§ On the Order of the Day for the Third Reading of this Bill,
§ SIR J. R. REID
said, before this Bill passed, he wished to say that he retained the opinion which he had on a former occasion expressed with regard to it. Since that time he had spoken with a great many individuals who were interested in this question, and they entirely concurred in the sentiments he had then uttered. Every day convinced him more and more of the truth of those sentiments. Still, the West India interests were prepared to carry this Bill into effect, if they might have more labour—if molasses were allowed to be introduced—and if rum were put upon an equality with British spirits.
§ MR. P. M. STEWART
said, that since this measure was announced, a packet had gone out to the West Indies and returned from there, and, from the information that packet brought, it behoved the Government to prepare without delay those other measures upon which the success of this one depended—he meant measures extending the principles of free trade to the Colonies. All that the West India interests asked was to be able to compete with the foreigner, but which, in consequence of the unwise legislation of that House, they had been prevented from doing since the Emancipation Act was passed. He understood that a number of bills of exchange which had been forwarded from the West Indies had been refused acceptance, under the apprehensions that now prevailed.
The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he had already announced to the House that on Monday he should move that the House go into Committee on the Customs' Duties Act, in order that he might then propose the reduction the Government intended to make in the duty on rum. With regard to the other measures referred to by the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, he did not see the possibility of carrying them through this Session. All he could say was, that inquiries on the subject were already commenced, and no time should be lost to ascertain what it was thought possible to do; and at an early period of next Session what could be done should be done.
§ Bill read a Third Time and passed.