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for Dumfries said, that the competition haying anything to do with an article of the West-India sugar with that pro- which came into competition with the duced in the foreign slave colonies, had principal article of West Indian produce. brought down the price in the English During the last year, 63,000 cases of sugar market; and that this was one of the chief were shipped at Bahia for Hamburgh, causes of the great distress felt in the and of these 17,000 were in British ships, colonies. The hon. Member forgot that if | 27,000 in American, and 19,000 in Danish, a hogshead or a case of foreign sugar had Swedish, Hanse Town, and other foreign never been refined in this country, the ships. By giving encouragement to the competition would still have existed. The refining of foreign sugar in this country, price of sugar in this country not only de- our own shipping would be benefited, and pended on the competition in the home at the same time no injury to the Westmarket, but upon the price of sugar in the India interest would be done. As the law foreign market. Our colonies produced stood at present, no sugar could be refined more sugar than this country could con- in this country which had not been importsume, and, therefore, the surplus must be ed in British ships, so that, if the renewal sent to the foreign market; and, upon the of this Act was refused, an injury to the selling price of that surplus would depend shipping interest would be done. But it the price at home, for ihe competition to had been urged, that by encouraging the sell, even at a fraction more than the price sugar trade with the Brazils and Cuba, a in the continental markets, would always premium was held out to those colonies to keep prices level. Thus the prices of continue the atrocious traffic in slaves, now sugar produced at the Havannah and the unhappily so extensively carried on. To Brazils, and sent to Hamburgh and Trieste render, however, this argument of any or St. Petersburgh, would come into com- avail, it ought to be further extended, petition with the English colonial sugar, and we ought to refuse to take cotton, and the selling price of the former, as it was indigo, dye-stuffs, and everything else that produced at less cost, would generally de- was the produce of the Brazils. But if termine the price of the latter. The West- such a proposition were acceded to, what Indians imputed all their distress to the would become of our cotton manufacturers? merely obtaining sugar, the produce of As long as we sent goods to the Brazils, foreign colonies, to be refined here, and and that country was an extensive market therefore, called upon the House, without for our commodities, we must bring goods regard to other interests, to put a stop to back. It was said, that our trade had it. It had always been the custom with enabled us to carry on the late war, and the West-Indians to make a great outcry would the House, to gratify monopolists, in case of any measure which they imagined consent to ruin our future resources ? The might affect them in the slightest degree, object ought to be to make England the dépôt and at the same time they always attached for all the sugar of the world, that England a greater importance to their interests and might refine for all the continent. Headtheir trade than to that of all the rest of mitted something was due to the Westthe empire. The manufacturing, the Indians, but before the House could come mercantile, and the shipping interests, and to any just decision, large experiments even the rest of the colonies, were to be should be tried, with a view to ascertain disregarded when they were in question. what quantity of raw sugar would be He would venture to say, that the trade to necessary to give a certain quantity of rethe Brazils had as much capital embarked fined sugar; and these large experiments in it as the trade to Jamaica. From the should be continued for six or twelve returns which had been recently printed,it months, or else they could not get at appeared, that the exports to the Brazils the truth. No doubt the West-India for the last five years had amounted to no interest should be considered, but so less than 21,500,0001., while the imports should the shipping and manufacturing were 7,000,0001., thus leaving a clear interests of this country, which were balance of upwards of 14,000,0001. They very much concerned in this question. It had compelled the foreign sugar producer was verywell known that we seldom or never to have foreign ships to convey it to the had more than three weeks' or a montli's foreign market, in consequence of the im- consumption of sugar on hand, and the repediments that had been thrown in the way sult was, that a few rich merchants could of the English merchant or shipowner keep it out of the market until it reached an extravagant price. He could see noin this Bill, which would aggravate the real or solid objection against the Bill. distress under which the West-India planIt caused the employment of large capital ters were now suffering. -it employed a portion of our shipping, Mr. Warburton could by no means conemployed machinery, and a considerable cur with the hon. Gentleman, and as to amount of manual labour ; beside which, the delay which was called for, he conthere was no country in Europe which had sidered it would be utterly nugatory. It so many facilities for refining as England. would be unjust to the parties if the renewal We owed many of them to the great skill of the Act was postponed. Until the Goof Mr. Howard, the eminent chemist, the vernment had correct information, and brother to the Duke of Norfolk, who had until it was clearly proved that frauds employed his leisure and fortune in improv- were practised, this Bill ought to be reing the arts, and, he was happy to add, had enacted. found in the result an increase both of Mr. Cresset Pelham would not, for the reputation and of wealth. He had for- sake of one party, support an interest opmerly been a refiner himself, though he had posed to the interest of another class. no longer any interest in the business, and Sugar was better cultivated in the Westwas, therefore,so practically acquainted with Indies than any part of the world, yet it the subject as to enable him to venture an was said they ought to encourage East opinion upon it. Again he contended, India sugar. He thought the West-India that the foreign sugar being used in refin- colonies ought to be protected. ing prevented the adulteration of West- Mr. Poulett Thomson did not feel himIndia sugar, and at the same time had a self called on to go over his former calcutendency to keep its price within a mo-lations, which proved that the West-India derate compass. In fact, too, it was well-interest could not suffer by the Bill before known that one species of West-India the House. In the observations which sugar would not 'refine unless mixed had been made by the Gentlemen who opwith Brazilian sugar, and then it refined posed the measure, they had confined extremely well. To withhold that supply ihemselves to the re-assertion of facts which would, therefore, injure the West-Indians had repeatedly been urged on the same themselves. If this Bill were delayed for side. He would confine himself to merely a fortnight, it might as well be delayed expressing his opinion, that the Westfor six months, to which he could not India interests could not be in the slightest consent.
degree affected by the measure before the Mr. Burge said, he was well aware that House, and that delay could tend to no there was a great difference of opinion possible beneficial result to the West-India upon this subject, and he was glad that a proprietors or sugar-refiners. The hon. Committee had been appointed to inquire, Gentleman had contended that a greater because he was satisfied the erroneous quantity of refined sugar would be proviews of the hon. Member (Mr. J. Wood) duced from East-India sugar than from would be clearly established before that West-India sugar. That he denied. In Committee. It was not denied, that the fact, the arguments and propositions he West-Indians were now suffering great had heard for inquiry could have no other distress, which must more or less affect the object than the defeat of the Bill. By trade and manufactures as well as the passing the Bill to continue six months, to shipping interest of this country. But which, certainly, he would consent, the besides a regard for our own colonies and experiment might, in the mean time, go their aggravated sufferings, we should not on, and before the Bill was again renewed, forget, that by encouraging the growth of they would be able to ascertain how far it foreign sugar we should be positively would answer the object. He made that encouraging the slave-trade. All other offer, and would commence the inquiry governments encouraged their colonies : immediately. but our Government followed a different Mr. Hume thought the hon. Gentleman policy. He was satisfied, that foreign ought to withdraw his Motion. If the sugar yielded more refined sugar than Motion was persisted in he should vote the produce of our old colonies, and this against it. Bill must, therefore, injure,if it did not ruin Mr. Keith Douglas considered that the them. He entreated the Government hon. Member (Mr. Hume) had no right to and this House, therefore, not to persevere dictate to him any such course. He had brought forward what he considered to be the right hon. member for Portarlington a just and fair motion, and he would take they must have derived benefit from his the sense of the House upon it.
advice, which he would have given Alderman Thompson could not, after the frankly and unreservedly, and some of the offer made by bis Majesty's Government, statements which he made last night support the motion for a Committee. would surely have induced them to con
Mr. Hunt thought, that the hon. Alder-sider the subject more thoroughly than man was disposed to legislate first and in- they appeared to have done. The only quire afterwards. He would inquire first, person whose opinion had been quoted by and, therefore, he would support the the other side, was the learned Judge amendment.
who presided in that Court: but his exThe House divided on the Original Mo- perience had been very short. Last year, tion :-Ayes 130; Noes 96;-- Majority 34. when he was consulted on the same subThe Bill read a second time.
ject by his (Mr. Pringle's) right hon. friend
it appeared that he gave his sanction and EXCHEQUER Court (SCOTLAND) concurrence to the arrangement then Bill.] Mr. Pringle rose to move the adopted, of which the continuation of this Order of the Day for resuming the debate Court formed a part. But he had changed on the second reading of the Bill to abolish his opinion since, upon ten months addithe Court of Exchequer in Scotland. The tional experience. Whom else had the question had not been done justice to, Ministers consulted ? Any of the other having been brought on at an advanced Judges of that Court, all of whom had had period of the session, when it could not be much longer experience than the Lord thoroughly inquired into. The Bill passed Chief Baron? Or the lamented Judge whom the Lords without discussion, and, there the country lately lost there? Or Sir Patfore, now, in its latest stage, that circum- rick Murray, whose aquaintance with the stance increased the responsibility imposed business of that Court had been of such upon this House. In Scotland there was long standing, first when he filled the great jealousy felt at the subversion of an office of King's Remembrancer, and afterancient jurisdiction, which had always wards as one of the Judges? or did worked for the advantage of the country. they consult Baron Hume, whose varied It was suspected to be part of a series of knowedge of our laws, intimate acquaintchanges by which the peculiar institutions ance with all our institutions, and acknowof the nation were to be destroyed, and ledged talent and wisdom, would give such Scotland rendered a mere subordinate pro- peculiar weight to his opinion, that any vince of England. In discussing this Bill measure which had his sanction would be there were two subjects to be inquired into; likely, on that account alone, to be favourfirst, whether a case could be made out to ably received ? It was to be remarked, that justify the suppression of the Court; and while they refused to take the mere statesecondly, whether, in that event, the mode ments of hon. Members opposite as a of providing for the despatch of its business sufficient ground for legislation, so neither was likely to answer. With regard to the first did his right hon. friend rely on his mere question, but little could be added to the statement. He suggested an inquiry powerful statement of his right hon. friend, before a Select Committee of the House; the member for Portarlington. He regretted surely, nothing could be more fair. Various that the House was so thin when he made questions would require to be investigated that speech, which was so well calculated by that Committee, but especially the to attract attention to the subject, and causes of the great decline of judicial busileave a strong impression of the impolicy ness in that Court. The practice of comof passing this Bill. They were called pounding for the penalties was the main upon to legislate on very slight grounds cause. This system had been defended and imperfect information. They had by the learned Attorney General, and the only the statements of the member for Ayr, hon. and learned member for Stafford. without any reference to reports or re- But the practice as they represented it in turns in support of his facts. His England was very different from the abuse Majesty's Ministers ought to have made of it lately introduced into Scotland. The much more inquiry into the subject be- question was not whether compounding fore they began io legislate in so de- for penalties should not occasionally, and structive a manner. Had they consulted under peculiar circumstances, be admitted, but whether it was expedient to allow it | tion before taking so important and irreuniversally, as had of late been the system vocable a step as this. With regard to the in Scotland. Not whether it should be means provided by the Bill for dischargconducted by the wisdom and discretion ing the duties of this Court, the informof the first law officer of the Crown—the ation was very imperfect. The hon. and Attorney General-but whether such a learned member for Stafford found all the power should be vested in a mere subor- information he wanted in the Bill itselfdinate officer, like the Solicitors of Excise reasons for the abolition of the Court, and and Customs. If it could be justified in a satisfactory provision for the discharge one case, why might not the practice be of its functions. He had contrived to disextended to others? This would render cover more than he (Mr. Pringle) or any nugatory Courts of any kind for the trial Gentleman who was conversant with the and punishment of offences. If the Court subject, could. All that they were told of Exchequer had not sufficient business, was, that the whole of the present duties more might be added to it. This was in were to be transferred to a single Judge of the contemplation of his right hon. friend, the Court of Session. But as to the manas he had himself stated, before he went ner in which such Judge was expected to out of office, and would have formed part discharge these duties they were kept of the great measure which he carried quite in the dark. They were left in through the Legislature last year. There doubt, too, if all the various duties of the were many subjects which might be more Barons of the Exchequer were really fitly placed under the jurisdiction of the meant to be transferred to this Judge of Court of Exchequer than any other Court. the Court of Session. If this was to be The duties of the Commission of Wines the case, it was certainly very inexpedient; were generally considered as of this de- for there were many of these duties very scription, and there seemed to be an expect foreign to the pursuits of a Judge conation in Scotland that these would sooner stantly engrossed with his judicial funcor later be transferred to the Exchequer tions. But from some explanations of the Court. Another branch of business which hon. member for Ayr, they might infer they might fitly manage was, the depart- that the Treasury duties were to be an exment of bankruptcy concerns, and the ception. But by whom were these duties trusts arising out of them. A third, the to be discharged ? By some inferior guardianship of the affairs of minors and officers in Scotland? or had Government lunatics, which in England belonged to any lurking design of transferring all the the Court of Chancery, but in Scotland Treasury business at once to London? If was vested in the Court of Session. This so, the sooner they spoke out the better. could never be properly discharged by a He could tell them, that in Scotland such Court absorbed in judicial duties, but be- an attempt would not be very patiently longed more properly to the analogous submitted to. It was a point which was administrative duties of the Court of Ex- struggled with very hard during the chequer. The want of a system of regu- Union discussion, and the retention of the lar and constant superintendence in these Treasury functions in Scotland was very cases had long been considered a defect anxiously stipulated for. He could not, in Scotland; and a much better system therefore, conceive a more violent infracthan the present could easily be devised. tion of that treaty than such an attempt. If such duties as these were devolved upon But to come back to the arrangement for the Court of Exchequer, in addition to its transferring the business to a Judge of the other administrative duties, it would then Court of Session. He need not go over have quite enough of business to transact. the very strong objections pointed out by The question then was, whether this Bill the right hon. Baronet, to investing any onght to be proceeded in without much single Judge, not bred to English law, with more ample inquiry. The measure con- the duty of trying causes by that law. It templated had never received the ap- might bedoubtfulwhether, even in thewhole probation of any one of the many Court, this might be safely vested, but conCommissioners who had investigated and fiding it to a single Scotch Judge would be reported on the judicial establishments infinitely more objectionable. But before of Scotland. And it would, there- proceeding further with this Bill, it was of fore, not be doing justice to so important essential importance to inquire whether a measure, to deny a thorough investiga- this duty could be transferred to the Court
of Session at all, without materially im- must apply myself to an observation, with peding its other business. The Court of which the right hon. and learned Baronet Session was already overburthened with (Sir William Rae) concluded his speech business, and ought rather to be relieved last night. He said “it would neither of a part than have an additional load of be consistent, nor respectful to the peoduty imposed upon it. Last year two ple of Scotland, to pass this Bill withJudges were cut off from that Court. But out a parliamentary inquiry.” In what, the bill of 1830 was still an experiment. however, the disrespect to the people of It had not been a twelvemonth in opera- Scotland can consist, if we pass this Bill tion; and so long as its success was without further inquiry, I own I am at doubtful, it would, surely, be extremely a loss to conceive." To what degree the unwise to meddle with it, especially by people of Scotland are interested in maintransferring to it new duties. But in taining a superfluous court of justice, it Scotland there was nothing so much is not in my power to discover. Nothing dreaded as fresh changes and innovations. can be more preposterous than to imagine, For more than twenty years they had been that the people of that country feel the vexed and harassed with constant changes least anxiety to preserve this useless juin the judicial establishments. On the risdiction. Almost all the Gentlemen on whole, great improvements had been made; the opposite side used the phrase "anbut the perpetual change had itself been cient jurisdiction,” at the end of most a serious evil, and most harassing to all of their periods, as if they thought that practitioners. After the bill of last year, phrase an admirable termination. But an end of these alterations was expected; what does the antiquity of the jurisdicbut now they had a new Ministry, and tion signify, if it be confessedly usewere, therefore, destined to undergo a new less? and what grounds for a parliaseries of innovations. But if the Ministry mentary investigation has the hon. and would not allow time to make all those learned Baronet d, which would not inquiries, it was impossible to do justice to have existed previous to the passing of the such a question. What harm could Act Ist Will. 4th, cap. 69 ?
. In that Act result from allowing the Bill to lie over we bave his authority for making pretty till next Session of Parliament, when free with our ancient jurisdictions. By they might have more time to do it justice? it, the number of the Judges of the Court The only reason he had beard for such of Session, a number which it used to haste was one which the hon. and learned be reckoned almost sacrilege to interfere Attorney General rather hinted than spoke with, was reduced from fifteen to thirteen out upon. He seemed to connect this -a pretty large innovation--and which, Bill in some way with the Bankruptcy Bill, had it come from Gentlemen on this side of which was running a similar course. For the House, would have been visited with no some reason unexplained, it would be con- small wrath. By this Act the High Court venient for Government to carry these two of Admiralty was abolished--a jurisdicBills through the Legislature pari passu. tion, even in its late form, confessedly more But he deprecated this indecent haste. ancient than the Court of Exchequer (for If the measure were really expedient in it- it had existed in its latest form considerself, let them take time to convince the peo- ably previous to the Union) was abolished ple of Scotland that it was so. If not expe- by the right hon. and learned Baronet ; dient, they would feel not only that a seri- yet there was no previous parliamentary ous injury bad been inflicted on them, inquiry. The Commissary Court also but that it had been done with a marked was abolished—a jurisdiction nearly as indifference to their interests and feel- ancient as the Court of Session itself-no ings. As a Scotch Member, he was com- parliamentary inquiry preceding its abolipelled by duty to oppose this Bill, and tion. And all this was done by the right should do so in all its stages.
hon. and learned Baronet and his friends, Mr. Macleod spoke to the following who now have so many scruples in aboeffect:-Mr. Speaker; As the question lishing the ancient jurisdiction of the Court before the House concerns the interests of of Exchequer. Why, Sir, this very Court the people of Scotland, and representing, of Exchequer, this peculiar favourite of as I do, a county in that part of the the right hon. Gentleman, was, at the United Kingdom, I beg to make a few same time, reduced from four Barons to observations on it. In the first place, I two; though, in 1820, five Barons, in