§ Bill, as amended, considered.
MR. J. B. SMITH
, who had given notice to move, "That the duties on sugar be continued in force for one year only," rose to make the Motion—when
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that the Amendment, if carried, would have the effect of stopping the Bill—a result which he believed was not within the contemplation of the hon. Member.
THE CHANCELLOR OP THE EXCHEQUER
said, that the hon. Member could move the insertion of his restriction on the consideration of Schedule D.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
asked what effect this Bill would have upon the stamp duties? It was important that it should be understood whether there was anything in the shape of new taxation in connection with the Bill. He thought the words of one clause widened the area of the Stamp Duty Bill, and that under Schedule C certain things were brought under the operation of the stamp duties which up to the present moment were not so. He therefore hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would state clearly whether there were any new taxes in the Bill; and, if there were any, what those taxes were?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, so far as his understanding 1981 went, and so far as the intention of the Government went (although it was not for him to give any authoritative interpretation of the words to which objection had been taken), the only points in which taxation was to be raised by this Bill were as follow:—The principal point was the extension to policies of insurance, when made the subject of settlement, of liability of stamps ad valorem. This point would receive the particular attention of the Committee. There were no taxes to be laid or increased by this Bill excepting what he had mentioned in the financial statement. He remembered there would be an incidental application of the stamp duties in certain cases in connection with perpetual curacies which were brought under the same category as rectories, and would be similarly treated. If the right hon. Baronet would refer to any other point in particular upon which he wished information he would be happy to give him it.
called attention to Clause 6, which proposed to grant licences at a reduced rate to persons occupying houses below a certain value, to be granted on the overseer's certificate of rating. Under the next clause the overseer was required to give a certificate in such cases, and he was liable to a penalty of £10 if the statement thus given was untrue in any particular. He (Mr. Henley) thought that, as the overseer was liable to this penalty, he ought to have facilities for extracting the information he required from the poor rate book, in order that a mistake might not be made between one John Smith and an-other John Smith, and thus the overseer become liable under the clause. He thought also they were entitled to some small fee on giving the certificate.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that he did not know whether the hon. Gentleman objected to the penalty or not? [Mr. HENLEY: No.] As to the question of allowing a small fee for giving the certificate, he would consider the point and give an answer to it when he proposed to read the Bill a third time.
§ Clause 5 (Occasional Licences may be granted to Refreshment House Keepers, Wine Retailers, Beer Retailers, and Tobacco Dealers).
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the hon. Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt) had given notice of an Amendment to this clause requiring 1982 the consent of a justice of the peace to the issuing of occasional licences under the Bill, and imposing restrictions as to hours. The House would remember that when occasional licences were granted, it was provided that they should only be granted with the approval of two magistrates. The law was subsequently modified to one magistrate. He first proposed by this clause simply to grant these occasional licences to publicans; but he now proposed to grant them to the other class of persons who had licences for wine and beer, and to place them under the same control as the other licences. He would add words to this effect to the end of the clause. This would probably meet the views of the hon. Member for Northamptonshire.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE
objected to the provision with respect to the mode in which penalties should be recovered. The clause was so worded that the penalty might be recovered even for an unintentional error.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that the penalties would not be recoverable by a private person, but by an officer of a public department subject to be called to account for any abuse of his powers. The same provision had been introduced into the other Revenue Acts, and when a system of penalties generally couched in form of expression pervaded the Revenue law, it was better to adhere to that form rather than introduce other expressions that might perplex the general administration of the Revenue laws. If it were said that all should be considered, that was another question; but he did not think they should consider it in a particular Bill. The hon. Member for Youghal (Mr. Butt) had suggested that the definition of goods, wares, and merchandize in the hands of manufacturers for sale was not complete. His hon. and learned Friend had observed that many accessory materials used in manufactures disappeared in the process, though they contributed to the result of the fully manufactured article. He did not think that there was anything doubtful in the provision; but as the suggestion had been made, he proposed to add words for the purpose of removing any doubt that might exist.
§ The clause was amended accordingly.1983
§ MR. WALPOLE
pointed out that a new ad valorem duty was imposed by the Bill on foreign and colonial stock.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the duty was imposed on the settlement of foreign and colonial stock, which up to the present time had not been taken cognizance of for the purpose of taxation. That was not the position that property held by a British subject abroad should be placed in, when compared with property of the same description held by him in this country. An anomaly, therefore, existed, which the present Bill proposed to remove.
§ MR. MALINS
said, that by a decision of the Court of Exchequer it had been held that a policy of assurance brought into settlement was not property and was not subject to ad valorem duty. The right hon. Gentleman now proposed to make these policies liable to the duty. But he contended that this was not a reasonable proposal; for where a man on his marriage insured his life for £5,000, and made this a subject of settlement, the policy had then no value whatever, and yet it was to pay the same duty as if it was so much money in the funds. It was true that a proviso had been added to that clause by which the policy was not made liable to duty unless in the deed of settlement there was a covenant to keeping it alive. But in every well-drawn instrument such a covenant was inserted. He would propose an Amendment in Clause 12, by which, when a policy of assurance was made the subject of settlement, the ad valorem duty would be payable only upon its value at the time of the settlement.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 6, to leave out from the word "if," in line 13, to the word "behalf," in line 15, both inclusive.— (Mr. Malins.)
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he was sorry he could not accede to the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend, which did not appear to be supported by any strong argument, either in principle or practice, and would introduce into the law a most invidious and arbitrary exemption. He saw no principle of justice to be urged in favour of the Motion. He would grant that, in the case of a policy where there was no covenant for keeping it alive, it might be fair to exempt it from the ad valorem duty; but as for a policy that had a covenant for keeping it up, that was equi- 1984 valent to a bond given by the person bound to keep it up. With respect to the law and the practice, his hon. and learned Friend had said truly that there had been a judgment of the Court of Exchequer to the effect that life policies included in settlements were not chargeable with an ad valorem duty; but his hon. and learned Friend had not stated the whole of the question. The Government were not able to carry the judgment to a superior court on appeal, or they would have endeavoured to obtain its reversal. The Law Officers of the Crown had, however, been consulted from time to time, and they had given their opinions repeatedly to the effect that life policies were chargeable. They had also recommended the Government to continue to charge the duty, thereby challenging the parties on whom the duty had been levied to further try the question if they thought fit. On this being represented to him, he certainly was of opinion that it was not desirable that such an equivocal state of things should continue; and the Government had therefore thought it right to ask Parliament to construe the law in the sense for which they contended. The whole argument was, in principle, in favour of the proposal which the Government made. It appeared to him that, if the present practice was to be impeached on any ground at all, it was on the ground that taxation on settled personalty was exceedingly low compared with that on unsettled personalty. It paid only 5s. per cent; it escaped the probate duty. [Mr. MALINS: It gets the succession duty.] Yes; but it escaped not only the probate duty but the legacy duty. He stated it moderately in estimating the taxation on one description of property at 5s. per cent, and that on the other at £2 10s. per cent. He could hardly, therefore, believe his hon. and learned Friend would make any serious opposition if he were to propose to raise the duty on settlements. He entirely objected to the proposition of his hon. and learned Friend.
§ MR. HUNT
thought it was very inconvenient to have those discussions on this stage of the Bill; but, notwithstanding what had been said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was of opinion that it was desirable the House should adopt the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend. He was astonished that the Law Officers of the Crown should have advised the Government to disregard the decision of a Court of Law, He made no charge 1985 against the Law Officers of any particular Administration, for he did not know under what Government the advice referred to by the right hon. Gentleman had been given.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he did not think the Law Officers of the Crown were bound to abide by the decision of a Court whose ruling was not final. He said so without any prejudice or personal feeling, because the present Law Officers of the Crown had not been consulted on this point. As to the Question before them, he contended that policies of Insurance ought to be taxed like other engagements. Suppose a man had not the means of paying-down money to make a provision for his wife, but he hoped by his exertions to save money for that purpose. Well, he covenanted that after his death his executors should pay £5,000 for that purpose, Under the existing law the instrument by which he entered into that covenant paid duty, no matter whether the amount was covenanted to be paid the next day or not for years after. And what was the effect of a policy of Insurance? It was simply a covenant that, instead of the insurer's executors paying a certain sum out of his estate upon his death, an Insurance Office should pay the money, and that the insurer should do everything necessary to be done on his part to make that payment absolutely certain. Therefore it was quite plain that the House would be acting with partiality if it refused to impose on policies of Insurance duties similar to those imposed on instruments containing analogous covenants.
would put a case. If A and B entered into a contract of marriage, and if C, father to A, gave a bond to pay a certain some of money at his death, the money agreed to be paid was hard money not coming from A to B, but from a third party, C. In the case of an Insurance the parties out of their annual income contracted to lay by a certain sum, all the product of which was paid to one of them when the other died. It was not by any means the same thing to persons marrying, because in one case they had a sum of money coming to them on bond, and in the other it was their own savings which were taxed. The two things were not the same in reality, and if the hon and learned Gentleman went to a division he should vote with him.
§ MR. HADFIELD
also thought the two 1986 cases were not on the same footing, and he should support the hon. and learned Member.
§ MR. THOMSON HANKEY
thought that if there were to be any exemption, it should be for the bond, which was the least valuable instrument.
also thought that if the bond was taxed, the Insurance, which was the more valuable instrument, ought to be taxed as well.
§ MR. COLLINS
said, it was a monstrous proposition to tax a sum of money in futuro exactly as if it were in hand. He would support a proposition for the entire omission of the clause.
§ SIR BALDWIN LEIGHTON
said, that the Attorney General would get few people to agree with him that it was not the duty of the Government to acquiesce in the decision of a superior Court of Law until it had been revised, and it was a gross act of tyranny to force the subject not only to go to that Court again, but to appeal to the House of Lords. If the Government were discontented with the law as laid down, it was their duty to come to Parliament.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
thought the two cases were in parimateriâ, and could see no reason in making a distinction between them.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 161; Noes 124: Majority 37.
MR. J. B. SMITH
— I rise, Sir, to move words in Schedule A limiting the operation as to levying the duty on sugar, to the 1st August, 1865. The sugar duties have for many years past been annual, and my proposal is that they shall continue to be so, to give the House and the country opportunities for the further discussion of the question with which they are at present imperfectly acquainted. I am an older free trader than the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or than my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden). I had the honour to be the first to advocate, in the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the total repeal of the Corn Laws, and also the equalization of the duties on foreign and colonial sugars; but I take shame to myself that I have not, until recently, inquired into the effect of the 1987 sugar duties upon the interest of the consumers of sugar. Having now done so, I am astounded to find that a gigantic monopoly has silently grown up, while we have been quietly flattering ourselves that all monopolies had been for ever swept away. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has truly observed of the discussions which have recently taken place in letters and pamphlets on the sugar duties, that "the literature is overwhelming." I can well understand hon. Gentlemen, who have complained to me that the more they read of the sugar literature the more they are bewildered; for that was so much my own case, that I found the only course was to lay it aside, to get at facts, and reason them out in my own mind. I soon discovered that the sugar refiners and monopolists had raised a false issue; they shouted lustily for free trade, but under cover of this cry, they endeavoured to blind us as to their real object by a bewildering "literature." I think I shall have no difficulty in showing that the real object of these pretended free traders is to prevent the consumer of sugar from buying it in the cheapest market. Let us see what was the origin of the existing state of the sugar question. Previously to 1845 there was only one rate of duty on sugar. In that year Sir Robert Peel brought in a Bill to change the mode of levying the duty on sugar to a classified rate of duties upon different qualities. It is quite clear that Sir Robert did not foresee the effects of his new measure, for he stated that he expected there would be an importation that year of about 85,000 tons of white clayed sugar; the import, however, turned out to be only 1,161 tons. Since that time the consumption of sugar has more than doubled, and if Sir Robert Peel's estimate had been realized, we ought now to have an import of 170,000 tons of white clayed sugar; but, instead of that, our import in 1863 was only 1,100 tons. The fact is. that Sir Robert Peel's Bill has had the effect of completely revolutionizing the sugar trade; it has resulted in banishing the best qualities of sugar from the market and of supplying their place with sugars of the lowest qualities, which are unfit for consumption by the people of this country until they are made over again by the sugar refiners. The operation of the law in banishing good sugar from the market is very clearly shown by Mr. Hardman, a sugar planter, examined before a Committee of the House of Commons in 1988 1848. Mr. Hardman stated that he had erected expensive machinery, on the most scientific principles, for making sugar, by means of which he was enabled to make a larger quantity and of better quality from the raw material than by the former process. That he sent three parcels of sugar, of different qualities, to London—all made from the same raw material, and all sold by auction the same day. The first parcel, which was yellow sugar, was sold for 51s., duty paid, and as the duty was 14s., he netted 37s. per cwt.; the second, white clayed, sold for 53s. 6d., and the duty on this being 16s. 4d., netted him 37s. 2d.; the third was called other refined, sold for 56s.; the duty was 18s. 4d., netting him 37s. 8d. per cwt. As the importer paid the commission, and discount was allowed on the gross price, there was an actual difference of less than 2d. per cwt. between the best and the worst quality, so that although the best quality sold in the market for 5s. per cwt. more than the worst, the classified duty prevented him from netting more than an additional 2d. per cwt. for it. The consequence was, he said, "that the classification had operated to their absolute ruin." The law of classified duties, it is seen, prevents the planter from obtaining more for the highest class of sugars than for the lowest, and here is at once the explanation why white clayed sugar has ceased to be imported. It must not be supposed, however, that because these duties have had the effect of banishing the importation of white clayed sugar, its use has ceased; on the contrary, it is now supplied from a different quarter. A new trade has been created by the classified duties which did not exist before. Formerly, the trade of the English sugar refiner was confined to refining raw sugar into loaf sugar; now he carries on the new trade of re-making low qualities of raw sugar into cleaner looking moist sugar, resembling white clayed sugar. Before Peel's Bill enacting classified duties, the sugar refiners used about 100,000 tons of sugar per annum; the new trade of remaking sugar has increased their consumption to 400,000 tons out of 500,000 tons, the total quantity of all kinds consumed. It is important to observe that the moist sugars furnished by the English refiners are inferior to those imported, because the re-making of sugar deteriorates the quality; it is fair to look upon, but the process of re-making deprives it of a. portion of its native sweetness, and the 1989 application of bullocks' blood and animal charcoal, which are not used when originally made, leave behind an unpleasant smell in re-made sugar. A law which excludes the importation of good sugar appears unnatural on the face of it. What, I then, are the pretences for this law of classified duties? That it is a kind of ad valorem duty on the quantity of crystallizable saccharine matter contained in each quality of sugar. But that this is a false and impracticable scheme was never more ably shown than by the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Card well) before he became a free trade backslider. When President of the Board of Trade in 1853, in answer to the complaints of the Governor of British Guiana of the injurious effects of the discriminating duties on sugar, the right hon. Gentleman forwarded a reply, stating thatThese discriminating rates of duty were fixed as an approximation to the ad valorem principle, it being held to be unfair to subject to the same duty sugars containing different qualities of saccharine matter. Although, in the opinion of my Lords, Customs duties proportioned to the value of imports, wherever practicable, are more just in principle, with reference to the incidence of taxation, than uniform rated duties, it has been found necessary, from a practical experience of the fraud to which such duties give rise, and the difficulty and cost of their collection, to adopt uniform duties upon so many important articles subject to Custom duties, that the retention of the ad valorem duties, which still remain in the British tariff, becomes comparatively unimportant. In the present instance my Lords are disposed to allow considerable weight to the arguments adduced by the Governor of Guiana; and they would observe that the application of ad valorem duties on sugar appear to be in many respects less appropriate than to several other articles, in regard to which it has been found expedient to abandon them. To impose a discriminating duty upon distinct kinds of a given produce, such as the produce of vineyards varying in richness, different qualities of tea or tobacco would appear to be a legitimate application of ad valorem duties; but to strike with a superior duty one pound of sugar which, by a better mode of manufacture, contains more saccharine matter than another pound obtained from the same raw material, is to inflict direct discouragement upon improvement.This, then, is not a question of jaggery and crystallizable saccharine matter, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have us believe. That is a false issue raised by the sugar refiners to throw dust in our eyes. The real issue is, that having abolished all other monopolies, will you pass laws to throttle scientific improvements in sugar making in your colonies and elsewhere, and thus prevent the con- 1990 sumers of sugar from buying the best qualities in the cheapest market, for the purpose of proteeting the re-making of sugar in England? But, Sir, this law is not only impracticable, but it is founded on a vicious principle. The valuation of sugar for the duty is not made on the quantity of saccharine matter it contains, for that cannot be ascertained but by comparing its appearance with certain standards provided by the Customs. This opens the door to fraud. All laws which tempt either merchants or Custom House officers lo fraud are vicious in principle. I have had some experience in this way. There was formerly an ad valorem duty on raw cotton, by which the house with which I was connected were great losers. The law was that every importer entered his cotton at any valuation he chose, and the Customs could take it at that price, adding 5 per cent to it. It so happened that we were importers, not of low kinds worth 9d. per pound, but of the finest worth 1s. 6d. to 3s. 6d.; and we found there were importers of this kind who, presuming upon the ignorance or dishonesty of the Custom House officers, entered the same qualities at half the price we entered ours. Thus the revenue was defrauded, the fair trader injured, and public morals not improved. The same temptations to fraud exist under the present system of levying the duties on sugar. The Custom House officer decides what duty any particular parcel of sugar shall pay, and it is notorious, not only that sugar which has paid the lowest rate of duty has sold at a higher price than that which has paid a higher duty, but that on the same kind of sugar different rates of duty have on the same day been imposed at Glasgow, Liverpool, and London. The sugar in any one cask is not of the same quality throughout. A sample taken at the top of the cask would be charged with a different rate of duty from a sample taken from the bottom. A fine field for chicanery! Some years ago there were classified duties on tea, and every lot had to be examined by a Custom House officer, samples brewed in tea pots, and a value affixed according to the taste and flavour. It is a curious fact, that this system of duties had precisely the same effect in banishing good teas that the classified duties have had in banishing good sugar. We never had such bad tea as then; when the duty was equalized, good teas immediately took the place of bad, and now such a quality as Bohea is 1991 unknown in the market. The notion that the interests of the consumers of sugar were consulted by the adoption of classified duties was effectually dissipated by the evidence before the Select Committee of 1862. Sir Thomas Freemantle, Chairman of the Board of Customs, gave it as his opinion—That the scale of duties has a tendency to act as a protection for the production of low-class West India sugars, and that if it is a question of protection, the consumers suffer. The West India proprietors claim the protection. They cannot stand the competition of Cuba and slave-producing countries.Now, let us hear what the West India planters themselves say. Mr. Rennie, the representative of the largest West India house in England, was asked what would be the effect of one uniform duty. He answered—I think the immediate effect of it would be to put an end to the cultivation of all the estates making the low description of sugar. They are struggling now for existence with a protection of 1s. 2d., and if you took away that, they could not exist, and you would give a stimulus to a very large production of Cuba sugars, and all the finest West Indies sugars, and all the finest Mauritius and East Indies sugars; but you would lose the supply of the whole of the present low-class of West India sugar, that comes to this market to be refined here.This evidence speaks for itself. There are planters who, availing themselves of scientific discoveries, have erected improved machinery for making sugar, by means of which they can make a larger quantity and of better quality than by the old machinery; but there is a large class of West India planters who, feeling great reverence for the wisdom of their ancestors, continue to make sugar after the manner of their great grandfathers, and they call out for protection against the new-fangled machinery, and insist that an extra duty shall be laid upon all the sugar it produces, and moreover they threaten us that if we do not comply with their demand, they will cease to grow sugar. Well, Sir, this is not the first time we have heard that kind of argument. There is an amusing similarity in protectionist arguments all the world over. When the people demanded the right to buy their corn in the cheapest market, the corn-growers told us a similar story: they said that the land would go out of cultivation. What say the sugar refiners?It was said by a London refiner, that if the 16s. duty was removed, not only would the fine sugars from the East Indies and the Mauritius come here, but that the much more preferable 1992 white Havanah sugars would come in and supersede the sugars of the refiners, because they are white, and can be sent in any quantity. That such sugars are generally as cheap as any other sugars, but they are not used on account of the high duty. That if these fine sugars were imported, the business of the English refiner would be unjustly interfered with; that if the same duty is put upon the low sugars, containing molasses, water, and dirt, the refining trade would be at an end, because it is not their business to make white sugar whiter, but to make brown sugar into white. That refiners principally exist in this country on account of the large supply of low sugar; and if a better description is brought in and admitted at the same duty as low sugar, there will be less for them to do, as such pure sugars could be refined with the greatest ease and comfort, whereas, with the low sugars brought from the West Indies, the process is more difficult, and requires twice as many sugar houses as the other would.Here is the key to the clamorous outcry of these pretended free traders—the sugar refiners. They unite in the cry with the West India planters for the exclusion of the good sugars of Cuba and the Mauritius, lest it should interfere with their remaking of bad sugar. The fact is, that these classified sugar duties have raised up a formidable monopoly interest, with which we shall have to struggle; and the struggle is rendered more difficult by the monopolists, strange to say, having enlisted on their side the Chancellor of the Exchequer and my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden). But I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, does he call the cry to be protected from Cuba and Mauritius free trade? I ask the right hon. Gentleman how he can reconcile his rejection of the claims of the silk manufacturers and those of the papermakers to be protected from the competition of the paper-makers of France and Belgium, whose paper is admitted duty free, while a duty is imposed in those countries on the export of rags? He tells the papermakers—The claims of the consumers are paramount: they have the right to buy their paper in the cheapest markets.Why does he not hold the same language to the West India planters and the English sugar refiners? The right hon. Gentleman said, on introducing this Bill—That no courage or ability can induce the Legislature to sanction a system of protection.I quite agree with him, but I think I have shown that this Bill is "a system of protection," and I confidently predict that it will not he long ere it be repealed. When the people open their eyes to the fraud which has been practised upon them by 1993 this Bill, they will insist with one voice upon their right to buy their sugar, as they, buy everything else, in the cheapest market. I had not the honour of a seat in this House when Sir Robert Peel's Sugar Bill; was introduced, but it was opposed by those: consistent free traders, Mr. Hume, Mr. Ricardo, Mr. Bright, and Mr. Milner Gibson. My hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Milner Gibson) was then Member for Manchester, and was considered a sort of free trade watch-dog, and a very wakeful watch-dog he was; his voice was always heard when there was the least; approach of danger. We have not heard his opinion of the present Bill, but if he be about to become a free trade backslider, like his Colleague the Secretary for the Colonies (Mr. Cardwell), I hope he will have better reasons to offer for such a course than that right hon. Gentleman. The Secretary for the Colonies, who, when President of the Board of Trade in 1853, described the graduated scale of sugar duties as "inflicting a direct discouragement upon improvement," now turns round and thus defends them—He would show that since the graduated scale had been adopted, the consumption had gone on increasing until it was larger than ever.I do not deny that our supplies of sugar have increased as stated, but does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that if the classified duties had been abolished, the supply would not have equally increased? The increased consumption of sugar is not the consequence of a law which excludes good sugar, but in spite of it, The increased consumption of sugar is owing to the increased population, and the improved condition of the consumers of sugar. Then the right hon. Gentleman says—The object of the scale has been attained, because a quality of sugar most valuable to the consumer has been imported.I deny that a valuable quality has been imported; good sugar is more valuable than bad, and the effect of the law has been to exclude good sugar. If, as the right hon. Gentleman says, the classification has brought us increased supplies of low sugar, does it follow that the converse of the proposition must be true, that the abolition of the standards and the adoption of one rate of duly would have diminished our supplies? It so happens that the experiment has been tried in France. In 1860 the graduated scale of duties was abolished, and all qualities of 1994 raw sugar were admitted at one rate of duty. Mark the results; the imports were in 1860, 60,496,812 kilogrammes; 1861, 95,802,687 kilogrammes; 1862, 129,167,182 kilogrammes. In England, under classified duties, the imports increased in eight years 25 per cent. In France, under one rate of duty, they increased in three years more than 100 per cent. But it is important to note that classified duties have brought us low rubbish, while an equal duty has brought France sugars of the most beautiful quality. The glory of the Bill, said the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of the Colonies, is, that it admits the lowest class of sugars and excludes the best; and we are told this is for the benefit of the lower classes, who use low sugars. But why should the lower classes be compelled by law to consume the worst sugar? The lower classes desire good sugar as well as other folks. At one time they were content with oatmeal and barley bread, but now they are all aiming to get better bread and better meat and drink than before. Do you believe they prefer coarse sugar to fine, or bad tea to good? Time was, when bad tea was forced upon them by classified duties, as bad sugar is now; that scandalous law is now abolished, and the law forcing bad sugar upon them ought and must be abolished also. There has been a similar and instructive struggle going on in France on the sugar duties as in England. The sugar refiners in France have the monopoly of refining sugars for export, which are required to be refined from foreign sugar. The French beetroot sugar-makers justly claim an equal right to refine their sugar, and to receive the same drawback on exportation as: the refiner. The French refiners, with whom are allied the shipowners, are little behind their brethren in England in sugar literature, but they sail on a different tack. In England, the refiners knowing the stigma attaching to protection, preach free trade. In France, free trade doctrines are less fashionable, and they tickle their countrymen, by affecting extraordinary concern for the safety and glory of France. If, say they, beetroot sugar be allowed to be exported, the import of foreign sugar will fall off, foreign commerce, the nursery of our seamen, will be diminished, and the safety of the nation will be imperilled, for if war should some day break out with "perfide Albion," you will have destroyed the arm (the seamen) by which their in- 1995 solence would have been punished. The French Government have this year, by way of compromising the claims of the beetroot sugar-growers and the refiners, allowed the growers to export their sugar; but to pacify the refiners, have adopted two classifications, namely—a duty of 42 francs and 44 francs per kilo, on raw sugar. The Secretary for the Colonies told the House the other night that there had been a Conference at Paris of representatives from Holland, Belgium, France, and England, at which, although at first all except England were opposed to classified duties, at the close all were in favour of them except Belgium, and led us to expect that France would adopt our system. Well, France has adopted two classifications for raw sugar; England has four. The difference between the highest and the lowest rate of duty on raw sugars in France is 10d. per cwt.; what is the difference in England? Instead of 10d., it is 3s. 6d. per cwt. I am sorry my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden) has not remained in the House, because I gave him notice that I intended to put him on his defence. I charge my hon. Friend with having been the cause of great mischief on this question, by silently allowing the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the sugar refiners to make use of his name as an approver of this Bill, without, I believe, having, with his usual shrewdness, inquired into its operations. The consequence has been that the free traders all over the country, confiding in his usually sound free trade opinions, have been lulled into a false security. My hon. Friend told the House the other night that our foreign Ambassadors and Consuls ought to be sent to school to learn political economy, and study Adam Smith. But some of my hon. Friend's constituents are of opinion that there are other persons besides our Ambassadors who ought to be sent to school. The grocers of Rochdale asked my hon. Friend's opinion on this question of the sugar duties, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer quoted the letter which my hon. Friend wrote to them as an evidence of his approval of his plan of classification. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not read to the House the answers of the Rochdale grocers, which showed that my hon. Friend ought to go to school again. My hon. Friend has been a great school-waster in his day, and he taught his scholars so well, that they immediately detected the sugar fallacies of their old 1996 master. They reminded him, "These are not the doctrines we learnt from you; in considering this question, you have not put on your anti-Corn Law spectacles;" and so they beat him with the weapons he had taught them to handle. I contend, in the interest of the consumers, that the duty on sugar should operate in the same way as if there were no duty at all. If there were no duty at all, the West India planters would have to compete with sugar-growers all over the world; and if they chose to continue the system of their great grandfathers, and found themselves unable to compete with those who used the best machinery, and the most scientific processes of making sugar, they must take the consequences—they must go unpitied to the wall. The English sugar refiners would also have to compete with the colonial and foreign sugar refiners, and, under this competition, prices would soon regulate themselves, and the consumer would be supplied with the best sugar at the lowest price at which it could be afforded. It is proved that it is impossible to ascertain by inspection the quantity of crystallizable saccharine matter contained in any sample of sugar, and I hold, as the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Cardwell) formerly held, that—To strike with a superior duty one pound of sugar which, by a better mode of manufacture, contains more saccharine matter than another pound obtained from the same raw material, is to inflict direct discouragement upon improvement.I am, therefore, in favour of one rate of duty, as the only just principle to adopt in the interest of consumers. One rate of duty on all qualities would attain the same object as no duty. But my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale reminds me of the old anti-Corn Law cry, "A fixed duty is a fixed injustice." I quite agree with him that a fixed duty on corn is a fixed injustice; but I never advocated a fixed duty on corn, although my hon. Friend once did, and it is a curious historical fact, that he wrote a pamphlet in which he proposed a fixed duty on corn as a source of public revenue. Why was a fixed duty on corn a fixed injustice? Because if a fixed duty, say of 10s. a quarter, be laid on foreign corn, the price of home-grown corn would be proportion-ably raised to the consumer. Thus, an import of 2,000,000 quarters of foreign corn, at 10s. per quarter, would raise a revenue of £1,000,000, whilst the price of 1997 the 20,000,000 quarters of home-grown corn being raised by 10s. per quarter, the consumers would be taxed £10,000,000 for the purpose of putting £1,000,000 into the Exchequer. Let me remind my hon. Friend of another anti-Corn Law argument, which he has frequently used in former days, that if a duty be placed on foreign corn for purposes of revenue, a corresponding duty ought to be placed on home-grown corn. Let the House apply this principle to sugar. If the foreign and colonial planter paid a duty of 16s. per cwt. on their white sugar, why should not the English refiner pay a corresponding duty? But he pays no tax at all on his white sugar; he only pays a tax of 12s. 8d. on the lowest quality. It is said, no doubt, that the refiner pays on the "waste," but how does the House know what the "waste" is? Here is the juggle. Under the name of classified duties, the refiner gets a bounty on the low quality of sugar, which enables him to re-make it into white sugar, equal in appearance, but worse in quality, at a less price than the colonial planter, who has to pay a duty of 16s. instead of 12s. 8d. per cwt. The consequence is, that of the 500,000 tons of sugar which are consumed in this country, 400,000 tons pass through the hands of the sugar refiners, of which 300,000 tons pay the lowest rate of duty. Now, this 300,000 tons of sugar, paying 12s. 8d. duty, is re-made into sugar of a quality which, if imported by the sugar-planter, would pay duties of 16s. and 18s. 4d. per cwt. Is it just to make the planter pay a higher duty upon sugar of the same appearance, made by one single process, than the English refiner pays on that quality, because he puts it through the double process of making it over again? The fact is, this is a law to drive the planters of good sugar out of the market by high duties, and to give the English refiner, by means of low duties, almost the sole monopoly of the sale of sugar in this country. This is neither more nor less than a law to prevent the consumer from using cheap and good sugar, that the refiner may be protected in selling bad and dear sugar. No eloquence can long maintain this scandalous law. I trust I have shown sufficient reasons why it should be re-considered, and I therefore move, "That the duties on sugar be continued in force for one year only."
§ MR. LEATHAM
Sir, in rising to second the Motion of my hon. Friend, I do not rise with any intention or desire of 1998 expressing dissatisfaction with the propositions of the right hon. Gentleman; on the contrary, I cordially concur in the opinion which has been so generally expressed, that when we take into consideration the peculiar difficulties which at this moment beset this question, and especially the ill-informed and confused state of the public mind with respect to it, the right hon. Gentleman has dealt with it as satisfactorily as the House had any right to expect. In common with many who do not go quite so far as the right hon. Gentleman appears to go in their admiration of what we call ad valorem duties, and to whom simplicity in taxation has greater charms than complexity, I have observed with pleasure the step which the right hon. Gentleman has taken in the direction of equalization. And if the House will permit me, I should like to state the grounds upon which I think not only that the right hon. Gentleman was fully justified in taking that step, but would be fully justified if, on some early occasion, he should take other steps in the same direction. The right hon. Gentleman constructs his scale upon the principle, that the amount of the duty should correspond with the amount of crystallizable saccharine matter which is contained in the various sugars; and in order to show that the scale is just, we ought to be able to show that such is really the case. But with all due deference to the authority of the right hon. Gentleman, I cannot withhold my very grave doubts upon the fact. In the course of the very remarkable speech by which the right hon. Gentleman introduced his Budget, he had occasion to refer to the flood of literature with which this whole question has been inundated, and in which not only he but every hon. Member who takes a lively interest in great fiscal questions like this, has been hopelessly immersed during the last few weeks. Now, a peculiarity of that literature is, that the great bulk of it has proceeded from the pen of interested parties, and it seems almost necessary to disclaim at the outset (as I have much pleasure in being able to disclaim) the least personal interest in any particular solution of this question. Well, since I had no personal interest to guide me, the House may readily imagine how I floundered about in that Slough of Despond of controverted or conflicting facts which those who took part in this controversy contrived to place in the path of every pilgrim who set out 1999 on his journey with a single eye to arriving at the truth. But in the midst of this war of interests and conflict of opinion, there was one substantial fact which I was able to grasp firm hold of, and that was, that there exists the greatest diversity of opinion as to the amount of crystallizable saccharine matter contained in the various samples, and therefore the greatest possible doubt as to the justice of the scale. For example, I find Dr. Scoffern writing to the papers thatHe had on many occasions extracted upwards of 90 per cent of white pure sugar commercially equal to Dutch lumps from Indian khaur.Now Indian khaur is the coarsest sugar known, and is practically identical with that Indian jaggery which the right hon. Gentleman selected when he put his extreme case the other night, and asked us whether it was fair to tax equally sugar nearly in a refined state, and Indian jaggery which contained only 50 per cent of crystallizable saccharine matter. I was astonished (having brought to the investigation the impression which I will engage to say prevails among ninety-nine out of every hundred Members of this House, that there exists the greatest disparity in the amount of crystallizable saccharine matter contained in the various samples) when I took up the Report of Professors Brande and Cooper, who conducted, at the instance of the Customs House, an analysis of 19 samples of sugar, embracing every kind known to the trade; I was astonished, I say, to learn from that Report, that those learned gentlemen discovered in 15 out of the 19 samples no less than 90 per cent of crystallizable saccharine matter, and that in no one instance of the other four did the analysis disclose less than 85 per cent. Now if this be so, what becomes of the assertion (by which I venture to think the public mind has been grossly abused) that sugars are constantly imported containing 30 or 40 or 50 per cent of crystallizable saccharine matter only? And what becomes of the justice of your scale which is based on some such assumption? Surely, there must have been great ignorance or great delusion somewhere (to use no harsher term), either on the part of those who conducted this analysis, or on the part of those who, flying in the face of these results, still cling so tenaciously to a system of duties which they know to be so preposterously at variance with them. But I will call the refiners in order to prove 2000 the truth of what I say. And the refiners, at all events, are not obnoxious to the charge of giving ex parte evidence in favour of a uniform duty. Mr. Gaddesden, an eminent refiner, and in every sense an unimpeachable witness, in the course of his evidence before the Select Committee, proceeded to show how fraud would be committed if you refined in bond, and this is the illustration which he gave—I purchase," says Mr. Gaddesden, "West India sugar paying the 12s. 8d. duty, which contains of water about 5¾per cent, dirt 1 percent, total net sugar 6¾per cent.Mr. Gaddesden therefore speaks (as though it were a matter of daily occurrence) of purchasing West India sugar paying the very lowest duty, and containing 93¼ per cent of saccharine matter. Then Mr. Fryer (who is a great champion of the refiners, and a very able one) admits that he has bought sugar paying only the 13s. 10d. duty containing 95 per cent of crystallizable saccharine matter. Now, I do not wish to weary the House by needlessly multiplying proofs, but I should like to state a few facts with reference to the scale as it at present stands. My hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Potter), who has himself written very forcibly upon this question, obtained several samples of sugar which had passed the Customs House under the new scale, and transmitted them to an analytical chemist of great eminence, whose name if I were to mention it would be well known to the right hon. Gentleman, and the results I hold in my hand. There was one sample of sugar admitted under the highest duty but one, and this contained 94.5 per cent of crystallizable saccharine matter. There were two samples admitted under the 9s. 5d. duty (now the lowest but one); one of these contained 84.4 and the other 89 per cent of crystallizable saccharine matter. There were also two samples admitted under the lowest duty of all—the new duty recently added by the right hon. Gentleman to the scale in order to embrace the very lowest sugars;—one of them contained 82 and the other 85 per cent of crystallizable saccharine matter. Now I have but little information beyond what I glean from publications which are the property of everybody; I have no ends to serve beyond those of justice; and what I want to know is, whether these facts (attested by the evidence of eminent analysts who must be presumed to be impartial wit- 2001 nesses, and by the evidence of eminent refiners, all whose interests point in a contrary direction) —I want to know whether these facts are facts or only so much gratuitous romance, because if they are facts I am at a loss to understand the justice of the scale. And do not let the right hon. Gentleman reply that it matters little how much crystallizable saccharine matter the samples contain if they do not yield that amount to the refiner, because, in the first place, this is not a refiner's but a consumer's question. In the second place, the right hon. Gentleman has admitted himself to be a disciple of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and the words of their memorial, as quoted by the right hon. Gentleman, are these — "that it is needful the duties be assessed upon the article in proportion to the amount of crystallizable saccharine matter which it contains," not which it may be made to yield; and in the third place, because the refiners themselves have stated that it is not their object to extract the greatest amount of sugar, but to extract it in the most tempting form, Thus Mr. Fairrie (and Mr. Fairrie is a perfect giant upon the field of saccharine literature), expressly states —That the refiner must carry on his manufacture in such a manner that he may obtain clear and bright crystals; which is not to be done if he makes it his principal or only object to get a large percentage of sugar. In this case his goods would be small in the grain, with a dingy look, and saleable only at a low; price.Now since my hon. Friend has not by his Motion distinctly raised the question of a uniform duty, I do not propose to go further now into the question of ad valorem duties as applied to sugar; but this I must say before I sit down, that if this artificial and capricious system is to be do fended by analogy, it must be by much sounder analogies than those which the right hon. Gentleman strove to draw the other night. The right hon. Gentleman cited the case of wine, cocoa, coffee, corn and timber, as analogous to that of sugar, Now with the exception of wine, I cannot admit that any true analogy exists; and even in the case of wine, surely that man must be a poet who would call the wine duty an ad valorem duty, unless, indeed, he is prepared to throw overboard age, colour, bouquet and flavour, everything which constitutes the value of wine, and to value wine solely for the rapidity with which it will make him drunk. The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that at the same duty 2002 are introduced brandies, quoted at 15s. proof, and rum at 15d., and he knows perfectly well that at the same duty come in, side by side, the most silky Chateau Lafitte, at five or six guineas a dozen, and the most rasping Gladstonian, at 14s. But take the case of the other articles of import; the right hon. Gentleman states that cocoa paste pays a higher duty than cocoa nibs, roast coffee than green, flour than corn, and planks than timber; but what does this fact prove more than that your tariff sanctions the principle that the manufactured article ought to pay a higher duty than the raw product out of which it is manufactured? Cocoa nibs, green coffee, corn and timber, are all raw products, but sugar is never a raw product, it is always a manufactured article. No one imports sugar canes; and if the analogy is to prove anything, it must go much farther, and it must be shown that you strike the manufactured article with a higher and higher duty in proportion as it is further and further removed from the condition of the raw product out of which it is manufactured. Take the case of flour. The right hon. Gentleman ought to have shown that extra superfine pays a higher duty than superfine—superfine than fine—fine than seconds. But he can show nothing of the kind, and therefore I maintain that his analogy falls to the ground. And here is another point which is most material to this part of the question. The fact that these manufactured articles are liable to be charged with a higher duty than the raw products is instantly and of itself apparent. A blind man could tell the difference between roast coffee and green by the evidence of his nose, and by the use of his touch he could tell the difference between corn and flour, or between planks and timber; but in the case of sugar (and this is precisely where the shoe pinches) great technical knowledge and experience are requisite to assign the proper numbers; indeed, so nice and delicate an operation is it, that we are told the decision may be influenced by the shade of the sky, and by the state of the atmosphere, and that, too, in a climate and a country where two consecutive days were never yet known to be alike. And in the case of wine, the amount of duty to be charged is determined by the amount of alcohol which is present, and this is ascertained by the simplest operation known to science; but the analogous process in the case of sugar is an admitted failure—and 2003 in the evidence which the Customs House officers gave before the Committee, they stated that they judged solely by sight, by grain and colour. Well, the natural, the inevitable, and the notorious consequence has been, that strong sugars are constantly coloured in order that they may pass at a lower duty. So much, then, for the right hon. Gentleman's analogies. And, in conclusion, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, and ask the House, what possible future can there be before a system of classified duties in defence of which even the right hon. Gentleman, with his vast stores of knowledge, with his keen ingenuity, and his wide range of illustration, is able to discover no sounder analogies than these?
§ Amendment proposed to Schedule (A), page 8, line 10, by adding after the words "sixty-four," the words "until the first day of August, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five."— (Mr. John Benjamin Smith.)
§ MR. CAVE
said, that having taken a somewhat active part in the Committee on the Sugar Duties, he desired to say a few words in opposition to the Motion which had been submitted to the House. He would be as short as possible, and avoid figures, which could not be tested in a debate; and if the subject were somewhat dry, and indeed scarcely intelligible to those who had no occasion to acquire a special knowledge of the details, he at least was not responsible for its having been forced a second time upon unwilling listeners. The hon. Member who had introduced this Motion had stated that he had only just given attention to the subject. That he (Mr. Cave) could well imagine. But the question had for a long time occupied the attention of others. According to the evidence of some of the witnesses before the Committee, this agitation arose from the dissatisfaction of certain wholesale grocers at their province being invaded by the refiners, who deprived them of the monopoly of supplying the retail trade. The fact was that a very great change had come over the taste of the great body of consumers, and large classes, who formerly never dreamt of using refined sugar, now did so habitually, owing chiefly to its increased variety and cheapness, and, perhaps, in some degree, to the publication some years ago in the Lancet of the magnified likenesses of acari, or raw sugar insects. This change of taste 2004 happened to be contemporaneous, in this country at least, with the new sugar duty scale, which was quite enough for the logical minds of a certain class of reasoners; but, unfortunately for them, in Scotland, where the same scale prevailed, scarcely any raw sugar had been used for more than twenty years. These "sugar insurgents," as they had been called, were joined by other highly respected houses, which had been trying the experiment of carrying the mountain to Mahomet, by refining in Mauritius and India, and did not find it pay. He fully believed the sincerity of these gentlemen, with some of whom he was well acquainted; and it would be absurd in him to say a word against interested motives. In such matters attack and defence were generally prompted by interested motives. The progress of the country was owing to various interests pressing forward, checking and being checked in turn. He was afraid that progress would be much retarded, did it depend upon public spirit alone. These gentlemen had among them a sort of newspaper, by means of which they instructed the people after the usual fashion of agitators, that is, by exaggerating the arguments on one side and suppressing those on the other; and it could not be denied that they had made many influential friends. Great were the advantages promised from a change of system. All profits, no losses! Sugar unknown to the present generation (though the scale was only ton years old) sparkling like Sinbad's valley of diamonds! But how was this saccharine paradise to be reached? Through the gate of a Parliamentary Committee. Give them but an opportunity of stating their case, and no reasonable man could fail to adopt their views. He need scarcely say the ordinary accessories of agitation were not wanting. They dressed up two lay figures, calling one free trade and the other protection, to frighten timid people, and the convenient poor man was pressed into the: service, of whom agitators were so fond on platform and on paper, but whom they too often so utterly ignored everywhere else. The Committee was obtained by the aid of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London. It might, therefore, be taken for granted, that its composition could not be challenged by those who adopted his views. The Chairman, the present Secretary for the Colonies, was supposed to be committed to the same opinions. After a long and patient in- 2005 quiry, the Committee, by a large majority, adopted the Chairman's Report not against, but in favour of, an extension of the scale—in the main, in favour of the scale of this year's Budget—the adhesion of at least one Member of the Committee being caused by positive conversion from his former faith. The decision of the Committee was a blow to the agitators, who, however, soon consoled themselves by stigmatizing the majority, from chairman downwards, as people of intelligence much below par. They were sure the House of Commons would not adopt such an absurd decision. The appeal to the House of Commons came off last Session, under the auspices of his hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland. The result was certainly not triumphant; it was, however, easy then to abuse the House as a parcel of people who got there no one knew how; bad enough as individuals, still worse in their collective capacity. "There were, however, exceptions. The hon. Member for Rochdale would set the whole affair right, though it was scarcely worth troubling him about; scarcely dignus vindice nodus, so clear was the case." The hon. Member for Rochdale, however, thought otherwise, and then their opinion of his powers also changed; "he had overworked his brain, he was no longer quite himself. Was it not he who quarrelled with The Times?" A conference took place about this time on the duties between delegates from France, Belgium, Holland, and England. They concurred in a report in favour of classification; but his friends, the agitators, were very severe upon them as people with foregone conclusions, who merely wrote to order; "They were not worth thinking about. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would never perpetuate such enormities in his Budget." The right hon. Gentleman, he imagined, must have given some indication of his opinions, for it was hinted some time before Easter that his mind was too subtle to take a straightforward course, and his counsels "dark as Erebus." There was a last resource —the all-intelligent, all-powerful British public. There was to be a public meeting, but, in order to secure a proper expression of public opinion, only one side was to be heard. It was to be, in fact, a private meeting, disguised as a public one. It came off. His hon. Friend the Member for the City presided with his usual ability; but the British public intimated that they preferred hearing both sides, and even -tually there was a scene much like that 2006 which took place in the Rotunda in Dublin about the same time. The enemy were left in possession, and passed resolutions in favour of the Report of the Sugar Duties Committee. In spite of all this crushing weight of authority, the Member for the City would not give way, and he could not but admire the constancy with which his hon. Friend stood by a hopeless case.Vietrix causa Diis placuit, sed victa Catoni.And he deserved a better fate than that his able speech a few nights ago could induce only a forlorn hope of seventeen to follow him into the lobby.—What was the case of the other side? First, that the Customs' Officer could not judge accurately of the quality of the sugar from samples. They had had all this before the Committee — the dark day, the yellow fog, the bilious Custom House Officer; but it was proved that the trouble had been much exaggerated, the complaints few. The Committee could decide without proof, that if a bilious officer thought the sugar looked yellower than usual he would see the standard in the same light. Grocers, and specially refiners, settled the price they should give by tests similar to those by which the officer settled the duties, and if they could do so in a range of from 10s. to 15s., why should not he in a range of less than 5s.? The Dutch numbers, which were standards of value all over the world, were on the same principle, and more reliable than the samples which some hon. Members had, he understood, been carrying in their pockets ever since the Budget. But objection was taken to the principle of classification, even, if it could be carried out in a perfect manner. The other side protested against taxing one pound of sugar more heavily than another. He (Mr. Cave) quite agreed with them. The late Mr. James Wilson had the same objection urged against his measure. Why do you have differential duties on sugar? His reply was, "We have not; we have only one; we tax sugar 13s. 4d. wherever we can get at it." So spirit was taxed at the same rate in cheap sherry and costly Lafitte. A person complaining that he paid a higher duty on his sugar simply complained that he had more sugar to pay for, like the man who on becoming rich grumbled that he had to pay more income tax. This was the principle of the sugar duties—to tax at one rate all the pure sugar which a refiner in the ordinary exercise of his trade could extract from that compound of various matters which was 2007 called the raw sugar of commerce. The duty would be strictly ad valorem if all sugar passed through refineries, but, practically, good grocery sugar—that is, sugar; which came into consumption in a raw state, often fetched a higher price than the amount of pure sugar warranted, on account of its appearance—a kind of fancy price—and was, therefore, more lightly taxed according to its value; and sometimes a planter, in trying to improve his sugar, spoilt this appearance, and so lost the grocery market, which would have given him a better price for an intrinsically less valuable article. This accounted for some inequalities to which allusion had been made. It could not be too clearly stated that precisely the same considerations influenced the refiner in fixing the price he would give for sugar as the Customs' Officer in fixing the duty he would charge. Experience was a tolerably sure guide in both cases. The chemist might tell them that he got such and such percentage in his laboratory, just as he used to tell them after operating on a dozen ripe canes how much sugar they ought to grow to the acre. He remembered a story being told of an unhappy Jamaica planter going to air his grievances at the Colonial Office some years ago, when Mr. Hawes was Under Secretary, and while waiting in one of what the author of Philip Van Artevelde called the "sighing rooms," being asked by an enterprising, clerk how much sugar he made to the acre? On replying that if the soil and weather were good and the negroes would work, he might get a ton all round, he was immediately met by the rejoinder, "Why, how can you expect to make both ends meet? our Under Secretary makes twice as much as that out of the worst soil upstairs!" The practical man knew that these calculations were worthless for ordinary life. If the refiner could get as much pure sugar profitably out of the lowest as out of the highest qualities, why did he give so much more for one than the other? A single illustration would suffice. In a Bristol refinery the other day, 12 lb. of actual mud was found in a cwt. of Brazilian sugar, which choked the filters, and caused much expense in reburning the animal charcoal. It was said, however, that the classification brought in this abominable stuff. "If it were not for this false system it would all be purified in the place of growth, and come in good sugar." [Mr. CRAWFORD: Hear, hear!] Well! but 2008 would it? In order to test this, they must go to the place of growth. If they found there that the producer could only get as much for his good sugar as his bad, there would be at least a prima facie ground for this charge; but if they found, as they did, that the price of good sugar at the place of growth was always far higher than that of bad, what should induce the planter to make bad sugar except his incapacity, from various causes, to make better? Why should a man deliberately make what was worth 10s. when he could as easily, as they were told, make what was worth 20s.? Certainly not from fear of the duty, for he (Mr. Cave) was talking of prices at the place of growth. Possibly this was caused in some instances by want of means to make more than the rudest and simplest qualities; in others, by a conviction that the highest price was not always the most paying price, and that a colonial refinery, working only during crop, could not compete with one in England, working all the year round with every command of fuel, machinery, and reliable workmen, Just as it was cheaper for a West Indian planter to buy sawn planks from Canada than to cut down and saw up the splendid trees at his own door, so it was cheaper for him to send his sugar in a matrix of incongruous substances to be purified in London, Bristol, or elsewhere—very much as the Australian sent his copper ore to be smelted at Swansea. When Mr. Pitt said that the colonies should not make a nail, he pronounced an arbitrary edict for the benefit of the mother country; but, no doubt, it would not have been wise in the colonies to attempt it. When the hon. Member alluded to the decrease in the quantity of sugar equal to white clayed, as proved by the Returns, he forgot that the standards were altered in 1854, and that a great deal which formerly came in under that denomination now passed in the class below. This showed how dangerous it was for hon. Gentlemen to get up pamphlets, and then come down and make speeches on them. In truth, when they were told of the great increase in the lower qualities of sugar in this country, it was not that we had lost the better but that we had gained the others in addition. The greater part of the low sugars were foreign, and before 1846 excluded by a prohibitory duty. He did not defend the Act of 1846. He considered it a gross breach of national faith and national consistency, but as a free trade measure it was right; and 2009 as the duties on slave and free grown sugar gradually approximated under that Act, those from Brazil and Manilla, formerly excluded altogether, came in in great abundance, and the consumption rose from 17lb. a head in 1841 to more than 36 lb. in the past year. He felt sure that the great demand consequent on this reduction of duty would cause fresh land to be brought into cultivation, and an increased supply of low sugar, which could be more quickly made to meet a sudden demand than high qualities. The hon. Member had talked of increased importation to France in a particular year, but that was caused by the failure of the beet root, and had nothing to do with duties. Certain fine qualities, no doubt, sought Franco rather than England, because the Government there chose to give them a high bounty in more ways than one. The result being that the net revenue derived from sugar as compared with the gross receipts was said to be us fifteen to forty-five, but when an uniform duty was recommended as likely to give the consumer a supply of good raw sugar, where was the proof of this in France? A Return, however, moved for this Session by the hon. Member for the City showed that last year the people of England got better sugar at a less price than the year before. It would be easy to show that if a scale was oppressive, because the lower qualities in each came so near the highest in the grade below, how much more oppressive, conversely, would In.' Uniformity, which taxed at the same rate qualities differing in so much greater a degree. But he had already trespassed too long, and he would conclude by saying that, in his opinion, the most valuable of the Chancellor's proposals in respect of these duties was that which secured their permanence. Nothing was so injurious to a trade as that its operations should be unsettled for many weeks, year after year, by speculation on changes in the duties. For three years past the evil had been greatly aggravated by this mischievous agitation. He had heard that their fate at the next election depended on their course with reference to this question, but he hoped that hon. Members would disregard even this formidable threat. He trusted that that night this mere shadow of a shade might be laid for ever, and that it might be long before they had another debate on the sugar duties within those walls.
said, that the more he had examined this question the more he had come to the conclusion that the ad valorem or differential scale of duties—call it which you would—was not in the interest of the consumer. The room in the London Tavern in which the meeting was held, to which reference had been made, was packed with sugar refiners and their friends, and the advocates of an uniform duty were swamped by the Protectionists. He was much struck by hearing the same kind of arguments used on that occasion as had been used at former meetings in the same place concerning the Navigation Laws. The cry then was, "We shall not be able to compete with the foreigners, and ruin will fall upon us;" and now the sugar refiners said that an alteration in the sugar duties would ruin them. But many other traders who entertained similar fears had survived and prospered, and so, no doubt, would the sugar refiners. At any rate, the business of the House of Commons was to legislate not for the sugar refiners, but for the interests of the country at large. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it was not fair to tax dirt; but surely it was expedient to discourage the importation of dirt under the disguise of sugar. The right hon. Gentleman said he aimed at taxing the saccharine matter. But if the principle upon which he went was sound his figures were wrong. Under the lower scale of duties there was 85 per cent of crystallizable saccharine matter which ought to be taxed, and 15 per cent of matter which ought not to be taxed. The 85 per cent paid 8s. 2d., while the 100 per cent paid 12s. 10d., being a difference of 35 per cent, while the difference in the percentage was only 15 per cent; consequently, a boon of 20 per cent was given to the sugar refiner. He had all along been an humble supporter of his right hon. Friend's policy, which was in the interest of the people, regardless of class; but his present proposition consulted the interests of the sugar refiners as against the consumer. He thought, however, that the right hon. Gentleman was taking a very arbitrary course in refusing to re-open the question. Moreover, practical difficulties would arise in the way of sampling sugar, which would be a great hindrance to trade. Consider the inconvenience which would arise supposing a 2,000 ton ship arrived carrying 16,000 bags of sugar, every ten bags of which would have to be sampled in order to see whether they came under 2011 the higher or lower scale of duty. At all events, he hoped the House would not allow their hands to be tied, but take care that the subject should be again discussed when the next budget was brought forward. He was quite sure the more the question was discussed, the more an ad valorem scale of duties would be seen to be a protection injurious to free commerce and disadvantageous to the consumer.
§ MR. CRAWFORD
said, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated in his Budget speech that the principle on which the duties on sugar should be levied in future was that stated in the Memorial of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce— according to the extractable saccharine value; but this Bill involved an entire departure from that principle. So far from saccharine value only being taken, the third clause of the Bill enacted that "for facilitating the due assessment of the duties on sugar with reference to colour, grain, or saccharine matter, considered collectively," &c. He wished to know how the Chancellor of the Exchequer reconciled that clause with the principle laid down in the Manchester Memorial. Colour, grain, and saccharine matter collectively were now, it appeared, to be the criterion of value, and not saccharine matter only. Reference had been made to the meeting at the London Tavern. Now, having been one of the persons who convened it, he desired to say that that meeting was intended to be a meeting of those who were in favour of an equalization of the duty, and it was convened to consider a common course of action in discussing the question in that House. On arriving at the place, he found that the refiners had stolen a march upon them, occupied the room which others had hired, and conducted the business to their own entire satisfaction; and they afterwards sent him the bill. The meeting, in short, was packed, and could afford no indication whatever of public feeling. It only showed the apprehensions which existed among the refining interest at the progress which had been made hostile to their views. The hem. Member for Shoreham (Mr. Cave) had referred to the small following he (Mr. Crawford) had the other evening into the lobby; but if the division had taken place at an earlier hour he had the best reason to believe his following would have been much larger. He was also quite convinced that if the numbers were on one side the arguments were on 2012 the other. He would remind the hon. Member for Shoreham that colour was not to be relied on—O formose puer, nimium ne crede colori.He should support the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. J. B. Smith)—if for no other reason, because of the great dissatisfaction that prevailed among the great body of consumers at the present scale of duties, which rendered it proper that this subject should be again brought under the notice of Parliament next Session, without leaving it to the arbitrary discretion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to provide any opportunity for such consideration.
§ MR. CRUM-EWING
said, he had failed to discover in the renewed discussion any fresh argument on either side; he should, therefore, not reply to the speeches that had been made, but would confine himself to a statement of his own opinions. Being himself a large producer of sugar, and having upon his estates the most improved machinery, his own interests would rather lie in the direction of a single duty. As, however, he sat in that House to represent the interests of the community at large, he was bound to say that a uniform duty, without the privilege of refining in bond, would have the result of enhancing the cost of sugar to the consumer. The Committee of 1862 were strongly in favour of permitting refining in bond, but the Customs authorities declared there were extreme difficulties in the way of carrying out that plan. He was convinced, however, that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer would exercise a little pressure upon the Customs authorities those difficulties would be overcome. He believed the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be a step in the right direction, and, therefore, he could not support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Stockport.
said, that while he admitted that the plan now proposed was an improvement upon the original proposition, he still thought that the interests of the consumer had not been sufficiently considered. He would urge upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer the propriety of reverting to the old practice, and of allowing the sugar duties to be annually discussed and voted by that House. The effect of the graduated scale had been to revolutionize the sugar trade, and to constitute the refiners a very large and important body in this country, because the consumers had been compelled to purchase their sugars of the refiners, in- 2013 stead of from the original importers. The result of his experience, and of the evidence given before the Committee, was that the consumer had been placed at a disadvantage from the enhanced cost which was attributable to the operations of the refiners. He had heard from retailers, and the same point had been urged upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that there was another element in the sugar supplied by the refiners, for which the public had to pay largely, and that was water, which was present in proportions varying from 6 to 10 per cent. It was impossible that the present arrangement could be final, or that it would allay the agitation which prevailed; and, therefore, he would press upon the right hon. Gentleman the expediency of making these duties the; subject of annual discussion in Parliament. At present it was clear that the importation of the finer qualities of sugar was diminishing, while the introduction of low-class sugars was increasing; and the consequence was, that our exportation of sugar was at a very low ebb. While France exported annually 70,000 tons, Holland 60,000 tons, and Belgium 24,000 tons, England with her vast mercantile marine, and extended commerce, only exported 7,000 tons. All these facts showed that the subject ought to be considered next Session, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consent that an opportunity should be given for that purpose.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, it appeared as though the advocates for postponement thought they were the only depositories of the principles of free trade. He should be prepared to discuss the question, not; in the interest of the refiners, but of the public. As far as his intercourse with those gentlemen enabled him to judge, he did not think that they adopted protection in the sense in which it was attributed to them. What they desired was the protection of a just and equal law against a system which would, in fact, give a large bounty to the foreign refiners against the refiners in this country. The principle which they maintained was, that the duty should be levied in such a manner as to make it the interest of no one to refine in one place more than in another. There was abundant evidence to show that it was not the interest, desire, or inclination of the persons who produced raw sugar to introduce it in a refined state. There were some few cultivators who had erected ma- 2014 chinery for refining their sugar on the spot, and it was because of their failure that those persons were agitating for a new system which should be a protection and bounty to them; but, in point of fact, ninety-nine out of every hundred knew that refining abroad could not be carried on with economy. It was not practically the case that there were persons in the East Indies who were desirous of producing refined sugar, but refining there was a distinct business as it was in London, and they wanted an uniform duty, because the raw material of the refiner would then be presented to them with an advantage which would be equivalent to a sum of 5s. or 10s. a cwt. The principle was the same elsewhere. The effect of the present system was to increase to the utmost the production of every description of sugar, and the effect of lowering the scale would be to bring into the market such coarse sugar as perhaps the African, who was incapable of the delicate operations of refining, might be able to produce from the cane. The hon. Member for the City of London had already brought forward the subject in an intelligible and reasonable form, and the opinion of the country had then been well expressed in that House, as well as at the meeting in the City, which was not packed as the hon. Gentleman described. With regard to the form in which this Amendment had been proposed, nothing could be more inconvenient than to keep any branch of industry in suspense. He had always felt it to be unjust to do so. Cut of all trades the sugar trade was the last in which they should desire to make an annual experiment. The production of sugar was not a matter of one year, but extended to three or four years, and it was not till the end of that period that the practical effect of any arrangement of the duties could be felt. It was of importance, therefore, if they would legislate on the matter, that some security should be given to those who traded on the basis of that arrangement that it should not be changed to-morrow. By creating an impression that the present system would be changed next year, they were levelling a blow at a large branch of industry, no matter where it might be carried on. His hon. Friend (Mr. J. B. Smith) had presented the question in a most impracticable form, and in one that would be most injurious to commerce. He hoped, therefore, the House would not accept the proposal submitted for its consideration, He was prepared at 2015 any time to discuss the question upon the principles of free trade, and he would undertake to satisfy any reasonable man who would accord to others, as well as to himself, some comprehension of the principles of free trade, that the duties as proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or any similar tariff, would give to every man the greatest possible latitude in his choice of operations, whether as a grower or refiner, consistently with the levying of those duties.
§ MR. BATHURST
said, that he was a Member of the Committee on Sugar Duties; and as an allusion had been made to the corn duties, with reference to the sugar duties, he begged to remind the House that the question referred to the Committee was not the abolition of the sugar duty, but the question in what form it was most desirable to raise a certain amount of revenue. For himself, he was thoroughly convinced that the demands of justice and the benefit of the public required the maintenance in substance of a graduated scale of duties.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I feel anxious to explain the reason why I followed the hon. Member for London when he led a "forlorn hope "into the lobby against the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a graduated scale of sugar duties, and why I am again prepared to vote with the hon. Member for Stockport, in his proposal to restrict the new scale to one year only. The objection to the graduated scale of sugar duties which has the greatest weight, is that it has tended to the importation of one quality of sugar only, and that of the lowest and worst description. Whoever looks at the history of the sugar trade since the introduction of the graduated duties, cannot fail to perceive that, notwithstanding there are four different rates of duty on sugar, none, or at least small quantities only, have been imported of the two highest grades, and the importations have consisted of qualities not equal to brown clayed, and equal to brown clayed paying respectively 12s. 8d. and 13s. 10d. duty. The effect of this has been that all the sugar imported passed necessarily into the hands of the refiners, for the two lowest qualities are not fit for consumption as grocery sugars. A very small quantity of the 13s. 10d. kind, carefully prepared and coloured for the purpose, formed an exception to this rule, but of late years scarcely any importation of the 16s. and 18s. 4d. duty sugars has taken place. Besides this it is worth noticing that the quantity of the lowest 2016 class at 12s. 8d. duty has been increasing from year to year till it has reached upwards of 80 per cent of the whole importation of the United Kingdom. It follows from this state of things, that the sugar importation of the country has been specially prepared and adapted for the refiner. Being the great, or rather the only buyers of sugar, the requirements of the refiner had to be met, and as a matter of course they only wanted such sugars as had to be refined. The consequence has been that a regular toll has been levied in the interests of the refiner on all the consumption of the kingdom. What has been the amount of this toll it is not easy to say, but the refiners themselves in their anxiety to support a system of graduated duties have afforded certain data which enable us to form an estimate, if not exactly of their gain at least of the public loss. They have told us that sugars are imported containing only 50 per cent of crystallizable succharine matter, the remaining 50 per cent being impurities of various kinds. If such sugars have been imported to any extent, it follows that the crushed and lump sugars prepared for the British market were manufactured under extraordinary difficulties. In the first place, such low sugars containing one half of foreign matter had to pay double freight and charges of every kind, as compared with pure sugars. Then there was the drainage on low half manufactured sugar always amounting to a large percentage of waste. But that was not all. If only one-half saccharine produce was obtained, duty being charged on the impure sugar as imported was equivalent to a charge of double duty. In addition to all this there was the refiner's profit to be allowed for, at whatever that may be estimated. But it is obvious there must be some mistake in such figures. No doubt the British consumer does pay dear enough for the weak crushed sugars which alone he uses, but he cannot he the victim of a system of manufacture so improvident and wasteful as this.
The solution of the difficulty is not far to seek. The refiner is master of the situation, because he is the only buyer in the sugar market, and the imports of sugar are carefully prepared to suit his wants and promote his profits. It has become the highest art of the sugar planter to hit the exact standard of colour and strength that will qualify for the lowest duty, and sugar of that description commands a certain and speedy sale. But it 2017 is a delusion to represent such sugars as containing only 50 per cent of saccharine. The truth is, that dry well made sugars, not subject to the drainage complained of, and containing from 80 to 90 per cent of pure sugar, are regularly imported at the lowest duty of the scale. Hence the difficulty of the refiner was by no means so great as he represented; on the contrary, there is every reason to think that he carried on a very lucrative trade. It is no part of our business here to inquire into the secrets of trade, or to endeavour to estimate its profits; but there are two circumstances which afford at least a strong presumption that an unavowed and concealed profit was earned by the refiner. In the first place we know that there have been many new refineries built, as well as large additions made to old works during recent years; and, in the second place, it: is most suggestive of the cost which the British consumer must pay for his sugar, that not a pound of what has been prepared for his use can find a market elsewhere. Whatever may be the level of price in the sugar market of Europe, whatever may be the scarcity of cane or the failure of beetroot sugar, not one pound can be exported from our stocks of crushed sugars. It is not my wish to say a single word against a class so respectable as the British sugar refiners, nor do I make any charge against them either of one kind or another. My remarks are solely directed in the interests of the consumer and of the public revenue. There are various aspects of this argument which it is not necessary to enlarge upon, as the present debate must be regarded rather as a protest against an unsound principle than a serious attempt to overthrow it. But I cannot help noticing one remarkable effect of the late duties, and which will equally follow under the new scale, and that is, that the practical result in no way corresponds with the professed objects of its advocates. The main burden of the argument for a uniform duty so strongly put by the Chancellor of the Exchequer consisted in this, that varying qualities of sugar should be charged with varying duties, and that it is contrary to reason and sound policy to charge the same duty on khaur and jaggery as on the produce of the vacuum pan. We deprecate, said the right hon. Gentleman and his supporters, a uniform duty as contrary to common sense, as neither more nor less than a reductio ad absurdum as against one rate. But 2018 would it be believed that the legislation embraced in the present Bill does in effect produce that very result? One duty, and one duty only is levied at the Custom House, because only one kind of sugar is imported. We have heard much in late discussions about a "miscarriage of justice; "this appears to be a ease of a "miscarriage of legislation." The law not only does not accomplish what it proposes, but it accomplishes exactly the reverse. If a gradation of duties has any meaning at all, it means that sugar of various qualities should be imported, and that the consumer should have variety and assortment from which to choose. But the very opposite is the fact. Only one kind of sugar is imported, and only one duty levied. What, then, becomes of the arguments about adaptation of the scale to every quality of sugar, and the advantage of importing produce of all kinds and from all quarters? The truth is, that the professed object of the graduated scale is an utter failure. One quality of sugar, and that the worst quality, has been imported, and will continue to be imported so long as the principle of the present Bill is adhered to. I therefore have no hesitation in voting with my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, there were two questions before the House—the one the merits of a classified as against an uniform scale of duties; and the other, a proposal that the classified scale as now submitted should only continue for a year. He hailed with satisfaction the admission which had been freely made in the course of the debate by those who advocated an uniform duty— namely, that the scale of duties now proposed was an improvement upon the existing one. In that admission lay the answer to some part at least of the objections raised to a classified system of duties. It had been said by the hon. Member who spoke last (Mr. Buchanan) and by others, that the effect of the old scale was to drive out the superior kinds of raw sugar; but that might be not because it was simply a classified scale—that we had yet to learn— but rather because it was a classified scale which might not be adapted to the several elements of the taxable material. The hon. Member who spoke last stated that the present scale favoured the introduction of only two descriptions of sugars—namely, those "equal to brown clayed "and those "not equal to brown clayed," and that it re- 2019 pelled from this country both sugars above and sugars below those classes. But the hon. Member also complained of the proposed multiplication of the number of steps in the scale, although one of the new steps was expressly intended to meet his objection that only two descriptions of sugar were encouraged, and to let in a description which was now shut out. As to the difficulties which were said to exist in carrying out the principle of a classified duty, those difficulties lay within very narrow limits, and were not such as rendered necessary any departure from the principle. The judgment of the House upon the main question should not depend upon this. His hon. Friend the Member for Stockport (Mr. J. B. Smith) had referred to the case of the papermakers, and asked how the conduct of the Government towards them could be justified. But he did justify it, and had no difficulty in doing so. What they had done in the case of the paper-makers was this—they had declined to recognize foreign legislation as the basis of differences in English law. But if he had acted on the case set up by his hon. Friend he should have great difficulty in mitigating the case of the papermakers, because it would be in effect giving a bounty to the sugar refiners of one country over those of another. It was said that this was the case of the refiners against the people of England, and that the refiners declared their inability to compete with the foreigner; and then it was added that this complaint was analogous to other complaints made by interests which desired protection. Now, it was not true that the refiners had, as alleged, cried out for protection. The refiners said that a penalty was imposed upon them, as compared with the foreign refiners, by the limited margin allowed between refined and unrefined sugar. He did not admit this to be a well founded complaint, for he believed the scale to be a just scale. What the English refiners asked for, however, was not protection, but equality, and equality alone. The hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Leatham), in seconding the Amendment, said, that the manufactured article should always be struck by a higher duty than the raw material. But sugar was always a manufactured article — nobody imported sugar canes—it was an article which was better or worse according to the amount of labour and capital bestowed upon it. Hon. Gentlemen admitted that no inducement should be given to parties to apply their 2020 labour and capital in one country rather than in another, and to carry on the process of sugar refining upon the hanks of the Ganges rather than upon the banks of the Thames. If, therefore, it paid importers to bring "dirty" sugar to he refined here on account of the superior machinery or the more abundant capital or the more highly skilled labour which were available in this country, Parliament had nothing to do with this result, unless it could be shown that Parliament offered inducements to importers to bring "dirt" to this country. What was wished for, apparently, was that Parliament should say to the English sugar refiners, "If you carry on your trade at all, you shall pay upon the refined sugar very much more than you would pay if you were carrying on this process upon the banks of the Ganges." The effect of a uniform duty had been well demonstrated by a gentleman (Mr. Reed) who had been a sugar refiner in this country, but who, seeing the advantage which a duty so levied afforded to the Indian refiner, transferred his operations to Calcutta. He saw that the Indian refiner could land sugar in England for 18s. 5d, for which the British refiner had to pay 25s. 3d.—exactly equivalent to a tax upon the British refiner of 6s. 10d. from which the Indian refiner was exempt. Others saw this, too, and began to open establishments at Calcutta; but unfortunately (said Mr. Reed) the Chancellor of the Exchequer made the same discovery, and the introduction of a system of the classified rates reduced the Indian refiners to an equality with those of England. The object of the Government was that the British refiner should be under no inducement whatever to fix himself abroad rather than in England, or in England rather than abroad. His hon. Friend (Mr. Leatham) had quoted him as having said that the duty ought to be on the extractable saccharine matter. If his hon. Friend had in view the main principle which ought to govern the duty, he did not deny that to be his opinion. Colour and grain were elements which must he taken into account; but the extractable saccharine matter was the main consideration on which the scale had been framed; and he contended that the nearest approximation to equality which the case admitted of was that at which the Government had arrived in the proposition now before the House. He could assure his hon. Friend that if they had departed from the principle of free trade in this 2021 matter, their apostacy had not been a wilful apostacy; but it did appear to him that the principle of free trade was best exemplified and best applied by endeavouring to frame the law in such a manner as would remove all hope from all parties of adventitious advantages which capital and industry did not fairly place at their disposal. This question was one of great importance, and the decision at which the House had arrived on it was, on the whole, a very deliberate one. It had been arrived at after very full and deliberate discussion there, and, what was more, after most ample discussion in Committees of the House and out of doors, by pamphlets, and by the press in every shape; and that being so, it was best for all parties that n sufficient time should be allowed for the purpose of testing the merits of the newly adopted measure. He did not say that they were for ever to shut their door against all improvement in legislation; but this he did say, that no more unwise course could be suggested than that Parliament, after having the subject before it for many years, and having arrived at a decision with, he might say, solemnity, but certainly with a knowledge of all the elements involved in the matter, should limit the operation of the new scheme to a period within which it was utterly impossible there could be any satisfactory experience. The fact that they could not have that experience in a year was a strong reason for allowing this question to be put to rest till those who took an interest in the question should have a better opportunity of urging their views by the light of the experience which might he accumulated in the interval. Since the year 1841 there had been numerous changes, and from that time the sugar duties had had nothing but a precarious existence. From his personal knowledge, he could say that throughout the tenure of their official existence the Government of Sir Robert Peel were anxious to make a permanent arrangement of the sugar duties, if it had been in their power to do so; and the Government of Lord John Russell, which succeeded to Sir Robert Peel's, attempted such an arrangement. Confusion, uncertainty, loss—heavy loss to the revenue, vexation, and bewilderment to producers abroad, partial paralysis pervading every ramification of one of the most important branches of our commerce, would be the result of adopting the Amendment of the hon. Member. Seeing the ability, energy, 2022 and zeal with which the hon. Member's side of the question was supported, they might safely conclude that the means would not be wanting for bringing it forward should the expectations of the Government be disappointed. He thought that, in the interests of those concerned in the sugar trade, and of the public generally, the House should decline to adopt the Amendment.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that the hon. Member's proposition having been introduced as an Amendment he was not entitled to a reply.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 14; Noes 97: Majority 83.2023
|Barnes, T.||Moffatt, G.|
|Buchanan, W.||Pease, H.|
|Cobbett, J. M.||Potter, E.|
|Crawford, R. W.||White, J.|
|Denman, hon. G||Williams, W.|
|Hay, Sir J. C. D.|
|Hubbard, J. G.||TELLERS.|
|Lawson, W.||Smith, J. B.|
|Lindsay, W. S.||Leatham, E. A.|
|Ayrton, A. S.||Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Gilpin, C.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Gladstone, rt. hon. W.|
|Bass, M. T.||Goldsmid, Sir F. H.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Goschen, G. J.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Greaves, E.|
|Beccroft, G. S.||Gurney, J. H.|
|Berkeley, hon. C. P. F.||Hadfield, G.|
|Black, A.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Blake, J.||Headlam, rt. hn. T. E.|
|Bridges, Sir B. W.||Henderson, J.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Hennessy, J. P.|
|Butler, C. S.||Hornby, W. H.|
|Caird, J.||Hotham, Lord|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||Howes, E.|
|Cave, S.||Hutt, rt. hon. W.|
|Chapman, J.||Jones, D.|
|Childers, H. C. E.||Kinglake, J. A.|
|Clifton, Sir R. J.||Kingscote, Colonel|
|Collier, Sir R. P.||Langton, W. H. G.|
|Cox, W.||Lee, W.|
|Dalglish, R.||Lyall, G.|
|Dawson, R. P.||Martin, P. W.|
|Dent, J. D.||Martin, J.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Massey, W. N.|
|Duff, R. W.||Mills, J. R.|
|Dunbar, Sir W.||Moncreiff, rt. hon. J.|
|Dunlop, A. M.||Morris, D.|
|Dunne, Colonel||Morrison, W.|
|Ewart, J. C,||Norris, J. T.|
|Ewing, H. E. Crum-||O'Conor Don, The|
|Farquhar, Sir M.||O'Loghlen, Sir C. M.|
|Fenwick, E. M.||O'Reilly, M. W.|
|Fleming, T. W.||Padmore, R.|
|Floyer, J.||Paget, Lord C.|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Parker, Major W.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.||Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.|
|Peto, Sir S. M.||Turner, J. A.|
|Price, R. G.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Pugh, D||Walcott, Admiral|
|Ridley, Sir M. W.||Walsh, Sir J.|
|Robertson, H.||Whitbread, S.|
|Selwyn, C. J.||White, hon. L.|
|Smith, A.||Winnington, Sir T. E.|
|Smith, Sir F.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Stansfeld, J.||Brand, hon. H. B. W.|
|Surtees, H. E.||Knatchbull-Hugessen, E|
|Talbot, hon. W. C.|
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
moved an Amendment, reducing the stamp duty upon powers of attorney given by seamen for the receipt of their wages from 20s. to 1s.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, when the Bill was in Committee he expressed the opinion that the duty was rather high, and urged its reduction. He was glad that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had knocked off 19s., and cordially accepted the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
moved, that in that part of the Bill which regulates the duty on perpetual curacies, the words, "shall not exceed £100," should be inserted instead of the words "shall not amount to £100." The alteration was necessary in consequence of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners having adopted the system of raising the perpetual curacies to £300 a year, which, without this alteration, would be subject to a heavy duty.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Other Amendments made.
§ Bill to be read 3° To-morrow.