HC Deb 13 March 1848 vol 97 cc460-532

On the Order of the Day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of Ways and Means,


expressed his regret that during the debate, which simply related to the question whether the income-tax should be continued for one year or for three, two-thirds of the discussion had been on the subject of free trade. It was most desirable that they should come to a decision, and he trusted they would endeavour to keep as closely as possible to the point. He hoped the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Macgregor) would not be led away by the example of the hon. Members for Westbury and Buckinghamshire (Mr. Wilson and Mr. Disraeli) to enter on the subject of free trade, which was a fit and proper topic for discussion at a fit and proper time, but which was not relevant to the present question. If any blame was connected with the introduction of that "greatest work of imagination," the Import Duties Committee's report, he as Chairman of that Committee was ready to bear it all.


observed, that the Member to whom the hon. Gentleman ought especially to direct his attention was the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth, for other Members could hardly be expected to abstain from such discussions when so very eminent an example was set before them.


remarked, that the question had been introduced by two very eminent Members of the hon. Gentleman's own party, the noble Lord the Member for Stamford, and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Warwickshire (the Marquess of Granby and Mr. Newdegate).

House in Committee of Ways and Means. On the resolution having been read for a continuance of the income-tax,


observed, that if he were charged with presumption or rashnees in addressing himself to the question at so early a period, he could only plead the honesty of those motives which forbade his silence when the question under discussion was one on which his experience and opportunities ought to enable him, if he were not very stupid, to give information leading to some practical conclusions. He required indulgence more than if he were a practised debater, or artistic orator. He approached the question under peculiarly painful circumstances, differing as he did from the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) and his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, upon two grounds. In the first instance, he opposed the measure because he believed that the tax was unequal and unpopular in itself, and because he was convinced that if the income-tax were continued for three years, it would not answer the purposes of the Chancellor of the Exchequer without other measures; and, secondly, because he considered that the greatest calamity that could happen to the country would be the derangement of the national credit. He hoped, therefore, that the question would be considered free from personalities, and all the meanness of petty jealousies. He would take the advice of the hon. Member for Montrose, and say very little on the subject of free trade. But he trusted he might be allowed to make a few observations with respect to what had been stated by the hon. Member for Buekinghamshire. With regard to the financial and commercial measures of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth, he agreed in the wisdom of those measures from the day when the right hon. Gentleman entered office to the day when he left it, considering the right hon. Gentleman's whole administration as marked by the capacity of an able statesman. Those measures were the right hon. Gentleman's own, and to him the country ought to give all the credit. He (Mr. Macgregor) disclaimed any share in them. The only share he had had was his statement before the Import Duties Committee. If that had in any degree assisted in preparing the public mind for a change, he was perfectly satisfied. With regard to an extract which was read from a Glasgow paper, he hoped the House would allow him to state the facts. At one of the several meetings before the last election at Glasgow—for he could not certainly recollect all that took place at or even which of those meetings—a young Chartist came forward and occasioned a tremendous uproar; he might have been one of those concerned in the late riots for aught he (Mr. Macgregor) knew. There were 500 or 600, perhaps 1,000, present; and there came forward at the same time a person who he was told came from the opposition camp in one of the other ward meetings, and amidst a great noise some one cried out to him (Mr. Macgregor), "Sir, did you prepare Peel's tariff?" He remained silent. But a voice in the assembly repeated the question, and said," I know you haven't the courage to give me an answer;" at which there was "tremendous uproar." In order to stop the uproar, he said he would endeavour to give them an answer. And he then stated distinctly that he would not at any risk have given them one if Sir R. Peel were still in office; but as he was not, he would state that he (Mr. Macgregor) had been one of the Secretaries of the Board of Trade; that the President of the Board of Trade (Lord Ripon) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the university of Oxford, who was afterwards President, had intrusted him to prepare, alphabetically, that is to say, the skeletons of the schedules of articles in classes to be appended to the resolutions submitted with the tariff to Parliament. And he had added, that no one, he believed, out of the Cabinet, except the Vice President of the Board of Trade, and a young gentleman (Mr. Lack) who had been named as his (Mr. Macgregor's) private secretary, had been privy to the preparation of those schedules. That was what had really passed. But it had also been alleged that the statement read the other night had appeared in his own paper in Glasgow; whereas it had really appeared, with the remarks read by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, in the two papers opposed to him and to truth in Glasgow. He should also say, that although in no way connected with the right hon. Baronet's party, he had, during the whole of his administration, been treated with the greatest kindness and courtesy by the right hon. Gentleman on every occasion; and he had to acknowledge similar uniform courtesy and kindness on the part of the first President, the Earl of Ripon, and on the part of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, during his Presidency and Vice Presidency of the Board of Trade; and from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the university of Cambridge, whilst he was Chancellor of the Exchequer; as also from his noble Friend Lord Dalhousie, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover. But, to proceed to the question. He denied the assertion that the best test of the soundness of commercial legislation was commercial prosperity. It might, or it might not. They knew there was no commercial legislation in Arabia, and some of the wildest countries of the world; but they never heard of their commercial prosperity. The noble Lord the Member for Lynn had attributed all the misfortunes of the country to the free-trade measures of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, including, of course, the famine in Ireland. But he might just as well attribute the fertility upon the banks of the Nile to a power emanating from the Pyramids. They had also heard that it was the policy of purchasing in the cheapest markets and selling in the dearest that had brought about the present monetary and commercial distress; but unless he was too dull to comprehend that policy, he believed it would continue to be the standard rule. It might not be comprehended by those who flirted with the Muses on the brows or summit of Mount Parnassus, nor by another class of producers, the manufacturers of politico-metaphysical romances; but classes, perhaps less ornamental and more useful, would understand and practise it; he meant among others those of the market gardener and fishmonger. Now, he had with some care examined, not only the financial condition of this country, but that of others also; and, in entering upon the question before the House, he thought they should not regard it as merely one whether the income-tax should be continued for one year or for three, but as involving the whole financial condition of the country. He believed the people of this country were quite ready to give the Government all possible means for maintaining the public credit; but he objected to the income-tax because it was unpopular beyond all others, and because it was so unequal in its distribution. In our expenditure in Ireland, in the colonies, and in our own dockyards, he considered that a very great saving might be effected. Since 1800, upwards of (including the interest on the Irish debt) 66,000,000l. of money had been expended for Ireland more than the revenue collected in that country had amounted to; and after the union of the Irish Exchequer with that of England in 1817, and up to 1846, more than 100,000,000l. of the public money levied in Great Britain had been paid for Ireland. In such a state of things, he thought that the people of this country had great reason to complain of having to pay an income-tax, unless the expenditure for Ireland were reduced. He thought that the expenditure in the colonies might also be materially diminished. When the proper time arrived, he would be prepared to prove that the expenditure in the dockyards, especially for altering and cutting down ships, was most wasteful and unjustifiable. It might seem remarkable, but it was a fact, that England was the only country in the world in which an income-tax on the mere profits of trades and professions existed. There were, doubtless, all sorts of imposts, and some of them obnoxious enough, but an income-tax from uncertain profits was known only in this country. He considered the property-tax, unless it were on the rents, or interest, of realised or vested property, more objectionable than the present income-tax; but, in fact, he objected to the latter chiefly on account of its inequality. If history was to be taken as the teacher of national policy, it would be found on a reference to her pages, that national security and prosperity depended more than upon any other circumstances upon a sound system of finance. Frederick the Great, who found the Prussian Exchequer in a miserable state when he ascended the throne, succeeded, notwithstanding all the expenses of his wars in Silesia and elsewhere, to put his revenue on a footing which enabled him to pay off all the debts of the country, and to leave a large sum at his death in the Exchequer. On the other hand Austria, a country far more fertile and productive than Prussia, was never placed under any sound system of finance; and from the days of Maria Theresa down to the present time financial difficulty and distress prevailed in that country. Maria Theresa herself had to beg money of her people in the churches, and elsewhere—to hold correspondence with Madame Pompadour and another royal mistress, Farenelli—to melt down the silver plate of the churches—and to resort to other expedients ill becoming the dignity of a great and proud Empress, or a large empire. The disgrace and ruin, after the national bankruptcies, which took place in Austria in 1811 and 1813, afforded an example to all the countries in the world which wished to maintain independence. The hon. Member quoted Schneller's History of Bohemia in proof of his assertion, and contended that every nation, from the Roman empire downwards, had owed its prosperity or fall to the sound or unsound condition of its system of finance. It was the undoubted right of the House of Commons, for the constitution had wisely and justly-entrusted it with the initiative in all questions of taxation, to act in the most jealous manner with respect to propositions of this nature. He trusted the House would never adopt a policy of mere expediency, but go at once into the whole question of our income and expenditure, rather than continue a 3 per cent income-tax, which could not possibly meet the emergencies of the Exchequer, for three years. He would say that the best policy would be to grant a 3 per cent or a 5 per cent tax, or more if necessary, for one year, and to enter at once on the whole question of taxation. He considered it his duty to make this appeal to the House, because be considered that such a course would be in accordance with public opinion—not an ignorant, a noisy, and a riotous public opinion, but the opinion of the enlightened and the intelligent, as represented by an unanimous public press, with only three solitary exceptions that he could learn. He should, therefore, vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose.


had mixed much with the middle classes of this country, and was, therefore, able to tell the House accurately what was the opinion of that important portion of the community with respect to the measure of the Government. He denied that those who opposed the re-infliction of the income-tax had placed themselves in hostile array to the interests of the country; and he did not stand there to refuse the supplies necessary to continue the public business; inasmuch as the tax was not required, or would not have been required, had due economy been used in the expenditure of the country. He voted with the hon. Member for Montrose on this question, because he thought it was the duty of the House to insist upon a searching inquiry into the expenditure, to see whether it could not be reduced within the natural income of the country. He had been astonished, as a young Member of the House, to find that the expenditure had increased 9,000,000l. since 1835; and still more astonished that the increase was between 4,000,000l. and 5,000,000l. since the year 1844, ending 1845. He did not think that sufficient consideration had been manifested towards the commercial classes of this country. It would be recollected that the House was called together at an unusually early period for two objects; the one to consider the disturbed state of Ireland, and the other to consider the disturbed state of the commerce and trade of the country. With respect to the latter, the right hon. Gentleman opposite moved for a Committee of Inquiry, it was true; but, to the great indignation of the commercial classes, instead of measures of redress or relief, the noble Lord at the head of the Government came down to the House and proposed to increase the amount of taxation with which the country was burdened to the amount of 3,500,000l. sterling. This, too, was at a moment when the shopkeepers—a most important class—were in most exhausted condition. He had heard of burdens upon agriculture so often, but he believed hon. Members could not be aware of the enormous amount of taxation which pressed upon the shopkeepers. He had received a variety of letters which put him in the position to show what were the amounts of poor-rate and local taxation. He would take one case, a fair sample for the whole. A tradesman of Norwich, whose rent was 100l. a year, paid 27l. 15s. 11d. in poor-rates, and, including the local rates, this amount was made up full 50 per cent. He defied any hon. Member to show burdens upon agriculture equal to that. Again, in the town of Leeds, the poor-rate was now 5s. 4d. in the pound; and he would take that town as an example of the extraordinary number of failures that had taken place. The House would perhaps be surprised to learn that four individuals out of every five who commenced business failed or died insolvent. In the year ending August, 1847, there were eighty-four persons in the grocery trade, and of these fifty-six failed, and four retired, leaving only twenty-four standing, and of these several had failed or compounded since. The amount of failures that year was, in London, 10,000,000l.; in Liverpool, 3,000,000l.; in Manchester, 2,250,000l.; in Glasgow, 3,000,000l.; and in other towns, 5,000,000l., making a total of 23,250,000l. in one single year. And yet this was the period in which it was sought to reimpose a tax confessedly unjust and unequal, and which was condemned by all classes. He had listened to the statements made by the noble Lord the First Lord of the Treasury, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth, and it might be supposed from their statements that they were all anxious to reduce the taxation of the country. The noble Lord opposite had said that since the year 1826 there had been no less than 40,000,000l. of taxes taken off; but he found a fallacy in that statement. The noble Lord had mentioned, among the articles thus reduced, that of sugar, but, instead of the large reduction on that article blazoned forth by the noble Lord, the people paid 2,300,000l. more for sugar than they did before the alteration took place. He felt assured that the best friends of the Government would not deny that, before they inflicted this unequal tax upon the country, thay had a right to ask that it should be made more equal. He felt that the most powerful defence for this country against all foreign foes was the loyalty of the middle and working classes. But that loyalty could be but faint while distress was universal amongst those classes; and he trusted the Government and the House would give their best and earnest attention to the best means of restoring prosperity to the country.


Sir, I am well aware that I am guilty of no small presumption in rising upon this important national question, and thereby standing in the way of others whose experience gives them a claim to the attention of the House far greater than any to which I can individually pretend. But representing, as I have the honour to do, a constituency of no small magnitude and importance—and one, moreover, deeply sensitive of the proceedings now before the House—I feel that I should not be adequately discharging my duty either to them or to myself were I, from any personal considerations, to flinch from briefly, though as clearly and explicitly as I can, stating the reasons and the principles upon which my vote will be given. Sir, Her Majesty's Ministers, after making a statement of the financial condition of the kingdom, have demanded from us a continuance of the income-tax for a like period as that for which it was imposed in 1842, and as that for which it was continued in 1845. And, without entering into any minute detail concerning the state of our finances—when we consider that even if we grant this demand in the form that it is asked of us—there will still be, according to the estimates, a deficiency at the end of next year to the amount of about 4,700,000l.; and when we consider that, in the course of this debate, no very sanguine prospects have been held out to us of the revival of trade by those best qualified to form an opinion, I think I am not guilty of exaggeration when I say that our present financial condition is not materially, if at all, better than what it was in the year 1842, when the last Parliament deemed it right first to impose this income-tax. And, Sir, whether this comparison between our present financial condition and our condition in the year 1842 be or be not correct, I think it will universally be conceded that our present state is very materially worse than what it was in the year 1845, when the income-tax was, by the late Parliament, continued for three years. It is under these circumstances that we are asked to refuse the demand made by Her Majesty's Ministers; and, in the course of this debate, three reasons of a somewhat different description have been strongly urged to justify us in such a refusal. In the first place, there is the argument of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn and the party with whom he acts, who are desirous of inducing us to adopt a retrograde course, and reimpose those duties which it has been the policy of this country for the last few years to take off. Secondly, there is the argument of those who assert that this tax is unjust and unequal, and further than that, who say that its injustice and inequality are capable of being redressed by legislative machinery, and that the right mode of obtaining this legislative machinery is by refusing the continuance of this tax, and thereby compelling the Government to make it just and equitable. Lastly, there is the argument of the hon. Member for Montrose, who says, that our expenditure has been increasing, without reason or necessity, for the last few years, and that the right mode of preventing, for the future, this waste of our resources, is not by an investigation into the particular items of the account, but by a stoppage of the supplies. Sir, on each of these arguments I feel it to be my duty to make a few observations as briefly as I can; and first, with respect to the argument of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn. It appears that the noble Lord and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire seriously believe that duties imposed upon articles of consumption do not operate as a burden upon the people of this country, but that such duties are ingenious contrivances for extorting money out of the pockets of foreigners for the payment of our debts. If I believed in this theory, I should undoubtedly vote with the noble Lord for the reimposition of such duties. The noble Lord has entered into an elaborate argument upon the articles of cotton, timber, brandy, and tallow, for the purpose of proving that the effect of diminishing the duties upon these articles was to increase their price to the consumer. Consequently, he infers that the reimposition of those duties would diminish the price to the consumer. Now, Sir, the noble Lord did not quote these articles as exceptionable cases—he adduced them as fair instances of a general theory. I am, therefore, not misrepresenting the noble Lord when I say, that the principle he seeks to enforce upon the House is, that the imposition of duties on imported articles does not operate as an evil to the people of this country, but that it confers upon the State a revenue derived from the resources of those foreign countries which produce the articles on which the tax is levied. If I could put the slightest faith in this theory, I would undoubtedly vote for the substitution of indirect taxes for this income-tax; but I would go much further, and vote for the imposition of duties upon all imported articles of general consumption, as, if the theory were true, I see no bound or limit to the sum which we might not raise for the purposes of the State, without pressure or inconvenience to our own people. Sir, I am not going to argue against this theory—it seems sufficient to me to state it. All I say is, that if I admitted the premises of the noble Lord, I should agree with him in his conclusion to vote against the present proposal of the Government; but denying, as I do, his theory, I cannot admit the conclusion he deduces from it, and therefore I cannot recognise the reason he gives for his own vote as a valid one for mine. I now come, Sir, to the question of the injustice of this tax; and, in the first place, I must say that I think this consideration is a most important one, and that my hon. Friend the Member for Cockermouth did good public service in bringing the subject fully and fairly before the House; for, Sir, an impression most injurious to the credit and honour of the Government and this House has gone abroad amongst the public, namely, that this injustice and inequality are not evils necessarily inherent in an income-tax, but that they arise from the carelessness and inattention of successive Governments that have proposed this tax, and of the successive Parliaments that have sanctioned it. Sir, I do not exaggerate when I say that this opinion is injurious to the Government and this Parliament; that it ought as soon as possible to be eradicated from the minds of the people. Now, the only modes by which it can be thus eradicated, are either by the fact of our at once making this tax just and equitable, or, if that be impossible, then openly and distinctly stating that impossibility, so that the people of this country may make their choice with a full knowledge of what they choose, between taxes on consumption, on the one hand, with their evils and inconveniences; or, on the other hand, this income-tax, with its inevitable incidents and attributes. I think, therefore, that it is the bounden duty of Parliament at once to make this tax as just and equitable as possible; and I say this without reference to the question whether it is imposed for one year, for three years, or for ever. But, Sir, what I do protest against is, Parliament neither doing anything to remedy the evils of this tax, nor openly proclaiming that its evils are beyond the reach of legislation, whilst hon. Members continue to repeat that they are in favour of direct taxation, provided it be made just and equitable. And now let me say a few words with respect to the nature and magnitude of this injustice. In the first place, I do not agree with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth when he says, that the injustice of an income-tax is only precisely the same as the injustice of all taxes upon expenditure, inasmuch as a person with a temporary and precarious interest, pays taxes upon expenditure in the same manner as a person with a permanent income. There is this distinction between the tax upon income and the tax upon expenditure, which the right hon. Baronet overlooks, namely, that when taxes are imposed upon articles of consumption, so that a man is taxed according to his expenditure; then as to that portion of his income which he saves, he escapes taxation altogether. Whereas, when a tax is laid upon income, however weighty a moral duty there may be imposed upon him to save a portion of his income, still he has to pay the tax as well upon that portion of his income which he saves, as upon that which he expends. There is no doubt some peculiar injustice in an income-tax arising out of this distinction; but it must be recollected that there is also an injustice involved in the tax upon consumption or expenditure, namely, that when taxes are thus levied, if a man without any moral duties rendering it incumbent upon him to save a portion of his income, does, in fact, lay by a portion of his income, or spend the whole or a part of it abroad, then as to that portion which he saves or spends abroad he escapes taxation altogether, and of course increases the burdens upon others. The peculiar injustice of a tax upon income is, that a man pays the tax upon that portion of his income which he ought to save, or which he does in fact save. The peculiar injustice of a tax upon expenditure is, that a man does not pay the tax upon that portion which he saves without reason, or spends abroad—the one injustice may be considered the converse of the other. The question, however, which I wish to put to the House is not so much as to the magnitude of the injustice in either case, but this, whether it would not be as absurd to attempt to make a tax upon income vary according to the duties which regulate the expenditure of men, as it would be to attempt to make a tax upon consumption or expenditure vary according to the amount of a man's income; and whether we must not make up our minds to take either the tax upon expenditure, with its peculiar injustice, on the one hand, or, on the other hand, the tax upon income, with its peculiar evils and advantages? And now. Sir, I come to the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, who contended the other evening with great force that absolute estates, estates for life, and temporary interests, should be taxed after a different rate. Now, Sir, it is undoubtedly true, looking exclusively to land, that there are interests of various descriptions: there is the absolute owner of an estate in fee, who has an interest worth twenty-eight or thirty years' purchase—the owner of an entailed estate possesses an interest scarcely less valuable than an absolute interest. Then we have the case of a tenant for life, who, if his life be a precarious one, and the land go to a stranger after his death, has an interest which may be worth only two or three years' purchase; then we have the whole body of the clergy, whose estates are not only temporary, but subjected to heavy burdens, and imposing active and laborious duties—or if we take the case of the endowed schoolmaster, with an income of from 200l. to 300l. a year liable to be dismissed by the trustees who have appointed him, we shall have an instance of an estate out of land as temporary, fleeting, and precarious, with as onerous duties attached to it, as it is possible to conceive. We have, therefore, beginning from the case of the owner of an absolute estate, down to these cases of a poor clergyman or schoolmaster, instances of estates of all descriptions, from the most certain and permanent, down to the most temporary, precarious, and laborious; and it does seem undoubtedly a great injustice to tax all these at the same rate. Still, let me call the attention of the House, to this fact. According to the old poor-law, the 43rd Elizabeth, one of the most successful statutes in the book, and under which a greater amount of taxation has been levied than under any other statute on record, it is enacted, "that every inhabitant of a parish shall contribute for the purposes of the Act, according to its ability." Now, Sir, what is the construction that has been put upon this word "ability?" From the time that this Act came into operation, two hundred and fifty years ago, down to the present time, the construction has been that in determining the "ability," the sole consideration is the value of the land; and not the slightest attention has ever been paid to the fact, whether the estate of the owner or occupier was certain, temporary, precarious, or liable to professional duties; so that the poorest tenant at will of a landlord, himself possessing the most temporary estate, has had to contribute after the same rate of assessment as the absolute owner of an estate of thousands a year, himself in the occupation of his own land. Now, this principle of taxing for the poor-rate certain and temporary incomes in the same manner, is not merely the construction of judges and lawyers, but it is the construction which has met with the common consent and approbation of mankind. I am not saying anything of the justice or of the injustice of the principle; but when we find that it has been in operation for this length of time without complaint or remonstrance, you may depend upon it the principle is not so repugnant to common sense, and the innate feeling of justice, as is generally supposed. This statute, Sir, applies to personal estate as much as it does to real estate; but its operation is prevented with respect to personal estate by subsequent statutes. If, however, it were permitted to be applied to personal estate, its construction would be the same. It would be impossible that the word "ability" should have one signification with respect to land, and another with respect to personal estate; and the result would he, that as with respect to land certain and temporary incomes contribute after the same rate of assessment, so with respect to personalty, certain and temporary incomes would contribute in the same manner. I have shown. Sir, the different character of estates in land: it would be easy to show that interests in personalty are in like manner various. The absolute owner of guaranteed railway shares possesses an interest not materially different from the absolute owner of land. I recollect the chuckle with which the hon. Member for Sunderland told the Chancellor of the Exchequer that his securities were worth more than Government securities. Between such securities, then, and money in the funds, or absolute estates in land, there does not seem to me to be any material distinction in principle relative to the proportion which they ought to contribute in taxation. Descending from the most valuable property, and going through the share list, we should have interests less and less in value, more and more uncertain until they became absolutely nothing. Again, terminable annuitants stand in much the same condition as leaseholders with a certain number of years to run previous to the expiration of their interest. The case of professional men is not very materially different from the cases of clergymen and schoolmasters, to which I have already alluded. Sir, when this income-tax was first imposed, its evils were perfectly well known: Both in the year 1842 and in the year 1845, they were proclaimed abroad, and it was continually prophesied that though men might tolerate an income-tax for a short time whilst they were sanguine in their hopes of the benefits that they were to derive from the remission of indirect taxation, still that the time would come when they would become impatient and would no longer tolerate this tax, and then that the Legislature would be compelled to take it off. Sir, although I was not then unaware of these dangers, yet I acknowledge that I was sanguine concerning direct taxation, and I was willing to hope that the great and increasing knowledge and common sense of the community would enable them to bear the evils of this tax, when they considered the great advantages that they derived by a relaxation of the restrictions upon trade, and by a reduction of the duties upon the most important articles of consumption. Nay, more than that, I indulged in the hope that the policy might be carried farther, and that by degrees direct taxation might more and more be substituted for taxes on consumption. I regret most sincerely that these hopes have been disappointed; still as I knew the risk at the time this system was commenced, I have not much right to be surprised at its failure. But, Sir, I did not expect this which has occurred—namely, that when the hour of trial has come, when the impatience of the people does demand the discontinuance of this tax—I did not, I say, expect that those who were the leaders in the cause would be the first to desert it; that they would be the parties to exaggerate its enormities, to enlarge upon its evils, to side with its opponents, and go out into the lobby with the noble Lord the Member for Lynn and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. Sir, I candidly acknowledge that the events of the last few weeks, and more especially the conduct of those who were most ardent for direct taxation, has shaken most materially my confidence in the principle; and I do not hesitate to say that I think, hereafter, no wise Minister will be justified in trusting for any considerable portion of the ordinary revenue to so frail and precarious a source. Considering, therefore, that this injustice was as perfectly known as its other evils at the time of its imposition, I cannot recognise it as a sufficient argument to induce me to refuse the demand of the Government. At the same time, this I can conscientiously say, that no man will go into the Committee with a more sincere desire to improve it as far as legislation can go. All I say is, if that proves to be beyond our power, let us at least hare the manliness openly to avow it. Now, Sir, I come to the last reason which is urged against the demand of the Government, namely, that the expenditure for warlike purposes has been increasing for several years without any cause or object whatever. I was not a Member of this House when this expenditure was sanctioned, and I feel some diffidence in speaking about details; but this I do say, that I know no reason for this great and increasing expenditure, and I think the public have some good grounds for complaint against the Government. Sir, I represent a large constituency, unanimous (as I believe are all classes of this community) in favour of the maintenance of peace; and further than that, there is a considerable portion among them who look upon every form of war with the greatest disgust and abhorrence; and who, therefore, necessarily regard all expenditure for such purposes with great jealousy and dislike. Now, Sir, I am not here to make unreasonable demands, or to hold out extravagant hopes elsewhere. I know the political movements which render this period an exception to ordinary times; but I nevertheless say, that this feeling in favour of peace is not peculiar to this country, but there has grown up within the period of the last peace, a general conviction amongst the active and industrious of the middle and lower classes, that their interests, are above all, sacrificed by war. Sir, I know that at this particular moment there are elements of discord enough afloat in the political atmosphere to make it impossible for any one to predict when and where the conflagration will take place, or how widely and fiercely it may spread; but should we by the blessing of Providence escape the dangers that now threaten around us, I think there will be open to us a career more truly noble than any upon which we have hitherto entered, namely, to place ourselves at the head of this pacific movement, this commercial tendency, and exhibit a large and liberal confidence in the other nations of the world. I say not that such a course will be wholly free from risk—perhaps no truly great course ever is so; but we shall thereby diminish the heavy burdens that now press upon our people, and prove to the world how strong and sincere is our conviction in the truth of that great principle of commercial freedom which we have announced to the world as the surest means of binding nations together by the firm bonds of mutual benefits reciprocally given and received. I have no doubt, Sir, that the influence of England will be exerted for the maintenance of peace in all quarters; and any sudden reduction of our establishments at this moment would not be attributed to that confidence to which I have alluded, but would be considered as a proof of our internal dissensions and financial weakness. However ardent, therefore, at other times might be my wish for a reduction of our military establishments, I cannot at this moment consent to weaken the influence or paralyse the arms of England. I have now only to thank the House for the patience with which it has heard me, and to say that after examining the several reasons that have been brought forward in this debate, I cannot reconcile a refusal of the proposal of Her Majesty's Ministers with my idea of the paramount duty I have to perform in maintaining the financial credit of the kingdom.


said: As an independent Member of this House, belonging to no party, representing a constituency feeling strongly on the question before the Committee, I beg the indulgence of the House while I explain my reason for the vote which it is my intention to give. The noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government told us the other evening when he brought forward his financial statement, that he had a deficiency of a million for the past year; and he calculated a further deficit for the next year of three millions and upwards. I was not surprised at this deficiency, considering the general depression of trade, the partial suspension of manufacturing industry, and the panic that prevailed, and that, in fact, "the springs of industry were broken." If I were surprised, it was that the deficit was not greater—that it was not eight or ten per cent in place of two per cent. But I was surprised, I was disappointed, when the noble Lord at once proposed to make up that deficiency by an increase of two per cent on that unjust, unequal, and inquisitorial tax—the income-tax. Surely, the noble Lord could not have known the feeling of the country, or he would not have placed himself and the Government in the humiliating position of proposing a tax one night, and coming down to this House in a few nights after to withdraw it. The noble Lord should have taken a leaf out of the book of the right hon. Member for Tamworth; when he proposed his income-tax in 1842, and again in 1845, he told the House and the country it was but a temporary burden for three years only, and that he proposed to take off taxes on industry and on the necessaries of life, which would more than compensate for the new burden. In fact, that while he laid on an income-tax to the extent of five millions, he proposed to take off taxes to the amount of seven or eight millions. Thus he gilded the pill he wished us to swallow; but the noble Lord offers us no spice to qualify the dose, or to make it more palatable. He simply says, "I have a deficiency of so many millions—I propose to increase the income-tax to supply the deficiency." The country does not object to an income-tax, if it be based on a fair and equitable principle; but it does object, and I tell the noble Lord the country will not long bear the tax, not even at three per cent, with its present inequalities. I shall not detain the Committee by entering into this question, as it was so ably dealt with and exposed by the hon. Member for Cocker-mouth, further than giving one illustratration:—Suppose two parties, each having 20,000l. of capital—one invests it in land or the funds, for which he receives four per cent, or 800l. per annum; the other puts his into trade, and by his skill, energy, and industry, he realises eight per cent, or 1,600l. per annum. I say, is it just, is it equitable, is it reasonable, that the bee of the hive should be taxed double, for the same capital, to the drone: the one employing the labour and promoting the industry and wealth of the country; and the other content to live at ease, possibly spending most of his income in foreign countries? I shall now give my reasons for supporting the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose. They are these. First, on account of the inequality of the tax. I think one year is long enough to submit to such inequalities. Next, on the score of economy—I wish to force Her Majesty's Ministers to exercise the most rigid economy in every department of the State, consistently with keeping up the efficiency of the public service. And, thirdly, because I think the time has arrived when we ought to have a complete revision of our system of taxation. Many hon. Members of this House, as well as the country at large, are of opinion that certain taxes ought to be repealed or reduced, and others of a less objectionable nature imposed. That the tax on air and light—the window-tax—ought to be repealed; that the tax on soap—a tax on cleanliness—ought to be reduced; that the tax on tea, if we are to act with fairness to China, and to encourage our trade with that country, ought and must be reduced; that the tax on insurances—which is a tax on prudence—ought to be repealed; and that the five per cent added in the year 1840 to the Customs and Excise, and which, it is notorious, answered not the expectations of its framers, ought to be abandoned. Let me not be misunderstood. I would not take off one of these taxes unless the revenue could afford it, or other substitutes could be found less objectionable. I am of opinion, that a well-adjusted house-tax is preferable to the window duty; and I am for taxing the succession of real property. I know this proposition will be unpalatable to many hon. Gentlemen around me; but that will never prevent me so long as I have the honour of a seat in this House, of expressing fearlessly the opinions I hold. When Mr. Pitt introduced his Bill in 1796, for a tax on personal property, viz., the probate and legacy duties, he accompanied it with another for a tax on succession of real property. I will read to the Committee the opinion then expressed to the House by Mr. Pitt:— Mr. Pitt agreed that the principle on which the two Bills were founded was much the same, and that if this Bill (tax on succession of personal property) passed, it would be very desirable that the principle should be extended to real property. Sir, the Bill for the tax on the succession of personal property did pass; but on the second reading of that on real property a division took place, fifty-four voting for it, and fifty-four against it, the Speaker giving his casting vote in favour of the measure; but in consequence of the threats of the landed interest, the right hon. Gentleman subsequently was obliged to withdraw the Bill. Thus the House will see that it was the intention of the Legislature when it taxed the succession of personal property, also to tax real property. Nor, Sir, can I see any reason why Ireland should be excluded from the operation of the income-tax. Irish Members are continually asking for equal laws; let us now begin with the income-tax. Ireland is already free from some twenty millions of taxation to which this country is subject; and I can see no principle of justice or equity in allowing an Irish landlord to draw some 5,000l. or 6,000l. per annum out of the country, and spend it probably on the Continent; whilst the noble Lord the President of the Council, and the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, because they reside in this country, are subject to the impost. Nor can I see the justice of freeing a merchant or manufacturer at Dublin, Belfast, or Limerick, earning his 2,000l. or 3,000l. per annum; whilst parties in the same position residing in London, Liverpool, or Manchester, are subject to the tax—nor why a person having a clear income of 150l. per annum in that comparatively untaxed country, should not be equally liable to the tax, to one having the like income in this country. Sir, I am satisfied much may be saved without impairing the efficiency of our armaments: the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose has stated he could save near one million in the collection of the revenue; and the hon. Member for Glasgow has moved for a Committee on the naval and dockyard departments, and he pledges himself to prove that upwards of one million may be saved without at all impairing the efficiency of that branch of the service. The hon. Member for West Yorkshire has told us there is a strong feeling amongst his constituents and in the country for reducing the expenses of our Army and Navy to the standard of 1835. In the present political state of the Continent and the world, I am not disposed to vote for any such reduction. Considering recent events in a neighbouring country, and our vast colonial possessions, and that every British subject expects, and has a right to expect, in every quarter of the world, in Her Majesty's dominions, the protection of the British Crown—considering the vast increase in our trade since 1835, I am not surprised at the increase of our Army and Navy; and I think it would be the worst possible policy to attempt at the present time any reduction. I think. Sir, with the noble Lord, that keeping up the efficiency of our armaments is the best guarantee for peace. But, Sir, it does become a serious question for the consideration of this country, whether, under the new policy of free trade, some of our colonial possessions are worth the expense they entail upon us. I have, by the last mail, received letters from Canada, stating the great dissatisfaction which exists in that colony in consequence of the free-trade policy of the mother country. I will, with permission of the Committee, read an extract from one:— Montreal, Feb. 5th, 1848. The opening your ports to foreign countries, while you compel us to ship in British vessels, and give us no advantage in your markets, places Canada in a worse position than any foreign country. Unless something is done, we shall have another rebellion; and if so, it will be a serious one, as there is universal dissatisfaction, even amongst the most loyal inhabitants. If Great Britain would compel the colonies to take all the goods which she manufactures, and they consume, from her, and then give us a preference over foreigners with our produce in her markets, it would, we feel sure, be a much wiser course than this new free-trade system, of which so much has been said. Sir, if such a rebellion should unfortunately take place, and after the injustice we have done them, I would rather lose the colony than attempt, at a vast expense of life and treasure, to force them into submission. We are now, whether right or wrong, committed to the principles of free trade; and, Sir, though I opposed the policy of the free-trade movement—as is well known to many hon. Members opposite, from the counties of Lancaster and Yorkshire—yet, as it is now the law of the land, I am for giving it a full and a fair trial. As yet it has had no fair trial; and I cannot agree with hon. Gentlemen around me, who are again and again attributing all our misfortunes, and all our commercial and financial distress, to the effects of the free-trade policy. Why, Sir, the most important element of free trade is corn. That does not become free till February, 1849. I say to the Protectionists—Wait till you see the effect of that measure, coupled with good harvests, and if I mistake not, your prices of wheat will fall to 35s. per quarter; you will have a cry of agricultural distress; and if, added to this, you should have commercial distress, then will be your time to move; then you may have the country with you. For I believe there is sufficient good sense and moral courage amongst even the free-traders themselves, that if they find free trade, after a full and fair trial, does not answer in this country, they will at once go back to a safer system. I much fear this may be the result; I hope I may be wrong; for I well know what distress and suffering would be the consequence to the great interests of this country, should it prove that the free-trade policy has been a wrong step. Sir, the hon. Member for Westbury, in his able and temperate speech the other evening, made some remarks to which I cannot subscribe. He attributed the large import of corn and flour in 1847, to the operation of the new corn law. Why, Sir, does the hon. Gentleman forget that the new corn law was suspended in February, 1847, and again, in September, to the 1st March, 1848? Why should not the old law, if then in existence, have also been suspended? Besides, Sir, under the old law, we should have had but 1s. duty, thus encouraging imports from all parts of the world. The hon. Gentleman also asserts, as a proof of the success of the free-trade policy, that from those countries where we received our largest supplies of corn, namely, America and Russia, our largest exports were directed; and that to the former country the increase was upwards of two millions in value. I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman what amount of those exports was forced exports, in order to bring back the gold which our large imports had drawn from us? And, again, what portion of those exports was caused by the high prices we were forced to pay those countries for their corn; producing not a permanent but a temporary demand, in consequence of the general failure of the crops in Europe, and thus producing, through scarcity and competition, the high prices we had to pay, and which was not a consequence of free trade, but of the temporary deficiency and the European famine which prevailed. The hon. Gentleman was also very eloquent in expatiating on the iuequalities of the income-tax; and he made out so strong a case for the revision of that tax, that I was greatly surprised he should consent to its renewal for three years, with all its injustice and inequality. Sir, I thank the House for the patience and attention with which they have heard me; in conclusion, let me remark, I am not for infringing the rights and the privileges of the aristocracy on the one hand, nor the rights of the people (the democracy) on the other. But there is in this country, fortunately, a strong middle class, who hold the balance of power; and I tell Her Majesty's Ministers they are the strength, the safety, the glory, of the column. Propitiate them; let them have no just ground for complaint; then the whole social fabric stands secure and blest.


believed that the House could not inflict a heavier blow upon the public credit of the country than by refusing to accede, at the present moment, to the proposition of the Government. The hon. Member for Montrose thought the Government might economise the resources by entering upon a revision of the entire expenditure of the country; and he agreed that this might be done; but it was impossible to do it in the present year. He hoped that a reduction of the estimates might be made without affecting the efficiency of our means of defence. In contending that this country should be efficiently protected from foreign aggression, he demanded nothing more than that which every Member of the House of Commons ought to be ready to concede; he asked no more than that England should be placed in the same state of security as other countries. Those who were old enough could not fail to remember the condition of extreme danger in which this and other countries were placed during the late war. With those dangers present to his mind, he could not help asking, was it not the duty of every one engaged in the business of legislation or government to use his best endeavours to prevent the recurrence of such dangers? and, if we looked around us for the most effectual mode of protection, We should find it in the maintenance of our naval force. He felt that in that department, at least, there could not, with safety, be any reduction of expenditure; and yet it was difficult to look at the general cost of maintaining our civil and military establishments, without being convinced that the country could scarcely bear the weight of taxation which Parliament imposed. One example he would mention, just to show the working of our fiscal system. He knew one estate that produced to its owner only 800l., and yet the total annual taxes paid on account of that estate by landlord and tenants was at the rate of l,500l. Nothing could be more evident than that the taxes pressed most heavily upon all classes, upon the proprietors of land as well as upon those who were engaged in commercial pursuits. Every one felt, and no one could avoid acknowledging, the unequal manner in which the income-tax affected those by whom it was paid; at the same time, he was as ready as any one to admit that all the inequalities in the system could not at once be smoothed down. It as the duty, however, of the responsible advisers of the Crown to apply their minds to the subject, and use their best endeavours to establish a uniform plan. This, of course, could not be effected without a general revision of taxation; and that was exactly the point at which he wished to arrive. He wished to call the attention of his hon. Friends to the absolute necessity of entering upon such revision; at all events, in the course of the next year. This he thought very necessary; but he thought it likewise important, if the Government should resolve to engage in such revision, that they should make known their intentions on the subject. With respect to the income-tax itself, no one could be more sensible than he was of its inequality, and of the severity of its pressure; but he should rather allow it to exist for three years longer than not get rid of, and continue to keep off, the taxes which had pressed upon industry. He should give his vote in favour of the Government proposition of continuing the tax for three years longer, and he hoped that the adoption of that plan would maintain the honour and credit of the country.


agreed with those who thought that new financial arrangements must be made, or that the income-tax must be given up; yet in common candour and honesty he was bound to say, that never was there a tax more revolting to the feelings of the people of England than the income-tax. When it was first laid upon this suffering community, they were told that the object of its imposition was to relieve us from a state of the utmost financial embarassment, and that when the temporary evil from which it was so proposed to rescue the country should have passed away, the income-tax was to cease with the cause which had called for such a heavy burden. When that expectation was held out, who could have supposed it possible that this tax was intended for such a purpose as it had been applied to—who could for a moment have thought that it would have been used for the purpose of aiding those measures, the passing of which had shaken all confidence in public men? At the time those measures received the assent of the Legislature, every branch of our national industry was in a flourishing condition, and now every one of these was in a state of deep depression. At such results it was impossible for him or for any man to look without feelings of the utmost alarm. Generally speaking, he was disposed to support the Government in cases of emergency, but he did not see how he could support a continuance of the income-tax for three years longer. If the taxes upon estates were averaged, he had no doubt it would be found that, on the whole, they paid not 3, but 5 per cent. He had often heard it said that the monied interest in this country possessed enough of capital to purchase all the land in England. Now, if that class were really so wealthy, it would be only fair to expect that they should bear a little more of the taxes than at present fell to their share. Although he did not exactly see how the expenditure of the country could be lowered, yet he wished and hoped that the Government would turn their attention to the subject; and he ventured to believe that, after the hints the Government had received, they would see the necessity of a change; for his part he should now, and at a future time, be prepared to support a different system of taxation from that which now prevailed.


said, there could not be a tax more unacceptable to the great body of the people than the tax upon income. It was marked, by every feature which could render it odious and intolerable. It was, as they all knew, most inquisitorial. It was most objectionable on account of its incurable inequality. He voted with the hon. Member for Cockermouth, thinking, as the right hon. Member for Portsmouth did, that it would be most desirable to cure as many as possible of the inequalities which the income-tax system presented. But now, despairing of any such improvements, he should vote against the continuance of the tax. It was a tax originally bad enough; but it had been made worse and greatly aggravated by some of the provisions recently made with reference to it. The exemption of Ireland from its operation appeared to him most unjust. In his opinion, the same reasons which were alleged for exempting Ireland, would justify the exemption of absentees from the operation of the tax; and yet absentees laid out as much in the improvement of their estates as any other class of proprietors. Still, if the House of Commons refused this tax, he almost doubted that they had any alternative; there was, however, one thing that no man could rationally doubt, that England had adopted the principles of free trade irrevocably. It would be impossible for us to retrace our steps. Had he possessed a seat in the House when the measures of free trade were under discussion, he should certainly have voted against them; but, having been once practically carried out, he did not understand how it would be possible to get rid of them. He did not believe that, for the next three or four years, it would be possible very much to reduce our expenditure; but he hoped that, by some means or other, the income-tax would soon cease to exist. It was impossible to withdraw our fleets and armies from our colonies at present; and, therefore, there were no hopes at present of materially diminishing our expenditure. He trusted that commerce might take the place of war; but, at the same time, it was impossible not to feel that such a consummation would require not only in this but in other countries a great change in the habits and modes of thinking of mankind. It seemed to him to be rather a matter of form than of substance whether the income-tax was granted for one year or for three, but he was not disposed to take upon himself the responsibility of creating an interregnum at present. He saw, therefore, no prudent alternative but that of voting for the Government proposition, as he thought it the only means of maintaining the public credit.


said, the hon. Member for Westbury had made a speech which must, he thought, force an answer from hon. Members of the Manchester school, although they showed such an indisposition to answer the arguments brought forward by some hon. Members on that (the Opposition) side of the House, and generally by those who were prepared to support the income-tax in its present shape. He could assure them, however, that this system of burking evidence and arguments which they might find it difficult to answer, would bring them into disrepute. The hon. Member for the West Riding had said that there was nothing like repeating an argument if you desired to enforce it; and therefore he, as he supposed hon. Gentlemen opposite would not attempt to offer an answer to any further arguments, as they had not deigned to answer those already put forward, would content himself with repeating the emphatic language in which the hon. Member for Bucks (Mr. Disraeli) had concluded his speech:— Are hon. Gentlemen here so poor in apprehension, and so dead in spirit, that they will submit without a struggle? If so, it will be but a poor consolation to us, after all we have already endured, to discover that the only return we have for a diminished revenue and a declining commerce is the arrogant effrontery of a class who obtained power by false pretences, and, having so obtained it, attempt to exercise it for their own advantage. He could not understand how any one who had voted for repeal of the corn laws could refuse their assent to the proposition of the noble Lord. He (Viscount Drumlanrig) would have felt bound to oppose that measure had he been in Parliament; but at the same time he was equally bound to say, that that measure was a great and a bold one, and he only hoped it might prove more successful than those who were opposed to it conscientiously believed it would. He felt bound to give his assent to the proposition of the noble Lord.


was desirous that there should be no mistake about the vote that he was about to give. He was desirous that the people of England should not suppose that he, the representative of the most numerous constituency in Ireland, was actuated by base, corrupt, or selfish motives, in the course that he was about to pursue. If he had previously entertained any doubts as to what the course ought to be, the speech of the hon. Member for Westbury, who admitted that the tax was unfair and unjust; the speech of the hon. but not very secure Member for Liverpool, admitting that the tax was unequal; and lastly, the speech of the right hon. Baronet, the father of the impost, in defence of this iniquitous law, would have decided him; and when he recollected that London, and Manchester, and Liverpool, had all protested against this tax, he felt that, as a representative of the people, he had no alternative but to vote in favour of the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose. He had read with great pain the speeches of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Middlesex, and of his hon. Friend the Member for Marylebone, who had declared their conviction that the liberal Irish Members would all support the Government upon this question. It was not for him to say what the liberal Irish Members would do, but he knew what they ought to do. Support the Government!—support that Government at the head of which was a man who when they and their people proclaimed the wrongs inflicted on them, and protested against the injustice under which they suffered, told them that sooner than redress those injuries he would force them to undergo the perils of civil war! Would they renerve that arm which had raised over their heads the scourge, and would dye their native soil with blood? Would they support that Government, the Members of which were earning for themselves, through the doings of their Viceroy, the just appellation of the Guizots of Ireland? That Viceroy was gagging the expression of public opinion in Ireland, by ostentatiously reviewing troops, parading dragoons, and bringing artillery into Dublin. Were they, the representatives of the Irish people, to place themselves under the command of the hon. Member for Louth, and to file into the lobby as the loyal Swiss guards of such a Ministry? He trusted, for the sake of the character of Ireland, that such would not be the case. He hoped that the representatives of Ireland would vindicate for themselves and for their people the high character which this country had always maintained. If they understood the true interests of themselves and their constituents, they would vote in consonance with the feelings of the people of their country on this question, as the popular cause, both in this country and in Ireland, must eventually succeed.


said, that if he had any difficulty, that difficulty would be cleared away by the very extraordinary speech of the hon. Member for Cork, because, the true matter before the House being whether the tax should he continued for one year or three years, the hon. Member had introduced a new element of discord, and said they were not to support the Motion and strengthen the arms of a Government who were averse to the dismemberment of the empire. The right hon. Baronet late at the head of the Government having chosen, for some reason best known to himself, to introduce the financial policy of which he was the godfather, and the hon. Member who followed him having taken the same course, it Was difficult for those who did not agree with him to give a silent vote on the occasion. That was a position in which he found himself, and therefore he would trouble the Committee with a few remarks. There had been an array of figures which he should not attempt to follow, by which some Gentlemen supposed we were now in a state of unrivalled prosperity. Another extraordinary thing was, that all those Gentlemen, without exception, begun with 1842, went on to 1845, passed lightly over 1846, attributing the commercial and financial prosperity to the measures which then took place, and then came to 1847, and said that the great depression was owing to the failure of food. He should like to know why they did not attribute the financial prosperity of the Country to the good harvests subsequent to 1842? In 1836, there was a good harvest, and commercial prosperity in 1838, 1839, and 1840 a short harvest and commercial and financial distress in 1842; and after that, commercial and financial prosperity; and then, in 1847, commercial distress. But taking not one year, but twelve years in a series of three years, under strict prohibitory and high protective duties, or under the system of free trade, there were precisely the same results. The prosperity of the country was attributed to a particular set of measures, and not to a gracious Providence. The hon. Member for Westbury and Oxford had rested the commercial prosperity on the measures of 1842 and 1845, without making the slightest allusion to the great expenditure of which the good harvest furnished the means. He was one of those who did not think that this financial or commercial prosperity depended much upon legislation; and every year's experience confirmed him in that conclusion. At what price had you purchased this? What promises did you make to the people, and how did you keep them? Because the late Government, taking up as they did the wholesome principles of the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire and his school, must be considered to have taken up those promises which he, on his part, made to the country. What did the hon. Member promise? He told the people that he would secure them, by measures to be introduced, from the effects of bad harvests. Had he done it? He told the shopkeepers they should he secure from a drain of gold and a monetary crisis. Holding out to the people advantages which it was not in your power to secure, had created distrust amongst all classes. Now we came to the financial question, and how did we stand there? No one had ventured to say in the face of the country that he thought those measures produced anything like recurring prosperity. Their forebodings had been of the most gloomy description. They were disposed to support a state of things which, as far as he had seen, had never produced prosperity or secured us from adversity. The hon. Member for Westbury, in treating of the financial part of the question, had thrown out some hints about what he called the strange conduct of the commercial world, and their anxiety to find new markets; he said he did not altogether blame them; he seemed to suppose they were to weigh the commercial colonies in a commercial balance, and ascertain whether they were worth keeping as a matter of profit and loss. He (Mr. Henley) protested against weighing the colonies of this country in a scale, and dealing with them as a simple question of profit and loss. There was one matter he wished to make an observation upon, and that was how much hon. Gentlemen in this House were apt to weigh financial and commercial questions solely by reference to figures. The hon. Member for the University of Oxford had referred to the silk trade. The hon. Member's notion of employment was, work without reference to wages. That made a very material difference. He never knew any man indisposed to work for himself, but he wanted to find wages for the work. Now, what were the right hon. Gentleman's notions of such a subject? The junior hon. Member for the University of Oxford had brought an array of figures to show that the hon. Member for King's Lynn was altogether in error in quoting the silk trade as having suffered from the operation of free-trade measures. The figures stated by the right hon. Gentleman were, that in ten years, from 1834 to 1843, there were imported into this country, of raw silk, 3,742,000lbs.; thrown silk,2,650,000lbs.; silk goods, 219,000lbs. The profitable wages of labour were earned mainly on the valuable silk goods which came in under the denomination of silk goods. In 1846 and 1847 the quantity was—of raw silk 4,205,000lbs.; thrown silk, 3,710,000lbs.; silk goods, 408,000lbs.; and it was said, see the addition to the quantity of raw silk, and therefore there was more employment for the people. On raw silk the increase was fourteen per cent; on thrown silk, a partly manufactured article, the increase was seven per cent; but on silk goods, an article on which the unfortunate people of this country could earn something like profitable wages, the increase was eighty-six per cent. As to raw silk, on which there was an important increase, it was worked up in the low descriptions of goods which were forced back on France, and the wretched artisans hardly earned wages to keep them. So much as to silk goods, which put out of work the looms of Spital-fields. He was one of those who thought no measure beneficial to this country which did not give the people, as well as employment, the means of getting wages; and he thought that one of the evils under which the country was labouring was, that the legislation of the House had been conducted solely with a view to benefit the capital of the country, without reference to the working people. He did not pretend to say that you could stop the great commercial spirit which was now abroad; but he did not think it necessary or wise to give it greater force, because he believed it was an antagonistical principle to labour. It would be more the part of wisdom to endeavour to give to each a due share, than throw the weight into one scale. No one would suppose that he was going to advocate the regulation of wages; he believed that to be impossible; but it was a different thing to throw the whole weight of legislation into one scale. Let both interests have fair play, and do not sacrifice the poor people of this country under false promises. They ought not to make fallacious promises to the poorer classes which they would never be able to perform. He (Mr. Henley) did not accuse hon. Gentlemen opposite of injustice. They had endeavoured to secure to the poor people of the country a large supply of food; that was their avowed object; and he found no fault with it, because if they were to run our people in as hard race of competition as it appeared they wished, it was but right they should also provide them ample supplies of food. His complaint was, that it was not advisable to enter into every race of competition, as hon. Gentlemen wished; and he did not think the experiment hitherto made bad proved successful. The question more immediately before the House was, would they adopt the measure now recommended for their approval by a Government with an empty exchequer—a Government which was not strong, and which had shown itself within the space of a few months back—when the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated his belief, in September last, that there would be no difficulty in our monetary affairs—as ignorant of the true state of the country as they had very recently shown themselves egregiously ignorant of its temper, when they had been compelled to relinquish their proposed increase of the income-tax upon the popular veto being loudly and plainly expressed against it. And how was public credit to be maintained? The Government now turned round and said—"When we forbear to ask for additional taxation, we think the existing revenue of the country may meet the expenditure, if you take two or three years together;" and it also referred the whole of the expenditure to the revision of a Committee, with the view to a reduction. In the present depressed state of trade, and the uncertain prospect before them as to the future, it would be an enormous evil to the interests of all classes of the community if faith with the public creditor should be broken; and he asked, would it be just or fair to the Government or to the country not to give the Ministry their support in their measure, without which he believed the finances of the country would be broken down? He confessed be had great apprehensions as to whether the Government would adopt a safe course. The deficiency bills, which in all probability must be resorted to, would be attended with great danger, particularly if the present Bank Charter were maintained; but the Government was responsible to the country; and he felt justified, in the present state of Europe and the country, in acceding to the continuance of the income-tax for three years longer. The hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Headlam), in his clear, able, and lucid speech that night, had adverted to the alleged inequalities of that tax; and he entirely concurred with the hon. Member that it would be more straightforward and honest if hon. Gentlemen who had so freely stigmatised and abused the tax were to point out how their complaints were to be remedied, or else frankly admit that they could not. He, for one, would gladly support any practicable plan for getting rid of its so-called inequalities, if they would only show how it was to be effected. But he had seen no such scheme that would secure the necessary amount of revenue. The hon. Member for Westbury had put forward the most extraordinary views on this subject, and had said that Mr. Pitt taxed capital in the funds and land, as he viewed it. But how did he reconcile this with saying he did not tax capital? He taxed capital in trade as well as the funds, only the taxation was differently applied. The hon. Member for Westbury had said he would treat these two species of capital in different ways. Public credit demanded that capital in the funds and land should be taxed the same as other capital; and, for his part, he could see no other difference between the two, excepting that the man by trade endeavoured by skill and activity to obtain 15 per cent; whereas the fundholder was content with 3 or 4 per cent, and the landholder with 2 per cent. He saw no reason why incomes derived from trade should be dealt with differently from other incomes; and it must have been remarked that not one Gentleman who had recommended improvements in the tax, but had confessed that the subject was beset with difficulties. When the hon. Member for Glasgow admitted that he was perplexed upon it, he should not be surprised if most minds feared to tackle it. He wished that his support of the Government on this measure was not given as on a question mixed up with the free-trade policy of recent years. He was not convinced that that policy had contributed to the well-being of the country, and he should decline to support the present measure if such a course necessarily implied an approval of that policy. He should be ready, if even such a miracle happened as that a Whig Chancellor of the Exchequer came before them three years hence with a good surplus revenue, to either reduce the income-tax, or to vote for any reduction of the national expenditure, as far as was consistent with whatever he regarded as right and proper.


considered that the question before the Committee was one of such vital importance to the well-being of the country, to its onward progress, and to its peace and tranquillity, as of itself to form a sufficient excuse for, and indeed to justify, any Member of this House, however slight his claims might be upon its attention, in desiring to express his opinions as well as to give his vote upon it. He desired to explain also, why, being an advocate for direct taxation, a strenuous advocate for that form of taxation, and being also a Liberal, he yet felt it to be his duty to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose, Mr. Hume, in opposition to the measure proposed by a Government styling itself also Liberal. And, first, a few words on that Government. He, Mr. Mowatt, had entered that House as a Liberal Member, in the hope and expectation that he should be able to give that Government, styling itself likewise "Liberal," his general and hearty support. He was sorry to say, however, that so great had been his disappointment at the budget they had brought forward to the House, and in fact at their whole financial scheme of policy, that he felt obliged to withhold from them his support in this case. Indeed, he would say further, that he should feel ashamed to be considered an adherent of the present Government, so far as their financial policy was concerned. He thought with reference to it, that the existing Government, so far from realising the hopes and expectations of the country, had, on the contrary, shown a disposition not merely to stand still, but actually to retrograde. What was the character of the budget before the House? What was the system of raising a revenue, that they were now called upon to support? Why, the Government did not appear to have made up their own minds, even, to pursue the course they had at first proposed to themselves. They did not appear to have fully determined whether they would adhere to a system of direct taxation, or whether they would go back to the old and, he had hoped, almost obsolete scheme of raising a revenue, indirectly, from the industry and labour of the people. He considered that the Government had failed utterly to make out a case for the continuation, far less augmentation, of the income-tax, in its present unequal and therefore unjust and oppressive form. He had been in hopes, for one, that they would this time have come down to the House, with some bold plan of their own, and said, "We are ashamed of the oppressive, unfair, and unequal way, in which the revenue has been hitherto raised. We will take a leaf out of the book of the hon. Member for Tamworth, who has set us so good an example." Yes, he (Mr. Mowatt) had really believed, that they would on this occasion have come forward with some bold proposition of their own, to relieve the industry, the trade, and the labour of the country, by an improved and more equal system of taxation. But he was afraid that the present Government, like that which had preceded it, was too aristocratic in its formation and character. It was too exclusive, and trusted for its opinion and information to a set—to a clique—that did not give sufficient consideration to the wishes and wants of, and had no sympathies with, the people. Had this not been the case, would they, in such utter ignorance of or indifference to the necessities, feelings and desires of the people, have come down to this House with such a monstrous proposition as that involved in their budget? Most assuredly not. If this were otherwise, why had not the Government come forward with a proposal to extend the probate and legacy duties to real property, to land, and make them available to the purposes of the Exchequer? Why not have come forward and said, "Here is a way by which we shall relieve the country from an unequal and oppressive taxation, to the extent of at least 2,000,000l. per annum? Had they done this, they need not then have been ashamed of, nor afraid to stand by, their financial scheme either in that House or with the country. Why had they not taken this plan? Why had they not performed their duty? However unwilling he might be to impute bad motives to a Ministry, he had no alternative in this case; he must say, that the object and intent of the Government scheme was, to indulge one class of the community, well able to bear its burdens, at the expense of the others; and they had therein evaded and shrunk from a manly performance of their duty. Was it possible to assign any other motives of action to the Government, with relation to their deplorable budget, than the desire to protect this already favoured, dominant class? Besides, the Government appeared to have forgotten that the country was in a crisis. No one could, however, doubt the existence of that crisis. The revenue too had fallen off, and yet the public expenditure had been increased—had been reckless, heedless. He observed that the expenditure of last year had exceeded that of the previous year by no less a sum than 3,250,000l., and yet no intention had been expressed by the Government to reduce that expenditure in the ensuing year. It was monstrous. Why, he repeated, had they not come down to the House, and said—and as the country had a right to expect from a liberal and progressive Government—a Government of the middle classes, as they had been taunted with being by Gentlemen opposite, and to which, let him observe by the way, that if they were not a Government of the middle classes they might depend upon it they would in a short time cease to be a Government at all—why had they not come down and said, the country is in difficulty—we require a considerable and an additional sum of money—if, indeed, the necessity for having it could be established—and then, besides proposing the extension of the probate and legacy duty to land, bring forward some such measure as this: here is a vast amount of capital and wealth locked up in the shape of Crown and Forest Lands, wholly, or all but wholly, unproductive: we are anxious and propose to apply that capital to meet the present exigencies of the State. Was there any reasonable and unprejudiced man who would say that such would not have been a wise, judicious, and considerate measure? Even if the timber were grown on these lands under the most favourable conditions, no man—apart from the objection that applied to such property being managed by a Government—could contend that that was the best, the most profitable, mode of employing the land of this densely peopled country. But, in fact, the Government declined to bring forward any such proposal as this, simply because they were unwilling to take any step in advance for which they could not shelter themselves under a precedent. He did not know that he should have entered upon the question of Crown and Forest Lands, but that he had observed that not only the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but Members generally on the other side of the House, when any Member brought forward an accusation against the present fiscal system, exclaimed, "Very true, this may be a very defective measure, but why don't you propose a better?" The hon. Baronet the Chancellor of the Exchequer had used the same argument when the window-tax was under discussion the other night. He said—admitting that it was a most dreadful and unequal tax; that whilst the poor were made to pay by it 30, 20, and 15 per cent, the rich contributed only at the rate of 2 or 3—"Show us a substitute for it. "Now he (Mr. Mowatt) protested against that mode of dealing with these questions; but still, as the Government thought fit to adopt it, he replied by showing them that there were other and less objectionable means by which they might have proposed to raise the necessary revenue. They might, as he had demonstrated, have made up at any rate the present deficiency, by extending the probate and legacy duties,—as in common justice they were bound to do—on land, by the sale of Crown lands, and by similar resources. Such a proposition, too, would have had this advantageous effect; it would have shown the people, that the Government, whatever it called itself—whether Whig, Tory, or Liberal—was really desirous of taking into consideration the deplorable condition of the country, and of relieving it. The country, as was well known—though it appeared to be requisite to remind the House again and again of it, was almost in a state of paralysis, the result of the late crisis. There was no doubt at all about it. Oh! he (Mr. Mowatt), for one, had no hesitation in saying, that he attached no importance whatever to the argument insinuated by the ironical cheers from hon. Gentlemen opposite, who wished them to believe, that the present state of the country could be traced to free trade. To free trade in prospect, then, it must be, for they had had no free trade as yet. Why, he believed he was right in stating that that very day, while a vast portion of the people were almost without a meal, the duty on corn was seven shillings a quarter. So much for free trade. He (Mr. Mowatt) believed, however, that if an earthquake were to happen in this country, hon. Gentlemen opposite would, in their prejudice, exclaim—"Good God! look at the consequences of free trade." But he would dismiss that part of the question, for he did not think such arguments merited a moment's reply. He wished, however, to refer to the accusation—the taunt—of the hon. Member for Buckingham, Mr. Disraeli, who had asserted that the Liberals wished to eject one set of class legislators, merely that they might take their places, and so legislate as exclusively for their own advantage, for their own class, as those who had preceded them, and whom they wished to eject. He denied that the Liberal Members wished to take the place of others as legislators for their own benefit, to legislate for themselves as a class, or that they wanted to lay the taxes, as asserted, altogether upon the other portion of the community. No! the Liberal Members of that House wished to distribute the burden, which must be imposed upon the country, equally over all classes, according to their means, and to take care that it did not press, as it had hitherto done, upon the labour, industry, and producing classes of the country. That was what the Liberal Members wanted. He (Mr. Mowatt) did not wish to screen the manufacturing portion of the country from the income-tax. All he wanted was, that due regard should be had to the permanence of the income, and the durability of the source whence it came. But he had not altogether done with the Government yet. He would confess that, for his part, he felt—for the utter want of ordinary capacity which they had manifested, and their financial policy—ashamed to be considered as connected with men who had therein so greatly belied the expectations of the country. In its present awful condition, they came forward and said, with the greatest unconcern, "We are about to add three millions and a half to the already extravagant expenditure." Who could justify such a proposal? They themselves had not. They had scarcely made the attempt. What had they further said? Why, that, "It is quite true we require for the Army, Navy, and Ordnance, an additional 3,250,000l., in order to cover our past expenditure in these branches, although we have already carried that expenditure to nearly 18,000,000l." But they did not stop here. They did not say, "We shall be satisfied with this enormous outlay for military purposes. We do not intend," say they, "to retrench, to retrace our steps;" on the contrary, they expressly told the House, that they could not retrench. Nay, despite the alarming state of the country, they had actually come down with a proposal to augment the enormous expenditure on military armaments, to the extent of 600,000l. more, during the ensuing year. If they had satisfied themselves simply with the outlay that had been going on, great as that had been, he (Mr. Mowatt) should have said less about it; for certainly they had been goaded on to this enormous military expenditure by all parties in and out of doors, and had great excuses for their conduct on this point. They had been threatened on all sides; many pointing out the dreadful responsibility that would attach to them, in case this country were not fully prepared for any hazard to which it might be exposed from abroad. He made great allowance for the Government on this head. He thought that they had been driven in a great measure by public clamour to increased expenditure on the score of the defences of the country. But making all due allowance for them on this point, he could not the more release them from the duty which attached to them of another kind, viz., that of bringing forward a proposition to distribute this, the income-tax, more equally over the various portions of society, and at the same time that of promising that for the future they would retrench as much as possible. Much had been said not only that night, but on a former occasion as well, with reference to the cost of the colonies. The Members of the Government had contended, that it not being the revenue which had fallen off, but the great and unexpected expenditure of past years, the last particularly, that had rendered additional taxation necessary, and therefore that they were altogether blameless in the matter—that the events which had occurred had been altogether beyond their control. He (Mr. Mowatt) could not view the matter in a light so favourable to them. He thought, for instance, that with respect to the charge in the estimates of 1,300,000l. for what had taken place in the Cape of Good Hope, and the probability that they would be subjected to a claim for another million from the same quarter, was not a question of such indifference as the Government wished to represent it. The Government, in laying its budget before them, had stuck in that item in the Bill, just as if it had been for whitewashing the Treasury. They said, the case had been one entirely beyond their control; besides it was, in their eyes, a very trifling matter. Why, at that rate, what security had they for the limits of the expenditure of the ensuing or of any future year, they considering themselves wholly irresponsible? He considered that the Government had entirely failed this year in the whole of their financial policy; and that, besides, they had shown a want of moral courage in not proposing to extend the probate and legacy duties to landed property; and he should, therefore, have no sympathy with them, whatever might be the consequence of the vote of that night. If they had felt themselves in a dilemma, they should have gone to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth, and have asked him to help them—to tell them what sort of a scheme they ought to bring forward. They should have told him that the credit of the nation was in danger, that they could find no remedy for the evil, and have implored him to assist them. Or they might have adopted the old Dutch plan. They (the Dutch), in 1624—as all the world knew—were engaged in a struggle for life or death with Spain, and the house of Austria; and because of their prodigious expenditure, and the extent to which, in consequence, they had carried taxation, were in danger of being brought to a stand-still for want of money, to meet the expenses of the war—when, not knowing what to do, they offered by public proclamation a high reward to any one who should find out a new tax, that would be productive, and yet not unpopular. This expedient answered. Such a tax was found, viz., the stamp-tax, under which this country has so long rejoiced; and why could not our Government follow some such plan, as they admitted themselves to be in much the same sort of dilemma? Now, for one word with respect to the question more immediately before them. His hon. Friend the Member for Montrose had warned them again that night not to he discursive, not to ramble from, but to keep to the subject. But simple as the question might appear to be, as actually put from the Chair, it yet was not so in fact—and it was because Members felt that it was not really a simple question—because they felt that it not only involved the amount of taxation of this country, but also the form and mode in which that taxation should be carried out, that they found it impossible to confine themselves to the abstract proposition before the House. They required strong reasons to justify the vote which would probably be recorded that night. With reference to the mode of taxation, he (Mr. Mowatt) entertained great respect—he might use the strong language of the hon. Member for Westbury, and say gratitude—for the right hon. Member for Tamworth, for having relieved the trade, the commerce, the labour and industry of this country from the pressure of indirect taxation to the extent of 7,000,000l., by substituting instead the income-tax—for his having made one step in the right direction—that of establishing a system of direct instead of indirect taxation. He respected him for that; and it was because he (Mr. Mowatt) was an advocate for direct taxation that he intended to vote against the Government on this question; and he would explain why he would do so. The old system of indirect taxation pressed heavily and injuriously on the mass of the people, although they did not always perceive it. A great many of the working people did not, for instance, see that in buying a pound of tea, they actually paid an income-tax of at least a hundred per cent, or ten shillings out of every pound sterling, so expended, instead of as many pence, which, however, was more than the owners of realised property had to pay, under this direct tax. In direct taxation, they, the people, saw when it was unequal and unjust; it could not be hid from them, and therefore if the Government were determined to have a system of direct taxation, they must first reconcile the people's minds to it, by removing its present gross inequalities, its injustice, or by showing at least that they were anxious, and had made the attempt, to do so: unless they did that, they could go no further. He did not believe that it was the amount of the income-tax that had raised such a hostile feeling against it throughout all parts of the kingdom; it was its inequality, its unfairness, its injustice, that had roused the country against it. He, for one, should have no objection to the income-tax being raised to 10 per cent, provided it were only assessed equally, and always supposing that additional taxation were absolutely necessary. Hon. Members on both sides of the House had said, that they viewed with apprehension and alarm the extension of this system of taxation; and it had been said, that the necessity under which they had recently been placed of abandoning the proposed increase to this particular tax, ought to be a warning to all Governments not to rely upon such a system. He denied that such a conclusion was at all a just one. Why, there was no other State in Europe that had not levied more by direct taxation than we had; and what was to prevent us from following their example? At this very moment, even with this income-tax, we only raised 25 per cent by direct taxation, the remaining 75 being the produce of indirect taxation. The income-tax, it was true, was objected to also because of its inquisitorial character; and that, no doubt, was a serious objection; but yet he really believed that if the Government sincerely endeavoured to make it equal and fair, they would accede to it without further opposition. He thought, however, that no true friend to direct taxation would vote for the continuance of this impost in its present shape; and if they granted it for three years longer at once, what hope was there that the Government would retrace their steps—would then apply themselves to the task of removing the objections to it? They had not done so in times gone by, and that was sufficient proof that they would not do so hereafter. Indeed, they held out no expectation that they would even attempt it. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had made quite an ad misericordiam appeal to the House. He had implored them to consider what consequences might follow if they rejected this proposition—that such an act might damage the credit of the country. He had attempted to show this, or at least they might gather from his vague and mysterious language that he, at all events, fancied that if the Ministers were not supported on this question, the country might be placed in a most perilous condition. And yet in the midst of all this foreboding, the Government refused to make any promise to try and equalise this most iniquitous tax. Now, having given his opinion of the advantages this country had reaped from the measures introduced by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, he might be allowed to add, that he did not think that the declaration made by him the other night, was of a character that would tend to right him in the opinions of his countrymen at large, from whose estimation he had lately so much fallen. He thought that the arguments that he had used were such as could hardly have been expected from him. He would confess that he was struck with regret and astonishment when he heard the style of reasoning the hon. Baronet had condescended to employ. He had contended, that because the system of indirect taxation previously in force had been applied to all classes indiscriminately, therefore that there was no hardship in the new, the income-tax being levied with equal unfairness and injustice. What, were they never to take a step in advance? Were they always to rest satisfied with the plea, "Oh, it's no worse than the old system?" He hoped the House would that night do itself the credit with the country of stemming this wayward and retrograde movement on the part of the Government. If they were beaten, he thought that the effects to the country would be most beneficial. The Government would then have to reconsider the whole system of taxation; and if they persisted in refusing to make this tax more equal, they would be then driven to the only other alternative, that of reducing their expenditure so as to meet the income without it. Let the House, therefore, have no fear in recording their votes against the Government on this question. They need apprehend no difficulty therefrom. On the other hand, should they support them in this proposition, they need not, they could not, hope for any reduction from their monstrous expenditure.


would endeavour to confine the observations he had to make within the narrowest possible limits, for he sincerely hoped the House would come to a division to-night. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down spoke very strongly against the inequalities of the income-tax, but failed to point out any instance in which those inequalities existed. Others had endeavoured to point out inequalities; but the hen. Member for Falmouth contented himself with vituperating the tax. It was easy to make bold and daring assertions, but to substantiate those assertions was quite another matter. The hon. Gentleman complained that the landed interest did not bear an equal share of the public burdens; but it was quite notorious that a landed proprietor could not sell, transfer, or lease any part of his property without paying a considerable sum to the revenue; while transfers of large sums of money in the funds were not liable to such payments. With respect to the question immediately under the consideration of the Committee, he confessed he could not vote with Her Majesty's Government. He regretted it exceedingly; but for very different reasons than had been stated by some of the supporters of the hon. Member for Montrose. It was because the measures proposed by the Government were not adequate to the exigency of the occasion that he could not give them his support. Had they come down and proposed taxes equal to the expenditure—if otherwise unobjectionable—he would have supported them; but that not being the case, he was driven to support the income-tax for one year only in order to force upon them the revision of their measures so as to equalise the revenue and expenditure. It would be for the House to decide whether they should resort to direct taxation or Customs duties. As this discussion had taken the complexion of a free-trade debate, he must be allowed to say, that they were much more indebted to Divine Providence for good harvests than to any legislation which had taken place. Indeed, if there had been no legislation at all with reference to corn, he believed the country would have been in a better condition. In speaking on the subject of deficient harvests, the hon. Member for Westbury (Mr. Wilson) had omitted to notice the important fact, that on the last occasion when the harvest was deficient there was bullion to the amount of 16,000,000l. in the Bank of England, whilst on a previous one the amount was only 10,000,000l. That was a fact which ought in fairness to have been stated. The House had proceeded on a wrong principle, when in a time of prosperity they reduced so much taxation. It would have been far better to have kept the Exchequer full, and paid off a large amount of debt—they would have been in a much better position. He hoped future Chancellors of the Exchequer would take warning; and if it pleased God that we should again have a large surplus, it should be applied to the reduction of debt, so that when the time of difficulty again arrived they might have a surplus to fall back upon. His noble Friend the Member for Lynn brought forward a budget of his own, which had been severely handled by several hon. Gentlemen. It was a most remarkable fact that now they had come to a duty of 7s. per quarter on corn, and yet there was no increase whatever in the price. But it was still more important to observe that there had been a fall in the price of corn on the Continent pretty nearly commensurate with the duty imposed on it in this country. He thought that was a clear proof that it was frequently the foreigner, not the consumer, who paid our taxes. A great deal had been said about the timber duties. He admitted that it was desirable in itself to get rid of all duties; but as this could not be done, the question arose which tax it would be wise to remove or reduce, and which to retain. He had been engaged in conversation the other day with a most eminent timber merchant, and this gentleman told him that there never was a tax the reduction of which had conferred so little benefit on the people. He said, that if he built a house of the value of 10,000l., the whole saving to him in timber was only about 200l. It would have been much better to have retained the old duties than to have remitted any portion in favour of the foreigner. It would have been much better to have taken off the duty on bricks. No doubt, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford stated, there had been an increased consumption of timber; but that might be accounted for by its extensive use in the construction of railways, and he did not care if they had paid a little more for it. He could not look to any immediate reduction of expenditure as a means of equalising the income of the country. Before they effected any reductions they must discharge a deficit of 3,000,000l. Therefore, they must either go back to the old system of taxation, or agree to a larger income-tax. He did not think a small tax on cotton would be injurious to the manufacturers, especially as this country possessed manufacturing advantages superior to those enjoyed by any other. The manufacturers had often boasted that they could buy the whole of the land; and he could not see anything preposterous in the idea of taxing them at the present time. For his own part, he was formerly rather in favour of direct taxation; but he must say, that his faith in it had been very much weakened by the course lately pursued. He should like to see the income-tax increased, and the window-tax and the assessed taxes abolished. He believed that nothing would tend so much to lighten the springs of industry as the removal of the taxes which he had mentioned. He would not take a gloomy view of the position of the country. There was an elasticity about it which would enable it to surmount every difficulty. But, then, the country could never recover unless they determined to place its finances in a sound state. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, appealing to hon. Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House, had said, "Why, you above all men have always been anxious to support the credit of the country." No person could be more desirous of doing that than he was; but he thought the Government were taking a wrong course, and that it would have been much better for them, as they could not carry the additional 2 per cent, to have re-imposed some duty that had been taken off to meet the requirements of free trade, and thus have raised the revenue to the proper point. He hoped that at an early period of the next Session the Government would take a review of the whole taxation of the country. By consenting to the appointment of a Committee, they had admitted that such a review was necessary; and he trusted that the finances of the country would be placed in a situation which would remove all doubt as to its stability and its power to meet all its engagements.


In the very few remarks I shall address to the Committee, I can promise this at least, that I shall confine myself to the question before me. If anybody in this House can be thought to have a motive for entering on the field of free trade and protection, it is the humble individual before you; for it is precisely the subject on which I feel myself most at home, from considerable practice in dealing with it. But I say, once for all, that whatever repetition there may be in this House of the purposeless ravings which we hear with regard to free trade, I promise you that I will never enter on the discussion of the question till hon. Gentlemen opposite put those purposeless ravings into a tangible form by producing some measure for the re-enacting of their own views. We have so many motives alleged for the votes to be given to-night, that I wish distinctly to explain what are the reasons for which I intend to support the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose. Certainly it is not for the reason assigned by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down; for, of all the extraordinary statements, that which he made was one of the most extraordinary, coming from an hon. Gentleman who takes so wide a view of financial matters. He says the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have come forward with a 5 per cent income-tax to meet the deficit, instead of asking only 5,000,000l. when 8,500,000l. were wanted, because that was the only way in which you could put the finances of the country on a sound basis; yet when it was asked, he would not allow the right hon. Gentleman to have even 3 per cent. Nor need I say that I have no such objections as have been stated by other hon. Gentlemen opposite who are Protectionists. I do not intend that we should abolish this tax, and revert to indirect taxation. Nor do I entertain the view most unjustly attributed to the hon. Member for Montrose. Some speakers on this side of the House have supposed that he wishes the tax laid on only for a year, that at the end of the year he may have a surplus to enable him to dispense with the income-tax altogether. The hon. Member for Montrose is sometimes a little liable to misapprehension. But if you can get a surplus, and put the income-tax on a fair footing, that is just the last tax he would dispense with. If you will only establish a fair system under which the income-tax may be levied, he is willing to give you 10 per cent to enable you to reduce other taxes. I have a strong conviction that you must not only maintain the income-tax to obtain such an amount of direct taxation from income, but that you will find it necessary, either by reduced expenditure or by increased taxation, somehow or other raised, to obtain surplus funds, which may enable you still further to diminish your indirect taxation; to give facilities to free importations for the consumption of the country, so that the wants of the growing population may be met by increased supplies of the produce of foreign countries; and, in order to gain that end, you must make up your minds to a constant diminution of the duties on those articles. And this you must do, not only for the sake of trade, but in justice to the mass of the population, that they may be put on as equitable a footing as the people of any other country in Europe. For it has been truly said, that there is no country in Europe where so much is paid as on the articles consumed in this country. The noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord G. Bentinck) has spoken as if the question lay between direct and indirect taxation. He forgets that we derive a larger amount of revenue from Customs than any other country in Europe. You receive 20,000,000l. of Customs annually; and we are now speaking of 5,500,000l. of an income-tax! I have formed an estimate of what the working classes pay upon the articles they consume. We are quarrelling about an income-tax of 7d. a pound. What amount do the people pay on articles consumed? For every 20s. the working classes expend on tea, they pay 10s. of duty; for every 20s. they expend on sugar, they pay 6s. of duty; for every 20s. they expend on coffee, they pay 8s. of duty; on soap, 5s.; on beer, 4s.; on tobacco, 16s.; on spirits, 14s. of duty, on every 20s. they expend upon these articles. When you bear in mind that the working classes expend much more on those articles than people of our class, you cannot but see that this amounts to an income-tax, not of 7d. per pound, but sometimes of 12s., 15s., or 16s. per pound; while men of some thousands a year expend a large portion of their incomes in buying furniture, horses, carriages, books, and other things which pay comparatively little tax. And hence it is that in this country, where we derive so much revenue from articles which enter largely into the consumption of the working classes, you find, when trade is bad in Lancashire or throughout the country, the Chancellor of the Exchequer reminding you that the state of the revenue has been affected by the state of trade. Both for the sake of trade, then, and in justice to the people, you must diminish your expenditure, or increase the amount of your direct taxation. It is because I wish to preserve direct taxation that I support the hon. Member for Montrose. I wish to make this a just tax, in order to make it a permanent tax. Can you make it more just? That is the question among my friends, particularly of the free-trade school. But that question has been very much mystified by taking exceptional cases instead of taking classes. Between those whose incomes are derived from realised property and those whose incomes depend on trades and professions, there is a tangible, visible, marked line of demarcation. As between those two classes, then, does any injustice exist? Can it be diminished? The hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Hudson) observed that the hon. Gentleman beside me (Mr. Horsman) did not mention a case to prove any injustice. First, there is some mystification of the matter as regards the necessity of making the tax permanent in order to make it just; nay, if it only goes on long enough, its injustice will be removed. Take the case of a professional man, a surgeon, a lawyer, or a literary man—men who get their bread by daily or nightly toil, literally by the waste of their brains. I take the case of such a man; he has 500l. a year; he lives for thirty years in business; he dies. He has received 15,000l. of property. Take in competition with him a man who derives 500l. a year from an estate worth 12,000l; he lives thirty years also; but his property amounts to 27,000l. If there be truth in the maxim of Adam Smith, that every man ought to pay according to his ability, ought these men to pay the same? Ought the man whose income depends upon his own exertions, and who may be laid on a bed of sickness, to pay the same as the man who is living at Bath, Cheltenham, or Brighton in luxury, on the produce of his property, which suffers no depreciation in the event of his sickness? I take another case, that of a man in business, who has 10,000l. of capital. He gets 500l. a year for the interest of his capital, and 5 per cent more as the produce of his skill and industry. Is that man, getting 1,000l. by the application of his talents, to pay the same as the man who derives 1,000l. a-year from real property, worth 25,000l? You cannot mystify the matter. The plain fair dealing of the country will not suffer such inequality as exists in your mode of levying a tax. We now come to the question raised by the hon. Member who was sent here by the merchants, shop keepers, and coalowners of Newcastle, not to deal as he chose to do with the question, but with reference to the interests of his constituency. No. He talks of men who hold property under entail, and who have a terminable annuity. The question, as regards those cases, is worthy of consideration; but they are exceptional cases. I tell the hon. Member that his constituents, the active, industrious, and energetic men of business and professional men of New castle, stand in a very different position from those individual cases to which he referred. It is the energy and activity of professional men which gives vitality to the dormant wealth possessed by those classes who live upon the income derived from accumulated capital. Professional men, and men of business, and the labourers whom they employ, are the classes which have the first claim upon the sympathy and justice of the State. The industrious classes put in motion the wheels of the social system, and upon their activity and enterprise all the value of realised property depends. What objection can be raised to the equitable adjustment of this tax I know not. Every leading man in the House has admitted its injustice. Then has the Government taken any means to remedy it—has it shown any disposition to remedy it? The people of this country are easily conciliated, and more especially the class on whom this tax directly falls. They are not unreasonable, and they would have been easily conciliated had you shown the slightest disposition to remedy the unequal pressure of the impost. Why did you not appoint a Committee on the subject? Why not appoint one now? Appoint a Committee, and let there be upon it—what there is not in the Cabinet—an equal proportion of merchants, manufacturers, professional men, and landed proprietors, or other possessors of realised property, and I engage that in less time than you would take to fix the tariff of a railway company, to determine whether coal shall pay a penny a ton, lime three-halfpence, and corn twopence, they will find a mode of adjusting the tax upon equitable principles. But no attempt of that kind has been made, and no promise is held out that such an attempt will be made. It is the dry, pedantic adhesion to the letter of the law which has roused the indignation of the country. If a distinction were made between permanent and precarious incomes—if a gradation of duty were established—I undertake to say that you would have no remonstrances from the great manufacturing seats in the north. It is not a little singular that we, who wish to make the tax just in order that it may be permanent, are charged with endangering the system of direct taxation. I was astonished to hear the tone which the hon. Member for Westbury adopted in his speech on Friday night. I warn him, in perfect good nature, as he is a younger Member of this assembly than I am, of the danger of attempting to pat on the back every great party in the House; and then, by way of counterpoise, bestowing reproof upon others. I know that the hon. Member for Westbury, by his speech, converted one Member of this House to an opinion of the injustice of the tax. No one exposed the injustice of the tax more powerfully than the hon. Member. He expressed his belief that the finances of the country would be permanently endangered if the tax should be continued in its present form; and then he turned round and accused us, who wish to remedy its injustice, of attempting to imperil our financial system. After displaying much ability at the commencement of his speech, the hon. Member towards its close said, that be would vote against the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, but would vote in Committee for the modification of the tax; forgetting that the decision of the House had already been taken upon that point. We have already had a debate and a division upon the question whether any modification should take place in the tax. The hon. Member forgot to vote upon that occasion with the hon. Member for Cockermouth; but when I tell him that there was a majority of 175 against the modification of the tax, and that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, and the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, both spoke and voted against modification, I think the hon. Member, after his fierce denunciation of the injustice of the impost, will feel bound to walk into the same lobby with us for the purpose of limiting the injustice to twelve months instead of three years. The hon. Member, with great naïveté, said, that he had heard no complaints about the inquisitorial character of the tax; but it should be remembered that it is just one of those subjects about which persons do not like to complain except to their wives or children. With equal simplicity the hon. Member observed that the reason why any cavil—that was the word—had proceeded from the great manufacturing and commercial centres, was on account of the inequality of the tax. Talk of the inequality of a tax being the only ground for cavilling against it! Why, that is the whole question. Nobody has a right to complain of any tax which operates equally, provided it be required by the necessities of the State. When a Government deals unjustly by the people with respect to taxation, that constitutes the whole matter of account between them. That has been the ground of almost all the revolutions in this country. The hon. Member, towards the end of his speech, after complimenting first one side of the House and then another, seemed altogether to have lost his reckoning; and that is the only way in which I can account for his accusing us of being about to endanger the revenue. What is the question we are called upon to decide? Whether a certain amount of taxation shall be given to the Government for twelve months, from the 5th of April next, or for three years? Should the decision of the House be in favour of the former proposition, there will be no defalcation of revenue. Parliament will meet in February next, as it did last month, and it will be competent to the House to renew the tax in its present form if it should think proper to do so; but I believe that long before the end of twelve months the Government, if a majority declare against them to-night, would find means to make the tax acceptable to the whole community. I will say on behalf of the manufacturing and commercial community, and particularly of that intelligent portion which advocates direct taxation and free trade, that if ever any loss should befall the public creditor, it will not be through their instrumentality. They would pawn their last coats before they would allow any defalcation of the revenue to occur. But I say—Cut down the expenses. I hope that we shall live to see the pruning-knife applied to the State expenditure, and that the time will come when the affairs of the State will be carried on with something of the prudence and economy which are exercised in manufacturing and commercial pursuits. But the public creditor must be paid. The last thing we in the manufacturing districts would desire is a national bankruptcy, and if for no other motive, because, as the hon. Member for Westbury observed, no class of the community would suffer so much from it. Since something has been said on the subject in the course of this discussion, I will, before concluding, make the slightest possible allusion to what has occurred in a neighbouring country. I draw from that event very different conclusions from those which are generally received. I perceive in the events which have occurred in France reasons why the Government of this country should not depend on a numerical majority of this House, but should endeavour by every means to make themselves acquainted with the sentiments of the people. Take the division upon the Motion of the hon. Member for Cockermouth. I ask the Government to analyse the division list upon that occasion, and to see whether public opinion was not in the lobby with us who were in the minority? Ay, and it will be so tonight again. Do not depend upon your whippers in and the votes of a chance-medley majority. Take warning from what has happened elsewhere. Bear in mind that the danger which menaces this country is not from abroad—it is not from the want of fortifications and armaments, on which you are expending such vast sums: the danger is not from without, but within. I apprehend no disturbance here. We shall have no tumults in this country similar to those which have occurred in a neighbouring State. There would be no excuse, no justification, for them. There is no necessity for tumults here, because the people enjoy all the rights and privileges of free discussion and of public meetings, the want of which caused the revolution in France. The danger to be feared in this country arises from the state of this House—from the circumstance of a large number of its Members being elected by a faction, in consequence of which their views are not in accordance with the prevailing feeling and public opinion out of doors. The danger arises from this House not basing its legislation on those strict rules of justice and fair dealing which alone can secure the institutions of this or any other country.


If it were necessary for me only to allude to those topics which would come properly under discussion arising out of the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose, I should not be called upon to detain the Committee for more than a few minutes; but I have heard, to my astonishment, I confess, the strangest and the most opposite reasons given for supporting the hon. Member's proposition. Did I not know that the hon. Member for Montrose always frames his propositions with the fairest intentions towards his opponents and towards the House generally, I could suppose that he was, on this occasion, acting the part of a skilful tactician. If the hon. Member had submitted a Motion, pledging the House to the most rigid economy, and proposing to cut down the estimates, he knows well that he would have had only about the same number of Members to support him as voted recently in a division which has been more than once referred to. If the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn had proposed a resolution, declaring that it was not desirable to continue the income-tax but that it was expedient to resort to indirect taxation, and, more especially, to lay a tax on imported corn, I am persuaded he also would have found himself in a minority. But when the hon. Member for Montrose brings forward a proposition which contains no sort of principle—which is mere embarrassment—a mere declaration of distrust and want of confidence, generally, in those who carry on the business of the country—Gentlemen with the most opposite views, with purposes the most contrary, agree to support it, and unite their forces to form what the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire called a "motley minority" in the lobby. It would be very amusing when those Gentlemen meet in the lobby to hear the conversation which is likely to take place between them as to the motives which have led them there. We may imagine that one of them will say to his neighbour, "I am happy to see you here, Sir, and to find that you are for making a great reduction in the estimates." "I, Sir," the person addressed will reply; "I beg to inform you that I would rather increase than reduce them by a single farthing." Another Gentleman would say to a friend, "I am glad to find that you are at length convinced of the necessity of putting an end to the system of free trade, and reverting to the taxes upon corn and cotton." The friend, with a look of horror, will exclaim, "Why, I am here to promote the principle of free trade, and I vote for Mr. Hume's Motion because it implies free trade." Again I say, that if the hon. Member for Montrose's straightforward character were not so well known, his Motion might be looked upon as an uncandid bait for tempting Gentlemen of the most opposite principles to concur in the same vote. Let me further remark upon the strange motives which influence hon. Members in the support which they give to the Motion before the Committee. The hon. Member for Sunderland said he was most anxious to support the credit of the country; he complained that the ways and means were insufficient, and therefore he said he would vote the ways and means for only one year. The hon. Member who last addressed the Committee gave a still more extraordinary reason for his vote. The hon. Member said that he wished to substitute direct for indirect taxation; that he was willing to increase the income-tax to 10 per cent; and that, therefore, he would vote to continue the income-tax for only one year. He certainly did beat my hon. Friend in the strangeness and extra vagance of his reasons. The question in itself is, I think, a very simple one. The last time the income-tax was proposed by the late Government, there was a reduction of taxation in that and the following year to upwards of 4,000,000l., and at the same time a considerable addition was made to the estimates, especially of the Navy. I will not say what kind of taxation was reduced, because I wish to touch as little as possible upon the question of free trade, which has, in fact, been exhausted by hon. Members on both sides of the House; but when it is said so loudly out of doors, "We understood Parliament to pledge itself that the income-tax should last only three years," it never could be supposed that that was the intention of Parliament whatever the condition of the country might be; it could not be supposed that if the country were not in a flourishing condition at the end of the three years we should leave the revenue in a deficiency, or go back to those taxes that were abolished in 1845 or 1846. No men of sense could have that understanding of the question; and if they had not, what have been the circumstances which make it necessary to ask for a renewal of the income-tax at this time? Circumstances, I am sorry to say, supply me with enough in favour of that course. In 1846 there was a considerable deficiency of food. In 1847 there was an entire want of the food of, I may say, 5,000,000 of our people. We have had 9,000,000 quarters of grain and 8,000,000 cwt. of flour introduced into this country, and we have had some 30,000,000l. sterling to pay for it. We have had two commercial panics in the course of one year; the course of trade was stopped; there was great mercantile distress; there were great failures in some of the houses that were supposed to be the strongest in the country. Any man would infer, from the mere enumeration of such events as those, that the revenue could hardly be in a flourishing condition, and if it kept up nearly to what it had been, it is as much as could possibly be expected, and no man could think that in the course of three years 5,000,000l. could be replaced by the increased prosperity of the country when circumstances of this kind occurred over which neither the Government nor Parliament could have any control. Then it appears to me that there are circumstances sufficient to induce Parliament to consent to the renewal of this tax, and to the renewal of it for the period for which it was granted at other times. But then, says the hon. Member for the West Riding— which, by the by, I thought, after the long discussion we had, was disposed of on the former occasion—"if this tax had but been made more equal, the House and the country would willingly have consented to it." I have no wish to renew that discussion; but it appears to me that those who argue for rendering the tax more equal than it is now—and I, with others, must admit, as I always have done, its inequality—put themselves in this dilemma:—They take either a particular schedule of trades or professions, or a schedule of particular kinds of occupation, but they leave many cases of hardship and injustice more glaring than those they remedy; or, if they do not take that course, and attempt to go further, then they must go almost into the individual cases which were alluded to with so much force by the hon. and learned Member for Newcastle; such as rent-charges for life, leaseholds, money in the funds settled upon distant relations, and every species—all kinds—of property, tenure, and provision; but, in a country where the transactions of society are so complicated and intricate, if you attempt to do that, you will not only find yourself engaged in a task of inextricable difficulty, but the tax will be far more inquisitorial than it has ever yet been; and thus, in the end, you will find that you have made the tax only half as productive, whilst you have rendered it twice as vexatious. This seems to be a dilemma in which they place themselves who wish to make the tax more equal; and I am by no means satisfied by the hon. Member for the West Riding saying, that the classes in trade or professions comprehend all the real energy and activity of the country, and that therefore they ought to have this advantage. It does not appear to me that you ought to judge according to the merits of those different classes, or that you ought to say that a country gentleman, who has his whole property for life, is not to be treated fairly because he is not a person of so much merit as a professional man or a person engaged in trade. I must protest, and I for one agree—and perhaps it is the only part of his speech in which I do agree—with the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, that we must not allow any class to be run down because they are the possessors of land. The only fair line you can take is to treat all classes justly. Whether they have land, or whether they are engaged in trades or professions, or whether they have money in the funds, assess your tax as justly as you possibly can, and never mind any question as to the merits of those who are engaged in trade or professions beyond those who are to be run down because they are the possessors of land. But the hon. Gentleman says, it would have been some consolation if we had attempted to make this distinction. Why, Sir, I said on a former evening that my right hon. Friend and myself had attempted to draw some line by which we could make the tax, according to the sense of this House, appear more just; but we could find no line which would not have been immediately attacked and invaded, and which would not have obliged us to leave other cases of still greater hardship. Of course, having come to that conclusion, we should have been deserting our duty to this House had we taken a different course. We stated our conviction to the House, and the hon. Gentleman cannot say that we have not made every attempt to render the tax more fair. But, passing over this, I find the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn takes one of the two main grounds upon which the vote to-night is to be taken in favour of the hon. Gentleman's Motion; and he decides that it is better to leave this plan of direct taxation, and to resort to indirect taxation. In the first place, I do not see, if that is to be the case, why the noble Lord is to take up with the proposition of continuing this tax for one year. If it be right to impose those indirect taxes which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth took off, let us adopt that course. Let us have the 5,000,000l. of indirect taxation which the noble Lord speaks of; and let the people have the consolation of getting rid of this tax, which they feel to be so burdensome. If there be any way by which this tax could be got rid of, that would be far more pleasing to the people of this country than the proposition to carry it on for another year. What I really hear at this moment is, that many classes of trades and manufactures are in a state of difficulty; and, therefore, any measure for their relief would be highly palatable to them. I think the noble Lord ought to propose the alternative immediately, instead of assenting to the course of my hon. Friend; but, let me ask the noble Lord, and those who usually act with him, whether they would think it wise to act upon his proposition? I was one who proposed in 1841 a fixed duty of 8s. on corn, and a differential duty of 12s. on sugar; and I have lived to see hon. Gentlemen who had the highest protection notions, and who objected to that proposition at that time, ask now for something less than an 8s. fixed duty; and even making that proposition in the House of Lords, and deputation after deputation asking for something less than a 12s. differential duty on sugar. But I will tell the noble Lord that what I should have considered as an advance in 1841, I should consider as a retrograde step now. But there is more in this question. Parliament has passed an Act with respect to corn, by which in February next, all the duty on com will be reduced to a mere nominal duty. Would it be wise for Parliament at this time, in order to secure that amount, to impose a perpetual tax on the introduction of food? Would it be wise to enable those who brought in such an Act of Parliament to raise the price of bread? But that is a course Parliament cannot adopt with any consistency; it is one which the Act of Parliament does not prescribe; and there could be no hope that the people of this country would sympathise with them in the course of such legislation. I believe myself that a small fixed duty does not increase the price so much as the mere nominal amount of duty; and in that opinion I have the support of Mr. Jones Loyd and other eminent men. But I think, after the contest that has been going on upon this subject so long, it would be no less than madness to propose such a course, by which it might be said that Parliament had imposed a duty on corn, and enhanced the price of bread to the people of this country. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Somersetshire has taken, as I think, a fair and just view of this subject. The hon. Gentleman says that his opinions are unchanged; but that he thinks it but right that the system proposed by the right hon. Gentleman should have a fair trial. There may come a time—I do not myself believe that there ever will—when the opinions of the hon. Gentleman may find favour with the people of this country; that will be the proper time to revert to such a system; but I am sure that at the present moment not only the great majority of this House, but the great majority of the people of this country, would resist any attempt to impose a permanent duty on the introduction of corn. I come, then, to the alternative proposition, which is the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose—that there should be a very large reduction in our estimates; and upon this subject I must, for a few moments, ask the attention of the House to the very extraordinary statements which have been made with regard to the proceedings of the present Government. My hon. Friend and the hon. Member for Southwark have stated, that putting together the surplus of the year ending January, 1846, and the deficiency of the year ending January, 1848, the present Government must have increased the estimates by about 6,000,000l. Why, nothing more extravagant was ever stated in this House. Falling as it did from the hon. Gentleman, who formerly made the subject of figures all his own, and from the hon. Baronet, who is in general very-accurate upon such matters, I must say that such a statement exceedingly astonished me. I find that the amount, taking in all the estimates of the present year which have been increased, and agreed to or proposed by the present Government, on the Army, Navy, and Ordnance, amounts to about 1,200,000l. There is also the amount of certain miscellaneous estimates, of which I cannot tell the exact sum; but, taking this with the others, it would be little more than 1,500,000l. Can any one say, then, that we have increased the estimates 6,000,000l? Then the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark says—look at the average of the estimates of the late Government, and compare them with those of the present Government. Why, the average has really nothing to do with this. If we had proposed to take the average of the five years the right hon. Baronet was in office, we must have made reductions in our Army and other branches. I must say that I think the comparison of the hon. Baronet is most unfair. But the question is, is it possible to make such a reduction in these estimates, which my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose says are very extravagant, as to enable this House to dispense with the income-tax after the present year? To that question I must give a decided negative. What we proposed, as was very fairly stated by the hon. Member for Oxfordshire, was this:—Our original proposition was that, in order to cover the deficiency for the present year, we should have 5 per cent income-tax for two years. We have withdrawn that proposition in concurrence with, or in obedience to, the general sense of the country; but we think it necessary, for public credit, to ask for this tax for not less than three years, in order that the proceeds of 1849 and 1850 may enable us at the end of the three years to cover any deficiency that may arise. Looking at the question in that light, we can make no reduction so as to enable us to dispense with the tax for that period. We propose these estimates at a time when everything appears tranquil; but at the same time I observed to the House before, that, although every thing appears tranquil, I little believed in the force of political prophecy; and I adverted to a famous instance in the career of Mr. Pitt to prove that political prophecy, even when proceeding from the greatest men, may fail. And if we look back to that period, we shall find that not the masterly understanding of Mr. Pitt, or the acute and ingenious mind of Mr. Fox, or the philosophic observation of Mr. Burke, enabled any one of those great men to foresee what would be the issue of the extraordinary events which passed before their eyes between 1790 and 1791. That being the case, I would not at any time attempt to prophesy what might be the political events of any three years, or of any one year; but least of all would I do so at the present moment. A month or six weeks ago there were those who said the state of France was so critical, property was so divided there, that some time or another that country would frame itself into a republic. Other political observers predicted that when the reigning King of the French should die, some great change would take place in that monarchy. But I think no man alive expected that, within a few weeks, that monarchy, which appeared so firm, should at once vanish, and disappear like a mist, and that nothing should remain behind of what appeared so strong and powerful. But in all these circumstances I hope we are about to see peace confirmed. I hope we are about to see the nations of Europe, while still valuing even more than ever their own strength and independence, bind themselves in more friendly ties with one another. Still, at the same time, no man can venture to say what the times may bring forth; and, for one, I will not consent to disarm England—for one, I will not consent to reduce the Estimates for the Army and Navy in the present state of Europe. I say again, that I may not be misrepresented, as I think I have been before, that with every wish to see the peace of Europe and the peace of the world preserved, and seeing nothing immediately before us which is calculated to endanger that peace, it is but the part of wise and prudent men, while every thing is uncertain, not to affect security, and while there is darkness around, not to pretend that we are walking in broad daylight. For these reasons I can neither agree to the proposition of the noble Lord opposite, and consent to take the income-tax for one year, in order to resort to a permanent tax upon corn and raw cotton, nor agree to the proposition of the hon Member for Montrose, and consent to take the income-tax for one year, in order to prepare the way for a great reduction in the present amount of our naval and military force. Sir, various notions and speculations have been indulged in during the progress of this debate with regard to matters with which I will now deal but slightly. Some Gentlemen proposed that our colonies should be reduced in number, and some of them abandoned. I shall only now beg hon. Gentlemen not to make up their minds on that question without very serious consideration. I, for my own part, have always considered our colonies as a part of the strength of this empire. I may be mistaken in that view; but if they are part of the strength of this empire, then, I say, I am not the person who would be willing, by reason of any notions of economy and retrenchment, to reduce any part of that strength. If it be the choice of England to descend lower in the scale among nations—to say she has been too long powerful, that she wishes no longer to influence the destinies of the world, that she will be contented with a humbler part—then it is for this country to say so; it is for this country to carry those words into effect. Only let me not be the instrument—let me not, I say, be the instrument for carrying into effect that which I should think the degradation of the country, the fall of her pride, and the loss of her glory. It has also been said, and with far more reason, let the taxation of the country be revised. Sir, there could be no better task for a Government than to go through the various taxes, to endeavour to lessen the burden of those taxes, to endeavour to render them more equal and just. But that I should undertake this task in any set time—far less that I should undertake it in the course of one year—that my right hon. Friend should be ready with a plan for that purpose within that time—would certainly, as it appears to me, be very great presumption on our parts. With respect to stamps, for an example; let any hon. Gentleman go through the Stamp Act, and see the vast number of questions arising out of that branch of our taxation alone. I believe we might possibly frame in the course of a recess a measure in regard to stamps; but then I believe also that the whole of the Session following that recess must be devoted to that subject alone, such is its complexity and intricacy. At the same time I willingly allow that there are many faults, many inequalities in the system; and some of those faults and inequalities I hope to be able to remedy in the course of no very long time. But I again say, that to pledge the Government that they will have a plan ready cut and dried, by February next, affecting the whole system of taxation, would be rash and imprudent in a Minister. With regard, then, to this whole question, it appears to me that if this House should think fit to vote that they will have the income-tax for only one year instead of for three years—if, in the present state of our finances, after we have given up that two per cent which we thought, and still think, it would have been to the honour and advantage of this country to grant—if, after that, this House should think fit to vote the income-tax for only one year, and do so after the speeches that have been made, I do say, in spite of what has fallen from the hon. Member for Sunderland, and from the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire, that they are endangering the credit of this country. I could imagine, if there were a large party formed either for the purpose of restoring the system of protection—a party which had a majority in this House; here, among the representatives of the people—or, on the other hand, if there were a majority among the representatives of the people who were favourable to a very large reduction in our establishments—I should conceive, although I might think neither course wise, that such a course could be taken, and yet the public credit be preserved. But the hon. Member for Montrose tried the one question the other night, and hardly sixty Members voted for him; and if the noble Lord opposite were now to try the question of protection, he would, I suppose, have more than that number voting with him, but still he could not expect to have a majority of this House to support him in such a proposition. Why, then, you would be establishing no system whatsoever in place of the plan proposed by Her Majesty's Government; and you would be only substituting uncertainty and confusion in the room of our proposition. The hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire says we should have a permanent income tax; but the hon. Member for Cockermouth, in an able speech, made as good a proposition as I have heard on this subject, and yet he had only 141 with him, against 316 on the other side. Sir, in that state of things, if this House were to refuse to Her Majesty's Government that which they think necessary for the public credit of this country, it would be disgraceful to them if they any longer remained Ministers of the Crown. We must, so long as we carry on the public affairs, carry them on in such a manner that the public welfare shall be consulted; and it is quite evident, according to our opinion, not only that the public welfare would not be consulted, but that the public welfare would be deeply injured by such a vote. But the hon. Member for Sunderland and others have almost put their votes on this ground. They say the proposition may not be a wise one, but we feel no confidence in the Government, and see no reason to support them; therefore we shall vote for the Amendment. That may, in the opinion of those hon. Gentlemen, be just; but before I conclude I must state to the House what I think has been our position, and what have been the difficulties with which we have had to contend. They have been no artificial difficulties created by Ministers ignorant of the mode of conducting public affairs. No one can say that the total failure of the food of 5,000,000 of the people was a trifling calamity. The Government met that on the one hand by giving freedom to the importation of food—a measure which succeeded beyond all expectation, and introduced such an amount of food into the United Kingdom as had never before been known, and that at a time when the whole of Europe was suffering from famine. At the same time we acted in a manner which formed an exception to all general rule and principle, by providing for many months with food more than 3,000,000 of the population of a part of the empire. Although that proceeding was against rule, I think it was capable of defence; but I will not now detain the House by reasoning in its favour, because a Gentleman who was mainly instrumental in giving effect to that proceeding, has, in in a most clear and admirable manner, given all the details to the public. Lately, too, we have had another evil to contend against in the same part of the United Kingdom. We have had to contend against the practice of assassination—against murderous conspiracy raging through the country, and overbearing all law and all order. That evil has been met partly by a law of a stringent character, and partly by the administration of the law by the Lord Lieutenant. Under that administration your judges and juries have most admirably performed their duties—there has been no difficulty either in obtaining evidence or in securing convictions against the miscreants who were guilty of these foul crimes. So far, therefore, the Government have been successful in meeting a great evil. But, an hon. Gentleman has said to-night, and given it almost as a reason for voting in favour of the present proposition—that the Lord Lieutenant has been gagging the people, and not allowing the free expression of public opinion. I should have thought that if any man had looked at the Irish newspapers, he might have seen—so far from "gagging the people," so far from preventing the free expression of the public voice—that, I believe, treason was never openly professed with such audacity. But, Sir, if it shall please this House not to agree with the Motion of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) to-night; if the power is to remain in our hands; if my right hon. Friend near me, the Secretary of State for the Homo Department, and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, are still to wield the powers of the law in Ireland; I trust that we shall be able to meet those expressions of sedition, those determinations to join any enemy, whoever he may be, that may be opposed to the Sovereign of these countries; that we shall be able to put down those conspiracies, and to maintain, for the welfare of the people of Ireland, that supremacy of law and order without which they cannot hope to improve in industry, in civilisation, in morals, or in religion. Sir, such at least will be our attempt. We are not blind to the difficulties of the situation in which we stand. We are not unaware of the perils which may surround us on every side. If we have the confidence of this House, we may hope to meet and to surmount them. If we are not honoured with that confidence, we can only hope that the administration of affairs may be placed in other hands better calculated to carry on those affairs to the welfare and prosperity of Her Majesty and Her dominions.


said, he thought he might be pardoned for addressing a few word.3 to the House, as not a single Member for a metropolitan borough had spoken. He represented a tolerably large constituency; he thought he knew something of the state of public feeling; and he would endeavour to speak to the subject before the House. The noble Lord had distinctly told them that if the Motion of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) should be carried, the Government would resign. Intimations of that kind were unconstitutional. But there was something in the appeal of the noble Lord more than appeared upon the surface. One could easily believe that he was perfectly aware that a very large proportion of the House would not find it extremely convenient to meet their constituents at this period; and consequently he would find no difficulty in obtaining a number of votes if his threat should be believed. If he (Mr. Wakley) dissented from the noble Lord on this occasion, it was the noble Lord's own fault. His arguments in 1842 and 1845 convinced him (Mr. Wakley) that the income-tax, in its present shape, was an iniquitous tax, and ought not to be maintained; and what right had the noble Lord now to complain of hon. Members for holding the opinions he himself held then? In 1842, the noble Lord said, that if an income-tax was the best thing to be resorted to, "it should be made equal, all circumstances being taken into consideration." In 1845, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard moved a resolution— That it is the duty of the House to take care that the income-tax be imposed in a form in which its operation shall he less unequal and inquisitorial than it now is;"— and the noble Lord voted for that resolution, and said, in answer to the argument that the inequality of the tax ceased when the income ceased, and when, for instance, the professional man was disabled by disease from following his profession, and was thus deprived of his income;— But then they would have already taxed the man on the income he had received, and taxed him too at the same rate that they taxed the man whose income was permanent, and who would receive the same amount even if confined to a sick bed; it was impossible by any ingenuity or by any sophistry to show that there was equality in the mode of assessing the tax. These contrarieties between a man when out of office, and the same man when in office, really seemed to favour the doctrine of the duality of the human mind, corresponding with the division of the brain into two hemispheres; it appeared as if one hemisphere were in operation when a man was in office, and the other when he was out. But these inconsistencies on the part of distinguished men destroyed that faith which there ought to be in the Legislature of the country. The noble Lord was as vehement now for maintaining the tax as he was in 1845 for resisting it. Which was to be followed? In his (Mr. Wakley's) opinion, the Lord J. Russell of 1845, when the right side of his brain was at work. The noble Lord had stated that the public expenditure was not to be reduced. In the neighbouring country the same doctrine had been held to a very late period; a military force was to be kept up at an extravagant cost, and public opinion was to be put down. Had it succeeded? No; nor would it here. At the same time he must say that the present Government did not deserve the censure passed upon them by an hon. Member (Mr. Roche) with reference to their conduct in Ireland. There had certainly been no gagging of the public press there—no stifling of public opinion; he only trusted that the Government here would follow the example of Lord Clarendon, and be as willing to hear the expression of public opinion. It was not now in the power of such a Government as ours must be to put down public opinion by force of arms. But the conduct the Government was inclined to pursue with reference to the public expenditure was deeply to be regretted. Various opinions were held on that subject, and the noble Lord was correct in saying that there would be a motley group in the lobby for the hon. Member (Mr. Hume); but in the other lobby would there be very great harmony? Why, the noble Lord was receiving most ominous cheers from the other side of the House. How long could he expect to retain his position, when his own side was silent, and he was cheered only by the other side? They were laughing at him there at that moment. They knew that he was pursuing the road to ruin, cheered on by themselves, the Tories; for he (Mr. Wakley) would not use the term "Conservatives." The Tory party were the real destructive party in England, and always had been. They had always resisted every reasonable change until they felt that the very existence of the kingdom was endangered, and then they had relinquished their position. The hon. Members for Oxfordshire and Maldon had spoken very strongly against the income-tax. The hon. Member for Oxfordshire had said that the Government was weak; that he had no confidence in them; that they had committed the most extraordinary mistakes; and that the public placed no reliance upon them. The hon. Gentleman said, "Your drivers are bad, and your crazy machines will be thrown into the ditch; but yet when your servants ask for their wages, you give them at once, and retain them in your service." But the hon. Gentleman was going to vote for the Administration he had thus characterised. Why, if the hon. Gentleman desired to see the Government do their duty, he should not give them this lease of idleness, which might induce them to neglect examining the finances of the country. The proper course to adopt would be to vote the income-tax only for a short time, and then they would make the Ministers industrious, and would lead them to consider whether taxation might not be imposed in a more just and even manner. He should vote for the continuance of the income-tax for one year, and for one year only. He considered that, in its present form, that tax was a most unjust one; and he would tell the House frankly, that, whatever they might think, the people out of doors would not bear it. The people denounced the tax in the most strong and bitter terms; and they considered that from the manner in which the right hon. Member for Tamworth had in the first instance proposed that tax, he ought to have now made some effort for its modification. Some hon. Members of that House had been fascinated by the seductive powers of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) when he first brought forward the proposal for an income-tax; but they were now constantly reproaching him for his conduct. He might state, however, that in 1842 he had voted against the income-tax in every stage, and that he had opposed the modifications suggested, with a view to render it more just in its operation; and he trusted, therefore, that he would not be included among the victims of the right hon. Baronet. He had pursued the same course in 1845; but he must express his conviction that the income-tax was proposed by the right hon. Baronet in 1842 for the best of public purposes. He had no doubt the right hon. Gentleman believed that that tax was essential to the success of the scheme of legislation which he propounded at that time. He conceived that in 1845 the House was quite as much in the wrong as was the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that, even if the tax was allowed to expire on the 1st of April, 1845, he would have a suplus revenue of 2,600,000l.; but he (Sir R. Peel) said the armament of the country ought to be increased: the House agreed with him, and in his opinion, therefore, the House was more deserving of blame than the right hon. Baronet. He trusted that what had passed would teach the House a useful lesson with respect to their future conduct. It could not be said that the House had pursued a right system of legislation with regard to the working people and the masses of the population of the country. Whatever might be the opinion of the House, he could tell them that an opinion prevailed out of doors that they were indifferent to the sufferings of the working population. [A general cry of "Oh, oh!"] That murmur did not disprove the fact: but he supposed hon. Gentlemen did not like to hear the truth told. The hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cobden) had told them to-night in his admirable speech how the working people were taxed. He would ask, were hon. Members of that House taxed in the same proportion with regard to their means? But the hon. Member for the West Riding had understated the case. There was, for instance, a tax on beer through the malt duty, to which he was surprised that the people submitted. Talk of free trade indeed, in a country whore a farmer was not allowed to manufacture his own malt! The hon. Member for the West Riding had said that the malt duty amounted to 4s. in every 20s., but the fact was that it was 8s. in every 20s. Why, if it were not for the tax on malt, the poor man would obtain good beer for 1½d. a quart. He called upon the House to consider how the labouring man spent his life. He was up at six in the morning at his daily labour, and he toiled throughout the day until eight in the evening, resuming his work again on the following morning, and pursuing throughout the whole week, from month to month and from year to year, without any recreation or pleasure or enjoyment. He asked the House to show, then, that they sympathised with the working millions of the country. He called upon his hon. Friend (Mr. Cobden), the leader of the Anti-Corn-Law League, which he had never joined, to exercise his great abilities, and to apply his energies to Improve the condition of the working population, as far as legislation in that House was concerned. The people had aided that hon. Gentleman in his labours, and he now asked the hon. Member to aid them in theirs. He must say it was his deliberately formed conviction that the working people never would receive justice from the Legislature till they were represented in that assembly. He had formed that conviction from what he had observed of the conduct of the Legislature; for he regretted to say that Parliament had manifested the utmost indifference with reference to the condition of the poorer classes of the country. The working classes had expected to be benefited by the operation of free trade, but hitherto that expectation had not been fulfilled. He agreed with the hon. Member for Somersetshire (Mr. W. Miles) that free-trade measures had not yet had a fair trial, and his conviction was that they would altimately succeed, and that they would be productive of extraordinary advantages to the working classes of the community. The people, however, entertained the strongest objection to the income-tax in its present odious form. They believed that it would be a perpetual tax; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had held out no hope of its removal. The right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) was opposed to any modification of the tax, and had said that he would never sanction a proposal to impose one rate of charge upon incomes derived from trades and professions, and another rate of charge upon incomes from real property. What hope was there that if this tax was now voted for three years, it would not be continued beyond that period in its present odious and unjust form? The unequal and inquisitorial nature of the tax, and the irresponsibility of the commissioners appointed to carry the law into effect, were loudly complained of in all parts of the country. He begged to remind the House of the manner in which Mr. Fielden, the late Member for Oldham, had been treated. Mr. Fielden returned that he had no profits whatever either upon his business that year, or upon the average of the last three years. No one in that House would doubt the word of this Gentleman; he declared on oath that he had made no profits; but he was nevertheless assessed in the sum of 12,000l., and on three several occasions his property was seized, and all account of the sale and the result of the sale refused. If this, then, was the treatment of a man in Mr. Fielden's station, what must have been the condition of those in humbler circumstances? Why, of course, they had been the victims of most heartless cruelty. The noble Lord had not urged a single valid reason for the expediency of continuing this tax longer than a year. The one assertion was, that if the Government scheme were rejected they would shake the public credit; but the noble Lord had not afforded them the slightest proof that such would be the case. The noble Lord was well aware that no such effect would follow; he knew very well that if at the end of twelve months there existed any necessity for renewing the tax, the House would only be too ready to vote for its reimposition. The hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Hudson) had expressed his surprise that the Government could not discover new taxes; but the public wanted a reduction in the expenditure, and the public would have it. The salaries of all the high officers of State must be reduced in the first place. An excellent example of such economy had just been set to them. An Ambassador had just been appointed from one of the first countries in Europe at the stipend of 400l. a year. That was a sudden reduction from 15,000l. a year. And, as it had recently been discovered at Paris, in the case of that particular country, the Government was exceeding in its expenditure the income by the enormous sum of 45,000 francs a day, and had been so exceeding it for 268 days. The Government so circumstanced was resting upon a volcano which might explode at any moment, and let warning be taken by the result. This country also had been plunged into debt—but by whom? Not by the representatives of the working people. The debt had been incurred by the aristocracy of this country. This huge burden had been fastened upon the nation by the aristocracy alone, and yet, while they were hearing constantly in that House that they must not violate public faith or neglect public credit, the public creditor alone received any consideration. [Interruption.] No doubt some of the juvenile branches of the aristocracy were interrupting him at that moment—some young Gentlemen just out of leading-strings, and who by some unfortunate influence had obtained seats there, and so procured the privilege of making unpleasant and asinine noises. There would, however, other opportunities arise of speaking disagreeable truths, and he would not detain the House. He would only, in conclusion, entreat of the noble Lord to bear in mind that this country was most unduly taxed—that this tax in particular was most unequal and unjust in its operation; and that, in consequence, the people were resolved it should not be maintained.


begged the indulgence of the House for a few minutes. He had listened with the greatest attention to the speech of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), in the hope of hearing some argument which would have given him an excuse for voting in favour of the Ministerial proposal. Not the slightest reason, however, had been given for inducing him to alter his mind. He could not see how the national credit could be influenced by the continuance of the tax for three years. He had always acted upon the maxim, that the only way to make persons economical was to keep them from having too much money at their disposal; and he would venture to say that Ministers would not be so careful, cautious, and economical in spending a tax which they knew would be continued for three years, as they would be if it were only continued for one. The noble Lord had said, that if the House would not grant the tax for three years, he would go out of office. Well, let him go out of office. He entertained a great respect for the noble Lord; but he believed there were other men who could govern the country as well as he or those who acted with him could possibly do. And who were the great promoters of the three years' proposal? The Government who were in, and the ex-Government who were out, but who expected to be in as soon as the other should be out. The hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cobden) had said that if the income-tax was imposed fairly, the country would consent to its being permanent. He (Mr. Muntz) did not agree in that opinion. He believed that unless means could be found to divest the impost of its inquisitorial character, it would never prove acceptable. The hon. Gentleman then adverted to the inconsistency and unfairness of the Irish Members entering into league with the Government to saddle England and Scotland with a tax from which their own country was exempt. In return, he could tell those hon. Gentlemen that he should do every thing in his power to extend the tax to Ireland; and he then stated that every representative of a constituency who objected to the tax was bound in honour and honesty to adopt a similar course. With respect to national credit, he really thought that Ministers were putting the cart before the horse. He thought that public credit depended as much upon private credit as upon anything else. He recollected periods when the public credit was only very middling, and nevertheless private credit was good. He did not think the question of credit would be effected in any way whether the vote was taken for three years or for one. He should vote for the latter as being more advisable in an economical point of view.


observed, that although it was the custom with certain hon. Gentlemen at the other side of the House to talk a great deal about their "sympathy for the working classes," just as good a feeling was exhibited for them at his side of the House. He would like to know what had been done for the working classes by the hon. Gentlemen who professed so much on their behalf? It was his intention to vote for the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, as he had no confidence in the Government, and thought one year was quite long enough to trust them with the public money. He was no advocate for reductions in the estimates for the national defences, so long as the security of the country was at stake; but, at the same time, he thought judicious retrenchments might be made. Whenever the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Law) brought forward his Motion, he would vote for it, as also for any Motion that might be made to include Ireland.


would give a distinct pledge not to infringe on the House for many minutes. He considered he was justified in making a few observations, re-presenting, as he did, one of the largest constituencies in the kingdom, who had commissioned him to enter his protest on their behalf against the continuance of the tax, and more especially against its continuance in its present unjust, unequal, and oppressive form. He therefore rose, not to enter into any matters of finance, but to lift up his voice, humble though it was, to swell the note of remonstrance which he hoped, even at the eleventh hour, would not fall unheeded on the ears of Her Majesty's Ministers. The income-tax was acknowledged by all parties to be unjust and oppressive; and it was not until a recent period of the debate that hon. Gentlemen were found to take up its defence, and endeavour to show that it had any semblance of justice or equality in it. The law which imposed it was declaredly unjust; and, like all other unjust laws, contained within it the seminal principle of disaffection and revolution. He would not appeal to the fears of the House, for he knew that would be foolish; but he appealed to the House as the conservator of the public institutions of the country, not to pass this law. If the Government insisted upon pressing this law for three years, they would have the opposition of all the middle and some of the upper classes; and that opposition, united with the growing disaffection, from a deep sense of wrong, on the part of the working classes, might make them deplore the feeling of universal discontent which would be raised against them out of doors. He would record his vote in favour of the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose; and he trusted that however large the majority might be against it, there would be found a sufficient number of the representatives of the people in the other lobby to show, that although a general feeling of sympathy for the industrious classes did not abide in the House, that the people were not without a voice in the representative assembly.


inquired whether, as the representative of 4,800 electors, the House would be pleased to allow him four minutes and eight-tenths of a minute for his address. He held his watch in his hand, and if they would listen to him in silence, he would not exceed the time he had mentioned. The subject was now nearly exhausted. They had touched upon almost every topic connected with it. They had wandered from Dan to Beersheba, and had exhausted every topic upon which it was possible to dilate. He had presented a petition to the House signed by his constituents at the most numerous and the most respectable meeting that ever was assembled at the Horns Tavern. That petition declared that the imposition of the income-tax was unnecessary—that it was unjust in principle—that it was oppressive in its operation—and that it was inquisitorial and inequitable in its assessment and collection. Upon those grounds his constituents had requested him to oppose it. It was therefore his intention to vote against it in every form, and at every stage. He would merely support the proposition of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, because he thought that one year's infliction of taxation, unjust, iniquitous, and oppressive, was a less evil than its imposition for three years. But he would reserve to himself the right of opposing it altogether when it came before the House for its final discussion, and he did so upon the principle that it might not hereafter be said that he acquiesced in it, because he did not resist it with all his might. He therefore begged to say, that although he would not take part in any factious opposition to support or to oppose a Ministry, he would, upon all occasions when he felt it was his duty to do so, assert his principle and divide the House.

The Committee divided. On the question that the words proposed to be left out by Mr. Hume, stand part of the question:—Ayes 363; Noes 138: Majority 225.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, T. N. Buxton, Sir E. N.
Acland, Sir T. D. Callaghan, D.
Adair, R. A. S. Campbell, hon. W. F.
Adare, Visct. Cardwell, E.
Adderley, C. B. Carew, W. H. P.
Alexander, N. Castlereagh, Visct.
Anson, hon. Col. Cavendish, hon. C. C.
Anson, Visct. Cavendish, hon. G. H.
Anstey, T. C. Cavendish, W. G.
Archdall, Capt. M. Cayley, E. S.
Armstrong, Sir A. Chaplin, W. J.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Charteris, hon. F.
Chichester, Lord J. L.
Ashley, Lord Cholmeley, Sir M.
Bagshaw, J. Christy, S.
Bailey, J. Clay, Sir W.
Bailey, J. jun. Clements, hon. C. S.
Barkly, H. Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Baring, H. B. Clifford, H. M.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Cobbold, J. C.
Baring, T. Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.
Baring, hon. W. B. Cocks, T. S.
Barnard, E. G. Coke, hon. E. K.
Barrington, Visct. Cole, hon. H. A.
Barron, Sir H. W. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Bell, M. Coles, H. B.
Bellew, R. M. Conolly, Col.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Corbally, M. E.
Birch, Sir T. B. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Blackall, S. W. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Blakemore, R. Courtenay, Lord
Boiling, W. Cowan, C.
Bourke, R. S. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Craig, W. G.
Bowles, Adm. Cripps, W.
Boyle, hon. Col. Cubitt, W.
Brackley, Visct. Currie, H.
Brand, T. Currie, R.
Broadley, H. Curteis, H. M.
Brockman, E. D. Dalrymple, Capt.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Damer, hon. Col.
Brotherton, J. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Brown, W. S. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Browne, R. D. Denison, J. E.
Bruce, Lord E. Dod, J. W.
Bruce, C. L. C. Douro, Marq. of
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Drummond, H.
Buller, C. Drummond, H. H.
Bunbury, W. M. Duff, G. S.
Bunbury, E. H. Duncan, Visct.
Burghley, Lord Duncombe, hon. O.
Burke, Sir T. J. Duncuft, J.
Busfeild, W. Dundas, Adm.
Dundas, Sir D. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Dundas, G. Howard, hon. J. K.
Dunne, F. P. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Du Pre, C. G. Hughes, W. B.
Ebrington, Visct. Hutt, W.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Ellice, E. Jermyn, Earl
Elliott, hon. J. E. Jervis, Sir J.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Jervis, J.
Euston, Earl of Johnstone, Sir J.
Evans, W. Jones, Capt.
Farnham, E. B. Keating, R.
Fellowes, E. Keogh, W.
Fergus, J. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Ferguson, Col. Ker, R.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Kildare, Marq. of
Ffolliot, J. Knightley, Sir C.
Filmer, Sir E. Knox, Col.
Fitzpatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Foley, J. H. H. Lemon, Sir C.
Forbes, W. Lennard, T. B.
Fordyce, A. D. Leslie, C. P.
Forster, M. Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F.
Fortescue, C. Lewis, G. C.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Lincoln, Earl of
Fox, R. M. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Fox, S. W. L. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Freestun, Col. Loch, J.
Frewen, C. H. Locke, J.
Fuller, A. E. Lockhart, A. E.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Lockhart, W.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Glyn, G. C. Mackenzie, W. F.
Gordon, Adm. Mackinnon, W. A.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Macnamara, Maj.
Gower, hon. F. L. M'Naghten, Sir E.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Greene, T. M'Tavish, C. C.
Grenfell, C. P. Magan, W. H.
Grenfell, C. W. Mahon, The O'Gorman
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Mahon, Visct.
Grey, R. W. Maitland, T.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Manners, Lord C. S.
Guest, Sir J. Manners, Lord G.
Haggitt, F. R. March, Earl of
Hale, R. B. Marshall, W.
Halford, Sir H. Martin, C. W.
Hallyburton, Lord J. F. Masterman, J.
Hamilton, G. A. Matheson, A.
Hamilton, Lord C. Matheson, J.
Hastie, A. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Hay, Lord J. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Hayes, Sir E. Melgund, Visct.
Hayter, W. G. Meux, Sir H.
Headlam, T. E. Miles, W.
Heald, J. Milnes, R. M.
Heathcoat, J. Monsell, W.
Heathcote, G. J. Moore, G. H.
Heathcote, Sir W. Morpeth, Visct.
Heneage, G. H. W. Morison, Gen.
Henley, J. W. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Hervey, Lord A. Mulgrave, Earl of
Heywood, J. Mundy, E. M.
Hildyard, R. C. Mure, Col.
Hill, Lord E. Napier, J.
Hodges, T. L. Newdegate, C. N.
Hodges, T. T. Newry and Morne, Visct.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Noel, hon. G. J.
Hood, Sir A. Norreys, Lord
Hope, Sir J. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Hope, A. Nugent, Sir P.
Hotham, Lord O'Brien, J.
O'Brien, Sir L. Somers, J. P.
O'Brien, T. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
O'Connell, M. J. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Ord, W. Spearman, H. J.
Ossulston, Lord Stafford, A.
Oswald, A. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Owen, Sir J. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Paget, Lord A. Stanton, W. H.
Paget, Lord C. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Paget, Lord G. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Palmer, R. Stuart, Lord J.
Palmer, R. Stuart, H.
Palmerston, Visct. Sturt, H. G.
Parker, J. Talbot, J. H.
Patten, J. W. Taylor, T. E.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Tenison, E. K.
Peel, Col. Tennent, R. J.
Pennant, hon. Col. Thesiger, Sir F.
Perfect, R. Thornely, T.
Philips, Sir G. R. Thornhill, G.
Pinney, W. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Plumptre, J. P. Towneley, J.
Plowden, W. H. C. Townley, R. G.
Powell, Col. Townshend, Capt.
Power, Dr. Traill, G.
Power, N. Trelawny, J. S.
Powlett, Lord W. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Price, Sir R. Trollope, Sir J.
Prime, R. Turner, E.
Pusey, P. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Rawdon, Col. Vane, Lord H.
Renton, J. C. Verner, Sir W.
Repton, G. W. J. Verney, Sir H.
Reynolds, J. Vesey, hon. T.
Ricardo, J. L. Villiers, Visct.
Rice, E. R. Villiers, hon. C.
Rich, H. Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Robartes, T. J. A. Vivian, J. E.
Romilly, J. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Rushout, Capt. Wall, C. B.
Russell, Lord J. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Russell, hon. E. S. Ward, H. G.
Russell, F. C. H. Watkins, Col.
Scrope, G. P. Wellesley, Lord C.
Seymer, H. K. West, F. R.
Seymour, Lord Westhead, J. P.
Shafto, R. D. Williamson, Sir H.
Sheil, rt. hon. R. L. Wilson, J.
Shelburne, Earl of Wilson, M.
Sheridan, R. B. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Shirley, E. J. Wrightson, W. B.
Simeon, J. Wyld, J.
Slaney, R. A. Wyvill, M.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Smith, J. A. TELLERS.
Smith, M. T. Tufnell, H.
Smollett, A. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Adair, H. E. Blake, M. J.
Aglionby, H. A. Blewitt, R. J.
Alcock, T. Bowring, Dr.
Anderson, A. Bremridge, R.
Arkwright, G. Bright, J.
Bagge, W. Brisco, M.
Bankes, G. Brown, H.
Benbow, J. Buck, L. W.
Bennet, P. Cabbell, B. B.
Bentinck, Lord G. Clay, J.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Cobden, R.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Codrington, Sir W.
Blackstone, W. S. Collins, W.
Compton, H. C. Mowatt, F.
Crawford, W. S. Muntz, G. F.
Dashwood, G. H. Neeld, J.
Deering, J. Nugent, Lord
Denison, W. J. O'Flaherty, A.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. Osborne, R.
Disraeli, B. Packe, C. W.
Divett, E. Pattison, J.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Pearson, C.
Duke, Sir J. Pechell, Capt.
Duncan, G. Pigott, F.
East, Sir J. B. Pilkington, J.
Evans, Sir De L. Raphael, A.
Ewart, W. Reid, Col.
Fagan, W. Rendlesham, Lord
Farrer, J. Ricardo, O.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Richards, R.
Floyer, J. Robinson, G. R.
Fox, W. J. Roche, E. B.
Galway, Visct. Rufford, F.
Gardner, R. Salwey, Col.
Gooch, E. S. Sandars, G.
Goring, C. Scholefield, W.
Granby, Marq. of Scott, hon. F.
Greenall, G. Sibthorp, Col.
Greene, J. Sidney, Ald.
Gwyn, H. Smith, J. B.
Hall, Sir B. Spooner, R.
Hardcastle, J. A. Stanley, E.
Henry, A. Strickland, Sir G.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Stuart, Lord D.
Hindley, C. Stuart, J.
Hollond, R. Sullivan, M.
Hope, H. T. Tancred, H. W.
Hornby, J. Thicknesse, R. A.
Horsman, E. Thompson, Col.
Humphery, Ald. Thompson, Ald.
Jackson, W. Thompson, G.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Tollemache, J.
Jones, Sir W. Turner, G. J.
Kershaw, J. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
King, hon. P. J. L. Waddington, D.
Langston, J. H. Waddington, H. S.
Lascelles, hon. E. Wakley, T.
Law, hon. C. E. Walmsley, Sir J.
Lawless, hon. C. Walpole, S. H.
Lowther, H. Walter, J.
Lushington, C. Wawn, J. T.
M'Gregor, J. Williams, J.
Meagher, T. Willoughby, Sir H.
Marshall, J. G. Wood, W. P.
Matheson, Col. Worcester, Marq. of
Miles, P. W. S. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Milton, Visct. Yorke, H. G. R.
Mitchell, T. A.
Molesworth, Sir W. TELLERS.
Moody, C. A. Hume, J.
Morris, D. Hudson, G.

House resumed. Committee to sit again.

House adjourned at a quarter to One o'clock.