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ment, I should make the same recommendations; and most happy shall I esteem myself if I live to hear that from them has been derived any increase of prosperity, or confirmation of the welfare of the inhabitants of Barbados."

A select committee was appointed to prepare an answer to the speech, which was brought up at the meeting of the General Assembly on the 23rd of November. On the motion that the address be adopted, Mr. Prescod, one of the members for the city, in pursuance of his notice at the former meeting, called the attention of the House to the first paragraph in his Excellency's speech on the opening of the session, and contended that the general election ought not to have taken place in the present month of November, as it was the period fixed in the franchise act for registering votes. The act provided "that the time for issuing writs for the election of a General Assembly shall be so ordered as not to interfere with the registration of voters." He concluded by moving as an amendment, "that the House resolve itself into a committee to take into consideration the first paragraph of the Governor's speech, in connection with the thirtieth clause of the franchise act." The Attorney-and Solicitor-General proved Mr, Prescod's misconstruction of the act to the House, who rejected the amendment by a majority of twelve votes to seven; and the original motion for adopting the reply to the Governor passed the Assembly, three members dissenting.

Her Majesty's war-steamer 'Hermes' anchored in Carlisle Bay early in the morning of the 8th of December, with the newly-appointed Governor of Barbados, his Excellency Lieutenant-Colonel Reid, of the Royal Engineers, and family on board. His Excellency landed in the afternoon under a salute from St. Anne's and her Majesty's ship 'Hyacinth,' and was received by a guard of honour of the nineteenth regiment and the functionaries of the island. After attending divine service at the cathedral on the following day (December the 9th), the new Governor proceeded to Pilgrim, where a Privy Council was held for his instalment into office.

The departure of Sir Charles Grey had been fixed for the 12th of December. On the preceding Wednesday he had the satisfaction of receiving an address presented by a deputation from the clergy, at the head of which, in the absence of the Lord Bishop who was then in England, was the Vicar-General the Venerable Archdeacon Lawson; it was worded in terms of deep regret at the Governor's departure, though he was appointed to a more enlarged sphere of duty and usefulness. The address feelingly expressed the gratitude of the clergy for his Excellency's readiness to promote, during his government of the island, all public measures for the advancement of religion and education, and the support of all charitable institutions.

"We rejoice," they concluded, "that it has been the lot of this island to

enjoy the benefit of the government of one whose early career gave the promise of talent and distinction which your subsequent conduct has so amply fulfilled; and in respectfully bidding you farewell, we would humbly pray that God, for Christ's sake, would bless your Excellency's endeavours to promote the best happiness and temporal welfare of those over whom you are called to govern; that He would guide you, and those who are dear to you, in peace and safety, through the honours and labours of this life, and bring you to his everlasting kingdom."

Sir Charles Grey was sensibly affected in reading his reply to this proof of attention and appreciation of his efforts for the welfare of those over whom he had been appointed to govern. On the morning of the 12th of December 1846 he quitted the Government-house at Pilgrim, and accompanied by his Excellency Governor Reid, the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General and several other gentlemen, drove to the engineer's wharf, where a guard of honour received him. The staff-officer on the command, and the Vicar-General with a number of the clergy and officials were here assembled to bid him adieu. After exchanging salutations with those present, he stepped into the boat, which conveyed him to the steamer 'Hermes;' and a salute from St: Anne's, which was taken up by her Majesty's ship 'Persian,' announced to the inhabitants of Barbados that their late Governor had left their shores.

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE SUGAR QUESTION, AND THE PROBABLE INFLUENCE OF THE ADMISSION OF SUGAR PRODUCED BY SLAVE LABOUR UPON THE PROSPECT OF THE BRITISH COLONIES IN THE WEST INDIES.

A REDUCTION in the scale of duties payable on foreign sugars was in agitation in 1841. This ministerial measure was based on the fallacious assertion that the British sugar colonies were unable to supply the demand of the people of the United Kingdom; and it was contemplated to reduce the duty on foreign sugar from sixty-three shillings to thirty-six shillings, whilst no reduction was proposed upon British plantation sugar. Numerous petitions from the West India colonies, and the merchants and shipowners interested in their commerce, were presented against this

measure, in which it was stated that the colonies had the strongest claims on the justice of Parliament for their support, having been forced into a measure in 1835 which had entirely changed the internal state of their society, and by which the colonies were deprived of one of the principal sources from whence they raised their revenue to meet the expenses of their civil government. Nevertheless they had entered cheerfully into the plans of the British nation; and as they were persuaded that the successful issue of the great measure of emancipation could alone be effected by extending the means of religious and moral instruction, they largely augmented their ecclesiastical establishments, and afforded additional facilities for the instruction of the labouring classes. The measure proposed by the Government had a direct tendency to increase the evils of slavery. The countries engaged in the manufacture of sugar, and where slavery still existed, were already enabled at the present rate of duty to compete with the British colonies. This measure would therefore afford a direct encouragement to the continuance of slavery and the extension of the slave-trade. The costly and arduous efforts which the Parliament and people of Great Britain had for years been making to put an end to this traffic, and the compensation they had given their fellow-subjects for the extinction of slavery in their own possessions would be nullified. The capital invested in the British colonies was estimated at a hundred million pounds sterling, which such a measure would jeopardize, as it was utterly impossible that these colonies, if dependent on free labour alone, could compete in the cultivation and manufacture of their staple commodity of sugar with foreign colonies, where not only slavery existed, but in which there was a continual addition made to the labouring population by means of the atrocious slave-trade.

Lord Sandon had given notice that in the event of the House going into a committee on Ways and Means he would move, "that, considering the efforts and sacrifices which Parliament and the country had made for the abolition of the slave-trade and slavery, with the earnest hope that their exertions and example might lead to the mitigation and final extinction of those evils in other countries, this House is not prepared (especially with the present prospects of the supply of sugar from British possessions) to adopt the measure proposed by her Majesty's Government for the reduction of the duty on foreign sugars." This resolution contains the whole arguments with which the ministerial measure was combated; the statistical data produced on that occasion proved that the estimated imports of sugar in the course of the year, including 115,000 tons from the West Indies, would amount to 225,000 tons, while the stock on hand on the 1st of January (1841) amounted to 35,000 tons; consequently the total would be 260,000 tons, or about 60,000 tons more than Great Britain generally consumed in a year. On the 19th of May, being the eighth night of the debate on Lord Sandon's amendment, the ministerial

project relative to the alteration of the sugar duties was defeated by a majority of thirty-six. Before the amendment was put to the vote, Sir Robert Peel addressed the House in a luminous speech, of which the following were the principal heads :

"He said that after the best examination he could give to the subject, he had arrived at the conclusion, that considering the present state of the West Indies, and considering the progress already made in the great experiment, which had been instituted with regard to the negroes, he would not ask the continued exclusion of foreign sugars on account of interests of individual West India proprietors, for to them the liberality of this country had been so great, that if the present question merely involved their interests, he thought that the country had a right to call on them to make a considerable sacrifice for the public advantage. He should altogether forget individual interests when high moral and social consideration was brought into discussion, when they affected the results of one of the greatest, the most hazardous, and he cordially added the most successful experiment that had ever been made in civilized society. But could he conceal from himself the possible consequences of adopting the recommendation of the Queen's Government, at a moment when our colonies, as it were, staggered and reeled under the influence of this vast experiment— could he conceal from himself what might be the possible consequences of taking a step which would decide for ever that sugar never could be produced by free labour? To him it appeared difficult for any man to regard it as a matter of indifference whether sugar was produced in new or in old colonies, as a matter of indifference whether we abandon Jamaica or not, whether we had our sugar from that colony, or whether we obtained it from Demerara, or Berbice alone. Was he to say that it had become a matter of perfect indifference what became of the capital invested in the production of sugar in Jamaica? Could he say while the present great experiment was in course of being tried, that the people of Jamaica were to be taxed for a fresh police establishment, and for a church establishment, and were at the same time to be deprived of the only means of providing for those expenses; could he hold that language, and could he further say that it was a matter of indifference whether or not Jamaica produced a sufficiency of sugar, and that if she did not, she might be permitted to fall into the same state as St. Domingo? Could he content himself with saying that Jamaica was not to be an exporting country? He could not be content to admit that that was to be the result of the great experiment in which they had engaged, that that was to be the high example which they were to hold out to other nations. It was well known that in those great colonies, the state of society was such, that the adoption of the plan proposed by government must necessarily lead to the expulsion of all the whites, and to the total occupation of the soil by the negroes, a race who would remain contented with the mere necessaries of life. There would then be no export of commodities from Jamaica, and that would be the happy condition of society, respecting which no whites of the slightest authority entertained any but one opinion. As Mr. Burnley's opinion had been referred to, he begged to remind the House that that gentleman had said, that unless labour were continued in

the West Indies by some means capital would perish, and that the most miserable consequences would ensue. Few things were more certain than that to cease the cultivation of sugar must lead to a total abandonment of the West Indies by the white population, who would carry their knowledge, capital, and enterprise to more hopeful lands. Emancipation would then be regarded as a failure, and such a failure must of course operate indirectly upon slavery in other countries; and he would further say, that if ever the black population of the West Indies should become squatters on the waste lands, or mere cultivators of provision grounds instead of labourers for hire, that then slavery and the slave-trade would have received the last and greatest encouragement which it was in the power of man to bestow. Adverting to the charge that he would possibly next year if in office propose the very measure he now opposed, the Right Honourable Baronet said, his opinion was that the experiment of emancipation should be perfectly and fairly tried, and that they ought to encourage the introduction of free-grown sugar, and the attempt to supply the market of the United Kingdom by the produce of our colonies. If he were called upon to act in office under circumstances at all similar to the present, he would pursue the same course, and he did not contemplate the possibility of acting like the ministers, of coming down to Parliament next year and making the same proposition he had resisted this year."

The subsequent change placed Sir Robert Peel at the head of the administration as Prime Minister, and to the astonishment of the colonists the prediction uttered at the time when he delivered his speech in favour of protection of the British sugar-plantations was partly realized. Although his measure was not in the commencement so sweeping as that resolved upon by his predecessor in office, it laid the foundation for the admission of sugar manufactured by slave labour. The duty of twentyseven shillings per hundredweight, which it was professed should merely continue during the war, terminated in 1842, when the duty on British plantation sugar was reduced to fourteen shillings. The duty on foreign sugar the produce of free labour met at the same time a corresponding reduction; and in consequence of certain commercial treaties with countries where slavery still prevailed, and by which they were placed on a footing of the most favoured nations, some sugars produced by slave labour were now likewise admitted at this reduced duty. The revenue was compensated for the reduction of duty, both on foreign and British plantation sugar, by the increased consumption, and this increased consumption produced a rise in the price of sugar which proved remunerative to the planter. The powerful party in Parliament meanwhile pressed upon ministers with success the measure for the admission of foreign sugar, whether the produce of free or slave labour; and though they resisted the abolition of all protective duties at that time, a sliding scale was introduced by which these duties will terminate in 1851.

The preceding twelve years, namely from 1834 to 1846, offer the example of an inconsistency in ministerial measures without a parallel

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