HC Deb 14 April 1864 vol 174 cc972-1063

rose to make the Motion which stood in his name— That the consideration of the Duties upon Sugar be postponed until the House shall have had the opportunity of considering the expediency of the reduction of the Duty upon Malt. In rising to submit this Motion, he should first thank the hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. Crawford), who had kindly given way to him on the present occasion. He must also thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the courtesy he had shown him in enabling him to bring on the discussion of this important question that evening. In venturing to submit this subject to the consideration of the House, he only wished that it had been placed in abler hands than his, and that it had been brought forward by his hon. Friend the Member for East Suffolk, who had always taken so active a part on that subject in the House. However, it was thought that one who was not identified with the former Government in that House, as his hon. Friend had been, and who represented an agricultural district and a barley-growing country, should be selected to make the Motion which stood in his name. In doing so he ventured to state distinctly that his proposition was one to take a part of the surplus which the Chancellor of the Exchequer now had at his disposal, and to apply it to the reduction of the malt duty instead of applying it to the reduction of the sugar duties. The claims of sugar in comparison with those of malt he had no doubt would be fairly and fully discussed. He could safely say that he approached the discussion with no party feeling. It was no party question, but one bearing on the general interests of the country. It was equally a question for agriculturists and consumers, the latter of whom he believed would get the greatest share of the benefit, which might accrue from the change he contemplated. The measure would also unfetter a branch of trade greatly shackled by the very heavy taxation now imposed upon it, and which those sharing his opinions thought ought to be removed. He would venture to say one word to his hon. Friend the Member for the North Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Morritt), who had a Motion on the paper somewhat similar to that of his (Colonel Barttelot's). He had interposed his Motion in no hostile spirit to that of his hon. Friend. They were both unanimous upon this question. But it had been the desire of those acting with him to avail themselves of the earliest opportunity of placing to their credit some portion of that surplus which the right hon. Gentleman had now at his disposal. With those few remarks he ventured to draw attention to the claims which, he thought, malt had on their consideration.

He would first remind the House and the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he had some short time ago moved as an Amendment to the Motion of the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Sheridan) the following Resolution:— That this House is unwilling to proceed upon any Motion respecting the surrender of the large amount of public revenue which is yielded by the duty upon Fire Insurances until it shall have learned the probable state of receipt and charge for the coming financial year, and until, if there shall then appear to be a likelihood of a surplus income available for the remission of taxes, it shall have had an opportunity of considering together the several claims for reduction, and of determining in what manner such a surplus may best be disposed of, with a view to the general relief and welfare of the people. It was with regard to that Resolution that he now called the attention of the House to the claims of the taxpayers. And he would first ask the question, which would benefit the community most, the reduction of the malt or of the sugar duties? In the first place, the reduction of the malt duty—particularly with a surplus in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which might give them a reasonable hope that it might be reduced further in future years, with a view to ft total abolition— would show to the people that the House regarded no class interest at all, but looked to the general benefit of the labouring population. He had no hesitation in saying that no reduction such as was proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the sugar duties, though it might benefit a certain class, would benefit to the same degree or extent the population generally as the reduction of the malt tax. The proposed reduction would not reach the general consumers, but would go into the pockets of a limited class. He would appeal to those connected with the rural districts, whether the remission now proposed to be made on sugar would enable the small shopkeeper to sell his goods at such a reduced price as would benefit the labouring man in the least visible degree? Although sugar had still some of the war duties of 1854, nevertheless those duties had been materially decreased of late years. They did not stand in the same position as they did many years ago. Formerly there was a great difference made in the duties on East and West India sugars. But in 1854 the duties were made uniform. In 1840 the East India sugar duty was £1 13s. 7d. per cwt., whilst the West India sugar duty was £1 5s. 2d, What were these duties at the present moment. They had been very much reduced; whereas the tax on malt had greatly increased since its first imposition; and if they went back to 1703, they would find that the tax on malt had increased from 6d. to 2s. 8½ d£. During the Crimean war the tax no doubt was 4s. per bushel, but the consumption of malt was very greatly reduced in consequence. The consumption of malt had not kept pace with the population of the country. In early years a vast quantity of good beer was drunk in this country, and he appealed to the hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for Derby (Mr. Bass), who he was sure would endorse his opinion, that a vast quantity of miserable and horrible stuff was poured down the throats of the labouring population. The hon. Member shook his head; but he knew well that he could not rise and state in his place in that House that such was not the fact. And not only was it the fact, but that also with the reduction of the sugar duties worse beer still would be brewed. A vast amount of sugar was used in all our breweries (he did not include the hon. Member's), because it could be used cheaper than the best malt. A vast amount of sugar and molasses was also used in the manufacture of whisky; for whilst the best Islay and Campbeltown whiskies were made from malt, the inferior distillers used a great quantity of molasses, because they could make whisky cheaper from it than they could from malt at its present high rate of duty. He was not going to say that with a reduction of the malt duty there would not necessarily be a reduction in the consumption of spirits, and therefore in the revenue derived from spirits, but he thought no man would say that if such were to be the result it would not be a great blessing to the general community; for the use of spirits was the greatest curse we had in this country. They had been invited to discuss the bearing of the proposed reduction in the malt duty on the relative taxation of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Now, suppose the tax were taken off malt, and the English consumer was the person principally benefited by it, what then? They must not consider the amount of the reduction per head, but the general taxation of the three countries— they must see whether or not they were fairly taxed in other respects—or why not give to England the benefit of the reduction of the tax which she now principally paid? The Returns showed an increased consumption of malt in Ireland, and he found in Sir Morton Peto's book on Taxation, that the consumption of malt in Ireland had increased from 1,691,157 bushels in 1857 to 2,513,760 bushels in 1862; showing a great increase in the consumption of malt in that country, and showing also that the people of that country were not so wedded to whisky but that they would drink good beer when they could get it. He asked the House how it was with the Customs duty on cotton. The Customs duty on cotton was repealed at the instance of the cotton manufacturers; were they to be found all over England, Ireland, and Scotland? So far from their being found all over the three kingdoms, they were almost confined to Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire; he considered that that which would benefit the whole of the community was a proper and fair tax to take off. He was anxious that all manufactures should, if possible, be relieved from taxation; but agriculture ought to be relieved equally with them. Those who represented agricultural districts thought they had formed a strong bond of union with the manufacturers. They had sympathised with and assisted them in their distress, and they believed they deserved every thing that had been done for them, and all the praise that had been bestowed on them. That being so, that whatever the tax might be the remission of which would most benefit the community, that was the tax which was the most proper and fair to be reduced, and he believed the reduction of the malt tax would benefit the whole community. Let them first consider the subject in the light of a landlord's question. In this view it would be most beneficial. A tenant could cultivate the land better if the tax were removed, and a great advantage would be indirectly given to the landowner, whilst the tenant would also derive a direct benefit if he could use his produce in such a way as to turn it to the best account. He need hardly appeal to those hon. Members who farmed their own land to say what a direct advantage it would be to a tenant if he could crop his land in a manner that would be most productive to him. The tax on malt caused them to depart from the usual rotation of crops, because if they thought they could not grow good malting barley — they would not grow inferior barley — they had recourse to wheat and oats, preferring crops that might not always prove remunerative to so uncertain a crop as barley, particularly in a bad season. Besides benefiting the landlord and the tenant-farmer, it would also benefit the labourer, by enabling him to have pure wholesome beer to drink in his own cottage, which was the natural beverage of every Englishman, instead of the unwholesome beverage that was retailed at the public-house. At harvest time hon. Members knew that the men preferred beer, and they had a better chance of getting their work done by giving the men beer than by sending them out tea and sugar. Every one who could do so now brewed his own beer, and the effect of the remission of the malt tax would be to enable every man who had a good copper to brew good wholesome beer at 4d. per gallon—a very superior article to that now to be had in the country pot-house for 4d. per quart. He did not say that taking off the tax would prevent men from going to the beer-shop; but he believed that if they could have a good wholesome beverage at home, many of them would abstain from going to the pot-house, and a stop would be put to a corresponding amount of crime and misery at present existing amongst the lower classes. "What harm, he asked, had been done to the revenue by the remission of the duties on glass, bricks, soap, paper, and hops? Was not the revenue more flourishing than ever? And he thought the Government should so control the expenditure as to be able to remove a tax which pressed so heavily and grievously on the agricultural interest. It had been said that if a portion of the malt tax was taken off there would not be a proportionate increase in the consumption, and the history of the beer duty had been appealed to as an argument in support of that proposition. The beer duty was taken off in 1829, at which time the malt tax realized £3,026,126; but in 1831, after the beer tax had been removed, the malt duty rose to £4,257,781, being an increase of £1,231,655; which showed the malt tax was elastic and would bear reduction, and give, at the same time, a largely increased revenue. He did not for a moment pretend to say that if they reduced the duty one-half there would be an immediate increase of a very large amount; but in the course of a very short time there would be a rebound the same as they had witnessed with regard to every other tax. He might be told it was very easy for him to make that statement, but that it was much more difficult to prove; but one thing he thought was certain, that if they could reduce the tax on malt so that inferior barley might be made into wholesome beer, the injurious and deleterious articles now used in the manufacture of bad beer would be to a great extent superseded. The malt tax was a most expensive tax to collect, but he was not going to enter into that question; but if the general consumers paid four or five times as much as the tax when collected, it surely was an argument why a part if not the whole of the tax should be taken off. A good deal had been said about the Hertfordshire election; all he wished to say about it was that the electors had a right to elect whomsoever they pleased, They ought not to be dictated to, and because a Member was rejected at one place that was no reason why he might not be returned or rejected at another, whatever influence was brought to bear and whatever might be said about it. He was informed that at the recent election for that county large placards were posted on the omnibuses and cabs containing the words, "Cowper and the repeal of the Malt Tax." His belief was that the hon. Gentleman used that which he thought would do him the most good, and he believed the addresses of the two candidates were so equally significant in that respect, that there was little to choose between them, and it was difficult to say which would have gone the furthest with regard to the malt tax. It was, therefore, impossible to say whether the election was lost or won by raising the cry on this question. The Herts election had nothing to do with it, nor with the Budget. He was surprised at the leading journal, in noticing the debate that was coming on on the malt tax, using such expressions as those he was about to read, because he had hitherto been willing to believe that that journal fairly and honestly represented the case to the country. That journal said, "The glorious prospect of cheap beer fires the bucolic imagination and inspires with delightful visions the brains of the coldest agriculturist." Now, he did riot know its meaning here—but if the House came to a Resolution to provide beer at the public expense for the whole of England, he could understand his agricultural friends running to the beer barrel; but he did not understand that a Motion for the repeal or partial repeal of the malt tax would inspire such views in the brains of any agriculturist; but they might think, that with a reduction of the duty, they might be able to supply themselves with that beverage which he believed they all desired. Upon what principle could the tax be maintained? Surely not upon the principles of free trade, because the tax had been condemned by the highest authorities. When the Corn Laws were repealed Sir Robert Peel said, "If the Corn Laws are repealed the malt tax cannot be sustained;" and the hon. Member for Rochdale used the same, or nearly the same, words at a meeting he attended in the Midland counties. But the malt tax still existed; and unless some determined action was taken he (Colonel Barttelot) feared it would continue, because it was such a convenient tax, but one that could not be supported on any other principle than that it was a revenue tax. Surely, at the present time, and with the vast resources of this country, the House would not say that the tax should not be repealed on account of the money it returned, and that nothing was to be done to remove a tax which was considered one of the greatest injustice. He would not, however, detain the House longer. He had run his horse as straight at the fence as he could. He believed he was on a good horse; but it was for the House to say if he was to win the race that day. Should he, however, be beaten, his horse would "come again," for he was not likely to be bowled out of time. He believed that in introducing the Motion he had not done an unwise or foolish thing: he did not wish to set one party against the other; what he desired was, to elicit the opinion of the whole House upon a subject which affected the whole community—not the barley-grower only, but the labouring man and all who consumed beer; and he believed that the reduction of the malt tax would be far more beneficial to the community than the reduction of the sugar duties. He had, therefore, no hesitation in asking the House to appropriate the Chancellor of the Exchequer's surplus rather towards the reduction of the malt tax. The hon. and gallant Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.


said, he had much pleasure in seconding the Motion, because it afforded him an opportunity of stating fully his opinion with regard to the malt duty. He did not speak as a landowner or as an occupier of land, but as one who regarded the question as it affected the labouring man. He had often heard the labouring man's cause quoted in that House, he was afraid sometimes for party purposes; and, at the same time, he had often seen that as soon as the party question had been disposed of, the labouring man had been entirely forgotten. When he first entered that House the question under consideration was, whether Lord Derby's administration should be dismissed or not, and he heard several Members on the then Opposition side of the House stand up and in very vehement and just terms urge the cause of the labouring man. It was said that the labouring man was forgotten, and that there was an iniquity in the mode in which our taxes were imposed, and that the burden was laid more heavily in proportion on the poor man than it was on the rich. He was not sure that the present Lord Chief Justice was not one of those who made a very animated appeal to the House on the subject. The consequence was that Lord Derby's Government was dismissed, and he was sorry to say the labouring man was dismissed also. Upon a more recent occasion, when Lord Derby's Administration was again in peril, he remembered hearing several hon. Members speaking on the Reform Bill introduced by the noble Earl's Government urge that the labouring man had been forgotten, and he believed it was the late Sir James Graham who said that as the labouring man paid very nearly the whole of the interest on the National Debt, he ought to have been more considered in that Bill. He (Mr. Cobbett) quite concurred in that opinion; and he considered it wrong that the labouring man's case should not have been considered in 1832, and the taxes paid by him lightened, and the taxes on gentlemen a little more heavily imposed. He also thought that although Lord Derby's Reform Bill ought to have been read a second time, it was a Bill in which the labouring man had been too much forgotten. He felt sure the House of that day would have given him something more in Committee than was proposed in the Bill; but, unfortunately, the Liberal side of the House thought it better to stifle the Bill by not reading it a second time. He cordially joined his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Barttelot) in asking the House to postpone dealing with the sugar duties until they had had an opportunity of considering that iniquitous impost which placed on the poor man so heavy a burden as a tax which doubled the price of the beer he drank. This was no party question; and if it had been he should have most probably voted for it, for sometimes one was compelled to vote even upon a party question; but he should not have put himself so prominently forward as to almost volunteer to second the Motion, if he had thought it was brought on as a party question and for a party purpose. He did not design it as a party question, nor did he believe it was so designed by his hon. and gallant Friend. His case was the case of the poor man. He was not a landowner, and scarcely a land occupier, but such as he was he had never ventured to grow barley. He seconded the Motion from his intimacy with the condition of the labouring man, both in the factories in the North, and at the plough in the South. He had inquired into his condition on all occasions when he thought he could gain information, and he believed he was capable of describing the labouring man's cause. The effect of the malt tax was more than to double what he considered to the labouring man, one of the necessaries of life, because they had to pay about 8s. per bushel for malt, and 4s. per bushel for barley, and, in addition to that, the profits of the brewer and the publican had to be added. There were many persons, however, who argued that beer was not a necessary of life; but he hoped there were not many of that opinion in that House. He remembered hearing the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckingham shire distinctly avow on one occasion, and also the right hon. Baronet the Member for Hertfordshire (Sir E. Bulwer Lytton), do the same, that beer was a necessary of life, and it afforded him much gratification to hear two such eminent men make that declaration. He had frequently visited the working man at his work, and he knew from conversation with him much about him, and he could give the House many instances in which it was perfectly clear to him that the working man suffered very much when he was deprived of his necessary quantity of wholesome beer. He himself knew an instance of a labouring man, of good character, with a wife and three children, who was obliged to give up his work because he could not afford to purchase a quart of porter a day, which he found was necessary for his strength, in order that he might keep up to his work with younger men. He would not trouble the House by going more minutely into the question, but he assured the House that many cases had come to his knowledge in which he had seen the greatest detriment to the working man caused by not having the support of beer. He did not believe the working man could get on with his work and do justice to his master unless in addition to his bread and his piece of bacon, he had also something to sustain him in his work. For want of beer he had known instances of men reduced to so low a condition that what would otherwise have been a trifling illness had carried them off. He recently read in a Sussex newspaper a report of an inquest on a labouring man who dropped down dead while returning from his work through Cowdray Park. The verdict was, "Died from natural causes, accelerated by want." Now, "accelerated by want,'' if it meant anything, meant starvation. The post-mortem examination showed that the man was at work without a sufficiency of food. The evidence of the wife was that he had been ill; that he had then gone to work; that as he did not return home at the time expected she thought what had taken place, and went to seek him across Cowdray Park, to the parish of Heyshot, and found him dead by the roadside. It happened that this was the parish of the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden). He (Mr. Cobbett) consequently mentioned the case to the hon. Member, who said he knew the man, and that if he or his wife had applied for assistance, nourishment would probably have been given him in the shape of beer. Reducing the duties on tea and sugar was not what the labouring man wanted. The labouring man ought not to depend on tea and sugar. There was no nutriment in tea or sugar, and could not be said to be of much value as food. He believed, on the other hand, that they were very expensive, and considering that the fire had to be kept up both in winter and summer for the preparation of this tea, he thought they would in the long run cost more to the labourer than if he contented himself with beer of his own brewing. He had been frequently applied to by the parish doctor for beer, port wine, mutton and beef tea, for the relief of labourers suffering from severe illness; but never in the course of his life had application been made to him for tea and sugar. He regarded that fact as a convincing proof that beer was a necessary of life to the labouring man. Supposing the fact established that beer was a necessary of life, what sort of beer was it that the labouring man got? In towns, tolerably good; but in the remote parts of the country, the beer which the brewers supplied was excessively bad. He knew this personally from having walked part of the Home Circuit in Sussex, Surrey, and Kent. On one or two occasions, he and his friend had taken lunch in a public-house, and not being able to drink the beer, had been obliged to take gin and water as a substitute. But this was the sort of beer that was supplied to the labouring man about the country. Another bad effect of the malt tax was that it drove the working man to the beer-house or public-house. As those who lived in the country knew, nothing was more destructive to a labouring man than the habit of going to the public-house. If the malt tax were repealed, he would be able to brew at home, and drink the beer with his family. The subject merited their attention, if that were the only argument in its favour, because the policy which compelled a labouring man to frequent the beer shops and public-houses was a most destructive one. Formerly, as he had stated a short time since, the labouring man brewed his own beer, and if his wages at present were higher he would do so still. If they could do anything which would have the effect of again inducing the labourer to brew his own beer, they would do more towards regenerating the working part of the population than could be done in any other way. He believed that a large number of people, especially those with incomes ranging from £500 to £1,500 a year, would receive more advantage from the repeal of the malt duty than they would from the reduction of the income tax by a penny. He seconded the Motion of the hon. Member for West Sussex, because he regarded it as the first step towards a total abolition of the tax. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had now a million and a half of surplus at his disposal, and he proposed to apply a portion of it towards the reduction of the sugar duties; but, in his opinion, the right hon. Gentleman could not do better than commence the reduction of the malt tax, and make provision for taking off the whole in four or five years' time.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the consideration of the Duties upon Sugar be postponed until the House shall have had the opportunity of considering the expediency of the reduction of the Duty upon Malt," — (Colonel Barttelot,) —instead thereof.


(who rose with several other hon. Members) said, that being a new Member, he felt indebted to the kindness and courtesy of the House for the opportunity of addressing it; but he felt that the House was so well informed upon all the points relating to the question under consideration, that it was scarcely possible for him to afford any information with which the House was not already acquainted. Having, however, the honour to represent a county which produced a large quantity of barley, he was anxious, in promising his cordial support to the Motion of the hon. Member for "West Sussex, to offer one or two remarks on the subject. He should have been glad if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been able so to frame his Budget as, consistent with the efficiency of the defences of the country and the honour and welfare of the nation, to have introduced a measure for the repeal of the Malt Tax, or, at any rate, for its immediate reduction, with an assurance that, as far as his influence went, any future surplus of revenue should be devoted to the reduction and ultimate repeal of that duty. The right hon. Gentleman, in his financial statement, had done him the honour of making a personal allusion to him, the good taste of which—or the contrary—he would leave to the opinion of the House. In referring to the repeal of the Malt Tax, the right hon. Gentleman had stated that he (Mr. Surtees) did not perceive any difficulty which lay in the way of its removal. He would now remind the right hon. Gentleman that where there was a will there was a way. The right hon. Gentleman, however, did not possess the will, or he would not have abandoned one million and a quarter of revenue by the abolition of the Paper Duty in 1860. He had not the will, or he would not have abandoned under the French Treaty of Commerce above a million of revenue. He had not the will, or he would now devote the surplus of revenue at his disposal to the object which was so anxiously desired by many of Her Majesty's subjects. He (Mr. Surtees) confessed that he was not a little astonished, remembering the recent financial measures with regard to paper and the French Treaty of Commerce, to hoar the right hon. Gentleman say that, "in its importance to the comforts of the people, sugar might be said to be next to corn." Why, then, did not the right hon. Gentleman reduce the duty on sugar in 1860, instead of reducing the duties on paper and on wines? Adding together the amount of the Paper Duty, £1,250,000, the amount sacrificed under the French Treaty, £1,090,000, the present surplus of £2,500,000, the drawback on beer and malt, £220,000, and the expense of collecting revenue, the House would find that the result was a total of between £5,000,000 and £6,000,000. Therefore, when the right hon. Gentleman said that he (Mr. Surtees) saw no difficulty in the way of the repeal of the Malt Tax, he was much mistaken. He confessed that he did see a great difficulty in the way of the repeal of the Malt Tax, and that difficulty was the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself. The right hon. Gentleman, speaking of the Hertfordshire election, alluded in complimentary terms to his hon. opponent. With those sentiments he cordially agreed. But, who was his opponent? He was a near relation of the right hon. Member for the Borough of Hertford, a Member of Her Majesty's Government (Mr. Cowper), of whose presence on more than one occasion during his canvass he had the advantage; he was also a near connection of the noble Viscount at the head of the Government. And what did his hon. Opponent say in his address respecting the Malt Tax? He said— I should vote for the repeal of the Malt Tax, in preference to that of any other. Looking forward to the ultimate abolition of this tax, I should gladly hail any measure by which for the time its pressure upon agriculture might be mitigated. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would admit that it was a legitimate object to endeavour to obtain relief from this tax—a tax which, since the British farmer had been compelled to compete with the producers of corn from all parts of the world, was felt to be most unjust in principle, as well as burdensome and oppressive in its operation. Suppose that a maltster bought four quarters of the best barley, which when converted into malt would supply the brewer with the saccharine principle that!required as completely as five quarters of malt made from inferior barley, the total cost of the four quarters of best barley and five quarters of inferior barley being about the same. Now, as each quarter of malt must pay a duty of £1 1s. 8½d., did it not follow that the maltster would prefer purchasing the best barley, because he naturally chose to pay only four times £1 1s. 8½d., instead of paying five times that sum, which he would have to do if he bought the five quarters of inferior barley? The inferior barley, therefore, was neglected, and consequently depreciated in value. The Malt Tax fettered capital and restricted trade, and consequently depreciated the value of barley; because, notwithstanding the malt credits, which were very short, unless the maltster could sell his malt soon after it was made, which frequently was not possible (for brewers were not always buyers, and frequently refrained from buying malt until about the time that the duty was payable), he would be obliged to advance out of his capital the amount required by the Excise Officers; or, if he had no spare capital, he was often obliged to dispose of a portion of his malt at any sacrifice in order to be able to pay the duty. This often affected the value of the malt held in stock by other maltsters. The Malt Tax also caused a mo- nopoly, and thus depreciated the value of barley. He believed there were not in 1862 above 6,100 licensed maltsters in England, Ireland, and Scotland; and when the restrictions caused by the Excise Laws were considered, it was only astonishing that there were so many. On behalf of the consumer, as well as of the producer, he said that if the Malt Tax were repealed and the licence abolished, thousands of persons would come into the market and purchase small quantities of barley for the purpose of making their own malt, and brewing their own beer with pure malt and hops; and that important article barley would then be brought to a free and unfettered market, which, on every principle of freedom in trade, and on every principle of justice, ought to be permitted. He begged to offer to the House his grateful thanks for the kindness and forbearance with which it had listened to him.


said, he had presided for several years in his own neighbourhood over an association of tenant-farmers, comprising some of the most intelligent farmers in the Midland counties. Now, there was no class of Her Majesty's subjects more patriotic and more willing to bear their fair share of taxation than the farmers of England. As a body he was sure they would repudiate all claim to special immunities or privileges for their own class. All they desired was, to be put on the same footing as other interests, and that the same principle of free trade which had been so happily adopted with regard to commerce and manufactures should be extended to agriculture. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his recent financial statement, laid down the proposition that the form of our duties should be such as would least interfere with the natural course of trade, and would be least open to the charge of offering to the producer a premium for doing something different from that which he would do if there were no duty at all. Now, he thought that the malt tax was in direct opposition to the principle here laid down by the right hon. Gentleman, because the tax did interfere with the ordinary course of the farmer's trade, and compelled him to produce that which he would not produce if there were no duty. A short extract from a letter addressed to him by an intelligent farmer would illustrate this statement. The writer said — Respecting the derangements of agriculture caused by the tax on malt, we all know that it has a bad effect upon our course of cropping. Barley would be more extensively grown if the crop in the Midland counties were a safe one. A good deal of our soil being strong, and a large portion of the crop now grown being always of second-class character, it goes for grinding, and not for malting; and on account of the risk of the crop, you know that more wheat is grown than would or ought to be. My own farm is a specimen of many; the land is too strong for first-class barley, but I could grow a good fair sample, and if I could sell it for malting I should grow more than I do instead of wheat. I plough 300 acres, and if the trade were unfettered, I should sow quite sixty acres with barley. Now, I seldom grow more than twenty-five acres annually, and the other thirty-five I sow with spring wheat. In his opinion the representatives of agriculture in this House had neglected their duty in not bringing this question sooner before the House. Had they done so, he thought they might have adduced reasons for the reduction of the tax which it would have been impossible to resist. Every one knew that for a man to cultivate a farm up to the standard of the present day required a considerable amount of capital, great industry, and no small amount of intelligence; yet there was no calling which at present offered so small a return as farming did for this outlay of skill and capital. During the last few years the profits of the farmers had been unusually small, and it was not, therefore, surprising that they should now rise up as one man to protest against the injustice to which they were subject. He trusted that the House would not refuse to consider their case, and would apply to agriculture the same principles which had been applied to trade and commerce. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the other evening, said— I find that if I select several years in which Parliament has with firm unsparing hand addressed itself to the business of liberating commerce, those operations have been followed by striking success. And he (Mr. John Peel) believed that if the same liberal policy were extended to agriculture in this instance the same results would follow. It might be that at this the eleventh hour the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be unwilling to interfere with his financial arrangements, and the House hesitate to disappoint the expectations which had been held out of certain reductions in the income tax and other matters; but he hoped that the farmer would know that he had had a fail-consideration given to his claims, and that the right hon. Gentleman, if unable to give him any relief in the present year, would, at all events, give him an assurance that any future surplus should be applied to relieve him from a portion of the burden under which the industry in which he was engaged now languished.


said, there was one point on which every hon. Member was agreed, and that was that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had a surplus to dispose of; and he (Mr. Stanhope) thought he should be able to show, by contrasting the claims of malt with the claims of sugar, that malt had a prior claim for a remission of duty. By the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they had a gross surplus of £2,570,000. Out of the surplus the Chancellor of the Exchequer devoted to the reduction of sugar duties the sum of £1,330,000. This would represent about one quarter of the duty on malt. He would ask the House to compare the case of malt as against that of sugar. There was a great similarity in several points between the two cases—sugar and malt. Both were articles of general consumption among the lower as well as the higher classes; both were articles which were subject to indirect taxation, but there was this difference—that sugar was subject to a Customs duty and the malt to an Excise duty. He must say that, as a general rule, it was preferable to take off an Excise rather than a Customs duty. It was to be remembered that when you took off a Customs duty, you helped the consumer, who was an Englishman, and the producer, who was a foreigner; but when you took off an Excise duty you helped the consumer who was an Englishman, and the producer who was an Englishman also. Comparing the articles of malt and sugar he asked the House to go back a few years, in order to see what had been the process of our legislation with regard to the two articles. He should go back to 1841 and to 1861 to see what the Legislature had done in respect of the duties on malt and sugar in the period between those two years. He should first show what was the amount of taxation on sugar in 1841 and what it was in 1861. He should then take the year 1841, and see what was the average consumption per head of sugar in Great Britain and Ireland, and he should do the same with respect to 1861. Before making this comparison he begged to mention that in 1821 the average consumption of sugar per head was 16lb.; in 1831, 17lb.; in 1841, 17lb. The House would see, therefore, that during the years between these two periods the consumption of sugar was stationary. In 1821 the consumption of malt per head was a bushel and a half, in 1831 there was a little increase; in 1841 it was again a bushel and a half. It appeared, therefore, that the consumption of both sugar and malt was stationary 'during the 20 years between 1821 and 1841. They must now see what had been the process of legislation in regard to each commodity; for if in 1861 the relative claims of malt and sugar had remained the same as they were in 1841, although he felt strongly for the agricultural interests, he should not have considered himself justified in making his speech, or in supporting the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend. Between the years 1821 and 1841 the beer duty was taken off; but as regarded sugar there had been hardly any difference at all. In one sort of our sugar there had been a reduction of 2s. per cwt., in another 4s. per cwt., and in another 12s. per cwt. They must now look to what had occurred between 1841 and 1861. The duties paid by unrefined sugars in 1841 were:—West Indian, £1 5s. per cwt.; East Indian, £15s.; other British possessions, £1 13s. Foreign, £3 6s.; refined, £8 16s.; brown candy, £5 17s.; white candy, £8 16s. Molasses—foreign, £1 4s.; British ditto, 9s. 5d. In 1861 the duties were:—Unrefined, equal to white clayed, 16s.; brown, 13s.10 d. not equal to brown, 12s. 8d.; refined, 18s. 4d.; molasses, 5s. The malt duty, 2s. 8½d. per bushel, was precisely the same in each of the years 1841 and 1861. He asked, then, which was the petted interest? "While malt in 1861 paid the same duty as it had in 1841, refined sugar, which had paid £8 16s. per cwt. in 1841, only paid 18s, 4d. in 1861. He must now trouble the House with figures to show what had been the average consumption of each commodity at several periods between the years to which he was referring. He quoted from a Parliamentary Return moved for in 1862. First, as to malt. In 1841 the consumption of malt was 36,164,403 bushels: in 1851, 40,337,416; in 1859, 42,759,065; in 1860 37,453,907; in 1861, 43,065,088. The average number of bushels per head was in 1841 1.35; in 1851, 1.47; in 1859, 1.49; in 1860, 1.3; in 1861, 1.49. It therefore appeared that the average consumption per head of malt through those years was almost completely stationary; but if they came to sugar, the figures were marvellous. In 1841 the consumption of sugar was 4,057,900 cwts.; in 1851, 6,571,626; in 1859, 8,884,299; in 1860, 8,771,996; in 1861,9,180,969; showing an increase of about 4,000,000 cwts.; between 1841 and 1861, or in other words, the consumption had doubled between the two periods. The average consumption per head was in 1841 17 lb.; in 1851, 26.73; in1859, 34.59; in 1860, 33.9; in 1861, 35.21. There was another point to which he begged to direct the attention of the House. Practically, there was no difference in what was received per head for the duty paid on malt in 1841 and 1861 respectively, because the consumption was stationary; but what was the case with sugar? In 1841 the consumer of 17lb. of sugar paid 3s. 10d. duty; in 1861 the consumer of 35 lb. paid only 4s. 2¼d. He paid 4¼d. more duty, but for that he had 18 lb. more sugar. This was said to be a consumer's question, and as such he would treat it. He had not said a word for the producer. When they were told to consider the case of the poor man, they must admit that the consumer of sugar, who had been able so largely to increase his consumption, was less worthy of sympathy than the consumer of malt, whose supply was restricted by the high duty. He would now say a word or two as to mosses. In 1841 the consumption was 401,000 cwt.; in 1851, 772,000 cwt.; in 1859, 678,000cwt.; in 1860, 557,000cwt; and in 1861, 1,079,232 cwt, They might, perhaps, be told that the consumers of molasses had gained nothing. In 1841 the average payment per head for molasses was 1¾d, and in 1861, 1¼d. The difference was not very much, but at any rate the consumer of molasses paid a smaller contribution than in 1841, though he consumed a great deal more than double the quantity of the article. Such being the facts of the case, in the name of justice and common sense, when there were two claimants for relief, why should they give it to the one that required it least, and deny it to the other that was so much in need of it? The consumer of malt paid as much as he did in 1841, while the relief to the consumer of sugar had been doubled since then. An argument which was represented as very formidable by those who supported the reduction of the sugar duty was that a portion of it was a war impost. ["Hear!"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite were ready to cheer now; but why did they not remember that in 1860 and 1861? There were then war duties on tea and sugar, but hon. Gentlemen opposite preferred to take off the paper duty. What were the duties on sugar before, during, and since the war? In 1854 the duties were as follows:—Refined, 16s.; white clayed, 14s.; brown, 12s.; not equal to brown clayed, 11s. In 1855 the duties were respectively 20s., 17s. 6d., 15s., and 13s. 9d., and they were now 18s. 4d., 16s., 13s 10d., and 12s. 8d. Next, he would ask, what had been the effect of the rise of duty on the consumption? In 1854 the consumption was 8,404,551 cwt.; in 1855, when the high war duty was in force, there was a decrease to the amount of 724,210 cwt.; in 1856, there was a decrease of 904,000 cwt., and in 1857 a decrease of 758,000 cwt. In that year there was a reduction from the high war duties to the present rates. Had the existing scale caused a decrease or increase of consumption? In 1858 there was an increase over 1854 of 599,517 cwt.; in 1859 there was an increase of 744,000 cwt.; in 1860, of 556,000 cwt.; in 1861, of 996,000 cwt.; in 1862, of 1,312,000 cwt.; and in 1863 of no less than 1,496,481 cwt. [Mr. R. W. CRAWFORD: What is the consumption per head of the population?] He was sorry he could not give the precise amount. The fact, however, remained, that in 1854 there was a duty of 16s. per cwt., and in 1863 of 18s.4 d.; and yet, with the higher duty, there was a large increase of consumption. He was justified, therefore, in saying that the sugar duty was not a burdensome tax, and did not possess the first claim, above all other imposts, for reduction. In the case of malt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had offered an argument quite unprecedented. The right hon. Gentleman told those who advocated the reduction of the duty on malt that the consumption of malt was so small in Scotland and Ireland that the lowering of the duty would be a relief only to England, and scarcely any at all to the other two divisions of the kingdom. They had heard a great deal about "oppressed nationalities' in connection with foreign politics; but this was the first time the cry had been raised in regard to finance. He agreed with his hon. and gallant Friend who introduced the subject, that the doctrine had not been followed even by the right hon Gentleman himself in former years. For instance, when the duty on cotton was taken off, to the great advantage of the manufacturers of England, Ireland was lever thought of at all. Then, when the right hon. Gentleman was in Sir Robert Peel's Government, the duty on bricks was removed; but that was no relief to Scot-and, where bricks were scarcely ever used. In fact, similar instances might be sited almost ad infinitum. The Members for Scotland and Ireland might, perhaps, be tempted to accept this new and dangerous doctrine, but if they did they must expect to find it adhered to in regard to every other duty, and would probably repent of the bargain before long. The sum paid per head for malt was 5s. 6d. in England, in Scotland 1s. 5d., in Ireland 1s. 5d. The reduction of the duty by a fourth would give a relief per head in England of 1s. 5d., in Scotland of 4d. and in Ireland of 3d. It might be worth while, for the sake of argument, to consider the spirit duty in the same light. It was now 10s. a gallon throughout the United Kingdom. The consumption of spirits in England was 4s. 6d. per head; in Scotland, 20s. 6d.; and in Ireland 8s. 11d. Let them take off one-fourth of the duty and see what the effect would be upon the respective countries. The relief in England would be 1s. 1d. per head, in Ireland 2s. 3d., and in Scotland 5s. 1d, He hoped the Irish and Scotch Members would clearly understand that the rule laid down with respect to malt must be adopted in the case of spirits, and that before they voted against the Motion for reducing the malt tax they would weigh well the effect of the principle when applied to spirits. The statistics of the question possessed almost a mournful importance. To what cause must be ascribed the enormous consumption of spirits in Scotland and Ireland; partly, undoubtedly, to a damp climate; partly to bad habits of drinking handed down from father to son; partly to the prevalence of illicit distillation in former times; but also partly to our vicious legislation. Our oppressive malt tax caused an enormous amount of whisky-drinking in both Scotland and Ireland. And here he would venture to tell the House a Scotch story. Some years ago there lived in Edinburgh a certain individual whose only fault was that he was too much addicted to the drinking of whisky-toddy. In fact, he was drinking himself to death, and his friends remonstrated with him. He thereupon took a partial pledge of temperance, and joined the Total Abstinence from Spirits Society. For two years all went on well; but in the third he began drinking whisky and water more than ever, On being accused of his backsliding, this person said, "I own I have broken the pledge, but my only excuse is that I am a very poor man, and cannot afford it. The Total Abstinence from Spirits is too much I for me, as I cannot get drunk under 6s. a day." The argument applied equally to beer. The malt tax so increased the price of beer that the people of Ireland and Scotland drank spirits because they could not afford ale. The case of the producer was a very simple one. He agreed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the best barley had the monopoly of the market; but the second rate barley was shut out—not the sort that would be used by the hon. Member for Derby or Mr. Allsopp, but still a sort that might be used for a respectable sort of beer. And how did the impost work? The malt tax was practically an increase of the expenses of the farmer. He paid so much a year to his ploughman, and gave him his lodging, food, and drink. The drink consisted of beer, and the price of beer was increased by the malt tax. In thrashings and harvests it was the custom to give a labourer beer as part of his wages. On his own farm, instead of giving beer, he gave the labourer 3d. a day, but if beer cost 2d. and not 3d. a quart, he would give the smaller sum and save the difference. Thanking the House for the kind way in which they had heard him, he would very briefly state the reasons why he gave his cordial support to this Motion. He supported it on the grounds of justice and common sense. The consumer of sugar had been the favoured child of legislation, and the consumption of sugar had doubled in amount; but it was not right, under the present system of free trade, to place this tax on farmers for the purposes of revenue. He supported the Motion because he regarded it as the beginning of a new system, and as an earnest that if we remained at peace and the country was flourishing, the tax would be got rid of altogether; he supported it because he thought that the agricultural interest had a right to have at last a share in the reduction of taxation; and finally, he supported it because he believed that. the removal of this tax would be beneficial to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects.


said, that the hon. Member for Sussex, and those who followed him in the debate, had dis- cussed this subject so ably and so fully in all its details, that it was not only unnecessary, but almost a difficulty to adduce fresh arguments in addition to those which they had already pressed on the consideration of the House; still, as large agricultural constituencies, such as that which he represented, felt most warmly on the subject, he would avail himself of this opportunity to make a few observations, and would endeavour to avoid the ground which had been already trodden. It was, he thought, much to be regretted, that so important a question as the reduction of the malt duty should be presented to them in a form which made it impossible that they could arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. He did not mean to convey that it was possible, by the adoption of any particular form of words, to have achieved a parliamentary success this year, but he contended that the advocates for the reduction of the malt tax were placed in a most disadvantageous position in having to encounter the united opposition of those who objected on financial grounds, as well as of those who opposed it as the representatives of the sugar interest. The disadvantage would be felt thus—many hon. Members, of which he was one, were ready to record their opinion that the malt duty was oppressive, that it was as injurious to the comforts of the poorer classes as to the interests of agriculture; that it was against the first principles of free trade; and that it was most, desirable to remove it at the earliest opportunity— but again, there were many hon. Members,; representatives of large towns, who would have gladly voted in favour of an abstract Resolution to that effect, and yet who felt unwilling to vote on the direct issue raised by this Motion of malt versus sugar. He alluded to this, because, as he foresaw that they should be in a minority, he hoped neither the House or the country would suppose that the Members who would go into the lobby would comprise all those who were in favour of the reduction of the malt duty. Some remarks had been made on the instability of abstract Resolutions. If this had come from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it would have been intelligible, but he was surprised to find it in the mouth of the advocates of the repeal of the duty. The experience of the last few years was all in favour of abstract Resolutions. He would point to the Resolutions on the paper duty, and the duty on Fire Insurances as the best evidence, that no Chancellor of the Exchequer, however gifted or powerful, could long venture to ignore the recorded opinion of that House. As it had been with these other subjects, so it would be with malt. If the people were in earnest on this subject—if this question was not taken up merely for party purposes, to be dropped as soon as they were answered, if, he repeated, the people persevered in pressing this upon their representatives, and their representatives upon Parliament, he cared not from what section of the House the Ministers of the Crown were taken, it would be totally and entirely impossible for them to turn a deaf ear to the remonstrances of the representatives of the people. He should vote with the hon. and gallant Member, but he should have gone into the same lobby with much greater satisfaction, if the question had been raised on its own intrinsic merits, instead of being brought forward in direct antagonism to the great sugar consuming mass of the community.


said, that the opponents of the malt tax claimed that a fair issue should be raised, and that a definite decision should be come to, and he thought that the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex raised that issue and challenged the decision in no inconvenient manner. In the present day when unrestricted competition was the law of the country, and our agriculturists had to compete with all the world, it was difficult to justify the retention of an oppressive tax like that on their produce. It was only by the application of an unprecedented amount of skill, energy, and capital, that the British farmer was able at all to hold his ground against his foreign rival; but even now wheat was being poured into the country in such profusion that it could scarcely be cultivated here at a remunerative price. In such a state of things was it not monstrous that barley, the second product of the soil, in which Englishmen were supposed to excel the cultivators of every other country, should be subject to such a heavy impost? Five quarters of barley was a very moderate quantity to be grown on an acre of land; and yet on that quantity no less than £5 10s. was imposed by the State, or probably about five times the amount of rent per acre which the tenant paid to his landlord. The repeal of the tax, it was said, would only relieve the cultivators of light soils, because heavy soils would not pro- duce barley successfully. That he thought was an error, for the reason why heavy soils would not produce barley successfully was that, in land of that description, it did not vegetate with sufficient rapidity to conform with the Excise regulations. Some asserted that the repeal of the malt tax would do no good to the producer, others that it would do no good to the consumer. To whom, then, would it do good? He believed that the truth lay between two extremes, and that the repeal would benefit both the producer and the consumer. It was alleged that the tax could not be got rid of, because it yielded so large a revenue. That was a feeble argument, because if the tax was unjust, means ought to be taken to lessen its amount as soon as possible, and then they might see their way more clearly to its ultimate extinction. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated the other night that they could not look for an increased consumption of malt from a reduction of the duty. That assertion required him to enter into a few statistics. That tax was imposed at a memorable epoch — namely, 1697. The scale was first fixed at 6¾d. per bushel, and remained at that rate for about sixty years. Now what was the rate of consumption under those duties. Under the low scale of duty the average consumption from 1700 and 1710 was 23,672,504 bushels; and in 1759 it had increased to 28,090,254 bushels. But the population only increased from 5,475,000 in the year 1700 to 6,467,000 in 1750. Thus in 1750 there was an increase of over four million bushels of malt, although there was only an increase of a million of population. It was an increasing revenue even at that time. But in 1760, during the Seven Years' War, it was found necessary to raise the duty to 9¼d. Indeed it seemed that Financial Ministers had generally looked to an increase of the malt tax in times of war and difficulty; but, unfortunately, when peace was restored, the Finance Minister of the day usually had forgotten to reduce it again. The scale which was raised to 9¼d in 1760, was again raised in 1780, during the American war, to 1s. 4¼d., and the consumption increased from 28,090,252 bushels in 1759 to only 29,432,584 in 1802; although the population had increased from 6,467,000 to 8,892,536. That was surely a proof that during the last century an increase in the rate of duty made a vast difference in the consumption of malt. But coming to the period of the great war, he found that the duty was raised in 1802 to 2s. 5d.; in 1803 to 4s. 5d.; in 1816 it was reduced to 2s. 5d.; in 1823 it was raised to 2s. 7d.; and in 1840, 5 per cent was added, making the duty 2s. 8¾d. Under those fluctuations the consumption increased from 29,432,584 bushels in 1802 to 34,638,214 bushels in 1851. The increase of consumption was trifling during that time, considering that the population had nearly doubled, being in 1801, 8,892,536, and in 1851, 17,922,768. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer told them that the beer duty had been repealed without being followed by much increase in the consumption of malt. That might be true if they took a long series of years for their calculation; but if they took a short period, the reverse was the: case. During 1812 the consumption of malt actually fell to 18,092,965 bushels, In 1829, the year before the beer duty was repealed, the consumption was 23,428,135 bushels; and in 1830 the consumption was 26,900,902 bushels. Immediately after the beer duty was repealed, it increased in 1831 to 32,963,470. Surely an immediate increase of 6,000,000 bushels was no unsatisfactory result. The increased consumption of malt certainly did not recoup the loss occasioned by the reduction of the beer tax, which was in the nature of an adventitious addition to its amount; but this was only another proof how oppressive in itself the malt tax was, and no expedient they could adopt would increase the consumption of malt, except the repeal or reduction of the tax. The hon. Member for London (Mr. Crawford) had asked the hon Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Banks Stanhope), what was the consumption per head of sugar as compared with that of malt. He had seen it: stated in a recent Return that the consumption of sugar per head in England was 36lb. The duty might fairly he taken at 13s. per cwt.; so that the amount of tax which each consumer of sugar paid was 4s. 4d.; but taking the average consumption of malt to be about two bushels per head, the proportion of tax paid by every consumer was 5s. 6d., or about 1s. 2d. more than the tax on sugar. This was an important element in the consideration of the relative claims of these two taxes to reduction. During the last few years they had repealed other taxes of more or less amount, and no doubt they had given great relief to certain classes of the community. But what had they done for the poorer consumers? The repeal of the tax on foreign wines was exclusively for the benefit of the higher classes. The tax on tea, no doubt, was distributed equally over the community. The tax on paper also was abolished. He would have preferred to the repeal of those duties the reduction of the malt tax, whose gigantic proportions would then have become "small by degrees and beautifully less." He could only say that in the interest of all classes of the community, producers and consumers, he should cordially support the Motion of the hon. Member for West Sussex.


said, he remembered that when in 1833 Sir William Ingilby brought forward a Motion to repeal one-half of the malt tax, and carried it by a majority of 10 in a House of 314, Lord Althorp came down next day, and stated that if the House did not reconsider the Resolution, he should be obliged to propose a property tax of £10,000,000 or £11,000,000, and he persuaded them to rescind the vote. He contended that the Government of that day had committed a breach of faith with the country; they had never done anything to repeal the malt tax, and a subsequent Government did impose a property tax. The Government was bound to carry out the vote of the House—repealing the malt duty—or they ought never to have proposed a property tax. Not that he was an enemy to the property tax; it was only fair and right that they should have a certain amount of direct taxation; but what he should have liked was, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have put on 2d. additional, making the income tax 9d. in the pound, which, with his present surplus, would have enabled him entirely to repeal the malt duty. Instead of this, he had made a perfectly ridiculous proposition, which could only bamboozle the country—he allowed farmers to malt barley for feeding cattle, provided they mixed it with linseed. He did not believe that any farmer in the country would thank him for it; while the right hon. Gentleman, no doubt, calculated that he would be enabled to retain his malt tax of £6,000,000 for the next ten or twenty years. He would retain it till the country compelled him to give it up; and there had not been that amount of movement and remonstrance against it which would secure its repeal. He should, at all events, vote for this Motion, and should on every occasion vote for the repeal of the malt tax, whatever party or Government might be in power.


would detain the attention of the. House for a few moments only. He wished to say a few words, chiefly in answer to the remarks which fell from the hon. Member for Old-ham (Mr. Cobbett), and to explain the vote which he intended to give upon the present occasion. He, in the first place, disputed the hon. Member's statistics. The hon. Member had stated, somewhat rashly it seemed, that if the malt tax were repealed, beer would be reduced to half its present price, The hon. Member had given the House no grounds for such a belief; he had not favoured them with the calculations by which he had arrived at such a result. He (Lord Robert Montagu) thought he could give sufficient reasons for not accepting such a statement without strict investigation. He had read in the Economist, a paper which was always accepted as an undoubted authority on such matters, that the total value of beer annually consumed in England and Wales, amounted to £60,000,000. The malt tax amounted to £6,000,000, or one-tenth of the price of the beer and ale consumed. Taking the labourer's pot of beer at 3d., the amount of tax which he paid was about one farthing. This was, however, an erroneous calculation; it was far too favourable to the case of those who desired the repeal of the malt tax. That calculation was made on the assumption that all the malt in the kingdom was used for brewing beer. Yet fully one-half, he supposed, was employed in the distillation of spirits. If so, the proportion of malt tax paid by the labourer in the price of a pot of beer, was about one-eighth of a penny. But even this calculation was too favourable to the malt tax repealers, for it proceeded on the assumption that the whole of the reduction would go to the consumer. Yet, one-half of it, he supposed, would go in profits to the retailer of beer. This reduces the amount of malt tax contained in the price of a pot of beer to one-sixteenth of a penny. This, therefore, represented the utmost reduction which could take place if the malt tax were totally repealed. If the labourer drank a gallon of beer daily, he would hardly save one farthing. The hon. Member for Oldham had used an ad misericordiam argument in favour of the reduction of the malt tax. He had spoken eloquently of the poor labourer's toil and sweat, of his low condition, and hard work. There were others, however, besides the labourer, whom the House had to consider. The labourer might enjoy his beer, and it might be very good for him, but he had a wife and children, who could enjoy far more their tea and sugar, which would be better for them. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had considered the benefit and happiness of the greater number, and had taken off the war taxes on tea and sugar. Then the hon. Member said that if the malt tax were repealed, the poor man would brew his own beer, and drink it at home. Now he (Lord Robert Montagu) could not see how the repeal of the malt tax would enable the poor man to brew his beer at home. The maltster and brewer have large capital, they have every convenience and appliance, and are able to malt and brew a large quantity at a time. The poor man has none of these advantages; perhaps not even a room to brew in. Any way, if the malt tax were repealed, the superiority of advantage in favour of largo maltsters and brewers would remain exactly where it was now, and the poor man would labour under the same disadvantages. But would the poor man even drink his beer at home? Not at all. The poor man liked company as well as those who resorted nightly to gilded saloons. He sought the society of his fellows. Would he drink his beer at home, with perhaps a scolding wife by his side, and squalling babies around him? or would he still go to the public-house, to be surrounded by jovial fellows, to be supplied with daily papers, clay pipes, a blazing fire, political discussions, and every comfort that could serve to attract him? Hon. Gentlemen had appealed to the principles of free trade to forward their cause. He heartily congratulated those hon. Members on their conversion. Yet he thought that their conversion, though it might be from interest, was certainly not from knowledge. One of the principles of free trade was to reduce a tax wherever the consumption would thereby be so increased that the revenue would be recouped. But if this tax were reduced by half, would the revenue be recouped by an increased consumption? Did hon. Members suppose that England and Wales could drink £120,000,000 worth of beer in a year? Another principle of free trade was, that if a tax were oppressive, so that the consumption was dwindling away year by year—so that trade laboured heavily and gradually declined, then the tax should be at once reduced, because it shackled trade. But was that the case with the malt tax? Not at all; for the consumption had every year been increasing. Free trade principles had not, therefore, in this case, been applied with knowledge. The hon. Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. B. Stanhope) had said that more malt had not been annually consumed since 1841. He (Lord Robert Montagu), in the first place, denied that statement. The malt tax was an increasing tax. They had, moreover, to take other matters also into consideration. Malt is used only for the manufacture of drinks. But the nation now enjoyed many other drinks besides beer. The taxes had been taken off light wines, tea, and coffee, and the use of all these drinks had largely increased. Now, it is impossible to drink more than a certain amount; and therefore, when men drink more claret, tea, or coffee, they require less beer. This argument, therefore, did not carry much weight. But the hon. Member had said that if the tax were repealed there would be an increase in the consumption of malt. Now, malt is made from barley. But where is the increased amount of barley to come from? Where will that barley be grown? Barley was now grown only on light soils, which were unsuitable to wheat. Would the hon. Member desire to supplant the wheat on heavy soils, or to plough up pasture lands to grow barley? Truly those hon. Members were free traders! It was supposed that they were against all importation of corn from foreign countries; but it appears that they would rob the British farmer by importing barley from abroad! The hon. Member had also said that the repeal of the malt tax would lessen the consumption of spirits, and had then continued in this strain, Look at the moral effect of repealing the tax; you will diminish the consumption of spirits." He (Lord R. Montagu) ventured to prophesy that the effect would be the very opposite. Every one knows that it is impossible to malt secretly. Malting requires much room, and many appliances to effect the process. It can be smelt across the road. In a county, the exciseman who knows how much has been malted, can follow the malt to its destination. But if it were allowed to malt free of tax, any one could then malt without the interference or knowledge of the exciseman. He could then lake his two bushels of malt up a moun- tain, or behind a wall, or into a garden, and distil his gallon of spirits. For it was very easy to distil without being detected. Therefore, if they repealed the malt tax, they would degrade the people by inducing them to distil spirits illicitly; they would also favour the consumption of ardent spirits. This, of course, would also diminish the consumption of beer. The hon. Member had also said that if the tax were reduced the number of excisemen would also be reduced, and that the revenue would thereby be saved. But if they reduced the tax, how could they get rid of a single exciseman? If they were even to repeal the tax altogether, how many excisemen could be knocked off the civil list? How many could be spared? Very few; for they had numerous other duties to perform. This was, however, a question which only the Chancellor of the Exchequer could well answer. He was not against the repeal of the malt tax if be saw his way to it. He would have pleasure in voting for the Motion of the hon. Member for the North Riding (Mr. Morritt), for as soon as the indirect taxation could again be reduced, the malt tax would have a first claim upon their attention. It was an odious tax, and they must seize upon the earliest available opportunity for reducing it. There was, however, one thing which he greatly disliked, and that was this — that because there was an agitation got up among the constituents upon this subject, they should come down to the House and say, "Oh, repeal the tax!'' although they said all the time in private that they knew very well it could not be done. They who acted thus were deceiving their constituents. They were sent there by their constituents to investigate the details of every case, to look after the real interests of their constituents, and to tell their constituents what was possible and what was not. But they should not help to delude their constituents, or fan the flames of an interested agitation. Hon. Members knew how an agitation was always got up. It was a regular science, which was learned as practitioners learned the medical science. It was carried on by a regular set of professional people in London. These persons got up petitions, which were all drawn up in the same language. Meetings were held all over the country. At these meetings statements were made, which there was no one there to expose; and arguments were used, which there was no one to refute. Thus any pretended facts which were put forward were believed by the "bucolic mind." It was dishonest and dishonourable to foster such an agitation, when they knew that the malt tax could not now be taken off, and when they felt that it would be more beneficial to their constituents to repeal the war tax upon sugar. He would take the bolder, more honest course, and trust to the support of honest Englishmen. He knew his constituents to be straightforward, bold, and candid men. They would not think the worse of him for taking a true and honest part.


said, he regretted that a rivalry should have been raised between sugar and malt. He admitted that the malt tax was injurious to agriculture; but sugar had peculiar claims on their consideration, and it would almost be a breach of faith to the sugar producers not to attend to them. In consequence of the emancipation measure of 1834, and of the free trade measures of 1845 and 1847, the British sugar grower had had great difficulties to contend with. His own opinion was that the sugar duties had the first claim upon Parliament with a view to their reduction, and especially so as almost every producing interest, except the West India interest, had recovered from the injury suffered during the transition from protection to free trade; and he also thought that hon. Gentlemen who were in favour of repealing the malt duty would very much facilitate the acquirement of their object by supporting the Government proposition, and thus getting out of the way of the superior claims of the sugar duties. If the Motion of the hon. Member for the North Riding (Mr. Morritt) had been brought forward, he should have supported it, for he thought that, from the instances of the advertisement duty, the paper duties and other taxes that had been repealed, the passing of an abstract Resolution of the House at the proper time, would lead to the repeal of the malt duty; but, anxious as he was to see the malt tax repealed, he could not on the present occasion vote for the Motion of the hon. and gallant Colonel.


said, he should not have risen, but he could not avoid noticing the language of the noble Lord the Member for Huntingdonshire (Lord Robert Montagu), who had thought it right to call in question the motives, feelings, and honour of men as honourable as himself.


said, that he did not mean to call in question the motives of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, nor those of the mover of the Resolution; he had only stated what were his own. motives.


said, he did not know what the noble Lord meant, but he certainly seemed to convey the notion that hon. Members who supported the Resolution were hounded on by their constituents, that they were driven like a flock of sheep to vote against the malt tax. As far as he was himself concerned, that was not the case. His constituents did think that they had a right to ask for a reduction of this tax; but their feeling was that if the financial state of the country was such as to allow of any reduction of taxation, the malt duty had the first claim to consideration. They were quiet, orderly people, not prone to agitation, and were willing to bear just taxation; but when they had seen such taxes as the paper duties and wine duties repealed or reduced, they felt that a tax affecting the drink of the working classes deserved the attention of the House. The noble Lord was quite mistaken in the remarks he had made. He could not understand how it was that the noble Lord, himself a county Member, could turn round upon a body of Gentlemen who represented the largest constituencies in the country, and especially upon a question in which the noble Lord's own constituents had a deep interest.


said, that he should always be glad to be able to vote for a reduction, or even repeal, of the malt duty; but he could not do so on the present occasion, because it was put in competition with others which certainly did press with some severity upon the poorer classes. He must say, however, that he felt certain the time would come when it would present strong claims for consideration. It was the boast of the late Sir Robert Peel, after he had succeeded in repealing the Corn Laws, that the working man would eat his bread no longer leavened with the sense of injustice, and so it might be said that the repeal of the malt duty would enable the working man to drink his beer unembittered by a similar feeling. When the repeal of the malt duty was discussed in 1833, one of the arguments used by the leading opponents of that measure—Lord Althorp and Lord John Russell—was that if the malt duty were repealed it would be necessary to impose an income tax. Some years after that an income tax was imposed, and since then a vast amount of money had been derived from that source. The agriculturists, therefore, naturally felt that the time was come either for the repeal of the malt duty or a reduction of the income tax. For his own part, he must confess he was in favour of a properly graduated income tax, which would enable the State to tax stores of wealth which otherwise could not be reached. In the debates on the malt tax in 1833, to which he had already alluded, Sir William Ingilby, who proposed the repeal, expressed an opinion in favour of an income tax, saying that one advantage of an income tax was that by means of it you were able to reach some rich men, who otherwise would con- tribute but little to the purposes of the State; and he gave an instance of one who had died worth £800,000, but who could not be said to have added much to the public funds by the payment of taxes, as he kept only an old woman and a torn cat. Of course it would be useless to ask for a reduction of taxation unless the money could be spared; but if we should happily remain at peace, if we steadily maintained the ties of amity with the great and gallant nation across the water, if the beneficent provisions of the Treaty of Commerce, one of the most admirable measures ever adopted, were allowed fairly to operate, and if a prudent retrenchment were exercised, he was convinced that before long we might reduce not only the malt tax but the income tax to an inappreciable amount. He, as intending at some future time to support the reduction or repeal of the malt tax, thanked the hon. and gallant Member who had brought forward this Motion for the opportunity which he had thus afforded for the expression of opinion upon the subject; but he (Mr. Pugh) thought that if the hon. and gallant Member could do so consistently with his duty, he would do well to retreat from his position on the present occasion, so that he might in a short time again advance with a better prospect of success.


said, that being connected with an agricultural county, he desired to state his reason why he could not support this Motion. He could not do so because this Motion for the reduction of the malt duty was made in professed opposition to the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the reduction of the sugar duties. Nearly every Member of the county with which he was connected (Essex) and the county adjacent was favourable to the repeal of the malt tax. He felt that they were masters of agriculture, and the farmers certainly would rather see the malt tax reduced than any other. He must add that he desired the repeal of the malt tax as much as any one, so soon as the state of the revenue would permit of doing so; and he trusted that the Government would be able to make such further reductions in the expenditure as would enable the Chancellor of the Exchequer to repeal the tax altogether in a very short time. He was, however, convinced that the present proposal for reducing the malt duty one-fourth would be of no benefit to the agricultural interest, though that interest might be greatly benefited by the total repeal; and he thought, moreover, that the hon. and gallant Member had done considerable damage to his cause by pitting malt against sugar. If he had brought it forward as a substantive Motion, many hon. Members would have voted for it who now felt bound to oppose it.


said, he could not agree with the noble Lord the Member for Huntingdonshire (Lord Robert Montagu), that it was either dishonest or dishonourable on the part of any Memher of that House to advocate the claims of his constituents. In the county which he had the honour to represent (Staffordshire), a very large meeting of landowners and tenant farmers had been held, at which resolutions were unanimously agreed to in favour of the entire repeal of the malt tax. He admitted that he was not aware of the strong feeling that existed in regard to the malt duty, and when he received; an invitation to attend the meeting, he wrote to say that £5,000,000 was a large sum for any Chancellor of the Exchequer to give up, but that he was ready to support any measure for lessening a burden that pressed so heavily on the agricultural interest. However, when he heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer dilate on the elasticity of the public revenue, with a surplus of £2,500,000, and hold out the hope that, if the country prospered in the same degree, Parliament would have an increasing surplus to deal with, he could not help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman had passed over the repeal of the malt duty rather too lightly; because, in the counties of England interested in the growing of barley, the matter was one of very great importance. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to imply that the question was being used as a means of political agitation, and he alluded to the recent election for Hertfordshire. Now, in his county, the matter had been taken up by landlords and tenant farmers without regard to political feeling, and simply as a great agricultural question. The farmers held that it would only be carrying out the principle of free trade fairly to repeal the malt tax, and they called upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to relieve them from that burden, even if he substituted something else in its place. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman was misinformed in asserting that the repeal of the malt tax had had anything to do with the result of the late election for Hertfordshire, for, as he understood, both candidates were in favour of a repeal of the tax. The cause of Mr. Cowper's defeat, he was informed, was, that when he stood for Tamworth he was in favour of the abolition of church rates; but that when he came forward for Hertfordshire he could not make up his mind as to what he wished to be done. One great advantage of taking off the malt tax would be that the working classes would get better beer —that would be a great benefit, for, at present, the rule was that in the agricultural villages you could not get a glass of beer that was worth drinking. He liked a glass of beer himself; but if a traveller pulled up in a country village, a good glass of beer, as a rule, was not to be got. If the malt tax were taken off, the poor man would have a chance of brewing his beer at home, and he need not go to the public-house. A great cause of crime was drink, and especially the drinking of ardent spirits. As a member of the grand jury, lie had observed that most cases of assault were committed under the influence of ardent spirits; and he did not doubt that spirits were consumed because the beer was so bad, and so much adulterated, that the poor man took to what was more pleasant and more potent. He should cordially support the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend.


said, he would hardly have risen to address the House but for the extraordinary description of an agricultural constituency which had been given by the noble Lord the Member for Huntingdonshire, and to congratulate him on the peculiar character of the constituency with which he was connected. It was quite new to him (Sir Brook Bridges) to hear that an agricultural constituency could be driven to do that which in their conscience the disapproved of, and he entirely repudiated the description of the noble Lord. As to the merits of the general question, he thought that there were two considerations which were very strong in favour of a remission of the duty. In the first place, it pressed heavily upon one particular class of agricultural produce; and he believed that inferior barley would be put in a very much better position if the duty were less. The second consideration was, that it was upon what was peculiarly the beverage of the working man that so large an amount of taxation was levied. He thought that there was just as much ground for the remission of this duty as there had been for others which were now taken off, and that the farmers had a right, upon the modern principles of free trade, to demand the repeal of the malt duty. He felt sure that they must all be deeply indebted to the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex for having brought forward his Motion, and he should certainly, as far as he was concerned, give it his cordial support.


said, that he had already on a previous occasion ventured to express his opinion that the malt tax caused no injury to the agricultural interest. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), in admitting that it was a consumer's question, maintained, also, that it was one affecting the producer, and retorted upon him by asking how the manufacturers would like a duty placed upon their produce? That question was very easily answered. In this country the extent of land was limited, and was not enough to produce sufficient barley for our home consumption, so that not only could we not export, but we were compelled to supply our own wants by importation from abroad. If barley had formed one of our exportable products, the argument, he admitted, would have been a powerful one. The tax would certainly weigh rather heavily upon that portion of the agricultural community who paid for their work partly in money and partly in beer; but he ventured to say that the chief portion of the revenue resulting from the duty was contributed not by the agricultural, but by the manufacturing districts. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Oldham (Mr. Cobbett) had said that the price of beer was doubled by the malt duty, because malt was worth twice as much as barley. If malt could make itself into beer without the aid of manual labour and without the combination of hops, the statement of the hon. Member would be correct. But malt was only one particular article employed in the manufacture of beer, and a difference in price consequently could not be affected to so great an extent. The hon. Gentleman also said a great deal about beer being a necessary of life. Now he distinctly denied the assertion. He had himself been for twelve years, though not of late, a total abstainer; and there were in the employment of the firm with which he was connected some hundreds if not a thousand persons who were total abstainers from intoxicating liquors, and those men did as much or more work than those who drunk beer. To say that beer was a necessary of life to a working man was all moonshine. He denied also that there was any necessity for agricultural labourers to use beer during harvest time, for the use of beer rather tended to excite than to quench thirst; while with tea and coffee the men would be much better able to get through their work. In answer to the argument of the hon. Member for Oldham, who had instanced some cases in which it was believed that death had resulted from the non-employment of beer, it was certain that for one death which occurred in that way at least ten would be attributable to excessive drinking.


said, he was glad to see the hon. Baronet who had just spoken looking so well, but he eehoed the sentiment of the hon. and learned Member for Oldham (Mr. Cobbett) when he said that it was impossible to get in the harvest in hot weather, and when men were worked very hard, without a certain quantity of beer to renew their wasted energies. Doubtless, some persons abstained from malt liquor and thrived very well upon it; but the labouring man who worked from early in the morning till late at night, especially in harvest time, could not get on without the stimulus of such a drink. He thought the agricultural classes had a fair right to ask that a portion of the surplus revenue which the Chancellor of the Exchequer intended to apply to the lowering of the sugar duties, should be applied to lowering the duty on malt; but whenever there was to be a remission of taxation the farmers went to the wall; and the right hon. Gentleman dealt with some taxes in which they were in no way concerned. He should give his cordial support to the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex.


said, that as one of the representatives of an agricultural constituency greatly interested in the question before the House—an interest in which he fully sympathized—he desired to offer his thanks to the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex for the very able, temperate, and judicious manner in which he had raised the issue before the House. He had no wish in the abstract to dispute the principle on which the Budget was based — the same apparently which the Chancellor of the Exchequer enunciated three years ago when he said that he looked upon the direct and indirect taxation as two fair sisters to whom in his official capacity he was privileged to pay an equal amount of attention. He supposed there was no one who would object in the abstract to the remission of the Id. off the income tax, to such moderate benefits as might be gained from the proposed reduction of the Fire Insurance duty, or to the doubtful cheapening of sugar resulting from the reduction of duties upon that commodity. But the principles of justice and fair play ought to guide the House in all impositions or remissions of taxation; and, in spite of the elaborate self-laudation of his own policy by the right hon. Gentleman when introducing his financial scheme, he believed those principles had not been carried out in the present instance, and that, if carried out, the claims of those affected by the reduction of the duty on sugar would have been found subservient to the large claims of those affected by the reduction of the malt tax. It had been urged by various speakers, and by the right hon. Gentleman himself, that the duty on sugar, being a war tax, had therefore a priority of claim. That principle had been altogether broken through when the paper duty was taken off, in preference to reducing the duty on tea and sugar. But, going back to the early history of the malt tax, what was it, he wished to know, but a war tax? It was originally imposed, and again increased, for the purposes of war long before Mr. Pitt ever called the income tax into existence, and something like a century before the exigencies of the Crimean War required the sugar duties to be raised. Surely, then, if the principle were to obtain that war taxes were the first to be removed, the malt tax claimed priority. He would go further, and say that there never was a tax which, after the lapse of 100 years, bore on its face such marks of its early origin, or exhibited more strongly the peculiar oppressiveness of all taxes imposed in stormy times. In spite of the enormous increase in our population, and the corresponding development of the resources of the country, and in spite of the relief given to the brewers by the abolition of the beer duty, the consumption of malt per head had enormously diminished, and the manufacture of malt was at this moment entirely stationary. Admitting that for the last few years the statistics had been rather more favourable, it must be remembered that these were times, upon the whole, of great national prosperity, and that the barley harvest for last year was one of the most remarkable, if not the most remarkable of any during the past half century. But in spite of all these considerations the fact remained that the consumption of malt had enormously diminished out of all proportion to the population of the country. He did not attribute this altogether to the operation of the malt tax—a more general use of tea and coffee no doubt had its share in bringing about this anomalous state of things; but, in the main, he agreed with the opinion expressed by no mean authority on all matters of taxation, Mr. M'Culloch. In commenting on what he calls this "anomalous" result, he observes— There cannot be a question that it is mainly owing to the exorbitant duties with which malt and the ale and beer manufactured from it have been loaded, and the oppressive regulations imposed on the manufacture of malt and the sale of beer. As a war tax good grounds, therefore, existed for saying that the malt duty had a paramount claim to consideration, and as far as the necessaries of the people were concerned, the farmers of England had an ample right to assert the prior claim of the malt tax to reduction over the sugar duties. But, in his mind, there was another and a stronger argument in favour of their claims. At the time of the greatest financial and commercial excitement which the country ever witnessed the sugar duties were entirely reduced and remodelled, while the malt duties were left wholly untouched. Language was held at that period by the free trade leaders which, in his mind, was tantamount to a direct pledge, that if the farmers would consent to a repeal of the Corn Laws the repeal of the malt tax would follow as a matter of course. But long before the free trade era it was over and over again asserted that if the Corn Laws were repealed the malt duty should be also abolished. In 1831 a Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the Excise laws. Sir Henry Parnell, who was chairman of that Commission, expressed the opinion that so long as the Corn Laws remained untouched the malt tax would also remain untouched, because otherwise the effect would be to produce a great monoply in the barley trade; and he added, that if ever the Corn Laws were repealed, then, as a matter of necessity, the malt tax should be reduced at least one-half. Now, perhaps Sir Henry Parnell, when uttering that language, never contemplated the establishment of the free trade principle in this country. But as that great financial change drew nigh that great statesman's opinions were reiterated by the most zealous and distinguished free traders. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. P. Villiers), who might be considered the great originator of that change, asked— Would the landed interest be willing, if the malt tax was taken off, to release the country from the tax of the Corn Laws; for of this he was sure, that all those were now injured by the existence of the monopoly, which he might term the community at large, would be ready, nay, be anxious, to get rid of it. The late Sir Robert Peel, who afterwards carried the great measure of Corn Law repeal, said— Repeal the Corn Laws, and you must allow the agriculturist to grow his own tobacco and to grow and manufacture his own malt. That was strong enough; but the language used by Sir James Graham was still stronger— It enhanced the price of beer; this enhanced price of beer diminished the demand for it, and the diminished demand caused a smaller quantity of barley to be cultivated, and the lessened price of barley was, pro tanto, a tax on the barley land or as Adam Smith, he believed, said, it had the same effect as if the barley land had been striken with barrenness. If the Corn Laws were repealed, not a single year would elapse before the malt tax would also be repealed. The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden) who would, he hoped, express his opinions on this question to-night, in a speech delivered to his constituents in the "West Riding in 1849, said— We sympathize with the farmers. We never will tolerate one shilling duty on corn; but we will co-operate with them in getting rid of that obnoxious tax, the malt duty. We owe the farmers something, and we will endeavour to repay them in kind. These were the opinions held by almost every distinguished free trade leader; and such language, coming from men of such eminence, must, he contended, be regarded as tantamount almost to a pledge to the fanners and consumers of this country— a pledge almost as binding as if this House had passed a formal Resolution that, after the Corn Laws were repealed, the repeal of the malt tax should follow. If at that time the fanners of England, instead of giving themselves up to a most gallant and prolonged, but to what at this interval must be admitted to be a most hopeless struggle for protection—if they had devoted one-tenth of the energy which they had bestowed upon that question to an endeavour to obtain the repeal of the malt tax, that tax would long ago have been numbered with the past. Grasping at the shadow, however, they lost the substance. When his right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire came into office in 1852, acting upon the previously experienced opinion of all the free trade leaders, proposed to remit half the malt duty, how was he met? He was told that the hour of compromise was past, and the very statesmen who had lured the farmers on by holding out this bait of a promise of their support in the reduction of the malt duty, were the first to turn round in a body and resist his proposal. From that moment to the present the question of malt tax repeal had been kept in abeyance. The nation had passed through times of war and of war expenditure, but now that it had happily arrived at days of reduced expenditure and prosperity budgets the language he had quoted amply justified the farmers in renewing their claims for a reduction of the duty. The hon. Baronet who had just spoken (Sir Francis Crossley) said that the malt tax was paid entirely by the consumer, and that the farmers had very little to do with the question. But if, as he had shown, during more than 100 years the effect of this tax had been to check consumption and restrict the cultivation of the raw material, the hon. Baronet must admit that there was no good primâ facie ground for saying that, although this tax was paid directly by the consumer, indirectly it was a tax which came out of the pockets of the producer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer laid great stress on the argument that the price of the best barley had been slowly increasing since the repeal of the Corn Laws, and said that the farmers could not expect a remission of the tax in the face of that fact. But this fact, to his mind, furnished the strongest argument that could be urged in favour of the remission. He was ready to admit that the repeal or reduction of this tax was not demanded by growers of the best barley. They, as a class, if not altogether hostile, were at least indifferent to repeal or reduction. But the growers of the best barley, after all, were only a very limited portion of the agricultural community. Those who asked for a repeal of the malt tax were the growers of inferior barley, who complained with great justice, that while on the one hand great monopoly was caused in effect by the present Excise law, and the best barleys were maintained at an artificial price, there was no demand for barley of inferior quality, which was a complete drug in the market. This inferior barley might, it was true, be converted by the farmers into a wholesome and sound beverage for their labourers, or it might be used as a condiment for their cattle; but by the Excise laws they were not allowed to use it at all for the first of these purposes, and they were only at liberty to use it for the second under such restrictions as, in the opinion of all practical men, amounted to virtual prohibition. This, however, was not the only injustice. The right hon. Gentleman said that the average price of barley was higher now than when the Corn Laws were repealed. But that average was altogether fictitious. It was based on the finest samples of barley, inferior samples being almost entirely excluded from the calculation. Hence resulted this great injustice—that while inferior barley was worth no more than from 20s. to 25s. a quarter, the farmer was bound to pay tithes or a corn rent, if he were unfortunate enough to hold a farm on a corn rent, at the full average of the best barley, from 33s. to 34s. a quarter. Well, then, what was the position of the farmers at the present moment with regard to the foreigner? A drawback was allowed in respect of the duty and cost of collection upon all malt and beer exported from this country. Now the quantity of malt exported last year was about 65,000 quarters, and dur- ing the same period 470,000 barrels of beer were exported, the declared value of both being about, £1,600,000. He believed that he was not overstating the case when he said that the value of the drawback upon the malt and beer thus exported amounted to at least £500,000; so that while, on the one hand, the home produce were fettered with a duty which rendered consumption almost stationary, the foreigner was not only allowed to receive our malt duty free, and feed his cattle abroad with it, but he was also allowed to enter our markets duty free, and to undersell the farmers here with cattle fed on English barley. Thus under this system the foreigner received, as it were, a present of £500,000, which was wrung from the pockets of the British farmer and the home consumer. This anomaly and injustice was in existence seventeen years after free trade, so called, had become law, and was justified by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who the other night detained the House for two hours while he dilated on the wisdom and justice of this free-trade policy. He would not, however, rest the case solely upon the benefit which the reduction of the malt tax would confer upon the farmer. Great as that benefit would be, it would be nothing compared with that which would result to the consumer, and especially to the whole mass of the labouring classes. There was a time when every British labourer had his barrel of home-brewed beer in his own cottage. About the year 1839 a labourer named James Kershaw, then ninety-one years of age, was examined before the Poor Law Committee, and was asked whether he remembered the condition of the labourer during the earlier period of his life? The old man answered yes; and stated that when he was married he could buy a bushel of malt for half-a-crown, and every poor person had a barrel of beer to drink, instead of water; but the price soon rose to 3s. 6d. In reply to further questions, he stated that at that time, as a general rule, all labouring men brewed; that they had left it off ever since the tax raised the price of malt so high that they could not afford to buy it; and that when he was examined no poor man brewed his own beer. That was, that instead of each man having a cask of home-brewed, they were driven to purchase the adulterated and poisonous stuff which was generally sold in the village beershop. Did the House know what sort of poisonous decoction it was that was retailed to the working classes under the name of beer, in the vast mass of the beershops throughout the country and in London—in the country districts especially? A few days ago a constituent of his, a member of the Council of the Royal Agricultural Society—Mr. Fisher Hobbs—made a tour through his neighbourhood, and by way of practical experiment collected thirteen or fourteen samples of beer from different beer shops. These he brought to London, and submitted them to a celebrated analytical chymist. Professor Voëlcker for analysis. The Professor having analyzed them, stated that one-half of them were extensively drugged with deleterious substances, intended to produce either unnatural thirst or premature intoxication, while the other half could not be dignified with the name of beer, being merely a sort of malt washings mixed up with a large quantity of molasses. That was the case in the country districts. What was the sort of beer generally sold by the smaller publicans in London? Dr. Letheby, the medical officer of health for the City of London, stated that there could not be a doubt that adulteration of beer extensively prevailed in the metropolis. "The chief ingredients," he said, Are a saccharine body—as foots and liquorice, to sweeten it; a bitter principle—as gentian, quassia, sumach, and terra japonica—to give astringency; a thickening material. And this he should, had he been in the House, have commended especially to the notice of the Chancellor as illustrative of the probable operation of the Malt for Animals BillAs linseed, to give body; a colouring matter, as burnt sugar, to darken it; cocculus indicus, to give a false strength; and common salt, capsicum, copperas, and Dantzic spruce to produce a head; as well as to impart certain refinements of flavour. And he added the statement that the loss to the revenue in consequence of these adulterations amounted in London alone to nearly £100,000 per annum. And what price did the labouring classes pay for this villanous decoction? He believed that he was under rather than overstating the case when he said that on every quarter of barley converted into malt 126 per cent was charged before it reached the labouring man in the form of beer. Of this, 66 per cent was attributable to the duty, and the remainder represented the respective profits of the maltster, brewer, and publican. There might be some who would say that the reduction of the malt tax would extend the consumption of beer and increase drunkenness. That was, to some extent, the objection of the hon. Baronet the Member for the West Riding (Sir F. Crossley), who said that for one man to whom beer did good ten died of it; and after the facts which he (Mr. Du Cane) had stated, he did not wonder at it. But his answer to that argument was, get rid of the malt tax, and you will knock the country beer-shop nuisance on the head, and give a greater stimulus to sobriety and morality among the labouring classes than will be accomplished by years of compulsory liquor laws, or any amount of agricultural meetings, speeches from waggons, and rewards to farm labourers. He had, during the present Session, presented at least 100 petitions in favour of the repeal of the malt tax, and it was a most significant fact, almost all those petitions had been signed, in most instances they had been headed, by the signature of the clergyman of the parish. The ground on which these gentlemen signed was, that they believed the beershop nuisance to be the cause of at least nine-tenths of the crime, drunkenness, and immorality among the working classes, and the great difficulty which they had to contend with in any movement which they made for their advancement. So much for the ease of the labouring classes. He would next say a word upon what he might call the Chancellor of the Exchequer's "separate nationality" argument. The right hon. Gentleman told the Committee that England was the only country really concerned in the repeal of the malt tax; and, of course, he expected that the Scotch and Irish Members would unite to oppose any Resolution moved with that object. It might be true that the repeal of the malt tax would benefit England more than Ireland and Scotland; but why, when he gave those statistics, did not the right hon. Gentleman explain the incidence of taxation generally on the three countries? Why did he not tell the Committee to what extent England relieved Ireland and Scotland of spirit duties, and in what proportion, as compared with those countries, she contributed to the Income Tax and Customs duties? The right hon. Gentleman based his estimate of the amount which each of the three countries contributed to the malt tax speciously, but unfairly, upon the quantity of malt actually manufactured in each of the three countries; but he never said a word of the quantity of malt and beer which was exported from England to both Ireland and Scotland. He believed that there was a large exportation of malt to Ireland, for the purposes of brewing and distilling, and in Scotland there was hardly a small village in which that excellent beverage brewed by the hon. Member for Derby and other English brewers was not to be found in great abundance. The argument of the right hon. Gentleman went to the effect that all the malt manufactured in England was consumed in England. But to estimate the amount contributed by each of the three countries to the malt tax, upon the amount of malt actually manufactured in each of them, was as absurd as to suppose that all the coals of Northumberland and calicoes of Lancashire were consumed within the precincts of those two counties. He could not help thinking that it would be rather dangerous for the Irish and Scotch Members to adopt and act upon this "separate nationality" doctrine. The malt tax was described as solely an English grievance; but had the House never heard of grievances which were solely Irish or Scotch? He had repeatedly, at the request of Scotch or Irish friends, remained in the House till some unheard of hours, to vote on questions which were of no interest personally to him, but which were considered of the most vital consequence to the Gentlemen from those kingdoms; and acting on the principle of doing to others what we would have done to ourselves, he had often waited in that House to a weary hour in the morning, for the purpose of performing the service asked of him. But if this separate nationality doctrine was to be acted upon, and in two or three years there should arise an Irish or Scotch question, such as the reduction of the spirit duties, for instance, hon. Members who represented English agricultural constituencies, when appealed to for aid, would be apt to say, "No; remember how you treated us in the case of the malt tax. Our constituents don't drink whisky, and we will leave you to fight your own battle with the Chancellor of the Exchequer." Would then the Scotch and Irish Members expose themselves to such a retaliation, by refusing to assist their English brethren on this question, and say, "It's no affair of ours; our constituents don't drink beer; their beverage is whisky." Such a course would be equally ungenerous and dangerous. The right hon. Gentleman, in describing the demand as one for the entire repeal of the malt tax, had altogether misrepresented the appeal which they were making. None of them in that House, and he believed no Member in the country, had raised the question of the immediate repeal of the whole of the malt tax, though, no doubt, the meaning of the movement was to bring about an extinction of the impost. All they wanted to do was to put the malt tax on the same footing as other taxes, and to have in this case the benefit of such reductions as the Chancellor of the Exchequer could spare from his surplus, until the happy day arrived when the entire Excise charge upon malt should be abolished. He was not so sanguine as to believe, that if one-half the tax was taken off to-morrow the revenue would immediately recover it; but the consumption would keep pari passu with the reduction, and the past history of the tax was no exception to that remarkable vigour and elasticity which the Chancellor of the Exchequer delighted in the other night as distinguishing the other branches of the revenue; but he thought it was utterly impossible for any one who looked attentively at the past history of the malt tax, from its first imposition, in the year 1697, up to the present time, to avoid coming to the conclusion that in proportion as the duty had been increased the manufacture and consumption of malt had diminished, and in proportion as the duty had been lowered the manufacture and consumption had been increased. If they went into individual years they would find, first of all, that in 1750 the duty on malt was only 6d. a bushel, and the consumption was 29,284,000 bushels, or at the rate of five bushels per head. In 1781 the duty rose to 1s. 4d. a bushel, when, notwithstanding a thirty years' increase of population, the amount manufactured fell short of that manufactured in 1750 by 3,000,000 bushels. In 1803, the duty was 2s. 5d. a bushel, and the amount which paid duty was 29,562,000 bushels. In that year the duty was raised to 4s. 5¼d. a bushel—the highest, he believed, it had ever reached— and the consumption sank next year to 22,000,000 bushels, being a decrease of 7,000,000 bushels in a single year. In 1818, the duty had again dropped to 2s. 5d., and the consumption rose to 24,700,000; but in 1819, the duty was again raised to 3s. 7¼d. a bushel, and the quantity then fell to only 22,600,000 bushels. They came next to the year 1840. In that year the duty was at 2s. 7d. a bushel, and the consumption was 36,652,000 bushels; but 5 per cent was then added to the tax, and the effect was that in 1842 the consumption had dropped to 30,790,000 bushels. It recovered slowly during the next ten years; but in 1852 it was only 35,000,000 bushels, or, with a twelve years' increase of population, actually less than it had been in 1840. And lastly— and that perhaps was the greatest case in point—in the year 1854, when the Crimean war broke out, the duty was raised from 2s. 7d. to 4s. per bushel, when consumption dropped from 36,245,847 bushels in 1853 to 31,869,000 bushels in 1854, and in spite of the large increase of duty the amount of revenue remained nearly stationary. Now let the House glance for a moment at the other side of the picture, and see what the effect had been of reduction of the duty on consumption. In 1821 the duty was reduced from 3s. 7d. a bushel to 2s. 7d., and the consumption gradually and steadily increased, till in 1830 it had increased some 6,000,000 bushels; and on the beer duty being taken off, another steady increase of 5,000,000 bushels took place in the next seven years. And finally, in 1856, the year when peace with Russia was concluded, the duty was reduced from 4s. to 2s. 7d., when the consumption immediately increased by nearly 4,500,000 bushels, and the amount of revenue literally exceeded that of the previous year of high duty by no less than £100,000. He was unfeignedly glad that his hon. and gallant Friend had put this issue to-night, once for all, fully and fairly before the House. If they really wished to produce any effect in respect of the reduction or the repeal of the malt tax, there was no use in going on holding county meetings, and waiting on the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer with exceedingly numerous deputations to receive exceedingly cautious and diplomatic replies, or in inundating the House with petitions. If they wanted to produce any effect on the right hon. Gentleman, they must — as they were doing that night—submit their proposition fairly to the House, and take the sense of the House fairly upon it. If they could judge by the expression of opinion in the country, and by what had been said in that House a few weeks ago, when the Malt for Cattle Bill was before them, and what had been said in the course of the present discussion, his hon. and gallant Friend ought to be successful; but whether he was successful or not they would have effected this great good—they would have shown that there were men in the House and in the country, however small their number might be, who were thoroughly in earnest on this question, and who did not advocate it merely for the sake of a party division, or as an election war-cry, but because they conscientiously believed that the reduction would be not only fair and just, but most beneficial to all classes of the community.


Sir, I listened to the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend— and I may say my representative—who opened this debate with great pleasure. He brought forward his Motion with much ability, and I have not a word to say in opposition to the views he advocates. But as an experienced agitator, I must be allowed to tell him that he has erred grievously in the mode in which he has introduced this subject for the first time formally to the House. There is no rule more deserving the attention of any one who takes charge of a question in this House than this—that he should never allow it to jostle or to become entangled with another question, good in itself, but with which it has no necessary connection. The mode in which this Motion is introduced into the House is such as absolutely to preclude a fair division upon its merits; because my hon. and gallant Friend asks the House to consider not merely the merits of the malt tax, but the merits of another tax which he proposes to remove out of the way in order that the malt tax may occupy its place. With regard to the sugar duty, looking at the matter only as a question for the consumer—although I am not going to deal with the malt tax solely in the light of a consumer's tax—I confess I should infinitely prefer abolishing the sugar duty to abolishing the malt tax. Perhaps there is no tax — after the tax upon bread—upon which there may be so much said to justify total repeal as the duty on sugar. We live in a country where we have not so much of the sun's rays as more southern climes are favoured with. We know that it is the solar heat which bestows sugar upon the earth, and the consequence is that our fruits want the flavour which in other and more genial climes they possess. We require, there- fore, more sugar as an admixture to our food. Again, the people of this country are large consumers of tea. We are denied the wine which they have in France and other countries, and the people consequently drink tea in larger quantities than any other in Europe. That consumption of tea implies the necessity of the consumption of sugar. Then, again, sugar appeals to the sympathies of all — not merely to the working man, for whose benefit alone, in seeking for a reduction of the malt tax, our sympathies are invoked, but to his wife and children—not merely to the man in health, but to the invalid and to helpless infancy. I am very sorry, therefore, that this question, which is most important in itself, and excites so much interest, has been injudiciously complicated with another question, so as to deprive us of a fair vote upon its merits. In dealing with the malt tax, I said I would not regard it solely as a consumer's question. Standing here as an advocate of free trade, and having applied free trade principles with so much rigour to the farmer and the landowner, whom I will not separate in this matter, I am fairly bound to admit that, if they come before this House and state that the operation of the malt tax is such as to impede the processes of scientific husbandry and to interfere with the most desirable rotation of crops—that if they establish the truth of that upon the judgment of practical farmers—this is a question that affects the interests of the producer as well as the interests of the consumer. I am bound to say that we have never lost sight of the producer in the great changes which we have been effecting in our fiscal system during the last twenty years. We all know that Sir Robert Peel began his commercial reforms, which have been followed up to the present day, by laying down and acting upon the maxim that it was necessary, before exposing the manufacturers of this country to competition with the manufacturers of the rest of the world, to relieve them in every possible way from all disadvantages in the supply of their raw material and in the processes of manufacture. I was surprised that the hon. Baronet the Member for the West Riding (Sir F. Crossley), in his speech, rather lost sight of this principle, which we have always claimed in the interests of the manufacturer. He said, that as the farmers of this country did not produce sufficient barley for its consumption they were not entitled to the removal of the difficulty and impediment which the malt tax imposed upon them. I consider that the fact that they do not produce enough of barley for this country is no argument -why they should not have the full application of the economical fiscal system which we have been carrying out for the last twenty years. We admit the foreigner to free competition with them; the foreigner may not have this malt tax to interfere with his husbandry; and therefore I repeat it is no sufficient answer to say that the landowners and farmers of this country do not produce the full quantity of barley necessary for the consumption of the people. The question really is:— What is the force and validity of the plea put forward by the producer? I have inquired of the most intelligent farmers with whom I am acquainted, and I will mention one because he lives in a county which has lately been the theatre of a great contest turning upon this question. I have had the great pleasure and advantage of being acquainted with Mr. Latimore, one of the best farmers in Hertfordshire, for more than twenty-two years. He stood by my side at the commencement of the movement for free trade in corn, and much to his credit and greatly in proof of his enlightenment, was always an advocate of that principle. Mr. Latimore is now one of the most ardent advocates of the removal of the malt tax; and, as one to whom I owe more than to any one for the information I acquired with reference to agriculture and its bearing upon free trade, I cannot but regard with the greatest respect the evidence he offers me upon the subject. Mr. Latimore has stated publicly —and I believe he has stated to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister—that the operation of the malt tax tends to interfere with the proper and judicious rotation of crops. Some soils are not so well suited as others for the growth of barley. Thus, taking Norfolk, where the soil is of a superior character for the growth of barley, and then taking those districts where the soil is not peculiarly suited for that kind of grain, and where the crop is of an inferior quality, you cannot sell that inferior barley for malting purposes, because the duty being the same upon barley of high quality as of low quality, it acts as a prohibitory duty in the sale of inferior grain for malt. Besides that, Mr. Latimore tells me that he finds malt a necessary article for the consumption of stock, particularly lambs and sheep, at particular seasons. I have visited his farm, and I have seen his lambs at Easter season feeding upon malt dust brought from Ware. He was at that time paying, weight for weight, as much for his malt dust as he was selling his wheat for; and he tells me that he has been obliged to abandon the purchase of this malt dust, because it was so dear that he could no longer use it. I take the evidence of such men to be conclusive in the matter. The farmers stand, in my opinion, precisely in the same position with regard to barley, from which the malt is made, as they did with regard to hops before the hop duty was repealed. We all know that in Kent a very superior quality of hops is grown, and that in Sussex the quality is inferior. The duty being the same in both cases, its effect was to operate most oppressively upon the inferior quality of hops grown in Sussex. It was, in fact, a protective duty upon the superior hops grown in Kent; and it was on that ground that the hop-growers raised an agitation for the repeal of the duty. It was not an agitation in which, the consumers were the movers. The movement originated exclusively with the hop-growers of Sussex, because they wanted to escape from the severe disadvantage under which they were labouring in consequence of the duties pressing upon them so heavily. Such is the position in which the farmer is now placed, and it appears to me that he has good grounds to come here and to ask that the trade in malt should be made free, as a complement to those free trade measures and that economical policy which has been enforced in every other direction during the last twenty years. It may be said that there has been a measure proposed for the purpose of enabling malt to be manufactured for the consumption of cattle. Well, I believe it is generally understood that that device will be a failure. I believe the farmers attach very little importance to it. But, independently of regarding the question merely as a consumer's question, I maintain that it would be a great relief to the very poorest part of the community if the malt tax could be abolished. I say the very poorest part of the community, because I think the consumption of beer, probably more than of any other article, belongs to the very poorest of our labourers —I now speak of the male labourers more than any other. I am of this opinion, because all of us who are acquainted with rural life know that, if they could, the agri- cultural labourers of this country would all enjoy the beverage of beer. With their limited wages, and with the general habit of agricultural labourers to be married men, I think there is very small danger of these men ever carrying the indulgence too far. But, depend upon it, it would contribute very much to the contentment of that class, and to make them less dissatisfied when comparing their lot with that of the rest of the community, if instead of being obliged to resort to the brook or the spring for their beverage they could enjoy some share of the produce of the land on which they are employed in the shape of a draught of beer. I am not one myself who attaches very much importance to the beverage which men may take. I think more depends upon what they eat than upon what they drink. But I would like to lay down this as a rule in dealing with this question and with all other questions—that we do not sit here to legislate with the view of passing sumptuary laws either with respect to drink, or meat, or clothing. We do not pretend by our fiscal regulations to make men moral, and I think it is quite out of place to introduce the subject at all in discussions like the present. I should say that it would be a disadvantageous argument, in treating this question, to contend that by repealing the malt tax you would necessarily have a very much larger individual consumption of beer. If I, instead of my hon. and gallant Friend, were dealing with this question, I would never put the case upon that argument. It does not follow if you take the duty off malt that the present beer drinkers will increase their consumption of beer. You may have many mouths drinking beer that now cannot get it at all, and you may have those who now drink beer consuming the same quantity at a very much less expense. Hon. Gentlemen will find a passage in Adam Smith upon this very subject. He says in a passage which is well worthy of consideration, speaking as an advocate of the repeal of the malt tax, just as he would have advocated a repeal of the Corn Law, that it does not follow that because intoxicating drinks are cheap therefore the people in the country where they are cheap should be necessarily intemperate; and he mentions the fact, that in those countries where wine is cheap there the population is generally the most sober. And he states as a fact, that though the regiments in France that had been brought from the northern provinces into the southern portion of the country were found at first to indulge their appetites to some excess, yet that familiarity with the cheap wines of the South speedily produced an effect rather sober than otherwise. Now, who are the sober people amongst us at the present moment? Why, doubtless, the great progress in sobriety in this country during the last thirty or forty years has been precisely amongst those classes who have had in abundance the means of intoxication always at their hands. My hon. Friend here (Mr. Lawson), who, I believe, wishes, with strictly benevolent views, to put temptation out of the working man's way by the regulation of the number of public-houses, would not pretend to say that he would deprive any one of the fullest opportunities of indulging in his wine or his beer in his own house. I therefore think it would be wrong to assume that necessarily there would be a greatly increased consumption of beer arising out of a change in this law. I tell you what would happen if you abolished the malt tax. I have no doubt there would be a great consumption of other excisable and duty-paying articles. If beer were cheaper the families of working men would consume more tea, sugar, tobacco, and other things that pay duty. Therefore, it is quite possible that you might have a very large increase in your revenue, arising from these other sources, without necessarily implying any large increase in the consumption of intoxicating liquor. Well, we now come to consider the question of the financial difficulty of this great problem. I assume that whatever is proposed to be done would be done with the view of the ultimate abolition of this tax. I do not say that any Chancellor of the Exchequer would be likely to propose to do this in any one year; but if I were dealing with this question out of the House, I should look to total repeal, and nothing less, as my ultimate object. Now where is the difficulty in the way of accomplishing this? I exhort my hon. and gallant Friend opposite not to think of ever putting on a substitute in the form of another tax in the place of this. Let him depend upon it that this House will never put on any other tax as a substitute for the malt tax. How, then, are you to meet this case? Well, in the first place, if you abolished this tax, you would not lose that amount of revenue, because there would be a decided increase from other sources. In the next place, you do I not intend to abolish it all in one year— that is certain. Well, then, I maintain you must all steadily look to a reduction of our expenditure. I consider that we have been running riot in our extravagance. For the first five years after I entered this House, when Sir Robert Peel was at the head of affairs, we spent £20,000,000 a year less than the average of the last five years. Will anybody pretend to tell me there is not a margin for saving and economy in that? This Parliament has been unparalleled in its extravagance. Names have been given to different Parliaments. One was called "the Long Parliament," another was called "the Unlearned Parliament," and this ought to be called for ever "the Prodigal Parliament." Well, then, you have an opportunity for economy, in watching stringently your expenditure, and you have the natural growth of revenue which comes from reduction of taxation; and if you remain at peace you will have the growth arising from the elasticity and buoyancy of your finances which leaves you every year with a surplus of two or three millions. All this leads me to conclude, that if hon. Gentlemen opposite are in earnest about this matter they may ultimately accomplish what they have now in hand. What I should recommend to my hon. and galgant Friend is, that he should not take the opinion of the House on this Motion. If he does, I should be in the same predicament as three or four other Gentlemen who have spoken, who, while favourable to the Motion, tell us that they shall be obliged to vote against it, inasmuch as it has been put in antagonism with the reduction on sugar. I should hope that my hon. and gallant Friend will withdraw the Motion, having the advantages of the discussion, which is all that he can hope for at this moment, bearing in mind, too, that these are questions which are not carried in a Session. One or two Gentlemen have spoken of free trade in corn as if it were carried straight off; but I know, to my cost, that that question took us seven years of weary labour. You have now only just begun. You have only to press this question as a producer's question in addition to the interests of the consumer, and with that perseverance which I think will characterize hon. Gentlemen opposite, when they are once roused to a question, and they are sure soon to accomplish their object, to the great benefit not only of that part of the community which they represent, but also to the satisfaction of all classes of the community.


said, he thanked the hon. Member for Rochdale for the eloquent speech he had made in condemnation of the malt duty, and for the plain manner in which he had shown that some time or other the malt tax must be abolished. It was only a question with the hon. Gentleman whether they should make the remission now or not. He (Mr. Barrow) was unwilling that they should neglect any opportunity of making a beginning. He had presented petitions signed by 7,000 or 8,000 persons, the greater portion of them householders, in favour of the abolition of the tax. The farmers in his county unanimously supported the abolition, and they were actuated as much by a consideration for the benefit of their labourers as of themselves. He had taken no part in the agitation which had been got up on the subject, but he entirely concurred in the opinions expressed by the petitioners, that the existence of this tax was a serious evil for the consumer as well as the producer.


said, it appeared to him not to be very clear what was the precise proposal now submitted to the House; whether it was intended to take an opportunity that night to express generally the views of the House on the malt tax question, or whether it was intended to raise some definite issue as to the precise reduction which the House should agree to in the malt tax, and whether such reduction was to take the place of the proposed reduction of the sugar duties. The Resolution was exceedingly vague and indefinite, and the speeches of hon. Gentlemen who supported it had not made it very intelligible. The hon. Mover of the Resolution stated that what he meant by postponing the repeal of the duty on sugar, and dealing with the duty on malt, was that we ought now to reduce the duty on malt one half.


What I stated was, and I thought I stated it distinctly, that I wished to reduce the duty on malt to the extent of the reduction of the duty on sugar proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


Then he had not caught the exact proposition of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but he was clear that some other hon. Gentleman had proposed to reduce the duty by one quarter. He (Mr. Milner Gibson) was not particularly friendly to the malt tax or to any other tax, nor was he altogether disposed to condemn the eliciting an expression of opinion by the medium of a Resolution. But he did say this, that when they were asked to pass by a proposition of relief to the consumers of sugar in this country which had been submitted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—a proposition capable of being carried into effect with the surplus at the disposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—the House ought not lightly to agree to such a proposition, without considering whether they could, with the means at hand, deal with the malt tax in the way proposed by hon. Gentlemen opposite. What was the amount which his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had to dispose of? He understood that hon. Gentlemen opposite meant to accept the proposed reduction of 1d. in the pound, on the Income Tax—that this was to be retained; he understood they were to retain other taxes proposed to be reduced; but that they refused to accept the reduction in the duty on sugar, and proposed to substitute a reduction of one quarter of the present malt tax. He found, however, that the loss on the proposed reduction in the duty on sugar, according to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was £1,300,000.




He had made a calculation, and he found that the reduction of one quarter of the malt tax would occasion a loss in the present financial year, after providing for the payment of drawbacks, of no less than £1,880,000; and this calculation was made after allowing for an increase of 10 per cent on the consumption of malt arising from the reduction of duty. The question, then, was— how were they going to pay £1,880,000 with £1,330,000? The only argument that could be adduced in favour of the malt tax, according to the hon. and gallant Mover, was that it produced a great revenue—as if taxes were put on for any other purpose than that of producing revenue. There could not be a stronger argument in favour of a tax than that it yielded a very large return. He admitted the evils of an Excise duty, although he had been informed by competent authority that the regulations of the Excise did not materially—perhaps not at all—interfere with the malting of barley. And, whatever might be said concerning competition with the foreigner, it must be borne in mind that there was a duty on the importation of foreign malt more that sufficient to countervail the Excise duty and to meet the disadvantage to the maltsters arising from their having to malt under Excise regulations. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire attempted to deal with the malt tax in 1852, he laid down the proposition that it was idle to deal with it in a small way. The right hon. Gentleman was then of opinion that it was not worth while to make any reduction less than one-half, "because, recollect, you are going to retain your Excise system and the principal evils that belong to this tax, very much as they are, giving by a small reduction an inappreciable advantage to the consumer." The right hon. Gentleman laid down a doctrine with reference to malt which he (Mr. Milner Gibson) thought was perfectly sound, and he thought it ought to guide the House at the present moment—that the House ought not to deal with the malt tax until they were in a position, in reference to revenue and surplus, to be able to give an appreciable benefit to the consumer and to the farmer, if benefit were to be derived by dealing with this tax. If, said the right hon. Gentleman, we deal with the malt tax in a small manner, the House will probably accomplish none of those objects to which he had alluded; the consumer would not be benefited—there would neither be cheap beer, nor would there be freer cultivation of the land of the country. Seeing, then, the position in which they were placed, he asked the House, was it reasonable to reject the advantageous proposition as to sugar for the purpose of giving a reduction in malt, which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire stated in 1852 would neither benefit the consumer nor the farmer? What would be the reduction in a quart of beer if the malt tax were altogether repealed? He believed that it would not exceed a halfpenny a quart in the average beer, taking the quantity of malt used in the manufacture of beer. He believed a farthing a pint would be about the amount of the relief. To make the reduction now proposed we must lose a large revenue—no less than £1,880,000 —and the relief to the consumer would only be a quarter of a farthing on a pint of beer. He asserted, then, that the trifling advantage to the consumer would be purchased at too great a sacrifice of the revenue. When we considered the taxation upon malt, and its effect upon the price of beer, which, was said to have caused the consumption of malt to stand still for some years past, there was another matter worthy of consideration. He had been told that one reason why malt was not now so extensively consumed, measuring the consumption per head of the population, was that a description of beer had come into use of late years in which was introduced a smaller quantity of malt. The fashionable and popular beers of the day, he believed, did not contain so large a proportion of malt as the old English beer of former days; not that it was thought the worse for that circumstance, but, in point of fact, the taste was somewhat altered, and what was called pale or bitter beer, he was told, did not contain so large a proportion of malt as beer contained in former times. If he were wrong he hoped his hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Bass) would correct him. He would like to call attention to the taxation on beer, through the malt tax, in comparison with the taxation on food arising from the imposition of Customs and Excise duties. He found the percentage of duty on the market value of coffee from Ceylon to be 33 per cent; upon tea from China, 83 per cent; upon sugar, yellow muscovado, Cuba, and West India, 61¼ per cent; brown muscovado from Cuba and the West Indies, 59 per cent; and from the Brazils, 65 per cent. Upon wine from France, 22 per cent; from Portugal, 30 per cent; and from Spain, 29 per cent. But in the case of porter, allowing that two bushels of malt made 36 gallons, or 144 quarts of porter, and putting the porter at 4d. per quart, the duty was only 12½ per cent on that beverage. If, then, the duty on sugar ranged from 59 to 65 per cent on the value, and the duty on beer caused by the malt tax was only 12½ per cent— and probably on other kinds of beer it might rise to 15 per cent—he said it was a case of dealing with sugar before dealing with malt. He thought there were many duties upon the food and the beverages of the people of this country that ought to be considered before those on malt, because the malt tax was in itself so light an ad valorem tax on the article consumed compared with the tax on those articles of food and drink to which he had referred. Several hon. Gentlemen thought it was a great evil to have repealed the paper duty. Probably many hon. Gentlemen thought that if that duty had been retained there would have been a greater chance of get- ting the duty off beer. He did not for an instant dispute the right of every hon. Gentleman to express freely his opinions on such questions, nor did he quarrel with those opinions; but he differed from them because he thought it was more desirable, by the repeal of the paper duty, to promote education and the diffusion of knowledge—more desirable by the repeal of the paper duty that this object should be accomplished rather than by a reduction of the duty on malt to cheapen an intoxicating drink like beer. He might be wrong. He did not say that the repeal of the malt tax would not in itself be a benefit. He distinctly said it would be a benefit. But it was not because he held an abstract opinion in favour of the abolition of the malt tax as beneficial in itself that he advocated caution in dealing with the revenue. Sugar was more extensively used than beer. It was used by a larger number of people, taking the whole population of the country, than beer. Sugar entered into the consumption of man, woman, and child, down to the merest infant; it entered into the consumption of every family, from the highest to the lowest, and of every age, both old and young. This could not be said of beer. But, further, he said it was a mistake to merely consider that sugar was consumed for domestic use. It was extensively used for distilling purposes; it was even extensively used in brewing, as well as for other manufacturing purposes. He ventured to say that there was no article in our tariff of greater commercial importance than the article of sugar. He hoped the House, under all these circumstances, would accept the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, seeing that there was no intention on the other side of the House to make any reduction in the expenditure which would enable the House to deal largely with the malt tax. ["Oh! oh!"] It was new to him to hear that hon. Gentlemen opposite were disposed to make such a reduction in the expenditure as would enable the Government to deal largely with the malt tax. Seeing that the House generally was inclined to support the reduction of the Income Tax, and that the surplus did not admit of any further dealing with taxation, he thought that common sense required something a little more definite and intelligible than a Motion for rejecting the proposals of the Government in order that the expediency of reducing the malt duty might be con- sidered. The expediency of a redaction of the duty on malt was purely a question of revenue. We had not the means at present of dealing with the tax, even if there were not other taxes with preferable claims. Under these circumstances, he had no doubt that the House would support the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer by a large majority.


said, he admitted that the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden) was a great logician, but if his logic had not failed that night logic was a matter of which he (Mr. Bass) knew nothing. The hon. Gentleman had argued that a reduction in the price of beer would not be followed by an increased consumption, though, at the same time, it would bring the article within the reach of those who could not afford it at present. Assuming, then, that those persons who could not get beer now would get it then, was the House to conclude that those who used it now would give it up because they could buy it so much cheaper? With regard to the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex, he (Mr. Bass) confessed that he took the same view as the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down—that it was somewhat indefinite. No doubt the object of the hon. and gallant Member was either now or hereafter to repeal the malt tax; but his Resolution did not deal with the manner in which the malt tax should be reduced or repealed, He could not but think that the Resolution of which the hon. Member for the North Riding (Mr. Morritt) had given notice was better calculated to attain that object. Both the House and the country had adopted the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman. The organs of public opinion on every side not only approved of the reduction of the Income Tax, but they were unanimous in opinion that it was right to take off the war duties on sugar. Probably if he (Mr. Bass) had been asked before the right hon. Gentleman had declared his intentions, he would have preferred a reduction of the malt tax; but now he could only look to the future for that. With regard to a partial reduction of the malt tax, it would be impossible to accommodate the trade to a small reduction, nor would the benefit to the consumer be considerable. The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Milner Gibson) was not altogether accurate in his estimate of the reduction in the price of beer by a repeal of the duty, because it should be observed that the trade obtained a profit on the duty they paid, as well as on the price of barley; and in the event of the reduction or repeal of the duty, competition would infallibly compel them not only to give up the duty, but the profit they at present obtained upon it. Many hon. Gentlemen opposite were in the habit of supporting the proposition of the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Lawson) for reducing the number of public-houses; but he would ask what would be the use of taking off the duty on malt if at the same time they deprived the population of the means of getting beer. It was all very well for the hon. Member to go about saying that brewers were a mischievous class of persons who were not fit to sit in that House, because they manufactured a poison which destroyed the bodies and souls of men, but hon. Gentlemen opposite, while they cried out for a reduction of the malt duty, should not encourage him in his teetotal notions. He thought the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) was quite right when in. 1852 he declared that they could not take off less than one-half the malt tax at a time. They could not accommodate the rule of the trade to a smaller reduction. He would tell the right hon. Gentleman how he could facilitate the movement for a repeal if the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have another surplus of two or three millions, and that was not to date the repeal from the 1st of April, but from the 1st of October, because at the former date the duty would have to be taken off the stocks in hand, which would amount to probably one-half of the repeal beyond the actual amount repealed. On the 1st of October, however, the payment on stocks in hand would be a mere bagatelle. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman had framed his Motion that it would be expedient for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the first opportunity, to reduce the malt tax, he (Mr. Bass) would have gone heartily with him. With regard to the argument about the labourers and the humbler classes brewing their own beer, he was persuaded that was false. He had seen it recommended that they should brew in teakettles, as it was said was the case in America. Now, the man who brewed a couple of bushels could not do it so cheaply by 10 per cent as the man who brewed 50 bushels, and the man who brewed 50 bushels could not brew so cheaply as the man who brewed 500 bushels. It was, therefore, quite obvious that it was preposterous to expect that there would be a large amount of private brewing. Moreover, the bulk of the labouring population lived in towns. Now, the greater part of the profit of private brewing was derived from what were called the outcasts of brewing. It was of no use for a poor man to brew without he had a pig to take his grains, and he must bake his own bread in order to employ the yeast. These were conditions which would preclude the great bulk of the labouring classes from private brewing. On the whole, he could not support the Motion now before the House, but he most heartily agreed with the hon. Member for the North Biding (Mr. Morritt), that the malt tax should be dealt with at the first favourable opportunity.


said, that although his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade had spoken with his usual ability and eloquence, he thought he had been wanting in his usual discretion, for he touched upon two very dangerous subjects. The right hon. Gentleman had laid great stress upon the fact that a reduction of the duty on malt would not effect the reduction of a halfpenny a quart in the price of beer. Now, he (Mr. Bentinck) recollected the time when the right hon. Gentleman used to lay great stress on the enormous benefit that would accrue to the poor by a reduction of the duty on corn affecting the quartern loaf. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had forgotten the arguments he then used. The right hon. Gentleman had also touched on the dangerous subject of the paper duty. He would have done wisely not to have alluded to that subject, and still more wisely if he had not called attention to those remarkable arguments which were once used in the teeth and laughter of the House, that the repeal of the paper duty was necessary to increase the number of penny newspapers. The right hon. Gentleman had quoted various opinions, but he should have recollected that there was hardly a public man on either side of the House who could not he quoted both for and against any question. He (Mr. Bentinck) would not appeal to the House, because it appeared to be wild on the subject of sugar; but he would make an appeal to those Gentlemen who had at heart the agricultural interests, and he would ask them to look at this question as a matter of business. Agreeing with them that there was no possible ground for a retention of the malt duty under a system of free trade, he would venture to suggest to them that no Member who had spoken up to that moment had fairly put before the House the difficulties which they had to contend with. In the first place, the advocates of a repeal of the malt tax must take care that if they succeeded they did not get the same amount of taxation re-imposed in a worse shape. Let them also take care that they did not find themselves working hand in hand with those gentlemen who would substitute the principle of direct for indirect taxation. There was another difficulty that stared them in the face. He wished to deal frankly with the whole question. He believed that a partial repeal of the duties on malt would not benefit the rural districts—that they would do nothing if they did not take steps to procure their total repeal. He went farther, and contended that the total repeal under our present financial system was an utter impossibility. If they carried out free trade and repealed the duties on malt, the consequence would be national bankruptcy. They must look for a total repeal by a revision of our whole system of taxation. If the advocates of the abolition of this tax directed their efforts to a mere agitation in the counties for that purpose, he believed the result would be failure. They must do this:—There are many districts in England that had no interest in the malt duties because the soil was not capable of growing barley, but which, nevertheless, were laid under a large amount of onerous and unjust taxation. What he wanted to see was—not meetings in the various counties for the professed purpose of obtaining a reduction in the duty on malt, but every county in England banded together for the purpose of obtaining a repeal or modification of that unjust amount of taxation which now pressed upon the rural districts. If they carried out the question in that way he pledged himself to the success of the attempt. They had not only the advantage of numbers and property, and every possible facility which could be required for the agitation of a great question, but they had more—they had right and justice on their side; and he contended that they were not doing justice to those they represented in that House when they confined themselves to a mere attempt to repeal the duty on malt, and shut their eyes to the fact that there was a most unfair and onerous amount of taxation borne by the agricultural districts. The question must be fought out on the hustings; it must be fought where the battle of reform was fought. The whole question of the repeal of the malt duties was involved in the question of the paper duties. So long as they had in the House of Commons men who were prepared for mere party purposes— for the mere purposes of a small faction who from a combination of circumstances were dominant—to tamper with the taxation of this country, so long would the great interests of the country be neglected. His test of the sincerity of any Government to do justice to the rural districts would be the making the re-enactment of the paper duties a part of their financial arrangement. [A laugh.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite were pleased to laugh. Let them wait a little, and let those laugh that win. The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden) had bestowed great praise on an informant of his resident in Hertfordshire; but the best thing the hon. Member could have done for his informant was not to have called attention to the information supplied in reference to the Corn Laws, because all the information of that sort which the hon. Member received prior to the repeal of the Corn Laws had been falsified by the result. The hon. Member for Rochdale was again at his old game: he was trying to create bad blood and dissension in the agricultural districts. He wanted to commence a renewal of that system of agitation of which he was so expert a professor for many years for objects of his own; but on this occasion the hon. Gentleman had let the cat out of the bag, by showing that his object was not to benefit the rural districts, but to renew the agitation in which he had in former years shown himself so expert a professor for a sweeping reduction of expenditure. He could, however, assure the hon. Member that nobody in the rural districts was disposed to sacrifice the honour of this country even for the sake of cheapening his beer. He counselled those hon. Gentlemen who moved in this matter to rely upon their resources, and not to expect help from either front bench in that House, because these matters of finance were made party questions for party purposes.


Sir, the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has made a speech which appears to me to be honourable to his candour and frankness; but I confess that I feel some surprise that he should propose, as a practical proposition, that which he exacts as a first condition in the policy of any Government—that is, to receive his confidence and support—namely, that they shall found their whole financial system upon the re-imposition of the paper duty. It is not because I think there is the smallest probability of the adoption of such a measure in any part of this House that I refer to that portion of the hon. Member's speech, but I cannot help expressing my regret that, whatever may have been his opinion about the repeal of the paper duty, the hon. Gentleman, with so much acuteness and intelligence as he undoubtedly possesses, is insensible of the enormous advantage that has resulted from the establishment of a cheaper newspaper press in this country. I do not know — I may be right or I may be wrong — but my belief is—speaking not from antecedent expectations, but from experience—that few measures ever have been adopted in Parliament which have had a more powerful effect in attaching the lower part of the community to the laws and institutions of the country than the establishment of the cheap press, which has taken the labouring population out of the hands of a class of newspapers that formerly abounded, and were most exceptionable in their character—I mean many of the weekly and Sunday papers—and which has made that population from day to day partakers in every subject of public interest, and thereby in my opinion greatly raised their intelligence. Contenting myself with making that protest, I now address myself to the immediate subject before us. I will not attempt to enter into a full discussion of the arguments upon the malt tax, nor even into a full discussion of those arguments which have been touched to-night. But upon that matter I shall only venture to say two things. In the first place, I would really recommend hon. Gentlemen who are so ardent in their advocacy of the removal of the malt tax, to study that memorable statement which was put upon record by the late Sir Robert Peel in the year 1835. And I frankly own that I think the perusal of that speech, even at this time of day, after nearly thirty years, would very considerably tend to narrow the range of our debates on this question. The only other thing I shall say on this subject is that I venture to tender my thanks to the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Bass), for the wise and practical opinion he has given us, that it is vain to look upon the repeal of the malt tax to encourage an extensive system of private brewing—what may be called kettle brewing—that will come into competition with the regular trade. I feel convinced that there never was an opinion expressed more founded on practical experience and common sense than the opinion given by my hon. Friend, that, whether there be a malt tax, or whether there be no malt tax, it is idle to expect a revival of that inferior and more wasteful system of production to come into competition with the scientific and economical operations of the large brewers. I wish to refer for a moment to an argument that has been noticed in this debate, because I was myself the cause of its introduction a few evenings ago. It has been treated as a matter which is very strange, that the subject of nationalities should be introduced into a discussion on the malt tax. I quite agree that it is only in a very extreme case that it is likely any such point should be urged; but I have not heard of any hon. Member from Scotland or from Ireland who has taken the view adopted by some hon. Gentlemen on the other side—namely, that the point is irrelevant to the present question. Why is it that we are happily enabled on almost every occasion to exclude the subject of nationality from our financial debates, and to forget that there is such a thing as separate nationalities in the three kingdoms? It is because of the general equity and justice with which our system of taxation bears upon the three kingdoms. And the moment that any doubt on that score is raised, such as we have seen expressed this year in the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Colonel Dunne), the House admits that it is a fair subject for argument. I say with great submission, but with the utmost confidence, that this is a case in which it is impossible to move without taking some regard of the very glaringly different manner in which your measures would operate in the three kingdoms. You have got a system of taxation upon strong liquors. Those strong liquors, as far as the people are concerned, overlooking the insignificant quantity of wine consumed among them—and I admit that it is comparatively insignificant—those strong liquors are two—beer and ardent spirits. Ardent spirits are consumed in Scotland and in Ireland, partly neat and partly diluted, but to such an extent that we may almost ignore, as far as the people of those countries are concerned, the consumption of beer. Most of the beer now consumed in Ireland, and I apprehend also in Scotland, is not consumed by the people, but by the wealthier classes. In England, on the contrary, you have the consumption of strong liquors by the people composed of two elements—beer and ardent apirits; but beer is by far the more important of the two. And, at the same time, it so happens that while you tax your beer to an extent which may be variously estimated at 12 or 15 or 20 per cent, you tax ardent spirits at the rate of between 300 and 400 per cent. In that way the balance is already cast to a very considerable degree in favour of England, and against Ireland and Scotland. And I venture to say that it is not while we are engaged in debating these matters in the manner we are debating them to-night, but whenever the subject of the repeal of the malt tax becomes a practical question of financial reform, that you may rely upon it you will have in some way to look at the question of how it bears upon the three kingdoms, and in what position the people of the three kingdoms would be left relatively to each other after its repeal. Some hon. Gentlemen have said that they will be satisfied if we proceed to make a very moderate contribution towards the reduction of the malt tax on the present occasion, provided it is understood that by that act we pledge our future surpluses to the further prosecution of this work in future years. Now, I hope whatever course the House may take, it will steadily refuse to pledge its future surpluses. If the House has thought—and I think this year it has shown that it has thought—that it would be unwise to anticipate the disposal of the surplus, even of the current year, until the usual financial statement has been received, and the whole subject of the finance of the year can be comprehensively considered, how much more unwise and unstatesmanlike would it be if it were now to give a vote affecting directly, it is true, but a moderate portion of our revenue, but which would be announced to the country as involving a foregone conclusion in respect to the manner in which we shall devote millions of pounds in future years which we do not know whether we shall ever possess or not? I am persuaded, Sir, that the House of Commons will never give a pledge involving any such principle. Well, is it in our power to make an effective reduction of the malt tax at this moment? You cannot at present reduce it, at the outside, by more than one-fifth. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Milner Gibson) stated, and stated, I believe accurately, that to reduce it one-fourth would take away £1,860,000 of your revenue; and one-fifth, or even, one-sixth, is all, if the change were to take immediate effect, that it would be in your power to remit. Now, if the subject of the malt tax is to be approached at all, it ought not to be approached in a manner so petty, so trivial in its scale, and so inadequate to the objects in view. Nay more, I venture to say that you cannot approach the subject of the malt tax without considering the relation of that tax—I am not now speaking of objections on the ground of nationality —but without considering the relation of this tax on a particular beverage to your whole system of taxation upon beverages and some other articles. An ineffective reduction of this kind is a reduction which ought on no account to be made. When we look fairly at this subject we find that, after all, one great part of the objection to this tax—an objection of which I have never denied the force—is the system of the Excise. Well, whether the reduction be of one-fourth or one-fifth of the malt tax, it leaves the Excise system precisely where it was—it leaves also all the expenses of collection exactly where they were, and would only make a certain application of an amount of the public revenue, not small indeed in itself but exceedingly small in relation with this particular tax, and most unlikely to be made up to you by the reproductive energies of the country. But this question lies much deeper than it seems. It is closely connected with and cannot be dissevered from the policy which you are to adopt and maintain with regard to the taxation on spirits, on tea, on sugar, on tobacco, and, in fact, on the luxuries of the people. I listened with great attention to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale, who certainly stated, with very great force, all that can be stated—and I, for one, am by no means the person to deny that a great deal can be stated—against the malt tax. But look at the way in which he dealt with the question. Do not suppose there is any prospect of any long alliance between my hon. Friend and hon. Gentlemen opposite. How did he begin? He named the article of sugar, and having done so, be went on to repudiate altogether the tampering with a mere fraction of the malt tax. He said if dealt with it must be dealt with by a determined policy of repeal. He was met with this demand. If the malt tax be repealed what substitute is to be provided? My hon. Friend answered that question with perfect consistency. His answer consisted of three points. First of all he said you will save the expense of collection. That is quite true. The expense of collection, as stated by Sir Robert Peel— and it is about the same now—amounted to £150,000. That does not go far to replace £5,000,000. Then he said another portion of the remitted tax would he repaid in duty-paid commodities. Very good—let us make an allowance for that. It is possible that a few thousands may come back; but still £5,000,000 would be withdrawn by the repeal, and you must be prepared to answer the question how your accounts are to be squared when that withdrawal takes place. My hon. Friend knew the difficulty, and, in entire consistency with everything he ever said and did, he said, "I am an economist; I am for a large reduction of establishments. £20,000,000 have been added to the expenditure of the country," and he intimated here, as elsewhere, that he thought the whole or the greater part of that had been unnecessarily added to the expenditure. Therefore, he comes into court with perfectly clean hands; not tampering with small reductions, he will repeal the tax, and he will meet it by economy — not adopted for the occasion, but the profession, I may say the labour, of his life. He is a good deal more sanguine than I am. Till he reaches that point he may possibly walk in harmony with the Mover of this Resolution and with other hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side; but that harmony is destined to be sadly and sharply broken when he reaches the point of reductions. ["No. no!"] I can only say that I judge from all the indications that have been given during the present Session. It is possible that there may be 200 or 250 Gentlemen on that side of the House who have in silence been brooding, with anxious and eager expectations, over the subject of public economy, who warmly applaud what has been done during the last few years in that sense, and who look forward to much greater things; but it is a great pity that those Gentlemen do not give the world the benefit of their opinions. Very unfortunately the speaking minority on that side held, especially during this Session, very different language. I have heard various proposals made during this Session; I should like to know which of them was in favour of economy. The Estimates were somewhat smaller than those of last year, and have they not in almost every point been made the subject of complaint? Notices have been brought forward by Gentlemen opposite with respect to the Estimates of the year, directly or indirectly complaining of these reductions, as they think, unwisely made. I cannot help mentioning an instance, because it is really worthy of record. When the Navy Estimates were under consideration, we heard the hon. Baronet the Member for Radnorshire (Sir John Walsh) lamenting and denouncing the saving of a quarter of a million in the Estimates. I heard that with some surprise, but the testimony of my ears is not to be discredited. I heard him declare that, considering the immense power and responsibility of England, and the vast amount of work to be done by its navy, it would not be unreasonable that the Navy Estimates should be double their present amount. It would be very difficult, I think, under these circumstances, to make any arrangement for steady co-operation between the hon. and gallant Gentleman who brought forward this notice in a manner so acceptable to the House and my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale. But, Sir, the question that is immediately proposed to us is a question of comparison between malt and sugar. Well, now, I have no doubt the hon. and gallant Gentleman is perfectly sincere in the proposal he has made, and yet I confess I think that he himself must feel that he is struggling against the fixed conviction of the House, as well as the fixed conviction of the country. I think he must feel that not this or that party only—not by any means the front bench alone on this or that side, both of which stand so low in the estimation of the hon. Member for West Norfolk—but that the real opinion, persuasion, and expectation of the people of England have all of them unequivocally pointed to the conclusion which Her Majesty's Government have adopted on this subject. I believe that if on Thursday last I had, on the part of my Colleagues, announced that we had come to the conclusion to pass by the claims of the sugar duties for reduction, and propose, in lieu, to take off one-fifth of the duty on malt, the great bulk of hon. Gentlemen opposite, including those on the front bench, would have been the first to raise the outcry against us, and it is highly probable the hardihood—I will not call it courage—which could induce any Government to make such a proposal would have ended not only in the discomfiture of the plan, but the total evaporation of those who proposed it. It is very material to consider what is the history of this question. It is quite true that in 1860 we proposed the repeal of the paper duties in preference to the reduction of what were called the war duties on sugar and tea. The reasons, right or wrong, that led us to that conclusion, were stated to the House; they were finally accepted by the Legislature. I revive no question about them now, but the question I put is this—and I put it not only to the front bench opposite, for the front bench is accused by the hon. Member for West Norfolk of not supporting the Motion, but I put it to the second, third, fourth, and fifth benches— for a straightforward course was then taken by the whole party—what was it? They said— Notwithstanding the Resolution which pledged the House, you are wrong in proposing the repeal of the paper duties; there are claims which come before them. What were they? Were they the claims of malt? No; we were told, both with consistency and perfect justice, that the claims of the tea and sugar duties were altogether superior to the matter of malt. The sugar duty is not yet disposed of. It is now proposed to put by the claim of sugar and to prefer the claim of malt. It is quite fair to refer to a Notice which it was perfectly understood at the time expressed the sense of the whole opposition, because I think that Notice may be said to have expressed the sense of the whole House. On the 3rd of June, 1862, my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), had pledged himself to move an Amendment on the subject of the reduction of expenditure distinctly pointing to retrenchment, and he indicated in that Notice not merely retrenchment in general, but the specific purpose with which retrenchment was to be pursued. And what was that specific purpose? It was— The accomplishment of such further reduction as may not only equalize the revenue and expenditure, but may also afford the means of diminishing the burden of those taxes which are confessedly of a temporary and exceptional character. My right hon. Friend, I know, would bear me out in stating that it did not mean the malt tax. That is not compatible with its words. It meant the Income Tax, which had been raised to 9d. in the pound, and which, therefore, might be fairly described as temporary and exceptional; and it meant the tax on tea and sugar, which in the strictest sense were exceptional. Were those terms excepted to on account of the sentiments they conveyed? Certainly not. They were objected to on political grounds by my noble Friend at the head of the Government; but the sentiments which my right hon. Friend sought to express with respect to the particular merits of those taxes prevailed universally on both sides of the House and in making a proposal last year with respect to the tea duties, and tins year with respect to sugar and for the reduction of the Income Tax, we have, in my judgment, pursued not only a sound policy, but we have taken steps which might be with substantial accuracy described as a redemption of that solemn pledge. We have got the last part of that redemption as regards sugar to accomplish and carry into effect, and I feel confident that by no mere party majority we shall be supported in that measure, I feel also confident that—quite apart from any such pledge, quite apart from party interests—the choice made is the right choice, equitable in itself, so intimately connected with I the welfare and comfort of the people, that it is entitled on every ground of public interest and policy to the first place in the selection; and I am quite persuaded that the vote pronounced by the House by a conclusive majority on this occasion will receive universal ratification in the mind and judgment of the people of England.


Sir, although the Resolution of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Sussex, which I may be permitted to say he has brought forward, not only with great ability, but with peculiar candour, is very simple in its character, still the discussion in the House tonight has branched out into three distinct subjects. We have had to consider the expediency of the total repeal of the malt tax; we have had to consider the expediency of a remission of that tax proportionate to the amount of surplus which the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to apply to the reduction of the sugar duly; and thirdly, we have been called upon to consider, but not so fully, I think, as the circumstances require, the engagements which this Parliament has entered into with the country as to the remission of taxation generally. Now, with regard to the first subject—namely, the expediency of getting rid of the malt tax, I am, I think, as much alive as most people are to the objections to that impost. I am not surprised, too, that many of my hon. Friends should, at this moment in particular, be excited to attack the character and incidence of that tax. As they have listened now year after year to the most eloquent denunciations from the Treasury bench of all Excise duties, and the consequences of those duties —-I can easily comprehend that when they find almost every Excise impost has been terminated, and that they are left with one that brings, it is true, the largest amount of money into the Treasury, but which is peculiarly burdensome to the interests with which they are intimately connected—I am not surprised, I say, that they should think the time had arrived when they were called upon to consider whether it was possible to obtain relief from that, impost. Irrespective of that, there is another part of our recent legislation which has naturally called the attention of my hon. Friends and of their constituents to this subject. We have now for some time been lessening the prices of articles of drink to the superior classes—at least to the wealthier classes— but especially, I may say, to the wealthy middle class; and when we find that brandy, the only spirit used by the rich, is very much reduced in price, and that wine is greatly cheapened, so that it has come into considerable consumption by the middle class, I think it is a natural conclusion, and one of a very grave character, that we should inquire whether it is not in empower to lighten the pressure which the price of beer imposes upon the limited resources of the humbler classes. I think those are two conclusions which may be drawn from our financial policy of late years, and which would easily account for the considerable—I will not call it agitation, for that is rather an odious word in this House—but for the great attention which has been given to the exigency of the tax upon malt. I am alive, and have ever been, to the great disadvantage of this tax as regards the welfare and comfort of the labouring classes. But I have always been of opinion that it is inexpedient, if we should attempt to deal with it, to deal with it in any other way than a large manner. I retain the opinion which I expressed in 1852, and which the President of the Board of Trade has referred to to-night, that if this tax is to be dealt with, it must be grappled with in a manner which may at least insure some considerable alleviation of the public burdens. No one, at present, of those who talk very largely of the reduction and almost of the total repeal of this tax has come forward in this House with any proposition of that kind; and, therefore, I will not dwell longer upon this subject. I come now to the second point, and that is, whether it would be expedient to apply the amount of surplus which the Chancellor of the Exchequer contemplates applying to the reduction of the sugar duties to a proportionate remission of the malt tax; and I will treat of that now, and only for a moment, without any reference to the particular and exceptional character of the duties upon sugar, to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has just referred. Now, in the first place, re membering what I have ventured to say to the House, that in dealing with the malt tax it is, I think, expedient to deal with it in a large manner, I must consider what chance there is of fulfilling that condition in the present instance. We had an estimate by the Government of the loss to the revenue of a remission of one-fourth of the tax. I would put the amount of that remission at very little under £2,000,000, and, of course, I take the estimate of the Government without impugning it for a moment. Well, if that be the case—if we are to remit a fourth— we must lay our hands not merely upon that portion of the surplus which is to be applied to the remission of the sugar duties, but also upon that which was consecrated to the remission of the Income Tax too. But I do not understand that if a proposition of that kind was made it would receive any support. Well, then, with regard to what I would call the abstract question of preferring the remission of the sugar duties to the malt duty, even if we were to propose the remission of one-fourth of the latter—and, as I have said, that amount of remission would scarcely be of any avail— I should have to consider the comparative benefits arising from the remission of the duties upon sugar on the one side, and the duty upon malt to that amount on the other. Now, I wish to-night to decline that task, but this I will say—and I say it with great respect to any of my hon. Friends from whom I differ as to the course we take, though we have a common object—that if a Minister in this country comes forward and proposes a remission of duties upon sugar, it is most inexpedient and unwise, whatever our opinions may be as to the necessity of completely or partially remitting the duties upon malt, to bring that question forward into competition and antagonism with the proposition for the reduction of the sugar duties, coming as that proposition does from a quarter so powerful and influential as that of the Government for the time being. So much for those two points, first as to the abolition of the duty upon malt, and secondly as to the expediency of applying the surplus, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer contemplates applying to sugar, in a proportionate manner to malt. But I come now to what I consider the most important point — one upon which it becomes this House to arrive at a grave and definite conclusion, and one which, in my opinion, ought to govern our conduct in this matter — namely, the engagements which, to my conviction, Parliament has entered into with the country on the question of remission of taxation. Now, I must call to the recollection of the House the circumstances under which these engagements were made. This country found itself involved in a war of considerable magnitude, and even of peril, and it was necessary to make great exertions. I shall say nothing about the origin of that war. I thought at the time, and I think so still, that it was an unnecessary war; that if there had been sufficient discrimination in the first place and sufficient firmness in the second, that war might have been avoided. But this is quite certain—that whatever might have been the weakness or want of foresight of the Ministry, the moment the war was decided on, the country was unanimous, and the House of Commons was unanimous in supporting it. Well, the Finance Minister had to come forward with a statement then very unusual in the House of Commons—he had to come forward with a statement of the Ways and Means by which that war was to be conducted, and he told the House then that it was his duty and his wish to divide the increased burdens on the people as fairly as!could under the two heads of direct and indirect taxation. The increase of direct taxation it was very easy to indicate, and equally easy to foresee an increase, and ultimately an immense increase of our Income Tax. But the Minister told us that to obtain equivalent resources from our indirect taxation it was necessary to select those articles of general consumption which were in the greatest use; and after due consideration, and putting the matter fairly and completely before the House, he fixed upon these ar- tieles—first malt, secondly tea, and thirdly sugar. There was a complete understanding as to the sources by which this great war was to be conducted. It was conducted with varying fortune, and under varying Ministries. The increase of the Income Tax was at one moment between £9,000,000 and £10,000,000, and nearly an equal sum was raised from the three sources of indirect taxation. What happened? When the war was concluded it happened that the Act which levied between £9,000,000 and £10,000,000 of increased direct taxation was so drawn up that the Government would have the power for a year after the conclusion of the war to raise that large amount, although throughout the country it was clearly understood that upon the termination of the war that impost would cease. The feeling of discontent and indignation, or rather, I would say, of discontent and disappointment, throughout the country was so great that Parliament came to the determination at once to relieve the people of the £9,000,000 of direct taxation. By the mode in which the Act was drawn, at the conclusion of the war the increased malt tax ceased. But while Parliament interfered to relieve the country of direct taxation to the extent of nine or ten millions—prematurely as far as legislation was concerned—it immediately added that the war duties upon tea and sugar should be continued in order to relieve the strain upon the resources of the country, the war duty upon malt being absolutely relinquished. Very great considerations, far beyond mere considerations of finance, present themselves in questions of this kind. There are political considerations which this House ought not to forget. It fell to my lot—when there was a natural hesitation among men in office not to lose the nine or ten millions which, by the perhaps unintentional language of the statute, they might have engaged for the public service of another year—it became my duty to give notice of a Motion to ask the opinion of the House upon the subject; but public opinion out of doors was so strongly expressed that it became unnecessary to come to any conflict upon it. But at the time I based my argument for immediate relief upon this consideration—that when the country had shown such temper and high spirit, and had supported the Government in a great emergency, it was most important that any contract which the Government was supposed to have entered into with it should be kept in its spirit, and upon that ground alone the country ought not to be disappointed of the relief which it expected from the remission of direct taxation, and upon the understanding of which it had borne heavy burdens with so much spirit and patriotism. It was upon high political considerations that the nine or ten millions of Income Tax was then immediately remitted, and not upon financial grounds. I say that, consistently with that view, hon. Gentlemen on this side— and I am quite willing to give credit for the same feeling to Gentlemen on the other side also — have always felt the political importance of terminating as soon as possible the war taxes, all the taxes specially connected with the Crimean struggle. If any great struggle were again to present itself, and an appeal to the people became necessary for a vast increase of direct taxation and heavy imposts upon the three great articles of public consumption, with what face could you appeal to them and expect the support of a high spirited and patriotic nation, if they could turn round and say, "In 1855, when the Sovereign was engaged in a dangerous war, you came to us with a financial programme, and induced us by certain representations to increase the direct and indirect taxes; but you have not complied with those terms, and you cannot expect us without a murmur to bear burdens which otherwise we would endeavour to bear? "It is said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer departed from the strict line of that policy when he proposed the repeal of the paper duty. I am not answerable for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I never spoke upon this subject, without urging upon the House the necessity of relieving the country as soon as possible from these war taxes, not upon financial grounds, but from high political I considerations; and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought forward his Motion upon the paper duty, it was with the sanction and assistance of myself and others that a Motion was made which proposed that we should remit the war duty upon tea, instead of repealing the duty upon paper; and I would at that time have also proposed the remission of the war duty upon sugar if circumstances had justified it. But the natural corollary to that proceeding—sanctioned, as I understood, by every Gentleman who sits around me — was that as soon possible, by getting rid of the war duty on sugar, we should terminate all those increased burdens which the Russian war had placed upon us. This is the position in which we are placed, and, therefore, it is not for me to enter into a discussion of the merits or demerits of a duty on malt. I think I have given in the course of my life tolerable proof of my sincerity upon that subject. We staked our existence as a Government upon carrying a measure which would have remitted one-half of the duty upon malt. That is not now the question before us. It is whether the House is not pledged, or feels itself pledged — I am myself pledged—by frequent votes, by more than financial considerations, by considerations of high policy, that it is our first duty to fulfil our engagements with the tax-paying people of the country, and to show that we are mindful of the engagements which by the Queen's Ministers we entered into in 1855; with the conviction that if we act with fairness and justice to them, if we appeal to them on a future occasion, on an equal struggle, and in an equal emergency, we shall be responded to in a spirit as firm and as patriotic. That must be our guiding principle to-night. I have not for one moment changed my opinion upon the malt tax. If the opportunity was a fair one—if a Motion had been brought forward under circumstances in which it could be fairly considered—if our engagements of honour and policy to the people of this country had been fulfilled, I should have been perfectly ready to give it my earnest and anxious consideration. I will say more. After all that has taken place as to remissions of indirect taxation of late, and after the frequent and almost complete changes which, with the exception of malt, have been made in the Excise laws, I say that in any future remission or modification of the scheme of indirect taxation the claim of malt must be brought forward, and will demand our earnest and serious attention. But what we have to do now is completely, and it may be severely, to fulfil the engagements which were entered into with the people of this country at the time of the Crimean war. When we have completed those engagements, if the country, as I hope it will, continues to be prosperous, when our resources are ample and abundant, then let us bring forward the claims of what may be called the last Excise duty, and in any future reduction of indirect taxation I will venture to say the article of malt cannot be passed over without notice. Those are the views which guide me upon the present occasion. I regret that the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex should have shaped his Motion in the manner he has, because I think the result will be calculated to give a false impression as to the feelings of this House upon the subject in which he is interested, and which he advocates with consistency and ability. I think it would have been better if the Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer having passed—a Budget which, I must say, has been significantly framed in accordance with the intimations which he has received from this side of the House, I think it would have been better if, after the Budget had passed, the question of the malt duty had been brought under the consideration of the House. We should then have been able to approach it without any of those difficulties which now necessarily present themselves, from what I regard as the solemn engagements of this House upon questions of finance. Then we might express an opinion without prejudice to those engagements, and I trust that when the measures of the Government have been passed, the opportunity will not be lost of bringing this question before the House in a more comprehensive and less objectionable manner.


Sir, I do not wish to give a silent vote on this occasion; because, though this Motion was brought forward against my wish, and contrary to any feeling which I have with regard to the malt duty, yet I feel that we have a common cause; and, while I deprecate the manner in which the Motion has been brought forward, I should feel a cur if I did not vote for it. I shall, therefore, support the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member. If my hon. and gallant Friend is beaten—and we are told that he will be beaten by a large majority—it is my firm intention to bring forward the question in such a reasonable way that it shall not be beaten by a large majority. I am told by some hon. Members, "Oh, you are too early with your Motion;" while others again say, "You are too late." If you bring forward a Motion on the subject before the Budget it is said you are too early, as you cannot know what the Budget will be; and if you wait for the Budget it is said you are too late, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer has disposed of his surplus. I now give notice that I will be in the field at the earliest opportunity and with an abstract Resolution, which will pledge no one to any particular course. I shall so bring it forward that the House of Commons by its vote— aye, every Member in it—will say that the time has come when, the duty on malt being left alone in its glory, must receive the same fate as other analogous duties which have been repealed or lessened. It ought to be done next year if there should be such a surplus as will enable us to do it. Why, I ask, should not the country have a large surplus next year? England has been working its way year by year under adverse circumstances to an increased surplus, and, thank God! England is sowealthy that she has borne with spirit her increase of taxation, and has proved that she can bear it. We are increasing in wealth, and are certain next year to have a surplus beyond even that of this year. We have flourished notwithstanding the infliction of the cotton famine. That is gone by. We have flourished under the infliction of constant and everlasting changes in our armaments and ships, and of every other expenditure of public money. I think there is a fair chance of a surplus next year. And supposing we have next year a surplus of £3,000,000, I would dispose of it thus: I would take off another penny in the pound of Income Tax — that would be £1,000,000—and I would devote the remainder to the reduction of the malt duty. I am not going to make a speech at this late hour. I am only sorry I was obliged to get up, and feel as if I was going to vote against my conscience. I tried all I could to induce my hon. Friend not to go on with his Motion, but as he has done so I shall back him.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 347; Noes 99: Majority 248.

Acton, Sir J. D. Bazley, T,
Adam, W. P. Beaumont, S. A.
Adeane, H. J. Beecroft, G. S.
Agar-Ellis, hon. L. G.F. Bellew, R. M.
Angerstein, W. Berkeley, hon. C. P F.
Anson, hon. Major Black, A.
Antrobus, E. Blake, J.
Ayrton, A. S. Blencowe, J. G.
Bagwell, J. Bonham-Carter, J.
Baillie. H. J. Bouverie, hon, P. P.
Baines, E. Bright, J.
Baring, H. B. Briscoe, J, I.
Baring, rt. hn. Sir F.T. Brown, J.
Baring, T. Browne, Lord J. T.
Baring, T. G. Bruce, H. A.
Barnes, T. Bruce, Sir H. H.
Bathurst, A. A. Buchanan, W,
Buckley, General Goldsmid, Sir F. H.
Bulkeley, Sir R. Goschen, G. J.
Buller, J. W. Gower, hon. F. L.
Buller, Sir A. W. Gower, G. W. G. L.
Bury, Viscount Greenall, G.
Butler, C. S. Greene, J.
Butt, I. Greenwood, J.
Buxton, C. Gregory, W. H.
Caird, J. Gregson, S.
Calthorpe, hon. F. H. W. G. Grenfell, H. R.
Gray, Captain
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Carnegie, hon. C. Grosvenor, Earl
Castlerosse, Viscount Grosvenor, Lord R.
Cavendish, Lord G. Gurney, S.
Chapman, J. Hadfield, G.
Churchill, Lord A. S. Hamilton, Lord C.
Clay, J. Hamilton, Major
Clifford, C. C. Hanbury, R.
Clive, G. Handley, J.
Coke, hon. Colonel Hankey, T.
Cole, hon. H. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cole, hon. J. L. Hardcastle, J. A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hardy, G.
Collier, Sir R. P. Hardy, J.
Colthurst, Sir G. C. Hartington, Marq. of
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Hervey, Lord A.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Hassard, M.
Cox, W. Hayter, rt. hn. Sir W.G.
Crawfurd, E. H. J. Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.
Crawford, R. W. Heathcote, Sir W.
Crossley, Sir F. Heathcote, hon. G. H.
Cubitt, G. Henderson, J.
Dalglish, R. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Dalkeith, Earl of Henley, Lord
Davey, R. Hennessy, J. P.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Herbert, rt. hon. H. A.
Davie, Colonel F. Heygate, Sir F. W.
Dawson, R. P. Hibbert, J. T.
Denman, hon. G. Hodgkinson, G.
Dent, J. D. Hodgson, K. D.
Dillwyn, L. L. Hood, Sir A. A.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Hornby, W. H.
Divett, E. Horsfall, T. B.
Duff, M. E. G. Horsman, rt. hon. E.
Duke, Sir J. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Dundas, F. Howes, E.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Hubbard, J. G.
Dunlop, A. M. Hutt, rt. hon. W.
Dunne, M. Ingham, R.
Egerton, Sir P. G. Jackson, W.
Egerton, E. C. Jervoise, Sir J. C.
Elcho, Lord Johnstone, J. J. H.
Enfield, Viscount Johnstone, Sir J.
Estcourt, rt. hn. T. H. S. Jolliffe, rt. hn. Sir W. G. H.
Evans, T. W. Kekewich, S. T.
Ewart, W. Kendall, N.
Ewart, J. C. Kershaw, J.
Ewing, H. E. Crum- Kinglake, A. W.
Farrer, J. Kinglake, J. A.
Fenwick, H. Kingscote, Colonel
Ferrand, W. Kinnaird hon. A. F.
Foljambe, F. J. S. Knatchbull, W. F.
Forster, C. Knatchbull - Hugessen, E.
Forster, W. E.
Fortescue, hon. F. D. Lacon, Sir E.
Fortescue, C. S. Laird, J.
French, Colonel Layard, A. H.
Card, R. S. Langton, W. H. G.
Getty, S. G. Lawson, W.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Leatham, E. A.
Gilpin, C. Leeke, Sir H.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Lefevre, G. J. S.
Lefroy, A. Pilkington, J.
Lee, W. Pinney, Colonel
Legh, Major C. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Legh, W. J. Ponsonby, hon. A.
Lennox, Lord G. G. Portman. hon. W. H. B.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Potter, E.
Lewis, H. Powell, F. S.
Liddell, hon. H. G. Powell, J. J.
Lindsay, W. S. Powys-Lybbe, P. L.
Locke, J. Pryse, E. L.
Lopes, Sir M. Pritchard, J.
Lovaine, Lord Proby, Lord
Lyall, G. Pugh D.
M'Cann, J. Quinn, P.
M'Cormick, W. Ramsden, Sir J. W.
MacEvoy, E. Repton, G. W. J.
Mackie, J. Ricardo, O.
Mackinnon, W. A. (Lyming.) Robartes, T. J. A.
Robertson, D.
Mackinnon, W.A. (Rye) Robertson, H.
Maguire, J. F. Roebuck, J. A.
Mainwaring, T. Russell, A.
Malins, R. Russell, F. W.
Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. Russell, Sir W.
Marjoribanks, D. C. St. Aubyn, J.
Martin, P. W. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
Martin, J. Scholefield, W.
Massey, W. N. Scott, Sir W.
Matheson, A. Scrope, G. P.
Matheson, Sir J. Seely, C.
Merry, J. Selwyn, C. J.
Mildmay, H. F. Seymour, H. D.
Miller, W. Seymour, W. D.
Mills, A. Seymour, A.
Mills, J. R. Shafto, R. D.
Monsell, rt. hon. W. Shelley, Sir J. V.
Montagu, Lord R. Sheridan, R. B.
Montgomery, Sir G. Smith, J. B.
Moor, H. Smith, M. T.
Morris, D. Smith, A.
Morrison, W. Smith, M.
Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R. Smith, J. A.
Mure, D. Smyth, Colonel
Murray, W. Smollett, P. B.
Neate, C. Somes, J.
Noel, hon. G. J. Stacpoole, W.
Norris, J. T. Staniland, M.
North, F. Stanley, Lord
Northcote, Sir S. H. Stanley, hon. W. O.
O' Conor Don, The Stansfeld, J.
Ogilvy, Sir J. Steel, J.
O'Hagan, rt. hon. T. Stuart, Colonel
O'Loghlen, Sir C.M. Stuart, Lieut.-Col. W.
O'Neill, E. Sturt, Lieut.-Col. N.
Onslow, G. Sykes, Colonel W. H.
O'Reilly, M.W. Taylor, P. A.
Osborne, R. B. Thompson, H. S.
Owen, Sir H. O. Thornhill, W. P.
Padmore, R. Tollemache, J.
Paget, C. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H.
Paget, Lord A. Traill, G.
Paget Lord C. Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.
Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J. Trelawny, Sir J. S.
Palmer, Sir R. Turner, J. A.
Palmerston, Viscount Turner, C.
Patten, Colonel W. Vandeleur, Colonel
Paxton, Sir J. Vane, Lord H.
Pease, H. Vansittart, W.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Verney, Sir H.
Peel, rt. hon. F. Vernon, H. F.
Pender, J. Villiers rt. hon. C. P.
Pennant, hon. Colonel Vivian, H. H.
Peto, Sir S. M. Vyner, R. A.
Vyse, Colonel H. Williams, W.
Walpole, rt. hon. S.H. Willoughby Sir H.
Walter, J. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Warner, E. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Waterhouse, S. Woodd, B. T.
Watkins, Colonel L. Woods, H.
Way, A. E. Wrightson, W. B.
Weguelin, T. M. Wyld, J.
Western, S. Wyvill, M.
Westhead, J. P. B. Yorke, J. R.
Whalley, G. H.
Whitbread, S. TELLERS.
White, J. Brand, hon. H. B. W.
White, L. Dunbar, Sir William
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Jervis, Captain
Alcock, T. Jolliffe, H. H.
Bailey, C. Kelly, Sir F.
Barrow, W. H. Kerrison, Sir E. C.
Bathurst, Colonel H. King. J. K.
Beach, W. W. B. Knightley, R.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Knox, Colonel
Bentinck, G. C. Leader, N. P.
Benyon, R. Leighton, Sir B.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Long, R. P.
Bovill, W. Lytton, rt. hon. Sir G. E. L. B.
Bramston, T. W.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Brooks, R. Morritt, W. J. S.
Bruen, H. Newdegate, C. N.
Burghley, Lord Newport, Viscount
Burrell, Sir P. North, Colonel
Cartwright, Colonel Packe, C. W.
Cholmeley, Sir M. J. Packe, Colonel
Cobbold, J. C. Papillon, P. O.
Curzon, Viscount Parker, Major W.
Dering, Sir E. C. Peacocke, G. M. W.
Dodson, J. G. Peel, J.
Du Cane, C. Pevensey, Viscount
Duncombe, hon. A. Phillips, G. L.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Dunne, Colonel Rolt, J.
Du Pre, C. G. Russell, H.
Dutton, hon. R. H. Sclater-Booth, G.
Edwards, Colonel Sidney, T.
Fane, Colonel J. W. Smith, A.
Fellowes, E. Smith, S. G.
Filmer, Sir E. Stanhope, J. B.
Fleming, T. W. Stracey, Sir H.
Floyer, J. Stronge, J. M.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Sturt, H. G.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Sullivan, M.
George, J. Surtees, H. E.
Gilpin, Colonel Talbot, hon. W. C.
Goddard, A. L. Thynne, Lord E.
Gore, J. R. O. Thynne, Lord H.
Gore, W. R. O. Tomline, G.
Graham, Lord W. Treherne, M.
Hartopp, E. B. Walcott, Admiral
Harvey, R. B. Watlington, J. W. H.
Henniker, Lord Williams, Colonel
Holmesdale, Viscount Wyndham, hon. P.
Hopwood, J. T. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Humphery, W. H.
Hunt, G. W. TELLERS.
Ingestre, Viscount Barttelot, Colonel
Jermyn, Earl Cobbett, J. M.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

WAYS AND MEANS considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Question again proposed. That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, on and after the undermentioned dates, in lieu of the Duties of Customs now charged on the articles undermentioned, the following Duties of Customs shall be charged thereon, on importation into Great Britain or Ireland (that is to say):

On and after the fifth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four —
Candy, Brown or White, Refined Sugar, or Sugar rendered by any process equal in quality thereto the cwt. £0 12 10
On and after the sixteenth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and sixty four—
White Clayed Sugar, or Sugar rendered by any process equal in quality to White Clayed, not being refined, or equal in quality to refined. the cwt. 0 11 8
Yellow Muscovado and Brown Clayed Sugar, or Sugar rendered by any process equal in quality to Yellow Muscovado, or Brown Clayed, and not equal to White Clayed the cwt. 0 10 6
Brown Muscovado Sugar, or Sugar rendered by any process equal in quality thereto, and not equal to Yellow Muscovado or Brown Clayed the cwt. 0 9 4
Any other Sugar not equal in quality to Brown Muscovado. the cwt. 0 8 2
Cane Juice the cwt 0 6 7
Molasses the cwt. 0 3 6
Almonds, paste of. the lb. 0 0 1
Cherries, dried the lb. 0 0 1
Comfits, dry the lb. 0 0 1
Confectionery the lb. 0 0 1
Ginger, preserved. the lb. 0 0 1
Marmalade the lb. 0 0 1
Plums preserved in Sugar the lb. 0 0 1
Succades, including all fruits and vegetables preserved in Sugar, not otherwise enumerated the lb. 0 0 1."

— (Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Then on the Motion of Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer

(1.) Resolved,

That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, on and after the undermentioned dates, in lieu of the Duties of Customs now charged on the articles undermentioned, the following Duties of Customs shall be charged there- on, on importation Into Great Britain or Ireland (that is to say):

On and after the fifth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four—
Candy, Brown or White, Refined Sugar, or Sugar, rendered by any process equal in quality thereto, and Manufactures of Refined Sugar the cwt. £0 12 10
On and after the sixteenth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four —
White Clayed Sugar, or Sugar rendered by any process equal in quality to White Clayed, not being refined, or equal in quality to refined. the cwt. 0 11 8
Yellow Muscovado and Brown Clayed Sugar, or Sugar rendered by any process equal in quality to Yellow Muscovado, or Brown Clayed, and not equal to White Clayed the cwt. 0 10 6
Brown Muscovado Sugar, or Sugar rendered by any process equal in quality thereto, and not equal to Yellow Muscovado, or Brown Clayed the cwt. 0 9 4
Any other Sugar not equal in quality to Brown Muscovado. the cwt. 0 8 2
Cane Juice. the cwt. 0 6 7
Molasses the cwt. 0 3 6
Almonds, paste of the lb. 0 0 1
Cherries, dried the lb. 0 0 1
Comfits, dry the lb. 0 0 1
Confectionery, not otherwise enumerated the lb. 0 0 1
Ginger, preserved. the lb. 0 0 1
Marmalade the lb. 0 0 1
Plums preserved in Sugar the lb. 0 0 1
Succades, including all fruits and vegetables preserved in Sugar, not otherwise enumerated the lb. 0 0 1

(2.) Resolved,

That, on and after the undermentioned dates, in lieu of the Drawbacks now allowed thereon, the following Drawbacks shall be paid and allowed on the undermentioned descriptions of Refined Sugar, on the exportation thereof to Foreign parts, or on removal to the Isle of Man for consumption there, or on deposit in any approved Warehouse, upon such terms and subject to such regulations as the Commissioners of Customs may direct, for delivery from such Warehouse as Ships' Stores only, or for the purpose of sweetening British Spirits in Bond (that is to say):

On and after the fifth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four—
Upon Refined Sugar in loaf, complete and whole, or lumps duly refined, having been perfectly clarified, and thoroughly dried in the stove, and being of an uniform whiteness throughout; and upon
such Sugar pounded, crushed, or broken in a warehouse approved by the Commissioners of Customs, such Sugar having been there first inspected by the Officers of Customs in lumps or loaves as if for immediate shipment, and then packed for exportation in the presence of such Officers, and at the expense of the exporter; and upon Candy for every cwt. £ 12 10
Upon Refined Sugar unstoved, pounded, crushed, or broken, and not in any way inferior to the Export Standard Sample No. 1 approved by the Lords of the Treasury, and which shall not contain more than five per centum moisture over and above what the same would contain if thoroughly dried in the stove for every cwt. 0 12 2
And on and after the twenty-first day of April, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four—
Upon Sugar refined by the Centrifugal, or by any other process, and not in any way inferior to the Export Standard No. 3 approved by the Lords of the Treasury for every cwt. 0 12 10
Upon Bastard, or Refined Sugar unstoved, broken in pieces, or being ground, powdered, or crushed, not in any way inferior to the Export Standard Sample No. 2 approved by the Lords of the Treasury for every cwt. 0 10 10
Upon Bastard, or Refined Sugar unstoved, broken in pieces, or being ground, powdered, or crushed, not in any way inferior to the Export Standard Sample No. 4 approved by the Lords of the Treasury for every cwt. 0 9 6
Upon Bastard, or Refined Sugar being inferior in quality to the said Export Standard Sample No. 4 for every cwt. 0 8 2

(3.) Resolved,

That, towards the raising the Supply g Her Majesty, the Duties of Customs now on Tea shall continue to be levied and charged on and after the 1st day of August, 1864, 1st day of August, 1865, on importation into Great Britain or Ireland.

(4.) Resolved,

That, in lieu of the Duties of Customs now charged on the undermentioned Articles, on their importation into Great Britain or Ireland, the following Duties of Customs shall be charged (that is to say):

Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rye, Pease, Beans, Maize, or Indian Corn, Buck Wheat, Bear or Bigg. the cwt. £0 0 3

(5.) Resolved,

That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, there shall be charged, collected, and paid for one year, commencing on the 6th day of April, 1864, for and in respect of all Property, Profits, and Gains mentioned or described as chargeable in the Act passed in the 16th and 17th years of Her Majesty's reign, chapter 34, for granting to Her Majesty Duties on Profits arising from Property, Professions, Trades and Offices, the following Bates and Duties (that is to say):

For every twenty shillings of the annual value or amount of all such Property, Profits, and Gains (except those chargeable under Schedule (B) of the said Act), the Rate or Duty of sixpence.

And for and in respect of the occupation of Lands, Tenements, Hereditaments, and Heritages chargeable under Schedule (B) of the said Act, for every twenty shillings of the annual value thereof,

In England, the Rate or Duty of three pence,

And in Scotland and Ireland respectively, the Rate or Duty of two pence farthing.

Subject to the provisions contained in section 3 of the Act 26 Vict, chapter 22, for the exemption of Persons whose whole Income from every source is under £100 a year, and relief of those whose Income is under £200 a year.

(6.) Resolved,

That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, there shall be charged and paid on the Licences hereinafter mentioned, the following Duty of Excise in lieu of the Duty now payable thereon (that is to say):

For and upon any Licence to be taken out yearly by any person to trade in or sell Coffee, Tea, Cocoa Nuts, Chocolate, or Pepper, in any house rated to the relief of the Poor, at a sum less than eight pounds per annum, and not being within the limits of a Municipal or Parliamentary Borough, the Duty of two shillings and sixpence.

(7.) Resolved,

That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, there shall be charged and paid for and upon the several matters and things hereinafter mentioned, the following Stamp Duties, in lieu of the Stamp Duties now chargeable thereon respectively (that is to say):

For and upon any Letter or Power of Attorney, Commission, Factory, Mandate, Voting Paper, or other Instrument in the nature thereof,
For the receipt of Dividends or Interest of any of the Government or Parliamentary Stocks or Funds, or of the Stocks, Funds, or Shares of or in any Joint Stock Company, or other Company or Society whose Stocks or Funds are divided into Shares, and transferable.
If the same shall be for the receipt of one payment only. £0 1 0
And if the same shall be for a continuous receipt, or for the receipt of more than one payment. £0 5 0
For the receipt of any sum of money, or any Cheque, Note, or Draft for any sum of money not exceeding £20 (except in the cases aforesaid), or any periodical payment (other than as aforesaid) not exceeding the annual sum of £10. 0 5 0
For the sole purpose of Voting, or appointing or nominating a Proxy to vote at any one Meeting of the Proprietors or Shareholders of any Joint Stock or other Company, or of the Members of any Society or Institution, or of the Contributors to the Funds thereof, 0 0 1

(8.) Resolved,

That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, there shall be charged and paid for and upon the several matters and things herein after mentioned, the following Stamp Duties, in lieu of the Stamp Duties now chargeable thereon; respectively (that is to say):

For and upon any Donation or Pre sentation, by whomsoever made, of or to any Ecclesiastical Benefice, Dignity, or Promotion.
Also, for and upon any Collation by any Archbishop or Bishop, or by any other Ordinary or competent authority, to any Ecclesiastical Benefice, Dignity, or Promotion.
Also, for and upon any Institution granted by any Archbishop, Bishop, Chancellor, or other Ordinary, or by any Ecclesiastical Court, to any Ecclesiastical Benefice, Dignity, or Promotion proceeding upon the Petition of the Patron to be himself admitted and instituted, and not upon a presentation.
Also, for and upon any nomination by Her Majesty, Her Heirs or Successors, or by any other Patron, to any Perpetual Curacy.
Also, for and upon any Licence to hold a Perpetual Curacy not proceeding upon a nomination.
Where the net yearly value of any such Benefice, Dignity, Promotion, or Perpetual Curacy shall not amount to £50 Nil.
Where the same shall amount to £50 and not amount to £ 100 £1 0 0
Where the same shall amount to £100 and not amount to £150 2 0 0
Where the same shall amount to £150 and not amount to £200 3 0 0
Where the same shall amount to £200 and not amount to £250 4 0 0
Where the same shall amount to £250 and not amount to £300 5 0 0
And where such value shall amount to £300 or upwards 7 0 0
And also, for every £100 thereof over and above the first £200, a further Duty of £5 0 0

(9.) Resolved,

That, for and upon any Licence to be taken out by a Hawker or Pedlar to travel and trade with more than one horse or other beast bearing or drawing burthen, there shall be charged and paid for every such horse or beast over and above one, the sum of four pounds in addition to the Dirty now chargeable on a Licence to a Hawker and Pedlar to travel and trade with one such horse only.

(10.) Resolved,

That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, the ad valorem Stamp Duties granted and made payable under the head of "Settlement" in the Schedule to the Act passed in the thirteenth and fourteenth years of Her Majesty's reign, chapter ninety-seven, shall be deemed to extend to and shall be chargeable upon or in respect of any definite and certain principal sum or sums of money of any denomination or currency, whether British, Foreign, or Colonial, and any definite and certain share or shares in the Stocks or Funds of any Foreign or Colonial Government, State, Corporation, or Company whatsoever, as well as upon or in respect of the Shares, Stocks, and Funds in the said Schedule mentioned.

And that whore any principal sum of money secured or contracted for by, or which may become due or payable upon, any Bond, Debenture, Policy of Insurance, Covenant or Contract, shall be settled or agreed to be settled, or such Bond, Debenture, Policy, Covenant or Contract shall be settled or assigned or transferred by way of settlement, or shall be agreed so to be, then and in any of such eases the same shall be deemed to be a Settlement of such principal sum of money, and shall be chargeable with the said ad valorem Stamp Duties on the amount thereof accordingly.

And that where the subject of any Settlement chargeable with the said Duties shall be any share or shares in any such Stocks or Funds as aforesaid, or any sum or sums of money secured by any Foreign or Colonial Bond, Debenture, or other security, bearing a marketable value in the English Market, then the value of such share or shares, and of such Bond, Debenture, or other security respectively shall be ascertained and determined by the average selling price thereof on the day or on either of the ten days preceding the day of the date of the Deed or Instrument of Settlement; or if no sale shall have taken place within such ten days, then according to the average selling price thereof on the day of the last preceding sale, and the said ad valorem Duties shall be chargeable on such Settlement in respect of the value so ascertained and determined; and the value of any sum or sums of money expressed in coin of a Foreign or Colonial denomination or currency, shall be determined by the current rate of exchange on the day of the date of the Deed or Instrument of Settlement, and the said ad valorem Duties shall be chargeable in respect of the value so determined as last aforesaid

(11.) Resolved,

That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, there shall be charged and paid the following Duties of Excise for and upon the Occasional Licences hereinafter mentioned (that is to say):

For and upon every Occasional Licence to the Keeper of a Refreshment House, for each and every day for which such Licence shall be granted Nil.
For and upon every Occasional Licence to retail Foreign Wine to be consumed at the place where sold, for each and every day for which the same shall be granted £0 1 0
For and upon every Occasional Licence to retail Beer to be consumed at the place where sold, for each and every day for which the same shall be granted 0 1 0
For and upon every Occasional Licence to deal in or sell Tobacco or Snuff, for each and every day for which the same shall be granted 0 0 4

(12.) Resolved,

That it is expedient to amend the Laws relating to the Inland Revenue.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported to-morrow; Committee to sit again to-morrow.

  2. c1063