HC Deb 12 June 1857 vol 145 cc1737-9

Order for Committee read.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."

MR. W. WILLIAMS rose to move that the Bill be committed on that day six months. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them the other evening that the amount of the revenue for the year, as compared with the expenditure, had left him a balance of £1,800,000 beyond the estimate he had formed; but it appeared that the actual expenditure of the year had exceeded the revenue by a sum of £3,250,000. He should be glad to see these Dues abolished, but he objected to a measure which would provide for their abolition at the expense of the public, and for the profit of the Baltic merchants.


felt bound to second the Motion; but, looking to the confusion that had prevailed all night in the debate, and the late hour of the night, he doubted whether the question could then be very usefully discussed. Still, as a new Member desirous to verify the promises he had made on the hustings, he could not forbear from offering a few observations. The principle involved in this question was one of no common importance. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, being rendered uncomfortable by having in the Exchequer rather more than he was accustomed to have, found out that there were very weighty motives of State policy which rendered it desirable to commute the Sound Dues. There could be no question about the policy of commuting these Dues, but the question was upon whom the incidence of taxation ought to fall£the Baltic merchants or the British people? The Baltic merchants were clever enough to shift the payment upon the British people, but as he was a representative of the British people and not of the Baltic merchants, he was there to say that the payment of this impost ought not not to fall upon the British people. He repudiated altogether the assertion that these dues were paid by the consumer. They were paid by the producer, and he had great pleasure in seconding the Motion. Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day six months, resolve itself into the said Committee," instead thereof.


said, that on a former occasion, when he laid the Resolution on the table, the question was fully debated both in its principle and details, and as no new topic had now been submitted to the House he should ill consult the wishes of the House if he entered upon the subject at any length at that hour (a quarter past Twelve o'clock). He would, however, remind the hon. Gentlemen that the object of this Bill was to fulfill the engagements of a treaty which had been entered into with the King of Denmark, and that all the principal Powers of Europe, including France, Russia, Austria, Prussia, and Sweden, were parties to that treaty, paying a similar sum in proportion to their trade as ourselves. These Powers having a direct interest in the question, and having also access to statistical and local information, the presumption was that the arrangement was beneficial to the Powers signing the treaty, of whom Great Britain was only one. His hon. Friend had misunderstood his statement of the financial condition of the nation at the present moment as compared with that of the beginning of last Session. Having made that statement when the financial year was incomplete, he was only able to make an estimate of the expenditure and income for the last six weeks of the year. It was necessary to be on the safe side, and as his estimate of the income was insufficient, and his estimate of the expenditure was greater than the reality, the consequence was that at the end of the year the Exchequer was £1,500,000 richer than he had anticipated. Under those circumstances he did not feel justified in proposing to borrow money by the creation of permanent annuities; but, there being a sufficient sum to defray this charge in the Exchequer, he preferred to pay it at once. This, he believed, would be a most beneficial arrangement for the consumers of this country, upon whom the Sound Dues ultimately fell. His hon. Friend would see on reflection that these Dues, being an addition to the cost of navigation in the Baltic, must enter, like all such charges, into the price of the articles furnished for the use of the community. He therefore trusted the House would go into Committee on the Bill, and enable Her Majesty's Government to complete this arrangement.


trusted, that due provision would be made in the treaty for the keeping up of the lighthouses along the coasts of the Sound and the Great Belt by the Danish Government. Her Majesty's Government ought also to have stipulated for the remission of the Danish transit Dues, which would press very heavily on the commerce of the country. The redemption of the Sound Dues was, however, a very judicious measure; and he hoped that the hon. Member for Lambeth would not persist in his Amendment.


explained that there was a very full provision in the treaty respecting the lighthouses. A large proportion of the transit Dues would also be abolished.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill considered in Committee.

House resumed: Bill reported, without Amendment, to be read 3o on Monday next.