§ WAYS AND MEANS—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
1. Moved, That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, there shall be charged, collected, and paid for one year, commencing on the 6th day of April 1868, for and in respect of all Property, Profits, and Gains mentioned or described as chargeable in the Act passed in the 16th and 17th years of Her Majesty's reign, chapter 34, for granting to Her Majesty Duties on Profits arising from Property, Professions, Trades, and Offices, the following Rates and Duties (that is to say):
For every Twenty shillings of the annual value or amount of all such Property, Profits, and Gains (except those chargeable under Schedule (B) of the said Act), the Rate or Duty of Six pence.
And for and in respect of the occupation of Lands, Tenements, Hereditaments, and Heritages chargeable under Schedule (B) of the said Act, for every Twenty shillings of the annual value thereof,
said, this is the most proper opportunity for those who are so disposed to offer any remarks on the finances of the country. I should have been desirous, in the circumstances of the present Session, to have dispensed, if it had been possible, with the remarks I am about to offer; but it is not, and I am the 1747 more absolutely compelled to make them in consequence of a conversation the other night after I had left the Committee, when opinions appear to have been expressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer which appear to me to be entirely at variance with the practice and with the understanding of the House as to the relations between the Executive Government and Independent Members. I wish to explain what some of my Friends have done with respect to the expenditure proposed by the present Government since it assumed Office, and to state why I have not carried further the objections I have made to their system. Upon various occasions I have objected to the expenditure proposed by the Government, during the last Session of Parliament in particular. When the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers) and other hon. Members highly competent to examine the question, were desirous of challenging upon an important point the Naval Estimates, we found—conformably with my Parliamentary experience upon other occasions—that the circumstances of last year were such as made it scarcely possible to question, in an effective manner, the system of expenditure which the Government proposed. When they, upon their own responsibility, slate that certain establishments are necessary for the defence of the country — when, for instance, they propose rapid and wholesale armament, and large additions to the pay of the Army, upon the ground that, in their judgment, the increase is necessary to efficiency—it is quite obvious that such expenditure can be effectually challenged only by those who are prepared to bear the responsibility of the construction that will be put upon their resistance to the measures of the Government; and that construction is, that they propose a Vote of Want of Confidence. No Government could be worthy of its place, if it permitted its Estimates to be seriously resisted by the Opposition; and important changes can be made only under circumstances which permit of the raising of the question of a change of Government. Last year it was impossible to raise that question; so absorbing was the interest attaching to the question of Parliamentary Reform that it was quite impracticable to raise any second issue; and, therefore, we had no choice but to leave the Government to its course, or else to incur the responsibility of doing that which we admitted, after the downfall of the previous Government, could not and ought not 1748 to be done—namely, to take out of the hands of the Government the settlement of the question of Reform. Further, although it may have the appearance of a paradox, I believe it will be found by experience that when the attention of the House is absorbed by one great question it is impossible to secure the adequate consideration of another question of first-rate importance. Under these circumstances it is obvious the responsibility of the Government for expenditure was raised to the highest point; but to my astonishment, the doctrine seems to have been laid down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, when once the Estimates have been accepted by Independent Members, the House is responsible for them in the same degree as the Ministers of the Crown. It is impossible too emphatically to pronounce against that opinion; it is entirely contrary to the relation in which he stands to the House. The doctrine is monstrous, and is unsupported by the authority of the predecessors of the right hon. Gentleman, whose good sense will convince him that it cannot be maintained. The Government have unlimited opportunities of investigating the Estimates for the expenditure through Departments under the supposed control of the Treasury, and how is it possible that those who have no such power, even if they agree to the Estimates, can be responsible in the same degree as the Government? If ever there were circumstances under which a Government was responsible for expenditure they are the circumstances before us, partly because of the Reform Bill, and above all, because the Opposition did not press expenditure upon the Government. When we were in Office incessant attacks were made upon us to promote expenditure, and our proposals for reduction—for instance, in the Vote for the Yeomanry — were resisted. On the other hand, the present Administration has experienced no such general pressure, and no impediments have been placed in the way of its reducing the expenditure. I say this advisedly and deliberately, and challenge reference to the Motions, Questions, and Divisions of the last ten years. The hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. White), referring to a statement I made on the night when the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer submitted his Financial Statement, appeared to think that in some manner I had overstated my case. My proposition was that, if it had not been for the increase in the Estimates introduced by the 1749 present Government, the right hon. Gentleman need not have been placed in the painful position of asking us to add 2d. to the Income Tax. That statement, I think, is strictly and literally correct; in point of fact it is rather an under-statement than an over statement. There has been added to the Estimates £2,750,000, of which £1,930,000 was required, according to the figures of the right hon. Gentleman, for the Abyssinian War. The gross amount required for the Abyssinian War was £3,000,000, and £1,070,000 having been provided in November, £1,930,000 constitutes the amount now required for the purposes of the Abyssinian War. That being so, it appears to me perfectly plain that if, instead of increasing the Estimates for other purposes than those of the Abyssinian War by, in round numbers, £1,000,000, the Government had so reduced them as to bring them only half-way towards the amount of our Estimates, the sum required for the Abyssinian War might have been provided without any increase in the total Estimates. In truth, I have under-stated the case, because I have taken for my standard of comparison the Insinuates for the year 1866, whereas the House is entitled to assume that the Estimates subsequent to that year should have undergone still further reduction in place of being increased. When a general movement for economy was made under the auspices of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) and others, the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends were ready to pledge themselves to the principle that there ought to be a progressive and gradual reduction in the Estimates from year to year, and, indeed, boasted that they had forced that principle upon us; but the moment they get the control over the public purse that control seems perfectly worthless, and a systematic increase of expenditure is made with regard to the naval, the military, and the civil Departments of the country. I repeat that that increase in the expenditure is a systematic one—and do not let the House think that the increase we see now shows the real extent of that increase. My experience has taught me that these rapid augmentations of the expenditure contain the seeds of further augmentations. If the present Government remain long in Office they will bequeath to their successors a progressive augmenting expenditure. We left to our successors a progressively diminishing expenditure. [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON: That is not correct.] 1750 Well, now, you shall have it. In the first place, I say I claim no credit for the diminution of the expenditure which we effected. I am not proud of it. I do not think we did much. [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON: Hear, hear!] The right hon. Baronet jeers when I say that. I repeat that I claim no praise or credit for what we effected in that respect, but I will set up a standard by which what we accomplished may be tried, and then the right hon. Gentleman may judge whether or not dispraise and discredit do not attach to those who sit opposite to me for augmenting the expenditure, instead of adopting the principle we had followed of gradually and progressively diminishing the expenditure. We came into office in 1859, when we found that the Estimates involved a vast increase in the expenditure. For that the Government which then preceded us were not to blame; the Estimates had been in a manner prepared for them, and were adopted by Parliament and the whole country. The Estimates of that year were increased by a large sum, which was required for the China War, which began either a few days before, or a few days after, we succeeded to Office. The expenditure for the official year ending March 31st, 1860, was £69,523,000; for the year 1861. £72,792,000, that being the largest expenditure for the year we have had, and of which £4 000,000, was due to the China War; for 1862, £71,374,000, including £1,000,000 incurred for the expedition to Canada and British North America after the affair of the Trent; for 1863, £69,302,000; for 1864, £67,056,000; for 1865, £66,462,000; and for 1866, £65,914,000. That is the last year of expenditure under our control, and I ask the right hon. Baronet opposite whether I have not made out my statement that we left to our successors a gradually and progressively diminishing expenditure? We may have been but poor performers, but it seems that there are still poorer performers than ourselves. We had thus brought the expenditure down from £72,000,000 to a little under £66,000,000; but the real reduction in the expenditure was even greater than is apparent from the figures, in consequence of an alteration we effected in the accounts, bringing into them sums of money on both which had not previously appeared in them on either side. But what has been the result of the operation of the present Government? We left them in 1866 with a diminishing expenditure of £65,914,000. In 1867, we 1751 find that the expenditure has risen to £66,780,000, and in 1868 to £69,242,000, exclusive of the expenditure incurred in respect of the Abyssinian War. I believe, I am accurate in saying that the £2,000,000 Vote of Credit includes the whole Abyssinian expenditure for that year, [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: I believe that is correct.] Perhaps there may turn out to be some small accounts for supplies sent from this country which are not included in that sum, but they cannot amount to much. On the 31st of March, 1868, Her Majesty's Government had been twenty months in Office, and in that time they had raised the expenditure from £65,914,000 in 1866 to what it was in 1863 — namely, to something over, £69,000,000 — that is to say, they had contrived to throw back the expenditure of the country three years during a tenure of Office of twenty months. Let me ask, does anyone in this House believe that that increase is due to mere casual expenditure? The right hon. Gentleman opposite says that the additional expenditure was all required to secure the efficiency of the Army, the Navy, and the Civil Services. It is not the increase in the efficiency of the Army that has carried off the palm in this great, rapid, and menacing expenditure. If those in office do not mend their nays a "financial crisis" will take place in this House, which will render it impossible for the Public Business to be carried on by them in the face of this large and increasing expenditure. But how do the Estimates stand for the ensuing year? They amount to £70,428,000, exclusive, of £3,000,000 for Abyssinia. When I held the Office of Chancellor of the Exchequer I found that the Revenue of the country increased at the rate of about £1,500,000 per annum, some part of which depended upon a consistent endeavour to open up new sources of receipts, and another portion upon what I may call minor reforms. Even during the past year, as the right hon. Gentleman has informed us, the Revenue of the country has increased to a certain extent. Now, as £1,500,000 per annum amounts in two years to £3,000,000, which is the exact amount of the increase on the expenditure which Her Majesty's Government have effected, being, I suppose, just about what they believe they can safely spend in respect of the augmentation of the Revenue of the country. [Ironical Cheers.] Sarcastic cheers may be all very well, but the figures speak for 1752 themselves. The right hon. Gentleman will say that the expenditure has been rendered necessary in order to secure the efficiency of the services. [Cheers.] Yes, that cry has cost the country a great deal of money, and it may cost it a good deal more. [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON: The expenditure in my Department will be more than it is now.] The right hon. Baronet has just made an important announcement, for he has informed us that this efficiency of the services will cost us much more. [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON: I will explain my statement by-and-by.] I shall be glad if the explanation of the right hon. Baronet will destroy the effect of the words I have, I believe fairly, quoted. The state of the expenditure is such as we should deeply deplore; and I do not hesitate to tell the right hon. Gentleman that irrespective of party and of support I should have been ready distinctly to challenge the Government on the system that is now being carried on of increasing the expenditure on the naval, military, and civil services, had it not been for the great absorbing question relating to the state of Ireland. Upon that subject I will not now dwell. When we came into Office last we had to contend with and check the fever of expenditure which had seized upon the country, and which had induced Parliament to spend £6,000,000 or £8,000,000 upon harbours of refuge. We did this—the Liberal party did this — while, as we think, we perfectly maintained the efficiency of the public service, at the same time regularly effecting great reductions through five or six years, which we had the prospect of continuing—a policy which was much better than absorbing by additions to the expenditure all the natural growth of the Revenue of the country.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
I am sure the Committee will allow me to offer some few remarks in answer to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and in dying so I feel deeply sensible how efficient an advocate the right hon. Gentleman is for economy in the public service; and I can assure him I give him full credit for the efforts he has constantly made for reducing the national expenditure, except so far as I think those efforts have not been consistent with that support of our national armaments which he will himself admit to be one of the first duties of every Administration. The right hon. Gentleman charged the present Administration in no measured terms with systematic extravagance. That 1753 was the substance of his charge. He said that the reduction of expenditure by the late Government was gradual and steady from 1860 to 1866, and he proceeded to say that the present Government were bound in duty to continue that diminution. Then he proceeded to say, what I thought rather harsh and uncalled for under the circumstances, that the state of our present expenditure was a subject of discredit and dispraise to the present Government.
I did not mean to use the words in any offensive sense. I meant they were not entitled to credit or praise.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
The right hon. Gentleman said it was a subject of discredit and dispraise to the present Government. I think I have some reason to complain that the right hon. Gentleman alluded to the Department under my superintendence. He said no small part of the discredit rested on the War Department. I must say it would have been fairer and more consistent with the usual practice of the House if the right hon. Gentleman had given some intimation of his intention to bring forward this subject. I had not the slightest idea that this subject would be mooted in the House of Commons this evening till I heard of it by mere accident half an hour before coming down to the House. The right hon. Gentleman intimated in the course of some former debate that he might draw attention to the subject; but then three Departments—the Army, the Navy, and the Treasury were involved. I hoped that if he had any exception to take to the administration of the Department with which I am connected, he would bring it forward in a straightforward manner, and not, as he has now done, without the ordinary notice which the courtesy of the House requires. I have Papers in my house which I could have brought down and made use of in answer to every charge he might think it proper to bring against the War Department, but to which I was utterly unable to turn at the moment. No Member of the House is bound to know what may have dropped in debate. We are accustomed to give proper notice on the Paper whenever any public Department is to be called in question. Some of the Papers to which I have alluded would not only have enabled me to meet the right hon. Gentleman's statement, but would have fully justified the expressions I used 1754 a short time ago when I said a further increase of expenditure had become indispensably necessary. I do not shrink from that expression. The subject was debated in this House year after year—I mean the subject of the enormous expenditure in which the country was involved by the policy, not of the present or any former Conservative Administration, but of the Palmerston Government—in which the right hon. Gentleman was Chancellor of the Exchequer—with respect to the fortifications of the country. The Government of Lord Palmerston resolved on a great expenditure, which was now going on, for the erection of fortifications which were held to be indispensable for the protection of our arsenals. I never found fault with the Government for adopting that policy. I always thought Lord Palmerston was right. But that is not the point now. What I wish to call attention to is this: that the arrangement made by the Government of Lord Palmerston was that, for the expense of erecting such fortifications, a loan should be raised, but that the cost of arming the fortifications should be borne by the annual revenue of the country, as I hope to be able to show the Committee that this accounts in a very large degree for the increase in the Estimates, and will be the cause of a still larger increase. Fortifications unarmed were of little use, and what did the late Government do towards arming them? For several years they did nothing. If I remember rightly, it was in 1860 that the policy of these fortifications was decided on; but nothing was done in that direction until 1865–6. In one respect I think this was fortunate—although I cannot give the late Government the credit of that, because they could not foresee the extraordinary changes that were to be made in the power of the artillery of the country. It was fortunate they did nothing, because it is very probable that if they had proceeded to a large expenditure in the years between 1860 and 1865–6, they would have expended their money in armaments comparatively of no value. In 1865–6 the Government did, to a small extent, commence providing armaments for these fortifications. In the financial years 1865, 1866, and 1867, 107 guns were provided for the armament of those fortifications. In the financial year 1867–8, after the change of the Government, ninety-seven guns were provided, and in the present year no fewer than ninety-nine guns were provided. During the four years that 1755 have elapsed from 1865 to the present year provision has been made for the manufacture of 366 guns of large calibre for the fortifications. According to the calculation of scientific men competent to give an opinion on the subject, it will be necessary, in order to arm the fortifications which are being constructed, to provide 1,044 additional guns of large calibre—12-inch, 9-inch, and 7-inch guns, and also 2,500 guns of a lighter character. The right hon. Gentleman says that if a change of Government occurs, the future Government must effect a large reduction of expenditure. Now, any future Government must and ought to endeavour to effect every economy consistent with the efficiency of the public service; but I presume that the right hon. Gentleman will not be prepared to contend that we are to leave the fortifications of this country without guns in them. It is the duty of the Government to arm these fortifications; and this aggregate number of 3,500 guns of large and small calibre, indispensable as they are for the safety and protection of the country, cannot be manufactured under an expenditure of from £4,000,000 to £5,000,000. That is a plain statement, which cannot be controverted, and which, I think, the right hon. Gentleman will acknowledge, justifies my interruption of him just now, when I said that a further expenditure would be necessary. I challenge contradiction to the statements I have made, from the right hon. Gentleman or anyone else. Hon. Gentlemen opposite sometimes talk of increased Estimates, as if it were an optional matter with the Ministry to have large or small Estimates. Now, the real question is not whether we like large or small Estimates; but whether we are to do our duty in providing for the necessary wants of the country. I had just time to turn, not having had notice of this attack, to a passage in a late Report made to me from the Ordnance Select Committee, the head of which is one of the most able and experienced officers in this country—I mean General Lefroy. He says—Much of the expense incurred by the Ordnance Select Committee is inherent in the costly nature of the material now employed. Down to 1858 we had no gun in use that cost much more than £100; we have this year paid about £7,000 for two guns.Let me add that these two guns were ordered, not by the present, but by the late Government. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to grumble and 1756 make accusations; but we must either leave off providing the country with artillery, or submit to increased Estimates; for it is evident that the expenditure for artillery of ten years ago is not applicable to the present time. Then General Lefroy adds, going still back a few years—A charge of powder and shot rarely cost above 15s., now every shot from a 9-inch gun costs at least £4 5s., and in the 12-inch gun about £7 12s. Many varieties of projectiles which we are obliged to fire cost a great deal more. The ammunition alone required to test a 9-inch gun for strength and endurance, a process that must be gone through, costs over £1,300. Turning back to guns tested as late as 1860, I find it cost about £150.These are facts to which I speak upon competent authority, and they show that you must either leave off supplying the country with artillery, or you must have increased Estimates. If the cost of testing a 9-inch gun is £1,300—[A laugh—it is very easy to laugh; but I am stating all this on the highest authority. The cost of testing a 12-inch gun will be proportionately larger—certainly upwards of £2,000. In the face of such facts how can you wonder that a Government finds increased Estimates inevitable? Then, lot me remind the Committee of the state of affairs respecting our small-arms when the present Government came into Office. The late Government had done next to nothing in providing this country with breech-loading rifles. Previous to the change of Government, the late Minister for War had ordered the conversion by hand of 40,000 small-arms into breech-loaders, at a cost of £12 a gun. Of these only nineteen or twenty were finished. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (General Peel) took Office, he proceeded to provide the British army with the indispensable breech-loader; but, instead of their being converted by hand at an expense of £12 per gun, the conversion was effected at a trifle under £1 a gun, and several hundred thousand were converted. Of course, in consequence of the number converted, a large expense was incurred, and the Estimates were increased. Now I will pass to another subject. I have here a return of the number of men below the establishment of the Army at the close of several financial years. In 1860–1 the difference between the effective numbers and the establishment was 129 officers and men; in the year following 929; in 1862–3, 3,724; in 1863–4, 5,606; in 1864–5, 5,946; in 1757 1865–6, 6,884; in 1866–7, 1,358. This was a state of things which could not be allowed to continue. It arose from a difficulty in obtaining recruits. Under the administration of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Hartington) a Commission was appointed on the subject of recruiting, which reported that increased expenditure must be incurred in order that men might be induced to enter the army. My right hon. and gallant Friend (General Peel) merely changed the form of that increased expenditure; the principle had been laid down by the Commission of the noble Lord. My right hon. Friend, with the full sanction of the House, and without any objection on the part of the late Government, increased the pay of the soldier by 2d. per day, and thereby added £500,000 a-year to the Estimates. Well, that was a great addition to our expenditure; but it arose from the cause which makes the army of England the most expensive army in Europe. There is no doubt of that fact—it is admitted by every one; but the reason should not be forgotten. It is the price which you pay for an army recruited by voluntary enlistment. If you examine the state of the armies of France and Prussia, you will find that their cost, man for man, is not half of the cost of the army of England. But the armies of these countries are recruited by means which we should consider a violation of the liberty of the subject, means which we in this country could not think of resorting to unless under the pressure of a great national emergency. Therefore, I say your course as regards this expenditure is clear. If you like to change the system of recruiting for the British army and adopt conscription, your expenses will be less; but if you choose to go on as you do now—and, for my parts I hope we shall never change the system, for I greatly prefer voluntary enlistment — then you must pay the cost. It was found by my light hon. and gallant Friend (General Peel), and all were agreed on the point, that the pay given to the British army was not sufficient. With the general concurrence of Parliament my right hon. Friend, by the change which he wisely made, added £500,000 to the expenditure of the country. There are other points which, if I had had notice of the attack of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, I could have explained. I have touched only on questions which affect the Department with 1758 which I am connected, and I hope I have shown the Committee that there are reasons why it is impossible, under existing circumstances, to maintain the military establishments and defences of the country at a less cost. I say, you may economize in other respects; but no one will dispute that if you have fortifications you must arm them; and you cannot control the enormous increase in the expense of all such armaments which has occurred within the last few years. We may lament the fact that our expenditure should be increased, but I fear the circumstances are too strong for us, and I hold that the present Government are not open to the charge made by the right hon. Gentleman, of having wantonly and unnecessarily increased the expenditure of the country.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he should be speaking within the recollection of the Committee if he said that a portion of the challenge which had resulted in that discussion had come from the Chancellor of the Exchequer in replying to some observations which had been made by his right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) on the introduction of the Budget. The right hon. Baronet who had just sat down was absent on that occasion from a cause which they all regretted. The right hon. Baronet had said that he was not bound to know what occurred in the debates in that House. Now, he (Mr. Goschen) took it that every Member of that House was bound to make himself acquainted with what passed there, especially upon matters of such importance as those which had been raised in the discussion to-night. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had asked the Committee to agree to a Resolution for an increase in the Income Tax, and the objection which his right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire had raised on the occasion of the introduction of the Budget was whether that increase of the Income Tax was not really caused by an increase of expenditure. He took it for granted that in every general discussion of finance it was necessary to treat at the same time the expenditure itself and the means by which it was proposed that expenditure should be met. Every individual, when he dealt with a question of his own income, was bound to look to both sides of the account; he was bound to consider how new expenditure was to be met, and if he had no fresh resources, then he ought to see how his expenditure 1759 was to be reduced. So in the case of the Budget it was essential to consider how far the proposed expenditure was necessary, and how the taxation consequent upon it was to be raised, or whether the taxation might not be reduced by curtailing the expenditure. The right hon. Baronet, however, had only pointed to the increase of expenditure, and shown, what was the truth, that the cost for the armaments now was infinitely greater than it used to be. But if they were to admit that every gun would cost so many hundred pounds more than before, then they would probably think that they should want very much fewer guns. If we were to require as many monster guns as small guns, then, indeed, the prospect before the country was bad. But the right hon. Baronet had not pointed out that the increase in the Estimates of the last two years was due in any appreciable degree to the increased outlay upon guns. The right hon. Baronet had said that only eighty-five guns had been provided in a year by the late Government, while ninety-nine had been provided by their successors. But that was only a difference of fourteen guns, and how could it affect so materially the Estimates of the last two years? The cost of these fourteen guns could account for but a small portion of that difference of £1,250,000. The expense, for the 3,000 guns that would be required for the fortifications apparently would fall npon future Estimates, and was not in any degree borne by the Estimates of the last two years. The right hon. Baronet had spoken of the conversion of the rifles. Well, that accounted for a certain increase in the Estimates one year, but the year after the increase was as great as ever. [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON: The conversion is going on now.] As far as he had been able to observe that was always the case—what was "extraordinary" one year became "ordinary" in the next—when any special expenditure had been incurred one year it would be found repeated in the next year, instead of the expenditure being reduced. Another matter he wished to point out was that notwithstanding this enormous expenditure on the army and navy, which he was afraid would be increased by millions, nothing was ever found ready. If there was to be a new expedition they would have to incur an extraordinary expenditure besides. The right hon. Baronet had said, what was perfectly true, that the British Army must always cost much more than foreign armies, on account of our 1760 system of voluntary enlistment. But he would like to know how much of our Estimates were really due to the keep and pay of the soldier. He confessed that the prospects which the right hon. Baronet held out for the future were not very satisfactory, and if £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 were to be added to our present Estimates, he was surprised that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in bringing forward his scheme of finance, had not shown how that expenditure was to be met. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on the conclusion of the Abyssinian War; but still he did not see any prospect of the balances which had been reduced since the present Government had been in office being brought up to the old point under the financial administration of the right hon. Gentleman. The Estimates of the present year were regarded as extraordinary Estimates, and reductions in next year's Estimates were looked forward to; but it unfortunately appeared that the right hon. Baronet could hold out no hope of any reduction next year. On the contrary, if the right hon. Baronet should think it his duty to push forward the manufacture of guns with increased rapidity, £1,000,000 or more might be added to next year's Estimates. He would not say one word against the policy of this Income Tax, if the calculations made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer were correct, and the tax was only to be temporary; but he thought it extremely fortunate that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) had raised the present discussion, and had elicited what was the state of the War Estimates, for without information on that point it was impossible to judge fairly of the plan of finance laid before the House.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
explained that the two guns which cost £7,000 were exceptional guns; and though guns were now immensely dearer than they were twenty years ago, he should be sorry to have it supposed that the price paid for those two represented the average price of guns.
Sir, if my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War had reason to question the course pursued of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone), still stronger is my own ground of complaint, because that right hon. Gentleman has attacked the Estimates for which I am primarily responsible without having heard 1761 a word in explanation of them, as I have not yet had an opportunity of making my statement to the House. I will now, however, specify some causes of increased expenditure under several heads, of which I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman is absolutely ignorant. In Vote No. 1 of the Navy Estimates, although there is a reduction of about 2,500 men as compared with last year, and of 2,200 as compared with the year 1866, there is an increase in the amount to be voted for wages. This increase has arisen from different causes. Under various Orders in Council there has been an increase of pay to medical officers—which increase was indispensable in order to secure the services of competent officers—to navigating officers, to naval instructors, to artificers — so necessary in our armour-clad ships—and to the Royal Marines. The last item alone amounted to £68,000, and the total increase in the amount of wages, as compared with 1866–7, was little short of £130,000. In the Vote for victuals there is also an increase in consequence of the increase in the price of victuals. For that the Government are not responsible: of course, they could not starve the men. In Vote No. 11 (for Works in Dockyards), there is a decrease of £78,000 as compared with the Estimate for 1866, notwithstanding that the expenditure on the four great works at Chatham, Portsmouth, Malta, and Bermuda—all undertaken by the late Government, and the expenditure which is regulated by Act of Parliament—exceeds the amount taken in the Estimates of 1866–7 by £86,000. In Vote No. 14, a sum of £50,000 is taken for an iron armour-clad vessel building for Victoria, New South Wales; but, on the other hand, a corresponding decrease of nearly the same amount is made under Vote No. 17. There is a decrease of £150,000 for labour and materials in the dockyards; but, on the other hand, there is an increase of £750,000 for armour-clads as compared with the year 1866; and this is the secret of the increase in the Navy Estimates for the present year, as compared with the Estimates for 1866–7, which were prepared under the auspices of the right hon. Gentleman. The question is, was the Navy in 1866 in a satisfactory condition? I do not like to enter into comparisons between ourselves and other countries; and yet I think it would be false delicacy not to refer to the state of other navies as well as our own. The late Mr. Cobden had the 1762 good sense to say that our navy ought materially to exceed the navy of France in strength. From the information I have received from a source which I shall not mention, but which is an authentic one, I found that, whereas, when I prepared my Estimates, the armour-clad navy of England comprised twenty-two first and second-class ships afloat; that of France consisted also of twenty-two first and second-class ships. Of the smaller classes of armoured ships we had nine, while France had thirteen. Therefore France had four more iron-clad ships afloat than we had. Then, again, in respect to iron-clad ships in course of building, we had six and France had seven ships of the first and second-class, while of the smaller class France had four and we had none. The general result, therefore, of the comparison in regard to armoured ships built and building was, that England had thirty-seven and France forty-six. The House will agree with me in thinking that that is not a satisfactory state of things. Then came another question—namely, that of the reserve of ships in the ports. I am not imputing blame to the late Government, I wish only to state facts; but when I entered on the duties of my present Office the reserve of ships in the ports, exclusive of two or three small vessels that were fitting for reliefs to ships about to be paid off, was nil. This state of things was as abnormal as it was dangerous. During the Government of Sir Robert Peel, who kept a watchful eye over the expenditure of all the Departments, it was thought necessary to maintain a reserve of thirty ships of the line, some of them ready to go to sea at a few hours' notice, others in a few days, and the rest in a fortnight. Nor was that merely a Tory policy; for in 1848, when Lord John Russell was in power, a question arose whether so large a reserve was necessary, and the decision was that it should be maintained. Again, in 1859, when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War was the First Lord of the Admiralty, and when the Italian War broke out, it was thought necessary to increase our force of ships in commission; and we sent out from the dockyards twenty-eight ships in the course of a few months, of which fifteen were line-of-battle ships. Indeed, there can be no safety for this country in a time of emergency unless we maintain a sufficient reserve of ships in the dockyards ready to be commissioned if required. Therefore, in the Estimates which 1763 I shall propose as soon as I have an opportunity, we provide for a considerable reserve of armour-clad ships in our ports. I should observe that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War has had to incur a heavy expenditure in providing guns not only for the fortifications, but also for the navy which has undergone a complete change of armament, and that in the naval Department the cost of fitting the ships for their new armament has been a very heavy item of expenditure. I think, therefore, I have shown that there is some reason for increased expenditure; and with these general observations I shall reserve further explanations till I come to propose the Navy Estimates for the year.
§ MR. SAMUDA
said, that, notwithstanding the great necessity which the First Lord of the Admiralty alleged to exist for strengthening the navy, the work proposed to be performed in the dockyards was reduced from 24,000 to 14,000 tons, the saving to be effected by which reduction might be roughly calculated at nearly £500,000.
explained that he had spoken principally of works to be executed by contract, and not in the dockyards.
§ MR. SAMUDA
said, it was true that £245,000 was taken in the Estimates to be expended on contract ships this year beyond the sum so spent last year; but if he took from the saving in the dockyards the amount proposed to be spent on contract ships, there ought to be a reduction of from £200,000 to £250,000 in the Estimates; instead of which there was an increase of £200,000. He was astonished to hear from the Secretary of State for War that they might expect to pay no less a sum than £4,000,000 for guns for the fortifications, and he maintained that the question of those fortifications demanded careful revision. He was surprised to hear that no less than £1,300 would be required for testing the 9-inch gun, and £2,000 for the 12-inch gun. It would be impossible in time of emergency to furnish an adequate garrison to man and fight those guns. He believed the best policy in view of invasion would be the carrying of our defences further inland, so as to increase the distance between the point of disembarkation and the place of attack. It was a matter for serious consideration whether a number of arsenals and dockyards which could only be available in time of peace ought to be maintained. Such places as Pembroke, Chatham, and Woolwich might be preserved, but Ports- 1764 mouth and Plymouth would be rendered untenable in time of war if the war was of a severe or aggravated character.
Sir, I am under a disadvantage, not only in being unprepared for the debate, but in not having heard that debate. It appears to me that speeches on fortifications have no reference whatever to the subject before us—namely, the increase of the annual expenditure. The present Government have no responsibility whatever with regard to those fortifications. They were decided upon by Lord Palmerston's Government, and on taking Office I distinctly disclaimed all responsibility for them. The hon. Gentlemen who spoke last does not seem to be aware that though the sum necessary for the erection of the fortifications was proposed to be provided by money raised by a loan, the armament for them was to be provided for out of the annual Estimates. The original Estimate for that armament was £1,885,000; but when I came into Office in 1866, only £85,000 of that sum had been charged in the Estimates. The country was a gainer by the delay; for otherwise there would probably have been a very bad gun at three times the cost that was ultimately incurred: but it is not fair to turn round on the Government and blame them for an increase in the Estimates because they have provided this armament. I think that had I been present when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) spoke, I should have been able to show that it was not only very unreasonable, but very unwise, to make a comparison between the expenditure of his Government and of the present one. When I came into Office in 1859 the total expenditure for which I was responsible was £13,500,000, but the expenditure in that Department went on increasing while the right hon. Gentleman was Chancellor of the Exchequer to £16,000,000 and upwards; and in 1866 our armaments were in much the same position that they had been in 1859. When I came into Office we had not a single rifled gun. I introduced those 12-pounder Armstrong guns which have, I hope to hear in the course of a few days, been so very effectual in Abyssinia; but the Government of the day, though urged to wait for some further trials, went in for the larger Armstrong guns, which cost upwards of £3,000,000, and all of which proved a failure. As to a comparison of Estimates, it must be remembered that Estimates are only an 1765 approximate calculation as to the cost of contemplated works. If you construct the works for a smaller sum than the Estimate, of course that is a saving; but if you do not construct necessary works at all, there is no saving. Now, in 1865–6 there was a saving of £500,000 in the manufacturing department; but that saving was owing to the partial suspension of operations in the Royal carriage and other factories, through the pattern of wronght-iron gun carriages not having been determined upon, and through other changes being anticipated. But because such expenditure was deferred, is it right to turn round on the Government and blame them for the outlay which was ultimately necessary? Then as to the increase of pay, that followed upon the Report of the Royal Commission on Recruiting; and that Commission was appointed because you could not get enough recruits. For my own part, I shall always recollect with pride the part I took in providing better weapons, and in granting the soldiers increased pay.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that, not having heard the remarks either of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) or of the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Pakington), he would not now attempt to enter into the discussion; but he should be ready on another occasion to discuss the points which had been raised. As to the large increase in the Votes for Army Purposes having arisen from the necessity of supplying large guns and from the increased pay of the troops, he maintained that those two items did not account for the whole, or nearly the whole, of that increase. He always contemplated the probability of a large additional expenditure for the supply of heavy guns for naval purposes and for arming our fortifications; but it was hardly fair to blame the late Government for not taking action in the matter. Their principle was to provide the armament for the ships and fortifications which would be ready within the year, and this was the most prudent course that could have been pursued. As he had before remarked, it was easy to find good reasons for increasing any particular Vote; but those on whom the responsibility rested were bound, not only to see in what way money could be usefully expended, but in what way it could be usefully saved. He did not say that it would have been possible for the late Government to practise greater economy than the present, but the two items which had been 1766 referred to did not account for the total increase; and it rested with the Government to show, not only that extra expenditure was necessary in those items, but that retrenchment was impossible in others.
§ SIR CHARLES RUSSELL
said, he attributed the present excessive expenditure, to a great extent, to the outlay incurred in fortifications. The misfortune was that Parliament legislated on that subject during a panic. The House were now defraying the expense of that legislation; and it was very hard upon a Government which had not proposed the fortifications to have to incur the unpopularity of the Vote for arming them. According to the evidence of Sir Richard Airey before the Commission on Fortifications, when the embrasures in the fortifications had been made, there was not one gunner in the service, for every gun it was proposed to mount in them. As to the fortifications themselves, they somewhat resembled the towers which were seen in different parts of the country, and which were called So and so's "Folly." They were now erected, but it was quite worthy of consideration whether the Government should arm them with guns or not. Another Government, however, having built the forts, the House could not blame the present Government for proposing to put arms into them.
§ MR. DALGLISH
said, that having been one of those who opposed the scheme of these fortifications, he was gratified to find that the general opinion now was that they were a mistake. He wished the Government would consider whether it would not be better to delay for a time providing them with guns.
§ MR. LAING
observed that the discussion had hitherto been directed rather to the army and navy expenditure than to the question of Ways and Means. The broad situation was that, apart from the Abyssinian expenditure, the ordinary Estimates of expenditure had been increased by £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 during the last three or four years; and that not only had a surplus of £2,500,000 disappeared, but the balances had been reduced by about £1,000,000, excluding from the reckoning the Abyssinian outlay. That was not a satisfactory state of things. There were reasons apparent to every one why it would not be fair to charge this increased expenditure upon the present Government, and why a great portion of it 1767 was inevitable. This, however, was no reason why they should persist in charging to direct taxation—in other words, to the income tax—the whole of the increased taxation that had become necessary. He had always been in favour of the income tax; but there was danger, at a moment when they were about to enlarge the constituencies of the country, in establishing a precedent for throwing every unexpected or inconvenient amount of expenditure upon direct taxation in the shape of the income tax. During the Crimean War a certain balance was preserved between direct and indirect taxation. He quite agreed that it was not desirable to alter the rate of taxation upon articles of general consumption, or to impose taxes affecting our commerce for a merely temporary object. If, however, this increased scale of taxation were to be maintained in future years, it would be dangerous if a fair proportion were not thrown upon other classes of the community besides those which paid income tax. Another point to which he wished to refer was as to the policy of raising money by taxation for the purpose of reducing the National Debt. When he opposed the Government scheme of last year he did not suppose that his predictions would meet with so speedy a verification. The practical effect had been to add £1,000,000 a year to the charge of the country, which had been withdrawn from the balances, and to borrow £1,000,000 at a higher rate of interest. Where was the difference between such a scheme and Mr. Pitt's sinking fund? To convert a debt into terminable annuities was the scheme of a sinking fund in the worst of all forms. The sound principle was to keep the expenditure down to the lowest point consistent with efficiency; to make the Estimates on such a scale as would ensure a surplus within the year, and then—adjusting the burden of taxation fairly between direct and indirect taxation—to trust to the gradual reduction of the Debt by means of the accruing surplus of the year.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, that, with respect to the National Debt, the short answer to his hon. Friend (Mr. Laing) was, that for many years the policy of the House of Commons had been to apply a very considerable sum to the reduction of the debt by means of terminable annuities. These had to a great extent fallen in, and the policy of last year was no new policy, but simply an endeavour to redress the balance between permanent and terminable annui- 1768 ties which had become deranged through that falling in. Coming to the question specially before the House, he thought the House had lost sight of the origin of the argument. They had been of late years so accustomed to large surpluses — the average annual balance in favour of the Exchequer having been £2,750,000 — that it was difficult to appreciate the fact that they had suddenly dropped into the position of having two years' successive deficits. There were, in fact, three deficits contemplated in the Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—a deficit last year, one for the present year, and the Abyssinian deficit. Omitting the expenditure on account of the Abyssinian Expedition altogether, he found that the original Budget expenditure of last year for the various services was £40,233,000, which amount was increased by a supplementary Estimate to £40,449,000. The Budget expenditure for the present year under the same heads was, on the other hand, £41,863,000, from which was to be deducted the difference between the extra receipts which came into the Treasury this year and last year for the navy and the other services, leaving as a net result above £41,050,000—which, compared with the original Estimate of last year, gave an increase in the Budget of the present year — in which the country was informed that there was to be a considerable deficit—of over £800,000. To this might be added the difference between the estimated sales of old materials in the two years, which was against the present Budget. He, for his part, had always insisted that this head of income ought not to be mixed up with expenditure, and ought not to be taken into consideration, when making a comparison of the Estimates of one year with those of another, but the contrary view had been strongly maintained by others; and, taking it to be the right course to adopt, it would be found that the difference between the Estimates of last, and those of the present year, was no less than £1,034,000. Now, that was an increase which he thought justified hon. Members in considering whether or not it was not absolutely necessary that some rigorous measures should be adopted to cut down, where practicable, some portion of the public expenditure. It had been said by more than one hon. Gentleman opposite—that the proposed increases of expenditure were inevitable, and he did not dispute that from year to year it was found 1769 to be absolutely impossible to prevent the increase of some items. But it was the part of a wise administrator, when expenditure was inevitable on some heads, to see whether it could be reduced on others. But this is just what hardly appears in any of the Estimates of the present Government. His right hon. Friend opposite (Sir John Pakington) for instance, stated that the guns cost more than they used to do. The question then arose, whether fewer guns might not be required? [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON: I told you the exact number of guns you would want.] He was about to apply the principle in another direction. It was said that the maintenance of men was more costly than it used to be. The question then came, whether they could not dispense with some of the men? When the right hon. Baronet was at the Admiralty last year there was no reduction in the men. This year the right hon. Gentleman now at the Admiralty made a considerable reduction, while the right hon. Baronet, having been transferred to the War Office, had made no reduction there. The probability was that he was as much in error in the one case as he was in the other. But a plea was put up that the increased expenditure was due to warlike stores. To make quite sure that the comparison was just he had compared all the Votes for this purpose in recent years, and he found that the Estimate for warlike stores was this year £1,491,000, as compared with £1,457,000 in 1865.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
A great deal of the expenditure was laid out, not in the manufacture of guns, but in various items rendered necessary in connection with their alteration.
§ MR. CHILDERS
observed that it was for this reason that he had thrown the two items together; and in the aggregate Vote the whole increase in three years was only £34,000. Whether the Estimates had been worked up to more in one year than the other was another question. He could not think that every 12-inch gun cost £2,000 to prove it. He believed that, on this subject, the right hon. Gentleman had not correct information before him. As to the navy, the expense of armour-clads had been dealt with unfairly, for comparisons had been made with an exceptional year, which furnished no correct idea of the general expenditure. Had the years 1864 and 1865 been taken into account, and both dockyard and con- 1770 tract work compared, the result would have been very different. There were other questions connected with the expenditure for the navy which had been touched upon by his right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty; but he should not advert to them on the present occasion, inasmuch as an opportunity for doing so would be offered when the Navy Estimates came on for discussion. There was no doubt of this, that the Estimates had been increased in two years by £2,750,000, and this was not a satisfactory state of things.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he would inquire into the statement with regard to the testing of guns, which he confessed had a startling appearance. If he had been favoured with longer notice he would have done so in time for this discussion.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I think, Sir, I may safely say no one has ever heard me complain of this House jealously watching any increase of public expenditure; on the contrary, I think discussions of this nature greatly strengthen the hands of the Treasury in controlling that expenditure. If anyone will turn to the votes I have given since I have been a Member of this Mouse he will find they have always been given in favour of economy. But when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) came down to the House the other night, and charged the present Government with extravagance. I thought it my duty to call the attention of the Committee to certain considerations he had entirely omitted. I ventured to say that the right hon. Gentleman was responsible for the expenditure he referred to. That position I re-affirm, notwithstanding that the right hon. Gentleman has controverted it to-night. There is no question that a large increase of expenditure was proposed last year; and I say that the right hon. Gentleman was bound, if he knew of sound reasons for objecting to that increase, not only to have stated his objection, but to have taken the sense of the House upon the subject. The right hon. Gentleman has said that it was not proper at that time to divert the House from the graver subject under consideration; but that I contend is not a sufficient excuse, for the right hon. Gentleman was not only a Leader of a majority of the House, but had filled a very important office, which he had lately vacated. He was also surrounded by hon. 1771 Gentlemen who were all as thoroughly informed as the Members of the existing Government on the question he raised, and was, therefore, competent to advise the House. But what happened? The right hon. Gentleman acceded to the proposed expenditure. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman was assured by his Friends, who had presided over the Department concerned, that the increased expenditure was necessary. I said the other night that it was questionable whether cutting down expenditure was always economy, and increasing expenditure always extravagance; it was a question whether the unwise parsimony of the right hon. Gentleman's own administration had not caused the increased expenditure of last year. I challenged the right hon. Gentleman as to the question of arming the troops; I challenged him on the question of providing a sufficient number of ships for the relief of our stations, but the right hon. Gentleman to-night only repeats his generalities, and altogether avoids taking up my challenge. He does not at all refer to those points in which I said an increased expenditure had been rendered necessary. The Committee will, therefore, readily agree with me that the right hon. Gentleman is a year behind time, and that he is not right in saying that the expenditure we recommended last year was not fully justified. The right hon. Gentleman intimated that since he left the Treasury there seemed to have been no controlling power there. That statement I entirely deny. I consider that it is the duty of the Treasury to resist any application for unnecessary wasteful expenditure, but to assent to any increase of expenditure which is demanded by the exigencies of the public service. The Government would be betraying its trust if it did not acquiesce in expenditure shown to be necessary. That is my view regarding control; and I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that these increased Estimates have been subjected to the most rigorous examination, and that everything has been done to cut down expenditure to the lowest point consistent with the requirements of the public service. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of our expenditure entailing further charges in future years. I reply that the present Government is in a similar position as regards former Governments. What was the Vote which recently occupied the House, relating to Consular buildings in Japan and China. Was not that a legacy from Lord Palmerston's Govern- 1772 ment? The policy of that Government was to increase our trade with China and Japan, and that course necessitated the placing of agents in various places. We have been required to find residences for those agents, and the expenditure was made on the recommendation of an officer sent out by the late Government. Therefore we have been obliged to propose extraordinary expenditure on account of measures originating with our immediate predecessors in Office, though the right hon. Gentleman says we have no legacies left from the late Government.
What I said was that the legacies left by the late Government tended to a progressive decrease in expenditure.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I will take a case. The late Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir George Grey) recommended an increase in the pay of the police. I apprehend the right hon. Gentleman was a party to that measure, and I do not find fault with it. In fact, the pay of almost everybody having been increased, it was found the police force could not be properly recruited without raising the pay. The right hon. Member for Morpeth (Sir George Grey) sent a circular to all the counties, and suggested an increase in the pay of the police. That suggestion has been very largely acted on, and as the Treasury contributes 25 per cent of the constablary pay, the proposal has resulted in increased Imperial expenditure. Those who scrutinize the Estimates carefully will find that very little of the increased expenditure of the year arises from new schemes; but that it is almost wholly occasioned by the continuing of measures set on foot by the late Government. It must also be remembered that the House is continually passing measures for the improvement of the country, and requiring Government to take the superintendence of such improvements. In this way a large increase of expenditure has been rendered necessary within the last two or three years by measures which have received the general assent of the House. There has been legislation for increased education, and for sanitary improvements. We have to pay for our improved civilization, and for the greater comfort that is now enjoyed by all classes of the people. Hon. Members, therefore, who press these proposals forward must not complain if, when their wishes are complied with, the Executive Government comes forward with 1773 new demands upon the taxpayer. The hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers) took credit to the late Government because its expenditure had been generally below the Estimate. Now the Secretary for War has alluded to the numbers of the men recruited for the army, and, although the right hon. Baronet did not apply it in that way, this one item accounts for almost the whole of the savings of the Estimate mentioned by my hon. Friend. The pay offered by the late Government was not sufficient to attract men to the standard, and the numbers required for the service could not, therefore, be obtained. As no pay was required for those who did not come to the standard, it was easy to declare a saving had been made, and that is the way, I think, in which nearly the whole of the vaunted saving has been made. What has been the result of the measure proposed by the late Secretary of State for War (General Peel)? An increase on the Estimates of about £500,000 on account of an increase of pay of 2d. per day to the soldier, and 1d. per day for re-enlistment. We have had, if I recollect rightly, 26,000 enlistments of ten years men. If we have increased the Estimates and added to the expenditure we have something to show for the money; and we must look not only to the amount of the expenditure to be provided for, but also to whether that expenditure is justified by the circumstances. If we show that the money has not been squandered or wasted, but has produced that which is necessary for the protection and for the safety of the country, then I think the House of Commons will not blame the Government simply because the expenditure has increased. At this hour, I shall not trespass further on the attention of hon. Members; but after the long debate which has been held I trust no difficulty will be felt in assenting to the Motion.
§ Resolution agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, towards making good the Supply granted to Her Majesty, the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury be authorized to raise any sum of money, not exceeding One Million pounds sterling, by an issue of Exchequer Bonds.',
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
called attention to the fact that we were putting by £1,000,000 this year and every year successively to make up a sinking fund, at the same time that we were borrowing another 1774 £1,000,000 to meet current expenditure. This system of cross accounts, which must be very intricate and costly, was due to the action of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, who, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, was always taxing his brain to discover some financial novelty, and whose latest act had been to tie the country hand and foot for twenty years to this scheme of a sinking fund, to create which it was necessary to impose taxes otherwise needless upon the country to the extent of £1,000,000 yearly.
To leave out all the words after the words "authorized to," in order to insert the words "suspend so much of the payment of the Terminable Annuities created in 1866 till the year 1885 as may amount to the difference of the annual payment made on their account, and of the interest of the £24,000,000 Stock for which they were exchanged, that is to say, a sum of £1,005,000,"(Mr. Darby Griffith,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Resolution."
§ MR. THOMSON HANKEY
said, he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not adopt a proposal which would amount to a reversal of the policy agreed upon in 1866.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
hoped the hon. Member would not press his Amendment. The matter had been very fully discussed in 1866, and again last year; and the House, he thought, would exhibit great infirmity of purpose if, because of a temporary pressure, it abandoned a course of action which had been deliberately agreed upon. The Amendment, if carried, would necessitate the passing of a new Act to regulate the interest payable on the terminable annuities.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (3.) Resolved, That the principal of all Exchequer Bonds which may be so issued shall be paid off at par at any period not exceeding twelve months from the date of such Bonds.
§ (4.) Resolved, That the interest of such Exchequer Bonds shall be payable hall-yearly, and shall be charged upon and issued out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, or the growing produce thereof.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.