Skip to main content

Wats And Means—Importation Of Sugar—Question

Volume 221: debated on Thursday 23 July 1874

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he will lay upon the Table Copies of any representations which have been recently made to Her Majesty's Government by the Committee of West India Planters and Merchants, and of any Despatches consequent thereupon on the subject of the injury inflicted upon the British sugar producing Colonies by the continued exportation of sugar under bounty from Prance and other continental countries; and, whether Her Majesty's Government, seeing the disastrous consequences likely to ensue to the sugar trade of the United Kingdom if steps are not taken to place sugar imported into this Country from the British Colonies upon an equal footing with that imported from the Continent, will take measures as soon as possible to remedy the grievances complained of?

, in reply, said, there was, of course, no objection to produce the representations that had been made to the French and other Governments on the subject; but that was a matter that more concerned the Foreign Office than the Treasury; and he would observe that the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ritchie) recently obtained a Return on this subject from the Treasury; and he would suggest that the hon. and learned Member for Marylebone should move for the Paper he wished for, and that it should be added to the Return granted to the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets. The second Question was one of an important character, and one to which it was not easy to give a thoroughly satisfactory answer. As far back as 1864, a Treaty was concluded between England, France, Holland, and Belgium upon the matter referred to, and it was hoped that the provisions of that Treaty would put a stop effectually to the system of bounties, which was practically maintained in France, and, perhaps, also in other countries. Although the Treaty had been in operation for 10 years, the effect which had been given to its stipulations by France especially, had not been such as to realize the expectations which had been formed. He feared there would be very little use in continuing to press upon France the desirability of giving due effect to those stipulations. At the same time, the French Assembly had lately adopted a law with the object of introducing the system of refining in bond, and if this plan was carried into effect, the grievance complained of might be remedied. He trusted the people of France would see that it was for the general interest of the French taxpayer and producer, that that system should be adopted, and that the artificial system of bounties for the benefit of a limited class ought to be put an end to. But he doubted whether it would be consistent with the dignity of this country to continue to press this subject more than they had hitherto done; and although they would always endeavour to keep it before the French Government, they could not promise that any special steps would be taken.