§ In reply to a question from Mr. MOFFAT, with respect to the period when the discussion on the Sugar Duties would be taken,
§ SIR R. PEEL
said, the hon. Gentleman was aware that the Sugar Duties were granted by an annual vote of Parliament; whereas the Custom Duties, to which his Motion the other night had express reference, were permanent duties. But, in taking a general view of our commercial policy, although he intended to reserve a discussion on the Sugar Duties until the Bill relating to them should he brought forward, he had thought it right to intimate the intentions of Her Majesty's Government with respect to those duties. The Sugar Duties were not included in the Tariff, because it referred to permanent duties only.
§ MR. MOFFAT
wished to know whether the discussion on the Sugar Duties would be taken at an advanced period of the Session, according to the usual practice, or would be taken at a very early period, as had been the case last Session?
LORD J. RUSSELL
said, that, before the right hon. Gentleman answered that question, he wished to remind him that a discussion on the Sugar Duties would raise two important questions. The first of these questions related to the amount of differential duties; and the second related to the subject of free-labour sugar and all other foreign sugars, which had been frequently discussed in that House. Those 453 two questions would be raised when the Sugar Duties came under discussion; and although he did not wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman to bring forward the subject either on an early day or a late day, he begged of him to consider what course it would be most conducive to the public interest that he should adopt on the matter.
§ SIR R. PEEL
should have no objection to bring forward the Sugar Duties on an early day after the measures to which he had called the particular attention of the House had been disposed of. He thought that as far as the Government business was concerned those measures were entitled to precedence, and until they had been disposed of he would not take the sense of Parliament upon the Sugar Duties. He had been aware of the inconvenience that would necessarily arise from a reference to the Sugar Duties sometime before the sense of Parliament could be taken upon the subject. But he had been convinced that he would have been asked what were the intentions of Her Majesty's Government upon that question; and he had felt that to have declined to give an answer, or to have given an equivocal answer, would have subjected the trade to greater embarrassment than any to which it could otherwise have been exposed.