M.
Paget, Col. Tancred, H. W.
Paget, Lord A. Taylor, E.
Palmerston, Visct. Tollemache, J.
Parker, J. Towneley, J.
Pechell, Capt. Traill, G.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Trollope, Sir J.
Pennant, hon. Col. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Philips, G. R. Tufnell, H.
Philips, Sir R. B. P. Turnor, C.
Philips, M. Vane, Lord H.
Phillpotts, J. Vivian, J. H.
Plumptre, J. P. Vivian, hon. Capt.
Plumridge, Capt. Waddington, H. S.
Protheroe, E. Wakley, T.
Pulsford, R. Walker, R.
Pusey, P. Wall, C. B.
Rashleigh, W. Wallace, R.
Rawdon, Col. Watson, W. H.
Redington, T. N. Wawn, J. T.
Reid, Sir J. R. Wemyss, Capt.
Rendlesham, Lord White, H.
Repton, G. W. J. Wilde, Sir T.
Roebuck, J. A. Williams, W.
Ross, D. R. Williams, T. P.
Rous, hon. Capt. Wilshere, W.
Rumbold, C. E. Wodehouse, E.
Russell, Lord J. Wood, C.
Russell, Lord E. Worsley, Lord
Russell, J. D. W. Wrightson, W. B.
Sandon, Visct. Wyse, T.
Scholefield, J. Yorke, H. R.
Scrope, G. P. TELLERS.
Seale, Sir J. H. Baillie, H. J.
Seymour, Lord Miles, P.
Paired Off.
Joliffe, Sir W. Disraeli, B.
Lindsay, H. H. Leader, J. T.

House resumed. Committee to sit again.