§ (Mr. Dodson, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Childers.)
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
§ MR. HUBBARD
, who had given notice to move as an Amendment on the Motion for the second rending—That it is inexpedient to retain, as part of the Inland Revenue for the service of the year, the present Duties on Fire and Marine Insurances, which are unjust in their incidence on property, and injurious to the national industry,said, he thought there was an understanding that the second reading of this Bill was to be postponed to enable him to bring forward his Motion. It being past twelve o'clock, he should move the adjournment of the debate.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he had already postponed this important Bill several times to suit the convenience of the hon. Gentleman. The Motion was just as applicable, and could be as well discussed on the Motion for going into Committee as now. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would allow the Bill to proceed.
§ MR. HUBBARD
said, he was in the hands of the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer was in error when he said he had postponed the Bill on several occasions to suit his (Mr. Hubbard's) convenience. It was he who had postponed his Motion to suit the convenience of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There was no necessity for so much hurry with the Bill. His Motion was germane to the Bill, and this stage was the most fitting time for bringing it forward.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Hubbard.)
§ The House divided:—Ayes 101; Noes 120: Majority 19.
§ Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. LOWTHER moved the adjournment of the House.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Lowther.)
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
confessed it was with some surprise he heard these Motions. The question was simply one of public convenience. On Monday week they were to return to a subject which they must expect to occupy all their available hours as long as it might remain under discussion in Committee. It was necessary, therefore, to get forward the other business; and, as this Bill contained no proposition that seemed to be objectionable to the House, he hoped his hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Hubbard) would be content with the offer he had made him, and would use his interest to have the Motion for the adjournment of the House withdrawn.
§ MR. W. E. DUNCOMBE
protested against pressing this Bill forward with such undue haste. Fuller opportunity ought to be given for the discussion of such an important constitutional change before the Bill was read a second time. He was surprised that the Chancellor of the Exche- 1128 quer should propose to read so important a Bill a second time at so late an hour—at half past twelve, or within five minutes of it—and when the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Hubbard) wished to state his views upon the question. Was it unreasonable to ask for a twenty-four hours' postponement of a Bill of this kind? He hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would meet them in the conciliatory spirit which might be expected on such an occasion, and that he would agree to a postponement. Why was the whole public business to be hurried on for the convenience of a Minister, and to suit the exigencies of party? He protested against such a mode of conducting their proceedings, and he hoped his hon. Friend would persevere in his proposal. [The hon. Gentleman spoke amid continued interruption.]
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, that the object of this Bill simply was to carry out certain Resolutions as to the Customs, which had been agreed to without opposition, and also to enable the collectors of income tax to resume the collection of that impost, six weeks having elapsed since the Act under which it had been collected had expired.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, he desired as much as he could consistently to assist the Government: but he must say the House had been placed in a very difficult position with regard to the conduct of business, and he did not think that any hon. Gentleman, and particularly one with the standing of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Hubbard), on matters of that kind should be deprived of his legitimate opportunities of raising a discussion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had thought fit—and he did not at all quarrel with his conduct in that respect—to include all his financial measures in one Bill. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman had taken that course after grave consideration; but it was a course attended, nevertheless, with considerable inconvenience, reducing as it did the opportunities offered to hon. Members of criticizing, or of opposing, if necessary, the measures of the Government. That was one reason why he thought the wish of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham should be acceded to by the Government. But another reason was the embarrassing position in which the House found itself at the present moment as the result of the general conduct of business during the last week or two. His hon. 1129 Friend the Member for the North Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. W. E, Duncombe) had alluded to the introduction of the Bill for the Re-distribution of Seats, and his remarks on that point were received with loud cries of "Question" from hon. Gentlemen opposite; but in his (Mr. Disraeli's) opinion, it was impossible for anybody to speak more strictly to the question than his hon. Friend had done. There could be no doubt that by fixing the second reading of that Bill for last Monday the position in which public business had been placed had been much affected. He himself had not offered any opposition to the proposal of the Government, after introducing the Redistribution of Seats Bill, that its second reading should be fixed for that day week; but the interval allowed between those two stages certainly was, for a measure so important, unusually brief. The Government, however, could not complain that, having fixed the second reading for so early a day, much time had been wasted in discussion upon that occasion. Well—what had the Government done that night? They were extremely oppressed on account of the state of their financial business; and the hon. Member for Buckingham had a very important Amendment to move with respect to the present Bill. Although no one addressed them on financial subjects with greater ability and clearness than his hon. Friend, yet that was not a question on which he could like to address them at one o'clock in the morning—the debate was one which it would not be well to commence at such an hour. What had the Chancellor of the Exchequer done under these circumstances? He placed on the paper as the first Order for that evening the Bill with regard to the relation between Landlord and Tenant in Ireland. He must say the House did not appear to him to enter very earnestly into the discussion of that measure. The debate upon it proceeded languidly, and was with difficulty kept up, particularly on the side of the Government. Altogether, the general aspect of the debate was much like that of the debate upon the Irish Church. It made its appearance, and having answered its purpose they heard little more of it. What would have been the position of public business if the Chancellor of the Exchequer had fixed the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill for the first Order? They would have had a real business-like discussion, and the matter would have made considerable progress. Therefore, 1130 the situation in which they now found themselves was entirely owing to the management of the Government. It was said that the hon. Member for Buckingham would have an opportunity of doing what he desired to do at a subsequent stage; but they might not go into Committee on the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill till the question of the Reform Bill had been settled. It was true the income tax was in arrear for six weeks; but he had known that tax to be in arrear for a still longer period; and that was not a sufficient argument for depriving his hon. Friend of his legitimate opportunity of addressing the House upon an Amendment of his intention to move which he had given long and repeated notice to the Government. He therefore, trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would not press that Bill forward that night otherwise they might be kept there till four in the morning, and that probably, after all, without much expediting matters.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he had no choice but to con-Bent to postpone the Bill if the Motion for the adjournment of the House were withdrawn.
§ Motion and original Question, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Second Reading deferred till To-morrow.