HC Deb 12 May 1853 vol 127 cc218-9

said, he wished to know when the promised Bill with regard to newspaper stamp duties would be laid on the table of the House. The reason that he put the question was, that several prosecutions for an infringement of the law were now going on, and it was important to know what the Government intended to do in the matter.


said, his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General was better informed than he could possibly be with respect to the prosecutions in connexion with newspapers which were now baing carried on. With respect to the general question, he should observe that the hon. Member did not seem to be aware of what had fallen from him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) a few clays before with respect to the Bill in question. He had then stated that a Bill upon the subject of newspapers had been prepared, and was about to be submitted to the House; but that there were some provisions in that Bill which bore upon other subjects, namely, the questions of the repeal and the modification of advertisement duties, and that, therefore, it would be for the public convenience that the introduction of the Bill should be post- poned, in order that there might be full time for collecting information with regard to the subject of advertisement duties. That statement, made upon a previous evening, had, so far as he could understand, met with the approbation of the House; and he should still, therefore, ask for a postponement of the measure until he should be prepared to announce the course which the Government would be prepared to take in the case of advertisement duties.


begged to say that a prosecution was at present pending, and would come on to-morrow before the Court of Exchequer, against Mr. Collett, on the subject of newspaper stamps. That prosecution, he might add, had been commenced at the express instance of the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent (Mr. Ricardo) himself, who, having stated that Mr. Collett was anxious to have the question settled, and would discontinue his newspaper until the question was settled, he (the Attorney General) thought it but just towards Mr. Collett to institute the prosecution.


said, that although the prosecution in question had been undertaken at his suggestion, yet he was under the impression that a Bill would have been laid upon the table of the House in compliance with the promise made upon the 6th December. His desire was that the prosecution should have been transferred from Bow Street to the Court of Exchequer, which was, he believed, the proper tribunal.


said, he wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it was the fact that, while English newspapers paid one penny, Irish newspapers paid only three farthings for their stamps?


said, he would inquire into the matter,