a bounty. That the suppression of beet-root sugar would occasion an increase of revenue was not called in question. The increased consumption of tropical sugars would create an extended market for French manufactures. It was such a commerce that had created the mercantile navies of England and Holland. The sugar of the island of Bourbon paid a lower duty than that of the Antilles, because it had to pay higher freights; on the same principle the sugar of the Antilles ought to pay a lower duty than home-made sugar; but the reverse was the case. The reverse was the case, because home-grown sugar could not compete with it on equal terms. Equalizing the duties would destroy the beet-root sugar, and therefore it was better to suppress it at once. To remain where they were, was impossible; and the Government measure was the fairest to all parties.

M. Stourm admitted that the Government measure would increase the revenue. He maintained that the colonies could not be saved. The only labour that could be obtained in them was negro slave labour. Slaves could neither increase nor re-produce themselves by natural means. The abolition of the slave-trade was gradually, but certainly, depriving the colonies of their labourers, Emancipation, it was clear from the experience of Hayti and the English colonies, would accelerate the ruin of the planters. The colonies could not be saved. The manufacture of home-sugar would be sacrificed, not to the colonial but to the foreign sugar-growers. Most ex: aggerated notions were entertained of the benefits the shipping interest would derive from the increas

ed use of tropical sugars. The increase in the national tonnage from 1830 to 1840 was 85 per cent.; of this only 44 per cent. was attributable to the carriage of foreign and colonial sugars. The only way to benefit the shipping interest was to increase domestic prosperity — to protect domestic industry. He should vote against the Government measure, because it was intended to create not a great nation but a great revenue. M. de Lamartine maintained that the only remedy—the only palliative for the sufferings of the colonists—lay in dealing equalhanded justice to two great branches of industry. The colonies had been estranged from them by the Revolution, but, at the Restoration, had been re-incorporated into the national body. During their estrangement the hallucination of rendering the soil of France alone sufficient to supply all the wants of its inhabitants had given birth to chicory, and beet-sugar, as substitutes for colonial produce. But, although the colonies returned and the dream of commercial isolation vanished, the bounty upon the production of beet-root sugar, to the disadvantage of the colonies, was continued. Experimental legislation had shown that colonial and beet root sugar could not co-exist. The question to be solved was— Which ought to give way? M. Stourm’s remarks about shipping proved nothing: although the proportion of the mercantile navy employed in the shipment of sugar might not be large, where was the use of throwing away that porportional part? Objections were made to the extirpation of a branch of domestic industry. That did not deserve the name of domestic industry, which was the mere artificial creation of an imperial edict. It was said that the time of the colonies was past; they were a precarious possession; they cost 15,000,000 a year. Precarious—so was every possession; but they were also valuable. Admitting that they cost 15,000,000, a year, they consume great part of our corn; twothirds of the produce of our Newfoundland fisheries; they consume 54,000,000 of our manufactures; they produce sugars paying yearly 40,000,000 to the treasury; they may cost us 15, but they bring us in upwards of 90,000,000 M. de Lamartine concluded by dwelling upon the importance of a commercial navy as a nursery for the state navy in event of war. Beet-sugar could not exist on equal terms of competition with colonial sugar, and therefore he voted for its suppression and the indemnity. M. Laplagne, Minister of Finance, did not intend to dwell upon the measure proposed by the committee, at i. It was strange that, in legislating on a point which vitally concerned the colonies, shipping interests, and naval power of France, it had servilely copied the policy of countries which possessed no colonies, no direct maritime commerce, and no navies, Government was accused of sacrificing domestic industry to foreigners. He had no predilection for foreigners, but he wished to trade with them on good terms, in an age when the poorest and the most abstemious man could not dine without contributions from the four quarters of the world. He denied that beet-sugar was a profitable branch of the na*ioual industry. It had displaced

more profitable investments of labour and capital. In proportion as the cultivation of beet-root had increased in the northern departments, so had the importation of foreign cattle. This was not an increase in the number of lean cattle imported for fattening, but of fat cattle for the shambles. The same was the case with sheep. To grow sugar they were obliged to give up rearing cattle. To lower the duties on colonial sugar, with a view to place them on a level with home-made sugar, would not he thought increase consumption; it would diminish the revenue, leave consumers as they were, and benefit the dealers in sugar alone: colonial sugars could not keep the market under the present rate of duty against home-made sugar under the present rate of duty. The home-made sugar could not bear a higher duty. To equalize the duties would diminish the revenue. In order to support the revenue, and at the same time restore the sugar trade to a healthy condition, it was necessary to suppress the beet-root sugar. Admiral Roussin, Minister of Marine, took part in the discussion, as special defender of the interests of the marine army. He felt convinced that the Chamber was friendly to the navy. France wished to be a maritime power; she must desire the means as well as the end. The measure proposed by the committee was an antimarine measure. The Government estimates gave 11,000 men as the number of mariners employed in the fisheries and colonial trade. In this number were not included the navigation between Senegal and the Antilles; between Bourbon and the native

marts of India; nor the French coasting trade set in motion by the transport of sugar. The number of Sailors kept in employment by the colonial trade would not be over-estimated at 15,000. To these might be added all required for the export trade in refined sugar. In a document issued by the speaker's bureau, the disposable mariners of France were estimated as at present amounting to 120,5ll individuals; whereas, in 1839, they were only 107,095. The increase is only apparent. From the 120,000 individuals must be deducted 23,000 unfit for Service from age and infirmities, and 13,000 workmen and apprentices who were not seamen. This reduces the number of effective seamen to 84,000, capable of being employed either on board men-ofWar or merchant ships. But from this number must be further deducted about 30,000 cabin-boys and waisters. The total number of available seamen did not in reality exceed 54,000. On the other hand the 15,000, estimated as engaged in the colonial trade were seamen from eighteen to fifty years of age. It might be added that mere coasting seamen were not well qualified for men-ofWar's men. There were in truth not more than 40,000 French seamen fit to serve in the navy, and of these the colonial trade supplied 15,000. It was their duty to extend, not to contract, this important branch of the mercantile navy. Battles lost by their navy might easily be repaired; but the effects of a law repressing the colonial navy would be permanent and deadly. A nation, in order to be powerful at sea, must be able to recruit its fleets as promptly as

its land armies. They could not

improvise "sailors; a mercantile navy was the reserve of the marine army. M. Gauthier de Rumilly, reporter of the measure proposed by the committee, rose to dispute the calculations of Admiral Roussin. On the 1st of January, 1843, the number of sailors in the state navy was 27,000. This was double the average of the numbers in 1833, 1834, and 1835. Since 1840 the average had been between 25,000 and 32,000. Tho number of sailors in the mercantile navy had increased in the same proportion. The sailors of the mercantile nav had increased without the aid of such a concession as ministers proposed to make to the colonial trade. M. Gauthier de Rumilly denied that the measure of the committee was calculated to injure the shipping interest. M. Berryer intimated that, although a member of the committee, he approved neither of the measure proposed by the majority nor of that proposed by the minority. He supported the ministerial measure as the only guarantee for the development of the maritime power of France. The measure of the committee was injurious to the treasury, to the colonies, to navigation, to the beet-sugar producers themselves. It condemned the manufacturers of beetsugar to a hopeless struggle of five years, in order to save 40,000,000 of indemnity, the payment of which was to be distributed over that period. The home-grown sugar pays 20 francs per quintal less than the colonial, and 44 francs less than foreign sugar. The quantity of beet-sugar avowedly produced is 53,000,000 of kilogrammes per annum. B substituting home-grown for foreign and colonial sugar, nearly 16,000,000 are annually subtracted from the treasury, without gain to thc consumer. By paying 40,000,000 of indemnity in five

years, they would gain perma

nently 15,000,000 per annum now thrown away. The much dreaded expense of indemnity would be in truth an immediate saving. There were only two alternatives: to suppress beet-sugar and equalise the duties on all colonial and metropolitan products, or to declare the colonial compact void. M. Berryer remarked that they had lost many colonies, but still possessed valuable ones. Emancipation of the negroes was inevitable: it would increase the price of labour; let them prepare the colonies to meet the difficulty. Let them do justice to French shipping: four-sevenths of their maritime commerce was carried on under foreign flags. If France was to be merely a continental power, they might abandon the colonies, not otherwise. He did not ask them to dream of equalling the maritime power of England, but to wage an honourable rivalry with that nation in intelligent commercial enterprise. In the course of the discussion an amendment was moved by M. Passy, in the following terms : — “The excise duty imposed by the law of July 18, 1837, on home grown sugar, shall be raised gradually to the rate imposed on American colonial sugars. “For this purpose four additional francs shall be imposed on home sugars during each of the next four years.” This amendment was of course opposed by Ministers, as if carried, it would be fatal to their own measure. It was, however,

successful, and carried with the substitution of the term of three years instead of four in the latter clause. The ministerial measure, in consequence, fell to the ground, and it was doubtful what course they would adopt on the occasion; but at length M. Gauthier de Rumilly (the reporter of the Committee's measure,) announced that the Government had assented to the proposal of the Committee, subject to the amendment recentl carried; and had in concert wit them reduced to two the numerous classes of sugar. A ballot was then taken, when there appeared for the law as amended, 286 white balls, and 97 black balls —consequently, the amended measure of the Committee was carried. On the 18th of July, the Order of the Day in the Chamber of Peers being the adjourned discussion of the budget of expenses, M. Guizot replied to some questions which had been asked the day before by the Marquess de Boissy and Viscount Dubouchage, and we give a few extracts from his speech. “As to Ireland (said M. Guizot), I do not see that I am entitled to speak of it. If the question of Ireland was fully discussed in the English Parliament, and that in any way affected us, there might be cause to allude to it; but as it now stands, I certainly shall not touch on the subject. I do not hesitate to declare, that if similar movements were to take place in France, and that if the matter was discussed in the English Parliament, in order to manifest sympathy like that now demanded from us, we should complain of such conduct, and very justly. What we desire is, that peace and tranquillity may be speedily re-established in the United Kingdom.” The only questions then to which he could allude (continued M. Guizot), were the special ones spoken of As to the Right of Search, until the treaty was otherwise regulated, its enactments were executed honourably, faithfully, and with great moderation, by both nations. There was, therefore, no ground for any complaint on the part of the noble Marquess (de Boissy). With respect to Buenos Ayres, France had three principal objects to attain—not to take part with either side; to protect French subjects; and lastly, to bring about the establishment of peace. What did most injury was the interference of certain Frenchmen, with arms in their hands, in the affairs of the country, and this was what caused the greatest difficulty to the French Government, as it was desirous to struggle against this tendency. The noble Wiscount seemed to think that the treaty of October, 1840, had not been executed on the part of the Government of Buenos Ayres, and that the indemnity was not in a course of payment. It was a mistake to think so. The payment had been commenced, and would certainly be paid to the last farthing. There were at present in those latitudes two frigates, two corvettes, and a brig; and, in addition, the station of Rio Janeiro was within reach to afford assistance if necessary. As to the affair of New Zealand, it was more difficult to give the details, for it was still pending at London. There were three questions to be decided—a question of sovereignty over a portion of the territory; a question of civil rights for the French colonists; and lastly, a dispute to settle between the Go

vernment of England and the Nanto-Bordelaise Company, who took those colonists to their destination. These matters were not easily settled, and were at present under consideration. “ Such,” concluded the hon. Minister, “are my explanations on the matters addressed to me. I trust I have replied without doing any injury to the interests concerned. It is not an easy task to speak on all subjects that may be deemed by noble peers to require explanations. When affairs are concluded, I can speak of them without any difficulty, but the Chamber will observe, that those on which I have been interrogated are not so. I think I was authorised to go as far as I have gone, and I certainly shall not go further—nay, more, I shall not promise to go for the future as far. The Government is not, like the public journals,obliged to speak every morning. When it has accomplished any affair on its own responsibility, it is ready to explain, but it cannot consent to be shackled in its proceedings, by interrogations made at every instant without sufficient cause. For my part, I shall never be induced by any question to utter a word which may prove injurious to the interests of the Crown and the country.” The Session of the French Chambers closed on the 24th of July, when the Royal decree of prorogation was o In the course of the year a marriage had been contracted between the Prince de Joinville, the son of Louis Philippe, and the Princess Francisca, the sister of the Emperor of Brazils and the Queen of Portugal. The Prince went to the Brazils to bring home his bride, and arrived with

« ForrigeFortsett »