§ Mr. Potter
said, he did not see any authority in the Act by which interest was payable on the amount of the grant from August, 1834. It did not appear to him that the public ought to be saddled with such an addition as this. It was well known that the planters would be enormous gainers by the grant; in most instances, though compensation was granted, the slaves would work for wages. Under these circumstances he gave notice that he should move to leave out the sixth Clause.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
thought that he could satisfy the hon. Member, in a few words, of the propriety of the Clause 475 and that his proposition was not consistent with the contract which had been made. The act proposed to take from the slave-owners a great portion of the labour of their slaves, for which compensation was voted them in 1833. The question then arose, at what period was the interest to commence? Was it from the time when the Government chose to raise the money? That could not be, because they might, under such an arrangement, have postponed to raise it indefinitely. Was it from the period when the conduct of the colonies was satisfactory? That would defer it till the time when the compensation was issued. The period from which the grant ought to bear interest was surely that from which the planters suffered loss and their losses commenced at the time when the Act came into operation. This was no proposition of his; it was Lord Althorp's; it was communicated to all the colonies, and it would be a violation of one of the most sacred contracts ever entered into, if the proposition of the hon. Gentleman were adopted, which was, that one of the contracting parties should make an alteration in the terms, without the other party having been heard on the subject.
§ The Report was received.