§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that in laying before the Committee the financial statement which it was his duty to make, he proposed to follow that course which not only had been usually adopted on such occasions, but which the nature of the subject, independent of custom, naturally dictated. He proposed first to state to the Committee the amount of income and expenditure of the past year, then to lay before it his estimate of the income and expenditure for the current year, and to detail the expectations which he entertained as to the prospect of the revenue as it now stood, and having compared the estimate of expenditure with the estimate of income, it would then be 122 his duty to explain to the Committee those measures which her Majesty's Government were prepared to recommend to the adoption of Parliament. He was well aware that he might have to appeal to the indulgence of the Committee, as the subject would necessarily require the reading of figures in order to render a subject naturally intricate as clear as possible. He had, with a view of saving the time and trouble of the Committee, caused to be laid on the table, and printed in such figures as he should have to refer to in respect of the income and expenditure of past years, and if the Committee would refer to the printed paper distributed that morning, they would see in detail the amount of income and expenditure. It would, therefore, be unnecessary for him to go into a detail of the income derived from the Customs, the Excise, and other sources of revenue; it would be sufficient for him to state that the ordinary income for the year 1840 would be 47,685,000l., to which, if there was added the receipts from the East India Company, 157,000l., the total income for the year 1840 would be found to amount to 47,843,000l. The details of expenditure for the year 1840 appeared in the printed return, and he, therefore, need not trouble the House with the items. The charge for the funded debt was 29,439,000l.; the other charges upon the consolidated fund amounted to 2,410,000l., making a total charge upon the consolidated fund of 31,849,000l. The annual grants amounted to 17,811,000l., making a total of expenditure of 49,300,000l. The deficit therefore of income over expenditure would be, as appeared in the return, 1,457,000l. Such, undoubtedly, was the apparent deficit in income as compared with expenditure, but it would not be supposed—indeed, it was hardly necessary to explain—that this would not be the actual deficiency to be provided for, inasmuch as it would be remembered that a provision had been made by his noble Friend, whose duty it was last year to make the financial statement, for the deficiency he contemplated, and that he had taken a vote of 1,000,000l. Exchequer-hills to meet it. Therefore, that sum of 1,000,000l. must be deducted from the deficiency, and that would reduce the balance to 457,000l. Then there appeared among the miscellaneous charges an item which was properly inserted as one of expenditure, and upon which the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Shaw) had just now asked a 123 question of his noble Friend, the Secretary mi Ireland. It would be remembered, that ill the course of last year the 260,000l. determined to be applied to the relief of the clergy of Ireland was issued in Exchequer-bills, and that these, together with other Exchequer-bills funded for the same service, had been provided for by an Act passed last year by his noble Friend who preceded him in the office he had now the honour to hold. Therefore, if that sum was deducted, as it must be, from the deficiency of 457,000l., it left as the balance unprovided for during the year the sum of only 197,000l. He thought it necessary to make these observations, because the balance appeared in the return to be 1,457,000l. unprovided for, and that the committee would have to meet that difficulty. He did not intend to go into the particular figures of income and expenditure last year, but it was only just to the Committee, and to his noble Friend who opened the financial budget last year, that he should compare the estimates his noble Friend had given when he made that statement with the results which now appeared on the paper which was in the hands of hon. Members. That statement, made in the month of July, 1839, had been called for and printed. The income his noble Friend had then stated to be 48,128,000l.; the expenditure, includingt he 1,000,000l. for Canada, to be 48,988,000l., and the deficiency at that time calculated upon was 860,000l. There had been, however, afterwards, in the course of the Session, a subsequent statement made by his noble Friend, when he took a supplemental vote for the army of 75,000l., which raised the whole deficiency estimated by his noble Friend to 935,000l. The actual amount, however, of deficiency was not 935,000l., but 1,447,000l.; but, deducting from that the sum of 260,000l., to which he had already alluded, and which Could not be properly charged upon the year, the deficiency was educed to 1,197,000l., had, as it must be borne in mind, that his noble Friend had made no calculation as to the deficiency which would arise from the reduction of postage, the actual deficiency was 947,000l.; so that the only difference between his noble Friend's calculation and the actual result was the trifling sum of 12,000l. Having now glanced at the in-come and expenditure of last year, and at the calculations of his noble Friend and the actual results of the year, he would proceed to deal with the more immediate subject for present consideration—the ex- 124 pectations he held as to the income and expenditure for the current year. He would first state those sums of expenditure for which provision had already been made. The interest on the debt charged upon the consolidated fund would amount to 29,443,000l., the other charges on the consolidated fund amounted to 2,434,000l., making a total charge on the consolidated fund of 31,877,000l. The vote for the army, which had already received the sanction of the House, was 6,000,000l.; for the navy, 5,659,000l.; and for the Ordnance, 1,885,000l.; for the miscellaneous estimates, some part of which, including the common services, had been voted, amounted to 2,736,000l. The grants for the year remaining amounted as they appeared before the House to 17,055,000l. The total amount of those already voted was 48,767,000l. There were, however, some items of expenditure which it would be necessary for him to state to the Committee and to make allowance for in the calculations which he was about to submit. The Committee would remember, that at an early period of the Session, when his hon. Friend, the Secretary to the Admiralty, moved the navy estimates, a question was put as to a discrepancy between the number of men voted and the amount proposed for their pay. His noble Friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, stated there was such a discrepancy, and that it was possible a further sum might be required to make the force efficient. For that purpose, his hon. Friend, the Secretary to the Admiralty, would have to submit a further estimate for the navy, which would amount to 100,000l. There was another item of expenditure for which he was sure the Committee were prepared. Hon. Members were aware that a naval and military commission had been appointed. That commission had made its report, and it was the intention of her Majesty's Government to advise her Majesty to adopt the suggestions which it contained, and it was because of that intention that an additional sum was called for. He had placed the amount in one sum, and would take it at 75,000l. He also had to propose the vote relative to Canada; but, having brought forward the estimates this year at an earlier period than usual, he found some difficulty in making a safe statement upon that vote. He was, however, desirous of naming a sum which he thought would fairly meet the case—making the estimate neither too large on 125 the one hand, nor too low on the other. He would, therefore, propose to take for Canada, the sum of 350,000l. The amount last year was 1,000,000l., and the year before it was 500,000l. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for the University of Cambridge, had put a question to him on a former occasion with regard to the expenses of the China expedition. The House was aware of the arrangement which had been made by her Majesty's Government and the government of India. The extra expenditure required for the expedition would be charged on her Majesty's Government. The sum would be advanced by the Government in India, and repayment would take place of what, in the examination of the accounts, should be shown to be the extra expenditure occasioned by the expedition. Upon former occasions specific votes were not taken, and in the case of Java and the Mauritius, when that course was pursued, the sums were repaid without any specific vote being taken for them; but for the satisfaction of the House, and in a constitutional point of view, it was better that the subject should come in the shape of an estimate to show that it had been under the consideration of the House. To make an estimate was not, however, so easy a matter, because it was impossible to make a calculation as to how long the expedition might continue. He had the means of laying on the table of the House, as far as he could ascertain from India, the rate of expenditure at which the expedition would be charged to this country, but he had not estimated, nor was it possible to do so, the period for which the expedition would be required. They were all aware of the great expenses attending any Indian expedition. He would state the present expense as taken from the financial auditors of the East India Company, when calculating the extraordinary expenses incurred in India. The amount of expenditure according to that calculation up to the 1st of May, 1840, was 54;000l., and it was considered by the auditors, that if the expenditure were to he continued for six months, it would amount to 162,000l. more, making in the whole 216,000l. Taking then the extraordinary expenditure on account of the expedition to China at the same amount, the question was, upon what length of time the calculation should be made. There were other considerations also which should be taken into account, for it must be admitted, that there would be found in 126 the items some sums, such as the amount for transports, &c, which it would not be necessary to continue for the whole period, and which would, perhaps, reduce the sum to 150,000l. That would, perhaps, cover the whole, and leave a balance of about 100,000l. Having said thus much upon that point, he would now restate, as it might be convenient to the Committee, the estimate of the expenditure for the coming year:—The charge of interest on the funded debt, 31,877,000l.; for the army, navy, and miscellaneous estimates, 16,880,000l.; making in all, 48,757,000l. The additional expenses were, for the navy, 100,000l.; for the army, 75,000l. for China, 150,000l.; making in the whole, 49,432,000l. He would now come to the expectations entertained of the revenue at present at the disposal of the House; he meant that which they might expect to receive if there was no alteration of the present taxation. Here, however, he must confess he laboured under a difficulty which had never before pressed, upon any person who held the situation which he had the honour to fill. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Harwich might smile, but still he admitted the difficulty. What the value of the vote which placed him in that difficulty might be—what good the country had derived from it—he had yet to be acquainted with. As regarded the inconvenience to himself he did not complain, but he did complain of the injury done to the public service by placing him in so inconvenient a position. He was called upon at a moment, when it was not possible to obtain the necessary information relative to the prospects of the revenue and finance of the coming year to discuss—not in his own room, not in his own office, not with the heads of the various departments of the revenue, but before that House—estimates which he had not sanctioned, and could not sanction. He trusted the House would bear with him patiently whilst he performed the duty of laying before them the estimates for which he held himself responsible, and he would not shrink from that duty on account of the return which had been improperly and immaturely obtained. It was well known that those at the head of the revenue departments felt a satisfaction if they found that they had understated the estimates delivered in for the current year. The estimates given is from the four departments generally calculated the risk, but not the expectations, and the consequence was, that they 127 were scarcely ever justified by the results. It was an old Treasury saying as regarded the corn and malt duties, that they were to be looked on as balancing each other; that in a bad corn year the revenue in corn increased, and in a good corn year more duty was derived from malt. The Excise, however, did not take the counterbalancing influence into consideration, and finding a certain amount had been received in the last year in corn, they calculated on receiving a less account from that source next year but, at the same time, they took no account of the increase which might take place in the malt duties, and thus between two stools he lost in the estimates the balance of the income which fluctuated between the duties on corn and malt. He did not blame those who made the returns, for he knew the difficulty of the task. One quarter of the year, however, for which the returns were made, had already elapsed. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herries) had called for the returns from the 5th of January, 1840, to the 5th of January, 1841. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had thus the means of testing the impression—not, indeed, the impression, but the conviction which he had entertained, that the results would be more favourable than the heads of the departments expected. He had before him the returns of the last quarter, ending on the 5th of April, 1840, as compared with the returns for the corresponding period of the preceding year. In the quarter ending April, 1839, the customs, excise, stamps, and taxes, amounted to 8,069,000l.; in the corresponding quarter for 1840, they were 8,339,000l., being an increase in those sources, not as was calculated, of 400,000l. per year, but of 270,000l. in the quarter. In the estimate which went by the name of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Herries) there was a calculated loss of 1,470,000l. in the year; but in the first quarter, instead of such a comparative deficiency, and including the loss from the Post-office, there was only a deficit of 263l. This showed how impossible it was at the time to make an exact calculation: but there were other reasons which led him to take a more favourable view of our resources than could be deduced from the paper laid upon the table at the instance of the right hon. Gentleman. He would now place before the House the deficiencies which existed in the revenue, and then proceed to call its attention to the means which in his opinion, were necessary to 128 give that revenue stability, and place the finances of the country on a firm footing. In doing this, he felt it to be his duty not to take an over-sanguine view of our resources; but still, when about to increase the public burthens, he would not be induced by any estimates or any set of figures to impose upon the country a greater burthen than that which he considered was absolutely called for. If the present were a case in which he proposed to take off an impost, he might act with less caution, feeling that if the reduction did not take place in this year, it would in the next. But as he was about to deal the other way, and to levy additional burthens, he felt bound not to consider what would be the probable revenue, but what was the estimate which a practical man ought fairly to go upon. On these grounds, he would take the estimate of the revenue for the future year of the four principal sources of revenue, customs, excise, stamps, and taxes, at the same amount as it was in the last year. Looking at the condition of the country, and having communicated with the various departments, he did not see any grounds which would justify him in supposing that there was a likelihood of the income for the next year being in any way less than that of the preceding one. As respected the Post-office, he would take the estimate given in by the official authorities. There had been some opportunity afforded of witnessing the working of the system, and he took a more sanguine view of the measure than that taken by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who told the House that it was not paying its way. He would not, therefore, alter the estimate which had been made by the authorities. His expectation had always been that at the first commencement there would be a temporary increase of the correspondence, but that when the honeymoon was over there would be a relapse into the common practical habits of every-day life, which would be succeeded by a firm, steady, and continued increase. He did not, however, consider that it would arrive at the amount which some over-sanguine admirers of the change calculated on. As far as it had hitherto gone, the result of the experiment had not been unfavourable, and he anticipated that an increase would take place before the close of the year. He thought the sum of 530,000l. was a fair estimate to lay before the House, as he already perceived symptoms of the turn which he expected matters would take. He, therefore, 129 thought, taking the customs, excise, stamps, and taxes, he might put the amount the same as it was last year. He would take the Crown lands at 170,000l., the miscellaneous sources of income at 250,000l., and the Post-office at 530,000l., and thus the whole would form a sum of 47,034,000l. as the estimated income. He felt himself here bound not to conceal from the House, that a deduction might arise from circumstances with which hon. Members were already acquainted. The House was aware that at the time when Earl Grey was at the head of the Government negotiations were on foot for entering into a commercial treaty with France, and that his right hon. Friend, the late President of the Board of Trade had proceeded to Paris with a view of endeavouring to carry the negotiations into effect, but they did not succeed at that time. Other negotiations were at present going on, which were likely to be attended with more favourable results; and the House could not expect that this country could obtain new markets for the products of its industry without granting to foreign countries a corresponding advantage. It was not then his duty, on the contrary, he felt that he ought to avoid going into the details of the negotiations which were at present pending; but in making his calculations as to the income of the future year, he must make the House sensible that a commercial treaty with France, if carried into effect, might produce a temporary reduction of the revenue. It was impossible to state accurately what that reduction might be; but he would state it at something like 300,000l. He also proposed a very small relief to a class of persons who, from no fault of their own, but from circumstances by which every other class of persons was benefited, were placed in a situation of considerable difficulty and distress—he meant the postmasters. They had represented to him that they were obliged to keep post-chaises and carriages, on which they paid a heavy tax, but from which they derived little remuneration, and suggested, that if they were at liberty to keep different classes of carriages at a reduced rate of duty, they might, by opening fresh lines of trade, receive some compensation for the injuries they had sustained. The tax now upon hack chaises was 4l. 5s., upon pair-horse carriages 5l. 5s., upon four-wheeled carriages 4l. 10s. and upon two-wheeled carriages 3l. 5s., all of which he proposed to reduce to 3l. These deductions reduced the income on which 130 the House might rely in the course of the present year to 46,700,000l.; the expenditure lie had already stated at 49,432,000l., which made a deficiency of 2,732,000l. between the estimated expenditure and the estimated income. Her Majesty's Government were not prepared to recommend to Parliament to meet this deficiency by any new system of loans. So far as the expenditure could be deemed of a merely casual and temporary nature, a loan might be a question for consideration. He admitted, that the expenditure in the case of China and Canada might be considered of a temporary nature, and as such be met by a temporary relief. But then, after deducting 500,000l. on that account, there was still a deficit in the income, as compared with the expenditure, of 2,230,000l. However disagreeable and unpopular fresh duties might be, he confessed he was not prepared to advise Parliament to attempt to make any provision for this deficiency—a deficiency which they might expect to an equal degree in future years—by any temporary expedient, which was, in fact, only staving off, and perhaps adding to, the difficulty. He must, therefore, proceed to recommend those measures which her Majesty's Government had decided upon recommending with the view of making the income of the country equal to the expenditure. In doing so, he begged it to be understood, that the expenditure for Canada and China he was inclined to regard as one of a temporary character, and that if, by the proposal he had to make, he could place the expenditure on a fair footing, regarding other items of expense, he should be willing to deal with those two cases as of a temporary nature, being satisfied that if affairs continued as they had every reason to expect they would, that expense would not be called for in future years. In dealing with the measures by means of which he proposed to meet these deficiencies, he should feel it his duty in the first place, not to place any new tax upon the public—not to place the hand of the tax-gatherer, on any new object of taxation. He perfectly agreed, that in the time of war, when the House had driven all the ordinary taxes to that point at which many of them were during the last war—at which, if they were increased, their produce would rather diminish than enlarge, they might have recurrence to some new object; but that was avoided, and could not now be supposed to be the case. From this circumstance, there were many 131 advantages derived. Formerly new taxes were proposed—new expenses of collection were consequent upon the new arrangement, and fresh officers were necessarily appointed. By the plan which he proposed, however, all those additional charges which before weighed so heavily upon the public purse, and formed so large an item in the public expenditure, would be removed, and every farthing which was collected, would be conveyed net, into the public pocket. His object, therefore, had been as far as possible, to spread the burthen of taxation—to render it as lightly, and, at the same time, as generally felt as possible, and while he endeavoured to secure these objects, to avoid laying any charges upon new subjects of taxation. In looking back to the practice of older times, he found, that the House had not been unwilling to deal with taxation upon the principle of per centage: he meant by increasing the duties already existing by a given per centage, and upon consideration, he felt that it was best to propose that the House, so far as it was practicable, should adopt that principle, although there were some cases to which it was impossible to extend it. With regard to the stamp duties, it would be almost impossible to procure the payment of a per centage upon them, from the extreme inconvenience of making peculiar small duties liable to the increase. Stamps, therefore, he proposed, should not be included in the operation of the new regulation. With that exception, however, he was prepared to take a per centage upon the excise duties, the customs duties, unless in some few instances, and upon the assessed taxes, five per cent, being taken upon the excise and customs duties, and two shillings in the pound, or ten per cent, upon the assessed taxes, and, lest there should be any misunderstanding upon the subject, he begged to acquaint the House, that he meant that this per centage should be taken, not upon the value of the commodity or article taxed, but upon the amount of duty now levied. He would now go through the different items of revenue, and would state the exceptions which he proposed to make to the principle which he had suggested. The first to which he would allude was that with regard to the duties on spirits—it was impossible to take a per centage duty upon that article. There was one amount of duty payable in Ireland, another in Scotland, a third in England, a fourth duty was payable on rum, a fifth on East India spirit, and a sixth upon other fo- 132 reign spirits. From a long experience in these matters, therefore, he was prepared to say, that to increase by a per centage, the different duties now levied on these various articles would place the whole trade in such a state of confusion, that it was impossible that that principle could be carried into effect without the greatest inconvenience being produced. The effect of a per centage increase would be to increase the differential duties between Irish, Scotch, and English spirits, and the protection of those spirits against those of colonial production, and it would be increasing the duties between East India and West India spirits, and the protection of all these against those of foreign product. He thought, therefore, that he might appeal to the experience of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Goulburn) who knew so well the difficulty of dealing with these questions, as to the propriety of his suggestions, while, at the same time, he added, that if he were only half as successful as that right hon. Gentleman had been, when he had been placed in a similar situation, he should consider himself extremely fortunate. He proposed, therefore, that one uniform rate of increased duty should be imposed upon all spirits, and that an additional tax of 4d. per gallon, upon all English Scotch, Irish, Colonial, and foreign spirits, should he imposed. There was, however, yet another exception to the principle of the per centage duties, which he thought it right to explain. He meant the duties on corn. He was not going into anything like a corn debate, because he did not think that this was an opportunity upon which he should do so, but he trusted that hon. Gentlemen would recollect that, whether rightly or wrongly, the present amount of duty on corn was not settled for the sake of revenue,—it was placed on the principle of securing a fixed price, as far as possible, of corn in this country. It did not, therefore, rest on revenue principles, but on greater and political grounds. Whether this was wise or not, he would not say; but as the Legislature had not been pleased to consider corn under the ordinary view, he was not prepared to touch the principle upon which that article was now taxed, but should leave it entirely out of the new arrangement which he proposed to make. There was one other point to which he should allude, under the head of Excise. The House would recollect that, originally, all the duties on railways, stage carriages, and post-horses, were stamp duties; but, for the sake 133 of convenience, they had been transferred to the Excise department. He did not, therefore, mean to include them in this proposal respecting the Excise, as the result of doing so would be to lay an additional duty upon a class of competitors, which would throw them into the greatest alarm and distress. With these exceptions, he should propose that every other taxable item should be subject to the increased duty The amount of the increase of the tax upon spirits he had already said would be four-pence per gallon, and the increase upon the assessed taxes, he calculated would yield him an amount of 276,000l. But there was another point which he thought it was necessary should be included in the resolution of the House, and which he conceived he was bound to explain to the House, as it was to form a part of the arrangement which he proposed. It had been the custom of the department of taxes from time to time to issue general directions for surveys, with regard to the house and window taxes, and this survey had been lately delayed longer than usual. He was always reluctant to increase the amount of the assessed taxes, unless it appeared to be absolutely necessary, but he had every reason to expect, that if a fresh survey were made, it would raise a considerable and ultimate revenue from the taxes on windows, and that, not from the levy of any new or oppressive duty, but because persons had not been brought to account for taxes which they had been long liable to pay, but from which they had escaped. He was aware that this was not a very popular measure, but it was so perfectly equitable and just, that he felt that he should not be justified in introducing any proposition for any new or additional taxation, without bringing those who were liable to duties already existing, to account. It was not fair that the Government should call for new imposts from various individuals, when those who, by laxity or inattention, having escaped the payment of that which was due from them, had not been called upon, and it was to be observed, that they were not to be compelled by his proposition to pay up the arrears which had fallen due, for this was no vindictive measure; but it was simply asked of them, "You have escaped paying your taxes hitherto, have the goodness to pay them hereafter." He would now state to the House the various amounts of duty which he expected would be derived from the increased taxes, in the event of their 134 being sanctioned by the House. The amount of 5 per cent, on the customs and excise, making those omissions and exceptions which he had stated to the House, he calculated would yield in the year, though not in the present year which had already commenced, the sum of 1,426,000l. The impost of 4d. per gallon on spirits would produce 484,000l. the assessed taxes, increased by 10 per cent., would yield 276,000l. As to the increase of duty levied upon the new survey, when he stated to the House the amount of what he expected to derive from it, he thought that it would show to what extent persons had escaped from paying that which was justly due from them. He estimated the increase at 150,000l. He had already stated to the House that the amount of the income of the country which had been calculated upon, without any such addition at all as he proposed, was 46,700,000l.; adding these several items which he had stated, it would bring the result to 49,037,000l. The amount of the expenditure, including the estimates for China and Canada, was 49,432,000l., and comparing this with the income which he proposed to raise, a deficiency of 400,000l. in round numbers was left. In regard to the vote for China and Canada, he had already stated that he was not prepared to make any permanent addition to the burdens of the country to provide for it, and he proposed to meet the deficiency, therefore, by a vote of credit. It must be remembered that in presenting these calculations to the House, he had given them as if supposing all the taxes which he had proposed to be in operation, and the results, which he had offered, were those of the whole year; but, as gentlemen conversant with regulations and proceedings of the revenue department well knew, that would not be a fair calculation. A certain period of the year had already elapsed, and from the mode in which certain assessed and excise taxes were collected, though the charge was made as for the year, a considerable portion of the amount was not paid until after a certain time, and they could not therefore expect to receive the whole amount during the present year. He did not think that it would be expected that he should consider that which was only a casual deficiency, arising not from calculations, but from the circumstances only of the money not being paid into the Exchequer, as a fair subject on which he could call for an additional revenue, and it would 135 not be fair that he should propose any additional taxation, with a view of meeting a deficiency which arose not from any general annual demand, but from the fact only of the payment of that which was due being postponed. But that would make a considerable alteration in the actual amount of the vote of credit for which he would be compelled to call, including the Canada and China votes, and that part of the deficiency of the taxes which would not be paid into the Exchequer in the present year, it would increase the vote of credit to 850,000l. The actual sums which he estimated would be paid into the Exchequer, under the different heads which he had stated, would be these:—in the Customs, 22,500,000l.; in the Excise, 14,241,000l.; for Stamps, 7,020,000l.; for taxes, 3,880,000l.; for the Post-office, 530,000l.; for the Crown-lands, 170,000l.; and for other miscellaneous items, 250,000l.; making a total of 48,591,000l. He had now explained to the House that statement which it was his duty to make as to the financial position of the country, and he had endeavoured, as far as lay in his power, neither to overstate the probable expenditure, nor to understate that which he believed the House might calculate upon in the way of income. If they looked to the present state of the country, and this the House was entitled to do, dealing with the increase of taxes which he had proposed, they had a right to consider, whether the amount which was suggested to be imposed on the people, would in course of a short time place the finances of this kingdom on a firm and sound basis. Looking at the state of the revenue, and the condition of the country, they might fairly estimate that the progress which the revenue had made for many years, would still continue, and that in the course of future years, the amount of the produce of the different items of revenue would not at any rate fall off. They had gone through a year of considerable difficulty and financial embarrassment, and, although, the revenue had not exhibited any very great defalcation in consequence, it would be unwise not to calculate upon the chances which might result from a repetition of similar events, preventing those happy effects which might be produced by the employment of the industry, power, and enterprise of this great empire. With these views, he had endeavoured not to impose upon the country too heavy burdens, or to propose to cast upon it too severe an 136 amount of taxation, to meet what might be considered as casual deficiencies only; on the other hand, not concealing from the House, that in order to place the finances of the country in a firm position, they must increase the amount of their income; and he had endeavoured to call for those sums only, which he had felt would ultimately turn out to be sufficient for the important purpose required to be attained. He was well aware that the name of new taxes was not popular in that House, or in the country, but at the same time he had sufficient confidence in the good sense of the House, not to feel at once convinced that they would be satisfied, on consideration, that it would be the wiser proceeding to meet this difficulty at once, and not to attempt to stave it off by any further temporary expedients; and, however unpopular the present proposal might be, if on any future occasion, it might fall to his lot to perform that duty which he had now nearly discharged, he thought that he should then have no reason to regret that he had taken those steps to meet the difficulty which existed, by prompt and immediate measures. He should not detain the House any longer, exhausted as he was sure their attention must be, and as he was, except for the purpose of saying—and he thought it was of some importance he should say it—that it was highly necessary that the resolutions which he was about to propose should be carried as soon as possible. He should conclude by moving certain resolutions, carrying out the propositions which he had made, and it was of very great importance that they should be at once determined on, in order to put an end to any doubts or hesitations which might exist, and in order that the trade of the country should not remain in any uncertainty as to the course to be pursued. It would be competent for the House to reject any portion of his resolutions to which they might object, when they should become the subject of a bill, but he thought that if they left the resolutions unpassed, a wide door would be opened to speculations of all kinds, and some persons would be benefitted by those doubts, of which others, at the same time, could not take advantage. He should propose three resolutions; the first, with regard to customs; the second, with regard to excise; and the third, with regard to the assessed taxes. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the first resolution, which was to the following effect:— 137That towards raising a supply for the use of her Majesty, from and after the 15th day of May, 1840, an additional duty, after the rate of 5 per cent., be laid upon the produce and amount of all duties or customs, of what kind soever, now due and payable to the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, except, in the Excise, of those duties the produce of spirits or strong waters of all kinds whatsoever; and, in the Customs, of the duties levied on corn, grain, meal, or flour. And that from and after the said 15th day of May, 1840, an additional duty of 4d. per gallon be laid upon all kinds of spirits or strong waters, whether in docks, warehouses, or otherwise.
§ Mr. Hume
then rose and said, that he felt his duty to bear his testimony to the clear and able mannner in which the right hon. Gentleman had laid his financial statement before the House. It had been his lot to hear many statements of this kind, and he would not compliment the right hon. Gentleman further than by saying, that he had never heard a more clear, simple, and intelligible financial statement in his life. While, however, he bore his testimony to the able manner in which the right hon. Gentleman had laid the state of the finances before the House, he could not but regret extremely, the necessity which there appeared to be of laying additional taxes upon the country, when a great pressure of taxation already existed. He much regretted that necessity, and he could not agree in the proposals which the right hon. Gentleman had made, as to the mode in which the money was be levied. The House would see that the necessity for this increased taxation arose from the people themselves, who had not sent representatives into that House who would give their attention to the expenditure of the country. Night after night, when the estimates were under consideration, the benches were empty, and whatever vote of the public money might be under discussion, never was there more than one-fifth of the Members present. As far as the revenue was concerned, so far from their being a falling of, the House would find, that in 1836 the amount of revenue was 46,270,000l., while in 1840 it had increased to 47,685,000l. In the intermediate years, the income of the country had been, in 1837, 48,340,000l.; in 1838, 45,873,000l.; and in 1839, 47,607,000l. Upon the average of those five years, therefore, there had been a considerable increase in the income of the country; and to what, then, he would ask, were they to ascribe the deficit which existed, and which rendered the imposition 138 of new burthens necessary? The cause was to be found in the extravagant expenditure, which the Members of that House did not watch over, as they were in duty bound to do. In the two first years of the period of five years to which he had alluded—viz., in the years 1836 and 1837, there had been in the first year a surplus of 1,376,000l., and in the last of 1,862,000l., while in the last three years there had been a deficit to a considerable amount. While the income of the country had increased upon an average of the five years calculated from 1836, the deficit in the finances of the country had also increased, and to what was this extraordinary state of things to be ascribed? The deficiency arose entirely from the extravagant annual votes for the army, navy, and ordnance, and from the votes for the miscellaneous estimates. Those votes had caused an increase in the expenditure in the last two years of 2,100,000l. Hon. Gentlemen opposite complained year after year of the insufficiency of the naval and military establishments, and unfortunately the Ministers yielded to the complaints of their opponents, and thus created that increase in the expenditure which rendered this additional taxation necessary. The excitement in Canada greatly increased the. expenditure of the country, but was Canada, worth all the money they had expended and were about to expend upon it? When the troubles in that country first broke out, he had warned them what the result would be. Oppression always led to lamentable results, and he could not but regret that so large a sum had been so uselessly expended. The noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies would recollect, that when he proposed the resolutions to take away the constitutional rights of the Canadian people, he (Mr. Hume) had told the House that they would soon have cause to repent the course they were pursuing. The day of repentance was come, and they now had an expenditure for the army and navy of 2,500,000l. more than was necessary. However that might be, he should not longer detain the House upon the subject, but he would proceed to consider the proposals which the right hon. Gentleman had brought forward for making up the deficiencies which existed in the revenue. He did not complain of the deficiency in the Post-office, for he was sure that a gradual improvement would take place in the income from that department, which in the end would be perfectly satisfactory, 139 [Interruption.] This was another instance of the slight attention which Members were willing to give when financial subjects were under consideration. The people, however, were themselves to blame in neglecting to send proper representatives to that House. When he was interrupted he was stating, that in his opinion the improvement which would take place in the income from the Post-office would in the end be satisfactory. Although it appeared that there was a deficiency in the Post-office of 800,000l., yet he did believe, with the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the progressive improvement which would take place when they were able to carry out fully the views of those who had proposed this improvement, would fully compensate for that deficiency. Why, he would ask, had not those views been fully carried out before this time? It had been proposed in the original plan to reduce the Post-office establishment by 600 or 700 officers, whereas an increase of officers had taken place to nearly that amount. He now came to the point where he differed from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman said, that he was not disposed to lay on any new taxes, and he therefore proposed the spreading over the mass of the present taxes the additional taxes which he considered necessary. His objection was, that the taxes were already unequal, and that they did not press on the rich, but on the poor, and the daily labourers. The right hon. Gentleman had not considered the capacity of those who had to pay the taxes, and without consideration he had added fresh burthens to the middle and poorer classes. He thought that it would have been worthy of the right hon. Gentleman's consideration, whether a tax might not have been laid on property acquired by descent. He wondered that the right hon. Gentleman did not look at former periods, and particular to that occasion when a property-tax was recommended by Mr. Pitt. The Duke of Sutherland succeeded to landed property to the amount of 200,000l. a-year, which passed from father to son without one shilling expense, while the merchant or manufacturer who left property to the amount of 150l. to his children or to strangers, was obliged to pay for it at the rate of from 1 to 10 per cent. The constituencies of England should not suffer a single individual to enter that House without pledging himself to vote for the 140 equalization of taxes. They were told that the land was the support of the country, yet the land did not pay one farthing of taxes by descent, while the annual amount of taxation from this source upon the poor was 200,000l. Let them see how much real property had paid for the last quarter of a century. A man possessing real property to the amount of 40s. per annum was a freeman, and possessed a vote, while a man possessing that or a much larger amount of mere personal property was still a slave. He had known an instance in Scotland where a widow, whose property including stockings and petticoats, was estimated at 100l., and the duty was levied strictly on that amount, though she had scarcely a morsel to put into the mouths of her three or four children. Was this even-handed justice? During the last forty-one years, from returns which he held in his hands, it appeared that there had been 57,916,000l. paid in the shape of duty on probate and legacies alone. From any part of this payment the entire landed property of the country was exempt; and they held besides, a monopoly of the most harrassing nature, directly adverse to the people. Would not this tax upon the succession of landed property answer the Chancellor of the Exchequer's purpose? It would come to within a few hundred pounds of the amount of the deficit. Could any man in that House appeal to his own conscience and feelings, and say that the present was not an unjust distribution of the national burdens? It was the working man, the middle and industrious classes, that paid all these taxes. The majority of that class was now deprived of the suffrage, and should address their rulers thus:—"It is we that are to pay this amount. We will not pay it, unless you give us the suffrage." He appealed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to call on the rich, on those who had all the landed property in the country within their grasp, to contribute their share to the sustainment of these excessive burdens. Let every man having 10,000l. a year of hereditary property pay 1 per cent, upon its coming into his possession, as in the case of personal property. Let them look back to France in 1788 and 1789 for an example of the effects of taxation. The poorer classes in that country paid the bulk of the taxes; the rich were exempt; and what was the consequence? The people rose against them. The aristocracy were deaf to all the appeals which had been previously made to them; neither 141 nobility nor government paid the slightest attention to any of the remonstrances of the people. But the time arrived when their oppression would no longer be borne; the multitude rose against them in a mass, and the consequences were known to the world. The landed proprietors of England were following fast in the course which had been pursued by the old aristocracy of France; everything was laid by them on the shoulders of the people. Let them look to the result. The people had been taught to look to the present Government for relief from taxation, instead of the imposition of fresh burdens. He thought that the ecclesiastical corporations ought to be made to contribute their share. This would have been a truly vigorous measure, upon which they might have appealed to the country. He would conclude by moving, by way of amendment, that "it is expedient that equal taxes be levied on the descent of personal and real property."
said that, before putting this resolution, he begged to submit to the committee whether it was possible in a committee of ways and means to put an amendment which involved an entirely new subject of taxation.
§ Mr. Hume
said, if the Chairman were right, the resolution would point out some particular way in which the supply was to be raised; whereas the terms of the resolution are general. In what committee could his resolution be moved, if not in the present. The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed one mode of raising money, and he proposed another: and he maintained that he was perfectly in order in proposing his amendment.
§ Mr. Ewart
contended that his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny was perfectly in order. The object of going into a committee of ways and means was to consider of the best way of meeting the exigiencies of the state; and therefore it was competent for his hon. Friend to make his proposition at present.
§ Lord J. Russell
declared it to be his opinion that Mr. Bernal had laid down the right rule. This resolution could not be proposed by the hon. Member for Kilkenny in a committee of ways and means. The House was then in a committee to consider the ways and means of raising supplies for Her Majesty, His right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had proposed one mode, which came under the proper designation of ways and means. It might be a question whether another Member, 142 without previous notice, could propose a way of raising money in a new mode, or even a new tax. But the hon. Member for Kilkenny did not make either of these propositions. His proposition was for a general equalization of duties on the descent of real and of personal property. That was a general abstract proposition, and non con-stat that by assenting to it we should raise any supplies at all. If the hon. Member were determined to move a resolution of that kind, he must move it in a committee of the whole House. He was of opinion that the objection taken by Mr. Bernal to this amendment was in perfect conformity with the rules of the House.
§ Mr. Hume
stated, that to obviate the objection made to his amendment in point of form, he would alter the words of it. He would propose that from and after the 15th of May a tax be imposed on the descent of real property, varying in amount from 1 to 10 per cent, according to the scale now levied on the descent of personal property. He considered it a great grievance to be compelled to propose a tax, but he saw a disposition in the committee to support the taxes proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he therefore felt compelled to propose another and more equal tax as a substitute for them.
§ Mr. Langdale
thought that the amendment of the hon. Member for Kilkenny did not go far enough. It should also affect the transfer of money in the funds. He never could understand why there should not be a stamp on every transfer of funded property. He should vote for the amendment now proposed; but he would add as an amendment upon it, "That the same stamps should be required for the transfer of personal property vested in the funds as are now required for the conveyance of property in land."
§ Mr. Hume
reminded the committee that we had been going on borrowing for the last fifty years, and that a clause had been inserted in every Act sanctioning a loan, pledging the public faith to the public creditor, that no stamp should ever be imposed on transfers in the funds. The hon. Member was not, perhaps, aware that if he had money in the funds, and bequeathed 10,000l. of it to a friend, that friend would have to pay 1,000l. in legacy duties, and that if he bequeathed it to his own children, they would also have to pay a considerable amount, although not so large an amount in the same way. Now, 143 in a devise of land no legacy duty, whatever attached.
§ Mr. Briscoe
reminded the committee, that Lord Spencer, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, had made a proposition similar to that of the hon. Member for Knaresborough; but that he had abandoned it on subsequently referring to the Loan Acts, where the stipulation was found to be so clear as not to admit of a shadow of doubt.
§ Mr. Langdale
said, that if such an objection were made to his amendment, he must, of course, abandon it; but nevertheless, he should still remain convinced of its justice.
Sir R. Price
contended that the amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Kilkenny, was peculiarly unfair to the landed interest, which was exposed to more heavy public burdens than any other interest in the community. He considered that the Chancellor of the Exchequer's plan of raising money was far more beneficial than that proposed by the hon. Member for Kilkenny.
§ Mr. Ewart
considered that justice required that they should support the amendment "of his hon. Friend, the Member for Kilkenny. The favour shown to the landed interest, which arose from its having a monopoly of power in one House and a predominance of power in the other House of Parliament, was at the root of most of the evils which at that moment were pressing upon the country. He hoped that the landed interest would consent to salutary reforms in time, as it was evident that this country was rapidly changing its character from a great agricultural to a great commercial community. A division on the proposition would afford a test to ascertain who were the real friends of the people in that House. To the clearness and ability of the statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer he bore willing testimony, but he could not say much for the soundness of the principles on which the right hon. Gentleman proceeded. It was not reasonable to add to to the taxes of the country till measures were taken to extend its trade, and the surest and most effectual way to do that, would be to reform the present iniquitous and oppressive corn laws. An alteration of those laws would not only lead to an extension of our manufactures, but might even be made subsidiary to revenue, by the imposition of a moderate fixed duty. 144 At all events, if not from corn, yet from a reduction and equalization of the timber duties, Government might derive a great accession to the revenue, while the commerce of the country would be largely benefitted. A reduction of the duties on foreign sugar and coffee, especially when grown by free labour, would also be very advantageous to our commerce. The adoption of sound principles of free trade would increase the revenue, extend commerce, and confer the greatest benefit on the consumers throughout the country. On some future evening he might bring this subject formally before the House. At present he would content himself with supporting the motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, which he trusted would be responded to by the people, as he was sure it would be, if they looked to their own enduring advantage.
protested against throwing on the shoulders of the people, in the present depressed state of commerce, a large additional amount of taxation.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
attributed the deficiency of the revenue to the misapplication of the funds by Government, as there was no deficiency in the Customs and Excise. He found that the expense of commissions amounted to no less than 119,000l. a-year, while in the miscellaneous charges and annual grants there was an increase of nearly 300,000l. The House had not yet received any account of the expenses of Dr. Bowring's journey, and other unsatisfactory missions. He looked upon the promises of retrenchment and relief to the people as a regular Ministerial humbug; for now, after twenty-five years of peace, they were called upon to impose a large increase of taxation. He objected to the increase of ten per cent, on the assessed taxes, which did not apply to Ireland, and which he looked upon as a mere bait to the people of that country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to lay a tax upon champagne, and to retrench the salaries of her Majesty's Ministers. The right hon. Gentleman had held out to the House great hopes and expectations of the advantages to result from his measures, but he (Colonel Sibthorpe) had been too long in the House ever to expect them to be realized. They were held out only to amuse the people; but he would tell the right hon. Gentleman that he was too old a soldier to be caught with such chaff.
§ Mr. Goulburn
said, whatever wisdom 145 there might be in the multitude of counsellors, he thought the result of that evening's discussion fully showed that no great clearness or perspicuity was to be expected from a multitude of Chancellors of the Exchequer. No less than four hon. Gentlemen had favoured the House with their observations in that capacity. The hon. Member for Wigan proposed to make up an acknowledged deficiency of revenue, as compared with expenditure, by a further reduction of particular branches of taxation. The hon. Member for Knaresborough (Mr. Langdale) proposed to meet the exigencies of the public service by taxation imposed on the funds, in violation of the principles laid down when the money was borrowed, and in violation of every Act of Parliament passed in reference to the subject. The hon. Member for Kilkenny had moved a resolution which was wholly at variance with the forms and orders of the House, and subsequently altered it to one which left the House utterly uninformed as to the material points which ought to guide their judgment on a question of this nature. And, lastly, there was her Majesty's Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, proceeding in the ordinary course of his official duty, communicated to the House the real state of the finances, and the anticipated produce of the taxes he meant to impose. He might be permitted to express his entire concurrencein the sentiment expressed by the hon. Member for Kilkenny, that no statements on the subject of finance could have been more clear or lucid, or satisfactory, as regarded the conveying to the House the most distinct view of the present state of our finances, and the means by which he proposed to meet the difficulties that presented themselves than the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. With respect to the conflicting propositions to which he had alluded, as having been made by other hon. Gentlemen, it was not his intention to enter into the discussion of them, for this reason, that when he was called on to discuss in that House the propriety of imposing a tax, he must get from the person who proposed it a clear idea of the nature of his proposition, and of the amount which it might be expected to produce. The hon. Member for Kilkenny had not given the House the slightest information on that important point; he judged from the hon. Member's speech that he could 146 not tell whether his proposed tax would produce 10,000l. or 100,000l. The hon. Member's anticipations, however, all those who were in the habit of looking into such subjects must see were utterly at variance with facts. Had the hon. Member been Chancellor of the Exchequer, and had the means of consulting the detailed accounts of the stamp duties, he would never have proposed to the House the extension of the legacy duty to landed property as the means of realizing the deficiency at present existing in the revenue. The hon. Gentleman seemed to proceed on the principle that landed property was exempted from various species of taxation, and therefore stood on a different footing from personal property. He would not now enter at length into the subject; the hon. Member was quite wrong in his fads, and if he were successful in getting this duty imposed on landed property, the produce would be utterly inadequate to any such purpose. With respect to what was the legitimate object of the present discussion—namely, the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—he might be permitted to offer a very few observations. He quite agreed in the sentiment with which the right hon. Gentleman concluded his speech—that it was expedient to meet a deficiency of this nature, and not to stave it off; but he must express his regret that the Government, of which the right hon. Gentleman was so distinguished a Member, should not have been animated with this feeling at a somewhat earlier period, and that they should have induced Parliament to postpone the consideration of the finances, and the means by which a defalcation was to be met, till the fourth year after the deficiency had arrived, when it had risen to an amount sufficient to alarm those who felt the importance of supplying it. If the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor, when the deficiency commenced, had been firm in meeting the proposals made to repeal the taxes which were then taken off, he believed the right hon. Gentleman would, now have found less difficulty in meeting the emergency which had arisen, and would not have had the disagreeable task of adding to the burthens of the people. The hon. Member for Kilkenny had complained of the expense into which the expedition to Canada had involved us. He would only, on that subject, express a conviction, that if we had been involved. 147 in great additional expense with regard to; Canada, and had been obliged to make exertions to maintain the honour and character of the country, and in defence of those who were attached to it, that expense had been in a great degree occasioned by the hon. Member himself, by encouraging at the very outset that rebellious spirit which afterwards broke out. As he had said before, the hon. Member with economy in his mouth, had on this, as on other occasions been the real cause of the great increase of expense. The right hon. Gentleman had thought it necessary to make some apology to the House for producing an estimate of the revenue different from that which he had produced at the commencement of the Session, at the requisition of his right hon. Friend, which, he said, and this met with cheers, imposed a great difficulty at that period upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and the right hon. Gentleman particularly enforced on the House that the estimate now produced must necessarily be one of superior accuracy and correctness, compared with the other, as being made at a period when great precision was attainable, and on that ground he justified the difference between the two estimates. Now, the right hon. Gentleman would give him leave to say, and perhaps the hon. Members who had cheered him would listen to the observation, that he could not perceive the force of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, and after the best consideration he could give to it in his power, it appeared to him that if an estimate in February of the state of the revenue from the 1st of January 1840, to the 1st of January last year, must be an inaccurate one, from the impossibility of giving a statement with the accuracy which a paper of that kind required, the same argument applied to the estimate of the revenue from the 5th of April, 1840, to the 5th of April, 1841; and he was therefore, bound to consider the present estimate as necessarily defective. For, what were the circumstances of the case? The Chancellor of the Exchequer was requested on the 13th of February to give an estimate for the year ending the 5th of January, thirty-nine days after the year had expired. The right hon. Gentleman took time till the 29th of March before the paper was presented to the House; he had therefore an opportunity of consulting all the departments, and of in- 148 troducing all the corrections which it was necessary for a Chancellor of the Exchequer to introduce. Nevertheless, the estimate was laid on the table of the House in a form which he now perceived to be incorrect. What was the case now? Forty-one days had expired since the quarter of which an estimate was given, and yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed his belief, that these two days made all the difference between the accuracy and inaccuracy of the estimate. It seemed to him, that this afforded a ground for suspecting some inaccuracy in the estimate of the revenue up to the 5th of April; and assuredly it showed, that there was a very poor excuse, a very limited ground, on which to found an attack upon his right hon. Friend. He did not intend to go into the details of the right hon. Gentleman's estimate as to the receipt and expenditure, but the committee would allow him to observe, that as to one of the items of probable expenditure, he was confirmed in his opinion, that the right hon. Gentleman would find his expectations disappointed. The right hon. Gentleman had acquiesced in a suggestion he (Mr. Goulburn) had taken the liberty to make some time since, that the expense of the expedition to China should be brought annually before the House, like every other item of expenditure, and that we should not be left in the time of peace to defray part of the expence of the military force in England during the war, and part of the amount to be defrayed by the East India Company, for which we were afterwards to make them compensation. He was not aware, that the House had before it any account of the force to be employed in the expedition to China, so that it was difficult to form an estimate of the expense of the expedition; but if they could credit the statements in the newspapers, and if the expense of the expedition to be sent against China was to be measured by the expense of the expeditions sent in former times to Java and the Mauritius, he apprehended that the right hon. Gentleman's estimate of 150,000l. for the expenditure of the present year on that head would be found at the end of the year extremely deficient. He could only judge from his knowledge of the great expense attending the transport of men and stores to the eastern seas, and the large expense of demurrage of ships detained there. He should say that 149 the tonnage and demurrage of the ships themselves would be more than the sum estimated by the right hon. Gentleman. He should be most happy to find at the end of the year, that he had formed an incorrect estimate on the subject; but he was sure, that if the right hon. Gentleman conducted the expedition upon the scale stated in the newspapers, a much larger expenditure than 150,000l. must be incurred this year for our expedition to the eastern hemisphere. But allowing the right hon. Gentleman to be correct in this branch of the estimates, he was anxious to look at the result, which was this:—We were to have an expenditure of 49,432,000l. and an income of 49,441,000l. after we had raised by a vote of credit 850,000l. and at the end of the year we should find, that without any additional exertion, it would be necessary to add to our debt. This was not a state of things which offered a subject of congratulation, and if it should turn out that any branch of expenditure had been understated, or that the additional taxes imposed should not be so productive as the right hon. Gentleman had calculated, he feared that at the close of the year we should not be in a situation upon which we should have reason to congratulate ourselves. He forbore to enter into a detailed discussion of the objects to which the proposed taxation was to apply. In imposing taxes, it was essential that the Government should have the full authority of the House of Commons, in order that advantage might not be taken of opposition; but the right hon. Gentleman must not hold him (Mr. Goulburn) precluded from making, at any future time, such observations as further consideration would suggest to him on the subject. He had some doubts with regard to several of the general views of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman proposed generally on the Customs and Excise an additional five per cent., and calculated that this would produce one twentieth of the existing revenue. Now, he entertained considerable doubt whether an additional five per cent, would produce that amount of additional revenue, and whether it would not occasion a diminution of consumption that would disappoint the right hon. Gentleman's calculation. In the article of tobacco, every Gentleman who looked at the circumstances of the tobacco trade recently must know, as he did, having had his attention 150 recently called to the existence of fraud in that trade, that the quantity of tobacco said to be exported exceed the quantity imported into the country. He should apprehend that five per cent., on the tobacco duty might extend the practice of adulteration more than smuggling, and thereby defeat the very object for which the five per cent, was added. He doubted also whether the right hon. Gentleman had made any allowance for the effect of the war with China on one great branch of the revenue, namely tea. The price of this article, it appeared, had lately experienced a considerable rise, and if our relations with China should not be restored, the price of tea would still further increase, and an additional five per cent, might operate to reduce consumption, which instead of increasing the revenue would leave it at a lower amount. Another tax respecting which he entertained great doubt was the duty on spirits. The increased duty on spirits generally was 4d. per gallon, which differed materially on different spirits. On brandy it was two per cent., on rum four per cent., on British spirits about five per cent., on Scotch spirits ten per cent., and on Irish spirits fifteen per cent., and he very much doubted whether the duty on Scotch and Irish spirits might not produce the very effects which happened when he (Mr. Goulburn) in 1830 imposed an additional duty on spirits without materially increasing the revenue; and in 1835, after Lord Althorp had taken off the additional duty, Lord Monteagle congratulated the House that the revenue, at the reduced duty, amounted to as much as before the reduction. With regard to the assessed taxes, although the new tax was but ten per cent., yet coupled with a new survey with reference to the windows, it would in some cases amount to 15 or 16 per cent, when equally distributed, and none would feel this addition more than the humbler class of society, who had gradually re-opened windows for which they would now be liable to pay. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, that if persons had defrauded the revenue by the addition of windows, they ought to be called upon to pay; but this was not the first time these questions had been agitated, and the right hon. Gentleman would find that they involved great difficulties, and that a new survey would be liable to all the objections of a new tax. He could not but express 151 his satisfaction that the moment had arrived when the House was disposed to look fairly at the state of our finances, and to equalize our expenditure and our revenue. This was not the first time he had expressed an opinion of the necessity of this course. It was a duty we owed to ourselves and to the country not to incur a debt without an effort at least to discharge that debt, and not to cast it off our own shoulders upon the shoulders of our successors, who might be in pecuniary difficulties from which we were exempt. This opinion had been strongly confirmed by communications which he had had, at different times, with persons belonging to other countries. He found such persons uniformly entertained an opinion, and it was a just opinion, that so long as the finances of this country were in a sound state, any exertions could be made by it; but that if they broke down, the glory of England was set, and the hope of maintaining our influence abroad and promoting the happiness of the people at home must be abandoned. He knew that there was, amongst some of the most respectable men on the continent, an opinion that the state of our finances was such, that our expenditure so far exceeded our revenue, that England might be insulted with impunity and incapable of exerting herself. He entertained a different opinion. He believed, that if our resources were properly administered, they were sufficient not only for our ordinary expenditure, but for those extraordinary occasions for which every country must be prepared; and the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that night, of the necessity of upholding the revenues of the country, and enabling us to meet the expenditure, so far met with his entire approbation.
§ Mr. Labouchere
entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, that it was the duty of those who studied the interest and honour of the country to look at its financial condition, and, though considerable difference of opinion might exist as to the measures which would be expedient in order to reduce the charge on the finances of the country, at the same time there was no Gentleman in the House who would assert that it was not the bounden duty of the House to look at the state of our finances, in order to place them in a situation in which the finances of this country ought to be placed. He thought that the disposition which had been expressed by 152 Gentlemen differing not only in their political but in their financial views afforded a just ground of satisfaction to all those who felt interested in the welfare and prosperity of the country. He should not feel it his duty to enter to-night into the details of the subjects which had been discussed, as another opportunity would present, itself for that purpose. At the same time he could not help thinking that the hon. Member for Kilkenny had, with singular infelicity, taken occasion to say, that the statements and proposals of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer evinced an undue desire to lay the burden of taxation on the humbler and industrious classes, and to spare the richer part of the community. Now, any one who would consider the large additional amount which his right hon. Friend proposed to lay on the assessed taxes, and especially on the window tax, would find it impossible to deny that a large proportion of the additional burdens would be borne by the opulent classes. He was also unable to agree with the statement made by the hon. Member for Wigan, that the plan proposed by his right hon. Friend bore with undue severity on the commercial interests of this country. He was not prepared at present to enter into a discussion on the propriety of the House revising the duties on sugar, coffee, and other articles, with the view not only of reducing the price of those articles to the consumer, but of increasing the revenue. He did not mean to deny that this was a question which the House might properly take into consideration, but at the same time the difficulties which surrounded the subject were so great, that it would be impossible to make any alteration without grave deliberation. However, the hon. Member had admitted that this question would be more properly dealt with in a separate discussion, and therefore he would not attempt to follow him on the present occasion. The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had remarked upon the explanation given by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as to the discrepancy between the present estimates and the estimates laid before the House upon the motion of the right hon. Member for Harwich. Now, he (Mr. Labouchere) recollected that in the course of the discussion which subsequently took place, his right hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke, while enu- 153 merating the defeats of the Government, and stating that no Government with any proper feeling of pride could retain office after suffering such mortifications, took especial care to remind the House of the defeat which the Government had sustained upon that occasion, and stated that a House of Commons which had placed the Chancellor of the Exchequer in such an unexampled position of difficulty could not have any confidence in the Government of which he was a Member. That might be very true; but it was not fair that they should take advantage of both sides of the argument. It was not fair that this should be done at all, particularly in discussions on a class of subjects which ought to be drawn away from the field of party debates—namely, discussions on our finances. He must, however, express his satisfaction at the tone of the speech of the right hon. Member for Cambridge; for, although he had expressed doubts upon the plan of his right hon. Friend, yet he thought that the impression on the right hon. Gentleman's mind seemed to be, upon the whole, that it would be difficult to find a more expedient course for meeting the difficulties of our financial position. The right hon. Gentleman certainly stated his opinion that some of the articles on which it was intended to impose an additional duty of five per cent, would not bear the increased duty, and consequently that the object in view, that of raising a larger revenue from these articles, would be defeated. He heard, however, with some surprise, the right hon. Gentleman mention tobacco as being one of those articles. Now, when we considered that the present duty on tobacco amounted to 1,200 per cent., it was impossible to conceive that the addition of so trifling a sum as 5 per cent, could make any difference to the consumer. He was quite ready to allow that it was very difficult to collect these enormous duties, but at the same time he certainly should not have selected an article like tobacco for the purpose of suggesting that a difference in the consumption would be made by so slight an addition as 5 per cent. He would also remind the House, that it was not unimportant to consider what had been the course in regard to the customs' duties during the last few years. If they looked back, they would find that a very great reduction had been made in the customs' and excise duties during the 154 last nine years. He found that since the year 1830 the gross amount of the duties on customs repealed or diminished was 2,163,000l. There had been additional duties imposed on customs to the amount of 656,000l.; leaving a net reduction of 1,507,000l. The amount of excise duties repealed since that period was 4,656,000l., and of new duties imposed 181,000l., so that the net amount of the excise duties repealed was 4,475,000l. He found also that the gross amount of the stamp duties repealed since 1830 was 598,000l., while the fresh duties imposed came to 31,000l., the net reduction being 566,000l. The gross amount of taxes repealed since the same period was 174,000l., and of fresh taxes imposed 1,070l.; the net difference on all these branches of revenue being 6,284,000l.,which had been taken off the burdens of the country since 1830; to which must be added 1,000,000l. at the least for postage. He thought, therefore, that it was but fair, when the Government was charged with having wasted the resources of the country, that it should be borne in mind that within the last ten years there had been brought about not only a great reduction of taxation, but that the reduction had particularly been made in the excise and customs' duties. There was another fact to which he wished to call the attention of the House. He had already shown how large an amount of the customs' duties had been repealed; but it was satisfactory to know that the revenue had not suffered from this reduction. On the contrary, the amount derived from the customs had not only kept up, but had increased, under the operation of the principle applied by the Government. He would now read to the House a statement, showing the sums received from the customs during the same space of time. In the year 1830, the gross amount was 17,540,000l.; in 1831 it was 16,516,000l.; in 1832 the amount was 16,794,000l.; in the year 1833 it was 16,208,000l.; in 1834 the amount was 18,402,000l.; in 1835 it was 20,366,000l.; in 1836 it was 21,488,000l.;in 1837 it was 20,539,149l.; in 1838 is was 20,846,000l.; and in 1839, when the amount was the largest, it was 21,583,000l. It might, however, be supposed that the receipts of the Customs were swelled by the transfer of Excise duties to that head, but he would show the gross amount of the net receipts of both customs and excise, both branches 155 of revenue being combined. In 1830 the gross amount was 36,184,000l.; in 1831 it was 32,819,000l.; in 1832 it was 33,294,000l.: in 1833 it was 32,752,000l.; in 1834 the amount was 33,406,000l.; in 1835 the gross receipts were 33,615,000l.; in 1836 they were 36,042,000l.; in 1837, the amount was 33,958,000l.; in 1838 it was 34,478,000l.; and in 1839 it was 35,093,000l. The House therefore would observe, that although there had been this very great diminution in the duties on customs and excise, yet the joint produce of these two branches of the revenue was now almost equal to what it had been in 1830. He really did not know that he ought to trouble the House any longer, as there would be other opportunities for addressing the House upon the subject.
§ Mr. Warburton
had expressed on a former occasion his hope that the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would manfully face the difficulties of our financial position, but instead of doing that, he had produced a budget founded on the principle of courting as little opposition as possible, so that it might pass easily through the House. For his own part he could not approve of the plan of the right hon. Gentleman, when he recollected that the addition to the assessed taxes would not affect Ireland at all, and he did not think that this was a proper principle of taxation. He wished also to advert to the indiscriminate addition of five per cent, to articles of customs and excise. It had been said that tobacco was taxed at the rate of 1,200 per cent., and therefore there was no reason why five per cent, more should not be added. If that were any argument at all, it might be carried much further. He agreed, however, with the hon. Member for Wigan in thinking, that, in this great department of the revenue, the taxes imposed upon coffee, tea, tobacco, and other articles, should be revised, and that a trial should be made whether an alteration in the amount of the duty would not produce a larger revenue. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, that the duty laid on foreign corn was not imposed for the sake of revenue, but for the purpose of giving protection to the home grower, and that therefore an additional duty of 5 per cent, had not been proposed to be laid upon that article. But corn was not the only article on which a duty was levied for, the purpose of giving protection. He 156 would instance the differential duties on timber. Now, the duty on Baltic timber was at 55s. the load, while on colonial timber it was at 10s. An addition of 5 per cent, would make a difference of 2s. 9d. on Baltic timber, and of 6d. only on Canadian timber—a principle which was in direct opposition to the recommendations of committees of the House who had sat to inquire into the subject.
§ Sir R. Peel
thought it very evident that the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Bridport, had not a very exalted notion of the patriotism of a reformed House of Commons, for he said that the right hon. Gentleman had proposed his budget rather with the object of its meeting the views of the House of Commons than of promoting the welfare of the country. This, then, was the end of all the hon. Gentleman's efforts for the reformation of the House of Commons. So little, in his opinion, did the House represent the feelings of the country, that he charged the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the offence of making his budget palatable to the House of Commons, thereby implying that there was a great difference of opinion between the House and the country. He (Sir R. Peel), however, thought that the great question involved in the discussion of tonight was this—should they resort to the miserable expedient of incurring a fresh debt to make good the present deficiency or should they make some effort to equalize the income and the expenditure of the country? Now, without entering into details, he must say that he was in favour of the principle of the right Gentleman's plan. He thought that nothing could be more disparaging, after the proof which they had obtained that the deficiency in the revenue was not merely temporary, than to try to shift from ourselves the burthens which properly belonged to us, after twenty-five years of general peace, and refuse to make some effort at least to equalize our income and expenditure. If, therefore, a vote of credit had been proposed for the purpose of meeting the present deficiency, whether such a step had been unpopular or not, he should certainly have opposed the motion, and he thought that the right hon. Gentleman had done right in proposing additional taxation. With respect to the mode of raising the taxes, he confessed he thought, upon the whole, that a slight increase of taxation, without imposing any perfectly novel tax, was the 157 wisest plan that could have been adopted. If a perfectly novel tax had been imposed, a much greater disturbance might have been caused to the capital of the country which was embarked in practical commercial pursuits than could be occasioned by a slight addition to existing taxation. In the second place, he thought the advantage of the present proposal was this, that the necessity for an increase of the Customs and Excise establishments would be much less than if they had recourse to new taxes. If the tax on salt or on leather were revived, for instance, then lie apprehended it would be necessary to increase the revenue establishments to a much greater extent than when a mere addition to the existing taxation was imposed. There being about 2,500,000l. to be raised, to attempt to raise that small sum by a property-tax, or a tax on general consumption would not be advisable; and therefore, upon the whole, he gave the preference to the principle of the plan of the right hon. Gentleman. At the same time it was impossible to look at the condition of this country with respect to its income and expenditure without great mortification at the thought that, after so long a continuance of peace, we should be in the condition in which we were. On looking at the expenditure of the last five years, he saw a very rapid progressive increase in it. The total amount of the actual expenditure of the country, apart from the payment of the interest upon the pub-debt for the different branches of the executive service of the country, was—
That certainly was very unsatisfactory, so far as the expenditure was concerned. Then, if he compared the expenditure with the revenue, he found no compensation in the way of consolatory reflection, because he found that in 1836 there was a surplus revenue of 1,376,000l.; in 1837 the surplus was 1,862,000l.; then there appeared to have been a great turn in the state of affairs, for the surplus became converted into a deficiency, the revenue in 1838 being deficient, as compared with the expenditure, to the amount of 1,428,000l. In 1839 the deficiency was 430,000l.; in 1840, it was 1,457,000l.; 158 so that the expenditure for the last five years had been increasing, and the deficiency between the receipts and the expenditure had been increasing also; for though there was a surplus in the first two years, the last three years were marked by a deficiency amounting altogether to a sum beyond the total surplus. Then, coining to the current year, he found it certainly not very consolatory, because it might be considered that the permanent deficiency estimated upon the rate for the present year was about 2,236,000l. The actual deficiency upon the present year was about 2,800,000l. But the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not consider that as a correct test of the actual deficiency, because there had been an increase on account of the insurrection in Canada and the war with China, and they were temporary and occasional charges, for which the right hon. Gentleman would deduct 500,000l., and then put down the deficiency of the present year at 2,236,000l. He confessed he did not see what ground there was for supposing that there would be no recurrence of those occasional expenses even for Canada and China in another year. He supposed the charge for Naples for the present year would be very small. But in the present state of the world he feared that they must every year calculate upon some such occasional charges as those for Canada and China. However, allowing them to be merely temporary, and not likely to recur, and comparing the present estimated expenditure with the revenue, there was an absolute deficiency of 2,300,000l. That being the case, seeing that it was not a deficiency for the present seeing that the expenditure of the country had been progressively and rapidly increasing, he could not resist the conclusion that the time was at length come when they must resort to some more creditable means of increasing the revenue than by incurring a new debt in time of peace, without leaving our posterity, who might not have to boast of a long peace as we had now had, but possibly might be called to engage in such struggles as those in which we had to exert ourselves twenty-four or twenty-five years ago, and upon whom it would be unjust to devolve not only the burdens necessary for their actual salvation, but the burdens which by our improvidence we had refused to share. And yet that would be the result 159 of the miserable expedients of raising loans upon Exchequer-bills and votes of credit; that would be the consequence of refusing additional taxation to meet the difficulty. He had said enough to show that he was favourable, not only to the principle of the right hon. Gentleman's plan, namely, increased taxation to meet existing difficulties, but also to the general principle of the imposts proposed. But he did not think the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had said so much in favour of the plan. First of all, said he, because there is a heavy duty of 1,200 per cent, on tobacco, you may add five per cent, to it. That was certainly a novel proposition, He had heard persons say in former times. "This article is lightly taxed at present, and, therefore, you may add to the tax;" but it was quite a new argument to say, that because an article was heavily taxed, therefore you might augment it. But did the right hon. Gentlemen consider the full effect of his proposition? If he looked at the prime cost of the article, he would find, that though five per cent, sounded small, it was in reality a heavy increase he was proposing. Let him consider the prime cost of the article, and he would find that the addition of five per cent., upon the tax was equal to sixty per cent, upon the price. And what was the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade? That by a reduction of the customs' duties the revenue had been increased. The right hon. Gentleman showed by figures an increased consumption in consequence of such reduction, and that speech he made upon an occasion when the proposal was to increase the duties of the customs, and when the inference would be that increased taxation would not add to the revenue. Yet, in spite of those arguments, he must say, that he was in favour of the principle of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But he wished an exception could have been made in favour of the raw materials of some articles, and he had rather expected that the right hon. Gentleman would have been prepared to say, that cotton was one of the articles to be exempted. Yet, if that exemption was likely to lead to the demand of exceptions in favour of other articles, and thus to the breaking down of the right hon. Gentleman's plan for increasing the revenue, he must say, that 160 the considerations for the due maintenance of the public credit were so overpowering, that rather than run any risk of not meeting the supposed deficit, he would give up his desire for the exemption of cotton. But he must remind the right hon. Gentleman that one-half of the present deficiency arose from the reduction of the postage duty on letters. According to the right hon. Gentleman's estimate, giving him credit for 500,000l. for casualties, the permanent deficit was 3,300,000l., and the loss upon the Post-office was at least 1,110,000l. The right hon. Gentleman estimated the Post-office revenue for the present year at 530,000l. Did that include 64,000l. for the Foreign-office? [The Chancellor of the Exchequer: No.] He thought it might be fairly estimated that nearly half the deficiency had arisen from the extensive abandonment of the post-office duty. As it had been so abandoned, he knew well the objections which would be made to any attempt to revive it. But had the right hon. Gentleman said—"I find a deficiency of 1,110,000l. in the Post-office, and 1,110,000l. at least from other causes, and upon the whole, instead of taxing raw cotton and other articles of general consumption, I think it better to propose a threepenny postage per letter," he very much doubted whether the right hon. Gentleman, although he might not at first have had the general concurrence of the country, would not have better consulted the general interests of the country. But the right hon. Gentleman, making use of an expression which he had used, did not wish to disturb the honeymoon of the Post-office. Yet the right hon. Gentleman threw out some ominous hints that the present amount of the receipts of the Post-office was not quite equal to what it was some weeks ago. Was he right? [The Chancellor of the Exchequer: There was a diminution in the number of letters.] Well, if that were the case it did not require the talents of a Chancellor of the Exchequer to foretell that the amount of the revenue of the Post office must also be diminished. The right hon. Gentleman would not admit that the revenue had decreased, but that the number of letters had. He was sorry to hear it; for the moment the House had decided that the experiment should be tried he was desirous that it should be fairly tried, and be satisfactory in its 161 results. He was, therefore, sorry to find that after a few months there should be a gradual decrease in the number of letters. But the right hon. Gentleman argued that this was only temporary, all which was quite natural after the first excitement of the novelty, and that in a short time that excitement would revive. He thought not. He saw no reason for thinking so, however much he might desire it. Constant vacillation in taxation was a great evil; and if, in the existing state of the revenue, the original remission of the taxation was unwise, it was, perhaps, wise not to interrupt and disturb the new plan by recurring to the old duty again. Still, without attempting to decry and condemn the experiment altogether, because it had not fully realized all the expectations that were held forth, he could not help thinking, that had the right hon. Gentleman had the courage to propose a three- penny duty on letters, he would have met with many supporters and advocates, even amongst those who were opposed to his present plan. With respect to the increase of ten per cent, on the assessed taxes, it was very easy to talk of increasing the assessed taxes, so as to make the rich pay; but the effect of that increase was to drive people who could command means out of the country, in a time of general peace, to reside where they would be free from such heavy taxation. The hon. Member for Bridport had complained of the exceptions made in favour of Ireland; but no doubt that principle of "justice to Ireland "would be acceptable in some quarters. The hon. Member might think the proposition unfair; but he must say, that he did not grudge this advantage to Ireland, when the question was only as to raising 2,000,000l. per annum. He must confess, that considering the source whence her Majesty's Government derived their support, without at all underrating the virtue of the right hon. Gentleman, he should have been surprised if that right hon. Gentleman had come down to the House and said—" I am Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland as well as for England. To propose such a tax, without making Ireland take her share, would be so monstrous, that I cannot think of doing it." And, although the right hon. Gentleman might have supported that proposition by very clear and ingenious arguments, yet he would have met with no small opposition, but not from that side of 162 the House to which hostility to Ireland was so frequently and unjustly imputed. Perhaps the hon. Member for Bridport, or some of his Friends, would propose that Ireland should be taxed as well as England. Had such a proposition been made by the right hon. Gentleman, it would have been said—" Now we shall see who are the true friends of Ireland." The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the elasticity of the commerce of England, and he had quoted the amounts of produce and consumption for some years back, the years 1839 and 1840 being the most favourable. He begged to remind the right hon. Gentleman, that this elasticity had been produced under the condemned system of the corn laws, and the question was, whether that could be a radically vicious system under which such an extraordinary elasticity of commerce had been manifested as had by its buoyancy maintained the revenue, notwithstanding the great diminution of taxation. He thought if the right hon. Gentleman had made a more decided effort to equalize the revenue with the expenditure, if he had proposed something more than an excess of 9,000l. per annum, he would have done better. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman was right; but anticipating, as he (Sir R. Peel) did, that casualties like those of Canada and China would increase, had he proposed to raise the actual revenue to a full equality with the probable expenditure, so little was he inclined to take advantage of the right hon. Gentleman's proposal for increased taxation, that he would not have opposed him for the sake of catching any temporary popularity on the ground of economy. For he would remind the hon. Gentleman, and the committee, that there was economy in maintaining the public credit. Looking at the interest of the public debt, looking at the source of saving which an improved state of the public credit would be enabling them to reduce the interest from three and a half per cent, to three per cent., and thus to effect the saving of millions, he intreated the committee to bear in mind that an increased taxation would place the public credit in such a satisfactory state as to enable them to lay a foundation for real and permanent reductions, perfectly consistent with the honour and credit of this country, and that in the safest and most satisfactory manner.
In 1836 14,000,000l. 1837 14,400,000l. 1838 15,392,000l. 1839 16,452,000l. 1840 17,100,000l.
§ Mr. Warburton
said, that nothing could 163 be more unjust than to utter such complaints against the new Post-office system as the House had that night heard. Even at the present moment, unfair as it would be to judge from existing circumstances, they must regard the Post-office as one of the most profitable sources of revenue which the country possessed. It was a subject upon which they were enabled to levy a tax of sixty per cent. The estimated income of the present year derivable from the Post-office was 530,000l. That was levied upon, or derived from, an estimated expenditure of 800,000l., at least that was the expenditure before the late alteration in the Post-office. Now, he felt himself warranted upon these data in saying, that the Post-office yielded a net profit of sixty per cent. Was not that quite as much as the Ministers of the Crown had a right to expect from any one department? He could not help observing, that the present was not a mere question of revenue; it was one of much greater importance than any matter of finance, for it was one which most materially affected the comforts and the morals of the people; and that they valued it highly, and were ready to take advantage of it to the utmost possible extent must be evident to any one who took the trouble of comparing the quantity of general post letters passing through the office before the change, and the number subsequently transmitted; they were in the ration of ten to twenty-six, being an increase of 160 per cent.
§ Mr. Gillon
said, he should have been well pleased had a proposition been made for imposing a property-tax, for in his judgment, nothing could be more fair than that the fundholder should pay for the protection which he enjoyed under the institutions of this country, and should be made to contribute to the support of that system, from the stability of which he derived so much advantage. He sincerely hoped that some opportunity would be given to hon. Members, of testing the declarations which they so often made with respect to their wishes for the relief of the people from the pressure of financial burthens. There was one matter which he could not help noticing with a strong feeling of regret, and that was, that no reduction had been proposed in the duty on post-horses. He thought that the whole of the duty ought to be taken off carriages let for hire. Considering the quantity of travelling which took place in this country 164 by means of railroads and steam-vessels, he must be allowed to say, that the owners of post horses and carriages let for hire, had a claim upon the Government for relief.
§ Sir G. Clerk
regretted much that the right hon. Gentleman had not taken the bolder course of at once proposing, that the revenue should be recruited by the obvious mode of increasing the taxation. To him it certainly appeared that the right hon. Gentleman had very much overestimated the income, and very much under-estimated the expenditure; but, without now discussing that question in detail, he wished to call attention to a point that seemed to him of some importance. It appeared from the accounts laid before Parliament, that the naval expenditure of the last year amounted to 5,472,000l., whereas the sum voted last year was only 5,170,000l., which left a difference of 300,000l. Now, he wished to know how that difference had been made up. If his view of the accounts then, before the House were correct, it would appear that the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had overestimated the public income to the extent of 600,000l., and had under-estimated the expenditure as much as 300,000l., making in the whole a greater deficiency by 900,000l. than the right hon. Gentleman had calculated.
§ Mr. Briscoe
concurred with those who thought that there ought to be an increase of taxes—nay, it appeared to him there were several articles very inadequately taxed. He thought that enough, of taxes should be imposed to leave fair grounds for expecting that there would be sufficient to meet the whole expenditure of the country. There were those, and men of some authority too, who thought that the income of the country should be placed upon such a footing as would leave just grounds for expecting a surplus of at least 5,000,000l. It was considered that such a surplus was no more than barely sufficient to afford security to the public creditor, and at the same time adequately to maintain the character of this great country in the scale of nations. It was rather a remarkable feature of the present position of the country, that the existing deficiency arose not from a failing revenue, but from fin increasing expenditure. Though favourable generally to an increase of taxation, there were two taxes which 165 the Government meant to increase, which he thought highly inexpedient, and to which he felt bound especially to object, namely, the duties upon raw cotton, and upon wool. He, therefore, hoped that the tax upon cotton and wool would not be increased, and that the window-tax would also be exempted from the larger taxation of ten per cent., which was now proposed.
§ Mr. Darby
considered the cheapest mode of carrying on the business of the country to be, by having the revenue greater than the expenditure. He regretted that the Post-office had been altered to so large an extent, and would have been glad if a twopenny rate had been proposed instead of the lower rate of a penny. It would be better, in his opinion, if the duty on raw cotton were not put on; and with respect to the further duty on hops, which was now proposed, he would observe, that the county of Sussex stood in a peculiar position in regard to that at tide; for, although the hops grown there were inferior to the hops which were grown in some other parts of the country, yet they paid the same rate of duty, and which was already too much for the growers to pay.
§ Lord J. Russell
said, that the proposition which had been made by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had been so fairly met by the House, and the general tone of the House seemed so much in favour of it, that he would not occupy their time by many observations. He wished, however, to say a word or two on one or two points which had been under discussion; but first he would observe, that the right hon. Gentleman opposite had said, that he agreed to the general principle of the proposition of his right hon. Friend, namely, that it was now time that they should meet the present deficiency in the revenue by taxation, and not by having recourse to loans. And secondly, that with regard to taxation, it was more advisable on the whole, for the sake of not increasing the present revenue establishment, and of not checking industry, to increase the existing duties rather than impose new ones. He trusted that his right hon. Friend would be contented with the support his proposition had received, and not endeavour to conciliate those who, on different sides, had made different propositions on behalf of different interests, no doubt with a very 166 laudable regard for them, but seeming to overlook the exceptions which might be made to those propositions by others. One hon. Gentleman had proposed, on the part of the manufacturers of raw cotton and wool, that there should be no duty laid on those articles. Another hon. Gentleman wished, on the part of the agriculturists, that the proposed additional duty on malt and hops should not be raised. But he was afraid, if his right hon. Friend were to accede to exempting those four articles from the duties now proposed, he would find, on Monday night, the number of them increased from four to eight, respecting which similar objections might be made by some other hon. Members, and when not a single volunteer would come forward, like the hon. Member for Westbury, and say that many articles were inadequately taxed. That hon. Member had said, that the sum which was now proposed to be laid on by taxation was not sufficient; and that they ought to endeavour to cover, by the increased taxation, the whole expenditure of the year. He must say, with respect to the general principle of the proposition, both as regarded the public and also private individuals, that when there were some sudden and unforeseen sources of expense, it was a very legitimate mode of providing for that expenditure, by means of loans rather than by new taxes, which in the course of two or three years, if that expenditure was not continued, they would be justified in taking off, but at the same time incurring the risk and evil of producing impediments in the way of industry, without any adequate motive. That was not a new mode of proceeding, because at the time of the revolutionary war in France, Mr. Pitt had so far increased the revenue by wise measures of finance, as to obtain a sinking fund; but when the expedition to Nootka Sound and the Russian armament had increased the public expenditure, he provided for that increase by means of a loan. There certainly was a sinking fund at that time in existence, but there was an increased expenditure over the revenue of the country, which was made up by a loan. But with respect to the more general principle contained in the proposition of the hon. Gentleman, he considered that the country had pursued for some years a wiser course, instead of having a considerable sinking fund over the expenditure, to have only a 167 revenue sufficient to meet the expenditure, leaving the country at liberty to increase its means, and thus enable it to meet any future calls. And if he compared the peace now with that of former times, he should say that the country, after it had increased in wealth through reduced taxation, was rendered more able to bear an expensive war than by making small and ineffectual efforts, by continuing taxes of 2,000,000l. or 3,000,000l. a year for some ten years. The country had pursued that course of late years, and if they looked to the last five years they would not find a result so very different from that which he had stated, and which he thought ought to be their principle—namely, providing only for the expenditure, and not having any large revenue beyond that. The result of the last five years, to which his right hon. Friend had referred, was, that the amount of expenditure over the revenue was only 77,000l.; and if they now laid on taxation to the amount of 2,300,000l., they might then defray their expenditure without any increase on the amount of debt, but, he admitted also, without obtaining any sinking fund. As to this question of revenue, he thought one subject had been introduced which it was not fair to consider as a revenue question—he meant that of the Post-office. He did not consider that as one of revenue. He was ready to allow that he had concurred in that measure, but he had no strong belief in the calculations that were made, that, by the increased number of letters the general amount of revenue from that source would not be lessened. He believed, that the amount would increase from what it was at present, but it would be by very slow degrees, and perhaps might not produce a million for several years: but if it only produced 500,000l. a year, being a loss of more than a million a year, he should not in the least regret that he had supported it. He considered it as a measure to give to persons of very moderate means, and also to poor persons, an opportunity of communication, from which they were almost prohibited by the old rate of postage. He considered also that it afforded great facility of communication to all persons having great commercial speculations in hand; and likewise seeing the increase of the passage of persons from one part of the country to another, that a great benefit would result from the obstacles which 168 formerly existed to communication by letter being removed. He did not, therefore, think it fair to consider this question is one of taxation, or to express any disappointment on that ground. For his own part, he felt no disappointment, and he was ready to repeat again the vote which he gave last year. He begged only further to say, that the House appeared 30 generally to concur in the proposition of his right hon. Friend, that he trusted the hon. Member for Kilkenny, having stated his views, would not think it necessary to bring it to a vote.
§ Mr. Grote
should certainly support the proposition of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, believing, as he did, that it would be the most legal and least burdensome mode of raising a part of that deficiency which they were now called upon to supply; but considering, as he did, that it would be rejected by a very large majority, he would not trouble the House with any remarks on the subject. He wished, however, to make one observation on the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was in reference to the proposed per centage in addition to the existing customs' duty; and he would submit to the right hon. Gentleman whether this was not a fitting occasion for him to consider one tax which he believed was in substance an addition to the existing customs' duty, and which in the form in which it was now laid down was most inconvenient to the mercantile interests, and produced a great degree of dissatisfaction—he alluded to the stamp duty on policies of marine insurance. That duty obliged many persons to make their insurances in foreign ports and in the colonies, and also gave an additional advantage to foreign shipowners in preference to our own, as well as to great shipowners, who made their ships insure one another, and did away altogether-with other insurance, over the small ship owner, who was obliged to insure his vessels. This duty, although in the form of the process of insurance, was practically and in effect to increase the price of goods imported into England, and was therefore tantamount to an increase on the duty on goods imported. The right hon. Gentleman might, therefore, consider now whether, if he were going to increase the Custom-house duties at all, he might not by a slight rise in them dispense with the duties on the policies of marine in- 169 surance. This duty produced only about 130,000l. a year, and by a slight addition to the Custom-house duties might well be done away with; but he would leave the subject with the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. C. Villiers
could not help feeling glad that the hon. Member for Kilkenny had directed the attention of the House to the question which he had brought forward, because one branch of the question, which to him it appeared most important to consider, was the source from which our revenue was derived, and the mode of levying the taxes, for one hon. Member said, there should be an increase of taxation, whilst another holding out a probable deficiency of 900,000l., said it ought to be reduced. It seemed, then, to be a proper subject for the consideration of the House. The manner in which the taxes were levied in this country was most unequal and partial, unlike the financial system adopted by every other country in Europe, and contrary to the views of every enlightened financier. The taxes were levied not on those who were able to bear them—not according to the person's means, but rather on the principle of a poll-tax, according to number, and on everything which each person must consume. The present system of taxation was precisely calculated to limit the power of consumption amongst the people. He should not have been tempted to refer to the matter, if it had not been for the allusion made by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth. He could not have thought the right hon. Gentleman would have ventured to have alluded to the Corn-laws, and he must say, that his observations upon them had been somewhat ill-timed. The right hon. Baronet had congratulated the House and the country on the occasion upon the operation of the Corn-laws, because he said those laws had enabled the country to maintain the public credit, and that with those laws the large revenue necessary was collected. He begged to inquire at what expense? were the people in a prosperous condition? Was the country in a satisfactory state? Did not the people actually trace their sufferings to that very source? Nobody denied that the revenue was collected; but would anybody deny that the people had suffered, and were still suffering, from the high prices of provisions? He should not have discharged his duty to those who had 170 sent him here, if he had suffered the observations of the right hon. Baronet to pass unnoticed.
§ Sir R. Peel
did not complain of the notice which the hon. Member had taken of his observations. He wished, however, that the hon. Member had quoted these observations correctly. He had not imputed to the Corn-laws the means of enabling the Government to collect large revenues, and, therefore, he advised them to adhere to the Coin-laws. What he had said was this—the light hon. the President of the Board of Trade, inquired what had been done in respect of the remission of taxation since 1830. The right hon. Gentleman stated he could show, from the amount of customs and excise, there had been a great reduction of taxation, but such was the elasticity and buoyancy of the commerce of the country, that notwithstanding the remission of taxation, there had been a great and constant increase in the revenue. He (Sir R. Peel) had then observed that this extension and buoyancy of commerce had taken place concurrently with the existing system of Corn-laws; that it was difficult to assign a precise cause of national prosperity, and he did not push the argument further than to urge this fact as evidence, that the increase of commercial and manufacturing property had been acquired concurrently with the existing Corn-laws, and he had suggested as matter for consideration, whether the removal of those laws might not be productive of a reduction in that prosperity.
§ Mr. Muntz
said, that if the taxation of the country as at present existing, bore equally upon all classes of the community, he (Mr. Muntz) would be the last man to object to the principle upon which the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer had announced his intention to proceed, for it was an excellent principle, inasmuch as it did not require new machinery. Still, however, if ever there was a time when the working classes could worse bear the burden of taxation, that time was the present. He, therefore, thought the Legislature would have done better to have put on a property-tax to meet the existing deficiency, instead of increasing those taxes which he contended the people were not able to bear. The privations of the working classes ware severe at present; they were likely to increase, and he therefore should support 171 the amendment moved by the hon. Member for Kilkenny.
§ Mr. Hume
had heard a great deal from the right hon. Baronet opposite on every feature of this question, but not one word as to economy. But he would put it to the right hon. Baronet, whether the better way to support the public credit was not to reduce the expenditure than to impose new taxes. It was true there was a deficiency, which it was proposed to meet, but would it not be better to impose whatever burdens should be necessary on landed property? He had seen this day an address from the Society for the Protection of Agriculture, dated May, 1840, and signed "T. T. Bernard." From this document he would show the proportions of taxation levied on real and personal property. The amount of personal property liable to this tax was, in this kingdom, 42,000,000l., and, in Ireland, 2,240,000l. Thus they had no objection to tax the property of the poor to the amount of 44,000,000l., which tax was equal to more than 2,000,000l. annually. According to the statement of this society the amount of capital embarked in land was no less than 3,000,000,000l., while the amount of capital embarked in manufactures was only 220,000,000l. That being the representation of this society,—which hon. Gentlemen opposite at least would not controvert, as it came from their own partisans,—let them consider, that here was a tax of more than 2,000,000l. a-year levied on 220,000,000l. embarked in manufactures, while there was not one farthing levied on the 3,000,000,000l. invested in land. Gentlemen did not seem aware, that there was a tax levied on the descent of personal property, while there was none on the descent of real property. The amount of real property passing annually by descent was 44,000,000l., according to the authority of the country gentlemen themselves. If this were taxed even at two per cent, instead of five per cent., which was the average of the tax on personal property, it would produce more than 2,350,000l. a-year. He would ask the right hon. Baronet did he feel no compunction at seeing all that property free from taxation, while personal property was so heavily taxed? He wished to make one observation with regard to the connexion which the hon. Baronet was pleased to see between the prosperous state of the revenue and the 172 corn-laws. If the right hon. Baronet would only consider that we had the population increasing at the rate of one and a half per 100 a-year, and that in 1836 the revenue was46,000,000l., and therefore if the increase of the revenue had kept pace with the increase of the population, the increase of the present time would be 2,600,000l., whereas it was only 1,463,000l. He contended, therefore, that instead of an increase in the revenue, there was a virtual decrease when compared with the increase of the population, and this decrease he attributed to the corn-laws. It was the duty of this House to diminish the extraordinary expenditure of the country; but in the meantime if taxes were to be imposed, let them be imposed on real property. With that view he would take the sense of the House on this amendment.
would agree to the proposal of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down to put personal and real property on the same footing with regard to the legacy duty, when he should see personal property assessed to poor rates, county-rates, and other rates. He thought real property was already much more heavily taxed than personal property. He agreed fully with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that it was the imperative duty of this country to meet its financial difficulties.
§ Mr. Wallace
would first support the motion of his hon. Friend to the right, and if that should not be successful he would then support the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make good the deficiency in the revenue according to the pledge to which he was last year a party.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer
was glad to hear that statement from the hon. Member for Greenock, and trusted it would be acted upon by other hon. Members who had called for a reduction in postage. In the few observations he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had now to make, he should best consult the convenience of the committee if he confined himself to the particular motion of his hon. Friend, the Member for Kilkenny, who had taken upon himself the unenviable task of proposing the imposition of new taxation. His hon. Friend said, that instead of taking the taxes as he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) proposed, the Government ought to have moved a 173 legacy duty on real property. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would not go into the details of the mode in which his hon. Friend proposed to put that tax on, because his (the Chancellor of the Exchequer's) objection was to the principle of the tax. His hon. Friend said, that he would lay on that tax because the agricultural interests were not sufficiently taxed, and therefore he would direct the new impost against them. Now, he confessed, that the object he had in view in the budget he had proposed was to spread the taxation so as not to press upon any particular interest—on the contrary, that it should be general, and not felt harshly by any particular class. Now, if his hon. Friend knew the number of sources from which the legacy duties were derived, he would find that the great portion was paid by those whom his hon. Friend considered to be freed from taxation. But, let the committee just look to the cause by which the deficiency in the revenue to be provided for had arisen. In the first place it had arisen principally from the deficiency in the Post-office revenues. Who was it that had received the benefit of a reduction of postage? Was it the agricultural classes? Was it not a fact that the advantages to be derived from the reduction of taxation which had hitherto taken place were principally felt by the commercial and manufacturing interests. Would it be fair, then, to give them an additional advantage, and call upon the agriculturists to bear the deficiency. The House should not fail to recollect when considering the present deficiency, that there went 800,000l. annually for compensation to the West Indies. He did not see upon what grounds of justice the new burdens should be laid exclusively upon any particular class of the community. With respect to what had been said of deeds, when he looked at the probate and legacy duties as compared with those derived from deeds—and it should be remembered, that a great part of the amount from deeds was derived from landed property—he did not find such a difference. The probate and by-way duties amounted to 1,724,000l., and those from deeds, to 1,680,000l. He was happy to find, that during the whole of the discussion not a single word had fallen from any hon. Gentleman, intimating a doubt with respect to the resources of the country.
|List of the AYES.|
|Abercromby, hn. G.R.||Grey, rt. hn. Sir C.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Hamilton, C. J. B.|
|Acland, T. D.||Hawkes, T.|
|Adam, Admiral||Heathcote, G. J.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Aglionby, Major||Herries, rt. hon. J. C.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Hobhouse, rt.hn.Sir J.|
|Arbuthnot, hn. H.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Archbold, R.||Hodgson, R.|
|Bailey, J.||Holmes, W.|
|Bailey, J., jun.||Hope, G. W.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Hoskins, K.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Hotham, Lord|
|Bateson, Sir R.||Howard, F. J.|
|Berkeley, hn. H.||Howard, P. H.|
|Berkeley, hon. C.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Blair, J.||Hurt, F.|
|Blake, M. J.||Ingestrie, Lord|
|Blake, W. J.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Bodkin, J. J.||Jackson, Sergeant|
|Bramston, T. W.||Johnslone, H.|
|Broadley, H.||Jones, Captain|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Kemble, H.|
|Bruges, W. H. L.||Knatchbull, rt. hon.|
|Buck, L. W. Sir E.|
|Busfeild, W.||Knight, H. G.|
|Calcraft, J. H.||Labouchere, rt. hn. H.|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Lefroy, rt. hon. T.|
|Canning, rt. hn. Sir S.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Cavendish, hon. C.||Litton, E.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Lockhart, A. M.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Clay, W.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Macnamara, Major|
|Clive, E. B.||Marshall, W.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Martin, J.|
|Copeland, Alderman||Martin, T. B.|
|Courtenay, P.||Maule, hon. F.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Melgund, Lord|
|Darby, G.||Mildmay, P. St. J.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Mordaunt, Sir J.|
|Dunbar, G.||Morpeth, Lord|
|Dundas, D.||Morris, D.|
|Eastnor, Lord||Norreys, Lord|
|Eaton, R. J.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Egerton, W. T.||O'Neill, hn. J. B. R.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Pakington, J. S.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Palmerston, Lord|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Parker, R. T.|
|Fleetwood, Sir P. H.||Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.|
|Freemantle, Sir T.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Gladstone, W. E.||Pendarves, E. W. W.|
|Glynne, Sir S. R.||Perceval, Colonel|
|Gordon, R.||Perceval, hon. G. J.|
|Gordon, hon. Captain||Pigot, D. R.|
|Goring, H. D.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Goulburn, rt. hn. H.||Power, J.|
|Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.||Praed, W.T.|
|Greene, T.||Price, Sir R.|
|Greenaway, C.||Pringle, A.|
|Pryme, G.||Steuart, R.|
|Redington, T. N.||Stuart, W. V.|
|Rickford, W.||Strutt, E.|
|Roche, W.||Talfourd, Sergeant.|
|Roche, Sir D.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Rushbrooke, Colonel||Trench, Sir F.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Russell, Lord C.||Vere, Sir C. B.|
|Rutherfurd, rt. hn. A||Wilde, Sergeant|
|Sandon, Lord||Wilmot, Sir J. E.|
|Scarlett, hon. J. Y.||Wilshere, W.|
|Shaw, rt. hon. F.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Sibthorp, Colonel||Wood, G. W.|
|Sinclair, Sir G.||Wood, Colonel T.|
|Smith, R. V.||Worsley, Lord|
|Somers, J. P.|
|Somerset, Lord G.||TELLERS.|
|Stanley, hon. E. J.||Parker, J.|
|Stanley, Lord||Tufnell, H.|
|Stansfield, W. R. C.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Blewitt, R. J.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Muskett, G. A.|
|Brotherton, J.||Oswald, J.|
|Bryan, G.||Philips, M.|
|Dennistoun, J.||Rice, E. R.|
|Dundas, C. W. D.||Scholefield, J.|
|Ewart, W.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Fielden, J.||Thornley, T.|
|Finch, F.||Turner, E.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Greg, R. H.||Villiers, hon.C. P.|
|Grote, G.||Wakley, T.|
|Hawes, B.||Wallace, R.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Ward, H. G.|
|Hector, C. J.||White, A.|
|Hindley, C.||Williams, W.|
|Hollond, R.||Wood, B.|
|Jervis, J.||Yates, J. H.|
|Langdale, hon. C.||Hume, J.|
|Marsland, H.||Warburton, H.|
§ On the original resolution being again put,
objected to the proposed alteration in the spirit duties; said 4d. per gallon on Irish whiskey would be too great an addition to the duty already paid. It would raise that duty 14 per cent., and the consequence would be, that the illicit trade would again revive.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
was understood to say he would not oppose any tax by which the present ministry would render themselves more unpopular.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, that if, as the right hon. Gentleman had stated, his proposition of adding 4d. per gallon was for the purpose of avoiding the confusion to which a general tax of five per cent, on spirit 176 would lead, there was considerable fear that the object would not be achieved. The right hon. Gentleman had told the House that the treaty with France might have the effect of reducing the revenue by the sum of 300,000l. He had not, bow-ever, stated by the introduction of what articles that reduction would take place. He suspected that French brandy would be one of these articles. Now if French brandy were introduced, and an additional 4d. levied on British spirit, it would, in his apprehension, lead to great confusion.
§ The Committee divided,—Ayes 111; Noes 15: Majority 96.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Hoskins, K.|
|Adam, A.||Howard, F. J.|
|Aglionby, Major||Hughes, W. B.|
|Archbold, R.||Hurt, F.|
|Bailey, J.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Jackson, Sergeant|
|Barnard, E. G.||Jones, Captain|
|Berkeley, hon. H.||Knatchbull, rt. hon. Sir E.|
|Berkeley, hon. C.|
|Blake, M. J.||Knight, H. G.|
|Blake, W. J.||Labouchere, rt. hn. H.|
|Blewitt,R. J.||Langdale, hon. C.|
|Bodkin, J. J.||Litton, E.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Marshall, W.|
|Broadley, H.||Martin, J.|
|Bryan, G.||Maule, hon. F.|
|Busfeild, W.||Melgund, Lord|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Mildmay, P. St. J.|
|Canning, rt. hn. Sir S.||Mordaunt, Sir J.|
|Cavendish, hon. C.||Morpeth, Lord|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Morris, D.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Darby, G.||O'Ferrall, R. M.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Oswald, J.|
|Dunbar, G.||Palmerston, Lord|
|Dundas, C. W. D.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Dundas, D.||Pendarves, E. W.W.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Perceval, Colonel|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Perceval, hon. G. J.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Philips, M.|
|Finch, F.||Pigot, D, R.|
|Fleetwood, Sir P. H.||Power, J.|
|Gordon, R.||Price, Sir R.|
|Goring, H. D.||Pryme, G.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Redington, T. N.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Rickford, W.|
|Greene, T.||Roche, W.|
|Greenaway, C.||Roche, Sir D.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Rushbrooke, Colonel|
|Hawes, B.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Russell, Lord C.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Rutherfurd, rt. hon. A.|
|Herries, rt. hon. J. C.||Sandon, Lord|
|Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.||Seale, Sir J. H.|
|Hodges, T. L.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Hodgson, R.||Sibthorp, Colonel|
|Hollond, R.||Stanley, hon. E, J.|
|Hope, G, W.||Stanley, Lord|
|Stansfield, W. R. C.||Wilde, Sergeant|
|Steuart, R.||Wilmot, Sir J. E.|
|Stuart, W. V.||Wilshere, W.|
|Strutt, E.||Wood, Colonel T.|
|Talfourd, Sergeant||Wood, B.|
|Thornely, T.||Worsley, Lord|
|Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Vigors, N. A.||TELLERS.|
|Wallace, R.||Tufnell, H.|
|White, A.||Parker, J.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Marsland, H.|
|Brotherton, J.||Muritz, G. V.|
|Bruges, W. H. L.||Parker, R. T.|
|Ewart, W.||Scholefield, J.|
|Fielden, J.||Wakley, T.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Warburton, H.|
|Hindley, C.||Johnson, General|
|Hume, J.||Williams, W.|
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ On the resolution, that an increase of 10 per cent, be raised on the assessed taxes.
§ Mr. Hume
said, that Lord Althorp had pledged himself when Chancellor of the Exchequer, that no increase should take place in the window taxes, and it would be extremely inconvenient if an extra charge should be now laid on. He thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer should exempt windows from an increased charge after the solemn pledge made by his predecessor.
§ Mr. Finch
thought it more than a pledge, for in the statute 4 William 4th, it was expressly stated, that any party should build his house as he thought fit, having above a certain number of windows, and not be subjected to any additional duty; and that any house having only seven windows should not be subjected to any duty at all for opening any number more.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, with regard to the survey, he wished to propose no new duty, he wished for no additional power whatever, he broke no clause of the act of Parliament. He only stated this, if persons did not pay what they were liable to pay, he should request them to do so. He only wished them to do that by a general survey.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, if a person liable to the window duty had never paid any charge whatever, it was 178 never enacted that that person should be for ever exempt.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ House resumed, report to be received.