Rise of the West India Interest

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About
Within these mercantilist parameters, the powerful West India Interest sugar lobby worked hard to obtain favorable terms and conditions. The leading planters, often absentees who preferred the metropolis to their colonial sugar estates, established England’s most formidable lobby and threw themselves into politics. In the days of rotten boroughs, they bought parliamentary seats, and by the mid-eighteenth century they held the balance of power in the House of Commons. They could save governments from non-confidence votes, a service for which governments later repaid them.