§ Mr. Horsman
asked the noble Lord opposite (Lord Jocelyn) whether any measures had been adopted for placing sugar, the produce of our possessions in Penang on the same footing with regard to import duties, as sugar the produce of other parts of our East India possessions? The sugar growers of Penang were, at present, subject to much hardship. Some time ago an Act had passed authorising the consignment of East Indian sugar at the low rate of duty. The Penang planters, imagining that their produce would be treated on the same terms with the produce of our other East India dominions, had invested much capital in making arrangements for its growth, but the privilege had been hitherto confined to the produce of the East India Company's territories. Representations of the grievance had been made to the Board of Control, and that department promised to send out a communication on the subject to the Governor General in Council. This was a year ago; but the merchants and growers of Penang had as yet received no information as to what they were to expect. A Deputation from the planters and merchants of Penang had since waited on the Board of Control. It had been graciously received, and was dismissed with assurances that the case would be taken into favourable consideration. He (Mr. Horsman) wished to ask the noble Lord whether any instructions had since been sent to the Governor of India on the subject? If a fair opportunity were given to our Penang settlements we might import thence an amount of 20,000 tons of sugar yearly.
§ Viscount Jocelyn
said, that, on coming into office, he found the draft of a despatch to the Governor-General in Council, strongly recommending to consideration 1161 the case submitted by the Penang planters. The claims set up were, as stated by the hon. Member, leave to introduce into Great Britain sugar the produce of these settlements on the same terms with that produced by our other possessions in the East. Within the last day or two a communication had been received from India, in answer to the despatch in question, which stated that the Governor in Council had taken into consideration the recommendation of the Home Government—that he had referred the matter to the Governor of Penang for information as to the settlement's productive capabilities, and what means it had of defraying the expenses that would be involved in the machinery for carrying out the arrangement, provided it were agreed to. This was all he knew at present on the subject; but in a few months the reply of the Governor of Penang would probably be received, and he would then be happy to give what information he could.