Imágenes de páginas

preferred for reduction to the more to 8. Other amendments, moved nutritive article of cocoa, and since by the same noble Lord, respecting the new Corn-law had passed, the seeds, woods, and copper ore, on consumption of foreign corn had which he opposed the reduction of decreased, 108,090 quarters having duties, were negatived without paid 23s. 8d. duty between the division, and the Bill passed 29th April, and the 4th June, through Committee, and was re1841 ; while, in the same period ported. Earl Stanhope again die of this year, with a duty of 12s. vided the House against the third or 138., only 92,357 quarters were reading, which, however, was carentered for home consumption. ried by 52 against 9. He objected altogether to the sys Our account of the financial tem of differential duties main- proceedings of the Session would tained in the Bill. He would vote not be complete without noticing for it, not because he was at all a debate which took place in the satisfied with the new Tariff on its House of Commons, on a subject own merits, but on account of the which had produced so much disprinciples on which it was founded, cussion, and such important results and more particularly on account in the Session preceding,—the subof the profession of those principles ject of the duties on sugar. The by those who propounded them. House having resolved itself into a He relied upon Parliament for Committee of Ways and Means, completing the reform of the com on the 3rd of June, the Chancellor mercial system which was now of the Exchequer explained the begun, and next year he hoped to reasons why the Government could see the Ministers proposing a re not consent to the admission of duction of the Sugar-duties, to be foreign sugar at a lower rate of followed not long afterwards, as duty. He said, that to do so would he was persuaded it must be, by injure the revenue without benefit an alteration of the Corn-laws. to the consumer, and would be

Lord Monteagle followed, adopt- seriously hurtful as well as unjust ing a similar line of argument towards our colonial possessions, Lord Colchester thought, that he besides giving an impulse to the might vote for the Bill without foreign slave-trade. In future, advocating the general principles there was little probability that of free-trade, as an improvement the continental markets would be upon the present heterogeneous open to slave-grown sugar as they mass of Customs-duties. On a were formerly, on account of the division, the amendment was re- protective duties which had been jected by 69 to 4, and the Bill imposed on rival produce. At the was read a second time.

same time, there was springing up Two days afterwards the House in the slave countries, and in Cuba went into Committee on the Bill, particularly, a public opinion adafter some renewed opposition from verse to slavery; and the holders Ear) Stanhope. On Schedule 1, of land in those countries depre. he moved as an amendment, to cated the slave-trade, because it take the duty on bulls, oxen, cows, helped to bring into cultivation calves, lambs, and swine, by weight new tracts of land to compete with instead of by the head; but the their own. The number of slaveamendment was negatived by 44 ships which annually enter the

port of Cuba had decreased one were really desired to exert Engthird. Now, no market would be lish influence on behalf of that so desirable for the producers of object, it would be much more slave-grown sugar as the British effectual, if we were united in the market, and should we throw away bands of commerce and habitual an instrument which we possessed intercourse with the slave-dealing for promoting the suppression of countries, instead of setting up slavery by giving an impulse to separate interests. He noved as the trade in slave-grown sugar? an amendment, that the duty on As to the supply from our colonies foreign sugars be equalised with last year, the quantity consumed, that on colonial sugars-viz. 24s. the largest yet known, was A short debate followed, in 2,000,000 tons; and his informa- which the amendment was opposed tion satisfied him that the supply by Mr. Godson and by Mr. Gladthis year would reach 2,300,000 stone, and was supported by Mr. or 2,400,000 tons: the present Cobden. On a division it was price, therefore, which itself was negatived hy 59 to 18. not exorbitant, would not be en Mr. Labouchere then moved to hanced. Mr. Goulburn concluded reduce the duty on foreign sugar by moving a resolution, that the from 63s. to 30s., and on colonial present sugar-duties should be sugar from 24s. to 20s. He adcontinued one year.

mitted the injustice of suddenly Mr. Roebuck observed that the and entirely withdrawing a proconsumption of sugar last year was tection under which great inte4,000,000 cwt., costing 7,000,0001. rests had grown up, but he would or 8,000,0001., and the duty levied - substitute protection for prohibiwas 4,000,0001. Sugar was, in

The relaxations in the fact, one of the necessaries of life, Tariff were considerable, but laand its consumption was especially mentably insufficient to relieve the to be encouraged, because it tended wants of the people ; and, next to to habits of sobriety. In 1841, corn, he knew of no article which the average price of colonial sugar entered so largely into the expenwas 49s. the cwt.; of Brazilian diture of the people for subsistence and Cuba sugar, 21s. ; taking the as sugar, and there would be this difference, however, at only 20s., peculiar advantage in the relaxthe people paid for their sugaration proposed by him, that whereas 4,000,0001. more than they ought reducing the duty on corn would to pay. Suppose the loss to be not at once cause a great reduction only half that sum, why should in the price of bread, with sugar the poor of this country be taxed the effect would be the reverse. 2,000,0001. to put into the pockets He was not so sanguine as Mr. of the West-India proprietors ? Goulburn with respect to the exHe quoted the authority of Sir pected supply; the imports of this Fowell Buxton for asserting, that year, up to May 5th, were 12,000 our efforts to suppress the slave. tons less than those of the same trade had altogether failed ; and period in the preceding year. Nor, with respect to slavery, he urged on the other hand, did he anticipate the impolicy of our attempting to that a reduction of the duty would interfere with the internal social give so great an impulse to the relations of other countries. If it slave-trade. Brazil was now angry


at finding that her diplomatists than 218,000 or 220,000 tons ; had betrayed her into exacting no so that the price would be dimore than 15 per cent. import- minished, while, in fact, the quality duty on British produce, while we of the sugar would be better. excluded her produce; it would He did not agree with Mr. Laboube most advisable to anticipate the chere that it would be expedient approaching expiration of the to make any sacrifice on our part treaty with that country by placing before we required concessions our commercial relations on from Cuba and Brazil. He quoted sounder footing; and he thought a recent work by Mr. Bandinel, that this Government would be which showed that the efforts of more powerful for obtaining fur- England to check the slave-trade ther commercial advantages, and had been so far successful that the for advancing the cause of hu- insurance on slave-ships had risen manity, after Brazil had tasted in Cuba to 40 per cent., while the the benefits of a sounder and a yearly importation of slaves had fairer commercial treaty between decreased from 40,000 in 1832 to the two countries.

14,470 in 1840. Mr. Gladstone said, when it was Mr. Hume said, that he decomplained that the relaxations in manded fair treatment on behalf the Tariff bore so little on articles of the people of England. Mr. of subsistence, they should recollect P. M. Stewart made the same what it was that Government had requisition on behalf of the Westthe power to give; and he thought India proprietors, meaning thereby that the best discretion had been a differential duty of 15s. to proexercised in relieving from taxation tect them, after negro emancipaimported articles connected with tion, from being forced into comthe industry of the country. He petition with the produce of slavethen entered into an elaborate labour in other countries. calculation by which he found that Lord John Russell ridiculed the Mr. Labouchere's proposal would pleas successively put forth for entail a loss to the revenue of particular duties. Former Par600,0001., even supposing that liaments had granted relief on there were an increase in the con- various articles of importance to sumption proportionate to the re the working classes, -salt, leather, duction of duty. The present coals, and candles; but now they price of sugar being 62s. 4d., Mr. had great articles of subsistence Labouchere's duty would give a

under consideration. With respect price of 54s. 6d. a difference of to those great articles of consump78. 10d. the cwt. Had Mr. La tion which the House had now to bouchere included the month of consider, and which formed the May in his account of this year's necessary articles of consumption imports, he would have found the among the labouring classes, they deficiency to be only 6,500 tons, had begun with bread, and they and that would be more than made had found they could not make up by vessels already on the any great reduction. They had voyage ; and if the estimate of the found that it was necessary to be Government were as correct this independent of foreign nationsyear as in the year preceding, the that, unfortunately, much as they total quantity would not be less wished to relieve the people in Vol. LXXXIV.


that first great article of food, they mitting to the Income-tax, would were not able to make a great and not find the promise that the important alteration. They had Tariff would reduce the cost of then come to articles forming part subsistence to be illusory. of the weekly expenditure of the Mr. Roebuck blamed Lord John people, such as cheese and butter; Russell for speaking as if the party but, unfortunately, they had found in power alone were chargeable , that the interest of the revenue with retaining the high price of was so much concerned that it was food; whereas, the Whig party impossible to make any alteration. were not in favour of free-trade in There was one article, indeed, in corn, but merely advocated one of which they liad been able to make those mystifications so common on an alteration in the article of their sideman 8s. fixed duty. He cattle and meat they had been himself had tried to equalise the able to exchange high and pro- duties on sugar, but Lord John hibitory duties for those which Russell supported a 10s, discrimi. were lower ; but, with respect to nating duty-a proposal very like cattle, they had unfortunately the 8s. corn-duty; for if it would heard the assurance that the people be effectual as a protection, it were not likely to derive present would be effectual in shutting out benefit from the reduced price of competition. Mr. Roebuck then meat. Another article of great launched out into a vehement consumption was then before them, condemnation of the sacrifices that namely sugar ; an article most im- had been made to the West Indies. portant, considering the improved of what advantage, he asked, were habits of the people habits which those colonies to us-a set of the Legislature undoubtedly ought barren islands dearly bought with to encourage. He was sorry to the pith and blood of this country? hear that upon this article the Jamaica at the bottom of the sea people must be contented with the —aye, and all the Antilles after good wishes of the Legislature, it- and where would be the loss and the proclamation that had to Great Britain? What benefit been made of an anxious desire to did the weavers of Yorkshire and reduce the price of subsistence. Lancashire derive from these Although Mr. Gladstone had made boasted possessions ? light of the proposed reduction in Mr. Bernal said, he had always the price of sugar, saying that it been taught to believe that the would only amount to d. a pound, welfare of the whole empire deyet even that was an important pended on the prosperity of its consideration in the weekly expen- parts; and he enquired, if Mr. diture of a poor family. Lord Roebuck was prepared in his subJohn Russell could not compre- mersive projects to sink the East hend the humanity which ad. Indies also with the West ? mitted coffee or copper produced Sir Robert Peel interposed to by slave-labour, but refused to pour oil on the troubled diseussion, receive slave-grown sugar : it was by suggesting that the House not immoral to encourage the slave- should come to the practical contrade in the one case, but it was clusion to vote for the Govern. denounced as in human in the other.

ment proposition ; for it was eviHe trusted that the people, in sub- dent that the adoption of either of

'the rival suggestions would cause on 'wool, he would say, Yes; and 110 satisfaction whatever. Mr. he would say the same on cottonRoebuck's'enforcement of his prin- 'wool, glass, or sugar ; but if they ciples at the cost of submerging were to make all such desirable Jamaica in the sea, did not need reductions, they would still have 'to be met by reasoning ; nor would a large deficiency, in spite of the it be reasonable to settle the value 'Income-tax. He doubted whether of our colonies by asking a dis. our colonies, where we had suptressed weaver what individual pressed slavery, could compete advantage he derived from them. with slave-countries, and the same The proposal which he made was doubt was entertained by Mr. to continue the existing duties for Deacon Hume. "I cannot conone year. He hoped he should ceive,” said Mr. Hume, “ that not be understood as precluding the having thirty years ago abolished House from the consideration of the slave-trade, and having now this question in another year. abolished slavery itself, any quesLord John Russell had complained tion of free-trade can arise bethat nothing material had been tween Jamaica and Cuba : Cuba, done with respect to meat ; that with an abundance of fresh and noble Lord had been ten years in rich soil, not only having the adoffice, and yet had never proposed vantage of employing slaves -any alteration in the Tarifi

. When whatever it may be—but notorihe heard that the apprehensions ously importing the enormous were so great that the price of anıount of 40,000 or 50,000 slaves cattle had fallen 25 per cent., he every year ; having, in fact, the thought it was time to interfere. slave-trade and slavery: and as He adverted to this because the the laws of this country deprive noble Lord had talked of his fear the planter of Jamaica of that ing to offend a powerful interest; means of raising his produce, I and he wished to contrast the consider the question as one taken course which he had pursued with out of the category of free-trade.” that of the late Government-a The honour of the country would course in which he ran greater be compromised by admitting slaverisk than any Minister ever ran grown sugar without seeking a (Cheers)—for he saw that nearly concession from the growers. And a hundred of those Members who the late Government had by no had given him their confidence means followed the mode of newere on this particular point pre- gotiation proposed by Mr. Laboupared to vote against him ; and he chere, granting concessions first, thought that in adhering to his and asking for equivalent afterresolution, he had given sufficient wards; in Texas they had made a proof that he was prepared to incur slave-trade treaty preliminary to the risk for the purpose of benefit a commercial treaty ; in France ing the people. He admitted that they stipulated for reduced duties the reduction of three farthings on manufactures before making per lb. in sugar would not be a reductions on wine and brandies. small matter, but those questions Lord John Russell said, he were not to be looked at separately; doubted much whether during any if he were asked whether in the ten years which had passed since abstract he would reduce the duty the revolution, any legislative

« AnteriorContinuar »