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he attended to the facts, and not Colonies; and the grounds on to the opinions communicated by which he thought such a measure officers locally acquainted with the justifiable were these:- In the first colonies.
place, there existed amongst the The discussion then terminated. sugar growers a panic, which if not
The second reading of the Sugar checked, must lead to the most Duties Bill, in the House of Lords, disastrous results. His own opidid not take place till the 27th of nion was, that this panic was a August. It was then moved by groundless one ; but the planters Earl Grey, who introduced the had been so long taught to rely on motion with a speech of some protection, that he could not be length.
surprised at their considering the Having on a former occasion withdrawal of that protection as hazarded some predictions, he took equivalent to ruin. Besides, it this opportunity to bring forward was now confessed on all hands proof that his predictions had that the amount of advantage inbeen fulfilled. Though the dis- tended by the Act of 1846 to be tress in the West Indies was still conferred on the colonists had not extremely severe, yet the des. as yet been fully or practically patches from some of the colonies realized. This measure, while it stated the opinions of governors, conferred considerable advantages that the worst time is past. Wages upon the British producer, he felt had fallen-singularly enough, they confident would not have an inhad fallen least where they were jurious effect upon the revenue. before highest ; and the cost of pro- Among the ineasures introduced duction had been largely reduced. for the benefit of the planter, were Governor Light, and Governor the reduction of the differential Lord Harris, and the Governor of duty upon rum, and a loan of Antigua, gave abundant testimony 500,0001. He could have wished of a rising spirit of enterprise, pre that this aid were larger ; but the viously unknown in the West financial difficulties of the country Indian Colonies. Lord Grey quoted rendered a larger loan an imposreturns showing the increased pro. sibility. duction of Guiana in the present In conclusion, Lord Grey would year. The transition to a better offer one word of warning to the and a healthier state of things colonists--they should be careful might be attended, and unfortu- not to aggravate their present diffinately was attended, with no small culties by following the illegal pressure and distress ; still he be advice tendered them from certain sieved that the change bore in quarters. If they were persuaded it the seeds of prosperity and well- to have recourse to rash proceedgrounded hope for the future. ings, in the vain hope of inducing
But if this was his opinion, he Parliament to alter that policy might be asked on what grounds which it had adopted, they would he justified the present Bill? The only increase the present distress object of that Bill was to extend to by preventing the influx of capital. a longer period, and to grant to a They were blind observers of passgreater extent, the protection and ing events, and settled curprivileges accorded by the Bill of rent of public opinion in this 1846 to the British sugar-growing country, who could for a moment
believe that those proceedings could of a noble Earl, a person of great have the effect of inducing
Parlia- and high talents and attainments, ment to alter that policy which it and connected with a still more had adopted, to which the intelli- important personage, and also with gence of the country was irre- a member of the Committee which vocably pledged, and which he was inquired into the slave trade; and convinced would never be departed the proceedings of the Committee from.
are in some degree detailed in that Lord Redesdale did not oppose newspaper, the Morning Chronicle. the Bill, but he protested against Therefore I feel anxious as to what the late introduction of it. The your lordships may think of this. Earl of Granville alleged in ex- I am accused of injustice and planation the protracted debates in illiberality under the mask of the other House. The Duke of justice and humanity, and even of Argyle remarked that Earl Grey's calumny. The calumny is, that I speech contained no allusion to made strong observations on the the slave trade. He was no Pro- evidence of Dr. Cliffe, who states tectionist, and if he wished that himself to be a slave-trader; system to endure in the West that is to say, the worst man Indies, it was only in order that on the face of the earth the every means, direct and indirect, greatest criminal-condemned by might be used to suppress the the laws of three countries in tended that free labour could never Europe, and the laws of the counslave trade. Earl St. Vincent con- try in which he was born. I becontend with slave-labour.
lieve what he confesses, but I Lord Denman addressed the do not believe what he states in his House, in a speech bearing chiefly own favour. I do not know that on the slave question, and on he has ceased to be a trader: he some matters personal to himself. expresses that he was a slaveIt had been supposed that he owner, but that he abstained from had a personal interest in this motives of humanity, and because matter, because one who was dear he was so shocked at the horrors to him was largely engaged in it. which were committed that his On that subject he was utterly in- delicate nerves would no longer different; the professional reputa- allow him to proceed in it. Have tion of that individual might take I no right to examine the history care of itself. It had been said of a witness who comes to offer that he was a leading member voluntary evidence before a Comof the Anti-Slavery Society. It mittee, as to his former conduct ? so happened that he never Am I not to judge from his own a member of the Anti-Slavery story whether he is entitled to be Society; he never even subscribed believed ? He declines on two or to it; he never attended their three occasions to enter into some councils. The noble and learned particulars which the Committee Lord then went on to say- ask. He says, 'I have told you I “A very formidable attack has should lead an uncomfortable life been made upon me by a news: in the country to which I am going, paper of high reputation and and you will be spending more great name, and which is supposed money in your efforts to put down to have lately passed into the care the slave-trade.'
have some secret; but this he does that in the next six or eight years not tell, because he is afraid we there would be a great glut, a great shall spend our money. I am demand for slaves, and subsequently asked, "Would you not, as a judge, an insurrection of those slaves, hear the evidence of a person who and a massacre of all the white has ceased to be a thief ?'— I would proprietors. Who could contemhear the evidence of any man; but plate that without horror ? After if he offered me counsel as to how all, would it abolish slavery? The I should suppress crimes in which slaves consisted of various nations, he had himself been engaged, and and were often in a state of absohe should let them be carried on lute hostility to one another. The to an extent in which a person was massacre would not be confined to tempted by high profits to pursue whites; it would be the destruction them, I should know whether I of all. was dealing with one who had The second reading of the Bill those profits in his eye.”
passed without a division, and it Lord Denman then turned to underwent no further debate until the general subject. He predicted it became law.
Finance-Division of Public Opinion, at the commencement of the
Session, respecting the National Defences-Views of the Free Trade Leaders on the subject-Lord John Russell makes a Financial Statement on the 18th of February–His Speech—Detail of the Income and Expenditure-Proposition for continuing the Income Tax for Three Years at the increased Rate of Five per Cent.—Unfavourable reception of the Ministerial Statement by the House—Sir Charles Wood endearours to propitiate the Opposition by moving that the Army, Navy, and Ordnance Estimates be referred to a Select Committee-Observations of Mr. Hume, Lord George Bentinck, and other Members Great Agitation excited in various parts of the Country by the proposed augmentation of the Income Tax—The Chancellor of the Exchequer announces on the 28th that the Government do not intend to press the Resolution for increasing the Income Tax—His Statement of the Financial Prospects of the Country-Speeches of Mr. Wakley, Mr. Cobden, Lord John Russell, Mr. Disraeli, and other Members. The public feeling is turned by these discussions to the unequal pressure of the Tax as then existing—Mr. Horsman proposes a Plan for graduating the Tax in respect to different kinds of Property-The Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord John Russell oppose the Motion-It is rejected on a division by 316 to 141-Mr. Hume moves that the Tax be renewed for One Year only instead of Three-Sir Charles Wood opposes the Motion—General discussion on the Income Tax-:Sir Robert Peel defends his own Measure and Policy-He is answered by Lord George Bentinck-Mr. J. Wilson defends, in an elaborate speech, the Free-Trade Measures of Sir Robert Peel—Mr. Disraeli argues on the other side Mr. Gladstone vindicates the recent Commercial Changes in an able speech-Speeches of Mr. Cobden and Lord John Russell—The Debate, after two Adjournments, ends in the defeat of Mr. Hume's Motion by a Majority of 225– Sir B. Hall moves that the Income Tax be extended to Ireland-Summary of his arguments—It is opposed warmly by the Irish Members, and resisted by the Government-Majority against it 80—Unsatisfactory position of the Finances, with an anticipated Deficit—The Chancellor of the Exchequer promises to make a definite statement before the close of the Session - On the 25th of August he enters fully into the state of the Revenue, and announces his plan for supplying the
deficiency-Proposition to raise 2,031,2261. by a Loan-DissatisfacVol. XC.
tion created by this Proposal-Jr. Hume strongly objects, and again urges retrenchment of the Expenditure-He reneu's his objections on the 29th, when the Bill for giving etřect to Sir Charles Wood's Plan is before the House ---Speeches of the Chancellor of the Erchoquer, Mr. Henley, Mr. Drummond, Mr. Spooner, Mr. Cobden, Mr. A. Smith, and Lord John Russell-Nr. Thome's Motion for rejecting the Bill is negatired by 66 to 43, and the latter is passed.
nisterial policy occasioned so naturally anticipated that the Gomuch dissatisfaction during the pre- vernment, in framing the Estimates sent session as that which related to for the present year, would exhibit the public finances. It forms a pro. their adhesion to one or other minent chapter in the history of the of these views; and this circumsession, and the retractation and stance gave additional interest to variation of the schemes proposed the tinancial statement of the Preby Government makes it neces- mier. In opening the contents of sary to devote to it a more extended his Budget, Lord John Russell space than is usually allotted to rapidly surveyed the commercial Finance in this volume. The Budget distress caused by the scarcity, the was originally announced for an high price of corn, &c.; its effect early day—the 19th February- on trade, on the social condition of but, for reasons which will presently the people, on the Excise, and on appear, the financial arrangements the sources of the revenue generemained unsettled almost till the rally. Mr. Huskisson had reclose of this very protracted session. marked, in 1817, that after a great It is necessary to premise, by way famine a falling off of ten per cent. of introduction to the statement of in the revenue ought not to be made the Prime Minister, now about to a subject of wonder. Lord John be given, that shortly before the also reminded the House, that in reassembling of Parliament the the last statement made by Mr. validity of our arniaments for the Goulburn, before he went out of purpose of national defence had office, he only took some of his esbeen the subject of much discus- timates for three quarters of the sion in the public prints, and some year to which his speech applied. eminent authorities, both military That circumstance, with some and civil, had expressed a good others, bad transferred 628,0001. deal of distrust as to the predica- which ought properly to have been ment in which this country might included in the expenditure of that be found in the possible contingency year to the expenditure of the folof a sudden invasion. On the other lowing year, 1847–8, apparently hand an active party, consisting augmenting a deficit which was mainly of the popular champions really no than 304,0001. of the Free-Trade movement, had Lord John also took credit for the strenuously denounced such alarms increase of revenue derived from as chimerical and delusive, and the alteration of the Sugar Duties, had avowed their opinion, that a re- which yielded 3,571,0001. in 1845, duction rather than an increase and 4,414,0001. in 1817. The of military force and expenditure balance sheet of the past year was was called for by the circum- presented on the 3rd of February,