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while many thousands of the natives, who a short time ago derived a livelihood from the growth of cotton and the manufacture of cotton goods, are without bread, in consequence of the facilities afforded to the produce of America and to the manufacturing industry of England; but sugar, to the production of which the lands of the petitioners might be turned, is loaded with such heavy duties in England, as effectually to shut the market against the industry of the East-Indians, when turned to this particular commodity*.”
Let it not be thought that in my desire to benefit England and do justice to her Eastern colonies, I would sacrifice the prosperity of our West India colonies; no such thing; experience-painful experienceteaches that although the West India colonies have had a monopoly of the sugar trade for nearly half a century, they have not been benefited.
The reduction of the duty from 24s. to 20s. on West India sugar would be productive of great benefit to the West India planter, (particularly coupled with a diminution of the duty on West India coffee and cocoa, as will be subsequently detailed,) and it would be a prelude to a further reduction when the East India supplies had become fully developed. The British public have behaved with splendid liberality to the West India proprietors, in granting 20,000,0001. as a guarantee against contingencies which may arise from the emancipation of their slaves. Let the latter now evince their gratitude in turn by admitting, or at least not opposing, the adoption of the measure which the East India Company have unanimously resolved to petition Parliament on, viz., the equalization of the duties levied on East and West India sugars. entirely with the petition to Parliament, adopted at the India House on the last court-day, because it merely prays for equalization of the duties on colonial sugars. Equalization would, it is true, benefit England and our eastern possessions, but unless it be accompanied by reduction, the West India proprietors would be sufferers, and, as the talented and patriotic chairman of the East India Company (Mr. Loch) observed, during the debate, the East India proprietors have no desire to seek advantages at the expense of the West India proprietors, or of any other community in the state. With a tax of 24s. as at present levied on West India colonial sugars, there is very
little profit to the planter or merchant or mortgagee; a reduction of 4s. would be a substantial benefit, and enable the latter to compete on fair and just terms with our East India colonists ; first, from being only six weeks' voyage distant from England instead of six months; second, from the price of labour and the interest required for the loan of capital rising in the East and falling in the West; and third, because the long-prior establishment of factories in the West Indies gives them a decided advantage over their Eastern brethren.
I do not agree
* Extract from a petition of the Hindoos to the Imperial Parliament in June, 1832; a petition which, to the disgrace of the Legislature and Government, has never yet had the least attention paid to it.
+ The cost of producing one cwt. of sugar in the West India islands is stated to be 15s. 100. (rum deducted); the import and sale charges are, freight 58., dock rate 8d., commission and brokerage is. 7d., insurance 8d., rent 2d., interest on advance 4d., primage, pierage, fees, &c., 1d. ; total 88. 6d. ; grand total 24s. 4d. ; while the average Gazette price of West India sugar in 1830 (the year calculated for) was 24s. 10d., and of East India sugar 188. Od.
It is an egregious error, however, to suppose that the subject now under consideration is solely a West or East India question: England is primarily interested in its developement and right adjudication; and perhaps no other article in our system of taxation can so clearly illustrate the importance due to financial science, which, in fact, is the main-spring of poverty and wealth in a nation : for instance, (without dwelling on the disadvantages and manifold evils that have accrued from our past system regarding the sugar duties,) an adoption of the measures proposed would be attended by the following important results :
First,—The revenue would be raised from 4,000,0001. to 14,000,0001. a-year on sugar, with, in reality, a diminution (because more equally extended) of the burthens of the people.
Second, --Public health would be improved, sugar being one of the most valuable nutriments, while its cheapness would materially tend to augment the use of coffee and tea, and thus lessen the drinking of ardent spirits.
Third, — Maritime commerce would be wonderfully benefited: the augmented supply of sugar, to the extent of 8,000,000 cwts., requiring the additional employment of four hundred thousand tons of shipping.
Fourth,-Domestic trade and manufactures would be immensely benefited by the contemplated change; the commerce now carried on by Britain with her eastern colonies is not one-fiftieth part of what it would be under a just system; at present we are beggaring the AngloIndians without benefiting ourselves, (witness the mercantile failures of East India houses to the enormous amount of 15,000,0001. within the brief space of a few months.) We have forced on India, by the tyrannous will of a conqueror, our steam-wrought goods at a duty of 2 per cent. levied on them in India ports, while we have put 30l. per cent. on the productions of their hand-wrought looms; from 2001. to 3001. per cent. on their sugar; 3001. per cent. on their coffee; 5001.
cent. on their rum, &c. &c. when imported into England ! .
There is no truth in sacred writ more frequently verified than that the commission of evil (injustice) brings with it its own punishment : the dogma is as applicable to man in his collective as in his individual capacity. Had we treated our myriads of subjects in the East with the slightest approximation to justice, the wide-spread ruin which has of late befallen thousands in England connected with India would never have occurred, and the poverty, misery, and crime now stalking over the once innocent fields of Albion would have been in a great measure averted. Ere it be too late,-ere the twelfth hour elapse, and while reason holds her sway paramount,-let me entreat the British legislature to turn a willing ear and ready hand towards our colonial interests. If an illustration of the advantages of so doing be requisite, behold the following :-If we would consent to take from our subjects in the East the sugar and other products with which Nature has so bounteously enriched their soil and climate, they would be enabled to purchase from us in one article alone as follows :
100,000,000 British subjects in India ;- -an average of longcloth for each 20 yards=2,000,000,000 yards, at 6d. per yard, 50,000,0001. sterling !
This is but a tithe of the commerce, by the adoption of a just financial system, we may carry on with the British colonies in the Eastern bemisphere.
THE PARVENU COUNTESS.
" To hold the mirror up to FASHION."
“How is her ladyship?” asked a little, thin, old woman, bent double with age, and clothed in rusty mourning. “ How is her Ladyship ?" repeated the poor old creature with a hurried earnestness, and an emphasis so strong, that, like the knock on the Earl of Anketell's hall door which had preceded the question, it seemed impossible that the sound could have been caused by the emaciated and diminutive figure that stood at the portal,
" How is her Ladyship ;-well I like that,” replied a tall, corpulent servant, whose red swelling cheeks and thick purple lips gave an expression to his mockery somewhat between burly contempt and rage at being so seriously disturbed for nothing, and by nobody.
" How is her Ladyship; well, what impudenice. the common people have come to !”
“My good fellow, I entreat you to answer me,” said the old woman, her fine, sharp, and prominent old features, and large grey eyes casting forth an expression of imploring earnestness.
“My good fellow: well, if I stand this from such as you, I'm," muttered this surly pofter, slamming the door in the poor creature's face.
The knock was repeated with redoubled energy, and the porter reopened the door with a visible resolution to get rid of the intruder.
“Give your Lady this,” said the old woman, thrusting towards him a sealed letter : "give her this, and, I assure you; she will be overjoyed to see me.
" My lady never suffers us to take in begging letters."
“ This is not a begging letter; and here is a half-crown for your trouble."
"Well, what impudence you beggars have come to! You are a genteeler beggar than I should have thought by your looks; but, my good woman, it is more than my place is worth to receive petitions from beggars."
“ Stand aside! open the door! be quick! Here's my Lord and the Duke of coming down stairs!” said a lad in livery, whose countenance spuke a gentle nature,—that is, a nature not so long in office and authority as that of the surly porter of Lord Anketell’s hall.
True it was that the stripling Duke of who had just come into his immense estates after the nursings of a long minority, had terminated a pretty long interview with Lord Anketell, and his Lordship was accompanying his Grace from the drawing-room down stairs to the hall, and the servants had not been made aware of his approach. Some confusion and bustle took place; but the folding-doors were widely thrown open, six or seven servants, in their splendid liveries, hastily drew up in a double line, bowing profoundly to the peers as they passed between, and holding their breaths whilst his Lordship gave the Duke a shake of the hand, cordial and sincere in full proportion to his rank and unequalled affluence. It was in this scene of hurry and confusion that the little old woman in black had contrived to slip past the ser
vänts through the door without being perceived. She had fitted, with a witch-like rapidity suited to her strange figure, through the outer hall, had passed the vestibule and the great staircase, and had actually got into the inner hall, and at the foot of the back stairs, without being perceived. Here she met a maid-servant descending with a small silver tray of sandwiches and liqueur-glasses, and she immediately began to entreat her to take the letter to her Lady, offering the solitary halfcrown as an inducement. The maid coolly put the half-crown in her pocket, and, reading contemptuously the superscription of the letter, threw it upon the tray, observing, as she passed, that it should be given to her Lady some time in the day, but she knew it would never be opened, for letters “ of that look "
It was at the moment when the old woman was sinking upon a bench, overcome with affliction, that the servants of the hall discovered her. They had missed her im mediately the Duke had got into his cab; and, after staring in every direction, to their astonishment they beheld her sitting, as they thought, at her ease in the inner hall.
“ You impudent old wretch! how dare you get there ?” cried the enraged porter, waddling to her, and seizing her by the shoulder to thrust her into the street. He had already pulled her to the foot of the grand staircase, when the woman thrust out her attenuated and withered arm, and grasped with her long thin fingers one of the volutes of a scagliola pedestal which supported a massive or-molu Jamp.
“ No power on earth shall force me hence! I will see Lady Anketell, or here I will die!" cried the old creature with a tone which almost terrified the servants. There was something dreadfully impressive in it, and it appeared almost supernatural when its energy and resolution were contrasted with the form from which it proceeded.
The porter seized her shrivelled, spider-leg-like fingers, declaring, with an oath, that he would wrench them off or crack her joints, if she did not let go her hold. He suited the word to the action, and evinced no symptom that he had uttered an idle threat. His thick lips became purple with rage; but his victim firmly retained her hold, and bit her under lip that seemed more like parchment, whilst her eyes stared wildly at him, dilating as in the paroxysm of frenzy.
“For God's sake, Burton, don't break the poor old creature's wrist ! wait and she will give way,” said the lad we have before mentioned; and he took hold of the sturdy arm of his fellow-servant to restrain his violence.
“Let go, or I will squeeze your very nails off," said the porter, and the woman uttered a faint screech, and her face became convulsed, though she seemed to grasp her object with undiminished firmness.
“ Burton, she will pull down the pedestal and break the lamp; the noise will disturb his Lordship, and you know his temper when any thing goes wrong. Leave her alone, and I will get a policeman."
These arguments of the lad had more effect than his appeal to humanity. The porter let go his grasp; the lad was sent for a police officer ; and the footmen stood in a group, discussing whether it would be better merely to have the woman turned out, or taken before a magistrate.
In a few minutes the boy returned with a police officer. All eyes were immediately turned to the place of recent struggle, and every voice simultaneously cried out, “ By she is off; she has escaped!"
Where can she have got to ?-how could she get away?-it is impossible!-and a score of similar ejaculations, seemed to convey the idea that the servants really began to think they had been contending with a witch that had vanished into air.
“ Got to ?” said the policeman; “ why down stairs, to be sure, and she has robbed the house, and escaped, probably, up the area-steps.'
This idea was adopted by all; each accused the other of stupidity, in not having at first thought of a thing so palpable; and at last all turned with fury on the lad for having prevented the violent ejection of the woman in the first instance. The poor boy stood in speechless terror, overwhelmed with the idea of having been the cause of a robbery in his Lordship’s house. At length the policeman assumed the direction of affairs, and having placed a servant at the front and another at the back area, to prevent escape, he descended with a third, in order to search the offices and basement story of the mansion.'
The supreme wisdom of all the parties was here entirely at fault. The fact was, that whilst the porter had stood with the outer-door ajar waiting for the return of the foot-boy with an officer, and whilst the rest of the servants had got round him to settle the difficult point of simple ejection, or of ejection followed by custody in the station-house, and correction by a magistrate, the old woman had almost flown up the grand staircase, and had entered a magnificent ante-room, where she stood gasping for breath, and her senses perfectly bewildered at the dreadful scene she had gone through.
It was with difficulty that she collected her scattered thoughts; but at last she grew sensible of the magnificence around her, and she began to reflect that the splendour seemed to realize, or surpass, all she had read in fairy tales about oriental grandeur and magic treasures. She paced fearfully through the scene, her mind too saddened by one sole object to be attracted by wealth, except through a vision of its power over the affections of nature. She found a door partly opened, and holding her breath, and stopping like a mortal upon the precinct of hallowed ground, she entered a bed-room, so superb as to make the preceding chamber appear almost poor. A painted ceiling, mirrors extending from that ceiling to the ground, buhl cabinets, and tables of enamel and gold, covered with china vases, bouquets, bijoutrie, and jewelry of dazzling lustre, might have confused the brain of any person whose mind was sufficiently at ease to be moved by splendour. There was a large bed, with its golden canopy, and royal purple curtains lined with rose satin, and on it was a human figure, but so buried in pillows of down, and shaded by lace, that it was impossible to tell whether it was the person of a child or of an adult. At the side of the bed were two tables of enamel and gold and of buhl, the one covered with new novels, and with poems and books of prints, superbly bound, and the other hid by a profusion of trinkets, rouge pots, scent bottles, perfume caskets, mirrors set in gold, and ornaments beyond an ordinary capacity to name. A golden caudle-cup, on a gold salver, stood in the middle, and its untouched contents showed that the patient had not been disturbed to cloy the surfeited appetite with refreshments. The once decent, but now rusty and somewhat tattered mourning of the old woman, with her humble widow's weeds, formed a singular contrast to the surrounding splendour, as she stood, with a palpitating heart, by the bed-side gazing on