HC Deb 11 May 1899 vol 71 cc363-426

Order for Committee read.

MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeen shire, E.) moved: That it be an instruction to the Committee that they have power to divide the Bill into two parts, and to report to the House in the first place the portions dealing with Customs, stamps, and income-tax; and in the second place that dealing with the National Debt. He said his object was to separate from the Bill the part which dealt with the National Debt, and he claimed support for his motion on the grounds of precedent and convenience. The precedence in the past had all been in favour of having any legislation in connection with the National Debt separated from the ordinary finance legislation of the year. That was done in 1885, in 1886, and in 1887. When the present First Lord of the Admiralty diminished the debt charge from £28,000,000 to £26,000,000, the right hon. Gentleman brought in a Bill for that object, and when he subsequently reduced it he brought in a separate Bill to deal with it. Again, in reference to the Finance Bill of 1894, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire introduced his Finance Bill, a similar instruction was moved in the House by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the London University, that it should be divided into two parts, a motion which was strongly supported by the present First Lord of the Admiralty, but successfully resisted by the right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire on the ground that a single Bill should contain all the financial arrangements of the year. In 1894, however, the Budget touched the National Debt in a trifling degree, but here the Chancellor of the Exchequer was making one of the largest alterations that could be made in the law, for he was reducing the permanent National Debt charge not only that year, but for the years to come. He thought, therefore, in view of the precedents of the past, and in view of convenience in the future, it would be very much better that part 5 should be separated from the rest of the Bill, and such a course would not in any sense delay the passing of the two measures.

SIR J. LENG (Dundee)

formally seconded the instruction.

Motion made and Question proposed— That it be an instruction to the Committee that they have power to divide the Bill into two parts, and to report to the House in the first place the portions dealing with Customs, Stamps, and Income-tax; and, in the second place that dealing with the National Debt"—(Mr. Buchanan.)


The hon. Member has based his instruction on the grounds of precedent and convenience, and I oppose it for both reasons. The precedent is that of 1894. In 1894 the National Debt was dealt with by the suspension of the old and new sinking funds, and clauses for that purpose were inserted in the Finance Act of the year; and the precedent then set has been acted upon ever since in the annual finance of the year. On the other hand, the matter of convenience was fully discussed at that time, and although there was a difference of opinion expressed on the subject, I think no case has been now made out for departing from that precedent. It is for the general convenience of the House that all the financial arrangements of the year should be included in the one Bill.

SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)

I have a very vivid recollection of the discussion of this principle on the Budget of 1894, when the right hon. Member for the London University, warmly supported by the First Lord of the Admiralty, endeavoured to upset the proposal by which all the financial arrangements of the year were included in one Bill. I shall certainly support the Chancellor of the Exchequer in retaining the present form of the Bill, for this reason. I stated at that time that it was proper that the House of Commons should have the whole finance of the year under its view and under its discussion. This year there is a deficit, and you ought to discuss the two methods of dealing with it. It is perfectly true that in olden days we had separate Bills for almost every Customs duty, and separate resolutions, but the present arrangements have been found much more convenient, by which the whole finance of the year can be dealt with by a simple Bill, and for that reason the title of the Bill has been altered from the Customs Bill to that of the Finance Bill, which would not be consistent if we excluded from it any matters dealing with the finance of the year. I hope, therefore, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be supported by my own party now as I myself was supported by his in 1894. The absence of the First Lord of the Admiralty will relieve the right hon. Gentleman from the fear of any difficulty which might result from a repetition of the oration that colleague made against the present arrangement on a former occasion. One reason for putting the whole finance of the year into one Bill is that the House of Commons may have absolute control of that finance. If we separate our finance into two or three Bills, one of the Rills might he rejected in another place, and the whole of the financial arrangement destroyed, whereas that House could not reject the Finance Bill unless they meant to leave the country without any pecuniary resource. For all these reason I hope tins House will adhere to the proposals made.


said it seemed to him that, although there ought to be a separate Bill for the reduction of the National Debt, Parliamentary time was so reduced, owing to the unconscionable holidays Ministers took and hon. Members supported them in taking, that there would not be an adequate opportunity for the consideration of the Bill. Though, therefore, the instruction was strictly in accordance with high financial principle, he would suggest that there was no use in pressing it.

SIR H.H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, East)

I cannot, support the appeal which the bon. Member has made. In 1861 Mr. Gladstone put the whole of the financial arrangements of the year into one Bill, with the avowed intention of preserving the absolute supremacy of this House over the finances of the year, and leaving to another place, in dealing with the finance resolutions, the power only to reject them altogether or to accept them altogether. I should have been very strongly opposed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he had introduced a separate Bill to deal with the reduction of the debt, and I hope my hon. friend behind me, having fully justified his statement by the action which the Opposition took in 1894 will withdraw the instruction and spare the House the trouble of a Division.

Motion by leave withdrawn.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1:—

MR. BROADHURST (Leicester) moved to reduce the duty on tea. from 4d. to 2d. His object was not to defeat the Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but to take the opinion of the Mouse upon the justice of reducing the duty, and concentrate the attention of the right hon. Gentleman upon the matter, in order that in the preparation of his next year's Budget he might see whether he could not give the remission in the direction desired. Tea had undoubtedly become more and nice an article of drink with the working people, and it was a, drink with adoption of which he thought the House of Commons should encourage as far as it was possible to do so. In the case of the labourer, and particularly the unskilled labourer, it had for some years past Leon taking the place of beer, and more particularly home-brewed beer. The demand which would be made upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer by this reduction of the tea duty was not a large demand, and it could easily be met by taxation in other directions. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer wished to tax the drink consumed in this country, he could easily make good his deficiencies by increased taxation on the costly wines. If he did not like that, he could turn his attention to beer and spirits. Tea. was becoming a necessity of life amongst the poor and the poorer a person was the more need he had of this article. It might be said that tea was cheap. It was a great deal cheaper than it used to be in his young days, but still that was no reason why the poor should not have increased advantages. He thought he must press the matter to a Division.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 21, to leave out the word 'fourpence,' and insert the wore "twopence '" —(Mr. Broadhurst.)

Question proposed— That the word 'fouvpence' stand part of the clause.


I do not share the view of the hon. Member in regard to the tea duty; but even if I did I could not possibly accept an Amendment which, if carried, would reduce the revenue of the year from 1½ to 2 millions, especi-

ally when it would be impossible to make that sum up by other means.

Question put.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 246; Noes, 125.—(Division List, No. 135.)

Priestley, SirW. O. (Edinburgh) Simeon, Sir Barrington Warr, Augustus Frederick
Quilter, Sir Cuthbert Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand) Webser, Sir R. E.(Isle of Wight
Rankin, Sir James Spencer, Ernest Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Richards, Henry Charles Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk Whiteley, George (Stockport)
Richardson, Sir Thos. (Hartlep'l Stanley,Henry M. (Lambeth) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson Stewart, Sir MarkJ. M'Taggart Williams, Colonel R (Dorset)
Robertson, Herbert(Hackney) Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M. Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm
Round, James Strauss, Arthur Willox, Sir John Archibald
Russell, T. W. (Tyrone) Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Rutherford, John Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier Wilson, J. W. (Woresterch.,N.
Ryder, John Herbert Dudley Sutherland, Sir Thomas Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath
Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Thomas, David A. (Merthyr) Wolff, Gustav. Whilhelm
Savory, Sir Joseph Thorburn, Walter Wyndham, George
Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray Young, Commander(Berks. E.)
Sharpe, William Edward T. Tritton, Charles Ernest TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Sidebottom, T. Harrop(Stalybr Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Sidebottom, William(Derbysh. Ward, Hn. Robert A. (Crewe)
Allan, William (Gateshead) Hayne,Rt. Hn. Charles Seale- Power, Patrick Joseph
Allen, Wm. (Newe. underLyme Hazell, Walter Price, Robert John
Allison, Robert Andrew Hedderwick, Thomas C. H. Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)
Asher, Alexander Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H. Reid, Sir Robert Threshie
Ashton, Thomas Gair Hogan, James Francis Richardson,J. (Durham, S. E.)
Atherley-Jones, L. Holland, Wm. H. (York, W. R.) Rickett, J. Compton
Auston, Sir John (Yorkshire) Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)
Bainbridge, Emerson Jaeoby, James Alfred Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Barlow, John Emmott Johnston-Ferguson, JabezEdw. Robson, William Snowdon
Billson, Alfred Joicey, Sir James Samuel J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Blake, Edward Jones, William(Carn'rvonshire Schwann, Charles E.
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Kearley, Hudson E. Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Kitson, Sir James Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Burns, John Labouchere, Henry Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Burt, Thomas Lambert, George Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarshi'e
Caldwell, James Lawson, SirWilfrid (Cumb'l'nd Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Cameron, Sir Charles(Glasgow) Leng, Sir John Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Causton, Richard Knight Leuty, Thomas Richmond Souttar, Robinson
Cawley, Frederick Lewis, John Herbert Spicer, Albert
Channing, Francis Allston Lloyd-George, David Steadman, William Charles.
Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.) Lyell. Sir Leonard Stevenson, Francis S.
Clough, Walter Owen Macaleese, Daniel Sullivan Donal (Westmeath)
Crombie, John William M'Ghee, Richard Tennant, Harold John
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) M'Kenna, Reginald Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen,E.
Daly, James M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.
David, M. Vaughan (Cardigan M'Leod, John Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Davitt, Michael Maden, John Henry Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)
Dillon, John Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel) Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Donelan, Captain A. Moore, Arthur (Londonderry) Walton, John Lawson(Leeds, S.
Doogan, P. C. Moragan, J. Lloyd(Carmarhten) Waltaon, Joseph (Barnsley)
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Wedderburn, Sir William
Duckworth, James Moulton, John Fletcher Weir, James Galloway
Dunn, Sir William Norton, Capt. Cecil William Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Nussey, Thomas Willans Williams, John Carvell (Notts
Farquharson, Dr. Robert O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk
Fenwick, Charles O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond O'Connor, James(Wicklow.W. Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Foster, Sir Walter (DerbyCo.) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wilson, John (Govan)
Goddard, Daniel Ford Oldroyd, Mark Woodhouse, SirJ. T. (Hudder'd
Gold, Charles Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham) Woods, Samuel
Gourley, SirEdward Temperley Paulton, James Mellor TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Gurdon, Sir William Brampton Philipps, John Wynford Mr. Broadhurst and Mr. Mendl.
Harwood, Geoge Pirie, Duncan V.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 2:—

SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central) moved to insert the word "foreign" before the word "wine," with the object of excluding from the extra wine duties, wine produced in any Brit- ish colony or possession. Directly the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave notice in his Budget speech of the increased duty upon wine, he (Sir H. Vincent) notified that he should move that the extra duty should only be applied to foreign wines. He mentioned the fact because he did not wish it to be supposed that his Amendment sprang from any desire on the part of any British colony or colonial Government to interfere in the slightest degree with the fiscal arrangements of this country, but rather from a genuine desire on behalf of a great mass of the people in this country to give better trading terms to their own kith and kin than to foreigners. The whole policy of Lord Salisbury's administration had been to do everything possible to encourage and develop trade within the Empire. Several steps had been taken in that direction. There were the colonial conferences of 1887 and 1897, which had all been in favour of better trading relations within the Empire. A very notable statement was made by the Secretary of State for the Colonies on March the 25th, 1896, to the effect that if the people of this country and of the colonies meant what they said and intended to approach the question of Imperial unity in a practical spirit, they must approach it from the commercial side. And following on the colonial conferences and the visit of the colonial Premiers in 1897, the Government gave notice almost immediately to terminate the treaties which prevented the colonies from putting lighter duties on British than upon foreign goods. Those treaties came to an end on the 31st of July, last, and on that very day Canada gave the United Kingdom the preference of 25 per cent in her markets over the foreigner. The Agent-General of Tasmania declared the other day, in the presence of a Member of the Government, that his colony, New Zealand, and Western Australia had Bills absolutely in preparation in order to enable them to follow the example of Canada. Besides this, Her Majesty's Government had received a cablegram from the Prime Ministers of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, and Western Australia, suggesting that the present was a very unfortunate time for this step to be taken. He ventured to point out to the Government that a more unfortunate moment could hardly have been chosen to propose that increase of duty, and he ventured to say, with all deference to the right hon. Gentleman, that if he persisted in maintaining the increased duties upon wine imported from the British Colonies, he would do so against the special remonstrances of the Colonial Governments and of a score of members sitting on that side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman would recollect the applause which he gained from both sides of the House when, in the course of his speech on Budget night, he said, in effect, he thought we had in the past paid far too much attention to the susceptibilities of foreign nations, and that it behoved us in these matters, in the future, to look after our own interests rather than the interests of foreigners. He invited the right hon. Gentleman to practise what he preached, and not to repress these natural sentiments when dealing with the colonies in commercial matters. At the same time, he cordially acknowledged, and he thought it was only right he should do so publicly, the great courtesy the Chancellor of the Exchequer had shown, in receiving the Agents General of the self-governing colonies, and in expressing his willingness, although his time was much occupied, to receive a deputation from traders on the question. The only reason why the trade did not trouble him was that they preferred to leave the representation of their case entirely in the hands of the Agents-General. Before submitting to the Committee the colonial aspect of the question, he would venture to ask leave to examine, as briefly as he possibly could, the financial aspects of the question, so far as it affected this country. If this was a matter which went to the root of the financial proposals of the Government, he freely admitted the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be thoroughly justified in resisting the Amendment to the utmost. But that was not the case. His right hon. friend expected the new wine duties to yield £420,000. Assuming the importation of colonial wine amounted to 715,000 gallons, the extra duty of 6d. a gallon would yield £17,875, and the Australian Premiers were justified in saying that that amount was beneath serious calculation in the consideration of the Budget. If his right hon. friend consented to dock that sum from the revenue he expected to derive from the new duty, he would still be left with an estimated surplus of £212,000 instead of £230,000, which would, surely, be amply sufficient for his requirements. If the revenue lost this £17,875, which it did not want, by the adoption of the Amendment, British Trade as a whole would gain far more by preventing any falling off in the production of wine in Australia, and its importation into this country; as there were people engaged in the industry— 10,000 in Victoria alone—who, if they were less employed in the production of wine, would have less money with which to buy manufactures imported from this country, and British ships engaged in the carrying of wine from Australia would have less to carry, while fewer oak staves would have to be brought from England for the manufacture of casks. Was there anything in our relations with foreign countries which prevented differentiation in favour of the colonies? On 21st August, 1894, he asked his hon. friend the Member for Poplar, then Under-Secretary for the Colonies, a question as to the opinion of the law officers of the Crown upon the conclusion of preferential trading relations between the mother country and the colonies, and his right hon. friend replied that the general effect of the stipulations in regard to import duties was that they did not prevent preferential treatment in favour of the colonies. That was at a time when the treaties of 1862 with Belgium, and 1865 with Germany, were in force. Now, those treaties had been denounced by the Government, and he submitted that the way for relieving the colonies of this import was made infinitely clearer, and there was no reason, so far as international relations are concerned, why the colonies should not be exempted from increased duty. As to the colonial point of view, when he asked that the correspondence on the question should be laid on the Table, the right honourable Gentleman, although he said it was not usual, kindly consented, but he was sorry to say that it had not yet been placed in the hands of Members, He must, therefore, trouble the Committee with a general outline of the representations made on behalf of the colonies. On 25th April the High Commissioner for Canada, the Agent- General for the Cape of Good Hope, and the Agents-General for the Australian Colonies were received by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and on the following day they reported their answer to the Secretary for the Colonies. They said that, although not all directly concerned in the production of wine, they were all interested in the development of the trade of the outlying portions of the empire with the mother country, and all regarded with alarm the proposed increase in the wine duty. Although New South Wales, Victoria, the Cape of Good Hope, and South Australia were specially concerned in the new taxes proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, other colonies might, sooner or later, become engaged in the wine industry, and, indeed, Canada already manufactured a large quantity of wine, the trade in which was regarded by the Canadian Government as one of the possibilities of the near future. The Colonies further submitted that the wine industry had attained its present position in the face of many difficulties, and that its very existence would be jeopardised by the proposed new duties. The industry laboured under many disadvantages. In the first place, the colonies were much farther away from the British market, and the freightage was three times as high in consequence; in the next place, oak staves had to be imported from Great Britain, to be manufactured into casks, and large stocks had to be maintained there, in consequence of the distance from the source of supply. Again, the long voyage made it necessary to keep the wine for a much longer period before it could be used, thereby preventing so rapid a turn-over of capital as was possible in the case of foreign wines. The Agents-General went on to point out that it was with the cheaper foreign wines that the colonial wines came principally into competition. Foreign wines were known by the names of the districts in which they were produced, and, although the price might be increased in consequence of the new duty, it would still be possible to provide some sort of wine at the price formerly paid. For instance, there were qualities of Medoc which could be bought at prices ranging from 12s. to 24s., and with a slight variation in quality they could be sold at the same price as heretofore. Colonial wines, on the other hand, were known by brands, and their quality must be maintained, and the extra cost involved in the duty must be added to the price, a circumstance which was calculated to affect the trade very seriously. Indeed, he had in his hands a bill for wine in which the extra duty was added to the invoice price, and he had seen an advertisement issued by one of the leading firms which dealt in Australian wines, indicating an increase of price to the extent of 6d. per gallon, or 1s. per dozen, since the Chancellor of the Exchequer had announced his proposals. He had information from reliable sources that the extra cost to the consumer would be not less than 2s. per dozen. Hon. Members would surely admit that must seriously affect trade in the future.

MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)

asked for further information as to the advertisement referred to.


said the advertisement was printed in the Wine and Spirit Trade Circular of April 12th, in the Wine Trade Review of April 15th, and in the Daily Graphic. The colonial wine industry had been in existence since before 1851. For a long time colonial wine did not find the slightest favour in this country. Indeed, it was not until the Exhibition of 1886 that the wine began to find any favour at all here. The trade was helped by the colonial feeling engendered by Lord Salisbury's colonial policy and the first colonial conference of 1887. A right hon. Member seemed to doubt that.


My hon. friend will excuse me. I did more than that; in 1886 I lowered the duty on colonial wine from 2s. 6d. to 1s.


said he confessed that that good action on the part of the right hon. Gentleman had escaped him. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman would be anxious not to increase the duty at the present time. In 1887 the importation of colonial wine amounted to 184,000 gallons, and last year it rose to 710,863 gallons. But neither that quantity nor its total value of £115,000 compared with the importation of foreign wine, valued last year at £6,385,000. Indeed, the whole Australian production was only 6,000,000 gallons, compared with 728,000,000 gallons in France, 485,000,000 gallons in Italy, and 447,000,000 gallons in Spain. It was therefore peculiarly unfortunate that just at the moment when colonial wines were becoming more popular, and the vineyards in Australasia and South Africa were being extended, the trade should be jeopardised by this unequal impost—unequal because it would press more hardly upon the less known colonial wines, than upon celebrated foreign wines; unequal because this was practically the only oversea market for colonial wine. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that he did not see why we should give any favour to the products of colonies which put a protective tariff upon British goods. That was a very narrow-minded view, and one unworthy of the right hon. Gentleman's great ability. He was not by any means an advocate of the extreme protection of Victoria. But why were New South Wales, South Australia, and the Cape of Good Hope and Canada to be punished for the fiscal policy of Victoria? If the right hon. Gentleman would look at the returns of trade with Australian colonies, he would find that their imports in the year 1896 were valued at £63,000,000 sterling, and of these not less than £56,000,000 came from the British Empire, £25,000,000 being from the United Kingdom, and £31,000,000 from British possessions. Was not the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with that proportion of the total importation of goods into the Australian Colonies coming under the British flag? The exports of Australasia to the United Kingdom in the same year were £9,000,000, to British possessions £28,000,000, and to foreign countries just under £9,000,000. Then he came to South Africa. The imports into Cape Colony represented £18,000,000 sterling, and of these no less than £13,000,000 came from the United Kingdom, and £1,000,000 from British possessions. That, surely, was an additional reason why they should do all they possibly could to foster colonial industry. Would not his right hon. friend look at the subject as a whole? The right hon. Gentleman talked of "financial purism gone mad." Let him consider if his proposal was not "political economy gone mad." The Chancellor of the Exchequer feared that, if he relieved the colonies from the new duty, France, Spain, and other countries would send their wine to Australia or the Cape to come here as colonial wine. Such a suspicion would not bear one moment's examination. In the case of Australia there would be a journey of some 30,000 miles, and how would that affect the Chateau Laffitte, to say nothing of the cost? Then, as he had told the House, the lowest import duty on wine in Australia was 5s. a gallon, and it went up to 20s. "Oh! but," he had said in answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet, "the foreign wine may be bonded at Melbourne and Sydney, and so escape the duty." In the first place, there was little trans-shipment trade in Australia, and bonding was not usual. He was sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer had no intention of imputing to the Australian or any colonial Governments that they would enter into any conspiracy to defraud the revenue of this country. Yet that was what his suspicion amounted to. Then, if the worst came to the worst, surely the Custom House authorities in the United Kingdom, who received £l,500,000 a year in salaries and expenses, were capable of devising and carrying out regulations to prevent fraud. If they could not, let them appeal to Scotland Yard, who would show them how to prevent it. Now, he expected that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would presently produce a letter from a certain firm of shippers of Australian wine, thanking him for the new duty. But on the 14th ultimo that very firm had attended a meeting, at which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet was present, and actually proposed a resolution praying the Government to refrain from levying the proposed increased duty upon wine produced within the British Empire, which would, in their opinion, be calculated to do great injury to a growing inter-British industry. On the 17th April another meeting had been held at their own offices of the representatives of the Australian wine trade, when, according to the paper he held in his hand, bearing the stamp of the firm— it was unanimously resolved to invite the Agents-General of the Colonies to represent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the proposed increase of duties on wines would be very prejudicial to the wine-growing colonies. He had the minutes of that meeting, signed by the general manager of the firm, and they bore out all his statements. He was at a loss to account for the sudden volte face— he had almost said the treachery to Australia—of this firm. The Times, he understood, admitted their letter only as an advertisement, and by large placards in grocers' windows it looked as if they were striving to unload the stock of 5,000 hogsheads they had in hand, and which had probably proved unsaleable. But the Imperial Government did not frame its Budget to suit the pocket for the moment of an individual firm of wine merchants, whatever adulation that might bring to the Chancellor. The views of the Premiers of Australasian Colonies, the views of the responsible Governments of all the colonies, had been submitted to Her Majesty's Government through the official and accredited channels. It was to these views, and not to those of some one wine merchant who liked to have the duties increased that he might have the opportunity of raising the cost to the public of his wines in stock, that the Government was bound to give consideration. Since the letter in question appeared, the Government of South Australia had cabled to the Hon. Dr. Cockburn, its Agent-General, as the result of a meeting in Adelaide, "Vinegrowers unite in representing injury to trade if increase of duty enforced." What was the use of Greater Britain exhibitions if this was the way we acted in this country? He thanked the Committee for its attention. He urged hon. members without reference to party or mere party politics to support this Amendment. He begged the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who had up to the present shown such far-reaching Imperial spirit, to use his influence with the Chancellor of the Exchequer so far as to induce him to give way. He implored his right hon. friend himself, not wanting the money, to abstain, for such a trifle, from doing a wrong to the colonies at total variance with the general policy of the Government. At any rate, he hoped to receive from him a sympathetic reply, and that he would at least feel himself able to give the assurance that if, as foreshadowed by the Premier of New South Wales, the federal tariff of Australasia differentiated in favour of British goods, the mother country would not be backward in differentiating in favour of colonial products. This course would encourage the development of trade in all parts of the British Empire, and stimulate that healthy feeling which in recent years had existed between the mother land and her daughter colonies.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 1, after the word 'on,' insert the word 'foreign.'"—(Sir Howard Vincent.)

Question proposed— That the word 'foreign' be there inserted.


When I found, in arranging the finances of the year, that I had to provide for a sum of nearly £900,000 by additional taxation, of course I had to consider from what source it should come. I might have increased the income-tax by a half penny in the pound, and by adding a small amount to the stamp duties, which I now propose, I might have made up the sum required. But that would not have been agreeable to my hon. friend who has proposed this motion, or my hon. friends generally on this side of the House. I thought that a part, at any rate, of the sum required ought to be found by indirect taxation. I had to choose between certain articles—wine, beer, tobacco, and spirits. I chose wine. It seemed to me that the other three articles were the object of large manufacturing industries in this country and articles largely consumed by the poor, and, at any rate with regard to beer and spirits, the raw material was also largely produced in this country, and I considered I had no right, if I could avoid it, to disturb industries of that kind. I turned to wine because it is a luxury which is produced abroad. The industry in this country connected with it is a distributing, not a manufacturing, industry, and the old duty on wine was less in this country on an average, in proportion to its value, than the duty on beer and very much less than the duty on spirits or tobacco; and, further, as I think everyone knows, our wine duties are far lower than those of other countries. This proposal of mine has been represented as if it were a kind of wanton attack on a colonial industry. As a matter of fact, out of the imports of wine into this country in a year, some 17,500,000 gallons come from foreign countries, and only 750,000 gallons from our colonies, and, as my hon. friend has admitted, out of £420,000 additional revenue which I hope to raise by additional taxation on wine, less than £20,000, on the present basis, would be paid by the products of the colonies. Therefore, when this is alluded to, as it was the other day by no less a person than Lord Rosebery, as simply laying a tax on the produce of the Australian vineyards in order to raise a comparatively small sum of money, I certainly demur to such a representation. Now, my hon. friend says it is a small matter; that if we accepted his motion we should only lose a sum of £17,875 a year—very little to this country, but very little also to the colonies. It is not a financial matter of any great importance, but my hon. friend has raised a principle the importance of which I do not think he has adequately represented to the Committee, and it is for that reason, and not on account of the small sum involved, that I feel compelled to object to his proposal. Let me call the attention of the Committee to the facts with regard to our Customs tariff. Any addition, I will venture to say, to the duties raised by Customs in this country upon any article which produces a considerable Customs revenue must affect colonial interests, and in most cases would affect them more largely than the proposed increase of the duties on wine. Take, for instance, tea. The great bulk of the total imports of tea comes from India and Ceylon. I do not propose to increase the duties on tea, but any increase in those duties would affect our colonies far more than the increase I now propose. Take spirits. Of the amount of spirits imported into this country annually our colonies send something like a proportion of 43 to 55 from foreign countries—not far short of half. I remember that five years ago, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth was obliged to increase the duty on spirits by 6d. a gallon, the result was that £95,000 in the course of the year was raised from this colonial product. Lord Rosebery was the head of the Government at the time. I suppose he was an Imperialist then, subject to the counsels of the right hon. Gentleman, but no one ever suggested that in the course then taken he was adopting a melancholy method of promoting and spreading Imperialism.


No, Sir.


No; yet what is the difference between the action then taken and the action I now propose as far as colonial interests are concerned? Merely this, that the Government of that day, in raising the duty on spirits, extracted £95,000 from colonial products, while I propose, according to my hon. friend, to extract under £18,000—not more than one-fifth of the sum then imposed. And so, if I were to go on to other articles on which we levy Customs Duties, such as cocoa or coffee, I find a greater proportion of cocoa and coffee imported into this country comes from our colonies than of wine. Someone has mentioned sugar. Well, it has been proposed by some people that a Customs Duty should be imposed on sugar. Is it not obvious that if any proposal of that sort were made, colonial interests would be far more affected than by the addition of taxation on wine? The proposal of my hon. friend, therefore, is a very far-reaching proposal indeed, and probably if he were staunch to his principles, as I am sure he is, he would raise it in reference to any article on which Customs Duties are levied, or could be raised. What my hon. friend, therefore, asks me to do is to adopt a precedent which would involve a return to a system of differential duties in regard to our colonies, which was abolished 40 years ago. He asked us to depart from our revenue tariff, of which the most important principle is a system of equal rates upon the same products from whatever country they may come, and to adopt a differential system in favour of the colonies. Well, that must carry with it very important changes, and it would be necessary to return to all those precautions against fraudulent entries, all those provisions in regard to place of origin, and all the trammels on freedom of movement, the abolition of which has done more for the interests of the trade and commerce of the country than the abolition of the duties themselves. It is that and nothing else that my hon. friend asks us to do for the sake of this small sum of £17,000 a year levied on imports which are practically confined to the wines of two colonies, Victoria and South Australia, amounting in value to no more than £112,000, out of the total exports sent by these Colonies to this country of £7,500,000. I do not think the occasion is quite worthy of the proposal which my hon. friend has made. But let me see what it is he really desires. I think I am not misinterpreting my hon. friend when I say in words that have been adopted by the Agents-General of the colonies concerned, that he desires to develop trade between the outlying portion of the Empire and the Mother Country. Of course, he does not desire that any tariff concession should be made on one side only. That would not be the way to encourage trade. He desires that the concessions should be mutual, and that what we do for Australia, Australia should do for us. Now that is a very agreeable idea, but I venture to suggest that it is an idea extremely difficult to put in practice. I will tell my hon. friend why. He is, I know, in favour of a return to the old Customs tariff of 50 or 60 years ago, with its duties on I know not how many articles. But he must take our tariff as he now finds it, a revenue tariff, comprising very few articles indeed, which is therefore very far from being adapted to the process of bargaining which my hon. friend tries to promote. Of course, if he had his way, it might be possible to reduce the duties on wine in favour of certain colonies. By the way, I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth was mistaken in saying that he reduced the duties on colonial wine. What he did was to raise the alcoholic scale from 26 to 30, and, as a matter of fact, all Australian wines being under 26 came in before at the lowest rate of duty.


I remember the deputation well, and their asking me to put them under the Spanish tariff.


I have made careful inquiries, with the result I have mentioned. My hon. friend would bargain with certain colonies to reduce the duties on their wines in return for certain concessions; with other colonies for a reduction of the duty on spirits; with others for the reduction of duty on cocoa or coffee, or whatever may be their special product. Well, if you made an agreement on these points, what would happen? Foreign countries would come and say, "You have made such an arrangement with your colonies, will you make a similar arrangement with us?" What would my hon. friend say to that? If he accepted the proposal he would at once find himself entangled in the meshes of the most-favoured-nation clause, and the whole of his plan would fall through; while if he declined the proposal the foreign country would have a grievance against this country, far greater in amount than any increase of duty on equal terms would be. Although I do not wish to attach undue importance to the anger of foreign countries, yet I cannot forget that no less than two-thirds of our trade is with foreign countries, and we should have to be very careful in any arrangement to which we agreed that we did not lose a great deal more than we could gain. But assuming that my hon. friend means to enter into an arrangement with the colonies, and not with foreign countries, at any rate you must deal equally with all the colonies. Now the articles on our tariff come from our tropical colonies, and when our powers of dealing with them are exhausted, suppose any of our other colonies not producing wine, cocoa, coffee, or any other article on our tariff were to come and say "You have made arrangements with other colonies for preferential treatment, what are you going to do for us? We admit your goods on as favourable terms as they do; you must give us some differential treatment which would favour our goods on your market." Is my hon. friend prepared, or is the Committee prepared, to impose a differential duty—which will have to be of a substantial amount to be of any use—on corn and timber from foreign countries in favour of corn or timber from Canada? I am afraid I am detaining the Committee at some length, but I felt it was only right to put before them, as shortly as possible, the difficulties and dangers which I see in the policy to which we are asked to commit ourselves. But I admit that there is something to be said on the other side, and that this question cannot be treated solely as a fiscal question. It is not merely a matter of pounds, shillings and pence. There is nothing more remarkable in recent years than the growth in this country and in the colonies of the Imperial sentiment—the desire in every way possible to promote more and more Imperial unity; and it may be that as this sentiment grows means may be reached for overcoming obstacles and removing difficulties which to my mind are grave indeed. In this connection my hon. friend has alluded to a telegram from Mr. G. Reid, who occupies a very high and important position in Australia. Mr. Reid telegraphs:— "Colonial Premiers are favourably disposed towards in future making differences in favour of British goods, and this disposition will, it is hoped, bear practical proof under federation." Well, I hope federation is rapidly approaching in Australia. I am quite sure that, whatever Government may be in office in this country, if, after federation, the Australian Federal Government approached this country with suggestions by which greater freedom of trade can be mutually promoted between this country and Australia, that suggestion would meet with the most careful examination and sympathetic consideration. But we have nothing of the kind at the present moment. If my hon. friend derives any hope from the telegram, it is a hope relating to the future. At the present time we have to deal with the fact that this request my hon. friend has placed before the Committee is practically a request from two colonies, Victoria and South Australia; and these colonies are not prepared in any way, so far as I know, to make any mutual arrangement of the kind which my hon. friend desires. These two colonies at the present moment are thoroughly protectionist in their tariffs against our manufactures and the manufactures of other countries; and I do not understand, I confess, the policy of my hon. friend for desiring to give to these two colonies what at any rate they appear to feel would be a matter of great importance to them—namely, a preferential treatment in our market in return for nothing whatever on their side. That is the proposal. Now, whatever the force of sentiment in this matter, and I admit the force is very great indeed, surely the sentiment might be tempered with a little business-like consideration; and I think if my hon. friend would devote his attention to the subject from that point of view, he would see that in the interest of the policy he had suggested we should not give away all we had to offer without getting something in return. What are the facts with regard to these two colonies? My hon. friend said that the wine industry in Victoria and South Australia was handicapped by the necessity of having to import casks or oak staves from this country. Now, as a matter of fact, both colonies impose heavy import duties on empty casks, and one imposes a heavy duty on oak staves. These colonies complain of an additional 6d. per gallon duty on wines, while they impose a duty of from 10d. to 1s. 2d. per gallon on English beer, which is practically more than its value—more than 100 per cent. Then, if I turn to clothing, furniture, woollen goods, soap, saddlery, and the most important kinds of machinery, and blacksmiths' and other tools — which, I believe, are made in Sheffield—I find an ad valorem duty ranging up to 25, or oven 35 per cent. imposed on the goods I have mentioned. Well, I do not think the proposal of my hon. friend, even from his point of view, is quite reasonable at the present time. But there is another argument. It is said by the Agents-General, and my hon. friend has repeated the statement tonight, that the very existence of these industries in these colonies is jeopardised by the additional 6d. per gallon which we propose to impose on wines. And my hon. friend has stated to the Committee certain reasons, in his opinion, and in that of the Agents-General, why that will have this effect. First of all there is the argument of distance. The freight is more, larger stocks of wine have to be kept, and they have to be kept for a longer time, so that capital is turned over less quickly. Then the wines of Australia are wines that are known by certain brands; they have to reach that standard, and they cannot be manipulated in the manner in which French or German wines are manipulated in order to meet any increase of duty. That is the argument. But it is a fact that there are no vintage wines sold in this country from Australia; and as one vintage must certainly differ from another in quantity and quality, there must be a blending of Australian wines in order to keep them up to their proper standard. Therefore, although I do not profess to understand the secrets of the trade, I do not see why there should not be the same opportunity for making up Australian wines to meet an increased duty as there is with French and German wines. But whatever the force of this argument maybe, what I would place before the Committee is this—that in spite of these disabilities the industry has grown and flourished, and reached its present dimensions under a system of equal duties. My hon. friend made use of a letter from a firm to which he alluded. Well, I have made inquiries on the point, and I find that Messrs. Bourgoyne, who wrote this letter, are justified in the statement which they made that they originally introduced Australian wines to the British public, and have annually, during 28 years, paid more duty on such wines than all the rest of the trade put together. They are, I believe, importers both from Victoria and South Australia, and are themselves owners of vineyards in Victoria. They say that "the thanks of the vine-growing interests are, in their opinion, due to me for not conceding preferential duties to Australian wines." They say that "such preference would have ruined the industry," and that my "decision saved it." They say that "the industry requires no nursing, that there is a force behind it which is fast raising it to the level of the foremost wine countries in the world, that the competition they supply is in vigorating and helpful. We do not think the tax will limit the consumption of Australian wines, but, on the contrary, judging by our own business, it appears to have given the trade an extraordinary impetus, in spite of the natural disturbance which a change of prices brings about. There has been no covering up the extra tax." My hon. friend made a great deal of the fact that in regard to the Australian wines notice has been given by the merchants who deal in them of an increase in the price due to the increase in the duty.

MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)

An increase of double the amount of duty.


Yes, that is a very common practice, but I did not think my right hon. friend was so guileless as not to see what action of that sort on the part of the wine merchants may mean.


May I hand to the right hon. Gentleman papers which bear the signature of the firm of which he has given the name, showing exactly the contrary? Here is a resolution proposed by the general manager of the firm at a meeting of the representatives of the Australian wine trade: It was unanimously resolved to invite the Agents-General of the Colonies to represent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the proposed increase of duties on wines would be very prejudicial to the wine-growing Colonies.


I do not doubt it in the least. These gentlemen were naturally banded together for a certain time, as long as they thought that their common action might induce me to adopt the proposal of the Agents-General; but as soon as they found that I was not prepared to adopt that resolution, then their opinion changed as I have stated. But my main point is this: the proposal of my hon. friend is a most important and a far-reaching one. It is not a mere matter of sentiment, or a mere matter of £17,000 a year. It goes very far beyond that. It is a proposal that can only be accepted by this country after grave consideration and examination of all that it might lead to. We are asked to accept it, not as an arrangement of a mutual character between any colony or colonies and ourselves, although that is the essence of the policy of my hon. friend: we are asked to give it in return for nothing, to two protectionist colonies which impose very high duties on the goods of the mother country. I say that in such a case as this, to my mind it would be utterly unreasonable that we who bear the burdens of Empire should surrender our fiscal freedom in the way my hon. friend proposes. I hope he will not press this motion to a Division. I believe it would do more harm than good; but if he does press it to a Division, I would ask the Committee to decide against him.


The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us very frankly, that when he was face to face with his deficit of £900,000, he had turned his attention to different branches of indirect taxation. But he forgot to tell the Committee this deficit had been created entirely by himself, by taking off last year a very large sum of indirect taxation, which has benefited nobody except a few happy manufacturers of the article, and still happier retailers, who have put into their own pockets what I may call this differential duty to which the right hon. Gentleman objected to in the case of pure wines. I regret that the question of throwing away this million and a half last year could not be raised on the last Amendment, for that is really the source of the difficulty with which we are confronted to-day. I also agree with my hon. friend opposite that this is a very unfortunate time at which to impose additional duties on wines, not only as regards the colonies, but as regards foreign nations. However, the proposal of the hon. Member for Sheffield is pure and simple protection. You may call it differential duty; you may call it the establishment of a better feeling between ourselves and the colonies; but the proposal really is that a tax is to be put on the English consumer, who would pay the whole of the duty, no matter whether the wine comes from Australia or Canada, the Cape, or from France. The proposal is simply this, that so much of that tax as is paid on foreign wines will not go into the pocket of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but go at a bound into the pockets of the wine producers in the colonies. I challenge a contradiction of that as a proper statement of the case. The colonial merchant, if he had got a large stock of wine on which he had paid the lowest duties, would raise a very large profit, for the consumer would have to pay the full duty, and the difference would go into the pockets of these gentlemen, who would be rightly thankful to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the same. The colonial producer would raise his price to what would be a sufficient difference between himself and the producer in foreign countries to give him practically a command of the market, and he would put the difference which would be paid by the English consumer into his pocket. I will not go over the admirable arguments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer against differential duties, although I think, to some extent, the right hon. Gentleman has admitted the principle that these preferential duties may be bargained for in some shape or form. Whether it may be called free trade purism or free trade pedantry, it is the doctrine of free traders to which we on this side certainly adhere, that all these bargainings are to the disadvantage of the consumer, that they hamper trade, and that they benefit no one except a few fortunate individuals who put the money in their own pockets. I would ask the hon. Gentleman where he proposed to stop. Will he stop with wine, or is he going on to spirits and other commodities which the colonies produce? And is he going to confine his favours simply to the colonies? We have many questions raised nowadays as to the financial relations of the different parts of the United Kingdom. Why do not the producers of spirits in Ireland or Scotland claim some advantage over spirits produced in foreign countries which come into this country? The whole system of differential duties was abandoned forty years ago, under the circumstances mentioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, especially with relation to sugar, and its importation from our own colonies. The whole thing went when Free Trade was established, and the hon. Member for Sheffield has given no ground whatever why he should impose this tax upon ourselves for the benefit of the producers of the colonies. I agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this would be an injury to the colonies and colonial trade instead of a benefit. The injury is not in the imposition of the duty, but in the diminished trade it would create. A less quantity of wine would come from the colonies on account of the increase in price, and also from France for the same reason, and a great deal of the beneficial legislation which was inaugurated thirty years ago would be seriously hampered if the proposal were adopted. I would put it to the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is not possible to meet the colonial case, and also the case of those at home to whom wine is not a luxury, namely, the lower middle classes, who are the consumers in this country of cheap light wines. The right hon. Gentleman told us that the bulk of the wines that came from Australia were under 26 degrees alcohol strength. If he would take out the first item from the Schedule, and confine his increases to the wines above 26 degrees, he would, so alter his alcoholic scale as to allow cheap French and colonial wines to come in at the same rate together, and I do not think that the loss to him would be more than £100,000. In this way the difficulty would be solved. That question, I believe, will come on later upon an Amendment by one of my hon. friends behind me, and to that Amendment I shall give my support. But, on the grounds stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I, and I hope every gentleman on this side of the House, will support the Government in its resistance to the retrograde policy which is involved in the proposal of the hon. Member.


said he was not going to be tempted by the right hon. Gentleman, who had sought to drag the red herring of Protection across their path. This question had nothing to do with Protection; it was simply a. proposal to afford to our fellow-subjects in other parts of the empire a reasonable preference in our trade. He was much disappointed at the tone of his right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. At this moment overtures were being made to us by our most influential colonies. Canada had accorded to Great Britain a distinct preference in her tariff, and the Prime Minister of one of our Australian colonies, New South Wales, which had never hitherto been identified with Protection, had indicated that he and his brother Australasian Premiers were anxious to reciprocate with us on the question of preferential trading. Yet, this was the moment when the right hon. Gentleman dwelt upon every conceivable difficulty which could be raised against this principle. The right hon. Gentleman answered himself, because in his speech a few nights ago he had pointed out that the foreign countries whom he feared would enter upon reprisals had already taxed our goods as much, as they possibly could, or, at all events, had consulted their own interests and not ours. How could the right hon Gentleman reconcile his sentiments with those of some of his colleagues? Lord Salisbury had said it was to the trade which was carried on between the empire and this country that we should have to look for the vital forces in the future in the commerce of this country. The Secretary for the Colonies said experience taught them to draw closer to the colonies. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not quite closed the door, he certainly had not done anything to open it to a closer union between the several branches of the empire. He was greatly disappointed at the retrograde action of his right hon. friend, coming as it did upon the far more enlightened utterances of Lord Salisbury and the Secretary for the Colonies. The want of sympathy of his right hon. friend towards this question of inter-British trade was lamentable. Here was an opportunity for the Government to perform a graceful act which would have been much appreciated by our colonies, and which would have cost a mere bagatelle, but his right hon. friend had discarded that opportunity, and had taken refuge in the miserable platitudes of the Cobden Club.

MR. LAMBERT (Devon, South Molton)

wished to explain his position with regard to this matter by drawing attention to the fact that, in a period of unexampled prosperity, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was reduced to the miserable expedient of placing a tax upon cheap colonial wines. It was regrettable that this proposal should come from a Unionist Chancellor of the Exchequer, because the Unionist party had said so much about developing the resources of our Empire and bringing the colonies and the mother country together. He quite agreed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his right hon. friend below him that preferential duties as between the colonies and the mother country would cause bickerings and ill-feeling between the different colonies. Having gone to the country clothed almost in the Union Jack, the Government now proposed to put a tax on the colonies which was resented by the whole of the Australian colonies, which had sent letters to the right hon. Gentleman asking him to exclude these wines from this duty. The proposal of the hon. Gentleman opposite could be carried out in a different way. Nearly all the colonial wines came into this country under 20 degrees of proof spirit, and if the duty was allowed to remain as at present on wine under 30 degrees of proof spirit, that would practically cover the colonial grievance. He deeply regretted that a Unionist Government should have so irritated colonial feeling at this critical period in the history of our colonies.


said he wholly objected to this tax, and though he was in hearty sympathy with his hon. friend he could not vote for this motion, because it did not express the principles which his hon. friend had laid down. As he was not prepared to vote against it he was in a dilemma, and therefore he did not propose to vote at all. Having, however, just returned from the colonies, he was in a position to say how much the action of the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be misinterpreted, not only by the whole of the wine trade, but the colonies at large. He recognised the difficulties of the fiscal policy, but did not sympathise with the protectionist view which ran through the debate. Although the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had intimated his intention to stand to his resolution to increase the wine duties, he hoped that before the debate terminated some arrangement would be come to by which these particular wines might be exempted from extra taxation. But whether that took place or not, in his opinion a more unfortunate time could not have been chosen at which to put the proposal forward. Even if at the eleventh hour the right hon. Gentleman would withdraw the proposal, he would call forth an expression of gratitude from the colonies.

COLONEL PILKINGTON (Lancashire, Newton)

had no doubt that advantage

Bartley, George C. T. Daly, James Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.
Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Goulding, Edward Alfred
Bowles, T. Gibson (Lynn Regis Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Graham, Henry Robert
Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Donelan, Captain A. Hardy, Laurence
Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd Donkin, Richard Sim Hogan, James Francis
Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal) Doogan, P. C. Holland, Wm. H. (York, W.R.
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) Doughty, George Howell, William Tudor

ought to be taken of every possibility to improve our trade relations with the colonies. He was pleased to think that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had admitted that there was some weakness in the position which he had taken up. The right hon. Gentleman said he did not think the time was convenient to accede to the request in the matter of the wine duties, but that he looked with favour upon the suggestion. He thought that this was an opportunity when we might do something to help, please and conciliate the colonies in a small matter, and at the same time of enlarge the trade of the empire. He did not think there need be any fear with regard to what foreign nations might do in the matter, inasmuch as we were the largest customers that they had, and everybody might be quite sure that they would not quarrel over tariff. He therefore did not see the danger to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had alluded, whilst if this proposal were persisted in it would be a matter of great irritation to the colonies. He had great pleasure in supporting the Amendment.


regretted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not seen his way to accept the Amendment, because in his opinion, in addition to affecting the flow of trade and the interest of the consumers, these duties had a tendency to strain the relations existing between the mother country and the colonies. We ought in a question of this kind to lay aside the hard view of political economy, and try to see whether sentiment between the mother country and her daughters, the colonies, should not exercise some influence in drawing closer the bond of relationship. He was one of those who hoped the time would come when there would be Free Trade between all parts of the empire, but he was afraid that that time was still very far off.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 37; Noes, 192. (Division List, No. 136.)

Hutchinson, Capt.G. W. Grice- Power, Patrick Joseph Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbrough
Lorne, Marquess of Sandys, Lieut.-Col. ThosMyles Younger, William
MacAleese, Daniel Seton-Karr, Henry
MacIver, David (Liverpool) Sidebottom, William (Derbysh. TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Montagu, Hon. J. Scott(Hants. Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath) Sir Howard Vincent and Mr. Pilkington.
Myers, William Henry Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkeeny) Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)
Acland-Hood, Capt. SirAlex. F. Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (CityofLond Morrell, George Herbert
Allan, William (Gateshead) Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans Morton, Arthur H. A. Deptford
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Goddard, Daniel Ford Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport
Arnold, Alfred Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Mount, William George
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Goldsworthy, Major-General Murray, Col. Wyndham(Bath
Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire) Gordon, Hon. John Edward Nicol, Donald Ninian
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Nusey, Thomas Willans
Balcarres, Lord Goschen, RHn. G. J. (StGeorge's O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Gosehen, George J. (Sussex) Oldroyd, Mark
Balfour, RHn. Gerald W. (Leeds Gurdon, Sir William Brampton Pearson, Sir Weetman D.
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.
Barry, RtHnAH Smith-(Hunts Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Barton,Dunbar Plunket Harwood, George Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Beach, Rt. Hn. SirM. H. (Bristol Haslett, Sir James Horner Pierpoint, Robert
Bethell, Commander Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale- Pretyman, Ernest George
Blake, Edward Hazell, Walter, Price, Robert John
Blakiston-Houston, John Hedderwick, ThomasChas. H. Priesley, Briggs(Yorks.)
Boseawen, Arthur Griffith- Helder, Augustus Priestley, SirW. Overend(Edin
Broadhurst, Henry Hemphil, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Richardson, SirThos. (Hartlep'l
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Henderson, Alexander Rickett, J. Compton
Burns, John Hill, Arthur (Down, West) Ritchie, RtHon Chas. Thomson
Caldwell, James Jacoby, James Alfred Robertson, Herbert (Hackney
Cameron, Sir Charles(Glasgow Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Round, James
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Jeffreys,Arthur Frederick Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Cawley, Frederick Jenkins, Sir John Jones Rutherford, John
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm. Johnston, William (Belfast) Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Charmberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Jolliffe, Hon. H. George Sharpe, William Edward T.
Channing, Francis Allston Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt HnSir U Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Kenyon, James Sidebottom, T. Harrop (Stalybr.
Charrington, Spencer Keswick, William Sinclari, Capt. John (Forfarsh.
Clare, Octavius Leigh Knowless, Lees Souttar, Robinson
Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh. Lawrence,SirE.Durning-(Corn Spicer, Albert
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Lawson, SirWilfrid (Cumb'land Stanley, Hon,Arthr.(Ormskirk
Coghill, Douglas, Harry Lecky, Rt. Hn. WilliamEdw. H. Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Stevenson, Francis S.
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Leng, Sir John Strauss, Arthur
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Leuty, Thomas Richmond Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Colville, John Lewis, John Herbert Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Corbett, A. Cameron,(Glasgow Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Courtney, Rt Hon. Leonard H. Llewelyn SirDillwyn-(Swansea Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Lloyd-George, David Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Ure, Alexander
Curzon, Viscount Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham Valentia, Viscount
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Long, Rt. Hn Walter(Liverpool Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)
Digby, John K. D. Wingfield- Lowe, Francis William Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Dorington, Sir John Edward Loyd, Archie Kirkman Warr, Augustus Frederick
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Macartney, W. G. Ellison Webster,SirR.E.(Isle of Wight
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Macdona, John Cumming Weir, James Galloway
Doxford, William, Theodore M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool Whiteley, George (Stockport)
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart M'Ghee, Richard Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Fardell, Sir T. George M'Killop, James Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Fellowes, Hon. AilwynEdward M'Laren,Charles Benjamin Williams, John Carvell (Notts.
Fenwick, Charles M'Leod, John Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm
Finch, George H. Maden, John Henry Willox, Sir John Archibald
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire) Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk
Fisher, William Hayes Melville, Beresford Valentine Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Fitz Wygram. General Sir F. Milton, Viscount Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.
Folkestone, Viscount Monekton, Edward Philip Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Forster, Henry William Monk, Charles James Wyndham, George
Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel) Young,Commander(Berks, E.
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Moore, William (Antrim, N.) TELLER FOR THE NOES—Sir
Fry, Lewis More, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.) William Walrong and Mr. Anstruther.
Garfit, William Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)
MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)

said the object of the Amendment he now rose to move was to secure that the duty should be the same on the same wines whether imported in cask or in bottle. That had, for a long time, been the principle of their wine duties. Indeed, he thought he might say that the principle of taxing the same wine at the same rate of duty was always the idea aimed at by successive Chancellors of the Exchequer. It had been realised for a long time past that, in whatever form the wine was imported, the duty should be calculated at the same rate. In suggesting that the same rate should be maintained and continued, whether the wine was imported in cask or in bottle, he knew he lost the support of the members of the wine trade itself. They were friendly to an increase of duty on wine imported in bottle, and the reason was not far to seek. If they put a different rate of duty on wine in bottle from that on wine in cask, the wine being absolutely the same, they made the importation of the wine in cask put on the market in this country cheaper, and the work of bottling was transferred from the foreign country to this. The members of the wine trade had intimated to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that they were not opposed in principle to differentiation of duties on wine in bottles and wine in casks, but they considered the proposed increase too high. He confessed he thought the fact that they were friendly to the change was something which ought to put all persons not interested in the trade in opposition to it, because they must conceive that the proposal was favourable to them as a class, and for the same reason it must be injurious to the consumers as a whole. It was to the interest of the consumers that the trade should be perfectly free and unaffected by the imposition of any fiscal duties. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had expressed the opinion that upon this change he anticipated that a good deal of wine which had hitherto been brought in bottles would, in future, be brought in casks, and that there would be no cheap wine in bottles. If that view were sound, he appealed to those interested in the freedom of trade, and who take it that the theory of our fiscal system was not to interfere with the natural course of trade, to support him. The interest of the consumer was the first and last thing to be regarded in this matter, and they ought, therefore, to secure that the same rate of duty should be paid on wine brought to this country, whether it came in one way or another. He was surprised to see how the system in force had stimulated a small trade between the consumers and the merchants. He pointed to the fact that under the freedom of trade which had hitherto existed the wine merchant on the Continent had traded directly with the consumer here without the intervention of a middleman, and an international intercourse had thus been developed which they ought to jealously safeguard. It might be suggested that after the Bill is passed, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer carried out his proposed change, the consumers might still trade direct, and import in cask and bottle for themselves. That would not be so, and a large number of small consumers who now obtained the small quantities of wine they required for domestic consumption direct from the merchant abroad would entirely discontinue the importation to which they had been accustomed, or such importation would be greatly reduced, and private consumers would be deterred from doing so. What was the reason for making the change? If the wine was different he could conceive some argument in its favour. Different wines paid a different duty, but the same wine should pay the same duty, however it was imported. The only possible reason was to be found in the statement that bottled wines were dearer than higher class wines, and that, therefore, the higher rate of duty produced an ad valorem duty. That statement was not true, because the wine which was imported in bottle was the wine which would not bear the cost of being imported in cask and afterwards bottled in this country. It was the wine which was cheap in price and which was capable of being imported in casks. The wines of the Rhine and Moselle were cheap, nutritious, and highly recommended by the faculty as of delicate, bouquet and flavour; but they were just the class of wines which would lose their special quality if they were imported in wood, and it were then attempted to bottle them here. In the interest of health, as well as of commerce, he should strongly deprecate the establishment, for the first time in a great number of years, of a, principle that they should pay a higher rate of duty on wine brought here in bottles than on wines brought here in casks, only for the interests of the bottlers here. In no other interest could it be alleged that this duty should be established. What he had said applied not only to the wines brought into this country from Germany and France, but to Italian wines, which were imported direct in bottles, and which were of good quality, cheap, nutritious, and wholesome. He failed to see any reason which justified the Chancellor of the Exchequer in dealing with wines in this way. If the right hon. Gentleman retained the principle of securing a higher rate of duty on wine in bottle than on the same wine in wood, they should have to examine hereafter what that rate of duty might be. He might for the present point out that if they established a higher rate of duty, however small the addition might be, they introduced a taxation of the alcohol in these cheap wines out of all proportion to the duty on alcohol in the form of pure spirits. He believed, considering the alcohol that was to be found in the cheap wines of the Moselle country, that the actual rate of taxation per gallon of alcohol under the Chancellor of the Exchequer's scale would be something like 24s. on Moselle, as compared with 10s.6d., which was the duty upon a gallon of proof spirits—nearly two and a half times as much. In regard to the wines of France, the duty on the alcohol in the wine was equivalent to something like 16s. per gallon. These were excessive rates, and to propose such a plan was a retrograde step and abandonment of the fiscal policy which Mr. Gladstone adopted in 1861—which had been followed with great success ever since—of endeavouring to get, through fiscal changes, an alteration in the drinking habits of the country, whereby, in place of the old, strong, heavy wines, or the still stronger spirits, which were the consumption of former generations, they might find a large class of this country approaching in their drinking habits the habits of the Continent, where they saw wines freely consumed as table wines and where they rarely saw an illustration of excess in their consumption. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was going back upon that policy, and was doing so in an aggravated form, for he was proposing to put on cheap wines in bottles an increase of 150 per cent.—2s. instead of 6d.—over the rate of duty which he proposed to put on wines in casks. He strongly urged on the right hon. Gentleman the expediency of abolishing the differentiation he proposed, and of laying down the principle that, whatever increase he might seek to establish in the duty on wine, the same duty should be put on wine in bottles as upon wine in casks, provided it was one and the same wine. If they could make a distinction as to the wine, that would be a very different matter; but wine of the same kind should be charged one and the same duty in whatever form or vehicle it was brought into this country. For all those reasons he begged to move the Amendment standing in his name.

Amendment proposed— In Clause 2, line 5, to leave out 'other than still wine in bottle.'"—(Mr. Courtney.)

Question proposed — That the words 'other than still wine in bottle stand part of the Clause.


My hon. friend has accused me of going back on the policy of Mr. Gladstone in the matter of the amount of duty to be levied on the lighter wines. But, so far from going back on Mr. Gladstone's policy, I am in direct accordance with it. Under the treaty with France in i860 the duty on still wines in bottles, as compared with wines in wood, was placed as I proposed to place it in this Bill. That treaty lasted without any complaint until 1866, when a commercial treaty was made with Austria which equalised the duty, so far as Austria was concerned, on wines in bottles with wines in wood. Then, under the most favoured-nation clause, the provisions of that treaty were extended to all other countries; and thus, without any action on the part of France, the extra duty on still wines was abolished and has remained abolished ever since. The Austrian treaty was denounced in 1876, and therefore the concession no longer secures us any advantage. Mr. Gladstone's policy was distinctly to impose an extra tax on wines in bottle as distinct from wines in cask. Now I propose to re-establish that policy. And why? Because I am convinced that every one of these wines—except, perhaps, those to which the righthon.Gentleman has alluded, can just as well be imported in wood as in bottle. In fact, they are so imported at the present time. The total importation of Italian wines in 1898 was 402,000 gallons in cask and only about 32,000 gallons in bottles. The importation of still wines in 1897 was 14,500,000 gallons in cask, and only a little over 1,000,000 in bottle. Therefore, Sir, what I am aiming at in this proposal is this—that the more expensive still wines, the only wines which will in future come in bottle, should pay some extra duty. That, no doubt, is tantamount to an ad valorem duty. But, Sir, I have considered this matter, which has been before me in its various aspects, and I think that for various reasons, even for the sake of revenue, I have put the duty rather too high. What I suggest is that the Amendment should be accepted, and that later on a surtax of 1s. per gallon on still wines imported in bottle should be placed in the Bill instead of the present proposal. The effect of that will be a reduction of 6d. per gallon in the duty I have proposed on wines in bottles. There may be some slight loss of revenue; but I do not think it will be much, because the lower duty will cause the cheaper wine to come in more in bottle than it would have come in under the higher duty.


appealed to his right hon. friend the Member for Bodmin to accept the amended proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The cheaper wines were being increasingly used in this country, and if it was desirable that the consumption of the lighter class of wines should, be encouraged, the wines upon which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to put a duty were especially deserving of the attention of the House. Although they would be less hard hit under the new proposal than under the original proposal it would still remain true that the tax on alcohol in the case of light wines imported in bottle would be enormously large as compared with the taxation of alcohol in the form of spirits.


I forgot to add that, as part of my proposal, I shall have to move a resolution to the effect that the same 1s. surtax will be imposed on spirits imported in bottle.


said he should be very glad to accept the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposal that the Committee should agree to the Amendment. They would however, be at liberty to withhold their approval of the subsequent Amendment with regard to the surtax.


I really cannot carry the matter further. If the right hon. Gentleman does not accept my suggestion, I shall not be inclined to go on with it.


said the Chancellor of the Exchequer had shown great generosity, and to a certain extent had met the arguments of the hon. Member for Bodmin. It might be that his experience of spirits was less than that of most hon. Members, but he was convinced, speaking generally, it was only the costly wines and spirits that came in bottle, the less costly coming in wood. This extra bottle tax would in effect amount to an ad valorem duty. He recommended the light hon. Gentleman to jump at the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and close with it at once.


observed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the master of the situation, and, if the right honourable Gentleman was not prepared to make any further concession, he would accept his proposal.

Question put and agreed to.

MR. HARWOOD (Bolton) moved an Amendment to provide that on wine (other than still wines in bottles) not exceeding 26 degrees of proof spirit the duty should only be 1s. a gallon. He assured the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the differentiation he proposed was not based upon the economic fallacies which were urged with regard to the former Amendment by the Member for Sheffield. The proposal which he had the honour to introduce did not depend upon any idea of differentiation in regard to the colonies or any other country, but was based upon the unjust incidence of the proposed wine duties. He would venture to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that the proposed wine duties fall very unjustly and disproportionately upon the lower classes of wine. They had been told that, as a matter of fact, although, the duty should be 1d. per bottle, the actual addition to the consumer was 2d. What would be the consequence of that? That the consumers of light claret, for instance, would be paying double the amount of the duty that was proposed to be raised—in other words, they would be paying £300,000 towards the £150,000 that the Government were going to raise. The consumers were the people whom the House ought to consider with great care. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had used an axiom which was not an axiom. He said that wine was an article of luxury. ("No.") He was subject to correction, but that was the general remark he understood him to make. He ventured to say that the cheaper wines had become an article of necessity—at any rate, people had acquired the habit of drinking them. He had, and he was also prepared to say that he and everybody else was the better for doing so. These wines were drunk by a class who were already more than fairly taxed. There were two classes in this country who were very well protected the one was the rich class, and the other the working class, which was now organised; but between the upper and nether millstone was the community which the House did not seem to be so careful in protecting and doing justice to, and that was the struggling middle class, the poor professional class. That was the class that mostly consumed the wines in question. The proportionate increase on the cheaper wine was eight times as much as it was upon the wine consumed by the richer classes, and they put that tax upon a people who were the least able to pay and who were most deserving of the tender consideration of the Committee. Again he submitted that the interposition of the Committee was injurious to the trade generally. He did not consider the question of the susceptibilities of France or of the colonies—he did not think that was a consideration worth entertaining. If we diminished the consumption of articles sent to us by another country, some of his friends on the opposite side of the House would rejoice. The hon. Member for Sheffield seemed to think it a most desirable thing to prevent anybody from sending us anything. Personally, he rejoiced that people should send him anything. The Committee should never lose sight of the fact that while it was a good thing for foreigners to take our goods, it was at least half a good thing for us to take theirs. For every cask of wine we took from France or any other country they took goods from us, and he therefore objected in the interests of trade to the nonsensical idea that we held the key of the situation by the imposition of the duty. The last ground upon which he objected to the increased duty was that it was a retrograde step in the matter of temperance. The word temperance had been very much mistaken. Temperance did not mean abstinence, but the moderate use of that which was good What was the object of Mr. Gladstone's great radical change in the reduction of the wine duties? It was to encourage amongst our people the use of wholesome alcoholised drinks. He thought the use of alcoholised drinks was in some degree a good thing. At any rate he found it so himself, and he did not wish to see any abstinence from a reasonable use of it amongst other people. But the important thing was that the use of alcoholised drink in beer and spirits would be encouraged by the disuse of the light wines. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said he did not believe the imposition of the duty would discourage the importation of light wines. At the time Mr. Gladstone effected his great reduction of the wine duties the import trade from France had fallen away to 600,000 gallons; and the result of that great statesman's fiscal policy was that the import had now gone up to 9,000,000 gallons. It was, therefore, perfectly obvious that the proposed change would discourage the use of light wines, which so many people in the country found extremely healthy and pleasant. It was hard for him to discuss the question with an ascetic who neither smoked nor drank, but he should like the right hon. Gentleman to go to some of the large Lancashire towns and see the extent to which the shilling claret was consumed by what he (Mr. Harwood) considered the most reputable class of the community—a class that could not drink beer, that did not want to drink spirits, and yet wanted to drink something. They were discouraging the consumption of light wines to a very serious degree, and consequently encouraging the consumption of a heavier drink. He would put before the right honourable Gentleman considerations which he thought should have weight with one whose humour they so often admired. In the 15th and 16th centuries the chief drink of this country was the light wine of France and Spain, and they heard that Jack Cade wished the fountains to flow, not with beer, as he would have done nowadays, but with claret. They knew also what bright and winsome associations were connected with the name of sack. He would suggest to the right honourable Gentleman, for the sake of the wit and humour of his country, which was said to be rather ponderous, that it was a wrong step to encourage the consumption of beer at the expense of light wines. He moved his Amendment for three reasons—first, because these duties would bear unjustly upon a particular class of wine; secondly, be cause this particular class of wine was chiefly consumed by those who most had a claim on the consideration of the House; and, thirdly, because the effect of this policy would be to discourage the consumption of light wines, and to encourage the consumption of heavier drinks.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 5, after 'wine (other than still, in bottle), to insert 'not exceeding 26 degrees of proof spirit, the gallon, £0 1s. 0d.'"—Mr. Harwood.)

Question proposed— That those words be there inserted.


The honourable Member has made a proposal which I do not discuss from the point of revenue, because for other reasons it will be impossible for me to accept it. He has proposed that there shall be a fresh scale, the 1s. duty continuing on wines not exceeding 26 degrees of proof spirit and a 1s. 6d. duty being applied between 26 and 30 degrees. The right honourable Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, I think in 1886, raised the scale of the lowest duty from 26 to 30 degrees with the object of making a certain arrangement to our commercial advantage with Spain by that concession. The result was that a large quantity of Spanish wine between 26 and 30 degrees was introduced into this country at the lowest rate of wine duty, I need not say very greatly to the advantage of Spain in her competition with French wines. In return for that concession Spain placed us in her minimum commercial tariff instead of, as she might have done, in her maximum tariff. Therefore, I do not think that, as that state of things still continues, we can in fairness retract that concession and place Spanish wines, because that is what it amounts to, between 26 and 30 degrees on a higher scale of duty than those below. The great bulk, in fact nearly the whole, of the wine used in this country between 26 and 30 degrees comes from Spain; but I have a proposal to make to the Committee which perhaps may solve this question; at least I hope it will, because if my concessions do not shorten debate, I am afraid they will fail in their object. I have been impressed by what has been said in the course of this Debate and on other occasions as to the effect of the proposed increase of duty upon the lightest grade of wine. Sixpence all round is no doubt comparatively a larger increase on the lighter wines than on the stronger wines. I was going to say cheaper wines, but it is a delusion to suppose that lightness and cheapness are synonymous terms in the case of wine. A good many of the lightest wines are the most expensive, as many Members, who, like the honourable Member opposite, are fond of wine, know very well. I have also been impressed by what has been said by the Agents-General of the Australian colonies, and by what has been said this evening with regard to Australian wines. I was unable to assent, for the reasons I have given to the Committee, to the proposal of my honourable friend to introduce the principle of differential duties into our fiscal system; but, as a matter of fact, nearly all the wines which come from Australia are within the thirty degrees limit, and therefore what I am about to propose is this. Though, I admit, at some little risk with regard to my financial calculations, I propose, instead of asking the Committee for an additional 6d. on the lower scale wines, to ask them only for an additional 3d. That I hope will show that I am anxious to meet the objections that have been raised on both sides of the House to the utmost of my power. I may say that I shall recoup myself to some extent for this concession, as well as for the concession I have made to my light honourable friend the Member for Bodmin, by the 1s. surtax on spirits in bottle; but still there will be, no doubt, a deficiency in the yield I estimated from the wine duties. However, I am of a hopeful temperament. The Revenue looks well, and, on, the whole, I think I am justified in making the concession I now propose; but I must end as I began, by saying that I hope the concession will shorten debate.


said the right honourable Gentleman had defended his scale as against that of the honourable, Member for Bolton, on the ground that the latter would be unfair to Spain. But it should be remembered that in Spain, for years, we were at a disadvantage, and did not enjoy the most favoured nation treatment for our goods. On the contrary, we were subjected to absolute maltreatment. We altered our scale to meet the views of Spain. At the same time, he was glad that the limit was raised from 26 degrees to 30 degrees, because the duty was, undoubtedly, too heavy upon that class of wines. What ought to have been done whenever the wine duties were going to be increased was to have made more steps in the scale; instead of having two scales, the duties ought to have been made to correspond by more steps to something like the alcoholic strength of the wine. They could not treat the lighter wines as if they were merely the cheaper wines, and therefore successive Chancellors of the Exchequer had always rejected the view that it was possible to introduce anything like ad valorem treatment. They had always had in view that there should be some approximation of the scale to alcoholic strength, but the new duties were a conspicuous example of departure from that principle. Now his honourable friend proposed to take 26 degrees as his limit. All the French and Australian wines came in below the scale of 26 degrees, the Spanish wines came in between 26 and 30 degrees, and the Portuguese wines came in above 30 degrees. The difference was very great indeed. The vast bulk of the French wines came in at 16, 17, and 18 degrees (mostly at 17 degrees), the Australian wines at 24 degrees, the Spanish wines at 27, 28, and 29 degrees (principally at 27 and 28), and the Portuguese wines came in at 34, 35, 36, and 37 degrees. By the one-step scale a most extraordinary advantage was given to Spain as compared with France on the one hand, and Portugal on the other. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was about to increase the apparent injustice from the point of view of Franco, inasmuch as he proposed to recoup himself for a certain loss of revenue by his now shilling duty upon brandy which came in in bottle. That tax would fall almost exclusively upon France—on the Charente district particularly. If it were the case that the present scale of wine duties was unjust to France, the injustice would be enormously increased by the additional tax of 1s. upon brandy, which came in from the same districts as the wine. The right honourable Gentleman refused to accept the Amendment of the honourable Member for Bolton, on the ground of unfairness to Spain. Spain obtained her present position by maltreating our trade, and our trade with Spain was small, while our trade with France was enormous. If, consequently, they were to oppose the Amendment on the ground of its unfairness to Spain, he thought they were entitled to point out the much greater unfairness which would be inflicted upon French trade. It had often been suggested that they should have a new step in the scale at eighteen degrees, but hitherto that had not been carried into effect. An enormous amount of the trade of Lancashire went into Franco at the present moment, and the course which was being pursued was certainly not calculated to secure for it the must favoured nation treatment, which it received in that country. He viewed these proposals with great misgivings. He could not but believe that they must have a most detrimental effect on our commercial position. He thought we were putting a weapon in the hands of the French protectionists in their contest against the trade of this country. If the wine duties were to be revised there was an overwhelming case, not for lowering them, but for bringing them into closer proportion to alcoholic strength by having six or eight instead of only two steps which was the only fair basis on which they could be placed.


The right honourable Baronet entirely forgets that although I propose to increase the duty on liquor from France by the imposition of one shilling duty on bottled spirits, I at the same time make a great concession to France by reducing the increase on the lower grade wines from sixpence to three-pence. I cannot, therefore, admit that I am treating France unfairly.


As compared with Spain, I said.

* SIR H. CAMPBELL BANNRMAN (Stirling Burghs)

The right honourable Gentleman has made a double appeal to the Committee. In the first place he asked that the Debate should not be unduly prolonged, and in the second that the compromise offered should be accepted. But the right honourable Gentleman will bear in mind, of course, that most of us approach this question from the point of view of those who think it would have been desirable not to have meddled with the wine duties at all. We are not convinced there was not some other way open to him for raising the money without disturbing this somewhat delicate part of our revenue. The main purpose we have before us is to save as much as possible the light wines, the consumption of which deserves encouragement. My honourable friend the Member for Bolton made a very interesting speech on the subject, and I agree with him in what he said, except in the words in which he sought to read a lesson to my own fellow-countrymen as to the form in which they should take such refreshment as they required in liquid shape. He laboured under the delusion that it is not the Scotch practice to drink wine, saying that the Scotch genius, brilliant as it may be, would be still more extraordinary if cultivated under the influence of claret. Why, claret has been the special drink of Scotland for many years! The drink of the lower classes—if I may use that expression—was in the main beer—of a sort—"twopenny," as an honourable friend behind me suggests. The poems of Robert Burns refer to the principal liquor consumed—and he had considerable experience of it—not as whisky, but ale. The other classes mainly drank claret; and I am astonished that one so well read as my honourable friend does not remember the well-known lines written after the Methuen Treaty, by which the duty on port was lowered:— Finn, and erect, the Caledonian stood; Prime was his mutton, and his claret good. Let him drink port,' the southron statesman cried; He drank the poison, and his spirit died. The glamour of these lines might have prevented my honourable friend from going so far astray in his criticism of the spirit of my country. I was prepared to support the Amendment of my honourable friend, and should have liked it still better if the right honourable Gentleman could have been induced to go further and extend the immunity from any increase of taxation to the wines above 30 degrees. I would, however, recommend my honourable friend to accept the compromise of a threepenny duty up to the standard of 30 degrees. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a somewhat peremptory person when dealing with these matters. He has already reduced the right honourable Member for Bodmin to a submissive frame of mind, in which he has seldom been before. As nothing can be gained by resistance, it is better to put a good face upon it and accept thankfully and cheerfully the compromise the Chancellor of the Exchequer has offered.


said the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been good enough to make a concession which would undoubtedly meet the difficulty in regard to the greater part of the colonial wine imported into this country, but could he not allow wine under 30 degrees of proof to come in at the same rate as at present, because this small tax was hardly worth the considerable derangement of trade which would result. The persons with between £500 and £700, whose income-tax he reduced last year, were precisely the class who would drink these cheap wines, and therefore he was practically putting on this year what he took off last year.


I have carefully investigated this matter, and I have gone to the utmost limit I possibly can.


I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

Other Amendments made.

Clause 3:—

* MR. HENDERSON (Staffordshire, W.)

said he drew a distinction between shares which were the definite property of the owners in whose name they were registered, and share warrants transferable by endorsement, and which, passing from hand to hand, were ultimately registered in the name of the ultimate owner. The duty which would be equitable in the one case would not be so in the other. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech stated, in regard to shares, that, once stamped, they would be perfectly free from any future stamps during their lifetime, and it would be perfectly equitable to require the stamp as proposed by the Bill on shares to bearer but quite inequitable as regarded those shares which were transferred from one person to another, and which, as a matter of fact, had no distinctive number attached to them. It would be impossible to transfer the stamp from one share to another, and he suggested that the two classes of shares should be separated altogether. The first-mentioned class of shares might fairly be left under the category upon which a 5s. per cent, duty was proposed to be levied, but with regard to the other class of shares that, although passing from hand to hand, were capable of being registered, and indeed must be ultimately registered, these were held in large numbers throughout the country, and for them there was an extremely free market, hundreds of thousands of these shares passing at differences sometimes of a sixteenth per cent. To put upon these shares the heavy charge of 5s. per cent. would have the effect of driving this business from the City of London to markets at Brussels, Amsterdam, Antwerp, and other places where no duty existed, and the large business which was done in these shares in this country would be destroyed. If it was found possible to transfer the stamp from one share to another, and the proposed duty was insisted on, the business would, in his opinion, still leave London altogether. It would hardly be fair to exempt these shares from all duty now that new duties were being imposed, and from inquiries he had made he was led to the conclusion that 1s. per cent. could be borne without fear of evasion by underhand means. The suggestion he made, therefore, was that the stamp should be at the rate of 1s. per cent. on these transferable securities instead of 5s., as proposed in the Bill. If this were done he believed it would be possible to make it a recurrent stamp producing as much to the Exchequer as the original proposal. For the purpose of carrying out his proposal he moved the first of a series of Amendments.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 31, at end, to insert, 'And on every share warrant or stock certificate to bearer, by means of which any share or stock of any company or body of persons formed or established out of the United Kingdom is, after the first day of August One thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine, assigned, transferred, or in any manner negotiated in the United Kingdom."—(Mr. Henderson.)

Question proposed— That those words be there inserted.


This is a very technical matter, and we are all indebted to the clear and lucid way in which the proposal of the honourable Gentleman has been placed before the Committee. When I made ray proposal on introducing the Budget I thought I had provided in two ways for the difficulty alluded to, and that in the stamp of 5s. per cent. I had taken a figure not so high as to drive away business from the Stock Exchange, and that in the third subsection I had made a concession to this class of instruments. Since then I have been in communication with the committee of the Stock Exchange and other gentlemen of high authority in relation to the subject, and I think that on the whole I should do well to accept the proposal of my honourable friend. It was a matter on which, of course, there might be differences of opinion, but it has never been my intention to do anything that would drive away business, because, of course, the result of that would be that I should receive no revenue. I think it very possible that my honourable friend is justified in his assumption that the revenue received from the smaller tax he proposed would ultimately be as large as that which I myself have proposed. There was one point in regard to winch I think it will be necessary to make an alteration if I accept the proposal. I fixed the stamp at 5s. on £100 in order to provide for the particular class of security to which the honourable Member has alluded; but for that I should have put the stamp at the same rate as was now applied to English securities of the same kind namely, 10s. The first sub-section of the clause referred to— every marketable security made or issued by or on behalf of any foreign State or Government, or foreign or colonial municipal body, corporation, or company, being a security transferable by delivery, and I think that, as regards foreign bonds and other securities included in that subsection, they should pay the 10s. I shall propose a resolution enabling me to make that alteration at a subsequent date, but at present I am willing to accept the Amendment of my honourable friend.

Question put and agreed to.

Other Amendments made.

Clause 6: —

MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthen, W.) moved an Amendment to provide that in the case of companies reconstructing for the purpose of raising additional capital the ad valorem stamp duty should be pro rata on the new capital to be brought in. In the case of such companies he thought 2s., and not 5s., ad valorem stamp duty should be charged, as the shareholders in a reconstructed comyany would have to pay this ad valorem stamp duty twice over. Under such circumstances it would be impossible for such a company as he had in his mind to seek fresh capital. It appeared to him that in a Bill of this kind the duty was unduly excessive, and therefore he hoped his Amendment would be accepted.

Amendment proposed— In page 4, line 15, at end, to add, 'Save in the case of companies reconstructing for the purpose of raising additional capital, in which case the ad valorem stamp duty shall be pro rata on the new capital to be brought in.'"—(Mr. Lloyd Morgan.)

Question proposed Question proposed— That those words be there added.


said the Amendment would introduce an alteration in the present law. He did not see why a company should have more favourable terms for reconstruction than on the original promotion. He had very good authority for saying that in many cases where companies went through the process of reconstruction the object was to water capital as much as anything else. He thought if there was an occasion when a company ought not to be favoured it was on such an occasion as that. He was unable to accept the Amendment.

Question put and negatived.

Clause 8:—

Mr. LOUGH (Islington, W.) moved to omit "five pounds," and to insert "one hundred pounds." He trusted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would accept the Amendment which he now proposed with regard to letters of allotment. He suggested by it that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should fix one hundred pounds as the amount at which the higher rate should be paid. As the Bill at present stood, he thought it would press very hard on the small investor. He pointed out that where £1000 of stock was allotted in amounts of five pounds' worth of stock, the duty would be £5, but where the whole was allotted at once it would only be sixpence.

Amendment proposed— In page 5, line 11, to leave out the words 'five pounds,' and insert the words 'one hundred pounds.'" —(Mr. Lough.)

Question proposed— That the words 'five pounds' stand part of the Clause.


said that as the letter of allotment would be like any other contract, it would bear a sixpenny stamp. The honourable Gentleman complained that this clause would press heavily on the small investors, but he pointed out that the duty would not have to be paid by the people who applied for allotments but by the companied who sent out the letters of allotment, who would have to stamp them before they sent them out. This increased duty would not deter companies from issuing allotments to small shareholders. They were only too glad to get small shareholders of this kind, because they were likely to be permanent holders of shares and did not take them up for the purpose of selling them to somebody else. He did not see his way to accept the Amendment.


hoped that some better reason for not accepting the Amendment would be given than that the stamp would have to be paid by the company allotting the shares. The effect of this would be that the companies would not allot to small holders but only in large blocks. He hoped the matter would be reconsidered and that some concession would be made. Perhaps the right honourable Gentleman would place the limit at £50.

MR. BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

did not agree that because the companies had to pay the stamp they would not allot to the small shareholders. They were the people whom companies were most anxious to secure. The people who applied for large amounts did so inorder to sell them again. It would not be to the advantage of a company, in order to save a few sixpences, to allot shares to people who would put their shares on the market and bring the premium down. Therefore, the small investor would not suffer in any way.

* MR. MOULTON (Cornwall, Launceston)

did not think that that argument would apply, because an allotment of £5 was so exceedingly small that no one would dream of allotting so small an amount. If the amount were fixed at £50 he thought it would be fair, but £20 or £25 would not be unreasonable. In its present form it was a sort of poll tax, and in his opinion it was ridiculous to put

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Doughty, George Labouchere, Henry
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Doxford, William Theodore Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'land
Bailey, James (Walworth) Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Lecky, Rt Hn William Edw. H.
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A.J. (Manch'r Finch, George H. Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Banbury, Fred. Geo. [(Hunts) Fisher, William Hayes Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'nsea
Barry, Rt. Hon. A. H. Smith- FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (L'pool)
Barry, Sir Francis T.(Windsor) Fitz Wygram, General Sir F. Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Bartley, George C. T. Flannery, Sir Fortescue Lucas-Shadwell, William
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Fletcher, Sir Henry Macartney, W. G. Ellison
Beach, Rt. Hn.Sir M. H.(Bristol Flower, Ernest Macdona, John Cumming
Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull Folkestone, Viscount MacIver, David (Liverpool)
Bethell, Commander Forster, Henry William Maclure, Sir John William
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Blakiston-Houston, John Gedge, Sydney Martin, Richard Biddulph
Bolitho, Thomas Bedford Gibbons, J. Lloyd Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir Herbert E.
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H.(City of Lond Melville, Beresford Valentine
Bowles, T. Gibson(Lynn Regis) Gibbs, Hou. Vicary (St. Albans) Middlemore, J. Throgmorton
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Goldsworthy, Major-General Milner, Sir Frederick George
Butcher, John George Gordon, Hon. John Edward Milward, Colonel Victor
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.) Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Monckton, Edward Philip
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East) Goschen, Rt Hn GJ.(StGeorge's Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)
Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Goulding, Edward Alfred Moore, William (Antrim, N.)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon.J. (Birm Gourley, Sir E. Temperley More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire(
Chamberlain, J. Austen(Wore'r Graham, Henry Robert Morrell, George Herbert
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Green, Walford D.(Wedn'sbury Morton, Arthur H.A.(Deptford
Charrington, Spencer Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury Mount, William George
Chelsea, Viscount Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs. Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Clare, Octavius Leigh Gretton, John Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Gull, Sir Cameron Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Coghill, Douglas Harry Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George Myers, William Henry
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hatch, Ernest Fred. George. Nicol, Donald Ninian
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Heaton, John Henniker Northcote, Hon. Sir H. Stafford
Compton, Lord Alwyne Henderson, Alexander Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Hermon-Hodge, R. Trotter Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)
Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd) Hill, Arthur (Down, West) Percey, Earl
Corbett A. Cameron (Glasgow) Hill, Sir E. Stock (Bristol) Pierpoint, Robert
Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H. Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Pilkington, Richard
Cox, Irwin Edward B. (Harrow) Howell, William Tudor Pollock, Harry Frederick
Cranborne, Viscount Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Powell, Sir Francis Charles
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice- Pretyman, Ernest George
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Jackson, Rt. Hn. Wm. Lawies Priestley, Sir W.O.(Edinburgh
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Purvis, Robert
Curzon, Viscount Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Dalkeith, Earl of Jenkins, Sir John Jones Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlepool
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Johnston, William (Belfast) Ritchie, Rt. Hn.Chas. Thomson
Denny, Colonel Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Kenyon, James Robinson, Brooke
Digby, John K. D. Wingfield- Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Keswick, William Rutherford, John
Dorington, Sir John Edward Knowles, Lees Ryder, John Herbert Dudley

the same stamp to £5 as was put to £1,000 allotment.

MR. BEGG (Glasgow, St. Rollox)

said an allotment of £5 was an extremely rare thing and he therefore thought the Amendment was a reasonable one. He hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would raise the limit to, at least, £50.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 197; Noes, 92. (Division List No. 137.)

Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier Williams, Joseph Powell (Birm)
Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Willox, Sir John Archibald
Seton-Karr, Henry Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox. Uniy. Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Sidebottom, T. Harrop(Stalybr. Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh.N.)
Sidebottom, William (Derbys.) Valentia, Viscount Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard Wyndham, George
Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk Ward, Hon. Robert A. (Crewe) Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Stanley, Lord (Lanes.) Warr, Augustus Frederick Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Steadman, William Charles Webster, Sir R. E. (Isleof Wight Younger, William
Stephens, Henry Charles Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Stewart, Sir Mark J.M'Taggart Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon- TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Strauss, Arthur Whiteley, George (Stockport) Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Allan, William (Gateshead) Goddard, Daniel Ford Philipps, John Wynford
Allison, Robert Andrew Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Pirie, Duncan V.
Asher, Alexander Harwood, George Power, Patrick Joseph
Ashton, Thomas Gair Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Price, Robert John
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H. Hazell, Walter Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)
Barlow, John Emmott Hedderwick, Thomas C. H. Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Hemphill, Rt. Hon. C. H. Rickett, J. Compton
Billson, Alfred Holland, Wm. H. (York, W. R. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Horniman, Frederick John Samuel, J. (Stockton on Tees)
Broadhurst, Henry Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E. Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Burt, Thomas Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn SirU Sinclair, Capt. Jn. (Forfarshire
Buxton, Sydney Charles Leuty, Thomas Richmond Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Caldwell, James Lewis, John Herbert Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Cameron, Sir Charles (Glasgow) Lyell, Sir Leonard Stevenson, Francis S.
Cameron, Robert (Durham) Macaleese, Daniel Strachey, Edward
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Causton, Richard Knight M'Ghee, Richard Thomas, David Alf. (Merthyr)
Cawley, Frederick M'Killop, James Trevelyan, Charles Phillips
Channing, Francis Allston M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.) M'Leod, John Weir, James Galloway
Daly, James Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Williams, John Carvell(Notts.
Doogan, P. C. Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wilson, John (Durham. Mid.)
Evans, Samuel T.(Glamorgan) Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, John (Govan)
Fenwick, Charles O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbrough
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Oldrovd, Mark Woods, Samuel
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Pearson, Sir Weetman D. TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Pease, Alfred E. (Cleyeland) Mr. Lough and Mr. Moulton.
Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herb. J. Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)

Clause 13:—

MR. HARWOOD moved the omission of the word "permanent," and in doing so said he thought it was a most important Amendment. He did not see why the redaction of the annual charge from 25 millions to 23 millions should be a permanent one. He urged the Committee to defer making any permanent alteration of their standard until they had before them some well-considered and statesmanlike scheme for dealing with the National Debt. He thought the Committee might reasonably agree that the circum- stances this year were exceptional, having regard to the expenditure on the Army and Navy, and that therefore £2,000,000 might be taken out of the amount set apart for the reduction of the Debt this year. But it should not be made a permanent charge. There was a great difference in a change to meet special circumstances and making a permanent alteration. The Chancellor of the Exchequer always had the power to come to the House with a proposal to take the money if circumstances rendered it necessary, but it was a serious thing, in his opinion, to permanently reduce the Sinking Fund by such an amount. £25,000,000 was not by any means an excessive amount to set aside for the payment of debt in these days of superabundant prosperity.

Amendment proposed— In page 6, line 26, to leave out the word 'permanent.'" —(Mr. Harwood.)

Question proposed— That the word 'permanent' stand part of the Clause.


thought there should be a word of reply from the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this point. He was not able to support the Amendment, for any of the reasons given by his honourable friend, but at the same time it was an excellent Amendment which he pressed on the Committee. He supported it because the structure of the clause would be greatly improved if the word "permanent" was left out. Nothing was permanent with regard to the National Debt when a Conservative Government was in power. Why, then, put in the adjective, which was the evidence of their shame?


There is one thing permanent when a Conservative Government is in office, and that is the perpetual interference of the honourable Member in debate. I hope the honourable Member who has moved the Amendment will excuse me if I decline to enter into the arguments on the main question. We

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Barry, Rt Hn AH Smith-(Hunts Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Barry, Sir Francis T.(Windsor) Butcher, John George
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Barton, Dunbar Plunket Cavendish, R. R. (N. Lancs.)
Arrol, Sir William Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M.H.(Bristol Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Begg, Ferdinand Faithful Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r. Bethell, Commander Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.
Balfour, RtHnGerald W(Leeds Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm.
Banbury, Frederick George Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Chamberlain,J.Austen (Wore.

have debated them at considerable length on a previous occasion, and the House has arrived at a decision on the subject. I would venture to point out that the honourable Member's Amendment is really an absurd one. He proposes that the Debt charge of £25,000,000 should be reduced for this year only to £23,000,000. But, of course, when I, on behalf of the Government, proposed that the Debt charge should be permanently reduced to £23,000,000 I made arrangements in the subsequent clause for the terminable annuities to be dealt with on that reduced basis. But the honourable Member makes no arrangement whatever for the terminable annuities under his Amendment, and we should still have to pay capital and interest on the terminable annuities on the old basis of expenditure of £25,000,000 a year, and yet only have £23,000,000 to do it with. It is really impossible to carry out the Amendment, which I hope the honourable Member will not press to a Division.


said it was absurd for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to contend that there would be any difficulty in carrying out the proposal embodied in the Amendment.

Question put.

The Committee divided; Ayes, 169; Noes, 85. (Division List No. 138).

Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Gretton, John Pierpoint, Robert
Charrington, Spencer Gull, Sir Cameron Pilkington, Richard
Chelsea, Viscount Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George Pollock, Harry Frederick
Clare, Octavius Leigh Henderson, Alexander Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. E. Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter Pretyman, Ernest George
Coghill, Douglas Harry Hill, Arthur (Down, West) Purvis, Robert
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hill,SirEdward Stock (Bristol) Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Rentoul, James Alexander
Compton, Lord Alywyne Howell, William Tudor Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlepool
Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thompson
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice- Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Cox, Iwrin Edward B. (Harrow Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies Robinson, Brooke
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Johnston, William (Belfast) Rutherford, John
Curzon, Viscount Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Ryder, John Herbert Dudley
Dalkeith, Earl of Kenyon, James Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William Seely, Charles Hilton
Denny, Colonel Keswick, William Seton-Karr, Henry
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Knowles, Lees Sidebottom, William(Derbysh.
Digby, John K. D. Wingfield- Lawrence,SirEDurning-(Corn. Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand.
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Lawrence, Wm. F.(Liverpoo.) Stanley, Hn.Arthur(Ormskirk
Dorington, Sir John Edward Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)
Doughty, George Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Stephens, Henry Charles
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Llewellyn,SirDillwyn(Sw'nsea Stewart, SirMark J. M'Taggart
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (L'pool) Strauss, Arthur
Fellowes, Hon.AilwynEdward Loyd, Archie Kirkman Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Finch, George H. Lucas-Shadwell, William Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Macartney, W. G. Ellison Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Fisher, William Hayes Macdona, John Cumming Talbot, Rt. Hn.J. G. (Oxf.Univ.
Fitz Wygram, General Sir F. Maclver, David (Liverpool) Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Maclure, Sir John William Valentia, Viscount
Fletcher, Sir Henry M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Ward,Hon. Robert A. (Crewe)
Flower, Ernest M'Killop, James Warr, Augustus Frederick
Folkestone, Viscount Martin, Richard Biddulph Webster,SirR. E. (IsleofWight)
Forster, Henry William Middlemore, John Throgmort. Welby, Lieut-Col. A. C. E.
Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Milner, Sir Frederick George Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-
Gedge, Sydney Monckton, Edward Philip Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Gibbons, John Lloyd Moore, William (Antrim, N.) Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Gibbs, Hon. Vicary(St. Albans Morrell, George Herbert Williams,Joseph Powell-(Birm
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Morton,Arthur H. A(Deptford Willox, Sir John Archibald
Goldsworthy, Major-General Mount, William George Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Gordon, Hon. John Edward Murray, RtHn A Graham(Bute Wilson-Todd, Wm. H.(Yorks.)
Gorst, Rt. Hon.Sir John Eldon Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Wyndham, George
Goschen,RtHnGJ. (St. George's Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Wyvill, Marmaduke, D'Arcy
Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Myers, William Henry Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Goulding, Edward Alfred Nicol, Donald Ninian
Graham, Henry Robert Northcote, Hn. Sir H. Stafford TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Green, WalfordD(Wednesbury Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury Pease, HerbertPike(Darlingt'n
Greene, W.Raymond-(Cambs.) Percy, Earl
Allison, Robert Andrew Davies, M.Vaughan-(Cardigan Lawson, SirWilfrid(Comb'land
Asher, Alexander Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Leuty, Thomas Richmond
Ashton, Thomas Gair Donelan, Captain A. Lough, Thomas
Asquith, Rt.Hon. Herbert Hy. Doogan, P. C. Lyell, Sir Leonard
Barlow, John Emmott Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) MacAleese, Daniel
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)
Billson, Alfred Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) M'Ghee, Richard
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J. M'Leod, John
Broadhurst, Henry Goddard, Daniel Ford Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Gourley,SirEdwardTemperley Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)
Buxton, Sydney Charles Gurdon, Sir William Brampton Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen
Caldwell, James Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Moulton, John Fletcher
Causton, Richard Knight Hazell, Walter Nussey, Thomas Willans
Cawley, Frederick Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Channing, Francis Allston Holland, Wm. H. (York, W.R.) Oldroyd, Mark
Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.) Horniman, Frederick John Palmer, GeorgeWm.(Reading)
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Pearson, Sir Weetman D.
Daly, James Kay-Shuttlew'th, Rt. Hn. SirU. Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)
Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.) Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Philipps, John Wynford Sinclair, Capt J. (Forfarshire) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Pirie, Duncan V. Smith, Samuel (Flint) Williams, John Carvell(Notts)
Price, Robert John Soames, Arthur Wellesley Wilson, Frederick W.(Norfolk)
Provand, Andrew Dryburgh Steadman, William Charles Wilson,J. W. (Worcestersh.N.)
Reckitt, Harold James Stephenson, Francis S. Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbrough
Richardson, J.(Durham, S. E.) Strachey, Edward Woods, Samuel
Rickett, J. Compton Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Roberts, John H. (Denbghsh.) Tennant, Harold John Mr. Harwood and Mr. Hedderwick.
Samuel, J. (Stockton on Tees) Thomas, David Alfd.(Merthyr)
MR. NUSSEY (Pontefract)

said he proposed to divide the Committee on this clause as a protest against what he conceived to be the unwise policy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this matter. In 1887 and 1889 the First Lord of the Admiralty, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, tampered with the Sinking Fund twice, and he regarded it as more than a coincidence that both those raids on the Fund were made in years of lavish expenditure. The plea against paying off so much debt was a mere excuse to cover the nakedness of the Treasury. He appealed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reconsider his course, which was fraught with so much danger to our national prosperity. He maintained that we could not afford to play and tamper with the credit of the country. How long would people believe in our national prosperity if we were not able to pay our debts? We were encroaching upon our reserve funds, and when we did that we had passed the safe margin, and the time had arrived to cry "stop." The Chancellor of the Exchequer had protested against lavish expenditure again and again, but had allowed himself to be over-ridden, and was now showing a certain amount of weakness in hesitating to put the expenditure on the right shoulders. Why not put an extra penny on the Income Tax, which would raise the necessary two millions of money? The upper and middle classes who had called for this lavish expenditure should not only call the tune but pay the piper.

MR. E. J. C. MORTON (Devonport)

desired to enter his protest against what he believed to be the most dangerous proposal with regard to the finances of this country which had been made since 1869. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government had not apparently taken into account the fact that, although our income had been going up by leaps and bounds on the same taxation during the last four years, yet our expenditure had also been going up by leaps and bounds until we had reached the point when the estimated expenditure was higher than the estimated income. He saw no possibility of our expenditure stopping as years went on, but there was great likelihood of our income decreasing. The last four years had no doubt been a period of unexampled prosperity, and it seemed to him that the true finance would be to make provision for the lean years which were bound to come during the fat years that were passing. Our expenditure, both in home affairs and in defence of the Empire, was likely to grow rather than diminish, and therefore it seemed peculiarly important to devote all the money that could be spared in paying off the debt contracted in past years. Let it not be said that the necessity to take two millions from the Sinking Fund was due to the expenditure on the Army and Navy. That was almost exactly the sum the Government had squandered on their permanent election agents in every parish—namely, the squires and the parsons.


I have had more than one opportunity of entering my protest, and giving my reasons against the proposal contained in this clause, and I will not detain the Committee by attempting to repeat those arguments. I will only express my entire concurrence with the sentiments contained in the two very able speeches made by my honourable friends behind me. I do desire that we should regard this proposal as one which is a serious blow at the resources of our country at home, and which is calculated to greatly diminish the estimation of its strength abroad. I believe that in future years the evil of this proposal will be much more apparent than it is to-day.

Acland-Hood, Capt.SirAlex F. Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Arrol, Sir William Finch, George H. Llewelyn,SirDillwyn(Swansea
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Long,Rt. Hn. Walter(Liverpool
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Fisher, William Hayes Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds Fitz Wygram, General Sir F. Lucas-Shadwell, William
Banbury, Frederick George Flannery, Sir Fortescue Macartney, W. G. Ellison
Barry,RtHnAHSmith-(Hunts Fletcher, Sir Henry Macdona, John Cumming
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Flower, Ernest MacIver, David (Liverpool)
Beach,Rt. Hn. SirM. H. (Bristol) Folkestone, Viscount Maclure, Sir John William
Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull Forster, Henry William M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) M'Killop, James
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Gedge, Syndey Martin, Richard Biddulph
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Gibbons, J. Lloyd Middle more John Throgmorton
Butcher, John George Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Milner, Sir Frederick George
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.) Goldsworthy, Major-General Moore, William (Antrim, N.)
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East) Gordon, Hon. John Edward Morrell, George Herbert
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford
Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Goschen,Rt. Hn. G. (St George's Mount, William George
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm. Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Murray, RtHnA. Graham (Bute
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore'r Goulding, Edward Alfred Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Graham, Henry Robert Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Charrington, Spencer Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry Nicol, Donald Ninian
Chelsea, Viscount Greene, HenryD. (Shrewsbury) Northcote, Hon. Sir H. Stafford
Clare, Octavius Leigh Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.) Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Gretton. John Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)
Coghill, Douglas Harry Gull, Sir Cameron Percy, Earl
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George Pierpoint, Robert
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Henderson, Alexander Pilkington, Richard
Compton, Lord Alwyne Hill, Arthur (Down, West) Pollock, Harry Frederick
Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd) Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Howell, William Tudor Pretyman, Ernest George
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Purvis, Robert
Curzon, Viscount Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Rentoul, James Alexander
Dalkeith, Earl of Johnston, William (Belfast) Richardson, Sir Thos.(Hartlep'l
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Denny, Colonel Kenyon, James Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Dibgy, John K. D. Wingfield- Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Keswick, William Rutherford, John
Dorington, Sir John Edward Knowles, Lees Ryder, John Herbert Dudley
Doughty, George Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard

On this clàuse we have the legitimate opportunity of entering, and recording on the Journals of this House, the protest which we on this side of the House have to make against what I believe to be an entirely vicious and evil system of finance. I will not, as I have said, delay the Committee by repeating the arguments which I have formerly used against this proposal, but I shall certainly take the opportunity of recording my vote against it.

Question put— That Clause 13 stand part of the Bill.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 154; Noes, 77. (Division List No. 139.)

Seely, Charles Hilton Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox'd. Unv. Willox, Sir John Archibald
Seton-Karr, Henry Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Sidebottom, William(Derbysh. Valentia, Viscount Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Ward, Hon. Robert A. (Crewe) Wyndham, George
Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk) Warr, Augustus Frederick Wyvill, Maymaduke D'Arey
Stanely, Lord (Lanes.) WSebsterm Sir R. E. (I. Wight) Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Stephens, Henry Charles Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Stewart, Sir MarkJ. M'Taggart Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Strauss, Arthur Whitmore, Charles Algernon Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) William,Joseph Powell-(Birm
Asher, Alexander Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H. Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Ashton, Thomas Gair Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Reckitt, Harold James
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Hy. Holland, Wm. H. (York, W. R. Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)
Bartley, George C. T. Horniman, Frederick John Rickett, J. Compton
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Billson, Alfred Kay-Shuttlew'th, Rt. Hn. SirU. Samuel J. (Stockton on Tees)
Bowles, T. Gibson (Lynn Regis) Lawson,Sir Wilfrid(Cumb'land Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Broadhurst, Henry Leuty, Thomas Richmond Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James- Lough, Thomas Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Caldwell, James Lyell, Sir Leonard Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Causton, Richard Knight M'Ghee, Richard Stevenson, Francis S.
Channing, Francis Allston M'Leod, John Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh. Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Tennant, Harold John
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Montagu, Sir S. (Whiteechapel Thomas, David Alf. (Merthyr)
Daly, James Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Morton, Edw. J. C.(Devonport Wedderburn, Sir William
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Moulton, John Fletcher Williams, John Carvell (Notts.
Doogan, P. C. Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, Fredk. W. (Norfolk)
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wilson, John (Govan)
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan Oldroyd, Mark Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith Pearson, Sir Weetman D. Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbrough
Goddard, Daniel Ford Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland) Woods, Samuel
Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Philipps, John Wynford TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Harwood, George Pirie, Duncan V. Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. M'Arthur.
Hazell, Walter Price, Robert John

It will be necessary, at the commencement of business on Friday, to move the Suspension of the Standing Orders to allow proceedings in Committee of Ways and Means to be continued or entered upon after midnight, though opposed. Not that I anticipate that the motion will have operative effect. I hope that the business will be disposed of before midnight.

In reply to a question by Mr. Asquith,


said: The only other important business will be the Second Reading of the Colonial Loans Fund Bill. It is rather important on public grounds that this Bill should not be very long delayed. The London Government Bill will be deferred in any case till Monday next. I suppose there will be no objection to my putting down the Report of Supply after the Colonial Loans Fund Bill.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.