HC Deb 24 November 1902 vol 115 cc320-72

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [this day], "That this House approves the policy embodied in the Convention relating to Sugar, signed at Brussels on the 5th day of March. 1902, and, in the event of that Convention receiving the ratifications required to make it binding, is prepared to adopt the necessary measures to enable His Majesty to carry out its provisions."—(Mr. Gerald Balfour.)

Which Amendment was— To leave out all the words after the word 'House,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words `declines to approve of the Convention relating to Sugar, signed at Brussels on the 5th day of March, 1902.'"— (Sir William Harcourt.)

Question again proposed "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question." Debate resumed.


For the last forty years this subject has been engaging the attention of the country. Conventions have been entered into, and there was a Bill introduced into Parliament to enable the Government to carry into effect the Convention of the 13th August, 1888. With some other Members of Parliament, I, at that time, foresaw the enormous importance of the matter. It is true that there was a great amount of agitation got up by the refiners. I went down into my constituency, having previously communicated with Lord Salisbury and other members of his Cabinet, and delivered a speech, a report of which was sent to Lord Salisbury. The Bill afterwards disappeared from the Orders of the Day. But it was evidently the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has it in his mind to bring forward next Session. I cannot understand why the Government should wish to rush this important matter through, seeing that Parliament has been specially; summoned in order to deal with the Education Bill and the London Water Bill. This measure is of the utmost importance. The President of the Board of Trade says his idea is not to have countervailing duties, but he proposes to proceed on the lines of the Bill which was withdrawn.


Order, order! There is no Bill before the House at present, and the hon. Member must not argue on a Bill which has been withdrawn.


We have been told that a Bill is to be brought in next Session, and my object is to show the similarity which must exist between the two Bills. We are asked to pass this Motion tonight after only a few hours discussion, and if the Bill is to be thrown at our heads in that manner surely we ought to try and get at the meaning of it. We ought to have a Commission thoroughly to inquire into the subject. It is a most serious step to interfere with the course of trade. It seems to me that, instead of asking foreign Governments to take off their bounties, it would be far better if we gave a bounty, not only to the West Indies, but to India, Canada, Queensland, and other places to produce sugar for us. Otherwise, one of these days we shall be thrown entirely on the Continent for our sugar. At the present time Continental countries are making more sugar than is required. In Germany there was in stock on the 1st August this year 590,000 tons of sugar as compared with 258,200 tons last year, and no doubt if this Bill becomes law English consumers will have to pay a higher price for their sugar. The policy of the Government of saying to the persons from whom we buy, "You are not charging enough; put the price up," is altogether beyond a commercial man's understanding. we consume 1,700,000 tons annually, but only about one-fortieth of that comes from the west Indies. It is the working classes of this country who would suffer. It is, in my opinion, a false policy, and I am sure we shall deeply regret it. I cannot support the Government on this occasion. I would like to make a sporting offer to take the opinion of a London constituency on the subject.

MR. W. F. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)

We are here tonight on a very important occasion. By the time the evening has passed the Colonies will have a charter for freedom of cultivation such as for the past fifty or sixty years they have never enjoyed. Hon. Members opposite have been so intent upon interests that specially concern their constituencies that they cannot look beyond to the larger questions which concern the Empire. It is the case that for the last sixty years the West Indies have never had the opportunity of advancing their staple cultivation without unfair competition. As far back as 1848 Free Trade compelled them to compete with slave-grown sugar in the Brazils and the United States. They had no sooner got over the effects of that competition than they were face to face with this bounty question, which, beginning about 1860, has become extremely active in the last twenty-five years. I shall be surprised if, after hearing the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Dulwich, he does not go with me into the lobby. The hon. Baronet pointed out that the West Indies now send only 40,000 tons of sugar to this country. Why is that? It is because they cannot get fair play in the market of the mother country, and they go to America because the Americans have long since seen the injustice of this bounty system, and have anticipated it by putting on countervailing duties against the system. It is an extraordinary fact that through all the years of this treatment the loyalty of the West Indies has never been doubted, and I am sure that though they have suffered so much they will readily forget the past, and look forward to a fair and reasonable future. The West Indies do not wish to have their produce enhanced; they ask for justice. They have no sympathy with the policy of doles—they absolutely repudiate that principle. They desire only to grow sugar. They will stand the uncertainty of the trade; they are convinced that they have climate, soil, and enterprise in their favour; and if they have not now the capital they will have it by their own credit, as long as it can be shown that under a fair system capital will get its reward. They do not ask for doles—only for fair treatment. I do not believe, like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, that the population of this country is only concerned in the £ s. d. of the matter; in fact I was very much surprised with the way in which the right hon. Gentleman treated this question. The West Indies only ask for fair play, and not for preference. They want to grow their commodities, and are prepared to stand the rub of the market. It is absurd to think that the price of sugar can become to any appreciable extent higher than it has been during the last ten years. If the Convention comes into force, they have, whether for beet or cane, the full powers of production of the tropical and temperate zones to supply the sugar market, and I affirm that it is beyond the bounds of possibility—although I am not so ready as some hon. Members opposite to prophesy what is going to happen—that with that wide field of production open to them, the price of sugar can rise to any considerable extent. It must also be remembered that owing to the depression of the cane sugar industry they have not been able to make those improvements in cultivation and in the science of manufacture that have been possible in the case of beet under artificial and Government aid. It may well be that in the course of the next few years, when they can afford to borrow money with fair expectation of adequate return, we shall find the processes in cane sugar industry enormously improved. The hon. Member for the Rotherham Division seems to think that this great change will not benefit the mother country. As an agriculturist here at home I am in a position to say that I fully believe we should be able to grow beet in this country. For several years I have gone through the process of beet cultivation here, and it has been carefully tried in different parts of the country, and I believe the possibilities of turning out beet capable of bearing a high saccharine return are very great. When we consider that the proportion of the return on cane is only something like one-sixth more than that on beet per acre, that the growth of cane takes about eighteen months against only a year for beet, and the great distance and consequent freight charges which cane has to sustain in carriage, we may fairly conclude that there will he no more interesting economic question lying in front of us than that as to whether beet or cane will be the better product in the long run. I am prepared to say that if we can only grow beet in this country we shall see many of our poor country districts, which now find very great difficulty in making ends meet, improve in the same way that has been the case in Germany and Austria. When we consider the enormous tracts of ground in different parts of the world only waiting for capital to see a possibility of remunerative return to be thrown into cultivation, it is certain that there will be an enormous increase in the growth of cane sugar, which will bring an increased prosperity to all the subsidiary industries, such as shipping and machinery construction, dependent upon it.

I speak not merely as interested in the West Indies, and as an English agriculturist, but I speak officially on behalf of the refiners of Liverpool. I will leave the matter of refining to my colleagues who are specially conversant with the case, but I would like to say this, in case time prevents them being called upon, that it is not the case that the refiners have made any gain owing to the arrangement of the duties by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer. Under this Convention, if carried out, assuredly we shall have a wider area from which to draw the most important staple of sugar than is open to any other staple on the face of the globe. Another point is that this Convention is nothing new. There is a precedent for it. It is exactly analogous to the case of the Cobden treaty thirty or forty years ago. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Shields affirmed that the quiet example of this country in favour of Free Trade was drawing others to follow us. I never heard a more preposterous statement coming from a gentleman so well informed as he usually is. What are these countries that are following our example? The French Minister, in speaking on that subject, described the Convention as a work of peace. In the face of that opinion we need not fear the criticism of those who think that in any sense we are going back upon the doctrines of Free Trade in this country, under which the country has for a long time distinctly flourished. I am a strong supporter of those who desire that such commodities as can be most easily grown shall be most freely exchanged, and because I feel that for many a long year the great industry of the West Indies has been cribbed, cabined, and confined by the selfish and ignorant policy of the mother country, I welcome this day the action of the Government, and I am willing to forget the past in looking forward to the future.

(9.34.) MR. PARTINGTON (Derbyshire, High Peak)

I do not propose to take up more than a few minutes of the time of the House; but I should like to say a few words on this very interesting and important subject. I listened to the speech of the President of the Board of Trade, and I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the principal reason for the ratification of the Convention was that the sugar planters in the West Indies ought to have a reasonable margin of profit. He said further that if they got £10 a ton for their sugar that would be a reasonable margin. I am connected with manufacture, and I should like to be also guaranteed a reasonable margin of profit. There are plenty of trades in this country at present whose margin of profit is very small; and many of the shareholders of these trading companies think that it is not in any way reasonable. If the right hon. Gentleman will inquire into the position of the cotton mills in Lancashire, he will see that the margin of profit is very small indeed; and that, in some cases, it is nonexistent. I do not know whether this is a new development of the right hon. Gentleman's Department, or whether he is prepared to say that all trades in the country are to have a reasonable margin of profit. If so, all interested in trade will be very pleased to hear it. I understood from the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth, that they can grow sugar in Cuba at £6 to £7 per ton, which will give the growers a profit. If we are trying to guarantee the growers in the West Indies a profit at £10 per ton, surely we shall be guaranteeing the sugar planters in Cuba something more than a "reasonable margin of profit." The President of the Board of Trade said that he did not expect that during the next ten years the price of sugar would be above the average for the last ten years. What, in that event, will be the good to the Colonies of ratifying the Convention? I think, however, we have a better authority than the President of the Board of Trade in regard to this matter. We have the authority of Sir Henry Norman, and he tells us that if the Convention is ratified, he expects that sugar will be ½d. a lb. more than at the present time. That means, on the consumption of sugar in this country, a sum of between £7,000,000 or £8,000,000. One-third of the sugar imported into this country is used in manufacture—in the confectionery and mineral water trades—and, therefore, these trades will have to pay one-third of the £7,000,000. I wonder whether the President of the Board of Trade will guarantee the confectionery and mineral water trades a reasonable margin of profit if the price of sugar increases. The other two-thirds of the sugar imported is used by the general consumers who are the working classes principally. They will have to pay two-thirds of the £7,000.000, and we all know that many of the working classes cannot afford to pay anything more than they are paying at present. In several large towns it has been shown that something like 30 per cent. of the population is living on the borders of poverty; and I think it is a great shame that we should impose this extra tax on the working classes. We are asked to run the risk of having to pay seven to eight millions more for our sugar for the sake of assisting the West Indies whose total export of sugar only amounts to about three millions sterling. I believe something like five-sixths of the sugar exported from the West Indies goes to the United States. The United States puts a countervailing duty on bounty-fed sugar; and I should have therefore thought that the West Indies had already got what they wanted. If the bounties are removed, then the West Indian planters will have to compete with continental sugar growers; and I am afraid that their position will be worse than it is at present. The argument of the Government on this occasion is some-what contrary to some of their arguments in the past. When they put a duty on coal they told us the foreigner would pay it; and when they put a duty on imported wheat they told us again that the foreigner would pay it. But we on this side of the House were uncertain as to whether the foreigner would pay these duties. We know that in this case the foreigner gives us between £6,000,000 and £7,000,000 by selling sugar under cost price; and I think that, when we have a certain gift like that we ought to accept it with open arms. I am an Imperialist, like the Colonial Secretary was in 1881 when he said— Our policy had been for many years to prefer the large consuming interest of the whole community to the small producing interest of any single class. That is why I intend to vote against the Motion.

(9.42.) MR. CUST (Southwark, Bermondsey)

I venture to ask the brief indulgence of the House for a few minutes while I endeavour to explain why I feel a great difficulty in giving my vote in favour of this Convention. In doing this, I wish to go back, for a few moments, to some of the facts which have been stated by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down; because, if I may say so with great respect, the facts cannot be too often presented to the House. Now, Sir, we suffer manifestly and obviously in every direction from the effects of foreign protection; and it seems to me to be perfectly amazing that the only action we propose to take with regard to foreign protection should be directed against the only form of foreign protection which is directly beneficial to us. We all know very well what the position of agriculture is. What has our diplomacy done to help it? Is English wheat of less importance than West Indian sugar? Again, a Committee is sitting upstairs to inquire into the gigantic shipping subsidies granted by foreign Powers, which are mainly and almost avowedly directed against our maritime supremacy; but no Government has yet thought fit to enter into diplomatic relations and to use their influence in its strongest way in order to reduce the unfair competition under which our shipping has laboured, and is likely to labour still further in the future. It is absolutely only in this case of sugar that the British consumer derives great benefit from the strange methods of foreign finance; and it is only in this case of sugar that Government after Government, since 1863 onwards, have called Conference after Conference in order to strain every nerve to get rid of the great advantages which foreign finance gives us. It would seem that our diplomacy has by an unaccustomed effort at last aroused France, Germany, and Austria to a sense of the lavish generosity with which, in this particular, they have been treating us we may take it on trust that France, Germany, and Austria never intended to do so; and we might surely have left the fact to themselves to discover.

At the risk of brevity, and at some risk of repetition, let me ask the House how does the case stand now, and how will this Convention affect it? I speak as one not interested in any part of the sugar trade, not as an expert, but merely as a commonplace Member of Parliament. We are all agreed that after bread-stuffs, sugar, in all its forms, is the most important item in the food of the people. We know that from patent blacking upwards it enters in a hundred ways into the daily life of men and women. We know that twenty trades depend on it, and that more than 200,000 hands are directly or indirectly engaged in dealing with it. In 1900 the sugar exported from this country, excluding, of course, all consumption within the United Kingdom, amounted to over two and a quarter million pounds sterling. But it is not necessary to go very far into facts and figures which are probably familiar to most hon. Members, and which, indeed, have been already quoted. In round numbers we import 1,600,000 tons of sugar, and of this we take 1,500,000 tons from the bounty paying countries, or 92 per cent. of the whole bulk. Further, we import on the other hand some 40,000 tons from our West Indian possessions, or only 2½ per cent. of our total sugar supply. By the effect of these bounties, direct and indirect, England gets sugar extraordinarily cheap, and I understand, from what I believe to be good authority, that we can buy sugar in London now at from 9s. to 10s. per cwt. which in Germany, the country of its growth and origin, would cost 29s. or 30s. per cwt. These are the advantages which this country enjoys under the existing system. I do not think that the debate tonight will result in palming off doctrines of Free Trade and Protection. The issue is sufficiently clear. What we have to consider, in the sheer commercial interests of the country, is what we stand to gain, and what we stand to lose by any alteration in the present system. It is calculated by Sir Henry Norman, who was Chairman of the very Select Committee appointed to inquire into the whole subject, in his Minority Report, that if we were foolish enough to impose countervailing duties against foreign bounties and if those duties had the desired effect (I quote his own words)— The people of the United Kingdom will have to pay more for their sugar than they do at present, perhaps to the extent of ½d. a lb. We may, therefore, put at that figure the amount which foreign bounties, as they now exist, and as paid exclusively by the foreigner, deduct from the price we pay on 92 per cent. of the sugar we consume. That is to say, if the bounties were abolished the people of this country would have to pay, on Sir Henry Norman's calculation, ½d a lb. more for their sugar; and it may be remembered when we talk of sugar that every man, woman, and child in the United Kingdom consumes annually per head some 90 lbs, of sugar. Therefore, this additional imposition cannot be classed as a negligeable quantity. Now, supposing this calculation to be accurate, or anything in the least like accurate, ½d. per lb. on 1,500,000 tons works out at something between £7,000,000 and £8,000,000; so that it would appear, unless the whole of the statistical reasoning drawn from the best available sources be fallacious, and utterly fallacious—as indeed I hoped to hear i was—the result of this Convention will be that we shall be taxed £7,000,000 sterling annually and shall relieve the foreigner of a burden of an equivalent amount. That is a sum which would practically pay the interest on the whole cost of the late war. There are many sacrifices which we could make; but if we are asked to make a sacrifice of this size and character we ought to have a certainty of great compensating advantages.

Now, Sir, what are we going to gain if this Convention is ratified? I will leave out of my argument the rather foolish phrases Which I have read and heard which tell us that by this Convention we shall advance the principles of Free Trade amongst the unenlightened foreign nations, and that a Free Trade Government must vote against bounties. I do not imagine that the people of this country are willing to pay £7,000,000 a year in order to inculcate on our foreign rivals commercial principles on which we are not all at all firmly convinced ourselves. That would be an Education Bill of even a more difficult and expensive character than the one on which we have been so long engaged in failing to understand. Some other reason for this Convention must, therefore, be sought for; and it is to be found, we are told, in the salvation of our West Indian possessions; and, in a lesser degree, in the encouragement of the English sugar refining trade. It was o on these points that the President of the Board of Trade mainly based his case. I propose to leave the question of the refiners and the machinery used in the trade out of the argument. That point has been already eloquently and ably represented to the House by hon. Members who are experts on the subject. As far as I know the sugar refining trade has been, to a large extent, a foreign trade; it was always a small trade, and now it is a dwindling trade. It employs a very small number of English workmen as compared with sugar; and, except in a. few very exceptional instances, it was beaten out of England by Germany long before the modern bounties came into full operation. I am only venturing to represent my own opinion; and I think the House will not be short of hon. Members to support the sugar refining trade.

It remains now to consider the question of saving the West Indies. I quite agree that we are bound to the West Indies, and that the West Indies are bound to us by every tie of old relationship, of sentiment and of a singularly glorious tradition. No more splendid part in the history of England has been enacted on so large and glorious a field as in the West Indies; and I feel sure that every Englishman is eager to sympathise with and to support the generous efforts which the Colonial Secretary has made to assist the prosperity of our West Indian possessions. But we have to remember that our West Indian possessions, on which the President of the Board of Trade so largely based his case tonight, are really only a part, a small part and a not very important part, of the British Empire. That may seem brutal, but we are discussing a commercial question, and commerce is nothing if not brutal. I would point out in this particular relation that the West Indies furnish us with only 2½per cent. of our supply of sugar, while four-fifths of their sugar trade is concerned with the United States, under particularly favourable relations, which they will probably forfeit if the Convention is ratified. I suppose that even the most devoted West Indian of them all will allow that there must, of necessity, be some limit of sacrifice beyond which this country cannot go. Those who have read the Report of the Commission will know the enormous difficulties of the problem. And what is the general conclusion of the Commission as regards the objects of this Convention. I cannot help thinking, with regretful respect, that some of the conclusions of the Commission have not been fully represented by those who have spoken for the Government tonight. The Commissioners are only doubtful whether the abolition of bounties would not (in their own words) involve evils out of all proportion to those which it is desired to remove. They not only refuse, with the exception of Sir Henry Norman, to recommend countervailing duties, but they point out that even if these far-reaching steps were taken, and the price of sugar rose to the highest point to which such political action might bring it, even such a rise would not place the West Indian sugar industry in a satisfactory condition. It is doubtful, they say, if the improvement would be permanent. Even, to quote the Report:— If the policy of imposing countervailing duties were now adopted in the United Kingdom the West Indies would find themselves, after a time, in a position no better than that which they at present occupy. And a little further on, considering the sugar policy of the United States and of other countries, the Commissioners add—and these are important words— It is not clear that even if the bounties were abolished, another crisis of a similar character might not arise in the West Indies at a future day. That is to say, that even if we take up the hazardous and expensive line of action which this Convention involves, the advantages to the West Indies would be, in the opinion of those who have a right to speak on the subject, more than problematical. I think that ought to carry great weight with the House. What the Committee did recommend in its somewhat discursive Report on the various Islands was, regular grants in aid on the most generous scale, the introduction of new industries and new methods of agriculture, better lines of communication, and temporary assistance, which would not alter our whole financial policy or endanger us with foreign countries, but which would probably, in the long run, land the West Indies in a more prosperous and secure position. Mr. Sydney Oliver, the Colonial Secretary and Acting Governor of Jamaica, who was Secretary to the Commission and has a very competent knowledge of the whole subject, was quoted to-night, perhaps in a wrong sense, as a witness to the extraordinary prosperity of Jamaica. I do not think the speech referred to does that; but what it does do is to give an account of various new methods and branches of agriculture. The figures are so interesting that I think they are worth quoting. Coconuts have increased 47 per cent., oranges 54 per cent., pimento 38 per cent., bananas 36 per cent., and coffee to the enormous amount of 88 per cent., whereas the increase of sugar amounts only to 0.5 per cent., or 1s. on every £100. Surely if this Convention is going to make the price of sugar so high as to make the fortunes of the West Indies, the point of these statistics would seem to show that the salvation and security of the West Indies lies, not in any great change in our financial policy, but in a judicious and continued assistance to the agricultural development of the West Indies.

I think, then, Sir, that the passing of this Convention will not save the West Indies; and nothing has been said to-night, even in the highly elaborate arguments of the President of the Board of Trade, to show that there is any certainty that the West Indian possessions will be saved by this Convention. The right hon. Gentleman dealt with hypothetical questions; and he offered hypothetical objections to what he called vague and unsubstantial statements. If the Convention will not help to save the West Indies, it certainly will not abolish bounties. In the first place Russia. Egypt, Brazil, the United States and other sugar producing countries had not joined in the scheme; and that, in my humble opinion, vitiates the whole value of the Convention. Even the parties to the Convention are maintaining their Cartel systems. In the second place, when these countries pretend to abolish direct and indirect bounties, is it to be really believed that a country like Germany, in the middle of very great commercial expansion, which is checked for the present, will abolish her preferential railway rates and her subsidised line of steamers, which are clearly an indirect bounty on produce during the period of transit. It seems to me that it is idle to suppose that Germany would do that. There is one further point with reference to the extent by which this Convention will tie our hands in the future. We read that the Government of Great Britain declares that— No bounty, direct or indirect, shall be granted to sugar through the Crown Colonies during the duration of the Convention, and that no preference shall be granted in the United Kingdom to Colonial sugars as against sugars from any of the contracting States. And we are asked to pass this novel, this entangling, this humiliating abnegation, in the same year in which the Colonial Secretary and the Colonial Premiers, in a blaze of Imperial glory, formally published their pious aspirations towards preferential treatment within the Empire. We are also to submit the Convention to the self-governing Colonies. Queensland is a large sugar producing country, and likely to be larger; and has a protecting tariff of her own in the nature of a bounty. The Government will have no power over Queensland except moral influence. Supposing Queensland repudiates the Convention, what are you going to do? You cannot coerce her; and is the British Government to be obliged to enact countervailing duties against Queensland sugar in favour of French, German or Australian sugar, and this, too, with a view to the closer union of the Empire.

It is with very great regret that I cannot support this Convention. It seems to me, at its best, rather futile and hazardous, and at its worst directly dangerous. We are likely by its provisions to lose a great deal of money, a great deal of commerce, and a great deal of employment at home, and to run the risk of very grave, very serious, and very needless complications abroad. I do most sincerely hope and pray, if it be possible, that the Government will be induced to leave this question an open one for their supporters. I do not think that any Government has ever received more loyal and devoted support than the present Government has from its supporters. We have backed the Government through thick and thin, through good report and through evil report, and stranger still, we are going to back them through the Report of the Education Bill. This step, if I may venture humbly to represent my view to my leaders, is one of more than national importance. It is a great commitment for the future, the result of which even those who are responsible for it cannot foresee. There is a definite alternative in the first scheme of the Colonial Secretary. It still remains open. It would, I think, be a great mistake if this question were hustled through in an ill-considered and hasty manner, as it will be should we be forced to a Party division tonight.

(10.10.) MR. THOMAS SHAW (Hawick burghs)

It appears to me that one thing is pretty certain, and that is that when we have listened to an appeal from a regular supporter of His Majesty's Government, such as we have just heard, that appeal shows where the truth of the argument lies. When the supporter of the Government implores the Government to leave the matter an open question, then indeed that is the best of all testimony that if;he matter were left open the Government would fail to secure a majority. What is now proposed is very dangerous. It is impossible to estimate the entanglements which will arise from this measure; and I submit that the observations made by the hon. Member who has just spoken are well founded, and that it is indeed surprising that the one form of Protection which has been attacked by the Government is that form of Protection under which large bodies of the consuming public of this country reap a steady and constant benefit. But I desire tonight not to enter on the general question; but to submit the views which occur to me with regard, particularly, to the state of our West Indian possessions. I entirely agree with the observations which have been made that it is the duty of the Government to watch over the development of our Colonies, and to safeguard: their interests, subject, of course, to the condition that, in doing so, we shall not, on the one hand, depart from sound principles of finance, or, on the other hand, involve ourselves in international entanglements.

I would ask the House to consider, for a moment, what the position of the West Indies is in reference to this matter of sugar. It produces annually about 250,000 tons of sugar, of which this country consumes between 40,000 and 50,000 tons. The rest of the output goes to the United States, which is far and away the best customer of the West Indies for sugar. Therefore, in wishing to benefit the West Indies with reference to its sugar produce, we ought to ascertain how the West Indies would stand with regard to their best customer. It is not generally known that it has been reported by the West India Royal Commission (paragraph 74) that in addition to a "high protective duty," "local bounties" are granted in the United States for the production of sugar. The result of this proposal will thus apparently be that we shall have under the extraordinary stipulations of this Convention instantly to impose a countervailing duty as against the United States. Observe what the result of that would be with regard to the West Indies. The result would be that they would be at once confronted with a countervailing duty directed against a British colonial product. The West Indies are in this very peculiar position. At present, owing to the proximity of the United States, they have been able to surmount the two difficulties in the way of their achieving an entrance into the United States market. They have surmounted not only a bounty on the production of sugar in the United States, but also the protective duty there. What is now proposed is, in addition to these barriers at present imposed against the entry of West Indian sugar into the United States, to put over and above them a third barrier higher than all, namely, a countervailing duty which the West Indies would have to overcome before their sugar entered the United States market. At present, in my view, West Indian sugar has an easier entry to the States than the German, French, or Austrian, against all of which latter there is—on account of its being bounty fed — a countervailing duty. That privilege of an easier entry to its best market is now to cease! The result would be most disastrous to the West Indies. Surely, the time has arrived when it is the duty of this country to conserve and protect the market between the West Indies and the United States. The United States has recently acquired the huge possession of Cuba; and the opposition of Cuba will indeed be serious enough without confronting the West Indies with this new barrier. In order to present a case for benefiting the West Indies we are putting on them a fresh, a real, and a heavy burden with regard to their best customer, which will practically prevent the entry of West Indian sugar into the United States. It is said that after all that will be largely met by the increased price of West Indian sugar in our own markets. I want to know what is the opinion of the Government in regard to that. No one could have heard with more pleasure than I did the speech of the Under Secretary for the Board of Trade, but I failed to gather from that speech whether he argued that the price of West Indian sugar would be raised. I gathered from some of his arguments that he hardly thought it would; but if it be not raised, and raised very emphatically, I think the West Indies will give us very little thanks for the result of our diplomacy. But if the price is raised, observe what the position will be in this country. West Indian sugar will be confronted by German, Austrian, and French products in our home markets, and under what conditions will West Indian sugar be able to compete? We will not have abolished bounties in the continental nations, because they will continue under the cover and name of a surtax, the effect of which will be that all Continental nations will be permitted to place a duty of 2s. 6d. a cwt. on their products. These nations export two-thirds of their products, and consequently there will be an advantage to all the Continental nations in the: shape of a surtax to the extent of 10d. per cwt. upon their entire output. What will be the result? It is said that we will have an open market and an increased price for West Indian sugar; but West Indian sugar has to be borne from the West Indies, a distance of between 3,000 and 4,000 miles, and will have to compete with products coming from Ostend, Rotterdam, and Hamburg. For every hundred miles the continental product is borne, the colonial product must be borne a thousand miles. Is not that sufficient to show that West Indian sugar cannot compete on equal terms? By the increased cost to the producer and transmitter in the West Indies, the market is loaded in favour of the Continental commodity by the effect of distance, and still further loaded by the 10d. surtax. The thing is absolutely ridiculous, as a penny would sway the market in favour of sugar from any quarter; but when the difference is 10d. in favour of Continental producers, that shows the futility of a diplomacy which, in the name of abolishing bounties, preserved them under the name of surtax. The! West Indian market will be disturbed and distorted from the States to Britain, and the result here will be as bad, if not worse, to the West Indies than it is at the present moment.

There is the other and larger element. In order to do this we have unquestionably to raise the price of sugar, not to the West Indies, but to the people of this country. Are we justified in imposing a tax of £8,000,000 sterling on the people of this country in order to perform a fantastic trick of this kind with West Indian finance? I do not know what may be the result with regard to foreign nations. It will undoubtedly be productive of something in the nature of a tariff war. We shall, I suppose, at once have to impose countervailing duties against Russia and the United States, and then we should be in the same position with regard to the United States as was Russia recently. The long and short of the matter is that this is an attempt to ride two horses. You are attempting, on the one hand, to benefit the West Indies, and on the other to conciliate and promote the sugar refining interest. I was surprised to hear that the interest of the refiner Was to be treated as the principal interest, and that of the manufacturer from refined sugar as subsidiary. There are 250,000 people employed in those industries, which have been managed with the most consummate skill, and have gradually commanded the markets of the world, and of whose manufactures we export about £2,500,000 worth per annum. The refining interest employs 5,000 men, or, with the allied trades, say 10,000. So that you have 10,000 men employed in the principal interest, forsooth, and 250,000 in the subsidiary interests. I never heard the like of it. From the point of view of the West Indies, of the sugar industry as a whole, and, above all, of the general consuming British public, I submit that this proposal stands condemned.


The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, supported, in his opening remarks, the appeal which was made to the Government by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bermondsey—namely, that the Government should in this case make the decision what is called an open question, instead of, I suppose, putting on, as is usually the case, the Government tellers. Of course, in one sense every question is an open question. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bermondsey has declared his intention of voting against the Government. This is an open question, therefore, with him, and it may be an open question in the same way with others of my hon. friends who have failed to be convinced by the arguments of those who have supported this Convention. But if the meaning of the appeal is that we should not take the ordinary course with regard to a Government measure, then I must point out to my hon. friend and to the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, who has supported him, that that would involve the Government in a charge of international breach of faith and dishonour. We have to the best of our ability represented this country in the Conference at Brussels. We have come to what is practically an unanimous decision with the Powers, and we, and all the other Powers, are equally bound to do everything to show that we are sincere in accepting the provisions to which we agreed; and that we are ready to do our best to promote their adoption. To say to the House of Commons on this occasion that we will adopt the extremely rare course which is occasionally adopted by Governments where a matter is not of pressing or practical importance, or where perhaps the members of the Government themselves are divided on the subject—to say that we will adopt that course with regard to a Convention to which we unanimously agreed, would be to take a course which certainly would throw discredit upon English diplomacy.

I listened attentively to the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, and I must confess that, although I have devoted a great deal of time to the subject, many years ago as President of the Board of Trade, and now for a considerable number of years as Secretary of State for the Colonies, I was really unable to follow him or to understand exactly at what he was driving. If I do injustice to his argument it may be want of intelligence on my part, but, at all events, it is not want of good intention. If I understand him, he argued that, in spite of this Convention, bounties would still continue in consequence of something which he called a surtax, the effect of which I do not think he exactly appreciates. But I put this to him as an alternative. In our opinion the surtax has been fixed at a rate which is not compatible with the giving of any bounty or advantage which need be taken into practical or appreciable consideration. But if I am wrong in that-—if it be the fact that we are all wrong, that those who attended the Conference on our behalf and on behalf of foreign nations, and those experts who advised them, were all wrong, and that the hon. and learned Gentleman alone knows the real facts connected with this complicated sugar question, then, I say, why on earth need he trouble himself about the Convention, why predict all these evil results when, according to his own argument, it will have no effect at all?

Then the hon. and learned Gentleman went into another matter which has been raised by other hon. Members, which I will deal with very briefly indeed. He expressed a fear of what will happen if. under the terms of the Convention we are forced to take steps to penalise Russian sugar, and he assumed all kinds of terrible results that might accrue to the trade of this country. Now, I am one of those who believe that we must carry out our own fiscal system in our own way. I shall show hereafter that we are carrying it out in our own way, and. so long as we continue to be responsible for the affairs of the country, that will be our policy. We are going to carry out our own fiscal arrangements in our own way, without the slightest reference to what foreign countries may think about it, and we are not going to be terrified by those threats which are put forward with some indiscretion, as I think, by the Party opposite, as to what things will be done to us if we do what we think to be best for British interests by foreign countries who are more or less directly interested. The fact is, that with regard to Russia, Russian exports to this country are a mere fraction of her produce and a mere fraction of our supply. If we were to pass an ordinance tomorrow prohibiting the introduction of Russian sugar, it would make not the slightest difference either to Russian industries or to British industries. The matter is really not one of the slightest practical importance; but even if it were, if in the interests of this country we thought it right and proper to exclude a large supply of sugar from this country, I should regard it entirely from the point of view of British industries, and I should not regard it from the point of view of the interests of Russia or of any other country.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, in replying to the very careful and lucid and complete statement of the Government case which was made by my right hon. friend the President of the Board of Trade, insinuated that, in his opinion, that speech had been neither concise nor lively.


I said it was.


The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that there are insinuations by affirmation as well as by negation, and I think I do not misrepresent him when I say that he suggested that my right hon. friend's statement was neither concise nor lively. I will not call the right hon. Gentleman's speech "portentous," as he objects to the phrase, but I am sure he will not be offended if I say that that speech also was neither concise nor lively. I make these prefatory observations only in order to excuse myself to the House. This is a very complicated subject and a very difficult subject. It deals with very important theories. Political economy has always been a dry science, and it therefore deals with theories which are necessarily dry, and it deals with a vast mass of facts, every one of which is disputed. In these circumstances I have no hope whatever that I shall excel either my right hon. friend or the right hon. Gentleman, or that I shall be able to make, on this occasion at any rate, a concise or lively speech. I would have gone further, and said that it was not in the power of any human being to do so if it were not for one of the most admirable speeches, short though it was, to which I have ever listened in the House of Commons—I mean the brilliant effort of my hon. friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. I have said it is a very complicated question, and surely it is not made less so by the fact that the arguments against the Convention are mutually contradictory—that is to say, they are more or less inconsistent. The opposition is there—that is consistent enough—but the reasons given for the opposition are discordant, and in replying on the debate I have to go over a great deal of ground, and deal separately with all these various and conflicting statements.

I think I may at the outset say that the issues the House has to decide are really very simple, and are only two in number. I would call them the material and the moral issues. The material issue is the pocket question, the question of whether or not bounties are to the pecuniary advantage of this country, or to the advantage of the industries of this country. That is the first question. The second question, which I call the moral question, goes, in my opinion, very deep down into the foundation of our Empire. It is this—Are we prepared to say that the pecuniary question, and that alone, is to decide our policy? Are we to say that we are ready to repudiate the principles of common justice if it be found that the adoption of those principles may involve us in more or less pecuniary loss? Now, as to the pecuniary question, there is one thing which seems to me to have been lost sight, of on the other side of the House. I regard their calculations—I do not say it in any offensive sense—as absurd, because they are so purely hypothetical, I regard their predictions as absurd, because the same predictions have been. made, to my knowledge, for the last twenty-five years and have always proved false; and they are at liberty if I make any predictions to regard mine with. equal disfavour. The fact is, this is a case on which nobody can dogmatise as to the future. [Ironical OPPOSITION cheers, and counter cheers.] I am glad to be cheered from both sides of the House. I can only say that had that statement been so generally approved of and so generally accepted at the beginning of the debate it would have saved at least three-fourths of the speeches to which we have listened.

My first point is this, that in any estimate of pecuniary advantage you must not consider only a possible temporary advantage, but you must consider also the permanent result; and that leads me to say that in matters of economics, if you can agree upon a principle, you must accept that principle, and act upon it in spite of questions of temporary expediency. That is what distinguishes the old Free Traders, the authors of Free Trade, from those who now parade in their cast-off garments. The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields told us, in what to me was a really amazing speech, that this Convention was an attempt on the part of a Tory Government to secure Protection for certain industries. I say that is a perfectly amazing statement. What is the principle which lies at the bottom of Free Trade, and is in itself, therefore, contradistinct from Protection? We have been told by my right hon. friend that this is a quarrel of words, and that everything depends on the definition of Free Trade. But who is entitled to give the definition of Free Trade? Surely the author of Free Trade. I was going to refer to Mr. Cobden, but probably the] real author of Free Trade was Adam Smith. At any rate, Mr. Cobden was so completely the apostle of Free Trade that I think he may be taken as an authoritative exponent of its doctrine. What was the doctrine of Free Trade? It was not founded merely on commercial expediency or on questions of temporary loss or gain, but on the endeavour to establish as a principle that everything should be done to secure the natural course of production and exchange. Mr. Cobden said something to this effect —I do not know that I am using his exact words—that "What we (meaning the Free Traders) want is that every natural source of supply should be open to us as nature and nature's God intended it should be, and without artificial hindrance." He said, "Until we gain that we shall never be satisfied." But this Convention, on the face of it, at any rate, is surely intended to secure this equality, and to secure the natural course of trade. Here you have a great trade artificially diverted by a stimulus given by foreign countries to their own producers. If you can exactly keep the situation, not protecting your own trade, not giving the slightest advantage to your own trade, but putting it in what may fairly be called the natural situation, surely in that case you are following the strictest line of the principle which I have said is the principle declared by Mr. Cobden to be that of Free Trade. Our object is to secure the natural course of production and exchange. Bounties interfere with that natural course. They contravene the principle. They destroy the ordinary arrangements which would result from natural conditions. They divert capital and labour from the employment in which naturally they would find the most remunerative field, and they turn them into other directions less to the advantage of the country concerned. And, accordingly, you will find that until the last few years, when a new school of economists has started into existence—talk of the new economy! The new economy is not found on this side of the House; it is found on that [Pointing to the Opposition]—and until the last few years, I say, until the new economy represented by such an expert as the hon. Member for West Islington and others, no economist of the slightest eminence, no Commission ever appointed by any Government, no Committee of Parliament, no authority of the slightest importance, has ever denied what seems to me to be the plain fact that bounties absolutely contradict the principle of Free Trade, and are in themselves injurious to the country that gives them, and injurious in the long run to the country that at the moment profits by them. ("Oh.") Oh yes! You cannot take half of the proposition without taking the whole of it. I assert, and I am sure that I cannot be contradicted, that you will not find a single passage from any economist of note that does not accept that proposition—that they are injurious, as I have said, not only to the giver, but in the long run to the recipient.


made a remark across the table which did not reach the gallery.


Really, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire always tries to interrupt what, after all, is a serious argument, by personal allusions. I think he ought by this time to know that it is rather embarrassing and tends to protract the discussion. Still, out of courtesy to him, I will reply to his interruption.


I only meant to say it was not a new doctrine.


What is not a new doctrine? I have been laying down a doctrine as being the accepted doctrine of every authority on Free Trade, and the right hon. Gentleman says it is not a new doctrine!


said it was not a new doctrine to condemn countervailing duties against bounties.


The right hon. Gentleman is inconsequent. I was not speaking of countervailing duties. I am going to speak of them. At the present moment I am speaking of bounties. I did not say whether countervailing duties were better than bounties or worse than bounties. I must proceed by steps, and what I was saying was that they are condemned as mutually injurious by every great authority down to the last two or three years. One may say, Sir, that not only are bounties contrary to Free Trade, but that if they are instituted, as one of the speakers said, as a form of protection, they are a particularly objectionable form of protection. And, at any rate, Protection, whether right or wrong, is a defensive policy. Protection is intended to secure to the country establishing that policy the whole of its own trade for its own producers. Bounties are intended to do a great deal more. Bounties are an aggressive policy. They are intended to invade and to secure the markets of another country to which entrance cannot be obtained by legitimate means. They are intended to secure them by artificial stimulus and arrangement.

Then it is said—by the new school, not by the old—that these bounties only injure the bounty-giving people; and really I have been perfectly astounded by the observations of some hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to foreign nations. If a foreigner had been present he certainly would not have been flattered by what he would have heard, because in effect what they say is that they recognise that foreign nations are not philanthropic, and that therefore, if they spend this vast sum of money it is not from any altruistic purpose, or special goodwill towards this country, which is the chief beneficiary; but they say the statesmen and economists of foreign countries are such utter fools that they have gone on paying I do not know how many millions a year—amounting at present to something like seven or eight millions—for the benefit of people with whom they are in the most earnest and strenuous competition, without being in the slightest degree aware of what they are doing. That is a most extraordinary view to take. My own opinion is different. I admit I attach a great deal more importance to the astuteness of foreign statesmen; I do not think the whole of the wisdom rests on this side of the Channel. I do say, let us consider before we condemn those "poor, ignorant foreigners" whether they may not have had a serious object and may not have been very near accomplishing it.

What has been the object of foreign Powers? It has been, in the first place, to develop their own agriculture and manufactures. The hon. Member for South Shields, I think, triumphantly appealed to what he says is the fact that since the adoption of a Protectionist policy by foreign countries their trade has fallen off proportionately to ours. We now are the one nation which maintains commercial supremacy on the Continent of Europe. Well, Sir, as a convinced Free-Trader, I listened to that argument really with some alarm. Because, if Free Trade is to stand upon such a foundation as that—upon the assumption that Protection has reduced proportionately the trade of foreign countries in comparison with our own—we have indeed to look forward to a bad time for Free Trade, because the absolute reverse is the case. As a matter of fact, since the establishment and since the increase of this Protectionist policy, we have found the trade in the United States, which is most Protectionist of all nations, and the trade of Germany, which comes very near at its heels—we have found that trade increasing with giant strides, and we have found it increasing in very much larger proportion than our own. I have always thought that there was an answer to that from a free-trade point of view. We must attribute this enormous extension of trade to other circumstances without detracting from the principle of Free Trade. When the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite raised the point which he made in this connection, and put forward the failure of foreign nations and our success as the real basis of his faith in Free Trade, then, I think, he was indeed resting upon a most slender foundation.


I do not wish to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but what I said was that we had maintained among the nations of Europe our supremacy in the spread of international trade.


I was saying that foreigners must not be considered so ignorant as some hon. Members suppose. What I wish to point out is that these countries have a definite object in view, whether it is right or wise, or not. Their first object was to improve their own agriculture and to extend their own manufactures. They have done so to amost remarkable degree. There is nothing more remarkable in the course of the last few years than the growth of a perfectly gigantic industry, first in beet-growing, and secondly in the refinement of sugar. While our industries have remained stationary, or have gone back, the whole of this vast trade has been secured by our foreign competitors, and secured entirely because of the bounties ["No."]. It is fair to suppose that they have always had in view the possibility that by their competition they might exclude those who otherwise would have been their legitimate competitors, and that they might destroy legitimate industries which otherwise would have been successfully prosecuted. Now, then, I come to a point which I wish to press upon the House. If this object has been accomplished — and it has been nearly accomplished—what will happen? Prices will go up and every advantage which you can show to the working of the jam manufacturers, and all the rest of those who are contesting the Convention, will be more than stultified by the increased price in sugar which you will have to pay. At the present time we hear a great deal about trusts. What is the objection to trusts? No one objects to the legitimate combination of manufacturers to reduce the cost of production, or if possible to prevent unnecessary and illegitimate competition. The objection to trusts in America and in this country is always this, that it is feared—and experience shows that it is rightly feared—that they use their power in order to crush out all other competition, and that when they have done that they make the public pay for the whole transaction. This Convention, in my opinion, comes at the right time, although I am not going to say that in my opinion it should not have come earlier. At all events, there is an argument to be made in favour of allowing the bounties to continue until they had just succeeded, and then to stop them. That, at all events, is what we have done.

Now, what has been the result of bounties up to the present in the competition between different countries? In the competition between the countries, France has substantially been defeated, and now you have arrived at this situation, that a practical monopoly has been secured by Austria and Germany; and if bounties are allowed, were allowed to go on, I do not doubt for a moment that the prices would have been materially raised as a result of the monopoly that would have been established. There can be no doubt as to what would happen if we were to submit to a great monopoly in this article. Our interest is as Mr. Cobden described it; our interest is to multiply the sources of supply, to trust to natural competition, under natural circumstances, to keep the price of any article down to its legitimate level. If we were to allow the cane sugar industry of our Colonies to be killed by this unfair competition, if we were to allow the superior article, this cane sugar, to be killed by the inferior article by the artificial stimuli, I believe our descendants would rue the policy that we should have pursued. These are the general principles on which I suggest that bounties ought to be condemned, and I say I cannot understand how any person can deny that these, at any rate, are views which are in accordance with the strictest doctrine of Free Trade as it was declared by Cobden, by Bright, and by the economists who preceded them.

Now I want to consider other objections that arise from the particular situation in which our own interests are placed—I mean the interests of the refining industry and the interests of the West Indies. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth referred —and I do not in the least complain—to language used by me in 1881. Well, Sir, I do say in regard to all these quotations that I hope that those who' make them take the trouble to read the whole of the documents and the speeches. which they quote (I do not expect them to give the whole of the documents to the House) and see and consider what is the spirit of those speeches as well as any particular passages. But I pass that on the present occasion—I pass it because I am perfectly aware, and I am here to declare that since 1881 circumstances have entirely changed. No one knows that better than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire and his friends—that circumstances have changed, and when circumstances change, opinions change at the same time. But there is one point which those who quote me so freely seem to have lost sight of. These speeches were not in favour of bounties. The importance of that lies in the application of it. In 1881, as much as now, the Government of which I was a member was opposed to bounties. We thought them disastrous things, and that they ought by all reasonable means to be put an end to. I remember the deputation to which my right hon. friend referred. It was a deputation of sugar refiners and others interested to Mr. Gladstone, and I was present. But the right hon. Gentleman does me too much honour when he suggests that on that occasion anything I said was in a special sense to be taken as representing the Government, even as against the utterance of the Prime Minister. I was the youngest member of that Government, but I had never been a member of a Government before, and I did not at that time arrogate to myself any such position, and I accepted Mr. Gladstone as the true and only representative of the policy of the Government. On the occasion of that deputation, Mr. Gladstone was extremely sympathetic. He did not in any way exclude the idea of countervailing duties; but he said that at that time the case was not proved. There were three facts then which weighed with Mr. Gladstone and with his Government. The first was that what was then asked was that we should impose countervailing duties on sugar, and wait to see what the foreign Governments would do. That is to say, we should at once impose a countervailing duty against all the countries of Europe. Now the situation is entirely changed. At present all the principal sugar growing countries have agreed to this Convention, by which bounties are to be abolished; and the penal Clause can only come into operation against those countries which are outside the Convention, and which can be treated as non-exporting countries. The second thing was, at that time we had no evidence whatever that any serious injury had been done either to the sugar refining industry or to the production of sugar in the West Indies, and in those days we were young and credulous, and we were under the belief that foreign Powers were anxious to get rid of their bounties; that the process, in words which have been repeated to-night, and which I remember so well, had already begun, and we had only to be quiet and leave matters as they were in order that bounties might be abolished by voluntary action. Have they been abolished by the voluntary action of the countries concerned? And that is twenty-one years ago. Not a bit of it. They have gone on with greater vigour than ever; they have increased again and again, and they have produced greater and greater results, as those countries think, for their own benefit, or, as we may think, with some inconvenience to their exchequer, which is a different thing from a mere question of national advantage. But to this day it is perfectly certain that there is no chance whatever of bounties being abolished by any voluntary arrangement among the Powers, unless we, who hold the largest market, will agree to give our sanction to any agreement they make for the insertion of a penal clause in case in future they should break the agreement. That is the great change which has taken place since then. When you consider what was said in that day in the very able memorandum signed by Mr. Farrer, as he was then, Permanent Secretary to the Board of Trade, you will see a series of predictions and statements based upon arguments which at the time appeared to be sound, but which experience has absolutely falsified.

The refining trade since then has gone from bad to worse. I was surprised to hear the right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire refer once more to the fact that one great firm of sugar refiners was in the happy position of making a great fortune. It is perfectly true. There is still, as the remnant of a great industry—and no one can tell how much greater it might have been by now—the production of "Tate's crystals," and a few other considerable firms. But the refining trade has lost in the last twenty-one years a great amount of capital, and a large number of persons have been diverted to other employments with great suffering to themselves, and the industry has become practically insignificant. My right hon. friend referred to a very interesting Convention which was made in 1864 for the protection of this refining industry, and was made by Mr. Gladstone. It was in the early sixties. Mr. Gladstone, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer, declared that the object of this was to preserve and develop that great and important industry of sugar refining in this country. Nothing came of that. It was the intention to impose countervailing duties. Countervailing duties were not imposed. Now I would note, when we are dealing with hypotheses, is it not permissible for me to deal with the hypotheses s that if in 1864 or 1863 that Convention had been made operative, and the sugar-refining of this country had been—not protected, I do not mean that—but preserved from the unfair, artificial competition to which it was subjected—why is it impossible to conceive, in those circumstances, that the industry, considerable as it is now, might have been fifty-fold greater, because, in that time, the industries on the Continent have increased fifty or even a hundred fold? Why should not we have obtained from our own citizens and working men all the advantages which have been gained for foreigners?

Then I am told that in this or that industry a large number of people are maintained by the destruction of the sugar-refining industry. When we began the evening, and had nothing but pamphlets to go upon, we were told that there were 100,000 people employed in those industries. The right hon. Member for West Monmouth raised them to 200,000. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Shields raised them to 250,000, and the last speaker, going beyond them all, translated 250,000 persons into 250,000 men, which would mean, with their families, more than one million—a splendid instance of the value of hypotheses. I do not believe for a moment that there are more than 50,000 people employed in different trades which, in any sensible degree, are dependent on sugar; but whether they be 50,000 or 1,000,000, I say there is nothing whatever to induce us to believe, that we might not have employed even more British subjects—more British capital, more British machinery — in sugar - refining and production, if only we had protected them against this competition in time.

Then I come to the West Indies. I am not going to dwell at length upon that. But surely some of the—well, I will say —taunts or observations which have been made are unnecessary. I am Secretary of State for the Colonies. If I am anything, I am the representative in this House of the interests of those Colonies, and if I speak with some feeling in regard to them—well, I hope I may be excused, and I should be ashamed of myself if I did not sympathise with their sufferings and complaints, when I think those sufferings are real, and when I know that those complaints are just. What has been the history of the West Indies since this bounty business began? Our history is not a very honourable one with regard to these, which we once called our most flourishing, and which still, as my hon. friend the Member for Southwark says, are amongst our most glorious possessions in consequence of the traditions with which they were connected. The history of our relations with them is not a very honourable one to this country. From the time when we practised a vicarious virtue and emancipated the slaves and gave what was an altogether inadequate compensation for the property we destroyed—from that time to this I am afraid that we have too often considered our interests without considering at the same time the legitimate interests of our colonists and fellow-subjects. But I say their history has been the history of a struggle for existence for the last twenty years. The right hon. Member for West Monmouth spoke about Jamaica. I will take Jamaica as a good illustration. Jamaica is not prospering. Jamaica has been altogether behindhand, has been piling up deficits, has been in a most difficult position, and has caused me the greatest anxiety. By the strictest economy, by an economy in the provision for the administration of justice, in the provision for medical supply, and education, by economy which has been called for by the necessities of the case, but which otherwise I should certainly not have thought true economy, I have reduced the expenditure, and by efforts on which I will not dwell, partly by increased taxation upon people already impoverished, by that and other means, at last I have been able to reestablish an equilibrium between revenue and expenditure. But under what circumstances? The sugar industry continues in Jamaica and the West Indies. Why? Three or four years ago the Royal Commission were of opinion, as they well might be from the circumstances that came before them, that the sugar industry was doomed almost in the course of the next few years. The United States, kinder to our Colonies than we ourselves have been, established a system of countervailing duties, which for a time gave temporary relief to the West Indies. That relief cannot be permanent, whether the Convention is carried or not. The countervailing duties at the present time countervail only bounties and not Cartels, and therefore there is still a bounty against West Indian sugar in the United States; and, moreover, the United States is making such progress with its protected industries—with its folly, as hon. Gentlemen opposite would say, with its foolish lack of the most ordinary economic principles—that in the next few years it will certainly be self-supplying in this matter by means of its dependencies, with the help of Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Under those circumstances we should be then in the position in which the Royal Commission found themselves. In the course of another year or two sugar would go, and if sugar goes Jamaica will go as well, and it is one of those islands called comparatively prosperous. As to Barbados, St. Vincent, and the smaller islands of the Windward group, nothing could save them; they would be reduced to a condition in which they could only be kept alive by bounties on a very large scale indeed, and even then the black population, to whom we owe great obligations, would be little removed from pauperism.

I wish I could appeal to the working man direct. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite laugh, but have I ever refrained from telling the working man what I believed to be true. Political opposition may go a long way. but nobody, I think, will accuse me of any lack of courage in expressing my opinions to the working men, as well as to every class in the community. I wish I could address an audience of working men, I should appeal to their sense of justice—but that is another question. I would appeal also to their pockets and their interest. I would say, "What have you done? You have destroyed a trade which might have found employment for goodness knows how many people, and you may go on and throw away trade after trade, the best trades of the country, for it is not the worst trades which are competitors for this bounty system, it is trades which would naturally provide us with large profits—and you allow these trades, one after another, to be thrown away or handed over to our competitors." And a trade once gone—men of business will agree with me—it is not very easy to restore it. In the West Indies, although the land is in a very impoverished condition, they buy £2,000,000 or £3.000,000 worth of British goods from this country—they might be able to buy ten or twenty times that amount, but even two or three million's worth of British manufactures is not altogether a thing to be despised. I will undertake to say that that alone will keep something like 40,000 persons fully employed, and that is worth considering when we are asked to consider the number employed in each separate trade.

One word I must say. What is the alternative which is suggested to us? It is suggested by some persons that we should not agree to this Convention, but that we should give grants to the West Indies. Now, whenever I have come down to this House to ask for these grants they have been described in sneering terms as doles and eleemosynary gifts by the hon. Gentlemen who are opposed to this Convention. Now they put forward these doles against the Convention, but if the Convention were destroyed I should not find them voting for these "doles." They are not doles, they are the incomplete payment of our debts, and do not believe for a moment that anything that has been referred to as possible would be a sufficient dole in the event of the ruin of the West Indies. We are told that the West Indies are of no consequence to us, and that they send us only 46,000 tons of the 240,000 tons they export. Well, I would say that the great majority of their production goes to the United States because of exceptional and temporary circumstances. When those circumstances come to an end, the only market for the West Indies, for their 240,000 tons, is this country. It would be two million tons if only they had a fair chance, and if, when they had a fair chance, they knew how to take advantage of it [OPPOSITION laughter] —that is certainly so—if they knew how to take, advantage of it, and we were able to introduce fresh capital and enterprise. Therefore, looking at it purely from the point of view of loss and gain, do not think that by getting rid of this Convention you are going to get rid of the expenditure which will be thrown on the working men as well as on other classes of the community. The expenditure will be gigantic, unless you are to take the advice once offered by the hon. member for Northampton and let these colonies go, or sell them, for what they would fetch, to any other Power. I come now to a very important point, and that is the argument of hon. Gentlemen opposite that the price which we are to pay is too high. The right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire told you, and other hon. Members also, who, I think, if they had really studied the question would have refrained from such an argument, that the cost to the country will be the amount of the bounty, which they put at the maximum of £5, multiplied by the total importation of sugar into this country. That really is perfectly ludicrous. Anybody who knows the true facts of the case knows that, whatever may be the amount of the bounty, the advantage to the consumer is very much less. A large part of the bounty goes to countervail the natural advantages of the country against which the bounty is directed, and as to the rest it is divided between the consumer on the one part and the producer on the other. He takes as much as he can, and gives to the consumer the least possible amount which is necessary in order to secure the market. I will put an imaginary case, which I think will serve to make my meaning perfectly clear. Suppose that the United States can make a particular class of iron at £4 per ton. Suppose that, owing to our inferior natural advantages, it would cost us £5 per ton to make the same thing. But suppose our Government conies in and says, "We want to get for England the home trade in this particular class of iron in the United States; we will therefore give a bounty of 30s. a ton." Hon Gentlemen opposite would say, "Oh! that is a boon of 30s. per ton to the people of the United States. They will have entirely as a gift from this country 30s. per ton for every single ton they use." That is perfectly absurd. In the first place, £1 of the bounty goes to equalise the natural disadvantages of this country. It goes to lower our cost from £5 to £4, and that leaves only 10s. of the bounty. How much will it take to get the trade in this article? If one shilling will do it, the producer will get nine shillings for himself and he will give one shilling to the consumer. If it takes five shillings, he will keep one half himself and give the other half to the consumer. But it is perfectly clear to anyone who knows the course of trade, to anyone who has been in business, that of the bounty on any article whatever which is given by a foreign country, it is only a small proportion that finds its way into the consumer's pocket. It is not these seven or eight millions which are talked of with so much readiness that we have to deal with. It is only the very small proportion that falls into the pockets of the consumers. But if the bounty were abolished I am not certain that there would be even that small advantage. If there were, it would be compensated for by the regularity of prices, which is a more important thing in business even than the prices themselves, and it would also be compensated for by the natural extension of trade.

I must leave the right hon. Gentleman opposite some time, and so there are many points which I must pass over. One thing I must briefly refer to. It is said that if the price of sugar is not raised the West Indies will not benefit. That has been dealt with by my hon. friend the Secretary to the Board of Trade. But in any case the West Indies will benefit in the first place by getting rid of the sense of injustice which presses upon them; in the second place they will get rid of the irregularity in their trade, and, in the third place, by the restoration of their credit, without which it is absolutely impossible for them to provide the new machinery and to secure the results which they ought to secure from the scientific prosecution of their industry. I will say no more upon the financial, pecuniary, or pocket question. In my opinion the sacrifice which we shall be called upon to make is a very small and trifling one. But even if it were considerable, then, on moral grounds, I for one say that we are still bound in honour and duty to make it. Mr. Gladstone said, with reference to this very subject, that we were bound to act equitably by foreign nations, but that above all we were bound to act equitably towards our own fellow-subjects. That is a truth which we cannot safely ignore. Our Empire—well, there may have been many failings in our administration of it, many faults which we have to regret, but at all events we shall all agree that it cannot be maintained unless we accept to the full the principles of justice and of mutual sacrifice. If we allow our Colonies to assume, or to believe, that for some trifling advantage to ourselves we are ready to sacrifice their interests, then I say the knell of the British Empire will be tolled. We are endeavouring at this very moment, and not without success, to impress on them their duty .and their responsibility, and we are urging them to take a larger share of the obligations of Empire. We are asking them to accept the solidarity in which one part of the Empire would be a matter of concern for every other part. And I appeal to all those who agree at any rate in this policy; to all who agree that the Empire should he based upon these principles of justice, who think that the loss of Empire would be for this country in the future to lead a meaner life, and to have more paltry ambitions; to those who would shrink from anything that would lose for us our high place and our mission in the world—to those I appeal in this case to do justice, and not to seek a doubtful victory, gained at the expense of the interest of our kinsfolk across the seas, and of the principles upon which our Empire has been founded.

(11.30.) Sir ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)

I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman has omitted any argument which he thought the House wished to know, for certainly I should have been glad to hear further argument in support of the proposition which is now before the House. This is a very important, a very complicated, and a very difficult subject, and I must say I think it is very much to be regretted that by reason of the Rules of the House the time left to us to discuss it is so limited. We are now asked to approve of this Convention fixing a policy for the next five years which may impose on the Government the duty of levying taxation, and may subject the people of this country to considerable inconvenience. The right hon. Gentleman has evoked the Imperial interests of this country and asked the support of all who are prepared to maintain Imperial interests as he depicts them, but surely no one desires in the least degree to impair or minimise the Empire's greatness. I imagine that we are at one in our object, though we may differ in our methods. But I think the right hon. Gentleman will admit that that cause is not advanced by urging this argument in support of every proposal whatever. If this proposal of the right hon. Gentleman is a wise one, it should be defended solely on its merits, and if it is unwise, it gains nothing by eloquent and passionate appeals to the interest of the British Empire. Nor do we think that he gave the real meaning of Free Trade when he told us that this proposal was in pursuance of the doctrines of Free Trade. I should think, undoubtedly, that bounties are most mischievous, and entirely contrary to those great principles. I should not be disposed to agree with the right hon. Gentleman that every nation ought, under all circumstances, to make self-sacrifice by abandoning the advantage it enjoys from other nations which think it proper to give bounties. I will not follow the right hon. Gentleman through his former speeches on the matter, because I do not think anything is to be gained by it. But the right hon. Gentleman has not really answered the points of objection urged during the debate.

In the first place, he to told us he was resolved to maintain British interests, and to judge of this and all other proposals from the point of view of British interest. This Convention is open to many objections. One is that it does deprive him and us of the right for the next five years of judging in the British interest what taxation should be imposed in relation to the sugar trade. By the Seventh Article a Committee consisting mainly of foreigners would scrutinise our taxation and decide authoritatively upon the amount we should impose as countervailing duties, and also what countries are to have restrictions placed on their process of cultivation. I cannot see how this proposition is to be defended. It may be said that it is a sort of international arbitration. If that were so I should be most heartily in favour of it. But we do not under this Convention choose our arbitrators, nor are those who are to decide what the tariffs of this country are to be in regard to sugar disinterested Parties. On the contrary they are the delegates of those who are most interested against our interests, namely, the producing countries, while we are a consuming .country. In effect what we do by the Seventh Article is to submit beforehand to whatever the producing nations may command by their delegates, and the House of Commons is expected to pass whatever legislation they may prescribe. That is an entirely unreasonable and humiliating position, and I think it is quite inconsistent with what the Colonial Secretary said, that we should have at all times a free hand in dealing with this question. I say it is absurd to suppose that we should have impartiality from these delegates. They represent different interests from our own, and there is every reason to suppose that they will use the authority conferred upon them in the interests of their own commerce, and against the interests of ours. It has been stated with perfect truth that the effect in bounty-giving States will be to save the amount of the bounties which they may divert to other industries, for there is no security that they will give up their own protective duties. We shall gain no market by the. Convention. On the contrary, by virtue of the operation of the surtax, the other nations will be able to maintain their own markets intact, which is what they desire, and they reserve the right to themselves to consider increased. import duties to prevent any other nation coming into competition in their own market. The right hon. Gentleman spoke as if the West Indies had been extremely ill-used by this country. Where has been the great wrong done to the West Indies by this country, for which we ought to make atonement and stand in a white sheet? I am not aware of it, although the right hon. Gentleman may be, with his fuller knowledge. Slave owning existed in the West Indies and was abolished, for which we gave very handsome compensation. Perhaps it may be said that the compensation was not adequate, but that was a long time ago. Since then where is the wrong that we have done to the West Indies, for which the people of this country are to make atonement? I most heartily sympathise with the planters in the West Indies, and I deeply regret the distress they are in. But we ought to regard this subject from the point of view of justice to all parties.

As regards the particular evils of bounties, which the right hon. Gentleman says are one of the causes which have contributed to that distress, we are not responsible for them. The right hon. Gentleman himself admits that for a long time we have done our best to get rid of them. Therefore, the attitude which the right hon. Gentleman has taken up appears to have no foundation, nor has the right hon. Gentleman cited any authority in history on the subject. We are none the less bound to do what we can, within reason, to assist a distressed colony, especially in the peculiar circumstances in which the West Indies stand. We know that only 40,000 or 50,000 tons of sugar are imported into this country from the West Indies out of the 250,000 tons which they produce. A Royal Commission went to the West Indies, but they did not say that the bounties were the cause of the misfortune. Certainly they did not recommend the imposition of countervailing duties. They recommended various fiscal reforms—reforms of tariff, land reform, and reforms with regard to loans. Surely if the right hon. Gentleman thinks that we owe the West Indies something, whether by reason of our past misconduct, or by reason of our present benevolence, he ought to have thought of the course recommended by the Royal Commission. Let me suppose for a moment that the abolition of the bounties and the ratification of the Convention would do good to the West Indies, what are we to do? The abolition of the bounties will raise the price of 1,600,000 tons of sugar in order to benefit the producers of 40,000 or 50,000 tons of sugar shipped to Great Britain. The right hon. Gentleman has not dealt with that aspect of the question in his most interesting and eloquent speech. If the price of sugar is raised in this country to the extent of a halfpenny a pound, that means a loss of £7,000,000, or £8,000,000 sterling. But let me suppose that the price is only raised a farthing a pound, that means a loss of £3,000,000 or £4,000,000. If the whole of that £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 went to the West Indies there would be something in it, but only two and a half per cent. of it would go to the West Indies, inasmuch as they only ship 2½ per cent. of the amount of sugar that comes into this country. It is a question of the first importance how far the people of the United Kingdom are to allow the price of their own food to be raised in order to benefit our colonies. I would say it would be far better to give monetary assistance in the shape of loans and gifts, even on a large scale, to enable the West Indian planters to equip themselves, than to embark on the doubtful policy of raising the price of articles of food in this country. Every one sympathises with the sugar refiners, but they are in no worse position than many other trades in this country, which are not so prosperous as we desire. They are an insignificant trade that has been reduced to insignificance partly on account of the bounties; and as this country was not responsible for the bounties there is no reason why we should be called upon to make any great sacrifices to avert their consequences. The interest is now a small one, and on the other hand there is the interest of the other trades, such as the confectionery and jam trades, which employ at least 150,000 hands. Besides these trade interests there is the entire population of consumers, to whom the consequences must be serious. It is very difficult to foretell what the price of sugar will be for the next ten years to come, but at any rate there must be some rise, and I think a very considerable rise; and that will fall on the very poorest part of the community. This is the second time that the present Government has chosen to inflict loss on the poorest classes of the community. The danger of monopoly of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke, is remote when it involves the co-operation of seven or eight nations, with the United States always ready to compete. The President of the Board of Trade regarded this Convention apparently as a triumph of Free Trade. Now, if you could get all these contracting Powers to this Convention to abolish their system of Protection altogether, or even on the particular article of sugar, there must be something to be said for countervailing duties. But they maintain Protection even on sugar. Their protection is, as the right hon. Gentleman said, as injurious to them as to us. I was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman did not admit that these contracting Powers only proposed to abolish the only part of the protective system which was most hurtful to them and most beneficial to us. I cannot see that there is any triumph in Free Trade in that. I say that that is only another step towards a policy of Protection, and I think the speech of the right hon Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, who avowed himself to be a staunch free-trader, smacked more distinctly of fair trade than anything I have heard for some time. Every argument that the right hon. Gentleman used in favour of countervailing duties against bounties would be equally applicable to any protective duties. This policy, once embarked upon, would lead to almost incalculable consequences. I am sorry to say that I think this Convention is humiliating, in the first instance, because it subjects the legislation of this country to the dictation of foreign delegates; and it is also retrogressive, and I believe will do no good to the West Indies.

SIR LEWIS M'IVER (Edinburgh, W.)

If there were time I think I might .address the House in an extremely long speech. I should begin, in the correct form, with a sheaf of congratulations to a most distinguished Member of the House. The right hon. Gentleman has afforded me and many others genuine gratification by his Parliamentary skill during many years, but never have I heard the right hon. Gentleman in better and more ingenious form than tonight, because the right hon. Gentleman undertook what was a new rôle, although new rôle were not unfamiliar to him. He undertook to deliver a Free Trade speech in the cause of Protection, and that takes a bit of doing. He rose to oppose the principles which, as he had been reminded tonight, were enunciated by Richard Cobden, and he did it so skilfully and so ingeniously that not even those sitting behind him ever imagined that he did it for his own amusement. The right hon. Gentleman delivered his speech from two different and conflicting points of view. One half suggested that the effect of this Resolution would be to increase the cheapness of sugar, and the other half went to prove that it would not cheapen sugar, but in either event the Government were wrong. [Cries of "Divide."] We shall divide in a very short time; at any rate that is my own opinion. The popularity of cheapness, as cheapness, has been greatly exaggerated. [Cries of "Divide."] Of course we all desire that the food of the people and other necessaries of life should be cheap, but I doubt very much whether other cheap articles are generally popular, and I know they are generally nasty. The whole of this opposition is based on a Protectionist agitation got up in the interests of manufacturers—

It being Midnight, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded to interrupt the Business:—


rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided:—Ayes, 223; Noes, 119. (Division List No. 573.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Lee,ArthurH(Hants., Fareham
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Doughty, George Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Arkwright, John Stanhope Duke, Henry Edward Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Leveson-Gower,FrederickN.S.
Arrol, Sir William Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Llewellyn, Evaa Henry
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fardell, Sir T. George Lockwood. Lt.-Col. A. R.
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Fellowes,Hon. Ailwyn Edward Long,Col.CharlesW.(Evesham
Bailey, James (Walworth) Fer?russonHon,Rt.Hn.SirJ (Manc'i Long,Rt.Hn.Walter.(Bristol,S.
Bain , Colonel James Robert Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Lowe, Francis William
Baird, John George Alexander Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)
Balfour,Rt.Hon.A.J.(Manch'r Fisher, William Hayes Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Balfour,Rt Hn.GeraldW(Leeds Fison, Frederick William Lucas,.Col. Francis(Lowestoft)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George FitzGerald,Sir RobertPenrose- Lucas, Reginaldj(Portsmouth)
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Fitzroy, Hon Edward Algernon Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Bathurst,Hon.Allen Benjamin Flannery Sir Fortescue Macartney.RtHn.W.G.Ellison
Beresford, Lord Chas. William Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Macdona, John Cumming
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Flower, Ernest MacIver, David (Liverpool)
Bignold, Arthur Forster, Henry William M'Arthur, Charles(Liverpool)
Bigwood, James Gardner, Ernest M'Calmont,ColHL.B.(Cambs.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Gibbs,Hn.A.G.H.(CityofLond. M'Iver,Sir Lewis(Edinburgh W
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Gordon,HnJ.E.(Elgin&Nairn) Majendie, James A.H.
Bousfield, William Robert Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Maple, Sir John Blundell
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Gordon MajEvans-(T'rH'mlets Massey-Mainwaring,Hn. W.F.
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Gore Hon S F.Ormsby-(Line Maxwell.RtHnSirHE.(Wigt'n
Brown,Sir Alex, H.(Shropsh. Graham, Henry Robert Maxwell,WJH(Dumfriesshire
Bull, William James Greene,Henry D.(Shrewsbury) Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Burdett Coutts, W. Grenfell, William Henry Middlermore,JohnThrogmort'n
Butcher, John George Gretton, John Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Carlile, William Walter Greville, Hon. Ronald Montagu,Hon.J.Scott(Hants.)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.) Hain, Edward More,Robt.Jasper (Shropshire
Cavendi-h,V.C.W.(Derbyshire Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer
Chamberlain.Rt.Hon.J.(Birm. Hamilton,RtHnLordG(Midd'x Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Chamberlain,RtHn.J.A(Worc. Hanbury,Rt. Hon.Robert Wm. Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hare, Thomas Leigh Murray,RtHnA.Graham(Bute
Chapman, Edward Harris, Frederick Leverton Murray, Charles J. Coventry)
Charrington, Spencer Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Clare, Octavins Leigh Heath, ArthurHoward(Hanley Myers William Henry
Clive, Captain Percy A. Helder, Augustus Nicholson, William Graham
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Henderson, Sir Alexander Pease.HerbertPike(Darlington
Coghill, Douglas Harry Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hickman, Sir Alfred Pemberton, John S. G.
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Higginbottom, S. W. Percy, Earl
Colomb,SirJohnCharlesReadY Holthouse.RtHonH(Som'rs't,E Platt-Higgis,Frederick
Compton, Lord Alwvne Hope,J.F.(Sheffield,Brightside Plummer, Walter R.
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Corbett, T. L. (Down, Nbrth) Hoult, Joseph Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Howard.John(Kent,Faversh'm Purvis, Robert
Cranborne, Lord Hozier,Hon.James HenryCecil Rankin, Sir James
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Hudson, George Bickersteth Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Crossley, Sir Savile Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Cust, Henry John C. Jessel,Captain Herbert Merton Reid, James(Greenock)
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Kewsick, William Renshaw, Charles Bine
Davies,SirHoratioD.(Chatham Kimber, Henry Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge)
Denny, Colonel Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Ridley,S.Forde(Bethnal Green
Dewar,SirT.R.(TowerHamlets Lawrence,SirJosePh(Monm'th Ritchie,Rt.Hn. Chas. Thomson
Dickinson, Robert Edmond Lawrence. Win. F. (Liverpool) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Dirasdale,Rt. Hon. SirJosephC. Lawson, John Grant Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Rothschild,Hon.Lionel Walter Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier Wharton, Rt Hon. John Lloyd
Royds, Clement Molyneux Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Rutherford, John Talbot,Rt. Hn.J.G.(Oxf'd Univ Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford- Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Sandys,Lieut.-Col.Thos.Myles Thornton, Percy M. Wilson,A.Stanley(York,E.R.)
Seely,Maj.J.E.B.(IsleofWight Tollemache, Henry James Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Seton-Karr, Sir Henry Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M. Wodehouse,Rt.Hn.E.R.(Bath),
Sharpe, William Edward T. Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart
Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Tuke, Sir John Batty Wylie, Alexander
Smith,HC(North'mb.Tyneside Valentia, Viscount Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Smith,James Parker (Lanarks. Vincent,Sir Edgar (Exeter) Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Walker, Col. William Hall Younger, William
Spear, John Ward Walrond,RtHon.SirWilliamH.
Stanley, Lord (Lancs.) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Stewart,Sir MarkJ.M'Taggart Warde, Colonel C. E. TELLERS FOR THE. AYES—
Stone, Sir Benjamin Webb, Colonel William George Sir Alexander Acland-
Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley Welby, Lt-Col.A.C.E (Taunton Hoodand Mr. Anstruther.
Allan,Sir William (Gateshead) Harcourt, Rt.Hon. Sir William Roe, Sir Thomas
Allen, CharlesP. (Glouc., Stroud Hardie,J. K eir(Merthyr Tydvil Runciman, Walter
Ashton, Thomas Gair Harmsworth, R. Leicester Samuel ,Herb era. (Cleveland)
Asquith,Rt.Hn.HerbertHenry Harwood, George Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Schwann, Charles E.
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Bell, Richard Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Black, Alexander William Holland, Sir William Henry Shipman, Dr. John G.
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Horniman, Frederick John Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Brigg, John Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C Soames, Arthur Wellesiey
Broadhurst, Henry Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Spencer,RtHnC.R.(Northants
Brown, George M. (Edinburgh) Kearley, Hudson E. Strachey, Sir Edward
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Kitson, Sir James Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Labouchere, Henry Tennant. Harold John
Burns. John Lambert, George Thomas, SirA.(Carmarthen,E.
Burt, Thomas Langley, Batty Thomas,DavidAlfred(Merthyr
Buxton, Sydney Charles Layland-Barratt, Francis Thomas,F.Freeman(Hastings)
Caldwell, James Leese,SirJoseplF(Accrington Thomas,JA(GlamorganGower
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Leigh, Sir Joseph Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.)
Causton, Richard Knight Levy, Maurice Tomkinson, James
Cawley, Frederick Lough, Thomas Toulmin, George
Channing, Francis Allston Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Craig, Robert Hunter M'Crae, George Tully, Jasper
Cremer, William Randal Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Wallace, Robert
Dalziel, James Henry Morley,Itt.Hn.John(Montrose Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Davies,M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Moulton, John Fletcher Warner,Thomas Courtenay T.
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh. Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway, N. Wason, Eugene
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Norman, Henry White, George (Norfolk)
Duncan, J. Hastings Norton, Capt. Cecil William While, Luke (York, E.R.)
Dunn, Sir William Partington, Oswald Whiteley,George (York, W. R.)
Ellis, John Edward Paulton, James Mellor Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Evans,SirFrancisH (Maidstone Pearson, Sir Weetman D. Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Perks, Robert William Wilson,Chas. Henry (Hull,W.)
Fenwick, Charles Price, Robert John Wilson,HenryJ. (York, W.R.)
Eerguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Priestley, Arthur Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Rea, Russell Woodhouse,SirJT. (Huddersf'd
Foster,Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Reid, Sir R.Threshie(Dumfries Yoxall, James Henry
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Rigg, Richard
Goddard, Daniel Ford Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Grant, Corrie Roberts John H. (Denbighs) Mr. Herbert Gladstoneand
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Robson, William Snowdon Mr. William M'Arthur.

(12.0) Question put, "That the Question be now put."

(12.13) Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes, 213; Noes; 126. (Division List No. 574.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Fitzrey,Hon.EdwardAlgernon Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Flannery, Sir Fortescue Montagu,Hon.J.Scott(Hants.)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Arkwright, John Stanhope Flower, Ernest More,Robt.Jasper(Shronshire)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Forster, Henry William Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer
Arrol, Sir William Gardner, Ernest Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Gibbs,Hn.A.G.H(City of Lond. Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Bagot,Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Gordon,Hn. J. E. (Elgin &Nairn Murray,Rt HnA. Graham(Bute
Bailey, James (Walworth) Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Bain, Colonel James Robert Gordon,MajEvans-(T'rH'ml'ts Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Baird, John George Alexander Graham, Henry Robert Myers, William Henry
Balfour,Rt.Hon.A.J.(Manch'r Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury) Nicholson, William Graham
Balfour,RtHnGeraldW (Leeds Grenfell, William Henry Pemberton, John S. G.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gretton, John Percy, Earl
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Greville, Hon. Ronald Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Bathurst,Hon.AllenBenjamin Hain, Edward Plummer, Walter R.
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bignold, Arthur Hamilton,RtHnLordG.(Mid'x Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Bigwood, James Hanhury,Rt.Hon.Robert Win. Purvis, Robert
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hare, Thomas Leigh Rankin, Sir James
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Harris, Frederick Leverton Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Bousfield, William Robert Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Heath,ArthurHoward(Hanley Reid, James (Greenock)
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Helder, Augustus Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.) Henderson, Sir Alexander Ridley,Hon. M.W.(Stalybridge
Bull, William James Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Ridley,S.Forde(Bethnal Green
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hickman, Sir Alfred Ritchie,Rt.HonChas.Thomson
Carlile, William Walter Higginbottom, S. W. Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hobhouse,RtHnH(Somerset,E Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Cavendish, R, F. (N. Lancs.) Hope,J.F.(Sheffield,Brightside Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Cavendish,V.C.W (Derbyshire Houldsworth Sir Wm. Henry Royds, Clement Molyneux
Chamberlain,Rt.Hon.J.(Birm. Hoult, Joseph Rutherford, John
Chamberlain,RtHnJ.A(Worc. Hozier,Hon.JamesHenryCecil Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hudson, George Bickersteth Sandys,Lieut.-Col.Thos.Myles
Chapman, Edward Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Seely,Maj.J.E. B.(Isle of Wight
Charrington, Spencer Jeffreys,Rt.Hon. Arthur Fred. Seton-Karr, Sir Henry
Clare, Octavius Leigh Jessel,Captain HerbertMerton Sharpe, William Edward T.
Clive, Captain Percy A. Keswick, William Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Kimber, Henry Smith,HC(North'mb. Tyneside
Coghill, Douglas Harry Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Smith,James Parker(Lanarks.)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Lawrence,SirJoseph(Monm'th Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Spear, John Ward
Colomb,SirJohnCharlesHeady Lawson, John Grant Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Compton, Lord Alwyne Lee,Arthur H (Hants.,Fareh'm Stewart.SirMarkJ.M'Taggart
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Stone, Sir Benjamin
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Cranborne, Viscount Leveson-Gower,FrederickN.S. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Llewellyn, Evan Henry Talbot,Rt. Hn . J.G(Oxf'd Univ.
Crossley, Sir Savile Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Long,Col.CharlesW.(Evesham Thornton, Percy M.
Davies,Sir Horatio D. (Chatham Long,Rt.Hn.Walter(Bristol,S. Tollemache, Henry James
Denny, Colonel Lowe, Francis William Tomlinson, Sir Win. Edw. M.
Dewar,SirT.R.(TowerHamlets Lowther, C. (Coml., Eskdale) Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Dickinson, Robert Edmond Loyd, Archie Kirkman Tuke, Sir John Batty
Dimsdale,Rt.Hon.SirJosephC. Lucas,Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Valentia, Viscount
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Lucas,ReginaldJ.(Portsmouth Walker, Col. William Hall
Doughty, George Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Walrond,Rt Hn.SirWilliamH.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Macartney,RtHn. W.G.Ellison Wanklyn, James Leslie
Duke, Henry Edward Macdona, John Cumming Warde, Colonel C. E.
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin MacIver, David (Liverpool) Webb, Colonel William George
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool. Partici], Sir T. George
Fardell, Sir T. George M`Calmont.Col. H. L. B(Cambs) Welby,Lt-Col.A.C.E(Taunton
Fellowes,Hon.Ailwyn Edward M`Iver,Sirliewis(EdinburghW Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Fergusson,Ht.Hn.SirJ (Mauc'r Majendie, James A. H. Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Massey-Mainwaring,Hn. W.F. Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Maxwell,RtHn SirH. E(Wigt'n Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E. R.
Fisher, William Hayes Maxwell,W J H(Dumfriesshire Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Fison, Frederick William Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Wodehouse, Rt.Hn.E.R.(Bath
FitzGerald,Sir Robert Penrose- Middlemore,JohnThrogmort'n Wortley, Rt. Hon C. B. Stuart
Wylie, Alexander Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George Younger, William Sir Alexander Acland-
Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Allan,Sir William (Gateshead) Harcourt,Rt. Hon. Sir William Roe, Sir Thomas
Allen,CharlesP(Glouc.,Stroud Hardie,J.Keir(MerthyrTydvil Runciman, Walter
Ashton, Thomas Gair Harmsworth, R. Leicester Samuel,Herbert L.(Cleveland)
Asquith,Rt.Hn.HerbertHenry Harwood, George Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Hayne,Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Schwann, Charles K
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Bell, Richard Hemphill, Rt.Hon. Charles H. Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Black, Alexander William Holland, Sir William Henry Shipman, Dr. John G.
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Horniman, Frederick John Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Brigg, John Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Broadhurst, Henry Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Spencer,RtHnC.R.(Northants
Brown,George M. (Edinburgh) Kearley, Hudson E. Strachey Sir Edward
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Kitson, Sir James Taylor,Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Labouchere, Henry Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan,E.)
Burns, John Lambert, George Thomas,DavidAlfred(Merthyr
Burt, Thomas Langley, Batty Thomas,F.Freeman ,(Hastings
Buxton, Sydney Charles Layland-Barratt. Francis Thomas,JA(Glamorgan,Gower
Caldwell, James Leese,SirJosephF.(Accrington Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Leigh, Sir Joseph Tomkinson, James
Causton, Richard Knight Levy, Maurice Toulmin, George
Cawley, Frederick Lough, Thomas Trevelyan, Charles Philips.
Channing. Francis Allston Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Tully, Jasper
Craig, Robert Hunter M'Crae, George Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Cremer, William Randal Maple, Sir John Blundell Wallace, Robert
Cust, Henry John C. Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Dalziel, James Henry Morley,lit.Hn.John(Montrose Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Davies,M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Moulton, John Fletcher Wason, Eugene
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Nolan,Col..JohnP.(Galway,N.) White, George (Norfolk)
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark Norman, Henry White, Luke (York, E.R.)
Duncan, J. Hastings Norton,Captain Cecil William Whiteley,George (York, W.R.)
Dunn, Sir William Partington, Oswald Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Ellis, John Edward Paulton, James Mellor Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Evans,SirlirancisH(Maidstone Pearson, Sir Weetman D. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Pease,HerbertPike(Darlingt'n Wilson,Chas. Henry (Hull,W.)
Fenwiek, Charles Peel, HnWm. Robertwellesley Wilson, Henry J . (York, W.R.)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Perks, Robert William Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund Price, Robert John Woodhouse,SirJT.(Hudderst'd
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Priestley, Arthur Yoxall, James Henry
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Rea, Russell
Goddard, Daniel Ford Reid,Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)
Gore,Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Line.) Ring, Richard TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Grant, Corrie Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Mr. Herbert Gladstone
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) andMr.WilliamM`Arthur.
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Robson, William Snowdon

Main Question put accordingly, and agreed to.


claimed, "That the Main Question be now put."

Resolved, "That this House approves the policy embodied in the Convention relating to Sugar, signed at Brussels on the 5th day of March, 1902, and, in the event of that Convention receiving the ratifications required to make it binding, is prepared to adopt the necessary measures to enable His Majesty to carry out its provisions."


, in pursuance of the Order of the House of the 16th October last, adjourned the House without Question puts.

Adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock.