§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment proposed to Question [28th July], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
Which Amendment was—
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day three months.'"—(Mr. Lough.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
* MR. LAWRENCE
I was pointing out, however imperfectly, the conditions and circumstances under which this Bill is brought forward. So far as the West Indies are concerned, it is not demanded merely for the capitalists but for the masses of the people. The right hon. Member for Aberdeen taxed the planters with having no spirit, enterprise or machinery. If he had even for half-an-hour borne the burden and the heat of the day of carrying on the great sugar industry with which the planters are intrusted, and had had to carry on that industry with the competition and the handicap of these bounties, varying from 25s. to, in the case 760 of the Argentine, I think, £7 a ton, the value of a ton of sugar varying from £5 to £10, I think even the right hon. Gentleman would have felt it was no wonder that the planters might have lost spirit and in some measure enterprise. It could hardly be expected that they could find up-to-date machinery. But whether or not in the future the present planters will be able to face the new circumstances in which they will find themselves, I appeal on behalf of the black labourers, equally our fellow subjects, that sugar shall not be allowed to go out of cultivation, and that even if planters here and there have to give way it will be a loon to the black labourers up and down the Islands that these acres should be kept in sugar cultivation. There are some well meaning Unionists, who probably never spent £5 on a speculative undertaking, who have advocated that these Islands should throw up one of the great staple industries of the world in order to undertake the speculative cultivation of fruit. I should like to know how many of those who have grown fruit would not exchange that cultivation for the great industry of sugar, upon which staple you might sit for a week or a month, and on which you are not dependent upon the special circumstances attending the growing of a perishable crop like fruit. I have but imperfect patience with those Unionists, like the right hon. Member for Cambridge, who pointed to Egypt and Java and asked why should the West Indies fail where they had succeeded. The blacks in Java, I have heard, are little better than slaves, and certainly no better than prædial serfs. The Dutch will not allow the blacks there to engage in any of the higher trades, but compel them to cultivate the soil. And as for Egypt, is that a comparison for an intelligent person to make with the West Indies; a country which, under its system of irrigation, can turn out four crops a year; which has no mountainous districts. We in the West Indies have large mountainous districts, and great droughts, and for hon. and right hon. Gentlemen to come down here and talk this colossal nonsense makes those who do know something about the subject feel righteously indignant.
The hon. Member for Exeter seems to think it is unnecessary even 761 to grant this district justice because it is so small. Is justice to be confined only to the counting of heads? Are we to measure it by what it has to cost us? Several hon. Gentlemen think that if we are to be just we must be just at the cheapest price, and the cheapest way to deal with this matter is to give doles. We know what doles in England are. They pauperise those who receive and they do not redound to the credit of those who give them. I repudiate such churlish justice. If you wish to keep a poor relation from you give him a dole. But these Islands are not destined by Providence to be poor relations. Give them a fair chance and they will be as they were before—jewels in the British Crown. But if they are neglected and there is an utter lack of sympathy and a disregard for them in the United Kingdom, I can assure the House that, however reluctantly, their hearts will be drawn towards the United States, of which they geographically form part. They go to the United States now because they have not free access to our markets, and it is absurd to say they have when we allow a protective wall to rise up and keep them off. We are driving them to the United States. It they are not a part of the United States the time will soon come when the trade of these Islands will not be allowed to enter into the ports of the United States. Even now they only go there under a 40 per cent. duty, but with that they could compete with France under countervailing duties; but in a short time those ports will be closed, and in as much as these Islands form part of this great Empire, they are entitled ask for that fairness of treatment which one British subject can claim from another. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen gave some faltering and imperfect excuse for the reason why he voted £250,000 last November for these Islands. What are the facts of the case? The West Indian Islands had some reason to think that in the Brussels Convention the Government would consider their interests. As a matter of fact, when the Convention met the other Governments said they could not allow this Convention to come into force until they had given their local industries twelve 762 months notice, and His Majesty's Government sacrificed these Islands. Then they came forward and said, "As we have sacrificed you, we will give you something in order that you may hold over for a little while;" and although the dole in that way may have done some good it only added to the liability of the planters. It was loaned to the planters at 6 per cent., and money lent at such a price at best is but doubtful advantage to the borrower.
Right hon. Gentlemen have said we must have new methods. There will be new methods, and there may be new men, but it this Bill passes there will be an incentive to the cultivation of sugar which, for thirty or forty years there never has been. Some hon. Members have touched on the question as to how far this Convention is in accordance with the principles of free trade. I think we had better give up the term of free trade. [Loud OPPOSITION laughter.] Hon. Members opposite who laugh know perfectly well they never have had free trade. The hon. Member for South Shields said this was the thin end of the wedge of the abolition of free trade. I should like to know when we have had free trade, and also when we should have it. I think one hon. Member was more correct when he said this Convention was the first step to anything like free trade since the French Treaty of l860. There never will be free trade unless by negotiation; and as this Convention produces an agreement between various countries and various classes upon the subject of the abolition of the bounties I think it is the first step towards free trade. Mr. Speaker, I have finished. I would only add that I regret that there should have been any need for tins Convention whatever. I think it is an anomaly that we should have to get the European Powers in conclave and to say to them, "We intend to carry out our fiscal system, and we hope you will allow us to do so." I hope the day is rapidly coming when we shall think and act for ourselves; when we shall act entirely with regard to our own interests, independent of what foreign Powers may think of us. They will be perfectly convinced that we shall do what is just to them, and the sooner we think and act for ourselves the better it will be for the people of this country.
§ * SIR WILLIAM HOLLAND (Yorkshire, W.R., Rotherham)
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down objects to the kind of free trade we have because, I suppose, he does not think it goes far enough. But some of us would rather have one-sided free trade than no free trade at all, because under it we are at least able to buy in the cheapest market. We would of course infinitely rather have free trade all round, but if those to whom we sell are indifferent to the importance of being able to buy on the best terms possible, that is a matter for them to consider and not for us. The hon. Gentleman expressed a decided preference for independence on the part of His Majesty's Government, and said we ought to act for ourselves; but one of the criticisms we have to make to this Convention is, that if we accept it a foreign Commission will act for us, and we shall have hardly any voice in the matter. I am against this Convention because it is a one-sided bargain. The foreigner is to have all the gain and we are to have all the loss. I do not think in these negotiations the interests of the United Kingdom have been adequately safeguarded. I know that at Brussels, when the negotiations were proceeding, the British refiners and the West Indian sugar planters were represented, and it was only right they should be adequately represented. But who was it that voiced the claim of the toiling millions of sugar consumers in this country? I am against this Convention because those millions are deprived of the inalienable right to buy their sugar in the cheapest market. It is an incontrovertible fact that cheap sugar has been of great advantage to this country because it has conduced to the health of the people. And I am strongly in favour of leaving the foreigner to make his own arrangements for the abolition of these bounties. I think he will be likely to abolish them without our assistance or encouragement when he gets tired of paying our sugar bill. In the matter of sugar the foreigner's interest is opposed to ours. He is the seller and we are the buyers, but unfortunately his views have prevailed throughout with these negotiations rather than the views of this country. As I had 764 the honour to say in November last, if a man chooses to sell goods to "A" below cost and to recoup himself by overcharging "B," it is for "B" to put a stop to the transaction rather than "A." We are in the position of "A" on this occasion, and the foreigner is in the position of "B." There may be some hard cases amongst the sugar refiners on the one hand or the sugar planters on the other, but those cases this House would be glad I am sure to deal with and remedy on their merits.
It has been said that the West Indies are largely dependent on the sugar crop. In my opinion they are far too dependent upon it. If growing sugar does not pay there are other crops to which the planters can turn their attention There is another great staple which could be grown in the West Indies, and that is cotton, for which the climate is well suited, and I can vouch for it that the cotton so grown, would at present prices pay well, and be warmly welcomed by Lancashire, where the spinners are hungering for larger supplies. If we hold aloof from this Convention it will still be open to the other signatory powers to adhere to it—and if that is done the sugar bounties will go and we shall have a free hand. But the fact is, this Convention is not merely to abolish bounties or a portion of them. This Convention does much more, inasmuch as it allows a foreign Commission to have a finger in our pie, in the pie of our colonies, and in the pie of our foreign relations. It is obvious, as the Member for Oldham said this afternoon, that the consumer under this convention will not be so valuable a customer for other commodities in the home market. Whatever the amount of the increase in the price of sugar may be, that amount will be abstracted from the pockets of the consumers of this country, and pro tanto the home trade will be crippled in its purchasing power. In many trades this will be a heavy burden, besides the particular industries which depend on low-priced sugar. I noticed the President of the Board of Trade and the Secretary to the Board of Trade both quoted in their speeches an opinion given by the firm of Keiller many years ago, and although it was pointed out that that opinion was contrary to a 765 later opinion given by the same firm, both the right hon. and the hon. Gentleman seemed to consider the older opinion of this particular firm was the wiser opinion of the two. I hope they will apply the same test in another direction. I wish they would apply that test to the Colonial Secretary himself. If they considered in his case that the older opinion was the wiser one, then neither countervailing duties nor prohibition nor preferential duties would have a shadow of a chance of acceptance, because the right hon. Gentleman when he was President of the Board of Trade, said:To impose countervailing duties in order to neutralise the indirect sugar bounties would he to take the first step in reversing oar Free Trade policy, which was adopted on the clearest ground of argument, and has conferred immense advantages on the industrial classes of this country. "Industrial Classes.I hope the Secretary to the Board of Trade will commend the earlier opinion of the Colonial Secretary which I have just read. I believe that what the Colonial Secretary then said is absolutely true: that in adopting a system of countervailing duties we should be taking the first step towards the reversal of the policy of free trade. That step, however, was taken a year ago at Brussels and now we are threatened with another step, viz., Preferential Tariffs and Retaliatory duties which we hold to be certainly pointing in the direction of protection. I, for one, am against a policy of protection in this country, because it confers on an individual the right to make a legal raid on the Public purse to his own advantage. I do not know why the Government is making such a dead set on the food of the people. A tax on sugar was imposed not so long ago, which increased the price by a halfpenny a 1b., and now we are to have a further tax imposed by this Convention; and, in addition, we are threatened with a heavy corn tax. But the yield of the sugar tax imposed two years ago went into the Exchequer, whereas not a penny of this new tax will find its way there.
It is impossible for us to estimate the far-reaching consequences and complications of the penal or prohibitive clauses of this Convention. It may be said we shall have the control of its application, but, as a matter of fact, we shall be in a very small minority in this Conven- 766 tion, and shall be liable to be out-voted on every occasion. This prohibition of sugar imports from certain countries may involve us in a tariff war with Russia and the United States of America, at the bidding of this Commission, however much we may desire to maintain good relations with those countries. If there be an enemy of this country on the Commission he may force us to pick a quarrel with nations with whom we otherwise should be on friendly terms. The newspapers only this morning give us an illustration of the result of the intervention of tins Convention for we read that a crisis has arisen between Austria and Hungary. Only this very day The Times says—The situation has become sufficiently strained to necessitate the intervention of the Emperor.All because of the meddling of this Commission in Brussels; because one of these two countries does not take the same view exactly that the Brussels Commission takes. I think it is infinitely safer and wiser for us to keep the control of our own fiscal arrangements in our own hands. I think that, so far from drawing the colonies closer to the mother country, this legislation will be much more likely to have a disruptive tendency. Some time ago the late Lord Pirbright who, as we know, had the strongest possible sympathy with the sugar trade, used some very strong language in respect to this particular question. He said:—What business is it of ours to pull chestnuts out of the fire for France? We give no surtax, and we bind ourselves on behalf of our Crown colonies never to give preferential treatment for the benefit of their sugar. Therefore the interference of our delegates, presumably with the knowledge and consent of the Cabinet, in a matter which in no way concerned them, was not only gratuitous but absurd and most dangerous.I think this blowing hot and cold with regard to preferential duties must puzzle our colonies and must create in them most unfortunate impressions, and many explanations will be necessary to account for these apparent contradictions. The task of making those explanations would deter any ordinary man, but I do not think the Colonial Secretary will be deterred from an undertaking of tins kind by any such considerations. We are constantly being urged to place the present Government in a position to drive a bargain with foreign nations 767 —in regard to that aspect of the case I suppose we shall hear a good deal during the coming months. Members of the Government, and the Prime Minister in particular, have said again and again during the last few weeks that we were handicapped because we had no power of negotiating—that was the word he used—but we must be very cautious in handing over to the Government the power to drive a bargain when we see the poor use they have made of it in this Convention, where they gave away so much and got so little in return.
§ MR. DUKE (Plymouth)
This debate has had one distinct advantage. It has made clear to the country that the Party sitting opposite has made up its mind to cast its vote in favour of a system of bounties.
§ MR. DUKE
I am not sure that they will be so delighted with the prospect when they come to consider it as a naked proposition, because for forty years the Party opposite, in common with the Party sitting on this side, has offered a resolute and determined opposition to bounties. There was no more resolute opponent of bounties than Mr. Gladstone. From 1862 till the end of his life Mr. Gladstone did all in his power to put an end to the system of bounties, and as recently as 1881 he said, speaking of the argument that "the consumer gets the benefit "—I do not think that any benefit founded on inequality and injustice can bring good even to the consumer.Hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House do not seem quite so cheerful, after hearing the views of Mr. Gladstone. It certainly does seem a little remarkable that after forty years of devoted and studied effort by both great Parties to get rid of a system as obnoxious to free trade as it is to the prosperity of this country, that one Party should turn on the other and condemn in terms of obloquy, personal censure and reproach those efforts which have at last led to success that which has been the policy of both Pal ties. For my part I should like to know what such conduct means; and I suppose it means that within a year or a few months there is a general election coming on, and that it will be convenient for the hon. Gentle- 768 men opposite then to say to any workman of this country who does not know that he is being deceived—[OPPOSITION laughter.] I will conclude my sentence and hon. Members will know whether it is what they intended to say—"The Government who have got rid of these bounties, which it has been our common policy to get rid of, have placed a burden of £7,000,000 upon you." Is that what hon. Gentlemen opposite intend to tell the people of the country who do not know? It seems to me that it is neither fair nor wise to tell people who do not know that which is not true. Now if there is an authority whom hon. Gentlemen used to respect next to Mr. Gladstone it is Lord Farrer, I do not know whether they still respect him or have changed their policy and their predilections; but Lord Farrer six years ago said to the Cobden Club—We must admit to the fullest degree that sugar bounties are an abomination.Hon. Members opposite do not think so now; they think now that bounties are a great public benefit. They argue now that bounties ought to be continued because sometimes they may make sugar a little cheaper.
Lord Farrer said—We must not because they make sugar a little cheaper in this country say they ought to be continued,And he added some other words I should like to read—If Mr. Chamberlain were able in any fair way to get foreign nations to do away with their bounties we ought to wish him Godspeed.The right hon. Gentleman's destination so far as it depends on the wishes of hon. Gentlemen opposite, seems to be in a rather different direction; but the great majority of the country and of this House do wish him God-speed. It is not only Lord Farrel; there is another authority.
§ MR. DUKE
The hon. Gentleman is not serious. There were advantages given to British refiners who exported sugar. But Cobden was so much a patriotic Englishman that I think he would have taken the line Lord Farrer took in the words I have read. Now I am going to give the hon. Gentleman a more recent authority, on the suggestion that the proposal of the Government would put a burden on the people. The right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire, speaking with his great experience and weight in financial questions, and referring directly to the assumption that this Convention will raise the price of sugar—There are a great many people, and I believe the best judges, who think that that is very doubtful.The first objection which was raised to the Convention which the Government has mitered into, with, of course, the sanction of Parliament, which sanction was given only a few months ago, and which sanction the hon. Member has the courage now to ask the House to revoke, is that the Convention deprives us of some of our freedom of action. I have not the courage to follow the hon. Member in his readiness to recant a pledge of this House taken so recently as November last year. In my view of the matter the credit of a country depends on the sincerity with which it adheres to its pledges. I do not know by what means the common consent of Europe can be brought into operation, and kept in operation, unless by some such conference as that which is to take place under this Act. It is said that we have parted with our independence. For my part I do not believe it. We are no more fettered than an individual is who makes a bargain and feels bound to keep it. The Government of this country is asking this House now to adhere to the decision it came to last November and say we will be content to take sugar at its natural price. What possible hardship is there in that? I believe hon. Members have entirely misunderstood the doctrine of free trade. I have heard a right hon. Gentleman of great experience say that the first principle of free trade was the exchange of commodities at their natural price. Well, under this Bill we are 770 to get sugar at its natural price for five years, and it is the consent to that result which is said to destroy our independence. I do not propose to examine further that part of the matter. It has been said that it is not worth while at this time of day to take any further risks because, as far as England is concerned, the sugar refining industry has been killed It has also been said that the sugar bounties have practically killed that industry. I sit for a constituency which had a large practical interest in sugar refining, and I should be glad to hear any hon. Member go down to that place and satisfy my constituency that it is better for them that there should not be refineries in their midst. My mind has probably taken a colour from the fact that where I was brought up-we had that industry, and we saw it killed before our eyes by this process of bounties. We protested in vain against it, and my constituents, at any rate, are firm, and I hope tolerably unanimous, in the resolve that it is worth while to put an end to bounties. The hon. Member says the refineries are better off now than they were in former times. It is Unite true there are two refineries doing a trade greater than sixty refineries once did. But why should the benefit be limited to two refineries? These are not matters for laughter to people in the provinces who have lost their livelihood in the past by the destruction of the refineries. Sugar to the value of £15,000,000 a year is imported into this country. Almost the whole value of sugar is a value in labour. Why should not the labour of our country get its fair share of that £15,000,000? I submit it would be to the public benefit that it should.
The hon. Member for Launceston has taunted the sugar refiners with being incapable, as he taunted the West Indian planters with being lazy. I do not believe the British men of commerce who had their money in refineries were so incapable that they could not conduct that industry on fair conditions. But they have not had a chance. How could they go on in the market with the certainty that when any touch of prosperity comes the system of bounties will be applied in such a way as to kill their industry? Men who have lost their money might look for something better than the taunts and jeers which have been launched 771 against them from speakers on the other side of the House. I invite hon. Members to go to Bristol or Plymouth and repeat these taunts. Then in regard to the West Indies, that which Napoleon could not do to deprive this country of the profit and the honour of the possession of the West Indies, this bounty system has done. It has brought the West Indies to a state of ruin. But there is left the possibility of recovery, and for my part, whatever the political effect and to whatever extent the ignorant may be deceived by the phantom millions of threatened burden, I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman who has taken up this question. He may not get immediate profit from it, but there will be profit to the State, and sooner or later our people in the West Indies and our sugar growing colonies will find that the heart of the country is warm to them and true, and repudiates the unworthy taunt that they are suffering the penalty of incompetence and laziness. I should like to come to close quarters for one moment with the hon. Members who say that the British consumer receives the bounty, and to give two or three figures which, to my mind, prove conclusively that that statement is incorrect. The cost price of sugar is admitted to be £8 10s. per ton. The value of the bounties is admitted to be about £5 per ton. Sugar can be sold in this country at a profit at £10 or £10 10s. a ton, whether it comes from the West Indies or from Europe. If the British consumer has been receiving the bounty, the price upon cost and profit being £10 10s., the price to the British consumer, deducting the bounty, will be £5 10s. Instead of that, the average price for the past ten years has been £10 10s. I ask whether that does not prove to demonstration that the true effect of bounties has been not to give real advantage in prices, but to introduce now and then for hostile purposes a price so low that there could not be competition, in order subsequently to drive up the price and to recover the difference which had been lost upon the fictitious price of £6 by getting £12, £15, or £25 a ton, and so brought to the pocket of the foreign manufacturer not only his bounty, but any little sacrifice he had incidentally made for the purpose of striking his rival. I have taken up a considerable amount of time, but so much of the 772 discussion, even from this side of the House, having been directed against the proposals of the Government, I hope it may not be thought improper that a Member who takes a distinct view on this subject in favour of the Bill before the House should express it. I hope this Bill will be Confirmed by as large a majority as confirmed the Resolution last year.
§ * MR. HELME (Lancashire, Lancaster)
The policy now before the House has been urged on the ground that it is our national duty to deal with the necessities of those who have suffered in the West Indies. The wider patriotism included in that is not the monopoly of one side of the House. We are prepared to look carefully at the position as it arises, but we cannot agree that only the alteration of the system which has obtained for some time can settle this matter. We have interests at home as well as abroad to consider, and it is right that we should take into account the everyday life of the teeming millions of our people who are dependent for a comfortable daily existence upon a low level of prices for the necessaries of life. We ought, therefore, to look very carefully at the economic arguments which underlie the proposal now before us. This question of the increased cost of living may be a small matter to some people, but when we come face to face with the daily life of the people, and find out what a difference the advance of even ½d. or 1d. makes in the marketing power of the poor, we feel that great efforts should be made to meet the necessities of the West Indies in some other way. Only a few shillings per week can be earned by some of our people; but take the artisan, making 20s. or 25s. a week, subtract the cost of living, and there are but a very few shillings left to provide the clothing and luxuries, if such they can be called, of the family. Upon those few shillings depends the amount which circulates in the home trade of the country, and if you infringe upon them by abstracting a further sum, the home industries of the country must suffer. This scheme of the Government will strike a severe blow at the home trade as it now exists. We have also to remember that the export trade of the country will be affected. The two combined make up 773 the welfare of the whole, and the subsidiary industries which had been developed will be thereby seriously affected. We ought in this House to have every regard for these things. Hitherto we have held the key of our ports with regard to imports to be allowed to enter free; now it is proposed to hand the key over to other people. I think the House of Commons ought to hesitate before it agrees to do so. Our present attitude is challenged, but when raised al few months ago we objected to the proposed policy. We have now a further constitutional opportunity of endeavouring to prevent the consummation of that policy, and it is right, that we should use every means in our power to secure to this House only, the maintenance of the control of the conditions under which the food of the people should be permitted to come to these shores, and endeavour to prevent legislation, which we believe to be inimical to the interests of the masses of the people.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
At the commencement of this debate there was an attempt to put forward the contention that the House of Commons was already deeply committed on this subject, and that it would be unusual, almost improper and indecent for us to express an opinion contrary to the Bill now before the House. I think that contention has been pretty well abandoned. The House is entitled to deal as it pleases with this legislation brought forward by the Government, and those of us at any rate who opposed the Resolution at the end of last year are perfectly entitled to make a continuous protest against a policy which we object to from beginning to end. There are three points of view, as it seems to me, from which we may look at this matter. There is the question of the policy involved in this Convention; there is the question of the conduct of the Government in initiating and furthering that policy; and there is the question of the machinery by which it is proposed that the policy should be carried out. The abstract question of the merits or the demerits of bounties is not the question at issue at all. Saving the presence of the hon. Member for Plymouth, no One on this side of the House advocates bounties any more than he does ("Oh, oh"); so that all the warmth which he infused into his 774 speech, and all the charming little insinuations made against us, that we were saying things we did not believe in order to gull our ignorant countrymen, and that we were supporting a system of bounties which was contrary to the free trade principles we profess, were out of place and without foundation. Most people, at any rate, are agreed that bounties are to be deprecated, and the only people whose opinion to that effect I cannot quite understand are those who seek safety in protective duties of any kind. But we are not tainted with that heresy. We regard bounties as a burden to the State which resorts to this method of feeding and fostering industries, as an injury to the domestic consumer in the country where they are imposed, as an unsettling factor in the trade of the world, and as one of the most injurious quack nostrums with which the philosophy of protection has afflicted modern States. But, Sir, we believe that the system carries with it the seeds of its own dissolution, and, whether this be so or not, we do not see that it is any part of our business as a free trade country to interfere to deliver our neighbours from a system which, however injurious we may think it may be to them, is in no sense aimed against us, but which has benefited both the consumer and manufacturer here alike. I claim for this opinion, which is quite contrary to the opinion of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, a high authority, for here is what the Prime Minister said no further back than a month ago. On 26th June he said:—If it were not for the fact that in this case the proper investment of capital in the West India Islands, capital belonging to the Empire, was rendered impracticable and dangerous under our existing system, if it was not, in fact, for the case of the West Indies there is no conceivable reason why we should not allow the foreigner to tax himself for the benefit of the British consumer.Away, therefore, goes the free trade crusading of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, which he attributes to the Government. "If it were not," says the Prime Minister, within a month and n few days of this time, "for the case of the West Indies, why should we refuse to receive from foreign countries the advantages they give, even though their own subjects suffer from them?" I think that is a more important contribution to 775 our deliberations to-day than those quotations which we always expect to hear. I think there ought to be a close time for quotations, or a limit of age. I think the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary will agree with me in that. I quite sympathise with him. There ought to be a limit of age in this case, and I think that Mr. Gladstone and Lord Farrer might now be allowed to rest.
Now, Sir, the preamble of this Convention lays down as desirable two things—first, that the conditions of competition between beet and cane sugar should be equalised, and, second, that the consumption of sugar should be promoted. As to the first of these objects, we are to a very small extent concerned. We are concerned only in the matter of the West India Islands. Let me say we are in the habit of speaking of the West India Islands as being involved in this matter. It is only a small part of the West India Islands. By far the greater part of the West India Islands have either not grown sugar in the past or, finding difficulties and disturbances connected with that trade, have with great ingenuity and enterprise adopted other industries which.are making them just as prosperous as the sugar-growing islands are the reverse. And as to our having any interest in securing equality of conditions between beet and cane sugar, I do not know what difference it makes. Do we perform our individual duty in this matter? I had a letter the other day from an intelligent, but unknown, correspondent who said that he did not see the necessity for all this disturbance of fiscal relations and of international arrangements. He said:—I set myself to work to do my part, and I allow nothing but West Indian cane sugar to be consumed in my house.There is a practical man. I should like to go down the Treasury Bench and see whether there is any rule of that sort in the households of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen. Does the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth give the whole benefit of his custom to the quarter to which it ought to go? The West Indian sugar industry has no doubt suffered severely; but I doubt if it will be benefited at all by this policy, and for this reason—that we have it laid down by the Royal Commission that inquired into the matter that 776 the natural market of the West India Islands is the United States. And look at the effect of this policy upon their interests in the United States. They have hitherto been sheltered by the countervailing duties which the United States imposed against those very bounties; but in so far as the bounties are reduced the countervailing duties will be reduced and the protection to the West Indian producer will suffer.
But then, Sir, as to the second object of the Convention—namely, the promotion of the consumption of sugar. It is perfectly absurd so far as our people are concerned. From our point of view this is a proposal for raising the price, restricting the supply, and diminishing the consumption of sugar. Let us consider the initiative taken by this country in imposing this policy on sugar-producing States. It is amazing that the British Government should have been so blind to our real interests as to take the initiative. They have been acting under the influence of some dominant will. I am not going to follow the example of the hon. Member for Oldham in the brilliant speech which he made this afternoon, which raised to a height that they had never yet been placed in, the anticipations that all of us have formed as to his future career. The hon. Member had the courage to dot the i's and cross the t's. I am disposed to be more modest, and I merely say the Government have been, in this matter, under the influence of some dominant will. The beginning was made upon India. The Mauritius planters were to be protected in the Indian market, which takes two-thirds of their produce—protected from the bounty-fed sugar of Germany and Austria-Hungary, just as the West Indian planter now is to be protected. What was the lesson to he learned from that experience, which is quite recent? Countervailing duties were advocated on the ground that bounties were ruining the sugar trade of Mauritius. The arguments were identical with those we are familiar with in the case of the West Indies, but there was more force in them, India being, as I have said, the natural market for as much as three-fourths of their sugar. But what has resulted? The last Report of the Government of the Mauritius shows that in the autumn of last year 777 the price of sugar was lower than ever, not with standing the fact that India had given a second dose of countervailing duties with a view to meeting the influence of the cartels and indirect subsidies. And the Governor, in reporting on the subject, says—The staple industry of the Mauritius is passing through a period of crisis which cannot fail to jeopardise enterprises that do not rest on the staple foundation of adequate capital.With the failure, the obvious failure, in India, because the object was to raise the price, staring them in the face, this dominant will turned to the European sugar States. Their populations were anxious to get rid of these bounties because they had found how irksome and burdensome they were, and he stimulated their desire, and quickened their action, under the threat of preferential arrangements with our colonies, and succeeded in forming a league pledged to the abolition, or rather to the modification, of the bounties and to penalise sugar from non-contracting countries. I say modification and not the abolition; and here, again, I must criticise the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, who spoke as though this Bill and this policy involved an abolition of the bounties. Not at all. On the contrary, while reducing the bounty, it includes a direct recognition and a legitimatising by this country of the surtax, winch is a retrograde step for this country, and which yet leaves those bounties that are supposed to be, and are really, so injurious, in full operation. In defending these arrangements, the settled convictions of the dominant spirit of the Government have been impartially displayed, and it is rather amusing and instructive to follow them. In regard to the Continent, they are free traders, advocates of free interchange and of cheapness. They are complete pro-foreigners, the friends of every country but their own. Or, perhaps, it would be fairer to say that they are a sort of free traders, for the final protocol stipulates for the effectual protection of the home markets of the producing countries, and declares this to be one of the objects of the high contracting parties.
Then we turn for light as to the views and motives of the Government to the 778 self-governing colonies. They strenuously advocate their right to give bounties if they please, and they decline to ratify the Convention unless this right of theirs is recognised. So that it is not bounties, it is only foreign bounties that are objected to. Then let us proceed to the Crown colonies. There they consent to do away with the bounties, India excepted, which is left to its own freedom. Another feature that rather staggers one in their attitude as reflected in the final protocol is this—that it says that during the continuance of the Convention no preference will be granted in the United Kingdom to colonial sugar as against sugar of the contracting States. What becomes, then, of the attitude of the Government towards the new proposals of the Colonial Secretary that we have heard of? He has told us that the giving of preferential duties to the colonies as against other countries is essential if we are to preserve the British Empire, but here he is himself a party to an instrument by which we renounce the idea of giving any preference in the United kingdom to colonial sugar as against foreign sugar. If it is the view that the giving of a preference is a good thing, why should it not be extended to sugar as well as to other commodities, and if, on the other hand, the Government renounce it in this instance, why should they be so devoted to it and think it so absolutely essential in regard to other commodities? But, to complete the review of this Protean championship, we have the words of comfort and assurance in which the proposals are commended to the people of this country. If prices go up, it may be to the extent of £5 a ton we were told, the West Indies will be set on their feet and a great Imperial duty will have been performed. But they do not expect now that the price will go up. What, then, becomes of the benefit to the West Indies? Besides this, if these arrangements end in our imposing a duty on any kind of foreign sugar, the Colonial Secretary knows that, quite irrespective of amount, the price of sugar will be raised, because here is what the right hon. Gentleman said only five years ago. He said—To impose any duty on any condition with regard to sugar at the Custom House, to raise questions as to the country of origin,779 the very thing we are undertaking to do here—The bonding, warehousing, and delay would undoubtedly, I am informed on the best authority, impose an extra expense which would be something considerable, and which would have to be taken into consideration in fixing the price of sugar.And then he goes on to say, a rather surprising sentiment at the present moment—We should avoid, if possible, meddling with a trade of 1,500,000 tons in order to benefit a trade of only one-eighth the amount.Therefore, if we analyse the advocacy of this Convention, a very strange document and a very strange policy, we find that it is justified on free trade grounds and on protectionist grounds—from a pro-bounty point of view and from an anti-bounty point of view—with the expectation that sugar will rise and with the expectation that it will not rise. The Colonies and India are to he free to accept or reject the Convention. Therefore they are to stand on the line of fiscal independence. But the Government will not, under any circumstances, punish bounty-fed sugar from our colonies, and that is on the line of Imperial fiscal union. And while the self-governing colonies are not to be ostracised if they give bounties the Crown colonies are on no account to receive a preference. Such an ollapodrida of arguments, theories, and objects probably never was produced before. I wonder whether these arguments will be submitted to the inquiry which is now in process for the purpose of classification and arrangement. Classification and arrangement would appear to be very much required, and this might be an opportunity.
Preferential treatment, we are told, is the only way of keeping the Empire together, and yet we are now expressly to agree to prohibit it! Our flesh has been made to creep from the terrible and alarming consequences of the dumping development, but the latest Ministerial theory is that the price will not be affected. And then, amid all the talk about tariffs and countervailing duties, conies the intimation that our ports are to be closed against foreign bounty-fed sugar—down comes the portcullis with a bang and a rattle and extinguishes all these fine-drawn theor es 780 and paradoxes. The President of the Board of Trade said that the penal clause would be put in force against four countries only. I do not know on what ground he drew the line at four, but four great countries are a very considerable element in themselves, if it does not go beyond four. This is pretty well as a-result for a free trade country, and for a country which proclaims to the world its adherence to the doctrine of the open door. As to the method of enforcing this Convention, Article VII. says that the high contracting parties agree to establish a permanent Commission, charged with supervising the execution of the provisions of the Convention. There are eleven delegates, only one of whom is British, and the others represent countries with interests and habits different from ours, and with a different commercial policy—as yet. The Bill provides for a permanent bureau representing this majority of foreign nations. The bureau, like the present Cabinet, is appointed to collect and arrange information, and to classify it, but, unlike the present Cabinet, it is to publish the information affecting the sugar law and practices in different countries. This bureau will tell us which countries we are to punish or taboo, and when we receive the notification of this we must act within two months. His Majesty the King in Council, with all pomp and dignity, must act immediately at the bidding of this bureau in Brussels, or a breach of the treaty ensues! This is what the President of the Board of Trade said gave us legislative and fiscal freedom! Now there can be no objection of principle to any arrangement by which the Powers may decide to co-operate for their mutual benefit, so long as the matter is in the hands of a judicial body of status and authority, and provided the terms of reference to it are consistent with the fixed, known, and approved policy of this country. But this tribunal satisfies neither of these provisions. We give practically a blank power of attorney, in the dark, which may lead to mischief-making with other States which we shall be helpless to prevent, a power superior to Parliament in regard to our own fiscal and commercial affairs.
781 State after State may come forward and complain that we are infringing treaties that we have concluded with them. Russia has done so already. Is it wise for us, who are still free trade, to place this power in the hands of a body, representing States preponderatingly protectionist, especially at a time when threats of commercial war are being fulminated? We shall cut a poor figure if we are obliged to allow ourselves to be used at the behest, and it may be for the convenience, of other Powers as the exponent of an obsolete form of commercial practice. Do the proceedings of this bureau, as far as we can follow them, justify confidence? Some of the contracting States have considered that they are not in a condition to comply with the terms of the Convention. The first of these is Austria-Hungary, where there is a contingent law which gives a monoply, practically, of the market to certain bodies. That is held to be inconsistent with the Convention; but, the bureau says, although it is inconsistent with the Convention, vet there probably will be a law passed modifying it before long, and therefore it is not an urgent matter. But surely they are sanguine men who anticipate anything that may be done by the Austrian Reichsrath under present circumstances. Then in France the system of refining is said to be objectionable, and again the matter is held up because it is not urgent. The French Government may modify their plans. What effect will this condition of things have on contracts entered into dining the next month or two before the Convention comes into force, and when it is; not possible that these Powers can take the necessary steps. Then we have Spin, which has signed, but not ratified, and Sweden, I believe, also. Then Russia has declared that she does not impose anything of the nature of bounties, and it was accordingly dealt with, as we might expect, by the bureau. But, Russia having availed herself of the good offices of Germany, it has been arranged that the matter should be put on this footing, that the United States' countervailing duties should be accepted as the value. The President of the Board of Trade said that after all it did not much matter, because we had no large dealings with Russia, that the sugar imports from Russia were small; 782 but I am informed on very good authority that, although it is true that the direct imports from Russia are less than 1,000 tons, vet at a moderate estimate 100,000 or 150,000 tons of Russian sugar was imported last year from Dantzig and Hamburg, which under the new system will necessarily be classified as Russian sugar. One sees here what ground arises for misunderstandings and friction between the great Powers when this Convention is brought into force. Outside of the West Indian planters, the West Indian Association of London, and the refiners, I do not believe that the Convention has a friend in the country. The interests of the community appear to me to be trifled with in this Convention, a community which requires and ought to have cheap and abundant food. The interests also of great and thriving industries are affected, and that is, sufficient ground for our opposition; and, also, why should we give away or compromise our freedom in our own commercial affairs, or place our fiscal and our constitutional rights, as it were, in a Commission—and such a Commission! These considerations, in my opinion, in view of the chaotic state of things among the signatory Powers and the failure of the Commission to carry out the preliminaries of their task, ought to prevail with the House and make it refuse to proceed wit h this Bill.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Mr. Speaker, in the speech to which we have just listened there was one sentence which, indeed, I think introduced the only new idea I have heard in the whole course of this debate, and which has for me a singular fascination. The right hon. Gentleman suggested in connection with certain quotations an hon. friend of mine made, I think, from Mr. Gladstone and from Lord Farrer, that there should be in this House, as there is in regard to criminal matters in France, a proscription with regard to such offences, and, as I understood him, that no one should be entitled, without breach of the Rules and Orders of the House, to quote any other Member of the House with regard to any speech delivered more than ten years ago. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the 783 Opposition is well aware that I am a friend of reciprocity. I can assure him that I will absolutely refrain from ever quoting from any period dating back more than the ten years to which he has referred, if he will pay me a similar compliment. I am afraid that that is the only sentence in the right hon. Gentleman's speech to which I am able to give a cordial assent; and especially I differ from the statement with which he commenced, which was to the effect that the House and the Party opposite would be perfectly justified in refusing their assent to a Convention which has already been ratified. Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has been in office, and very likely will be in office again. What would he do supposing he came into office to-morrow and found this Convention in force? I give him the credit of believing that he would say, "However much we differ from this Convention, however much we doubt its merits, yet, inasmuch as it has been ratified, and ratified after a Resolution of the House of Commons, we are bound to accept it in pursuance of that long tradition which has maintained continuity in our foreign policy;" and I would go further and say that, if he adopted any other course, he would be perpetrating an absolutely unique act in the whole history of British diplomacy, and doing a thing which all foreign countries would be justified in considering.an act of bad faith.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
This is not a question of what a Minister would do or would not do. It is a question of what the House of Commons would do. If the House of Commons has to complete this transaction, I claim that the House of Commons has full power over that Bill.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I do not in the least doubt the powers of the House of Commons; and, unlike the right hon. Gentleman, I do not doubt its patriotism.and discretion. But I claim that, if there is one thing more established than another in our foreign policy, it is that, right or wrong, a treaty with a foreign Power once ratified shall be observed by the Powers ratifying it. I refuse to believe that the right hon. Gentleman is 784 going now to make any new precedent. Of course, it is quite open to the right hon. Gentleman to take this opportunity of protesting against the Bill, and, so long as he is quite sure he will not be in a majority, he may even vote against it.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I think the right hon. Gentleman forgets the fact that the ratification was subject to the approval of the House of Commons. What is the meaning, or what is the use of that, unless the House of Commons acts upon it.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
No, Sir; I have not forgotten so elementary a fact as that, and I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that I think in the time of his own Government a treaty made by them was so far disapproved of by the House of Commons that its ratification was not insisted upon. But here we have taken the opinion of the House of Commons. We took it last year, and we obtained their assent by Resolution. We obtained the assent of the House of Commons, we received the mandate of the House, and we ratified accordingly. The situation, therefore, is as I have stated it. But some of the followers of the right hon. Gentleman used the very far-fetched argument that the Bill we have introduced is not the same Bill we indicated when we took the Resolution of the House of Commons. It was, I think, suggested by the hon. Member for West Islington that, in fact, the present Bill deals with the question of penalising the countries that give bounties by prohibition, whereas we said that we were going to do it by countervailing duties. That is an entire mistake, and not in any way justified by the facts of the case. When we introduced the Resolution we explained that we found ourselves bound by the Convention to introduce legislation giving us power to penalise the non-contracting States found to give bounties. Whether we penalise them by prohibition or by countervailing duties is a matter of choice, and it remains a matter of choice in the Bill we present to-night. In that Bill power is given to the Government to prohibit. It is stated—I forget the exact words—that the object may equally be obtained by some other means, but in that case the further sanction of Parliament will have to be 785 obtained. This is the position. If the Bill passes we shall be able to prohibit. If we do not want to prohibit, and do want to establish countervailing duties, we shall have to come to the House of Commons again for their sanction. Is it not rather curious, and a sign of a certain unreality about this debate, that at this time of day we have had hon. Gentlemen arguing as though, if we had introduced countervailing duties, it would have been a totally different thing, and they might even have supported us. [An HON. MEMBER: No.] That is all very well, but we were told distinctly that prohibition was much worse than countervailing duties by one of the speakers in this debate to-night. The hon. Member for Dundee said he would prefer countervailing duties to prohibition. I do wish for once the Opposition would agree. I beg the Opposition to understand that we, at any rate, diversify our proceedings. We do agree sometimes. But yon never agree. What did an even more representative member of the Opposition than the hon. Member for Dundee say on the last occasion? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire said that all would prefer prohibition to countervailing duties. What I wish to say is that we have reserved a choice. We think prohibition s quite sufficient, and the roost convenient form of dealing with the present situation. We believe we shall only have to deal with so infinitesimal a production of sugar that prohibition will be the simplest way of carrying out the obligations, but if it should turn out, owing to some change in the situation, that countervailing duties should appear to us, as to the hon. Member for Dundee, to be more desirable we shall not hesitate to take the opinion of the House of Commons on the question.
Some hon. Members, in the course of this debate, have been much exercised as to another point. I do not think the exact effect of the Convention has been studied, or at all events understood, by all the speakers who have addressed us in this debate. They are exercised as to the position of the contracting States—that is to say, the States that have joined the Convention—and they ask what is the course to be followed supposing Austria-Hungary, for instance, refuses to accept the decision of the Bureau or Commission in regard to its legislation. Many hon. Members appear to think that thereupon 786 we shall be bound at once to prohibit the whole of the Austria-Hungary sugar. Nothing of the kind. They have altogether exaggerated the position of this Commission of inquiry. If the Commission were to report against Austria-Hungary and Austria-Hungary were not to accept their report, then it would be necessary to call a new conference, and in the new conference the new situation would be considered, and it would be perfectly absurd to pronounce beforehand what the result would be. That is tine result with regard to all the contracting States—with regard to all those who come into the Convention, and they include all the large exporting States of the world. If any one of them were to break the conditions or withdraw from the Convention, that would involve a new conference. It would be a new circumstance altogether. The business of the Commission, which has been described in the imaginative language of the hon. Member for King's Lynn as a sort of Middle Ages Vehmgericht, with power of life and death over the subjects brought before it, is to decide whether or not a particular State gives a bounty. Hon Members opposite complain that we are only one upon the Commission. But, curiously enough, every other Power is only one, Do they expect that if this business is to be done at all we could have a Commission on which we were in the majority? Our interests are not in any way antagonistic to those of other Powers. ("Oh, oh.") Not in this respect. It is perfectly absurd to say that those other Powers have different interests from ours. All our interests are the same, and they are to see that bounties are not given. It is a question of fact which this Commission has to decide, and the accusation which is made by hon. Gentlemen with reference to this is that ten of the members would dishonestly, and against the facts, and in some recondite interest—I cannot conceive whose, it would certainly not be their own—declare that a particular State gave a bounty when, as a matter of fact, it did not.
But then another point was raised which touches me nearly, because it was again, I think, my hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn who taunted me with having neglected the interests of the colonies—both the self-governing colonies and the 787 Crown colonies. So far as regards the Crown colonies, we have assented to a provision which for five years binds us to give no preference to these colonies. If he thinks that is a blot in the Bill I am inclined to agree with him. But it was assented to by His Majesty's Government, because we were told that it was only upon those terms that we could obtain what we believed in other respects to be a great advantage—a great act of justice to our colonies. But I hope when the five years expire that clause, at all events, will come up for reconsideration. Then there is the position of the self-governing colonies; and the hon. Member for King's Lynn, who is really so industrious in these matters that it is difficult to believe he can have overlooked the facts in this case, seems to think that the action of the colonies in refusing to join this Convention is a condemnation of the Convention. I should have thought he would have seen that the self-governing colonies could not be expected to join, that they had nothing whatever to gain by joining, and that the interests which have led us to join did not in the slightest degree affect them. We have declared, and made our ratification conditional upon our declaration, that in no circumstances will we penalise our self-governing colonies. In these circumstances, what possible object have they in joining this Convention? So far as it goes it ties their hands to a slight extent. They have no advantage to gain. They decline to join, and nobody in his senses, I imagine, ever expected that they would join.
Another point was raised by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields. He, like several other speakers who preceded him, appears to be in great distress lest some new cartel, some portentous instrument of torture for British subjects in British colonies, should be the result of this Convention: and he bases all that on a telegram he has seen in The Times, which states that a number of gentlemen, representative more or less of international sugar industries, met the other day and were unable to come to any conclusion. The hon. and learned Member did not read the telegram quite correctly. He thought they had come to no conclusion; but, as a matter of fact, they found—as every one would imagine they would find—that an international 788 cartel was a much more difficult thing to arrange than a national one, and, so far as my information goes, there is not the slightest probability that they will succeed in their endeavour. But leaving that matter, may I point out to the hon. and learned Member that the power of creating such an international cartel remains precisely the same whether or not this Bill passes? The hon. Gentleman says no, because by the Convention you have excluded a number of competing States. In other words, you have created a monopoly which will, therefore, be much more able to establish a syndicate or trust than if you had left yourself a free market. Again, I make allowance for the impossibility of hon. Gentlemen, who are very busily engaged, acquainting themselves with the details of a very complicated subject. But what is the fact? We have included in this so-called monopoly every exporting State of the slightest importance, and we have every reason to believe that of the States which are outside some will come in. But assuming every one of them remains out then the total exports of the whole of the States remaining out is less than 50,000 tons of sugar, or 1-125th part of the world's produce. How can the power-or policy of a syndicate, trust, or monopoly be altered in any way without having regard to the gigantic production of sugar throughout the world? In a business of millions, the only difference is that you exclude 50,000 tons.
§ Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman interrupts very freely. As I have a good deal to say he will excuse me if I do not always reply to him. But in this case I will reply to him. The United States does not export at all. Then the hon. and learned Member for South Shields made a reference also to the most-favoured-nation clause. I have no time to discuss the value of the most-favoured-nation clause. But, curiously enough, while hon. Members opposite are reproaching us for submitting our fiscal arrangements to foreign countries, they seem to forget that the most-favoured-nation clause is the clause which allows foreign nations to settle the tariff that shall be 789 imposed on British goods. Yet the hon. and learned Gentleman seems to regard the most-favoured-nation clause as the real stand-by of our British commerce. The hon. and learned Member also said, if I understood him rightly, that the United States accepts the view that the most-favoured-nation clause should be observed in its strictest interpretation, and that it is inconsistent with retaliatory duties. I can only say that if that be the view of the hon. and learned Gentleman it is absolutely, entirely, and profoundly inaccurate.
§ MR. ROBSON
I do not desire to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, especially after what he has said about other interruptions. The United States have always contended that the most-favoured-nation clause is conditional, and we have always contended that it is unconditional. In making that statement—which was the one I did make—I am absolutely and entirely accurate.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Yes, Sir, I am much obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman. I see I misunderstood what he said. Now that I know what he did say I will answer him. He says that in the past we have maintained the unconditional character of the most-favoured-nation clause. He is quite right in stating that he United States have taken a totally different view. The United States say, in the first place, that it is quite consistent with retaliatory duties against bounties; aid when we are threatened with the discontent and dissatisfaction of foreign countries, let it be remembered that the United States have put on retaliatory duties against bounties; and whatever other countries may have thought of it, not a single one of them has taken hostile or serious notice of it. I think therefore we may dismiss altogether the idea that when we have followed the example of the United States we shall raise a hornet's nest about our ears, and that a number of countries with which we are in amicable relations will immediately proceed to take all kinds of retaliatory proceedings against us. Then, in our own case, when India put on retaliatory duties, as she did two or three years age, there again she did so without any re- 790 taliation being directed against her by any of the countries of Europe.
Now, Sir, the Bill before the House has been described in most extravagant language by the speakers who are opposed to it. Among a few of the adjectives which have been used, I find "clumsy," "blundering," "ridiculous," "flagitious," and "nefarious." If I may humbly venture to give a piece of advice to those who are opposed to me, I would say that although we are on the eve of a great economic fight it would be well for all of them, whatever view they may take, to keep as cool as possible, and as long as possible; and I should advise my hon. friends on this side of the House, and. if I may say so, my hon. friends on the other, not to exhaust their vocabulary of violent adjectives, and not to turn an economic fight into w. personal fight. I am told that all the logic is on their side; let them be content, and do not let theta add to it abuse. Now, what is this Bill which has been spoken of in the terms to which I have referred? This Bill has secured, or will secure, for this country what for forty years every economist, every representative man of both Parties, until within the last few years, has considered to be a desirable object to attain, and it will secure it with the least possible recourse to any method which has ever been by any one condemned. There is to be the threat of penalties, but that threat, under the circumstances, with all the chief exporting countries bound under the Convention, is not likely to be put in force except to so insignificant an extent that I do not believe Lord Farrer himself would object to it. That is the object of this Bill, which has been really extravagantly represented by speakers on the other side. That object was the avowed object of everybody who has spoken on the subject tip to a very recent period. Now it is said that those who have joined in advocating this Bill, and perhaps I especially, have travelled very widely away from the principles of free trade. That may or may not be the case, but in reference to that I regard this debate as very useful and suggestive; and I venture to submit to right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and some of my hon. friends on this side, that, if we have travelled in any way from the strict orthodoxy to which they 791 profess to belong, they have travelled still further and in an opposite direction. Undoubtedly, I recognise that the gulf between us is widening, and I am not altogether surprised that Lord Rosebery should have said, with reference to this matter, that if there was a division of opinion it would be a diagonal division. I say hon. Members have gone very much farther than the economists whose doctrines they profess to support.
We have heard something in regard to dumping. We had an interesting speech to-day, which has earned an unusual compliment as being paid by the Leader of the Opposition to the Member for Oldham. Regarding that speech, I join in the phrase which the right hon. Gentleman opposite made use of as to its exhaustive, amusing, and instructive character. It was exhaustive, it was amusing, it was instructive! It certainly was exhaustive, for it went, I think, into every detail of this debate, and everything that it touched it adorned. But that was not all. In the same speech my hon. friend, who has complained on many occasions that he is gagged in this House, has apparently so few opportunities of addressing it, and especially in regard to the fiscal question and of the tariff reform—my hon. friend found the opportunity which he desired, and in the course of his speeech he touched on that wider scheme which he attributes to me, but which I do not in the least recognise as my own. I do not recognise, as described by him, my scheme. I really do not know whether to congratulate my hon. friend on the ability of his speech or to condole with him in the painful position in which he finds himself. I remember my hon. friend at the time he came into Parliament, and I did the best I could then to secure his entrance into this Assembly—I remember how, in the heyday of his enthusiasm, he was going to give his ready and cordial support to his own Party, and to his own Government. (An HON. MEMBER, What about yourself—who has changed most? and loud cries of "Order"!"] I am not going to bandy words with the hon. Gentleman opposite. I am sorry, but it is clear that all those expectations of my hon. friend have been disappointed. One by one his fond delusions have vanished. First he discovered that the Prime Minister 792 was unworthy of his confidence. Then came the Secretary for War, who was also found unworthy. Next it was the Foreign Secretary; then it was the President of the Board of Trade; and then, after all that—it is with deep regret I have to say it—he came to the Colonial Secretary. But my hon. friend has still one hope—he clings to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Well, I hope that the confidence of my hon. friend will not be again misplaced; but I warn my right hon. friend not to place too much faith in the valued and continued confidence of my hon. friend. Sir, my hon. friend said that this Bill was a model and an example of the great machinery which hereafter might be introduced to the country. He said that in the sugar bounties—and I agree with him—we have a great champion example of dumping in excelsis. I do not know of a better example of unfair competition by dumping below cost price to the detriment of a British industry, than this. Yes, and that is why I hold that this debate is so instructive and so useful. Dumping is good; if it is good for one trade it is good for another. Therefore we come to this—all dumping is good. Very well; I am glad to have something to go upon. A part of the Government inquiry is now con eluded. But then we were told that we had come upon a new theory, which was being utilised. But what was the theory? That in an old country like ours, where we have no virgin soil, no untouched mines, the primary industry is expected to give place to more complicated business. Well, whatever any one may say, no one will deny to my hon. friend the pleasure which he will anticipate when he goes to the great centres of industry and expounds his theory. He will go to Bradford, the center of the woollen trade; to Oldham, in the midst of the cotton industry; he will go to some other place. [Cries of "Birmingham"]—Oh! Birmingham; there the trades and businesses are rather complicated—he will go to Barrow, for instance, a centre of the iron trade; to Belfast, the centre of the linen industry, and, addressing a meeting of the working classes, he will say, let us suppose, "You belong to an old country. Here your primary industries must disappear." [Cries of "No."] "Their place will be taken by more complicated trades, and for you, gentlemen, I am afraid there is but little 793 hope. But never mind, this great Empire will still remain firmly founded and inviolate on jam am I pickles." That is the new economic doctrine, irrefragable, my hon. friend says, and triumphant. Well, it may be irrefragable; but I wait for the result of that meeting to which I have referred to know whether it will be triumphant.
I am almost afraid of the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition to go back twenty years. Why, twenty years ago there was absolutely no doubt whatever about the evils of dumping, of sugar bounties, and of all bounties. It is true the Leader of the Opposition is a survival from that time, but it is not the case with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen. He said if goods are dumped buy them, that is your business, he could not see that any injury could be done; but my point is that twenty years ago there was absolute and universal concurrence of opinion that bounties ought to be got rid of. Reference has been made to a memorandum written by Lord Farrer, and from this hon. Gentlemen have quoted passages that serve their purpose, and very rightly omit passages that do not serve their purpose. This memorandum states in so many words that the Government advocated abolition by all reasonable means, and the Royal Commission, to which reference has also been made, reported against retaliatory duties, though it should be remembered that the chairman, a gentleman of great colonial experience, reported in the minority against the findings of his colleagues. The Commission was divided; but still I give the Opposition the advantage of the statement that the Royal Commission, with Sir D. Barbour, a great Indian financier, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Berwick, were against retaliatory duties. That may be; but all desired the abolition of bounties, and that is where they stopped and the Government stopped in 1881. We were anxious to effect the abolition of the duties, but we were not prepared to take the only step which would secure that abolition. There is a passage I should like to quote from Lord Farrer's memorandum. Among many reasons against retaliatory duties, he says—It may well be doubted whether any threat of retaliatory duties might not have the reverse effect of that expected. Any threat to 794 treat these bounties as subjects for retaliatory duties would lead to the belief that they were specially beneficial to the country granting them and injurious to us, a belief which might strengthen foreign Governments in the desire to maintain them. On the other hand if they recognise that they are favourable to this, country at the expense of tine foreign country—Yes, but that is the point.we are far more likely to induce foreign countries to abolish them.That is what we have been doing. Acting on this theory, assuming the way to, get the abolition of bounties was not to protest against them, but to allow foreign countries to see how foolish we thought them and how injurious they were to them, in the hope of their voluntary abandonment we have gone on for twenty years, but foreign countries have never made the slightest approach to, abandonment. They have increased them year by year, and it was only under threat of a policy of retaliation they at once gave in and gave us all we had been struggling for for forty years. Now what did the theory in this paragraph proceed upon? I only refer to it because it has been repeated again and again. It proceeds on the assumption that the foreigner is a fool; it proceeds on the assumption that foreigners do not know what is good for them, that they are proceeding ignorantly in a course which will undoubtedly lead to their ruin, and that if we only wait long enough they will find this out and change their ways. That is not very consistent. When hon. Gentlemen opposite undertake to explain that the bounties have nothing to do with the ruin of refiners or the failure of people in the West Indies, they say that the real explanation is the superior science of foreign countries. It is the Charlottenburg argument. If we can only establish a school in this country like the school in Germany, which has educated all these scientific Germans to such a height that they entirely surpass our own people, then all will be well. But does the science of the French, Germans, and other Powers concerned stop the political economy? Are they so wise in their methods of business, so admirable in their applications of science, and such idiots in regard to the larger considerations of political economy that any one can instruct them better—that the schoolboy can teach them the A B C of the science of which apparently they 795 have not the slightest conception? To my mind that is a ridiculous supposition. I believe the Germans and the French are clever people, and I have an idea that they do understand their interests, and that they do know enough of political economy not to be carried away by all the dogmas which hon. Gentlemen opposite would wish us to accept.
What has been the result of the bounties to Germany, for instance? Has the system ruined Germany? No, it has paid Germany well. What has happened? An enormous development of trade, and not only of the growth of beet, by which hundreds of thousands of people have been employed on the land, but all the trades which are connected with the growth of beet, the machinery trade, the mechanical production of these; trades are benefited in like measure. That is the present immediate result of paying the bounties in Germany. I think, therefore, people might find that the Germans are not so foolish as some hon. Gentlemen suppose, and that on the whole they have already done very well. But that is not all. They are looking forward to greater success. What is the ultimate object of a bounty? It is to secure a monopoly. Was the bounty in process of securing a monopoly? Yes, it was. If you look at the Returns you will find that the increase of the importation of sugar into this country from Germany and Austria has been perfectly enormous, and that we were on the rapid road to a condition of things in which Germany and Austria alone, without any international cartel such as that which frightens the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Shields, would have been able to regulate the price of sugar in this country. Do you suppose they would not have taken advantage of that? Do you suppose the working people of this country are such fools as not to know that it would be worth almost any present sacrifice to prevent the creation of a monopoly of which ultimately they will be all victims? That is one reason, and it is a very good reason, why the old economists were opposed to "dumping." But there is another reason. We were reminded in one of the most admirable 796 speeches delivered in the course of the debate this evening by my hon. and learned friend the senior Member for Plymouth of Mr. Gladstone's words, and I say the older economists would have been ashamed of three-quarters of the arguments that have been put forth on the other side of the House. They never sought the interest of the majority, if it involved an injustice to the minority. We have heard a good deal of talk about principle. Justice is a principle. Free trade and the dogmas of free trade are a policy. You may change your policy with the change of circumstances; but principles—such a principle as that of justice—ought to be eternal. Hon. Gentlemen laugh at that. They are new economists, new Liberals. I suppose they would have laughed at Mr. Gladstone speaking from this place as he often did on so many questions. He appealed not to sordid interests, but to the high principle of justice.
Putting justice aside altogether, what is the interest of the community in this matter? I think hon. Gentlemen opposite have thought a great deal more of the Confectioners' Alliance, and of all that may mean, than they have of the interests of the community. We have heard a good deal more of jam during this debate than we have of the working man. The interest of the community, in my opinion, is to have sugar as continuously as possible at the lowest price at which it can be produced without loss. I do not go beyond that. I believe that the abolition of bounties will secure greater stability. Hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot see that. They ask why. I will tell them why. The instability in sugar, the extraordinary variations of price to which they themselves have made reference are due to differences in supply and demand. If you are dependent upon Austria-Hungary and Germany and there came a bad season, and accordingly the beet crop was a failure, there is no limit to the price you would have to pay. Well, what is the remedy for that? More varied sources of supply; to have a supply on which you can depend, from the West Indies, from Java, from all parts of the world. That will tend, at any rate, towards stability of price. At the present moment beet is placed at an unnatural advantage with respect to cane sugar, and we want to 797 re-establish equality, and I believe that that will lead to stability, and in the long run to equality, of price. Our Bill, then, I say, will secure that, and I think that any temporary cheapness with which we have been favoured from tune to time will have been very dearly purchased indeed if it is followed by such a monopoly as we can fairly anticipate in any other circumstances. My hon. friend the Member for Exeter taunted my right hon. friend, the President of the Board of Trade with what he called the gift of prophecy, and he recommended, as I understood—I do not think it was quite in good taste—he recommended that he should take this gift to the share market. Well, I think the accusation is unfair, and the suggestion is not kindly. The accusation is unfair because, as far as I know, and I have listened to the whole of this debate, my right hon. friend has made no prophecies at all. He has said that, in his opinion, the average price is not likely to be raised, but as to making a confident prediction, that has been left to hon. Members opposite. They, indeed, have been very free with such prophecy. I think the hon. Member for West Islington predicted that the cost of this Bill would be greater than the cost of the South African War. (Mr. LOUGH: Hear, hear!] Well, that is a good prediction while you are about it. Now, Sir, really let us come to common sense. The removal of the bounty is to raise the price of sugar to such an extent that we shall be involved in an expenditure equal to that of the South African war—that is the proposition. Now, what are the facts, what is the common sense—I call that poetry? Well, these are the facts. After the signature of the Convention, after it was known that the bounties would be abolished, the average price of sugar for the year after the signature was 25s. 5d. per ton less than the average price before; and I am told that at the present time in the market you can buy as much sugar as you like after 1st September—after the Convention is in full force—for £9 a ton. In those circumstances it does not seem to me common sense to talk of an addition to the cost of sugar of £5 or £10 or £15 a ton.
I must say one or two words about he different interests concerned. We have heard a great deal, as I have said, 798 about the jam trade. The hon. Member for West Islington gave us really a most picturesque description of the brilliant fortunes of this interest. He told us of the millions that had been expended upon it, of the large fortunes that were being made, and of the numbers of working people who were being employed. Well, I suppose the people who are engaged in these industries and who have spent these millions are what are called capitalists. If so, why is the hon. Gentleman so severe on the sugar capitalists?
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg pardon the hon. Member went on to sneer at Sir Nevile Lubbock, whom he named, and others whom he called sugar capitalists. For the life of me I cannot see that a sugar capitalist is a bit better or a bit worse than a jam capitalist. [Mr. LOUGH: Hear, hear!] Well, so far we are agreed. Well, what is the jam industry? I am not going to deal with persons, but with industries. The jam industry, which has been spoken of in such dithyrambic language by hon. Gentlemen opposite, is a protected industry of the worst kind—a protected industry according to the hypothesis of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Mind, I am not quite certain that I accept that hypothesis, but according to it the jam industry is a protected industry which could not live unless it could buy sugar below cost price, and that sugar is only provided for it by the bounty system of foreign nations. Now, if I am to compare industries, I say that the West Indian industry, which asks only for free trade and fair trade, is after all more deserving of consideration than the jam industry, which lives on bounties and on the ruin of other trades in this country. But I do not accept the hypothesis. I do not believe that the jam trade is in the slightest danger. I take this as proved. We were told by someone to-night—the hon. Member for Devonport, I think—that there had been during the past fifteen years wild deviations of price in sugar, between 5s. 9d. and 28s. per hundredweight. Well, but if the 5s. 9d., which is the lowest price, is necessary for the jam industry, what did it do when the price was 28s? The removal of the bounties cannot conceivably make up a mere fraction of the difference between 5s. 9d. and 28s.; and 799 yet the jam industry has survived that enormous deviation. If, as we believe, the average price of sugar remains about the same, the jam industry has nothing to fear from this legislation. But I go a step further. I ask hon. Members who support the jam industry. What would their clients say if a bounty were put upon foreign jam? It seems to me that, if we had not taken these steps and shown foreign nations that we will not stand bounties, that we will retaliate against them and take all the steps necessary to prevent them, the policy of bounties would have had a great development. I cannot conceive why the Germans, French, and Austrians, who have put on bounties to secure to themselves the sugar industry, which is a primary industry, should not also put on bounties to secure the jam industry, which is a secondary industry. One thing is clear, that if they had done so, according to the arguments which hon. Gentlemen are using, the jam industry would have had no right to complain. They, at any rate, have no call upon us. They repudiate any retaliation against bounties, and if now or hereafter these trades suffer in any degree—and I think it is not impossible that they may suffer—at all events we know that on their own showing no Parliament will be called upon to legislate in their favour.
As to the position of the alternative industry—that of refining. We have had a great deal of technical description from gentlemen not engaged in that industry who profess to he thoroughly acquainted with its course. We have been told that the refining industry is very prosperous. Let us test that. According to the Memorandum from which hon. Gentlemen opposite have been quoting, in 1864 the refinement was 330,000 tons. In 1881 it was 640,000 tons. That is so say, in those 17 years, in which there were no bounties or only insignificant bounties, and during which trade might be said to have taken its normal course, the increase of the refinery interests in this country was proportional to the consumption of sugar. Then the bounties were increased. What has happened since 1881? Between 1881 and 1901 the industry has been practically stationary. The hon. Member for Devonport put it at 540,000 tons.
§ Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN
That does not matter to my argument. I thought the hon. Gentleman deliberately excluded invert sugar as not being relevant.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER CROSS (Glasgow, Camlachie)
The hon. Member must know that invert sugar is not produced at sugar refineries, but by other processes.
§ Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN
For the present argument I am prepared to take any figure which hon. Members agree to give me. I say that while sugar refining in the first seventeen years nearly doubled in amount, in the next twenty years it remained practically stationary. Is that satisfactory? It is a most curious thing—and I call attention to it, because it will come up for frequent discussion hereafter—that hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to be satisfied with a stationary position for industries in this country. They pay no regard whatever to comparative statistics. If we find that other countries have been increasing rapidly while we have remained stationary, the fact that we have not declined is all that can be expected, they say. I differ from them. In the case of sugar refining, while we have been stationary, what has happened in other countries? In 1881 they exported to this country 139,000 tons. In 1901 they exported to this country 919,000 tons, or about seven times as much as in 1881, while our refineries were stationary. Then we are told that under free trade everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. What might have been if we had dealt with the refining of this amount of sugar, or of the average increase which had been going on before the growth of bounties. Why, it would have given employment to so many workmen that all the jam, pickles and blacking in the world could not hold their own beside it. What might have been still may be, and still will be, if I rightly judge the opinion of the country.
I now come to the position of the West Indies, and I will deal with it very briefly. The Leader of the Opposition said that they were thriving. Really, it is almost insulting to many of these islands to say that. By hook or by crook, by the help of doles from this House, by the exertions made, some of them were just balancing revenue and expenditure and dragging on a living, it 801 is true; but if the right hon. Gentleman calls that thriving, he has a very moderate view of what prosperity means. I go to the Royal Commission, and here they were unanimous. They pointed out that if everything had been done—and we have done everything that they recommended—and if the production of sugar ceased in the West Indies, the situation would be perilous in the highest degree, and that the islands must go back to barbarism. There is no other employment, no means of obtaining money for exports in the case of many of them. We should have them on our hands, and when hon. Members complain of the doles for which I have been compelled to ask, any Minister representing the colonies when this unfortunate fact occurred would have to come here and ask for millions where I have asked for hundreds of thousands of pounds. The hon. Member for Launceston said it would be better to give £2,000,000 than do this. Will he give the £2,000,000? No, whenever I ask for the most moderate sum it is given by the hon. Member and others in the most grudging way. If they could get the £2,000,000, the hon. Member for Launceston would say it was a temporary expedient, and the Colonial Secretary would have to come again and again to keep the islands alive. It is also said that these islands only supply us with 46,000 tons of sugar. What has that to do with it? They supply this amount because, owing to the peculiar situation of the United States, they can send the greater portion of their produce there with greater advantage. But as soon as the supply of Porto Rico and other places increase, and when the reciprocity treaty with Cuba is concluded, the West Indies will have no market at all except this country. If we had only treated them fairly, there is no earthly reason why they should not have been supplying us with the greater part of our demand. It is nonsense to talk of them as an insignificant part of our supply. These islands are so situated by nature that they are specially capable of growing an admirable and cheap supply of sugar; and if we had only given them fair justice I believe their output at the present time would have been a thousand millions of tons. It is said that there is no advantage to them in this Bill; either you will advance the 802 price of sugar and the working man will suffer, or you will not, and the West Indies will not enjoy any advantage. But there is a third alternative—no increase in the average price of sugar, but the additional stability and certainty which you give to trade will benefit the West Indies. The right hon. Member for the Cambridge University said—When I hear of the failure of an industry I think it is due to want of experience, care, or ability.The right hon. Gentleman is very hard on those who have failed. I am not certain it is always, in the case of industrial occupations, due to lack of enterprise, care, or ability. It is due more to want of capital and want of security. I speak from experience. During the last eight years I have been trying to induce capitalists to go into this business, but it is perfectly absurd to expect any capitalist to put money into an undertaking in the present state of affairs when he knows that there is an immense bounty which can be expended up to the last farthing in order to ruin his industry.
I have listened in the course of the debate to a good many attacks on myself, and I do mind a little the sneers addressed to me because I am alleged to have a great interest in the colonies. The hon. Member for Oldham said that I cared six times more for British subjects in the colonies than I did for British subjects at home. It seems to me that an Englishman may care for his own immediate country and yet care for the rest of the Empire. I do not think that the government of our colonies will be made easier in future if an idea gets abroad that we who are the governors of the colonies—I mean the House of Commons—are in any way indifferent to their interests. I think that the progress of a community, however small or however large its prosperity, must always be based on community of interest and community of sacrifice, What I believe to be true of districts, of States, or of nations, I believe to be equally true of an Empire, and when I find that any part of the Empire, whether it is a colony or whether it is part of the United Kingdom, suffering from an evident and palpable injustice, I think we ought to remedy that injustice even 803 at some sacrifice to ourselves. Now, Mr. Speaker, I beg to ask the House to agree to the Second Beading of this Bill. I ask them to do so because, in the first place, to reject this Bill would be to perpetrate what would rightly be considered an act of bad faith on the part of this Government; in the second place, because I believe this Bill will secure free trade in sugar and increase the sources of our supply of that most necessary part of the food of the people; and, in the third place, because it will protect
§ us from the possibility of a monopoly and enable us continuously to obtain sugar at a fair price from all the markets of the world. In the last place, I recommend it to this House because I believe it is a tardy act of justice to our own colonies and to a great British industry.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 224; Noes, 114. (Division List, No. 195.)807
|Agg-Gardner, James, Tynte||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Agnew, sir Andrew Noel||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.)|
|Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hoare, Sir Samuel|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Davenport, William Bromley||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Denny, Colonel||Howard, Jno.(Kent, Faversham|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Dewar, Sir T. R.(Tr. Haml'ts||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Dickson, Charles Scott||Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C.||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Doughty, George||Keswick, William|
|Balcarres, Lord||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey||Duke, Henry Edward||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Dyke, Rt Hon. Sir William Hart||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks. NR|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.)||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Faber, George Denison (York)||Llewellyn, Evan Henry|
|Bigwood, James||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.|
|Bill, Charles||Fergusson, RtHn Sir J.(Manc'r||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lowe, Francis William|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft|
|Bull, William James||Flower, Ernest||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Forster, Henry William||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Butcher, John George||Foster, Philip. S(Warwick, S. W||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Fyler, John Arthur||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward H.||Garfit, William||M'Iver, Sir Lewis(Edinb'rgh W.|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans||M'killop, James (Stirlingshire)|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbyshire||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Gordon, Hn J E (Elgin and N'rn||Massey-Mainwaring, Hon W.F.|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hon J (Birm||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H.E (Wigt'n|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J A (Worc||Gordon, Maj Evans(T'r Haml'ts||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Gore, Hn G.R C. Ormsby- (Salop||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton|
|Chapman, Edward||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Mitchell, William (Burnley)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury)||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Clare. Octavius Leigh||Grenfell, William Henry||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Groves, James Grimble||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hain, Edward||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Hall, Edward Marshall||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G(Midd'x||Mount, William Arthur|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Hardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashf'd)||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hay, hon. Claude George||Nicholson, William Graham|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Parker, Sir Gilbert||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Percy, Earl||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.||Vincent, Col Sir C. E. (Sheffield|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Pilkington, Colonel Richard||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry||Walrond, Rt Hon Sir William H.|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Purvis, Robert||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Pym, C. Guy||Smith, HC. (North'mb, Tyneside||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Rasch, Major Federic Carne||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn E.R.(Bath)|
|Ratcliff, R. F.||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Reid, James (Greenock||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Remnant, Jas. Farquharson||Stock, James Henry||Wylie, Alexander|
|Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J.G. (Oxford Univ||Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Allen Chas, P. (Glos., Stroud)||Flynn, James Christopher||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Asher, Alexander||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Fuller, J. M. F.||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy.||Furness, Sir Christopher||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc||Newnes, Sir George|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Grant, Corrie||Norman, Henry|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Bowles, T. G. (Lynn Regis)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Partington, Oswald|
|Brigg, John||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Harwood, George||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Bryce, Right Hon. James||Hayter, Rt Hon Sir Arthur D.||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Helme, Norval Watson||Price, Robert John|
|Burns, John||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Priestley, Arthur|
|Burt, Thomas||Hobhouse C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||Rea, Russell|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Holland, Sir William Henry||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Caldwell, James||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Rigg, Richard|
|Cameron, Robert||Horniman, Frederick John||Roberts, John H. (Denbighsh.)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Jacoby. James Alfred||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cawley, Frederick||Joicey, Sir James||Rose, Charles Day|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Jones, David Brynmor(Sw'nsea||Runciman, Walter|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Russell, T. W.|
|Cremer, William Randal||Kearley, Hudson E.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland|
|Crooks, William||Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Kilbride, Denis||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lambert, George||Shackleton, David James|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||Langley, Batty||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Levy, Maurice||Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. (Northants|
|Dunn, Sir William||Lewis, John Herbert||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe|
|Elibank, Master of||Lloyd-George, David||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Lough, Thomas||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Lundon, W.||Thomas, F. Freeman (Hastings)|
|Fenwick, Charles||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||M'Kenna, Reginald||Tomkinson, James|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj.||Toulmin, George|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Weir, James Galloway||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Ure, Alexander||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R||TELLEES FOR THE NOES—|
|Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)||Mr. Herbert Gladstone and|
|Warner, Thos. Courtenay||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)||Mr. William M'Arthur.|
|Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney||Woodhouse, Sir JT (Huddersf'd|
Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.