§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he is prepared to consider the re-adjustment of the present plate licence of £2 6s., payable by any persons who shall sell gold above 2 dwts. and under 2 oz., and silver above 5 dwts. and under 30 oz. in weight, either by the remission of the licence altogether, or by the imposition of a modified licence on all persons selling plate of any weight, in consideration of the fact that in country districts the bulk of jewellery disposed of being under the minimum weight is sold by persons who pay no licence, to the detriment of watchmakers, &c, who have to pay licence, and have generally served a long apprenticeship?
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GLADSTONE)
Sir, with regard to the alternatives presented to me in the Question, I am not in a condition to engage myself to surrender any branch of Public Revenue, even upon a small scale, at the present moment; and with regard to another alternative, the effect of the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman would be to restore virtually the old law, which I believe was passed in 1858, and the operation of which was found to be so very inconvenient that the present law, though it be not a perfect one, was substituted for it, and it is believed to have been substituted for it with good effect.