HC Deb 08 July 1851 vol 118 cc351-3

, in asking the House for leave to re-introduce a Bill to repeal the Attornies and Solicitors' annual certificate duty, said hon. Members would be glad to hear that he should be exceedingly brief in his observations. Last year, he had stated at some length the origin, nature, and operation of this tax. He had shown to the House that it had every vice in principle which a tax could possibly have, and that its operation was in consequence partial and oppressive. And he had great reason to believe that the House had been satisfied with his arguments; for though, upon a fifth division, the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had got a majority, yet on four previous occasions the House had affirmed the principle he advocated—on one occasion by a majority of 259 to 224—a considerable majority for the Motion of a private individual. It was therefore useless to urge reasons of the validity of which the House had declared itself satisfied. The repeal of this tax was virtually carried; the only question was, the time when it should take place. It might have been a more prudent course for the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer to have included it in his arrangements for the year; but, as Finance Minister, he probably thought it necessary more severely to test the opinion of the House before yielding to it. He (Lord R. Grosvenor) had intended bringing forward this question at an earlier period of the Session: but he had thought it would not be well to do so during a Ministerial crisis, or when it might interfere with more important measures. At the present period of the Session he could hardly hope to proceed much further with the measure; all he could do would be to ask permission of the House to lay it on the table, with a view to proceed with it next Session. It would be most unwise and impolitic in the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer to oppose this Motion, as the House would no doubt adhere to its former judgment. But so little did he desire to embarrass his right hon. Friend in any way, that if he would only give him to understand that, next year, if the income tax were granted, and no unforeseen circumstances arose to make it impossible, he would repeal this duty, he (Lord R. Grosvenor) would be contented simply to lay the Bill on the table, or even not to do so much. If he could not have that assurance from the right hon. Gentleman, it would be his duty to press the Motion to a division.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That leave be given to bring in a Bill to repeal the Attornies and Solicitors Annual Certificate Duty.


said, it was his painful duty to resist the Motion. It would be far more agreeable to him if he could remit all the taxes—if he could say yes to all the numerous deputations who came to Downing-street asking for the reduction or remission of some tax or other. But, unfortunately, it was his duty to resist those applications which he did not think were founded on sound principles; and the present was one which he considered in that category. He had already carried through the House, to its last stage, the financial proposal for the year. Some had reproached him for not allowing a sufficient margin in the course of the present year; and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) had brought forward a Motion declaring that no reduction whatever of taxes ought to take place, and that no further revenue should be sacrificed. He could not suppose that the hon. Gentlemen who supported that Motion could possibly agree to the Motion of his noble Friend. He had felt it his duty to stand by the proposal he had made to the House; it would have been exceedingly unfortunate had he withdrawn from the country the boon promised in the early part of the Session: he was therefore bound to resist this Motion. He would put it to hon. Gentlemen on his own side of the House, whether, in their opinion, this was the first tax of which they should claim the repeal. They were in favour, generally speaking, of a reduction of duties pressing on the consuming population: would any one get up and say that this was such a tax? They had been in favour of the reduction of duties on raw material, as affording the means of employment to the people: would any one say that this was a tax interfering with the employment of the people? Hon. Members on the other side had expressed their opinion that the first reduction ought to be reduction of the income tax; but every sixpence they sacrificed in repealing a tax of this kind, so far prevented the possibility of the reduction they sought. If both sides of the House were of opinion that this was the first tax that ought to be repealed, he should have no more to say in opposition to it. If, on the contrary, they thought that it ought only to take its turn with other taxes, and that there were others which had a prior claim, let them resist this Motion. As the noble Lord did not propose the reduction in the present year, it would be more unwise on his part to give any pledge as to the next. He had reserved but a very moderate surplus after repealing the window duty, about 300,000l.; and, at present, they knew not what claims might be made upon them for the cost of the Kaffir war. Would it, then, be wise in him to promise, or for the House to pledge itself, to sacrifice 120,000l. a year in this tax, looking at the circumstances which might occur? If, in the course of next year, there should be a considerable surplus, and the House was prepared to maintain the income tax as it stood, then he would take into consideration what other taxes should be reduced or modified. Until they knew what would be the probable income and expenditure for next year, it would be unwise and injudicious to pledge themselves to sacrifice 120,000l. The contrary policy had always been acted upon by his predecessors. Should the House now pledge itself to repeal this 120,000l., it would be to that extent incapacitated next year from reducing taxes which it might be thought more necessary to get rid of. The tax complained of was not an especial burden upon the attornies and solicitors; conveyancers and other parties paid the same tax. He hoped the House would not agree to repeal this tax, either in the present year or the next, till they saw what was their financial position, and until it was known whether the income tax was to be renewed or not.


said, as his right hon. Friend had confined himself merely to general assertions, and had not ventured on the hopeless task of attempting to prove the justice of this tax, he would refrain from making any reply.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 162; Noes 132: Majority 30.

List of the AYES.
Adair, E. A. S. Bankes, G.
Alcock, T. Baring, H. B.
Arkwright, G. Barrow, W. H.
Armstrong, R. B. Bateson, T.
Bailey, J. Benbow, J.
Baird, J. Beresford, W.
Baldock, E. H. Berkeley, hon. H. F.
Blake, M. J. Keogh, W.
Blandford, Marq. Of Kershaw, J.
Blewitt, R. J. Knightley, Sir C.
Booth, Sir R. G. Knox, Col.
Bremridge, R. Lacy, H. C.
Brisco, M. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Buck, L. W. Leslie, C. P.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Castlereagh, Visct. Locke, J.
Cayley, E. S. Long, W.
Chaplin, W. J. Lopes, Sir R.
Chatterton, Col. Lushington, C.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Meagher, T.
Christopher, R. A. Martin, J.
Clay, J. Maunsell, T. P.
Cocks, T. S. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Codrington, Sir W. Miles, W.
Coles, H. B. Monsell, W.
Cowan, C. Moody, C. A.
Crawford, W. S. Morris, D.
Cubitt, W. Mullings, J. R.
Davies, D. A. S. Muiitz, G. F.
Dawes, E. Murphy, F. S.
Denison, E. Napier, J.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Newdegate, C. N.
Duke, Sir J. O'Brien, J.
Duncan, G. O'Connell, J.
Duncombe, T. O'Connor, F.
Du Pre, C. G. O'Ferrall, rt. hon R.M.
East, Sir J. B. O'Flaherty, A.
Evans, Sir De L. Packe, C. W.
Evans, J. Palmer, R.
Ewart, W. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Farrer, J. Peel, Col.
Forbes, W. Perfect, R.
Fox, S. W. L. Plowden, W. H. C.
Fox, W. J. Power, Dr.
Freestun, Col. Prime, R.
Freshfield, J. W. Pugh, D.
Frewen, C. H. Reid, Col.
Fuller, A. E. Renton, J. C.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Repton, G. W. J.
Geach, C. Reynolds, J.
Gilpin, Col. Richards, R.,
Gooch, E. S. Sadleir, J.
Goold, W. Salwey, Col.
Grace, O. D. J. Sandars, G.
Greene, T. Sandars, J.
Grenfell, C. P. Scholefield, W.
Grosvenor, Earl Scully, F.
Gwyn, H. Sibthorp, Col.
Hall, Sir B. Smyth, J. G.
Hall, Col. Somerset, Capt.
Hallewell, E. G. Spooner, R.
Hamilton, G. A. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Hastie, A. Stephenson, R.
Heald, J. Strickland, Sir. G.
Henley, J. W. Stuart, Lord D.
Henry, A. Stuart, J.
Herbert, H. A. Thompson, Col.
Hervey, Lord A. Thompson, Ald.
Heywood, J. Thornhill, G.
Higgins, G. G. O. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Hill, Lord E. Tyler, Sir G.
Hindley, C. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Hodgson, W. N. Verner, Sir W.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Hope, Sir J. Waddington, H. S.
Hope, H. T. Wakley, T.
Hornby, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Hudson, G. West, F. R.
Jones, Capt. Whiteside, J.
Williams, J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Williams, W. Worcester, Marq. of
Grosvenor, Lord R. Stafford, A.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Harris, R.
Anson, hon. Col. Hatchell, rt. hon. J.
Armstrong, Sir A. Hawes, B.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Headlam, T. E.
Bell, J. Heyworth, L.
Bellew, R. M. Hobhouse, T. B.
Berkeley, Adm. Howard, Lord E.
Bethell, R. Hume, J.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Hutt, W.
Bowles, Adm. Jermyn, Earl
Boyle, hon. Col. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Brockman, E. D. Langston, J. H.
Brotherton, J. Lewis, G. C.
Brown, W. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Bruce, C. L. C. Mackinnon, W. A.
Buxton, Sir E. N. M'Gregor, J.
Campbell, hon. W. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Cardwell, E. Mahon, Visct.
Carter, J. B. Manners, Lord J.
Childers, J. W. Marshall, W.
Christy, S. Melgund, Visct.
Clay, Sir W. Milner, W. M. E.
Clements, hon. C. S. Milnes, R. M.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Mitchell, T. A.
Clifford, H. M. Molesworth, Sir W.
Cobden, R. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Ogle, S.C. H.
Coke, hon. E. K. Owen, Sir J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Palmerston, Visct.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Parker, J.
Craig, Sir W. G. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Crawford, R. W. Philips, Sir G. R.
Crowder, R. B. Pinney, W.
Currie, H. Ponsonby, hon. C.F.A.C.
Currie, R. Portal, M.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Pusey, P.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Ricardo, J. L.
Denison, J, E. Rich, H.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C.T. Robartes, T. J. A.
Disraeli, B. Romilly, Col.
Divett, E. Romilly, Sir J.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Russell, Lord J.
Duncan, Visct. Russell, F. C. H.
Dundas, Adm. Seymour, Sir H.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Seymour, Lord
Ebrington, Visct. Sidney, Ald.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Slaney, R. A.
Ellis, J. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Smith, J. A.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Smith, J. B.
Evans, W. Smollett, A.
Fergus, J. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Ferguson, Col. Spearman, H. J.
Fitzpatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Stuart, Lord J.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Thicknesse, R. A.
Forster, M. Thornely, T.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Towneley, J.
French, F. Trelawny, J. S.
Glyn, G. C. Trevor, hon. T.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Tufnell, rt. hon. H.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Wall, C. B.
Grenfell, C. W. Willcox, B. M.
Grey, R. W. Wilson, J.
Hallyburton, Lord J. F. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Hardcastle, J. A. Wood, Sir W. P.
Wyld, J. Wyvill, M.
Hayter, W. G. Hill, Lord M.

Leave given. Bill ordered to be brought in by Lord R. Grosvenor and Sir Frederic Thesiger.

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