HC Deb 29 May 1867 vol 187 cc1283-4

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [2nd April], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Question again proposed.



said, that in the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had not expected the adjourned debate on the Bill to be resumed to-day, he trusted the hon. and learned Gentleman would not press his Motion.


moved the adjournment of the debate.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Bentinck.)

The House divided:—Ayes 91; Noes 132: Majority 41.

Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


said, that having moved the adjournment of the debate when the Bill was last under the notice of the House he might be permitted to express his regret that the House had decided upon resuming the consideration of a measure of so much importance only a few minutes before the usual hour of adjournment. It was very easy and agreeable, no doubt, for any individual Member to propose to relieve a particular class from the payment of a tax; but it was the duty of the House to consider the interest of all classes of society. When this question was last before the House he had thought it their duty to leave the Chancellor of the Exchequer free and unfettered, in order that he might first state the financial proposals of the year. If he had pressed upon the notice of the right hon. Gentleman any particular taxes which, above and before all others, had a claim upon his attention, it would have been the taxes on locomotion. Why should they take 1s. a day from a poor cabman for the National Exchequer before they allowed him to drive his cab along the streets? Why should omnibuses and omnibus drivers pay a tax? If a man who kept a taxed cart for the purposes of his business met his wife on the road and gave her a ride, he was liable to be heavily taxed, if he were on bad terms with the taxgatherer. The taxes on locomotion were, indeed, involved in extraordinary absurdity and perplexity. There was a special reason why the House should not at the present moment remit the certificate duty paid by attorneys. The National Exchequer would have to contribute something towards the new Courts of Justice. The concentration of these courts would enable the attorneys to perform various duties in less than half the time and at half the trouble they now involved, and therefore he thought the present an inopportune moment to seek to relieve the attorneys of this tax. He thought, too, that any proposition of this kind should be accompanied by some proposition for reducing their fees and charges. He hoped that the hon. and learned Member would withdraw his Bill. The attorneys were well able to plead their own cause, and it would be much better if gentlemen at the bar did not interfere in the matter.

Debate further adjourned till To-morrow.