§ SIR T. G. ESMONDE (Kerry, W.)
In seconding the Amendment which is on the Paper I feel myself in a position of considerable disadvantage because I have to follow the very admirable speech of my hon. friend the Member for North Dublin, which practically touched almost every aspect of the case. There is also this further disadvantage, that this subject has been so often debated that there is very little new to be said about it. Still, I am glad to second it in view of the special and peculiar circumstances of the present time. This country is engaged in a war which is likely to prove both long and expensive. It is a war from which it is not conceivable that Ireland can derive any advantage. On the other hand, it will undoubtedly lead to a very great increase of taxation, and of that taxation Ireland will be compelled, whether she likes it or not, to pay what we Irishmen consider to be an utterly disproportionate share. I do not propose to go extensively into the details of this question, nor do I believe there is any necessity for any justification on our part for the action we are taking at the present moment. We consider that in view of the feelings we hold on the question of the over-taxation of Ireland it is essential we should take the first opportunity of making our position clear with regard to any further increase of that taxation. We shall have many opportunities in the course of this session of considering pos- 1067 sible further increases of taxation, and we trust and hope to be able to utilise those opportunities to the fullest possible extent when the occasion for doing so arises. There is no necessity for me now to speculate on the direction those possible increases of taxation may take. Neither, Sir, is there any necessity at this stage for me to go in detail into the historical aspects of the situation. The historical case of Ireland has been repeated over and over again in this House. It has been repeated so many times that we have, as a matter of fact, absolutely lost count of them, and although statements have been laid before the House many a time and oft, and although even in my own time there have been repeated discussions on the national grievances of Ireland, I do not think any Irish Member of this House has yet heard a satisfactory answer to the Irish case in respect to the over-taxation of Ireland. I will not, Sir, go back very far into this history, as it is not so very many years ago since the case of Ireland was set forth in most admirable and, I may say, unanswerable fashion by my hon. friend the Member for South Long-ford. The legitimate claims of Ireland for redress as put forward from this quarter of the House have met with no adequate settlement since that time, nor since our case was put later still by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. No answer is yet forthcoming; I do not suppose there is any answer beyond that to which we are so well accustomed, namely, that Ireland has no substantial grievance at all. Sir, I may, perhaps, be allowed to give the House an outline of the Irish case. From our point of view, it is a record of continuous breaches of engagements entered into by England with Ireland. Ever since the Act of Union the question has been discussed and debated in this House in vain, and the injustice continues in face of our continued and unabated protest. That protest has been made now for nearly a hundred years, and invariably without success. Let us go back to the Act of Union. It was a solemn treaty entered into between England and Ireland, in which certain covenants as to financial relations between the two countries were set forth, and received the form of legislative enactment. We were regarded, in financial matters, as a separate entity. It was a solemn compact by which Ireland was to receive the benefit of cer- 1068 tain exceptional treatment. She was promised exemption in one case and abatement in another; but the realisation of those promises is yet to come. From 1800 to 1816, the period at which the exchequers of Ireland and England were consolidated, we find by the records of this House, by the debates which are reported in Hansard, that Ireland has contributed to the war expenditure of England—war expenditure in which Ireland has had no concern whatever, and from which she can derive no possible advantage—money amounting to millions sterling. In that period Ireland has contributed between £60,000,000 and £70,000,000 compensation for England's benefit, and no less than £30,000,000 in excess of the proportion fixed by the Act of Union. These are statements which can be easily verified either by a reference to the pages of Hansard in the Parliamentary Library. In 1816 the Act came into force, and in 1817 the two exchequers were consolidated. A new treaty was made by which Ireland was promised that a revision of her taxation would be carried out at certain intervals of time. That was the main grievance; that agreement was not observed, there was no such revision of Ireland's taxation, and the main condition upon which the consolidation was ratified were never observed by this country. In 1854 there was a new departure in taxation, and Ireland contributed £30,000,000 at least more than was provided by the consolidation of the two exchequers. The Royal Commission which investigated the financial relations of the two countries resulted in a number of new taxes being imposed. The inducement which led the Irish people to consent to these, new taxes was that they would be only of a temporary nature, and after seven years some of them would be taken off, and after a further period the whole of them would be removed. That was the engagement, but, like every other engagement, it was forgotten. The "temporary taxes," so-called, imposed in 1854, became permanent, although the Financial Relations Commission showed that Ireland was already overtaxed by 120 to 130 millions. That Financial Relations Commission was composed of eminent financiers, who went thoroughly into the question of the financial relations existing between the two countries. The record 1069 of its sitting is preserved in a Bluebook, which is, perhaps, the most valuable contribution to the question that we possess. According to the investigations of this Commission, the over-taxation of Ireland is put down, at the lowest figure, as £2,500,000 per annum. According to these eminent experts Ireland contributed at least £2,500,000 per annum more than the condition of her resources entitled her to pay. Well, that Report was promptly put into the waste-paper basket; and there has been no practical result of the Commission ever since. It has occurred to me and many of my hon. friends what a different view would have been taken of the Report of that Commission had it been found that Ireland was paying £2,500,000 less than her proper proportion of the taxation. However, since the sitting of the Commission, new taxation has been imposed on Ireland in the shape of an increase in the spirit duties and an imposition of the estate duty. By this additional taxation, increased revenue has been derived from Ireland amounting, at any rate, to £500,000 a year. Thus the Report of the Royal Commission, which showed that Ireland was already overtaxed to the tune of £2,500,000, only led to the imposition of another half million sterling. In these various stages of the financial relations between the two countries, it will be seen that these taxes were not imposed without strong protest on behalf of Ireland. Every opportunity that presented itself to the Irish party was seized by way of strongly protesting against England's unjust financial treatment. Ireland objected to the union of the two exchequers. She protested in 1854, and again in 1864, when another Commission of inquiry was appointed to sit in London. She protested then and since continually, and the day on which Ireland will get justice in this matter seems as distant as ever. And yet English members of this House, and especially hon. Members opposite, profess to be surprised that there is no more real sympathy existing between the people of England and the people of Ireland. I should like to know how this country would have behaved had the positions been reversed, and Ireland had treated England in the same way. What would have been the feelings of the English people under such circumstances? How can England expect Ireland to be kindly disposed towards her in view of 1070 the financial treatment meted out by England? Our country is labouring under a most frightful injustice, and we protest against it; we have protested before, and shall continue to protest. As long as the Irish people take an intelligent interest in the concerns of their country, so long will they protest against this system, which is surely and inevitably bleeding Ireland to death, ruining her industrial and financial possibilities, and driving year by year thousands of Irish people out of the country simply because they cannot get employment at home. One result of your financial treatment of Ireland is that of all the countries in the world the one in which Irish industries do not succeed, except in a very small measure, is the country to which they belong. We shall probably hear, as we have heard many times before, the old arguments advanced against the claim of Ireland. We shall be told that Ireland is treated extremely well; that England makes nothing out of Ireland; that England spends an enormously disproportionate amount of money year by year in Ireland on the administration of the country. It is one of the strong points which is constantly raised in the discussion of the financial claims of Ireland that the expense of the administration is something prodigious. Our answer to that is that we are not concerned in the administration of Ireland; we have nothing whatever to say to it. The administration of Ireland has been devised in this House; for the expenses of that administration this House is responsible, and, as far as we are concerned, Ireland derives absolutely nothing from the amount of money you spend on the various swarms of officials in that country. If this argument is supposed to be a really strong and tangible one, you have a very easy remedy. If this House would approve of the appointment of a Commission of practical Irishmen to go into the figures of the administration of the country, and would undertake that whatever money was saved as the result of that Commission should be devoted to Irish purposes, I am perfectly certain that any body of intelligent Irishmen would be able to effect very considerable retrenchments in the expenses of Irish administration. As to the argument that for Irish purposes England has contributed, and continues to contribute, enormous, sums of money, many Parliamentary 1071 Papers and numerous speeches in Hansard make it perfectly plain that for every one of those generous contributions there was a very considerable quid pro quo given by Ireland. All those contributions from time to time were made in return for financial concessions on the part of Ireland, by which England was invariably the gainer. When we are told of the Imperial expenditure in Ireland, one is tempted to ask what is the Imperial expenditure in England? How much is spent in building men-of-war in England and in Ireland respectively? How much is spent on dockyards at Plymouth, Ports-mouth, and other places in England, and how much is spent in Ireland in the same direction? Why, there is not a single dockyard in Ireland, although over one hundred years ago you promised that one should be established. The question of the great prosperity of Ireland under English rule has been threshed out so often that it is practically threadbare and not worth discussing. We should probably be told—it is a favourite argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—that the deposits in the Irish savings banks have increased, and that fact will be heralded forth as an evidence of the great advance in the prosperity of Ireland. I would very much like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or anyone who puts forward that argument, to state the amount of the deposits in the English savings banks. It is understood that the amount of those deposits is such that the Post Office does not know what to do with the money. If a comparison was made between the deposits in the two countries, as an evidence of increasing prosperity, Ireland would show up very poorly as compared with England. I desire to direct the attention of the I House to one or two small details in connection with the financial question. As was pointed out last night, there are so many ways in which England makes money out of Ireland without any acknowledgment being made that it is impossible to go into them all, but there are one or two points to which I will refer. First, there is the question of the redemption of the quit and crown rents in Ireland. It is very difficult to arrive at the figures, as the redemption has been going on ever since the Land Purchase Acts came into operation, and, of course, will continue for a number of years to come. As far as I understand it, what- 1072 ever money is derived from the redemption of these quit rents is devoted not to Irish but to English purposes. We hold that instead of devoting this money to the purchase of properties of the Crown in England or to the discharge of liabilities on Crown properties in England, it would be much more in accordance with justice if this money, which is essentially Irish, were devoted to Irish purposes. This is a matter which, perhaps, has been forgotten or overlooked by the representative of Ireland, but it is one we are not disposed to allow to remain in abeyance much longer. Perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer will inform us how much money has been received from the redemption of Irish quit and Crown rents, and to what purposes that money has been devoted. We would insist that the money so derived hitherto and to be derived should be devoted to Irish purposes. Then there is the agricultural grant in connection with the Irish Local Government Act. When that Act was introduced I understand the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that we were to receive about £750,000. As it has worked out, however, we have received only about £720,000. There may be nothing in it, but the feeling in Ireland is that there is a grievance in this matter, and I shall be obliged if the Chancellor of the Exchequer will give us some information on the point. Another point as to which considerable doubt exists, which we are extremely anxious should be cleared up, is the question of Irish lunatic asylum finance. According to our contention the Treasury have made a profit of about £120,000 out of the rearrangement of the finances of the Irish asylums in connection with the Irish Local Government Act. I should be extremely glad if it is wrong, but my information is somewhat to this effect: In the old days, before the Irish Local Government Act was passed, the financial year of the lunatic asylums ended on 31st December, and the arrangement was that the Imperial Treasury gave a subsidy of 4s. a week, or half the amount per head paid by the local taxpayers—whichever was the smaller amount—for every lunatic treated in the asylums. Under the recent Act this arrangement ceased, and certain fixed sums are to be paid. This charge is to be met out of the Local Taxation Account for Ireland. That account opened on 31st March, while the old 1073 Asylums Account ended on 31st December, and apparently the matter has been so arranged that the Treasury have escaped paying their contribution for the period between 31st December, 1898, and 31st March, 1899. The exact amount is a matter for the calculation of experts, but the general opinion is that the Treasury have made about £120,000 by the transaction. The original Treasury liability was called a "refund," and was in respect of payments already made. Under the new arrangement the Treasury contribution goes under the name of a "grant," and is supposed to be in respect of future payments. On that understanding it would seem that about £120,000 remains due to Ireland for the period I have named. The matter has already been brought to the notice of the House by a question to the Irish Secretary—whose absence, especially on account of its cause, I regret very much, and all of us hope we shall see him in his place again before long. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give a satisfactory explanation. I have only raised this question as one of the many details of Irish finance. Many others could be raised, but I do not propose to raise them now. We have put forward this Amendment for the purpose of asserting our position in this country, and emphasising the opinion of Ireland that it labours under a distinct grievance which, throughout the whole of this session, as far as the forms of the House will allow us, we shall continue to press upon the House, and, whether we receive justice or not, we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that we have done our duty.
Amendment proposed—At the end of the Question, to add the words, But we humbly represent to Your Majesty that the over taxation of Ireland, which promises to become greatly aggravated by the expenditure on the war in South Africa, is a most serious and pressing grievance, and demands the early attention of Parliament with a view to its removal.'"—(Mr. Clancy.)Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
There is only one observation made by the hon. Member this evening with which I have the slightest disposition to differ. He said it was very difficult to say anything 1074 new upon this question of Irish taxation. Unless Irishmen are able to say something new upon this matter they will never get their grievances redressed. This House does not care about archaeology. It is useful, perhaps, to explain what mistakes were made in 1853, and the Royal Commission in 1894 made a splendid contribution to our history of Ireland. This House, however, pushes these things aside. It says they are past, and if you cannot show us that at the present moment you have a grievance of a pressing nature it is no use complaining. As I am strongly impressed with the belief that this grievance is one of the most acute that Parliament has got to deal with, and is growing more acute every day, I venture to make a few observations in this debate. I shall best make my point by alluding to a speech of the First Lord of the Treasury. The right hon. Gentleman has made three speeches on Irish taxation—the first was bad, the second was worse, and the third was the worst of all. No one appreciates more than I do the good feeling which the right hon. Gentleman has shown towards Ireland, and no one appreciates more than myself the useful character of some of the measures he has passed for Ireland. But it is very curious how his mind comes back to this financial question, and deals with it more inadequately upon every fresh occasion. The last speech he made was a very short but emphatic one. It was made during the recess, and he was drawing a parallel between the difficulties and grievances in South Africa and Ireland. I think Ireland might have been left alone in that connection. His argument went to show how just it was for the House of Commons to try and redress the grievances of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal, and he endeavoured to show that the Uitlanders' grievances were much more acute than the Irish grievances, and he mentioned them one after the other, and amongst others he alluded to the taxation grievance. He said that—…. The Irish people allege that they are overtaxed when compared with the English. Personally I think just the reverse, and I have given my reasons for that opinion in a very elaborate form, open to anybody to discuss and to criticise, and, if they can, to answer. Even the Irishmen who most believe in Ireland's financial grievances will hardly 1075 maintain that they are taxed at £16 per head, which is what the Uitlanders are taxed at."*The argument is that because the Uitlanders pay £16 per head, their grievance is greater than the Irish. The sum now paid by Irishmen amounts to 60s. per head. At the commencement of the present reign the total amount of local and Imperial taxation was 16s. per head, but since that time it has been doubled twice. That is, of course, even now very different to the Uitlanders' proportion, but mark the difference in the position of the two. There are no gold mines in Ireland. The great feature of Irish geography is a huge bog, and £16 per head can be more easily paid by the Uitlander than the smaller sum of 60s. by the Irishman. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will admit that nothing can be gained by comparing figures so different as the Uitlanders' and the Irish, and what should be compared is the principle of taxation. Let us do so for a moment. What was the principle upon which President Kruger imposed his taxes? It was this—that the richer the Uitlanders became and the more numerous they were, the more he would make them pay towards the taxation of the country. What is the principle this House follows in Ireland? It is that the poorer Ireland becomes and the fewer her population, the more this House will make her pay. If that is the truth, I bring against this House the gravest charge that can be put into human words. It is an evil which does not exist in any other civilised country, and I question if there is any other country where wealth and population are declining, and where taxation is increasing, as in Ireland. To find taxes constantly increasing under such circumstances is certainly one of the most extraordinary things that can be imagined. And it is for this reason that I say this Irish grievance is growing more acute. The people are getting fewer and the wealth is getting less, but this House is continually thrusting increased burdens of taxation upon them. My Irish friends have said that this Report of the Royal Commission has been neglected. When the Report of the Royal Commission was presented to this House there were three courses open to it. One course*Speech of Mr. A. J. Balfour, at Dewsbury, 28th November, 1899.1076 would have been for this House instantly to have said, "This is a serious matter; let us put this grievance right and reduce this burden of over-taxation." Another course would have been to let the matter alone, and say, "We will not reduce taxation, neither will we increase it." A third course—and I think everybody will agree the worst course—would have been for this House, after the Commission had reported, to go on increasing the taxes in a worse way than it had ever done before. It is this third and the worst course exactly that has been followed by this House. The figures are most extraordinary. Almost every Irish tax has been raised since that Commission reported, and the sum of £700,000 a year more was collected during the last financial year than in the year when the Commission reported. Perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer will say that this was caused simply by the normal operation of our system, but that is precisely what my hon. friends protest against and declare to be unjust. Perhaps some English Member will urge, "We have been treated in England in the same way;" but I contend that they have not been treated in the same way. They never were treated in the same way, for the English, Welsh, or Scotch Members would not stand it for an hour, and I am astonished at the patience with which my hon. friends the Irish Members have borne this burden. What is the case of the British? We must remember that great division which God has made between the two countries. There are two islands separated from each other; one is called Great Britain and the other Ireland. Our Chancellors of the Exchequer have tried to mix up the accounts of the two countries, but they have not succeeded. It is just as hard to mix them as to try and join the two islands together. What is the case of Great Britain as compared with Ireland? There has been a great increase of many millions in the wealth of Great Britain, and there has also been an increase of population. The increase in the wealth of Great Britain cannot be computed, and it has been mildly put at £50,000,000 per annum, in the revenue of the country. In England the increase of taxation has gone step by step with an increase of population and an increase of wealth. But how has it gone in Ireland? There the increase of taxation 1077 has gone on with a decrease of population and a decrease of wealth. That is really the only point I want to make, because I believe if we could awaken the conscience of this House to the magnitude of this evil—and I believe in the justice of this House when it understands a question—it would become more sympathetic. The reason the House does not take up this question is because it is a question of figures, and it does not understand it. Although I am dealing mainly with principles, let me offer one practical illustration of how the system works. I will give a striking figure to prove the decrease of the wealth and population of Ireland. My hon. friend who has just spoken has said something upon that point, and I will not repeat anything he has said. I only wish to give the House one figure, and it is such an astounding figure that I did not care to quote it without first writing to the Local Government Board in Dublin to correct it and bring it down to the year 1898. It is the return of pauperism in Ireland. I am going to ask the House to bear with me while I quote three very simple figures from this astounding document. I will state the proportion between the population and pauperism at three periods. The periods are 1864, 1894, and 1898. I may be asked why I take the year 1864. The reason is because the returns were commenced in that year, and it was a fair normal year. I take 1894 to show the facts when the Commission reported, and 1898 to show the present position. I hope that selection will be admitted to be fair. Omitting the odd figures, the population in 1864 was 5,640,000, and in 1894, 4,600,000. In 1864 the total number of paupers returned by the Local Government Board in Ireland was 295,000, and in 1894, 437,000, with a population a million less. Let me put the matter in another way. In 1864 the proportion of pauperism to population was 52 per 1,000, and in 1894 95 per 1,000. British Members in this House pay great attention to pauperism—they understand its importance—and may I appeal to them to observe that while pauperism has, thank God, fallen one-half in this country, pauperism in Ireland has almost doubled. I will give further figures. In 1894 the number of paupers was 437,000, and in 1898 526,000—an increase of 90,000 in four years, and the proportion per thousand 1078 had risen from 95 to 115. These are the most astounding figures presented to this House for many years. I believed from my own experience in Ireland that the figures were bad, but I had no idea that such a state of affairs existed, and before venturing to make a statement in the House of Commons I had the figures I have quoted confirmed by the Local Government Board. In Ireland taxation is constantly increasing while that phenomenon of decreasing wealth has to be dealt with. Let me deal with one other point. The English are very ingenious in meeting the arguments of the Irish, and they say, "Well, although you have very poor districts in the west of Ireland and a great many paupers, yet there are a great many well-to-do people, and their condition is improving, so that notwithstanding the appalling figures you have given the state of Ireland is better than you have led the House to suppose." I will give an answer to that argument. The Irish had a great genius for dealing with questions of finance, and it was agreed at the discussion which took place between the two Parliaments at the end of the last century that there would come a time when it would be possible to measure the conditions of Ireland and Great Britain respectively, and that that time would be when a common tax was levied on the same principle in both countries. There is such a common tax now. It is not equally just in both Countries—it is just in Great Britain and unjust in Ireland—but it is levied on the same principle. I allude to the income tax. These great financial authorities at the end of the last century, among whom I include Pitt, agreed that when such a tax was levied for a large number of years it would be possible to judge the progress of the two countries by watching its operation. For the last five or six years income tax at the rate of 8d. in the £ has been levied in these two interesting islands, on the same principle, by the same authority, and passing into the same Treasury. In 1895 in Ireland income tax produced £18,000 more than it produced last year, while in Great Britain last year it produced nearly £2,000,000 more than it did in 1895. That proves that in Ireland the condition of the rich marches with the condition of the poor, and that they too are worse off than they were. I have given the House figures 1079 with reference to pauperism and the produce of the income tax, and, tested by either, this grievance is proved to be most acute and dangerous in Ireland. I will now deal with another British objection. The defenders of the British position may say, "How can this be?" I would ask them to drop the "how" and say, "Is this true?" But the British will not be satisfied unless the Irish answer every poser put to them. They will never deal with an Irish grievance unless they understand it. They ask, "How can such a great grievance arise under a common system of taxation?" There have been three systems of taxation in Ireland during the century, all equally oppressive. The first was a system of unequal taxation. Ireland was simply robbed under that, because whenever the English wanted to take off a tax they merely put a stop to a tax which only existed in England. That grievance became so flagrant that equal taxation was resolved upon, but under that system selected articles were taxed which pressed more hardly on Ireland than on England, and the result was as bad under equal as it was under unequal taxation. Then a third and a worse system than either has arisen lately. It is the collection of too much taxation and the giving back of a certain amount in grants. I believe the real object for which that system was established was to facilitate the plunder of Ireland; otherwise the system would have no meaning. What is the object of asking Great Britain to pay too much, and then giving the balance back. This House discovered only five taxes that would be at all productive in Ireland. Almost the only thing which would pay that was left out was the potato, and the House said, "Now, we must never part with any of the taxes on these articles." Then came the time when taxation realised too much, and the system arose of giving grants. Of course, the machinery was at hand for cheating Ireland, and this House used it. It gave grants to England and forgot Ireland. We have had an illustration of that in the present Parliament. The House has no historic memory and no continuity of policy—to which may be attributed some of our international and other dangers at the present moment—and the grants which were given by the present Parliament differed in their nature from previous grants. How has the 1080 present Parliament treated Ireland? In 1896 a large grant was given to land, and Ireland received only £180,000 instead of £800,000. In 1898 this House admitted it was wrong, and gave Ireland the larger sum. Now the House cannot have been right in both years, but its action is an example of how Ireland is treated under this system of grants. I will mention a smaller example. On what principle is the Science and Art Grant made? One would have thought that if there were to be a selection, the larger amount would be given to the poorer country, and to the country which had the greater artistic faculty to work on. On that principle the larger sum would go to Ireland, because the people are more artistic and have more time to devote to the work. It, however, gets not a twentieth or a twelfth—the proportion it pays of some taxes—but a fifty-ninth of the grant. In London alone about £35,000 a year is given, whereas the whole amount given to Ireland is only about £5,000. Without going into details, I have shown the principle on which Ireland has been invariably treated. Every system has been to the detriment of Ireland, The last point I have to mention is a very strong one, and refers to the war. I can see that my friends from Ireland mean to develop this point as the session goes on. In both the great wars of the century Ireland was treated in the most cruel way. In the Crimean War the tax was raised in Ireland and Great Britain. When that war was over it was taken off in Great Britain, but it has never been reduced a penny in Ireland. Then in the French War that culminated in the battle of Waterloo the tax was raised in Great Britain and Ireland; in the year after Waterloo £20,000,000 was struck off the British tax, but no corresponding reduction was made in Ireland. You will make this war a pretext for raising the taxes again, and when the war is over you will again forget to take them off. Now, I maintain that you cannot get money for this war from Ireland, because she has not got it to give you. The Chancellor of the Exchequer smiles, but if you do get anything it will be at a terrible expense of life. Even now the income tax does not produce so much as it did. Ireland has voted against you; all her people, or a large majority of them, are solid against you. The bulk of opinion in Ireland does not approve 1081 of the war, and in making the protest which they make by this Amendment the Irish people make a perfectly just protest which I commend to the sympathy of the House.
MR. GRANT LAWSON (Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk)
The answer to the charge that the hon. Member has made that we heap heavier taxes on Ireland and the people grow poorer is that the taxes have not been raised in Ireland up to the same level as in Great Britain, and that the people are able to consume more taxable commodities, and that seems to show that they are growing, not poorer, but richer.
MR. GRANT LAWSON
Then I gather that the hon. Gentleman means that the disparity is increased by the income tax and the taxation of property passing at death. I am perfectly sure that Irishmen will not endorse that statement. In considering fixed taxation on certain commodities you must assume, if it is found that fewer people produce a greater amount, that those people are getting not worse but better off. It is a sign of increased prosperity that they can consume more taxable articles. Now, the hon. Baronet just now appeared unhappy because our answer to the party which he adorns has been that Ireland has no financial grievance at all. That is a satisfactory answer. In assuming that Ireland has a grievance we must see how the individual is situated. It is said that the grievance is the grievance of the nation and not an individual grievance of the people forming that nation. Of course, if the individual grievance is nothing, the nation has no grievance. Now, the individual living in Ireland has no grievance whatever. He pays the same taxation as people living here.
MR. GRANT LAWSON
The hon. Member asks about the Act of Union. Several hon. Gentlemen have referred to the Act of Union, but they have not read the words of the seventh section to the House. That section, after providing for a declaration of indiscriminate taxation, provides that the Parliament of the United KingdomMay from time to time, as circumstances may require, impose and apply such taxes" [equal on same articles] "subject only to such particular exemptions or abatements in Ireland, and in that part of Great Britain called Scotland, as circumstances may appear from time to time to demand.That section appears quite unnecessary. It is an inherent power of any Government to do that at any time. Under that Ireland was exempted from land tax, house tax, passenger duty, and establishment charges. It is not only in the Treaty itself that Parliament has the right to make exemptions and abatements. We have had this point put to us as settled by authorities on taxation. The Commission which decided it consisted of very eminent financiers, and originally consisted of thirteen members, ten of whom were Irish or drawn from that section of the British who are more Irish than the Irish themselves. That mixture not being strong enough, two more Irish were added to the Commission. The report gave two pages of agreed report and 200 of different reasons, and the two pages which were agreed did not answer anything at all. The hon. Baronet said that in the matter of taxation for this war Irishmen will pay a disproportionate share—
MR. GRANT LAWSON
If it falls on taxable commodities it presses the individual. The individual who drinks whisky will pay a disproportionate share as against that paid by a less convivial character, just as he will in England. The hon. Member for Islington suggested you ought to have given larger grants to Ireland in matters of technical instruction, but the Irish decline to recognise what they call a miserable apology for a set off by liberality in matters of expenditure. I hope hon. Members opposite will press this to a division, because I desire to see how many there are who suggest that England should pay more in order that Ireland may pay less.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
We are now discussing a question in which the majority of Irish Members say that by a clever arrangement of this country Ireland is monstrously overtaxed: yet the benches opposite present the appearance they usually do on a full-dress Indian debate. They do not think it worth while to come down and hear our criticisms. I am glad the hon. Gentleman did not deliver his speech in the presence of the First Lord of the Admiralty, because they take very different views. His argument is that as taxation falls on the unit it does not matter where that unit lives. The First Lord of the Admiralty, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, was the father of the expression that Ireland was a separate fiscal unit. He acknowledged it in 1891. We all knew, and the right hon. Gentleman knew, because he was a well-informed man, the real condition of Ireland, but the bulk of the English people could not know that Ireland was overtaxed to the extent of two and a half millions per annum. But I need not go into those details now, and the House would not care to listen to me if I did. The Amendment complains of over-taxation now, and that it will be undoubtedly enhanced by the present war. I differ from the hon. Member for Islington in believing that what took place at the time of the Union is no longer interesting. The 7th Section of the Act of Union was wholly ignored, or rather, was ruthlessly violated. At the time of the Union both Irish and English statesmen saw that it would have the effect of robbing Ireland by unfairly taxing her in the event of a war. The last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, Mr. Foster, was the greatest fiscal authority of his time. For sixteen years after the Union we had in the English House an Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer to guard our interests, and Mr. Foster was Chancellor of the Exchequer for some time. He strongly opposed the Union for fiscal reasons, and I will just quote a sentence from a speech made a century ago which is applicable at the present time. Mr. Foster said that Mr. Pitt wanted the Union not from any desire to reform the Irish Constitution, but in order to take the guardianship of the people's purse out of the hands of the Irish representatives, so that Ireland might be unfairly taxed in the event of a war. Mr. Pitt attempted to buy and stop 1084 Mr. Foster's mouth by writing a letter, which I have seen, attempting to bribe him with the offer of an English peerage in order to get his vote. I will not say more about the Act of Union except this. The object of the seventh section of the Act of Union was that the National Debts of the two countries before the date of the Union should be kept separate, and that Ireland, in matters of taxation, should be treated with consideration and with an absolute regard to her ability to pay taxes, and that in the event of a surplus from Irish sources it should be expended upon Irish purposes. I would implore the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to rely on the authority of Mr. Gladstone (as did the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1870) for supporting the present financial system between England and Ireland. The First Lord of the Admiralty wrote an article upon the subject in the Contemporary Review, and Mr. Gladstone, speaking on the merits of the article, said that Ireland loudly and bitterly complained that England had failed to deal justly with her, and that after some inquiry into a very intricate subject he was compelled to agree. When the income tax was first imposed in 1853 the great majority of the people voted against it through thick and thin, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer knows that this tax will not be cheerfully paid. We know that Ireland has been mercilessly robbed under the Act of Union. The truth is that the Government enforce the Act of Union when it tells against Ireland, and ignore it when it is in her favour. The passing of the 7th Article of the Act of Union arranged that Ireland should have separate taxation, and should be separately considered, and above all, that the pre-Union debt of four hundred and fifty millions should never be charged to Ireland. It was only owing to the insertion of that article that the Act of Union was carried even in the bribed Parliament of that day. What followed? The amalgamation of the Exchequers took place when Ireland had a public debt of only 28 millions, and one million of a rent charge, while England at the same time had a debt of 450 millions, with 17 millions of a rent charge. An hon. Member tells us that Parliament had a perfect right to repeal the 7th Article of the Act of Union; but the Act of Union was more than an Act of Parliament. The Act of Union was a treaty between 1085 two great contracting powers, between two nations. I will not trouble the House with the details of it, which are well enough known already. But we must recollect how the Act of Union was carried as between one legislature and another. Mr. Pitt was fully alive to this. He was asked what guarantee would be given by the House of Commons, on the 21st April, 1800, that the provisions of the 7th Article of the Act would not be violated. We know what Mr. Pitt's strictures were. In his loftiest style he said: "If I were asked, 'What security would you give to Ireland for the performance of the 7th Article?' I would answer, None; the liberality, the honour, and the love of justice of the people of Great Britain have never yet Seen found deficient." I say, "Go and tell that to the Boers!" O'Connell in 1843 characterised the Union as "a gross financial swindle," and said that if his advice, as a lawyer, were asked in regard to a proposed partnership between a man owing 21 millions and a man owing 450 millions he would be inclined to say to the attorney, "Is our poor client on the way to a lunatic asylum?" This over taxation of Ireland will be protested against with the vigour of one voice and one party acting together in unison. It will be raised again and again, because this Act of Union, under which this wrong and injustice has been perpetrated, is an unconscionable wrong so great that the gentlemen who committed it would disgrace the dock of the Central Criminal Court. In season and out of season we shall protest against this malicious wrong till it be righted, for we believe that our efforts have the sympathy of the world.
§ MR. RENTOUL (Down, E.)
I hope my hon. friend will not press this motion to a division, especially when I remind him of what took place last year. He is perfectly well aware that Members on this side of the House join with him and his colleagues in this matter. He will recollect that there is one thing both he and his opponents were careful to insist upon, namely, that there should be nothing done to put us in a definite position, and when it was proposed that the matter should be brought up again we were all anxious that it should not be brought up in such a way as to imply a vote of censure. Under these circumstances, and seeing what took 1086 place then, I would put it to my hon. friend not to go to a division on this matter this evening, for the simple reason that we feel it is absolutely necessary to go into the other lobby. He knows that since this session began there has been proposed a vote of censure on the Government in connection with this war. He knows that even this Amendment is mixed up with the war, and as soon as any mention of the war is made in an Amendment for one would vote against it. If the matter is deferred till a time when a vote can be taken without implying censure on the Government, hon. Members opposite will find that I and my colleagues in Ulster have not changed our minds. I think the discussion that has taken place has served a good purpose. It is necessary to keep the ball rolling. As to what has been said by the hon. and learned Member for South Donegal, it was largely a repetition of what has gone before; at the same time that is no reason why the matter should not be brought up again and again. The desire in the heart of everyone in the Committee Room upstairs was that Irish Members should all act together. Moreover, after what has been said by the hon. Member, the leader of the Irish Unionist party, for whom our estimation is miles higher than before, I ask my hon. friends, for the sake of Auld Lang Syne, not to press the Amendment to a division, but reserve it for another and more convenient season, when Unionist Members from Ireland can support it without joining in a vote of censure on the Government.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
I had not intended taking part in this debate, but after the speech of the hon. Member for East Down I think I should offer some answer to the remarks he has made. Considering the past relations between us and the Members for whom he speaks, it would scarcely be courteous on my part unless I made some answer. I will endeavour to explain in a few sentences how the matter presents itself to my mind. I believe that a great many Members are deterred from taking part in these debates by the idea that this is a very difficult and complicated question, and that in order to understand it it is necessary to study deeply the history of the past, and to pore over the 1087 evidence contained in bulky Blue-books. I do not take that view at all. It seems to me in essence a question that is easily and simply understood. An hon. Member opposite has told us that he has read every word of the evidence given before the Royal Commission, but I must say, without meaning any disrespect to him, that if he has done so he has exhibited a lamentable ignorance of the question as it presents itself to us. Here is a treaty made between two nations on certain terms. One of those terms is that the Irish nation, one of the parties to the treaty, was never to be taxed beyond her relative capacity to bear taxation. Ireland under that treaty, or Act of Union, was to contribute to the Imperial expenditure only in proportion to her resources. The hon. Member for the Thirsk Division quoted two or three words from the seventh article of the treaty, and put a construction of his own upon it, but if anybody is uncertain as to the meaning and wants to interpret that article, surely the reasonable thing would be to go back to the declarations of English statesmen at the time when the treaty was made. Mr. Pitt, Lord Castlereagh, and other Englishmen at the time declared that the meaning of that seventh article was that Ireland should never be taxed beyond her relative taxable capacity, and Lord Castlereagh stated that the ratio of Ireland's contribution must ever correspond with her relative wealth and prosperity. There fore the question is quite a simple one, and all these speeches going into elaborate details are beside the issue. The question is a simple one, and it is this—it has not been denied by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Lord of the Treasury that under the Act of Union Ireland is only entitled to be taxed according to her relative taxable capacity. The plain issue therefore is, is she taxed more than she ought to be, and beyond her taxable capacity, and if she is, are you going to repudiate the treaty of Union? Now, on the question as to whether Ireland is taxed beyond her relative capacity there cannot be any doubt. The Royal Commission found she was, and that since 1753 the taxation of Ireland has been doubled, whilst the taxation of England has been largely diminished, and nobody who heard the speech of the hon. Member for West Islington could fail to be struck by the extraordinary figures he 1088 gave the House. During the period when the taxation of Ireland was doubled and that of England diminished the pauperism of Ireland increased from 294,000, or 54 per thousand of the population, to 536,000, or 105 per thousand of the population, and during the same period the prosperity of England increased and the pauperism of England diminished by one-half. These figures, to my mind, are extraordinary in their significance, and I say there is no answer to the judgment of the Royal Commission that Ireland is to-day taxed beyond her relative capacity to bear taxation. If that be so, I say that the only answer left to you is a repudiation of the Act of Union, and I say it is a serious question for the Unionist party to take up that position on this question. I do not intend to delay the House further than to say that this, question has now been before the country and Parliament for several years. I admit in the frankest and fullest way that the Irish Unionist opinion is on our side in this matter. The right hon. and gallant Member who leads the Irish Unionist party in this House presided at a conference of Irish Members held upstairs, and with one or two exceptions the Irish Unionist Members were in thorough sympathy with our demands, and up to a certain point they gave us considerable assistance. But what has happened? We have argued this question and they have argued it. We have had full-dress debate after full-dress debate. But have we got any further? Sir, we have not advanced one single inch. I had almost said we had gone back, in spite of the help the Irish Unionist Members opposite have given us in making effective debates and arguments upon this question. Now, what are we to do under the circumstances? We are driven back to the old position which we always in the past adopted when we wanted to force a remedy for any grievances upon this House. We have tried argument, we have tried appeals coming from a practically united Ireland, and we have failed. What are we to do? The hon. Member for East Down says everything on this question has been heard on both sides, but I argue that from time to time the question ought to be brought up again, and we ought to have more full dress, debates. Does he not know as a practical man that by such proceedings we would not advance our case a single inch in our lifetime?
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
As a practical man the hon. Member must know that the only chance we have of bringing this question to a successful issue is to make it a troublesome, and, if possible, a dangerous question for every English party which may be in power to ignore and despise. I therefore take the view that this question must be pressed upon the attention of the House of Commons and the Government, and not by a series of full-dress debates only. I think the proper action for us to take is to press it forward on every stage of the Budget. It ought to be pressed forward at every stage of the Budget, and of course if we take that course our friends opposite cannot follow us, becouse they naturally would not take part in an attempt to defeat the Government on the Budget, and it seems, therefore, if we are to listen to the appeal made to us and fall in with the view now expressed, that we ought to take no really serious action upon this question in attempting to force it on the Government. I and my colleagues of this side are not content to let these full-dress debates go on and to leave the Government in peace. I am in favour of dividing on this question, because it will impress upon the Government that we are determined to take an aggressive and militant attitude on this question, and to make it a troublesome one in the future. Let me put this to the House. If this question is to be brought to a successful issue by an expression of opinion from the Unionist Members for Ireland, we have got that and will always get it, because, whether or not we divide, hon. Members such as those who have just spoken will not go back on their opinions, but will always say we are right in asking for a redress of this grievance. We shall not lose anything by their not voting; we have got the value of their opinions. What we mean by going to a division is that we are prepared to take independent action, and to make this question a real trouble and danger to the Government on every possible occasion. I hope the hon. and learned Member will not think I have answered his appeal in either a discourteous or unreasonable way; I have endeavoured to answer it in a frank way, and I hope the House will understand our position.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
It is not for me to suggest to those who take a different view to mine how best they may promote their view, but I very much doubt if any good has really been done to their cause by those who desire to follow the policy suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford in bringing forward the question now. I will not attempt to detain the House at this moment, when time is so important, by dwelling on arguments used in past debates. It has been said again and again on either side that the whole question has been thoroughly threshed out on more than one occasion during the present Parliament, and I do not think we need go back to-night to the great principles that divide us upon these matters, and the arguments by which those principles are supported. But I demur entirely, and in a few sentences will state my reasons, to the view the hon. and learned Member for Waterford has expressed, that the Act of Union requires that the taxation of Ireland is to be decided according to the taxable capacity of Ireland, and that any other method of dealing with the taxation of the country is a repudiation of the Act of Union. The Act of Union contemplated in the seventh article the union of the exchequers and the adoption of a common system of taxation throughout the United Kingdom. That was decided with the assent—which was a ready assent—of the representatives of Ireland in 1817, and ever since that time that has taken place which was laid down as the object to be attained in the seventh article of the Act of Union—namely, that the expenditure of the country should be defrayed indiscriminately by taxes upon the same articles in the two countries; then comes the proviso, on which alone the case of the hon. Members opposite rests, "subject only to such exemptions and abatements as circumstances appear from time to time to demand."
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
The right hon. Gentleman will forgive me for interrupting, but may I say that I interpret these words by the statements of Mr. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I interpret the words of the Act of Union by the Act of Union itself. Parliament, long ago, as I have said, with the assent of the Irish representatives of that date, adopted this 1091 equal system of taxation on the same articles throughout the United Kingdom; and I hope with all my heart that Parliament will not depart from that position. I will not deal at length with this question of exemptions and abatements. I will only say that, as far as I am concerned, I accept the view laid down last session by my right hon. friend the First Lord of the Treasury in a speech which has been very much discussed in the course of this debate—namely, that the proviso, whatever it meant, had no reference to any periodical calculation of the taxable capacity of different parts of the United Kingdom, whether of Scotland or Ireland; or to any attempt based on such a calculation to adapt the taxation in these countries on that basis. It simply referred to this, that care should be taken, as care had been taken for the previous 100 years in Scotland, that taxes should not unfairly oppress individuals or industries in one country as compared with the others. That really in my belief was the intention of the framers of the proviso. That was the way it was understood for more than a hundred years in Scotland, and it was adopted in the Act of Union for Ireland from the Act of Union between England and Scotland. All this notion of taxable capacity as connected with a common system of taxation is, in my belief, entirely an erroneous offspring from the report of the Royal Commission. Having said that much I will confine myself to an attempt to deal with what seems to be the object of this motion. It is, no doubt—and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford so indicated—a sort of preliminary skirmish on a question of which we may expect to hear a great deal in the course of the session, but it has also been raised, perhaps mainly raised, at the present time with reference to expenditure on the war. Hon. Members below the gangway opposite object to the war, and they will object, I do not doubt, to all expenditure on the war, and from that point of view they are perfectly justified in opposing any proposals for increase of taxation on account of war expenditure and in taking such a course as they may think right and proper for resisting them. But if I may dismiss for a moment, by way of argument, the question of the requirements of the Act of Union, let me say that the imposition of increased taxation 1092 on Ireland on account of the war cannot on any other ground create any injustice to Ireland. The hon. Baronet opposite, the Member for the Cockermouth Division of Cumberland, spoke and voted against the war the other night, and he will, no doubt, oppose taxation on account of the war as strongly as Members from. Ireland; but, assuming that the majority of this House is of a different opinion, he will be in a minority, and he and his constituents will not have the faintest reason, to complain of any injustice with regard to the result. The only way, therefore, in which this question, the expenditure on the war, is really relevant to the matter of Irish financial relations is that, in the opinion of the hon. Member for North Dublin, if there should be—upon which in February I certainly express no opinion—an increase of taxation on account of the war that increase will aggravate what he considers the present injustice to Ireland. I would just observe in passing that it does not at all follow, assuming there be injustice to Ireland in the present system, that it would be aggravated by an increase of taxation. Hon. Members who have examined this question know that a greater percentage of certain taxes, according to the calculations which have been made of the true revenue raised in both countries, is raised in Ireland, as compared with the rest of the United Kingdom, than of other taxes. For example, suppose—hon. Members will remember I am not in any way suggesting anything with regard to future taxation; it is much too early in February to do that—but suppose for a moment that it was necessary to raise revenue by largely increased taxation on account of the war, and that the whole of the increase, was raised by direct taxation, certainly that would not aggravate any injustice Members from Ireland complain of; that must be admitted by hon. Members opposite. The simple fact is this—Ireland pays a very much less proportion of direct taxation than she pays of indirect taxation, or of direct and indirect taxation taken together. I will give an instance from what happened last session. It was a small matter, but I had to increase taxation by something like £900,000 a year, and I increased the stamp duties, mainly, if not entirely, on documents connected with Stock Exchange transactions, and I placed an increased duty on wine. Now, was that an aggravation of the injustice to Ireland?
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
Then why did not hon. Members oppose it on that ground? Upon the ground that it aggravated the injustice to Ireland there was not a single protest against the Budget of last session.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I should not have given the invitation if I had not had the promise already. I believe that hon. Members on that occasion did not neglect their duty, and I am convinced that if those who have studied this question had seen an increase of injustice last year they would have opposed the proposal on that ground. Let me say something more. I listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Islington on this subject, to which he has given great attention. From his point of view the injustice which he holds Ireland has to complain of under the present system is a growing injustice. Very well. But, even if you deal solely with the question of revenue, it certainly is not a growing injustice so far as the proportion of our revenue raised in Ireland is concerned. The Royal Commission reported upon the figures of the year 1893–94. In that year it was calculated that the total true revenue raised was £89,286,000 and the true revenue raised in Ireland £7,558,000. They reported that the proportion of the total revenue raised in Ireland was, I think, 1 in 11. Since that time that proportion has been steadily diminishing.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
I do not wish to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but were those figures accepted by the Royal Commission? There were several suggestions as to making them more accurate.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I believe they are the figures on which the calcula- 1094 tions of the Royal Commission of the proportionate revenue of England and Ireland were based. What were the last figures presented to Parliament for the year 1898–99? The true revenue of Great Britain had increased to £108,837,000, the true revenue of Irelaud had increased to £8,202,000. The true revenue of Great Britain therefore had increased by £19,500,000, or something of that sort, and the true revenue of Ireland by about £650,000. Although it is premature to give figures with regard to the outcome of the present year, I am convinced from what I have already seen that the increase in the true revenue of Great Britain is likely to be at least £4,000,000 more than that of the year 1898–1899, while the increase in the revenue of Ireland may possibly be £250,000. The result is this—that whereas the Royal Commission reported that the proportion of the revenue of the United Kingdom raised in Ireland was one in eleven, it now comes to something like one in fifteen. What is the answer of the hon. Member for Islington? He says the wealth of Great Britain has enormously increased, and that the wealth of Ireland has diminished, that Ireland is a poorer country than she was. With regard to the years I have quoted I entirely admit that the wealth of Great Britain has largely increased; it is the fact that the main part of the great increase in revenue in Great Britain to which I have referred has arisen from increased direct taxation levied since 1893–94, from the increase of the death duties; but it arises also from an increase in the wealth of the country. Neither the income tax, nor the death duties, nor any form of direct taxation, can for a moment fairly be argued to press heavily on Ireland. The hon. Member says Ireland has become very much poorer since 1864; that is not my view. As the hon. Member for the Thirsk Division has already pointed out to the House, there has been a considerable increase since that time in the receipts from indirect taxation on dutiable articles in Ireland. There is no doubt about it, and why? Because there has been an increased consumption of those articles, some of which certainly are subject to less taxation than they were in that day.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
It may be that the rate of taxation on spirits is higher; the rate of taxation on beer is higher; but does any hon. Member desire to reduce that?
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
Yes, it is, and it is a very important point. There is not an hon. Member in this House who has suggested in the course of these debates that the rate of taxation on beer or whisky should be reduced.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I beg the hon. Member's pardon for not excepting him, but that at any rate has not been the view which has been pressed on Parliament. The rate of taxation on tea has been very largely reduced, and yet the receipts from tea both in Ireland and Great Britain are unquestionably larger than they were at the date which has been mentioned. That is a proof, and if the rates of duty on beer and spirits are higher, the increased consumption of beer and spirits is even more a proof, not of increased poverty, but of increased means on the part of the nation. When the hon. Member for West Islington puts before the House an increase in the number of paupers in Ireland during the last forty years as an irrefutable argument in favour of his contention that Ireland is poorer now than she was then, is he really ignorant of the enormous, and I think most unfortunate, change in the system of Poor Law administration in Ireland, which has spread out relief over the whole of the country, whereas at the time to which he referred it was, comparatively, hardly known at all?
§ MR. LOUGH
I beg your pardon. The right hon. Gentleman does not do me justice. I first took the years 1864 and 1894, and then the years 1894 and 1898. The system was thoroughly established in 1894, and I showed that the proportionate increase was far greater between 1894 and 1898 than between 1864 and 1894.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I do not agree with the hon. Member; I do not think the system was thoroughly established in 1894. I am afraid it has been increasing since and is increasing still; but what I have said is at any rate a complete answer to the statistics in regard to 1864. But the hon. Member went on to say that the income-tax in 1898 produces less in Ireland than it did in 1894. Does he not think there may be some reason for that besides the decrease in the wealth of Ireland? There are three reasons, to which I think some importance may be attached, as they certainly make the income tax apply more leniently to Ireland than to the rest of the United Kingdom. One reason is that there has been a considerable extension of the system of exemptions and abatements in favour of the smaller incomes, which necessarily must form a larger proportion in Ireland than in Great Britain of the whole amount on which income-tax is charged. Another is that there has been, I have no doubt, in those four years no inconsiderable increase in the number of small proprietors in Ireland, and every increase of that kind would relieve a man from income tax. When the estate of a large landowner is sold to his tenants, a property which formerly paid income tax tends to become free from it. That has been, I have no doubt, a factor of some importance of late years in Ireland. Another point in which Irish owners of property subject to income tax have an advantage over owners of such property in the rest of the United Kingdom is that in Great Britain the owner of such property is assessed at the rent which he receives from it, while in Ireland, whatever rent he receives from it, he cannot be assessed at more than Griffiths's valuation—[An HON. MEMBER: That is frequently more than the rent.]—and if that valuation is more than the rent he can claim to be assessed at the rent which he receives. I am sorry to say it is a game of "heads I win and tails you lose," and the net result is that the income tax payer in Ireland is certainly assessed on the whole more favourably for himself than he is in Great Britain. As the hon. Member raised these points, I thought it well to put before the House something which I think deserves consideration on the other side. But I must now turn to a view of this case which I know is very distasteful to 1097 hon. Members opposite; but I hope, as we have listened very patiently to accusations of cheating, robbery, fraud, and everything of that kind, with regard to this matter, they will hear me patiently. I have never been able to see the justice of dealing with taxation, as my hon. friend the Member for the Thirsk Division put it, on Separatist lines, and dealing with expenditure on Unionist lines. If you are to deal with taxation on separatist lines, you must also consider expenditure on the same lines. That brings me directly to the set-off which I know hon. Members opposite below the gangway never condescend to consider in respect to this matter. There have been for many years now returns annually presented to Parliament showing what is expended out of the Imperial revenue in the different parts of the United Kingdom for local purposes. [An HON. MEMBER: They are not correct.] I know the hon. Member thinks they are not correct; I know it has been said in the course of this debate that some of the local expenditure in Ireland ought to be included among Imperial expenses. For instance, the hon. Member for North Dublin told us, although he dealt with Irish revenue on Separatist lines, that it was absurd to charge against Ireland the charge for collecting that revenue.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
And he went on to say that so far from being content with the suggestion which the First Lord of the Treasury made last year, and I think made rather generously, that only half the cost of the Irish constabulary ought to be counted as an Irish local charge, he thought none of the cost of that constabulary ought to be so accounted. In other words, that Irishmen ought to keep the peace at no cost whatever to themselves.
§ MR. CLANCY
You undertook the cost of keeping the peace in Ireland as the price to be paid for the injury done to Ireland by the repeal of the Corn Laws.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
No, I do not follow the hon. Member in that argument at all. If you are to estimate these local charges fairly in the different 1098 portions of the United Kingdom, you must make in each part a fair charge for the ordinary cost of keeping the peace. I have never been able to believe that under any system of Home Rule the cost of keeping the peace in Ireland would be less than it is now. ["Oh, oh!"] I feel that that is an unpopular opinion, and I do not want to press that point; but at least it must be admitted by hon. Members below the gangway that it would be advisable to have some policemen, and if they have policemen they would have to pay for them, and therefore there would have to be a charge against Ireland. The hon. Member for North Dublin told us that a good deal of this expenditure, besides that to which I have alluded, was expenditure which was forced upon Ireland, and that, at any rate, it was not expenditure which Irishmen, if left to themselves, would care to incur. I can only say with regard to such matters as the educational charge and charges for other things to Ireland which are unquestionably local charges, I never remember, in all the years during which I have had the honour of a seat in this House, any occasion on which Irish. Members of all shades of political opinions did not cheerfully welcome any expenditure, and do their best to maintain that expenditure. I do not make any complaint of that at all; I merely point out that this is expenditure which they desire, and that, therefore, they cannot exclude it on the ground of its being forced upon them in calculating what are the local charges borne on the Imperial revenue. I suggested two or three years ago that, as I knew they questioned the way in which these accounts are calculated, the matter should be further examined by a Commission, which should endeavour to arrive at a fair adjustment. That suggestion was scouted by hon. Members, and I was told that it was a fraudulent device—a kind of term which hon. Members use rather freely on this subject. They would have nothing whatever to do with it, and, therefore, I can only rest myself upon the figures as they now stand. I will briefly state to the House how these figures have altered in recent years. Whether they rest on a fair basis or not, they may at any rate be used for the purpose of comparison with different years; it was calculated upon the basis which has been adopted that in 1893–94 1099 Ireland's contribution to the Imperial expenditure was not one-twentieth, as it ought to be if you accept that proportion for her revenue, but one thirty-first part only; in 1897–98 that had decreased to one thirty-sixth, in 1898–99 to one forty-second, and this present year I believe it will work out at about one fifty-fifth. In other words, out of a total expenditure of £75,500,000—excluding the war expenditure—Ireland, for Imperial purposes, will pay nothing more than £1,375,000, and yet we are told that it is a gross injustice, robbery, and fraud, if Ireland is asked to pay anything towards the expenditure of this great war. I do not wish to detain the House further. I have endeavoured to address myself to what I may call new matters which have arisen in the course of this debate. On other matters I have nothing to add to what I have already said in previous debates, and, as I fear that the arguments which I have often adduced have not obtained the assent of hon. Members opposite, I have no greater hopes of converting them to-night. But this much I will say, as I have said before, that I never will consent to anything which would do what was suggested by the hon. Member for North Dublin—place the rich man in Ireland in a better position with regard to the payment of income tax than the rich man in Great Britain, or place the poor man in Ireland in a better position with regard to his tea and tobacco, his beer and his spirits, than the poor man in great Britain.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I absolutely deny that proposition. I absolutely deny that the Act of Union said or intended anything of the kind. It would be a gross injustice to the population of the United Kingdom as a whole; and I believe that our present fiscal system, if it were fairly looked at, even by hon. Members opposite, apart from the will-o'-the-wisp light of the Report of the Royal Commission, would be found to be as fair and as equitable as any which exists in any country in the world.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, although I have always regarded him as a stern and severe taskmaster in English politics, and 1100 though he has always taken a strong line in rebutting our arguments, I have never regarded as personally unfriendly to Ireland. On the contrary, I have always believed, from the time when he was Chief Secretary, he would like to do something for Ireland, for, unlike some past Irish Secretaries, some of his knowledge still sticks to him. He has divided his present argument into three branches. He first scouted our argument on the Act of Union, and then he treated us to an examination of the figures based on our being Lancashire or Yorkshire. And then the third branch of his argument was: "Even granted that you are not Lancashire or Yorkshire, there is an Imperial set off of money spent in the country which suffices to repair any injustice." I should first of all like to say two or three words on the historical argument. I ask you when there is any question between any two countries as to the interpretation of a treaty, would you think it tolerable that the people in one country should be the sole arbiters of the interpretation and the construction of that treaty? You tried that on with Venezuela, and you said: "We have got the ships and we have got the men, and we will quarter up your country as we please." That was your intention, but the United States would not hear of it, and said: "No, this is a dispute between two sovereign States, and it must be referred to arbitration." And when it was referred to arbitration, as in all cases where England has been reluctant to enter upon arbitration, she got the worst of it. (Cries of "No, no.") It reflected a curious light upon the original reluctance to referring the matter to arbitration if it is now satisfactory. Ireland claims—whether rightly or wrongly is immaterial for my argument—that the construction of this treaty is not a matter for one of the parties to it. That it was a treaty is unquestionable. It was made between two countries which were separated, and between two sovereign legislatures. I say nothing now as to how the Union was produced; how all the un-bribed intellect of Ireland was against it, while, instead of there being thousands of voters as there are now in the country, the three hundred Irish Members were elected by a mere handful of votes. Well, now, is it a prudent thing for the English, who at this moment are so strong about the observance of the London Convention 1101 with the Boers—is it a prudent thing to suggest that we shall not have arbitration, we shall not have a court of law, and we shall only have the British Treasury to decide as to this treaty? I say that that in itself constitutes a casus belli between the two countries. Where is our remedy? You say in the Transvaal, because taxes are piled up on the Uitlanders, "We will go to war to redress that wrong." You say you have a casus belli against the Transvaal. Kruger wanted to refer the matter to arbitration, and you refused. I say when there is a question of the construction of a treaty between two countries we have a right to ask that the matter should be referred to arbitration, and that we have a casus belli if you refuse. [An HON. MEMBER: No, no!] I submit that, legally speaking, we have. Let us put it on lower ground than upon a dispute between two sovereign States. Let us suppose that we are all shareholders in a great international concern. Would you think it right that these shareholders should be denied access to the books, that they should be denied an audit, and that the books should be kept in the hands of a particular number of the directors? Supposing there was a railway and a steamship company from here to France. Suppose that the Northern Railway of France was fused with the London and Chatham Railway, would you think it right that the joint company should only have French directors, and that when the English directors demanded an audit the French directors should shrug their shoulders and refuse it? But that is the position taken up by the right hon. Gentleman. The whole system is English; the Treasury is English. We have not in the Government a single man to see fair play. The Irish Secretary is an Englishman or a Scotchman, which for our purpose is the same thing. The whole of the system is a British system, and we have no means of knowing how the books are kept; and even if they were kept by the most honourable set of people in the world I say it is a monstrous state of things that those who contribute some eight millions of money should be denied all access to the accounts. And then the right hon. Gentleman referred to the "true" revenue of Ireland. Why have you to speak of the "true" revenue of Ireland, and why should you have to use the word "true"? Is there a "false" revenue of Ireland? The reason is 1102 this: because you have so manipulated the accounts of the three countries that you have absolutely erased and eradicated any means of ascertaining the true revenue of Ireland. You have abolished for your own purpose our Custom House, though a Custom House, even if there was not a separate fiscal system, would be an enormous value to us in stowing what we exported, and so on; and if yow enabled us to see what butter we were making and what cattle we were exporting it would be like a pulsometer, and would act, at all events, for registration purposes. But because this pulsometer or register or penny in the slot system would act injuriously for your Treasury purposes the Treasury even deny us the few clerks necessary in order to know what merchandise we send away, and you decline to take any account of it. Even if the system between England and Ireland were perfect then, for the purpose of quieting your conscience and showing the world that we were getting fair play, would it not be well for you to do something. You may be the most admirable people in the world, but you are as God made you and we have our suspicions of you. And, therefore, I say if it is only for the purpose of quieting your conscience, you ought to consent to submit this matter to some impartial judge. And then the right hon. Gentleman said that we absolutely refused, and scouted any suggestion of a further Commission to inquire into the question of set-off. For my part, I am always very cautious in referring to that question, and for this reason: the Irish party at the time was divided. Mr. Sexton, who behaved with so much credit to himself and so much advantage to his country on that Commission, was no longer a Member of the House. The Member for Waterford, the other member of the Commission, was acting with a small and separate party, and accordingly we were not in a condition to approach the Government on this question with any kind of a strong hand, and we did not feel in our then condition that it was a proposition which we were in a position to entertain.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
A meeting of the Irish Members was held, and there was an actual resolution passed 1103 on the subject, with the hon. Member for East Mayo in the chair.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I do not think I myself attended that meeting, though I fully admit that it bound me, and accordingly with that resolution before us in our then somewhat distracted condition, I don't think it was an unfair thing of those asked to consider the question of this Commission to take up an attitude of hesitation upon it, when they already had the verdict of another Commission in their favour and the new one was to be manned to reverse or discredit its findings. But, at the same time, I don't think that the matter of what should be treated as Imperial and what should be treated as Irish expenditure should be entirely closed. Then let us see the nature of the set-off, which the Member for North Dublin handled so well yesterday. Take the present condition of Italy. It was determined, owing to the Triple Alliance, to keep up a certain number of regiments, with the result that every Italian peasant is ground to powder with extraordinary taxation, his bread and meat and salt being taxed, and practically there is no money in the country but paper money. Is it any satisfaction to the Italian peasant to know that at Spezzia or some other great place armaments are being heaped up, and that vessels are being filled with gunpowder and cannon, when he is absolutely rendered penniless by this extraordinary system of taxation? All these war taxes are spent in Italy for guns, ships, and soldiers. But what is the set-off to a man who wants to put salt in his porridge if he knows that some 110-ton guns are being built? Therefore I say that though there is something in a set-off it can never be considered a complete answer to our argument. I might deal with it in this way: Let us suppose that Dublin Castle is filled with rats, and that in consequence you have to find an extraordinary quantity of cat's meat. Would you consider this Castle cat's meat a set-off? No doubt for your own purpose you keep up this system of barracks, prisons, and poor-houses, and then you turn round and say to us, "We spend so much upon our Militia, so much upon our Army, so much upon guns, police, county court judges," and so on throughout the whole of the British form of administration in the 1104 country. What satisfaction is that to us? What satisfaction is it to that person "the man in the street," walking along Merrion Square, to know that there are four or five judges living there receiving £4,000 or £5,000 a year? What satisfaction is it to a man in Phœnix Park to know that there is a Lord Lieutenant there holding a levee who is paid £25,000 per annum, or that there are barracks on all sides at which a limited class of the population, chiefly ladies, find consolation? I think the set-off argument may be fairly pigeon-holed under the title of "the Castle cat's meat." If I were dealing with the question of set-off, I would like to divide it into two heads, reproductive and non-reproductive works. I believe if you had reproductive works set going in Ireland like you have at Woolwich or Chatham, if you had in Ireland shipbuilding yards, I think then you might fairly say, "We will treat the wages as a set-off." But salaries paid to judges as part of the machinery of oppression like policemen and soldiers, or the gunpowder kept for the collection of rent, I decline to reckon as a set-off. The right hon. Gentleman must not assume that we cannot conceive that, in certain circumstances, the question of a set-off might not fairly arise. What we do say is that the items he refers to are not a set-off. May I say one or two other words upon this question? The right hon. Gentleman, in the third part of his argument, asked us not to assume that Ireland must necessarily be taxed for this war. I would not expect any extraction of opinion from him in advance upon that point, but could he lay his hands upon his heart and say that for the last hundred years the Irish fiscal system has been a fair one to our country? I challenge him to get up and declare upon his financial conscience that that is so. He can see that it is a system which has destroyed our mills, exported our millers, levelled our distilleries, stopped our tobacco industry, ruined our weaving and flax growing, and turned the whole country into one vast grazing tract, of which the profits go into the hands of a few grazers, and I challenge him to show that it is a fair system to our country. He says that Ireland is not hit by indirect taxation, but I deny it. I say that every farthing which you exact from the country, 1105 whether from stamps or whisky, to which we have not given our national assent is robbery, and it is nothing else. The right hon. Gentleman says stamp duties are no injustice to Ireland. Is it no injustice to a man going into the Land court when he has to pay a shilling or ten shillings as an initial proceeding to get justice? Is it no injustice to have to pay a tax upon the formation of a tiny company? Suppose we want to get up a company for the starting of any industry in Ireland, have we not to pay the same rate of taxation as if it were a company for the starting of a gold mine in the Rand? It is the very same tax. Will any man tell me that it is the same thing to put a stamp on the formation of a colliery as to put the same stamp upon the formation of a company to start a little cloth mill in Ireland? Our industries require, to some extent at all events, to be fostered. You do not even let them alone, and I deny, when you come to consider the relative question of taxation, that Ireland should be treated in the same spirit or temper as a country with vast mineral resources. He says: "What is the harm of a tax on whisky?" The right hon. Gentleman asks: "Is anybody in favour of reducing the tax on whisky?" I am in favour of reducing the tax on everything. That is my answer. With regard to this argument I would like to see fewer public-houses in the country, temperance established, and every man a teetotaler. Nobody would more rejoice at that than myself. But I deny, in a miserable country like ours, the proposition that alcohol is necessarily a luxury. I believe tea may sometimes be a greater luxury. Take a man working as a day labourer at 1s. or 1s. 6d. per day. Perhaps he may work in a flannel jacket and get thoroughly soaked, and can spare twopence to have half a glass of whisky. I wish him joy with it, and I deny that that two pence is a portion of his luxury. In a country like that would it not be something if that man was able to buy that for a penny?—[Laughter]—Or might he not buy a red herring or a pound of bread with his spare penny? You may say he would have two glasses, and then the British taxgatherer suddenly becomes a temperance philanthropist. I deny altogether the proposition that British philanthropists and taxgatherers have a right to say, "We will keep the 1106 tax on whisky." Tax beer similarly to whisky, and then we will talk to you. How long does the right hon. Gentleman think he would occupy his honourable office if he taxed beer as he does whisky? The right hon. Gentleman also used this argument with regard to paupers—I never will be a statistician, I can badly add up figures, and I never will set up as an authority on finance—he says, with regard to the argument about paupers used by the hon. Member for West Islington, whose calculations and work on this subject entitle him to the lasting gratitude of our country, that the figures since 1864 were due to outdoor relief. That is a terrible condemnation of the system on which the workhouses were conducted in Ireland, a system under which a man was compelled to leave his wife and family instead of getting sixpence or a shilling on the English system. I do not credit that argument. It is true in recent years, no doubt, there has been some increase in the system of outdoor relief, but I cannot gather, nor will I admit that it is the fact that the increase of pauperism can be attributed to that. What is the answer? Does he consider that lunacy is pauperism? How is it that lunacy has increased in the country? Lunacy to an enormous extent has increased. I have seen calculations showing that if you take the statistics of lunacy in America, they show that lunacy has increased more largely among the farming and agricultural class than in any other class in the United States. "Farming must always be a bare business," was a saying of the late Mr. Biggar. When you have to meet your rent half-yearly or yearly, and the anxieties connected with the farm—whether the weather is good or bad, whether your flocks and herds will bear in a prolific manner, whether the blight will visit your potatoes or not—all tend necessarily to make the business of a farmer in a country with an uncertain climate a more anxious life than almost any other business or occupation. Now nine-tenths of the population of Ireland are farmers, and this extraordinary increase in lunacy, in my judgment, is due to the fact that it has an agricultural population of this kind. Is it fair to tax an agricultural population in the same way as you tax a mining or a textile population? Why not put all your taxes on coal? We have no coal, practically speaking, in Ireland. Would you think that fair? 1107 Would you think it fair to put all your taxes on iron or on cheese? The English eat all the cheese. Would you think it fair if all the staple English industries were picked out and the other industries were left alone? I admit there are enormous difficulties in arriving at a just system of taxation for the English people. I think anybody in the position of the right hon. Gentleman must have anxious nights, even on the question of England alone. What is his burden, then, when he has to do justice between this enormously rich country, on the one hand, and this enormously poor country on the other, who are the two last partners that should ever have been brought together? I venture to think that if the statesmen of the Union had to solve the problem they had to consider one hundred years ago in the light of what has happened, the fiscal union of the two countries would be the last thing they would propose. Why is Ireland taxed when the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are left out? Do you think you would promote loyalty in the Isle of Man by putting 10s. 6d. on their whisky? What becomes of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's statement when he said—I will never be a party to letting the rich man off in Ireland, or giving the poor man his beer and tobacco cheaper in Ireland than in England"?What is the mystery about the Isle of Man? Why do not they pay? They have a separate Parliament, they have separate wealth, and they are wealthier than we are, and yet they do not pay a single shilling to this Imperial fund. Then, again, Jersey is at your doors. It sends you flowers and new potatoes, and yet it does not pay a single penny. Is not that a sad thing for us to contemplate in the unhappy position in which we are placed. Last of all, look at your great and glorious self-governing colonies. You boast about the splendid contingents they supply for this war, but in 1883 there were New South Wales and Canadian contingents fighting against the Mahdi in Egypt while the Colonial Secretary was still at the Local Government Board. Do your colonies give you a shilling? Not a penny, but you tell us they have given these splendid contingents of men. Do not we give you as good contingents? Wiry is it the Secretary of State for War will not tell us the proportion of militia regiments from England, Scotland, and Ireland?
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman is not confining himself to the question of the over-taxation of Ireland.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I feel the justice of that observation, Mr. Speaker. When we are invited to consider the question of "set-off" I think we are entitled to put the argument of "set-on," and when you think of the enormous assistance our country gives in the way of troops and physical contributions it is a matter that may fairly be set against the fiscal contributions to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has referred. I entirely share the view of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford when he said that we cannot abstain from pressing this matter to a division. No doubt we have had useful assistance from hon. Gentlemen opposite from Ireland, but, unhappily, Sir, the authors of the Union forgot, when they were giving us one hundred Members for the purpose of advocating the claims of Ireland with regard to taxation and legislation, that they would be divided into two parties, and that one of them would be an Irish party and the other practically an English party. I say that without any intention whatever of reflecting on the patriotism of hon. Gentlemen opposite, but for some reason or other—either the expectation of office or because they are connected with land—they ally themselves with one or other of the great English parties, and therefore to that extent the arm of Ireland in fighting this question is paralysed; but we who have none of these expectations are bound to press the claims of Ireland irrespective of English party considerations; and when we find the British Ministry rejecting our arguments, refusing our demands, and refusing to submit this matter to the arbitration of a competent tribunal, we are bound to press it in a way perhaps more severely than hon. Gentlemen who sit on the other side of the House. These are the considerations we have to put before the House. They are founded on the Treaty of Union itself, and founded on the relative conditions of the two countries, and they may well be deemed worthy of consideration by any fair and impartial tribunal.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 77; Noes, 200. (Division List No. 7.)1111
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||O'Malley, William|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Holland, William Henry|
|Horniman, Frederick John||Parnell, John Howard|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.|
|Blake, Edward||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jordan, Jeremiah||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Caldwell, James||Kearley, Hudson E.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Kilbride, Denis|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Redmond, John E. (Waterf'rd)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Commins, Andrew||Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lough, Thomas||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Crean, Eugene||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Macaleese, Daniel||Sullivan, D. (Westmeath)|
|Daly, James||MacDonnell, Dr. MA (Queen's C)||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Dewar, Arthur||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tennant, Harold John|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Cartan, Michael||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|M'Ghee, Richard||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Engledew, Charles John||M'Leod, John||Tully, Jasper|
|Mandeville, J. Francis||Ure, Alexander|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Farrell, James P. (Cavan, W.)||Morton, Edw J C. (Devonport)||Warner, T. Courtenay T.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Moss, Samuel||Young, S. (Cavan, E.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Murnaghan, George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.|
|Hammond, John (Carlow)||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Fry, Lewis||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Galloway, William Johnson||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Garfit, William||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Gedge, Sydney||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gibbs, Hn. A.G.H. (C. of Lond.||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Balcarres, Lord||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||O'Neill, Hon. Robt. Torrens|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A J. (Manch'r||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Penn, John|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith-(Hunts||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G.J. (St. Geo.'s||Pilkington, R. (Lancs, Newton)|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. Benjamin||Graham, Henry Robert||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M.H. (Bristol||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Plunkett, Rt. Hn. H. Curzon|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. W. W. B. (Hants)||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Bethell, Commander||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Purvis, Robert|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Bill, Charles||Hardy, Laurence||Rankin, Sir James|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Richardson, Sir Thos. (Hartlep'l|
|Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme||Heath, James||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matthew W.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Helder, Augustus||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas Thomson|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Henderson, Alexander||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Robinson, Brooke|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Round, James|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (D'rbysh're)||Hutchinson, Capt. G.W. Grice-||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Jackson, Rt. Hn. Wm. Lawies||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Saunderson, Rt. Hon. Col. Ed. J.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Charrington, Spencer||Keswick, William||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Kimber, Henry||Shaw-Stewart, M.H. (Renfrew)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Knowles, Lees||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Clarke, Sir Edw. (Plymouth)||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lecky, Rt. Hon. William E.H.||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Leighton, Stanley||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg'w)||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Strauss, Arthur|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lorne, Marquess of||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J.G. (Ox. Un.)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lowe, Francis William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Lowies, John||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Verney, Hon. Richard G.|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Macdona, John Cumming||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Maclure, Sir John William||Ward, Hon. Robt. A. (Crewe)|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Doughty, George||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Welby, Lieut.-Colonel A. C. E.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Malcolm, Ian||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-undr-L.)|
|Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Manners, Lord Edward Wm. J.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W.F.||Williams, Joseph P. (Birm.)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir Herbert E.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Fellowes, Hon. A. Edward||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Wylie, Alexander|
|Finch, George H.||Milward, Colonel Victor||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Monckton, Edward Philip||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Monk, Charles James||Younger, William|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Flower, Ernest||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Forster, Henry William||Morrell, George Herbert|
§ Main question again proposed.