HC Deb 24 April 1868 vol 191 cc1280-96

said, he did not regret that he had not secured an earlier opportunity of bringing on his Motion, because the proceedings of Thursday night showed how necessary it was to consider in what way the increasing expenditure of the country could be grappled with. Hon. Members knew very well how exceedingly difficult it was in Committee of Supply to effect any reduction of expenditure. Attempts to do so usually ended in a promise that the matter should be looked into before the preparation of the Estimates for the following year. Soon after he entered the House a Motion was made by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. White) to the effect that the expenditure of the country was increasing, and ought to be diminished; and the right hon. Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) said it was useless to make general Motions for reductions of expenditure, and that the only mode of effecting any permanent reduction was to object to items in detail, and to point out those that could safely be got rid of. Hon. Members would be startled to hear the increase in the Civil Service Estimates during the last twenty-five years. In 1839 they stood at £2,500,000, which covered all Civil Service expenses at that period; and they had grown, not by any sudden jump, but gradually, by £100,000, £200,000, or £300,000 a year, until last year they amounted to £8,002,953, which was this year augmented by £400,000. In discusions upon them a great number of Votes had been attacked, and arguments had been used which in ordinary cases would have been conclusive; but the Treasury experienced difficulty in dealing with the heads of Departments, and inducing them to give up some portion of their expenditure. The sum we were now called upon to pay for the Civil Service alone would in 1838 have paid the whole of the Army and Ordnance, as well as the Civil Service expenses. In sneaking of the increase of the Civil Service Estimates he did not forget that they embraced certain new charges, such as the Education Grant, but that Grant, large as it was, did not account for more than one-sixth of it—if that. Acting upon the recommendation, therefore, of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, he would take three heads of expenditure which might be fairly considered with a view to passing a Resolution declaring that they ought not to be a public charge, and that the offices ought to be self-supporting. Those three heads were the Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission, the Charity Commission, and the Land Registry Office. The Tithe Commission, in its origin was, no doubt, very properly appointed; and when it was first established it no doubt performed duties which were of general advantage. It was fair that the nation should bear the expense of carrying out a great principle of change solemnly adopted for the public benefit like that of commuting the whole tithes of the kingdom into rent-charges; but after that was accomplished certain duties were assumed by the Commissioners for the purpose of continuing the Commission. Indeed, it was found that when once a Commission was appointed for any definite purpose, it was almost impossible to get rid of the Commission itself. Acts were passed, and renewed, and consolidated, and in various ways work was found for the Commission, so as to keep it alive; and in many instances, no doubt, that work was very beneficial, but the benefit was for private individuals and not for the public generally. The Tithes Commission, having done its chief work—that of turning the tithes into a commuted fixed rent-charge upon the land—was now occupied in making variations solely for the benefit of the parties interested. It was manifestly unfair that a poor shopkeeper, say in York, should be contributing to the cost of managing a gentleman's estate in Buckinghamshire. Last year the Tithes Office dealt with 395 cases, including the confirmation of 283 altered apportionments, thirty-six applications for glebe exchanges, and 117 applications for redemption of rent charge. Not only did the country bear the cost of all these transactions, which were for the benefit of individuals, but the Acts constituting and renewing the Commission exempted the transactions from the cost of postage and stamps, so that the Revenue lost a large sum it would otherwise receive in addition. Last year twenty two inclosures were confirmed and carried out, and 228 exchanges of landed estates effected. In all, 264 cases were dealt with, and the value of the property passing and changing ownership through the assistance of the Commission was nearly £350,000, which was also exempt from stamps that would have amounted to between £4,000 and £5,000. The Copyhold Office dealt with 1,203 cases, including 825 enfranchisements, and the value of the property dealt with was nearly £250,000, again exempt from stamps and postages. In these offices a small payment on each transaction would meet all the necessary expenses, and relieve the Consolidated Fund from a charge of £30,000 or £40,000 per annum, and which charge would after a very short time have to be further increased by superannuations—and justice could be done to the country without doing injustice to anyone. The question of the Charity Commission was brought forward in 1863 by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, in an able financial speech, in which he showed that that Commission had entailed on the country an expenditure very little short of £250,000. The Commission was appointed to inquire into the charities, ascertain of what they consisted, and how they were dispensed, and the result appeared in thirty-eight volumes, which were in the Library, and which showed that the charitable income of the country was at that time very nearly £2,000,000 sterling. In 1857 the property of the charities had so much increased in value that the revenue amounted to £2,400,000 per annum, and now it amounted to £3,000,000. The value of their personal property alone was £10,000,000, and their real property was scattered in all parts of the kingdom, and was increasing rapidly in value, because much of it was situated in the vicinity of large towns and of this metropolis. Persons were continually leaving money for charitable purposes, and by an Act recently passed trustees might relieve themselves from all trouble and responsibility by handing over charitable funds to the Charity Commissioners. At the same time the expenses of the Commissioners were increasing from £18,000 to £20,000, and if the country bore these expenses, they would go on increasing. These charities in many instances—the Tancred charity, for example—demoralized a neighbourhood; and instead of supplementing them, as we were now doing practically, by an annual grant, we should make this property, in the usual way, bear its own burdens. The only mode of grappling with the national expenditure was by attacking some particular Department, or item, and faying, "That ought at once to be ended." General declamation was of no use, and it seemed to him that these Commissions were fair subjects for reduction. If maintained at all they should bear their own expenses, and the State should not be called upon to contribute a sum amounting practically to £70,000 or £80,000 per annum for their support. Another of these Commissions was that for the Registration of Titles, the object of which was to save the large expenses incident to the transfer of land, and effect that transfer without the ordinary investigation of title. This Commission had not met with general acceptance or favour, and the consequence was a charge upon the public of £7,000 or £8,000 a year, or perhaps more. Now, the benefit it conferred was strictly confined to either individuals or particular classes of individuals; it did not benefit the public generally or the interest of the general tax payer; and if a man thought he could get a larger price for his property by obtaining an indefeasible title through the intervention of this office, he ought to pay for if. Or the office might be attached to one which realized a surplus over expenditure like the Middlesex Registry Office. Some time back he effected an exchange of properly with one of his neighbours through the medium of one of these Commissions, and to his surprise it only cost him £9 or £10, and his neighbour the same; but it cost the country £200. Looking at the large extent of acreage, and the great value of the property dealt with, and the great advantages derived by parties from the facilities with which the business was done, he thought such a state of things ought not to be tolerated — that the public should continue to bear the expense. In the case of the Charity Commission, he was endeavouring to open a door for a much larger question — namely, that of the charities themselves, bearing their fair share of the public burdens like any other property. As things were at present, there was a mass of property, amounting to £3,000,000 a year, one-half of which tended to do more harm than good. If the trustees could not manage the property themselves, or did not manage it in a proper way, and required the surveillance of a Commission, they should defray the cost, and should bear all the burdens to which ordinary property was subject.


said, he begged to second the Motion. He thanked the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney) for having again brought the question before the House. He entirely agreed with his hon. Friend that the only way in which they could arrive at a satisfactory solution of these questions, in the absence of any action by the Government, was by an hon. Member who had a perfect knowledge of the subject, stating to the House where the weak points lay. In this matter he was bound to say he had some fault to find with Her Majesty's Government. When, two years ago, the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney) brought the subject forward, he (Mr. Childers) being then Secretary to the Treasury, and entirely agreeing with the hon. Gentleman in principle, undertook that the matter should be looked into. Last year his hon. Friend again brought the question forward, and he (Mr. Childers) asked whether the Government had complied with the promise he had given and inquired into the expenditure incurred on account of the Copyhold and Charity Commissions, because he felt that his hon. Friend's object ought to be carried out. He was bound now to make the same inquiry; for there could be no difficulty whatever in having the Treasury re-couped for the large expenditure which these Commissions entailed. For the Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission there was an expenditure of £20,294, besides rent of a house, and certain other exemptions from charge which did not appear. The whole amount received in fees during 1867 was only £4,080, leaving a difference of £16,000, which the Treasury ought to be re-couped. The charge for the Charity Commission was £18,400, and there could hardly be a question that this expenditure ought also to be re-couped to the public. He did not know whether there were any fees in this case, but if there were they were very small. Then, as to the third case of expenditure, in connection with the registration of titles, the Land Registry Office itself did not cost very much, and it was the beginning of a now system of registry, but as another Department had been alluded to he must say that the state of things with respect to the Middlesex Registry Office was monstrous. The Middlesex Registry Office was not apparently a Department responsible to that House. In the other cases the Departments were paid by the State, and the fees, small as they were, went into the Exchequer. In this case also the Department received fees, but the balance went into the hands of sinecurists—one of whom drew three cheques a year, and the other did nothing, and for that these gentlemen received between £2,000 and £3,000 a year. There was this remarkable difference between the two classes of cases—namely, that where the balance went into the hands of gentlemen who had nothing to do there was a very large surplus; but where it went into the Exchequer there was very little surplus indeed. However, the Government had promised that this office and the Land Registry Office should be worked by a Commission; and this being so, it might be left out of the question. So amended, he trusted the Government would not object to the Motion of his hon. Friend.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the expenses of the Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission, Inclosure and Drainage Acts, and Charity Commission, ought not to be borne by the public,"—(Mr. Goldney,) —instead thereof.


said, he would confine his observations to the question of charities. All that was asked was that the Treasury should re-coup itself for the expenses of managing them. They were sometimes founded by persons who were in advance of the civilization of the age in which they lived, but many of them had now become entirely useless. It was a mistake to allow persons to tie up property in perpetuity for charitable, or indeed for any purposes. There were three descriptions of charities — namely, hospitals, almshouses, and grammar schools. The first was an unmixed good. They required little looking after, and were managed by local boards; but almshouses were monkish institutions unsuited to the present age. They were really useless and tended very much to produce pauperism by encouraging unthrifty habits. They generally contained half-a-dozen old men and as many old women, who would be much happier if they could live with their friends. Even the Greenwich sailors preferred to receive a small sum of money a day and to be allowed to live with their friends rather than dwell in a palace on the banks of the Thames. With regard to grammar schools, they might in a few cases be useful, by enabling boys of a humbler class to obtain an education which raised them to a higher position; but he thought that where the qualities which qualified a boy for a more important sphere existed, they would assert themselves without this adventitious assistance. In other cases these schools had had a mischievous effect, giving boys an education of a kind which they did not want, and increasing that class who were constantly writing to Members of Parliament for situations as clerks, and who, in the colonies, were the most useless and helpless portion of the population. There were about 3,000 of these schools, and the recent Report of the Royal Commissioners had shown the maladministration which existed. He had seen an account of a recent discussion in a town council as to why there were no boys at the town grammar school, some one remarked that they had only to send for a photograph of the master to know the reason. In King Edward's School, at Birmingham, the Commissioners found a boy who spelt "wrong" "roung," who could not name a river in England, and who could not tell the names of any of the capital cities in Europe. At Thame Grammar School, with an income of £792, there were only three boys. At Bosworth School there were two masters and one boy. In another case there had been no scholar for more than thirty years, and in a fourth case, there were six boys whom the master, living in the school-house and doing nothing, sent to a private school. As leases fell in, and as the revenues increased, the existing evils would be exaggerated. In Scotland, parents were far more willing to pay for the education of their children than in England where people had been spoilt by the system of endowments. He did not, however, advocate the spoliation of charities; nor were we now proposing, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) boldly did some years ago, that charities should be liable to the income tax; but he thought it was only right that their revenues should not be supplemented out of the general taxation of the country.


said, he thought that some of the arguments brought forward were entirely out of place, "Why," it had been said, "is a person in Yorkshire to pay for the benefit of a person in Buckinghamshire?" It might just as well be said, "Why is a person in Wales or in Cornwall to pay towards the expenses incurred by this House in connection with the Paris Exhibition?" He could bear testimony to the usefulness of the Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission. Exchanges of land had thereby been effected at a small expense, and this had indirectly benefited the whole community; for where land passed from an owner in whose possession it had been unproductive to one in whose hands it became productive the public good was promoted. The offence of the Land inclosure Commissioners was, he suspected, their having shown how that which had been attended with great expense might be effected with economy. He hoped, therefore, the operations of that Commission would not be discouraged, and with regard to charities the greater the abuses the more necessary it was that they should be subject to supervision.


said, he thought the House would hardly he inclined, upon so short a notice, to subvert arrangements laid down by several Acts of parliament. These various bodies had been established from time to time with full knowledge of their objects and of their cost; and they were in reality Courts of Law. While concurring in many of the remarks and suggestions of his hon. Friend (Mr. Goldney), who had so ably introduced the subject, he thought more deliberate and mature discussion was required before so decided a step as that proposed were taken, unless, indeed, the Government, after their attention had been thus drawn to the matter, should take upon themselves to propose the alterations now suggested. With regard to the Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission, it had never been looked upon as permanent, having been several times renewed, and would expire in 1872. It had cognizance of such a variety of matters that it would be difficult to lay down the rule that every person resorting to it should pay such fees as to render it self-supporting. There was the apportionment of tithe—a question of such importance that the money required for this portion of the Commissioners' operations could not be deemed to have been improperly applied. With regard to copyholders, it was considered to be a matter of great public importance that copyhold tenures should cease to exist in this country. By means of this Commission large quantities of copyhold lands had been enfranchised at small cost, and a great amount of taxable and rateable property had been created, and had thus become a source of wealth to the country. The Commission thus conferred a benefit upon the public, for which the public ought to pay. Then, again, by means of the Inclosure Commission, enormous quantities of waste land had been brought into cultivation, which would scarcely have been the case if the poorer class of landowners, who chiefly derived benefit from the distribution of the waste and common lands, had been compelled to pay the expenses of the Commission. The hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney) had stated the cost of the Commission to be £30,000 per annum; but he was labouring under a mistake, as the expenditure entailed by it only amounted to £20,000 per annum plus the imprest expenses. He hoped, however, that a Bill would shortly be introduced into Parliament to enable the Inclosure Commissioners to take security for the preliminary expenses and to secure the re-payment to the Commissioners of such preliminary expenses in the case of the investigation proving fruitless. The Bill should also empower the Commissioners to make certain alterations in the business of their Court; but it would be most unwise and rash to pass hastily such a Resolution upon the subject as that now before the House. The subject required much more deliberate attention than it could receive on the hasty passing of a Resolution on going into Committee of Supply. He was unacquainted with the negotiations which had taken place upon this subject in former years; but he should be happy to endeavour to make arrangements to secure certain alterations being made in the Copyhold and Inclosure Courts. At the same time, he must remind the House that Parliament had deliberately resolved that the expenses of these Courts should be defrayed by the Votes of that House, in accordance with the recommendations of a Committee of Inquiry which was appointed in 1854, to inquire into this subject, and which consisted of Sir Charles Trevelyan and Sir Stafford Northcote. No objection had been raised by the Commission against an alteration being made in the scale of fees which they charged, and doubtless after the attention of the House and of the public had been drawn to the subject, it would be easy to carry into effect the necessary alterations in this respect. With regard to the Charity Commission, he Concurred in the opinion that the expenses it involved ought not to be borne entirely by the country; but it would be a very difficult task to settle the matter satisfactorily. From 1844 to 1852, Bills were introduced by the Government almost every year with the view of setting up this Commission, and in every one of those Bills there was a clause making the cost fall upon the public. In 1852 the Bill passed. As originally introduced it contained a clause proposing to levy a tax of 2d. in the pound on all charities brought into the Court; but it was proved in debate that there would be great difficulty in imposing such a tax, and Earl Russell objected to the clause, on the ground that it would be very unjust to tax well-conducted charities for the purpose of controlling those not so well-conducted, and he proposed that the expenses of the Commission should be defrayed by the public. The Commission had been productive of a vast amount of public good, and it was, in fact, a branch of the Court of Chancery. It was a public court in which the procedure was cheap and simple, so as to enable small charities to come to it for assistance and advice. The Court had, at the present moment, £3,000,000 of the funds belonging to various charities in its hands, and it kept 4,500 accounts. Many of the larger charities, however, were out of the purview of the Court. The Commission had no objection whatever to its expenses being defrayed by a tax upon property belonging to charities; but they did object to any system of taxation which would prevent the smaller charities from coming into that Court. A general tax of 2d. in the pound upon property belonging to charities would amply defray the costs of the Commission. For his part, he should not object to the imposition of such a tax; but the House would recollect the failure of the attempt of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone) to subject charities to taxation; and in the face of the great influence brought to bear against the imposition even of poor rates upon charities, with what heart could they proceed to the consideration of a direct tax. A judicial decision having virtually repealed the law exempting charities from the payment of rates, great efforts had been made, and deputations had been headed by individuals high in station, for a remission in favour of charities. Therefore he thought it would be futile to press the Resolution now recommended. With regard to the Land Registry Office the case was much more simple. That office had been a failure; that was to say, it had not received sufficient custom from the public to be self-supporting. That such had been the case was no fault of the Government; it resulted entirely from the action of the public, who, if they had resorted to it — as it might reasonably have been expected they would have done — would have enabled the intentions of its noble author — Lord Westbury — to be fully carried out. The chief secretary of that Court, however, believed that with some slight alteration it would become self-supporting. He regretted that the Middlesex Registry Office — an office which was at present somewhat under a cloud, and which, by general consent, required investigation — should have been mixed up with this question, for with this subject that office had really nothing to do. The Lord Chancellor stated in November that the matter was under his consideration, and the Secretary of State had it under contemplation to unite the functions of the Middlesex Registry with the Land Registry Office. It appeared that upon the whole question there was very little difference of opinion between the Government and the hon. Gentleman who introduced the subject. He was sorry to have detained the House so long; but he could not recognize the wisdom of passing a Resolution such as the one proposed, the effect of which would be to embarrass their proceedings.


said, he hoped the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney)—to whom he tendered his acknowledgments for the Motion he had made — would consent to omit the words relating to the Land Registry Office; because their only tendency, in his opinion, would be to perplex the case with respect to the other part of the Motion. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government, after that omission had been made, oppose the Resolution, because he believed that the arguments employed by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Sclater-Booth) were not such as to induce the House to vote against the Motion. There had not been the suddenness in the Motion of which the hon. Gentleman complained. The subject of the Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission had been under consideration before, and two years ago a promise was given by the then Government, which for some reason or other was unredeemed, that the matter should be dealt with in the precise sense asked by the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney), Similar promises had been made with regard to the Charity Commission, so that suddenness could not be alleged against a Motion which would, even if sudden, have been equally entitled to weight. He hoped the House would pass the Resolution, because by so doing they would strengthen the hands of the Government in a matter in which they had great need to be strengthened. This was an admirable opportunity for them to deal with charities. He attempted to deal with charities three or four years ago, but the party now in Office, was then in Opposition, and the almost unanimous resistance of that party was offered to his proposal. That party being now in Office, circumstances were favourable; and he trusted that hon. Members would feel that this was an opportunity to procure what, if the Liberal party had been in Office it would have been much more difficult to obtain. Knowing well what the Treasury really required in cases of this kind, he entreated the House to pass the Resolution. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sclater-Booth) had said there had been deputations headed by powerful individuals urging further remissions on behalf of charities. That was another reason why they should pass the Resolution. He (Mr. Gladstone) looked with considerable horror upon these deputations headed by powerful individuals. They were intended to saddle the public with burdens; and aimed at securing by personal and individual influence a result which could not fairly be arrived at on the merits of the case. If that House was mindful of its duty as steward of the public purse, the very fact of the extraordinary superhuman activity which, as he knew to his cost, was always displayed by these deputations, would be a powerful reason for showing when the subject came up that they were in earnest. The hon. Gentleman said that if they passed the Resolution it would subvert arrangements made by statute. It would have no such effect. It would not even secure the total disappearance, perhaps, of certain Votes from the Estimates of the present year, but it would make it the duty of the Government to go seriously to work for the attainment of a definite object, and instead of being left to be lost in the mazes of argument with these powerful deputations, they would be backed by the authority of the House, which would have distinctly marked out the aim to which their efforts should be directed. The plan of the Government would, no doubt, be introduced in due time, and as regarded the voting of moneys for carrying on the operations of these Commissions during the period while that plan was being brought into action, to the voting of such moneys the most fastidious Member of Parliament, or the most rigid economist, could not reasonably object. There was one portion of the speech of the hon. Gentleman which he heard with more jealousy as to its principle, because he understood him to argue with reference to the charges under the Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission, and the Inclosure and Drainage Acts, that because the operation of those Acts was beneficial to the country at large, therefore the charge should be borne by the country. He demurred to that principle; because if it were good there were innumerable cases in which the charges should be borne by the country. There were here two classes. There was a comparatively narrow class or portion of the community, which had a large and special interest; and there was likewise the community at large, which had a general interest in the passing of good laws. He quite admitted that when Bills of this kind were introduced, it was often prudent and politic to throw the charge upon the public, because it was the only mode in which to pass the measure; but of that policy there was no question in this case, because the system was established, and the benefit accrued to a particular class; and it was unfair that, simply on account of the general advantage which in all cases resulted to the public, that particular class should be exempted. With respect to the question of charities, it was always difficult to argue it; on this ground, that the case was so bad, and that it invariably appeared that the proposition which was made was totally insufficient, and that in order to meet the merits of the case they ought to go a great deal further. That was an argument of which he had felt the force when it was used against himself; but at the same time they should not, because they ought to go a vast deal further, refuse to make any step at all. Let them take the clear and definite step which had been proposed by the hon. Gentleman. With regard to the speech of the hon. Gentleman, there was only one sentence to which he would be disposed to take exception, and his exception was more verbal than substantial. The hon. Gentleman said, "Let us not deal in general words; for there is no real way to procure economy except by particular propositions." He (Mr. Gladstone) granted that they were most fortunate in having a Gentleman thoroughly qualified, and one politically attached to the Government of the day, who was disposed to make a definite proposal of economy. They would always find him ready to lend his support to any proposition of that kind. He could not subscribe to the general doctrine that the House should not use words of a larger kind. It was impossible for the House to secure economy by fighting in detail; and circumstances sometimes arose in which, if the House intended to have economy, it must have it by general declarations for the guidance of the Government. Such Resolutions had been passed in former times, and such Resolutions were not unlikely to become again necessary, perhaps, at no distant date. In principle they were perfectly defensible, and in practice they formed the only mode in which the House could act upon any large scale. If, as he understood the hon. Member, the words relating to the Land Registry Office were to be left out, he should certainly give the Motion his support.


said, this question was not now mooted for the first time, as be had a few years ago pressed it on the attention of the then Government; but because he was a humble Member of that House be had not been successful. He saw no reason why the parties who had inclosed lands under the Inclosure Commissioners Acts should not be called upon to pay the expense. These exchanges of land were not generally for the public benefit. It did not matter to the public whether two fields were close together or not; but it was a great benefit to individuals, and those individuals ought to pay for what was done. The greater portion of the land had been inclosed, and he did not think the public should have to pay for the benefit of individuals.


said, that in the spirit of his hon. Friend's (Mr. Goldney's) Resolution he willingly concurred; but the terms were too broad and comprehensive, and be felt some difficulty in assenting to the Motion exactly as it stood upon the Paper. In this Resolution they found drawn into one category "the expenses of the Copyhold, Enclosure, and Tithe Commission, Inclosure and Drainage Acts, Charity Commission, and Land Registry Office." These could hardly be considered as all coming under the same principle. The right hon. Gentleman had recommended that the Land Registry Office should be omitted from the Resolution. If the Land Registry Office were to be continued exactly in the same condition as at present—that was, that no other business should be introduced into the office than had been the case of late years—then he doubted whether it would be proper to exclude those words from the Resolution; but he understood it was in contemplation either to annex some other duties to the head of that office, or to amalgamate it with the Middlesex Registry Office. Under these circumstances it might be expedient to exclude the Land Registry Office from the Resolution. With respect to the Charity Commission, for his own part, he perfectly concurred in the view that the expense of the administration of charities should be borne by the income of charities, and be did not himself dissent from the view put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire as to the propriety of making charities pay income tax. At the same time, public opinion had been exceedingly strong against the proposition of the right hon. Gentlemen, and therefore it was a question whether it was expedient to press the more limited proposal now under discussion for imposing upon charities the cost of their own administration. The principle that the expenses should not be borne by the public was sound, and the only question was how the charge of the administration should be borne. With regard to the other heads of the Resolution, there could be no doubt that a great part of the duties assigned to these Commissioners were for the benefit of individuals. At the same time, he believed that but for the Copyhold Commission, the copyhold tenure, which was better suited to a past ago than to the present, would not have been broken up, and it was thus a question whether the entire expense should be borne by individuals or the public. The Motion of his hon. Friend was couched in very general terms, and while assenting to the principle of it he took exception to those terms. The whole matter required careful revision and consideration; but he was perfectly ready, on the part of the Government, to assent to the Motion if the word "entirely" were added before the word "borne." If the hon. Member would agree to this, the House need not be put to the trouble of a division.


said, he hoped the suggestion for the insertion of the word "entirely" would not be agreed to, as that insertion would invite the inference that the charge should be borne partly by the public, and thus the value of the Motion would be destroyed.


said, he was entirely in the hands of the House. He was ready to strike out the words as to the Land Registry Office, but if the House thought that the principle of the Motion should be affirmed he should press it to a division.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 104; Noes 105: Majority 1.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The House divided:—Ayes 106; Noes 105: Majority 1.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, the expenses of the Copyhold, Inclosure, and Tithe Commission, Inclosure and Drainage Acts, and Charity Commission, ought not to be borne by the public.

Resolved, That this House will immediately resolve itself into the Committee of Supply.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."