§ Order for Committee read.
§ Moved, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
§ MR. BASS
said, that he was afraid they were making more haste than God speed with this measure, and he did not think that they knew enough of its probable operation to justify them in accelerating its progress. They were neither sufficiently acquainted with the opinions of those for whose benefit it was designed, nor did they know with sufficient clearness whether the interests of the revenue would be safe under its operation. The little information they possessed went to show that the farmers were not satisfied with the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The measure was not what they intended. This tub to the whale would not appease their desire for the total or partial repeal of the malt tax. He had received a number of letters, many of them from persons with whom he had previously had no correspondence, in which the greatest dissatisfaction was expressed at the proposal, and such disrespectful terms as "humbug" and "nonsense" were applied to it, terms which were rarely applicable to any measure of the right hon. Gentleman. In no single instance did any one of his correspondents express even a hope that the Bill would effect what was desired even with reference to the feeding of cattle. The right hon. Gentleman told the House in the previous week how extremely irksome and how more than burdensome to commerce was the Excise supervision; but the restrictions imposed by the Bill upon maltsters or farmers who undertook to make malt would of themselves render the measure impracticable. For example, they must have an office especially devoted to the mixing of malt in addition to the ordinary office. There must be a room specially appropriated to the use of the exciseman, of which he was to have the key, and where he was to see the linseed or linseed cake ground and mixed with the malt; so that if a farmer should take to this business for himself and neighbour, or a maltster determine on engaging in a 1026 new branch of his trade, he would be totally dependent on the excise. Not a single bushel of the mixture could be moved without a previous notice given to the excise. These were great objections to the measure. If the measure should enable the farmers to produce malt for feeding cattle, it was necessary to consider how far the revenue would be affected. It had always been his opinion that the farming interest and the consumers of beer in this country were placed at a great disadvantage as compared with other classes by the operation of the malt tax. The duty upon every article with which malt had to compete, had of late years been materially reduced. The duty upon foreign spirits had been reduced from 22s. to 15s. a gallon, the duties on tea and coffee had been greatly diminished, and the duty on wine had been lowered from 5s. 6d. a gallon to 1s. upon a great part of that which was imported, while the malt tax was higher than it was in 1816, when the war duty was taken off. It was true that, in the mean time, the tax on beer had been abolished, but that duty was so unjust and so inequitable that it was impossible that it could be retained. With reference to the competition between beer and wine under the new duties, he would ask the House to listen to a few facts. On Monday the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House that the duty on beer was about 25 per cent —the farmers said it was nearly 70 per cent—while the duty on the wines which would compete with beer varied from 50 to 100 per cent.
said, he rose to order. He thought that the hon. Member for Derby was travelling out of the question which relates solely to the making of malt for feeding cattle.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that the hon. Gentleman was quite in order. Upon the Motion, the whole subject might be discussed.
§ MR. BASS
said, that the hon. Member for Leicestershire and himself went a great way together. He desired to promote the repeal of at least half of the malt tax, and he supposed that the hon. Gentleman desired to get rid of the half or the whole of it. He was therefore surprised that the hon. Gentleman should interrupt him when he was endeavouring to show that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had made a misstatement. He had obtained calculations from one of the foremost houses in the wine trade, which showed that the average price of French wines imported into 1027 this country—and it was for the benefit of those wines especially that the change of duty was made, and with them only they had now to deal, because there was no importation of beer into Spain or Portugal —was 6s. 4d. a gallon, and the average duty was certainly not more than 1s. 9d., but he believed more nearly 1s. 6d. a gallon. Therefore, instead of the duty being from 50 to 100 per cent, it was only 27½ per cent. Now, if it was right that the duty on malt should be 25 per cent upon the supposition that French wines paid 50 or 100 per cent, it was clear that if French wines paid only 27½ per cent, the malt duty ought to be diminished at least one-half. He confessed that his views with regard to the malt tax had lately undergone some change. At one time he thought that we might have gradually got rid of the whole of the malt duty, but he was no longer of that opinion. He was persuaded, however, that we might easily reduce it one-half, and that without losing a quarter of the revenue at present received from it; but we could not spare the whole, not because we could not supply the loss of the £6,000,000 or £6,500,000 raised from the malt duty itself, but because the total repeal of the duty must endanger the duties on British and foreign spirits, foreign wines, and licences upon the various trades connected with these articles, making a total of about £21,000,000, which even the ingenuity of the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be unable to replace. Hon. Gentlemen opposite must forgive him for reminding them that they had not always been so vigilant with regard to additions to the malt tax as they appeared to be at the present moment. When, in 1862, the Chancellor of the Exchequer imposed through the medium of the brewer's licence duty an additional tax upon malt of 14td. or 15d. a quarter, he remonstrated against that duty as unjust and unprecedented, but he got no sympathy or assistance from hon. Gentlemen who were the immediate representatives of the farmers. The right hon. Gentleman charged him within £2 of £7,000 a year for permission to carry on his business. Did hon. Gentlemen suppose that he should pay that sum without putting it on the malt in some way or the other? If a similar tax was imposed upon all trades he should pay it cheerfully; as a direct tax he thought that it would not be a bad one; but when charged upon brewers alone it was partial and unjust, 1028 and the sooner it was abolished the better. When that tax was imposed the brewers were promised cheap hops; and hon. Gentlemen opposite were anxious that hops should be cheapened, because when hops were cheap the farmers get a better price for their barley; but he had as yet got no cheap hops. On the contrary, he could not remember two years in succession during which hops had been dearer than they had during the last two. He had thus shown that the farmers wanted more and were entitled to more than than the Bill would give them. No man in England would suffer more from the repeal of the duty or even of half the duty on malt than he should, but so unfair and impolitic did he consider that tax, that he would vote for such a measure to-morrow. Hon. Gentlemen would understand his argument when he told them that he got quite as much profit from the duties which he paid on malt as he did from that which he paid on barley. Then with regard to the revenue. Having taken the liberty of suggesting to the right hon. Gentleman that some beer should be brewed with malt and linseed, he had done so instantly, and submitted the produce to experts, one of whom, who was among the most experienced in the trade, said, "The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a very clever fellow, but if he can tell this from beer brewed from malt solely he is cleverer than I take him to be." He had ordered a couple of casks of beer to be brought into the kitchen of the House of Commons, the one made from pure malt and the other from malt and linseed, and should take it as a great compliment if the right hon. Gentleman would form his own opinion upon actual experiment. The chymical officers consulted by the right hon. Gentleman had no superiors in their profession; they all, and particularly Mr. Phillips of the Inland Revenue Office, were men of consummate ability and of the highest possible character; still, he thought they had been too sanguine in this matter. A brewing had been made with the sanction of the right hon. Gentleman, but a telegram had been put into his hands since he entered the House, saying that Mr. Phillips was not satisfied with the experiments, because the linseed meal and cake were not pure, and the malt was not ground fine enough. So that before this intricate subject could be thoroughly worked out, it would be necessary to analyze the linseed meal or cake, and Profes- 1029 sor Volker, or Mr. Lawes, would have to attend every one of the factories where malt was prepared for cattle, and troubles would be continually springing up with the Excise. But supposing Mr. Phillips to be correct in his view, it still became important to try whether even then an article might not be produced from linseed and malt which would fairly compete with that brewed from malt. Personally speaking he had no interest in the matter; the delicate beer which he produced would not, he thought, come into competition with that brewed from linseed, and he therefore spoke with entire impartiality. He knew it was said that "Bass never got up without alluding to malting or hops;" but he would plead as his excuse that he did not venture to treat on questions of haute politique, but confined himself to matters that he really did understand.
said, that during the last discussion on the Bill the right hon. Gentleman intimated that he would defer going into Committee until that day, in order that Members who represented agricultural constituencies might have an opportunity of consulting their constituents. During that interval he (Mr. Ducane) had had an opportunity of consulting several gentlemen upon whose practical opinion he could rely, and he had found that the opinion amongst them with regard to the measure was a tolerably unanimous one. He certainly had not found in his correspondence all those complimentary epithets which the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Bass) had found in his; but he might say that the feeling of his constituents might be summed up in one sentence—the more they looked at the Bill the less they liked it. The exact value of malt as a fattening property in food for cattle was a matter upon which considerable difference of opinion existed; and although a measure giving full and free power to farmers to test its fattening qualities by actual experiment would, no doubt, be regarded as a great boon, the Bill before the House was fettered and clogged with so many useless restrictions, that he doubted whether farmers in any great numbers would avail themselves of the permission. The object of the Bill seemed to be not to give the farmer the power of malting his own inferior or damaged barley upon his own premises without the supervision of the Excise, or to enable him to give to his own labourers beer free from malt duty, but to put him under the control of the maltster 1030 and exciseman, both as regarded the quality of malt and the linseed which he was compelled to mix with it. The hon. Member for the West Riding on the first stage of this Bill had observed, that if anything could possibly make rogues of such a remarkably honest set of men as agricultural labourers, the Bill would efectually do it, in the premium that was held out for illicit brewing. He entirely agreed with that remark; and he would venture to go further, and say that if anything could make rogues of such an honest set of men as maltsters were known to be, it would be the premium that the Bill held out for the adulteration of malt with linseed. Rogues were to be found in every trade, and linseed cake, as they all knew, was a very expensive item in the farmer's expenditure, and there was perhaps no article so subject to adulteration. Professor Volker in his paper read before the Royal Agricultural Association, called attention to the scale upon which deleterious or simply doubtful substances were already mixed with articles supposed to possess good feeding properties. To require linseed meal to be closely ground before it was mixed would, therefore, be to hold out additional inducements to fraud. Another consideration presented itself in connection with the expense about to be entailed upon maltsters. Was it likely that many of them, knowing how uncertain the demand must prove, would incur the expense of erecting separate buildings and complicated machinery? Owing to the suspension of malt credits, which formed so prominent a feature in the Budget three or four years ago, several hundreds of maltsters in the rural districts had given up business altogether, and there were to be found at this moment large agricultural tracts entirely destitute of malting. There was another reason why the farmers regarded this Bill with dislike and suspicion. He could not better explain it than by quoting a line from a poet with whose lines no one was better acquainted than the right hon. Gentleman himself—— timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.No doubt there were admirers of the financial policy of the right hon. Gentleman; but he certainly had not succeeded in creating the impression that he was a friend of the landed interest, and the farmers could not help suspecting that in the present Bill there was something within which passeth show," and that it was 1031 set up merely to stop agitation for the repeal or abolition of the malt tax itself. He was not one of those who were sanguine enough to expect that the right hon. Gentleman could sacrifice £6,000,000 of taxation at one fell swoop. But lie believed that if the right hon. Gentleman were to take the bull manfully by the horns, and reduce the tax either by one-half or by two-fifths, he would find that the increased consumption would greatly diminish the apprehended loss to the revenue, while he would give the farmers and the consumers of this country a very material guarantee that they were on the high road to the abolition of the impost. But instead of that the right hon. Gentleman had brought in a measure which he (Mr. Ducane) believed would be practically a dead letter, or which, if it did come into general operation, must cause a very great loss to the revenue, both by the premium it would hold out to illicit distillation, and by increasing the public expenditure by the addition which would be required to the number of excisemen, while it would, at the same time, have the most objectionable feature of the tax—namely, its inquisitorial character. He begged to inform the right hon. Gentleman, that the minds of the farmers were fully made up on the subject, and that if he persisted, year after year, in ignoring their just claims to a reduction of the tax, he, or any Chancellor of the Exchequer who might succeed him, must make up their minds to meet an agitation compared with which the remonstrances of the paper manufacturers, or of the hop growers, would be a mere trifle, The farmers felt they had a right to a reduction of that tax. They believed that their interests had not been fairly consulted in the remission of taxation which had been effected of late years. The Corn Laws had been abolished, the duties on sugar, tea, and wine had been materially reduced; and, under those circumstances, it was an anomaly and an injustice that the tax upon malt should be left untouched. He had no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman would reply, that the duties on sugar, tea, and wine, were higher, ad valorem, than the existing duty on malt: but he (Mr. Ducane) would venture to meet that argument by observing, that the duties on sugar, tea, and wine were levied merely on articles of consumption, while the malt tax pressed not only upon the consumer, but also upon the home producer; and it was, perhaps, a greater restriction upon 1032 the growing of barley than upon the consumption of beer. It was, therefore, with corn and bread, and not with sugar, tea, or wine, that malt ought to be compared. If the principle adopted in the case of wine had been extended to the case of malt, the repeal of the malt tax would long since have taken place. He had, in conclusion, to express a hope that not only would the House take that measure in hand, and make it, what it was not at present, a measure of real advantage to the farmer, but that the right hon. Gentleman, before he produced his Budget, would fully consider the whole question of the malt tax itself, and in case he survived the experimentum in corpore vili to which the hon. Member for Derby would subject him, that he would endeavour, in a more substantial manner, to satisfy the just claims of a large and important portion of the community.
said, he believed the Chancellor of the Exchequer must by that time feel convinced that the measure as it stood was not satisfactory to the agricultural interest. He rose, however, principally for the purpose of expressing a hope, that the right hon. Gentleman would consent to the Amendment of which he (Mr. Packe) had given notice, that after the word "meal" there should be added, in Clauses 1, 6, and 8, the words "or cotton cake or rape cake." He believed that some real advantage would thus be conferred on sheep graziers, and it was that class, and not cattle graziers, that would be principally enabled to avail themselves of the provisions of the Bill.
§ MR. BAGWELL
said, that the measure would affect Ireland in two important particulars; first, in its connection with the question of distillation; and secondly, in the new police arrangements which it would necessitate. As far as regarded the police view of the subject, he believed that it would be utterly impossible to prevent that malt from getting into the hands of illicit distillers. The right hon. Gentleman might imagine that in a mountain farm in Ireland the malt would be employed in the feeding of cattle; but he (Mr. Bagwell) felt perfectly sure that it would go to make whisky. He believed, too, that the whisky which would thus be manufactured would be much better than that which was now made under Parliamentary sanction. It was hardly possible to form a conception of the poisonous maddening stuff which the people of Ireland at present 1033 drank under the name of whisky. It was only the other day that a whisky dealer, in a village near his (Mr. Bagwell's) place of residence, asked a doctor how much oil of laudanum he could put into the whisky without killing people. The doctor made known the fact to a magistrate, who put himself in communication with the authorities at Dublin Castle upon the subject, and the reply he received from them was, that if the publican killed people he would be hanged for it, but that otherwise they could not interfere with him. So much for a police view of the question. With respect to the probable effect of the measure on the increase of illicit distillation, he had to observe, that when the duties upon whisky were only 2s. 4d. a gallon, there were eighty or ninety distilleries in Ireland, giving employment largely, and consuming immensity of agricultural produce. Now the duties had been raised to 10s. there were only twenty distillers in existence. How long might these be expected to survive if such encouragement were given to illicit distillation as the present Bill proposed. Upon these grounds he decidedly disapproved of the Bill, and he had to express a hope that it would be withdrawn.
MR. BANKS STANHOPE
said, that the Bill from its title seemed to hold out a promise of a real advantage to the farmers; but that promise was belied by the actual provisions of the measure. For farmers to avail themselves of the advantages offered by the Bill, they must have room for storing malt, and also for grinding it, and that implied putting up machinery, as well as obtaining men to work it. Malt made in that manner would be far too dear for the farmers. If it were necessary to put up steam power, very few small maltsters would go to such considerable expense. Could the Chancellor of the Exchequer suppose that small farmers would put up malt houses involving such machinery and expense? Again, provision ought to be made against that kind of malt being turned to an improper use. He had conversed the previous day with a practical farmer, who said that there was great danger of abuse arising out of the measure, for that if they did grind fine it might lead to fraud, while if they did not grind to proper fineness, the material could not be used for sheep. Wishing very much to see malt brought into more general use, he feared that the measure would not have general operation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer must have regard to the amount 1034 of adulteration that must take place under the Bill. What was there to prevent a person from putting one-half instead of one-tenth part of linseed into the mixture. One malt condiment would be advertised and puffed for feeding cattle, another for feeding horses, and another for feeding sheep, and a new mode of practising deceit would be opened against farmers. He believed that the Bill would be useless as it stood, while he feared that it would lead to much fraud. He gave the Chancellor of the Exchequer full credit for good intentions, but he would advise the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw the Bill, and see if he could not take off the duty altogether, or introduce a better agency for the objects he had in view. As it stood, he believed that the Bill would only prove a delusion.
§ MR. COBBETT
said, he should much like to see a Bill entitled "Malt for Man." A great deal had been recently said of the miserable condition of the labouring man upon the land, and no very distinct proposition for mending his condition had been put forward. In the absence of any better course, he thought it would be wise to revert to the old system of allowing him to brew his own beer and drink it with his family. In 1821, Mr. Ellman, a large farmer in Sussex, gave evidence in a Committee of that House that, in the year 1770, he recollected every labouring man brewing his own beer in the parish in which he lived, but that no labouring man brewed when he gave his evidence, except men to whom he gave the malt. In 1837, an old working man from Chichester stated before the Poor Law Committee, that he in his younger days brewed his own beer, that the price of malt was 2s. 6d. the old bushel of nine gallons. He thought if they could get rid of the malt tax entirely they would see the same state of things again. He should like to see a repeal of half the malt tax at once, with a view to doing away with it entirely. It was said that that would have an unfavourable effect upon the revenue, by diminishing the consumption of brandy, gin, rum, and whisky. If that were so, lie should consider the change beneficial. With reference to the Bill before the House, he thought it would be almost inoperative. The agriculturists with whom he had conversed on the question were not very large farmers, but they shared that view. Still, he hoped the Bill would not be withdrawn, because he regarded it as a 1035 step, or a seeming step, towards the modification of a very great grievance and injustice, and he gave the Chancellor of the Exchequer credit for the desire he had evinced to deal with an evil of very long standing. In districts where hops were grown largely, and where there were large farmers, the system sanctioned by the Bill might, perhaps, be adopted. Looking on the Bill, however, in the light of an experiment, he thought it desirable that it should be passed, and trial of it made. There was another thing which showed the impolicy of the malt tax, and that was the quantity of spoiled bailey that was rendered useless by the Excise regulations. If permission were given to house-sprouted barley, it might be dried, and would become useful for feeding cattle. He knew a farmer near Godstone whose barley had been greatly spoiled in the field last harvest, and who wrote up to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking permission to save it by turning it into malt, but the right hon. Gentleman politely informed him that he had no power to help him. That was a matter which he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would bear in mind. He hoped that there would be no attempt to impede the Bill. Since the question had been mooted, he trusted that it would be agitated throughout the country until they got rid of a large amount of that taxation which was imposed on the agricultural community, and which, through them, pressed on the labouring class.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that after the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other night, he had ventured to make a suggestion to which he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman; ho was anxious to repeat that suggestion now, that the right hon. Gentleman might favour him with a reply. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might remember that in 1860 he had taken the liberty of pointing out to him the danger of resting the revenue of the country on so very few items as subjects of taxation, several of them being articles largely entering into the food of the people. He had warned the right hon. Gentleman that in all probability an agitation would spring up for the repeal of some of those taxes, and that in consequence of there being so few sources of revenue, each was exposed to an agitation, which, from the simplicity of its object, would be almost certain to succeed. He was glad, therefore, to hear the speech of the hon. Member for Oldham, who, 1036 though he desired the repeal of the malt tax, did not wish to endanger the revenue. A rumour was current that a reduction of taxation would be made by the right hon. Gentleman to the extent of £2,000,000. He did not know whether this was true or not, but if true, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman why he should not accede to the wish expressed by a large class of the community in favour of some reduction of the malt tax. He (Mr. Newdegate) wished the Bill before the House to pass, and the experiment it involved should be tried, but he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would consider whether the restrictions which forbade the producers of barley to malt and brew at home for the purposes of their own families and labourers, might not, under due restrictions against" their selling beer, be relaxed— since the possession of barley by the growers of that grain made them naturally impatient of being forbidden the use of it for their own domestic purposes.
§ SIR FITZROY KELLY
said, that after the appeal of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Cobbett), who had an hereditary right to direct the attention of the Legislature to that important question, he felt it his duty to state the course which he intended to take. Last Session he moved for a Committee on the malt tax. The Chancellor of the Exchequer assented, and the Committee sat. Since that time, however, the right hon. Gentleman had introduced a Government measure intended for the benefit of the agricultural community. He feared that the restrictions and safeguards thought necessary in regard to the revenue endangered the success of the experiment; but if the Chancellor of the Exchequer could he prevailed upon to put the Bill into such a form as to afford the agriculturists the means of making the experiment fairly, all objections to the passing of the measure would be obviated. At any rate, Amendments could be made in, the Bill in another Session of Parliament. Until he heard the financial statement of the right hon. Gentleman he should not move the reappointment of the Committee of last Session.
said, he had heard no argument in favour of the Bill. As a Member for a large agricultural community in Ireland, he wished to state his opinion that the Bill would do a great deal of harm, and if passed would aggravate crime in that country. He regretted that the Government had not introduced some 1037 measure to alleviate the distress in Ireland. He might add, that so far from seeing in the measure the germs of further reduction, he thought it would be made an excuse of to prevent, future legislation on the subject.
§ MR. POLLARD-URQUHART
said, he thought that, notwithstanding the objections which had been urged against the Bill, the House should be allowed to go into Committee. He looked on the Bill as the introduction of the "thin edge of the wedge." The adulteration of wine led to a diminution of the duties on wine, and if the anticipated adulteration of malt should have a similar effect on malt he should rejoice. There would probably arise considerable difficulty in determining what was linseed. A few years ago that kind of difficulty arose with regard to paper, and in that case the result was abolition of the duty. Few men were better acquainted with the labouring classes of the metropolis than the Rev. Dr. Cumming, and he had his high authority for joining in the opinion of the hon. Member for Old-ham and another hon. Member, that the repeal of the malt duty, although it would make beer cheap, would lead to a diminution of drunkenness.
§ MR. BEACH
said, he fully shared in the apprehensions expressed by several hon. Members, that the restrictions contained in the Bill would prevent the experiment from being fairly tried. At the same time, he felt that before the five years for which it was to run had elapsed, a much more complete measure would be passed,
said, that the accounts he continued to receive from the country confirmed him in the opinion he had expressed on a former occasion, that the agriculturists looked upon the Bill as nearly inoperative, and hardly worth the paper it was printed on. An hon. Member opposite has stated that he regarded the Bill as the thin end of the wedge, and perhaps it might be so considered if they were dealing with the whole question of the malt duty. But the measure dealt with was only an infinitesimally small corner of the argument, and, instead of being the thin end of the wedge, he was afraid the Bill would be used as an argument for staving off the wedge altogether. A great feeling had grown up that some of the malt duty should be taken off. The House had reduced the price of brandy to the rich and middle classes, who were the sole con- 1038 sumers, for the poor man never drank brandy-and-water. They had taken the duty off wine, which was also the beverage of the rich and middle classes, and now the poor declared that it would be right to give them a turn and take the duty off beer. He did not see how that claim could be fairly answered. It had always been the rule to tax spirits more highly than any other beverage, because they were held to be more deleterious. Wine was taxed in the next degree, because the rich and middle classes who drank it could afford to pay for it. Beer had always been taxed in a less proportion, and the people thought, and he agreed with them, that it would be fair to deal with beer as brandy and wine had been dealt with, and thus give the poor some benefit. He was aware that it was a very important matter when they came to deal with £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 of revenue. There was, however, no reason why some of the malt duty should not be taken off, and the great beer consuming class had, he thought, a fair claim to consideration. There were symptoms of a strong agitation getting up for the repeal of the malt tax, but it was better to prevent agitation by doing justice. Another point was worthy of consideration. Whoever got the gain, it must be shared among ourselves. The wine-grower and the brandy manufacturer had received a large share of the benefit of the reduction of duty on those articles. It might be a question whether the quart pot, or the farmer who grew the barley, would get the most advantage from the repeal of the malt tax; but, at any rate, they were all Englishmen. He did not believe that even the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Bass) could tell the House what proportion of benefit would go to the quart pot, and what to the barley-grower; but the advantage would be among ourselves, and that was a double reason in favour of a reduction of the malt tax. It was impossible to say whether the Amendment of the hon. Baronet the Member for Kent could be agreed to without endangering the revenue. He had heard some hon. Members had tasted the beer made from malt and that made with linseed, and had hit upon the linseed as the true beer. If that were true he did not see the value of the reduction to the revenue. He did not want however to look a gift horse in the mouth, and if the Bill would be any good to anybody by all means let it pass. He must, how- 1039 ever, protest against the measure being offered as an answer to the general demand which had grown up for the repeal of the malt tax.
§ MR. DODSON
said, he could not help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman had somewhat begged the question in declaring that this Bill would be inoperative. The measure was simply of an experimental and temporary character. It had long been a moot point between agriculturists and philosophers, and between agriculturists themselves, whether malt was valuable for feeding purposes. The farmers had been asked why they did not settle the question by experiment, and they replied that the malt duty was too heavy to admit of it. Well, the Chancellor of the Exchequer came down with a Bill to facilitate the experiment, by allowing it to be made with untaxed malt. The Bill was only temporary, but if it should turn out that malt was really valuable as an article of food, before five years had expired other measures would be adopted to give further facilities for its use. He agreed with the bon. and learned Member for Suffolk (Sir FitzRoy Kelly) that that was not the time for entering into a discussion on the larger question of the abolition of the malt duty, nor was it the time for considering the special operation of the malt tax in Ireland, When the financial statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was before the House—or perhaps later in the Session— he had no doubt that the question of the malt duty as a tax on beer would be brought before the House, and he would then be prepared to express his opinion upon the subject. He hoped that the Bill would be allowed to go into Committee, in order to consider the merits of the Bill in detail. The right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) had said, "If you get a reduction of the malt duty the whole of the benefit will be received at home, however it may be divided between the grower of the barley and the brewer and consumer of the beer; while the benefit accruing from the reduction of the duties on wine and brandy were divided between the foreign producer and the home consumer." That was true only within certain limits. There could be no doubt that the reduction of a tax on foreign commodities consumed in this country was a relief to the home consumer and the foreign producer. But relief given in the case of an excise duty had this advantage over the relief given in the other case—that the 1040 immediate benefit was divided between the home producer and the home consumer.
§ MR. DUTTON
said, he could not support the Bill on any understanding that the great question of the repeal of the malt duty was to be dwarfed down to such a measure. The time had arrived when some experiment ought to be made, in order to solve the doubts which were entertained as to the utility of malt for feeding purposes. The Bill certainly was one of a very unsatisfactory character, clogged as it was with so many restrictions, but these restrictions were almost unavoidable, owing to the difficulties which surrounded the question. The proper place to deal with the details was in Committee, and he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would look at the matter in a more liberal spirit, and render it more satisfactory to the agriculturists.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, he regretted that the hon. Member for East Sussex (Mr. Dodson), who spoke so well in favour of the abolition of the hop duty, had not spoken in the same strain in favour of the abolition of the malt duty. The hon. Member said that that was merely an experimental measure. That was quite true, but the measure was so clogged by restrictions that it would prevent any experiments from being made, and if the Bill were passed in its present shape it would be no boon to the agriculturists. The hon. Member for West Suffolk had stated that he had no intention of opposing the Bill, He had not been able to gather from the observations of the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire whether he intended to oppose it or not; but unless some of the restrictions proposed by the Bill were removed, he (Mr. Bentinck) thought the House would do well to throw it out on the third reading. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to be of opinion that the Bill would do no harm, inasmuch as it would be inoperative, but that it might be looked upon as staving off the question of the repeal of the malt duty. That probably was the object of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in proposing the measure. But he did not believe it would have that effect, for the feeling of the country was thoroughly roused to the injustice of the existing duty on malt, and therefore it was a matter of little consequence whether the present measure passed or not, because it would not affect the main question of the repeal of the malt tax.
§ MR. WALTER
said, he thought that 1041 the wide range which the discussion had taken had rather tended to make hon. Members forget the circumstances out of which the measure had arisen. As the representative of an agricultural county, he could speak from his own knowledge that it had been simply taken up as a farmers' question. There had been a grievance, more or less well founded, that the malt tax on beer had also operated as a tax on food. That was the view put forward by the farmers, and the question was, whether that grievance would be best redressed by removing the whole of the tax as it affected the farmer, or a portion of the tax as it affected the whole of the community, the farmer included. He thought that the agriculturists would prefer to be relieved from the whole of the tax as it affected themselves, rather than from that portion which affected the malt trade and the rest of the community. He understood that the object of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was, to ascertain by a large experiment of the kind proposed by the Bill, whether or not, without trenching on the large revenue produced by the malt tax as a tax on beer, Parliament should relieve the farmer from the whole of that tax as a tax on meat. And it only entangled the question to introduce into the present discussion, however properly they might be debated at other times, such topics as whether a tax on beer was a proper tax, or whether it was proportionate to the taxes on spirits, wines, and other articles of consumption— matters which really did not bear on the question before the House, as to the best mode of relieving the farmer from a tax which might be regarded as a tax on meat. He did not cherish any sanguine expectation—nor had he heard of any one who did—as to the operation of the Bill. The House was, however, bound, he thought, to give it a fair trial. It would be a great gain not only to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but to science, if it appeared possible to take off the tax as a malt tax, but without interfering with the malt tax regarded as a tax on beer. The House would, for these reasons, do well to permit the experiment to receive a full and fair trial. Whenever the time came for considering the malt tax as a tax on beer, it should be discussed on its own merits. It opened up a very large question. The hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Cobbett) brought the House back to old times, when every labourer brewed his 1042 own beer, and he understood the hon. Member to attribute the cessation of the practice to the malt tax. It was possible that other causes might have operated to prevent the labouring man from brewing his own beer. [Mr. BASS: Hear, hear!] Large breweries did not then exist, and it was generally found cheaper and better to manufacture such articles on a larger than on a smaller scale. Then there arose the important question, how the total repeal of the malt tax would affect the revenue from spirits. Some hon. Members held that the repeal of the malt tax would lead to a greater consumption of beer and a smaller consumption of spirits. That was a question of fact, but it admitted of very great doubt. His belief was, that the consumption of beer and spirits was affected by very different causes. In large towns, where the people lived in an impure air, and followed sedentary employments at their own homes, it was found that the nervous system was so depressed by the unhealthy atmosphere, that strong stimulants were drunk to keep them up; while for those who lived in the country, and worked in the open air, beer was the natural beverage. These considerations had a great deal to do with the question of the malt tax. Meanwhile, however, and until these questions came on for discussion, he trusted that the Government would be allowed to proceed with the Bill. The House, by passing it as an experimental measure, would then be better enabled to judge whether it could by-and-bye proceed to the repeal of the whole tax.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had in some measure begged the whole question. The House had been invited to proceed with the Bill on the understanding that it would relieve the farmers of the whole tax upon malt; but he did not believe that would be the case, and the reason was that the restrictions were so great that it would be practically inoperative. Why was it that all practical men declared that the Bill would be inoperative, and that those who represented the farmer almost repudiated it? Why, too, were so many restrictions imposed? In consequence of the existence of the malt tax. Therefore, as practical men in discussing the measure, they could not shut their eyes to the existence of that tax; and he found no fault with those who represented the farmers calling the attention of the Government and of Parliament to the great grievance 1043 which the malt tax imposed upon them. The result of the discussion had shown an agreement on both sides, that the question could not be settled until the Chancellor of the Exchequer, be he whom he might, dealt boldly with the subject of the malt tax. He believed he did not exaggerate when he said that nine out of every ten Gentlemen had said that one-half of the malt tax must be taken off. When his right hon. Friend (Mr. Henley) was a member of Lord Derby's Government in 1852, that was precisely what Lord Derby's Government proposed to do. And who, ho would ask the farmers of England, was the gentleman to whose opposition was mainly due the defeat of that proposal? Why, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He could not, therefore, be surprised when those who represented the interests of the farmers in that House, did not place very great confidence in the intentions or the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. He regarded the Bill as one of those financial bubbles with which the right hon. Gentleman amused his leisure hours by blowing, and he had no expectation that the farmers of England would derive any benefit from any one of its odious and restrictive clauses. That was, perhaps, no good reason for going into Committee on the Bill and endeavouring to improve it, if possible, which could only be done by some such Amendments as those suggested by the hon. Members for Kent and North Warwickshire; and in Committee, if those Amendments were proposed, he would be happy to consider them.
§ MR. GODDARD
said, the Bill was not consistent with the principles of free trade. He was prepared to go into Committee on the Bill, because there could be no doubt that it would be a modicum of relief to the farmers to be enabled to malt their own barley, although he admitted that this was but a very poor relief for that generally acknowledged injustice—the malt tax.
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
said, he had listened with attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), and he concurred with him in wishing it were possible the whole of the malt duty might be repealed. That, no doubt, would be a great advantage. No one liked any tax at all; but the only question was whether it would not be necessary, if the malt tax were repealed, to add considerably to other taxes. The agriculturists would, no doubt, be glad 1044 to see the right hon. Gentleman become Chancellor of the Exchequer; but then they would consider him bound to do what the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was asked by him to perform. He was not without hopes that right hon. Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House, if they came into power, would be able to take some such step. In 1852, as the noble Lord the Member for North Leicestershire had stated, Lord Derby's Government proposed that half the malt tax should be taken off. Doubtless, circumstances must have prevented them in 1859 from making the same proposal. But he sincerely hoped, for the sake of his constituents, when next they came into power, they would propose that the whole tax, or at least half of it, should be taken off. It had been objected to the Bill that linseed could be mixed with malt, and that spirits might be distilled from such a mixture. Had any hon. Member really tried the experiment, or was this a mere notion? He had not heard that malt mixed with linseed was not good for feeding purposes. On the contrary, he remembered that Professor Liebig expressly stated that barley, in order to make it good for feeding, should have a mixture of linseed. The hon. Member for Lincolnshire said they could not be benefited by this Bill, because the mixture itself was bad, and would be rendered useless for feeding by reason of adulterations. Why, if the mixture were bad, adulteration could scarcely make it worse; therefore the inference was that the mixture itself was a good one. An hon. Member opposite had said that they would be enabled to brew beer from the mixture. Had that been done? When the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Bass) mentioned that he had tried the experiment of brewing beer from this malt, mixed with linseed, and had sent up two casks to enable hon. Members to judge for themselves, he (Lord Robert Montagu) left the House in order to taste it, and he found that though what was in one of the casks was very good, what was in the other was very nasty, and he should be very sorry indeed to drink it. Why should they lake vague notions in preference to the opinions of those scientific men whom the Chancellor of the Exchequer had employed? The hon. Member for Lincolnshire said the Bill would be quite inoperative, because it would not be worth while for the farmers to erect machinery for grinding the barley. That was inconsistent 1045 with the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire, who said that it would be a most useful article of food; if so, surely they might erect machinery to provide it. He thought, however, that all these arguments in favour of a total repeal of the malt tax, and those about the making of spirits and beer, had nothing to do with this Bill. They did not know what the right hon. Gentleman intended to do with regard to the malt tax. The right hon. Gentleman said to the agriculturists, "I do not say I am now in a position to repeal the malt duty, or a part of it, but this much I will do for you, as malt is a useful article for feeding cattle, I will give it you free from tax." For these reasons he was in favour of going into Committee.
§ VISCOUNT HOLMESDALE
said, he did not dispute the fact which hon. Gentlemen had stated, that this was an article of such value as food for cattle that it would be worth while to erect buildings for the purposes of malting; but what he did dispute was, that coupled with all the restrictions which the Bill contained it would be worth while to do so. If hon. Gentlemen examined the Bill they would find the first four sections of the Bill contained stringent and vexatious restrictions, which would be most onerous to the farmers. With regard to the general question involved in the Bill, he had to state that he represented a large agricultural constituency, and that he had heard but one opinion among the farmers on the subject of the Bill, and that was, that the measure would be wholly inoperative; that any experiments that might be made in consequence of its passing would be confined to people of large capital, and that in consequence of the limited scale on which alone it could be applied it would prove practically valueless. They believed that it would do neither any good nor any harm, and because he was of that opinion he had no objection to consider its details in Committee.
§ MR. MORRITT
said, he wished to read a passage from a letter which he had just received from a farmer in the North Riding of Yorkshire, who was one of the largest cattle breeders in this country. That letter would, he believed, afford a fair indication of the views which the farmers of this country generally entertained with respect to the probable operation of the Bill. It contained the following statement:— 1046I shall be very glad to give you the ideas of myself, and I believe the majority of the farmers in this district There can be no doubt that the proposed Bill is a mere clap-trap to stop the mouths of those who are agitating for a total repeal; the whole machinery of the Act is most clumsily put together, and cannot help proving a total failure. The system of excise is so oppressive that the farmer would be foolish indeed who would ever attempt to come under the supervision of the exciseman, who would be able to enter on the premises of the unfortunate maltster at all hours — even the dead of night, as I know has been done in my own neighbourhood. Who would be foolish enough to build a malt kiln when he would be liable at any hour to be pounced upon by those too officious officers?To that communication he (Mr. Morritt) could add that it was the opinion of the majority of the farmers in his district that the Bill would be productive to them of no benefit whatever. He did not know whether or not it would be of any advantage to any other people, but he hoped that the House would not for a moment imagine that even though it should be passed it would prevent the agricultural party throughout the country from agitating for a repeal or a reduction of the malt tax.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, I have now for many hours listened to the arguments of hon. Gentlemen upon the malt tax, but I do not complain of that circumstance, because I think it very natural that advantage should be taken of the occasion to advert to that very important question; and, holding the position which I do, it is not without a qualified satisfaction that I see hon. Gentlemen who are interested in the repeal of the malt tax taking steps to bring home to the mind of the public, and of those classes especially concerned, what they think the conclusive merits of their case. If the House will have the kindness to consider my position with respect to this tax, I think they will see it is natural enough. The more urgent demands at present made for the remission of taxes affect, upon a rough calculation, only about £20,000,000 of the public revenue. The repeal of the income tax is a question of £8,500,000. The reduction of the sugar duties one of £1,500,000. Half the malt tax is a question of £3,000,000. The reduction of the spirit duties to 8s.—and this is a matter which is pressed sometimes by Irish representatives and sometimes by distillers— involves some £2,500,000. Fire insurance, a very favourite subject, is a question of £1,500,000. The duty upon certain raw materials is a matter of £1,000,000. 1047 The reduction of the duty on conveyances, for which there is much to he said, is a question of £750,000. And that on pepper and other minor articles £500,000. And, on the whole, there is a sum of £19,250.000, which is made the subject-matter of the more immediate demands for the reduction of taxation. And yet hon. Members talk about a surplus of £2,000,000. It has been said, on high authority, "In the multitude of counsellors there is wisdom." I hope it will not be considered an irreverent paraphrase if I say that, in certain positions, in the multitude of enemies there is safety. The rival schemes for reduction should all be brought out in open day, and there they should be allowed to knock their heads against each other to prove which of those heads is the hardest, and I have not the slightest doubt that in the end justice will prevail. I will, however, pass to the subject under consideration. The hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Bass) made a computation of the percentage amount of the beer duty and the French wine duty, which is a lower duty than that upon the strong wines, and according to that computation it appears that the duty upon beer is 25 per cent, and upon French wines 27½ per cent. I am prepared to dispute his estimate of the duty upon wine. I do not deny that the duty upon claret at 102s. is almost inappreciable; but my point is that we must look at the duty upon the description of wine which comes into competition with beer, and then it would be seen that the complaint as to the relative duties is not so well founded as might be imagined. But the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) used an argument which seemed to meet with great approval on his side of the House. He spoke of the immense advantage which would accrue from all the gain from the reduction of the malt tax being kept in England. His argument is, that it is better to pay 10s. to an Englishman for an article than 8s. to a foreigner. I confess that appears to me an argument which, if admitted, would carry us a long way backwards in the whole course of financial and commercial legislation in which we have been engaged for a long time. The right hon. Gentleman observed that there was a gradation in the scale of duties, the spirits being highest, the wines next, and the beer lowest, which he appeared to approve, and on that account he thinks the malt has a right to be reduced. I apprehend 1048 it is perfectly true that beer is weaker than spirits, but it is beyond dispute that tea is weaker than beer; and if we proceed on this principle of classification, that the ratio of duties should be as the strength of the liquor and its intoxicating qualities, it appears to me that the results should be very carefully considered before we come to deal with the repeal of the malt tax.
I come now to the particular Bill before the House, and here I will endeavour to speak explicitly, intelligibly, and candidly, although with due respect. The objections to the Bill have been mainly that the Bill will be inefficient, that it will be demoralizing, that it will be a possible obstacle, opposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the repeal of the tax, and that it will be a danger to the revenue. As regards the first two objections, I may leave them, in some respects, to knock their heads together; for, if it will be totally inefficient, as the hon. Member for Essex (Mr. Ducane) says, how, then, can it be demoralizing to those two classes of the purest character, the farmers and the maltsters? If this Bill be really dangerous to the revenue, as the hon. Member for Derby alleges, I can only say I shall be very glad for the sake of the revenue that its dangers should be pointed out by a man of intelligence and authority. My hon. Friend offers me a cask of beer. But will he give me a choice of his casks? If so, I should not have the least hesitation as to the choice I should make. But if instead of giving me a choice he gives me a cask of linseed been, I will accept it on this condition—that he never puts to me the disagreeable inquiry as to what portion of the contents of the cask I may consume. I believe that some hon. Members have been engaged in bringing the matter to a practical test, and I have heard very different reports of the result. I have been told that the new beer is decidedly better than beer brewed from malt and hops. If that be true I shall rejoice. I may be sorry for the failure of my Bill, but I shall be infinitely more pleased to think that there is, as my hon. Friend seems to think, a brilliant prospect opened to my countrymen of brewing beer from a new material. I will now state to the House some information of which I am in possession. The Government, and the Government only, are responsible for this Bill; but we never concealed the fact, that we rely upon the experience, the knowledge, and the proved accuracy of our scientific and permanent 1049 advisers. I hold in my hand a letter written by Mr. Matthews, principal manager of the brewery of my hon. Friend (Mr. Bass) at Burton-on-Trent, and that letter sets forth, at no unnecessary length, but in precise detail, the various steps in the experiments which have been made by my hon. Friend in connection with this matter. I will not read that letter, but I will read the reply of Mr. Phillips, the head of the Scientific Department of the Board of Inland Revenue. It is as follows:—The samples of linseed meal and of linseed cake forwarded by you on the 20th instant have been carefully examined, and found to be largely adulterated. The 'meal' contains, besides linseed, wheat bran, nut cake, charlock, and rape-seeds, wheat, oat, and pulse starches. The 'cake' contains, beyond linseed, rape and charlock seeds, wheat, oat, and pulse starches, with traces of dodder seed. The samples both of the malt and linseed cake used by you in your experimental brewings of beer from a mixture of the two substances are not what we should recognize, as they are not ground to a sufficient degree of fineness, and the linseed, even were it pure, we should reject as being greatly deficient in mucilage.It has been said that there is a very great adulteration of linseed and linseed meal, and that it would be impracticable for the Revenue department to check those adulterations. But the responsibility of ascertaining the purity of the cake the Inland Revenue are quite willing to undertake. So impressed, however, am I with the experiments of my hon. Friend, that I will not carry the Bill out of the House until these experiments are concluded. But there is one vital element in the case which his experiments have not taken into account, and that is the element of cost. I have no doubt that if all the resources of science were brought to bear upon the subject, the result might make the malt which might be separated from the linseed yield a beverage even as fine as the incomparable beer with which my hon. Friend gladdens the whole of us. But what chymistry and skill can do is one thing, and what trade can do, with a view to remunerate itself, is another. I stand not upon the impossibilities, but upon the difficulties with which the question is surrounded. From all the information which I have received, I feel confident that the skill of the Revenue Department, on which I have so often placed full reliance, will be vindicated in this instance as in so many others. And now a few words with regard to the exact position and purposes of this Bill. The hon. Members for Hampshire 1050 and West Norfolk have spoken of changes to be introduced into it. May I take the liberty of saying that I think the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Suffolk (Sir FitzRoy Kelly) contained the pith and sense of the whole matter? This Bill is an experiment, which may or may not be important in its results, but it is an experiment with regard to which we are absolutely bound to take every security for guarding the revenue. Now, it will be obvious, from the very nature of the case, that we and we only can be responsible for the efficiency of our securities. If, therefore, owing to their desire to give a greater latitude to the operation of the Bill, hon. Gentlemen force upon us Amendments which we cannot accept, it would be impossible for us to proceed with the Bill. I am bound to say, with regard to the Amendments on the paper, they are not admissible. We cannot accept other articles which would not give us the same security as linseed cake. Now, that is a frank declaration which I wish to make in order that hon. Gentlemen may take it into account. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), says that all the communications which he has received came very much to this— that the Bill would do no good; but the communications which the hon. Member for Essex (Mr. Ducane) has received are not exactly to the same effect, for it appears they seem to say—Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.It may be very difficult for the farmer to malt for himself under this Bill, a conclusion to which some appear rather rapidly to have come, and if it were in my power I should be very glad to relieve him. But if I were to do so it would simply be to abandon £6,000,000 of revenue. But it does not follow that because he cannot do all that he would, the farmer is therefore to derive no benefit from the Bill. The farmers of the North Riding of Yorkshire are of opinion that the Bill will do nothing, but the maltsters of the West Riding, on the contrary, are fearful that under the Bill, as it stands, there will be large operations, and they declare themselves seriously alarmed as to the obstructions to their trade. But all interests out of doors are generally too much alarmed upon the examination of measures of this nature. I will freely admit it would be desirable to enable the farmers to prepare their own malt under the conditions of this Bill or 1051 some other. But it is possible for a maltster to prepare the malt more cheaply than the farmer could do it for himself; because his regular malting is confined to six or seven months of the year, and for the rest of the year his buildings are useless. Those buildings might, then, be applied to malting for feeding animals, and might be so used without the necessity of having any new bond or licence. If a good article could be provided under the provisions of this Bill, then, even though the farmer himself might find it inconvenient to submit himself to the Excise, yet he has got his maltster at hand with machinery and men unemployed for about five months in the year. However, I make no prophecy as to the extent to which this Bill will work. If the Bill should be passed, the responsibility of carrying it into effect properly will rest with us; and if the Bill should be inoperative, then, this deep-laid plot, which has been attributed to me, of desiring illegitimately to intercept the discussion on the malt duty, will totally fail; because the Bill would remain a dead letter, and it would be absurd for me to urge the passing of it as an argument against the repeal or reduction of the malt duty. If, on the other hand, the Bill should be found to operate, a great good will have been done to various classes. Every tax is more or less a grievance, but there is no reason why, on the back of the necessary grievance, we should build up other grievances; and as the hon. Member for Sussex (Mr. Dodson) pointed out, nothing can be more clear than your title to urge the claim of malt for a remission or repeal of duty, as an article of drink, quite independently of the inconvenience arising from the present restrictions upon malt as an article of food for cattle. These restrictions are of no benefit to the Exchequer; and, if operative, they are a burden to the agriculturist, and an injury to the nation. Surely, then, it is most unnatural policy to say, "Let this tax continue, not only with what inseparably belongs to it, but with all the adventitious vices pervading it. Do not let us liberate it from any of them for fear we shall interfere with and reduce the force of the agitation against it."As has been justly observed on the other side of the House, if the Bill is found to work beneficially, there will be every inducement on the part of Members of the House to come down and say that the working of this measure has proved that you may part with this restriction and with that restric- 1052 tion, and the restraints thus adverted to might possibly at some future period be diminished or removed. As I am not able to accede to any of the modifications proposed by hon. Members, I have been anxious to place the House in entire possession of the case. If any hon. Member thinks the Bill inconvenient to Ireland, it will be competent for him to move the omission of Ireland from its provisions; but if with the aid of the Irish Members he succeeds in carrying that proposition, I hope we shall never hear of it afterwards as a grievance to Ireland. I hope the House will pass this Bill, from which I cannot anticipate any evil to the farmers or to the community at large, but which, I think, affords some hope, at any rate, of benefit, great or small.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1 (Malt may be made and used, free of Duty, in the Feeding of Cattle).
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that with reference to the verbal alteration suggested by the hon. Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Packe), on a former occasion, he had been advised that the word "cattle" was sufficient, but to avoid all difficulty he would move the omission of the word "cattle," and the substitution instead of the word "animals."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
observed, that if the hon. Member for East Kent (Sir Edward Dering) was disposed to raise a discussion on the clause he had given notice of proposing, the best course would be to postpone the Committee, for it would not be in his power to remain longer, but he assured the House that his departure was not a voluntary act on his part.
§ SIR EDWARD DERING
said, it was his full intention to go on with the Amendment of which he had given notice.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again on Friday.