HC Deb 22 May 1815 vol 31 cc314-5
The Chancellor of the Exchequer

moved the order of the day for the further consideration of the report of the New Stamp-duties.

Mr. Grenfell

inquired whether any, and what composition had been made with the Bank, for the privilege they enjoyed of issuing notes without any stamp whatever?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that a negociation had been entered into on this point, but that no specific arrangement had as yet been made.

Lord Lascelles

hoped the right hon. gentleman did not mean, without mature consideration, to persist in the proposed scale of Stamp-duties. Some of them, he thought, would rather injure than benefit the revenue. He conceived the additional duty on advertisements to be of that description.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that, with respect to the branch of Stamp-duties to which the noble lord alluded, as well as some others, which he had not yet been able to investigate with sufficient attention, he did not mean to bring them forward on the present occasion. There were several other points connected with, the Stamp-duties, to which he intended to propose a number of verbal amendments. If the House generally wished the consideration of this subject to be postponed, he would accede to their feeling; since he was sure the intermediate time would be usefully employed in the collection of information from without doors.

Sir M. W. Ridley

thought the additional duty on advertisements would have an effect exactly contrary to what the right hon. gentleman seemed to expect.

Mr. J. P. Grant

observed, that the duty on law poceedings in Scotland, would do away all actions for small debts. The expense would be so great, that no person would originate an action in the Court of Session, unless for sums of great magnitude.

Mr. Horner

was surprised that the right hon. gentleman should think of increasing the Stamp-duties on the law proceedings of Scotland, particularly as they were already so extremely heavy in that country.

Sir Romilly

declared, that the proposed increase would operate as a total denial of justice to the inhabitants of Scotland, where law proceedings were already so extremely expensive, and where, in particular, it should least be imposed. The effect would be to render litigation an instrument of vengeance in the hands of the rich to oppress the poor, as none but the opulent could support the weight of law-suits.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

spoke in a low tone of voice, but we understood him to recommend an assimilation of the Stamp-duties in Scotland with those of England.

Sir J. Newport

deprecated such a determination, which was not justified by the peculiar circumstances of the two countries.

Mr. J. P. Grant

said, that from the nature of the law proceedings in Scotland differing essentially from those in England, an assimilation of the Stamp-duties would be an extreme hardship to the former. He therefore entreated the Chancellor of the Exchequer to postpone the consideration of the question, and inform himself, by means of the law officers of the crown, on the true state of the case.

Mr. Horner

desired to know how the money to be derived from such a measure would be employed, and whether it was intended for the increase of the salaries of the law officers? He understood that the salary of the Lord Advocate of Scotland was lately raised to 3,000l. per annum, and that of the Solicitor General for Scotland to 1,600l.; he desired to know whether the report of such a misapplication of the public money was correct?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

replied, that the report was correct, as the former salaries of those officers did not seem adequate.

The Report was ordered to be re-committed on Friday.