HC Deb 30 May 1861 vol 163 cc245-345

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Mr. MASSEY in the Chair.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 4 (Repeal of Excise Duties, Allowances, and Drawbacks on Paper),


said, that when he moved that Progress be reported, on Monday evening, the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) very courteously invited him to proceed with the discussion, and was good enough to promise him a patient hearing from a silent if not admiring audience. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman was sincere, but after the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth he thought it proper to move that Progress be reported. But he must protest against the conclusion drawn from that Motion for adjournment. The hon. Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Ker Seymer) avowed himself a West Indian proprietor; and, therefore, his opposition to this clause was easy to be understood. No doubt he would prefer a reduction of the tea and sugar duties. The hon. Member for the West Riding (Sir John Ramsden) objected to the repeal of the paper duty because he did not believe there was a surplus. Both of these Gentlemen had voted for a reduction of the tea duties. But he contended that it was no longer open to the Opposition, having once admitted the existence of a surplus by proposing a large remission of taxes in the shape of the tea duties, and having failed in that, to object to any remission of taxation whatever. To admit a surplus for one issue and to deny it for another was a most inconsistent course of conduct, which he was sure the House would never sanction. One objection raised to the remission of this particular tax was that the papermakers, who, it was said, were most affected by it, had not asked for the remission, but it was always the case where an Excise duty was to be repealed that those interested in things as they were were never very forward in asking for a change. Much had been made on this point of a circular placed in the hands of Members from Mr. Bohn, the publisher. But it should be remembered that Mr. Bohn was driving a most excellent trade, that he had a large stock of books on hand, and that the duty pressed less heavily on the class of books in which he dealt than on others. Naturally enough, therefore, Mr. Bohn was well contented with things as they were. He saw no force in the argument that the tea duties ought to have the preference because they were war duties. If a tax was a good tax it ought to be retained; if it was a bad one it ought to be repealed, whether it was a war or a peace tax. The best tax was that which produced the largest amount to the Exche- quer with the least pressure on the industry of the country. The hon. Member for the West Riding objected to the repeal of the paper duty because the prospects of trade were so bad; but surely if trade were so bad that was a reason for relieving it from those burdens which put it on an inequality with foreign competition. The hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel) the same evening professed the warmest allegiance and friendship for the Chancellor of the Exchequer: but he had certainly the oddest way of showing his friendship. When his vote was of no consequence he was full of allegiance, but when his vote was of importance, and a dissolution of Parliament or the fall of a Ministry was in question, he was either absent or voted against them. The hon. Baronet said, too, that if he thought an attack was being made on the Chancellor of the Exchequer he should be the first to stand by him; but surely everybody knew that the attack was specially directed against the right hon. Gentleman. Was it not notorious that all the appeals, the remonstrances, and the flatteries, addressed to the noble Viscount from the other side of the House were only meant to induce him to throw over the Chancellor of the Exchequer? He had certainly been astonished to hear them, for if there was one quality for which the noble Lord was distinguished it was for loyalty to his colleagues and those who put confidence in him. The hon. Member for the West Riding said, and the argument had been repeated again and again, that to send up a Bill for the repeal of the paper duty this year would be an insult, a provocation, and n challenge to the House of Lords. Now, if the House of Lords had refused to repeal the paper duties on the ground of their intrinsic merits, it might have been a challenge. But everyone knew that no noble Lord justified the retention of the duty on that ground—they all condemned it on principle. There was one noble Lord at all events that would not condemn the present course as a challenge, and that was Lord Monteagle, for his words last year were—"I ask your Lordships by agreeing to my Amendment to reserve to the House of Commons the opportunity of dealing with this tax next Session." It really appeared to him (Mr. Mellor) that there were lion. Gentlemen in that House more anxious to vindicate the House of Lords than were the Lords themselves. There was a very good reason why the paper duty should be selected for remission, because it was a tax more universally condemned than any other. It had been condemned by all those gentlemen in whom hon. Members opposite placed confidence, and it had been condemned by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue in their Report to the Lords of the Treasury. The noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley) had said that— The tax was vexatious in collection; it impeded improvements in manufacture; it heightened the price of an article the demand for which already exceeded the supply, and pressed injuriously on the circulation of cheap literature and the diffusion of news. The Earl of Derby, in answer to the deputation which waited on him last year, described the tax as "bad in principle and bad in practice;" and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, in the debate on the Resolutions in 1858, which condemned the tax as "a permanent source of revenue," said— I look upon the tax upon paper as one of those particular taxes which, when a favourable opportunity arises, I shall be very glad to see remitted and erased from our fiscal system. As well in a commercial as in a moral, literary, and educational point of view, I should be very glad if I felt it was consistent with my duty at this juncture to propose a remission of that tax."—[3 Hansard, cli. 125.] The juncture spoken of as unfavourable had reference to a period when a number of insignificant duties, which were vexatious in themselves and unproductive to the revenue, existed, but those small duties were all repealed last year, and if there was a surplus no juncture could be more favourable than the present to remit the paper duty. The important question was whether a repeal of that duty would largely benefit trade, and in proof of the affirmative it was only necessary to refer to the effect of the reduction of the duty in 1835. Earl Granville last year stated that the reduction of the duty in 1835 to one-half was followed by such an increase of consumption and diminution of price that the duty raised became double the amount of duty remitted. Lord Monteagle, who, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, proposed the partial remission of the duty, stated on the same occasion that the revenue had increased from £715,000 to £1,400,000. It appeared from the memorial of the paper hanging makers that, in 1834, the total number of pieces manufactured was 1,050,000, and in 1859–60 it was 19,000,000. If they looked at other trades the same expansion had followed a repeal of Excise duties. The number of brick-makers had increased from 9,864 in 1841 to 31,768 in 1851, and the number of glassmakers from 7,407 in 1841 to 12,095 in 1851. The profits on bricks and glass were no doubt as good in 1851 as in 1841, and the increase of makers represented an enormous increase of employment. The case for the repeal of the paper duty was strengthened by the fact that it pressed unequally on different classes of paper, amounting to 125 per cent oil the value of wrapping paper, and to only 20 per cent on cream laid post. The argument that the cases of bricks and glass were not analogous, because in those instances there was an abundant supply of the raw material, whereas there was a dearth in the supply of rags, was answered by a specimen of paper of excellent quality, made from straw, which, in the form of a circular, had been sent to himself and many other hon. Members. The mode of levying aggravated the burden of the paper duty. It had to be assessed on the paper when dry, or the maker would have to pay also on the moisture, and the papers used for serial works and newspapers had to be made wet again or the printing upon them would be very inferior. It had been estimated that this aggravation of the tax amounted to at least £6 per ton. The Commissioners of Inland Revenue, in pointing out the embarrassments in which they were involved by the difficulties of defining what was paper, had stated that they were collecting duty from A while they allowed B to send out goods of precisely the same nature without any interference from the Revenue officers. These arbitrary regulations prevented the application of paper to many useful purposes, and, of course, prevented the due extension of the trade. It was not a question now between tea and paper, but simply whether they would repeal the paper duty. Lord George Bentinck, whose biography had been written by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, laid down the proposition that it was incumbent on wise statesmen to remit Excise duties in preference to Customs' duties, because, independent of the relief to the taxpayer, there was a saving in the expense of collection. The argument was not allowed to prevail in the case of the Corn Laws, but that was because the effect of the duty on foreign corn was to artificially raise the price of the home production, and to put money, not into the Exchequer, but into the pockets of the growers of corn in this country. He trusted that the repeal of the paper duty would not fail to receive the support of many hon. Gentlemen opposite, and especially of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley), who generally rose above mere party influences, and the right hon. Member for Hertfordshire, who had done so much by his writings to show how injurious the tax was to the interests of education and literature. Rumours were rife in every club that the Irish Members, having a quarrel with the Government in regard to the Gal-way contract, were going to take part with the Opposition. He did not believe that the Irish Members would be actuated by such motives. If they had a quarrel with the Government he was sure that they would fight it out manfully, and would not stoop to such conduct as was imputed to them. If, however, the Government should be defeated by such means, the victory of the Opposition would be quite independent of the merits of the question, and if a dissolution followed, he, for one, would be only too happy to meet his constituents in so good a cause. He thought that in such an event even the constituents of the hon. Member for Dorsetshire would be convinced that the battle had been won on a false issue, and by means which public opinion would not justify. Quoting the words of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, he would call on the Committee, in the interests of commerce and industry, in the cause of morality, in the furtherance of education and literature, to vote for the repeal of the paper duty.


Sir, I cannot help thinking that if hon. Gentlemen would think less of their constituents and more of the interests of their constituents we should be assisted in arriving at a more satisfactory conclusion on this question. Although, Sir, I was perfectly ready on Monday night to have come to a division, I shall avail myself of the opportunity for which we are indebted to the interposition of the hon. and learned Gentleman for placing succinctly before the House the views which I and those friends who act with me entertain upon the immediate measure in question, and upon those subjects with which now it is inevi- tably and inextrioably involved. Sir, after the financial statement of the Minister, which was the origin of these protracted, renewed, and varied debates, there was in the House, on the part of several hon. Gentlemen whose opinions deserve respect, some suspicion as to the solidity of the surplus on which the measure of the Government was founded. I am yet at a loss to understand that the House of Commons would have exercised functions foreign from its highest duty when the financial statement of the Minister being before them, they had hesitated to submit the statement of the Minister to the severest scrutiny. I apprehend in so doing they were only performing their duty and pursuing that course which their predecessors have always followed. Sir, I apprehend that the principle which should guide the House upon such a question as the existence or non-existence of a surplus is one which may be accurately defined. If there be in the House generally a conviction that there has been on the part of the Government so much financial and so much political negligence as not to have duly provided for the public service and the possible exigencies of the state—I apprehend the House, if that be their conviction, have only one course to follow and only one duty to fulfil. It would be due to the Government—it would be due to the character of the House that they should call on the House to declare in a manner which could not be mistaken their want of confidence in the Minister who after such negligence was clearly incompetent to discharge the great duty and to bear the heavy responsibility of the Government. But, Sir, if, on the contrary, that be not the case, I do not understand how as practical men we can do otherwise than accept the statement of the Minister, and act as that statement justifies us in doing. And, Sir, on the first night of this debate, on the question of adjournment, I stated that I had not made up my mind on the question, and that I waited to listen to the explanation of the Minister on this very question of the surplus. I thought that I had on that occasion taken a usual course, and I know that I was influenced only by the desire of fair dealing. I was, therefore, surprised that the noble Lord the First Minister should have challenged the propriety of my conduct. Sir, the charges that were brought—the criticism rather that was offered on the elements which form the surplus of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, were of a grave character, that required consideration, and explanation by the Minister. Those points were ably stated to the House. We had the advantage of listening to the answer of the Government upon the main questions which were raised in that discussion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer on the one hand publicly declared, regarding the payment from China, that he had contemplated all those objections urged against his Estimate, and offered explanations on certain points on which great uncertainty existed, and a repeated statement on his part that he had no doubt that the money on which he counted would reach him. The noble Lord, on the other hand, with respect to that objection to the surplus, founded on political considerations, assured us that those particular objections had been well weighed by the Cabinet, and that he did not himself consider that the circumstances which were unexpectedly occurring in an important part of the globe would call on this country for an increased expenditure. Having received those assurances from the Ministers—not being prepared to challenge the Government on those grave matters, and to ask the House to decide whether they reposed confidence or not in Her Majesty's Ministers—I felt it my duty to state that I accepted the surplus announced by the Government as an actual surplus, and that the only point on which the House should be called upon to decide should be to what purpose that surplus should be applied.

Now, before I touch upon that matter, there is a point on which I wish to make an observation. I think that the charge which has been made against us of wasting the public time in performing one of our highest duties—namely, considering whether the financial statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was justified or not, is one that cannot for a moment be maintained; and I do not believe that any Minister, in his cooler moments, after full reflection, would seriously hold that a scrutiny into the existence of a surplus is not a legitimate duty of the House of Commons. We are further charged with wasting time in discussing the form of the Bill in which the policy of the Government is embodied. Now, that also appears to me to be a charge devoid of justice. It cannot be denied that the form of procedure adopted by the Government in their financial measures this year has been of a novel character. When the Resolutions which were to be moved in Committee of Ways and Means were placed upon the table, every one at once perceived that their form was unusual. Their form being unusual everybody necessarily connected that change of form with grave incidents that occurred in the two Houses of Parliament last year; and surely that was a combination of circumstances which justified on the part of the House inquiry and consideration—inquiry into the reasons which had induced the Government to adopt that form and consideration whether it was a constitutional and legitimate form. I cannot conceive any subject—whatever difference of opinion may prevail between us upon the point at issue—more legitimate and more necessary for discussion and deliberation in this House. Now, I do not want to enter into any controversy upon that subject upon the present occasion, but at the same time I do not desire to conceal my own opinion with respect to it. I believe that, by the precedents upon the journals of this House, Her Majesty's Ministers were justified in introducing Resolutions in the form they have selected. I go further, and I say I believe there may be occasions on which it would be convenient that the financial policy of the Government should be brought forward in a single measure for the consideration of this House, and it is still my opinion that, had the financial measures of last year been brought forward in that complete form they would never have passed this House. But although the course pursued by the Government in this respect may be justified by precedent, although it may, under certain circumstances, be even recommended by convenience, I am at the same time of opinion that its adoption and application this year is unwise, unnecessary, and impolitic, and that instead of conciliation it will tend to a directly contrary result. In the first place, what is there to conciliate? There is no quarrel between the two Houses. I should look upon a quarrel between the two Houses as a great misfortune; and, although I am as willing to maintain the privileges of this House as any Gentleman in it, I should be prepared to make any concession consistent with our rights and our dignity to prevent the occurrence of anything so unfortunate as a misunderstanding between the two Houses of Parliament. But I am not aware that there has been any such misunderstanding. I conclude, from all that I have observed and all that I have heard, that the conduct of the House of Lords with respect to the measure for the repeal of the paper duty last year was justified by every legal and Parliamentary right. Certainly, if there are any persons of a contrary opinion it cannot be Her Majesty's Ministers. The speech of the noble Lord at the head of the Government at the time, the Resolutions adopted by this House in accordance with that speech, would be strong evidence to the contrary. But when we remember that Her Majesty's Ministers, last year, were obliged from the force of circumstances to make a second financial statement, and to bring a second Budget before our consideration, and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer availed himself of the Excise upon paper as part of his Ways and Means, it is clear that it is not Her Majesty's Ministers who can impugn the right of the House of Lords as exercised by that House last year. How far that was justified by policy is not a subject which I wish to bring into this discussion; but I believe that the House and the country are both agreed upon it. Then what is there to conciliate in this respect? And why, if there has been no misunderstanding and no collision—why, if the Lords have only done that which the law and the usage of Parliament justify, and which Her Majesty's Ministers have entirely sanctioned by their speeches, by their Resolutions, and even by their financial measures—why should we this year unnecessarily make a change in the form of our proceedings, the only apparent object of which is to produce a collison and to render conciliation impossible? Now, I will not proceed at length into this controversy, because I think that upon the present occasion it is entirely unnecessary to do so, and I only touched upon it because I think that when so grave and delicate a question is brought before the House and debates arise upon it—debates which have been maintained on both sides, and with great learning and ability—the country ought not to be told and led to believe that while we have been endeavouring to arrive at prudent and wise decisions we have been wasting the public time. It is of great importance even for the House of Commons, with all its power, to be on terms of good and cordial understanding with the other House of Parliament. We live in an age of rapid transition. The character of this House has been greatly changed within the memory of man, and the power of this House has been greatly increased. The power of the House of Lords, as we are often reminded, has no doubt at the same time been greatly diminished. During the last thirty years or move the Lords have lost a great deal of power. But we should be under a great mistake if we forgot to observe that they have also gained something. The House of Lords, indeed, can no longer exercise that power which the ancient barons exercised, because there was then only one kind of property in this country, and they were almost the sole possessors of it. The House of Lords cannot, indeed, exercise that power which was exercised by the great nobles who invented the Constitution of 1688 and established an oligarchy in this country. No doubt all that is changed; but the House of Lords still possess a great and growing influence in the conviction of the national mind that an intermediate body between the popular branch of the Legislature and absolute legislation is a great security for public liberty and for temperate government. The people of England feel that the existence of a body of that kind is a great blessing; and all the public experience of Europe has assured them that that is a body which cannot be artificially created. They, therefore, consider it a very fortunate circumstance for this country that such an intermediate body should have gradually risen, supported by property, by tradition, and by experience, ready to act with the critical faculty which is necessary when precipitate legislation is threatened, and at least to obtain time, so that upon all questions of paramount importance the ultimate decision should be founded on the mature opinion of an enlightened nation. Now, this is the great influence which the House of Lords possess, and it is a growing influence. I would further say, that if the House of Lords continue to be guided by the wise and temperate feelings which have animated them of late years, that is an influence that, I believe, will increase, and will always be exercised for the public advantage; and I think that our discussions on our relations with the House of Lords in reference to this very question of our financial policy have assisted this House and assisted the country to arrive at sounder opinions upon the subject. Who, then, has a right to say that we have been wasting the public time while we were discussing questions in- volving considerations of so delicate and important a character? Upon both these topics, therefore, on which we have been of late so frequently taunted by the noble Lord, I hold that the House is entirely exempt from blame. Every night we have been told that we have questioned the existence of a surplus, and yet that we have proposed remissions of taxation. Now, I deny that myself or any of the Gentlemen on this side of the House have pursued such a course. I have never denied the existence of a surplus, and I have counselled a remission of taxation on the faith of that surplus. But if I wanted an authority for, at the same time denying, the existence of a surplus, and yet recommending a remission of taxation, I could find very great authority, and it does not become the Members on the Treasury bench to indulge in taunts of this kind. I will not, however, discuss that subject now, because my purpose, at this moment is not to enter into any recrimination of that description, but to place before the House clearly the course which we upon this side, intend to take upon this occasion. I say, however, that in the year 1857 the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Secretary for the Home Department, and who was then charged with the care of the finances of the country, did taunt one of the most distinguished Members of the House, who was then in opposition with denying the existence of a surplus, and yet recommending a reduction of taxation; and he received from that distinguished Member a most vigorous and able reply; and if anybody wishes to read that reply—for I will not encumber these few observations with extracts from Hansard—he can refer to a speech delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the year 1857. Having said this much in vindication, not merely of myself and my friends, but of the House of Commons, from the charge brought against us by the Minister of wasting public time, because we performed two of the most important functions of Members of this House,—those of scrutinizing the data on which a surplus was estimated, and examining minutely whether our proceedings was justified, regard being had to the privileges of the other House and our own, I will proceed now, merely reminding hon. Members that I myself have never for a moment disputed the existence of a surplus, to state the principles on which I myself think that surplus ought to be apportioned.

I lay it down as a principle of our financial system which ought invariably to be pursued, that in the remission of taxation war taxes should have the preference. I think that a sound and a popular doctrine; and it is popular, I think, because it is sound. Now, I am led to that opinion from considerations of high policy. I think that when on a great emergency—and war is eminently such an emergency—you appeal to the people to bear extraordinary imposts, it is of the highest essence of policy that when the emergency is past you should free the people from those extraordinary charges as quickly as the state of the public revenue will permit; and, for this unanswerable reason, that if an emergency should recur, and you should again have to appeal to the patriotism and the high spirit of the people, you will appeal to them with much less chance of success if they can turn round on you and say, "We have already had an extraordinary addition to our taxation imposed upon us at a great emergency; we cheerfully bore it; and yet, when the emergency passed away, you remitted and reduced other taxes in preference to those extraordinary imposts which you then placed upon us." I say that if that be your policy you cripple the energies of the country—you diminish the power of the Minister who may have hereafter to appeal to the spirit of the people; and totally irrespective of all considerations of finance and political economy the paramount influence which should guide a Minister is this, that the public contract with the nation, entered into on a solemn occasion, should be rigorously and rigidly fulfilled. Now, assuming, as I assume and maintain it to be a principle of our financial policy, that in the remission of taxation war taxes should have a preference, let us apply that principle to the surplus of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Although the income tax was introduced into our modern system of finance merely as an instrument to accomplish the reform of a tariff, I do not think any wise Minister should hesitate to look on the income tax as essentially a war tax. The existence of such a resource, of such a power of Supply, not drawn upon, in the possession of our Sovereign, is a greater security for the maintenance of peace than fleets and armies. The very fact of the income tax in what I may call a virgin state among the resources of this country would influence the decisions of Foreign Cabinets, and make them hesitate before they took a course which might offend the pride or endanger the interests of England. It should, therefore, be a point of policy to draw as little as possible on such an instrument, to keep it at a very low figure, or, if possible, not to trench at all on its resources. Therefore, had Her Majesty's Ministers come forward with this surplus of £2,000,000, and proposed to appropriate it entirely to the reduction of the income tax, as it at present exists, I should not have question ed the course which they were taking. There are other considerations which ought not to be forgotten. It ought to be borne in mind that there is no tax the remission of which so greatly stimulates consumption. [A cry of "Oh, oh!"] The hon. Gentleman seems to be incredulous, but I am sure the House has not forgotten that in 1857, when we had a commercial and monetary crisis, when we had the highest rate of interest known for many years, our Revenue never decreased, but throughout the year was sustained entirely owing to the remission of £9,000,000 of income tax which had been imposed to carry on the Russian War. However, as there is at present no controversy among us as to the apportionment of the entire surplus to the reduction of the income tax, it i3 unnecessary to pursue this point. I am perfectly ready to admit that much may be said for a distribution of the relief between direct and indirect taxation. Between the right hon. Gentleman and myself no controversy has arisen upon that matter. I may have an opinion on the whole more in favour of the course which I have just indicated; but I do not pretend to express any positive opinion upon the subject. It is enough to know that Her Majesty's Government have considered that it was most advantageous to the country that the relief to be given should be distributed between direct and indirect taxation. I am not disposed to question the wisdom of that policy. But, assuming that a portion of the surplus is to be appropriated to the relief of indirect taxation, then I maintain that the principle which I have ventured to lay down applies, and that regard ought first to be had to those imposts which are absolutely or effectually war taxes, and that relief ought to be granted from those extra-ordinary imposts respecting which we virtually entered into a contract with the people that they should be relieved as soon as the opportunity for doing so should arise. Gentlemen, not merely on this, but on the opposite side of the House, were of opinion that in dealing with indirect taxation by way of remission we ought to fix on those indirect imposts which were war taxes, and on due reflection the House was asked to come to a decision on that question, and, at the same time, to declare whether it was more politic to repeal the indirect taxation on paper or to reduce the indirect taxation upon tea? Totally irrespective of the first consideration, on which I need not further dwell—the high policy of keeping oar engagements with the people, and of remitting when opportunity offers the taxes which, under extraordinary circumstances, have been placed on their articles of consumption—I say the considerations which influenced us to propose the reduction of the tea duty were such as deserved the attention, and, I think, the acceptance, of the House. The commercial considerations were of the highest character. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the course of one of the debates, said that my only view of financial change was to reduce duties on articles of general consumption, and that I thought of nothing but the more obvious interests of the consumer. Sir, I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been unjust in these observations. I do not think the interest of the consumer is one which ought in any way to be neglected. A financial measure which consults the interests and advantage of the consumer has much to recommend it. But I do not for a moment pretend that in remitting or reducing taxation you are merely to consider whether the people are to have their tea or their sugar cheaper. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that in all these remissions and reductions we should look to the means by which we can occupy the people, and that it was among those which afford increased occupation to the people that the best measures are to be found. ["Hear, hear!" from the Ministerial Benches.] Why, who doubts it? And, reviewing what has taken place in these debates, I would ask the House whether by reducing the duties upon tea you are not contributing more to the employment and occupation of the people than by the mode which is recommended by the Chancellor of the Exchequer? I do not despise the benefits which must accrue to those who acquire occupation and employment by the abolition of any excise. Everybody admits that the abolition of an excise, if you can afford it, is an advantageous course. I myself have said so twenty times in this House, and the hon. and learned Gentleman has just read a speech of my lamented Friend Lord George Bentinck, which as strongly as possible lays down the same principle. But, if we look at the employment of the people of this country, we must look at it on a large scale—we must look at our foreign trade; and, in the present disordered and disturbed state of the European and American markets, it is in the highest degree expedient that we should study our position in reference to those great markets, including that population of 400,000,000 whose commerce has been opened to us by the skill of our diplomatists and the valour of our troops. And the employment of the great mass of the people of this country will be much more assisted by increasing our commerce with the Empire of China than by relieving what I must call a limited industry and trade at home from the interference of the Excise. At this moment we greatly depend on the China trade. The subject engages the attention of all commercial men who are carrying on large transactions with the East. The fact is, that the consumption of the great staple of China is at present fixed in this country; it does not increase; and the obvious policy to pursue would be by reducing its price to stimulate its consumption, and thus obtain a larger market for our manufactured goods. It appears to me idle to place in competition the advantages the working classes of this country would derive from a great impulse given to the China trade with the limited advantage to be derived from abolishing the Excise on paper. However, the House was called on to give a decision on this question, and it decided not to reduce the duty on tea. But under what circumstances was that decision taken? It was taken not only in a very full but in almost a complete House, and was then carried by a bare majority. But it does not follow because this decision was come to under these circumstances that we should give up any opportunity we may possess of urging on the House the adoption of the policy we think ought to be pursued. It does not in the slightest degree shake my faith in the principle, that if there is to be a remission of taxation, war taxes ought to have the preference in that remission. We have, therefore, to consider the position in which we are now placed. The right hon. Gentleman calls on us to-day to repeal the paper duty. I do not for a moment pretend to say that the Excise on paper is not a disadvantage to the paper trade. But I am not at all prepared to maintain that the Excise on paper is a greater disadvantage to that trade than an Excise duty would be to any other manufacture. No argument I have heard in this discussion has shaken my conviction as to the financial policy we have endeavoured to urge on the House on this subject. Although I am prepared to accept the surplus, as stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I do not believe that with the present general aspect of circumstances we can indulge in any dream of a speedy or considerable reduction of our expenditure. It is very easy to dilate on the importance of such a reduction, and no man in the House is so interested in effecting a reduction of expenditure as a Minister. But expenditure depends on policy, and I know no party in the House that at this moment would recommend any great reduction in our military expenditure.

Then, in dealing with a remission of taxation we have to consider whether it is wiser to reduce a duty on an article of general consumption or repeal a duty of Excise. In one case, if an emergency should arise, you can again appeal to the same source of revenue; in the other case you can only substitute for the indirect taxation you have lost an equal amount of direct taxation. Now, this is a grave question; it is not to be met by light arguments, or stifled by taunts from the Ministerial bench. It is said we are precluded from offering any opposition to the measure of the Government, because the House has come to a Resolution on the subject. No one is more ready to regard a Resolution of the House of Commons with respect and deference than myself. It is, at the same time, unwise and indiscreet to mistake the character of a Resolution of either House of Parliament. A Resolution of either House—and especially of the House of Commons—is an expression of opinion, and nothing more. Though it is an expression of the opinion of an assembly well entitled to confidence, yet, like the expression of the opinion of ah individual, it is subject to the inexorable conditions of time, circumstance, and maturity of thought. If time, if change of circumstances, and reflection affect the opinion of individuals, so time, circumstance, and thought must influence and may change the opinion expressed by a Reso- lution of the House of Commons. And it is unwise off the part of the House to strain too much the Character and influence of its Resolutions. We have seen within these few years—I might almost say within a few months—the Sovereign recommend from the throne an important policy to the House, and both Houses pass Addresses thanking Her Majesty for that recommendation, and pledging themselves to consider the measures necessary to carry that policy into effect. Have not those measures been brought forward by Ministers, and have they not also teen withdrawn by Ministers? And who blames them? They were withdrawn because it was ascertained that the general opinion disapproved and refused its sanction to that policy. After an instance like this, on a question so important as the distribution of political power ill the State, it is too much for the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his colleagues—it is too much for the men who felt justified, and, as I think, were fully justified, in neglecting a pledge of such importance—to rest the chief defence of the policy they are now bringing forward upon a hesitating Resolution, passed in a languid House of Commons. I can, therefore, Sir, offer a sincere opposition to the clause before us. In doing so it is unnecessary to vindicate myself and those I act with, because we take this opportunity of testing the opinion of the House on this subject. Throughout the discussion of these measures it has been my most anxious desire, while wishing to consult the convenience of the Government as much as possible—as in my opinion is the duty of the House—to reserve our right to oppose the measures of the Minister of Finance. On every occasion I have reserved that right; and I have done more than it was necessary to do. I have repeated our intention to oppose that policy; and I believe the occasion we have taken to oppose it is in the strictest sense of the word a legitimate one. I do not wish that course to be mistaken. There may be hon. Gentlemen who feel themselves justified in opposing the clause repealing the paper duty because they have no confidence in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's surplus. I do not recede from the ground I first took on the question, and I pursue a course that is perfectly consistent. I am not prepared, by rejecting the clause, to place Ways and Means in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for which he avows he has no use. I oppose the clause that we may pursue the policy we think advantageous to the country; that when called on to remit a certain amount of taxation we should remit war taxes in preference to any others, and maintain our faith with the great body of the people. I do so upon high political as well as upon commercial and fiscal considerations, and my purpose, therefore, cannot be mistaken. I wish, if I possibly can, to carry into effect the financial policy which was enunciated in 1858, which was then adopted unanimously by the House, and which was sanctioned and supported by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. I wish to terminate, if possible, and at all events to take every opportunity of reducing, the income tax, because I think its reduction, mid, if possible, its abolition, would add materially to the power of this country, totally irrespective of the great relief which would thus be given to important classes. But I acknowledge at the same time that the claims of war duties which take the form of indirect taxation are of so weighty a character that they must in some degree divert us from the great policy then recommended. I say, then, re-affirming the policy which in 1858 was supported by an unanimous Parliament, that the first object which a Minister should have in view in the reduction of taxation is the income tax and the war duties on tea and sugar; and when the hon. and learned Gentleman talks about a Resolution come to by the House of Commons upon the paper duty, can he forget—what, perhaps, it is convenient to forget—that the House arrived at that conclusion a few days only after they had unanimously affirmed the policy of reducing the war duties on tea and sugar in preference to all other indirect taxes?. It is to that policy I appeal, and it is that policy which I am now attempting to vindicate and strengthen in the course which I am recommending. I maintain that there has been no other course for the House to pursue than the one they are now debating. Hon. Members who, perhaps, do not even trouble themselves to read the Bill, have said to me, "Why, the clauses upon tea and sugar are passed." But when they read the Bill they will find that if they wish to renew the struggle for the reduction of the tea and sugar duties—if they wish to originate an effort for the reduction of the sugar duty—that opportunity, instead of having passed has not arrived. All that you have done by pass- ing the second clause is to agree to renew the tea and sugar duties, but the rates at which you will renew them must be settled at a period subsequent to the clause which we are now considering, and it is only when you come to the schedule in the Bill that you really can ask the opinion of the House upon the question. This clause, then, is an obstacle to the policy which I am recommending, and unless we can induce the House to reject the clause they cannot act on the sound and popular rule, which ought never to be departed from—namely, that in all remission of taxation war duties should have the preference. It might be expedient to ask the opinion of the House again upon the question of reducing the tea duties, provided this clause is rejected. That is a grave question, but, following the course of Parliamentary procedure, I think there has never been an instance yet known where, after a great struggle on a question of taxation, and after an important tax has been passed in one stage by so slight a majority in so full a House, there has not been a renewed effort to effect the purpose of the minority. That is a question entirely for future discussion. But there are some who object to this course. There are hon. Gentlemen who say "We entirely agree with the principle of the Budget of 1858, that we ought to remit war duties, but, then, the opinion of the House has been taken upon tea, and that opinion ought to be definitive." But there are other war duties besides those upon tea. Is the war duty on sugar not one of importance? Is it not a most legitimate and proper subject of discussion whether we should not do bettor to reduce the war duty on sugar rather than remit the paper duty? These are questions which I have no doubt will be brought before the House if the opportunity he given, but no opportunity can be given till this clause is rejected. When, therefore, we are charged with merely opposing the remission of a tax in order that the Chancellor of the Exchequer may be embarrassed with Ways and Means for which he has no use, I say there is no foundation for the charge, and that we are acting now for a distinct object, which is to establish and preserve the financial policy which we have always upheld. There is one subject to which I would not have adverted had it not most unnecessarily been imported into the debate by the lion, and learned Gentleman (Mr. Mellor) who, I apprehend, although he is not sit- ting on the Treasury bench, represents the opinions of the Government upon this matter. The questions before us are of so grave a nature—they are questions which touch so nearly the interests of all classes in this country, and which may exert hereafter such an influence upon the social condition of the people, the principle upon which the taxation of the country is established being really the gravest question which can be brought before the House—that, but for the remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman, I should have thought it unnecessary to mention this subject to the Committee, who have to-night a great duty to perform, and who, I am sure, will discharge it with a full sense of its importance. Whatever might be the rumours I had heard in lobbies and in ante-chambers, I did not think that from an hon. and learned Gentleman who had moved the adjournment of the House, and who, therefore, spoke with all the advantage of due deliberation, we should have had insinuations founded upon such miserable topics as he has introduced, as though the opinion of the House and the conduct of a great party were to be influenced by such considerations. I understand from the hon. and learned Gentleman that in his opinion this Motion has been brought forward in consequence of a Ministerial squabble upon some subject. That is the statement which the hon. and learned Gentleman after mature deliberation thinks he is justified in making. All I can say is that our determination to take the opinion of the House upon the policy of the Government was announced weeks before this rumour reached us. Nor do I know that it was possible for us to have asked the opinion of the House respecting that policy on an earlier or a more convenient issue than that now before us. I hope that the great party with which I have the honour to be connected are as sensible of the responsibility of their position as those who sit opposite them; but, nevertheless, we are charged with being influenced by these undignified considerations, and with taking a course actuated by wholly unworthy motives. I find statements made of my having had interviews with individuals deeply interest-fid in certain enterprises, and of having promised them the support of the gentlemen who honour me with their confidence. Sir, I have had no interview with any one. It is an impudent fabrication; and I am bound to say, with regard to a respectable gentleman whose name has been mixed up with mine in these reports, that he, unsolicited, stated to me in the solemn manner that befitted a gentleman of his sacred calling, that he had neither directly nor indirectly sanctioned such reports, and that he had seen them with indignation. I know nothing of this question. When the papers respecting it are placed before the House I shall read them, as subjects of this kind deserve to be read, in a perfectly impartial spirit; and, notwithstanding the insinuations and charges which have been made, I shall decide upon them in the same spirit, with a due regard to the just claims of Ireland and to the general welfare of the country. I hope I have now placed before the Committee my views as to the clear issue before us. It s one of no mean importance. It involves in the policy which you pursue the question whether you will maintain good faith with the public, who, in a moment of emergency and with generous confidence, trusted and supported you. It involves another question of scarcely less importance—namely, whether you will pursue a financial policy which, in my opinion, will render it inevitable to substitute for indirect taxation an equal amount of direct taxation, thereby disturbing what is already in danger—that true balance between the two great sources of Supply which should always be maintained. With these views, and feeling that the Committee to-night will decide upon these great questions alone, and not upon subjects which have been so improperly mixed up with them, I shall most certainly oppose the insertion of the clause now in question.


Sir, before I enter on that which is the immediate question before the House, I feel bound to advert to the last of the topics to which the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Buckinghamshire, has referred, and upon which I do not enter for the purpose of making any charge against the right hon. Gentleman. I make no charge whatever against him, because I have heard, from common rumour what I have no doubt is true—namely, that after the last division on the subject of the paper duty the right hon. Gentleman said the majority was so scanty that he should probably on some future occasion again take the sense of the House on the question. Therefore, I make no charge against him of bringing forward this question for the purpose of obtaining the support of a certain number of Gentlemen who, it appears, are discontented with a recent decision of the Government with regard to a local matter. But, Sir, it is necessary to vindicate the honour of the Government to which I belong. I believe that my noble Friend at the head of the Government and the whole of the Cabinet stand perfectly free from imputation on this subject; but imputations have been made. Those imputations have been referred to in a newspaper which is universally read, and, therefore, they cannot and ought not to be passed over. Sir, the decision of the Government on this subject was made and communicated to the parties interested; and my noble Friend at the head of the Government was asked by a person who seemed entitled to put the question whether he would receive a deputation of Irish Members with reference to this matter on Monday morning last, the day on which the proposition for the repeal of the paper duty was to be brought forward in Committee? My noble Friend absolutely refused to receive that deputation. My noble Friend saw at once what imputations, what misconceptions, what false accusations might arise from his receiving the deputation, though nominally on the subject of the Galway Contract, and he absolutely refused to receive it. The company on whose behalf the reception of the deputation was Bought have since made a long representation with regard to their case. That representation will be answered by the Postmaster General or his Secretary, and the communication will be laid before this House; but as to the imputation that the Government intend to postpone for six months their decision on the question, with a view of giving the sum of £36,000, which has been mentioned, for the performance of the postal service for six months, that imputation is totally devoid of foundation. I at once repudiate it as a calumny on the character of the Government. Sir, in respect to another question, with regard to which my noble Friend was asked a question before this debate was resumed this evening. I have this observation to make that, supposing this contract to be at an end, and that it is considered that there ought to be a communication with America from the nearest point of the United Kingdom, it would evidently he unjust to Ireland to say that the question was to be summarily concluded without a consideration of all the circumstances and facts affecting the case—affecting the public money, affecting the trade of the country, and affecting the convenience of the transport of the mails to America; but that is a totally different question from the question of the Galway Contract, on which the Government will act coolly and deliberately. And, Sir, with respect to the matter of the Galway Contract, I say that rather than the Government should make any concession on that question in order to obtain votes tonight, it would be better that ten Ministries should be defeated. It would be better that ten Ministries should be defeated and that the House of Commons should be ten times dissolved than that such a stain should be cast on the Government of this country. And when I say that it is better that ten Ministries should be defeated, and the House of Commons ten times dissolved, that is a consequence that would not be avoided; on the contrary, it is a consequence that would be brought on if any Government in this country were to act in so profligate a manner, because it is not to be supposed that this is a question in which one part only of the United Kingdom is interested. Galway Contracts might spring up in other parts of the kingdom, and if any ten or twenty Gentlemen in the divided state of the House, or of the great parties which are represented here, found that they had defeated one Ministry by this means, the new Ministry would soon experience a similar attempt to make them stoop to this degradation; they in their turn would be defeated, and would be obliged to resort to a dissolution. Therefore, I say, that whether we regard the honour and character of the Government, or whether we look to the general advantage of the country, it is quite impossible that any proposals on this subject can be looked to with a view to any division in this House. Sir, I repeat again, that I make no imputation, no charge against the right hon. Gentleman, or against the great party to which he belongs; but, at the same time, I think it is matter for the members of that great party how far they should give any countenance or favour to—how far they should support even indirectly—any attempt, such as that to which allusion has been made, to force the Government into an opinion contrary to their convictions. That, however, is a matter which I leave entirely to their own sense of the public interests, and their own sense of that honour which belongs to all public men.

I proceed now to the general question raised in this debate, and upon which the right hon. Gentleman has thrown an entirely new light. I confess that on Monday evening I thought we were discussing the question whether, there being no surplus the House of Commons might not very well refuse to repeal the paper duty, and thereby enrich the public Treasury. It appears, however, that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that there certainly is a surplus, but that there might be some other nay of disposing of it besides repealing the paper duty. When my noble Friend and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer complained of a waste of public time, it was not of the time occupied in discussing the great measure of my right hon. Friend. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated to the House his views with respect to the finances of the country; he has made elaborate calculations; he has stated to the House what were the results of last year and what were his expectations for next, and I think it became Gentlemen who have been in the service of the Crown, and more especially those who have been connected with the finances of the country, to consider the proposal of my right hon. Friend. They might have said, "You are very imprudent; you have no surplus, and you ought not to reduce the Revenue of the country to such an extent as you propose." That was one point. They might on the other hand, have said, "That there is a considerable surplus has been proved to us, but your application of it is unwise. We have a plan for a better application of it, and we will propose it to the House." Either of these courses would have been not only constitutional, but perfectly proper; but what they have done is this:—For three nights they have discussed the question whether there was a surplus or not, without coming to any decision, evidently trying to catch what was the opinion of the House as expressed in a vague and desultory discussion. At last they came to the decision that there was a surplus, and then they said that the surplus ought to be applied to a reduction of the tea duty. I am the last person who ought to find fault with that proposition. It gave rise to a benevolent struggle between two parties, the one endeavouring to relieve the industry of the nation by removing a tax on an article extensively manufactured in the United Kingdom, and the other trying to obtain at a cheaper rate one of the luxuries of the poor people of this country. When this question was discussed and decided one would have thought that it was nearly time to come to a final Resolution, as to the manner in which the surplus was to be appropriated; but no; another question was raised; and let me refer to the manner in which it has been treated, for it is one of great importance. The House of Lords having exercised its privilege last year in an unusual manner, and rejected a Bill sent up from this House by which the industry of the country was to be relieved from one of its burdens, we submitted that it would be wise this year to consider in one Bill the whole of the financial measures proposed by the Government, and to send up to the other House in that shape. Well, hon. Gentlemen have said that this is not a fair proceeding towards the House of Lords; that it interferes with the privileges of that House; and that this was not the manner in which our propositions ought to have been made; although the authority of my right hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir James Graham), that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), and that of my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heathcote), were in favour of the view taken by Majesty's Government. Nay, the right hon. Gentleman himself last year said that it was advisable that all the financial propositions should be put into one Bill. The question, however, was still open for discussion, and the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) with that honest directness of purpose which always distinguished his conduct in this House, determined to bring the question to an issue, and proposed that it should be an instruction to the Committee to divide the Bill so that each tax should be embodied in a separate Bill. Nothing could be a clearer or a fairer mode of bringing the question to an issue; but, instead of supporting it, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman), who is one of those who set up for us an entirely new Constitution, and who proposes that the Lords should exercise a power which they have never excr- cised in the whole course of our history, gave some very good reasons why the Motion should not be entertained; and when it came to a division those who were to defend the privileges of the House of Lords against our aggression slunk out of the House, and the hon. Member for North Warwickshire was left with only thirty-four Members. One would have thought that there would have been an end of the constitutional question then, and that those who did not venture to support their opinion by their votes—who had shrunk from the decision by which they might have been committed to an opinion—would never have mentioned the constitutional question again. But no; we had no sooner got into the discussion on the paper duty than up jumped the constitutional question again, and we were told again that we were going to insult the House of Lords.

I must ask for one of two things—either let Gentlemen bring the question to a decision in any form which they may think best, or let them refrain from taunting the majority. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has alluded to the times when almost all property belonged to the barons, and when what he called an oligarchy established a Government in 1688. But in those times, when the barons were so powerful, they yielded to the House of Commons on this subject, and, though frequent attempts were made to obtain a control over the taxes, yet on various occasions when it came to a contest they yielded to the privileges of the House of Commons. And as for this oligarchy of 1688 they submitted to a tack to a Money Bill—to an abuse of the rights of this House—rather than not allow the privileges of the House of Commons. How, then, can any one believe that at this time of our Constitution we should introduce new practices, that we should ask the House of Lords to be our partners in the financial scheme of the year? But be it observed in this case that Gentlemen like the hon. Member for the West Riding (Sir John Ramsden), who have been so tender of the honour of the House of Lord.?, have asked for that House something which they never asked for themselves. What they did last year—unwisely, I think, but still it was a question for their own discretion—was this:—A Bill was sent up to them which they had a right to reject, and they said, "You are engaged in a war with China which may be extraordinarily costly, and you ought not to part, therefore, with any means by which this cost may be met," and they refused on that ground to sanction the repeal of the paper duty. There is no such case at present. For what I know, and for what anybody knows, the House of Lords may be as much agreed that the paper duty should be repealed as the Government themselves. But hon. Gentlemen say—and really I was astonished when I heard the language of the hon. Member for the West Riding the other night—the Lords may have an objection to repeal the tax; they had an objection last year, and though that was an exceptional case, and circumstances have since altered, yet they may object again to repeal the paper duty, and we must approach them, therefore, in such a way that it will be no humiliation to them to agree to that repeal. That is saying that we shall have no financial measures without the House of Lords, and destroying all the privileges we have hitherto enjoyed on those matters. I can conceive the House of Lords saying that though last year, when there was a China war, they did not think it prudent to part with this tax, yet this year, as there was no war, they would cheerfully give their consent to its repeal. I can understand that being the language of the House of Lords, but whether it is or not, I submit to the House that their ancient privileges oblige them to consider what taxes shall be remitted and what kept on without any reference to the previous consent of the House of Lords. And observe this:—It would be an utter absurdity to say that the House of Lords shall be judges as to the amount of taxes, and to say that they shall not be judges of the amount of expenditure. Every year we send up to them an Appropriation Act, containing the whole of your Army, Navy, and Civil Service expenditure, all in one Bill, which they must take in a lump or reject in a lump. If you say that every tax is to go up in a separate measure, then every branch of the expenditure must go up in a separate Bill. For all we know there might be branches of the expenditure which the House of Lords did not approve, and you would then get your financial arrangements into a state of utter confusion, and the present admirable provisions of our Constitution would be totally nullified by this attempt to make a new Constitution. Having disposed of this constitutional question by 190 to 34—when it was brought forward in a constitutional manner—because I say larding a speech about the impropriety of repealing the paper duty and the state of America with commentaries about the power of the House of Lords is not the way to decide a great question. The way to decide a great question is to come down with a Resolution like the lion. Member for North Warwickshire, and take the sense of the House upon it. That is what we did. We—190—affirmed the power and privileges of the House of Commons, and those who were against the power and privileges of the House slunk away.


I voted with the majority.


I am very glad to hear it; but the lion. Baronet the Member for the West Riding—


The noble Lord does not seem to be aware that I also voted in the majority.


Then that makes the matter more extraordinary still. Having deeply considered, both last year and this year, this question of the privileges of the House of Commons and the power of the House of Lords, and having started certain new and startling theories which they were convinced were improvements on our old Constitution and the views of our forefathers, when this question was submitted to the House in a substantial form, they actually voted against the opinions which they had advanced.

I come now, however, to the main question before us. Last year the Government had to consider, having a sum at their disposal for the relief of the taxation of the people, in what manner that sum could be best applied; they came to the conclusion that the best mode would be to apply it to the total repeal of the paper duty. Various motives have been found for the Government, but I believe that the ground on which their decision was come to was that it would be the remission which would give the greatest relief to the country. If they had been of the opinion that the remission of the tea duties or the sugar duties was preferable, my right hon. Friend would, no doubt, have proposed it. The Government decided in favour of a repeal of the paper duty, and, having been defeated by the House of Lords last year, they this year consistently ask again to have that duty repealed, as a relief to the industry of the country. The right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Ex- chequer is too well acquainted with the finances of the country not to admit that the abolition of this tax will be a relief to the industry of the country; and, for my own part, I have never heard any argument which separates this Excise duty from other Excise duties which we have repealed. It is, perhaps, not so onerous as those on salt, leather, candles, and soap, which were Excise duties on the necessaries of life; but, after those duties, it is the one which most interferes with the employment of the people, and which increases the price of an article of very general consumption. Those appear to me to be quite sufficient reasons for its repeal, and the argument against it is stated in a very singular manner. It is said, in the first instance, this is a tax which does not weigh on the people at all; and it is said, in the next, that if we repeal this duty we shall never be able to re-impose it. I should say that one or the other must be true; but both cannot possibly be so. If the tax is no burden on the people, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be able at any future time to say, "The State is in want of money; the navy must be increased to meet the contingency of war; but here is a tax which is no burden on the people, and, therefore, we propose to lay on 1½d. per pound on paper;" and to that the House of Commons will universally assent. Or I can understand a person saying, "This is a tax which does so affect the industry of the people, and the abolition of it has given so much employment, that it is impossible to ask the House of Commons to re-impose it." But then the other ground must be abandoned, and those who say that the tax can never be re-imposed must allow that it is a great benefit to take it off, and that the feeling of benefit would, in fact, he the obstacle to its being re-imposed. I have looked to see the general result, in a financial point of view, of ten years' experience of the repeal of taxes of a similar kind. In those ten years we took off the glass duty, £624,000; the brick duty, £456,000; and the soap duty, £1,126,000—total, £2,206,000. There were certain Excise duties put on, amounting to £1,764,000; so that the amount taken off above the amount imposed was £442,000. Therefore, you might expect that the Revenue would be worse off by nearly half a million. But what was the fact? The whole amount of the Excise in 1844 was £14,450,000, and the net amount of the Excise in 1854 was £17,007,000, being an increase of £2,557,000. Even to the revenue, the consequence of taking off taxes which affect employment is to increase the consumption of other excisable articles, and to increase the amount of revenue not only from the Excise, but from the Customs, upon which you could not otherwise reckon. A noble Lord, in the course of one of these debates, said that in France the increase of revenue had been as much or more, although they had not taken off any of these taxes. But those who speak like that consider that the relief of the people goes for nothing. But it is the duty of the House always to consider the advantage of the people, and if they can find a less burdensome system of taxation, though it produce not a farthing more or a farthing less, it is their duty to adopt it. The right hon. Gentleman who spoke last said that there are other taxes which we might take off with greater advantage, and, as I understood him, he seemed to intimate that when we come to the schedules of this Bill we may take off something more from the income tax. With regard to that, I think my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a very fair proposition when he said, "a penny shall be taken off the income tax, and the duty on paper shall be remitted. There is a direct tax reduced and an indirect tax abolished. There is a fair division."


I did not intend to intimate that I should move any remission of income tax.


I am glad to hear it. But in support of what my right hon. Friend has done, in taking off part of a direct and the whole of an indirect tax, there remains in my memory what happened in the year 1816, when the Government of that day proposed a repeal of the income tax, and we of the Opposition, who were not used to majorities, obtained upon that occasion a majority. We were very much pleased, but two days afterwards Lord Castlereagh came down to the House of Commons with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a statement that the Government were going to make another reduction. Lord Castlereagh I find is reported to have said, "But when the Members of the House thought proper to relieve themselves—I do not use the expression in an invidious sense, but because the income tax is one which affects more particularly the upper classes—then Ministers found it necessary to make some change in their measures for the relief of the people." And the change which Lord Castlereagh proposed was a remission of £2,000,000 of the Excise duty on malt. I think it would be some reproach to us in these days if we were to say we agree to the remission of a penny of income tax, but we refuse the remission of a tax which more especially affects the industry and employment of the people. Everybody was glad to hear in 1816 that the Government would make a further reduction. There was certainly no surplus then; but the Government borrowed the money in order to do it.

We heard the other night a good deal of political considerations upon which the argument was founded—that it is very imprudent to give up this tax. But that argument comes to this—that we ought to maintain the paper duty, and not reduce other taxes. Those considerations are mere vague apprehensions—apprehensions of the interruption of trade or of the disturbance of that peace which this country now happily enjoys with all the nations of the world. But I submit that if mere apprehensions are to justify the House of Commons in the refusal of any remission of taxation, the time may never come to relieve the country from any existing burden. I really think that the decision should be left to the Executive Government. If the Executive Government see that danger is near, that it will be necessary to increase our armaments, surely they will be the first to wish that there should be sufficient funds in order to meet those requirements. My hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Sir John Ramsden) alluded the other night to one subject in a tone which I was very sorry to hear used by any one. My hon. Friend said that "the great Republican bubble in America had burst." Now, Sir, I am proud to confess—I may be subject to correction—but for my part, when I find that a dark and tyrannical despotism has been abolished, and that people are likely to enjoy free government in its place, I rejoice. It is my duty to represent Her Majesty as friendly to all existing States; but if a despotic Government fall, and the people who have been subjected to it are likely to obtain better and freer Government, I cannot conceal that it gives me satisfaction, and that I sympathize with them. But I own I have very different feelings when a great Republic, which has enjoyed for seventy or eighty years institutions under which the people have been free and happy, enters into a conflict in which that freedom and happiness is placed in jeopardy. I must say the joy which I felt at the overthrow of some of the despotisms of Italy is counterbalanced by the pain which I experience at the events which have lately taken place in America. I admit that I have thought, and that I still think, that in this country we enjoy more real freedom than the United States have ever done. I admit also that the great founders of that Republic, wise and able men as they were, had not the materials at hand by which they could interpose, as we are able to do in this country, the curb and correction of reason in order to restrain the passionate outbursts of the popular will. Yet we cannot be blind to the fact that the Republic has been for many years a great and free State, exhibiting to the world the example of a people in the enjoyment of wealth, happiness, and freedom, and affording bright prospects of the progress and improvement of mankind. When I reflect that the reproaches which are cast by the States of the North upon the States of the South, and the resistance which they have called forth, have arisen from that accursed institution of slavery, I cannot but recollect also that with our great and glorious institutions we gave them that curse, and that ours were the bands from which they received that fatal gift of the poisoned garment which was flung around them from the first hour of their establishment. Therefore, I do not think it just or seemly that there should be among us anything like exultation at their discord, and still less that we should reproach them with an evil for the origin of which we are ourselves to blame. These are the feelings with which I heard the remarks of my hon. Friend the other night, and I must say that I believe the sentiments which he expressed form an exception to the general impression in England. Indeed, I think nothing could be more honourable to our country than the prevailing pain and grief which have been occasioned by the prospect of that great and free people being about to rush into arms to destroy each other's happiness and freedom. I have but few words more to say. It is necessary I should assure the House that neither with regard to America, nor with regard to any of the great European nations, do I see at present any prospect that our pacific relations will be disturbed. The world, however, is in a state of change, and far be it from me to make any prophecy that peace will, in all the changes, be preserved. All I can say is that, as far as I know, the feelings of all States towards this country are friendly; that there are no questions pending upon which any conflict is likely to arise; and that, as far as my humble means can promote the cause of peace and goodwill upon earth, I will exert them to that end.


I have no intention of intruding myself upon the attention of the Committee, except for one moment, merely to explain, and to remove an erroneous impression into which I am sorry to find the noble Lord has fallen. I assure the noble Lord, and I think his own recollection will bear me out, that no one word ever fell from my lips of exultation over the most unfortunate events which are now taking place in America. I did contrast the condition of America with that of England, in order to draw from it the lesson that it was our duty to be thankful for and to strengthen those institutions which are the pride and glory of England. But as regards America, I referred to the events now taking place there as calamitous events, which we must all most deeply deplore.


said, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had assumed a surplus of £408,000. He would remind the Committee, however, that since the right hon. Gentleman made his statement there was reason to believe the amount would be reduced by £200,000, which the Government would have to pay as an indemnity to Denmark, and by the sum of £30,000 which the House had already voted for the Princess Alice, leaving, therefore, the very meagre sum of £178,000. When it was recollected that even the surplus itself was estimated upon a calculated improvement in the revenue, which might never take place, and upon the receipt of the Chinese indemnity, which might never be paid, he did not think hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House could be charged with an extraordinary abuse of private judgment if they ventured to be a little sceptical as to the existence of a real surplus. But, however, assuming a surplus existed, he contended that the paper duty was not the first that should be remitted; but that when in time of war taxes had been laid on tea and sugar in time of peace those were the articles which should first be relieved. For if, in times of peace and surplus, war taxes were retained, in times of war and deficiency there would be no source of revenue to fall back upon. The proposed reduction of 1d. on the income tax would be beneficial to the upper classes, but of no substantial benefit to the working-man. Nor would the remission of the paper duty be of any good to the poorer classes. An hon. Member had argued that bandboxes would be cheapened, and another that paper coats would be brought into use if the paper duty were removed; but he did not see what countervailing benefit these articles would confer upon the working-man for the augmented price which he paid for his sugar and his tea. But when they were called on to take off the paper duty this year it was but fair and right to the House of Lords that they should consider what their position would have been if that body had consented to remit the paper duty last year. The deficit would have been increased by £1,300,000, which must have been added to the permanent debt of the country; they would not have had the half-year's duty of £620,000 from the paper duty in the six months that it was to be retained for the current year; and that alone would have reduced the anticipated surplus to £600,000, which would not have allowed either of the reduction in the income tax or any other duty. The remission of a penny in the income tax, therefore, was owing neither to the right hon. Gentleman nor to that House, but to the superior wisdom and caution of the House of Lords. He should have thought the right hon. Gentleman would have been grateful for that advantage; but he must say that the language of the right hon. Gentleman was not that of thankfulness, nor his conduct that of gratitude. He recollected that last year the right hon. Gentleman came down to the House, and in a fervid speech called for action. But the action of the right hon. Gentleman consisted in quietly pocketing the surplus which had been forced upon him, while his language was the reverse of that inscribed on some alms-boxes, for in the language of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at all events, the largest contributions were most ungratefully received. But, however, ungrateful he might be, he contended that his Budget was itself the best testimony that could be borne to the caution and wisdom of the House of Lords, as it was also the best instructive practical commentary on his own improvidence last year. But he (Mr. Peacocke) would invite the Committee to direct their eyes to the next year. There would be a diminution of £252,000 next year from the income tax, and of £665,000 on paper. There were also £1,000,000 of Exchequer bonds that would fall due in that year. If they deducted from those sums the Chancellor's estimated surplus of £400,000, that would leave £1,500,000 to be provided for. How was that deficiency to be met? It must be met either by increased taxation or by diminished expenditure. Some hon. Gentlemen thought that the expenditure could be diminished. But, then, why was it not diminished now? If it could be done consistently with the honour and safety of the country, why was not the expenditure immediately diminished? The right hon. Gentleman was responsible for the finances of the country; it was not for him to turn round upon his colleagues and say, the sin of this profligate expenditure rests, not upon me, but upon your shoulders. He was the Minister that, in the eye of the Constitution, was peculiarly responsible; and if he believed that the expenditure of the country was profligate and lavish, it was his duty to reduce it or to resign. But the right hon. Gentleman did not resign; and, therefore, they were to assume that the expenditure was not excessive—that it could not be reduced, and that the deficit of next year must be met by increased taxation; well, then, after the number of taxes which the right hon. Gentleman had abandoned he would have no option but to increase the income tax or augment the duties on tea and sugar. In his opinion that was too high a price to pay for the repeal of the paper duty—a tax which weighed only on a limited number of newspaper proprietors, but was not felt by the community at large. He believed that such a proposition could not receive the assent of the House, for it would be a retrogade and reactionary step in modern legislation opposed to the whole system of their recent financial policy, for, instead of subverting the monopolies of the few for the benefit of the many, they would be taxing the many for the benefit of the few.


said, he would not have interfered in the debate had not a piece of information come to his knowledge which he thought he should not be doing his duty if he did not state to the Committee. Since the preparation of the Naval Estimates their neighbours across the water had laid down no less than nine additional iron-plated vessels. As the noble Lord the Secretary to the Admiralty had stated in the early part of the Session that the French had got the start of them, he thought this information most important, and touched nearly the question they had under discussion. Under those circumstances, though he knew there were lion. Gentlemen in the House who thought the expenditure of the country was likely to be reduced, he must say he saw little chance of that expectation being realized. He did not wish to enter into the general question; he would only ask the Committee whether, looking at the state of preparedness for war in which all foreign countries were holding themselves, and having regard to the state of affairs in America, and to the storm which was brewing on the Continent of Europe, was it wise that we should at that moment part with one of our largest sources of revenue? He believed that it was not. The remission of the paper duty was impolitic, unwise, and unwarrantable, and he doubted not that a majority of that House and of the country would unhesitatingly pronounce it to be so.


said, that the real question upon which the Committee was about to divide was not whether the paper duty should or should not be repealed, but whether lion. Gentlemen opposite should take the places of those who now sat upon the Ministerial benches; and, under these circumstances, he thought that the references which had been made to the state of Europe told rather against than in favour of those who had made them, because he had no doubt that if the prospects were so gloomy as they had been represented to be the country would rather have the noble Viscount at the head of affairs than Lord Derby, and the noble Lord the Member for the City of London at the Foreign Office than Lord Malmesbury. The debate had been prolonged by lion. Gentlemen opposite in the hope that something might turn up which would be favourable to their assault upon the Treasury benches. Whether anything had turned up or had not he did not know. He had no hesitation in stating that even supposing the duties on tea and sugar should be reduced in preference to the abolition of the duty on paper, still, as he did not wish to see the two noble Lords now at the head of affairs removed from office, he should give his vote in favour of the clause.


said, the lion. Baronet who had just sat down had done his best to lead the Committee away from the real business that was before them. He confessed he thought that through a large portion of these debates they had been in danger of losing the substance in the form. On the point of form he did not much differ from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He thought the right hon. Gentleman was at perfect liberty to propose, and the House was at perfect liberty to adopt, his scheme in the form in which he had put it. He never recognized the probability of a dispute between the two branches of the Legislature. God forbid there should be; and he would dismiss that subject with repeating a remark that was made early in these debates, that if, unhappily, such disputes should arise there was a court of appeal from both—the country at large. He thought they ought now to pass from the form of the measure and to consider its substance. The only Member who had at all dealt with the substance of the measure was the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, who said that he could draw no distinction between the remission of the Excise duty on paper and the other remission of Excise duties which took place in former years. Now he (Sir William Jolliffe) thought there was a marked difference between the repeal of the paper duties and the repeal of the other Excise duties. No one would dispute the boon that the repeal of the duty on soap had proved to the working classes. No hon. Member acquainted with the manufacturing districts would doubt that the repeal of the duty on bricks had proved a great benefit to the working classes there, in affording facilities for the investment of their small capitals. And with regard to glass, they all knew that the greatest possible benefit had arisen from the repeal of the duty as a means of stimulating the industry of the country. When Sir Robert Peel proposed the repeal of that tax he said that from our natural advantages there was no country in the world whose competition England need fear in the manufacture of glass. Could similar state-meats be fairly made with respect to paper? He believed not. The hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Turner), who was a high authority on this question, said he had given the subject his most mature consideration, and he was satisfied that the paper manufacture must be a declining trade, and that under perfect free trade the home manufacturer could not compete with the foreigner. That was the reverse of what Sir Robert Peel said with respect to glass. All classes benefited by the reduction of glass; but in whose interest he should like to know was the abolition of the tax proposed? The measure was, there could be no doubt, one which would benefit chiefly the proprietors of penny newspapers—those hobgoblins of which the noble Lord the Member for London charged those who sat upon the Opposition benches of being afraid. Those were the sprightly gentlemen whose aspirations "daily," "morning" and "evening" were for cheap paper at any price, and on them he did not mean to deny a great boon would by the repeal of the duty be conferred. They were naturally anxious to avail themselves of foreign paper duty free, and although it would appear from the fact of so many entering into the field that the trade which they drove was already sufficient to secure a competition, it might still be very far from being remunerative. The paper manufacturers, however, were beginning to see through the agitation maintained by those gentlemen, and the public to draw a distinction between those industriously employed in the manufacture of paper and the small section who so strongly advocated the withdrawal of the duty imposed upon it. The noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office he might add, travelling wide of the subject, had led them away the other night to a dispute of which he had never before heard—a dispute between the Government and certain parties in Ireland. All he could say was, that he was totally ignorant of the matter, and no suspicion had ever entered his mind that any Government—no matter how that Government might be composed—would ever degrade themselves in the way to which the noble Lord had alluded. But, of all things in the world, the attempt to hold the Opposition responsible for what appeared in the columns of a journal which had been alluded to was most extraordinary, and he could not help regarding it as an attempt to lead the Committee away from the real question at issue. It was also said the Opposition played fast and loose with the question of a surplus, admitting it or denying it as it suited their convenience. But he did not consider it was the duty of an Opposition to decide whether there was a surplus or not. He was the last person in the world to dispute the great abilities of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he could not forget that last year, in spite of all his attempts to secure a surplus, even to the extent of trenching on the revenue of the following year, there was after all a deficit. Who was to assure them there would not be a deficit again? But, however, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer said he had a surplus it was not the part of the Opposition to deny it. He was alone responsible for his statements. From his experience in the House, which was now pretty considerable, he found that Liberal Chancellors of the Exchequer were generally troubled with two difficulties; they had always an increasing expenditure and a failing revenue. Last year the right lion. Gentleman had an enormous expenditure, but at the same time he was greatly favoured by circumstances, and yet he had a deficit. His surplus of the present year, too, was very much a matter of speculation. He was of opinion that the repeal of the paper duty would not benefit the people of this country. It was not a tax that affected the working arid industrious orders of the country, and under those circumstances he should certainly oppose the clause for the repeal of the duty.


said, it was impossible to conceive greater restrictions on trade than those imposed by the existing Act upon all paper manufacturers in the United Kingdom. They are subjected to various penalties from £100 downwards if they did not carry out the numerous and vexatious requirements of the Act, and were even bound, under a penalty of £50, to assist the excisemen in the discharge of their duties. No papermaker was allowed to establish a stationer's shop for the sale of his own manufactures within a mile of his mill, and if he did so he had to pay a penalty of similar amount. As great capital was now required for carrying on a mill, the trade had become almost a monopoly; and if the duty were repealed, he believed that the manufacture would increase 50 per cent, and that paper mills would spread all over the country, giving employment to a large portion of the rural population. That monopoly, indeed, was the reason why the paper manufacturers were not very anxious to have the existing restrictions removed. He thought that the conduct of the Opposition in objecting to the repeal was most unprecedented, and in his experience he had never known objection to be taken to a financial proposition on the ground that it did not impose a sufficient amount of taxation on the people, for that was practically the effect of the objections urged against the proposals of the Government. He had always conceived it was the duty of an Opposition rather to see the Estimates diminished in amount or kept within proper bounds. They might, perhaps, say they did not mean to increase the Estimates by £1,000,000, but to take the duty off some other article; but the House had already decided to give a preference to paper over tea. What, then, would they do with the million if it were retained? The hon. Baronet who had last spoken had said that the repeal of the paper duty would benefit only the proprietors of the cheap newspapers. What, however, were the facts of the case? Take a penny newspaper, circulating say 50,000 copies per day; the amount of benefit which the proprietors would receive from the repeal of the duty would be about £11,500 a year. But could anyone suppose that the whole of that sum would go into the pockets of the proprietors? Far from it. The competition which existed, and which would then, no doubt, be increased, would have the effect of securing to the public a very much larger portion of that sum. The public would have the benefit of a better sheet of paper; and as knowledge was a marketable article, just as paper itself was, the public would have better means of obtaining information than was the case even at present. There would be a greater amount of talent employed on the cheap papers, and they would have information of greater value provided for the readers of those papers. Of the £11,500 from which a penny newspaper with a circulation of 50,000 would be relieved, not more than £3,000 would go into the pockets of the proprietors, while the public would be benefited to the amount of £8,500. They were now voting away every year a sum of nearly £1,000,000 for the education of the people, because they felt it to be a matter of necessity that the people should be educated, and because they believed that the educated man was a better workman than the uneducated. The skilled artizan would produce at a lower cost and in greater quantity than the unskilled man, and if they were able to produce at a lower price than other countries, they would have a better chance of selling the articles so produced in the different markets of the world; consequently it was to the interest of the country to educate the people. A newspaper was a great instrument of education, and many persons who would not attend mechanics' institutions or other places of public instruction were made happier and wiser by the newspapers which they read at home. It had been said in the course of the debate that the Opposition were waiting to see what would turn up. For a long time they looked hopefully to America and the East, but now they had got a windfall in the shape of the Galway contract. Who had circulated the report that the Government were disposed to continue the contract? Evidently that report had come from the Opposition. If the Government should be defeated that evening the country would understand that they were not defeated on the merits of the question, but because they did not make to certain parties concessions which they felt they ought not to make. He trusted, however, that hon. Members would look at the matter fairly and impartially, and in that case he could not but suppose that there would be a large majority on the side of Government.


said, it was impossible not to admire the manner in. which the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell) had repudiated the imputation that negotiations had taken place between the Government and certain parties with respect to their support in that House. He was glad that the noble Lord had taken the opportunity of vindicating, not only the honour of the Government, but the honour of the House. At the same time he was not surprised that hon. Members from the sister country, when they found Ireland deprived of a great benefit, should express surprise and indignation at their representations not being entertained in the manner they expected. The noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in referring t o the question more immediately before the House, had said that the Government came to a Resolution last year that the remission of the paper duty would be of great advantage to the country, and the noble Lord said he could not understand why that repeal should not take place. Now, he (Sir Minto Farquhar) would venture to say why the noble Lord ought to have paused before he made that statement. In the year 1858 the noble Lord, when the President of the Board of Trade brought forward his Motion with respect to the paper duty, stated that it was almost a matter of good faith, upon the next reduction of taxation taking place, that the duties on tea and sugar, which were war duties, should be reduced. He (Sir Minto Farquhar) objected to the repeal of the paper duty, on the further ground that no Excise duty once abolished could be reimposed. That was not the case with Customs' duties. He (Sir Minto Farquhar) was sorry to hoar some of the noble Lord's remarks as to America, because he regretted to hear him intimate the possibility of any Englishman exulting at the present state of affairs in America. He was satisfied that there was no one on either side of the House who entertained such a feeling, and who did not ardently hope that such a frightful calamity as civil war might yet be averted from that country. The hon. and learned Member (Mr. Mellor) who had opened the discussion that evening had expressed his surprise that the hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth and the hon. Baronet the Member for the West Riding should oppose the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the noble Lord at the head of the Government, for whom they expressed such great respect. He (Sir Minto Farquhar) could see no force in such an appeal. He had enjoyed the friendship of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer from his early youth. He had been with him at Eton and at Oxford, where his right hon. Friend was facile princeps in the debating society, as he was in that House. He still retained his regard for his right hon. Friend, but that was no reason why he should agree with him in his political views. For, notwithstanding all that had been said with regard to the remission of the paper duty, he had heard nothing to induce him to depart from the opinion he held, that it was impolitic at the present moment to repeal the duty; and that other duties, such as the war duties on tea and sugar and the income tax, ought to be reduced as much as possible before the question of the repeal of the paper duty was entertained. When the question of fire insurance was before the House, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had pathetically introduced the case of the "real old woman," as he called her, to the consideration of the House, saying that there was not one of that class, living on 2s. or 3s. a week doled out by the Board of Guardians, who had not a direct interest in the reduction of the duty on tea, and he asked what she could possibly care about the reduction of fire insurances? But the question might be asked now, What did the dear old lady care about the repeal of the paper duty? If the duty on the "cup which cheers but not inebriates" were re- pealed, then, indeed, she would care, and be thankful to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for giving her cheap tea. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in 1857 when he actually made a speech which was, as it were, an anticipatory answer to that of 1861. To whom did that speech of 1857 refer? Why, it applied to his right hon. Colleague the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who then held the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer. The inconsistencies elicited in the course of these debates were remarkable. In 1857 the Chancellor of the Exchequer denounced the income tax as a dangerous instrument in time of peace. The arrangement of 1853, by which the income tax was to come to a gradual termination, he described as a compact made, not only with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks, but also, and above all, with the people of England. Neither in 1860 nor in 1861 had that compact been carried out. The right hon. Gentleman went even further than that, for he said he could not be absolved either in honour or conscience from the duty of realizing the promises and expectations that had been held out. While the Chancellor of the Exchequer was now urging the repeal of the paper duty in preference to a reduction of the war duties on tea and sugar, it was somewhat remarkable that the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary never opened his mouth on the subject. Neither the Secretary of State for the Home Department, nor the Secretary of State for India, nor the right hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth (Sir Francis Baring)—all distinguished Financial Ministers—had ever risen to support the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget. A night or two before the Budget was brought on the lion. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Gregson), who sat on the Ministerial side of the House, had made a most feeling appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reduce the duty upon tea, and entered into a statement with the view of showing how such a reduction would most probably be made up by the increased consumption of the article. It was true that the right hon. Gentleman rather ignored those arguments in his reply. But what happened when the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought in his Budget? The same hon. Gentleman said, though he was inclined to propose himself a reduction in the tea duty, he, nevertheless, could not afford to give up the Chancellor of the Exchequer and em- barrass the Government at such a crisis as the present. There again was the lion. Member for Honiton (Mr. Moffatt), who actually impugned every figure of the right hon. Gentleman's financial statement, and he thought that the hon. Member (Mr. Moffatt) would at least have stuck to his text, but the right hon. Gentleman had replied to the hon. Gentleman at great length, and he supposed it must be assumed that he had converted the hon. Member, as he had supported the Government. He saw opposite to him another hon. Gentleman, the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Bernal Osborne), who had last year spoken as well as voted against the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman.


—No:—I abstained from voting on the Budget last year.


Nevertheless, the hon. Gentleman spoke in eloquent terms against the policy of repealing the paper duty, condemning the measure of the right hon. Gentleman as rash, reckless, and improper. That hon. Gentleman was now to be seen supporting the measure of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It had been said that those who voted against the repeal of the paper duty were not the friends of mechanics' institutes and of public libraries and reading rooms. Now, on the part of the Opposition, he (Sir Minto Farquhar) repudiated those charges. They were still advocates of all such institutions, but they asserted that the repeal of those paper duties would not afford to them anything like the amount of relief supposed by hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House. The hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the adjournment of this debate (Mr. Mellor) charged hon. Members sitting on the Opposition benches with being opposed to the relief of the industry of the people. But did the hon. and learned Gentleman pretend to say that the reduction of the war duties upon tea and sugar and the income tax would not afford a considerable relief to the industry of the country? He (Sir Minto Farquhar) contended that in relieving the people of those duties they would be giving the greatest, the most just, and natural impulse to all those springs of action which contributed to the happiness and prosperity of the country. He had himself presented a petition from a newspaper proprietor in the county of Hertford against the repeal of the paper duty, on the ground that it was a species of class legislation. The petitioner said that though the repeal would confer a small pecuniary benefit on himself, he, nevertheless, thought it was not worth the cost of £1,500,000 which the people would have to pay for it. His constituents had also sent up a petition stating their opinion that the reduction of the duties on tea and sugar would be a far greater benefit to them than the repeal of the paper duty. He fully concurred with them in that sentiment, and would support it by his vote. The party with whom he acted in that House had been charged with causing an unnecessary delay in the passing of this measure. The importance and peculiarity of the measure, however, demanded the most mature consideration of all its details. About a fortnight ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke strongly upon the evils arising from the delay in the passing of this measure; he said that trade was suffering, the Customs were suffering, and many great commercial arrangements were suspended in consequence of this delay. But what was the conduct of the Government on Monday night last, when it was generally understood that a division would be taken? An hon. and learned Gentleman on the Ministerial side of the House having moved the adjournment of the debate, so far from the Chancellor of the Exchequer rising up in his place and protesting against that further delay, the right hon. Gentleman countenanced it by his silence; and the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who had taken two divisions against the question of adjournment a fortnight ago, actually stated on last Monday night that he saw no objection to the adjournment, as he considered the question so important that all the Members ought to have an opportunity of speaking on it. Rumours had arisen in consequence of that delay, for which it was not difficult to account. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets had talked of the windfall of the Galway contract. There had been some talk, also, of a messenger from Ireland coming to his right hon. Friend the Member for Bucks. His right hon. Friend had summarily disposed of that charge by stating that he had held no communication with any person from Ireland on this subject. The President of the Board of Trade shook his head. [Mr. MILNER GIBSON: That he had had no interview with any one from Ireland.] The right hon. Gentleman was rather splitting straws in making this distinction. He had believed his right hon. Friend in the full sense of his words, as he had given credit to the assurance of the noble Lord on the Treasury Bench. On Tuesday there appeared in one of the morning papers an article, an extract from which he would read to the House. The paper to which he referred was known to be a great admirer of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. He was not surprised at this latter circumstance, for he was a great admirer of the noble Lord himself. He said that sincerely. He thought the noble Lord had an English heart, and was a distiguished statesman. Well, in reference to the adjournment on Monday night, the paper to which he alluded had the following among other observations:— The temptation which has for so many weeks urged the Conservatives to waste the public time has again proved too strong to be resisted. Again the debate has been adjourned. Another night has been sacrificed to satisfy their feverish desire to see what may yet turn up. The abuse of a Parliamentary privilege renders it at all times easy for a factious minority to compel an adjournment; but the public will pronounce an impartial verdict upon a line of conduct so detrimental to the material interests of the country. He presumed that the editor of that paper laboured under the impression that the adjournment of the debate on Monday night had been moved for by the Conservative instead of by the Ministerial side of the House. A good deal had been said on the subject of a general election, and sending hon. Members to the hustings. He, for one, was by no means afraid to face his constituents upon such a question as this, and he believed he might say the same generally of hon. Members on the Conservative side of the House. They were aware that the Conservative interest had shown increased strength during the last twelve months, and this debate would give further strength to their cause all over the kingdom. Though no man wished to be sent to his constituents too soon, he believed he spoke the sense of his hon. Friends around him when he said that they were prepared to go. He could not regard the porposition before the House as a part of a system of sound and wise legislation. He must look on it rather as the result of a political understanding. He could not think that there was a unanimous opinion in its favour on the part of the Cabinet themselves, for he could not but recollect that a few weeks ago the noble Lord at the head of the Government inti- mated to a deputation that there was no intention to repeal the paper duty during the year. He felt bound to give his opposition to this measure for these reasons, and further because he believed it to be antagonistic to the true interests of those whom he represented, and contrary to the feelings and wishes of the great majority of the people of England.


I am sure, Sir, that there is one point mentioned by my hon. Friend in the course of his speech in which the great majority of this House will be disposed to concur. There has been such great discussion on this article of paper—there have been such interminable debates on all that refers to it, that most of the Members of this House will join in the wish expressed by my hon. Friend to go to the country, or to go anywhere else, so as to be rid of this paper business. But, whatever may be the consequences arising from those prolonged those ever beginning and never ending discussions—I must say that I think Her Majesty's Government have no complaint to make of the course taken by the hon. Member for Dorsetshire, who will give the House an opportunity of pronouncing a direct opinion on the subject by his proposition to negative the clause for repealing the duty. After the interminable and purposeless debates which we have heard in this House, inaugurated by the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. T. Baring) and followed up by the exhibition of a Hibernian mare's-nest, presented to us in a somewhat addled state by the hon. and learned Member for Sligo(Mr. Macdonogh), neither of whom tested the House by going to a division, it is somewhat refreshing to find that an hon. Member is about to submit an "Aye "or "No" by which the question may be fairly decided on a Parliamentary division. I was twitted by my hon. Friend who has just resumed his seat with having abstained on a former occasion from voting for a repeal of the paper duty. He has quoted certain words of mine by which I abide; and, were I about to discuss this question from a financial point of view, I would reiterate those words; but I consider that this question is taken out of the general fiscal view. What has occurred since the subject was under discussion here last year?' No one can forget that this House has twice affirmed the repeal of the paper duty; and that, by what I think a somewhat great stretch of power, the House of Lords has placed us in a totally different position from that which we should otherwise have occupied. Looking at the matter in that light, I am not prepared to discuss this question, or to vote on it, upon mere fiscal grounds. I think they are the truest friends of the rights and privileges of both Houses who seize the first opportunity of putting an end to a state of things which may induce further jealousy and irritation between the two branches of the Legislature, and for that reason I would vote for a proposition calculated to effect that object. I cannot agree with the right lion. Member for Buckinghamshire that this is purely a financial question. He says there is no quarrel between the two Houses. Granted. But although there be no quarrel between the two Houses, does that right hon. Gentleman or any other lion. Member mean to assert that they are not laying the seeds for future differences by leaving this question completely unsettled? The right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington) is an able and a bold man, who would not hesitate to take the command of the Channel fleet in any difficulty; he is not afraid, but we have not all those iron nerves or that great confidence which he possesses. I think this is altogether an exceptional case. It is exceptional in a financial point of view, because it takes a place among constitutional questions which it behoves the House finally to settle. In the discussion the other night we heard a good deal about the public apathy out of doors, and the hon. Member for Dorsetshire stated that his constituents felt no interest in the subject; but I understand a great many of his constituents do take an interest in it. He was followed by a Gentleman who thought he had disposed of the question by a quotation from Macaulay as to the apathy of the public upon the question of the privileges of this House upon Money Bills. I drew a different inference from that quotation; If there be any apathy on the part of the people, the more it behoves the Members of this House to be watchful, and not to give up the privileges of control over the purse, which are the essence and cornerstone of our liberties. So much for the argument about public apathy. But an hon. Gentleman for whom, from the great carefulness he displays in collecting statistics, I entertain a great respect—argued this question from a purely Irish point of view. I refer to the hon. Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy). But I was surprised to find that in discussing-the question of the repeal of the paper duties that hon. Gentleman went back to the old Budget, and attempted to prove that the reduction of the duty upon foreign butter had been fatal to the Irish agriculturists. The hon. Member may be a good judge of statistics, but I must take leave to tell him that he never made a more unfortunate mistake than when he referred to the sale of Irish butter as having deteriorated since the reduction of duty upon foreign butter, for it is notorious that among the thriving traders of the south of Ireland are to be found the dairy farmers of that country. It was evident that the hon. Gentleman, although he represents a body of dairy farmers, had very little dairy land in his own possession when he made that statement. The fact is, that since the reduction of duty upon foreign butter the prices of Irish butter have almost doubled. The hon. Gentleman, I understand, was one of the Irish vice-Presidents of the Society for the Repeal of the Taxes upon Knowledge, which, of course, included the paper duties. That seems odd, as he now vigorously opposes the repeal of the paper duties. I am surprised, too, to hear objections from the hon. Gentleman, because we know that in Ireland, notwithstanding her great advantages of water power, the erection of a paper mill is an exceptional case, while the closing of paper mills is but too common. In 1838 the number of paper mills in full operation in Ireland was 61, while in 1861 they had dwindled down to 26. Is it too much to expect that if the paper duties are repealed Ireland, with her great facilities for manufacture, and her immense water power, is above all the country that will be benefited? I have not been a member or a vice-president of the Society. I can imagine that cheap literature may combine somewhat of the cheap and nasty form. I can imagine that; but, at the same time, the great criterion of advancement and social progress is the number of publishers and booksellers in a country. Now, what is the case in Ireland? I am obliged to take 1859, as it is the latest period at which the numbers were published. I find that in Ireland there are 74 towns, with a minimum population of 7,500, under the census of 1841, without a single bookseller. Scotland, with one-third of the population, has three times the number of booksellers, being a proportion of 9 to 1. I have a list here of 74 towns without a single bookseller, which I will show to the right lion. Gentleman opposite who is about to increase his Irish connection. There is Dungarran, Carrick-on-Suir, Youghal, Carrickfergus, Cashel, Newtonards, Lisburn, and Kinsale. There are also six counties which cannot boast of a single bookseller or circulating library. They are Donegal, Kildare, Lei-trim, Queen's County, Westmeath, and Wicklow. That is for the year 1859; there may be some changes since. Let hon. Gentlemen go through Irish towns, and they will notice that the most striking fact is the absence of booksellers. Is it too much to expect that if you give an impulse to the paper trade the number of booksellers will increase? I was much struck the other night with a remarkable speech from the back benches on this side. That speech created a great impression, as might be expected, not only from its ability, but from the position of the hon. Gentleman who delivered it as Member for the West Riding (Sir John Ramsden). It has been objected to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he is the keystone of the arch which connects Birmingham with Tiverton. I do not find any great slur in that, as it seems to me that those who open communications between distant and extreme portions of the country are deserving of praise rather than of blame; but of the speech to which I allude I think it may be said that it was the subterranean viaduct that connects Yorkshire with Stroud. There was a family likeness to another speech—one might almost say they were "counterfeit presentments" of two brothers—in eloquence, diction, and in sentiment. But the lion. Baronet began by making a most extraordinary blunder for one who has ever held office. He talked about a surplus as a thing actually in hand, and that the Budget was theoretical and do-pendent on the future. I was astonished to find the lion. Baronet talking of a speculative surplus and doubting the existence of a surplus; but whatever he thought we find him voting for taking off the tax upon tea, which would make the surplus worse by some £300,000 than the repeal of the paper duties, and he went on in an alarming strain about troubles in America and in Europe, while if he were consistent he ought to have resisted the taking off the penny from the income tax or any tax at all. He was consistent in opposing the repeal of the paper duties, but when he went on to dispute the existence of a speculative surplus he was not entitled, giving the reasons he did, to term the Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer the expedient of a speculator upon the Stock Exchange. I confess I have been puzzled to discover in the course of this debate what is the object of the Opposition. It really is a problem which is not yet solved. If the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had come down to the House and announced a deficiency, and had proposed to lay on now taxes, I could understand this ceaseless opposition. But he does no such thing. He comes to us with a surplus, which is admitted even by the right lion. Gentleman the leader on the other side. Does he propose to lay on any new tax? No, but to remit one; and yet night after night he is met by this ceaseless and untiring opposition. There must be some reason for it. My lion. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel) disclaims any personal attack upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and twits the noble Lord the Member for London with having made use of his usual claptrap. Well, that is not confined to the noble Lord. I fully acquit my lion. Friend the Member for Tamworth of entertaining any feeling but one of affection and regard for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I am sure it is with pain he is going to vote against him; but when he quoted a bit about "empty coffers" from Timon of Athens, did he recollect Timon's answer— I am not of that feather, to shake off My friend when most he needs me; I do know him A gentleman that well deserves a help. At any rate, differing from the hon. Baronet, I feel convinced that the object of the Opposition is, if not to break up the Government as a whole, at least to weaken it in detail by ejecting from the Cabinet one whom I look upon as its very soul and life-blood. If this is not the object of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, why are these compliments paid to the noble Viscount at the head of the Government, to the disadvantage of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? I trust, however, that the House and the thinking and considering people of the country will stand by the right hon. Gentleman. We have heard something of Timon of Athens; but let me turn from him to the author of the New Timon, the right hon. Member for Hertfordshire (Sir Bulwer Lytton), whose motives and conduct are as much above sus- picion as his abilities are above criticism. I And what is his opinion on this question of cheap literature? The right hon. Baronet was the first man who, twenty years ago, brought in a Bill to repeal the taxes on knowledge; and he has always remained of the same opinion on that question, though he has changed it on some others. In 1855 the right hon. Member said— The question really is between the tax-collector and the public, and it is this—whether it is not time that we should enforce that great principle of the constitution, of civil liberty, arid of common sense, which says that opinion shall go free, not stinted nor filched away by fiscal arrangements. Thus much it is just to say on behalf of the working classes, to whom we are told that cheap libellous periodicals will especially appeal, that no class hitherto has so little supported newspapers of a libellous and gossiping character as the working classes of this country. I remember when certain Sunday journals profaned the Sabbath by hebdomadol ribaldry and scandal. Who supported them? I fear it was the clubs and the drawing-rooms, certainly it was not the working-class."—[3 Hansard, cxxxvii. 1123–24.] After that let us hear no more about the change benefiting libellous publications. I have quoted a great authority, to which the House cannot object. In the course of this discussion we have heard something of an illegitimate majority; we are told there may be such a thing as an illegitimate majority. But I can conceive no majority so illegitimate as one that, under pretence of discussing the repeal of an Excise duty, only covers a local squabble. We have heard of the Galway contract. I fully acquit the right hon. Member for Bucks of knowing anything about it. He is too independent to be bothered by Father Daly or anybody connected with it. But let me read a passage from a speech made by a distinguished supporter of the right lion. Gentleman at a public meeting, held on Saturday last, in Dublin; it is from a speech of Mr. Vance, the Member for Dublin. ["Order!"] Well, is he not Member for Dublin? He said— He thought it was very judicious in the meeting to tell the Irish Members that the people expected they would attend the House next Monday; and if the Government refused to rescind the determination which they seemed to have arrived at, to drive them forthwith from the helm of State. There were worthy and excellent men to succeed them, who might have their entire confidence. After this can we be told that the right hon. Gentleman is not looking to the Irish Members? Let the hon. Member for Dub- lin explain what he means by driving the present Government from the helm of State, and putting other "worthy and excellent" men in their places. I do not doubt the statement of the right lion. Member for Bucks—I believe every word of what he has stated to-night; but I do not believe that all his party are as innocent as he is himself. I yield to no one in the interest I take in the prosperity of Ireland; let this Galway contract be brought before the House on its own merits and I shall be ready to give it every consideration. It is an Irish question, and when a hundred Irish Members are united on any point whatever the English House of Commons is bound to attend to it; but do not convert an Imperial question of taxation into a mere local squabble; do not use this paper-knife merely to terminate the existence of the Government, or you will deteriorate your value as Members of the House, and put a stamp upon Ireland she neither desires nor deserves.


said, he had never heard a speech that filled him with more astonishment than that of his hon. Friend. It was the first instance in that House, he had ever heard of anyone announcing his intention to support a financial measure that he admitted was unwise and unsafe. That support rested entirely on the fact that the House of Lords rejected the measure last year after it had been passed by the House of Commons; but if, as the right hon. Member for Carlisle admitted, the House of Lords only exercised their undoubted right, in so doing, would it not be more reasonable in the House to accept the new position in which it was placed by what the other House of Parliament had done, and consider the measure simply on financial grounds, without allowing any other motives to influence its judgment? As for himself he was in no way influenced by the Galway contract or any other extraneous question—he was about to repeat the vote he had already given, but he was at a loss to understand how those who objected so strongly to other Members being influenced by the Galway contract, could themselves confess that party, as opposed to financial considerations, would govern their own votes. Though he should with great regret give his vote against the Chancellor of the Exchequer, yet he should give it on financial grounds only. Was it wise to abandon for ever such a large source of revenue, and thus prevent any future Chancellor of the Exchequer from re- ducing the too heavy amount of direct taxation, while if the state of Europe and the country required an increased expenditure, the amount of that taxation must be increased? He did not deny that the repeal of the Excise duty on paper would be a good thing; but they had abundance of evidence that it was not the Excise duty alone that impeded the progress of the paper manufacture. The Irish paper manufacture had been much referred to. The question was asked, "How is that paper can be made so much cheaper abroad than in this country?" to which the reply, of the one engaged in the trade, was, "Solely on account of the lower price at which foreign papermakers get their raw material." Then the difficulties of getting rags were stated, and it was evident from their whole statement that the papermakers believed the obstacle in the way of increasing their manufacture to be not the Excise duty so much as the difficulty of getting a sufficient amount of raw material. His hon. Friend talked about the spread of knowledge in Ireland being hindered by the paper duty; did he seriously believe that it was the paper duty that prevented the light of knowledge from shining on those benighted towns of which he spoke? If he did BO believe he was very inconsistent in disapproving the remission of the duty last year. In point of fact, no rational man could believe that the saving of ½d. on each copy of Colenzo's Arithmetic, and on other books in that proportion would cause one single new bookseller's shop to be established in Ireland or anywhere else. It was said that since 1838 the small paper mills in Ireland had very much decreased in number, but during the same period the quantity of paper manufactured in Ireland had doubled. The reason for the fact alleged was exactly that which caused small manufacturers to be driven out of any other trade—namely, because machinery had been introduced, which required a large capital to work it; and hon. Gentlemen were much mistaken if they supposed that by remitting the paper duty they would increase the number of small mills. Was that, however, the time to give up a permanent source of taxation, which it would be difficult to replace, considering both the financial condition of the country, its enormous expenditure, and the critical state of affairs abroad? The treaties which once bound the nations of Europe together had, they were told the other day by a Prince of the Imperial house of France, been cut in pieces by the sword of the Emperor of the French; and the large armaments which we should be compelled to maintain, together with the change in our arms which was now at much cost being effected, rendered it impossible at the present moment that we should largely reduce our expenditure, while if any difficulties arose abroad we should be obliged to increase it. Under these circumstances would the House purchase the repeal of the paper duty by an increased income tax? That was the real question. The real issue was direct or indirect taxation. Having a strong opinion on this question, and believing that Ireland was deeply interested in it, and would feel far more any new direct tax than the repeal of the paper duty, he only wished that the noble Lord at the head of the Government would allow the vote to be taken that evening on financial grounds only. If the noble Lord would only state that this was not a party division, and that Gentlemen would be allowed to vote as they pleased, his hon. Friend (Mr. Bernal Osborne) would then walk into the lobby with those who opposed the clause, along with about half the Members on the Ministerial side of the House. [Cries of "No!"] Hon. Gentlemen might cry "No!" but all the discussions and conversations he had heard during the last month convinced him that the repeal of the paper duty was not popular on the Ministerial side of the House, and was unpopular in the country. The country felt that the repeal of the paper duty was only a prelude to increased direct taxation, To this they objected, and he objected also; so that, though he deeply regretted opposing his right hon. Friend, he should feel bound to vote against the clause.


said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had given the noble Lord at the head of the Government a very sensible piece of advice in recommending him to treat the question irrespective of all party considerations; that was the only rational course to adopt when they were in Committee upon a financial question, for the moment they turned questions of the sort into party questions they violated the first duty of the House of Commons. He had been surprised at many parts of the speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard, but he was most surprised to hear him say that his object was to allay irritation. He had often listened to the speeches of the hon. Gentleman, but that was the first time he had ever heard him profess a wish to allay irritation, and whatever his wish might have been, he had not been particularly successful in the attempt, The hon. Gentleman had asked what were the objects of the Opposition in opposing this clause? Now, the Opposition was composed of various sections, who held different views on this subject, in which respect it was remarkably like the Ministerial side of the House. He was only a unit of that Opposition; but he would state very briefly the grounds on which he should give his vote. They had heard a great deal upon the question of a surplus, and its existence had been both affirmed and denied. Much had boon said about the statements of the right hon. Gentleman for Buckinghamshire that there was a surplus. It was his misfortune to differ from the right hon. Gentleman on that question. He did not think a surplus could be said to exist when that alleged surplus consisted partly of money borrowed and partly of money the receipt of which was doubtful. The Chancellor of the Exchequer based his financial statement on the assumption that the House of Commons were bound to re-enact every existing tax; but he thought no Chancellor of the Exchequer was warranted in declaring the existence of a surplus when that surplus was dependent on a future decision of the House of Commons. So far from a surplus existing, there was a deficit to the amount of the whole income-lax find all the tea and sugar duties. If he wanted to argue against the Budget he could find no argument so strong, and no language so clear, convincing, and conclusive as that contained in the two celebrated speeches made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1853 and 1857. The general aspect of affairs at this moment was such that no man would venture to predict what would be our actual financial position a few weeks hence. In these circumstances was it wise to re-enact the tea and sugar duties, and repeal the paper duties, which could not be re-enacted again? They had heard a great deal about the Galway contract, but he thought it would have been much better if that question had not been raised in the present discussion. He fully accepted the denial of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire that he had had any communication with any one on the subject of the Galway contract. Nay, more; though it was not always his good fortune to agree with the right hon. Gentleman, he could from his own knowledge vouch for the fact that his views with regard to the policy of repealing the paper duty were held altogether irrespective of any considerations arising from the Galway contract. He also accepted the statement made by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, and acquitted the Government of entering into any unworthy trafficking or negotiations with any Members to influence the decision of the Committee upon the question. He begged to say, without delivering any opinion on the merits or demerits of any decision which the Government might have come to with reference to the Galway contract, that if the investigation consequent on the papers being laid on the Table should lead to an abrogation of that contract he would rejoice at it, and for this reason, that it would probably be the first step towards the abrogation of all contracts of that kind, for he looked upon the whole system as one of spoliation and plunder. If they were to have the blessing of free trade, they ought to have it in postage as in everything else. Two remarkable instances had come to his knowledge which to his mind, proved that Gentlemen opposite were mistaken as to the views of the country on this question. Some time ago the hon. Member for Norwich presented a petition from that town in favour of the repeal of the paper duties, and he naturally came to the conclusion that that petition represented the opinion of the people of Norwich generally. But since that time a counter petition had been presented from Norwich, signed by 1,400 of the most influential inhabitants, of all shades of opinion, and in favour of a reduction in the tea and sugar duties. A petition had been presented from Coventry to the same effect, and showing that an earlier petition in favour of the repeal of the paper duty did not express the feeling of the people of that large town. But he would turn to what he considered the turning point of the question. He wished to appeal to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who now seemed by his attitude to be preparing himself for the coming struggle. He would, however, do his best to attract the attention of the noble Lord. He had on two occasions asked the noble Lord whether, as Prime Minister of this country, he did not think that the occurrences in America would render it necessary for us to increase our armaments, and were likely to cause a falling off in the revenue derived from Customs and Excise? The first time he failed in obtaining a reply; but on the second occasion he received from him the marvellous answer that what was passing in America would not, in his opinion, render it necessary to increase our armaments, and that our Customs and Excise revenue was not likely to be diminished. There might at that time have been some remnant of doubt as to what turn affairs would ultimately take in the United States; but now there could be none, for a civil war was raging in that country, and was not likely to terminate till the one party bore the other down. Under these circumstances he would again put the question to the noble Lord whether he did not think that an increase of our armaments would be necessary, and that our Customs and Excise revenue was likelyt (suffer from the disastrous state of of affairs in America? He put these questions, not out of a spirit of hostility to the Government, but because he thought they were paramount to all other considerations. At a time of great financial difficulty they Were about to do away with an amount of revenue which the country could ill spare, and which could not be replaced; and they were going to inaugurate a system of taxation now advocated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but originated by the hon. Member for Birmingham.


said, he would entirely confine himself to the question as it affected his constituents. The fact had been referred to in the course of debate that the hon. Member for North Warwick-shire presented a petition from Coventry against the repeal of the paper duty. He (Sir Joseph Paxton) presented that evening a petition from the Chamber of Commerce of Coventry in favour of a repeal of the duty. And he had received another petition from the leading riband manufacturers of the place to the same effect, but it did not reach him in time for presentation. That petition was accompanied by a letter from the Secretary of the Riband Manufacturers' Association of Coventry, which stated that the manufacturers paid between £35,000 and £40,000 a year for paper, the duty on which amounted to nearly £10,000. lie claimed the vote of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire on this occasion, because that hon. Gentleman said lie would vote for the repeal of the paper duty if he thought it would give relief to the distressed riband maker of Coventry. Within the last four years there had grown up a practice of packing ribands in a new way. A yard of paper was placed between every yard of riband, with a view of showing the article to advantage. This practice was introduced by the French, and the manufacturers of Coventry were obliged to bring their ribands to market in the same style, and they had to contend against a tax in the shape of paper duty, while the foreign articles—riband and paper included—were admitted free of duty. It was said that they got a drawback. He held in his hand a piece of cardboard which paid duty, but on which, as soon as it was converted into what was called the Jacquard card, a drawback was allowed. But that was not the case with regard to the paper used for blocking riband. He knew one manufacturer in Coventry who paid £400 on account of this duty, and in the present state of the riband trade could it be said that that was not a heavy burden? He hoped that fact would have some effect on hon. Gentlemen opposite. A great deal of extraneous matter had been introduced into the debate. The hon. Member for Radnorshire had said that the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was a sop given to the most unpopular party in that House. He could only say that if those who contributed to the repeal of the corn laws and to the removal of taxes upon industry were an unpopular party, he was anxious to belong to it.


Mr. Massey, it has not been my good or ill fortune to have been present in the House for six weeks during which this complicated question has been discussed; I, therefore, do not know exactly what has already been said, and I am fearful that in what I may say I shall probably only be repeating what has been better stated before. I will be very brief, therefore, in what I do state. I should not have spoken at all, but that I am anxious to make one word of allusion to a subject in which I have been myself concerned. Now, Sir, I will treat this question as it appears before us, without importing any extraneous matter. The proposal is, that we repeal the paper duty. I thought the question of substituting tea and sugar for paper had been disposed of. I thought the question whether or not we have a surplus had been settled. But whether or not, for my part, I am willing to take paper from the Chancellor of the Exchequer as he proposes, and when he professes to have a surplus, I leave him responsible for his calculations for the future. Now, Sir, it is something new in our Par- liamentary proceedings to see a party united, persevering, constant in their resistance to the repeal of a tax. I have seen—nobody has Been more than I have—that we can have parties united to maintain what are called protective duties—that is, duties not laid on for the purpose of revenue, but for the protection of a native industry. That I can understand as being a good basis for a party, and a party who had that cause in hand fought long awl boldly for it, though they were beaten in the end. But I never before met, in all my Parliamentary experience, with a party who has taken its stand in opposition to a Chancellor of the Exchequer to prevent the remission of any tax. But we have now a systematic opposition to the repeal of this duty—a party banded together for the purpose—find in whoso interest? And who are the parties outside of this House who oppose the repeal of the paper duty? We cannot disguise from ourselves that they are the large paper manufacturers, and the largo paper printers. These are the parties who have originated the movement. It is not a new thing—it is not unnatural. I have seen something of the kind before. The very earliest public movement with which I was connected nearly thirty years ago was accompanied with the same thing, I recollect that a deputation came up to London on the subject of the repeal of the Excise duty on printed cottons. They saw Lord Althorp, then Chancellor of the Exchequer—a shrewd, sensible man, as we all know—and I remember quite well that in the course of their conversation the remark was made that, although all the young calico printers and many of the most respectable among the old firms were in favour of the repeal of the duty, the greatest house in the trade was opposed to the repeal of the tax. Lord Althorp, with that instinctive sagacity for which he was remarkable, instantly replied that he had never heard so strong an argument in favour of the repeal of the tax, for it was quite evident that if any cotton printers were interested in keeping the tax on, it could not be for the public interest. And what are the grounds on which these parties—who are not cotton printers, and not, as our opponents then were, harmless individuals in their strength—who have power, who use a mighty instrument, who are organs of public opinion in this country to which many of us have succumbed in times past, and to which too many of us are ready to suc- cumb now? What are the grounds on which these parties justify their resistance to the repeal of this tax? Last year the whole of Europe resounded with their cry for free rags, simply because they wished to make a party war out of paper. I was at the time on the Continent, and it seemed as if the Chancelleries of almost all the embassies in Europe were ringing with this question of rags, simply because one notorious print that wished to make a party question of rags, sounded the alarm that we had been defrauded in the treaty with France, because she would not allow the exportation of rags duty free. I may say in passing—and it is all I have to say on the subject—that, so far as regards the French Government in its dealing with this question of rags, it acted towards mo not merely with perfect good faith—for that is a small compliment to pay any Government—but it showed an enlightened appreciation of the business it had on hand, and it took especial precaution that there should be no misunderstanding upon the subject of rags. The French Government, as we all know, had a prohibition on the exportation of rags, but we know also that other countries on the Continent—such as Belgium and the Zollverein—had a prohibition against their exportation as well. The French Government contemplated, after completing the treaty with us, making treaties with Belgium and other countries on the Continent, and they wished to retain in their hands the power of making concessions on the question of rags to those other countries from whom they might in return ask for a certain reciprocity. If they had allowed exportation to those countries without stipulating for reciprocity from other countries it must be evident that they would at once have parted with their power of preventing their rags finding their way into those countries. Exportation differs from importation in this—you may give one nation an advantage in importing goods, but when once you allow of the exportation of goods you cannot prevent their free circulation into other countries. The French Government, therefore, with my full consent, retained that question of the exportation of rags in their hands. The House may remember, if it is worth while to go back to them, what a volley of foul imputations was poured on the Emperor of the French and on his Government, what unscrupulous charges of having imposed upon me in this matter of rags. That is the spirit in which this matter was resisted, and let it be a warning to hon. I Gentlemen opposite how they touch this question, and how they deal with these parties. How is it that at this moment you hear very little of that question? It is because the cry, the falsehood, has been extinguished by subsequent knowledge of the truth. But, leaving this question of the treaty, to which I am not going to refer further, how does the question of rags really affect the matter in dispute? Have the papermakers any more right to claim protection for paper because other countries have the advantage in rags than you had to claim protection for your corn because other countries had an advantage in the production of that article? Nothing is more certain than that we adopted it as an inflexible principle that we would never regard the cost of the production of any article, and that we claimed the right of importing all productions, and the cheaper, they were produced the more we insisted on it. When you claimed exemption from that principle—I am speaking now to the landed interest, which appears to have allied itself with the opponents of this remission—when you claimed protection against the importation of Russian corn, because you said you could not compete with Russia, where corn was produced by the labour of serfs fed on black bread—and protection against corn from America, where land could be bought in fee simple for 6s. an acre, whereas the English farmer had to pay 20s. an acre for rent—these very parties, who set up a claim for protection upon paper, laughed you to scorn, and denied you the protection you then sought. The case of sugar is still stronger, because when we claimed the admission of foreign sugar there was the strongest argument that could be found in favour of protection to colonial sugar. The planters said they were obliged to raise it by free labour, whereas their opponents raised it by slave labour, and not only had they no slaves, but it was made felony to buy a slave. Still we disregarded these arguments, and we admitted foreign sugar on a perfect equality with colonial sugar. All these things must be well remembered, particularly by hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were then refused the protection they sought in their own case. What is the ground on which this paper duty is to be made an exception to all other Excise duties? Is it a novelty that we are now coining to ask for the repeal of the Excise on paper? By the way in which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is attacked one would think that this is some novelty suggested entirely by my hon. Friend the Member for Bimingham, that the right hon. Gentleman had taken his inspiration from him alone, and that the matter had never been heard of twelve months ago. Why, it is one of the oldest questions we have had before us. I turn to the Financial Reform volume by Sir Henry Parnell, dated 1831, and I find that on this subject he says— Contrary to every sound principle of trade the manufacturers of paper, glass, and printed calicoes have been selected as subjects of taxation. … The duty on paper has an injurious effect on many other trades besides that of the papermaker. The limited consumption which it occasions injures the makers of machinery, type-founders, inkmakers, printers, engravers, booksellers, bookbinders, stationers, paperstainers, and several other trades. But the greatest evil of all is the high price of books which it gives rise to. By this a great obstacle is thrown in the way of the progress of knowledge, of useful and necessary arts, and of sober and industrious habits. By the use of books the productions of the human mind are carried over the whole world, and they may be truly called the raw materials of every kind of science and art, and of all social improvement. I do not know that anything has been said on the subject of paper which could much enlarge on the language of that Report, written by Sir Henry Parnell thirty years ago. That was in 1831, when my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham had not yet reached man's estate. Recollect that during those thirty years every other Excise tax, not including alcoholic and fermented liquors and hops, has been abolished. [An hon. MEMBER: Malt?] I ally malt with alcoholic and fermented liquors. You have abolished the duty on soap, on printed cottons, on glass, on leather, and every other article, and now, when paper comes the very last, which Sir Henry Parnell put the first, you ask, "Who wants the repeal of the paper duty?" For ten years to my knowledge there has been a society in existence for effecting the repeal of the paper duty. I, who highly approve that mode of carrying reforms in this country which enables us, by resorting to public opinion, to publications, and to public meetings to carry reforms, instead of descending into the streets to fight for them, have long been a member of that association. I have been a member of this association from the first—I believe it was formed in 1849—and yet it is said, who has asked for a repeal of the paper duty? Then we are told that the repeal of the paper duty will do no good, and that it yields a small amount of revenue. The same argument might have been used against the repeal of the duties on glass, bricks, butter, and other things. They were all items much smaller than this. They have been removed one by one—not mere than one in a year, and that year forming an epoch in our finance. Yet, from the successive removals of these restrictions on industry has proceeded that state of content and quietness which the hon. Gentlemen opposite are constantly vaunting as proofs of the Conservatism of the age. I am old enough to remember when the streets of London were periodically crowded with multitudinous and violent men calling out for some impracticable measures of reform, nearly allied to revolution. I remember that every three or four years we were liable to have the North of England thrown into a state of confusion bordering upon anarchy, from the possible failure of a harvest or of a market for our industry. But, as we have expanded those markets, as we have removed restrictions, as we have given further development to capital and more employment for labour in all our various manufactures, we have placed ourselves, humanly speaking, in that position in which it is scarcely possible to believe in any great calamity happening to this country from any particular quarter, without finding it compensated by the prosperity and advantages which we enjoy elsewhere. Well, then, is it a hard, is it a difficult thing to govern a people who ask only to be allowed to work? They are contented if you allow them to labour and to earn moderate wages. Do not tell me that the people have not clamoured for these reforms. We are here because we are assumed to know better than they. That is our only title to be here. And with this long experience can any one doubt that the true policy is to proceed in the path which has been marked by such a career of advantage and prosperity? It is attempted to frighten us by saying that there are some impending calamities overhanging us from the Western hemisphere. There is a danger—the only danger which can menace this country, for I can conceive no other danger of a great calamity or catastrophe but that which may arise from a short supply of the raw material of our industry. From everything else we guard ourselves by the number of our markets and the variety of our re- sources. A catastrophe may come from such a source. I hope it will not be so bad as some hon. Gentlemen surmise. But, admitting the worst—admitting that danger—what can we do better under the circumstances than follow the path pointed out by experience, and by removing the shackles from industry give a better chance of finding employment for the people? We have been told that instead of taking the duty from paper we ought to take it from tea or sugar. I have no objection to either or to both. I can even hope that with the average prosperity which we have seen for the last few years we may in another year greatly diminish the duty on tea and on sugar. But I am not sure that the argument made use of with considerable stress by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) with regard to a market for our manufactures in China is well founded. We were greatly disappointed with what was called the opening up the trade with China in 1840. I think that within four years we had a Committee of this House sitting to inquire into the subject, and here, in passing, I may say that I have no faith whatever in what is called opening up China to Englishmen. From what I hear of China, the Chinese merchants are quite as clever as our own. They have superseded the English merchants at Singapore; they have the whole trade with San Francisco, and I believe that if trade is opened with the interior of China it will be by Chinese and not by Englishmen. But, at all events, I shall be very happy to see a reduction of the tea duty, though it may not be with the same certainty of an expansion of trade which may be procured by the repeal of the tax on paper. Have hon. Gentlemen considered what is to be the end of the present struggle. I fancy I see hon. Gentlemen opposite arraying themselves very much in the same way they did some sixteen or eighteen years ago, opposed very much to the same people and the same influences, and likely to be landed in a very similar disaster. What are you aiming at? You are aiming at preventing the Chancellor of the Exchequer from continuing in a course which he has not the merit of originating. I cannot give him the credit for the least originality. Nor can he be accused of precipitation. He is only going in the path which every Government must follow, whether it be called Whig or Tory. Is it for the advantage of hon. Gentlemen opposite that they should place themselves in this position? If you succeed by a majority in overturning the Government and coming in yourselves you must instantly adopt the very policy which you are opposing m opposition. There is no alternative. The principle rooted in the public mind of England is to remove those barriers which impede the progress of commerce and manufacture, so as to give the chance of employment for a growing and an increasing population. You yourselves have the greatest interest in promoting that policy, and in nothing more than the repeal of the paper duty, by which you offer the advantage of employment to a class superior to those affected by any other article subject to the Excise duty, for bear in mind that there is no article which gives employment to the same educated class of men as paper. If I were a young man, just fresh from college, with nothing in the world but a good education, there is nothing I should look for with so much interest as making perfectly free the press of this country, by removing all the taxes which tend to render dear and scarce literary productions. What should I want? I should want employment for my pen. Is it not an advantage to rising educated young men that more editors, more contributors, more shorthand writers should be required? ["Oh, oh!"] Do not treat this as a light matter. I am not going to offer a menace to lion. Gentlemen opposite. I am the last man who would hope to influence them through their fears. But do not shut your eyes to the fact, and let it be an element in the calculation of success in the course you are pursuing—do not shut your eyes to the fact, that all the cheap and rising and growing literature of the country is in favour of the removal of this duty. You have nearly 300,000 daily papers at a penny issuing from the press, and almost every one of them is advocating the removal of these duties. Fortunately, their interest is the public interest, and, therefore, I am very happy to find them advocating the removal of this duty. You have 70,000 or 80,000 dear papers issuing daily, and generally they are silent, or they are trying surreptitiously or openly to prevent the repeal of this duty. But can you doubt, if it comes to a struggle, to a dissolution, to a change of Government, that these 300,000 papers, with a multitude almost innumerable of weekly papers at a penny, will every one be opposed to those who are opposed to the emancipation of the press? I am sorry to say it is not a question which can be argued at length upon its merits as a fiscal question. The minds of hon. Members are straying to other subjects. This is made a political question. I cannot go into the lobbies and I cannot stand here without seeing that it is made a political question. I ask, then, hon. Members opposite, to take that view of it, and I say that the course they are pursuing cannot possibly lead to a successful issue. I have been so little in this House of late that I do not pretend to enter upon the question of the rival strength of parties. I may say, honestly, I like to see an Opposition which has some principles belonging to it, which may make it eligible for the country to resort to it, if it has occasion to seek better measures by a change of Government. At whose instigation this course is being pursued I know not. It cannot be that the wise heads of that party are the instigators of it. But I tell them candidly they cannot give the country the benefit of their services oven if they succeed in overthrowing the Government. I can see no benefit to them, but a long and protracted controversy without any issue—controversy such as that we are wasting the hours upon at this time of night. I say I cannot see that the course the Opposition is pursuing can possibly advantage them or injure the Government, and therefore I entreat hon. Gentlemen opposite to let this question pass. Let us have this Budget settled. Let hon. Gentlemen then consider how they can adopt a course of policy which can give them the opportunity of holding out to the country the prospect of better measures than those which the present Administration can give, and then with their great numbers, if they do come into power, they may come in without the certainty of being obliged to falsify their own principles or to be turned out of office. I am not going to trouble the Committee at any greater length. I am not sufficiently conversant with your recent debates to do so. But I thought it my duty to state my views in this plain manner, and I sincerely hope hon. Gentlemen opposite will allow this Budget to pass, and allow us to proceed with other business of a practical character.


Sir, I am sure I am only expressing the opinion of the Committee when I express my own gratification at the return of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down to his place among us, for we always welcome ability, however much we may differ as to the subjects on which it is applied. At the same time I cannot help thinking that the lion. Gentleman gave strong evidence of the length of his absence from this country when he described the opposition to the repeal of the paper duty as consisting of only a few monopolists, and asserted that there was no feeling at all on the subject throughout the country. Let me tell him that the opinion of the country is that, if it be in our power to remove any tax, this is not the moment for the removal of the paper duty. I believe that if he were to poll the country, aye, and this House too, apart from party considerations, he would find the almost universal opinion to be that any diminution of taxation which the Government can afford may be applied with far more benefit to the national interests, with far greater relief to the consumers, and with a far stronger stimulus to industry, than by the repeal of the paper tax. The hon. Gentleman professes to be astonished that a party should take its stand on the opposition to a repeal of taxation. I would agree with him if we were certain that we were able to do without the tax, and that its removal would benefit the people in the greatest degree. But, in the first place, we on this side do not feel quite sure that you can with benefit remove this tax, because we know that, if once removed, it can never be re-imposed. No man is gifted with omniscient sagacity, and if by any misfortune there should be an error In the calculation of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—if the revenue should fall short or the expenditure exceed his Estimate, we know that you cannot revive the paper tax. We know also full well that there is an elastic tax—the income tax—which will be employed to meet any deficit. Again, we oppose the immediate removal of this tax because there are other duties, to the reduction of which the House at large, and the right hon. Gentleman especially, is pledged—I mean the war taxes on those articles which enter into the consumption of the people. I recollect that the financial reform sketched out by the hon. Member for Birmingham a year and a half ago comprised the reduction of taxation on the consumption of the labouring classes, the reduction of the duties on tea, sugar, and tobacco; but I think he made no mention whatever of paper. The removal of the paper duty will not stimulate industry nearly so much as the reduction of the duties on those articles which we receive from other countries. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cobden) made an observation in regard to the prohibitive duty on the export of rags from France which ought; not to pass unnoticed. I quite agree with him that the French Government acted with the greatest good faith, and we have now his own admission that it was with his assent and approbation, and almost on his suggestion, that they refused to make any change in regard to that duty. I have always thought that our Government might have made better terms in that respect, but this is the first time that we have heard, on official authority, that the French Government acted in this matter with the assent of our representative who was charged with the whole of the negotiations. The hon. Gentleman maintains the principle that we ought to receive a commodity from the country which can produce it most cheaply. That is true; but we must remember that on the occasion in question we went on the principle of a treaty, and were bound accordingly to get as much advantage for ourselves as we could in return for our concessions. The hon. Gentleman says he will not appeal to our fears, but he reminds the Committee that there is a branch of the press which is continually extending throughout the country, and which will resent the continuance of the duty', and urges us to conciliate them by removing it. That is just the argument which we have been using against the repeal. We object to it, because it will benefit a class, and not the community at large. I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman that the House ought to accept the Estimates of revenue and surplus from the Chancellor of the Exchequer without examination or discussion. I hold that it is the duty of the House to scrutinize them carefully, and subject them to every test which doubt or criticism can suggest. I hope, with the hon. Gentleman, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is sure of his surplus. I am no prophet to tell what will be the revenue of the next year. The right hon. Gentleman, however, may have underestimated some of the items of revenue—probably he has under-estimated some of the items of expenditure as well. There are two items which have sprung up since the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman. There is the increased interest on Exchequer Bills, which has already led to an addition of about £50,000 on the year.


It is only for six months.


It may be so in the meantime; but the right lion. Gentleman must be gifted with second-sight to tell what will be the state of the money-market at the end of that period. Then there is another item of expenditure in the payment on account of the Stade Dues, which public report fixes at about £200,000. Adding that to the £25,000 for six months' interest on the Exchequer Bills and it would make a deduction of £225,000 out of the surplus of £430,000. Similar items of expenditure are always liable to spring up, and if we abolish this duty we shall be able to meet them only by falling back on direct taxation. The noble Lord the Member for the City said that he could not understand how we should object to the calculations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer without proposing a vote of censure upon them. When I objected to the Budget without moving an Amendment, I did so because I wished the House to reflect upon the course it was called on to pursue. I believed that the proposals were unpopular, and that representations would be made to the Government which would lead them to reconsider, and perhaps to modify, their scheme. As I anticipated, there is throughout the country a feeling that it would not be wise to repeal this tax at the present time. I, for one, am anxious that a sufficient surplus should be maintained to meet every possible exigency. I do not hold myself at all bound to the proposal of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bucks, to make a further reduction of taxation, if this measure be rejected. Any further reduction of taxation must be regulated by existing circumstances, and from day to day there seems to me to be greater uncertainty as to the future, and greater change in those circumstances which ought to guide this House in its financial measures. It is, consequently, more and more incumbent upon the Government, on its own responsibility, to maintain such a surplus revenue as may guard us from any future difficulty, and to preserve at once the faith of the country and its influence in the world, at a moment when the influence of England is becoming more and more important.


Sir, the Committee has just heard delivered the opinions of two hon. Gentlemen among the most distinguished and able of its Members, and men whose high characters are not less remarkable than their abilities. One of them is the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. T. Baring), the other is my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden). The latter recommends the repeal of the paper duties as a measure which is wise, politic, and acceptable to the country; the former recommends the rejection of that measure as being neither wise, nor politic, nor acceptable to the people. Under these circumstances it is natural to examine into the comparative authority of these two hon. Gentlemen, and to seek for the sources of that authority by a recurrence to the advice which respectively they have given on previous occasions. In the hon. Member for Rochdale we see the man who, more than any other, living or dead, contributed to the destruction of the Corn Laws; the man who eloquently advocated the repeal of the Navigation Laws; and the man who, on every point, in a struggle of twenty years has taken the most active and powerful part in recommending that legislation which has not only augmented the wealth of the country, but done more for its Conservative principles than all the measures promoted by hon. Gentlemen opposite. On the other hand, the hon. Member for Huntingdon opposed the repeal of the Corn Laws as a national calamity, bewailed the repeal of the Navigation Laws as probably involving the ruin of the country, and upon every—or nearly every—occasion when it has been proposed to amend our commercial laws, and to relax the existing restrictions of our system, has been found among the stoutest and most ardent defenders of those restrictions. I say, then, that upon this occasion also the man who has always heretofore interpreted rightly both the wishes and the interests of his country is more likely to give sound advice than the man who throughout the whole of his past life has misunderstood both the one and the other. The Committee, I know, must be wearied with hearing the discussion of the paper duties, and it is with an unfeigned reluctance that I present myself to them on the present occasion. I trust, however, that I may be allowed to occupy some small portion of their time, because, whatever may be said as to others—whatever senses or constructions may for others be put upon this discussion—at all events there is one man in the House for whom it can bear but one construction, and that is the person who now respectfully entreats your attention. The hon. Baronet the Member for Radnor-shire (Sir John Walsh) made some remarks which will lead me to the point on which I wish to address the Committee, for I want to attain, if I can, to a true conception of the position of both parties upon this subject. My hon. Friend declared—and he declared with perfect sincerity—that the Opposition had no greater desire than to give their support to Her Majesty's Government. He stated that nothing but an absolute necessity has brought them on this occasion upon the field of battle, and that it was the excessive and wilful unreasonableness of the Government in making so strange a proposal as the repeal of the paper duties which really left to hon. Gentlemen opposite, however pacific might be their inclinations, no choice whatever, but compelled them to step in for the purpose of restraining us in our rash and furious career. Here, according to him, is the secret and explanation of the present party conflict. Is that really a fair and a just statement? We have heard a variety of opinions expressed in the speeches of lion. Gentlemen opposite, who, nevertheless, concur in their votes. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) frankly admits that an Excise duty is a bad duty, and that lie retains the opinion on that subject which he has expressed on previous occasions; but the tendency of the minds of many hon. Gentlemen opposite is explained much more accurately by the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord Robert Cecil) who, in a very ingenious and candid speech, went back to the legislation of 1842 and 1844, ridiculed the argument of Sir Robert Peel upon the glass duty, and contended that the present progress of the country neither was nor could have been owing to free trade legislation, but was due to a set of causes entirely different. I have no argument to address to the noble Lord. Upon his standing ground it appears to me that he is entirely unapproachable by us; but I speak in a Parliament where the opinion opposed to his is no longer regarded as matter of opinion, but as an established fact, resting on the solid proof of a happy experience, and where we are entitled not to argue for, but to argue from, the proposition that the relaxation of commercial restrictions and the liberation of trade are the true and wise policy for this country to pursue. Is there anything so strange, then, in the production by the Government of the proposal to repeal the Paper Duties? In the first place, it is strictly true, with exceptions so insignificant that I need not refer to them, that except as to the constituents of strong liquors, which by the necessary principles of your fiscal system are and must continue to be heavily burdened, the trade in paper is the one single trade within the limits of this country which at the present moment is in all its branches burdened, and in many of its branches actually proscribed. Every other restriction is gone. Every other Excise, one after another, has been sacrificed. Was that because there was a call for it from the people? No such thing. [Mr. NEWDEGATE: Hear, hear!] I hear a voice well known to me—Sape sinistra cavâ prœdixit ab ilice cornix. The hon. Member cheers a truth, when he cheers the assertion that Excise duties have never been removed in obedience to calls from the people. I have had the curiosity to look back to the case of the glass duties. I believe the whole number of petitions for the repeal of the glass duties in three years, including 1845, the year of the repeal, was one. For the repeal of the brick duties there may have been six or eight petitions. For the repeal of the soap duties there was not a single petition before the proposal was made by the Government, and even then the number was very insignificant. The paper duty is the only Excise duty for the repeal of which there has been a constant demand from the country, and that demand has been supported by many Members of Parliament. Hon. Members of Parliament not belonging exclusively to this side of the House have thought fit to join an association for promoting the repeal of the paper duties. The noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley), for whose vote the country will look with interest to-night, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Herts (Sir Bulwer Lytton), whose vote upon a former occasion was given in the manner that we expected from what we knew of him, are members of an association for the repeal of the paper duties. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks is not himself, as far as I know, a member of any such association. He has probably acted upon the principle to which I have always adhered, and, without censuring others, has declined to be a member of any association outside the doors of this House for Parliamentary purposes. But the object has received the most distinct, conspicuous, and emphatic support from the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman voted for the repeal of the paper duties in 1850, when the duty on tea was at 2s. 2d. per lb. What did the right hon. Gentleman do in 1858? I am afraid I cannot approach this part of the subject without coming to a point on which I differ from my right lion. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, because in my opinion all abstract Resolutions on the subject of the extinction of taxes are imprudent and unwise. My right hon. Friend thought differently, and he moved a resolution condemning the paper duty, selecting it from all other duties, and making no reservation in favour of tea. By his Resolution he pledged the House to the proposition that the paper duty should not be permanently maintained, and that distinction was conferred upon the paper duty alone. There was one Gentleman more responsible for that Resolution than my right lion. Friend. My right hon. Friend moved it as a private Member of Parliament; the right hon. Gentleman accepted it as the organ of a Government. I confess that, as it appears to me, he did an imprudent act in acceding to that Resolution; but I confess, also, that it seems to me that having acceded to it he would have done better to avoid the temptation which has since been put in his path to endeavour to explain it away. ["Oh, oh!"] Why, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has since told us that that was a hesitating Resolution, passed in a languid House; and it was, according to him, a Resolution that meant that, at some future time or other—probably in the days of our children or grandchildren, but at all events, when the war duties upon tea and sugar, as they are called—and I will say, a word upon that subject by and by—had been disposed of, and the income tax was extinguished, then forsooth, we might proceed to repeal the paper duty. But does the right hon. Gentleman think that he, as the organ of the Government, was right in advising the House to give that pledge in the face of the country, and does he think that he is using weapons which are either safe or honourable when the House of Commons is encouraged, in order to avoid some momentary difficulty or to obtain some momentary favour, to hold out promises of that kind which are to be explained—I repeat the term—which are to be explained away in order to meet the prudential considerations which the exigencies of party may subsequently suggest?

The right hon. Gentleman has to-night set up a doctrine which as far as I know is enterely new. Those are the main proportions of the statements he has made. In the first place I must say that, differing in this respect very much from some hon. Gentlemen who have spoken from that side of the House, he has stated the issue with perfect fairness. lie made a comparison between an Excise and a Customs duty, and he said, "I admit at once that we are not to look to the mere question to what extent a reduction is to be effected in the price of some article of subsistence, but we are to look to the effect of our measures upon the general trade, industry, and employment of the country." With respect to that I will only say that I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman as to the principle, but I believe it to be impossible for any candid man, after any examination, however cursory, of the facts of this case, to maintain that the removal of some 3d., which is the utmost that could be taken off the duty upon tea, would have anything like the effect upon the industry of the country, that we must in common prudence anticipate from the abolition of the duty on paper. What is the effect of a Customs duty? The effect of a Customs duty is by burdening the article to which it applies to limit the consumption. The effect of an Excise duty so far considered is the same, but over and above that effect an Excise has a serious influence through the medium of its restrictive regulations and the indirect cost which it entails, which amounts not merely to a burden but, in many instances, to an absolute prohibition. What was it that, in the year 1830, caused Sir Henry Parnell to designate this paper duty first among those that called for repeal? That was not the suggestion of the hon. Member for Birmingham, and every authority from that time to this has concurred in that judgment. The facts of the case as they concern the effect of the paper duty are these. You are not simply to consider what is the incidence of the duty upon the paper that is made in this country, so far I grant that there is a certain parallelism between that duty and the tea duty—what you must consider is, what are the trades or branches of trade which are positively prevented or extinguished by the operation of the paper duty. Were this the time for details it would not be difficult to state many such trades to the House. On a former occasion my noble Friend mentioned one instance and I mentioned another—and they might be greatly multiplied—of a trade in paper, that 13 to say in sheets made of fibrous materials, that is actually rendered impossible, or all but impossible, in many cases quite impossible, by the operation of the paper duty. The right hon. Gentleman, feeling the pressure of the argument, resorted to a doctrine which I believe to be entirely novel, which I grant to be ingenious, and which I admit would have been entitled to influence our decision if it had been true, by true, of course I mean accurate. He said that the tea and sugar duties are war duties, and that Parliament is under a pledge to remove them. "Let us, therefore," continued the right hon. Gentleman, "let us above and before all things keep faith with the nation." Now, Sir, I am glad to get the issue between us in some degree narrowed. If the first part of this statement can be proved, I do not contest the latter portion of it. I say "by all means let us keep faith with the nation." Bat is it true that these are war duties? In what sense are they war duties? Were they imposed in time of war? No. Were they imposed for the purposes of war? No. When were they imposed? They were imposed in time of peace and not for purposes of war. [Murmurs of disapproval on the Opposition benches.] I do not in the least complain of those murmurs. My desire is to convey information, because I am sure that hon. Gentlemen, although they seem to muster as if for a party struggle, are really actuated much more by a love of truth and a desire to understand the facts of the case of a great many of which I do not think that they can possibly be aware. I want to know what is the meaning of a war duty. I do not now ask whether this expression has prevailed as a cant phrase, or has been adopted as a convenient one. I do not know who is the author of it. I cannot tell whether or not it has ever passed my lips. I am not finding fault with the phrase, because I can understand that if you treat it as a popular designation it is so far true that the duties with which tea and sugar are now burdened are higher than those which were proposed before the Russian war. But that floes not make them war duties. Is the present income tax a war income tax? The present income tax was imposed in 1859. Is there, then, any pledge connected with the Russian war to reduce the income tax? I do not speak of any time that is gone by. I speak of the tax upon incomes imposed in 1859, and I say that you may, if you choose, popularly call that a war income tax, because it is higher than the income tax as it was originally proposed, when we had an expenditure of £52,000,000 or £53,000,000 to provide for; but I say that it would be ludicrous to call it a war income tax in the sense of founding upon that term an engagement—because that was what was done by the right hon. Gentleman—an engagement to reduce that tax as if it had been an income tax laid for the purposes of war. If there is no such engagement, the whole argument of the right hon. Gentleman falls to the ground. What I say of the tea and sugar duties is this. In the first place, however, I must complain of the unfairness which is practised upon this subject. Again and again we are told how wrong it is—and an endeavour is made to delude the public upon this subject; again and again the people have been told that it is absurd to repeal the paper duty instead of repealing the war, tea, and sugar duties; ["Hear, hear."] The noble Lord the Member for Stafford shire (Lord Robert Cecil) considers that a fair statement of the case, does he? Now that is exactly the point to which I want to bring the Committee. The noble Lord says that, instead of repealing the paper duty, we ought to repeal the war, tea and sugar duties, the repeal of the paper duty entailing a loss this year of £600,000, and ultimately of £1,250,000, while the abolition of the war duties upon tea and sugar would cause a loss of £2,500,000. [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON: No, no.] The right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich denies that statement. I beg leave to say that, speaking in round numbers, I have stated accurately what would have been the cost for the year of repealing what are called the war duties upon tea and sugar, and I do not think that it can be denied that it is grossly unfair to represent the repeal of the paper duty to the public as if it prevented the repeal of another duty which would cost more than twice the money. [Sir John Pakington was understood to say that no proposal had been made for the sacrifice of so large an amount of revenue.] I am stating that this is the way in which the subject has been repeatedly handled in speeches, and the way in which it is constantly represented to the public. I have in my hand the last and most authentic instance of this unfairness. You say that the people are entirely in favour of your policy and you challenge a reference to the people. We have had an election within the last few days—[interruption]—we have had an election within the last few days, and the issue Raised by that election was a very definite one, because a most respectable, most competent, and well-qualified gentleman made his appeal to the constituents, whose suffrages he solicited entirely upon the ground of opposition to the financial measures of the Government. Here is his address, and in it a mode of statement is adopted which I have no doubt was suggested from headquarters. In the most authentic manner, as if he had undergone a regular training through a course of these debates, he runs through the old points of the surplus, the state of the national finances, and the comfort of the labouring classes, and he then says— The permanent sacrifice of 41,500,000 of paper duty seems to be imprudent at present, and the consequent maintenance of the war duties upon tea and sugar—those necessary articles of consumption in every home—appears unjust. [Murmurs from the Opposition benches.] I merely state, and I confess that I did not expect that there would have been so much disposition to question that statement, that it is an unfair mode of putting the case to place against the repeal of the paper duty, and to declare to be the alternative of that repeal, a measure which would cost at least twice as much. Now the case of the tea And sugar duties to which I return is this:—They cannot, properly speaking, be called war duties, inasmuch as they were not imposed in time of war or for war purposes. In the year 1854 the sugar duties were Increased for the purposes of war, and in 1855 the tea duties were increased with the same object, and I am quite willing to admit that the right hon. Gentleman says truly when he contends that there is a sort of general pledge given to the public that war taxes should be taken off when the cause for which they have been levied has ceased to exist, and, in point of fact, the increased duties which I have just mentioned lapsed with the conclusion of the war itself. I was, I may add, one of those who differed with the Government of my noble Friend near me when they first proposed to prolong these duties for twelvemonths; but that was not the time when the question was settled. It was in the month of August, 1857, that my right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department proposed to re-enact the tea-duties at 1s. 5d. for three years, without the slightest reference to the purposes of war, and, I believe, without one syllable being said by him as to the lapse of the duty or its removal at the expiration of that period. I myself, who have been so much misquoted on this question, recognizing the proposition of my right hon. Friend as being rendered necessary by the increased scale of our peace expenditure and by the special demands of that particular time, thanked him for the provision which he had made. I refer to these matters to show that the proposal of my right hon. Friend had no bearing whatever on war duties in any sense of the word, and that, in point of fact, the doctrine of engagement laid down by the right hon. Gentleman opposite on the subject as being applicable to the tea and sugar duties is a pure and perfect figment, not having a shadow of support. In short, I feel I am perfectly right in asserting—and my right hon. Friend near me can correct me if I am wrong—that these duties, when enacted in 1857, were imposed without any expectation being held out as to the course Parliament would take at the expiration of three years, for which they were granted. Well, that being so, it became my duty to lay before the House the case as it had come under the consideration of the Government as to the respective claims of two very important taxes to remission, the one being the extra, or I may as well term it the war duty on tea, the other the duty on paper. Now, hon. Members will do me the justice to recollect that in discharging that duty I did not for one moment presume to state that there existed such a difference between the merits of these separate propositions as to render it impossible for us to accept that one of them which might be regarded with the greatest favour by the House. There were, however, reasons which many persons felt to be very strong for the selection which we made. We had at the time on hand a Treaty of Commerce with France, as well as very extensive measure for the abolition from our statute book of the remains of protective duties. Could there be a more appropriate and just accompaniment to our proposals for exposing the British manufacture to unlimited competition with the foreigner than a simultaneous measure for relieving him from the duty on paper, which constituted a tax on the export of his manufacture? It is, indeed, said by some that this is an insignificant burden, but I much doubt whether that is a correct view to take of the matter, when I bear in mind that we had a duty levied under the name of an export duty to the extent of £100,000 per annum, that Sir Robert Peel deemed it desirable to remove it, and that its abolition was accepted with gratitude by the trading community. It is more difficult to estimate the effect of the paper duty on the exports of this country, but I am not, I think, far from the mark when I say that the paper used in connection with our export trade must pay a duty of not less than £300,000 or £400,000 a year. Now, I put it to the hon. Gentleman who intend to deal with the case on the principles of justice—I put it to the lion. Member for Radnorshire, who seems to imagine that we are actuated in this matter by no better motive than to gain the favour of a Gentleman who at the same time can give no favour in return, inasmuch as the lion. Member says he is the most unpopular man of a most unpopular section. I put, I repeat, to those who are desirous of proceeding in this case on the principles of justice, whether we are not acting entirely in accordance with those principles when we say to the British producer, "We are about to leave you without a single sixpence or shred of protection at home, but we will relieve you from a tax which presses on one of the essential accessories of your trade?" For my own part, I confess I was surprised when I heard the hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) treat with ridicule—for it amounted to that, and I may observe in passing that it was the first time I ever heard him indulge in a vein of ridicule in this House—the idea that the paper duty could be a tax of the smallest importance to the distressed manufacturers and people of Coventry. Why, Sir, we have been told, as the results of inquiry made on the spot, that a sum of £10,000 a year is paid by persons in Coventry for one particular purpose—and that £10,000 being in the nature of deductions from profits would probably represent a capital of several hundred thousands of pounds, and I cannot believe that Parliament will refuse to entertain the claims urged on behalf of those gentlemen whom we require to meet the French manufacturer, without the slightest advantages in the British market, and to whom hon. Gentlemen opposite wish us to say, "You must continue subject to a tax on the accessories of your trade, from which your competitors are entirely free." What, I would ask, can be more inconsistent or absurd to enter into a discussion about rags, and to undertake to relieve our own manufacturers from the inequalities of foreign legislation, while we require them to go into the market unequally weighted, not in consequence of foreign but owing to burdens imposed at home? These are considerations which I must say have had great force with both myself and my colleagues in bringing us to the determination on the subject of the paper duties at which we have arrived. When, however, matters reached a certain degree of maturity, we had other vital and essential elements in the question to take into our view.

The House of Commons read last year a second time, by a considerable majority, a Bill for the repeal of the paper duty. For a period of forty years a vote of that kind on the part of this House had been accepted by the trade and commerce of the country as an absolute and final decision. In all such cases persons interested in trade and industry of the nation have felt themselves justified in accepting the assurance which such a vote afforded, and upon the faith of it invested their capital and pledged their credit. This was done last year, in consequence of the conclusion at which the House of Commons arrived, and I now send back to the right hon. Gentleman opposite the challenge which he threw out, and I say to him, "Keep faith with the country; keep faith with those who have trusted to the vote of last Session, as they have done to a long list of similar assurances which in a hundred cases we have given them. I will not trouble the Committee by going into details upon this point; but I would illustrate by referring to facts the statement which I make, that a long course of precedents has given the public a title to rely upon votes similar to that of last year given by this House. I hold in my hand a letter written by Mr. Grey, a gentleman who is well known to my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Black), who is one of the most enterprising men in this country. I do not know that he possesses large means; but about thirty years ago, when such enterprise was much rarer than at present, he conceived the ingenious idea of establishing a paper as a gratuitous advertising medium. The undertaking was successful, and conferred, I believe, a great benefit on the country. Well, this gentleman writes to me to say that, trusting to the Vote of the House of Commons last year, he had at once committed himself to his subscribers, and that the consequence had been that there was a considerable diminution of his profits; but they were still sufficient to keep the roof over his head which, after thirty-four years of indefatigable industry, he was enabled to call his own, but such could not continue to be the case unless the paper duty were repealed during the present Session. He adds that he, perhaps incautiously, trusted to the pledge given to the public by the Vote of this House of last year; that he, nevertheless, kept his word with his subscribers, and that the consequence had been to entail upon him a fearful loss. Now, I put it boldly to the Committee whether this gentleman was not justified in relying on a decision of the House of Commons, which for forty years in similar instances has been regarded as a pledge not to be departed from? I say, then, those hon. Members must have formed very singular notions with regard both to our duty and our honour who could suppose that in the course which we have taken we had no better motive than to curry favour with any Gentleman or set of Gentlemen in this House.

I do not think it necessary to enter into the general merits of the paper duty after the arguments which have been used, and particularly after the speech of an hon. Gentleman with whom I do not often agree, the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) whose close and able reasoning there has not been a single attempt on the other side to answer. But I cannot pass from the subject altogether without adverting to one or two things which have been said in debate. What said the hon. Baronet the Member for the West Riding (Sir John Ramsden)? He accused the Government of having pursued an unexampled course with regard to the surplus set up, and he actually undertook to instruct and inform the House, and feeling that he himself perhaps was chargeable with a course somewhat unusual, he anticipated the charge by saying that the Government had pursued a course never before heard of. He contended that in all cases where a surplus had before been presented it had been actual—a surplus in hand. I really do not know how I am to deal with a statement like that. The thing the hon. Baronet says not only has not been, but never can be. It so happens that when there is a surplus in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer it is applied to fixed purposes under ascertained provisions of law, and never can be made the subject of dealings by this House. [Sir JOHN RAMSDEN: Hear, hear!] The hon. Baronet cheers my explanation, though his original statement was that any surplus hitherto presented by a Chancellor of the Exchequer had always been realized. In touching on the question of surplus I must not forget that the hon. Baronet does not stand alone. The hon. Member for Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck), the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. T. Baring), and the right hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell), have all questioned the existence of that surplus exceedingly, yet each and all of these Gentlemen voted to take from it, according to the best official Estimate that can be framed, £285,000 more than would be absorbed by the proposal of the Government. And then the hon. Member for Huntingdon comes down here and challenges me about Exchequer bills and Stade dues, and says I shall lose £220,000 by Stade dues and £50,000 by Exchequer bills. That would make in all £270,000, but I should still be £15,000 better off than their proposal, if carried, would leave me. The hon. Member found fault with my calculations; but it was he, and not I, who ventured to predict what the state of the money market would be six months hence. He it was who said, in his desire to make good the case which he was urging with great ability, that he had calculated the Exchequer bills for twelve months, forgetting the provision of law which—


I asked what the amount was.


You computed it at £220,000, and you—


I wish to explain. I said that as it was stated by the right hon. Gentleman that the increase on the interest of Exchequer bills would not be for more than six months, I took that item at £25,000, and the payments on account of Stade dues I said were fixed by public opinion at £200,000.


I am very much obliged by the explanation. I thought the hon. Member said the State dues would be £220,000; and, in point of fact, neither he nor we had any accurate means of computation, not knowing whether the arrangement would be completed or not. My hon. Friend, I believe, is now of opinion that the arrangement will probably be carried out. It will require a sum of £155,000 or £156,000, and that, of course, was one of the reasons why we objected to the re- peal of the tea duty, feeling it necessary to keep in hand a sum of £400,000 or £500,000. Of course, in a country like this you cannot possibly foresee every accruing charge for the twelve months, and you keep a small surplus, not exactly in hand, but before you on paper, so as to meet contingent charges which may arise. The hon. Gentleman is still in a very uneasy state about the surplus, and thinks it very doubtful whether there will be any after all. I must say I do trust that the subject of a surplus as it has been handled in these debates will not be a precedent for future times. To-day it is denied, tomorrow it is asserted, the next day it is exaggerated, and the following day it is denied again. One time we are told the surplus will not admit of a remission of £15,000; next it is endeavoured to force upon us the remission of £1,500,000; and then the hon. Baronet, the Member for the West Riding (Sir John Ramsden), rises in its place and thinks it becoming his station and position to say that he thinks the estimate of that surplus [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] On this subject, and in the discharge of a public duty, I must vindicate the privilege of speech. I think it right to call to the recollection of the House that the hon. Member for the West Riding did think it right to state [Renewed cries of "Oh!"] that the estimate of surplus which I have submitted was no better than the reckoning of any speculator. If that be a misrepresentation, I am ready to listen to any explanation.


I believe, Mr. Massey, the words were these: That the Estimate of surplus was liable to prove as fallacious as the scheme of any speculator on the Stock Exchange.


That appears to be precisely the sense imputed to the hon. Baronet, and which I was in hopes he might have been induced to qualify. However, having been deceived in that expectation, let me deal with another assumption of the hon. Baronet no less astounding. He said it was unexampled after a deficiency in a particular year to propose the repeal of a tax in the next. I need not go very far back to produce a remarkable instance, in which, I suppose, the conduct of the Government of the day will not be much disapproved by the hon. Baronet, as he took office with them shortly afterwards. In 1857 my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, having had a deficiency of £4,000,000 in the previous year, repealed taxes to the extent of £10,700,000, and immediately after this was done the Government which had been guilty of such astonishing profligacy was joined by the hon. Baronet. My hon. Friend, the Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Ker Seymer), who made this Motion, has thought fit to repeat imputations on me which I have never noticed in this House. As long as the most sordid motives or the most questionable proceedings are imputed only by anonymous writers of the press, or at any rate by those from whom one has no light to expect favour or indulgence, I think by far the best course for a Member of this House to take is to pass them by in utter silence, and to trust to the candour of his countrymen, which, I believe, will never fail him; and, I must add, to their appreciation of his character and his services, be those what they may. But my hon. Friend, whom I have had the pleasure of knowing from boyhood, and my respect and regard for whom no political circumstances can ever in the slighest degree affect, has imputed to mo that the proposals which I have made in this House are brought forward for some mysterious purpose of conciliating the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Birmingham. Now, Sir, in the first place with regard to any supposed sympathies of mine with the hon. Member for Birmingham, I must say that if I did sympathize with him I should not have the slightest hesitation in avowing it, because I know of nothing in the character or in the conduct of the hon. Gentleman which need make any man who agrees with him afraid to state it. His character has, in my opinion, always been marked with strict integrity, and his conduct has been uniformly straightforward. But, when a statement of that kind is made against a person like myself, who am not at all aware of holding the same opinions in politics as the hon. Member for Birmingham, I must observe that neither my hon. Friend who made it last, nor any Gentleman who made it before, has ever attempted to support or sustain it by any language I have used, or by any sentiments I have expressed. I certainly do sympathize with the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Birmingham, in regard to the whole course of that commercial legislation which has conferred such immense boons and blessings on the country, and of which he has been one of the most distinguished champions. And I regret to find that that policy still has many opponents in this House, who, though unable to prevent it from taking effect in the main, are apparently glad to find any opportunity crippling it, or of covering it with discredit. I should not be doing justice to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham if I attempted to describe my own opinions with respect to matters of finance by mixing them up with his, of which I have no knowledge other than that which every Member in this House possesses in common with myself. But if my hon. Friend the Member for Dorsetshire wishes to make any imputation on my opinion, such as I can explain, I am willing to give him an explanation. I have no doubt that he has a meaning, which I am obliged to conjecture, as he has been content to make use of vague and shadowy language. He means, perhaps, that I am one of those who entertain the concealed and covert intention of changing the system of taxation of this country—shifting the burden from commodities to property, and effecting thereby a considerable alteration in the relative position of classes. If such be the belief of hon. Gentlemen opposite, I have no doubt that the proposal we now make for the repeal of the paper duty is regarded as the insidious beginning of a serious innovation, fraught with danger to the country. It might, perhaps, be enough for me to say that not one syllable had been adduced from any speech of mine to sustain that belief. Whether such be the desire of the hon. Member for Birmingham I know not, but it is not mine. [Interruption.] I am sure that hon. Gentlemen opposite will permit me to state in a few words the view I take of the proposal of Her Majesty's Government. We are not now at the beginning, but at the accomplishment and consummation of a great series of legislative changes. We are not introducing novel principles, but working up the residue of great and beneficent operations introduced by great men, whose names will ever live in the grateful memory of the country, and who advanced them up to a certain point and then handed them over to us, simply and in all humility, but, likewise, in all fidelity to complete. I confess that, in my opinion, the days of what are called by their friends comprehensive, and by their enemies ambitious Budgets are gone by. They began in 1842 and 1845 with Sir Robert Peel, who had a great work to do, and who set about in the spirit of a workman equal to his business. The next offender—if offence there be— was the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, who, in 1852, quite justifiable in his own point of view, though I did not concur with him, produced an extensive and comprehensive new financial plan. In 1853 I was myself responsible for a plan of the same kind, and again last year, taking the opportunity presented by the Treaty with France, we introduced a measure which, in our view, went to complete the whole of that series of changes which had been initiated, though not entirely, in modern times by Sir Robert Peel. Therefore, it is not the commencement, but the conclusion of our commercial legislation that we are now proposing, and, viewed as the conclusion, I put fearlessly to the House the proposal for the repeal of the paper duty, as being one as well and as firmly founded in all the sound principles of finance and of industrial economy as any proposal that, during the course of the last twenty years, was ever submitted and met the approval of Parliament. I heard with deep regret last night the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), though not, indeed, with the same regret as I heard some other remarks made by the hon. Baronet the Member for the West Riding (Sir John Rams-den). I hope that the hon. Member for the West Riding will express his regret, before the conclusion of the debate, for having, with or without premeditation, spoken of the American Government as a great Republican bubble. [A cry of "Hear."] I am sorry to hear that phrase cheered by a single Member, and had hoped that was the first and last time we should hear any Member allude in a jeering way to the tremendous calamity which threatens to fall upon a great country; but I do not believe that the hon. Member for the West Riding had any intention to speak in such a 'Spirit. With regard to the hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, I cannot express the regret with which I heard it stated by him that this measure is one which appears to aim at some extensive substitution of direct for indirect taxation, and is not a measure of free trade. The recollection of the long years during which I, as well as others, had the privilege to sit by the side of one in whose memory the hon. Baronet is entitled to feel the deepest interest, led me to a different conclusion, and I think it would greatly puzzle the hon. Baronet to draw a distinction in principle between this last Excise duty which, we are now proposing to remove and those other Excise duties, not one whit more objectionable in principle or more oppressive in practice, which his honoured father was the instrument of repealing. I certainly had hoped that in the work of removing this description of legislation from the statute book we might have had the advantage of the hon. Baronet's assistance; but, if not, we must still appeal to the convictions and experience of this House, and until I see the contrary I never will believe that this House, after the eleventh hour, will withdraw the last hand from the work it has hitherto carried through with firmness and courage; and, on the present occasion, I anticipate a decision which, while it will be faithful to the spirit of the former acts of the Legislature, will also be provident of the future and permanent interests of the country.


I rise to explain, though it is with the greatest reluctance that I feel obliged to throw myself far a single moment on the indulgence of the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman has commented in somewhat severe terms on the observations I ventured to utter. He said that I stated that previous surpluses had been actually in hand, but he omitted to add some important words, on which the whole meaning depended. I said that formerly the surplus had been either actually in hand, or in some other form equally tangible and secure. I put it to the sense of the Committee what is the plain meaning of those words? I did not speak in childlike ignorance, as the right hon. Gentleman seems to think, of the arrangements by which the surplus in hand is devoted to certain purposes; but I meant to convey this meaning, that it is not justifiable to repeal permanent and safe taxation, except on the faith of a surplus which the experience of the previous year has shown that we can depend on. I went on to say that it was unprecedented for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to close the year with a deficit of more than £2,500,000, and then to propose to remit taxation on the faith of a surplus purely founded on speculative calculations. The right hon. Gentleman takes exception to that, and quotes against me the case of the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman the present Home Secretary in 1857. If I was speaking of any one for whom I had a less unfeigned respect than I have for the Chancellor of the Exchequer I should say that to adduce that example is trifling with the sense of the Committee. For what was that year? It was the year when we were returning to a peace establishment from the great expenditure of the Crimean war. I repeat the challenge I made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to show in a year of peace a case in which any Finance Minister has closed the year with such a deficiency, and has proposed to remit taxation on the face of a surplus so purely speculative as the present. Grave charges have been brought against me. The right hon. Gentleman has seen fit to renew the observations which in an early part of the evening were made by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London. At that time I rose and offered an explanation of the remarks to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred. If I might be allowed to form an opinion of the sentiments of the Committee, from the manner in which they received my explanation, I believe it was perfectly satisfactory. The explanation which the right hon. Gentleman asks has, therefore, already been made, and has been thoroughly accepted; and I now leave it to the fairness of the Committee to judge between the right hon. Gentleman and myself.


Sir, I am glad the hon. Baronet opposite has not complied with the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman that he should express regret for one of the best and most effective speeches I have ever heard. At this late hour I will not interfere between the House and the division. I will, however, claim their attention for a few moments, as I believe I am almost the only Member of the House who has not yet spoken on the Budget. My reason for now rising is that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the course of his speech, put a question which I think it is in my power to answer. The right hon. Gentleman complained that the present duties on tea and sugar had been described as "War Duties," and he asked who was the author of the phrase. To that question, I believe, I can give an answer. In 1857, in one of our debates, one of the speakers said, "It is almost matter of good faith, that when next remissions of taxation were made, the duties on tea and sugar, which were, in fact, war duties, should be reduced." The speaker added that there could be no greater claim for a reduction of taxation than on those articles which entered so largely into the consumption of the people. Who spoke these words? The noble Lord the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Therefore, the author of the phrase "War Duties," as applied to the duties on tea and sugar, of which the right hon. Gentleman complains, was the noble Lord his colleague, to whom I refer him. I confess I have heard with extreme surprise any reference to the Flintshire election. The right hon. Gentleman took part in that election, and also in the same election two years ago. If there is n man in this House from whom I did not expect to hear any reference to the Flintshire election it is the right hon. Gentleman. I claim the right to say that I have listened to these debates from first to last, and have heard nothing to affect the opinion I entertain, and which the great majority in (his House and the country also hold with me, that this Budget is open to three fatal objections. The first is that the arrangement is one that is financially unwise. The second is that the Budget is no better than a party manœuvre, and has been arranged with a view to the interests of party, and not of the country. Lastly, I am of opinion that this Budget does involve unnecessary offence, if not insult, to the House of Lords. The House of Lords, however, I have no doubt will treat that offence with the contempt it deserves. I maintain that the House of Lords has never objected to repeal the paper duties. They only objected to reduce the resources of the country. If hon. Members will refer to the speech of the Earl of Derby they will find in it a distinct statement that he agrees in thinking that the paper duty is an objectionable impost, that its maintenance is a mere matter of time, and that whenever the state of the finances renders it desirable he is prepared to support the total repeal of the paper duty. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli) as being unable to resist the temptation of explaining away the part he had taken in 1858. But the part taken by my right hon. Friend requires no explanation. He held the same language then that the Earl of Derby held last year. We were parties to a Resolution, and we thereby acknowledged that it was right to repeal the paper duty whenever the financial state of the country would permit. When the right hon. Gentleman imputes to us that we are inconsistent in proposing to repeal the tea duties, whereby we reduce the revenue by £200,000 more than he proposed, my answer is to be found in an extract from another speech by the noble Lord (Lord John Russell). He was then on independent Member of the Opposition. In 1857 the noble Lord said he was sure that a reduction of the duty on tea to 1s. per lb. would be followed by an increased consumption that would soon bring up the revenue to its former amount. This is an answer to the charge of inconsistency. The—[Lord JOHN RUSSELL: I never said the revenue would be made up in one year.] No; but I adopt the language of the noble Lord, and say that the duty in a few years will be entirely made up. I think that the Government ought to have considered the interests of the country, and not the interests of party; and, had they done so, they would have repealed the duties which, in time of war, were put on the comforts of the people instead of repealing the duty on an article which contributes to comforts of the masses in only a very slight degree. For those reasons I cannot concur in the proposition of the Government.


Sir, I cannot begin the very few words which I shall feel it my duty to submit to the House on the present Motion without expressing the satisfaction I feel, and which I am sure is participated in by all present, at seeing again within these walls my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale, returned after rendering those valuable services which he has performed for his country, and restored to that health which I am sure even those who differ from him in politics are happy to see him enjoying. Now, Sir, the hon. Member for Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck) has asked me a question which he has repeated now for the second time, and I presume it will be a question put every fortnight till the end of the Session. I am happy, however, to be able to answer that question in the same words in which I answered it before. The hon. Member asks me whether there is anything in the present state of Affairs on the continent of America which induces me to think it will be necessary to apply to this House to increase our armaments either by land or sea. I stated to the hon. Gentleman that I saw nothing in the events now taking place in the United States which was likely to lead to those consequences. The hon. Member asks me again whether those events in America are likely materially to effect the Customs' and Excise duties of this country. The best answer which I can give him on this point is to state the fact that during the eight weeks ending last Saturday the produce of the Customs and Excise and Stamps—the fixed revenue of the country—was £500,000 more than in the corresponding period before those occurrences. Judging, therefore, of the future from the past, I do not think we have need to be under any anxiety on the subject. Passing from that topic, I must observe that the state in which the House is this evening is certainly a remarkable contrast to that which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire stated to have been its condition on the occasion when the Vote on the Paper Duty was before taken. This certainly is not a languid House; nor is the vote likely to be a sleepy vote. We are told that hon. Members have come down to give freely, and without reference to party considerations, those votes which on mature reflection in their study they may be led to give on the repeal of the paper duty. Why, Sir, I dare say that is the case. At all events, the vote of this night will be one remarkable for the manner in which different conflicting opinions have, without any party object whatever, been brought to concur in a single vote. We are going to have a vote against the repeal of the paper duty by those who on former occasions voted against that repeal, and by those who decidedly and enthusiastically voted for it. We are going to have the same vote given by those who denied the existence of a surplus, and by those who exhibited a wish to diminish the surplus which my right hon. Friend proposed as the result of the financial year. We are going to have the same vote given by those who advocated a repeal or remission of the duty on tea, by those who on former occasions demanded a reduction of the Excise duties, and by those who supported a repeal of the income tax. We are going to have the same vote given by Free-traders and Protectionists. We are going to see every variety of opinion merge into one common vote, and we are told that this is not a party vote. We are told by the right hon. Baronet who has just spoken, and who has just censured what he calls a party manœuvere, that there is nothing of party in this vote. Indeed, on the contrary, we are assured by many of the hon. Members who have spoken in this debate that there is nothing which hon. Gentlemen opposite have at heart so much as to maintain and support the existing Government. Well, Sir, at last we shall come to an end of this long debate; and if we wanted any authority for the opinion that this debate has lasted an unusual time, it is afforded us by the first sentence of the speech of the right hon. Baronet, who stated that he believed he was almost the only Member of the House who had not spoken on this discussion. Therefore, Sir, I may be excused for saying that this has been a long debate, and that hon. Gentlemen have had a full opportunity of making up those independent opinions and uniting them in one harmonious whole which are to characterize the division to-night. But I hope that, in spite of this fortuitous concurrence of discordant atoms in one united vote, hon. Members will remember that we are deciding a most important question of financial regulation; that they will bear in mind all those arguments have been refuted by those who have spoken on this side of the House, and will not be led away by the conflicting, and, I may say, by the unfounded arguments of those who have spoken against the proposition of the Government. Almost every one has concurred that the paper duty is vicious and hurtful in itself and vexatious in its collection. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House have argued, and confirmed that argument by their votes, that this tax ought to be repealed on the earliest occasion on which the finances of the country will allow of its repeal. It has been proved and admitted that the tax is one which not only imposes a burden on the industrial exertions of the country, but is promotive of impediments to any fresh operations in the particular branch of trade on which it is levied. My right hon. Friend has reminded the House that this is the last remnant of an objectionable system of Excise duties; that we are not inaugurating any new system of finance, but only completing a system which has been sanctioned by many of the most competent authorities in former times as well as at the present in all that relates to the commercial transactions of the country. I do, therefore, hope that no extraneous matter—no question of party, independent of the matter at issue—will affect the votes on the division which is about to take place. Relying on the assurance which has been given, that hon. Gentlemen are going to vote free from all party considerations, and on a full and mature consideration of the merits of the case—and believing and being convinced that the merits of the case are clear as the sun at noon day—I confidently look to the result of the division which is to decide the question on which we are now about to pronounce our opinion.

Question put, "That Clause 4, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 296; Noes 281: Majority 15.

List of the AYES.
Abercrombie, R. W. D. Clifford, C. C.
Acton, Sir J. D. Clifford, Col.
Adair, H. E. Clive, G.
Adam, W. P. Cobden, R.
Adeane, H. J. Coke, hon. Col.
Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Alcock, T. Collier, R. P.
Andover, Visct. Coningham, W.
Angerstein, W. Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.
Anson, hon. Captain Craufurd, E. H. J.
Ashley, Lord Crawford, R. W.
Atherton, Sir W. Crossley, F.
Ayrton, A. S. Dalglish, R.
Bagwell, J. Davey, R.
Baines, E. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Baring, H. B. Davie, Col. F.
Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T. Denman, hon. G.
Baring, T. G. Dent, J. D.
Barnes, T. Dillwyn, L. L.
Bass, M. T. Divett, E.
Baxter, W. E. Dodson, J. G.
Bazley, T. Douglas, Sir C.
Beale, S. Duff, M. E. G.
Beamish, F. B. Duke, Sir J.
Beaumont, W. B. Dunbar, Sir W.
Beaumont, S. A. Duncombe, T.
Bellew, R. M. Dundas, F.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Berkeley, Col. F. W. F. Dunlop, A. M.
Bethell, Sir R. Dutton, hon. R. H.
Biddulph, Col. Elcho, Lord
Biggs, J. Ellice, E.
Black, A. Enfield, Visct.
Blencowe, J. G. Ennis, J.
Bonham-Carter, J. Euston, Earl of
Botfield, B. Evans, T. W.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Ewart, W.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Ewart, J. C.
Bright, J. Ewing, H. E. C.
Briscoe, J. I. Fenwick, H.
Bristow, A. R. Ferguson, Col.
Brown, J. Fermoy, Lord
Browne, Lord J. T. Finlay, A. S.
Bruce, Lord E. Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W.
Bruce, H. A. Foley, J. H.
Buchanan, W. Foley, H. W.
Buckley, Gen. Foljambe, F. J. S.
Buller, J. W. Forster, C.
Buller, Sir A. W. Forster, W. E.
Bury, Visct. Foster, W. O.
Butler, C. S. Fortescue, hon. F. D.
Buxton, C. Fortescue, C. S.
Caird, J. Fox, W. J.
Calthorpe, hn. F. H. W. G. Freeland, H. W.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Gaskell, J. M.
Carnegie, hon. C. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Castlerosse, Visct. Gifford, Earl of
Cavendish, hon. W. Gilpin, C.
Cavendish, Lord G. Gladstone, rt. hon. W.
Childers, H. C. E. Glyn, G. C.
Cholmeley, Sir M. J. Glyn, G. G.
Churchill, Lord A. S. Goldsmid, Sir F. H.
Clay, J. Gordon, C. W.
Gower, hon. F. L. Morris, D.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Norris, J. T.
Greenall, G. North, F.
Greenwood, J. O'Brien, P.
Gregson, S. O'Connell, Capt. D.
Grenfell, C. P. Ogilvy, Sir J.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Onslow, G.
Grosvenor, Earl Osborne, R. B.
Gurdon, B. Owen, Sir H. O.
Gurney, J. H. Packe, G. H.
Gurney, S. Padmore, R.
Hadfield, G. Paget, C.
Hanbury, R. Paget, Lord A.
Handley, J. Paget, Lord C.
Hankey, T. Palmerston, Visct.
Hanmer, Sir J. Paxton, Sir J.
Harcourt, G. G. Pease, H.
Hardcastle, J. A. Peel, rt. hon. F.
Hartington, Marq. of Pigott, Serjt.
Hayter, rt. hn. Sir W. G. Pilkington, J.
Headlam, rt. hon. T. E. Pinney, Col.
Heneage, G. F. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Henley, Lord Ponsonby, hon. A.
Hervey, Lord A. Portman, hn. W. H. B.
Hodgkinson, G. Pritchard, J.
Hodgson, K. D. Proby, Lord
Holland, E. Pryse, E. L.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Puller, C. W. G.
Hutt, rt. hon. W. Raynham, Visct.
Ingham, R. Ricardo, J. L.
Jackson, W. Ricardo, O.
Jervoise, Sir J. C. Rich, H.
Johnstone, Sir J. Robartes, T. J. A.
Kershaw, J. Robertson, D.
King, hon. P. J. L. Roebuck, J. A.
Kinglake, A. W. Rothschild, Baron L. de
Kinglake, J. A. Rothschild, Baron M. de
Kingscote, Col. Roupell, W.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Russell, Lord J.
Langston, J. H. Russell, H.
Lawson, W. Russell, A.
Layard, A. H. Russell, Sir W.
Leatham, E. A. St. Aubyn, J.
Lee, W. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
Levinge, Sir R. Scholefield, W.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir G. C. Scott, Sir W.
Lewis, H. Scrope, G. P.
Lindsay, W. S. Seymour, Sir M.
Locke, J. Seymour, H. D.
Lockhart, A. E. Seymour, W. D.
Lowe, rt. hon. R. Shafto, R. D.
Lytton, rt. hon. Sir G. E. L. B. Shelley, Sir J. V.
Sheridan, R. B.
M'Cann, J. Sheridan, H. B.
Mackie, J. Sidney, T.
Mackinnon, W. A. Slaney, R. A.
Mackinnon, W. A. Smith, J. B.
Mainwaring, T. Smith, M. T.
Marsh, M. H. Smith, A.
Marshall, W. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W. M.
Martin, P. W.
Martin, J. Staniland, M.
Matheson, A. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Matheson, Sir J. Stansfeld, J.
Mellor, J. Steel, J.
Merry, J. Stuart, Col.
Mildmay, H. F. Sykes, Col. W. H.
Miller, W. Thompson, H. S.
Milnes, R. M. Thornhill, W. P.
Mitchell, T. A. Tite, W.
Moffatt, G. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Moncreiff, rt. hon. J. Traill, G.
Monson, hon. W. J. Trelawny, Sir J. S.
Turner, J. A. White, J.
Tynte, Col. K. Wickham, H. W.
Vane, Lord H. Wilcox, B. M'Ghie
Verney, Sir H. Williams, W.
Villiers, rt. hon. C. P. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Vivian, H. H. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Vyner, R. A. Woods, H.
Walter, J. Worsley, Lord
Warner, E. Wrightson, W. B.
Watkins, Col. L. Wyld, J.
Wemyss, J. H. E. Wyvill, M.
Western, S.
Westhead, J. P. B. TELLERS.
Whalley, G. H. Brand, hon. H.
Whitbread, S. Knatchbull-Hugessen E.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Dalkeith, Earl of
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Damer, S. D.
Arbuthnott, hon. G. Dawson, R. P.
Archdall, Capt. M. Dickson, Col.
Astell, J. H. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Bailey, C. Drax, J. S. W. S. E. D.
Baillie, H. J. Du Cane, C.
Ball, E. Duncombe, hon. A.
Baring, A. H. Duncombe, hon. W. E.
Baring, T. Dunkellin, Lord
Barttelot, Major Dunne, Col.
Bathurst, A. A. Du Pre, C. G.
Bathurst, F. H. East, Sir J. B.
Beach, W. W. B. Edwards, Major
Bective, Earl of Egerton, Sir P. G.
Beecroft, G. S. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Egerton, hon. W.
Bentinck, G. C. Elmley, Viscount
Benyon, R. Elphinstone, Sir J. D.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Esmonde, J.
Bernard, hon. Col. Estcourt, rt. hon. T. H. S.
Bernard, T. T. Farquhar, Sir M.
Blackburn, P. Farrer, J.
Blake, J. Fellowes, E.
Booth, Sir R. G. Fergusson, Sir J.
Bovill, W. Filmer, Sir E.
Bowyer, Sir G. FitzGerald, W. R. S.
Boyd, J. Forde, Col.
Brady, J. Forester, rt. hon. Col.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Forster, Sir G.
Brooks, E. Franklyn, G. W.
Bruce, Major C. French, Col.
Bruen, H. Galway, Visct.
Burghley, Lord Gard, R. S.
Burke, Sir T. J. George, J.
Cairns, Sir H. M'C. Getty, S. G.
Calcutt, F. M'N. Gilpin, Col.
Cartwright, Col. Gladstone, Capt.
Cave, S. Goddard, A. L.
Cecil, Lord R. Gore, J. R. O.
Clive, hon. G. W. Gore, W. R. O.
Close, M. C. Graham, Lord W.
Cobbett, J. M. Greaves, E.
Cobbold, J. C. Greene, J.
Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B. Gregory, W. H.
Codrington, Sir W. Greville, Col. F.
Cole, hon. H. Grey de Wilton, Visct.
Cole, hon. J. L. Griffith, C. D.
Collins, T. Grogan, Sir E.
Conolly, T. Haliburton, T. C.
Corbally, M. E. Hamilton, Lord C.
Cross, R. A. Hamilton, J. H.
Cubitt, Mr. Alderman Hamilton, Visct.
Cubitt, G. Hanbury, hon. Capt.
Curzon, Visct. Hardy, G.
Hardy, J, Miles, Sir W.
Hartopp, E. B. Miller, T. J.
Hassard, M. Monsell, rt. hon. W.
Heathcote, Sir W. Montagu, Lord R.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Montgomery, Sir G.
Hennessy, J. P. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Henniker, Lord Morgan, O.
Herbert, rt. hon. H. A. Morgan, hon. Major
Heygate, Sir F. W. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Hill, Lord E. Mundy, W.
Hill, hon. R. C. Murray, W.
Hodgson, R. Naas, Lord
Holmesdale, Visct. Newdegate, C. N.
Hood, Sir A. A. Newport, Visct.
Hope, G. W. Nicol, W.
Hopwood, J. T. Noel, hon. G. J.
Hornby, W. H. North, Col.
Horsfall, T. B. Northcote, Sir S. H.
Horsman, rt. hon. E. O'Donoghue, The
Hotham, Lord O'Hara, C. W.
Howes, E. Packe, C. W.
Hubbard, J. G. Pakenham, Col.
Humberston, P. S. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Hume, W. W. F. Palk, Sir L.
Hunt, G. W. Palmer, R. W.
Ingestre, Visct. Papillon, P. O.
Jermyn, Earl Parker, Maj. W.
Jervis, Capt. Patten, Col. W.
Johnson, Capt. J. S. W. Paull, H.
Johnstone, hon. H. B. Peacocke, G. M. W.
Johnstone, J. J. H. Peel, Sir R.
Jolliffe, rt. hon. Sir W. G. H. Peel, rt. hon. G.
Pevensey, Visct.
Jones, D. Phillips, G. L.
Kekewich, S. T. Potts, G.
Kelly, Sir F. Powell, W. T. R.
Kendall, N. Powys, P. L.
Kennard, R. W. Pugh, D.
Ker, D. S. Quinn, P.
King, J. K. Ramsden, Sir J. W.
Knatchbull, W. F. Redmond, J. E.
Knight, F. W. Repton, G. W. J.
Knightley, R. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Knox, Col. Rogers, J. J.
Knox, hon. Maj. S. Rolt, J.
Lacon, Sir E. Rowley, hon. R. T.
Lanigan, J. Russell, F. W.
Leader, N. P. Salt, T.
Lefroy, A. Sclater-Booth, G.
Legh, W. J. Selwyn, C. J.
Leighton, Sir B. Seymer, H. K.
Lennox, Lord G. G. Shirley, E. P.
Leslie, C. P. Sibthorp. Maj.
Leslie, W. Smith, M.
Lever, J. O. Smith, A.
Liddell, hon. H. G. Smith, S. G.
Lindsay, hon. Gen. Somerset, Col.
Long, R. P. Somes, J.
Longfield, R. Spooner, R.
Lopes, Sir M. Stacpoole, W.
Lovaine, Lord Stanhope, J. B.
Lowther, hon. Col. Stanhope, Lord
Lowther, Capt. Stanley, Lord
Lyall, G. Stirling, W.
Lygon, hon. F. Steuart, A.
Macaulay, K. Stuart, Lieut. Col. W.
Macdonogh, F. Stracey, Sir H.
MacEvoy, E. Sturt, H. G.
M'Mahon, P. Sturt, N.
Malcolm, J. W. Sullivan, M.
Malins, R. Talbot, C. R. M.
Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. Talbot, hon. W. C.
Maxwell, hon. Col. Thynne, Lord E.
Thynne, Lord H. Watlington, J. W. P.
Torrens, R. Way, A. E.
Tottenham, C. Welby, W. E.
Trefusis, hon. C. H. R. Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J. Williams, Col.
Upton, hon. Gen. Woodd, B. T.
Valletort, Visct. Wyndham, hon. H.
Vance, J. Wyndham, hon. P.
Vandeleur, Col. Wynn, Col.
Vansittart, W. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Verner, Sir W. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Walcott, Adm.
Walker, J. R. TELLERS.
Walpole, rt. hon. S. H. Taylor, Col.
Walsh, Sir J. Whitmore, H.

said, that he wished to call the attention of the Committee to the statement made by the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs; that statement he considered prejudicial to the honour and independence of the Irish Members of the House. The noble Lord, he understood, stated that a deputation of Irish Members had applied for an interview with the noble Lord the Prime Minister, on the subject of the Gal way contract. On the part of all the Irish Members with whom he had spoken, he declared that there was no foundation for this statement. They had never thought of asking an interview with the noble Lord; and, under the circumstances, he did not believe that any Irish Members would have attended such an interview. A certain individual, not representing the Irish Members, did have a conversation with the noble Lord at the head of the Government; he (Colonel French) had asked him whether he had made any statement to the noble Lord that might compromise the honour and independence of the Irish Members, and lie (Colonel French) was authorized to state that the report was wholly destitute of foundation.


Perhaps Sir, the Committee will allow me to answer the statement of the hon. Member instead of my noble Friend, as what the hon. Gentleman has said is founded on a communication made to me. My noble Friend did not state that any proposal for a deputation had been authorized by the Irish Members. What passed I will state exactly as it occurred. There is no use in concealing names. Father—that is Mr.—Daly came to me on Saturday, and urged many reasons why the decision of the Government with regard to the Gal way contract should be rescinded. I stated to Mr. Daly that I did not consider him authorized to represent anybody, and declined to enter into any discussion with him about the contract, as I did not consider him the ambassador of the Irish Members in general, or of the Galway Company in particular. I said it was a public question; that the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Gregory) had given notice of a Motion on the subject, and that the question must be discussed publicly in the House of Commons, not privately in my room. Mr. Daly said, if I would not discuss it with him, would I do so with a deputation of Irish Members? I said I did not see that it was a matter between me and the Irish Members, but between the Government and the Galway Company; nor did I see what the Irish Members had to do with it more than to take part in the discussion that must follow on the Motion. Mr. Daly said I was mistaken, because the Irish Members must take some action on the subject. I said "Yes, that action will be on the discussion." Well, Mr. Daly said, "That won't exactly do; I wish to bring a deputation of Irish Members to you on Monday." But Monday I told him was the day appointed for the Budget, and the Galway contract is a different question. I said, "There is no discussion on Monday about the Galway contract. There is no reason why I should receive a deputation on that day, and, moreover, if I were to receive a deputation, I know already everything they could say to me, and I can only tell them what I tell you—namely, that it is a public question to be discussed in the House of Commons, and not in a private room in my house." "Well, but," said Mr. Daly, "I am anxious that you should see thorn on Monday, because they must take action on the subject, and that action must be taken on the Monday evening." "Oh," said I, "I now understand you; and when it is put to me in that way I must, with all deference and respect for the Irish Members, entirely decline seeing any of them." So the matter ended, and that is what I stated to my noble Friend as well as to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I do not know what authority Mr. Daly had for anything which he said, or for his undertaking to bring me a deputation of Irish Members. My noble Friend did not say that he was authorized, and it is for Mr. Daly and the Irish Members to settle this point between them.


said, that no one had a right to go to the noble Lord and act in his name, or in that, he believed, of any other Irish Member. However much he might condemn the conduct of the Go- vernment in reference to the Galway contract, he would have equally opposed the financial measures of the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Contract had been continued. He opposed those measures because he had no confidence, and his constituents had no confidence in the right bon. Gentleman.

Remaining Clauses and the Schedules were then agreed to.

House resumed; Bill reported, as amended, to be considered To-morrow.

House adjourned at half-after One o'clock.