HC Deb 21 February 1870 vol 199 cc638-69

in moving, according to Notice, that a Select Committee be appointed to inquire and report whether it be expedient that the charges now imposed upon the occupiers of rateable property, for various local purposes, should be divided between the owners and occupiers, and what changes in the constitution of local bodies now administering rates should follow such division, said, he would ask the indulgence of the House while for a few moments he travelled beyond the precise limits of his Motion in order to state the general position of the Government in regard to the question of local taxation. He wished to do so, not for the purpose of raising any controversy, but for the purpose of putting the House in possession of information to which he deemed it entitled. Last year a debate was raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes), who moved for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the subject of Local Taxation; but the hon. Baronet refrained from pressing it, on the understanding that the Government would do its best to gather all the information it could command on the subject, and treat it as a question holding a foremost position for consideration. The Government had endeavoured to discharge this undertaking during the Recess, and he proposed to lay before the House the result of its efforts and what further stops it intended taking. The first question to which he would allude was of considerable importance, though of a subsidiary character. It was important to bear in mind throughout the consideration of this question that what ever reforms might be attempted in local taxation, it was certain that local taxation was so intimately connected with local administration, that it was difficult to touch the one without dealing with the other. This was especially to be borne in mind. The first difficulty meeting the inquirer was the question of areas. In considering the question of local taxes and the areas over which they were raised, they came upon the point that the very idea of local taxation involved a limited locality, as distinct from the country at large. The greatest confusion existed as to what these localities were, for there was a constant overlapping of areas, which placed almost insuperable obstacles in the way of obtaining the information necessary to the public and the House for the consideration of the subject. In numerous cases the area of the union overlapped the area of the county, or the area of the parish overlapped the area of the borough, in such a way as to make it matter of doubt whether the statistics presented to our view were not either swelled by duplicate returns from those parts which were comprehended within the limits of the union and the county, or omitted in both instances from the same cause. This and the general confusion of our local laws were the natural consequence of the spontaneous and irregular growth of our local institutions. hon. Members would find there was no labyrinth so intricate as the chaos of our local laws. The first problem for the solution of the Government during the Recess was to inquire whether there was any existing area which might be conveniently taken as the basis or unit of our local legislation for they would never be able to place these matters on a proper and satis- factory basis, unless, in passing new laws affecting local taxation and administration, they made the new taxation and duties coincide with the boundaries of those which already existed. At present the broad distinctions were the county, the union, and the parish. But in a large number of cases not only did the union overlap the counties, but many parishes extended over parts of two counties, and in many other cases, parishes were situated partly within and partly without a borough. In seeking, therefore, to constitute a now valuation basis or a now Board of administration, or in adjusting old Boards, they had to overcome the difficulty that in some cases the unions and parishes were situated in two different counties. Instructions had accordingly been given to the Poor Law Inspectors throughout the country to examine and report into the circumstances of every union and parish extending into more than one county, and to report how far it might be feasible or advisable to re-arrange the boundaries of unions so as to bring them each into one county and to prevent the several boundaries overlapping. The Inspectors had completed their inquiries and reported to the Poor Law Board, and he hoped soon to lay the reports before the House; he thought they would be found instructive and interesting. But he was sorry to say the number of unions situated in more than one county numbered 200 out of 650; and the cases of overlapping were so intricate—especially in cases where the workhouse stood on the confines of two counties—and the questions which arose as to the administration of relief, the liability of property to rating and other matters which were constantly arising, were so complicated, that it would almost be impossible to readjust the boundaries of unions without undertaking to readjust the whole map of the Poor Law districts of the country. With regard to the parishes the case was a little more hopeful, for there were very few parishes situate in parts of two counties. Another and more interesting subject to which the Government had to direct their inquiries was the extent to which local and Imperial burdens fell upon real property. The Government had directed a searching investigation into the incidence of these burdens upon the real property of the country. They had inquired into the totals of these burdens, and into the proportions which those totals bore to the general taxation of the country at large; they had also inquired into the growth of those various kinds of real property upon which taxation fell—because it was quite as important to ascertain clearly how far these various kinds of property had themselves increased in value as it was to ascertain how far the burdens imposed upon them had increased. Everyone know that the value of land, and houses, and railways, and various other kinds of property had not increased in the same ratio; it was therefore necessary to look not only to the absolute increase of rates, nor even to the geographical increase of rates in towns and counties, but also to ascertain on what kinds of property this increase had chiefly fallen, and on what kinds of real property, at the present day, local burdens were pressing most. Again, the question of the amount of local expenditure had to be considered separately from the question of the amount of the rates levied. He had minutely, he believed impartially, and he was sure industriously, examined this question; but in all his researches he had never been able to ascertain what was the aggregate local expenditure in any one year. The Returns moved for by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Massey Lopes) were indeed exceedingly valuable, and showed with a certain degree of completeness the aggregate sum raised by local rates, and most hon. Members had probably observed the enormous total it gave of between £16,000,000 and £17,000,000. This total, however, did not comprise the item of turnpike tolls and various other dues, which amounted to the large sum of something like £3,000,000. So that altogether these two items of receipt represented about £20,000,000. Even this amount did not represent the whole local expenditure of the country, because there were other items which were not taken into account at all under the two heads of "rates" and "tolls and dues." The French, he might remark, made up their Budgets, both local and Imperial, on a very admirable plan, in dividing their receipts under three heads—"ordinary revenue," "revenue derived from special sources." and "extraordinary revenue;" viewing our local taxation under these three heads, he found, when he looked closely into it, that there were various "special sources" and little taxes of which he had never dreamt, which were never put into any general Report, and which did not appear on the surface. There were also other great sources of receipt which he had not yet seen brought together—and which the French would call "extraordinary revenue"—namely, the loans obtained for various local purposes. These were scattered about in various reports. The loans raised by local Boards of Health would be found in one Report, and those raised by municipal corporations in another; but, so far as he was aware, the total of all these loans was nowhere stated. The inquiry instituted on this subject was not yet quite finished, but he had reason to believe it would be found that the total amount of money received and spent in one year in the United Kingdom for local purposes did not fall far short of £30,000,000. He hoped to be able before long to place before the House Papers showing how and by whom that annual sum was spent, how it was accounted for, and what were the means of ascertaining whether it had been properly audited. In bringing together this information, some difficulties had arisen in consequence of the frequent overlapping of the Returns, some of which were sent to the home Office, some to the Local Government Office, and some to the Poor Law Board. In the accounts of municipal corporations, for instance, £500,000 was set down for borough rates; but that very item likewise appeared in the poor-rate Returns. There had not, he thought, been sufficient care taken in bringing these Returns into one focus, and the Government had therefore appointed a small departmental Committee to inquire how far the various Returns could be made to fit into one another, so that the public might be able to ascertain, not only when a special Return was made, but in a regular way what was being received and spent annually under these local rates. This, then, was the third step taken by the Government. The fourth step they had taken was to bring as much information as possible to bear on the subject by asking foreign Governments to furnish information concerning the burdens on real property in their particular countries, and the aggregate of local taxation as compared with Imperial taxation. The questions on these subjects were framed as far back as September last, and the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office had kindly forwarded them to our representatives abroad. The replies which had been received were full of most interesting information, and would throw a great deal of light on a matter which had recently occupied the attention of the House—namely, the burdens of real property as compared with other kinds of property. When the facts were laid before the House, it would be for them to judge whether we had anything to learn from our neighbours—whether the expenditure here was excessive as compared with that of other countries, and what was the proportion in those countries of local to Imperial taxation. Incidentally, too, much useful information was given as to how the local revenues were raised in other countries. He had alluded to these various matters to show that the Government had not been remiss in redeeming the promises they made last Session. The facts which would be laid before them would show how great were the difficulties in dealing with this great question; and he believed it would be found that other countries were not much more fortunate than ourselves in regard to bringing together accurate data concerning local taxation. Even in Prussia, where the organization was so complete, many years had elapsed since the last Returns of local taxation were completed; and, in France, no complete Returns of communal expenditure had been published later than 1862. Our own country, therefore, was not the only one which experienced difficulty in collecting its local statistics. When the information was placed fully before it, the House would be in a position to form a judgment on the large questions which had been raised in reference to this subject, as, for example, the question as to the share of taxation borne by various kinds of property, questions as to the contributions of the State for local purposes, and questions as to whether any of the charges now imposed on localities might be advantageously transferred to the State. Those questions related to what he might term the higher branch of the subject of local taxation. But, whatever might be done, he would be a sanguine man who supposed that we should be able to manage to dispense with the pre- sent system of local taxation altogether. He did not think that anyone who had considered the enormous amount levied from rates at the present moment would suggest that there was any possibility of so re-constituting our local system that rates, and, indeed, rates on real property would cease to supply the chief portion of the sum raised. If, therefore, the present system admitted of important improvement, the House would probably be of opinion that, without prejudging the other part of the question, they ought to endeavour, in the first instance, to put. The present system of rating on a satisfactory footing; and if it should be found that certain kinds of property in pari materia to those now rated were now exempt but ought to be subjected to taxation, the House ought not to defer making the necessary change. They should, in his opinion, ascertain how far different kinds of property ought even under the present system to be brought into the rating net, and they ought to proceed as speedily as possible in that direction. He hoped to make himself clearly; understood on this point, and he asked the House to consider it carefully—that quite apart from the questions raised by the hon. Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes) as to the general incidence of local taxation, there were four heads under which the subject might be dealt with—First, there was the subject matter to be rated; secondly, the question as to the persons from whom the rate is levied; thirdly, the persons who should collect the rates; and fourthly, the persons who should administer the rates. Local taxation required to be treated—and, in point of fact, was practically treated—under each of these four heads. With regard to the subject-matter to be rated, the House was already aware, from what was said in the Speech from the Throne, that the Government proposed to extend the incidence of taxation, and he hoped to be able shortly to lay their proposals before the house. They proposed to extend the present system of rating to subject-matter which was in pari materiâ; but he should be holding out illusions to the House if he did not state that in speaking of extending the incidence of rating he did not mean that the Bill would extend it to personal property. That was not the point with which they were now dealing. The question in hand was separate from the larger ones he had referred to. The Bill would extend the incidence of rating to property which had formed the subject of questions in that house, such as Government property, mines, and other kinds of property which he would describe on the occasion of asking leave to introduce the Bill. The Government also proposed to deal with the third question of local rating—namely, the persons who should collect the rates; consequently there remained only two heads—the persons from whom they should be collected, and the bodies which ought to administer them. These points the Government proposed to refer to the Committee, for the appointment of which he now sought the assent of the House. That Committee would take into consideration whether it were expedient that the burden of local rates should be divided between the owner and the occupier. The question might, perhaps, be asked—"Do not the owners practically pay the rate now? and if they do, why is it necessary to suggest a change?" Well, they were in this position. At present there were two parties who maintained that they paid the same rate; the occupier always declared that he pays it on the other hand, the owners appealed to excellent authority to prove that it was they who really sustained the burden of taxation; and the result was, that rates had to sustain a double unpopularity, both classes assorting that they paid them, which, as only one set of rates was paid, was absolutely impossible. The Ratepayers' Association loudly declared that all the rates were paid by the occupier, and this would form one of the subjects into which the Committee would have to inquire. A distinction might be very fairly drawn, he thought, in the case of property held under lease, and other property. There could be no question in the case of leases, that the increased rates and new rates were paid by the occupiers—although, doubtless, the amount of rates originally payable was taken into account at the commencement of the lease. As regarded yearly tenancies and tenancies-at-will, there was a distinction between houses and land. The general law was usually stated to be this, and in these cases the increased rates upon land fell almost exclusively upon the owner, save so far as capital might have been expended upon the land in the shape of improvements; while, in houses, so much of the increase as affected ground-rents fell upon the owner, while so much as affected the building-rents fell upon the occupier. But how did this work in practice? When a rate was increased, or a new rate levied, the person who would have to pay would, in his opinion, be the person on whom it was imposed in the first instance; for it would rest with him to take the initiative in disturbing existing relations, if he wished to throw off the charge, a course which exposed him to a distinct disadvantage in subsequent bargaining. Persons conversant with the subject knew very well that if a tenant held a property for five or ten years, and at the expiration of that time, on the imposition of a new rate, went to his landlord and applied on that account for a reduction of rent, he was likely enough to obtain an unsatisfactory reply; whereas, if the rates were payable in the first instance by the landlord, it was hardly probable, in the event of increased rates becoming payable, that he would seek pari passû an increased rent at the hands of his tenant. No doubt the principles of political economy would make their influence felt at the end of the particular tenancy when the property came again into the market; but until that time the person first paying the rent would be put into a worse position in the bargain with his landlord. The notion was so generally entertained that it was the owner who ultimately paid the rates that he was apprehensive less persons might jump to the conclusion that the owner might as well do so in the first instance. But in this case the word "ultimately" was a very long ultimately indeed, and during all that time the occupants were complaining of the increased burden of taxation; and so far it was clear that this was to a great extent a farmer's question. But if this were the state of things in the country, the case was still stronger in the towns; for in the metropolis and elsewhere it would be found, he thought, that there had not been a fall in rents corresponding to the rise in rates. The tendency, in fact, had been upwards. And it would be found, he believed, that where rents were generally rising, the increased rates were not only paid in the first instance, but borne without any com- pensation by the occupiers; while it was only when the rents were falling that owners took upon themselves the burden of the rates rather than have their houses unlet. The great crowding together of people in London had enabled owners to keep up their rents, and sometimes even to raise them, notwithstanding the great burdens imposed. He thought these questions were of a nature sufficiently complicated as to deserve that they should be considered by a Committee upstairs. If it were true that the new rates, or increased rates, were borne in the first instance and for a long time by the occupiers, was it just that they should be so borne, or not? That depended a good deal upon the nature of the rates and the motives with which they were imposed. Some, like they poor rate, had for their object to discharge a burden purely, while other rates were imposed to obtain some actual benefit, and in many cases might we reproductive. The House would do well to bear in mind these distinctions between rates. In London, for instance, much taxation was imposed for great permanent improvements. A man might have a twenty years' lease; a rate might be imposed for some great public work which would last for a century; throughout those twenty years the occupier might not only have paid interest on the loan, but he might have to pay the principal, and when all this had happened the owner might step in at the end of the lease and reap the whole advantage. As to all rates which were calculated to improve the property of the owners, it certainly seemed a strong proceeding to charge these upon the occupier exclusively; and he believed that great and not unnatural dissatisfaction was felt that the ground landlords escaped taxation so much as they did at present. He thought it only just that the owner should share the burden of these rates by which his property would ultimately be benefited; and even if no direct benefit accrued to the property, but the object in view were to gain some public benefit, why should the charge for that purpose devolve exclusively upon the occupier? He was aware that the existing system had been defended upon high authority as a measure of the tenant's capacity to bear taxation, and not upon the ground that it was fair to tax this particular kind of property. But the argument of capacity surely applied as much to the owner of ground-rents as to the occupier? Moreover, the change in the price of houses within the last twenty or thirty years had rather weakened the force of that argument, for the rent which a man paid for his House no longer stood in the same ratio to his general expenditure. Even for a House at the East-end or in the very worst localities a man had now to pay a higher rent in proportion than would represent his general capacity to pay rates. For those reasons, he believed that the question of the division of burdens between owners and occupiers was ripe for discussion, and possibly for legislation. It might be asked why, entertaining such views, the Government had not brought in a Bill on the subject. That brought him to the second part of his Notice, namely—as to the changes which ought to follow in the constitution of the local bodies administering the rates, if such a change should take place as a division of the burdens between owners and occupiers. And the real reason why it was so difficult to go forward in this matter was, that if we changed our system of rating and rated the owner at one-third, or whatever might ultimately prove to be the right proportion, pari passû with such a proceeding we ought to take care that the owner was duly represented upon whatever body was to administer the rates. Now, that was the very question, and for his part he would be sorry to introduce a Bill taxing the owners for the first time, without laying on the table with it a scheme by which their proper representation on the bodies having the administration of the money raised could be secured. He should like to say a few words as to the position of owners of property as regards their representation in the local bodies. At present it was said that the owners were indirectly, if not directly, represented to a great extent, and that the ex officio element on Boards of Guardians and other local bodies, really represented property. But did they do so? And, if they did, was the fact acknowledged? The fact was that their position in this respect was not acknowledged at all, and this was one of the anomalies of the present system. They were generally looked upon as intruders belonging to a different class and ad- ministering rates to which they did not contribute. That he believed to be a great evil. If the owners paid, they ought, in his opinion, to be directly and fairly represented; and one of the questions which the Committee should consider would be how by a more satisfactory or a more direct representation they could get rid of the system of ex officios—a system which was not only anomalous, but was objected to by both parties. Again, the Committee would have to consider the question of plurality of votes in elections for local bodies, and the question as to how far freeholders should be represented on local Boards. The House would see from the reasons he had urged why the Government had not proposed to proceed at present with the County Financial Boards Bill and the Valuation Bill which he had had the honour to introduce last Session. The first thing they had to settle was whether the owner should be taxed as well as the occupier, and when that was settled, how the owners were to be represented. Both these points must be decided before they would be able to go forward with the further reforms he had indicated. The Government were anxious to lay before the House all the information that they could on the subject, for they fully appreciated the magnitude and importance of the question of local taxation. Much would remain for future consideration. There was not only the question of the present contributions given by the State for local purposes, but there was another broader question still, relating to the resources springing from endowed charities, which had hitherto been appropriated more or less to local purposes. They might at some future period have to consider whether it might not be possible to bring together all the endowed charities in such a manner as to transfer a portion of the duties now imperfectly performed by the local authorities, and whether it might not be possible to make those large institutions perform some such service as that to which the surplus funds of the Irish Church had been applied—to the relief of unavoidable suffering and distress. He thought these funds might be appropriated in an organized form to some of the duties which were now performed by the authorities administering the Poor Law, and that thus, while rates would be saved, the administration of relief itself might be placed upon a more satisfac- tory footing. He merely threw that out as an idea, which at present it would be premature to develop, in order to show the House that they desired to deal with the question in a broad and comprehensive spirit. In all these questions they would have to appeal to the House for assistance, because it was difficult to overrate the jealousy and prejudice which were always imported into local questions—a jealousy and prejudice far in excess of what they had to encounter in dealing with questions of national interest. Everybody was willing to admit that, on the whole, our system of local taxation was a chaos, but each in turn was disposed to contend that the particular sphere in which he felt interested was cosmos itself. He trusted that the house, which could not but be fully alive to the importance of the subject, would support the Government in the proposal which they now made.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire and report whether it be expedient that the charges now imposed on the occupiers of rateable property, for various local purposes, should be divided between the owners and occupiers, and what changes in the constitution of the local bodies now administering rates should follow such division."—(Mr. Goschen.)


did not rise to oppose the proposition of the Government, but rather to endeavour to impress upon the right hon. Gentleman the desirability of postponing the appointment of the Select Committee until the House had the whole scheme to be proposed by the Government in reference to the incidence of taxation before them. He had no wish to stifle or suppress inquiry, for he felt it most desirable that they should give every assistance to the Government in their attempt to elucidate this most difficult question; he thought, however, that it was very desirable that they should not attempt to proceed in a fragmentary manner. There were many other important points than those which had been referred to upon which they should obtain further information; and he repeated his hope that the Government would allow them to have the whole scheme before them, because not till then could they deal with the question in a comprehensive and statesman-like manner. The right hon. Gentleman asked for inquiry upon the ground of ex- pediency of placing some charges that were now upon the occupier partially upon the owner. Now the first question seemed to be what those various local charges were—whether they were indeed strictly local, or whether they were not national and Imperial, and an inquiry into this might lead to a classification of rates. He did not see how it was possisible, before they arrived at a determination as to whether the rates were local or Imperial, that they should decide how the payment could be rightly apportioned. All rates were called local rates, but in many instances this was a most anomalous description. There were strictly local rates, such as the rates for sewers, paving, water, &c, which were rates levied purely for the benefit of the district in which they were collected; but when they came to deal with the administration of justice, police, lunatics, and many others, these things were in reality national and Imperial, and concerned not merely one body alone, but every class in the community. Then, again, it was difficult to say what bodies ought to control them, or who should contribute to them, before the House arrived at a proper system of classification. He had been, he must confess, much struck by the circumstance that it was only two days before the Vice President of the Council of Education brought forward his Bill for national education, that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschon) gave notice of his proposition on this subject. In proposing his scheme the right hon. Gentleman's Colleague gave them the gratifying and consolitary intelligence that the owners of real property, whilst complaining of the enormous weight of local taxation—which was a grievance even admitted by the Government, who had intimated their readiness to deal with it—that he intended to impose a large additional burden for the building of schools and the education of the people. Possibly the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Poor Law Board gave them notice of his Motion for a Select Committee, in order, if possible, to make the disagreeable dose prescribed by his Colleague more palatable to their stomachs. He (Sir Massey Lopes) did not hesitate to say that the object of his Motion must be one to divert them from the real scent—the main question which they were desirous of considering. It was calculated to disturb the good feeling which at present existed between the owners and occupiers, and he very much regretted that it should have been brought forward. Having now referred to the time when the Motion had been made, he wished to say a word or two with regard to its probable effects. Now in reference to the division of the rates between the owners and occupiers, the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman would not touch the main question they had in issue. Nor would it tend in any degree to diminish the excessive rates now paid the owners of real property. They would only be shuffling the same cards, they would only be shifting the same responsibility within the same narrow limits. He believed that if they once gave the opportunity of disturbing the relations and arrangements that now existed between owners and occupiers, the result would would be that the occupiers would not only have to pay the same rates in future, but they might be compelled to pay a great deal more, as re-valuations and re-adjustments might lead to increased rents. He understood the Vice President of the Council of Education to say the other day that the education rate was not to be a special rate, but that it was to be a charge upon the poor rate. Now, to this principle he (Sir Massey Lopes) strongly objected. If they were to have an additional impost put upon them let them, at all events, have the credit of paying it. Let it not be disguised or wrapped up, as other rates were, under one general title. It was utterly impossible under such a system for any man to know to what extent he was contributing to certain rates. The poor-rate assessment was not only a refuge for the destitute but was often made the scapegoat for our national delinquencies. It was a kind of panacea for all our moral and social evils. Whenever a man happened to have a philanthropic idea and did not know how to carry it out, he immediately flew to the poor rate. He, for one, objected to the granting of this Select Committee, because it seemed to him not to deal with the main principle for which he and his hon. Friend near him contended. That principle was involved in the exemption of income arising from personal property from many of our local burdens. Until the principle for which he contended was adopted he would never consent to further impositions upon the rates for any object whatever. If, however, it were once admitted it would be found that the owners of real property would never be behind hand in contributing their fair quota to any object that was considered just or expedient. He rejoiced that this question was no longer one of party, and they could all approach it without any political feeling or bias, and he, for one, should be delighted to give the Government every assistance in his power in bringing this question to a settlement. He should, however, ask the Government first to postpone the appointment of a Select Committee, in order to deal more completely with the whole subject, and with that view he should move an Amendment to the right hon. Gentleman's proposition.


, in seconding the Amendment, said, that he also ventured to appeal to the Government not to press the Motion at this time. When his hon. Friend who had just sat down (Sir Massey Lopes) brought the subject of local taxation under the notice of the House last year, the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government distinctly stated that the Government would deal with this question, and that he did not think it advisable that this question should be referred either to a Select Committee or to a Royal Commission. He therefore appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to fulfil the promise which he gave so distinctly last year; and that he would now postpone, or ask the President of the Poor Law Board to postpone, his Motion for a Committee until the whole scheme was before the house. He totally differed from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Poor Law Board in the explanation with which he had favoured the House in reference to this Motion. The right hon. Gentleman said that the system of local taxation was in a state of chaos. It was distinctly known and felt that the pressure of local taxation was very oppressive to those who had to bear it. It required revision, no doubt. What he and his hon. Friend desired was that the area of local taxation should be enlarged, and those who at present escaped from contributing should be required to pay. He ventured to think that the Resolution proposed by the right hon. Gentleman was calculated to hamper and confuse, rather than to raise the main issue. The real issue was that other species of property besides real property should be compelled to contribute. He was the last man to say that the occupiers were not suffering at present from a great grievance in respect to local taxation, and he was in favour of a course whereby that grievance, as well as other grievances connected with the incidence of local taxation, might be remedied.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "it would be advisable to postpone the appointment of a Select Committee until the Government have announced their promised measure for dealing with the incidence of rating,"—(Sir Massey Lopes,) —instead thereof.

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


hoped that the Government would bring forward a substantive Motion, which would deal with the whole subject, for that was what was really required. Whilst he concurred with his hon. Friend who moved the Amendment, he was far from saying that some change was not required in the incidence of local taxation between the owners and occupiers. The occupiers had great reason to complain of the vast increase of the rates within the last few years—an increase which fell heavily on small farmers who had long leases. He concurred in the propriety of enlarging the area of taxation, and in the opinion that mines, timber, and other species of property now exempted should be made to contribute. As the Government had declared their intention of including other matters with the area of chargeability, he thought the whole subject should be referred to the Committee.


reminded the House that there was one class of persons who would be in no way affected by the result of the proposed inquiry—he meant those who combined in themselves the character of both owner and occupier. Such were the freeholders, of whom there was a large class, who occupied their own land; and these would derive no relief from any change in the incidence of these burdens as between owner and occupier. But what was much, complained of was that certain local rates were levied at the suggestion of those who had really no interest in the district. For example, there was the case of lunatic asylums, which involved a large expenditure—an expenditure under the control of persons who were not acting under the Poor Law—they were, in fact, a class of dilettanti, who exercised considerable powers in this respect. He had never heard any reason given why they should not be placed under some authority responsible to that house. The taxpayers complained that they were made responsible for great expenses which were practically incurred by an irresponsible authority. Some were more appropriate to Imperial and others to local taxation. It was difficult to understand why the maintenance of gaols was considered local expenditure. He had been Chairman of Quarter Sessions for many years, and on the last occasion he presided as such, out of sixteen prisoners tried by him six only belonged to the locality, whilst the others came from every part of the kingdom. Gaols might fairly be considered as coining under the head of Imperial expenditure, and any expenditure upon them should not be thrown upon the locality. He quite agreed with the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for South Devon.


said, he agreed, very much with what had fallen from the hon. Member for South Devon. He, however, understood from the President, of the Poor Law Board, that the adoption of the Resolution would not in the least pledge the House against any further and more extended inquiry. The Government had admitted that the whole system of local taxation was a "chaos," and that they were prepared to deal with it in a comprehensive manner; but that from the great pressure of other business they were not prepared to undertake this Session to deal with this extensive subject and another which was clearly bound up with it—the question of local administration. They were getting a great deal from the Government by such admissions, and if they only handled the subject when they brought it on in the way they proposed, he thought the House and the country might wait until the two great measures of the Session had been disposed of. In the mean- while, however, he did not think it would be well to refuse the inquiry into that important portion of the subject which was embraced in the present Motion.


I certainly am a little surprised, though not sorry, that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Poor Board should have resorted to a Select Committee on a subject that has been so much investigated in former times; and yet shall not be sorry for it if he will carry his investigation a little further. The right hon. Gentleman, as understood, and also the First Lord of the Treasury, last year gave the House to expect that they would deal with this great question of local taxation, which is exciting the interest of the country and the towns, on account of the great variety of new taxes that have been imposed in recent years. The property taxed is so comparatively small with regard to what are the objects in view in this taxation—which is practically for national purposes—that a sense of injustice is roused in those who feel that, while they are supposed to be taxed for local, they are really paying for Imperial purposes—which concern the nation at large—such as gaols, to which the hon. Member for Pembrokeshire (Mr. Scourfield) has alluded. I shall not stop to discuss this question at length, because it will be better to defer it to a future time; but there is no one who has these taxes brought before him, whether in this House or in the sphere of his own home, but must consider they depend on a variety of different relations to the objects we are all anxious to see properly carried out. We are all anxious that lunatic asylums, gaols, and highways should be property managed, and that the poor should be properly cared for; but different opinions are entertained how the expenses should be defrayed—whether they should be levied on a limited area, or extended over a larger district, or over the country at largo. The President of the Poor Law Board in bringing forward this Motion has tied us down rather unfairly, for by agreeing to his Motion we shall be committing ourselves to something which the House does not mean. I would ask him, therefore, at all events, to leave out the word "local," and let the Resolution stand for an inquiry "into charges for various purposes," because the question that has been raised in these recent discussions has always been, whether these are simply for local purposes. [Mr. GOSCHEN: Hear, hear!] The right hon. Gentleman assents to that view, and as I have no wish to divide with the hon. Member for South Devon, because I feel that all we want is to get before the Committee a real and tangible question for their investigation without committing anyone in the form of a Resolution, I must, however, go somewhat further, and ask the President of the Poor Law Board, who has taken so deep an interest in all these questions, and from whom we have heard so much with which I agree—I would ask him, when he brings in the measure he is about to propose to the House with respect to the incidents of taxation, to refer it, after the second reading, to this Committee dealing with local taxation. In that way we are very likely to arrive at some definite and satisfactory conclusion, and in which the whole House might eventually agree. I do not wish to argue the question now, or that any division should be taken upon the Motion, but I do wish most sincerely that this question should receive full and satisfactory investigation, both as to what may be fairly considered local charges between owners and occupiers, and also as to what may be properly classed among Imperial burdens.


I regret that I cannot accept the Amendment of the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes), but I may relieve a great part of the apprehensions which he and other hon. Members entertain, and meet in some degree the views that have been expressed by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. It is necessary, for the sake of accuracy, to state that it will not do singly to leave out the word "local" from the Resolution, because we must indicate the nature of the changes we have in view, and, therefore, the word "local" must be retained. But it is quite dissociated from the word "purposes:"—nothing can be further from the intention of the Government than to commit the house, either to the proposition that all these changes are for "local purposes," or to prevent the ulterior proposition of the hon. Member for South Devon from being considered at the proper time should the House see occasion to do so. If, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman should be of opinion that the Motion would be better worded so as to direct the Committee to inquire whether the burdens now locally imposed on owner or occupier should be equally divided between them, and if such alteration should meet the views of the House the Government will not object to adopt, this alternative. I must remind the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devon that probably he has advanced further in his own mind in one sense, and in another not so far as the House upon this question. He says the question really is the exemption of personal property from local taxation. But the Government has never made that admission, and they had never seen that that was the precise aspect in which the question ought to present itself to Parliament. The aspect in which the question presents itself to my mind and that of my Colleagues is, that of late years we have immensely multiplied and rapidly increased the category of purposes which are supplied by local taxation, and the whole of them in England are at present provided for by payments which come in the first instance from those who have only a temporary interest in their occupations. I do not wish to express any opposition or agreement in that proposition; and this aspect presents to us an immediate and cogent ground why it has become a matter of urgency to look at this state of things. What I would endeavour to point out is, that we are really endeavouring to deal with the question in its natural order. The hon. Baronet s says, let us wait until we can contemplate a comprehensive measure and approach the subject in a statesmanlike spirit. But, when I hear that remark, I very much doubt if he has taken the whole measure of the length and breadth of the subject, and it was to that I referred when I said in a sense that he had gone further than we had in his mental process with regard to it, and in another not so far; because he appears to have in his mind this conception—that we can investigate the question whether exemption of personal property from local taxation ought to be removed, and having investigated it and found it ought to be removed, that we can stop there. But that is a fundamental error. At present, no doubt, the whole weight of local taxation is laid on real property; but in consideration of that, real property, under our system of Imperial taxation, enjoys exemptions, which, rely upon it, it is not possible to maintain for a single moment after you remove the exemption of personal property from local taxation. Undoubtedly that is a portion of the necessary and elementary part of the case. I do not give an opinion beyond saying that if a general proposition is to be laid down that personal and real property are to share in equal proportions the burdens of local taxation, it is impossible to resist the co-relative proportion that real and personal property must be equally charged with respect to Imperial taxation. When the time comes to deal with the succession duties, which impose on real property one-third more than is paid by personal property, and the legacy duties to be equalized with the correlative fact with regard to probate duty for which real property pays nothing, it most be a comprehensive measure to deal with it at one blow. We shall endeavour to deal with this subject in its natural order and sequence. We do not in the least degree seek to commit any person by this Motion to the doctrine that real property alone is to be taxed for what may be rightly called local taxation. We leave that open and this motion is not to affect the judgment of the House directly or indirectly to it. Partly on the grounds of convenience and partly on grounds of tradition, real property in its various forms is the most convenient subject to bear the main part of local taxation. It is the first subject that offers itself for that purpose. That is the tradition of the country; and think that when we consider the adjustment by which real property bears more of local, and personal property more of Imperial taxation no one will desire gratuitously to change the arrangement. I would assume, therefore, that real property must remain the great subject for taxation for local purposes; and, if that be so, I contend we have approached this question in a proper and logical order, when we propose to inquire, in the next place, in what degree, this taxation ought to be divided between those possessing a joint interest in real property—the owners and occupiers. Having determined what exemptions, if any, should remain, and having with the assistance afforded by this Committee legislated with the view of determining the relative rights of owner and occupier, and having endeavoured to simplify and cheapen the machinery in connection with the collection and management of the fund, then will be the time to consider, not the question proposed by the hon. Baronet, but the other question touched on by the right hon. Gentleman opposite—namely, whether there are any purposes, and, if any, what purposes now locally provided for, which ought to be considered national purposes. I am bound to say that it would be very wise to arrive at a conclusion with respect to the present assistance given from the Imperial funds to local purposes; to ascertain whether it is too great or too small, whether given in the best manner—that is in a manner to promote efficiency and economy—and whether or not it interferes with sound principles of administration. We cannot settle the whole question without raising some of the topics adverted to by the hon. Baronet; whether, for instance, personal property is to continue exempted from local taxation or not; and whether Imperial funds should be contributed for local purposes on the ground that those purposes are Imperial. However, it would be impossible to consider these topics without raising the whole question, and I hope the few observations I have made may be sufficient to satisfy the hon. Baronet that he will in no degree be prejudiced—nor the cause which he and some other hon. Gentlemen advocate with so much ability will be prejudiced—by acceding to the present Motion. I trust he will see in the proposal of the Motion at an early period of the Session an evidence of the earnest desire on the part of the Government to redeem the pledge given last year to bring the subject into a train for being satisfactorily handled.


said, he was anxious to enter his protest against the view expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Poor Law Board stated distinctly that it was not his intention, in the Bill he proposed to introduce, to render personal property liable to rating: the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister also said that when the Bill should be introduced, it would be seen what the Government intended to do. For his own part, he was disposed to believe there was something more behind than had been announced by the right hon. Gentleman—at any rate the whole of the subject should be thoroughly investigated. The chief difficulty was said by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Poor Law Board to be in respect of the area; but he did not think it was so great as the difficulty to determine what class of property should be rated for the various purposes indicated. The succession duty bore very hardly upon the landed interest, and a fair inquiry into the taxation to which the landed interest is subject—and vice versâ—would not result so entirely to the disadvantage of the country party as the Prime Minister seemed to infer. He would quote an instance. A fundholder died lately possessed of £800,000 in the funds, which sum represented an income annually of about £28,000. Let the House reflect whether the owner of so large a property was not as much interested and as much concerned in the maintenance of gaols, police, lunatic asylums, militia, and all various charges which are imposed on all real property, as any owner or occupier of real property; but in respect of that mass of property derived from the funds, the owner did not contribute a single sixpence towards the local taxation—not a single farthing towards any of the purposes enumerated. He contended that the burdens of the nation ought to be maintained by the whole of the income of the nation, instead of only one-third, and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would include in his Motion words to the effect, that the Select Committee shall be further instructed to inquire into the present exemption of personal property from contributing to general taxation, and report whether such exemption is just and expedient or otherwise. This would relieve a feeling of hardship which existed in many counties and towns, and, according to the opinion of the Prime Minister, such an inquiry would do no injustice to the interests which he advocated, because it would elicit the truth and show the real bearings and merits of the whole question at issue.


said, the arguments of the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devon were all in favour of a Committee to inquire into this matter, and to ascertain what the actual facts were. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had entirely mistaken the question. Their starting point was that the landed interest—the real property was the aggrieved interest in this matter. The real question was whether any portion of the burden borne by the occupier ought to be divided between the occupier and the owner. The improvements carried out within the metropolis furnished an illustration of the manner in which local burdens were borne. Vast improvements had been effected in the drainage works, which it was presumed were to last for centuries; and the rates in respect of them had been levied upon the occupiers of premises within the metropolis. Many districts which could not formerly be built upon for want of drainage had since been covered with houses; the owners of the land contributed only the agricultural rate towards the money raised for carrying out the works; but when the present leases expired, the owners of the land would raise the rents of the occupiers in consequence of the improvement effected; so that the occupiers of premises in the metropolis were first called upon to pay rates for improvements, and afterwards had their rents raised in consequence of the improvements having been effected. This example of the operation of the payment of local rates was well worthy of the Committee's consideration. He hoped that the appointment of the Committee and the work it was required to do would not be postponed until the great measure to be brought forward should be presented to the House, for that would be pushing the whole question from Session to Session without any practical result being gained. He, therefore, trusted that the hon. Baronet would, on further consideration, withdraw his Amendment.


understood that the subject would be narrowed into the simple question whether the landlord and tenant should be joined in the payment of local taxes. In some countries, as in Sweden and Norway, the house tax and the license duty were devoted to local purposes; and it was possible that the Committee would feel inclined to adopt this plan. If the Committee were left with a certain amount of freedom—if its inquiry were not narrowed too much—its Report might be of some value. If that freedom were conceded the inquiry might lead to some practical result, because we were now to inquire, for the first time, into the principles instead of into the mere mechanism of local taxation.


said, he must thank his right hon. Friend the President of the Poor Law Board for the very clear manner in which he had submitted the question to the House and must beg him not to adopt the views of the last speaker and introduce that element of confusion—a lax construction of the reference to the Committee. In the very first week of this present Parliament he gave notice of his intention to ask for of a Committee to inquire into the incidence of local taxation—meaning the incidence, as between the owner and occupier, of the rates now paid—but he was obliged to withdraw his Notice, because the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devon made an able speech on local taxation, and although his speech occupied a very different portion of the question to that which he (Mr. Acland) was going to take, he was advised that the House did not feel disposed to go into the subject again. The question he wanted the House to discuss was the relations between the owner and the occupier as to the payment of rates. His reason for wishing to bring forward this subject was the existence of much misunderstanding among the farmers on the subject of local taxation, and he thought that a Committee of the House would be the most effectual means of awakening the minds of the tenant-farmers, who were becoming more disposed to look into these matters than they were a few years ago. A Committee was some time ago presided over by the right hon. Member for North Lancashire (Colonel Wilson-Patten)—and it ended in the production of a Financial Board Bill last year—which he was glad to see withdrawn, because it fell very short of what he thought ought to be the result of such an inquiry. One of the subjects which required thorough sifting was whether the present system of county administration, which was conducted by irresponsible persons, the nominees of the Lords Lieutenants, and in no sense the representatives of the freeholders of the county, did not lead—he would not say to extravagance, but to a short-sighted expenditure of the public funds. He had been for nearly forty years a magistrate, and he had gone on voting, year after year, in quarter sessions, the expenditure of public money, but this expenditure had scarcely affected his pocket. This caused a question that was being talked of by the tenant-farmers in the country; and many magistrates made speeches on economy, not so much to the audiences at the quarter sessions as to the public out-of-doors. In introducing his Motion his right hon. Friend had confined his remarks to Boards of Guardians and Highway Boards; but in going into this Committee the House would go a very long way beyond the administration of the Poor Law or Highway Boards. The whole question of the county administration, and the expenditure of rates for county purposes, would come within the review of the Committee. There was another question of much importance to land owners and occupiers—he meant the classification of roads. In France there were Imperial roads, departmental roads, and communal roads. In England we had no such distinction; and this was a subject which required to be inquired into. He supposed that the administration of our prisons and police would hardly come within the scope of this Committee. There was also the questions as to lunatics. Our lunatic expenditure was now entirely under an irresponsible body, and advantage would follow the making of this matter a subject of discussion. If hon. Members, instead of talking year after year of the great hardship of bankers and landowners not being equally taxed, would apply themselves to the elucidation of some practical scheme for carrying out their object, they would emerge from "chaos" into a "cosmos," and some beneficial results might be hoped for.


thought that after the reference that had been made to this subject in the Queen's Speech, the declaration to which they had listened that night from the President of the Poor Law Board was very disappointing. But the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had certainly made the question less nebulous than it was before, but he now held out a prospect of future defeat and disappointment in hinting that perhaps there were charges on real property which it did not at present pay, but which might fall upon it if if they were to push the inquiry. But for his part he held it to be very desirable for the owners of real property that the imputation that they were not paying their fair share of taxation should be removed by inquiry. If it were really true that there were exemptions in favour of real property, the sooner it was determined to investigate the whole question the better. But an appeal was made for delay. They were told that a very valuable and useful inquiry was being made by the Government into the system of local and imperial taxation in other countries. That was a highly useful inquiry, no doubt; but it was accompanied by the disheartening declaration from the President of the Poor Law Board that even in Prussia, the most highly educated and the most progressive kingdom in Europe, the inquiry had been attended with a delay of eight years. Now it was certain that in this country the delay of eight years would he followed by a thirty years' war of discussion, and in that case his life, at all events, would come to a close before the matter would be settled. Now, it appeared to be generally admitted that the taxation at present laid on real and other property was not evenly distributed; and it was in vain to talk about the allowance made in the matter of the probate duty, because the owners of real property felt that as long as they lived, they had to drag a chain that was constantly galling them. Partial remedies had, it was true, been applied in the metropolis, but with what result? In one East-end parish with which he was connected £4,500 had been received from the "metropolitan common fund" last year; but this parish had raised by local taxation, under the head of the poor rate, £35,000; and they had had to pay an increased charge of 2d. in the pound for the relief of the poor. In fact, they were beginning to trifle with the Poor Law—to grant relief in aid—because such masses of poverty and destitution had been accumulated in certain districts that they could not be otherwise dealt with. To confine the taxation to one class of property, and that the poorest, was thoroughly disheartening to those who had to administer the Poor Law. One form of relief had been suggested—a revision of taxation, so that the burden might be borne between the two classes of owners and occupiers. But this was a very illusive remedy. Take the case of the yeomen, who were at once owners and occupiers in the countiy—what relief would such a measure confer upon them? Or when a person was a landowner and householder in a large town, and already paid all the rates and taxes for his tenants, how would the proposed division relieve him or his tenants? In regard to the improvements that had been made in the metropolis, he maintained that they were more for the benefit of the kingdom at large than for that of some portion of the metropolis, though the ratepayers of London, as a class, had had to pay the cost. The Thames Embankment, for example—how did it advantage the persons who lived on the other side of Blackfriars Bridge—except, perhaps, as a promenade on Sunday? Or in the case of the vagrants, who were every day becoming more troublesome and difficult to deal with—their very name implied a want of locality—yet how were the charges for this miserable class borne? Was it not the fact that though their treatment was regulated to the minutest particulars by the Poor Law Board, the cost of their maintenance fell upon the ratepayers of a particular locality? In regard to the attendance of ex officio Guardians at the meetings of the Guardians, he admitted that their more frequent presence was desirable, but it was difficult to understand that it would be of much use, in the form and for the purposes now proposed. It was clear to him that the House was disposed to place taxation equally on things and persons, and he heartily supported the Amendment brought forward by the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devonshire.


said, he rose solely to ask his right hon. Friend the President of the Poor Law Board whether it was his intention to extend the inquiry of the Committee to the incidence of the rates in Ireland? Ireland had a right to ask very particular inquiry into the subject of her local taxation. He had at different times called the attention of the House to the state of things which existed in that country, and the anomalies which prevailed, and he thought that they were fully worthy of the attention of the Government.


said, the exemption enjoyed by real property consisted only of the probate duty. There was, indeed, another nominal exemption in respect of legacy duty; but that was fully counterbalanced by the succession duty on real property. Taking into consideration the expenses attendant on succession, and the fact that, owing to the construction of the word predecessor in the Act, the duty was frequently as sessed at 5 or 10 per cent, whereas in the case of legacy duty it would be 1 or 3, the duty fell very onerously upon successions, and a tenant for life was led frequently to suppose, at any rate for the first two years of his possession, that he had come into a damnosa hereditas. Was the right hon. Gentleman opposite prepared, then, to carry out an equalization of the imposts upon real and personal property? What were the exemptions of personal property? First, the £800,000,000 of funded property was totally exempted; next bills of lading and dock warrants, transfers on the Stock Exchange, and the large loan transactions which passed through bankers every morning were likewise exempted. On the other hand, there was imposed a duty of 5s. for every £100 in all sales and of 2s. 6d. on all mortgages of real property. If the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to extend those imposts to personal property, they might be prepared to assent to his proposition.


thought the question raised by the latter part of the Motion—namely, what changes in the constitution of the local bodies now administering rates should follow the contemplated division of burdens as between the owners and the occupiers of rateable property—was a most important branch of the subject. There could be no doubt that great changes in that respect were needed. hon. Gentlemen opposite should remember that, though they could not now obtain all that they wished, the responsibility of personal property for some of the rates could not be much, longer postponed. At the same time, the large owners of property in that metropolis certainly did not contribute to local taxation for improvements in anything like the proportion in which their property enjoyed the benefit of them.


said, it seemed to be supposed that the county magistrates took a pleasure in voting away the money of other people. If any one in the House took that view he laboured under a great mistake, for it must be remembered that the county magistrates were themselves owners of property; and whoever might pay the rates in the first instance, in the end they came out of the pockets of the owners. The greater part of local taxation was collected under the head of poor rates, and these might roughly be divided into two branches—that which was administered by the Boards of Guardians, who were for the most part occupiers; and that which was administered by the magistrates in quarter sessions, who were for the most part owners. So that, by a sort of rough justice, half of these rates were expended by owners and half by occupiers. But the fact was that complaints of grievances were heard on both sides. The moral he drew from this was, that the proposed Committee was highly desirable, by whom all these questions might be sifted, and it would be seen where the real grievance lay. But, at the same time, it was to be clearly understood the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government admitted that the appointment of the Committee would not bar the House from expressing its opinion on the question how far certain expenses now borne by local rates might be charged on Imperial transactions.


said, that the course of this debate had clearly shown how necessary it was to place accurate limits upon the inquiries of this Committee, because if the various suggestions which had been thrown out in the course of the discussion were adopted in the order of reference, almost everything connected with Imperial finance and with local taxation would come within the scope of their inquiry, and, instead of being able to bring their inquiry to a conclusion within one Session, the Committee would be employed on it for two or three years. The hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) had stated that in Prussia eight years were occupied in such an inquiry as was now proposed; but as in the present case the statistics were nearly ready, it would not take as many months for the Committee to inquire into the questions raised by the order of reference. Of the two points which were laid down in his Motion—whether it was expedient that the rates should be divided between occupier and owner, and by whom they were to be administered—only one or two speakers had really confined themselves to these questions. But he thought the occupiers would have great cause to complain if the examination of their grievances was to be postponed until they had inquired into those larger questions which had been raised. He believed that, looking to the rise in the rent of land, and other considerations, the land did not bear a larger burden now than it did thirty or forty years ago; but houses were in a very different position. If there were any grievances to be complained of, it was on the part of the houseowners, not the landowners. As his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) had stated, the adoption of this Motion would not preclude the House from afterwards going into any other inquiry but he wished to deal frankly with the House, and to say that the proposal to include in the inquiry the question of the propriety of extending rating to personal property was not one to which he could agree. He had no objection to the suggestion made by the hon. Member opposite that it would be desirable to include in this inquiry the propriety of having different proportions for different rates. He could not agree with the hon. Member for Roscommon (Colonel French) that the question of Irish taxation should be taken up by this Committee, but he was ready to accept the addition suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Select Committee appointed, "to inquire and report whether it be expedient that the charges now locally imposed on the occupiers of rateable property should be divided between the owners and occupiers, and what changes in the constitution of the local bodies now administering rates should follow such division."—(Mr. Goschen.) Instruction to the Committee, to inquire further into the proper classification of rates, with a view to determine their proper incidence upon the owners or occupiers of such rateable property.—(Mr. Corrance.) And, on March 3, Committee nominated as follows:—Mr. HUNT, Mr. AYRTON, Sir MASSEY LOPES, Mr. ACLAND, Mr. CORRANCE, Mr. RATHBONE, Mr. PELL, Mr. GEORGE GRRGORY, Sir WILLIAM TITE, Mr. FIELDEN, Sir HEDWORTH WILLIAMSON, Mr. WILLIAM HENRY SMITH, Mr. BACKHOUSE, Mr. WHEELHOUSE, Mr. Sr. ACBYN, Colonel BRISE, Sir JAMES LAWRENCE, Mr. BIRLEY, Mr. WALTER, Mr. CHARLES SEELY, junior, and Mr. GOSCHEN:—Power to send for persons, papers, and records; Seven to be the quorum.