HC Deb 08 May 1851 vol 116 cc679-722

rose to submit a Motion to the House on this subject. The hon. Member said, that he was not surprised at the petition just presented by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, from the enterprising farmer with whom he (Mr. Cayley) was acquainted; and it was to endeavour to relieve him, and such as him, from the oppressive weight of taxation that bore them down, that he was about to ask the House to agree to his proposition. He had entertained hopes that he would not have been obliged again to trouble the House with a repetition of those claims of the farmers to relief which he had stated last Session; for he had expected that the Government would have themselves seen the justice of granting some measure analogous to that he was about to propose. Sure he was that no other measure, short of a return to that system which had been left, would give to the suffering farmers and landowners of the country so much relief as the repeal of the malt tax. In what predicament was the country at this moment? Had matters altered for the better since last year? Had we arrived at that haven of general bliss towards which we were piloted a few years ago, under a new system of legislation, of which neither this nor any other country had any experience? Was there one class of Her Majesty's subjects here, in spite of the boast of general prosperity introduced into Her Majesty's Speech, found in reality prospering, or which was profiting, under the change of legislation? He had, since the opening of this Session of Parliament, made inquiries in every direction, and he could not find a single instance of any class which could boast of prosperity. In Manchester, he found stagnation and depression, if not distress. In Glasgow, he found a repetition of the same stagnation and depression. From north to south, all over the country, the same depression, if not distress, was found. Was it for this they had sacrificed the farmers of Great Britain and Ireland? In their infatuated design to destroy the land—would they be so senseless—the Manchester school—as to destroy themselves also? And yet that would be the end. He had been in hopes that the Government would have taken into consideration the condition of that class, which Her Majesty, in Her Speech from the Throne, declared was suffering deep distress. But what measures had the Government proposed? Did they point to relief to that suffering class? Not in a single instance. He (Mr. Cayley) felt it impossible to give his support to the proposal for the renewal of the income tax to the Government for three years, because they threatened still further to carry out a bastard free trade under its shelter. He was also unable to support the Motion of the right hon. Member for Stamford (Mr. Herries), because it was for a gradual reduction of the income tax, with a view to its final extinction; and he was in hopes, under cover of that tax, to introduce measures for the mitigation of that oppressive system of taxation under which agriculture laboured. With respect to the window duties, he abstained from giving an opinion. He could not justify the window tax; but he could not see how those who professed to be favourable to direct taxation could object to a house tax, producing an equal amount to the window duties. This was the touchstone that tried those who pretended to be advocates of direct taxation. What had raised such an outcry against the window tax? Was the House credulous enough to suppose it was on sanatory grounds? or a benevolent desire to increase the amount of light in the cottages of the poor? The cottages of the poor were exempt from the tax; and might have generally twice the light they had—he meant small houses subject to the tax—without incurring any increase of taxation. The fact was, that the towns who opposed the window tax (and it was the same with a house tax) did so because it was a direct tax that could not be evaded, as the income tax might be, by the mercantile and manufacturing and shopkeeping community. With respect to the other proposals of the Government, the reductions of the duty on timber and on coffee were no relief to the agricultural classes. Growers of timber in this country and the colonies were already great sufferers from the fall of prices. Their suffering would be increased by this proposed change of duty. Adulteration of coffee was much talked of. Did not the high tax on malt lead to great adulteration in beer? Were there not carts going about the town with the advertisement of "the brewer's druggist"—and if there was a brewer's druggist, were there not brewer's drugs? There was salt to excite thirst, copperas to give a frothy head, and opium to intoxicate. Taking all the propositions of the Government, there was not one that tended to the relief of the suffering agricultural classes. The malt tax was so oppressive, obstructive, and obnoxious, that Sir Robert Peel, some years before his death, stated, that were the corn laws to be repealed, the repeal of the malt tax would follow. The right hon. Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham) said, if they repealed the corn laws, the malt tax could not survive a year. Many other Members expressed similar opinions. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers), when he proposed the repeal of the corn laws, said he would be happy to exchange that repeal for the repeal of the malt tax. But the hon. Member did not vote last year in favour of the Motion for the repeal of the malt tax; nor did the right hon. Member for Ripon; nor did the hon. Member for Manchester; nor did the hon. Member for Montrose. [Mr. HUME: I was ill in bed for ten days.] The hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), in his celebrated budget, put the malt tax at the head; but where was he last year? There never was such a running to and fro in the House as on that occasion last Session, when the Motion for the repeal of the malt tax was under discussion. But the Secretary of the Treasury need not have feared, for financial reformers never voted for the repeal of taxation when there was any chance of actually repealing it. In bringing forward the question at the present moment, he (Mr. Cayley) might be accused of a want of consideration for the national faith, or he might be accused of a desire to return to the system of protection. No one had a stronger attachment than he had to the maintenance of national honour; but was it the way to maintain the public faith to allow that interest from which the dividends were mainly derived to sink into depression and ruin? Sir Robert Peel said, in 1839, that were the corn laws repealed, the heavy burdens on land would have to be transferred to shoulders less heavily laden with taxation; and now the agricultural interest could not bear its present height of taxation. With respect to protection, there was no man in the House who had more excluded himself from the charge of making any direct attempt to restore protection than he had. At the meetings of farmers he had constantly told them to direct their attention to the remission of taxation, and that they should exhaust every means of obtaining relief before thinking of coming to Parliament to ask for a return to protection. In 1849, when he proposed a measure of relief to that House, he stated that he would be the last man to ask for a return to protection before the physic had worked a little longer. But the physic had worked. And the other day, at Glasgow, a merchant, addressing 600 of the people, five-sixths free-traders, declared that it could not be denied that stagnation was extending over commerce and manufactures, as well as over land, and that it could no longer be denied that the depression of agriculture could not exist without extending to commerce and manufactures. Whatever might be the boasts about the late experiment, such was the state of men's minds. Of the free-trading public, one-fourth distinctly stated that the experiment had failed, and that they were disappointed; one-fourth were privately convinced that there must be a change; one-fourth had their confidence converted into doubt; and the remaining fourth would rather go to the scaffold or ruin than confess their error. Five millions of taxes had been reduced since the repeal of the corn laws, but no part of this remission was for the relief of the agricultural interests. It was the fashion to say, that the hon. Member for Bucks sought to restore protection; but he (Mr. Cayley) maintained, that the hon. Member's proposed measures would all have had the effect of adapting the new system to the old interests. The line of policy taken by the hon. Member for Bucks was—if you have no corn-law legislation, you must have no corn-law taxation. Had the Government acted in that spirit? On the contrary, they acted on the principle of a man, who had embarked on an insane speculation, and continued to throw all his fortune into it, and thus kept casting good money after bad. There wore only two principles on which this country could, with its heavy burdens on it, act—either to artificially sustain their means to a level with their burdens, or to bring their burdens down to a level with their means. It was with the view of bringing down their burdens to a level with their means that he made his Motion. What had been the object, or at least the effect, of the opposite system—the system of unprofitable cheapness? Labour could not benefit in the end by the ruin of its employer. The productive interests had not benefited. Who had benefited then, by this system of constantly declining prices? The annuitant, the tax-eater, and the Jew. With every fall of a shilling in price, there was a corresponding rise in the value of every shilling in the purse of the monied interest. Here was the impersonation of that pet favourite of Parliament—the bugbear of our legisla- tion—"the consumer;" as if all men did not consume. But here was the only consumer who had no interest in common with productive industry; to him, under the euphonious phrase, the "consumer," all other interests were deferred. To these drones of the hive, had been sacrificed the industrious bees. What was the question before the House? There was a duty of from 70 to 100 per cent on one article of agricultural produce. They wore told, when they should have free trade, that their hands would be unshackled; but they were not so. It was said, the malt tax was a consumer's tax, but it was a producer's tax also. Why did the manufacturers clamour to have the duty taken from raw cotton? Because they knew that it was a tax upon the producer. It was paid by the consumer, but it taxed the producer by diminishing the sale of his goods. Manchester would not stand this tax. There were none of the interests of this country, and especially the manufacturing interests—which were always alive to these subjects—which would tolerate that interference with their manufactures which the farmers suffered with their produce. The effect of the present system was to give a monstrous monopoly to the large brewers. The object which he had in view was to get rid of the tax, but not to embarrass the Exchequer. He would propose to repeal the duty at once, or, if that were inconvenient, to take half the duty off in October, and the other half in the following April. It was impossible, under a system of free trade, to keep the hands of the farmer shackled. He demanded, on the part of the agricultural community, that they should no longer be burdened with so oppressive a description of taxation. It was said, that wages had not been lowered in proportion to the declining price of corn; but could any one be found credulous enough to suppose that the farmers or manufacturers could continue much longer to carry on their operations at a loss? The labourers knew the absurdity of it, and they were taking every possible means to leave the country. He was astonished, hi going into Yorkshire, during the Easter holidays, to find the number of the most respectable labourers who were emigrating to America and the colonies. His hon. Friend the Member for Devonshire had also told them the other night, that a similar process of emigration was going on in his part of the country. It was distressing to read the letters which were received by their friends from those who had preceded them to the States. The invariable burden of them was, not to lose time, but to join them immediately; and the language in which they were couched, showed that the writers were animated with feelings of hatred and disgust for the country in which so little regard was paid to the interests of British labour. The indifference of Government and of Parliament to this important subject was rapidly driving out of the country the very persons who would otherwise have been its principal support and mainstay. This iniquitous, unjust, and oppressive system of taxation could not long be suffered to remain unchecked. The time would assuredly come when the tax would be abolished. Of the truth of this prediction, he was perfectly persuaded. There was lying under cover of this tax a means of rescue to the agricultural interest, which would go far to recompense them for all they had lost. The effect of the tax was to raise the price of the poor man's beer 500 per cent. Were they prepared to keep from the poor man that which was to him a simple, and, at the same time, a necessary luxury. In years gone by, the poor man was allowed to make and drink his beer in his own house. His wife was then the brewer; but the legislation of late years had deprived him of this healthy and invigorating beverage, and had compelled him to repair to the gin palace and beer-shop, there to imbibe, amid scenes of immorality and crime, the most deleterious liquid. If they would at once strike at the root of the evil, and abolish the tax altogether, they would destroy the inducement to go to the beerhouse, and they would go far to prevent one-half of the crime which was committed by the working classes. The repeal of the malt tax was absolutely necessary to secure the improved morality of the people. The beer which the labourer could drink, if it were untaxed, would cost him but 5s. per thirty-six gallons, or about one penny halfpenny per gallon. This reduction would amount to a reduction of 80 per cent from the present price; in other words, his beer would be five times as cheap, brewed at home. But the tax was not only oppressive to the consumer, but grossly oppressive to the producer also. The House might not be aware of the manner in which the malt tax operated upon the land. The average produce of an acre of barley land was five quarters, the tax of which amounted to 5l. 10s. The landlord, in all probability, got about 25s. per acre, and the farmer 15s. (though at present he got nothing), but 5l. 10s. was paid to the Crown. The ale which an acre of barley would make, was charged at a public-house 50l. 10s.; but, if the malt tax were repealed, the ale which the five quarters of barley would yield could be had for 10l. 14s. Therefore, the tax operated to the extent of the difference between 50l. 10s. paid now, and 10l. 14s., which would be paid for the same quantity of ale if it were repealed. Was not this a tax on the poor? And if this consumption was diminished from three to five-fold by the price arising out of heavy taxation—was not the producer (who was the farmer) punished in a corresponding degree by that limitation in the demand for his goods? When he brought this question under the consideration of the House last year, he alluded to the reductions which had taken place in duties levied on articles of general consumption, and he had shown that whenever those reductions were made, as in the case of tea and coffee, the consumption had invariably increased from 300 to 800 per cent. If the tax on malt were reduced, the consumption would increase in the same ratio as in the case of tea and coffee; but if it were repealed altogether, there would be an extra demand for 10,000,000 quarters of barley. The complaint which the farmers now made, with regard to the repeal of the corn laws, was, the supply of 10,000,000 quarters of foreign grain; but if the malt tax were repealed, there would shortly grow up a demand for 10,000,000 more quarters of barley; and this new and extra demand would counterbalance the new and extra supply lately introduced from abroad. There would be an increased demand for 10,000,000 quarters of barley; for the consumption would be increased three-fold. Barley would at once rise. The growth, perhaps, of 4,000,000 quarters of wheat, and the same amount of oats and other grain, would be superseded by barley. The remaining 2,000,000 quarters might be furnished from abroad. Some doubted such a result. But take a hypothetical case. Suppose beer had never been heard of, and some one now discovered it—that it became so popular that 20,000,000 quarters were consumed—the growth of this country. Would that not raise prices—displace wheat and oats—and raise their prices also, from taking many million quarters out of the market? Suppose, after a while, so heavy a tax was laid on malt, that the consumption was reduced to 5,000,000 quarters—would that not create a tremendous fall in barley and all other grains? This might explain how great a benefit would accrue from the repeal of the malt tax, which prevented the consumption of 10 or 15,000,000 quarters of barley, and kept down the consumption to 5,000,000 quarters. A new and excessive demand was the natural remedy for a new and excessive supply. It was said that the country had grown more sober now; but a reference to returns would show that the decrease in the consumption of malt drink was to be traced to the pressure of taxation which had driven it out of consumption. Every successive increase of duty had diminished the consumption of malt. The effect of the legislation, of late years, in Ireland, had been to change the population from a malt-drinking community into a spirit-drinking population. In the year 1792, the tax on malt was 2s. 6d.; but in 1801 it had reached 6s. 6d. The result was, that the consumption had decreased from 1,280,000 barrels to 173,000,000, a difference of 700 per cent. The increased consumption of spirits in England during the last 45 years was twofold, in Scotland fivefold, and in Ireland sixfold. This increased consumption of spirits in Ireland and Scotland, as compared with England, was to be attributed to the reduction of duty. The duty on spirits in England was 7s. 10d. per gallon; in Scotland 3s. 8d.; and in Ireland 2s. 8d.; and the increase of consumption was in direct proportion to the reduction of duty. But this increased consumption of spirits contradicted the assumption, that the increased consumption of tea and coffee, as compared with malt liquor, was caused by more temperate habits in the masses. Malt was, in fact, driven out of consumption by taxation. It was said, however, to frighten the farmer, that the foreigner would send his malt, because he already sent his flour. This argument, however, would not bear examination, because the increased price of freight would be a drawback. The Frenchman could always beat us in the production of flour, because the dry climate of France was favourable to its grinding; and the freight of flour from diminished bulk was less than of wheat by one-half; but in the article of barley he could not compete with us, because malt required a damp climate, and malt increased in bulk, and cost more freight than barley. The quantity of good barley which the foreigner exported to this country was, after all, very little, not amounting to more than 500,000 quarters per annum, for he could no more compete with us in that commodity, than we could compete with him in the article of flour. The importations of foreign barley since the repeal of the corn laws were very little greater than those which took place before their repeal. In 1844, the import of barley was above 1,000,000 quarters. In 1847, when the price of corn was 44s. 4d., the importations were 772,000 quarters; in 1848, 1,054,000 quarters; in 1849, when corn was 27s. 9d., 1,380,00 quarters; and in 1850, the price having declined to 23s. 6d., they fell to 983,000 quarters—or a falling-off of 25 per cent. He showed that in barley they were not afraid of the foreigner, and that there was no danger to be apprehended from the importation of malt, and consequently none to British agriculture. He had also shown that there would be an increased demand for British barley to the extent of 8,000,000 quarters; and from the displacement of wheat and oats to make room for the growth of this 8,000,000 quarters of barley, there was not a single acre of land in England, Scotland, or Ireland, that would not benefit as much as the barley land. It was a wheat and oats question quite as much as a barley question. The demand for 8,000,000 quarters of barley would reduce the growth of 8,000,000 quarters of wheat and oats in this country. It would take 8,000,000 quarters of wheat and oats out of the market. Would not that raise their prices? What did raise prices but an extra demand as compared with the supply? What lowered prices but an excessive supply as compared with the demand. What effect would the repeal of this tax have on the hop-grower? If the demand for barley were increased threefold, would not the demand for hops increase in the same proportion? He would like to know, therefore, what better relief could be given to the hop-grower than what would he conferred by the adoption of the proposition before the House? It would also, he had calculated, give a directly increased employment to 100,000 men, and indirectly to their families to the extent of 500,000. It would also have the effect of not only giving to the poor man a wholesome national beverage, but it would induce him to spend his evenings at home, instead of resorting to those haunts of vies—the beershops. He hoped the noble Lord the Prime Minister, who was not then in his place, would at the same time consent to promote the welfare and morality of the country, and to relieve the springs of agricultural industry. They had been told that there was no increase in the poor-rates, and that the revenue was on the increase. It would have been odd if the poor-rates had increased, when the population were emigrating by thousands and tens of thousands; and it would be also odd if our revenue fell so long as labour was employed out of the farmer's and manufacturers' capital. When that capital melted away, as melt it must if not replenished by profit, labour would in proportion cease to be employed, and the revenue in proportion decline. With regard to exports, there never was a period when the same noise was not raised about exports. The very distress and necessities of the manufacturer might compel him to force the export trade. Mr. Huskisson in 1821 and 1822, and Mr. Poulett Thompson in 1833 and 1834, denied the existence of distress, because there had been increased exportation. But the people of this country had found out that there might be increased exportation coincident with great pressure. In fact, it was notorious that exports were now forced to compensate for the diminution in the home trade; and it was equally notorious that the present export trade was unprofitable. There was a spasmodic effort under pressure to send goods abroad on consignment. The Government had declared that they would not retrace their steps. He was not asking them to do so. The country would very shortly do so, however, and in a tone not to be misinterpreted too, or he was greatly mistaken. But if Parliament would not retrace, it must at least redress. He now called on them to redress this grievous wrong. He knew that if that House did not do justice to the farmers, another tribunal would. To that House (the House of Commons) he would appeal for justice; and if it did not grant justice, where justice was so much needed, he would appeal to those whose ultimate influence none could deny—to those who, from bitter experience, knew what injustice was—to those who had only to go to their natural convictions to tell them what justice meant—to them, the million bees of our busy hive, the deluded victims of a suicidal policy, he would appeal for the redress of this crying wrong.

Motion made, and Question put— That leave be given to bring in a Bill to repeal the Malt Tax.


said, he was not astonished that this subject of the malt tax should have been brought forward again in the present Session by the hon. Member for the North Biding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cayley); and he hoped that the hon. Member would continue to bring it under the notice of the House each succeeding year until something definite was done by the House in regard to it, either by repealing it altogether, or by obtaining such a remission as should afford the agriculturists some hope of gradual relief from this unjust impost. Was it to be wondered at that the farmer should complain when he was called upon to contribute to the revenue on the single article barley on its transference into malt as much as was paid on the whole of the property of the country? The income tax levied upon 170,000,000l.—the whole property of the country—amounted only to about 5,500,000l., and the same amount was levied upon malt alone. The cultivated acres of the United Kingdom amounted to 77,000,000; only 1,000,000 grew barley, and that 1,000,000 of acres had to bear the tremendous burden of 5,500,000l. of taxation. The farmers had cause to complain not only that there had been held out to them no hope of relief, but of the apathy evinced by the House in the debate on the subject of this tax last year, and that amongst those Members who represented agricultural districts, there were many who opposed the Motion, both by their speeches and their votes. He was glad that public opinion had, in some places at least, been brought to bear with good effect upon the hon. Gentlemen who took that course. The hon. Member opposite, the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Packe), was one of those who had voted against the Motion of last year; but now he was happy to see that this year that hon. Member had given notice of a Motion to reduce the malt duty by one half, in the event of the failure of the Motion of the hon. Member for the North Biding of Yorkshire. He rejoiced at this, as it was desirable the country should understand that remonstrances, such as those which he presumed had been addressed to the hon. Member by his constituents, would be effectual. But not only was there reason for complaining that many of the agricultural Members had absented themselves from the division last year, or voted against the Motion, but the conduct of some amongst the manufacturing Members also was open to animadversion in reference to this question of there-peal of the malt tax. The hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) had voted against such a proposition on one occasion; and his right hon. Colleague (Mr. M. Gibson), who was not now present had voted in the same way. The hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cobden), too, he found did not vote in the division of last year, and he observed that he was not present to-night. But he was most of all surprised at the course taken by the Irish Members, very few of whom voted on the question last year, and who from their absence he supposed did not intend to vote on the present occasion. Of all persons those hon. Members who represented Ireland would, if they know their own interest, take an active part against this tax. It was sad to read every day in the papers of splendid properties being sacrificed in that country because it was not permitted to cultivate the land in the profitable way in which it would be cultivated were the malt tax repealed, and such restrictions as that which prohibited the manufacture of beetroot removed. Professor Sullivan had shown in his pamphlet that sugar might be produced in Ireland from beet at the rate of a ton per acre. In 1835 a company was formed in Ireland for that purpose, but their operations were arrested by the Government passing an Act in 1837, the first year of Her Majesty's reign, imposing a duty of 24l. a ton on that description of produce. Looking at its advantages of soil and climate for the growth of barley, Ireland might, if permitted, compete with any country in the world in the production both of barley and beetroot. He agreed with the hon. Member for the North Riding of Yorkshire, that if the malt tax were removed, 10,000,000 quarters of barley might be grown and brought into consumption in this country beyond the quantity now consumed. The only argument he had heard adduced against the repeal of the malt tax was, that by cheapening beer drunkenness and vice would be promoted. Now, he thought the argument was entirely the contrary, and that the dearness of malt occasioned adulteration of beer, which adulteration produced all the drunkenness that was complained of. The extent to which adulteration was carried was shown by the fact, that a very short time ago seven publicans in London were fined 200l. each by the Excise for that offence. He was not one of those who asked or expected that 5,000,000l. of money should be at once taken from the Exchequer. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Hear, hear!] He should be satisfied if the right hon. Gentleman the Chaccellor of the Exchequer would say, "I admit you have a certain portion of justice on your side, and it is only proper and fair that we should endeavour to approximate towards the total repeal of the malt tax as fast as we can; and as I cannot do all I could wish for you at once, I will begin by reducting the tax 10 per cent this year, 20 per cent next, and so on, year by year, until it shall altogether cease." But the right hon. Gentleman would hold out no hope of anything of the kind. He trusted, however, that if the House would not do it of itself, public opinion would be brought to bear upon them in such a manner as would compel them to give the people that justice which they had a right to demand.


, as one who had been personally alluded to by the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Alcock), wished to say that he was as anxious as any hon. Member could be to relieve the great and overwhelming distress of the British farmer, but that he could not think the repeal of the malt tax would have that effect. He entirely coincided in opinion with the hon. Member for the North Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cayley), that the British farmer was overwhelmed by great and overpowering distress, and, as a practical farmer himself, and the representative of an agricultural district, he was anxious in every possible way to relieve that distress. The first question they had to deal with had reference to the revenue. He should be glad on every possible occasion to vote for the repeal of any tax which would compel the Government to resort to that policy which alone could afford any substantial relief to the farmer, namely, protection. He believed the repeal of the malt tax would be of material advantage to the consumer, and in so far as the farmer was a consumer, it would, no doubt, be an unquestionable benefit to him also; but for every 5s. put into the pocket of the farmer as a consumer, you would take 20s. out of it as a producer. The whole question of advantage hinged upon the effect the repeal of the tax would have on the importation of foreign malt. He thought, if the tax were once repealed, that, in the present temper of the House of Commons, and their desire to extend free trade, there could not be a doubt but malt would be admitted from abroad duty free. There could be no doubt that, if the malt tax were repealed, consumption would be greatly increased; but what benefit would that be to the farmer, if the market were inundated with foreign produce? The hon. Member for the North Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cayley) had failed to convince him that malt could not be imported from abroad. In the course of the great corn-law battle, the agriculturists were told there was not a chance of any importation of flour from France—they need not fear the foreigner; but as matters turned out, flour was imported in large quantities from France, and though there might be an increased consumption of malt, to the extent of 300 per cent, by the repeal of the malt tax, there was no reason to suppose that the foreigner would not malt to a considerable extent and import it into this country. But it was said that, if we had a large importation of barley, we should have less of wheat and flour. He could not see how giving the foreign growers a stimulant for the growth of barley would induce them to decrease the importation of wheat into this country. Mr. Sandars, a gentleman extensively engaged in the corn trade in England, stated before a Committee of that House, that the English agriculturist was seriously injured in 1836 by the importation of corn from Ireland. But how much greater must be the injury if all parts of the world were allowed to send their produce here without any restriction? He would not only go for the repeal of half the tax, but the whole of it, if he thought it would not lead to an inundation of malt from abroad. Let him have the same prohibition of foreign malt that now existed, and he would go to any extent in repealing the malt tax. He believed, however, that the least evil of the two was to retain the tax, in order to prevent foreign competition. He was a large grower of barley himself, and of course sympathised with other growers, and on that account he was desirous of maintaining the protection which they at present enjoyed.


was glad of the opportunity of admitting the energy, the ability, and the consistency, evidenced on all occasions by the hon. Member for the North Riding (Mr. Cayley) in regard to this question. But be believed that the best of questions might sometimes be brought forward out of season; and he considered that the present proposal was altogether untimely. He (Mr. Aglionby) had voted for as many years on this question as most Members of that House, and he had always voted for the repeal of the tax, invariably urging that it was an impost which ought not to be maintained one moment longer than the absolute necessities of the country required. But on this occasion, and under the peculiar circumstances, financial and other, in which the House and the Government were placed, he should feel it his duty to-night to give his vote against the Motion. They were not in a position to adjudge the question on its merits. The House, in the first place, had forced upon the Government the repeal of the window tax, and had consented to important modifications in the other great branches of revenue. Again, by a recent decision, of which, however, he was far from complaining, the House had limited the duration of the income tax to one year, furthermore referring the full consideration of all the subjects connected with that tax to a Select Committee. These were circumstances which Members on that (the Ministerial) side of the House could not or ought not to overlook; and, in his opinion, while the result of the deliberations of the Select Committee on the Income Tax was a matter of utter uncertainty, it would he nothing less than madness to rescind a tax of an amount so enormous as the malt tax. Indeed he did not see that with any propriety or discretion they could further tamper with the financial arrangements of the year; and what he had said of this proposal he would say of all other proposals of a similar nature. Abiding, therefore, by all the opinions which he had formerly expressed in regard to the malt tax, he felt himself compelled to record his vote against the hon. Member for the North Riding.


believed that other duties and other taxes required prior attention to those which Her Majesty's Government had dealt with. The appeal, therefore, of the hon. Member for Cockermouth (Mr. Aglionby) had no weight with him; and, as the House had rejected the proposition of the right hon. Member for Stamford (Mr. Herries), he would support the Motion for a repeal of the malt duty. He considered the maintenance of the malt tax at complete variance with the financial policy of Her Majesty's Government, which consisted in making every possible reduction in duties on articles of prime necessity. People differed as to what were articles of prime necessity. Many looked upon meat as an article of that description; but there were many Gentlemen who did not so regard it. He believed the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Brotherton) belonged to a society, which, so far from considering meat as an article of prime necessity, excluded it from general consumption. There was the same difference of opinion as to oats—Gentlemen on the north side of the Tweed might think oats an article of prime necessity, but few Gentlemen of the south would concur with them. If barley was an article of prime necessity, how could the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer justify the levying of a duty on barley tenfold that which was repealed on the alteration of the corn laws? The principle by which he (Mr. Floyer) suggested they might distinguish articles of prime necessity was by confining the definition to all the various articles, the purchase of which formed part of the weekly expenditure of the labouring man. It mattered not to the labouring man whether taxes were raised on one or two articles, or upon the whole of those different articles which he consumed. If he consumed so much bread and so much beer—or would consume so much beer but for unfair taxation—it was no difference whether the taxation were 1s. on the beer, or part on beer and the other part on those articles which his weekly necessities obliged him to buy. He (Mr. Floyer) held that the Government were only deluding the poor man when they reduced the taxation on his bread, but at the same time continued to tax what he (Mr. Floyer) maintained was an article which was absolutely necessary for his moderate enjoyment. How many occupations were there in which, if a poor man could not command a certain supply of beer, his health would, by the want of it, be seriously and, perhaps, permanently impaired? In the irrigation and draining of land, and those occupations which brought the labourer in connexion with water and damp positions, it was necessary to guard his health, and promote his comfort, and protect him against injurious effects, by a wholesome and moderate enjoyment of a certain quantity of beer. In haymaking and harvesting, and other employments pursued often under a burning sun, what was so efficacious in slaking thirst as the good old English habitual beverage, which, besides re- cruiting the strength, was not followed by those injurious consequences which attended the use of other liquids? There were other points from which this question might be viewed. One, which might not weigh with many hon. Gentlemen, was worth some consideration—the question regarding beer as an article of manufacture. Under the existing regulations imposing the malt tax, it was impossible that, as an article of manufacture, beer could be produced so as to be exported from this country to any other country. It might he thought chimerical to suppose that any demand would ever arise for this article; but he did not look upon the supposition as at all extravagant. Hon. Gentlemen who had travelled, must be well aware of the very inferior quality offered abroad in the shape of beer. It was not that the foreigner did not like beer; in many countries there was a considerable sale of beer; but it was of such inferior quality that no Englishman would attach any value to it, or have any respect or regard for it. He thought, if the English article were brought into competition with those foreign articles, a demand would spring up; and if it did spring up, there would be a great increase in the demand for barley, which would give increased employment, and greatly benefit the agricultural classes, by which that article was produced. In the county which he had the honour to represent—and, he believed, in every county in England—it could not be denied that the capital of the agriculturists was undergoing serious, if not rapid, diminution. If that capital was diminished, how were the labourers to be employed? He had with shame heard it hinted in that House, as well as said publicly elsewhere, that capital would be easily supplied from other and different sources. But he believed that, if the soil of England was to be cultivated at all, it must be by those who were the children of the soil, who had been bred up in the pursuit, and whose fathers and forefathers had occupied the cottages and homesteads of the rural population of England. He did not for a moment undervalue the importance of having fresh capital introduced into agricultural employment. Far from it. He believed that amateur shopkeepers and retired manufacturers and merchants might, by entering the agricultural classes, confer benefit and impart advantages to those classes which they could not otherwise experience. But to look to such sources—to believe that from the capital of the trades- man, of the merchant, or of the manufacturer, they would derive sufficient profit and success to till the many fields and wide-spread acres of this country—and to act on that supposition, would lead to most fatal and destructive results. He need not go further into that point, as the pressure on the owners and occupiers of land had been admitted by the Government, and acknowledged in the Speech from the Throne; but unless the intimation to consider that pressure was acted upon in this and other measures, he was at a loss to conceive the object of that intimation. Much stress had been laid on the position of the labouring population, and to show their increased prosperity poor-law returns had been quoted. He was not disposed to deny that, on the face of those returns, there was a great appearance of pauperism being reduced. Those returns must not be taken as conclusive with respect to the state of the agricultural population, for they only affected that particular class of persons who have so far sunk in the social scale as to become applicants for relief. But there was a large and a more important class of labourers, whose spirit was too high to admit of their becoming suitors to the relief board, and who had, during the past winter, been suffering great privations. He did not deny that labourers who were in constant employment derived considerable advantage from the low price of provisions; but there was a very numerous class, both in the agricultural and the manufacturing districts, who during the past winter had not had anything like full work, and who had consequently been living upon short wages. The consequence of that scarcity of employment was, that the people went to spend their time in the beershops and other places of dissipation and amusement, which were the principal sources of crime in this country.


was desirous, being connected with the same part of the country as the hon. Member who had just spoken, of saying a few words relative to the condition of the labouring population. He understood the hon. Member to say, that he never knew a time when labourers were so much out of employment as during the last winter. Having frequently heard statements of that description, he determined to visit, during the recent holidays, a union on the borders of Dorsetshire—he alluded to the union of Mere—of which he was a visiting magistrate. Having asked the master what was the state of the workhouse, the answer he received was, "We have scarcely people enough to keep the house in order." In short, it appeared that the number of inmates had diminished from between 70 and 80 to about 40, and these were persons aged or incapable of working, and children. The only ablebodied man in the house was one who had brought in his wife and five children, because he could not get a house to live in in the parish in which he worked. This was the fault of the law of settlement. Thinking the man might be an idle fellow, he made some inquiry respecting him of his former master, who assured him that he was an excellent workman, and that he would employ him again if the owner of the parish—for it all belonged to one person—would find him a house to live in. He visited another union, also on the borders of Dorsetshire, but in the county of Somerset. In this union the number of paupers in the house had slightly increased, but the rates had been reduced in two years from 7,000l. to 5,400l. The master of the union informed him that there was not a single man of good character out of work. The union comprised 26 parishes, and there were only 20 ablebodied men in the workhouse, being not one for each parish. Four years ago 16 ablebodied men came to him, in the union to which he had first alluded, with cards in their hands, which had been given them by the guardians, notifying that they were good workmen. It was a common practice at that time for labourers to go round with these cards to farmers in their own and the adjoining parishes, and to endeavour to get work. Up to the very year before the free-trade measures passed, farmers were accustomed to turn off labourers in October, and take them on again at Easter. For his part, he could perceive no evidence of distress in his neighbourhood, and he could not understand how it happened that the labourers should always be worse off where a Protectionist resided than where a Free-trader lived.


explained, that what he said was, that a greater number of labourers were partially employed only last winter, than he had ever known to be so employed before.


said, he had heard the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer speak of the improved condition of the agricultural labourer. Now, he held in his hand a document which showed that, whilst in the quarter ending March 25, 1850, the number of paupers in the various unions in the western division of the county of Suffolk was 1,135, of whom 109 were ablebodied men, on the 25th of March, 1851, the number of paupers was 1,564, and of ablebodied men 317. With respect to the Motion before the House, he thought that it ought to be adopted, in justice to the agricultural portion of the community. The labouring classes were unable to obtain that quantity of beer which was necessary for their health. He regretted to say, in his own part of the country, the wages of labour generally was reduced, necessarily reduced, for the agriculturist generally obtained so small a remuneration for his produce that he could not pay the labourers as he would wish to do. Wages had been reduced relatively more than the price of corn, and he regretted to say that the humbler classes in the county to which he belonged were in a worse condition than, to his knowledge, they had ever been in before, and many more ablebodied men would be in the union workhouses but for the present law of settlement.


regarded the present Motion as a dangerous appeal to the masses. ["Oh, oh!"] Yes, because the pretence of its supporters was to reduce the price of beer—a strange sort of opinion coming from the hon. Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Floyer), who deprecated the idea of the working population resorting to places of amusement. It had been said that the measure would benefit the agriculturists. For his part, he did not understand by what mode of reasoning hon. Members arrived at that conclusion, because it was evident that the tax was ultimately paid by the consumer, as indeed the hon. Member for the North Riding (Mr. Cayley) had admitted in his see-saw speech, when it suited his purpose, although when he made use of another class of arguments he maintained that it was paid by the producer. He (Mr. Trelawny) thought it most unsafe to meddle with our system of taxation, for it was like a castle of cards; if you touched one part of it, you were apt to make the whole fall to the ground. He contended that those who advocated a repeal of the malt tax, or a repeal of the tea or tobacco duties, were bound to state what substitute they proposed, otherwise they would not satisfy him, who entertained a very strong opinion that they ought to apply a large sum annually to the reduction of the national debt, that they had made an adequate provision for that purpose. He wished to know if the Protectionists would accept the repeal of the malt tax as an ultimate settlement of the question of protection? He doubted if the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) would commit himself to that bargain. An hon. Gentleman had expressed his surprise at the absence of Irish Members from this debate; but he thought it might be very easily understood, for if the malt tax were repealed, they could not get "another pull at the Exchequer." The House had been informed of the largo emigration from Plymouth. He believed the emigration was not larger now than it had been for the last few years; and that it was so large at Plymouth, arose not from the district, but because Plymouth had become the great emigration port. He thought it was not to be deplored, but rather a subject of gratification, that the surplus population of these islands were betaking themselves to our colonies, where their labour would be most useful, and where, along with obtaining for themselves, in an ample degree, the necessaries of life, they would in time become useful customers of this country.


voted for the repeal of the malt tax thirty years ago, and, if the circumstances of the country were the same now as they were then, he would be tempted to take the same course still; but such was not the fact. The main thing which governed him in voting against the proposition was, that the importation of malt was at present prohibited; whereas, if the tax were repealed, the inevitable result would be to induce an immediate importation of the finer qualities of barley for the purpose of making malt, and in this way the counties which produced the finer qualities of barley would be seriously affected. Two months ago, when his hon. Friend (Mr. Cayley) gave notice of this Motion, he (Mr. Wodehouse) gave notice of an Amendment proposing that the duty should be reduced to a moderate amount. But the question of duties seemed now to be entirely exploded. He believed that he was the only surviving Member of a Committee which sat upon this subject in 1821, upon which occasion Mr. Huskisson was much interested in it. His (Mr. Wodehouse's object was to have a general relaxation of the commercial policy, and to see whether a moderate system of duties might not be substituted. He thought that a better remedy for the distress of the agriculturists would be found in a duty of 3s. upon wheat, and 2s. upon inferior grains, which he conceived would satisfy every reasonable person. He begged to take that opportunity of adverting to the vote he gave a few nights ago on the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume). He could not but feel that a Motion making the question of a property tax an annual vote, must, of necessity, bring the Executive Government of the country into a state of financial weakness; and he confessed that he was only justified in voting for it upon the ground that the Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to have been framed in complete oblivion of the circumstances of the country during the last few years. He begged also to state, that although he was perfectly aware of the difficulty of making any extensive modification in the income tax, he did not think that the difficulty was so enormous as that it could not be partially overcome.


supported the Motion; because in the first place he believed that the exorbitant amount of the malt tax operated as a very strong inducement to persons, particularly to country brewers, to drug their beer. One of the strongest proofs that a great quantity of the beer consumed in the country was not the product of pure malt and hops, was to be found in the fact, that there was not so much malt consumed now as was consumed in 1780, notwithstanding the increase of population. The quantity of malt upon which duty was paid in 1780 was 30,805,110 bushels, the average consumption per head being four bushels; whereas in 1845 the number of bushels upon which duty was paid was only 30,508,840, notwithstanding the increase of population—the average consumption per head being only one bushel and seven gallons. His second reason for supporting the Motion was, that it had been proved that malt might be advantageously used in fattening cattle. Another reason which operated with him was, that he knew that in various parts of the kingdom there was a great quantity of soil of inferior quality—in the north-east division of Sussex there were several thousand acres—which might be profitably employed in the growth of barley for malting purposes, and for fattening cattle. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to find another tax to substitute in its place, and if he would only turn his attention to the subject, he would find no great diffi- culty in doing so. Perhaps the safer way for the agriculturists of dealing with this tax was to repeal it gradually, so as to have it extinguished ultimately in about five years and a half.


I am desirous of saying a few words before the close of this debate, in order to explain my reasons for the vote which it is my intention to give against the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the North Riding. The hon. Gentleman holds peculiar views upon this question, and though no doubt he may procure many hon. Gentlemen to vote with him for a repeal of the malt tax, yet few, if any, will agree with him in the arguments which he urges to effect this object. The hon. Gentleman has told us that one effect would be, to increase the consumption of malt threefold, say from 5,000,000 quarters to 15,000,000, and that this would prove a panacea to the growers of corn, for the total repeal of the corn laws. Now, Sir, if I were an agriculturist, and believed this, I should feel disposed to take the same course as the hon. Gentleman; but, as I entirely differ from him, and believe that the effects would be rather injurious than beneficial to the owners and occupiers of land, I cannot support the Motion. The hon. Gentleman has attempted to prove that the growers of barley and the makers of malt have no cause to fear foreign competition. He tells us that the import of foreign barley has been only one million of quarters per annum since the repeal of the corn laws, and that the supply is falling off. He informs us further, that the quality of foreign barley is generally so inferior to the English, as not to be fit for our maltsters; and with respect to their sending us malt in place of barley, the hon. Gentleman rather ridicules the idea, and asks, why should the foreigner send us malt? Now, I will tell the House why: because from November to April, the five best malting months of the year, the ports from whence we receive the best barley and the largest supplies, are closed by frost; and the result of admitting malt free of duty would be the sending us large quantities of foreign make, through the summer months, displacing so much English, to the injury of both the grower of barley and the maker of malt here. In fact, we may look for a repetition of the same consequences, under which the millers are now suffering, from the encouragement given to foreign shippers, and the large importations of flour from France and other parts. And let me inform the House of the serious effects of this large import of flour upon the interest of both the agriculturist and miller of this country, more particularly Ireland. I have recently received disastrous accounts from that country of the injurious effects of these large and unrestricted imports; the miller's trade there has been seriously injured, and the value of his property greatly diminished. And I tell the House the time is not far distant when this question must be brought before it, that some relief may be afforded to this important interest of our national industry. It is also argued that no great quantities of malt would be imported, as it is a perishable article. But the fact is, it is much less perishable than barley. Barley is frequently seriously injured by heating on the voyage; but malt will improve (if kept water tight) in the hold of a ship even for twelve months. It mellows and renders it more tender and kind for the brewer. The hon. Gentleman also talks of the monopoly of the maltster. Now, Sir, if he had said the brewer, there would have been some force and truth in his argument; as we have many instances of large fortunes having been made by brewers, but few, if any, by the maltsters. The hon. Gentleman further informs us, that the beer of the people is taxed some 500 per cent, and he arrives at this monstrous conclusion by informing us that five quarters of barley may be made into malt and brewed into beer at a cost of 10l.; whereas the retail price would be no less than 50l., or 500 per cent. Why, Sir, the hon. Gentleman either knows or ought to know that good beer can be brewed now from malt at 2d. or 3d. per quart; yet still the poor man prefers to buy it at the retail price of 6d. to 8d. per quart. And now, Sir, let me ask what would the total repeal of the duty amount to? Why 7-8ths of a penny. But the hon. Gentleman says, repeal the malt duty, and barley will advance 6s. to 8s. per quarter. If so, then the advantage to the consumer would be but 14s. per quarter, or one halfpenny per quart on beer. Mark then, if the public will not now brew their own beer, to save 4d. per quart, is it probable they will do so for the additional saving of one halfpenny per quart? The hon. Gentleman speaks confidently of the greatly increased consumption to be expected from the repeal of the duty, and argues, that because tea and coffee have greatly increased in consumption, after a reduction of duty, the same would be the case with malt. But if the hon. Gentleman refers to the returns laid on the table of this House, he will find that for ten years previous to 1839, compared with ten years previous to 1849, that although the consumption of tea, coffee, and cocoa greatly increased, in the latter period that of malt, wine, and spirits actually decreased; proving clearly that the habits and tastes of the people had changed for the better, giving a preference to exhilirating rather than to intoxicating liquors, as the following table will show:

Malt 39,930,000 bushels 38,935,000
Tea 35,136,000. lbs. 50,024,400
Coffee 26,832,000 lbs. 34,631,000
Cocoa 1,610,000 lbs. 3,233,000
Spirits 29,216,000 gallons 28,231,000
Wine 7,238,000 gallons 6,487,000
The hon. Gentleman says if you repeal the malt tax the small farmer and the small consumer will not only brew his own beer, but make his own malt. I ask is he to steep it in his wash tub, to grow it in his blanket, dry it in his Dutch oven, and grind it in his coffee mill, if even he be so fortunate as to possess these articles? But the supposition is both improbable and impracticable. I shall next refer to the financial part of the question. The House has recently decided that the property and income tax shall be renewed but for one year, thus placing five millions of revenue in uncertainty. I ask, then, will the House repeal five millions additional taxation, and thus shake, if not paralyse, the credit of the country? I, Sir, will be no party to such a course of proceeding. The hon. Member for Derby has given notice of a Motion to repeal one half the duty. This is even more objectionable than the total repeal, as it leaves all the machinery and expenses of collection, and the maltster, subject to all vexatious restrictions and penalties, which in my mind are the strongest arguments in favour of the repeal of the duty, There are no less than thirty-two penalties to which the maltster is liable, and few less than 100l.; and in the year 1847 there were 292 prosecutions against parties for the infringement of these laws. And the hon. Gentleman knows full well, that as the law now stands, he cannot steep his barley in the cistern as long as he wishes, nor yet lay it on the couch or on the floors the thickness he deems best; nor give it water as early or as much as he might desire. Taking all these questions into consideration, and bearing in mind that if even the consumption of malt were increased some two millions of quarters, the foreigner would be able to supply us with this additional quantity either in the shape of barley or malt—bearing in mind also that if the malt tax is repealed, some other substitute must be found which would in all probability press much more severely on the agricultural interest—I say, Sir, it is a suicidal policy on their part to vote for the repeal of this tax; and I agree with Adam Smith when he said five or six millions sterling might be had from malt more easily and so as to be less burthensome to the country than in any other way.


was anxious to say a few words on behalf of a class not represented in that House, and whose interests he had much at heart; but he must say he was somewhat astonished at the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, and at the extraordinary opinion he had expressed, that malt would be improved by stowing it in the hot hold of a vessel. Why should hon. Gentlemen opposite make such a clamour about, bread and not stir one step in favour of beer? See how the consumption of spirits had increased. The returns showed that the consumption of spirits was in England one gallon per head, in Ireland one gallon and a half, and in Scotland two gallons per head of the population. This increased consumption of spirits was greatly owing to the heavy tax upon malt. The hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. G. Sandars) had asked the House where they would find a tax that pressed so lightly upon the country? Let the hon. Member give him a definition of "the country." "The country" that paid this tax was almost exclusively the agricultural labourer. ["Oh, oh!"] Why, how much beer was drunk by hon. Gentlemen opposite? How much did they spend in beer, and how much in wine? Was it not extraordinary that since the end of the war the consumption of malt had not increased one bushel, while the population had almost doubled? But the question put by the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer was, where he should get the money if the malt tax were repealed. His answer was, anywhere, except from beer. Let him lay on a house tax, an income tax, a property tax, any tax, in short, that he pleased, only let him take this tax off the labourer.


thought, that as very little that was new had been said in the debate, and as the hon. Member for the North Riding (Mr. Cayley) admitted that he had done little but repeat the arguments he had used last year, he should best consult the feelings of the House by replying as shortly as he could to the Motion. At one time the hon. Member had treated the malt tax as one paid entirely by the consumer; at another as if it were entirely paid by the producer. But he was surprised to hear him speak of the inquisitorial and objectionable nature of this tax, because the best authorities upon this subject had represented that if a large amount of revenue were to be raised, there was hardly any one tax which was collected so cheaply, and the inconvenience of which was so small. The revenue derived from the tax was 5,391,000l., and the Commissioners of Excise Inquiry said of it in their Fifth Report— While so large an amount of revenue must be raised as that which is now required, we do not conceive that it can be shown that any actual tax is less objectionable than the malt tax; and we believe the paying of it is less felt, and really less injurious than the paying of any other tax. Besides, no other tax is collected at so small an expense in proportion to the revenue derived from it. Four or five years ago the Select Committee appointed by the House of Lords to consider the Burdens upon Land, examined Mr. Barclay, an eminent brewer, upon the operation of the malt tax. Mr. Barclay was asked— Would the manufacture of malt—that is, the converting of barley into malt—be improved, or rendered cheaper, by a repeal of the duty, except as it respects the amount of the duty? His answer was— I think it would not be improved at all. I think there is no Excise regulation that interferes at all with the making of good malt; but the west country maltsters think differently. Another witness, not a brewer, but a maltster, and one of the largest in England, Mr. Joseph Taylor, of Bishops Stortford, was asked— Would you have greater facility in carrying on your business, supposing the duty to be repealed, and that therefore you were not liable to the domiciliary visits of the Excise—would you carry on the business in a more satisfactory manner? His answer was— I do not think we should. We have had almost all the restrictions removed some years ago, and the higher classes of manufacturers have been from that time quite satisfied, Now, if a large amount of revenue was produced by this tax; if it was collected more cheaply than any other tax; and if the interference of the Excise officer was such as described by Mr. Barclay and Mr. Taylor—he thought a strong case was made out against its repeal. He considered the amount to be paid entirely by the consumer, and he contended that it was impossible to obtain 5,000,000l. in a manner less objectionable to the consumer. It was said the consumption of malt had not increased in the same proportion as many other articles, and in proportion to the increase of the population. That was quite true; but the consumption of tea, coffee, cocoa, and other articles, which might be considered as competing to some extent with beer, had increased to a much greater extent. But that increased consumption was not so much the effect of the duty upon malt, as of a change in the habits of the people. The Members of that House, for example, all drank less beer than their forefathers, and so did the middle and labouring classes. Any one acquainted with village life knew that tea and coffee had, to a considerable degree, taken the place of malt liquor. If hon. Gentlemen would inquire what proportion the duty upon malt bore to the price of the article, and then compare it with that of other articles, they would find that the percentage of duty upon tea and coffee was much greater than upon beer. If the duty upon beer were taken, at the outside, at 100 per cent, the duty upon ordinary tea was 200 per cent; so that if the House were to reduce the duty chargeable upon the beverages of the people, they ought to begin with tea, which was chargeable with double the duty paid by malt. The truth was, the consumption of intoxicating liquors was rather diminishing, and that of liquors which are not intoxicating was increasing; and this, in his opinion, was a very desirable thing. It was natural the hon. Member(Mr.Cayley) should anticipate an enormous reduction in the price of beer if the duty upon malt were repealed. But it was not many years ago that a great reduction was made in the malt duty, and in the duty on beer; and the reduction then made was far greater in amount than that which was sought by the total repeal of the duty now remaining. But these reductions had produced little effect either in increasing the consumption of malt, or in diminishing the price of beer. A gentleman of great celebrity, in Essex, when he was examined before the Committee, said that a reduction of the malt tax would cause a corresponding reduction in the price of beer, to the extent of 100 per cent. That was to say, that the price of beer would be reduced to nothing; but his hon. Friend (Mr. Cayley) went further, for he asserted that the abolition of the malt tax would take 500 per cent off the price of beer. The price would then, according to his hon. Friend's calculation, be five times less than nothing. He did not know what his hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Bass) would say to such a result as this, however the consumers might rejoice in it. Such assertions were evidently absurd; but they were a sample of the kind of arguments by which a measure of this kind was supported. Before the reduction of the duty on malt, and of that on beer, which took place some years ago, the duty upon strong beer amounted to 70s., and that on ordinary beer to upwards of 50s. per barrel. The whole amount of duty now levied, was, in round numbers, 21s. Now, Mr. Baker stated in his evidence, in reference to the effect of the reduction of the duty on malt, that the price of barley did not rise, nor had the price of beer fallen in consequence of that reduction; and therefore it appeared that a former reduction of 50s. on one kind of beer, and of 30s. on another kind, had produced no benefit either to the producer of barley or to the consumer of beer. Was it likely that any such great effect as was anticipated by the advocates of a repeal of the malt duty, could follow from a reduction of only 21s.? But, taking the more reasonable view of some of the supporters of the measure, the loss to the revenue would be great; the gain to the consumer small. Was it worth their while, therefore, to sacrifice 5,000,000l. of revenue, easily collected, for the sake of a reduction in the price of beer, which could not, at the outside, amount to more than a halfpenny in a quart? and this was the utmost probable reduction in the price of beer from a repeal of the malt duty. It should also be remembered that this tax served in some measure as a protection to the British barley grower, for foreign malt was prohibited. One argument of his hon. Friend (Mr. Cayley) had been, that the prohibition against the importation of malt was solely for the sake of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but so far as the revenue merely was concerned, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) did not care whether the 5,000,000l. of revenue was derived from a duty on foreign malt, or from an excise duty on home-grown malt. Then it was said that the malt tax acted as a great discouragement to those who brewed their own beer. Now he did not think that the making of beer by the peasantry was affected at all by the malt tax. In the south of England the people were in the habit of getting all their beer from the brewers; while in his own part of the country it was the custom almost universally for the people to brew their own beer. Some years ago, home-brewed beer was exempted from the duty to which beer exposed for sale was subjected. This gave a great advantage to brewing at home; but even then he believed that the exemption in favour of the home-brewed beer did not operate so as to promote the practice, to any great extent, amongst the labourers in the south of England. It was also stated that the repeal of the malt duty would give an encouragement to the agricultural labourer to make his own malt; but every one must see that the facilities which extensive premises gave for making malt would render it impossible for the labourer to make his own malt with advantage. Then they were told that the labourer who brewed his beer at home never got drunk, but that others did. There was a good deal in that, if it were true. But the labourer could buy his beer at the public-house and take it home at a less cost than he could drink it at the public-house. He was inclined to think that the abolition of the malt tax would have a tendency to promote illicit distillation, and that its existence served as a check upon the illicit manufacture of spirits. Believing, therefore, that the malt tax tended in some degree to protect the morality of the country, he was on this account, as well as on others, inclined to continue it. His hon. Friend (Mr. Cayley) had suggested to him that the best way of getting rid of the importunity of the hop growers for the reduction of the duty on hops would be to abolish the malt tax; but the hop duty produced 400,000l., while the malt tax amounted to 5,000,000l.; and he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) thought that an easier and less expensive mode of ridding himself of the demands of the hop growers would be to take away the tax on hops of 400,000l. rather than abolish the tax on malt of 5,000,000l. Now, he would put it to the House how they were to make up the deficit of 5,000,000l., which the removal of this duty would entail? His hon. Friend the Member for the North Riding stated last year that he did not know what support he would have, as the Government was against him; and the noble Lord who had recently attempted the formation of a Government on different principles from his own, had declared that he did not know where to find a good substitute for this tax. Was the country now in a better condition to spare 5,000,000l. than it was two months ago? The House had decided, unfortunately, he thought, that the income tax was to be renewed only for a single year, and had placed not only the present Government, but any Government which might be in power, in a situation of difficulty on financial matters. The hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House said that their great principle was the getting rid of the income tax. It was quite right for all great parties to have great financial principles; but if they meant to get rid of that 5,000,000l. of income tax, did they further their object by giving up the 5,000,000l. of the malt tax? If they repealed the malt tax, where was the probability of their getting rid of the income tax? He had never found fault with hon. Gentlemen entertaining different opinions from himself on the subject of taxation; but surely both taxes could not be got rid of at once, and the repeal of the one made the repeal of the other impossible. Even the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) would hardly venture to say it was not so. This was the plain consideration of the question; and the same observations would apply to some other Motions which stood upon the paper. On that, the Ministerial side of the House, they were disposed to reduce the more oppressive and objectionable taxes on articles of consumption. Hon. Members on the other side of the House wished to reduce the income tax: that was the great difference between them; and to attain either of those objects, those taxes must be retained that did not come under the most objectionable classes; because, to whatever extent a reduction was made in taxes of this description, so much did they deprive themselves of the power of carrying out those principles, and getting rid of those taxes, which on either side of the House a desire had been ex- pressed to repeal. He considered that it would be difficult to raise 5,000,000l. of revenue in a manner which would he less felt by the community generally. Believing as he did that the malt tax was a tax equally distributed throughout the country—that it was cheaply and easily collected—and one the burden of which fell principally on the consumer—he felt himself hound to give his decided opposition to the measure.


Sir, I will express in a very few words the reasons for the vote I intend to give. If I viewed this case merely as one of revenue, it might be very easily disposed of. I admit the force of the circumstances to which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has alluded in the latter part of his speech—I admit that, after the decision to which the House came on Friday night on the income tax, this question occupies a very different position from that which it filled during the last Session—and I am willing to admit that any Gentleman who voted for the repeal of the malt tax last Session, after the vote of the other night on the income tax, is perfectly free to take a different course on this occasion. But I cannot look upon this question as a mere question of finance, nor merely upon the still higher consideration of the interest of the labourer. His interest has been placed most pertinently before the House by the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond). We must all sympathise with the views which my hon. Friend expressed with so much force; and I am rather surprised at some of the expressions which have just been used with reference to this point by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He says, what is the difference of a halfpenny in a pot of beer? But when we hear of a halfpenny in a quartern loaf, we are told there will be a revolution. I must look at this question in the same light, and influenced by the same feelings, as those which actuated me in a vote which I gave last year. I look upon this tax with reference to its influence upon the most suffering class of the community. Their position has been placed under the consideration of this House under circumstances which demand our most attentive consideration—the sufferings of the occupiers of land are universally and authoritatively acknowledged. It is difficult to estimate the degree of those sufferings—it is difficult to calculate or to ascertain the amount of loss that is experienced by the farmers of the United Kingdom. Night after night we have had various estimates offered to us of the amount of those losses, and without an exception those estimates have been offered to us by hon. Gentlemen opposite, because every boast they indulge in of the amount of gain which has accrued to what they call the community, by the changes in the laws regulating the importation of foreign produce, is an estimate of the loss that has accrued to the British cultivator. But we have had an estimate, which I may almost call an official estimate. Last Session, an hon. Member of this House, who never indulges in loose phraseology, precise in his calculations, and perfectly master of this interesting subject (Mr. C. Villiers), moved the Address, and told us, with the assenting cheers of the Treasury benches, that the gain of what he called the community, was, in fact, a transference of capital from the agriculturists of this country, of not less than 90,000,000l. We hear much of the question of the laws that regulate the importation of agricultural produce being a landlord's question—a question of rent—but inasmuch as the whole rent of the United Kingdom is only 60,000,000l., the farmers must have lost at least 30,000,000l. if no rent had been exacted; but inasmuch as we know the reduction of rent can hardly exceed 20 per cent, which would be 12,000,000l. on the general rental of the United Kingdom, there still would be, according to that estimate, which was the foundation of the Address we offered to the Throne, a loss to the farmers of nearly 70,000,000l. What is the situation of this class, who, according to your own data, your own estimates, are experiencing a diminution of their capital that has never yet been equalled in the experience of any class in this country? and what is the remedy suggested by the Ministers of the country to this class? It is to give up the cultivation of wheat. But at the same time you are maintaining laws that raise two-thirds of one branch of your revenue from another crop of the British farmer, that crop being the one which, in consequence of the change in your laws, he would naturally have recourse to, to obtain some compensation for the change in your legislation. How do you meet this question? You can only meet it by using arguments founded on principles of political economy that totally contradict the principles which on all other occasions you profess, by proving that restriction is a benefit, by demonstrating that high duties do not affect consumption. I am willing to admit that it would be a rash hand that would alter too rudely the financial system of this country; and I have never concealed my own wish that this tax should be maintained. I have never concealed my own wish that the whole system of our local taxation should, if possible, be continued; but this I say: it is impossible that you can maintain your malt tax—that you can continue to raise from a single class a large revenue, separate from the general revenue you otherwise raise; it is impossible you can continue to do all this if you do not do that for the agriculturist which Mr. Ricardo sanctioned, which Mr. M'Culloch recommended, which the first lights of political economy have on every occasion sanctioned, both in their speeches and their writings—if you do not put the cultivators of the soil on an equality with the other classes of the community. I heard it said the other night—and it proceeded from the lips of an hon. Member from whom I hardly expected to hear such a statement—that he recognised no difference between a protective duty and a countervailing duty. I, on the part of my constituents, entirely protest against such a position. The question of protection has nothing to do with an adjustment of taxation that will place the cultivator of the soil on the same level as the other classes of the community. If you choose to adopt a system of protection, of the benefits and disadvantages of which the cultivator of the soil will no doubt have his share, he has nothing to do with that. But if you choose to establish a system of taxation under which you raise from one class a large amount to which the others do not contribute, you must, by some fiscal arrangement, place those extra contributing classes on the same level of taxation, to use the words of Mr. Ricardo, as the other classes. The limits of a countervailing duty have been ascertained and fixed by the very men who first advocated what you call free trade—who first advocated that system of free importation of foreign produce which you now think to be so great a discovery. These were the persons who recommended, as a remedy for the extra taxation of the agricultural classes, countervailing duties; and now I am told that a countervailing duty and a protective duty are identical. But observe the position to which, by the exercise of injustice, that can never be successful in the long run, you have driven us. The agricultural class does not come forward and ask for countervailing duties; they will not ask for legislative privileges; they will not incur the falsely excited odium that you have created against them, that they want to place a tax on the bread of the people; but they ask this: place us on a level of taxation with the rest of the community. Inasmuch as by this malt tax, according to the highest authorities, you have imposed on us a burden which the other classes do not share, inasmuch as by your system of local taxation you raise from the soil a large revenue for the purposes of the country, to which the community do not contribute, we ask you, in the new situation of affairs, to relieve us from these burdens; but, if you choose, if you think it better, that these burdens should remain—if it is your opinion that it is for the advantage of the community that this extra taxation of a class should continue to subsist—if you think that, besides these financial advantages, the blessings of self-government are confirmed, and that millions are raised from the land which can be raised from no other source, and which as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer says cannot be lightly lost;—it is for you to come forward and state the terms on which you wish to retain these advantages. It shall not be imputed to us that we asked a countervailing duty on account of these advantages. No. We ask you, according to the dictates of political justice, to rid us of these grievances which you have brought upon us. It is with these views that I give my vote to the hon. Gentleman the Member for the North Riding (Mr. Cayley), who, on this and other occasions has, with a knowledge of details, and a perseverance which all must admire, brought the subject before the House. I think it is impolitic that we should terminate a mode of levying a large branch of the revenue, such as the malt tax. I think it most inexpedient that we should do away with the method of local taxation for a newfangled system of what are called national rates; but I cannot shut my eyes to the inevitable consequences of the fatal policy which you are pursuing. I cannot shut my eyes to the fatal consequences of a system which is exacting a larger amount of taxation from the land of the United Kingdom, from those classes to whom great injury and loss has been caused in consequence of your legislation, than from any other portion of the community. I know that every day and every hour this conviction must be more and more pressed upon that great body of the community materially interested in the cultivation of the soil, and that Session after Session you will be more powerfully and more sternly called upon to adjust this taxation on the principles of political justice. Under these circumstances, I give my vote to-night for the Motion of the hon. Gentleman—I give it as a protest against the course you are pursuing. It is unjust in the first instance, injurious in the second; but if the Government of this country would come forward and meet this question with frankness—if they would tell us, what every Gentleman in this House feels, that it is of great advantage to the country that this extra taxation should be exacted from the land, and that the country did not shrink from a measure of equitable adjustment, to place the cultivators on the same level of equality with the rest of the community, then I should be glad to support the measure which the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer has said is so expedient, and I could, with some pretence of fairness, with some regard for the principles of political justice, refuse that appeal, which was practically made by the hon. Member for the North Riding (Mr. Cayley), and express my concurrence with any measure which would place the land of England on the same level of taxation as the other classes of the community.


said, that he took up this question as affecting the labouring population; and he looked on it as the most injurious, most obnoxious, and one of the most tyrannical taxes that had been ever levied on the country. It pressed heavily on the labourers, for if bread was their staple food, beer was their staple drink. A labourer, aged 91, who was examined before the Poor Law Commission some years ago, on being asked by Mr. Harvey— Do you remember the condition of the labourer during your life?" replied, "Yes; when I married I could have a bushel of malt for 2s. 6d., and every person had a barrel of beer to drink instead of water." Mr. Hodges, M.P. for Kent, asked him, "Did the labouring man in former times use to brew as a general thing?"—"Yes." "How long have they left it off?"— "Ever since malt got to such a price that they could not buy it." Do you know any poor man who brews his own beer?"—"Not one." "Do you remember the rate of wages when malt was 2s. 6d. a bushel?"—"Yes, 1s. 4d. per day, or 8s. a week. The witness was then asked if the labourers would do more work if they had better beer and living? The answer was, "To be sure; they cannot do more than half a day's work now. Some of them dropped down when they had a little hard work." He trusted that this year they would have the vote of the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), whom he begged to remind of a speech of his at Manchester a year or two ago, upon which occasion he said— We sympathise with the farmers; we will never tolerate one shilling for protection by way of corn, but we will co-operate with them in getting rid of that obnoxious tax, the malt tax. We owe the farmers something, and we will try to repay them in kind. He hoped also that they should have the support of the late Sir Robert Feel's friends, and all of the Welsh Members, who were fond of good ale.


said, that an appeal having been made to the free-traders by the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond), he was anxious to answer that appeal, as well as to notice some of the extraordinary statements made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He intended to vote for the entire repeal of the malt tax. He was against any partial repeal, and he could refer hon. Members to a proposal he had made on the subject twenty-nine years ago. On the 4th of May, 1826, he had moved a Resolution, that the tax on malt, having had the most ruinous effects upon the people, should be repealed. Only as much malt was consumed in 1825 as in 1785, notwithstanding the great increase in the population; and the tables before the House would prove how totally inconsistent with the fact was the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the repeal of the tax would have no effect on the consumption. In 1785 the tax was only 6¼d. per bushel. In 1804 the tax was raised from 2s. 2d. to 4s. 4d., and, notwithstanding the increase of population, and the enormous expenditure of the country by an expensive war, the consumption of malt fell, on the average of the next few years, from 25,500,000 bushels, to 23,000,000 bushels. He thought this was a question of great importance to other classes besides the agriculturists, who, although they would benefit from the repeal of the tax, would not derive all the advantages from it supposed by some hon. Members. The hon. Member for the North Riding (Mr. Cayley) said that barley was taxed by this means to the extent of 5l. 10s. per acre, and that observation was well worthy of consideration. The hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. G. Sandars) appeared to him to have made out a strong case against the existence of the tax. The increase of the tax on malt had changed the whole character of the people, for spirits had taken the place of malt liquor, and produced the state of demoralisation and crime they now witnessed. 24,000,000 gallons of ardent spirits were now consumed by the middling and the poorer classes; and it was the duty of this House to consider whether it could not interfere by fiscal arrangements, and make some alterations. Let this tax be repealed. From whatever source the revenue was obtained, let it not be taken from the beverage of the working man and the middle classes. The evil was not confined to the agricultural labourer. The whole population were interested. Why should cheap meat and bread be given to them, and not cheap beverage? The great principle of free trade was to cheapen all the articles that were of the first necessity to men, and he hoped that principle would be carried out on the present occasion. He had always been an advocate for a repeal of the malt tax. He had always held that it would be an advantage to the agricultural classes, and that the farmer, if he were allowed to make his own malt, would not only be advantaged in the feeding of his cattle, but enabled to pursue a system of cultivation which would increase the employment of labourers. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had asked where he was to obtain the 5,500,000l. which the abolition of this tax would require, and he (Mr. Hume) would answer that question. For twenty years the expenditure of the country had been 5,500,000l. more than was necessary. The Army, Navy, and Ordnance had, during the last ten years, just cost 5,500,000l. more than it did during the Administration of the Duke of Wellington, and his was not an Administration which was open to the charge of leaving the country defenceless. Instead of looking for new taxes, then, he would retrench, and go back to those establishments which so admirable a judge as the Duke of Wellington had considered sufficient. He would, therefore, say in the first place, that the expenditure might be reduced, especially as they were told by the Government that the troops were in great part to be withdrawn from the colonies. Then he believed that if the income tax were equitably arranged, it would, even at the present rate, yield a greatly increased revenue: then under better management an additional revenue of 500,000l. might be obtained from the Crown lands. He would state another tax which, if he had the power, he would put on. Up to the present time, since the first imposition of those taxes, personal property had paid 78,000,000l., while not one shilling had been paid by landed property for probate and legacy duty. Reckoning the property of this country at 3,600,000,000l., and that that property changed hands by descent once in thirty years, he would obtain at once a tax which would cover the sum lost by the abolition of the malt tax. He admitted that some objections might be raised to this tax; but there was no controverting the fact that the country now paid 56,000,000l., where it formerly only paid 51,000,000l. That 5,000,000l. might easily be reduced, if the other side of the House would permit it. Having heard no answer given to the speech of the hon. Member for the North Riding (Mr. Cayley), and with the understanding that the reduction would he made gradually, he should support the Motion.


said, that notwithstanding all he had heard, he saw no reason for changing the opinions which he had expressed upon this subject last year. It was very easy to make a long speech upon any question; but he thought it would be extremely difficult to say anything very new or much worth hearing upon this matter. He should content himself, therefore, with shortly stating his decided disagreement from the supposition that the repeal of this tax would have the effect of bringing in a large quantity of foreign malt. He could not conceive that any quanity of foreign malt worth naming would be imported—he could find no motive for it. Almost all the principal brewers were their own maltsters; and, seeing how unwilling they were to trust even to the most skilled English maltsters, he did not believe that they would go abroad to employ foreign maltsters. It was difficult to make good malt even in this country in severe weather; and it would, therefore, seem to be impossible that in the countries on the Baltic, where frosts of much greater severity prevailed, such malt could be made as would be used in this country. Reference had been made to the great importation of foreign barley; but in general seasons the English brewers preferred English barley to any other, and it was only in consequence of bad harvests that they had resorted to the foreign market for certain barleys which were of a finer colour than the English. He had had himself, during the last year, to import 20,000 quarters of foreign barley, and, instead of its having heated, he assured the House that, so far as he knew, not one single grain had remained unmalted. The importations of foreign barley, however, were gradually declining. There had been a very large importation in 1849. In 1850 it was much smaller; and it promised to be less still in the present year. The hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. G. Sandars) had pointed out the supposed vexations which they would still have to endure if the duty were reduced one-half, in accordance with the proposition which he (Mr. Bass) had given notice of. Now, he must in candour admit to the House that he was not at the present time aware of any restrictions in the making of malt which materially interfered with its being made in the best possible manner; and if he were asked to describe what change would make it more agreeable, he really should not know what to say. He found that owing to an informality he could not bring forward, that evening, the Motion of which he had given notice, for repealing one-half the tax on malt; but he would do so on a future occasion, should the Motion now before the House be rejected.


rose to protest against the statements that the repeal of this tax would be a benefit to the poor man. It was said that a tax on beer was the same as a tax on bread. But bread was a necessary of life, while beer was not. Twopence worth of bread was better than a shilling's worth of ale. The hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) said, the repeal of this tax would have the effect of weaning the poor man from intoxicating drinks; but it was only a few nights ago that his hon. Friend voted for a repeal of the duty on spirits. If they went on to encourage the use of these liquors by removing the duty, it would be followed by an increase of poverty and intemperance.


did not see how the hon. Member who had just sat down reconciled his opinions with his support of the repeal of the sugar and coffee duties, which were quite as much self-imposed taxes, as that upon malt. When the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) talked of the injustice of exempting real property from the lagacy and probate duties paid by personal property, he should have recollected that the former description of property was subject to the land tax and to heavy stamp duties, which he believed were imposed to counteract the legacy and probate duties. A large portion, too, of the amount said to be paid to these taxes by personal property, was, moreover, paid by leasehold estates. He believed that the legacy and probate duties had not been imposed upon real property merely because it was known that they could never have been rendered productive, inasmuch as only life interests were held in a large portion of the landed property of the kingdom, and it passed under settlements, and not under wills. He believed that more was raised from the land by the land tax and stamp duties, than legacy and probate duties would have yielded.


only wished to make one observation with respect to the surprise expressed by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) that no reduction had been made in the taxation of the country, so far as regarded the Army, the Navy, and the Ordnance departments. Now, he begged to refer the hon. Member for Montrose to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who had stated the other night that in consequence of the repeal of the corn laws we were depending now for the supply of the food of the people of this country upon foreigners to no less an extent than that of 10,000,000 quarters of corn. He could tell the hon. Member for Montrose that that was one of the many reasons why we were not able to reduce the expenditure of the country. With regard to the question then before the House, he was content to rest his vote on the grounds stated by his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli).


said, that the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had referred to his having brought forward a Motion npon this subject in 1826, and had stated that, in consequence of this tax not having been reduced, the consumption of malt had not increased, as it would have done in that case. The hon. Member would, however, recollect that, not many years after he brought forward his Motion in 1826, it became a question whether the malt tax should he reduced, or the duty should he taken off beer; and the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn), preferred to repeal the tax upon beer, and nearly 3,000,000l. of taxation were then taken off. Now the tax on beer had existed more than a century, and he (Lord John Russell) did not believe that, taking the taxes upon malt and beer together, this country was now more taxed for malt than it was seventy years ago for malt and beer. The hon. Member for Montrose suggested, among other things, the imposition of legacy and probate duties upon landed property; but the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), on the other hand, showed that landed property already paid equivalent duties. As the House was not at all ready to vote for the substitutes proposed, the real result of the Motion, if carried, would be, that there would be a diminution of 5,000,000l. in the revenue. How were they to supply the place of that large amount of revenue? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose said at once, without referring to particulars, that he would take 5,000,000 off the Army, Navy, and Ordnance Estimates, and gave as his reason that the present Government had increased the Army, Navy, and Ordnance Estimates by 5,000,000l. He (Lord John Russell) denied that: he believed the amount voted for the present year was not so great, certainly not greater than the amount in 1845. There had been an increase in the Ordnance, but, taking them altogether, there was no increase over the estimates of 1845. But then again the House would not be prepared to make that great diminution which the hon. Member for Montrose proposed; and that source failing, he (Lord John Russell) came again to the assertion which he thought was undeniable, and the main reason for voting against the Motion, namely, that if they agreed to it they would leave their finances in a ruinous condition, and leave no source from which they could supply the deficiency in the revenue.


said, in reply, that he should scarcely have felt it necessary to have said a word more on the subject of this Motion, were it not for an observation that had just fallen from his noble Friend at the head of the Government. His quarrel with his noble Friend was, that since the repeal of the corn laws he had thrown away five millions of taxes; and if the House did not pass this Motion on the present occasion, the same course would still be pursued, and supply the same arguments as heretofore against the repeal of the malt duty hereafter. The fact was, that the demand he made was a just demand—no one attempted to deny that—and, in short, it could not be denied. The only argument against his proposition was, that it was not convenient—an argument that ought not to prevail against the claims of truth and justice. If duty only called upon us to be just and honest and true, when it was convenient to be so, what an easy race would virtue have to run! That was not his (Mr. Cayley's) interpretation of the demands of public justice, on which point the noble Lord seemed to be so sensitive. But it was—that whenever and wherever honour, and justice, and truth made their appeal, we had no alternative—at whatever risk or sacrifice—but to obey the summons. At this late hour he would attempt no reply. Indeed, the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had already stated that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given no reply to his (Mr. Cayley's) opening speech. All he would say, as the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had just stated, and as had often been stated before, Parliament had transferred between 50,000,000l. and 90,000,000l. from the pockets of the farmers of England to some other pockets; that those that had profited by that unjust transfer were better able to bear the effect of his proposal, than those who now bore this tax were able to endure its burden. In the name of justice, then (concluded the hon. Member), I demand the repeal of the tax upon malt.

The House divided:—Ayes 122; Noes 258: Majority 136.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Burghley, Lord
Alcock, T. Burroughes, H. N.
Bagge, W. Cabbell, B. B.
Bagot, hon. W. Child, S.
Barron, Sir H. W. Cholmeley, Sir M.
Barrow, W. H. Christopher, R. A.
Bass, M. T. Cobbold, J. C.
Bennet, P. Coles, H. B.
Beresford, W. Colvile, C, R.
Best, J. Compton, H. C.
Blackstone, W. S. Conolly, T.
Blake, M. J. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Blandford, Marq. of Crawford, W. S.
Booker, T. W. Curteis, H. M.
Booth, Sir R. G. Devereux, J. T.
Bramston, T. W. Disraeli, B.
Broadley, H. Dod, J. W.
Brooke, Lord Dodd, G.
Buck, L. W. Drummond, H.
Duncombe, hon. A, Mullings, J. R.
Dunne, Col. Mundy, W.
Du Pre, C. G. Newdegate, C. N.
Evelyn, W. J. O'Brien, Sir T.
Farnham, E. B. O'Connell, J.
Fellowes, E. O'Flaherty, A.
Floyer, J. Palmer, R.
Forbes, W. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Frewen, C. H. Plumptre, J. P.
Fuller, A. E. Portal, M.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Prime, R.
Galway, Visct. Pugh, D.
Gaskell, J. M. Rendlesham, Lord
Gilpin, Col. Renton, J. C.
Gooch, E. S. Reynolds, J.
Granby, Marq. of Rufford, F.
Greene, J. Rushout, Capt.
Guernsey, Lord Sadleir, J.
Halford, Sir H, Salwey, Col.
Harris, hon. Capt. Scully, F.
Heneage, E. Seymer, H. K.
Henley, J. W. Sibthorp, Col.
Higgins, G. G. O. Somerset, Capt.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Spooner, R.
Hill, Lord E. Stafford, A.
Hornby, J. Stephenson, R.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Stuart, J.
Keating, R. Sturt, H. G.
Keogh, W. Sullivan, M.
Knightley, Sir C. Talbot, J. H.
Knox, hon. W. S. Trollope, Sir J.
Lawless, hon. C. Tyler, Sir G.
Lennox, Lord A. G. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Lewisham, Visct. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Long, W. Waddington, D.
Maher, N. V. Waddington, H. S.
Meagher, T. Wakley, T.
Manners, Lord G. Williams, J.
Manners, Lord J. Williams, W.
March, Earl of Yorke, hon. E. T.
Maunsell, T. P.
Miles, W. TELLERS.
Milton, Visct. Cayley, E. S.
Moore, G. H. Hume, J.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Brotherton, J.
Acland, Sir T. D. Brown, W.
Adair, R. A. S. Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.
Aglionby, H. A. Busfeild, W.
Anson, hon. Col. Cardwell, E.
Armstrong, R. B. Caulfield, J. M.
Ashley, Lord Cavendish, hon. C. C.
Bagshaw, J. Cavendish, hon. G. H.
Baines, r t. hon. M. T. Cavendish, W. G.
Baring, r t. hon. Sir F. T. Charteris, H. F.
Baring, T. Childers, J. W.
Baring, hon. F. Clay, J.
Bell, J. Clay, Sir W.
Bellew, R. M. Clements, hon. C. S.
Berkeley, Adm. Clifford, H. M.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Coke, hon. E. K.
Bernal, R. Colebrooke, Sir T, E.
Birch, Sir T. B. Collins, W.
Blair, S. Cowan, C.
Blakemore, R. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Craig, Sir W. G.
Bowles, Adm. Crowder, R. B.
Boyle, hon. Col. Currie, R.
Bright, J. Dalrymple, J.
Brocklehurst, J. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Brockman, E. D. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Denison, J. E. Labouchere, r t. hon. H.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T. Langston, J. H.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Lawley, hon. B. R.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Lemon, Sir C.
Drummond, H. H. Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F.
Duff, G. S. Lewis, G. C.
Duff, J. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Duke, Sir J. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Duncan, G. Loch, J.
Duncuft, J. Locke, J.
Dundas, Adm. Lockhart, A. E.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Loveden, P.
Ebrington, Visct. Lushington, C.
Egerton, Sir P. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Ellice, r t. hon. E. Mackinnon, W. A.
Ellice, E. M'Gregor, J.
Ellis, J. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Mahon, Visct.
Emlyn, Visct. Mangles, R. D.
Enfield, Visct. Marshall, J. G.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Marshall, W.
Euston, Earl of Martin, C. W.
Evans, J. Matheson, A.
Evans, W. Matheson, Sir J.
Ewart, W. Matheson, Col.
Fergus, J, Maule, r t. hon. F.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Melgund, Visct.
Foley, J. H. H. Miles, P. W. S.
Fordyce, A. D. Milner, W. M. E.
Forster, M. Milnes, R. M.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Mitchell, T. A.
Fox, W. J. Moffatt, G.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Moody, C. A.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W.E. Morgan, H. K. G.
Glyn, G. C. Morris, D.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Greene, T. Mowatt, F.
Grenfell, C. W. Mulgrave, Earl of
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Nicholl, r t. hon. J.
Grey, R. W. Norreys, Lord
Grosvenor, Lord R. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Guest, Sir J. O'Connell, M. J.
Hall, Sir B. Ogle, S. C. H.
Hallyburton, Lord J. F. Ord, W.
Hanmer, Sir J. Owen, Sir J.
Hardcastle, J. A. Packe, C. W.
Harris, R. Paget, Lord A.
Hastie, A. Paget, Lord C.
Hastie, A. Palmer, R.
Hatchell, rt. hon. J. Palmerston, Visct.
Hawes, B. Parker, J.
Hayes, Sir E. Peel, Col.
Headlam, T. E. Peel, F.
Heald, J. Perfect, R.
Heathcoat, J. Peto, S. M.
Heathcote, Sir G. J. Pigott, F.
Heneage, G. H. W. Pilkington, J.
Henry, A. Pinney, W.
Herbert, r t. hon. S. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hervey, Lord A. Power, N.
Heywood, J. Powlett, Lord W.
Heyworth, L. Rawdon, Col.
Hindley, C. Reid, Col.
Hobhouse, T. B. Ricardo, J. L.
Hodges, T. L. Ricardo, O.
Hodges, T. T. Rice, E. R.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Rich, H.
Howard, Lord E. Richards, R.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Romilly, Col.
Hutt, W. Romilly, Sir J.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Russell, Lord J.
Jermyn, Earl Russell, hon. E. S.
Kershaw, J. Russell, F. C. H.
Sandars, G. Trelawny, J. S.
Scrope, G. P. Trevor, hon. T.
Seymour, H. D. Vane, Lord H.
Seymour, Lord Verney, Sir H.
Shelburne, Earl of Vesey, hon. T.
Sheridan, R. B. Villiers, Visct.
Slaney, R. A. Villiers, hon. C.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. Vivian, J. H.
Smith, J. A. Walmsley, Sir J.
Smith, M. T. Walter, J.
Smith, J. B. Watkins, Col. L.
Smollett, A. Wawn, J. T.
Somers, J. P. Welby, G. E.
Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W. Wellesley, Lord C.
Spearman, H. J. West, F. R.
Stanford, J. F. Westhead, J. P. B.
Stanley, hon. W. O. Willcox, B. M.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Willyams, H.
Stanton, W. H. Williamson, Sir H.
Strickland, Sir G. Wilson, J.
Stuart, Lord J. Wilson, M.
Talbot, C. R. M. Wodehouse, E.
Tancred, H. W. Wood, r t. hon. Sir C.
Tenison, E. K. Wood, Sir W. P.
Tennent, R. J. Wrightson, W. B.
Thicknesse, R. A. Wyvill, M.
Thompson, Col. Young, Sir J.
Thornely, T.
Tollemache, hon. F. J. TELLERS.
Townley, R. G. Hayter, W. G.
Traill, G. Hill, Lord M.
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