§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ MR. BOVILL
said, that pursuant to notice, he rose to move the following Resolution:—That in the opinion of this House, it is just and expedient that a drawback should be allowed to printers and publishers of the duty paid upon their stock of paper purchased and printed after the passing of the Bill, and remaining in sheets unbound at the time the duty is to cease, namely, on the 15th August next, subject to such rules and regulations as the Commissioners of Inland Revenue may make in that behalf.His object was to prevent any stagnation taking place in the printing and publish-trade, the effect of which would be to throw thousands of industrious men out of employment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to repeal the duty upon paper, and to give up a large revenue therefrom, and the repeal was to take effect on the 15th day of August next. The effect necessarily would be that persons engaged in trades requiring a large consumption of paper would defer their operations as far as possible, in order to obtain the advantage of the repeal of the duty. There was a large portion of the publishing trade that might be easily postponed for a few months without any serious damage to the interests of the proprietors, but with the most disastrous consequences to the large body of working printers by their being thrown out of employment during the suspension of operations. All he asked was that a drawback should be allowed to printers and publishers in order to prevent this result. The principle of a drawback had been recognized by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to 2081 the wine duties, in connection with which a large and influential body of gentlemen had placed a pressure upon the right hon. Gentleman which he could not resist. The Chancellor of the Exchequer appeared to dissent from that proposition. Well, whether that concession arose from a sense of justice, or from pressure, the right hon. Gentleman was induced to admit the principle of a drawback in the case of wines; the same principle would equally apply to those industrious men on whose behalf he (Mr. Bovill) made his present proposition. But he would carry that principle even further. In the Bill under consideration there was a drawback allowed, to stationers, paper-makers, and paste-board makers, for the very purpose of preventing, as the right hon. Gentleman alleged, the stagnation of those trades between this time and the 15th of August, when the measure really was to come into full operation. Upon what grounds, then, could the application of the same principle be withheld in respect to that portion of the trade on behalf of which he now appeared? But it might be said that with respect to the stationer, the drawback was only allowed on entire reams, half-reams remaining in stock, or on parcels that were unopened at the time of the Act coming into operation. But it could make no difference whether the paper was in reams, half reams and parcels, or in open sheets, except for identifying the paper. The cases were, except in that one point of identifying the paper, perfectly analogous. The drawback in regard to wine extended to stocks two years on hand, and that in regard to stationery might extend to stocks ten years on hand. The printing trade, it was said, was of a different character; but he maintained that the same principle applied to it in regard to the question of drawback as to the other trades to which he referred. He could not understand how the Chancellor of the Exchequer could consistently with the principle he had already adopted, refuse the moderate drawback for which he now applied. He believed that there were not less than 8,000 working printers in the metropolis alone, engaged in the printing of standard works. To give the House an illustration of the mode in which the repeal of the duty would operate in the trade, he would take the case of Mr. Bohn, one of the largest publishers of standard works in the metropolis, who employed a great number of men in printing a series of valuable standard works, 2082 which he brought out at an extremely moderate price. The printing went on month by month, and, not being new works, they might come out either one month or another, as was thought advisable, without detriment to the publisher. If the paper duty, instead of being taken off immediately, were not to be taken off for four months, it was manifest that Mr. Bohn or any other publisher would not print his books, and would not continue the publication of them during those four months; he would defer the purchase of paper for printing till the time when the duty was repealed. It might be said the publishers would have great advantages from the repeal of the paper duty, and that these would compensate them for present loss; but it was not of the publishers he spoke. They would sustain almost no loss, for they would have the same sale for their books in four months, time as now; but the inevitable consequence would be that thousands of meritorious workmen would be thrown out of employment and deprived of the means of earning their bread. A gentleman, who knew the particulars well, had stated that not less than 10,000 persons would be thrown out of employment, and that nearly all the pressmen of London engaged in book printing would be in that situation. He was not asking for a drawback on paper that was periodically printed and circulated in the ordinary course of publication; his Motion applied to paper used in the heavy book printing. But it might, perhaps, be said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in addition to the loss of £1,000,000 by the abolition of this duty, could not afford to lose a further amount in the shape of the drawback he now asked for. But what was the amount which the Chancellor of the Exchequer would lose by this concession? It was manifest that the publishers would abstain from printing during the next four months if the drawback were refused. Consequently there would be no duty paid into the revenue on account of paper to be so used. The right hon. Gentleman could not possibly suffer any injury in a financial way by granting this drawback, inasmuch as by refusing it the revenue would not be a gainer, and the only effect would be the temporary stoppage of the publishing trade, and the throwing out of employment a vast number of honest and industrious men. But even by the Bill as it at present stood the publisher, if he pleased, might obtain the drawback if he only sent his works as far as Jersey. But 2083 that was a proceeding which would involve a little expense and trouble, and it was doubtful whether the publishers would avail themselves of it. They would rather abstain from printing these standard works altogether, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be deprived of all duty whatever from that source. As a matter of policy, then, this drawback should be allowed, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be giving up next to nothing. When he was dealing with more than a million of money, was it worth while, for a few hundreds only, to throw thousands of men in the metropolis and hundreds in the country out of employment? It might be said that there was some difficulty in ascertaining fairly the amount of paper upon which the drawback ought to be allowed; but what he proposed was, that a drawback should be allowed only upon printed sheets purchased after the passing of the Act and remaining unbound at the time it came into operation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer permitted the stationers to have the drawback provided the paper was in sheets and parcels unopened. What difference in principle was there between having a drawback on parcels of paper of that description and unbound sheets of printed paper? The only difference which could exist was that which had reference to securing the identity of the paper, and he proposed to meet that difficulty by enacting that it should be subject to such rules and regulations as the Board of Inland Revenue should adopt. The Commissioners might make it incumbent on the printers and publishers to give notice of the books they intended to print, and to make a declaration, equivalent to an oath, that the printed paper on which the drawback was claimed had been printed since the passing of the Act, and was in unbound sheets. Did the right hon. Gentleman consider that such a declaration would not be a sufficient guarantee? Then he would remind him that he had no other guarantee with regard to the drawback on wine; he only had the declaration of the wine merchant that it had been purchased within two years. All he (Mr. Bovill) wished was to prevent the stagnation of trade which must necessarily arise if the drawback were not allowed, and he had shown the right hon. Gentleman that, as tar as the revenue was concerned, the loss would be exceedingly small, because if the drawback were not conceded the paper would not be printed upon, and he would not get the duty, while any difficulty 2084 attending the ascertainment of the identity of the paper might be met by the resolutions of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. He presented the case to the Government as one of simple justice, and he would appeal to many hon. Gentlemen in the House, and especially to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, to say whether the greatest distress would not arise to the printing trade if the drawback were not allowed. It would be a miserable policy to remit a million and a quarter, and to refuse to allow the claims of the printers to the remission of a few hundred pounds to save them from being thrown out of employment.
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, "in the opinion of this House, it is just and expedient that a drawback should be allowed to printers and publishers of the Duty paid upon their stock of paper purchased and printed after the passing of the Bill, and remaining in sheets unbound at the time the Duty is to cease,—namely, on the 15th day of August next, subject to such rules and regulations as the Commissioners of Inland Revenue may make in that behalf."—instead thereof.
§ MR. BLACK
seconded the Motion, and said he could quite confirm the hon. and learned Member in his statement of the effect of refusing this drawback to the printers, who, as a class, would suffer severely. As a publisher, he (Mr. Black) should have felt great delicacy in seconding the Motion, as it might be supposed he was personally interested in it; but it was chiefly the publishers of periodicals who would be affected, because the publication of periodicals could not be stopped, yet if he were about to bring out a new edition of a standard work—say Shakspeare, for instance—he should undoubtedly wait a few weeks till the paper duty came off. Thus, in the months of June, July, and August, the greatest stagnation in the printing trade would take place. It was, therefore, a question which almost entirely affected the operative printers. There would be little or no difficulty in establishing the identity of the paper so printed on, because a specific return might be called for of the quantity which would be required for each work, and the Excise officers could ascertain easily enough that it was devoted to the purpose for which it was intended. If they could avoid by any possibility throwing a large number of persons out of work, they most undoubtedly ought to do so.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the hon. Member (Mr. Black) had very distinctly and ingenuously stated that of all classes affected by the change, none were so exempt from the apprehension of loss as publishers. They published at a fixed price, and it lay in the very nature of their trade that they could hardly lose by the change. Would a work like Colenso's Arithmetic, on which the duty, according to the statement given the other day by Mr. Bohn, made a difference of one halfpenny in the price, that sold for 2s. on the 14th of August, be sold for 1s. 11½d. on the 16th? In point of fact, the hon. and learned Gentleman had selected the interest that, of all others, would be least affected. Any change in a Customs' duty caused some stagnation of trade; and the change of an excise duty necessarily caused it to a greater degree. The effect of an immediate repeal of a duty, and the payment of heavy sums as drawback, caused a double loss. There must always be some inconvenience, but if the advantage of a repeal of duty overbalanced the evil, the only question was, how could the Government best proceed? The principle was to give no drawback when the identity could not be ascertained. The hon. and learned Gentleman was quite mistaken in supposing that in the case of wine the drawback was conceded either to powerful interests or to an abstract sense of justice. It resulted from a positive compact, and the only question was as to the interpretation of that compact. The wine duties had been paid freely for many years, and the revenue had been exempted from loss in consequence of these duties. There was this great difference, too, between the wine duties and the present case, that when the reduction of the duty took effect, the holders of the stocks of wines were immediately subjected to the competing action of the cheaper article, and he believed the price of wine had fallen to the full amount of the reduction of duty. But in the price of books there was no fall. The public in this particular instance did not get the benefit of the reduction, and there was no exposure to competition as in the case of wine. The hon. and learned Gentleman called upon the House to agree to his Motion for the sake of the operative printers, but he was not prepared to say that Parliament was to give the employers a large sum of money to enable them to go on employing their workmen. The hon. and learned Gentleman was in error if he supposed that the 2086 drawback in the case of wine depended simply on the declaration of the wine merchant. There was a minute and detailed series of regulations which wine merchants were obliged to observe. Stock books were obliged to be kept all along, and every possible security was taken for the protection of the revenue. The hon. and learned Gentleman said there was a precedent in the case of the stationers. But the difference was that after the 16th of August the stationers would be subjected to competition from abroad, while it was not pretended that foreign editions would be published abroad of all the books printed here. In the case of the stationers, also, there was no possibility of fraud, because the Excise label afforded an absolute security, and thus the drawback could be safely allowed. The hon. and learned Gentleman said there was no fear of fraud if his Motion were agreed to. The hon. and learned Gentleman was not responsible for the collection of the revenue, but those who were responsible were of a different opinion. The hon. and learned Gentleman admitted that if the attempt were made to guard against fraud, it would be necessary to establish virtually an Excise survey. The excisemen must follow the printing operations, and swarm in the offices of the printers and warehouses of the publishers. The hon. and learned Gentleman proposed to insert a condition that the allowance of drawback should be "subject to such rules and regulations as the Commissioners of Inland revenue may make." These words were so large, that he might accept the principle of the Motion and defeat it in practice, by the rules and regulations in question. That, however, would not be a straightforward course of proceeding, and it was much more fair to say that, in consequence of the total absence of any case of suffering or hardship and the liability to fraud, which could only be prevented by minute Excise superintendence, the Government could not possibly accept the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. There were many other trades employing paper as the raw material of their manufacture that had a better case than the publishers. The paper hangers and paperstainers employed their operatives too, and they had a greater claim, because they would be, after the 16th of August, exposed to a severe competition. The Excise survey would be so intolerable that, if the drawback were allowed, it must be paid wholesale upon all the paper presented. 2087 The publishers had the smallest claim upon drawback of all the persons using paper, as they were effectually shielded against competition and even temporary loss. The hon. and learned Gentleman thought the loss to the revenue would not exceed £100. Would he guarantee that? It was hardly fair to challenge him upon this point, for he should be sorry to involve him in embarrassment, but he believed the sum the hon. and learned Gentleman in such a case would have to pay if the Government acted in the spirit of his Motion, and if they avoided the restraints and superintendence he had mentioned, would be a very heavy one. For these reasons he could not possibly agree to the Motion.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
§ House in Committee.
§ Clause 1,
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, he should move that the date at which the Bill was to come into operation be altered by the omission of the words, "15th day of August, 1860," and the insertion in their stead of "the 31st day of March, 1861." By continuing the excise duty on paper a little longer the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be enabled to clear off the£1,000,000 of Exchequer bonds, which must otherwise be postponed. The course he proposed would be consistent with the right hon. Gentleman's statements as to the propriety of discharging those bonds when they fell due. The House had been led away by the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, who always spoke of the paper duty as £1,000,000, whereas he found that the revenue derived last year from that source was £1,430,000, an amount which must this year have been exceeded, remembering that for the last twenty years the duty had steadily advanced at the rate of 6 percent. July was the date originally assigned for the abolition of the tax; but with a view to the convenience of the trade the time had been extended to August. The same arguments, fortified by the necessity for making some arrangements with reference to the import of foreign rags, held good in support of the further extension which he proposed.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he felt very much indebted to the hon. Gentleman, who had just spoken, for wishing to save his (Mr. Gladstone's) personal consistency, but he did not think that consistency was so much in danger as 2088 the hon. Gentleman seemed to imagine. He (Mr. Gladstone) had never laid down the principle that Exchequer bonds should be paid as they became due. What he did say in 1854, when the Exchequer bonds were issued, was that they should be paid off with the proceeds of half a year's income tax, whenever it could be applied to that purpose. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that such bonds should be paid off, whenever it was possible, and that now was the time to do so; but he would venture to remind the hon. Gentleman that he (Mr. Blackburn) was a Member of a Government in 1858 at a time when the military and naval expenditure of the country was £10,000,000 less than it now was, which nevertheless found it impossible to pay off the Exchequer bonds. Yet, with Military Estimates which now stood at £30,000,000, he called on him to clear off all those liabilities. With regard to the amount of the paper duty the hon. Gentleman was in error. He had undoubtedly estimated the loss on that duty in the present year at £1,000,000; but he likewise stated that there would be a residue, which would only appear in the accounts for next year, and the hon. Gentleman was equally wrong in supposing that this residue would be half a million. The fact was that the hon. Member had mistaken the gross figures for the net produce of the paper duty, and had omitted from the calculation the amount of drawback, the cost of collection, and other items by which the amount would be considerably reduced. £100,000 a month would probably be the natural produce of the paper duty. But did the House suppose that by continuing the charge from the 15th of August till the 1st of March, a million would be raised? No, nor the half of it. If the duty had remained undisturbed, operations naturally would have gone on as usual, but the only result, in a financial point of view, which could attend the adoption by a decisive majority of a determination to repeal the tax, and the subsequent postponement of that repeal for nearly twelve months would be, that probably one-half of the proceeds of that duty would be lost. The collateral consequences of such a Motion were such as he should shrink from contemplating, and therefore, if money must be had, it would be far better to raise it by some distinct proposal, than for the House to attempt partially to retrace its steps by postponing the question for six or seven mouths. The hon. Member estimated that his Mo- 2089 tion would produce a million to the Exchequer; but according to the Estimates of the Board of Inland Revenue, the net produce which they anticipated from the paper duty during the present year was only £250,000. The House had listened to a description by one hon. and learned Gentleman of the effects which even the slightest delay in the abolition of the duty must produce in paralysis, stagnation, doubtful employment, want, and general crippling of trade. How enormously must these injurious effects be increased if they trebled the time during which this paralysis was to extend. He (Mr. Gladstone) had no doubt the hon. Member was influenced by highly laudable motives, but, financially speaking, the plan he recommended would, he believed, entirely fail.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, that after what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, he would not press his Motion.
§ Motion by leave withdrawn.
§ MR. AYRTON
observed that the first clause of the Bill did not follow the course usual in the repeal of excise duties, of including the duty on licences to manufacture the excisable commodity. If it were the intention of the right hon. Gentleman to keep up these licences it would be desirable to discuss the policy of such a measure. When the manufacture of paper was freed from the supervision of the Excise, a tax of this nature became quite unjustifiable. He found that whenever a duty such as that on paper had been repealed, the Excise licence had been repealed also. The only exception, as far as he could ascertain, to that rule was the case of the soapboilers, who were still bound to take out a licence, although the tax on soap had been repealed. The duty on paper had been abolished, it was said, with the view of encouraging and developing trade; but this monstrous imposition would have quite a contrary effect. It might be very right to establish a check of this kind in the case of a dangerous or noxious trade, but the manufacture of paper was one which ought to be encouraged. The fact of having to pay four guineas for a licence, however, would prevent many persons from entering the trade.
In line 7, after 'in respect of,' to insert the words 'any maker of paper, pasteboard, or scale-board' or any printer, painter, or stainer of paper, or any seller of paper-hangings or:
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he was unable to say that the 2090 hon. Member's statement of precedent was literally incorrect, but he could mention an instance to show that it was certainly not established as a principle of recent legislation that when an Excise duty was repealed the persons who paid it should also be relieved from the burden of annual licences. The soap trade, to which the hon. Gentleman had himself referred, was one case where the repeal of the licence did not follow the repeal of the duty, although the question was carefully considered by Parliament, and there was as much anxiety to promote the soap as the paper trade. But the case of the auctioneers afforded a still stronger instance of the same kind. When the Excise duty on auctions was repealed, so far was Sir Robert Peel and the Parliament of the day from thinking that the licences ought necessarily to be discontinued as well, that the repeal of the duty was seized as an excellent opportunity for raising a small sum in an unexceptional manner, either—for he forgot the exact course pursued—by imposing a licence duty on the trade, or greatly augmenting that which already existed. That measure was carried without opposition either in the House or from the auctioneers. Then as to the principle, he could not regard the payment of £4 4s. for a licence as a serious obstacle to the development of the paper manufacture, which must be prosecuted on a scale certainly far larger than could be by persons who would feel as a burden so trifling a charge. It was urged that the amount derived from this licence was very small—only some £1,500 or £1,600 a year at present, and not likely to rise above £3,000 or £4,000 for many years to come; but the question was, not how much this duty would yield, but whether it could be raised in an unexceptional manner. If there were no serious complaint against it, and it involved no breach of principle, the mere smallness of the amount was no reason for abandoning it, especially in the case of a class on whom the Legislature were about to confer a great boon at a heavy cost to the Exchequer. The principle of these licences on trades was a good one; and he would be ready enough to answer the hon. Member's question whether he was willing to extend the practice if it depended on his own will alone. The question of licences on trades might at any time become entitled to the serious consideration of Parliament, either on account of peculiar financial pressure, 2091 or as a commutation for other taxes; and he was not prepared to surrender those taxes of the kind which now existed. It might be true that all taxes which existed should be in perfect harmony with each other; but, although it might be proper to keep that in mind, he did not think it of itself a good reason for surrendering a duty which was raised without difficulty, complaint, or cost to the Exchequer, and which was paid by a class who, as he had said, were about to receive so considerable boon from the Government.
§ SIR JOHN TROLLOPE
remarked that when Sir Robert Peel increased the licence duty charged on auctioneers, those already in the trade were delighted, because it tended to keep others out of it. There could be no reason why paper manufacturers should be subject to licence duty more than cotton-spinners or carpet manufacturers. If one species of manufacture was to be licensed, there was a strong reason why all the rest should be treated in the same way; and he thought that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had been making great changes in the financial system of the country and was so much in favour of direct taxation, ought to extend the system of licensing to all trades. By what the right hon. Gentleman was now doing he would create a practical monopoly in the paper trade. The paper manufacture was already in comparatively few hands, and would become the possession of still fewer in time.
§ MR. BRIGHT
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman was not quite so conclusive in his arguments on this occasion as he had been on many other questions connected with his Budget. He agreed with the hon. Member opposite (Sir J. Trollope) that there was no reason whatever why the men who made paper should have to pay for a licence more than those who made calico. He believed it was better for the paper-makers that the licence should be retained and the duty abolished than that both should be retained; but there was really no reason why they should pay licence duty while those who manufactured other things were exempt. His principal objection to the duty was that it was unjust to the various classes of paper manufacturers. Those who carried on an extensive trade—the Wrigleys, Dickensons, and Cowans—paid no more than the £4 4s. which had to be paid also by those who carried on business only on a small scale, and derived from it but a scanty living. If their incomes did not exceed 2092 £250 a year, the licence would be equal to a tax of 4d. in the pound. It was not worth while, perhaps, to say much about it on one side or the other; but he thought the exceptions to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had referred did not afford sufficient grounds to continue the system, unless it were extended generally among traders, and that, he suspected, no Chancellor of the Exchequer would attempt until other sources of revenue had failed. He hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not said what he had said tonight for the purpose of extending licences. He had no objection to traders paying their full share of taxation, but he thought this mode of licences very unpalatable, and very unsatisfactory. He thought the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) was right in the view which he took of this question. It did not seem to be a matter of much consequence. No paper manufacturer objected to the licence. At the same time it was not just in principle, and it was unfair to the small paper manufacturers.
§ MR. WYLD
said, that he did not think it would be fair to paper manufacturers to subject them to that charge, and at the same time to expose them to an unlimited competition with foreigners. The auctioneers to whom the Chancellor of the Exchequer had referred had no foreign competition to encounter. With respect to the manufacturers of glass, the duty on which was repealed a few years ago, they paid no licences. If free trade were to be accompanied with the imposition of licences generally, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would rouse a feeling of opposition which he did not expect.
§ MR. BASS
observed, that the paper-makers ought to be satisfied that they had now one tax less, while the one in question was only retained on account of revenue. The system, if adopted at all, ought to be extended to all trades; and he asked the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Trollope) how the farmers would like being subject to a licence to carry on their business. The licences of the trade to which he belonged were enormous. He paid, himself, no less than thirteen different taxes. He paid them as a maltster, as a brewer, as a dealer; the article was sold to a person who paid the tax; the publican paid another tax. In every principal town in which he had an agent he was also obliged to take out a licence, and the general effect in his case was that he paid the tax eleven or twelve 2093 times over. Thus there were thirteen different taxes in the shape of licence duties. Altogether he paid about £130,000 per annum. Let him, however, be relieved from half only of the other taxes, and he would not quarrel about the licences.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he must call attention to the important considerations involved in this extremely small question of £1,500 a year, which the paper-makers paid for licences. If they voted away this sum, and laid down the principle to remit all licences, they would abolish a considerable revenue. Although the system of licences might be anomalous and exceptional, they ought not to take away the money in one instance, unless they were prepared to lay down a clear principle, and carry it to a consistent end. He was much obliged to the hon. Member who had just spoken, for he had convicted the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets of a great inaccuracy. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets said that uniformly, when Excise Duties were re-moved, licences were removed also; but there was an Excise duty on beer; and, though it was removed, the manufacturers of beer still paid a large sum for licences. I Knowing that the Committee was in danger of being betrayed unawares into the remission of a small sum which might afterwards involve inconvenient consequences, he entreated them to interpose, unless they were in a condition to part with a revenue of some hundreds of thousands of pounds.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he had mentioned that there were certain exceptions in which the system of licences was retained, although the duty on the commodity was remitted; but those exceptions depended on clear and intelligible principles. It was quite unnecessary for the Committee to be drawn into a discussion of licences to auctioneers, for the maintenance of which good reasons might be given. His simple proposition was, that when the excise upon articles having no noxious tendency was repealed, with one exception, the licence duty was removed with it. He knew that it was the interest of the paper-makers to maintain the licensing system, and he was quite astonished to hear such a financier as the Chancellor of the Exchequer talk of the revision of the paper duty as a boon to the paper-makers. It was not ranked as a boon to them, but as a boon to the public; and he was asking them to repeal the licences precisely on the same ground— 2094 namely, for the benefit of the public. Men largely engaged in the manufacture of paper, would, no doubt, like to have the licences increased to £30 or £40, because the practical effect was to exclude others from setting up in the trade. Of all systems of finance that of a heavy licensing system was the most iniquitous and the most injurious to the public; because the tendency was to keep down the small men, and leave the large manufacturers in possession of the business undisturbed. The right hon. Gentleman had endeavoured to draw the Committee away from the true question. He only asked for the remission of the Excise licence when they removed the Excise duty. The Committee would be betrayed into nothing by assenting to it. It was a proposition which had been assented to over and over again, in the case of glass, bricks, and other commodities; and he protested against the Chancellor of the Exchequer creeping into a system which he could not avow before the country, however agreeable it might be to large manufacturers, who traded to the extent of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted:"
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 39; Noes 147: Majority 108.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 2,
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
explained that the limitation of quantity with respect to drawback, was fixed by this clause. The amount fixed as a minimum appeared to be reasonable, and was stated in all the communications with the trade.
§ "Millboard" was accordingly inserted, and the clause was agreed to.
§ Remaining clauses agreed to.
§ House resumed. Bill reported.