HC Deb 11 April 1842 vol 62 cc220-92
Dr. Bowring

moved the Order of the Day for resuming the adjourned debate on the resolutions of the noble Lord the Member for London on the subject of the Income-tax. The hon. Member said, he would venture to intrude a few observations upon the attention of the House, because, though he felt bound to vote against the proposal of the right hon. Baronet, he could not, for one, consent to adopt the resolutions of the noble Lord the Member for London without some qualifications. It was sometimes the privilege of Members of that House, and upon this occasion it was his, to gather some consolation in the progress of its debates from concessions mutually made by both sides of the House to the great principles to which some of the Members of the House had been faithful through evil and through good report. He had heard with no small gratification a declaration of the noble Lord the Member for London, that he thought the time was come when a legacy duty might be conveniently and properly levied upon real property; and the noble Lord was taunted by an observation from the other side of the House which recalled to his mind that his statement was contradictory to statements made by hon. Members belonging to this party. But he, notwithstanding that alleged difference of opinion amongst persons of the same political party, confessed that he received no impression but one of gratification from the concession, that injustice was done in the present mode of taxing property, and that real property which had descended from generation to generation did not bear its fair proportion of taxation. He cared little about the motion which induced hon. Members to recognize sound principles, it was to their recognition—their recognition from both sides—from men in hostile positions—from the heads of parties, that he looked for ultimate and substantial benefit. With regard to the other proposal of the right hon. Baronet, he considered it as a great step towards the improvement of our trade and commerce with the whole world; and he valued very little some of the remarks which had emanated from that (the Opposition) side of the House, as to the inconsistency of many of the supporters of the right hon. Baronet. Suppose the right hon. Baronet had not on former occasions given effect to the sound principles which he now proposed, was that a reason why he, who always advocated them, should refuse his cordial co-operation in measures by which those principles were advanced? He, for one, cordially welcomed the proposal of the right hon. Baronet, and sure he was, that proposal would receive such support from many of the hon. Members in the Opposition as would fully compensate for the opposition he would meet with elsewhere. He knew that much was to be done in other matters—that economy had been miserably violated—that expenditure had been rashly and unnecessarily increased. He rejoiced, that he had been no party to the bringing about of that national calamity, the continued inequality of the resources of the state, year after year, to its expenditure; and if he were called upon to give an opinion of the policy which had caused the deficiency in the public revenue, he mast say, that he could not approve of it. He did not see the advantage which England had derived from that policy. What good had we accomplished as a nation by going into Syria? Was this country the better because the blood of multitudes had flowed down the sides of Mount Lebanon, and tinged the waters of Jordan? What had we gained by our warfare in India—by setting up an imbecile old man and dethroning a popular ruler? Change your position; apply to the Affghans the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have others do unto you. What would the people of England think if the natives of Affghanistan had come over here to establish the dynasty of the Stuarts? Was it not melancholy to hear the right hon. Baronet confirm the report that 10,000 or 12,000 men had been already sacrificed in this new and unhappy war? But would he put an end to it by his interference? No; thousands and tens of thousands more probably would yet be destroyed, and the people of England would have to pay enormous charges to carry on the wicked contest. He confessed that he did not understand that mode of balancing public accounts, by setting injury against injury, wrong against wrong, and murders against murders, while the people of England were to be called upon to pay for the execution of the same. How was England to be benefitted by the Indian war, on account of which millions of money would be wrung from a suffering population, whose distress the right hon. Baronet admitted, and whose resources he acknowledged were exhausted by indirect taxation—by duties levied upon articles of consumption, so that he was obliged to turn his fiscal attention in another direction, and to attack property, which he confessed he would have attacked rightly if he had regarded the rule of equity, and weighed the great difference between that income which was transitory and that which was permanent. Had the right hon. Baronet done that he would have given him his cordial support, and he should have hailed the present as a new era in our mode of taxation, because, by taxing people according to their ability to pay, the right hon. Baronet would have pursued a course honourable to himself, worthy of the support of Parliament, and just to all classes. Whatever might be the cause which had placed them in their present position, he could not help feeling satisfied that the result was, to force them to treat the question of taxation upon right principles, or, at all events, to approximate to the right principles of taxation. As to the argument that a property-tax should be resorted to in time of war only, it produced no effect upon his mind. He asked not whether it was a war-tax or a peace-tax, but whether it was founded on justice and equity. If so, he should be the first to acknowledge that it was the tax which public opinion would ultimately support. But the right hon. Baronet had associated with it so much of injustice, of wrong, and of injury, that he could not support the right hon. Baronet's proposition. His confounding income with fixed property had misled him; and it was difficult to conceive how the right hon. Baronet, with his astute mind, could not perceive the great difference between wealth consisting of money in the public funds or estates, and which from generation to generation was secure to the person who had a life interest in the same, and that wealth which, resulting from the daily labour of an intelligence that passes away with life, is ever uncertain, and leaves nothing behind it. An equitable property-tax presented various features to recommend itself. It appeared to him that in proportion to the extent of protection given by the state to individuals should be the price of that protection. The premium paid for insuring houses and ships was always in proportion to the value of the property; and if the right hon. Baronet would propose a tax regulated according to that principle, he did not see how any case against it could be made out. An hon. Member had taken some pains to show that assessed taxes might be improperly and unjustly levied, and he believed it; but when we came to direct taxation, persons could be taxed according to their means, and the various schemes to favour particular interests would be defeated. He differed with the hon. Member for Liskeard, who objected to direct taxation because it was a traceable source of revenue, because its produce could be accurately estimated, because its exactions could be clearly calculated,— this was the very ground upon which he approved of it. Most erroneous had always been the estimates of what taxes upon consumption would bring to the Treasury; whereas the produce of direct taxation could be calculated to a shilling. Then, again, the machinery of direct taxation would not be so multitudinous, expensive, or vexatious, as that of indirect taxation, with all the annoyances of the Customs and the despotism of the Excise. Direct taxation would not only be less oppressive to the people, but more satisfactory to the Treasury in its results; while it would tend also to remove impediments in the way of international communication and foreign trade. Now that the subject was fairly mooted in the House, he hoped the discussion would end in the establishment of a fair and equitable system of direct taxation. The effect of indirect taxation was always injurious to the trade in the articles upon which it was levied. When Napoleon Bonaparte established the octroi in the city of Ghent—a tax levied principally upon food, and bread in particular— the brewers of that city sent a deputation to the public authorities to inquire what amount was expected to be realised by it; and being informed about 300,000 francs, they at once offered to pay the tax, knowing that its operation would be injurious to trade, to an extent far greater than it was proposed to levy. What was the effect of the present system of duties levied upon imports into this country? The consumer was invariably the sufferer.

There was not only the loss to him of the impost which went to the Treasury, but of the additional price and additional profit which the levying of that impost added to the value of the article. The duty upon coffee was 84s. per cwt.; the importing merchant added not less than 10 per cent. for his profit; the retail trader levied an additional charge of 13s. 10d.; so that the consumer in the end paid 22s. 3d. beyond the duty of 84s.; and because of the existence of that duty; thus, in addition to the state levying 140 per cent., the traders levied 45 per cent. upon the consumer. The prime value of tobacco was 4d. per lb.; the state levied a duty of 3s.; the trader added 4d., and the retailer 15 per cent.; so that in fact 3s. 10d. per lb. was paid for an article which originally cost but 4d. The first cost of sugar might be about 25s. per cwt., and the duty 25s.; the importer, in consequence of that duty, added 2s. 6d. to the price, and the retailer made a further advance of 15 per cent., amounting to 4s.; so here was 6s. 6d. added after the State had taken 100 per cent. Taking the original cost of tea at 1s. 9d. per lb., it would pay a duty of 2s.; the importer charged a profit of 2½d.; and the profit of the retailer was generally at the rate of 10 per cent. Thus more than 100 per cent. was taken by the Treasury in the shape of a fiscal duty, and 35 per cent. more in consequence of that duty being levied. It appeared to him that this system was most unjust to the consumer, and that if it were better understood, it would scarcely be tolerated by those whom it caused to make such great sacrifices. He hoped that the right hon. Baronet would carry out the principles which he appeared to acknowledge, and that the results would be more generally advantageous to the community. If he did act upon the great principles of free-trade, he would promise the right hon. Baronet his cordial support.

Mr. H. Gally Knight

The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down will perhaps think, when he sees me rise immediately after him that he is not appreciated in Nottinghamshire as he deserves to be—for, if I remember right, the last time he went down to Nottingham, to agitate for the total repeal of the Corn-laws, he and his proposition were not treated in a very courteous manner, and at this moment he may be under the impression that one of the representa- tives of that county is about to attack him again. But I am sure, Sir, after the speech which the learned Doctor has just delivered. I can have no disposition to show him any thing but the greatest civility—for, on the present occasion, he has spoken much more as a friend then as a foe. His speech was a beautiful struggle. He seemed to be longing to support the right hon. Baronet now at the head of the Government, and then he was dragged back by the recollection of former declarations. He approves of the general system of the right hon. Baronet, but he finds fault with some of the details—I shall take leave to advert, presently, to some of the learned Doctor's objections—but, Sir, I rose, principally, because, observing with how much vehemence, with how much animosity, the measures proposed by the right hon. Baronet are combated, hearing it asserted that some of his habitual supporters have taken the alarm, I could not bear to remain entirely silent, 1 could not resist my desire to express, in a very few words, the sentiments with which, as a landed proprietor, and country Gentleman, I regard the question which is now before the House. Sir, the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, would have the country believe, that the necessities of the moment are not so great as they have been represented, and that, even supposing the necessities to be great, his last year's budget would be preferable to the plan which has been brought forward by the right hon. Baronet, Sir, I am not surprised that the noble Lord should endeavour to make it believed that the necessities of the country are not so great as has been represented, because, whatever may be the amount of those necessities they are of his own creation; and, whatever taxes may be imposed, the country will never forget that they are the legacy of the last Administration. Sir, if it were not so serious a subject, I could represent to myself an amusing picture of "The Reading of the Will;" John Bull sit ting by with a countenance getting more and more aghast every moment. Imprimis. We give and bequeath, to our beloved John Bull, a deficit of 5,000,000l. Item, we give and bequeath to the aforesaid John Bull, a war in India. Item, a war in China. Item, an unsettled boundary in America. There are a good many codicils—but these I omit—Sir, with how much pleasure, with how much gratitude, may John Bull be supposed to listen to these last proofs of the care and the consideration of his departed rulers! No pressing necessity! Why Sir, we have not only to extricate ourselves from our present financial difficulties, not only to get our affairs into order, but also to provide the means of carrying on those operations which, now, must be carried on, however much we may regret that they were ever undertaken; one of which operations has led to consequences more calamitous than can be paralelled by any preceding passage of British history. Sir, as it appears to me, the necessities are so great as to render a vigorous exertion indispensable. And how have those necessities been produced? In two ways. First, by incurring extraordinary expenses through impolitic measures—secondly, by crippling our resources at the very time that those expenses were incurred. Of the first I adduce as a proof, the two wars into which this country has been unnecessarily plunged, the long mismanagement of Canada, finally producing a rebellion which it cost a large amount of blood and treasure to put down. Of the second, I adduce as a proof the taxes which have been recklessly abandoned for the sake of a brief popularity. Sir, I remember perfectly well that when the late Administration came into office, their Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that the Tories had done so much in the way of reduction of taxes, that little more could be attempted with safety. But the house-tax became unpopular—that very house-tax which Gentlemen opposite are now so fond of recommending—and, therefore, the house-tax was to be taken off. Lord Althorp said, that he was ashamed of taking it oft, because it only pressed upon those who were able to bear it—that he could ill afford to give it up—but it had become unpopular—so, go it must. Sir, I might advert to the wretched practice of stopping up the gap with loans in the time of peace—but I will pass on to their last grand operation, the Penny-post—and, Sir, I must say that, however agreeable it may be to pay less for a thing than it is worth, it was unpardonable, in the then state of our finances to give up so large a source of revenue without redeeming the pledge which the late Ministry gave of substituting another tax in its stead. Sir, no doubt it is much more pleasant to take off taxes than to impose them—but, Sir, I say that a Ministry who, by taking off taxes inconsiderately, bring a country into the difficulties in which we find ourselves, are anything but the real friends of the people; and now, Sir, the noble Lord has ventured to accuse the right hon. Baronet of courting popularity. Does the right hon. Baronet court popularity by adopting a course the very opposite to that which was pursued by the late Administration? Does he court popularity by proposing a tax which is branded, on the opposite side of the House, with every opprobrious epithet? Does he court popularity by requiring from those upon whom he depends for political existence, the sacrifice of 50 per cent. of the protection which they have, hitherto, enjoyed? Sir, the right hon. Baronet has not courted popularity; and, therefore, I honour him. He has not sought to legislate for class- interests, but for all-interests—he has not sought to please his adherents—he has sought nothing but the good of the whole community. But then the noble Lord says, if there is a necessity, take my budget of last year. Now, what was the noble Lords budget of last year? First, a revenue arising from imported corn, which could not be relied upon, for, should we happen to have the misfortune of a good harvest this year, the duty on imported corn would be small in amount, and, had the late Ministry remained in power, it would soon have been nothing, for the duty would not have been maintained. Second, an alteration in the timber-duties, not such an alteration as is now proposed by the right hon. Baronet, but such as would have been most injurious to the Canadas. Third, the admission of slave-grown sugar, to the complete destruction of the West-Indian planters, and in utter defiance of all the principles upon which the nation have been acting for years, and for the sake of which they have made so large a sacrifice. And, supposing this budget were to be adopted, and were to realise the most sanguine expectations of those who proposed it, what would it produce? Less than 2,000,000l., according to the noble Lord's own showing, when more than 5,000,000l. are wanted—how infinitely short is that of the existing necessity! Sir, I am astonished at the noble Lord's courage in bringing his damaged and rejected goods to market again. He may try to sell his stinking fish as much as he pleases, but they will not be taken off his hands. But then, Sir, the hon. and learned Member for Bolton says, that an Income-tax is so hateful that it must not be heard of. Sir, it is very easy to give a dog a bad name, and so get him hanged. But I must remain in the opinion, that if the money must be had, it could not be raised in a less objectionable manner. In the first place it spares the working classes— no slight recommendation. But then, it is unequal. Is there any tax that is not unequal? the tax on tea for instance— tea is become almost an article of necessity in the family of the labourer—the labourer pays the same amount of tax upon tea as is paid by the landlord—and it cannot be otherwise. But the hon. and learned Member cannot bear that professions should be touched, and the profits of commercial enterprise—yet even the noble Lord, the Member for the city of London, admitted, that if you have recourse to an Income-tax, distinctions cannot be made. The hon. and learned Member for Dungarvon, the other night, appealed to our feelings with imaginary pictures of extreme cases. I must be permitted to say, in passing, that as it appears to me, there cannot be a more unfair or deceptive mode of enforcing an argument, than dressing up cases of individual hardship in glowing colours, and endeavouring to break down the rule by the help of an exception which may, or may not, occur. But where would be the justice of taxing a yeoman whose little farm brings him in 200l. a-year, and not taxing the physician, the lawyer, who is making his thousands a year? of taxing a country gentleman with a moderate fortune, who has no means of increasing his income, the whole of which he is expected to spend, and not taxing the merchant, the master-manufacturer, who is annually increasing his store, and is not found fault with, if he never opens his doors? But then the Income-tax is inquisitorial—but where is the danger of confiding the state of your affairs to commissioners who are sworn to secrecy? Nobody need be under apprehension, except those who intend to cheat their neighbours. As for me, Sir, it would only be to my advantage if the state of my affairs were published at Charing Cross—for it is notorious that every gentleman's income is doubled in the estimation of his neighbours—and every gentleman is expected to live up to those enormous calculations—to exercise hospitality accordingly, to subscribe accordingly, and so forth—whilst, if the exact truth were known, no more would be expected of him than he can conveniently afford. But the Income-tax is immoral; it leads to perjury. Sir, there is no surer way of making a man a rogue than letting him know that you think him one; and much more immorality will be caused by telling men you expect them to take false oaths, than would be caused by the tax itself. But, Sir, I will not entertain so base an opinion of my countrymen, I will not believe, that for the sake of escaping a tax, they will lay the sin of perjury to their souls. It would be odious indeed to legislate, upon any such supposition. I conclude, Sir, as I began, by repeating, that if the money must be had, an Income-tax is the least objectionable means. Sir, the tariff hardly forms a part of the present question; but neither is it fair, whilst we are discussing the burdens which are to be imposed, entirely to keep out of sight the relief to the commercial world, to the manufacturing classes, which the right hon. Baronet holds out by his proposed changes in the tariff. This is a part of his plan as much as the Income-tax, and the two should be considered together. Sir, I know that alarms have been excited by some of the proposed changes, and I do not pretend to say, that there are not individuals who will suffer, and that capital will not, in some instances, have to be taken out of one line, and transferred to another. No great changes—no breaking up of any monopolies—no adoption of a more liberal system can be carried out without these attendant consequences. But my belief is, that the fears of many are exaggerated, and that the community at large will derive a great advantage. I am aware that we landed proprietors shall be hit hard. First by the diminution of the protection on corn. Second by the tax on the tenantry, which eventually comes out of the pocket of the landlord. Third by the alteration of the duties on timber. His timber has hitherto been the landed proprietor's nest egg—he has hitherto had it to look to in case of any extraordinary expenditure—in case of any large agricultural improvements—perhaps his election year—perhaps a provision for a younger son. I fear he will find a great difference in this respect. I am aware we are hit hard—not so hard as some Gentlemen opposite would desire—yet, still, hard enough. But, Sir, we are content to suffer if the good of the country require it. I should indeed be sorry if mine were the only foot that was not pinched, when the country is in necessity. Neither has the right hon. Baronet ever said, that he will make no modifications. On the contrary, he has stated his willingness to listen to reasonable suggestions; and, I trust, that by those modifications, he will effectually remove any just cause of complaint. Sir, the hon. and learned Member for Dungarvon said the other night, wait till the tax comes into operation. Sir, I am willing to meet the hon. and learned Gentleman on his own ground. I say with him, wait till the measures of the right hon. Baronet come into operation—when they are in operation, I am persuaded that many will laugh at their fears, and some will blush, such as have not lost the power of blushing, at the opposition they have offered. I would only entreat Gentlemen opposite to allow the measures to come into operation, for every day's delay aggravates the distress of the manufacturing classes, with whom they sympathise so deeply, and so properly. It is perfectly well known, that at this moment there is a complete stagnation of trade—a stagnation in the towns, a panic in the country— merchants not knowing what to undertake, and farmers dreading the arrival of thousands of fat cattle, from countries which do not breed half what they want, and never yet produced such a beast as an English farmer would take to market, and all this will go on till these questions are settled. These are the evils which are occasioned by vexatious delays, nightly interposed for mere party purposes; but the eyes of the country are open; they see who are causing these delays, and they learn to esteem them accordingly. Sir, the noble Lord, the Member for the City of London, will, I know, consider it a matter of perfect indifference in what light this, or any other question appears to one of the heads of clay. He tells us, he thinks us agriculturists composed of the same clay with the acres which we cultivate, because we did not quite relish his mode of treatment. I thank him for the comparison; but I think we should, indeed, deserve the sarcasm were we to abandon those who are willing to give us a reasonable protection, and throw ourselves into the arras of those who would give us no protection at all. Sir, I am aware that come of us will have to undergo what will not be perfectly satisfactory; and when Gentlemen use the term satisfactory, or unsatisfactory, I believe they usually mean the having more, or less, money to spend. I am aware that we shall have less money to spend upon our pleasures, and some thing to give to the necessities of the country; but I believe, at the same time, that her Majesty's Ministers have given the best consideration in their power to these important subjects—with far superior means of obtaining information to those which any of us possess. I am convinced of the honesty of their intentions. I cannot doubt that they have brought forward such measures as will be for the permanent good of the country. I thank them for the bold and comprehensive plan which they have brought forward, and I beg to assure them of my cordial and willing support.

Mr. Elphinstone

said, that it was his intention to vote for the motion of the noble Lord the Member for the city of London. Many hon. Gentlemen had charged the whole of the deficiency which now existed upon the late Government: but that was not a fair way in which to look at the matter. A very considerable part of the deficiency had arisen from the -compensation which was given to the proprietors of slaves in the West Indies; and also from the very beneficial alteration which had been made in postage duties, to both of which measures the House had been a party. If they were now devising a new scheme of taxation, a tax upon property—upon the realised property of the country, might be the most just they could impose; but the proposition of the right hon. Baronet was not a tax upon property, it was an Income-tax—a tax upon the hard-earned industry of the country, but if the property-tax is to be imposed, the amount obtained by that means ought to be so large; as to enable the Government to dispense with the smaller branches of revenue and make those great alterations in the tariff which the interests of commerce require. If hon. Gentlemen would look at the calculations made by Mr. M'Gregor, who was an authority upon the subject, they would find, that a tax of 4s. per pound upon the rental of land and house property would give a revenue of from 10,000,000l. to 12,000,000l., a sum which would enable the Government to abolish many annoying duties upon articles of consumption, and if they, in conjunction with such a tax, were to adopt the propositions of the late Government with respect to corn, sugar, and timber, and also to place probate duties on the same footing with the legacy duty, the right hon. Baronet would have an Exchequer fully replenished for the service of the country, but the right hon. Baronet did no such thing; he proposed to keep all the existing taxes, and to raise a revenue of three or four millions only, in a most vexatious manner; the expense of collecting the Income-tax in 1816 had been upwards of a quarter of a million. The expense now would not be much less, though in 1816 the produce the tax had been nearly 16,000,000l. He had a decided objection to the Income-tax on account of its inquisitorial nature; nor could it, even if it was unobjectionable, ever be a just tax unless it were made on a graduated scale. In order to shew its injustice, let them suppose, that a physician making an income of 10,000l. were to go to an insurance-office, he would find that his income was worth no more than three years' purchase; but let a proprietor of land with an equal income go, and his income would be found worth thirty years' purchase. Still, under the plan of the right hon. Baronet, they would each have to contribute an equal share to the Income-tax. There was still another inequality which had not yet been adverted to. When the right hon. Baronet introduced his plan, it was understood that a tax of 7d. in the pound was to be levied on the incomes, both of the agricultural class, of the other Members of the community but on looking at the figures of the right hon. Baronet, he found that a tax of only 4½d. in the pound was imposed on revenue from land while the other parties had full allowance of 7d.—

Income. Tax.
Rent of land £39,400,000 865,934
Mines, &c, 1,500,000 32,967
Tithes, 3,500,000 78,296
Profits of Tenants 38,396,000 150,000
£82,796,000 £1,127,197

This was equal to a tax of 4½d. in the pound, but if it had been taxed on the same principle as other property, it ought to have yielded at 7d. in the pound, 1,833,039l.; a bribe equal to 700,000l. so that in addition to the advantage of a bread tax, in addition to the advantage of exemption of several taxes since the war, an additional exemption of 700,000l., was given to the agricultural interest by this new scheme of the right hon. Baronet. Many hon. Gentlemen had praised and lauded the plan, because they said it would not press upon or interfere with the labouring classes of the population— that the measure gave them the utmost satisfaction because they would not be called upon to contribute. Those hon. Gentlemen little knew the working classes —they were too intelligent to be led away with such sophistical arguments—they were enlightened enough to know that whatever lessened the amount of capital which gave them employment would circumscribe their labour; and they well knew, that they would derive no benefit from the imposition of a tax of 50 percent upon their food, the deficiency in revenue might easily be made up in ways less burdensome to the people—if timber and sugar duties were altered according to the plan of the late Government and if legacy and probate duties were imposed on transfer of real property, an ample revenue might be obtained for all the purposes of the State. In his opinion, the tariff of the right hon. Gentleman would, as far as it went, prove a considerable boon to the country; but he was decidedly opposed to the many differential duties which it imposed. He objected to the great boon which was to be given to the Canadas by the imposition of a merely nominal duty upon their timber, because the relief to be given to them was at the expense of the British public. The Canadas paid nothing for the army within their bounds, they contributed nothing towards the expenses of the country; they therefore were treated better than any integral part of the country. Under all the circumstances of the case, he should feel it his duty to give his vote for the amendment of the noble Lord, the Member for London.

Sir W. James

rose, for the purpose of protesting against the excessive length to which these debates had run, because he was given to understand, that delay in these measures was fraught with the greatest possible injury to the commerce of the country. He had been informed that there was a complete panic on the London Exchange, and that many mer chants and manufacturers had been obliged to stop those businesses in which they had been engaged. One gentleman had been with him who had been engaged in the manufacture of turpentine; on that article the duty was to be lowered from 4s. to 1s., the consequence was, that he was compelled to give up his business, to discharge all the labourers he had employed, and they were in a starving state. That was the case in many places throughout the country, and thousands were in a state of very great suffering, while, so far from acting, they were carrying their discussions to an enormous length. Being on his legs, he would take the liberty of saying a few words respecting the plan of the right hon. Baronet. There were few who had not admitted, that it was a bold plan; that it was comprehensive all acknowledged, and every one agreed that it was eminently calculated to attain its object, viz., that it would yield enough of revenue for the present exigencies of the country. It proceeded upon a broad and intelligible basis. The right hon. Baronet appeared to have acted like a skilful physician, who told his patient to take exercise, to use the energies of his body, and at the same time gave him strengthening medicines to enable him to do so. The very objections which had been made to the plan appeared to him a convincing proof that in its main outline it was a good measure. He had taken some trouble to look at the sentiments given utterance to at the various meetings which had been held throughout the country, and he found that although every class found fault with that part of the measure which would affect itself, no one had complained of the plan as a whole. Much had been said respecting the meetings which were to have been held in the country. If there was so much excitement in the country as hon. Gentlemen said there was, how was it that the resolution imposing the tax had been allowed to pass almost without observation? In the present state of the country, there did appear to him to be a necessity for some very stringent measure, and he had not heard any one proposed that had the least chance of passing but the Income-tax of the right hon. Baronet. It was said, and much stress was laid upon the argument, that it was a war-tax; if it was the best tax they could find, why not make use of it, whether it was a war-tax or not? But, in fact, were we not in a state of war? We had war in India, war in China, an unsettled state of affairs with America, we were far from having a good understanding with France; who could look at the unsettled state of feeling in many countries, and say, that it was not necessary for England to maintain her naval and military establishments upon the footing of a first-rate power? She was compelled to do it, unless she were content to take a lower place among nations than had ever yet been her lot. Again, it was said, that the tax would be unequal; but he would appeal to the House whether it was not much more equal than any tax upon consumable commodities. It was said that the income arising from land was always increasing, and that professional incomes did not. Now, suppose they were to have a Property-tax, what an outcry would be immediately raised, because that sinecurists and pensioners would escape—a property-tax would not touch them. A graduated scale would be liable to much objection, though he thought that some allowance ought to be made in the case of incomes arising from professions. Suppose the case of a man with 400l. a year arising from land, he had not the same anxiety for making a provision for his family as the professional man; but suppose the latter also had an income of 400l., but out of that he paid 60l. 70l., or 100l., as an insurance upon his life: in his opinion that portion of his income ought to be exempted from taxation, That was a practical alteration which he thought might easily be effected. Again it was represented to him that much inconvenience would arise from the manner in which the schedule was lettered, and the way in which the tax was to be enforced. Suppose the case of the keeper of a seminary who might also be engaged in a shipping speculation, the latter might turn out altogether a losing concern; would it not, therefore, be unfair that he should be taxed upon the income arising from the school, which might all be swallowed up by the shipping speculation? While he was upon the subject of school-masters, he would instance the case of one in the neighbourhood with twenty pupils, say at 50l. a year each. Now, suppose he made a profit on each of from 51. to 10l., would it not be obviously unjust to tax him upon his gross receipts, and not upon his profit only? The plan, on the whole, was a good one. He trusted such cases as he had instanced would meet with consideration, and he would give it his warm support.

Mr. Wallace

had never heard a speech less to the purpose than that of the hon. Baronet who had just sat down. He had referred to the details of a measure which was not yet before the House, without discussing the principle which was now under its consideration. The prosperity of those concerned in commercial pursuits depended in a great measure upon their mode of conducting business, and persons in trade were most adverse to any inquisitive examination of their affairs. He could assure the right hon. Baronet at the head of her Majesty's Government, that with reference to the measure he had proposed, that privacy would not be attained, even though the commissioners were sworn to secrecy. He might observe with regard to the course pursued by the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) that he had brought forward the budget at a very unusual season, before the close of the financial year. This was contrary to Parliamentary usage; for the financial year did not close till the 5th of April, and the right hon. Baronet had introduced his budget at least a month before that date. He objected also to the course of the right hon. Baronet, that he had brought his measures piecemeal under the consideration of the House. First, the views of Government with regard to the Corn-law were developed. Now, the Income-tax was brought forward; and the alterations proposed with regard to the tariff were yet to be considered. He complained that the right hon. Baronet was forcing his measures through the House without allowing time for the country to form and to express an opinion upon them. He remembered that, in 1833, the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) had condemned the unfairness of an Income-tax which did not equally affect the three kingdoms. On the 19th of April, 1833, the right hon. Baronet made this statement— He thought that the noble Lord (Lord Al thorp) had done well in not proposing an income or a property-tax. Nothing but a case of extreme necessity could justify Parliament in subjecting the people of this country, in a time of peace, to the inquisitorial process Which must be resorted to in order to render that impost productive; and to have recourse to such a machinery for the purpose of raising 2 or 3 per cent. would be most unwise. Such a tax was a great resource in time of necessity; and therefore he was unwilling, by establishing the offensive inquisition with which it must be accompanied, to create such an odium against it as might render it almost impracticable to resort to it in time of extreme necessity. The application of the tax to Ireland would be attended with extreme difficulty. He really believed that this circumstance formed the main obstacle to the establishment of the tax. It hardly could be contended, that if a property-tax were established, Ireland should be exempted from its operation. He wished to see Ireland as much favoured as possible consistently with justice; but to impose a property-tax upon England and Scotland, and to exempt Ireland from its operation, would, in his opinion, however unpopular that opinion might be, be exceedingly unjust. He considered that Scotland might as justly claim exemption from a Property-tax as Ireland; and it was his intention to take the sense of the House on that point. The right hon. Baronet, on the occasion to which he had referred proceeded:— In England a property-tax would be applied in the way of commutation of other existing taxes, and might thus afford material relief; but Ireland did not afford the materials for a commutation, and the property-tax in Ireland would operate as a new and additional impost. The noble Lord, had therefore, wisely abstained from agitating a question which could not be satisfactorily settled. With respect to a tax upon property as distinguished from a tax upon income, he very much doubted whether it would promote the interests of the labouring classes, because it would diminish the funds at present appropriated to the encouragement of industry and the promotion of labour and it would ultimately be found, that the tax did not affect the person who paid it so much as the labourer, by diminishing his means of employment. He begged to ask the right hon. Baronet whether he still maintained these opinions, and whether he still thought that this impost would affect the interests of the labourer by diminishing his means of employment? He did not think the right hon. Baronet could impose a tax upon property separate from a tax upon income. He conceived the distinction would be unfair and invidious; especially while there were other taxes which might be re sorted to. He objected as strongly to an Income-tax as affecting real property, as he objected to it as affecting incomes derived from manufacturing, commercial, or professional pursuits. It had been said that an Income-tax of 7d. in the pound was a very trifling impost; and that if during the war 10 per cent. could be raised by such a tax, 3 per cent. might now be very readily obtained by similar means. But it must be remembered, that during the war this country had the commerce of the world in its hands; and every man engaged in trade went to bed at night richer than when he rose in the morning. He thought it better to borrow more money than to impose a tax upon income, a tax which, though nominally 3 percent. was in reality, considering the relative value of money, not much less than 5 per cent., as compared with the former period when recourse was had to this source of taxation. He expressed his hope that the right hon. Baronet would be compelled to relinquish his scheme.

Mr. Liddell

said, although he thought the hon. Member for Hull was perfectly correct when he stated that the commercial and agricultural classes of the country were looking with much impatience to the termination of these debates, yet he thought it was impossible a measure of this great importance could pass through this House without considerable discussion and deliberation. Neither could it be expected that these debates could be brought to a premature close, when it was considered how many and how vast the interests were which would be affected by it. However reluctant he was to occupy the attention of this House to any considerable length of time, yet having heard certain opinions expressed against this pro position he felt it very possible, by correcting some of those errors which the people laboured under regarding it, to remove the delusions which prevailed at this moment regarding these measures. He hoped, therefore, that he needed no other apology in requesting the indulgence of the House upon the present occasion. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, in the course of his speech made at least one important admission which ought to be most satisfactory to the Government, because if it be true what the hon. Gentleman had asserted—namely, that it was not possible to impose a property-tax with out including an Income-tax, this statement, if true, must tend to mitigate a portion of the opposition which had been threatened from the opposite side of the House. Many persons applied to the right hon. Baronet to remove the tax upon income, and to place it upon property. If, therefore, it be true that one could not be taken independent of the other, much of the opposition must be mitigated, if not altogether removed, against the present proposition. But though the hon. Gentleman opposite had made this admission he also made most unreasonable complaints against the mea sure. One of his complaints was, that the budget had been brought on before the financial year. If he were to regard this point he would be only called upon to say that such conduct upon the part of the right hon. Baronet was deserving of the highest approbation. During the interval between the right hon. Baronet's assumption of office and the period of the meeting of the present Parliament there was no end to the attacks and accusations which were made against him. On the first assembling of Parliament the right hon. Baronet was perfectly prepared to lay before the House all those measures which he considered the necessity of the country demanded, and he only waited to the time when the forms of the House would permit him to bring forward his propositions. The first proposition was the Corn-law, which was followed by the Income-tax Bill, and the revision of the tariff. It was impossible, he thought, not to concur with the request of the right hon. Baronet, who begged of hon. Gentlemen to with-hold their opinions until the whole of his plans were before the House. The whole of these measures were now before the House and the country. The Corn-law had been happily disposed of in this House, and there remained the two great questions—namely, the Income-tax and the tariff—for their consideration. In strict form the Income-tax was now the only question before the House, but as the tariff was so intimately connected with this question, it was very difficult to separate them. The main question was, whether the exigencies of the country did not justify the imposition of this tax, which had now been brought forward? And here he must allude to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for London. He confessed that he had listened to some portions of the noble Lord's speech with some surprise, and to other parts of it with very great pain. It was not necessary for him to go back to the period when the Income-tax was proposed at the termination of the last century. It was not necessary for him to argue in favour of this tax in such a time of war in which the country was then involved. He only wished to allude to that period when that party who were now on the Opposition side of the House held the reins of power, in the year 1830. He wished to call the attention of the House to the time when the noble Lord the Member for London held office in the Government of the country, under the auspices of a wiser and better leader than ever that party had since; he alluded to Earl Grey, who in 1830 assumed office. The watchword with that party on taking office then was —reform, retrenchment, and peace. They had since then seen the Reform Bill carried, and however he might have objected to many portions of that bill, it nevertheless removed many of those sources of discontent to which the country was then sensible. The Reform Bill had at least given them a Government established upon a broad conservative basis, resting for their support upon the people, and not upon that oligarchy which was then termed a borough mongering oligarchy. Let them now look at the conduct of the liberal Administration. After they had carried the Reform Bill how did they carry out their further views? Retrenchment they had certainly seen, but it was retrenchment of an opposite character to what this word was intended to convey. They had certainly effected retrenchment in the revenues, but a great augmentation of expenditure. This course of proceeding had necessarily involved their successors in great difficulty and danger; and more especially, when instead of maintaining peace (although certainly the country had not been engaged in any European war), yet they had involved it in wars as destructive, as expensive, and as protracted as any European war could possibly be. What had they seen in the regions beyond the Indus? They had suffered calamities irretrievable; because the loss of so vast a body of brave men could never be retrieved. They had seen exercised the wanton cruelty of a barbarian leader, who had violated the law of humanity as well as that of nations. They had seen a British envoy ruthlessly murdered by a barbarian who set at nought all those proceedings which should bind the honest foe, and the most dreadful carnage resulting. Transactions such as these could not remain unredressed, and something must be done. But who had brought on this war. Was not the most experienced leader in this country opposed to it? Was it not well known that the illustrious Duke had expressed his disapprobation against this war, and predicted the calamities that had since occurred? Let them not hear from the noble Lord the Member for London that this Income-tax should not be proposed at a time of peace. They had got a war quite sufficient to justify any government from departing from a fanciful rule of this nature. The noble Lord was not content with disputing the policy of those measures, but had also thought proper to move a resolution of his own, in which he clearly called the attention of the House, and again endeavoured to conciliate the support of the country, to those measures which had so signally failed him at the late elections. The noble Lord must have drunk of the waters of oblivion to forget all that had so recently occurred. He would give the noble Lord an instance of what occurred regarding those three measures with which he had connected the late Government—namely, corn, sugar, and timber. That part of the country to which he belonged had returned eight out of ten Members to Parliament, supporters of the noble Lord and the late Government; and their opinions, he thought, might be very fairly adduced in proof of the discordance of opinions which existed with regard to his measures. When his Colleague was introduced to the county which he represented he was proposed by the hon. Member for South Durham, who spoke in approbation of the noble Lord and his general policy. But on one point he said he was compelled to record his disagreement with them, and he declared he could not support them in their measure respecting the Corn-law. When his hon. Colleague addressed the electors, he begged to be excused at all events from supporting the proposition for the alteration of the sugar duties. Two other hon. Gentlemen who sat on the other side of the House, the Members for North and South Shields, declared their intention of supporting the then existing Administration, and expressed their approbation of the propositions with respect to com and sugar, but they distinctly declared they could not think of the proposed change in the timber duties. He almost doubted whether any one follower of the late Government gave them an entire and cordial support. The noble Lord, the Member for London, referred certainly with some degree of propriety to the language which he (Mr. Liddell) had been extremely sorry to hear uttered by some of the friends of her Majesty's Government on that (the Ministerial) side of the House, (and he alluded particularly to the language of the hon. Member for Wallingford), and the noble Lord then went on to say— If the farmers have been misled and deceived, it is not I who have deceived and misled them: let them turn to those who have deceived and misled them at the late election, and then distinguish between us. Whoever might have misled the farmer, it was not the right hon. Baronet nor any of the Members of his Government. It was quite clear to any man of ordinary sagacity and observation, that although the right hon. Baronet in his speeches on the subject of the Corn-laws, did pledge himself to the maintenance of the principle of a fluctuating duty, he held himself free to make any alteration in detail; and in the change proposed by the right hon. Baronet—a change which he (Mr. Liddell) expected—he had amply redeemed every pledge which he had given. If hon. Gentlemen connected with the agricultural interests had, on some occasions, made use of stronger language than could be justified, let them be answerable for their conduct; and let not the noble Lord throw the imputation either upon the right hon. Baronet or any other Member of the Government. Very undue alarm had been excited among the agriculturists, particularly the cattle dealers. He was aware that the dealings at the fairs and markets were almost in a state of stagnation; that many persons, in their ignorance of what was likely to happen, feared all that possibly could happen; and he believed their apprehensions had had the mischievous tendency of suspending for the present all dealings in stock. When he (Mr. Liddell) passed through York the other day, he was informed that a placard had been exhibited, announcing that contracts had been entered into for supplying the markets at York with fresh beef at the rate of 3d. per lb. Now, he would ask hon. Members if anything could be more visionary than an apprehension that such would be the case? He thought he should be able to show from figures, that such apprehensions had not the slightest foundation. The details which he was about to lay before the House was extracted from parliamentary returns of the revenue, population, and commerce of the United Kingdom, and his first extract would tend to shew the extraordinary increase which had taken place in the importation from Ireland during the last ten years:— In 1825, 63,524 cows and oxen were imported from Ireland; in 1835 no less than 98,158, being an increase of 34,634. In 1825 the number of sheep imported from Ireland into this country was 72,191; in 1835 it was 125,452, being an increase of 53,261. In 1825 the number of swine imported from Ireland was 65,919; in 1835, 376,191, being an increase of 310,272. This would show, that however large the importations into this country were, the markets were more than sufficient to take them off; for, notwithstanding the importations of cattle from Ireland and Scotland, with the advantages of steam navigation, at this moment butcher's meat in London bore a higher price within a fraction than it had ever done before, for butcher's meat could not now be got in London under 8d. a pound. However interested he might be in the well-being of the agricultural interest, he must admit, as well with regard to them as for the interests of trade, that it was not for the interest of the agriculturist or of the manufacturer that either corn or butcher's meat should bear too high a price. He gave the right hon. Baronet in finite credit for the details of the tariff. He believed, while the right hon. Baronet had been well aware of the position in which he stood at the head of the great party who supported him, he was yet fully alive to the duties of his position in this great empire. He believed that the right hon. Baronet had devoted his best attention to the removal of those restrictions on commerce of which complaints had justly been made; and regarding the high price of provisions at the present time, the right hon. Baronet had well considered all the conflicting duties of his position, and had decided as a man of honour ought to decide. He trusted the right hon. Baronet's measures would meet with the success they deserved. Adverting once more to the supply of the London markets, it was only in the last Saturday's paper that he had seen the following paragraph:— The largest importation ever made of live oxen into London from Scotland in one vessel took place on Friday afternoon in the City of Aberdeen, which had on board no less than S09 head of cattle. She also brought 100 pigs, five or six tons of beef and mutton, and 100 boxes of salmon. He quoted this to show how large an importation this country would bear without any diminution of the price. But with regard to the apprehensions as to the large importation of cattle, he should like to ask where was that country which was to supply this large stock? If the cattle were to come from any quarter, they must come from the north of Europe bordering on the Baltic. He had looked into the exports and imports of some of those countries, and he found them, with only one exception, importing countries. Stockholm exported no cattle, but imported 1,139 horned cattle from Finland. Prussia both exported and imported to a considerable amount; but the imports of cattle were considerably larger than the exports of any year. In 1828 Prussia imported 9,545 oxen and steers, and exported 3,238; imported 6,675 cows, exported 4,293; imported 3,532 calves, exported 666; being a total of imports of oxen, cows, and calves amounting to 19,752, and of exports to 8,197, leaving an excess of imports over exports of 11,555. In 1829, oxen and steers imported 8,317, exported 2,850; cows imported 8,408, exported 4,225; calves imported 3,617; exported 896; total imports 20,342, exports 7,971; excess of imports over exports 12,371. In 1830, oxen and steers imported 7,879, exported 3,456; cows imported 6,637, exported 5,138; calves imported 3,465; exported 418; total imports 17,981; exports 9,012; excess of imports over exports 8,969. In 1831, oxen and steers imported 5,748; exported 3,435; cows imported 5,193; exported 4,185; calves imported 2,614; exported 442; total imported 1 3,555; exported 8,062; excess of imports over exports 5,493 The number of sheep imported and exported into and from Prussia was—

Imported. Exported. Excess of Imports. over- Exports.
1828 211,390 76,464 134,926
1829 214,487 72,593 141,894
1830 214,848 88,187 126,661>
1831 120,180 43,941 76,239

From this statement, it would appear that we need have no apprehention as to Prussia, so long as her imports of cattle so much exceeded her exports. He then came to Denmark, and to the rich pastures of Holstein, of which there were the greatest apprehensions, and found that the total amount of exports in the year 1836 from Denmark to the whole world was, oxen 28,323; cows 5,009; calves 6,903; pigs 13,028. And he found, that Holland and Belgium exported none. Let any one look to the district of Holstein, from which these cattle were to be exported, and they would find that it was not by one third so large as the county of York. Let them ask themselves, then, if their apprehensions of what could be imported thence were not visionary. He much doubted whether by these means butchers' meat would be reduced 1d. per pound. He would not have troubled the House with these figures, but as he had long been connected with a celebrated agricultural county, he thought it of essential importance that these apprehensions and alarms of his constituents should be put an end to, and he hoped that the statement would have that effect. GOD knew her Majesty's Government were well able to vindicate their own measures, and were in possession of information which could not be obtained by any individual Member of the House; but no suspicion could be attached to his statements, and they would be the more valuable, he hoped, because they came from an unsuspected quarter. No man was more deeply linked than himself in feeling and community of property with agriculturists, and he hoped, the remarks which he had considered it his duty to make, would allay some of those apprehensions which tended so much to depress their spirits, and disturb the common course of the markets. With regard to France, the total value of live animals imported in 1837 was 537,000l., the value of the exports was 422,000l., showing an excess of imports over exports of 115,000l.; so that we need not dread any inundation of cattle from France into this country. The only part of Europe which could come into competition with our market was Holstein. Al though he had not travelled into that country, he had been informed, that the farming there was carried on a most expensive scale. Their farm buildings almost rivalled those of this country in extent and cost. Now considering these things, and also that the navigation of the Elbe was closed during a great part of the year, and exposed during many months to storms so severe, that on one occasion an officer of great distinction had informed him, that during a very short voyage, seventeen horses out of twenty died, there was little reason to dread any dangerous competition from that country; and if so, no apprehension need be entertained of any other country. The hon. Member for Renfrewshire, the other night, entered into the consideration of several portions of the tariff. The hon. Member alluded to the proposed change in the timber duties, and although considerable apprehensions were felt on that point, amongst the shipowners and timber merchants, he thought the right hon. Baronet and her Majesty's Government would be satisfied with one statement which he had it in his power to make. When the late Government introduced their measure regarding timber, the whole shipping interest were in arms. The two hon. Members for North and South Shields felt compelled, in their appeal to their constituents, to say, that so far as the change in the timber duties was concerned, no power on earth should induce them to consent to it. How gratifying must be the contrast just exhibited by the shipowners of Sunderland. A large meeting was held in that place a few days ago, for the purpose of passing a vote of censure on the proposition of the right hon. Baronet. That meeting was attended by a very influential and extensive timber merchant, who proposed the first resolution, which certainly found a seconder, but he doubted whether it found another supporter; for an amendment was moved, to the effect— That this meeting does not think it necessary to interfere with the proposition of the right hon. Baronet and her Majesty's Government. And the mover and seconder went out in support of their resolution, he believed, almost alone. At the same time, he must say, that the shipping interest entertained a very strong feeling on these changes. But weighing well the difficulties belonging to the question—the great inequality of the duties existing between Baltic and Canadian timber, he was not prepared to say, that the right hon. Baronet could have taken a wiser, a better, or a safer course, There was one proposition to which he wished to call the notice of her Majesty's Government, and which stood on a very different footing. [Cheers.] He was perfectly prepared for that cheer. There was a very great difference beween making a change in the tariff generally, by which a reduction of the duty upon almost every article was proposed, and imposing a tax upon another article which, as far as the faith of Parliament could be pledged, was placed on a different footing some few years ago. He alluded, as the House had already anticipated, to the proposed duty on coals. There would be abundant opportunities, when this impost was under consideration, to make such observations as his duty to his constituents might demand. He had only alluded to that duty for the purpose of showing that the proposition of the right hon. Baronet did not meet his entire and undivided support. But if he differed from the right hon. Baronet with regard to coals, he could assure him that he was prepared to give sufficient and conclusive reasons for that difference of opinion. Nothing could be more fair than the principles upon which the right hon. Baronet proposed to impose that tax, but in the application of those principles, he thought the right hon. Baronet was wrong. Hon. Gentlemen ought to remember this, that a Government in proposing a great measure of this kind had to choose between two difficulties. They must either keep their measures a profound secret, or make a previous investigation and inquiry. If they adopted the latter course, and made inquiries on particular points, suspicions would be excited, and a general distrust and anxiety would be created in the public mind, which would be productive of extreme inconvenience. The balance of convenience was certainly in favour of keeping the measures entirely secret, until the proper time arrived for their full development. But when that was the case, it was scarcely possible but that some peculiarities connected with particular trades must escape their knowledge; and perhaps under such circumstances, they might see the necessity of reconsidering certain points when statements were placed before them, tending to show that such propositions were of an unfair character. In conclusion, he trusted that the remarks which he had ventured to offer to the House would be, in some degree, instrumental in removing the visionary alarm which had been created among the agricultural and some other classes.

Mr. R. Wason

said, "sufficient for the day was the evil thereof." It would he time enough to follow the hon. Member who had just sat down in his discursive walks through the tariff, when that subject should be before the House for its consideration. At the same time he would throw out this question to those hon. Members who pursued the same line of argument —how were the hopes of the country to be realised, if the fears of the agriculturists were entirely without foundation? Although the hon. Member near him (Mr. Wallace) had said, it was impossible to make any distinction between the taxing of property and of income, he maintained that it was as possible to make them separate and distinct as it was any two taxes that might be imposed. He was so satisfied of this that, that if he stood alone in his opinion, he should not hesitate to state it. But while he could shelter himself under the opinion of a man who was one of the greatest and brightest ornaments of that House, he thought the right hon. Baronet would see reason to revise and alter his determination. He alluded to Mr. Huskisson, who had drawn a distinction between an income-tax and a property-tax. On the 18th of March, 1830, Mr. Huskisson made the following observations in that House when speaking of an income-tax:— After the best consideration which he (Mr. Huskisson) had been able to give to the subject, he still entertained strong doubts whether adequate relief would be afforded without removing a larger amount of those taxes which press directly upon income arising from capital engaged in industry and upon the income to which that capital gave employment, and transferring, as far as might be indispensable, the burden upon all that class of income which arises from capital not so employed. How was it possible for any opinion to be expressed in terms more concise than those to which he had just called the attention of the House? Would any man say, that income derived from funded or landed property bore any similarity to that derived from industry or the exercise of professional talent? Look at the difference between a man with 5,000l. a-year derived from lands or the funds, and a man who realised the same amount of income by his professional exertions. In the first case the individual did not require to save anything, because his lands and property in the funds would remain as a provision for his family, whereas the professional man was obliged, by insuring his life and adopting other means to provide for his family, to expend a considerable portion of the same amount of income. He had not yet heard a single sufficient reason urged in favour of the imposition of an income-tax, whereas he would engage, that if the opinion of the population could be taken upon the proposition, nineteen-twentieths would be found to be opposed to it. He did not wish or intend to treat this as a party question. On the contrary, he had cheered the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Treasury, when, on opening his financial statement, he had stated, that he thought the time had arrived when it was for the interest of the country that property should be called upon to bear the burdens of the State. He repeated, that he had cheered that sentiment, little thinking that while the right hon. Baronet intended to call upon the owners of property, he meant to inflict this tax upon industrial and professional income. He owned that he was surprised, on looking at the Orders of the Day in which this measure appeared, to see it always spoken of as a "property-tax," and he had been solicitous to find out how that had arisen. He had looked to the index to the Statutes, and had found that never until 1798 and 1802, bad such a measure been spoken of as a property, but as an income-tax. Their forefathers knew well the difference between an income and a property-tax, and it had remained for those who had followed them to class one of the most odious, unjust, and inquisitorial imposts in the world with a tax which, of all others, was the most just. Was there such a similarity between property and income, that it would be unfair to tax the one and let the other go unscathed? The right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other night, in answer to the hon. and learned Member for Bath, had inquired whether it would be just to allow a professional man, making from 8,000l. to 10,000l. per annum, escape his contribution, when an annuitant, deriving from fixed property only 200l. or 300l. a-year, should be obliged to pay the tax. That inquiry the right hon. Gentleman had himself answered the other evening, when he showed that the question was one of justice or injustice. If he had to choose between two modes of injustice, he would prefer being guilty of neither taxing the professional man of 8,000l. nor the annui- tant of 300l. a-year. Neither had the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam worth, given any answer to the eloquent allusion made in the coure of the last night's debate by the right hon. and learned Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Shell), to the position of a professional man. True it was, the right hon. Baronet had replied, that no country in the world would dare to tax the light and air of a poor man, and yet would not that be, said the right hon. Baronet, as great an injustice as any the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) had complained of? On the whole, he must observe, that if the owners of property would not consent to bear a greater portion of the public burdens of the country, the time might arrive, when it would be for them to consider whether they had acted wisely in not making the concession in due time. They, the owners of property, threw all the burdens upon industry; they taxed every necessary, every comfort of the industrious classes—luxuries they had none, — and now they sought to tax their tenants of 300l. a-year, because they would not con sent to put their hands into their own pockets and pay a larger amount themselves. But whether the present proposition was an income or property-tax, it must be objectionable in the mode of collection. All indirect taxation led to inquisition; and in this case it would be an inquisition which, commencing in fraud, would lead to ruinous effects on industry, because it would expose the affairs of every man to his neighbours. He had put upon the notice-paper a series of resolutions by way of amendment, upon which, after the present question was disposed of, he should certainly take the sense of the House. He, admitted that trade and manufactures were depressed, and the country was placed in difficulties. The right hon. Baronet called upon Parliament and the country to make an exertion to meet the emergency. He was perfectly willing to do so, but he thought the right hon. Baronet had no right to call upon income to contribute until the necessity was absolute. The actual deficiency was 2,500,000l. He would, by the adoption of his resolutions, give the right hon. Baronet the money. But why was it extended to 3,500,000l.? And why make a new experiment with the timber-duties—an experiment which he contended would continue a monopoly to one description of Canadian timber, known as finishing timber, while it would give no benefit to the consumer in respect of Baltic timber? On the whole, he contended that the present was not a time to impose an income-tax, without which it would be impossible to make any change in the timber-duties. In the resolutions of which he had given notice, he had described the character of an income-tax to be too arbitrary and inquisitorial to be borne by a nation jealous of its liberties, except on the most urgent necessity, and this definition was fortified by the opinions expressed in 1816 by Lord Folkstone (now the Earl of Radnor), and by Mr. (now Lord) Brougham. In 1816, the Commons refused to agree to the introduction of the bill, and though he could not think the same result would occur in the present instance, still he trusted there would be some amelioration in the measure. He had stated also, in his resolutions, that an income-tax had a pernicious and demoralising tendency. Could that assertion be better proved than by the fact, that in the last year in which the previous income-tax was in operation in London alone there were no less than 11,000 surcharges, that of these 3,000 were set aside, and that the other 7,000 did not appeal, because probably they thought it a less evil to submit to the imposition? He disagreed from the position of the noble Lord who had moved the amendment now under consideration, that it would be better to wait. He thought it was the duty of Parliament to protect the country and its allies in time of war; it was also its duty in time of peace to uphold the country's credit. He therefore wished for a property-tax, in order that those other imposts which now pressed upon the industry of the country might be removed. If, however, they were to have an Income-tax, he trusted the right hon. Baronet would accompany it to the fullest extent with the relief promised.

Mr. Wynn

said, it was not because he was blind or insensible to the objections which had been urged against the present measure that he rose on the present occasion; he felt those objections: he was aware of the inequality of the tax, but he knew of no other to which stronger objections would not apply. He saw the objections, and was willing to meet them, and face them, in consequence of the difficulties of our situation. On this, indeed, he should imagine there would have been no difference of opinion in the House. The opposite side of the House, at the time of adopting the plan relative to the Post-office, which occasioned a sacrifice of revenue, had pledged themselves to find a substitute for the deficiency. The financial difficulties of the country had, notwithstanding, not been diminished; they arose from the constant course of allowing the deficiency to increase upon us, instead of meeting it at an early period—consequently depending upon what events time might bring forward to increase the existing revenue without it being necessary to re sort to increased taxation. But the time was now come when we must in justice do something, unless we wished to sacrifice the credit which the country had constantly maintained, and which under every difficulty we had felt to be the first consideration. There was another circumstance to which he wished to refer. It had been said that we should resort to the budget of last year—to a fixed corn duty, which by giving us a considerable in crease of revenue would enable us to meet the deficiency. He was quite ready to meet that argument, but it had been already disposed of. The last Parliament and the present were equally agreed against the measure, and the country at the last general election had confirmed that decision. It was unnecessary, therefore, to occupy the time of the House in arguing against that measure. It was also suggested that there might be a considerable increase of the assessed taxes. He was old enough to remember the time when the assessed taxes were trebled in 1798. The proposition received the most willing support from the country, notwithstanding the extreme pressure of taxation at the time—the country responded to the call, and at once consented to the measure. It was also accompanied, in consequence of the exigency of the times, by a voluntary subscription which produced not less than two millions and a half. That treble assessment, he should say, was the basis of the Income-tax, because, by its provisions, parties were exonerated from the treble assessment by the payment of one-tenth of their income. Many he knew went even beyond that, and voluntarily paid sums not less than 20 per cent. upon their income. The time also was one of considerable political excitement. He had no wish to revive angry reminiscences among the descendants of the then Opposition, but it was well known that many of the largest landed proprietors of the country were opposed to the war, and felt it inconsistent to give it any support whatever. The consequence was, that not only did these large landed proprietors some of them the largest in the kingdom, refuse to contribute to the subscription, but there were instances of evasion of the assessed taxes which created a feeling of very strong indignation through out the rest of the country, and gave rise to a feeling that it was unequal in its operation. While one portion of the community stood forward to maintain the honour of the country, there were others who held back. That gave rise to the Income-tax, and made it welcome to a large portion of the country; and he believed that it was owing to the feeling excited by parties having withheld their incomes, that the Income-tax was so readily adopted in the next the year at 10 per cent., in substitution for the triple assessment. After the short interval of the peace of Amiens, the tax was again re-enacted in 1803, at the rate of 5 per cent., and taking off those exemptions which had been found in many instances to lead to fraud, it being considered on the whole, better to cast the net widely and include all classes of persons. That was the effect of the measure of 1803, and in 1806 there was another enactment brought forward on the same principle by Lords Grenville and Lansdowne, again raising the Income-tax to 10 per cent. In 1806 it was felt, and justly, that those acts having been accompanied, so far as one Parliament could bind another, with a solemn pledge that they were not to be continued beyond the time of war— it was felt when peace came, that it was due to the country to repeal them, but that certainly was not the leading cause. It was mainly in consequence of a peace establishment being then proposed which was considered wholly disproportioned to the exigencies of the times, and dangerous to the spirit of the constitution. It seemed to have been proposed with the object of entrusting duties which had usually been confided to civil officers to military authorities, and the resistance to the encroachment upon the civil rights of the people by military power was the great cause of that opposition. It was felt, that in no way could the resistance be more effectual than in opposing the Income-tax. The House of Commons and the country concurred in that opposition; the Income-tax was repealed, and the consequence was, that the war establishment was considerably reduced. He used that as an argument to show why he should be sorry to see the present deficiency met by an increase of the assessed taxes. An increase of the assessed taxes must fall with still greater inequality upon trades and professions, and would press with great severity upon the man in humble circumstances with a large family de pendent on him, while the wealthy bachelor would escape lightly. On that ground, he certainly felt a great objection to the increase of the assessed taxes. The hon. Gentleman opposite who had last addressed the House, had spoken of a tax upon the succession to real property; but he thought there were great difficulties attending such a measure. They all knew how such a tax could be assessed upon funded property. Every one knew that it could be retained at so much per cent on the dividends; but how were they to ascertain the value of landed property? Were they to send a Government valuer over it to ascertain the annual value per acre, and how many years purchase it was worth? Why, such a plan would perpetuate disputes and vexatious altercations. The peculiar burdens to which land was subjected, should also be taken into account, and, indeed they had been already referred to. It would, in fact, be impossible, for the first year, to ascertain correctly the precise amount of the tax which should be laid on, or to form any estimate of its produce. He should certainly have approved more of the measure of the right hon. Baronet if it was to have been applied solely to meet the deficiency which had been created in consequence of what appeared to him to have been considerable mismanagement on the part of the late Government. Not that he did not feel the value and importance of the proposed alteration in the duties on importation; but still it was a different principle to apply a tax which should be reserved for great emergencies to such a purpose. The question was, was it absolutely necessary to raise the money, and was there no less objectionable mode of doing so? If there was not, let them not be entering into comparisons and details of the amount of difficulty, and he should be as ready as any man to meet the emergency which, although not so great as that of the last war, was yet one which must be met. He would ask, had any method been suggested of meeting the deficiency which would be more equal and less obnoxious? It had been objected to his right hon. Friend's proposition that there should have been a difference made between the incomes derived from trades and professions and those derived from landed property; but if that were done, how were similar exemptions in other cases, upon the same principle to be avoided? How were they to deal with the parties having an estate for a limited term of years or for life? How were they to deal with persons being annuitants, or with other parties similarly circumstanced. If these parties were exempted, they must exempt parties having estates for life, or where the land was going after death to some distant relative, which rendered it necessary to make some provisions for the daughters or family. He really did not see how that was to be settled; and, if these parties were exempted, they would exempt the great bulk of the landed property of the country which was under entail. With regard to the general question, he thought it better to wait until the bill was introduced. He felt as strongly as any man could, that the Income-tax was a resource which should, if possible, be kept in tact for a state of war, when the Minister might be enabled to come down and raise at once a sum of 10 per cent. Still, he trusted, before that emergency arose before any European war took place—that the opportunity might be afforded of taking off the tax. No distrust need, in this respect, be entertained of his right hon. Friends on the Treasury benches, as there was no danger that the country (whoever might be Minister) would allow the tax to continue one year longer than it was absolutely necessary.

Mr. Macaulay

Since, it had been decided, upon a full consideration, that constitutional right and public convenience were to yield to the mere usage of 150 years, he, in performance of the promise he had made, and in performance of the duty he owed to his constituents, should lay before the House the substance of the petition which they had placed in his hands, and he trusted that, before long, he should be able to perform that duty in a much more regular manner; for he could not believe in the long continuance of an abuse which for the time had been supported by a majority of a single vote, without the shadow of a single reason. He should state, as concisely as if he were presenting a petition, that he had been charged with a petition from the Lord Provost, the magistrates, and the town council of the city of Edinburgh, with the statement which, in some manner or other, consistently with its rules, he was to convey to the House, that the proposed tax upon all kinds of income was calculated to cause the most palpable injustice, would operate most unfairly and most unequally, would open the door to the greatest fraud, and would render necessary the application of machinery of the most inquisitorial nature; and he had to inform the House that other resolutions had been placed in his hands, from the Chamber of Commerce of Edinburgh, strongly opposed to the proposed tax, which he was also requested to communicate to the House in some mode according with its regulations. His own opinion upon this subject agreed with that of his constituents, and it had not been shaken by the speech, to which he had paid the utmost attention, delivered by the right hon. Baronet at the close of the last sitting of that House. The real questions which, as he thought, they bad to consider were, whether this were not a tax that ought to be imposed only in the greatest extremity, and whether the circumstances of the country were such as to place it at present in this very great extremity. His answer to these questions was this, that an Income-tax is a tax which nothing but the last extremity could vindicate, and that this last extremity did not exist. With regard to the first part of the proposition the right hon. Baronet had not said one word. He had not said one word intended to show that gross inequality would not exist in the collection of this tax, and not a word to show that this was not a most frightful grievance. Instead of proving that the inequality was not the most unjust part of the tax, the right hon. Gentleman had contented himself with showing that this inequality and this injustice were essential parts of every income-tax. When hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House were contending that a property-tax and an Income-tax were inseparable—when they proved that equal injustice must accompany both—as often as they exposed this injustice, so often did hon. Gentlemen opposite receive that declaration with applause. He believed that it was next to impossible to have a property-tax without an Income-tax, and he believed it was a tax which was one of the most unjustifiable that could be imposed by Parliament. He allowed that necessity might justify the adoption of an Income-tax, just as necessity in the time of war justified the impressment of men for the navy—just as, in time of war, it was justifiable to burn down a town and sacrifice, without compensation, the property of the inhabitants, because, under such circumstances, the safety of the State was the supreme law, and over-rode every other, but the inequality of the tax was so gross, it was so distinctly declared by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House that this inequality was such an essential part of the imposition, the evil was so great, that only in the most extreme necessity ought the House of Commons to lend itself to the imposition of such a burden. If in substance the tax were unjust, the mode of collection would not be less oppressive. The right hon. Gentleman opposite leant to the opinion of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bath—whom he did not see then in his place—when he said, "Why, if you are honest, are you afraid to state openly the amount of your property? Why is there this singular squeamishness? Poverty is no reproach, if it be not the result of a man's folly or a man's crime. I have no objection to declare to the world the amount of my income. It is a shame to say that professional income is not to be taxed in the same manner as other men's incomes." No doubt the hon. and learned Gentleman said what he felt: he honoured the sentiment; he should be sorry not to participate in it. It might be easy for a man of a philosophical turn of mind—it might be easy for the hon. and learned Gentleman, who was a member of the Legislature, who had received marks of the public confidence from large bodies of his fellow-countrymen; he might be indifferent whether he declared his fortune and made his return. It was his turn of mind—it was a desirable turn of mind, not to feel any aggrandisement if he had a fortune of 4,000l. a-year, and not to feel any degradation at having only 400l. But was that the general state of feeling among the people of this country for whom they were about to legislate. Was it a fact that the feelings of the people of this country were not against avowing their poverty? Let them look at what was taking place in the world. Was not half the life of many men a war to avoid the appearance of poverty? Were not the efforts constant to appear a little above the true state? If this were the case, it was to no purpose to say that a better and a more philosophic spirit would raise men above those false notions, and elevate their feelings. The people of this country had this feeling—whether the feeling were reasonable or not, it was not necessary to inquire. When he was in India, he was aware that there was a feeling of degradation in a woman if she should appear with her face unveiled. He knew that the feeling was unreasonable: he did not share in it, but did they not conceive that in legislating for such a people this was a feeling to which they ought to defer, and that they ought not to treat such prejudices with contempt? He would appeal against the authority of the right hon. Baronet, and against the authority of the hon. and learned Member for Bath upon this subject, to the authority of one of the greatest moral philosophers and the greatest political economist that this country ever produced, Adam Smith, who declared that a tax upon income can be raised only by means of an annual investigation of income, which was more intolerable than any tax whatever. Here the tax was in its nature unjust, and it was confessed that the mode of its collection must necessarily be most vexatious. The first question then was answered. It was a tax which ought to be resorted to only in the last extremity. Was there this extremity at the present moment? He denied it. He conceived that the right hon. Baronet, in his laboured but ineffective address when he first brought forward this tax, had not made out any such necessity. With regard to the war in Affghanistan, although the right hon. Gentleman had made a dexterous rhetorical use of the topic, what he had said appeared to him in the light of mere sophistry. Did the people," said the right hon. Gentleman, "ever know of such a disaster—was there ever such a defeat as this? And then with great feeling, which he had no doubt was most sincere, the right hon. Gentleman added, A whole army has perished; only one, or two, or three persons have escaped from this great army to bear the news of the destruction, and yet you talk of opposing this tax. All those who knew him knew that he could speak of this destruction in no other way than as an event most painfully disastrous. There was not one feeling entertained by hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House in which he did not participate. If he did not now consider that expedition with a view to the defence of the policy by which it was dictated, it was because it was not then the proper time for such a consideration: he himself bore none of the responsibility attaching to it; he was not in the country when that expedition was sent forth; he was not in office till the expedition was over — till Shah Soojah was already placed on the throne of the Affghans. Every one who read the story of that expedition—every foreigner, actuated by no hostile feelings—must feel deeply touched with its sad fate. He need not say with what feelings he must read it—he who had been on terms of the most friendly intercourse with many of honourable and most brave men, perfidiously butchered, and with the amiable and accomplished women, now at the mercy of the murderers of their husbands. No, it was a result disastrous when they talked of it in relation to the officers and the army, disastrous to the sufferers, disastrous when they thought of the feelings of the brave men now dead, utterly disastrous when they reflected on the feelings of some now living; but the House had now to deal with it as a financial question only. To introduce it into this debate for the purpose of aggravating the existing difficulties, that was what he said was making an unfair, sophistical, and rhetorical use of this great calamity. The question they had now to discuss was, only as to how this calamity bore upon the Income-tax, as it affected the pounds, shillings, and pence. Let him ask whether the right hon. Gentleman contemplated this calamity when he brought in the Income-tax? Was not his uses of it an afterthought? Yet this very event was now put in the fore-front in every discussion that took place upon the Income-tax, although, when the tax was proposed, this disastrous result was never thought of. Had the right hon. Gentleman advanced one-fourth of his Ways and Means on this account? If not, how could he call upon them for this, because his finances were greatly impaired by a disaster such as was never heard of in the history of this country? Although the House had not as yet before it the supplementary estimates, he was not without the means, as a late Secretary of War, of considering the effect which these disasters would have upon the estimate. He did not say that he could produce a correct estimate of the additional charge; it had been the ordinary course that the estimates should be brought in and voted before the Ways and Means were proposed. They had not the estimates before them, but nothing could be more futile than to institute any comparison between the charges for this war and the charges for the cheapest of the European wars, even the last. In his opinion, the Government were taking a wise and spirited course; they were doing what they ought to do. He knew nothing except what he learnt from the public prints; they were taking vigorous measures for conveying British troops to our Indian possessions, and he would give to those measures his most cordial support, as much as if he still sat on the other side of the House. No sum which was bonâ fide required in reference to those measures should be refused by him, nor should any burden necessary to meet those sums meet with one word of opposition. He did not anticipate that, if due prudence and vigour were shown, the damage sustained might not be repaired; but still great Mahomedan success in our Indian possessions could not fail to fall like a spark into the midst of tow. It must be felt throughout all Islam, from the states of Morocco to the coasts of Coromandel. He had no doubt that the firmness and prudence which were so necessary and so much required would be shown, because they had a Government in which was the Duke of Wellington, and which could obtain the advice of the most able military men, by whose aid every step would be taken in the most prudent and most vigorous manner. But hon. Gentlemen must consider that the rule invariably acted upon when troops were sent on an expedition to India, was to charge them on the Indian revenue. [An hon. Member: "What is the state of that revenue?"] Suppose the right hon. Gentleman should choose to say that he would charge these troops on British resources, what would be the charge for these reinforcements to India? What was the force which the right hon. Gentleman meant to send to India? They must wait for a reply to this question till they received the supple- mentary estimates; but 10,000 or 12,000 troops would be enough to meet the danger. He thought that a regiment of 1,100 men serving in India cost annually 32,000l.; he believed that the whole charge, therefore, for such a force as the right hon. Gentleman contemplated would be 400,000l. a year. He did not say that this charge should not be met, but it was not enough to take for such a charge the imposition of an Income-tax. In the year 1798 the income-tax was first imposed; England stood alone, France had crossed the Rhine and had passed the Alps, Austria stood trembling for her very existence, Ireland was in a state of revolt, the 3 per cents. were at 50, then the resolution for the Income-tax was taken. It was doubled when the whole continent of Europe lay prostrate at the feet of France, and England was loaded with expenses to which the present bore no comparison. Three hundred thousand soldiers in the army, and a hundred thousand men in our navy. The estimates for the navy were 19,000,000l.—more than the whole of our present army and navy combined; the estimates for the army were 19,000,000l, additional. When the right hon. Gentleman said that the one disaster in India was greater than those which befell us in those years, when he said it was greater than the Walcheren expedition, he was prepared to meet the right hon. Gentleman on that ground; but in a financial speech the right hon. Gentleman appeared not to have made out his case—the right hon. Gentleman appeared to be applying to a serious reverse, to a painful calamity, but which was no serious blow to the financial resources; the one remedy, the employment of which only the greatest distemper in the State could vindicate. He must say, also, that the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman was not calculated to inspire foreign countries with a just idea of the spirit and resources of England. He did not say that the calamity was not reparable, but let them see the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman's proposition— the speech to which he alluded was the right hon. Gentleman's first speech—and let them see how the right hon. Gentle man's statements were received on the continent. When he opened a French paper, he found only the largest praise of the right hon. Baronet, and of the greatness and firmness of his proposition. "It is a sign," say they, "that the English aristocracy, which has long been the envy and dread of Europe, is fast falling into its decline—a tax the most odious that could be imposed in war had been renewed in the time of peace." And they praised the minister who would consent to so bold a measure, which they looked upon as an evidence, if not of the destruction, at least of the decline, of this country. Were those the terms in which an English Minister would like to be spoken of? Were those the measures of which an English Minister would like to boast?—when it was a demonstrable fact that England was better capable of fighting for her own defence, and of maintaining a great war, than she ever was in the whole course of her existence as a nation. In contemplating the step about to be taken, he could not much wonder that politicians abroad who saw the odiousness of this tax —who knew that it had never been laid on before, except in the extreme emergency of the State—who knew that it was a tax which, as soon as peace returned, was the first to be repealed, but which they now saw us returning to—they being aware of the nature of our disasters in Afghanistan, should form an erroneous opinion with regard to the degree to which the powers and resources of this country are affected. The right hon. Baronet averred that he had said nothing so alarming at that which he had ascribed to the right hon. Baronet. He had, however, repeated what he believed to be an important truth—what he believed to be a truth which it was important to the right hon. Baronet and to the House should be repeated and made known. He could not altogether acquit the right hon. Baronet of having used the Affghan disaster in this debate, which had been altogether unforeseen, by taking hold of the feelings which were naturally excited by the extent of our military calamity, and turning that misfortune round with the skilfulness of a practised debater, in order to make it tell upon the financial question before the House. He would now say a few words upon another topic—the state of the Indian finances. The right hon. Baronet said, that there was a deficit there as well as at home, and, said the right hon. Baronet:— It may become a matter of most serious consideration, whether England should not step in, in some manner, to lend some sort of assistance, either by credit or otherwise, for the purpose of supporting the credit of the Government in India. That was a grave and important question; and he would not say, that the view of the right hon. Baronet might not be very correct, and entitled hereafter to consideration, but that was no argument for the Income-tax, at this moment; for, surely, it was a good principle, that before they voted money, they should know precisely what the scheme was to the maintenance of which it was to be applied. Before the right hon. Baronet came to the House for money in aid of the Indian finances, surely he should inform them what he meant to do with it—when and where he meant to apply it. Therefore, he altogether put that matter out of sight in the consideration of this question, as having no concern whatever with the vote which they were called upon to grant. He believed, that he was right in saying, that since the war, exclusive of the Income-tax, 22,000,000l. of taxes had been taken off, and he thought that it might be taken for granted, that even a greater sum than 22,000,000l. would have been derived from those sources of taxation, if the same taxes had still been in existence. But that tax which had been the last to be imposed— the first to be repealed, was that to which the right hon. Baronet first had recourse for the purpose of relieving him from his difficulties. He believed, that the right hon. Baronet had other means of relief— he might have applied to sugar, an article upon which the late Government had rested considerable reliance. And upon this point, he must say, that he thought, that the memory of the right hon. Baronet had played him false. The right hon. Baronet said on Friday, unless he had misunderstood what had fallen from him, and he could scarcely have done so, that he (Sir R. Peel) had never intended to say, that the sugar scheme of the late Government would not have increased the revenue of the country—that he never dreamt of saying, that these were not taxes a reduction of which would have produced an increased revenue. His memory, he owned, had led him to a different belief, and he had since referred to the printed report of the speech of the right hon. Baronet, and that certainly confirmed him in his impression, and he believed, that he might appeal to hon. Gentlemen near him, whether the report was not a correct one. The right hon. Baronet was represented to have said:— There is another source of revenue without adopting the process of exhaustion, and which was brought forward by the late Government, to which I find it my duty to advert. Shall I hope for increased revenue from diminished taxation? Yes, but before I apply myself to this subject, let me remind you of the extent of your difficulties. If it be proved that these difficulties are only occasional and casual, no man can have greater confidence in the soundness of the principle of a reduction of taxation; but having given the subject my fullest and fairest consideration, I think it would be a mere delusion, under present circumstances, to hope for a supply of our deficiency from diminished taxation. As I said before, I have the firmest belief that the adoption of any such plan as that proposed by the late Government, or the adoption of any other plan for raising the necessary revenue of the country through diminished taxation, will not afford any immediate relief, or any resource on which we can count for the supplying of the deficiency of the revenue. I have looked with considerable attention to the effect produced by the remission of taxes on articles of great consumption. I find, in some cases, that elasticity which gives you, after a lapse of time, an increase of revenue; but that in almost every case—I believe in every case in which it does—the interval of time which elapses before even the same amount of revenue is received is very considerable. He thought, that his noble Friend (Lord John Russell) had given an overwhelming answer to the argument of the right hon. Baronet, and that the right hon. Baronet might be taken to be fairly ashamed of his own words, for on Friday he did not appear to recognise them as having fallen from his lips. The right hon. Baronet on Friday, for the first time this Session, if he recollected rightly, had returned again to the cry of last year, with regard to slavery; and the right hon. Baronet had congratulated him upon his new-born zeal upon this subject; but when he knew that the proposition for merely equalising the duty upon sugar grown by the free people of India with that grown by the slave population of the West Indies, and which had met with the opposition of the right hon. Baronet when proposed by Mr. Whitmore, he could not but congratulate the right hon. Baronet on his new-formed anxiety in favour of the negroes. But without going into the argument of last year—whether or not any scruples existed with regard to slave-grown sugar or coffee—how was it pos- sible for him, under existing circumstances, to think that the object of the right hon. Baronet was reasonable? and he must confess that it required a strong effort of charity, to believe the right hon. Baronet to be sincere. If he were to endeavour to find some reason why a reduction of the sugar duties was not proposed as one of the means at least of meeting the existing deficiency, he thought that he could discover it in the fact that, when last year it was determined that the late Government should give way, no more convenient or more popular mode of securing that object presented itself than that which might be derived from the existing feeling in opposition to negroslavery, and therefore it was that resolutions had been submitted to the House, drawn in terms which condemned the proposition of the Government with regard to sugar, on the ground of philanthrophy. The right hon. Baronet had turned out the late Government—he had a majority which upon that or any other point would have secured the same end. An outcry was raised, which, though in truth it was but the howl of an old slave-driver, succeeded at last, and the right hon. Baronet having come into power, after the vote of last year, he felt that his hands were tied —that he could not bring on any measure which should have for its effect the reduction of those duties, which he had before opposed on moral grounds, without exposing himself to the imputation of gross inconsistency. It was in order to sustain the consistency of the right hon. Baronet that the House was called upon to adopt, and the country to submit to an Income-tax. But when the right hon. Baronet was unable to find any reasons for the Income-tax, he made them. He pitched away the timber duties at once. For his own part, he believed that throwing away the timber-duties was a greater financial misfortune than the disasters in Affghanistan. The throwing away the timber duties occasioned a loss of 600,000l. per annum; he did not believe that 600,000l. per annum would be imposed for more than a short time, in consequence of what had taken place in India. But when the right hon. Baronet had thrown away this large branch of the public revenue of the country, he must say that he thought that in stead of saying that he was imposing an Income-tax for the purpose of supplying the deficiencies of the public service it would have been more correct for him to assert that he had increased the deficit, in order that he might have an excuse for imposing the Income-tax. These were the opinions which he held; he believed that this tax could be proved, and had been proved, to be one the imposition of which nothing hut the greatest extremity could justify. He did not think that this country was in such a position of extremity; he thought that the right hon. Baronet had exaggerated the financial difficulties of the country—that he had brought into this discussion matters which were not connected with it, which had nothing to do with it, when he formed the plan which he had brought forward; that he had brought into it vague and mysterious hints of certain possible expenses which might be hereafter incurred, but of the nature of which he had not given the House the slightest notion; that he had given up the obvious means by which the position of our finances might have been improved — that he had enlarged the deficit by throwing away a source of revenue which would have materially tended to relieve the country from the difficulties in which it was placed; and under these circumstances, he should only discharge his duty by giving his vote in favour of the motion of his noble Friend.

Lord Stanley

I am anxious before this debate comes to a close, and more especially after the speech we have just heard from the right hon. Gentleman, to state as shortly as I can the considerations upon which I, not without reluctance, but from a full conviction of its necessity, concur in the course which has been unanimously resolved upon by her Majesty's Cabinet, as the only course—as the fitting course by which we should meet the great difficulties of the country, and endeavour to remedy those financial and other embarrassments which have been bequeathed to us as a legacy by our predecessors. And, Sir, widely as hon. Gentlemen will differ on the two sides of the House with regard to the course we shall take and the vote we shall give on the present occasion, it is satisfactory to me at least to know that much of the time of the House will be saved by a concurrence, more unanimous, or at least more general than I ever remember upon any question approaching to the present in magnitude and importance, in the premises upon which our conclusions are founded. The deficiency in the revenue is glaring, palpable, and notorious. It is admitted by the noble Lord that for a succession of years there has been a continued increasing deficiency of revenue to meet the annual expenditure of the country. The noble Lord said with truth—not the whole truth—but he stated with truth, that the deficiency of one year was 2,500,000l., and 2,600,000l. in the next year. The noble Lord went a step fur ther, for while he and hon. Gentlemen opposite charge us with having recourse to base artifices for the purpose of creating popularity, they are ready enough to admit, now that they are no longer invested with the responsibility of proposing taxes, that the time is come when the financial embarrassments of the country must be met by a vigorous endeavour; that the time of makeshifts has passed away; that we must resort to some effectual mode for making the income equal to the expenditure, and that it is right and necessary that we should raise an amount of taxation sufficient to meet the existing deficiency. There is another admission made by hon. Gentlemen at the other side of the House, namely, that our commercial interests are labouring under a state of great depression and difficulty. On every side of the House, therefore, we have these admissions— that there is a great and growing deficiency—that that deficiency must be met—that no temporary expedient can meet it—that it is impossible you can go on raising loans, and issuing bills, and postponing the evil day—that meet it you must by taxation, and that the commerce of the country, now labouring under distress, must not be subjected to additional burdens for the purpose. These are the admissions, not made by this or that Gentleman, but by every Member on both sides of the House who has addressed himself to the consideration of the question in which we are now engaged. Another, and a valuable admission, an admission from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Taunton, late President of the Board of Trade, was, that if we were to return to the scouted and condemned budget of last year, which the noble Lord puts forward upon the face of his resolutions, an increase of taxation in addition would be insufficient to meet the present deficiency. These are the concessions which have been made unanimously by the House, and I come now to the discussion of the question—how are these great difficulties to be met? Not to be behindhand in admissions, I must first observe that we admit that the Income-tax, except in cases of emergency, we should not be justified in resorting to. Then comes the question, is this a case of emergency? To prove that it is not, you must show me a less objectionable mode of effecting what you admit must be done, namely, equalizing the revenue and expenditure of the country. If you fail to do that, then I contend that this is a case of emergency, in which we are entitled to come down to the House and ask for this direct taxation. I say this direct taxation, because the noble Lord has so carefully worded the terms of his resolution, as to conceal under a studied ambiguity the differences of opinion which he knows to exist in the ranks of his supporters with reference to that class whom direct taxation would effect. Having mentioned those matters which are of general agreement, I think I may now allude to some of disagreement amongst hon. Members on the other side of the House. In the first place comes the hon. Member for Ipswich, who has a little scheme of his own, and who in discussing this question of emergency said, and I quite agree with him, I don't talk of a time of war. Peace has its emergency as well as war. I admit you are in a condition in which direct taxation must be had recourse to. The hon. Member fairly admits that we are at this moment in that emergency which justifies and compels an appeal to direct taxation, and he goes so far as to say that he considers a property-tax a wise, expedient, and politic measure. But the noble Lord follows him and says,— If you admit the property-tax you must admit the Income-tax as well. The noble Lord says,— If you throw out the Income-tax I cannot stand up and support the property-tax. The Income-tax must go along with it But when they are coupled together, the noble Lord objects to them both; because, as he alleges, he sees no reason why we should have recourse to any direct taxation whatever. Then we have the hon. Member for Greenock, who also states, that in his judgment an income and property-tax must go together, that the House cannot accept one and reject the other, that if you take direct taxation you must take it upon all property, however derived, and upon all income, how ever obtained. I think he will be found to differ from a large portion of the hon. Gentlemen who sit upon the same side, and who are willing to tax all realized property, who don't mind what burdens they throw upon the landed and funded property of the country, but who have an especial care and respect for all property which happens to rest upon contingent and uncertain circumstances. We have also the Member for Coventry, with a little scheme of his own which he intends to submit to the House, showing what he proposes to take instead of an income or property-tax. The noble Lord calls attention to the subjects of timber and sugar; but what says the hon. Member for Coventry? The hon. Member, ad dressing the Government, says,— You are perfectly right. I hesitate not to say that in our present relations with foreign countries you have exercised a sound judgment in not taking the question of sugar or a reduction of the duties upon foreign sugar as part of the budget which you have submitted to the House. The hon. Gentleman tells us very frankly that such is his opinion, while the right hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House says that the loss to the revenue from the reduction of the timber duties is a greater financial disaster than the melancholy event in Affghanistan, of which I may have a word or two to say to the right hon. Gentleman presently. While such language as that is held by one hon. Member on the opposite side of the House, an hon. Member behind him, the hon. Member for Coventry, speaking of these same timber duties and this same loss tot the revenue from a reduction of those duties, tells us that for the extension of commerce and the general good of the country it would be impossible to frame a measure fraught with greater advantages. This is but an example of the arguments brought forward by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, who are ready enough to find fault with the means which we propose for meeting the present emergency, while they totally fail in pointing out any mode of a less objectionable nature by which that object can be attained. What are the circum- stances which render it justifiable to have recourse to an Income-tax? Not certainly the emergency of war alone but of that state of things in which there is a deficiency in the revenue as compared with the current expenditure, and which, if permitted to go on without a remedy, roust injure credit and consequently damage the prosperity of the country. The noble Lord confines himself to telling us that hitherto there has been no case in which an income-tax has been resorted to unless in time of war. I don't think that that admission, on the part of the noble Lord, is one which is highly complimentary to the Government by whose wisdom and policy the finances of the country have been reduced to such a stale, that at the end of a twenty years' peace we are obliged to resort to that extreme measure which has heretofore been the resource of the country in time of war. But neither can I admit that, in the present state of things, we are in the state represented by the hon. Member for Lewes—a state of profound peace. A state of profound peace ! Why, look to all the relations which have been bequeathed to us by the late Administration. Look to the state of preparation for war which it is necessary to adopt, north, south, east, and west. I earnestly hope, and am sanguine enough to believe, that our existing differences with the United Stales of America may be brought to a happy and friendly conclusion; but, let me ask you, when before was it necessary to have 20,000 bayonets in the province of Canada? A profound peace! Look to the wars you have had in China, and tell me the amount of finances which your difficulties in that part of the globe have incurred. Tell me, if you can, the amount you have guaranteed to us for the future by your policy in China. Do not measure it by 9,000 or 10,000 armed men, or by the fleet which you have sent there. You have brought us into a war in that part of the world of which no man, and we told you so at the time, of which no man could foresee the result, but from which every man must know and foresee that there is little of glory to be reaped to the British arms, while it is a doubt whether it may not result in signal disaster and defeat. A state of profound peace ! Look to India. Let the hon. Gentleman turn his eye to that portion of our Indian empire — Affghanistan — which my right hon. Friend has been charged with using as a mere sophistry and plausible argument. What! the state of Affghanistan a matter of sophistry? Why, the right hon. Gentleman was himself glad enough to disclaim personally all responsibility in in the matter. The right hon. Gentle man, who subsequently filled the situation of Secretary of War, must have had means in his official capacity of calculating the dangers and disasters we were likely to meet in that part of our Indian empire, and well and wisely did the right hon. Gentleman tell us that when that expedition was undertaken he was not in Parliament; that, so far from being in the Cabinet, so far from counselling such a war, he was not, I believe, the right hon. Gentleman said, in England, he was not, at least, a Member of the Administration until that expedition was carried to its completion. But then there was the warning of the Duke of Wellington, in the first instance. I recollect the prophetic speech with which that noble Duke told you, when you undertook that ill-fated expedition:— Triumph you may; I have great confidence in the discipline and gallantry of your troops; but when you have succeeded, then will come your embarrassment. How have you succeeded? You slept upon the top of a volcano, and awaking you find yourselves exposed to imminent danger. The right hon. Gentleman admits that it was a disaster, but that really in a financial point of view it is nothing at all, and yet that a financial point of view is the only one in which we have to look at it. Upon that low ground I meet the right hon. Gentleman, and tell him he forms a poor estimate, and a false measure, of the embarrassments which result from the miserable policy which has been pursued in relation to Affghanistan. Will the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Control agree with him? 1 know that that right hon. Gentleman's knowledge of India and his official connection with that department, will have taught him to estimate more truly, and I shall say, more humanely, than the right hon. Gentleman, even the financial embarrassments which must follow from the defeat our army has sustained in Affghanistan. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay) says, that in a financial point of view those disasters will not cost the 600,000l. which is thrown away by the reduction on the timber duties—that the total expense, including the fresh troops sent out, will not exceed 400,000l. The disasters of Affghanistan might be convenient, said the right hon. Gentleman, for the purposes of sophistry, but in a financial point of view they are contemptible, But how did he follow up that declaration? What did he say to you of the freemasonry of Islamism? What did he tell you of the religious feelings of the people—of the great Mahomedan success that could not fail to fall like a spark upon tow? And when he estimated by pounds, shillings, and pence, the loss of those brave men? [Cries of "Oh!"] When the right hon. Gentleman has made his calculation of the sum of money [Loud cries of "Oh!"] I quote from the right hon. Gentleman's own words, and I say, to those Gentlemen who cry "Oh!" that the right hon. Gentleman told us, that upon this occasion, although he admitted the disasters to be equal to the Walcheren expedition, yet he looked upon the loss as inferior on a financial point of view to that of the timber-duties; that upon the present occasion, we have only to deal with it as a financial question; and that it was one which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to measure by pounds, shillings, and pence. I say, when the right hon. Gentleman has made his calculations of his pounds, shillings, and pence, in which we are financially to measure those great disasters which have befallen the British armies in Affghanistan—that he has admitted all those frightful anticipations which must necessarily arise to any man who gives a moment's consideration to the subject; and when the right hon. Gentle man declares that this great Mahomedan success will fall like a spark upon tow, and that the freemasonry of Islamism, extending from Morocco to Coromandel, was roused in an empire which rests upon the prestige of opinion, who shall calculate, even in a financial point of view, the expenditure, the ruinous and extravagant expenditure, that we may be led into if we intend to support our character in India, and to renew and to maintain, against that spirit and against those feelings which the right hon. Gentleman has referred to, as well as against the recent disasters, the prestige of the invincibility of the British arms in that part of our dominions? Does the right hon. Gentle- man suppose, in complimenting the British Government for the course they have taken, and announced it to be their intention to take, of asking supplementary estimates for the British army, that the Indian authorities have been altogether supine and a sleep—that they have abundance of troops upon their establishment, or that, with a deficiency of 2,000,000l. of re venue it has been unnecessarily decided to raise a large addition to the Indian army, and consequently to make a large charge upon their funds? If he does, he views the matter in a very false light. But, said the right hon. Gentleman, this reference to the war in Affghanistan is all an afterthought. You knew nothing of the disasters of your troops in India at the time you agreed to impose an Income-tax. True, Sir, we did know nothing of the fate of our forces at Cabul at the time we agreed to lay a new impost tax on the people, and I admit that, ill as we thought of that unhappy and ill-fated expedition, our worst fears did not picture anything so calamitous and disastrous as the result which has occurred. But, whatever might have been the course of the late Government, her Majesty's present advisers deemed it their duty to look a little in advance. We thought it proper to calculate the probable expenditure; not to act, as I believe the hon. Member for Ipswich advised, on the principle that "sufficient for the day is the evil there of," but to make provision for the additional expenditure which we clearly foresaw we should be called upon to meet. But, although we knew nothing of the fate of our Cabul army, it must be borne in mind that so far back as January last we knew of the state of the Indian revenue—we knew of the probable deficiency of income over expenditure in that country—we knew of the exigencies of the China service—we knew that it would be necessary to impose a new taxation upon the people; and therefore it was that, not without reluctance—not without a full sense of the objections which could be made to it, and which were sure to be urged by a party so able and talented as the present Opposition—therefore it was, I say, that after a full and deliberate consideration, we came to the unanimous conclusion that an indirect tax alone would have no chance of effectually meeting the national embarrassment, and that our best course would be to adopt a direct measure, which, whilst it met the difficulty, we hoped at the same time would afford relief to a commerce which was languishing and in difficulty. And now let me ask, what is proposed by the noble Lord who objects to our measure? The noble Lord tells you that if you do not adopt an Income-tax, or some other measure, his budget will not now be sufficient to meet the financial difficulty; at the same time the noble Lord calls upon you to go back to that budget—a budget, remember, which has been rejected, not by one, but by two Parliaments—a budget against which he charges us with raising a cry of false sympathy—a cry which, if I recollect right, he styled the howl of the old slave-driving party—he calls upon you, I say, to go back to this budget, all the items of which were condemned by the last Parliament. [Lord J. Russell: Only one.] Quite true; only one—that is to say, only one item—the proposed alteration, namely, in the sugar duties—was specifically considered. But the noble Lord will not deny that, when the House took that subject into consideration, they at the same time took into consideration, and dealt with, the whole budget. Nor will he deny that many hon. Members who spoke in the course of the debate on that one item, distinctly stated that they should object to the proposition, not because they opposed the scheme as a whole, but because they had especial objections to particular points, to which not consenting, they voted against the measure and rejected it. Nor let the noble Lord forget, was he without another discussion on his budget? In the present Parliament his corn scheme has been discussed. The noble Lord then had an opportunity of offering a revised and amended scheme. He found that his 8s. did not suit all his friends, and he then had an opportunity of making amendments to suit the peculiar demands of his party. The House also condemned that part of the noble Lord's proposition. Yet it was only three or four days after a corn bill, wholly different from his own, not in detail but in principle, had been sent up from this House to the House of Peers, that the noble Lord came down and called upon you to fall back upon his exploded project of essential revision of the tariff. But, as I said before, at the same time that he is calling on you to adopt his favourite financial scheme, the noble Lord admits that if all his propositions with regard to corn, to sugar, and to timber, were acted on, there would still be a deficiency of, I believe he said, two millions and a half. Well, how does the noble Lord propose to make this deficiency good? He tells you that he cannot separate in his mind property from income —that he does not think it would be un just to double the present amount of the assessed taxes; and, at the same time that he very earnestly disclaims the proposition of being an enemy to agricultural interests, he tells you that he should not object to the imposition of a probate and legacy duty on real property, in addition to the burdens that sort of property already bears. Now, I do not think that my friends around me, who object to some parts of the Government proposition—who say that we are going too far, and are pressing too hard upon the interests of agriculture—I do not think that my hon. Friends, when they come to consider the noble Lord's proposition, will suffer his eloquence to persuade them that they would be better off in his hands than in the hands of the present Government. I do not think they will be made to believe that it is desirable that real property should be liable to those duties in addition to what they already bear. And, speaking of what they bear, I may remark, that the noble Lord seems to think that real property is altogether exempt from taxation. But is this the case? The right hon. Gentleman, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer does not think so, for in addition to the objections he raised on the subject the other night, in 1840, he showed to the House (1 wish he had convinced the noble Lord) that landed property was charged with an amount of taxation quite equal to personal property. True it is, Sir, that there is no legacy duty on freehold land, but are there no stamps on marriage settlements—no charges, [" No, no!"] 1 fear those who cry "No," have overlooked these facts, or are not very conversant with the subject. I fear they are not aware that there are stamp duties on marriage settlements — that there are charges on the re-settlement of entailed estates—next, charges appertaining to mortgages—next, taxes on the auction sales of landed property; and when we talk of receiving 1,700,000l. from the legacy duty, and 1,600,000l. and more from the stamp duty on the conveyance of real property, we ought to remember, that the larger portion of the payment falls on the real property. And now, Sir, to some of the objections to the Income-tax. I do not deny, that the tax is in nature inquisitorial, although I certainly do not go the length of the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Bath, who stated the other night, that no honest man ought to fear making a full revelation of his affairs. For my own part, I can readily admit, that the inquiries necessary to the operation of the tax may be, in many cases, exceedingly inconvenient. But in the bill we propose to bring in on this subject, we make an endeavour to mitigate this evil. We propose to allow the income to be decided upon the average receipts of a term of three years, and consequently yearly profits cannot be made the subject of inquiry. But admitting the evil to exist, what do you say to the inquisition under the other systems—under the assessed taxes for example? We have had a detail from an hon. Member to-night as to the vexations attending the inquiry as to those taxes, and yet these are the taxes the noble Lord proposes to double—this is the inquisitorial system he desires to perpetuate. Then as to the inequality supposed to exist under the proposed system. This objection I certainly cannot rate so highly as I did the other. I heard some hon. Member, I forget who now, say a night or two back, "Oh, if you were going to pay off the national debt—if you were going to set the country free, we should not so much object to the imposition of an income-tax, even if its amount was 10 or 15, instead of 3 per cent." Now, I say that in my judgment that would be a gross injustice, which the present proposition is not. Remember, we are not now calling on the country to pay off past expenses—we do not ask the public to provide for the deficiencies occasioned by past occurrences, but we are calling on each man, according to his means, to contribute from his income for the year to the revenue required to meet the national expenditure of the year. We are calling upon him, whether the income of which he may be possessed is derivable from capital, whether it be derivable from a life-interest, or whether it is derivable from short annuities, to contribute to the extent which his means will reasonably afford; to pay his proportionate amount of what the exigencies of the country, under its present circumstances, require. We are calling upon every subject of the Crown to provide, according to the extent of his resources, for the wants of the country at large; and a proposition having this for its object, so far from being unjust, so far from being unequal, so far from being oppressive, is, in my opinion, the most wise, the most just, the most equal, which could be devised, and the best calculated to relieve the finances of the country from the state of exhaustion to which they have been reduced. The other night, the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Tipperary—I beg pardon, the right hon. Member for Dungarvan—I have been so long in the habit of looking upon him as my representative, that I cannot help falling into the mistake—the right hon. Gentleman, the other night, in taunting hon. Members on this side of the House with motives for supporting the Government of my right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, quoted two lines which were highly complimentary to him who was their object. They ran thus— Still as you rise the state, exalted too, "Knows no disturbance when' tis changed by you. The quotation is certainly very applicable, but why did not the right hon. Gentleman go on with another part of the quotation, which would equally apply? Why did he not add— Changed as the world's great scene, when without noise, "The rising sun night's vulgar lights destroys. It must be highly gratifying to my right hon. Friend to hear so flattering a testimonial as to the change which has taken place from the lips of so distinguished a Member of the Opposition. Look to the force of the similitudes expressed even in the curtailed quotation. It admits, that a great change had taken place without any disturbance. There was no poise, no fuss, as there had been on previous occasions, and yet I trust it will be admitted, that much more business was done without any bustle than had been done before within a similar period. The course pursued by Government before that period was dangerous, was obscure, was uncertain. It was like the progress of men stumbling onward through night and darkness, who, if by any chance they deviated into the right track, soon turned from it again to wander away more widely. In short, it was the course of one who appeared as if he could not see under his very nose; but now it is admitted that the whole course of things has been changed. All that was dark has been made light; all that was obscure has been cleared up; all that was confused has been reduced to order. Men now see their way; they can discover the obstacles which are likely to obstruct; they have shown that these obstacles are not insurmountable; they do not stumble over every stone, and at each turn of the road find themselves puzzled by the difficulties which beset those who walk in the dark. I do not think it necessary to enter into any great length upon a vindication of the policy propounded and pursued by my right hon. Friend at the head of her Majesty's Government. Whatever unfounded alarms may be raised, or whatever general assertions may be hazarded, I do not think that the proposition of my right hon Friend requires me to vindicate it from the charge that it was brought forward because he was not ready on the one hand to confront great interests in the House, and because of his being desirous on the other hand of gaining popularity by proposing a measure which could not much affect the middle classes —a measure which, I confidently hope, this House will adopt, and which, from the manner in which it has been received, seems to have won the approbation of the country at large. The interval afforded by the Easter holidays, however anxiously looked for, and eagerly employed, has failed to produce that burst of execration which had been so fondly calculated on. The measure is one calculated in the best possible degree that circumstances will admit of, to raise commercial credit, to relieve the financial embarrassments of the country, and one of its highest recommendations, to use the words of a strong political opponent of the present Government, was, that it was "bold, honest, direct, and straight-forward."

Mr. Labouchere

said, that though accustomed to the vehemence and ability with which the noble Lord who had just concluded expressed his opinion, he regretted to say that the noble Lord did not on this occasion exhibit the fairness of argument which generally characterised his replies to a political adversary. He would not follow the noble Lord through the many glaring mistakes and misrepresentations which had occurred in the speech just delivered. There was one which he had heard with peculiar regret, and 'in justice—he would not say to his right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh—but in justice to the House, as well as to his own feelings, he felt himself imperatively called upon at once, to advert to it. The noble Lord said that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh had treated the disastrous event which had occurred in Affghanistan as a mere financial question, and that the right hon. Gentleman estimated the loss of our brave men in India as a matter of pounds, shillings, and pence. Now, as nothing more odious than such sentiments could be attributed to any man, so could not any thing be more unlike what had fallen from his right hon. Friend, or more foreign to his nature and disposition. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh was particularly careful to guard himself from any such misapprehension, and was so clear that it was impossible to mistake him. That right hon. Gentle man had deplored, as all must deplore, what had occurred, but he added that the present motion should not be discussed in reference to the results of the military course which had been pursued in India, but that it must be viewed as a purely financial question, and it was in that sense only he spoke of it. The right hon. Gentleman resisted the introduction of such topics when alleged as a reason for the imposition of a tax, and it was not worthy of the noble Lord, it was unjust to the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, so to misapply and misrepresent the argument. It was, he repeated, both unworthy and unjust, and he was sure that the noble Lord would, upon reflection, be as ready to regret the course he had pursued as any Member of the House. He could only attribute the departure from fairness on the part of the noble Lord, and the symptoms of irritation which had been exhibited in the course of the debate by gentlemen on the other side, to some grave doubts that the country was not likely to receive the proposition of the Government with that entire satisfaction which they affected to believe would be entertained. The right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government had complained on Friday that he had met with the determined resistance with which this measure had been threatened. He hoped he should ever express himself of the right hon. Baronet with the respect which his personal character and public station gave him a claim to; but when any measure of the Government appeared to him to be contrary to the interests of the public, though he would enter upon no factious opposition, he should not feel he had performed his duty if he did not re sort to all the fair means and all the constitutional forms which were afforded to Members differing from the majority of offering it the most determined resistance in his power. The right hon. Baronet had entered into various statements as to the course pursued by the late Administration, and began by stating that the late Government had clung to power, supported by very small majorities, and contrasted their position with his own, supported as he was by very large majorities. Whenever he heard the right hon. Gentleman using language of that kind, he should always take the liberty of reminding him of certain passages of history which he seemed to have forgotten. It was very well for the right hon. Gentleman now to use that language, but he could recollect a Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was the leader maintaining its position in that House for some time, not only without any considerable majorities, but without any majority at all—on the contrary, indeed, with a constant minority. He believed that the late Government never reproached the right hon. Gentleman upon that occasion. He had no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman was actuated by proper motives, but he though it was a little too much for him, after pursuing that line of conduct in 1835, now that he had the happiness to have a large majority at his back, to feel so elated as to load with opprobrium a Government who for some time maintained office without that advantage. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say, that the late Government had delayed all measures of liberal, commercial, and financial policy until the period when, as he stated, they considered their dissolution as a Government inevitable. That was not correct. He must remind the right hon. Gentleman of the timber duties which were introduced by the late Whig administration. Those duties were introduced, not at a time when the Government was weak in numbers, but at their first accession to power, strong in popular favour and in Parliamentary support. One of those measures framed by that Government was accordingly proposed, but how was it received? The right hon. Gentleman. and those who acted with him, offered their determined opposition to it, and, notwithstanding the advantages the Government then possessed, the right hon. Gentleman, by joining in the interested opposition which it excited in particular quarters, managed to defeat it. After that measure had met such a reception, the late Ministers had reason to suppose that any measures they introduced would be received with a similar spirit, and it was, therefore, not surprising that they should delay such measures until it appeared that any further delay would be of the greatest injury to the country. Not warranted then in further delaying them, they, at last, submitted to the House such measures as appeared to them to be right, and staked their existence as a Government on the success or failure of those measures. He would not conceal from himself, nor did he wish to conceal from the House, though he believed the budget of his right hon. Friend of last year was a very good measure for the circumstances of that time, that in the present situation of the country the alteration of duties on articles of trade would not be sufficient, and that the Government must look to some measure of direct taxation to supply the deficiency. But there was this difference between them: What the members of the late Government had argued was this, that if the House would deal with the sugar duties and the Corn-laws in the manner they had recommended, the deficiency being then but small, they would have no excuse for resorting to an Income-tax. On that account had they contended that the necessity which the present Government alleged for the imposition of an Income-tax was a necessity of its own creating, and the House and country ought to be aware, and he believed the country were becoming more and more aware, that in reality the question was this, that if there was any necessity for the Income-tax, that tax was the price to be paid for the monopolies in corn and sugar. Hon. Gentlemen opposite might condemn an alteration of the sugar duties and the Corn-laws, but none would contend that if the measures the late Government had proposed on those subjects had been adopted it would have been necessary for the House to resort to such a measure as this. The noble Lord who had last spoken had thought proper to say it was incumbent upon those who objected to the course of the Government to state what was the course which, under the present circumstances of the country, they would recommend. He was astonished to hear that argument from the quarter whence it proceeded, because he remembered last year, when he and his late Colleagues proposed those measures which they thought expedient to meet the difficulties of the country, nothing could extract from Gentlemen opposite any opinion on the course they would adopt. If they had said, "We won't enter into a detail of the plan we should recommend; we won't play Chancellor of the Exchequer;" that would have been fair; but they said, "We will not give the slightest indication of what ought to be done, even as to principle. We think it enough to negative the measures you bring forward, and won't say whether taxes, loans, or a modification of duties is the course to be adopted." That appeared to him unworthy of the position of a Gentleman leading a great party. He did not think any hon. Gentleman in such a position was bound, when a Minister brought forward a great commercial scheme, to play the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and bring forward a counter project of finance in detail, but he ought to have stated what were his general views as to the measures to be taken in that situation of the country. The late Government could not be chargeable with following the same course. His noble Friend near him, with that frankness which belonged to him, entered into details, going, as he might almost say, to the verge of indiscretion. The right hon. Baronet went on to express great indignation at the idea of being supposed to have borrowed any of his commercial measures from his political opponents. He confessed, that instead of wasting the time of the House in unprofitable discussion as to which party had originated the commercial reforms which we were about to consider, he was much more anxious to join with the Government in securing to the country all that was really valuable in their proposals; and he rejoiced to say, that there was much that was really valuable in the commercial proposals of the right hon. Gentleman. But the right hon. Gentleman attempted to run away with the credit which did not belong to him; he now stepped in at the eleventh hour, and when he found the tide was turning, and that it was impossible to resist the practical application of those principles for which the late Government had contended, endeavoured to hold it out to the people of this country, that to him were those measures indebted for their final success. Lord Althorp's authority had been referred to as favourable to the Income-tax. But that noble Lord had always, when speaking favourably of such a tax, contemplatad the abolition of the malt-tax and house-tax, which would create a deficit of 6,000,000l.; and the noble Lord had expressly said, It is, in my opinion, desirable, that in no situation in which the country can be placed, less than 10,000,000l. or 12,000,000l. should be raised by a property-tax. Moreover, the noble Lord had added, I believe no person having a recollection of what the old Income-tax of 1816 was, will be inclined to support such a measure again. Undoubtedly that noble Lord had considered the theory of an Income-tax just, but he had not blinded himself to the practical evils of levying it. Nor ought the objections to be slighted which were urged against its necessarily inquisitorial character. The pride of personal liberty and private independence, which lay at the root, perhaps, of the most valuable elements in the British character, produced the dislike of the prying investigation of Government officers; and few men could deny that it was highly inexpedient to adopt such an objectionable tax, except under circumstances so pressing as to induce the country to endure any ill-conveniences for the sake of meeting the public exigencies. Now, as to the tariff, he wished to say a word. Unfortunately those portions met with his most decided approbation which had excited most opposition among the followers of the Government. He alluded to the measure for the importation of live stock and provisions, on which subject his views had been and were quite in conformity with the right hon. Baronet's, and he was ready to aver, that it had been his intention if he had remained in office to have dealt in a similar manner with these articles in the new tariff which he had given notice of, as well as with ores and metals. With reference to the commercial treaty which had been referred to upon a former occasion by the right hon. Baronet, he begged leave to say, that the terms which his noble Friend, the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and himself had offered, were such as should have called forth concessions from the French Government. While they could not in any way have proved prejudicial to the interests of trade here, his firm impression was, that they would have been ultimately most beneficial to the interests of both countries. The negotiations had given way from the political difficulties which unfortunately arose between the two countries; but, both upon commercial and political grounds, he should be most happy, indeed, when, the feeling of groundless irritation having subsided in France, both countries brought their discussions to a satisfactory conclusion. He should conclude, by stating, that he opposed this tax from a deep conviction that it was not necessary. He did not mean to say, that circumstances might not arise even in times of peace when the country ought to submit to an Income-tax. But looking to the great dislike which the country had always shown to it, it was hard to call upon them to submit to its imposition, except under circumstances when there could be no doubt in the mind of any fair and rational man that the Government, which was hound to consult the feelings and wishes, as well as the interests of the people, had endeavoured by every means in its power to avoid the alternative of a tax which was so alien to their habits and distasteful to their feelings. He did not believe that such a necessity existed, and he very much feared the imposition of an Income-tax in the present state of affairs, holding out as it did a signal of distress to other countries which was altogether uncalled for, would produce an indisposition to submit to such a measure when circumstances might render it necessary.

Lord Stanley

wished to say a few words by way of explanation. The right hon. Gentleman had, in the beginning of his speech, commented upon an expression that fell from him, with regard to which he was most anxious that no misapprehension should exist. Speaking of the recent disasters in Afghanistan, he certainly did think the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Edinburgh, had treated the subject much too lightly. He thought that in a financial point of view the right hon. Gentleman had miscalculated its importance, and rated its amount too low; but certainly if anything he said was at all understood to attribute to that right hon. Gentleman any personal indifference to the loss of human life or want of feeling as to the extent of the disaster, in that respect he begged once for all to state, that whatever his expressions, not very nicely chosen perhaps, at the moment might seem to imply, he had no intention whatever to make any such charge.

Mr. Macaulay

said, that in a financial point of view, the hostilities in which we were engaged had no connexion whatever with the Income-tax.

Lord F. Egerton

rose to address the House.

Mr. Brotherton

moved, that the House do then adjourn.

Mr. Blewiit

moved, that Mr. Brotherton be first heard.

Mr. Brotherton

moved, that the House do then adjourn.

Lord F. Egerton

then I rise to speak to that motion.

The Speaker

said, that the noble Lord, the Member for South Lancashire, appeared to him first to have risen. If the hon. Member for Salford had first caught his eye, he should certainly have called upon that hon. Member first to address the House.

Lord F. Egerton

said, that at that hour of the night, he could not feel himself justified in troubling the House at much length, and he should therefore abstain from any attempt to reply to the speech which the House had heard from the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last; on the contrary, he should proceed at once to that which more immediately bore on the subject under consideration. He thought that his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government had much reason to congratulate himself on the result of his financial propositions. Two petitions had been forwarded to him from towns within the district which he had the honour to represent; one of the two, that from Bury, was signed by 4,000 persons, and that from Manchester by no less than 24,000. The petitioners strenuously urged upon the House the necessity of adopting vigorous measures for the purpose of making good the deficiency which unhappily existed in the public finances, and for raising the national income to an amount sufficient to meet the national expenditure. The Manchester petitioners addressed themselves to the House in these words:— That your petitioners are fully sensible of the necessity which exists in the present state of public affairs for a vigorous effort to supply the deficiency in the national income, and to equalise the revenue with the unavoidable expenditure of the country. The petitioners then proceeded to say, that they had seen, with high satisfaction,— That a plan had been submitted to your honourable House by her Majesty's Government, which appears to them to combine the above important objects with extensive relief to the industrious classes of the community, and with a beneficial relaxation of those re- strictions which now impede our commercial intercouse with foreign countries, and fetter also domestic industry. He quite concurred with those petitions, that nothing could be more injurious to public interest than delay or uncertainty as to the intentions of the executive Government, and he begged to call attention to the emphatic terms in which that very respectable portion of his constituents by whom the petition was signed called the attention of the House to this part of the subject. They said, that The suspense and uncertainty caused with respect to all mercantile operations by the obstacles and delays opposed to the enactment of the valuable measures above alluded to, are highly prejudicial to the interests of commerce in general, and in particular to the interests of your petitioners, to whom a revival of trade, which they anticipate from these measures, has become a matter of the most urgent necessity. The petitioners said most truly, that delay and uncertainty were evils for which few benefits could fully compensate. To delay the enactment of a measure like the present appeared to him to be a crime of the first magnitude, calculated, as every man could see it must be, to prolong the distress which the measure before the House was calculated to relieve. The petitioners, whose statements he had read to them, implored the House to pass the measure of the right hon. Baronet, and he confessed it appeared to him incomprehensible how hon. Members could hesitate as to its adoption, when they remembered the signal defeats which the noble Lord opposite experienced in his resistance to those measures—how frequently he had been laid prostrate and left "floating many a rood." The petitioners told the House, that they were not only satisfied with the general measures of the right hon. Baronet, but especially so with the new tariff. The petition was no hole and corner affair—it was signed by many of those who were themselves most likely to be affected by the Income-tax—by the clergy whose life incomes it was said, that the measure of the right hon. Baronet was so peculiarly calculated to affect. He wished further to observe, that the petition was signed by several individuals who theretofore had been in the habit of supporting those opinions and those political principles of which the noble Lord, the Member for London, was understood to be the representative in that House. Had the petitioners supported the view of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, of course some of them would have had the grateful task of presenting it to the House. The petition had not been in course of signature more than six days at the Exchange and two or three other places of public resort, and it was signed by the leading persons of each party. It was resolved, that it should be presented at the same time with another petition against the measure of the right hon. Baronet, and it had five to one more signatures than the rival petition. If he disagreed with the petition, he would say so at once; but he did not, and as far as it went it would go to relieve his right hon. Friend from much of that anxiety under which he was supposed to labour. The right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House seemed to entertain a great alarm with regard to the estimation which foreign powers might form of the present Government. Now, if there was one reason which more than another would make him heartily coucur in this petition, it was this—that it would show foreign nations, that the people of this country were so wise and patriotic, that they were ready to suffer any sacrifice to enable England to sustain its high and honourable position among the nations of the world. Indeed, this feeling was already prevalent amongst foreigners; for while hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side were locked up in that stupor which beset them before the Easter recess, the language of the editors of the Paris journals in reference to the measures then before Parliament was to this effect, that if it should so happen that they were called upon to meet Great Britain as an antagonist in arms, they would at least meet a nation worthy of their highest respect—a foe not to be despised. He believed, that not only his constituents, but the people of England generally were ready to make sacrifices to meet continued and even increasing deficiencies. His right hon. Friend would have to come before the House with a supplementary estimate, and he had no doubt, that it would be granted. He, for one, should give his assistance to his right hon. Friend in that case, as readily as he would to the noble Lord, should he return to the "bed of roses," of which he once spoke. The country would, however, consider whether the disasters which had led to those demands might not have been avoided and upon due information being received, and a careful reference to authentic documents, the country would judge who were the authors of those disasters, and visit them with appropriate condemnation. One of the reasons why he should give his vote for this measure was, that it bore the character of a vote of confidence in the present Government. Another reason was, that he believed the right hon. Baronet enjoyed the approbation of the country; and lastly, he would support the right hon. Baronet, because he enjoyed the counsel of that man who occupied one of the most glorious periods in the history of this country, and who, though age had unnerved the arm which scattered the sable bands on the plains of India, still possessed that sagacity which beamed over the field of Assaye, and was still as powerful in the direction of affairs at the time of difficulty and danger as ever it had been. He should give his full consent to any measures which might be rendered necessary to meet the present state of affairs; and he must say, notwithstanding his respect for the abilities of his right hon. Friend opposite, he could place no reliance on his calculations.

The Speaker

put the question that the debate be adjourned.

Lord John Russell

said, on the question of adjournment I wish to take the opportunity of remarking on two observations of the noble Lord. He says, that with reference to the petition of his constituents, any one delaying the passing of this measure, is guilty of a crime of great magnitude. I think the House should judge of the measures which are brought before it. With regard to the whole measures and the tariff, let it be recollected, that in May last these questions might have been considered. The slave-trade was then the ground stated for not acceding to them. In September a new Administration was formed, but still they were not entered upon. The House was adjourned till February, and it is not until March that they are brought forward. The responsibility must rest with those who have caused these delays. Sir, I am only responsible for asking time for the due consideration of a question which, I am firmly persuaded, will not afford to the country that relief which is promised, or which the country is led to expect. On the score, therefore, of time, I may be responsible; but I ask the House, whether this is a measure which ought to be passed without full deliberation? There is one other point with respect to which I wish to say one word. The noble Lord, the Member for South Lancashire, said, there ought to be an inquiry in reference to the expedition to Affghanistan. Now, Sir, I beg to say, that I am as much responsible as any of my Colleagues for the policy which led to that expedition, and that neither my Colleagues nor myself have the slightest wish to avoid inquiry. Let it, however, be remembered, that at the time the late Government laid the papers relating to that expedition on the Table of this House, those papers were considered by all parties as fully sufficient to justify us in the course we pursued; and let it also be remembered, that those Members of the House who watched so vigilantly our resolutions —every measure and document brought forward in reference both to Canada and China—said not a single word with respect to the policy which induced the undertaking of the expedition to Afghanistan. If they had done so, the matter would have undergone full discussion at the time; but I do not offer this remark to impede inquiry. What I say is this, that, if we are to have this expedition made the subject matter of inquiry, all I ask is, that not only these papers, but the whole of the papers which we left after us in the office, shall be produced, in order that the House may be enabled to form a fair and impartial judgment as to the conduct of the late Government. Let us have all the papers relating to this subject, as well those which have been produced as those which we left behind us in the office; and I can only say, that my noble and right hon. Friends, as well as myself, will gladly go into any inquiry in reference to the Affghanistan expedition which may be deemed necessary. If the whole of these papers are produced, I do not hesitate to affirm that it will be found, with respect to my noble Friend, to whose mind late events must have occasioned so much pain and distress—I mean my noble Friend Lord Auckland —it will, I affirm, be found that no man could have given more attentive consideration than my noble Friend did to the affairs and policy necessary to be pursued by the Government of India. My noble Friend firmly believed that the expedition to Afghanistan was absolutely necessary for the security of our Indian empire, and I think his judgment was right: in defending myself and my Colleagues, I beg it to be understood, that we wish to identify ourselves with both Lord Auckland and his policy.

Sir J. C. Hobhouse

hoped, from his silence, it would not be inferred that he was not prepared at the proper time to take his part in the responsibility attached to the late expedition into Afghanistan. He affirmed that the Members of the late Government, as well as himself, would not shrink from defending the policy of Lord Auckland when an opportunity was afforded for so doing. He thought that the proper time for entering into this question, would be, when the right hon. Baronet came down to the House for the supplemental estimates. He thought this course was preferable to that of mixing it with the general discussion then before the House. He should be able to establish that Lord Auckland had pursued a sound policy with regard to the Afghan expedition, and that if he had adopted any other course, he would have acted in direct opposition to the interests of that great empire.

Mr. M. Philips

could truly say, that he had not made his opposition to the tariff or Income-tax proposed by the right hon. Baronet subservient to any factious objects. A petition had been signed and a requisition had been forwarded to him from no less than 3,100 of his constituents against the Income-tax Bill, and directing him to oppose it. But before he had received the requisition he had made up his mind to oppose the measure. He had been an advocate of a property-tax for the purpose of relieving the industry of the country from the burdens which oppress it. The Income-tax would not remove the burdens of the country, but would impose restrictions on those who were badly able to endure them. Unless, therefore, a measure of greater extent, and one more satisfactory to the public, were proposed by her Majesty's Government, he could not give them his support. If they found it necessary to have recourse to an Income-tax, they should take care that the industry and labour of the country would not be injured by it. He looked with the greatest anxiety for the settlement of this question. There was, however, nothing in the present measure that could lead to the belief that it would effect a settlement of the question upon anything like a proper or satisfactory basis. He felt he had been called on to make those observations by what had fallen from the noble Lord opposite. He would now repeat what he had often before declared, that he felt himself bound to give his conscientious opposition to this proposition of an Income-tax.

Mr. Labouchere

said, that as the noble Lord opposite had charged them with disturbing the measures of Government, he was anxious to know from the right hon. Baronet when the amended tariff was to be laid on the Table. The right hon. Gentleman had promised that it should be laid on the Table that night, and his reason for putting the question arose from the charge of delay which the noble Lord had brought against them.

Sir R. Peel

Sir, I endeavour as much as possible to avoid making promises, which I do not hope to fulfil. I certainly did promise that the amended tariff should be laid on the Table to-night, and (holding up a paper) here it is. It is now gone to be printed, and I have no doubt copies of it will be in the hands of the hon. Gentlemen opposite to-morrow. I do not at all blame the noble Lord opposite for the course he has taken, and I can assure him that I am just as anxious as himself to give full and fair consideration both to the Income-tax and the tariff, and because I am confident that there really can be no wish to obstruct those measures beyond what will conduce to fair discussion. I am perfectly ready to meet the hon. Gentlemen opposite in fair terms, and to discuss their propositions fully and with all due deliberation. But with a view to the revival of trade, which is now in a state of depression, owing to the uncertainty which prevails on account of the discussion, I should be glad to bring the discussion to a close with all convenient speed; that, however, I admit, is no reason for force or precipitation on the subject; and, if some limitation is observed, I can only Bay that I am anxious the matter should undergo full and fair discussion on both sides.

Lord F. Egerton

in explanation, said, that he was somewhat misunderstood, for he had not made any charge that the op position to the right hon. Baronet's mea sure, was the result of malignity. He did say that it was a crime of the greatest magnitude to offer factious opposition to the measures of Government. There might be a case in which a factious opposition would be a virtue, but in the present instance he should regard it as a crime and a vice. He had not made any charge against the noble Lord opposite or his Colleagues, and he did not believe that they would be participators in a merely factious opposition.

Sir R. Peel,

in laying the amended tariff on the Table, observed, that with respect to three or four articles of no moment, the communications had not been quite complete, and therefore, he had not made any alterations in reference to those articles. They were, however, matters of no moment.

Debate adjourned.

House adjourned.