HC Deb 28 April 1853 vol 126 cc682-750

House in Committee of Ways and Means; Mr. Bouverie in the Chair.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Resolution."

Debate resumed,


Sir, I think I observed, in the remarks with which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer opened the subject in his very remarkable—I may say very marvellous—speech, that he spoke with some degree of emotion, and I thought even pathos, as to the way in which this House had been spending the anticipated surplus of the revenue. I thought it came from him in a tone that seemed rather to invite the attention of this House to that part of his financial statement; and I really do not know that I have any other motive for intruding myself thus early, except that, at this moment, when taking a full view of our assets and liabilities, we present ourselves before the public very much as their trustees, and we are bound to look at what has been done, as well as what may be done, for those who have confided their interests to our care, and it therefore strikes me as being a very proper time to give our attention, among other matters, to the way in which that amount of surplus has been disposed of. I promise the House that I am not going to make a peace oration. I do not blame this Government, or the last, for what they did in the way of expenditure, but I blame many parties out of the House for having rendered it almost necessary that such an expenditure should have been incurred; nay, I will even go farther, and cordially thank the noble Lord at the head of the present Government that he did not take the opportunity many silly people, and some not over-honest people, gave him of increasing enormously the expenditure of the country. I have no hesitation in saying—in admitting—that if his Lordship at the end of last Session had proposed an addition of 20,000 men to the Army, and of 10,000 men to the Navy, the proposal would have been received with acclamation; and we poor Peace people, if we had escaped martyrdom, should hardly have escaped being pumped upon, if we had ventured to raise a murmur of objection. Now, is it not a matter of sincere regret, almost of reproach, that we have permitted ourselves to be led away so as to incur this great and permanent increase to our establishment? How, then, do we stand? I merely speak of our military and naval expenditure, and will not go back now to 1835. I only go two years back—to 1851. Since 1851 we have added to the expenditure for our naval and military establishments, including militia, commissariat, and other outgoings of the same nature, no less a sum than 1,875,000l. This expenditure, 15,555,000l. in 1851, was 16,431,000l. in 1852, and 17,400,000l. for 1853. Now what I want to call the attention of the House to—and particularly of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), who said the Manchester school were going to ruin the aristocracy—is this, that if you had made no such increase since 1851 you would have had a surplus large enough now to cover all these remissions of taxes contemplated this year without the necessity of one farthing additional taxation.

If you had had this amount of money left in your coffers, instead of having it wasted as you have, it would have been now in hand to provide for the remissions and changes which come into operation under the present proposals; and therefore the hon. Gentleman who says this is to ruin the aristocracy must not charge the Manchester school with the responsibility of that expenditure, for whatever blame other parties may incur, I take none in the matter. Let it not be said that I come here to tell you to spend nothing for your armaments. Nobody who is honest can say that. Many years ago I, in this House, proposed myself that a sum of 10,000,000l. should be applied for our armaments. What I now complain of is, the progressive increase from 15,555,000l., the expenditure in 1851, to 17,400,000l., the expenditure in 1853. Had this enormous sum not been thus expended, the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have had it now at his disposal, and might have effected with it those remissions which he proposes to make. Would not this have been a very enviable position for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and was it not natural that the right hon. Gentleman should speak in pathetic terms of the House having voted away the surplus income? The most lamentable part of the matter is this, that although there was a very great panic about the French invasion a few months ago, yet now there is not a rational being who will say that he is under any apprehension of an invasion. Not only do I find nobody who believes there will be a French invasion, but I cannot find anybody who will admit that he ever had any fears on the subject. But the mischief has been done, the addition has been made to our establishments; and the public, who is the party to blame in the matter, will find, that having made this addition of 1,500,000l. or 1,800,000l. to our establishment, you cannot easily bring them back again. None but those who, like my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), having been engaged in the work of retrenchment, know how difficult it is to reduce expenditure when once you have increased it. You cannot reduce it in a day. You have probably laid out your money in the construction of works, which you must keep up by an annual charge; and I have no hesitation in saying that this generation will not live to see the whole expense die out which has been caused by the additions made to our establishments within the last two years. Now just to show how we find ourselves obstructed in our efforts at fiscal reform by these establishments, I will turn to other items in the Budgets since 1851, and state all that comes under the head of civil expenditure, including the debt and every thing else except military and naval expenditure, and you will then see how little has been the increase. In 1851 the expense other than military and naval was 34,692,000l.; in 1852, the amount was 34,732,000l.; in 1853, it was 34,783,000l. so that the whole increase of our expenditure, except that occasioned by our military and naval departments, has been only about 80,000?. on an amount of nearly 35,000,000l.; whilst the increase for the Army and Navy, on an expenditure of 15,000,000l. has been 1,875,000. Now I think it will not be said by any one that this is an indifferent view of the question—that you must grapple with the expense of our naval and military establishments if you would enable the Minister to effect such modifications in the tariff as are inevitable, without constantly seeking for an increase of direct taxation. I trust the Committee will acknowledge that these remissions of taxation are inevitable. You may arrive at them by savings, by the growth of your surplus revenue, by retrenchment, by increased revenue, the product of the increasing prosperity of the country; but assuredly, if you eat up the surplus by constant additions to our military establishments, you must perforce have a fund necessary for this remission of taxation by increased direct burdens upon property and income. And I care not whoever may be in power, whether the present Chancellor of the Exchequer or the late Chancellor of the Exchequer may have the handling of the figures, they will be inevitably driven to a policy which shall aim at reductions in the Excise and Customs duties, even at the expense of direct taxation. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli), for example, proposed a partial remission of the malt tax, thus dealing with indirect taxation, and proposed to put on an increased house tax, which is a direct tax. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to lay a legacy tax on real estate, with the view of effecting large remissions of indirect taxation. The late Government fell solely in their attempt to find a substitute for the deficiency to be created by the remission of the malt tax, and they might have been in power now but for that insuperable obstacle. If the present Chancellor of the Exchequer is in danger at this moment, it is only on account of the difficulty of finding a direct tax which will enable him to make the necessary remissions. I wish Gentlemen, on both sides of the House to consider that we are now come to a time when, if you will be extravagant, you must be extravagant at the expense of property and not at the expense of consumption. The remission of indirect taxation must go on. It is not merely the interest of humanity—but that has something to do with it—but you cannot, in these days, when every one at least professes to have an interest and regard for the poor, levy a larger amount than is levied in other countries upon articles which are consumed by the great majority of the population. And there is another reason why you must diminish the amount of taxation, and that is because you find that the peace and prosperity of the country depend upon the constantly increasing employment of the masses of the people, and you cannot secure that employment except by rapidly removing the impediments which stand in the way of industry, and that will grow greater in proportion as our commerce and our population increase. Take, for instance, the case of the Customs regulations. A great and I think a just alarm has been felt by our merchants on account of the obstacles presented to commerce by the Customs regulations. Those regulations were bad enough when you had to deal with only 30,000,000l. or 40,000,000l. of exports and imports, but they are grievous and insupportable in dealing with an import of 70,000,000l. or 80,000,000l. But that is not all. The velocity of transactions of all kinds has increased—steam vessels are taking the place of sailing vessels, and a voyage to America, which formerly occupied from thirty to forty days, is now performed in ten or twelve. If you are economising time on the voyage, will not the grievance be greater than ever if our merchants are subjected to the same delays and impediments at the Custom House as those to which they were heretofore subjected. These barriers must ultimately give away. But how? You cannot alter your tariff so as to allow free goods to come in without rigid examination, unless by a total revolution in your fiscal system, so far as regards import duties. You cannot allow bales of cotton to be landed in Liverpool without thrusting a wire through them in order to ascertain that they are not converted into bales of tobacco. If you retain a duty of 3s. a pound on tobacco, and allow bales to come in without search, they will soon be converted into packages of tobacco. But you could not effect any change in that respect except by reducing the duty on tobacco to 3 d. or 6 d. per pound. You must reduce it to that extent, or you will fail altogether. I hope there would not be such an increase of smoking as to enable the Chancellor of the Exchequer to obtain as large a revenue at 3 d. per pound as he does at 3s. That would be a losss of some 2,000,000l. or 3,000,000l. annually at the least. And how would that have to be made up? Why, by direct taxation. And that is the case with respect to other articles. You must make up your minds that you will have to make constant remissions. As was stated last year by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) every year since 1842 had witnessed the constant remission of these indirect taxes. The right hon. Gentleman did not propose anything of that sort himself; but there was a self-acting process in the sugar duties which was effecting that change even last year. The reduction of indirect taxation must go on, and the question is, how are the means to be raised to carry that object into effect. I come now to the practical question before us. There is virtually a deficiency; because I look on the remission of taxation as inevitable. Although the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has a surplus of 500,000l. or 600,000l., he was obliged to lay on fresh taxes in order to meet the inevitable demand for remission. Then how are we to meet that which is a deficit? The right hon. Gentleman has proposed the continuance of the income and property tax. He has proposed it, with arguments very elaborate, very able, and I might say, very subtle. But to my mind, that part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in which he dealt with the income tax was the least satisfactory. It was the most declamatory, and appeared to me, as all such appeals do, to be the least conclusive. He began by alluding to Mr. Pitt, and stated that this tax having served our purposes during the war, ought not to be used in a time of peace. But surely it is now time to have done with such an argument as this? Is there not this answer to it, that other taxes also did their work during the war? The Customs and Excise duties did their work during the war, and it would be just as reasonable to say that we ought to put the "giant" Customs by, and allow him to repose until an- other war breaks out; but no one proposes such a measure as that. And why not? Is there anything intrinsically worse in the income tax than in the taxes on tea and on wine? In what way is it worse? Does it give rise to greater oppression in its incidence? See how large a portion of the income of a poor man with a family is spent on the half ounces of tea that he is under the necessity of purchasing. What is paid for the duty on that tea? The same duty is paid on his tea, which you can purchase in the bonded warehouse at 10½d. per lb., as on the finest flavoured pekoe or gunpowder which costs 5s. or 6s.; can you show anything in the income tax more unequal in its operation than that? Take, again, the case of the wine duties. The gentleman's bottle of Lafitte, which might cost him 5s. in the cellar of the grower, paid precisely the same duty as Vin ordinaire, which might be bought by a poor man in the south of France for twopence. Is there anything more unequal or unjust in the income tax than that? I might go through the whole list of taxes, and although you would not find the same inequalities in all cases, yet let it be borne in mind that when you levy a tax on consumable articles of everyday comfort, you may be sure the mass of the people pay a far larger sum in proportion to their incomes than is paid by the rich. Where, then, are you to make exceptions for the income tax as compared with the other great taxes which served Mr. Pitt so usefully during the war? Is it that it offends more against the laws of political economy in taking a greater portion from the pockets of the people, than arrives at its destination in the Exchequer? No. I maintain that you may always collect direct taxes cheaper than indirect taxes. Does it offend against the laws of political economy, that it obstructs commerce, that it impedes industry more than an indirect tax? On the contrary, however oppressive it may be, I never heard it said that the income tax interferes with the progress of industry, or impedes commerce in any way whatever. Well, then, is it demoralising—does it produce greater evil by demoralising our traders? The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said a great deal about self-assessment. But I would ask him does not the levying of the Excise duties produce more demoralisation than any direct tax? Take, for instance, the case of the tobacco trade. I remember being in the Chamber of Commerce in Manchester when a deputation from the dealers in tobacco and snuff waited on us in order to expose the adulteration carried on in their trade, and to induce the Chamber of Commerce to interfere for the purpose of effecting an alteration of the duties. The gentlemen who were the largest dealers and manufacturers said to us most frankly, after exposing all the different articles with which tobacco was coloured and adulterated, such as the beard from malt, peat moss, and things of that kind, "There is not a man in this neighbourhood who carries on the tobacco and snuff trade without illegal adulteration except Mr. Read"—a gentleman who was then present, but who has since left the trade, and who, although not less than forty years of age, went to Cambridge, and is now in holy orders. Now, can you find anything worse in the income tax than in the case I have pointed out? I would remark also on the amount of criminality arising out of these taxes. Let any man go into any one of our maritime counties—let him inquire of the chairman of quarter-sessions—let him go to the gaol at Winchester, or the gaol in any of the counties on the south coast, and inquire the number of commitments for smuggling, and how many children have been left destitute by their parents being obliged to quit the country on account of smuggling; and then let him say whether there is anything more demoralising in the income tax assessment than in the system of Customs duties. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to the system of self-assessment as offering temptations to fraud, which are in many cases irresistible. Now, I would suggest whether that evil might not be remedied. I do not see why any man should be called upon to assess himself at all. In America, where direct taxation is levied to a considerable extent, nobody is required to make an assessment for himself. The taxpayers elect assessors, experienced, able, discreet men, of the town and neighbourhood, who assess the value of the various properties. No complaint is made against the system. why should you not adopt that system in England? Why, for instance, in Manchester should not the taxpayers elect local assessors, and why should not they be authorised to assess the incomes of their neighbours? Then, having made that assessment, if a party choose to take an oath that he is surcharged, or will produce his books, there will be the same means of redress as in America. And there would be this advantage, that you would not expose a man to the temptation of committing a fraud, by stating his profits or his property below the actual amount. There is another thing also to be considered. Many persons would have less aversion to their assessments being made known by others—that is to say, there is less aversion to the exposure of property when it is only known to be the assessment of others, than when it is known to be their own valuation. When I was in Boston I had the assessment book in my hand, and I found that it contained a printed list of the assessment of everybody in Boston—Mr. Abbot Lawrence, for example, as figuring away with 700,000 or 800,000 dollars of personal, and a similar amount of real property. I did not find that there was any feeling of opposition to such a system; and after two or three years of such assessment you get a better notion of a man's income than you frequently do from his own return. People look at the changes going on in his establishment—they see the evidence of his prosperity, or the reverse, and as a rule will generally estimate at pretty nearly its true amount the value of their neighbour's property. I trust the Chancellor of the Exchequer will take this point into consideration, for I certainly think it deserves his attention, and I trust that it will not be overlooked by the public at large. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that he cannot agree to any modification of the income tax. Now, there was one fallacy, I think, running through the whole of his argument on that subject, which I should have thought could have hardly escaped so acute a logician. It all amounted to this: "If you show me that you can at all diminish the evil, I'll show you there are evils still left behind; and, therefore, I will not allow you to touch the tax." I see nothing in the argument of the right hon. Gentleman which is not to be reduced to that. Now, can any one doubt that if you put trade and professions at 5¼d., and real property at 7 d., you would not, to some extent, diminish the injustice which, I understand, he himself admits. It is true you might deal with terminable annuities afterwards; it is true when you come to deal with terminable annuities and life interests, the actuaries would bring before you an arithmetical puzzle which would not work in practice, however beautiful it might look on paper. But the right hon. Gentleman has not told us that we might not do some good by mitigating, at least, the evil which he admits to exist. I have no hesitation in admitting, as the result of my experience in the Committee, that there are greater difficulties in the question than I expected to find. Ten years ago, I expressed myself with great vehemence and confidence as to the practicability of getting all we wanted; but I have not found myself confirmed in my views; and, I believe, my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-upon-Trent (Mr. J. L. Ricardo), also found himself rather disappointed at the issue of the Committee's inquiries. But, after all, I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has shown good grounds for doing nothing. If you are not to do anything until you arrive at perfection, you will, I fear, put an end to all sublunary affairs. Perhaps the course which I am about to take on the present occasion, may, like that of other hon. Members, require some explanation. In the year 1842, I resisted the attempt of Sir Robert Peel to impose an income tax on the country. I said, "You are maintaining a monopoly in corn—you refuse to deal with the sugar duties—you are destroying the revenue, and want me to consent to an income tax." If placed in the same situation to-morrow, I would again pursue the same course. In the year 1848, on the Motion of Mr. Hors-man, I voted for a modification of the tax. But I voted against the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), to limit the tax to one year, and on these grounds: "You unite with Gentlemen who do not wish to modify the tax, but to abolish it, when I wish to preserve it, and not to lose it." My hon. Friend carried his measure, and I cannot see that any harm has come out of the Committee; and I think the course taken by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) and his Colleagues showed that he had a sincere and bonâ fide intention of dealing with the question. No one can say that in 1851 they were not actuated by the best possible motives, seeing that in 1852 they attempted to carry out their plans. Having taken that course with regard to the income tax in times past, I have it presented again without modification, and by a Government which I believe will stand or fall by their declaration that they will not agree to any modification. At the same time I have presented to me another portion of the Budget, which I believe not only goes far to redress the inequalities which existed in the old income tax, but which I consider a bold and honest proposal; and, whatever be the fate of this Budget, the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) and his Colleagues have earned for themselves, I think, great honour for their straightforward and resolute conduct in grappling with a question which defeated Mr. Pitt in the plenitude of his power, and with which no one has ever since dared to meddle—I mean the legacy duty. I believe the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) was disposed to recommend that the question should be dealt with. I am sure it will have to be dealt with by somebody; and I must say, that, looking at the income tax, coupled with the legacy duty—taking them together, viewing them as the keystone of the arch of this Budget—I take them both, and I take them with both hands. I feel as strongly as any man in this House the case of professional men; but I have not found in the north of England any very active opposition to the equal rate of duty upon all classes. I believe there is a stronger feeling of resistance against the inquisitorial character of the tax amongst mercantile men and trading capitalists, than against its inequality or its unjust assessment. I am only speaking of Lancashire and Yorkshire, with which I am directly connected—and I do not wish it to be thought that there is not amongst traders and professional men elsewhere a strong feeling relative to the tax. In Lancashire and Yorkshire there is an impression in the minds of the manufacturing population that the surplus gained by the income tax tends to the extension of commerce and the freeing of industry, and affords them consequently some kind of compensation in that respect. They believe it to be such a benefit to commerce that they submit to the income tax without murmuring, partly from feeling that it is inevitable, and partly from a belief that they are benefited in their commercial operations. It will not, I think, benefit the professional man or the small trader in rural districts; but the legacy duty upon real property—although I should wish to view that question per se, and not as a compensation, though we are made up of checks and compensations in this country—will be some compensation to the professional and trading community, and will somewhat tend to reconcile them to the tax in its present form. I think the right hon. Gentleman has acted quite wisely in including incomes of 100l. As an advocate of direct taxation, I would, as an abstract principle, levy it upon everybody where the tax could be collected with a profit. I am assuming that no other tax existed. But when you have laid so much taxation on the working people in an indirect way—when they pay more than the upper classes in proportion to their means—you are under this necessity, you must endeavour to compensate them by levying a direct tax upon the property of those who are richer and above them in station, and who do not pay as much in proportion in indirect taxes as they ought to pay. I do not propose that the income tax should be levied on all wages; and I think the right hon. Gentleman has acted wisely in drawing the line at 100l. I have said previously that the working people pay a large amount of indirect taxation. We sometimes hear that a large amount of Customs and Excise duties have been remitted, and it is supposed that by reducing them you have diminished the pressure of these taxes on the working people. But a great fallacy lurked under that, for in point of fact you have done nothing. You have only been cleverly and ingeniously shifting the burden ever since the time of Mr. Huskisson. You have tried it in a variety of ways so as to make it gall the least, but the burden still remains. I will give you an illustration of this. The amount of Customs and Excise duties paid in 1831 was 35,680,000l. The estimate for the coming year is 35,320,000l. so that there is only 360,000l. less paid now in indirect taxes than in the year 1831, although during that time you have reduced your Customs and Excise duties some 12,000,000l, or 15,000,000l. per annum. There has, of course, been an increase in the population, but nearly the same amount is now paid as was paid in 1831, notwithstanding the great remissions which have taken place. I now come to deal with the question of the application of the income tax to Ireland, and that seems to be the great difficulty of the Government on the present occasion. The Irish Members on the other side of the House will not, I hope, suppose that I am anxious to impose upon them any unjust burdens. I am the advocate of religious and fiscal equality to the greatest extent. So far as regards religious equality, whatever odium I may incur by the declaration, I will say that nothing could induce me to place a fetter on the consciences of the Roman Catholics. If I could make you so, you should be as free in the practice and observance of your faith as if you were across the Atlantic. I would do the same with regard to fiscal questions. There must be perfect equality between the two countries, and every tax paid by this country must be paid by Ireland. I do not want to lay heavy burdens on either the English or the Irish people. If I had my will they should both pay less taxes; but you can have no safety for the proper working of the Legislature if you have amongst you Members for one part of the Kingdom which pays less taxes than the other parts of the Kingdom. I have noticed the working of this system for a long time, and I will tell hon. Gentlemen from Ireland one of the symptoms which I have observed arising from that discrepancy of taxation. I have seen Gentlemen take very little interest in the Imperial expenditure, unless on some question involving the transfer of the taxes paid in England to some locality in Ireland; and hence you fight for that bauble of your Lord Lieutenancy, and hence you fight for your Kilmainham Hospital, although it is a mere nest of jobbery. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen will allow me to say, that I have had the opportunity of inquiring into that subject, and, as a Member of the Committee, I speak from a knowledge of the circumstances of the case. Now, what is the reason that no statesman has even thought of proposing that our Colonies should unite with the mother country in one common Legislature? What renders it impossible? Not space. No, it is because the Colonies, not paying our Imperial taxation, and not being liable for our debt, could not sit here, with safety to us, or with propriety to themselves, to legislate on matters of taxation in which they are not themselves concerned. What happened on the last occasion on which I addressed myself to the subject of the Budget? I followed the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. Davison), who rose to support the proposition for doubling the house tax, and laying the income tax on my constituents in Barnsley and Leeds. The people of those towns are largely engaged in the manufacture of linens. Belfast, also, is engaged in the same trade. The hon. Member who represents that town voted for taxing my constituents at Barnsley and Leeds. And I want to know how is he going to vote now? If he votes now against the extension of the income tax to his own constituents at Belfast, then I want no other proof. There it is complete. It would never do to allow men to sit in the same House of Representatives representing different interests, because they could help a Minister to impose a tax upon their neighbours on condition that he should not impose it on themselves. How would the case be if we allowed representatives from our Colonies to sit in this House? An ambitious and unscrupulous Minister could make use of these men, supposing they had not the virtues which ordinary men possess, for the purpose of oppressing the English people. He might say to them, "Help me in this extremity, and I will help you to prevent the English people putting a tax upon the Colonies." The consequence might be that you would have an irresponsible Government, a constant succession of coups d'état, until the people of this country would rise and demand a separation from the Colonies. Now, on the present occasion our Government, true to the invariable system in this country of compromises, have proposed to grant to the hon. Gentlemen opposite—that is, to Ireland—a very large boon indeed, if they will only accept their quota of the income tax. If I could whisper to them, knowing what I do of the temper out of doors with regard to the equalisation of taxation, I would say to them, Close with the bargain at once—take the income tax—get rid of the consolidated annuities. Why, if I understand it right, the proposal that is made is to give to the Irish almost as much as they have been asked to pay. [Mr. FAGAN: No!] My hon. Friend behind me surely does not expect that Ireland is going to pay us between 4,000,000l. and 5,000,000l., even with the income tax extended to that country. I say you are going to get almost an equivalent for the income tax. But look at the charge that is to be remitted, and see how it puts you out of court as advocates of the poor in Ireland. As I understand the principle upon which the consolidated annuities tax is levied, it is paid by the very poorest class of farmers in Ireland. Is it so? [Cries of "No, no!"] I believe the fact is as I have stated it. [An Hon. MEMBER: Only half of the tax is paid by tenants.] Of course, one-half is paid by the landlord, and the other half by the tenant. [An Hon. MEMBER: Tenants under 5l. do not pay any portion of the tax.] Just so. That only shows into what small portions the land is divided in Ireland. It is almost inconceivable to the English agriculturists that you should have rentals under 5l.; but that is just the class that is going to be benefited and relieved, because the proposal of the Government is to abolish a tax of which one-half is paid by the poorer tenantry down to rentals of 5l., and to extend to Ireland, instead, a property and income tax upon all persons with incomes of 100l. a year and upwards. Now, how many farmers are there in Ireland at the present moment who pay a rental of about 200l. a year? Perhaps I should explain to the hon. Gentlemen opposite that it is only the farmer who pays 200l. a year of rental that will be required to pay income tax upon an income of 100l. per annum. I ask you, therefore, how many farmers are there in Ireland who pay 200l. a year for their land? Surely you will suffer the income tax to be imposed upon the rich, in order that you may relieve the multitude of small tenants down to 5l. rentals. Why, it is the most beneficent boon that has ever been offered to the class whose interests you have always professed to support. Take the case of an income of 100l. a year. He is a very genteel person in Ireland who has an income of 100l. You can live much cheaper in Ireland than we can do in England. You have no assessed taxes, and your provisions are cheaper. An income of 100l. a year, therefore, is quite as well able to pay income tax in Ireland as in England. Indeed, I am disposed to say, considering that the standard of living is higher here, and the cost of living rather more, that 100l. a year is a larger income in Ireland than it is in England. But take the case of your large merchants—some of whom are now competing with our English merchants and shipowners. I could name large capitalists sitting in their counting-houses in Dublin, who have ships sailing from Liverpool and other ports in this country, and I ask, is it fair that the vessels of rich Dublin merchants, who pay no income tax, should come in rivalry with ships belonging to the merchants of Lancashire who have to pay income tax? Is that common sense, or is it not? I hear a great deal said about the amount that England is indebted to Ireland, and Ireland to England. The hon. Member for South Lancashire (Mr. W. Brown), who ought to be accepted as a good authority by hon. Gentlemen opposite, inasmuch as he is an Irishman like themselves, makes it out that you are in our debt to the amount of 300,000,000l. Then the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. John Macgregor), who, to judge by his name, must have Celtic blood in his veins, puts down your indebtedness at the sum of 160,000,000l. I believe the late Mr. O'Connell turned the figures the other way, and the result he brought out was that we were indebted to you in the sum of 60,000,000l. My advice is, "Let the Statute of Limitations be applied to both sides. Let Irish Members make up their minds to pay the same taxes as the people of England, and unite with us in advocating retrenchment and economy." When I say "us," I refer to that section of the House who are generally understood to advocate economy in the management of the national affairs, who always vote with you whenever you want freedom, who are the constant and energetic supporters of the principles of civil and religious liberty, and who sympathise with you in your demands for equal rights and equal justice to Ireland. Unite with us, then, not only upon fiscal questions, but upon all other questions that affect the happiness and well-being of the people. Accept the income tax; for be assured that public opinion will not much longer tolerate any inequality in our taxation; and after you have done this there will be nothing left exclusively to the people of England but the assessed taxes. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will do justice in that matter also, not by putting the assessed taxes upon you, but by abolishing the whole system, and adding instead a fraction to the property and income tax. I trust the hon. Gentlemen opposite will reconsider the subject. The thing is inevitable. I tell you candidly and frankly that there may be a dissolution upon this question of the equalisation of taxation. I have no doubt that the hon. Gentlemen who represent Irish constituencies will not like to vote for the extension of a tax to Ireland from which she has hitherto been exempt; but I say this most emphatically, the thing will be done whether you agree to it or not. There is another point to which I wish to refer for a few moments. It is with regard to licences. I believe the right hon. Gentleman has said that this subject is still under the consideration of the Government. Now, of course, in the case of a Budget, if we express our adhesion to its main principles, we do not expect to be treated like the members of an assembly in another country, which shall be nameless, where a Budget is presented, turned upside down, looked at in various ways, but must on no account be altered. I have no doubt the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer will be obliged to us for any criticisms we may offer on the details of his financial scheme. With regard to licences, I think he has erred in the matter of principle. I cannot understand upon what principle the right hon. Gentleman proposes to lay a tax upon all traders who deal in tea and tobacco. I can understand why the Excise should require that a dealer who sells tea or tobacco, or any other article over which surveillance is thought necessary, should register himself, and why there should be a nominal fee; but why a trader who deals in articles which already pay large taxes to the Government should be required to pay an ad valorem duty for carrying on his business, while other traders are not taxed in the same way, I confess I am altogether at a loss to conceive. If I found that the dealers in tea and tobacco were exempt from some other tax which was paid by the rest of the people—as, for instance, in the case of the legacy duty, which is at present a burden upon personal property only—then I could understand why this proposed impost should be levied upon them; but I confess I have yet heard no reason why a class of tradesmen, who already pay heavy taxes upon the articles in which they deal, should be called upon to pay a tax not levied upon the other classes of the community, and I do earnestly hope that the right hon. Gentleman will alter this point of his financial scheme. There is one other point upon which I wish to say a few words—I mean the proposed mode of dealing with the advertisement and stamp duties. Considering the comparatively small sum which these duties produce, I do earnestly hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not make two bites of a cherry. I want to see the connexion between the press and the Government discontinued. [Laughter.] Well, I know the meaning of that laugh—I know what it refers to—it is an allusion to a subject which has been much talked about. It has been said that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in proposing to remit the stamp upon supplements containing advertisements only, would give a boon only to one paper; and various remarks of a very free nature have, of course, been made as to the motives of the right hon. Gentleman in giving this boon to one particular paper. Now, I do not believe the right hon. Gentleman is capable of acting in the unworthy manner which some would have us imagine. I believe the right hon. Gentleman has with all parties, both in and out of this House, too much credit for the character of sincerity and truthfulness to be supposed capable of being a party to any transaction of the kind. But the suspicion to which I allude, how does it arise? Because the Government is enabled to deal with taxes which may be made to favour one particular newspaper. So it is with the advertisement duty. The duty is to be reduced to sixpence; but that sixpence is still keeping up the connexion between the Government and the newspaper press. A certain number of newspapers will want the sixpence off, and others will want it continued, and the result will, or at least may, be that the Government will weigh and balance the rival influences, and shape their public course accordingly. Now, I repeat that the Government should have no connexion whatever with the newspaper press. Let us, therefore, adhere to the Resolutions of this House, and if we deal with the advertisement duty at all, let us abolish it altogether. In the same way, if the right hon. Gentleman is resolved to deal with the stamp duty, he should not do so merely to favour one particular paper for the present, and not more than three or four prospectively—perhaps not more than one. If the right hon. Gentleman should be advised by some of the largest provincial papers to alter his plan so as to leave the present penny stamp upon newspapers, allowing supplements to go free, whether they contain news or advertisements, or both, he will then be falling into an error similar in character, though not so great in degree, as he has now fallen into with regard to one particular journal. There is only one newspaper at present in the practice of publishing supplements containing advertisements. If you allow supplements containing advertisements and news to be published without a stamp, there will be at the outside—I speak of the state of things at the present moment—about half a score of newspapers in the Kingdom which will be in a position to profit by the remission. They alone will benefit by it, and the result will be directly opposed to the principle which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has laid down in his mode of dealing with trade licences, where he has proposed a graduated tax, according to the extent of business carried on. Now, what will be the effect of the plan to which I have just referred with regard to newspapers? The right hon. Gentleman proposes to allow a newspaper twice the size of the Times to be printed for a penny stamp; but he still intends to charge a penny for every small struggling sheet which may be published, though it may not he half the size of one of the sides of the Times. Now, mark the effect of this. The small paper having to pay a penny stamp will be placed under an immense disadvantage, and be perfectly unable to compete with the large one, because the conditions will be unequal. I have seen in my own experience in Lancashire that whenever a newspaper, no matter what its politics might be, could publish a supplement regularly, and give it to its readers gratuitously, so great was the desire on the part of the readers to have a large mass of additional news—a large surface of paper—that it became immediately necessary for all the other newspapers in the place to publish supplements also, or else consent to be trampled out of existence. That will be the case of every newspaper of ordinary size and circulation if the Chancellor of the Exchequer adheres to his determination to charge a uniform rate of one penny upon all newspapers, large or small, and at the same time abolishes the stamps upon supplements of every description—a proposal which will be the most destructive thing for the interests of all second and third class newspapers that can possibly be passed in this country. I beg to tell the right hon. Gentlemen opposite that the newspapers in their interest are not the largest, the wealthiest, or the best circulated in England. But let us put the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the test of his own principles. He says, if a man keeps a vehicle with two wheels he shall pay a tax of 15 s.; but if he keeps a carriage with four wheels he shall pay double. Why does the right hon. Gentleman refuse to apply that principle in the case of newspapers? Why does he allow a person who keeps a four in hand to get off with paying the same duty as a man with a gig? When the right hon. Gentleman is dealing with the licensing duty, he proposes an ad valorem tax on the rent of a man's shop. If a shopkeeper has such a prosperous business that his shop overflows with customers, and he finds it necessary to open another establishment, will the Chancellor of the Exchequer take no heed of this supplement shop, or put no new tax upon it? Why, the right hon. Gentleman will not bear the test of his own principles. Really, he must deal with this question of stamps as with advertisements—either have no stamp at all, or allow a charge to be made for all papers going through the Post Office, graduated according to their weight and size, permitting those which do not go through the Post Office, but are circulated only in their respective localities, to be published free of all duty whatever. With respect to the rest of the Budget, I will not detain the House with many observations; but I must be allowed to refer shortly to the question of the duty on soap. I am glad that this question has been dealt With at last. It has been a standing reproach to us for years. It has marked as hypocrisy all our pretences upon the subject of clean linen. I have sat in meetings of sanitary committees for the establishment of baths and washhouses, and have thought of the soap duty until I was ashamed of my country. So with the paper duties. While we talk of education, and tax the very material by which knowledge is diffused, we shall be justly accused of hypocrisy. But, that question apart, I do hope that the Budget in its main propositions may pass this House. I believe, so far as I have an opportunity of judging, that it is generally accepted by the country. I believe the proposed legacy tax removes the sore which has been festering in the minds of the people of this country for a long time, and in the interest of the parties concerned I should say the sooner the tax is put on the better. I would say, both to the landed Gentlemen and the Irish Members, "Equalise your burdens, and it will be the better for you in the end." I do not think there will be much resistance to it. I am told that in the other House it is looked upon with the greatest equanimity. There they are in possession; but in the House of Commons many hon. Members are only expectants. There is no opposition to it in the other House. I was breakfasting the other day with a gentleman of the diplomatic corps, and, while conversing upon this subject in French, he said it was very easy to explain why the House of Lords was in favour of the tax, and why the House of Commons was against it. The reason is, said he, that the one House is the Chambre des Pairs (péres), and the other the Chambre des Fils. Some hon. Gentlemen have asked if the income tax will be put an end to in the year 1860. Now, if I should live as long in the political arena, I would not like anything to be brought against me in 1860 to prove that I had sanctioned or encouraged any such idea. I have a firm conviction that you must go on every year remitting a part of your indirect taxation, and I should not be dealing fairly with you if I told you that I saw any prospect of getting rid of the income tax. There are certainly two ways of doing it. It can only be done either by the imposition of some other direct tax, or by a very large retrenchment of the expenditure; and in either case yon must render available to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the means of meeting the constantly increasing necessity for the remission of indirect taxation. But I do not think the right hon. Gentleman wishes those who vote with him to pledge themselves that the income tax will be put an end to in 1860. I believe he is sincere himself, and that if he should happen to be then in power, and anything should be done by his Colleagues to prevent him carrying out his own views, he would rather leave office than be any party to What might possibly appear to be a breach of faith. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be here in 1860. May we all lire as long! But how can we bind a future Parliament? No, that is not possible; we cannot pledge a future Legislature to the adoption of any measure. We shall hare a reformed Parliament before 1860. Probably the tax will be changed to a property tax before then; or it may be levied in another way—upon capitalised incomes for example; or the House may be so charmed with the probate and legacy duties, that it may desire to increase them; or something or other may occur to render the abolition of the income tax possible; but I would guard myself most carefully from being supposed to pledge myself in any way to the abrogation of this tax in 1860.


said, that in offering a few observations to the House, he would endeavour to get rid of the feeling of irritation which the speech to which they had just listened had produced: for that purpose he would advert to what fell on a former evening from his hon. Friend the Member for Carlow (Mr. J. Ball), who exhorted the Members for Ireland to remember that they sat in that House as representatives, not merely of their own constituents, but of the general body of the Queen's subjects. He knew no one who was better entitled than the hon. Member for Carlow to inculcate that rule of Parliamentary conduct, first laid down, he believed, by Mr. Burke, for no one adhered more faithfully to another rule also declared by Mr. Burke to be a leading principle of his policy, namely, to demonstrate on all occasions his "settled, habitual, systematic attachment to the cause and the office of Government." He was quite willing, if it pleased his hon. Friend, to address the House, not as an Irish Member, but as one sincerely and heartily interested in the prosperity and glory of the United Kingdom; and he must say he considered that the sense of honour and justice of the English people ought to lead them to defer to the opposition offered by the representatives of Ireland to the application of the income tax to that country. He thought he could satisfy the House that they could not with justice insist upon imposing that tax upon the Irish people. He begged to remind the House that the income tax had not hitherto been applied to Ireland, and that not only the late Sir Robert Peel, but the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir C. Wood), had declined to impose that tax upon the Irish people. Indeed, from the period of the Union down to the present time, no Chancellor of the Exchequer had thought it wise or just to apply the income tax to Ireland; he therefore considered that he was bound to give the proposed extension of the tax his most determined opposition. The House was frequently told that it was bound to keep faith with the public creditor; and he would ask whether it was not equally incumbent upon the House to maintain faith with our fellow-subjects in Ireland? He would remind hon. Gentlemen, that at the time of the Union the debt of Ireland was absolutely insignificant compared with the debt of England. The debt of England was 486,849,000l., while the debt of Ireland was 23,544,000. In 1816 the debt of Great Britain had increased to 734,522,000l., and the debt of Ireland to 112,704,000l. Now, what occasioned this enormous increase in the debt of Ireland within fifteen years? He thought he could satisfy the House that it was caused by unjust legislation on the part of this country. By the articles of Union it was provided that Ireland should be protected from liability for the debt of Great Britain contracted before the Union, and from the raising of her taxation to the high standard then existing in Great Britain, unless one of three contingencies occurred—the liquidation of the two debts; such an approximation between the values of the two debts as would bring them within the proportion agreed upon at the time of the Union, of seven and a half to one; or such a change in the circumstances of the two countries as would admit of their contributing indis- criminately by equal taxes imposed upon the same articles. The first contingency, the liquidation of the debts, had not occurred; but in 1816 an approximation did arise between the debts of the two countries, which were brought within the proportion of seven and a half to one. This result was caused by injustice in the legislation of this country. The Parliament of the United Kingdom imposed upon Ireland heavier taxes than it was possible for that country to bear, and Ireland was thus under the necessity of borrowing money to meet the demands made upon her by the Imperial Treasury. It was admitted in 1816 by the then Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, and every statesman who spoke upon the subject, that Ireland had been overtaxed in the interval between 1800 and 1816. Sir John Newport also said in 1822 that, "ever since the Union the Imperial Parliament had laboured to raise the scale of taxation in Ireland as high as it was in England, and only relinquished the attempt when they found it was wholly unproductive." Well, what had been done since then? The Consolidation Act mortgaged every acre in Ireland, all the resources of that country, and the industry of its inhabitants for the whole debt of England—not only for the debt contracted since the Union, but for the 400,000,000l. or 500,000,000l. contracted previously. For whose benefit was that debt of 400,000,000l. or 500,0000,000l. contractedL Not surely for the benefit of Ireland. It was not, he supposed, for the benefit of Ireland that we had lavished enormous sums on this metropolis—it was not for the benefit of Ireland that we wore at war for so many years, although no doubt Ireland showed her interest in the wars we carried on, for her sons shed their blood freely for this country. Then, for whose advantage was the increase of debt between 1800 and 1816 contracted. He might be told it was for the benefit of the United Kingdom—not only of Great Britain but of Ireland. He would ask, however, was not that a fallacy of which English Gentlemen should be ashamed? Was it for the benefit of Ireland to give 20,000,000l. (though he did not find fault with that measure) for the emancipation of slaves? Surely not—that expenditure was incurred to gratify the humanity, to promote the glory, and to maintain the interests of this country. If, Ireland had not been united to Great Britain, she might have gone through the period which has elapsed since the Union without adding—he would not say a shilling, but certainly—any considerable amount to her debt. It was impossible to deny that, under the Consolidation Act, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had a legal right to impose this additional taxation upon Ireland; but he thought it would be difficult to show that, upon a fair consideration of the engagements of the two countries, it was equitable to do so. The right hon. Gentleman below him (Mr. Disraeli) had introduced, not long ago, a Budget, against which he (Mr. Serjeant Shee) had voted. The right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite (on the Ministerial benches) seemed to have objected to that Budget mainly on this ground—that they were anxious to do good to their country by obtaining what Archimedes wanted—a place whereon to stand. They were, no doubt, actuated by a love of power; and he believed their main objection to the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) was, that it was brought forward by the leader of the party to which they were opposed. Two very able, two wonderfully clever, men had proposed Budgets in a very short time, and the second, of course, felt himself bound to propose something new. Accordingly he threw over the house tax to make friends of the voters in the boroughs in England; he reduced taxation on many articles of mere luxury, and the assessed taxes; and then, knowing that it would be quite popular in England, he did what all his predecessors had been ashamed of doing—threw the income tax on Ireland. Now, he would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he was quite sure, according to his own estimate of the ability of Ireland, that that country did not pay as much taxation as she ought to pay? The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to levy an income tax of 460,000l. upon Ireland. The present amount of the income tax in Great Britain was 5,550,000l., to which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to add 250,000l., by extending the tax to incomes of 100l. a year. The total amount of income tax derived from Great Britain would, therefore, be 5,800,000l.; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed, by extending the tax to Ireland, to raise an additional sum of 460,000l. He seemed, then, by that proposal, to estimate the relative abilities of the two countries in the proportion of one to thirteen. Now, the entire revenue of the two countries was 53,000,000l., of which Ireland contribut- ed 4,000,000l. Deducting that amount, the revenue of Great Britain would be 49,000,000l., and one-thirteenth of that sum would be less than the 4,000,000l. now paid by the Irish people. But supposing that were not so, let them see whether the hon. Member for the West Hiding (Mr. Cobden) was justified in his attacks upon the representatives of Ireland. For his own part, and still speaking as a Member for the United Kingdom—and he could do so from the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed in relation to the other Irish Members—he frankly avowed that he did not believe there was any man in that House who had so little claim to credit from Ireland as the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cobden). There was no man in that House who, not having been born to a station of influence—not having taken his place on or near to the Treasury benches at the age of twenty-one, but having raised himself to a position equal to that of the hon. Member—who had shown so little sympathy for the people of Ireland. He (Mr. Serjeant Shee) admitted that, when a loud cry of intolerance was raised in this country two years ago, the hon. Gentleman had breasted it like a man, and boldly stood forward to denounce the clamour of those who might possibly have deprived him of his seat, but who could not have deprived him of the well-earned reputation the hon. Gentleman then possessed in the eyes of the people of his own country. When the hon. Gentleman assumed that he was therefore entitled to lecture the Members for Ireland, he (Mr. Serjeant Shee) could tell him, that what the hon. Gentleman then did, he did for his own character, his own honour, his own fame; that with all the credit gained by his financial and commercial reforms, he might not go down to posterity as a mere bigot after all. During the number of years that the hon. Gentleman had occupied a seat in that House, he had done nothing whatever for the people of Ireland. Did the hon. Gentleman not know full well that there were grievances of which that country complained—grievances which, although he (Mr. Serjeant Shoe) assented to all the main principles of the present Budget, would prevent him from sitting on the other side of the House until the Government had the manliness and the courage to redress them. The hon. Gentleman had never even moved his little finger to assist in the removal of those grievances; he had not stood forward to remove from the peo- ple of Ireland the evils of their ecclesiastical system; he had never raised his voice in their favour until an attempt was made to destroy their religious liberties. The only part which the hon. Gentleman had ever taken in the discussion on Irish questions was to scoff and spurn at the Irish Members, and complain that they never took part in Imperial questions. In this the hon. Gentleman was not only wrong, but ungrateful. On what did his fame rest? Could the hon. Gentleman have wrested free trade from the landed aristocracy without the frieze coats of Ireland? Could he have carried that question by large majorities, if the Members for the Irish agricultural districts had not always voted with him? The hon. Gentleman said that the Irish Members always made questions relating to Ireland matters of mere pounds, shillings, and pence, and that they endeavoured to make bargains with the Chancellors of the Exchequer. With what reason could the hon. Gentleman say so? Did he not know that the people of Ireland supported free trade, notwithstanding the great pecuniary loss it would and did inflict upon them? Did he not know that not only the farmers but the landowners of the country had lost a considerable amount of income by supporting free trade in corn and cattle? It appeared to him (Mr. Serjeant Shee) that the memory of the hon. Gentleman must be wofully short, or that he must be quite deficient in gratitude to those who had lifted him to his present position, when he threw in the teeth of the Irish Members the assertion that they were in the habit of making pecuniary bargains with the Ministers of the day. Passing from the lecture of the hon. Gentleman to the main question before the House, he must say that there were, in his opinion, reasons worthy of consideration which ought to prevent them from imposing additional taxes upon Ireland. The first was, that Ireland had of late years suffered very considerably by the carrying into effect of the wise policy of England. The Irish people had given an earnest support to the free-trade system; but the interests of the farmer and of the landowner had suffered considerably in consequence. They had been sacrificed to the policy of this country. They were not only sacrificed to the policy, but they were also made to bear an undue proportion of an expenditure incurred to gratify what he called the most absurd whims and prejudices. Had it never occurred to them that there was one tax which, to gratify their English whims, Ireland was made to bear, though it Was not borne in England? Did Ireland not maintain the expense of a Church, of a hierarchy, consisting of twenty-seven bishops and 3,000 priests? Was that not a tax upon the people? Was it not imposed simply to gratify the Members for this part of the United Kingdom, because they pleased that the whole of the ecclesiastical revenue of Ireland should be applied to the support of clergymen who read the Common Prayer Book of the Church of England? It was a tax exceeding the proposed income tax in amount. He would not take it at his own estimate, but at the same amount as was required for the support of the Protestant Church, which was between 600,000l. and 700,000l a year, besides upwards of 500,000 acres of land. That was all for their whim. The people of Ireland derived no benefit whatever from it. When the next Budget was proposed, it ought to be taken into consideration; and before they resolved to inflict on Ireland an income tax, let them remember the burdens which pressed upon the lower and the middle classes, the farmers and shopkeepers of Ireland. Let Ireland bear her fair share of the expenditure of the country, and not be taxed to gratify mere whims. There was an amount of 560,000l. expended annually in Ireland for the maintenance of the police. It was impossible to go into a little village in Ireland without meeting a policeman. He could not look out of his window in Kilkenny without seeing the green-coated members of the police force. That was not the case in this country. Why had that expense been incurred? Because they chose to govern the country in a manner opposed to the wishes of the people, and which made it necessary that there should be two large standing armies, one in red and another in green, for the repression of the people of Ireland. The first was paid out of the resources of the two countries, and rendered it necessary that a larger sum should be raised than would otherwise be required. This was only to meet their whims, and not because Ireland wanted it. He never met a policeman in the garb of a soldier in the county of Kent, or in any county of Scotland. It was only in Ireland; and that because they chose, with respect to their laws on religion and the relations of landlord and tenant, to govern the Irish people on principles which the English people would rebel against sooner than submit to. So long as they continued to govern Ireland upon mere whims, they ought to pause before doing so inequitable a thing as to make Ireland pay, according to the Suggestion of the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), the same amount of taxes relatively as the people of England. He (Mr. Serjeant Shee) had been shocked by what had fallen from the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume). That hon. Gentleman, looking at them with all the coolness and intrepidity in the world, had told the Irish Members that they must first pay their share of the taxes, and that then they should have justice. He (Mr. Serjeant Shee) said, why not justice first, and taxes afterwards? He told hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that though the Irish representatives were willing to give them credit for being well disposed towards the principle of civil and religious liberty, they could not be satisfied with an inclination, and would shortly be found banded against the Government, unless the Government pursued a bold and generous policy towards their country. Would to God the time had arrived when there should be no party in that House but the party of the United Kingdom! He, for one, would rejoice if there was no section of the House known as the Irish party, with respect to which calculations should be made its to the side on which they would vote oil every question. But he Would say, that there never could be ah end of the Irish party until they (the English Members) got rid of their whim's and prejudices, and were content to economise the expenditure of the two countries by doing justice to Ireland. In his opinion, speaking with all deference to those who differed from him, it was quite impossible for any independent Irish Membet to approve of the proposed Budget. He might vote for it if it were amended, by exempting Ireland from the income tax; but Until the known grievances of Ireland were' redressed, and perfect justice done to her people, every Irish Member ought to resist the imposition of new taxes on his country.


said, he did not intend to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman into the detailed accounts which he had given to the House; but he (Mr. Ricardo) had heard with some surprise the elaborate attack on his hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), for hating ventured to suggest to the Irish Members that they should identify Ireland with England in the debates in that House; and that they should devote more of their attention to matters of Imperial concern. The hon. and learned Gentleman had altogether separated the interests of the two countries in the observations which he had just addressed to the House. The hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken of the two Budgets; but it now appeared that in his (Mr. Serjeant Shee's) opinion there ought to be a third, namely, a Budget for Ireland; and the hon. and learned Gentleman said clearly that he should not be satisfied unless there was a Budget for Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman had told them that the income tax was a fair tax for England, but not for Ireland. He (Mr. Ricardo) could not understand how there could be any fairness in the taxation of the Empire, when they were called upon to deliberate upon one principle for England, and upon another for Ireland. Having taken some part in the debates in this matter, and having given it deep consideration, he (Mr. Ricardo) felt that he ought to state his reasons, which he would do briefly, for the vote which he was about to give. He came down to the House on Monday last, having seen an Amendment on the Votes to the following effect:— That for and in respect of any profession, trade, or vocation, whether the same shall be respectively exercised in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, for every 20 s. of the annual value or amount thereof above the yearly profits of 100l. and under that of 500l.—for two years from April 5, 1853, 5 d.; and for two years from April 5, 1855, 4 d.; and for three years from April 5, 1857, 3 d." That was a plain and tangible proposition that could be debated and understood. But by some extraordinary manoeuvre, which shaved very closely the rules and regulations of the House with respect to Motions made in Committee, another and a general Resolution was put upon the books, stating, as far as he could understand it—for it was not very comprehensible, he presumed from an error of the printers—that no income tax ought to be passed without some adjustment and arrangement. Now, the whole pith of the matter lay in that adjustment and arrangement. He did not believe that there was any man in that House who did not wish that this tax, as well as every other, should be adjusted and classified as fairly as possible. But he had expected that some hon. or right hon. Gentleman on the other (the Opposi- tion) side of the House would have told them how it was to be adjusted and classified. He was free to confess with his hon. Friend (Mr. Cobden) that, although he had taken a great part and made a great outcry for the adjustment of the tax; although he had moved an Amendment when Sir Robert Peel brought forward his measure with regard to the terminable annuities; although he had gone into the Committee on the income tax with the full bias in favour of the possibility of its adjustment and classification; yet, after he had heard the whole of the evidence brought before them—the hair splittings of the actuaries, and the enormous amount of derangement that would ensue upon any attempt at adjustment—he was free to confess that any attempt of the kind would be tantamount to the abrogation of the tax altogether. The hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment (Sir B. Lytton) had told them that the tradesmen would be great sufferers, and he made out a very strong and pathetic case in their behalf. But the tradesmen were not the only ones. There was the professional man, who told them that his case was much harder than that of the tradesman, and who would not be satisfied with being placed upon the same footing with the tradesman. The tradesman could leave his business to the care of his shopman and apprentices; and when he died there was the goodwill of the business and the premises for the benefit of his family. But if the professional man were ill, he had no one to attend to his business in his behalf; and when he died his business died with him. The cases were, therefore, quite different. In the classification and adjustment which they were going to propose, did they intend to put a different tax upon the tradesman and upon the professional man; and did they intend to make any difference in favour of the number of children each might have? Where did they mean to begin, and where did they mean to stop? If any hon. Gentleman would read the calculations of the Statistical Society, and Mr. Farr's articles on this question, together with the evidence given by the same gentleman before the Committee, he would find that there ought to be a distinction drawn between those who had purchased into the funds at 80, and those who had purchased in at 85, and between those who had purchased land at seventeen years' purchase, and twenty years' purchase, according to the value of money at the time. If any hon. Gentleman would read all these hair splittings, he would come to the conclusion that an equitable adjustment was an impossibility. It was all very well for the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) to talk of rough justice, as he did on one occasion; but if they attempted an adjustment, he (Mr. Ricardo) was afraid the justice would be rougher than it was now. Only one plan had been suggested—namely, the substitution of the property for the income tax. But what was the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli)? It would not do to attempt to delude them into the notion that they could adjust and classify the income tax, and to endeavour to make them vote against the Budget, that they might catch that phantom of adjustment which they (the Opposition) did not think fit to bring bodily before the House. He wished honestly to confess his opinion that no adjustment could be made. He did not consider that he was doing anything improper in making that confession. What were the Committees of the House for, if they did not fairly consider the evidence brought before them? Stripped of all extraneous matter, the whole evidence in this case went to prove that, if there were any way of classifying the income tax, it was only by means of a property tax. When he found any hon. Gentleman on any side of the House bringing forward a property tax, it would be the proper time to vote how it should be levied; but he could not vote for any adjustment of the income tax, which he believed to be impossible, unless he heard from hon. Gentlemen opposite the manner in which it was to be effected. He was in favour of direct taxation, and he did not want the eloquent speech of his hon. Friend (Mr. Cobden), which he thought would remain unanswered, to convince him it was the proper principle of all taxation; and it was because he was in favour of that principle that he should give his vote for the Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He (Mr. Ricardo) believed that there was in this Budget the foundation and the seed of a system of direct taxation. He believed that upon a fair and equitable tax upon successions we might build a proper system of direct taxation. If we got rid of indirect taxation we should have to call back our "giant" from his tomb to replace our deficit; and it would be well to reflect carefully before destroying altogether that which had proved so serviceable. No matter how large their deficit might be, they could never replace it by Customs and Excise duties any more. He agreed that it was a mere vanity to fix for how many years we would keep this tax; circumstances were so continually changing in this country, and there was so frequently a cry for the repeal of some tax altering the incidence of taxation, that no Chancellor of the Exchequer could fairly make up a Budget now for 1860. He did not believe that the defenders of direct taxation ran any risk in voting for this Budget. At the same time, they would of course reserve to themselves the right of objecting to particular points of detail. He thought that he had a right, although approving of the Budget as a whole, to find fault himself with some of its details; but he must say that he had heard with the greatest possible satisfaction that night that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was about to reconsider the question of licences. He would conclude by offering to the right hon. Gentleman what he might consider the equivocal compliment of saying that he could forgive the financial eccentricity displayed by the right hon. Gentleman with respect to the commutation of annuities, in consideration of the benefits which he hoped for from the operation of the Budget.


said, in respect to an observation of the hon. Member who had just resumed his seat, he must explain that there was a misprint in the statement of the Amendment upon the Votes; the words "without any mitigation" should have been inserted before the words "of the inequalities of its assessment."


said, he must express his great astonishment that the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) and his friends, who said so much of the injustice and inequality of the income tax when the late Government were in power, should now be willing to vote for that tax unaltered, not for one year, but for seven. If the injustice of taxing equally precarious and permanent incomes was to be continued, it would be occasioned solely by the abandonment both of principle and professions by the hon. Member and his followers—patriots or party men, as suited their purposes. The hon. Member had been kind enough to turn his attention to the finances of Ireland. He was considered an able accountant and experienced financier, but it was very evident that the hon. Member knew nothing whatever of the question of the finances of Ireland. Instead of Irishmen being extrava- gant and unable to keep down expenditure, it was his firm belief that if they had the control of their own affairs, the contrary was the fact. In 1754 it was announced in the Irish House of Commons that their debt was all paid off. In 1759 they had a considerable surplus. Then came a claim from this side of the water, that the surplus belonged to the Imperial Government. The result was, that there was an end of attempts at economy—they were of no use. Then came the expense of the rebellion, and the bribery of Members of the Irish Parliament; and when the Union was carried it appeared that the debt of Ireland amounted to 28,000,000l., while that of England was about 460,000,000l. Viscount Castlereagh stated that there was a difference in respect of interest and management of the debt of 17,000,000l., which he pledged himself should be provided for by England annually by separate taxation. Yet up to 1842 the difference that England paid was but 8,000,000l.; and from that date, reckoning the income tax at 5,000,000l., it was only 13,000,000l., or 4,000,000l. under the amount which England undertook to pay by separate taxation, and ought to pay before imposing additional taxation upon Ireland. At the time of the Union it had been said that the expenses of Ireland would diminish in an extraordinary degree; but the very reverse was the fact, for they were more than trebled, the entire expenditure of Ireland, during the fifteen years which preceded the Union, amounting to 41,000,000l., whereas for the fifteen years that followed the Union, the expenditure amounted to 148,000,000l. At the rate of expenditure incurred in Ireland while her affairs were under her own management, the increase of Irish revenue would have paid her current expenditure and the 28,000,000l. of debt as well. The hon. Member (Mr. Cobden) had alluded to the proposed remission of the consolidated annuities; and he (Mr. French) acknowledged the vital importance of that remission to certain districts. He appreciated the liberal spirit it was dealt with; he admitted the grave responsibility attaching to those declining to accept the proffered boon. But in justice to other districts, and to his own constituents—believing that it was not anything like a fair price that was asked for the favour held out, but that the demand made upon Ireland was three times the amount of the boon offered—he must resist this Budget to the utmost. He protested against the two subjects of the consolidated annuities and the income tax being mixed up together. To do so was subversive both of the principles of government and finance; they were essentially separate and distinct; each of them ought to stand upon its own merits and its own justice. If it was just and politic to impose the income tax on Ireland, let it be done, but not as an equiment for the remission of these demands. It was only saying you would take a burden off one party, and place it upon another. With regard to the general provisions of the Budget, he would ask, if it had a just bearing upon the interests of Ireland, compared with the interests of this country? It had not. England was to get the remission of the soap duty, 1,200,000l., but he doubted whether the extent of the relief would be so considerable as was anticipated, for, though there was no duty upon soap in Ireland, he believed there was no such material difference in the price of soap in the one country and the other; at any rate, not such a difference as to correspond to the relief talked of. As to the reduction of the tea duties, Ireland would share in that; but the object was not to serve Ireland, but rather to secure a large market in China for English goods; and that was the main reason why the hon. Member (Mr. Cobden) so decidedly supported this Budget. It suited him. It struck a serious blow at the landed interest, and opened a large market for English manufactures. The consolidated annuities which the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to remit, amounted to 245,000l. a year; but the late Chancellor of the Exchequer abandoned that portion which was to be paid by the unions, where over 4 s. in the pound was raised for the poor, reducing the amount to 175,000l. a year. But, after the unanimous Report of the Lords' Committee, and the admissions made on all sides, no Minister could make a legitimate claim for more than 2,400,000l., which at 6½ per cent would require an annuity for twenty-two years of 140,000l.; and that was the entire amount really to be remitted. On the contrary side, there was the income tax to be imposed on Ireland, estimated at 460,000l. a year, but more likely to exceed 500,000l.; legacy duty extended to land, 300,000l.; additional spirit duty, allowing for drawback, about 200,000l.; licences, about 50,000l.; altogether, 1,050,000l. There would be the protection taken off butter and eggs, and so forth; but then there would be the first year's decrease of tea duty. The result would be an increase of money payment from Ireland of close upon 800,000l. a year. As to the income tax, how did the condition of Ireland now differ from what it was in 1842, when the first statesman of the day declared that he could not venture to lay this tax upon her? Sir Robert Peel also said that there was no machinery for levying it there; nor was there now. When it was proposed, last December, to extend the tax only partially to Ireland, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Halifax (Sir C. Wood) said— In her present state it is not wise for us to press Ireland down with additional taxation. Considering the large burdens recently imposed upon her, and her depressed condition arising from the calamities of late years, the income tax ought not to be extended to Ireland. The proposal is to put in the narrow end of the wedge; and an Irishman is less wise than I take him to be if he is gulled by such a proposition. I do not think it wise to extend the income tax to Ireland."—[3 Hansard, cxxiii. 1309.] The income tax had been opposed by the most powerful, influential, and experienced leaders of the party of "progress" in this country. Lord Brougham had spoken of it as a tax which ought to be resorted to only in the event of war; the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) in 1842 admitted the inequality of its operation, and its inquisitorial character; yet the noble Lord was now prepared to continue it for seven years in all its oppressiveness and with all its inquisitorial character; and, not content with renewing it, he was prepared to extend it to Ireland. On March 17, 1842, Lord John Russell declared— One objection to the tax was the admitted inequality of its operation. It is obvious that if you take three or four persons having each 300l a year, the pressure may be most unequal. The first derives his income from permanent property. The second is in receipt of a terminable annuity. The third is engaged in a dangerous or unhealthy profession, who lays by a small part of his income as a future provision for his family. In this case, you are taxing capital as well as income. The fourth may be a person engaged in trade, whose profits are uncertain: one year his gains are inconsiderable, the next year less, the third year a positive loss; is he to be taxed as you take from one whose income is permanent? Again, the inquisitorial nature of the examination, which is part and parcel of this tax, and which it is not possible to avoid, as you cannot rely on the declarations of individuals as to the amount of their incomes. It is said people ought not to object to their incomes being known—an extraordinary declaration in a commercial country: there are occasions when the publication of a merchant's accounts would be most prejudicial to him. In his Resolution the noble Lord asserts— The amount of taxes taken off or reduced from the termination of the war to 1836, exclusive of the income tax, is 23,873,000l., in Ireland 2,000,000l. He concludes by declaring— The tax was inquisitorial in its nature, unequal in its pressure, hitherto considered as the financial reserve of the nation in time of war, is not called for by public necessity, and therefore not advisable. Will he support its continuance for seven years, and its extension to Ireland, after refusing his assent to it in a modified form, and affecting solely the prosperous interests in that country? The next proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was to increase the duty on spirits. Now in 1842 Sir Robert Peel proposed an additional duty on spirits of 1s. a gallon; but after retaining that duty a certain number of years, he abandoned it. Sir Robert Peel had a Minister in the Cabinet well acquainted with Ireland, in the person of Lord Fitzgerald and Vesey, who had been Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland before the Union, and who consequently knew the condition of Ireland well. That nobleman advised Sir Robert Peel to withdraw the tax, and it was withdrawn accordingly. There was no Irishman in the Cabinet at present; there was none, therefore, to whom the Government could look for advice. [Sir J. GRAHAM: Lord Palmerston.] That noble Lord was generally a resident here. Certainly, he had Irish estates; but if the right hon. Gentleman gave the noble Lord to him as a countryman, he should claim the noble Lord with pride and with pleasure. Without fear of contradiction, he (Mr. French) asserted that 8d. per gallon on spirits in the present day, was, owing to the effect of the unrestricted importation of corn, equal to 1s. per gallon proposed in 1842 by Sir Robert Peel; and the present Government was merely repeating blindfold the error from which Sir Robert Peel extricated himself in 1842. The effect of a duty would on smuggling always be in proportion to the price it bore to the raw material; 8d. at present was an equal bounty on smuggling to 1s. in 1842, when freedom of trade and unrestricted importation were taken into consideration. And then, in order to collect this additional impost, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to press the Irish constabulary into the revenue service. At present there was the greatest difference between the police constable and the revenue officer. The former could only act under the orders of a magistrate; the latter was under no control, and was authorised to use his fire-arms whenever he thought himself in danger. Now he would ask the Committee whether it was advisable to let loose upon Ireland 13,000 additional firelocks? That proposal was a distinct violation of the promises and pledges which had been given by Her Majesty's Government. Lord Liverpool's Administration undertook that the constabulary should not act for the purpose of discharging such duties as might fall to a gamekeeper, or for the purpose of collecting the revenue. That pledge was even embodied in the Act of Parliament, The right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn) who was. not at that moment in his place, was a party to that arrangement, and could bear out the statement now made. The effect of such a measure as the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed would be to destroy the efficiency of one of the finest forces in the world, to render them liable to bribery both by money and by whisky, and to put an end to their character as a constabulary force. Had they consulted the able and meritorious head of the police force, Sir Duncan M'Gregor? If they had, would they lay his opinion on the table; if they had not, would they now ask for it? If he knew anything of the character of that gallant officer, his condemnation of the scheme would be as complete and perfect as that of any man could be. He would warn them that their increase of the spirit duties, as a financial measure, would fail. Sir Robert Peel calculated upon receiving from his increase the sum of 250,000l. a year; in the first year the sum realised amounted only to 16,000l. One of their ablest financiers, Mr. Poulett Thompson, referred in March, 1830, to Ireland as affording an illustration of the effect produced on the revenue by excessive taxation. 3,000,000l. of additional taxation had, on one occasion, been imposed on Ireland, the Minister of the day thinking a revenue of 4,370,000l. from Ireland too little. The result was a loss on the revenue of 500,000l. That instance, Mr. Poulett Thompson said, ought to be a lesson, and ought to teach them to avoid a similar error. Reverting to the subject of direct taxation, he wished to call attention to the evidence before Lord Beaumont's Committee, from which it appeared that of the legacy duty one-fourth was contributed by the land. All land let on renewable leases were subject to it; real property in many cases under wills became liable to it. The Government proposed to extend the legacy duty to Ireland, and impose it on that property that had suffered most. The legacy duty was a duty imposed on property passing between the dead and the living. What did the land pay which passed from the living to the living? It was easy to transfer a sum of 100,000l. in money; but if it were attempted to transfer land of which the value was 100,000l., it would be seen that the charge for investigating titles, the long delays, the inquiry into burdens, the stamp duty, and the cumbrous and complicated law which affected real property in this country, rendered the transfer of land difficult and expensive. It was a delusion and a fraud that the landlords should be subjected by this Budget to a double charge. Were all the yeomen of England to be destroyed for the sake of the Manchester men? He remembered the noble Lord the Member for the City of London speaking, in 1840, of the pride which the 40s. freeholder in Devonshire had in a property that had been handed down from father to son, from the Conquest. If the gentry of England on both sides were indifferent to their own interests, they ought not to be so to the interests of those who had sent them to that House, merely from fear to grapple with a party which, if they only stood up to it, would not be found to consist of such formidable adversaries—namely, the "Manchester school." Let that dissolution take place with which they were threatened; they were not afraid of it; but at least the announcement on that subject ought to be made by Ministers, and not in semi-official statements. He should not go into the general question of the relative taxation of England and Ireland, nor should he dwell on the protest of Lord Rosse, which no one had answered, or the statistical tables of Mr. Kingsley, and other evidence, which showed that Ireland paid taxation to the fullest amount on landed property, and that the imposition of the property tax was therefore uncalled for. He repeated, in conclusion, that the Budget introduced into Ireland an oppressive and inquisitorial tax, which had been condemned by every statesman in the House of Commons; and there was no necessity for so introducing it if the tax were not to be permanent; that the Budget would in- crease the expense and deteriorate the qualities of the constabulary force in Ireland; would re-establish smuggling and all its consequent evils; and, however well intended that Budget might be, he honestly and conscientiously believed that, if it passed in its present form, it would operate most unjustly, and to Ireland would be the most injurious Budget ever proposed in the House of Commons. Under these feelings he should give it all the opposition in his power.


said, he would scarcely have ventured to address the Committee were it not for the remark of the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Serjeant Shee). That hon. and learned Member concluded his observations by stating that, in his opinion, no independent Irish Member could conscientiously support this measure. Now, as it was his intention to give his conscientious support to the measure, it was but fair that the Committee should have patience with him for a very few minutes while he stated his reasons for doing so. On Monday he came to the House with a mind perfectly unembarrassed; he had not decided before the debate as to how he should vote. He had listened to all the objections which had been urged against the Budget, and especially as it would affect the Irish constituencies, and he had heard nothing to contradict the assertion he now ventured to make, that it would be a great boon to the tenant-farmer in Ireland. It might, as it had been urged, press hard upon the struggling shopkeeper; but he begged hon. Members to recollect that the shopkeeper derived his existence from the tenant-farmers who surrounded him. Then it was urged that by the remission of the consolidated duties, taken in connexion with the imposition of the income tax, the richer parts of Ireland would be made to pay the debts of the poorer. Taking that view of the case, he maintained that it was right and just it should be so; for if it had not been for their connexion with the poor parts of Ireland, Belfast, and its neighbouring towns, for example, would not so long have escaped the income tax. Then it was said that if they once consented to the imposition of the income tax, it would be imposed for ever. Some people said, "Oh, would you believe the word of the Chancellor of the Exchequer?" He, for one, did believe in the word of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He believed in the unsullied honour and the clear judgment of the right hon. Gentleman. No doubt circumstances might intervene and defeat his calculations; but then Imperial calamities must be met by Imperial measures. On these grounds, then, he should cordially support the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman, though personally he would be a loser by it. He believed it would be found that Ireland would willingly come forward to pay her quota. When it was proposed some one hundred years ago to impose a duty on salt to relieve the landed interest, the landed interest said they preferred having things as they were for the sake of the poorer classes. With reference to what had been said by the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny, he begged that hon. and learned Gentleman to believe that others might differ in opinion from him and yet be honest; and if he might venture to recommend anything to so experienced an orator in regard to his style, it would be the old hackneyed quotation, Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re. The hon. Member for Roscommon (Mr. F. French) said that these propositions would increase Irish taxation to the extent of 800,000l. a year. For his part he believed it would be nothing like that sum, and that when all sides of the question came to be fully investigated, the increase would be found to be very small indeed. The hon. Member for Roscommon further expressed his regret that there was no Irish gentleman of ability and experience in the Cabinet. That was no doubt a painful consideration; but he trusted that the next Government, to which the hon. Gentleman appeared to be looking forward—the incoming Government, on which he seemed to rely with so much fondness—when it came into power, he hoped it would not commit the same great oversight as its predecessors, but would take into its counsels the hon. Gentleman, who was so thoroughly conversant with Ireland and Irish affairs. He would give his cordial support to the Resolutions before the Committee, at the same time that he reserved to himself the right of opposing other parts of the right hon. Gentleman's scheme. He could not approve, for instance, of the increase of the duties on Irish spirits, which he feared would lead to an increase of illicit distillation; but if that were found to be the case, he was satisfied the right hon. Gentleman would withdraw the increased duty. There was also a question which he should like to have answered. When Sir Robert Peel exempted Ireland from the income tax, he imposed an increased stamp duty on that country. Was he to understand that that increased duty would now be remitted? On the whole, therefore, and thanking the Committee for its indulgence, he begged to say he would cordially support the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


rose and said: Sir, I rise briefly to express the views which I entertain on this important question. I am the more desirous of doing so, as I believe I have arrived at a different conclusion from hon. Gentlemen generally on this side of the House. I believe in the sincerity of their views, and I trust they will accord equal justice to me. Sir, the question before the Committee is, not alone the abstract Resolution of the renewal of the income tax, but it is the whole financial scheme of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The income tax is the corner stone of that scheme, and if that be defeated the whole fabric is destroyed. Were I called upon to vote upon the abstract Resolution alone, that the income tax should be continued for seven years on all classes of income alike, I should at once say Nay to such a proposition; but I must now consider this question along with the other propositions proposed by the right hon. Gentleman; and first and foremost is that of the legacy duty on successions of real property in cases of death. And let me tell the Committee, that the support of this tax is not new in my case, as Hansard will bear testimony. In the discussion of the Budget in 1848, I submitted this very proposition to the House and at the same time explained that when Mr. Pitt in 1796 introduced a Bill for levying the probate and legacy duty on personal property, he accompanied that measure with another for a tax on the succession of real property. I will state to the Committee the words of Mr. Pitt on the introduction of that Bill, "He (Mr. Pitt) agreed that the principle on which the two Bills were founded was much the same, and that if this Bill (tax on succession of personal property) passed, it would be very desirable that the principle should be extended to real property." Sir, the Bill for the tax on the succession of personal property did pass; but on the second reading of that on real property, a division took place, when the numbers were equal, the Speaker giving his casting in favour of the measure; but in consequence of the influence and remonstrances of, the great landowners, the right hon. Gentleman was subsequently obliged to withdraw the Bill. I ask, then, can I consistently now, if I were so inclined, oppose this part of the plan of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? Then, Sir, as I feel bound to support the proposed legacy duty on succession of real property, I ask can I consent in justice to that interest to levy on it a heavier income tax than on trades and professions? Besides, Sir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer proved the other night, I think very forcibly, if not very satisfactorily, that real property is already taxed at a higher rate, namely, as 9d. is to 7d. I therefore see little difficulty in giving my support to the renewal of the tax on all incomes alike at the rate of 7d. Hon. Gentlemen who have spoken on the question from the sister country, strongly and naturally enough oppose the introduction of it to Ireland; but to me that is a further recommendation; and I consider it has been a great omission and injustice to the rest of the United Kingdom that this anomaly has not been sooner remedied. Adam Smith lays it down as a principle of taxation that it should be imposed in proportion to the ability of persons to bear it. Now, I would ask, is not the landower in Ireland (a purchaser perhaps of one of the late encumbered estates) as able to bear that tax as the heavy burdened landowner in this country? Is not the merchant and manufacturer of Belfast or Derry as able to pay the tax as those of Liverpool or Manchester; is not the shopkeeper of Dublin equally able to pay tax on his profits, as the shopkeeper in London? I say then it is an injustice not to levy it on Ireland; and I am glad to see that it is an injustice that is to last no longer. Sir, there is one part of the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman to which I have a strong objection, and that is the licensing system on certain trades. The seller of a cigar at an hotel is to pay a rate of duty in proportion to the rent of his house. A seller of tea and coffee the same, though he may sell fifty other articles at the same time; yet he has to be taxed as if his premises were used exclusively for the sale of his tea and coffee. The proposed mode of levying this tax from the maltster is monstrous in its effects. The present licence costs the maltster 4l. 14 s. 6 d.; but in lieu of this it is proposed to levy it after the rate of 7 s. 10 d. on every fifty quarters. Why, Sir, this will make a difference to some of my constituents of from 40l. to 200l. per annum, and without the least chance of making any extra charge to the public. I am given to understand, also, that the tax on beer licences will amount, in some instances, to upwards of 1,000l. per annum. Sir, if the right hon. Gentleman feels that he must derive a portion of the revenue of the country from a tax on licences, then I say, make it general. Tax the wealthy banker, the rich merchant and manufacturer, in proportion to the amount of their business returns, and then those classes which I have named, and which have been so arbitrarily singled out, will have no right to complain. Sir, I have another objection to state, and that is the retaining of 6 d. of the advertisement duty. This House has recently decided that the whole of this tax should be repealed: and it now conies with a bad grace from the right hon. Gentleman to say, "I will not agree to the whole of your demand, sanctioned though it has been by the authority of the House; but I will give you two-thirds of it, and with this I beg you to be content." Sir, as one of those who voted for the repeal of that tax, I say I am not content. I have said that I voted for the repeal of the advertisement duty; and as faction has been attributed to many on this side of the House for their votes on that occasion, I perhaps may be allowed to explain my own vote. My name does not appear in the division list last year; but had I voted, I certainly should have voted for its repeal. On the hustings I promised to vote for the repeal of the advertisement duty as well as the stamp on newspapers; and by voting for those measures, I have redeemed the promise I then made. I think, Sir, I have now stated all the main objections I have against the Budget. I will now review the other and more agreeable side of the question. First, the Customs. The total repeal of the import duty on 123 articles, amounting only to 53,000l., and the reduction on 133 other articles to the amount of 70,000l., and the substituting fixed for ad valorem duties, are, in my opinion, most desirable reforms. The reduction of the tea duties to 1s. in three years, both sides of the House will hail with satisfaction, as conferring a benefit on all parties, particularly the poorer classes, and extending our trade and commerce with the East. Then, we have the total repeal of the soap duty; another great boon, which will be felt by all classes, and will promote the comfort and health of the poor, and afford a great relief to the manufacturer, and will produce an enormous increase in the exports of this article. Then, we have the reduction on receipt stamps and life policies: the former duty has been long evaded, and any law that is evaded with impunity is in principle bad. I am sorry that the reduction on life policies has not been extended to all policies of assurance. Lastly, Sir, we have the judicious alteration in the assessed taxes; and though this may by some be looked upon as a relief to the wealthier classes, I believe it will afford equal relief to the poorer by the extra employment it will cause. I have gone, Sir, pretty nearly through the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman. I have stated my objections as well as my approvals, and I am bound to say that it is a bold, comprehensive, and statesmanlike measure; and that after a careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that, whatever evils there may be in the plan, the good far outweighs the bad; and, judging of the scheme as a whole, as I did that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), I shall give it my support, and vote for the Resolution before the Committee, believing, Sir, as I do, that it will tend to preserve, if not to increase, that prosperity which so happily exists amongst all classes of Her Majesty's subjects.


said, that having on a former occasion taken part in the discussion respecting this tax, he was anxious to make some remarks on the Motion now before the Committee. The hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent (Mr. J. L. Ricardo) had complained of the form of the Amendment before the House. Now, so far from joining in that complaint, he was glad that it bore the shape which it did, because it did not rest the Amendment upon any isolated details of the scheme of the Government, but challenged the whole principle of the Budget, and asked the Committee to say whether or not it was prepared to sanction that principle. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had very frankly avowed that the corner stone of his Budget was the income tax, and that whatever alterations might subsequently be made in some of its details, unless the income tax was continued in its present form, the Budget was, of course, at an end. Well, the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the income tax was, that it should be continued for seven years in its present shape, with the view of getting rid of the tax altogether at the end of that period; and by that continuance of the tax, and its extension, together with the imposition of other taxes, the right hon. Gentleman intended to afford certain remissions which would be beneficial to the revenue and to the public at large. It had been his fortune more than once to state (he was in a minority at the time) the great discomfort he felt by reason of the large amount of revenue which hung upon the question of a continuation of the income tax. Now, when the income tax was first imposed, and when in 1848 it was renewed, he (Sir F. Baring) took the liberty of expressing to the House the alarm he felt that the finances of the country should be made so largely to rest upon a direct tax, which was only continued from three years to three years. He had, therefore, heard with the greatest satisfaction that the Government had arrived at the conclusion that the income tax was not a fitting impost for permanent use in time of peace, and that they were prepared to grapple with the question with the view to its ultimate extinction. He had by no means any preference for either direct or indirect taxation, but experience had shown that a heavy direct tax in time of peace was not easy to keep; and, in his humble opinion, one of the most important merits of a tax was, that it should be one that could be maintained. Hon. Gentlemen below the gangway pronounced very great panegyrics upon direct taxation in the abstract; but, strange to say, when the question came to an actual vote, whether it was from ill-health or any like inability he knew not, they did not afford that support to direct taxation which led him to believe that it could be permanently retained. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman, with his great talents as a financier, might have imposed other taxes to an extent that would have enabled him to get rid of the income tax at once; but a Minister was bound to consider what mode of effecting his object was most likely to be adopted by the majority of that House, and no doubt the right hon. Gentleman had wisely decided to postpone the abolition of the tax, and to dispose of his present surplus in another manner. His (Sir F. Baring's) argument had always been that if the income tax was to be continued as a permanent source of revenue in time of peace, they must endeavour to readjust it, although he must say he had never entertained the sanguine hope that they would ever be able to remove the whole of its inequalities and defects. That task had been undertaken by those whose abilities he greatly respected, but they had utterly failed to accomplish it. A Committee of that House had sat for the purpose; and their Report, he must say, was a very unsatisfactory result for two years of incubation—for they were unable to devise any scheme which would render the tax just and equitable. Therefore he, for one, however inconvenient it might be, was prepared to support with his vote the continuance of the tax in its present form, with the condition that it was ultimately to be abandoned, rather than to recommend that the almost, if not altogether, hopeless task of equitably commuting the tax should be persevered in, with the view to render the impost perpetual. But it was asked, "What is your security that it will ultimately be abandoned?" and he had also heard strong comments upon the notion of making a Budget extending over a period of seven years. He knew something of the difficulty of framing estimates for a single year; and certainly the facilities of what the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) called picking holes in a Budget were proportionately increased when it looked so far forward as seven years hence; but still they must look at the matter as sensible men, and they should remember that in the first place they had the pledge of the Government, which was not the mere pledge of individual Members, that if the tax was reimposed it would be extinguished at the termination of seven years. Well, if another Government should be in office at the end of that period, they would find it difficult to convince either that House or the country that it would not be a breach of faith to refuse to remove the income tax seven years hence, and they would find it still more difficult to continue it than to reimpose it. Again, were there no steps by which at the end of seven years they would be able to find the means of parting with the income tax? It was true that they could not, of course, calculate very accurately what would be the exact state of the public finances seven years hence; but he apprehended that in 1860 the whole amount produced from the income tax would have been reduced to about 4,540,000l. Now, it was the fact, and no mere matter of conjecture, that by the year 1860 an amount of 2,146,000l. would be derived from the prudence of our ancestors through the falling in of annuities, whilst a sum of 624,000l. more would be realised from the operation of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn) upon the interest of the public debt. These two items added together would give a total of 2,770,000l., which would be available in 1860 to go towards balancing the loss which the surrender of the 4,540,000l. derived from the income tax would then occasion to the revenue. Thus the amount which was to be made up would be between 1,700,000l. and 1,800,000l.; and when the sacrifice was reduced to an amount under 2,000,000l., to be met from the legacy duty and the other additional sources of revenue, even if the Chancellor of the Exchequer's estimates should fall short a few hundred thousands, he could not rate the skill of financiers so low as not to believe that any small deficit could easily be made up to enable the income tax to be entirely given up after seven years, especially when the task would have been so reduced and brought within the range of a single stroke of finance, as the right hon. Gentleman had shown it could be. Therefore, after carefully examining the point, he (Sir P. Baring) did believe that there was a fair security that in 1860 the income tax could be got rid of entirely. With respect to the other parts of the Budget, he thought there was little difference of opinion either in that House or in the country. He considered that the right hon. Gentleman had acted wisely and well in the reductions that he had proposed. The soap tax was one of the worst taxes now in existence; and he was glad that it was now proposed to apply part of the surplus to its total extinction. With regard to the new burdens which the right hon. Gentleman meant to impose, the extension of the legacy duty to real property was a measure which he should support, not with the same view as some hon. Gentlemen seemed inclined to do, namely, because it would help to knock on the head the old landed proprietors of England, but because he thought the existing distinction between personal and real property ought no longer to be retained. It was only just that the two should be placed upon the same footing, the more especially after the expenses of stamps, which used to form the ground for the exemption of land from legacy duty, had now been reduced. He now approached a part of the subject upon which he regretted that he was obliged to take a somewhat different view from the Government, and which, after the best consideration he could give it, he was not prepared to support: he meant the extension of the income tax to those who had not hitherto been subject to it. The Committee would bear in mind, in the first place, that in dealing as was proposed with the income tax, they were not dealing with a permanent portion of the revenue of the country; but they had condemned that tax, and said that it was one which they did not wish or mean to keep; and yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to extend that tax to those who had hitherto been exempted from it, and to extend it to them for a certain time only. That course, he confessed, did not appear to him to be very consistent or very logical. If it was a good tax, he could perfectly understand their extending it; but if it was, as they said it was, a bad tax, why were they asked to extend it? Again, what was the greatest difficulty in the way of removing the tax altogether? Why, undoubtedly, its large amount; and yet it was proposed to enhance that difficulty by adding 500,000l. to its produce. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the class of persons possessing incomes of between 100l. and 150l, a year, had received greater advantages from the great remissions of the duties upon articles of consumption lately effected than those who received the higher grades of incomes. But if that argument was sound, why did the right hon. Gentleman propose to stop at incomes of 100l. If the logic was good as applied to incomes of between 150l. And 100l., was it not equally good with regard to incomes below 100l. a year? For he ventured to say that the lower they descended in the scale of income, the greater had been the benefits derived by the people from the adoption of free trade. Again, what was the great object of the remissions effected in recent years? Was it not in a great measure to transfer the burdens of taxation from the lower classes to the shoulders of those who were better able to bear it? But the right hon. Gentleman, having found that recent legislation had succeeded in attaining its object, had used that very circumstance as an argument why the Committee should replace the humbler classes in very much the same position as they formerly occupied. But, further, the right hon. Gentleman had urged, as a ground for not continuing the tax in time of peace, the effect which it produced in demoralising a part of the trade of the country. That was an argument which he (Sir F. Baring) could not treat with the ridicule which some might be disposed to cast upon it; and, he asked, was it wise, when they proposed to abandon the tax: altogether, to extend the demoralisation to a class of tradesmen more liable to yield to its corrupting influence than the higher grades, who were admitted to have been tainted by its influence—a fact which, however it was to be deplored, they could not shut their eyes to? Again, he did not shrink from avowing the opinion, however unpopular it might be, that if Ireland was to be subjected to further taxation, it would have been wiser to have followed the course which Sir Robert Peel pursued, and to have laid upon that country a different tax from the income tax. The argument against the extension of the tax in Ireland, was even stronger than in the case of England. The demoralising influence had never yet touched Ireland; and, besides, all the machinery for raising the tax which already existed in England would have to be entirely created in Ireland; and Sir Robert Peel, who spoke from experience, not only having been Financial Minister, but having once been Secretary for Ireland, considered that its creation would be extremely difficult in that country. Therefore he (Sir F. Baring) thought it would be infinitely better to adopt some other mode of obtaining a larger contribution from Ireland than an income tax, which was altogether new to that country, and which was only intended to be of temporary duration. The right hon. Gentleman said, that one of the grounds why Sir Robert Peel exempted Ireland was, that two other taxes had been imposed upon that country as a substitute for the income tax, but that those two taxes had since been remitted. Now, a spirit duty was not an objectionable tax; and one of the taxes which Sir Robert Peel proposed for Ireland was 1 s. per gallon on spirits, which had since been repealed. But the right hon. Gentleman by proposing the reimposition of a duty of 8d. a gallon on spirits, it should be remembered, was going to subject Ireland to the income tax at the same time that he was laying on two-thirds of one of the two taxes which were originally placed upon Ireland as a substitute for the income tax. The second burden which formed the ground of Ireland's exemption from the income tax was the stamp duties. It was true those duties had been reduced; but it must be recollected that this remission was one that was made, not for Ireland alone, but in favour of the whole of the United Kingdom, and therefore it was not fair to represent it as a special boon to one country. He knew that he was running counter to the prejudices of his countrymen in opposing sentiments which he had heard loudly cheered in that House; but he must ask, what was the amount of compensation which the right hon. Gentleman was about to give to Ireland? The abandonment of the consolidated annuities, after the evidence which had been adduced before a Committee of that House, he was bound to say, ought not to be regarded in the light of an absolute gift to Ireland, or as a compensation for the imposition of the income tax; and he thought that to a reduction of those annuities Ireland was to a certain extent entitled without giving any equivalent. He would not ask them to exempt Ireland from her fair share of taxation; but he did ask them to look at the comparative benefits which England and Ireland would receive from the present proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He might be wrong—probably the chances were that he was so—because any statement more ably made he had never heard in his life than that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he would tell the Committee the view he took. He wished to show what were the advantages which England Would derive from the plan, and those also which Ireland would derive. He would not attempt to capitalise the different funds, for he wanted to do it as simply as he could, and in this way. He would show, first, what were the comparative drawbacks and advantages that would fall to the lot of Ireland and Great Britain respectively when the whole Budget of the right hon. Gentleman came into operation, and then he would attempt to strike a balance between them. First, he would throw aside the taxes which were imposed on England and Ireland equally, and to be paid by England and Ireland alike. There was the legacy duty on land, which was to be imposed on both countries. Though the disadvantage of it might be greater for Ireland than for England, still if was to be paid by both countries alike, and therefore he should strike it off from each side of the account. Thus also with respect to the tea duties; both countries would share in the advantages of the reduction, and it would only complicate the matter to attempt to find how much of the tea duties was paid by England and how much by Ireland. But let them see what would be the relief given to Ireland, independently of these reductions, which were made fa1' Great Britain and Ireland alike, when the whole Budget came into operation. The relief from the remission of the consolidated annuities, he understood, would be 440,000l., and that was peculiar to Ireland. [Several Hon. MEMBERS remarked: It is only 240,000l.] The income tax in Ireland would be 460,000l.—he was afraid there could be no mistake about that; the additional spirit duty would be 198,000l.; so that the additional taxation on Ireland would be 658,000l., whilst the relief given he had put at 440,000l., but it appeared to be much less—


It cannot be that; the consolidated annuities are upwards of 4,000,000l., and the interest is 245,000l.


Well, then, the relief he would take at 245,000l., so that Ireland would have to pay 413,000l. more than she paid now. On the other hand, the additional taxation on Great Britain would be the increased spirit duty for Scotland, yielding 278,000l.; the extension of income tax, producing 125,000l.; so that the new taxes applying to Great Britain would be 403,000l.; whilst the relief given would be—the soap duty, 1,126,000l.; the assessed taxes (not one sixpence of which would be for Ireland), 290,000l.; the posthorse duty, 27,000l. Thus the relief given in Great Britain by the immediate operation of the Budget would be 1,443,000l., and the taxes imposed new and peculiar to Great Britain, 403,000l.; making the amount less to be paid by England 1,040,000l. He submitted for the fair consideration of his fellow countrymen whether it was quite fair, when they would be immediately receiving a relief of 1,040,000l., to place a new income tax on Ireland, and a whole amount in additional taxation of 413,000l. What was it they promised themselves—he spoke to the Members for Great Britain—by the year 1860? They would get rid of the income tax, 5,500,000l.; they would get rid of the soap duty, 1,126,000l.; they would get a reduction of the assessed taxes, 290,000l.; and a reduction of the posthorse duty, 27,000l., making, in the whole, a relief of 6,943,000l. The only additional taxation was the spirit duty for Scotland, making a relief to Great Britain of 6,665,000l. per annum. Under these circumstances he (Sir F. Baring) should not feel reluctance in refusing, by his vote, to extend the income tax to Ireland. He did not believe that for many a long year they would be able to levy from Ireland every tax they levied from England; but this he did say, that while Ireland ought to pay its fair share of taxation, she ought, when remissions of taxation took place, also to have her fair share of those remission's; and he should not be at all sorry if, ultimately, the Government wore enabled to reduce part of the consolidated annuities at least without calling for compensation in the shape of additional taxation.


Sir, I shall trespass on the attention of the Committee for a very short time in the observations I am about to make on the important matter before the House. On a former occasion my hon. relative and Friend the Member for West Surrey, said, there was no one so stupid as not to be capable of picking a hole in a Budget. On the other hand, I recollect the dictum of the poet— Base is the slave who pays. And I must say, that the Irish Members seem entirely to concur in the opinion of ancient Pistol; and so, between the Seylla of the folly of questioning, and the Charybdis of the baseness of paying without comment, it does not seem very-easy to steer a straight course. However, Sir, I think that I bring to bear an intellect, feeble perhaps, but as fair and as unbiassed by party as any Gentleman belonging to that unpopular but necessary body, the Opposition to Her Majesty's Government. We are told to look upon this Budget as a whole, and I shall proceed so to consider it. The House must recollect, in the first place, that we are called upon to vote for a Budget, not for one year, but for seven, and we are called upon to insure the continuance of the income tax for that time, with the guarantee of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that at the end of that time it shall be abolished. Now, Sir, I believe that such guarantees are utterly futile, because we cannot tell what will be the disposition of any future Parliament, more especially as the next Parliament is to be elected by a body of a totally different description from the present constituency; and I think that the hon. Member for the West Hiding was perfectly right when he pointed out the probability of the amount of any surplus being forestalled by fresh remissions of indirect taxation. And again, when the right hon. the Member for Portsmouth told us that the Chancellor of the Exchequer's calculations might fall short when that time should have arrived by a few hundred thousands, I think, though I am not an old Member of this House, that history informs me he did not find it so easy to till up thelacunes in his calculations, when he was himself Chancellor of the Exchequer. This Budget divides itself, of Course, like all Budgets, into two parts, the remission and the imposition of taxation. As to the re missions there can be no objection to them. In the case of the equalisation of the duties on spirits, I must say that a debt of gratitude is due, at least on the part of my constituents, to the right hon. Gentleman for abolishing the absurd system of a cordon of Excise officers upon the boundary of two integral parts of the country divided only by an imaginary line—a system worthy of Austria or Italy, or whatever country may be most backward in the science of commercial legislation. There can be no objection to the remission of the tea duties, nor to that on soap, unless indeed, it is for the purpose of lubricating the "ways," in nautical phrase, upon which the new System of taxation is to be launched upon futurity. But, coming, Sir, to the consideration of the imposts, I must remark, as regards the income tax, which is the main feature of this scheme, that the right horn Gentleman has laid down as a canon of taxation that this tax is a tremendous engine, a fearful weapon, not to be drawn from the sheath except in the utmost need and utmost exigencies of the State; and, he has warned us in most brilliant and forcible language, how we blunt edge or point of that weapon by attempts to alter the arrangements and distributions of the tax, against the time when it may be needed by our successors. And yet, Sir, he seems to me to have done the Very thing against which he has so strongly warned Us. What does he do? He imposes a tax of virtually 9d. on landed possessions, against a nominal 7d. paid by trades and professions, Who have the inestimable advantage of virtually taxing themselves, and then he proceeds to create a third class, who shall Only be charged with a differential duty of 5d. Now, this must give rise to great heartburnings and discontent; for if the men who has only 100l. has to pay 2d. less than the man of 150l., why is the man of 50l. to pay at the same rate as the man of 150,000l. We come next to the imposition of a new tax, which, whatever may be the fate of the income tax, it requires no great foresight to see must be perpetual—the extension of the legacy duty to teal property. It has been said that this is an elder brother's question. I maintain it is a question neither of elder nor younger brother—it is a mere question of taxation of two different species of property; and though I belong to the Chambre des Fils, as remarked by the hon. Member for the West Riding, I so far agree with him, that if it cannot be proved that real property has a right in justice to be exempted, I say, in God's name, let the exemption be done away with at once; but it is because I think this exemption is just, that I support it, and I think it can be proved that it is so. Take two persons inheriting property, the one 10,000l. in money, the other 10,000l. in land. The first pays his duty, walks away from the bank with the money in his pocket, proceeds to invest it in the best security he can find; he can calculate his expenses to a farthing, and even, thanks to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, can ascertain his expenditure with regard to the assessed taxes—a calculation hitherto as difficult as the study of Bradshaw's Railway Guide. Now, look at the landed proprietor: he is met by a cry for reduction of rents, by claims for taxes, for rates, for ruined cottages, for falling farm houses, for un-drained land—he has very likely to raise portions for younger children at an interest of 3½ or 4 per cent at least, and for which they only receive a bare 3 per cent, causing a difference to him of 1 per cent, of which the scheme of the Chancellor of the Exchequer takes no notice; and then the Chancellor of the Exchequer chooses that moment to lay on an additional tax upon the means of his subsistence; and here, Sir, comes the real objection to the measure. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to have a prior claim, he must have the power of enforcing the sale of the land to satisfy it; and if so, what will become of trust, of settlements, of entails, and finally, of primogeniture itself? Sir, I cannot but look upon this as a measure of the utmost danger—the point of the wedge which is to rend asunder the present state of the landed property, and to fuse it into the same mass of misery and discontent which has been the real cause of the revolutions which have devastated Europe. It is now, Sir, time for me to close these remarks. I have only to observe, that I cannot but regard this Budget as the voe victis to a vanquished party, the expression of the triumph of the Ministry over their opponents. It will be observed that whilst a fresh burden has been laid upon the land, the former taxes, repeatedly declared to be obnoxious and indefensible under the principles of the modern and even the ancient commercial system, have been continued; for instance, the malt tax and the hop duty. The first of these is a tax levied on an article the produce of the land, higher in amount than any other except, perhaps, that on tobacco and tea, the latter of which is to be reduced. And this tax is to be increased by the new scale of maltster's licences. It has been indeed declared to be a question for the labourer. I cannot conceive how any question which affects the labourer does not affect the farmer, and if the farmer, then the landlord also. The hop duty I need not dwell upon, for that has been declared by all parties of every shade of opinion to be utterly indefensible. And, finally, Sir, as if to complete the parallel with the ancient Roman tale I have alluded to, it is announced to us that the sword of a dissolution is to be thrown into the scale if we resist.


said, he must express his admiration at the plan brought forward by the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, and of the able speech by which it was introduced. He only rose to say one word as to the extension of the income tax to Ireland. He did not mean to enter into any discussion with the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kilkenny county (Mr. Serjeant Shee), as to the duties of Irish patriotism, or to insinuate in the slightest degree that the hon. and learned Serjeant had any improper motive for the course he took; but there were other considerations to be taken into account by Members who were charged with the responsibility of deciding what was really for the interest and honour of the country generally. Nor, though it might be one mode of obtaining popularity, did he think the duties of an Irish Member solely consisted in refusing assent to a fair share of Imperial taxation for Ireland. He most sincerely said, that if he could have made up his mind that the scheme would press unfairly upon his constituents, nothing would have induced him to support it; and if he had been able to satisfy himself that there were fair grounds for refusing on their behalf the obligation of the additional burden to be imposed on them, he should certainly have refused it. He had listened with the greatest possible attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth (Sir P. Baring); but he regretted to say that it had not supplied him with any convincing arguments against an Irish income tax, which both personally, and for the sake of his constituents, he should have been glad to hear. The right hon. Gentleman's benevolence appeared to him to be like that of many excellent people, which partook of the nature of a crotchet; and he must say that the over-sensitiveness displayed by the right hon. Gentleman on the subject of Irish taxation was not shared by a very large number of liberal and candid Irishmen, nor by many members of the Irish press. The right hon. Gentleman had said much as to the justice and expediency of making equal remissions of taxation both for England and Ireland; but he would ask if it was possible to remit a tax which was not paid by Ireland at all? If a fair comparison was to be drawn, they must look at the respective amounts of the taxes paid by both countries during terms of years. Ireland had enjoyed comparative freedom from taxation during a long period for which it had pressed heavily on England. As to the consolidated annuities, it was not fair to pooh-pooh the value of the remission; in his opinion the sweeping away of those annuities was the greatest possible boon and blessing to those parts of Ireland which needed it most. The relief would be felt by the owners and occupiers of land who had borne the brunt of the famine taxation, and more particularly in those districts which had gone through most suffering. He would remind the hon. Member for Roscommon (Mr. F. French), and other Members from the south and west of Ireland, that although the pressure had not been so severe in Louth and other northern counties, still every farthing of the annuities that was due had been paid by his county, which was not the case in the districts of which he spoke. He had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), and he felt utterly unable to answer that appeal from Yorkshire to Ulster: which, coming as it did from one who had the strongest sympathy with the popular party in Ireland, and was ever ready to assist them in every claim they made for equal rights, he thought was deserving of the serious consideration of Irishmen. With respect to the occupiers of land, let it be recollected that no Irish tenant would be liable to the income tax, unless he paid rent to the amount of 200l.; and those whose rent exceeded that amount were chiefly the graziers, who at this moment were doing well, from the high prices of Irish stock. The additional burden would be laid on a variety of other classes who were better able to bear it, who had suffered least during the famine, and who had gained most by the cheapening of the necessaries and comforts of life. He could not refuse, on the part of his countrymen, to bear a fair and equal share of Imperial burdens, which he believed would hereafter give them a better and stronger claim to share in Imperial privileges. In voting, then, for the Resolutions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, including that for the extension of the income tax to Ireland, he believed he did what was best for the real interest as well as for the honour and credit of Ireland, and of his own constituents.


Sir, however reluctant I may be to trespass upon the attention of the Committee, I am anxious not to give a silent vote upon the proposition before us. In the language of the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) we have all our explanations to make on this question. I have always stated my opinion that the income tax is an unfair, an unequal, and an unjust tax; and that opinion, so far from having been altered, has been confirmed by what has occurred in the course of the present debate. Sir, I have the authority of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) for the soundness of that opinion. I agree in all that right hon. Gentleman observed in the course of his able statement the other night, as to the effects of that tax; but although I agree with his statement, with his arguments, and with his facts, I am sorry that for that very reason I am compelled to dissent from his conclusion. I agree with him that it is a tax which you cannot make fair, equal, or just; that if you make the attempt to improve it you will get into a quagmire which will endanger the public credit, and put in peril a tax to which you must have recourse in times of danger and difficulty. Sir, what is the natural inference to be drawn from the statement of the right hon. Gentleman on this point? Why, that as soon as possible you should get rid of so odious, so oppressive, and so un-English a tax. That certainly appears to me to be the natural conclusion to which he comes. What, then, does the right hon. Gentleman do? Why, he extends the tax for a longer period than it has ever yet been imposed before. For this reason I oppose the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. It is true, he says, that at the end of seven years the tax will expire altogether. It is true also that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth (Sir F. Baring) says, that opposed as he is to the income tax, he will support it for seven years. No doubt that right hon. Gentleman has fairly and candidly expressed his wish to abolish the tax if he were in office; but whether we shall see him Chancellor of the Exchequer at the end of the next seven years, is, I think, a question, notwithstanding his genius and his talents, very problematical. But suppose he were in office, I ask him, how is it possible, for me to state that the opinion I might hold in 1853 I shall hold in 1860? Who can say what may happen to render a tax now deemed odious a very proper tax? The hon. Member for the West Biding said he wanted to know why the income tax was to be looked upon as a tax kept solely for war, when all other taxes—the Customs and Excise—were continued in war and in peace? The hon. Gentleman says the income tax is as good a tax, and as little open to objection, as the Excise and Customs? Now I do not defend the Excise duties—I never have. I should be very glad to see the hon. Member voting for a repeal of the malt tax; and if he is so fully convinced of the frauds arising from these Excise duties, I trust he will vote for their remission whenever the subject is again brought before the House of Commons. We know, Sir, the Customs duties are being gradually repealed, and that the smuggling of which the hon. Member so much complains is diminishing. The hon. Member (Mr. Cobden), however, will admit, I think, that he did not succeed in making out his case satisfactorily. For he afterwards said, "I admit these frauds do occur under the income tax, but I know a way of getting rid of them." The hon. Member also recommended the American plan of assessment, and said there was less fraud in the United States than in England. Immediately afterwards the hon. Gentleman admitted that his constituents in the West Biding principally objected to the tax on account of its inquisitorial nature; that they objected to having their books overlooked. His plan would, however, force them to open their hooks to the assessors, and subject them to the very investigation to which they so much objected. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had very clearly shown the other night that personal incomes and incomes derived from real property were very much on a par; and he concluded by saying that whereas real property was taxed at 9d. in the pound, per- sonal property was charged only 7d. But having established this fact, what does the right hon. Gentleman propose to do? Why, his next step is to overturn the balance by putting a duty of 2,000,000l. in the one scale, and nothing in the other. Surely if the right hon. Gentleman is correct that land is assessed at 9d., whereas trades are assessed at 7d., it cannot be fair, on that ground, to impose a legacy duty, and impose on the land 2,000,000l. more than it bore before. By such a course the right hon. Gentleman cuts the very ground from under him. If he proposed the legacy duty independently of the income tax, it might be fair; but seeing the local burdens upon land, which he has himself admitted—seeing the great burden imposed upon land with regard to transfers—a burden so ably pointed out by a noble Lord below me—seeing also that the land tax is paid instead of legacy duty, I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he thinks it fair and just to impose this tax concurrently with the income tax? Agreeing in the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman, I dissent from his conclusion; and I dissent also as to the fairness and the justice of placing an additional tax of 2,000,000l. a year on land.


said, that after listening with great patience to the two nights' debate which had taken place upon these Resolutions, he found it utterly impossible to reconcile the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hertfordshire (Sir B. Lytton) with the speeches which it had been delivered in its support. There were two classes of persons who had objected to the Budget: one class—that of the landowners—was fairly represented by the noble Lord who had just resumed his seat, and urged that the pressure of the Budget upon the land was very unfair; while the other consisted of the Members from Ireland, who objected to any extension of the income tax to that country. But did the Amendment object to the extension of the income tax to Ireland, or say one word as to the unfair pressure of the Budget upon the land? On the contrary, it said, "Do not extend the income tax either to people with incomes between 100l. and 150l. per annum, or to Ireland, unless you make a distinction in favour of trades and professions." If, then, the noble Lord (the Marquess of Granby), and those who sat near him, voted for the Amendment, they would, while representing the Budget as bearing hard upon the land, be voting that a fur- ther boon should be given to trades and professions, thus rendering the taxation of land more unfair and unequal than it was at present. In fact, so far as the Amendment went, it entirely negatived the views of both the classes who supported it. If he might tender advice to those who conscientiously represented the landed interest in that House, and who would not allow themgelves to be led away from that object by the mere desire to put the Government in the minority, he should say to them "Accept the Budget of my right hon. Friend as he has proposed it, and do not vote for an Amendment which will make your own case worse than it is at present." Now he was himself a landowner, and nothing but a landowner. But, at the same time, he did not concur in the view which many landowners took of their own interests, for it was his conviction that they wore so intimately connected with the well-being of the trading, mercantile, and manufacturing population, that these classes could not prosper without the landowners deriving benefit. When he spoke, therefore, in argument of the peculiar interest of the landowners, he must be understood as adopting for the moment the view which the representatives of the landed interest took of the subject, and not as speaking his own. That class had frequently neglected advice tendered to them by those who sat upon that (the Ministerial) side of the House; but had they derived much benefit from pursuing such a course? They rejected with scorn, in 1841, the proposal of his noble Friend the Member for London (Lord John Russell) for a duty of 8s. per quarter on corn, and the consequence was that five years afterwards they found themselves without any duty at all. An hon. Member had complained that no attention had yet been paid to the subject of the peculiar burdens on land; but he remembered a proposal which their able leader the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) made four years ago, with especial reference to the burdens on land. That proposal went to increase the income tax to such an extent that he (Sir C. Wood) had no difficulty at the time in showing that if it had been carried, the burdens upon land would have been very materially increased. The proposition of the right hon. Gentleman, in his Budget of last autumn, was no better as regarded burdens on land. He relieved land from none of the peculiar charges upon it; and in his scheme for revising the income tax his plan was, that the land was to pay 7d. in the pound down to 50l., instead of down to 150l, and to let off trades and professions with 5¼d. in the pound. The Government of the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord J. Russell) resisted the first proposal, and saved the landed interest in spite of itself; and in the same way, by rejecting the Budget of last autumn, we prevented a distinction in the rate of tax very dangerous to land and other real property, being made in the income tax. The fact of the burdens borne by the land was one of the grounds on which he (Sir C. Wood) resisted the proposals to reduce the income tax on trade and professions, as unfair, unjust, and impracticable. It had been said that the country would try the merits of the present Budget by comparing it with that propounded by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer. Looking, then, at the matter simply as a landlords' question, he had no hesitation in saying that the proposal of his right hon. Friend was more beneficial to this class than that which was laid before them by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli). The noble Lord (the Marquess of Granby) said, that if it was admitted that the land was more heavily taxed than trade and professions, it was monstrous to impose a uniform rate of 7d. in the pound upon both for seven years. But if an equal rate was unfair, would it not be much more unfair to levy 7d. in the pound upon incomes derived from land, and only 5¼d. upon those arising from trade and professions? But this latter proposal was that contained in the scheme of the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. The noble Lord said that it was absurd to suppose that the income tax would be taken off at the end of seven years. But the Budget of the late Government did not fix any period whatever for the termination of this tax. As far as he remembered, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) said that he proposed to renew this tax for the usual term of three years, subject to a renewal of it at the end of that time. Was there any hope or expectation held out that the income tax would then be done away with? None, But what was more to the purpose—was any step taken with regard to the tax that afforded the slightest prospect of its being taken off? Not one. Now, not only did his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer assure the House of his intention to take off the tax in 1860, but he showed them how it might then he in their power to do so. No such proposal, however, was made in the Budget of the late Government. No one acquainted with the state of the finances of the country could possibly anticipate that the income tax could be taken off before 1860, without the imposition of an immense amount of taxation to make up the deficiency that would in that case be created. The right hon. Gentleman opposite proposed to reduce the tea duties, and in that proposal he had the cordial support of Gentlemen on that (the Ministerial) side of the House. But there was in his Budget no proposition to impose such an amount of other taxation as would, even by 1860, have afforded the slightest probability of repealing the income tax. His right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, showed that from the produce of the succession tax, and by the falling in of the 3¼ per cents and the Long Annuities, there was a probability—nay, perhaps, an actual certainty—that these two sources of income on the one hand, and diminished expenditure on the other, would furnish the means of totally repealing the income tax in 1860. He ventured to say, therefore, that no man, acquainted with the finances of the country, could hold out a hope of any earlier remission of that tax. The proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the best for the land, combined as it was with the certain possibility of the tax being taken off in 1860. The proposal of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, in December, on the other hand, contemplated the renewal of the income tax upon terms disadvantageous to the land without promising its repeal at all. Indeed, so far as he remembered, the right hon. Gentleman proposed to extend the tax to incomes derived from land of 75l.—[Lord JOHN RUSSELL: To 50l. from real property.] Yes, the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman was to extend the income tax of 7d. in the pound to all incomes from land as low as 50l. per annum, whilst the proposal of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was to extend it only to all owners of land having incomes from 100l. to 150l. at the rate of 5d. in the pound. He left the noble Lord opposite (the Marquess of Granby) to say which of the two proposals was the most favourable to land. But it was said that in comparing the two propositions the duty on successions must be taken into ac- count. Well, he (Sir C. Wood) did take them into account, and he would ask any owner of land whether he thought a different rate of duty on the income tax was a better bargain for him than the imposition of the succession duties? If he did, he made the greatest possible mistake. What was called the scheme of the actuaries for the revision of the income tax, he believed that nearly everybody now admitted to be utterly impracticable. The most feasible scheme for altering the tax was that of imposing different rates of duty on incomes arising from different sources; but if a distinction were made between land and trade, there must in justice be a further distinction between trades and professions. No man, however, could say where these distinctions would stop, for there was no intelligible or defensible ground on which they could rest any particular rate of difference, nor did he see where they were all sure of stopping until the tax amounted altogether to one upon the owners of property, and the tax upon all other income was entirely given up.


said, that so far as the right hon. Baronet was referring to his observations, those observations were made when the question related to the house tax.


said, no doubt the actual vote was upon the house tax, but the debate took a much wider range. At all events if hon. Gentlemen were prepared to say that there should be a difference between property and trades and professions, it was far better that the distinction should be made by means of a different tax, and not by a different rate of assessment for the same tax. There was also the further advantage in the Budget of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that it finally regulated the succession duties. It would certainly be impossible to maintain the present system much longer, for, as the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) had shown the other night, it was unfair to retain the existing distinction between personal and real property. The proposal of his right hon. Friend, as it stood, was clearly for the benefit of the land; it was much more favourable than the proposal made in December; and he recommended the owners of land to close with the bargain at once. He would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that even in the last Budget they would not have escaped the succession tax, for the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) said the Government were prepared to bring forward duty upon successions that would remove existing anomalies and reconcile contending interests. By reconciling contending interests, he apprehended the right hon, Gentleman to mean that personalty and realty must he put upon the same footing. This is what is now to be done. The right hon. Gentleman did not propose to effect the reconciliation between contending interests, by repealing the legacy duty, because he distinctly said what he proposed was to modify the succession duties. Did the noble Lord (the Marquess of Granby) now think that a succession tax, and a difference in the rate of income tax against land, with no hope or expectation or purpose of its termination, and no measure to render its termination possible, was a better proposition for the land, than the proposal made by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer for an uniform rate, with no disadvantage to the land, combined with a succession tax, but with a certain provision that if Parliament so willed, the income tax might be abolished in 1860? Considered only with respect to the interests of the land, and omitting the considerations arising out of regard for the welfare of the people, there could not in his opinion be a moment's hesitation as to which proposition was the most favourable to the land. The noble Lord and others had stated that the plan of his right hon. Friend would impose a burden of 2,000,000l. upon land. It would do nothing of the kind. What his right hon.' Friend proposed was, that all property, whether passing by will or by deed after death, should pay the duty the same as personal property was now subject to. At present a large amount of personalty passed by deed and not by will, the ingenuity of lawyers having provided means whereby the legacy duty might be evaded. He would not use the strong term of fraud to these transactions; certainly the legacy duty was evaded, but the result of his right hon. Friend's proposal would be to impose upon all personalty passing by deed and not by will only, as well as on real property, a succession tax. Hon. Gentleman were aware that there was one description of personal estate, which was now put in an unfair position; and that was leasehold property. Leasehold property paid all the burdens of land in poor-rate and local taxation, stamp duties, and, besides this, the probate and legacy duties. Nothing could be more unfair than that this one description of pro- perty should be subject to disadvantages from which other real and personal property were exempt; but his right hon. Friend proposed to remedy this injustice by placing leasehold property upon the same footing as real property, to which, in consequence of its local burdens, an advantage was to be given in the imposition of the new duty. He trusted that he had now disabused the minds of hon. Gentlemen of two misapprehensions: the first that the whole additional sum of 2,000,000l. was to be raised exclusively on land; and the other that the local burdens upon land were not to be considered in the application of this new succession tax. So far, then, as the income tax and the succession tax went, taken together, he had not the slightest hesitation in saying that he thought the proposition of his right hon. Friend was far more favourable to land than that of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer. Beyond this the landed gentry had the additional advantage of the proposed modification of the assessed taxes, and they were the persons who kept the greatest number of servants, horses, carriages, and dogs in the Kingdom. He now came to the second class of persons who had objected to his right hon. Friend's proposals, namely, the Members for Ireland. Now he would beg to remind them that the Amendment for which they were about to vote, did not in any way prevent the extension of the income tax to Ireland, The hon. Gentleman the Member for Roscommon (Mr. French) had referred to the opinion which he (Sir C. Wood) expressed in December last, that he was not then prepared to extend the income tax to Ireland. The argument now used was that Ireland should be treated as Scotland and Wales. But they did not pay less taxes than England; and if the principle of his hon. Friend were to be carried out, and Ireland was to be what was called an integral portion of the Empire, she could not expect to be exempted from any taxes which England, Scotland, and Wales paid. He quite admitted that in December last he had stated that he was not prepared then to extend the income tax to Ireland; and if the circumstances were the same, and there were no compensation for the imposition of the income tax, such would be his opinion now. And further, if there had not been given to Ireland that which he considered to be a far greater benefit than the income tax would prove a burden, he would not support it now. But he believed he could show that the course which he was taking now was consistent with what he had done then. The Budget of the late Chancellor made no provision for the consolidated annuities.


I beg pardon—I gave notice of a Resolution upon the subject at that time.


But the right hon. Gentleman said he would not be bound by the recommendations in the Report of the Committee of the House of Lords. He appealed to the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. G. H. Moore) on this subject. The hon. Member concurred with him (Mr. C. Wood) in the opinion that the proposition to extend the income tax to Ireland as contained in the late Budget, necessarily involved its extension to landed property, and that there was no intention on the part of the Government to remit any portion of the consolidated annuities. The hon. Member for Mayo, in December last, spoke of "the contemptuous refusal of the Government to accede to the recommendation of the Committee of the House of Lords on the consolidated annuities—a Committee fraudulently set up for electioneering purposes, and audaciously disregarded as soon as those purposes had been secured." This certainly confirmed what was his (Sir C. Wood's) impression of the intentions of the late Government. Now with respect to the imposition of the income tax in Ireland, what had he (Sir C. Wood) said? He bad never argued against the imposition of the income tax in Ireland on principle. Quite the contrary; he had said the time might come when it would be right and proper to impose it in that country, but that, weighed down by the poor-rate and the additional taxation which fell on them in consequence of the famine, the Irish were not then in a position to bear it. He was asked, was there any reason why Belfast, which had never been distressed, should not pay the tax as well as Liverpool? The reason was this: that inasmuch as other parts of Ireland were exempted on account of their extreme poverty, Belfast was also excused because she had the good fortune to be in the same country with the distressed districts. If those flourishing places, however, had enjoyed the exemption for some years in consequence of the distress that was prevalent in the western parts, and if the reason for not imposing it upon the distressed parts had now passed away, surely there could be no claim for the exemption of any part of Ireland from that tax. He would now endeavour to show the gain which would result to Ireland from the abolition of the consolidated annuities, and the imposition of the income tax in their room. In the first place, how stood the capital account? The capital converted into annuities at the time when the conversion took place, was 4,440,000l., but the annual charge was one that in most cases would last for forty years. The actual charge in Ireland, as stated by the Lords' Committee, was a sum amounting, with interest, to 7,731, 000l. Now, what was the actual amount of the income tax that would be taken from Ireland between this and 1860? The whole amount would be 2,690,000l., which, deducted from the capital account of the consolidated annuities, showed a gain to Ireland of 5,041,000l. This applied to the whole of Ireland, but let them look to the relief that would accrue to the more distressed parts of that country. At present the rates were paid on rents as low as 4l. a year, one-half by the tenant, and the other half by the landlord, and they were paid by the owners of land on the annual value of their property, without any deduction from encumbrances. In the assessment for the income tax the landlord would be entitled to deduct all the charges on his land, and all occupiers would be relieved up to 200l. For the sake of the calculation he would take 7d. in the pound on the whole rateable property in some half-dozen of the most distressed unions, and see what would be the immediate relief to thorn of a change from the consolidated annuities to the income tax. In the union of Castlebar the consolidated annuities payable came to 2,651l. a year, the income tax to 995l.; in that of Galway the consolidated annuities came to 3,293l., the income tax to 1,767l.; in that of Oughterard the consolidated annuities came to 1,542l., the income tax to 333l.; in that of Scariff the consolidated annuities came to 2,366l., the income tax to 635l.; in that of Skibbereen the consolidated annuities came to 2,080l., the income tax to 1,200l.; in Skull the consolidated annuities came to 934l., the income tax to 367l. In ail these cases the consolidated annuities, the larger sum, were payable for forty years; the income tax, the smaller, for but seven years, while there was a very great reduction in the amount—the consolidated annuities in forty-five of the most distressed unions amounting to 83,164l., and the income tax to 42,000l. In the county of Mayo the consolidated annuities were 10,304l. the income tax would be 3,775l In Clare the donsolidated annuities were 19,590l.; the income tax would be 6,360l. showing a gain for the first year of 13,230l., and in seven years a gain of 100,000l.; consequently that part of Ireland which was burdened by those debts must find this arrangement most advantageous, not only as regarded the amount remitted, but still more as that small part which was to be levied would be levied on the landlord instead of on the occupier He had never said that those portions of Ireland that Were not pressed down by this excessive taxation had any claim on us; nor did he know why a merchant of the town of Belfast should not pay as well as a merchant of Liverpool; an inhabitant of the county Down or Wicklow as much as an inhabitant of counties here. As to the income tax generally, then, he said that its imposition was no hardship, but a relief when accompanied by a remission of the payment of the consolidated annuities. As to the spirit duty, that stood on a very different footing, and he had always thought that both in Ireland and Scotland Government had the right to charge as much duty as they properly could, the only point at which they were called upon to stop being where to charge higher would be to give actual encouragement to illicit distillation. In resisting on former occasions the allowance for decreases in bond, he had always warned the Members who pressed for it that if ever it was conceded it must be accompanied by an increase of duty; and as this was now to be done, he did not think any Valid argument could be urged against the increase. Taking the Budget altogether, he agreed with the hon. Members for Montrose (Mr. Hume), and the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), that the Committee must look at it as a whole, not only at each particular feature, and must bear in mind that whilst in so comprehensive a scheme modifications and suggestions might always be made, there were such very great and substantial benefits conferred by this Budget as ought not to be imperilled by too minute criticism of details. He reckoned the repeal of the soap tax, for instance, as a very great benefit indeed. He could not understand upon what principle it was that the repeal of the soap duty was considered as an exclusive boon to the manufacturers, as though that was the only class which used that commodity, If there was one article which more than another entered into general consumption, it was this article. The effect of the reduction of the duty on Soap would be to reduce the price of the article by considerably more than the amount of the duty taken off, as well as to give increased employment in its manufacture, and in the export trade of the country. The reduction of the duties on tea, butter, cheese, and other articles, would also prove of great advantage; and he did not anticipate, after the decision of hon. Members opposite in favour of the extension of the principle of unrestricted competition, they would have any objection to offer to that portion of the proposal in the Budget. These reductions would prove of great advantage; they could not, however, be obtained unless the means were provided for keeping up the revenue, either by increasing the taxation of those who already paid, or by extending taxation to those who did not now pay. With respect to the income tax, although perhaps liable to some objections, it had during its existence been the means of enabling the Government to abandon that system of protection which had been so mischievous to the country, to relieve the springs of industry, to repeal and reduce duties upon various articles of consumption, and thus promote the welfare and wellbeing and peace of the country. The continuance of the tax for a few years longer would enable the Government to take another great stride in the same direction, and when that duty was performed, the income tax might be well laid aside for use when other occasions might require it. Referring to the resolutions agreed to almost unanimously by that House in favour of the policy of extending the principles of free trade, he would conclude by expressing his confident opinion that when the Committee came to a vote upon the subject, the proposals of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would meet with the support and sanction of the Committee.


moved the adjournment of the debate.

House resumed; Committee report progress.