§ Mr. Hume
said, that in the last stage of the bill it would be recollected the House refused to reduce the duty on foreign sugar, and on the preceding evening the House refused to permit the passage of free labourers from Bengal and other parts of the East Indies to the Mauritius; since that time the price of sugar had risen very considerably, and it was likely to rise higher still, in consequence of the deficient supply. What he wished, therefore, to know was, whether it was the intention of the noble Lord to take any steps to insure a supply of free labour in those colonies, on which the supply of sugar depended?
§ Lord John Russell
said, that the proposition made to the House was the admission of free labour from the East Indies to the Mauritius. The House decided against that proposition, but, as he understood, on the ground that they had not sufficient 197 information, and not on the ground that it ought to be denied at once and forever. As he understood that to be the wish of the House, he certainly should not think himself justified in allowing the importation of free labour into the Mauritius, until that further information was received. When that was received it would be for Parliament to say whether it would sanction such a plan. He did not think Government would be justified in advising the Crown to adopt it, until the question had been brought before the House. He was anxious by every legitimate means to increase free labour in our colonies, being convinced it was only by reason of a considerable increase of free labour that we could at all compete or make any successful rivalry with slave labour.
§ Bill read a third time and passed.