§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
said, he rose to call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to that portion of the Second Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue relating td Hops, in which reference is made to the Minutes of Proceedings of the Hop Duty Committee which sat last year, and a presumption expressed by the said Commissioners as to the opinion which that Committee would ultimately have reported to the House, although no Report was made by the Committee. As the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not in his place, perhaps the right hon. the Secretary 1164 for the Home Department would give his attention to it. He had no wish to enter at any length into the question of the Hop Duty, but he would observe, that having had three years of superabundant crops of hops, which had so reduced their value, that unless they were "fortunate" enough to have a blight, the growers would find it to their interest to destroy their crop rather than dry it, and thus become liable to the duty. In consequence of the depreciation in the value of hops, the growers were unable to pay the duty, and therefore they had to consider whether it would be wise in them to take upon themselves further responsibility without better prospects before them. His object, however, in calling attention to the subject was to show that the opinions of the Board of Inland Revenue, as expressed in their report, were not in accordance with the divisions which had taken place in Committee. The Commissioners had expressed their, opinion that if the Committee had made a report it would have been of such a nature as to justify the keeping up of the duty, under which the farmers were suffering most grievously. The inference drawn from the proceedings of the Hop Committee was utterly Contrary to the fact; no Committee could have been more at variance on the subject, and it was his opinion that if the report had been made it would have been strongly condemnatory of the duty in question.
§ MR. KNIGHT
said, he thought that the Commissioners and Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue came to the only Conclusion which they could according to the evidence taken and the divisions in the Committee.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue had taken a great liberty with the Committee in issuing the report he had on the subject.
MR. C. W. MARTIN
said, he entertained a similar opinion with respect to the conduct of the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue.
§ MR. JOHN LOCKE
said, as a member of the Committee he was of opinion that if they had made a report it would not have been in favour of the remission of the duty. It was clearly shown in evidence, that if a man drank a quart of beer a day, the abolition of the duty would only relieve him from a tax of 11d. per annum. The evidence tended to show that the sooner the Sussex hop growers shut up shop the better, it being impossible for them to grow hops 1165 with advantage either to themselves or to the public.