Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

Kingdom was 196,000 tons. From 1810 the three years ending 1852, it was to 1830, during which period the planters 382,000 tons. But he might be told by had the advantage of slavery, so far as the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley), labour was concerned, and of an exclusive that although there had been that large monopoly of the markets of this country, increase in the consumption of sugar, yet the consumption never reached the amount it was a poor consolation to the West Init was in 1810. In 1830 it was 202,000 dies if it happened that the largest portons, and from that period to 1844 it re- tion of the increase was in foreign slavemained almost stationary, being, in 1844, grown sugar. So far, however, from that only 206,000 tons. It was impossible for being the case, during those three years the Government of the day to look at that preceding the alteration of the law, the simple fact—that the supply of so neces- importation of sugar from the West Indies sary an article as sugar remained stationary was 127,000 tons, and in the last three whilst the population was rapidly increas- years, under the Act of 1846, 147,000 ing-without being convinced there was tons. From the Mauritius, during the something extremely wrong in the laws first three years to which he had referred, which regulated that supply. Such being the quantity was 30,000 tons; during the the state of things from 1810 to 1844, he last three years, 48,000 tons. From the would next direct the attention of the East Indies, during the first three years House to what had occurred from 1846 to the quantity was 49,000 tons; during the the present time. An objection had been last three years, 68,000 tons. Taking the taken to the statement of the right hon. aggregate of the British possessions, the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other total importation during the three years night on this subject. He (Mr. Wilson) preceding the Act was 209,000 tons; and could see, that while the right hon. Gentle- during the last three years, under the Act, man was speaking, some of his supporters 264,000 tons. So that, taking the sugar behind him were discussing the subject productions of the British possessions, examong themselves, and seemed to think clusive of foreign, there had been an inthat the year to which the right hon. Gen- crease of 50,000 tons in the average of tlemen had referred was an exceptional the last three years, compared with the year, and that it was unfair to take a three years preceding the Act of 1846. single year's importation of an article so And if they took the first and last year, fluctuating in regard to quantity and sub- they would find a much more striking reject to such exigencies in regard to its sult. In the first of those years, the concrop as the tropical article of sugar. His sumption of British Colonial sugar amount(Mr. Wilson's) attention had been drawned to 216,000 tons, and the last year of to that point by the West India Associa- all it amounted to 309,000 tons. That tion of Glasgow, marking the following was a conclusive proof that the consumppassage in a pamphlet they had sent tion of sugar in this country had increas

ed nearly fifty per cent during the last six With reference to the year 1851 [the year to years, and had remained stationary during “With reference to the year 1851 (the year to the preceding thirty-five years. By the above comparison shows moreover most crearly Act of 1846, an immense amount of sugar that any inference unfavourable to the claims of had been released for the benefit of the the West Indies founded on 1851, must be unte- consumers, which had been excluded benable, and that in such a complicated question no fore, and the British possessions had shared safe conclusion can be based on the returns of any single year.”

a portion of that advantage larger than

that of Foreign Colonies. The noble Lord He admitted the force of that argument, the Under Secretary of State for Foreign and, perhaps, the right hon. Gentleman's Affairs published last year a pamphlet on reference to 1851 might be open to that this subject, and deserved infinite credit remark. But he would take the consump- for the industry and trouble with which tion of sugar during the three years pre- he had collected facts with regard to ceding the alteration of the law in 1846, the West Indies; but on those facts and the consumption during the last three he could not so completely rely as on years since that alteration. They would official returns made to that House. He then have a fair average, to which that ob- would not for a moment impute—on the jection could not possibly apply. The con- contrary, he knew it was not the case—that sumption of sugar during the three years the noble Lord had been careless or indifending 1844, was 207,000 tons; during ferent as to the sources from which he had

him :

derived his information; nor would he im- | their share of the increase. The producpute to the gentlemen from whom he de- tion of the East Indies during the five rived that information the slightest wish to years under protection, was 58,000 tons, exaggerate the true state of the Colonies and in the first five years of free trade in which they lived; but he thought it was 71,000. In the Mauritius in the first five hardly safe to rely altogether on the views years, it was 32,000 tons; in the last five of particular persons, who perhaps from years 50,000 tons. Those two facts were circumstances independent of the law were consistent with the noble Lord's argument; in a state of suffering and distress. The but taking the West Indies, he thought noble Lord in that pamphlet put forward the House would perceive the conclusion of this argument, that although the consump- the noble Lord was not consistent with tion had increased, yet we were indebted to fact. In British Guiana the average prothe East Indies and the Mauritius for the duction of the five years under protection increased production and supply, and that was 24,000 tons; in the five years under we had been obliged to resort there to free trade it had risen to 30,000 tons. In make up the deficiency in the supply from Trinidad the average production of the Jamaica. The whole tenor of the noble five years under protection was 16,000 Lord's remarks, indeed, went to show that, tons, and the average production of the so far as regarded the West Indies and the five years under free trade was no less more important of our Colonial possessions, than 20,000 tons. In Jamaica, the most the produce of sugar was rapidly declining, important Colony of all, which was the and the state of those Colonies altogether only colony in the West Indies in which degenerating. Now, here again he was the production had been stationary, the most desirous to treat the subject fairly, average in the five years under protection and, in order to do so, he should avoid the was 32,800 tons, and in the five years fault of selecting particular years for the under free trade, 32,100 tons. When they purpose of making comparisons. The considered the extraordinary afflictions Sugar Act was passed in 1846, and it which had visited that island; when they might well be supposed all its effects would considered that they had lost in one year be visible in the five years succeeding. 40,000 labourers by cholera alone, and a The fair way was to take an average of large number by smallpox, which succeedthe result during those five years as com- ed; when they considered they had been pared with the five years immediately pre- called on to send back the Coolie immiceding the passing of that Act. He was re- grant labourers; it could not be a matter ferring to Parliamentary Paper No. 53 of of surprise that in the five years under a the last Session, which gave the produc- system approximating to unrestricted comtion of sugar for a series of years, from petition, the planters of Jamaica had only 1831 upwards, for each of the British Co- been able to keep the ground which they lonies separately and for the whole in the enjoyed under absolute protection. In aggregate. From that Paper he collected Barbadoes, in the last five years of prothe following facts, which were exceedingly tection the average was 16,500 tons; in interesting, and calculated to reconcile the the first five years of free trade it was West Indies to the Act which that House 24,600 tons; being an increase of nearly bad thought right to pass, and which Her 50 per cent in that single Colony. If Majesty's Government most rightly and they took the West Indies, as an aggrewisely intended to uphold. In the five gate, being the particular part of the years preceding the Act of 1846, the aver- British Empire said to be the most sufferage importation of sugar from the Britishing, they would find in the five years prepossessions was 216,000 tons; in the last ceding the Act of 1846, the average profive years, beginning with 1847, the aver- duction was 124,000, and in the last five age had risen to 266,000 tons; the average years under free trade, it was 144,000 production of the British possessions had tons, so that in that portion of the British therefore risen 50,000 tons during these Empire said to be most hardly treated, latter five years as compared with the five there had been a larger production under years preceding. But the noble Lord would free trade by 20,000 tons annually, than perhaps tell him, as he had told the public, under a restricted monopoly. He could that this increase was attributable to the even go a step further. It was not necessupply which had been obtained from the sary to his argument, but it was necessary East Indies and the Mauritius. Now, it as reconciling those who thought themwas quite true that these colonies had had selves hardly dealt with by that House to a fate to which the present Government would account for the increased production had decided they should be submitted. of sugar. It appeared that in 1846 the He would go to the time of slavery, when importation of slaves into the Brazils was they had the advantage of the slave trade 50,324. It was not pretended that the and the advantage of an absolute monopoly importation of slaves in 1846 could in any of this market, and he would show them way have been the consequence of the Act that the average production was consider- passed towards the close of that year; but ably larger now than during the last five the importation of slaves had dwindled years of slavery and protection combined. down in the year 1851 to 3,287. It must From 1831 to 1835 the average production be a most consolatory reflection to the right of the whole British possessions was 221,000 hon. Gentleman to think that, notwithtons, while the average production of the standing the Act of 1846, which at the whole British possessions in the last five first blush might be supposed to give enyears of free trade was 266,000 tons. couragement to the slave trade by encouSo that, whether they viewed the sugar raging the production of slave sugar, the possessions belonging to this country as number of slaves imported into the Brazils subsisting under a state of slavery, with had during the last five years sunk from the advantage of protection and absolute 50,324 to 3,287. He did not find either monopoly, or whether they viewed them that there had been any reduction in the under a state of free labour, with the ad- quantity of sugar produced; on the convantage of the monopoly prior to 1846, trary, the production in the Brazils had they found that in either case the produc increased. In Cuba, he had reason to tion of those Colonies had enormously in- believe, down to a recent period, there creased, and that during the last five years, had been a sincere anxiety to put an under unrestricted competition and free la- end to the slave trade, and it appeared bour, that increase had been greater than that in 1851 only 5,000 slaves were imat any former period under slavery and strict ported into that island. It was not his monopoly. It was said by the right hon. duty to show that the Act of 1846 bad had Gentleman the Secretary of State for the any effect whatever in reducing the slave Colonies, that the Act of 1846 had had a trade. He did not pretend it. All that prejudicial effect in encouraging the slave he wanted to show was that it had had no trade. He would do the right hon. Gentle- effect in increasing the slave trade. He man the credit to say that among numerous said the slave trade had diminished, but he arguments, such was the reason which he did not say it was in consequence of the urged for the line he took, and he was quite Act of 1846. At the same time that he willing to admit that the view the right hon. moved for the paper to which he had just Gentleman adopted was sympathised in by referred, he moved for another paper which this country, and hnd for its object motives threw some light on the subject. It was much larger and more defensible than ever a return of the quantity of machinery of were connected with commercial restric- various descriptions which had been shiption. They were told, that although the ped from this country at two periods, production of sugar had increased in the namely, in 1845 and 1851, to those slaveBritish possessions, yet they had given a producing countries, for facilitating the great impetus to production in the Slave production of sugar. In 1845 the official Colonies, and thereby contributed, most value of the machinery, the wood, iron, inconsistently with their professions, to the and copper, exported to Cuba and the Braencouragement of the slave trade. But zils, was 50,7001.; and in 1851, instead of what were the facts? It was true that | 50,7551., it was 158,7711. All that he while in 1846 the production of sugar in wanted to show was, that although there Cuba, Porto Rico, and Brazil, amounted had been a considerable increase in the to 342,000 tons, it had increased in 1852 production of sugar, it was not owing to to 406,000 tons, or 18 per cent. But this an increase of slaves, but to the more legiincreased production was not the result of mate influence of an increase of machinery any increase in the slave trade, because from this country. Then it was said that there was reason to believe, from a paper the planters of the West Indies had not which was laid before the House at his had the same advantages as the planters of (Mr. Wilson's) request in March Jast, that Cuba and Brazil with regard to capital; no

increase of the slave trade took but the reverse was the fact, because any place during the period to which he had one who looked at the Reports, in 1848, referred, at least to such an extent as of the Committee on which he and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the acteristic of that energy which marked the Colonies had the honour of serving, would British people, that while the slave-prosee that the whole evidence of that Com. ducing colonies had increased their producmittee went to show that in Cuba and tion 18 per cent, the British possessions had those countries where slave labour pre-increased their production 38 per cent. It vailed, the interest of capital was about 12 was quite obvious from the first, when per cent; and while those planters were they embarked in this controversy, most increasing their production by the employ interesting and hardly fought as it had ment of capital on which they paid 12 per been, that it was impossible not to put cent, our planters were charged by their in the van of consideration the inteagents in this country not more than 5 per rests of the consumer at home. He had cent. Turning to the quantity of machinery shown that for years they had pursued a shipped to the British possessions, he found policy which confined the consumption of the official value in 1845 was 225,0001., so necessary and common an article of and in 1850 only 138,0001. He thought food as sugar to the same quantity for that return would have given a very dif- thirty-five years. It would have been quite ferent result if the British planters had impossible, and if possible unfair and immade up their mind to the change in the politic, to have allowed such a state of law, if they had not been deluded by falla- things to exist. What had been the effect cious hopes, by Motions made continually, on the consumer of the alteration of the year after year, in that House, which led law in 1846 ? In 1845, the amount conthem to believe they would recover some sumed was 207,000 tons a year, which at part of that protection which they had | 601. a ton, would represent 12,420,0001. lost. He thought if they had, like the expended in the article of sugar. Suppeople of Porto Rico and Cuba, applied posing the duties to have remained the more machinery they would have improved same, and the supply the same, what would the quality and increased the quantity of have been the difference to the consumer ? sugar more than they had done. These Taking the 382,000 tons purchased this few facts demonstrated that the increased year at the same price, it would be no less production of the slave colonies was not than 22,920,0001., so that the consumer by the bone and sinews of the slaves, but was at the present time enjoying an absoby the encouragement of English artisans lute advantage equal to 10,000,0001. a making machinery in which they invested year by the alteration of the Sugar Duties, capital, and were enabled to improve the But then they were told, perhaps, the revequality and increase the quantity of their nue had suffered. When duties were reproduction. Although the advantage of duced, the inference was that the revenue machinery was on the side of foreign coun- would suffer; but he would here call attentries, he was prepared to show the in- tion to a fact which must afford a great encreased production of the British posses- couragement to Her Majesty's Ministers to sions was even larger than theirs. He pursue the policy which, he thought wisely, found, as he had already stated, that in they had marked out for themselves. În 1846, the production of Cuba, Porto Rico, 1846 the duties paid on sugar were at the and the Brazils, was 342,000 tons, and in rate of 25s. on colonial, and 63s, on fo1851, 406,000 tons. The production of reign, and 5,000,0001. was the amount of the British Colonies was, in 1846, 220,000 revenue produced. The duty on rum wag tons, and by the last Report, 305,000 tons. 9s. 10d., and it produced 981,0001., maSo that, while the increase in those five king a total of 5,981,0001. After reducyears in those foreign countries was 18 per ing the duties from 25s. to 10s., and from cent, in the British possessions it was 38 63s. to 15s., the revenue for the present per cent. Therefore, notwithstanding the year, on the 5th of July last, stood thus : disadvantage of an unsettled state of the Sugar, 4,346,0001. ; rum, 1,100,0001. ; law by continual agitation out of the making a total of 5,446,0001., as comHouse, and by continual Motions in the pared with 5,981,0001. before the duties House, under all the difficulties with which were altered, So that during this short they had been surrounded—and he did not period, excepting 500,0001., the whole redeny those difficulties, but he was ready to venue had recovered, whilst they had contrace them to their right cause, if he ferred on the consumers of the country thought he was justified in inflicting such the real advantage of 10,000,0001. annua statement on the House-it was highly ally. Taking into account the increased to the credit of those men, and highly char- supply from the plantations, the planter found his receipts larger at the present di- Committee of 1848 as to the cost of prominished price than at the former higher ducing sugar, and it was stated at about prices. A fair average price previous to 20s. per cwt, or 201. per ton, in the Mau. the introduction of slave-grown sugar was ritius. He (Mr. Wilson) had been informed 35l. a ton, at which rate 207,000 tons lately by, he believed, the largest planter would amount to the gross value of in Trinidad, that the cost of producing 7,245,0001. The present price might be sugar there, had been reduced to 13s. per taken at 25l. per ton, and the present pro- cwt. now; and with regard to the Mauduction, 309,000 tons, would amount to ritius, he had been informed, within the the gross value of 7,725,0001. So that, last month, by a gentleman who believed, as far as the planter was concerned, the in 1848, that without protection Mauritius gross price he received for his sugar was was doomed; that he believed the whole larger by more than 500,0001. than what crop this year would not average more he received with the higher price and than 10s. a cwt. But sugar was not the smaller production. But then it was said only article in which the West Indians he did this at a much greater cost. He were interested; there were other producbelieved, as the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) tions, if not equally important, yet very pointed out in his pamphlet, that the plan- important to them. Now, during the five ter had not only the advantage of a reduc- years preceding the adoption, in 1846, tion in the price of labour, from a more of "that fatal policy which was to ruin continuous supply of labour, but a reduc- the Colonies,” the production of coffee in tion in the prices of a number of articles the British possessions was not quite with which he supplied his estate. He 27,000,000 lbs.; in the last five years it (Mr. Wilson) met the other day with a was above 38,000,000 lbs. No doubt, paper, with which the right hon. Gentle if the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) took man the Colonial Secretary was doubtless the case of the West Indies alone, he conversant, containing the evidence taken would find a large falling-off, and a in the island of the Mauritius, upon a ques- proportion of this increased production tion relating to the currency of that island, was from Ceylon; but the question must which had disturbed the equanimity of the be viewed as a whole, and you could people there, and was not easy of solution not separate one Colony from the rest, at home. He found in that evidence which, or exclude any part of our possessions was laid before Parliament about two years from all fair advantages. Of cocoa the or eighteen months ago, a very singular production in the five years preceding admission, which was so extremely perti- | 1846 was 2,400,000 lbs., while in the five nent and apt, as showing those advantages years following that date, there had been of reduction in the price of general arti- an augmentation of production to the excles, that, being very short, he would read tent of 3,028,000 lbs. In rum, also, the it to the House. Mr. Robinson, a large increase had been very large. In the five planter in the Mauritius, and a merchant of years preceding 1846, the production great eminence, whose opinion was very amounted to 3,859,000 gallons, while in valuable, talking of the currency of the the last five years it had reached 5,324,000 island, and adjusting the exchanges, said- gallons; and all this bad occurred under the “ I conceive that the balance of trade is

" fatal” system of free trade. Whatever 600,0001., and we are realising 50,0001. in paper. view, therefore, was taken of the factsThe cost of raising sugar is at least 161. or inl. whether the enormous increase in the proper ton. The cost of all articles imported from duction of sugar or rum was looked to-or England is now so low, that if we require only whether hon. Members looked to the great the same quantity of goods, then the balance is diminution which he had shown to have in our favour."

taken place in the cost of production, it In rice alone he estimates the saving at was to his mind a plain and clear fact that 800,0001. last year and this year, as com- these Colonies, if they were not now prospared with preceding years. Now, here perous, were at least more prosperous than was an article, a first necessary of life, they were before. Whatever ground, with which the planter had to feed his la- therefore, there might be for the allegabourers; 800,000 dollars, upon a crop of tion that the West Indies were in a state 60,000 tons, gave a saving of about 18 of distress, that distress could not be per cent upon the value of the whole crop traced to the Act of 1846, or to the conseof the island in rice alone. There was quences of that Act.

The three great a great deal of evidence offered before the complaints made against that Act were, in

« EdellinenJatka »