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he attended to the facts, and not
Colonies; and the grounds on which he thought such a measure justifiable were these:-In the first place, there existed amongst the sugar growers a panic, which if not checked, must lead to the most disastrous results. His own opinion was, that this panic was a groundless one; but the planters had been so long taught to rely on protection, that he could not be surprised at their considering the withdrawal of that protection as equivalent to ruin. Besides, it was now confessed on all hands that the amount of advantage intended by the Act of 1846 to be conferred on the colonists had not as yet been fully or practically realized. This measure, while it conferred considerable advantages upon the British producer, he felt confident would not have an injurious effect upon the revenue. Among the measures introduced for the benefit of the planter, were the reduction of the differential duty upon rum, and a loan of 500,000l. He could have wished that this aid were larger; but the financial difficulties of the country rendered a larger loan an impossibility.
In conclusion, Lord Grey would offer one word of warning to the colonists-they should be careful not to aggravate their present difficulties by following the illegal advice tendered them from certain quarters. If they were persuaded to have recourse to rash proceedings, in the vain hope of inducing Parliament to alter that policy which it had adopted, they would only increase the present distress by preventing the influx of capital. They were blind observers of passing events, and the settled current of public opinion in this country, who could for a moment
The discussion then terminated. The second reading of the Sugar Duties Bill, in the House of Lords, did not take place till the 27th of August. It was then moved by Earl Grey, who introduced the motion with a speech of some length.
Having on a former occasion hazarded some predictions, he took this opportunity to bring forward proof that his predictions had been fulfilled. Though the distress in the West Indies was still extremely severe, yet the despatches from some of the colonies stated the opinions of governors, that the worst time is past. Wages had fallen singularly enough, they had fallen least where they were before highest; and the cost of production had been largely reduced. Governor Light, and Governor Lord Harris, and the Governor of Antigua, gave abundant testimony of a rising spirit of enterprise, previously unknown in the West Indian Colonies. Lord Grey quoted returns showing the increased production of Guiana in the present year. The transition to a better and a healthier state of things might be attended, and unfortunately was attended, with no small pressure and distress; still he believed that the change bore in it the seeds of prosperity and wellgrounded hope for the future.
But if this was his opinion, he might be asked on what grounds he justified the present Bill? The object of that Bill was to extend to a longer period, and to grant to a greater extent, the protection and privileges accorded by the Bill of 1846 to the British sugar-growing
believe that those proceedings could have the effect of inducing Parliament to alter that policy which it had adopted, to which the intelligence of the country was irrevocably pledged, and which he was convinced would never be departed from.
Lord Redesdale did not oppose the Bill, but he protested against the late introduction of it. The Earl of Granville alleged in explanation the protracted debates in the other House. The Duke of Argyle remarked that Earl Grey's speech contained no allusion to the slave trade. He was no Protectionist, and if he wished that system to endure in the West Indies, it was only in order that every means, direct and indirect, might be used to suppress the tended that free labour could never slave trade. Earl St. Vincent concontend with slave-labour.
Lord Denman addressed the House, in a speech bearing chiefly on the slave question, and on some matters personal to himself. It had been supposed that he had a personal interest in this matter, because one who was dear to him was largely engaged in it. On that subject he was utterly indifferent; the professional reputation of that individual might take care of itself. It had been said that he was a leading member of the Anti-Slavery Society. It
so happened that he never was a member of the Anti-Slavery Society; he never even subscribed to it; he never attended their councils. The noble and learned Lord then went on to say"A very formidable attack has been made upon me by a newspaper of high reputation and great name, and which is supposed to have lately passed into the care
of a noble Earl, a person of great and high talents and attainments, and connected with a still more important personage, and also with a member of the Committee which inquired into the slave trade; and the proceedings of the Committee are in some degree detailed in that newspaper, the Morning Chronicle. Therefore I feel anxious as to what your lordships may think of this. I am accused of injustice and illiberality under the mask of justice and humanity, and even of calumny. The calumny is, that I made strong observations on the evidence of Dr. Cliffe, who states himself to be a slave-trader; that is to say, the worst man on the face of the earth-the greatest criminal-condemned by the laws of three countries in Europe, and the laws of the country in which he was born. I believe what he confesses, but I do not believe what he states in his own favour. I do not know that he has ceased to be a trader: he expresses that he was a slaveowner, but that he abstained from motives of humanity, and because he was so shocked at the horrors which were committed that his delicate nerves would no longer allow him to proceed in it. Have I no right to examine the history of a witness who comes to offer voluntary evidence before a Committee, as to his former conduct? Am I not to judge from his own story whether he is entitled to be believed? He declines on two or three occasions to enter into some particulars which the Committee ask. He says, 'I have told you I should lead an uncomfortable life in the country to which I am going, and you will be spending more money in your efforts to put down the slave-trade.' He seems to
have some secret; but this he does not tell, because he is afraid we shall spend our money. I am asked, Would you not, as a judge, hear the evidence of a person who has ceased to be a thief?—I would hear the evidence of any man; but if he offered me counsel as to how I should suppress crimes in which he had himself been engaged, and he should let them be carried on to an extent in which a person was tempted by high profits to pursue them, I should know whether I was dealing with one who had those profits in his eye."
Lord Denman then turned to the general subject. He predicted
that in the next six or eight years there would be a great glut, a great demand for slaves, and subsequently an insurrection of those slaves, and a massacre of all the white proprietors. Who could contemplate that without horror? After all, would it abolish slavery? The slaves consisted of various nations, and were often in a state of absolute hostility to one another. The massacre would not be confined to whites; it would be the destruction of all.
The second reading of the Bill passed without a division, and it underwent no further debate until 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 endeavours 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-Dissatisfac[D]
tion created by this Proposal-Mr. Hume strongly objects, and again
stances of the country. It was
SCARCELY any part of the mi
nisterial policy occasioned so