4 MARCH 1905, Page 2

In the House of Commons on Monday night Mr. Chamber-

lain spoke in the debate on the amendment condemning the Sugar Convention. He disclaimed the authorship of the Con- vention—that honour belonged to Six Michael Hicks Beach— but be was ready to defend it against the partisan attacks of the Opposition. The reason of the increased price of sugar was simply a decrease in production, and such fluctuations were common enough in other commodities, where no agitation was thought necessary. The great fluctuations in the past were caused by bounties, and the Convention had at least removed that artificial cause of falls and rises. The Con- vention had its weak spots—it represented prohibition, while he preferred retaliation—but it was essentially a Free-trade measure, and aimed at securing for a commodity its natural price. The important thing was to widen and vary the area of production, in order to counteract the effect of the failure of local crops.