HC Deb 21 March 1821 vol 4 cc1384-400
Mr. Western

rose to move for the repeal of the late additional Malt tax, and maintained that upon every consideration of feeling, justice, and policy, that motion ought to be agreed to; for no tax existed which was so injurious to the comforts of the people or to the interests of agriculture. He protested against the idea generally held out, that any member who called for the repeal of a tax was bound to propose a substitute, for that would imply that he who discovered the oppression or injustice of a tax was not entitled to complain unless he were disposed to I become a second chancellor of the exchequer, whose peculiar duty it was, to provide for the financial exigencies of the country. But he the more objected to this idea, because he was an advocate for the reduction of the aggregate amount of taxation. He wished it, however, to be distinctly understood, that he did not desire this reduction, by the exemption 'of the agriculturists, or any particular class, from the general pressure. He was not one of those who would tax the funds for the support of the poor-rates, or who would recommend any violation of the faith pledged to the public creditor. The amount of the poor-rates was undoubtedly a subject requiring the attention of parliament; but be would not embarrass his present object by any reference to that subject. The purpose of his motion was, to produce the removal of a tax most oppressive in its operation, and in consequence comparatively unproductive to the revenue. In order to show that the tax was unproductive the hon. gentleman then entered into a detailed comparison of the tax upon malt, the growth of barley, and the extent of produce and consumption from the year 1791 down to the present day, showing that in England, Ireland, and Scotland, the produce of barley, and the consumption of malt had diminished, as the tax upon the latter had been advanced. Hence, he concluded, that this branch of the revenue had been egregiously mismanaged. He thought some means might be found to remedy the evil of excessive importation, without infringing upon the spirit of the act of 1815. As to the speculative opinions which had been broached upon the subject of free trade, gentlemen might as well talk of the abstract rights of man as of the abstract principles of free trade. To constitute a free trade, the British agriculturist must possess the same advantages as the foreign grower but if he started with such a load as the aggregate amount of taxation in this country, while the foreign grower laboured under no such disadvantages, this was any thing but a free trade. Another great source of pressure upon the agriculturist, and indeed upon all classes of the community, was, the operation of the act passed in 1819, vulgarly called Mr. Peel's Bill. He was aware that it would be considered almost profane in that House to call in question the wisdom of that measure, but without impeaching the wisdom of the act, or the abilities of the persons who advised it, he must be permitted to declare his firm conviction that it would never be a permanent act. He called upon the House, as it regarded the principles of justice and policy, and as it valued the prosperity and morals of the country, to agree to the measure which he had the honour to propose. He concluded by moving for the repeal of so much of the act of 1819 as imposed the Additional Duties on Malt.

Mr. Mackenzie

said, that the extent to which illicit distillation had been carried in Scotland in 1816, had occasioned the act to establish small stills for the express purpose of consuming the inferior grain raised in the remoter districts of Scotland. In consequence of this change of system, a great increase of the quantity of spirits distilled had taken place up to the period of imposing the additional duties on malt, when the inferior species of barley was rendered perfectly unsaleable, because it was only barley of the best quality which could afford to pay the duty. The barley in the greater part of Scotland was of an inferior quality, and the consequence of imposing the additional duties was, that almost the whole of this barley was thrown into the hands of the illegal distiller. The duty on ten gallons of English spirits was 3l. 5s. 6d.and in the northern districts of Scotland the same quantity of illicit spirit could be purchased for 9l 10s. It was almost unnecessary to say any thing more in order to show that this was a premium on smuggling, and that such a policy affected the revenue no less than the morals of the country. With regard to the effect of this tax in reducing the consumption, it appeared that on the quantity of spirits made in Scotland during the last year, there was a diminution of 100,000 gallons, as compared with that of the preceding year. He believed he stated the uniform sentiments of the magistrates of Scotland, when he said, that there was no increase of revenue to be purchased by this tax, which was not more than counterbalanced by the evils which it brought upon the, country.

Mr. Ellice

said, that if he could reconcile to himself that the tax might be dispensed with, without injustice to the public creditor, or injury to the- wants of the state; and if there could be any rational hope, that the distress of the landed interest could be relieved by the repeal, he would support it; and he could do so with the more consistency, as he had reprobated its imposition in 1S19; when the other measures then determined upon with respect to the currency, rendered the country less able to. bear the additional 3 millions of taxes. Now, with respect to the expediency of repealing any tax, he had often stated his opinion, that, under the peculiar circumstances in which we were placed, and with a view to the permanent benefit and security of the fundholder, if the country was really able to wade through the difficulties of our situation, that it would be both just and politic to relieve the present pressure, to the extent of the supposed sinking fund—looking to the effects of such a measure, and the future prosperity which was anticipated in some quarters, to cause us hereafter to establish a more efficient fund for the redemption of debt—and as his hon. friend had stated that the additional taxation on malt had considerably reduced the consumption—this was to him an undeniable proof that the present tax was excessive and injurious, both to the grower and consumer; and he had therefore no hesitation in saying this was a case in which we were justified in commencing our reduction of the public burthens. He would put it to the House, whether the sinking fund, as it was now managed, was really a fund for the benefit of the stock-holder. All his hopes on this subject had vanished, when the necessities of the country required the great inroads already made upon it. The nominal amount was said to be now between 2 and 3 millions, and appeared more to be viewed as a fund to satisfy the extravagant exigencies of a profuse government, than as applicable to the object under pretence of which it was drained out of the pockets of the people. What was the necessity for so much intricacy and complication in our accounts relative to the sinking fund? An account was laid on the table, by which, in various sums, and under different denominations, about 17 millions of money appeared to pass and repass between the commissioners, and the Bank and Exchequer, of which, last year, according to the admission of the chancellor of the exchequer, only about a million and a half was applied to the reduction of debt; and, according to other accounts, not above half that sum. What was the meaning of all this complex operation—merely to keep up useless establishments and sinecure offices? He had another objection to the accounts as they were now kept—that the country was represented as owing a third more than, bad as was our situation, the debt amounted to. Why not at once cancel the redeemed, debt;—and, if there was really a surlus at the end of the quarter, apply that simply in reduction of the arrears of the consolidated fund; or, in the further redemption of such stock, as it appeared most beneficial to the country to purchase? The truth was, that nothing tending to economy could be expected from the administration; and all this machinery was, to keep out of sight the jobs and waste of the ruinous system on which the administration of our affairs was conducted. Would the House believe, that the same amount of excise and customs duties—for the collection at the two periods was nearly equal,—34 millions cost in 1807 1,100,000l.; and in 1820, 2,400,000l.? Part of this difference might arise from the abolition of fees; but that could not amount to a million; and, in fact, if there was no surplus on the sinking fund, he thought the repeal of this tax was desirable, to force on government the absolute necessity of retrenchment. The House ought now to make, the experiment, how far a limitation of means might affect the object which all parties appeared to desire. He could not coincide in the opinions of the exclusive pressure with which this tax bore on the agricultural interest. It was mainly felt, until our arrival at a diminution of consumption, by the consumer, at which point it began to press on the producer. There were many better reasons for its repeal, but none more cogent than the effects to be apprehended from them, on the moral habits and comforts of the agricultural labourer; but he was content to ground his vote on the occasion, on his hon. friend's showing on this part of the case, and upon the statement generally, that the agricultural petitioner selected this tax, as that from the repeal of which, at present, they expected some relief. His hon. friend had talked of rendering the act of 1815 more effectual for the protection of the home grower. He had thought, on the contrary, that the useful experience which the agriculturists had hitherto had of that system, would have induced them now to be the foremost in praying for its repeal; and if he could venture to recommend to gentlemen so tenderly alive to their own interests, the measure most likely to promote them, he would suggest to the committee up stairs, the repeal of that law as peculiarly adapted to that purpose. What good had the advance of the price of corn to 80 done in 1817, 1818, and 1819? It had oppressed, the consumer, for the temporary advantage of the grower; and this last, in his turn, was still more grievously oppressed by the forced importation, from the temptation which a double price held out, not only of all the surplus corn of other countries, but by our creating a scarcity in those countries; the inducement being so great, as to insure our receiving any grain, which could be scraped together for exportation. Make this bill, as his hon. friend called it, more effectual—raise the price, if you please, to 90, and what are the consequences? They must be additionally oppressive to both consumer and agriculturist. The same scarcity, or apprehension of scarcity, which would carry the price to 80, would raise it speedily to 90. The increased price is an additional temptation to the foreign merchant. And again, your markets must be overstocked and overloaded, with a surplus beyond our wants, which will press with double weight upon the farmer, in the one or two subsequent seasons, and more particularly after he has been led to expect the high price to which corn must have arrived, to encourage this importation. This absurd system was not only injurious to ourselves, but to the rest of the world, at least, to the foreign consumer, and, indeed, in the end, to the grower, although he may temporarily reap the benefits of our folly, by the extravagant, instead of the moderate price at which, if we required it, we might purchase his produce. In short, he should only tire the House by following all the details of absurdity and mischief which the continuance of this system was calculated to produce. Then, as to those other propositions for what was called protecting the agricultural interest—they must lead to the same results. High prices are the remedy most in vogue; but then, how are these to be procured? The price of grain in this market, now exceeded that of any other market in Europe, on an average about 25 per cent. Would any disinterested person say, that was not a sufficient prohibition against the particular or partial taxation, oppressing the cultivator of the soil in England beyond the farmer in other countries? If, then, this protection is sufficient against over-taxation especially bearing on land, how far do the agriculturists desire us to push this principle for their relief? Would they wish us to force the average value of wheat to what was called the remunerating price of 1815, to 80, and to make the cost of the labourer's subsistence in England more than double that at which the artisan in Flanders or France is maintained, and with which countries we have now to compete in manufactures and commerce? Or, do they think, if the legislature should be absurd enough to pass laws for this purpose, that any government could at the moment when this application became necessary, enforce them? The simple truth was, that with the depreciation of our currency went high prices; and since the rejection of the motion of his hon. friend (Mr. Baring) a few nights ago, the agriculturists might safely banish any expectation of again seeing them, and prepare, as best they might be able, for the change of circumstances, by which not only their interests, but most of all the trading part of the community had been so seriously affected. The farmer, it was true, could easily escape. He must reduce his expenses, as his capital had been reduced to one-half, and then call upon his landlord and the parson to diminish in the same proportion their rent and tithes. In short, if he could venture to recommend any course of inquiry to the committee up stairs, as that from which any beneficial results could be expected by the farmer, it would be to give up all hope of high prices, and to bend their attention entirely to the reduction of expenses. Let them take the account read in the House by the member for Norfolk (Mr. Wodehouse), of the comparative produce and expenses of a farm in 1792 and 1820. The price of wheat was now, and would remain much the same as at the former period; and the expenses of rent, tithes, taxes, and tradesmen's bills must be reduced to the same standard. The farmer, although in his own estimation he may not be so great a personage, or appear of so much consequence in the eyes of his inconsiderate neighbour, from the reduction in his style and mode of life, will be equally comfortable and more independent, unless he has contracted debts, instead of laying by a provision for altered times—when his case like that of any other debtor, whose burthen has been so much aggravated, and whose means have been so much diminished by the enhanced value of money, will indeed be desperate; and no remedy to be expected from the legislature, after their former determination, can relieve him. With respect to the landed proprietor, where he is entirely unencumbered, he may submit to the depreciation with the perfect assurance that a diminution in his expenditure, equivalent to it, will, at no distant period, follow the reduction of his rent, from the fall in the price of all other commodities. The incumbent proprietor will at last feel the effect of all his blind confidence in the ministers who have unfortunately brought the country to its present crisis, and regret in vain the support he has given them, in enabling them to anticipate and waste the resources of the country in ruinous and unnecessary wars, successful possibly as far as the page of our history may relate them, but the fruits of which are only now seen in the distress and suffering by which the nation is so universally oppressed. To say that he felt equally for that portion of the landed interest, who had, with constant subserviency supported the principles and resolutions brought forward by the chancellor of the exchequer in 1813, with respect to our currency, and the proposition of the right hon. member for Oxford in 1819, without exercising their own judgments or opinion on so momentous a subject, would be to disguise his real feelings. The effects of the last measure they would not so easily shake off, as they derived temporary advantage from the first; and among the necessary and unavoidable effects must be, the reduction in the price of agricultural produce to about the same relative price it bore to that of other countries in the ten years preceding 1796. He had foreseen and foretold all these difficulties, on the proposition for restoring the standard in 1819; and although he concurred entirely in the principles of the committee, in the dilemma in which the country was then placed, he doubted much, whether the injustice of restoring the standard was not as great to one class of individuals who had been led into contracts, under grievous circumstances, as it would have been to another class, whose interests had been so much and so unjustly affected by the paper system, if parliament had then rendered the depreciation permanent. Depreciation to the extent of the necessities of the state,—if the alternative of depreciation had been adopted—to which opinion he was then inclined, from a full sense of the difficulties which surrounded us, and from no desire on any other ground than the absolute necessity of the case to defend himself, as advocating a measure so apparently and otherwise really unjust—was a portentous question; and he was satisfied that any lesser proposition than making the standard 5l. 10sinstead of 3l. 17s. l0d. could not have cured the evil. This opinion, however, he so singularly maintain- ed, that he was unable to find an individual in that House who would second a proposition for recording it on the Journals; and he had always objected to any half measure of relief, by depreciating the standard to any lesser amount, from which great mischief would naturally result, without any adequate compensation for the sacrifice of principle it necessarily involved. It was on these grounds, that having once agreed to the restoration of the standard, he would be the last to recede from it. He had voted against the proposal of the hon. member for Taunton, by which, although not directly or openly, and therefore the more objectionably, lie effectually sought again to depreciate; the standard. If there was a question, on which his mind was more decidedly made up than another, it was, that no temptation of expediency: should now whatever might have been his feeling in 1819, induce us to deviate from the course we had chosen; and he should, if our future experience confirmed his apprehensions of the difficulties we had still to contend with—prefer any other distressing expedient which necessity might force upon us, to any fresh tampering with the currency. One benefit had already resulted from the restoration of our standard—the relief which a depression, of prices had generally given to the industrious classes, and as the distress still to be borne, would lean on those Who, in a great measure were the promoter of it, they had only now to look back with bitter lamentations on they past confidence, and make, amends for it to the public, and seek relief for themselves in a determination, to enforce economy and retrenchment to the utmost extent on the government. On this occasion and on, all others, he would assist, them on this principle to the utmost of his power, he would be most ready to listen to and consider any suggestions which might be offered, to take off those taxes which partially affected them, although the present, one did not so directly as was alleged—even if compelled to substitute others to their place—and.no person could; regret more than he did, that by the short sight edness of their own policy, they had in some measure, sacrificed to the monied, the old landed interest of country on the independence and prosperity of which our liberties and institution so mainly depend On these grounds differing as his opinions, did essentially from those of the hon. gentleman who introduced this] motion, he gave it his entire consent.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that when the hon. mover stated, that the produce of the tax on malt had been diminished by the additional duties imposed in 1819, he had by no means accurately stated the accounts before the House. Now, the first inference which lie should draw from the accounts on the table was, that the repeal of the war duties on malt in 1816, did not relieve the agriculture of the country, which he should prove by an argument of the same nature as that of the hon. member, for he should shew that the repeal of those duties did not increase the consumption of malt in the succeeding years. The average quantity of malt between July, 1816, when the; duties were taken off, and July, 1819, when a considerable part of those duties was reimposed, was less than 22,980,000 bushels; whereas, in the three preceding years, it amounted to 26,469,000 bushels, so that there was a diminution of upwards of 3,000,000 bushels, after the tax was taken off. But if the repeal of the tax had not the effect of increasing the consumption, neither had the reimposition of it the effect of producing any further diminution of consumption. On the contrary, since 1819, there has been an increase of 1,200,000 bushels. The quantity of beer consumed by a large portion of the community was for the most part so uniform, that a moderate fluctuation in the price of barley did not materially affect the amount of consumption. From a computation which had been made, it appeared that the strong beer brewed within the last year, exceeded by 40,000 barrels the average of the three years before. He maintained that the malt duty fell not upon the farmer, but upon the community at large; and if this position was clearly established, as he contended it was, he would ask, whether any tax could be more equally levied upon the mass of the people. He would also contend, that no unfair proportion of the tax had been raised from Scotland he could not therefore consent to any partial diminution of the malt tax with respect to that country. It was argued that the malt tax tended to encourage illicit distillation in Scotland. He was not, however, aware, that any general diminution had taken place in the distillation of spirits. There might, perhaps, have been a partial diminution but if so it arose from another cause. Under these circumstances, her must oppose the motion.

Lord A. Hamilton

pointed out the severe hardships which the increased malt duty imposed upon the landholders of Scotland. It was unfortunately discovered that a small portion of land in. the neighbourhood of Edinburgh was equal in its produce to good English land, and therefore the whole produce of Scotland was taxed equally with the produce of the most fertile laud in England.

Lord G. Cavendish

supported the motion, from a conviction that it would alleviate the distresses under which the agriculturists laboured. It might be in vidious, in the present state of the country, to state how the operation of any particular tax was felt. But take the operation of the taxes generally; let them look to the manufacturing and the commercial interests, and they would find that both were able, according to the vulgar phrase, to hold their heads above water. Could the same be said of the agricultural interest. Let them look back for the last twenty years. Let them recollect the burdens which had been laid upon the landholder within that period,' and then let any gentleman put it to him self how it was possible for the land holder or farmer to bear up against those burdens.

Mr. Wodehose

said, that the tax in question was the most objectionable of all our taxes both in a moral and political point of view. He knew of his own knowledge, that it prevented many persons altogether from growing barley. It was impossible to deny, that it went in fact to destroy the cultivation of barley altogether. Landholders now turned themselves to growing of wheat as the most productive grain, the consequence of which would be the speedy exhaustion of the land, and from this would arise that greatest of all curses, a high price of bread. The only way to avert this evil would be, to encourage the cultivation of the lighter soil, by which means a permanent stock would be secured. Some might wish to reduce one tax and same another, but the main question to be considered was, which portion of the community was labouring under the greatest distress? He would any the greatest distress was felt by the arable land farmer. As long as the Poor laws remained in force So long would the landholder have a paramount claim upon parliament when exigencies required their interference. Was stated that the proprietors of certain lands extorted high rents from the farmer; now the average produce of the lands alluded to was 40 bushels of Wheat or barley per acre;—the rent was 26s. and he should leave it to hon. members to say if that rent was exorbitant. Never was there a period of greater, agricultural distress than the present. He felt it a duty which he owed to the magistracy and yeomanry of the country to state, that the effects of that distress were only warded off by the mutual cooperation of both; and he feared that unless some remedy was devised, we should be reduced to such a situation that magistrates would be obliged to order the maintenance of the poor on men whose substance was gone, and whose fortunes were ruined. On these grounds he would support the motion; guarding himself however, against any implied censure on the conduct of government.

Mr. Sumner

said, that the war which had required the present heavy taxation had been supported by the people. Never since man became a pugnacious animal had a war been more cordially supported by the people. He had voted for the repeal of the horse-tax; and he would vote with every member who proposed any reduction of taxes that might relieve agriculture; yet he would vote against the present motion.

Lord Folkestone

did not think that the repeal of this tax would relieve agriculture; but it would relieve the community, which was a much more desirable result. With respect to the necessity so often contended for, of keeping good faith with the public creditor, under all circumstances, he could not help regarding it as fallacious. The maxim, "nemo tenetur ad impossibile," was one of universal application, and he could easily conceive cases in1 which a perseverance in what was called good faith might ultimately prove to be had faith. If the advantage of the public creditor was to be purchased by the injury of the whole community, he conceived that the obligation to preserve that faith was at an end; for the greater must be the more binding duty. Every day's experience rendered it more and more evident, that the country could not go on maintaining its faith at such an ex- pense; it was, therefore an act of duty that good faith Should submit to necessity. Suppose the County were threatened with invasion; and that it wife impossible to prepare for its defence If we persisted in paying the public creditor—would it not, in that case, be a breach of duty towards the nation at large not to break faith with the public creditor? Suppose the public debt had accumulated to such an amount, that the taxes necessary to pay the interest created such distress among the people, as to require the suspension Of our liberties, in Order to preserve tranquillity—was not that a ease also in which they would be justified in breaking faith with the public; creditor? [Here there was a good deal of confusion in the House.] He would interest the House not to be driven by any alarm at the opinions which he had expressed, from voting for the motion. The best way of avoiding any breach of faith was, to support every motion for economy.

Mr. Huskisson

said, he would call upon the House to recollect that it was only two years ago since government had come down, and recommended an addition of three millions to the taxes for the maintenance of the public credit, and that taxes to that amount were passed by a majority of 327 to 129. Would any one say, that such a change had taken place since that period in the circumstances of the country as to render it necessary that they should repeal four-fifths of the addition then made—for that was the proportion which the tax under consideration bore to the whole amount? If we were in a Situation to reduce any of the public burthens, this was not the first tax which ought to be removed. But when hon. members attributed all the distress under which the agricultural interest laboured, to its operation, they were guilty of great inconsistency: for the distress had not only existed before it had been imposed; but during the war, when it was Is. a bushel more than it was at present, the agricultural interest was in its most flourishing condition. Whatever other objections there might be to this tax, he did not think that any could be made to its unequal operation. Hon. gentlemen had argued, that it ought to be removed' on account of the general distress which prevailed. Now, when he heard it asserted, that the manufacturer, the artisan, the agriculturist, and the land-owner Were all involved in extreme distress; he was in- clined to refer to facts to ascertain how, far that position was made out. He could not state his views of the subject better than by showing the effect which the fall of prices had produced upon the different classes of the community. These classes were of three kinds: first, those who obtained their subsistence by their daily labour; second, those who lived upon accumulated and dormant capital; third, those who by their industry and intelligence in the use of their capital gave employment to those who composed the first class. Now, he apprehended, that though considerable distress might exist in some parts of the country, from want of employment, the fall of prices, occasioned by the late: improvement of the currency, had considerably benefited those who were in the first class. The condition of the second class, was also ameliorated. That class consisted of the public creditor, of annuitants, and of persons whose income was derived from monies placed out at interest. The persons of whom this class was composed, had been taunted as the idle part of the community. He would call them persons, who, after a life of slow gains and patient industry, had confided their earnings to the care of the public honour; and he trusted that to a British parliament it was not necessary to make any appeal in their behalf. During the war, a depreciation of 25 per cent had taken place in the value of money: under that depreciation these individuals had suffered; and it was not too much to allow them to enjoy in quiet the alteration of circumstances which had since occurred. If the depreciation of money during the war had not equally affected the landlord, it was only fitting that it should so affect him now. But the truth was, that the land-owner had benefited greatly by that depreciation: he had raised the rent of his land in consequence of it, and he must now lower it in consequence of the fall of prices. The third class included merchants, ship-owners, farmers, and those who gave employment to capital; and on them: the change in the currency had operated severely. It was, however, to be recollected that this was the class which had received so much benefit from the diminution in the value of money. They were, he believed, in a state of considerable distress; but that distress had been chiefly created by the facility with which I it they had obtained; money during the war The land-owner wished to compensate himself for the burthens under which., he laboured, and, in order to do so, availed himself of the speculations into which the farmer, who was his tenant, was perpetually running. Many of these speculations had since plunged those who hat! made them into great difficulties. These, difficulties had then recoiled upon the landowner, and had brought him to that House for redress. But the House would be deceiving itself, if it thought that it was in the power of any human legislation to change the course of events like these, which arose from unalterable causes. The difficulties of the land-owner, arising from this source, were, however, aggravated by others, in which the course of events had also placed him. He had fixed upon his estates, jointures, mortgages, rent-charges, &c. which he found himself unable to discharge. This led to a struggle about rent, between him and his tenant, and thus increased the evil condition of both.—It was, however, maintained by some, that all this distress was the effect of taxation alone. He maintained that it was not, and would give a practical illustration of the correctness of his position. No gentleman would say that the pressure of those difficulties which at present almost overwhelmed America was the effect of taxation. The poor-rates bore with great weight upon this country; but that could not be considered as one of the causes of the distress which prevailed in America; where a still greater fall of prices had taken place than had taken place in England. He regretted the state to which that country was reduced, both on the score of common humanity, and because our own prosperity was connected with that of others. The same causes that produced this unequalled distress there, had operated here; hut he thanked God in a less degree; but still the effect was so severely felt, as to make people too gloomy and despondent about the result if the country maintained public faith with its creditors; if it Was true to the principles upon which, up to the present period, it had always acted; if disentangled itself from those branches of trade which, instead of promoting, impeded its interests; if it avoided those infamous expedients to which other nations had thought it requisite to resort it would come out of the distress in which it was involved with unimpeached. honour with a character; rendered more brilliant by the very dangers to which it had been exposed the right hon gentleman concluded with moving the previous questions.

Mr. Witber force

said, he was anxious to see the public burthens alleviated as much as possible; at the but at the same time he was persuaded of the necessity of keeping faith public creditor. He would not aggravate, unnecessarily, the burthens of the country for he was convinced that the best strength of a government was the good will and hearts of the people [Here the hon gentleman proceeded for several minutes, in the midst of loud cries of "Question!"]; He complained of this interruption, and said, that gentlemen who came down late should have come consideration, if not for those who sat there patiently all night at least for the nature of the question itself. It was not one to be disposed of in a cursory and summary way if it was not one they ought to proceed With "pedib us ire in sententiam" He hoped the subject would be temperately discussed, He should support the motion.

Mr. Monek

said, that the right hon. gentleman had asked, what difference there was this question now and at a former period to which he had alluded. He would tell hnm—the difference would be found in the reduced state of the country. In proportion as the rent-roll of the country declined, in the same proportion ought the taxation which bore upon it the right hon. gentleman had said, why complain now, seeing that the duty was much higher during the war? Because the prices which Were then high were now low, He had talked of America; but he should recollect that there the salaries of men in office and also the standing army, had been reduced one-half. There were two modes of relieving the agricultural interests; one by high duties and bounties—to that mode he objected; for to benefit one class it must fall upon another the only real good could be effected by economy and retrenchment and the only way to induce ministers to resort to that was by a removal of a part of the taxation, by which a system of extragance Upheld.

Mr. Littleton

thought that taxation should be generally distributed; and that this tax therefore was not the one which ought to be continued.

Lord Castlereagh

said he could not help complaining that the nations of his hon friend (Mr. Wilberforce which were he know those of benevotence, ap- peared rather contracted with reference to a principle of humanity; for his hon. friend should recollect, that the best mode of securing the satisfaction of the was to uphold the public credit which was so essential to its prosperity the noble lord then complained that the present time should be axed upon for withdrawing this tax. Would the House tolerate such an attempt, when the country, was in a course of restoring its currency? The House had pledged the government to that course, and could not now, when the manufacturing distresses were not so great as they were some time back, call upon them to reduce its revenue two millions, without knowing whether c they could reckon upon the same state of the revenue in the ensuing year.

Mr. K. Douglas

thought that if present scale of taxation was necessary at more general tax than this could not selected. The, previous question; being put, the House divided: Ayes 149,:;Noes 125. Mr. Western's motion was consequently agreed to, and a bill ordered to be brought in.

List of the Majority.
Allen, J. H. Creevey, Thos.
Althorp, viscount Cripps, J.
Anson, hon. G. Curteis, J. E.
Astley, J. D. Claughton, Thos.
Bruce, Robt. Corbett, Panton
Beaumont, T. P. Chetwynd, G.
Barham, J.F. Calvert, N.
Barham, J. F. jun. Davies, T. H.
Barnard, viscount Denison, Wm. J.
Barrett, S. M. Duncannon, visc.
Becher, W. W. Dundas, hon. T.
Bennet, hon. H. G. Dundas, Charles
Bernal, R. Drummond, J.
Birch, Joseph Davenport, D.
Bury, visct. Ellice, Ed.
Burrell, Walter Fergusson, sir R. C.
Blair, J.H. Farquharson, A.
Benett, John Fitzgerald, lord W.
Buchanan, John Fitzgerald, rt. hon.M.
Bentinck, lord, W. Fitzroy, lord C.
Bastard, E.P. Fane, John
Buxton, T. F. File, earl of
Blake, Robt. Forbes, C.
Chaloner, Robt. Fox, G. Lane
Calcraft, J. Fellowes, W. H.
Calvert, C. Gordon, R.
Campbell, hon. J. Grattan, J.
Carew, R. S. Grant, J. P.
Cavendish, lord G. Guise, sir Wm.
Cavendish, H. Grant, G.M.
Cavendish, Charles Gooch, T. S.
Clifton, visc. Grant, col.
Crespigny, sir W. De Gordon, hon. W.
Crompton, Sam. Hamilton, lord A.
Curwen, J. C. Harbord, hon. Ed.
Heathcote, G. J. Robinson, sir G.
Heron, sir Robt. Rowley, sir W.
Hill, lord A. Russell, lord John
Hobhouse, J. C. Russell, lord W.
Hornby, Ed. Rickford, W.
Hume, Jos. Ramsay, sir A.
Hurst, Robt. Rogers, E.
Hutchinson, hon. C. H. Rumbold, C.
Harvey, sir E. Scott, James
James, Wm. Smith, hon. R.
Jervoise, G. P. Smith, W.
Johnson, colonel Smyth, J. H.
Lennard, T. B. Stanley, lord
Lambton, J. G. Sykes, D.
Latouche, Robt. Scourfield, W. A.
Lemon, sir W. Shelley, sir John
Lloyd, J. M. Sebright, sir J.
Lushington, Dr. Stepford, visct.
Lockhart, J. J. Talbot, R. W.
Littleton, Ed. Tavistock, marq.
Maberly, J. Townshend, lord C.
Macdonald, J. Tennyson, C.
Martin, John Warre, J. A.
Mildmay, P. Webbe, Ed.
Monck, A. Whitbread, S. C.
Monteith, H. Whitbread,W. H.
Majoribanks, S. Wilkins, W.
Mackenzie, T. Wilson, sir R.
Neville, hon. R. Wood, ald.
Nightingale, sir M. Wyvill, M.
Ossulston, lord Wodehouse, Ed.
O'Grady, Standish Wynn, sir W. W.
Palmer, col. Wemyss, J.
Palmer, C. F. Wilberforce, W.
Parnell, sir H. TELLERS.
Pelham, hon. C. A. Western, C. C.
Power, R. Folkestone, visct.
Price, Robt. PAIRED OFF.
Pym, Francis Coffin, sir Isaac
Pollen, sir John Colburne, N. R.
Pitt, J. Maberly, W. L.
Penruddock, T. Newport, sir J.
Rice, T. S. Nugent, lord
Ramsden, J. C. Ridley, sir M. W.
Ricardo, D. Sefton, earl
Robarts, A.