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calin prevailed. Suddenly the noble lord bursts like a hurricane upon
The elements of confusion are at orce let loosc, and the country i swept back into that tempestuous agitation from which we deemed our3ores secure.
Stop, while there is yet time---stop the noble lord in his Career of mischief, or the consequences may be irretrievable. You inay gain a temporary triumph; you may rob us of the fruits of that emancipation which the itinerant incendiaries invite you openly and directly to rescind; but your victories will be dearly purchased. Of Ireland—of organized, confederated, discontented Ireland, beware; beware of that country which you ought to have been instructed by experience: fearful, if not humiliating, not to hold in disregard. Twelve months have scarcely passed since the member for Tarnworth declared that Ireland presented to him his greatest difficulty. Will that difficulty be diminished by the sinister co-operation of his noble and exceedingly formidable friend ? Persevere in that policy by which this measure had been prompted, and Ireland will soon be in a condition more fearful than that which preceded emancipation. You will enter again into an encounter with that gigantic agitation by which you were before disconfited, and by which (for its power is treble) you will be again overthrown ; for all the consequences that will ensue from the excitement which you will have wantonly engendered, you will be responsible : you will be responsible for the calamities which will gush in, in abundance so disastrous, from the sources of bitterness which you will have unsealed. If Ireland shall be arrested in the march of improvement in which she has been under a Whig government rapidly advancing—if Ireland shall be thrown back fifty years—if the value of property shall be impairedit the security of property shall be shaken—if political animosities shall be embittered—if religious detestations shall become more rabid and more envenomed—if the mind of Ireland shall become one heated mass, ready to catch fire at a single spark; for all this you will be responsible. And do not thivk that it is to Ireland that the evil effects of your impolicy will be confined. If in this country the fell spirit of democracy which lately appeared amongst you shall be resuscitated, I do not think that to your Irish garrison (for what will your army be but a garrison ?) you can with confidence look for succour. There is reason too, to apprehend that the state of Ireland may affect you in your foreign relations---that England will not maintain the post and dignity that become her—that foreign cabinets may take advantage of our intestine dissensions to exact from us humiliating conditions -and that thus, to the maintenance of Protestant ascendancy in a distracted province, you will sacrifice the ascendancy of England through the world. It is of that ascendancy, that better, nobler, and more exalted ascendancy, that I am the advocate; and it is because I am so, because I am as devoted to the maintenance of the glory, the honour, and the power of this great country, as if I were born aniong yourselves, and from my birth had breathed no other air than you have—it is for this that I am solicitous that you should not relinquish one of the noblest means of its sustainment, and that I warn sou not to hazard the affections, the warm, devoted, enthusiastic affec tions of millions of high-minded and high-hearted men; hut to preserre,
in a spirit of wise conservation, the great moral bulwark which you find in those affections—which does not form an item in your estimates, which is so cheap that it costs nothing but justice, and which, as long as you shall retain, so long, against every evil that may befal you, your empire will be impregnably secure.
THE SUGAR DUTIES.
SPEECH IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, MAY 18, 1841. The department with which I have the honour to be connected (tie Board of Trade) will afford me a justification for interfering in tuis debate ; it has been protracted beyond the ordinary period of the duration of our debates, but not to a period incommensurate with the importance—the incalculable importauce, of a subject upon which, in the exercise of their appellate jurisdiction, the people of England must ultimately decide. I shall not trespass upon the indulgence of those who surround me, or upon the forbearance of those to whom I am opposed, at any inappropriate length. I shall confine myself to the resolution of the noble lord, and do my best to avoid the example of those who have wai)dered far away from it, and who have indulged in dissertations not more mysterious to their auditors than to themselves. I shall, Sir, in the first instance, address myself to that branch of the question in reference to which, the people of England, the virtuous and humane people of England, feel a deep and a most honourable concern. If, Sir, to the progress of the slave-trade, by an exorbitant differential duty between colonial and foreign sugar, any effectual impejiment were interposed—if, notwithstanding that exorbitant differential duty, the slave-trade were not successful to an extent which has been stated, with too much justice, in the course of this debate, to cast a stain upon Christian. Europe—if to slave-grown sugar every port upon the Continent were not throwu widely and indiscriminately open-if with the produce of slave-labour in many forms, coffee, cotton, tobacco, our own markets were not glutted— if we were not ourselves the importers, the refiners, and the re-exporters of slave-grown sugar to the Continent, ay, and to our own colonial possessions, to an enormous annual amount, I am free to confess that with regard to the propriety of making a reduction of a differential duty,
thus upposed for a inoment, for the purposes of humanity as well as of monopoly, to be effectual, I should be disposcd to entertain a doubi Cut, Sir, when I consider that in checking the progress of the siara
traile, the safeguard of monopoly is utterly without availm-when I consider that the differential duty, which keeps the price of sugar up, dee not keep the price of human beings down-when I consider that withi. rut casting upon a barbarous traffic any, the slightest impediment, the differentini duty has the effect of impairing the public revenue, and, by enhancing the cost of one of the necessaries of life, of imposing upon the humbler classes of the community, a grievous charge—when I consider that the differential duty confers no substantial benefit upon any class of the community, excepting upon those benevolent monopolists whose sensibilities are not unprompted by their profits, and who, to the emotions of a lucrative philanthropy, find it as easy, as it is convenient, whenever a purpose, personal or political is to be promoted, to give way -I am at a loss, I own, to discover any just motive for giving sustain. ment to a monopoly fraught with so much multifarious evil, or for supporting the resolution of the noble lord. That resolution is conceived in a spirit of such obvious partisanship that I cannot withhold tho expression of my surprise that my right honourable and most distinguished friend, the member for the Tower Hamlets, should have consiJered it to be consistent with his unaffected abhorrence of slavery (for his abhorrence of slavery is unaffected) to give it his support. It does not require his sagacity, forensic, judicial, and senatorial, to perceivo that this resolution is little else than a sort of previous question in disguise; it contains no pledge against the future introduction of slavegrown sugar-it is transitory and ephemeral; it provides a ready retreat from the high ground which the new, I should rather say, the novel associates of my right honourable friend in the cause of freedom, havo su vauntingly taken up, and while it states, that the House of Commons is not prepared (no-not yet prepared) to recognise the introduction of slave-grown sugar, it intimates that under happier auspices, through that preparatory process, the House of Commons may be prevailed upon to pass. How little does this resolution, dexterous, adroit, and almost crafty, accord with the frank, the ingenuous, and, in the cause of virtue, the ardent and impassioned character of my right honourable friend. If any doubt could be entertained regarding the object and the effect of such a resolution, it would be removed by the speech of the noble lord, the member for North Lancashire, who declared again and again, that for the present a great experiment ought not to be disturbed. Surely this ought to convince my right honourable friend, wlio will forgive me, I feel convinced, if I am bold enough to tell him that in supporting a reselution, couched in such phraseology as this is, he is almost as incon sistent as those incongruous sentimentalists by whom, provided it be not presented in a saccharine form, the produce of slave-labour is unscrupulously consumed. But from personal and innocuous inconsistencies, let me pass to the anomalies, which are incidental to our fiscal system. Last year we imported upwards of tiventy-eight million pounds of save coffee, of which upwards of fourteen millions were slave-growi). The noble lord the member for Lancashire, struggling with this over. coming fact, suggested that to the supply of the cortee narket our color uies were not adequate. The noble lord seems to think that the encuid
ragement of the slave-trade is matter of mercantile expediency, and that on the price-current our philanthropy ought to depend, and our markets should be opened or shut to slave-grown produce as they rose or fell It is quite true that when the duty upon coffee was high-was ls. 7d. per pound—the consumption was so inconsiderable that the colonies suplied us with all the coffee which we required; but when the duty was lowered, the consumption increased to an extent which, without exag geration, may be designated as enormous. It is worth while to look with some minuteness into the effect which the diminution of duty pro duced upon the importation of coffee. The following table is remarkable.
From this table it is manifest, that by the reduction of duty an euermous augmentation in the importation of coffee was produced. In 1807, when the duty was ls. 7d. no more than 1,170,164 pounds of coffee were imported, the revenue was no more than £161,245 ; and when the duty was reduced, the importation of coffee rose to the vast amount of 28,723,735 pounds of coffee, and the revenue produced was £922,862. I repeat, that of this vast mass of coffee, more than 14 million pounds were slave-grown. But this anomaly, great as it is, is little when compared with the monstrous incongruity of receiving slave-grown sugar in bord, of refining and exporting it, and at the same time, of excluding it from the home market, where, upon its consumption, a duty might be raised. In 1840 we imported upwards of eight hundred thousand hundred-weight of slave-grown sugar--it was refined and exported. What revenue was raised upon it? Not a single shilling, while all the expenses incidental to the bonding system were incurred in its regard. By no one could such a system be sustained, except by the noble lord the member for North Lancashire, by whom an elaborate vindication of these inomalies was fearlessly undertaken. I shall not attempt to follow the noble lord through the various and exceedingly irrelevant topics withi which his speech was made up, but I think it right to disabuse the country of any erroneous impressions which, in reference to the opinions of Mr. Huskisson, the noble lord laboured to produce. The noble lord told us that he was u disciple of Mr. Huskisson, and took upon himself to set his opinions forth. Never was there a more egregious misrepreseuta
tion. After hearing the noble lord, I turned to a more anthorised source of information—the speeches of Mr. Huskisson—and I found that, in the account given of the sentiments of that illustrious man, his disciple was most singularly mistaken. In the year 1830, in the month of March, Mr. Huskisson made two speeches; one was delivered bv hin on the 16th of March, in a debate on the state of the country ; tho sther on the 25th of March, upon a motion of Mr. Poulett Thompson. On the 16th of March, Mr. Huskisson said :
“ Our Corn-laws, however expedient to prevent other evils in the present state of the country, are in themselves a burden and a restraint upon its manufacturing and commercial industry. Whilst the products of that industry must descend to a level of the general market of the world, the producers, so far as food is concerned, are debarred from that level.”
But, Sir, in a subsequent but proximate debate, Mr. Huskisson expressed himself in a manner still more unequivocal. I shall read his exact words, They are to be found in page 555 of the third volume of his speeches. Those words are these :
“ It was (he said) his unalterable conviction that we could not uphold the Corn-laws now in existence, together with the present system of axation, and at the same time, increase the national prosperity and preserve public contentment. That those laws might be repealed without affecting the landed interest, whilst, at the same time, the distress of the people might be relieved, he never had any doubt whatever: A general feeling prevailed, that some change must be effected, and that speedily. Nor were there any individuals more thoroughly persuaded of it than those who moved in the humbler walks of life."*
Such was the language of Mr. Huskisson in 1830, language expressive of opinions very different from those which the noble lord, who told us that he was his disciple (who could have coujectured it?) had ascribed to him. In 1830 Mr. Huskisson had been liberated from the trammels of the Tory party ; be had abandoned that party to which the noble lord is united now, and had thrown off the shackles which the noble lord has now put on. Sir, I pass from the noble lord to the monopoly which he sustains. I support what is commonly called, the West-India interest. There are West-Indians, I rejoice to say, who, of the mode of promoting the prosperity of our colonies, entertain a just appreciation. On the 11th of February last, a meeting was held in Trinidad of the chief proprietors and agriculturists. Mr. Burnley was in the chair. He spoke as follows (I quote from a Trinidad paper) :
“ I shall hail with pleasure the day when every monopoly and restriction can, advantageously for the rest of the empire, be done away with. Thank God! we are now emancipated as well as our labourers; and wo can walk abroad, bold and erect, and claim the benefit of the freest principles ; and if we are honestly and fairly allowed to trade with all the world without restriction, we fear no competition from any quarter in the colonial market of the mother-country; and when that is effected,
• See also llansarl, vol. 23. New Series, pp. 602, 816.