§ Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [28th July], "That the Bill be now read the third time."
Which Amendment was—
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day three months.'"—(Mr. Thomas Shaw.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."—
§ * MR. HELME (Lancashire, Lancaster)
, resuming the debate on the Finance Bill, said that although the opposition yielded to none in their desire to support the adequacy and efficiency of the Services they desired to enter a serious protest against the financial policy and administration of the Government. The national expenditure had now reached a figure that in times of peace had never been equalled, and by this formal vote the Opposition desired to emphatically express the opinion that the methods of the Government in superintending the Departments had not been adequate to the national requirements in point of economy combined with efficiency. It appeared now to be the fact that the House of Commons, although the custodian of the purse of the nation, had lost control over the country's expenditure, and that it had simply come to be a House to register the decrees of the Government. The constitutional power of the House had been cut short by the closure, which made the Opposition powerless to effect any improvement, and in the face of the big majority of the Government they could only take advantage of all opportunities to urge the adoption of their proposals. As to the general question of taxation, he would press upon the Government the consideration that the strain was too great, that the abstraction of such a sum as £143,000,000 for ordinary expenses of the nation in time of peace was too large, and that such an imposition was particularly oppressive on the poor. The increase on the tea duty affected the every-day life of the people, and the millions a year now paid more than were formerly necessary, on account of the sugar bounties abolition, had greatly increased the people's burdens and affected their comfort. The industrial population were crying out for consideration, and therefore it was only right that they should assert and re-assert, again and again, that this excessive taxation was sapping the foundation of the prosperity of the country and must be reduced. The 1536 purchasing power of the people was lessened by the huge amount of taxation now imposed, and so taken out of the pockets of the people, and hence it was that much of the demand for manufactures at home was considerably lessened. Employment, therefore, was more and more restricted, smaller amounts were paid as wages, and therefore the Opposition were justified in saying that the prospects of the Imperial Exchequer were not so rosy as they would like them to be. Expenditure depended on Policy and that was fixed by the Cabinet; thus, as the protests of the Opposition were unable to affect the Government's policy, there was a great responsibility resting upon the individual supporters of the Government. Those hon. Members had a very potent weapon in their hands, and if they used it they would affect the decisions of the Government in a manner which the Opposition could not hope to obtain. The people had made up their minds that a peace Budget should not be as large as the present one and would refuse to go on paying the £48,000,000 increase. The value of commodities had fallen during the part few years, and the country had not secured the advantages they were entitled to because of the altered value of those commodities as admitted by the present Secretary of State for War. The Opposition, therefore, demanded that the Government should carry oat a system of economy in all their branches.
§ SIR CARNE RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
said he was not often surprised at the things that were said by hon. Gentlemen opposite, but he confessed he was astonished at the statement of the hon. Member for Crewe, that agriculture was more or less prosperous. Some time ago an hon. friend of his let a farm rent free and tithe free to prevent the land from going out of cultivation, with the result that he paid about five shillings an acre for the privilege. He wished the hon. Member for Crewe and other hon. Gentlemen opposite would go down into that part of Essex which he represented and see for themselves the condition of agriculture there. They might go down on Bank Holiday. He would be glad to conduct them personally, and he thought they 1537 might be back in time for the division on the vote of censure. In the Valley of the Crouch they would see a great stretch of country which looked more like cocoa-nut matting than anything else, with docks growing as high as a horse's knees, gates off their hinges, and cottages more or less dilapidated. When land went out of cultivation the agricultural labourer went with it. It did not matter to him how cheap the 4lb. loaf might be if he had not money to pay for it. He did not say that as a protectionist or a "whole-hogger," for he did not profess to be the one or the other. He was glad the Member far Crewe had brought this matter within the purview of the House, and if he could be induced to visit Essex he would probably be found more frequently on the Ministerial side than he was at present.
SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
recalled attention to the history of the Bill. When it was first introduced the House, mesmerised by the clear exposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, looked upon it as being framed on free-trade lines. But when they began to look into it they quickly discovered beneath the veneer of free trade the ugly features of protection. He regarded the Budget as extremely unsatisfactory. The increase of the tea duty was a pitiable device in the present economic circumstances of the nation. He said pitiable because any man who had regard for the great mass of the industrial population would be extremely loath to tax what had become almost a necessary of life. Tea was an article which ought to be touched last of all for the purpose of wising revenue, because such a tax pressed most hardly on the poorest classes. A good deal of nonsense had been talked about tea. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that the country was saturated with tea. He had no sympathy with such views. Knowing as he did the life of the poor, having lived and worked amongst them during many years, he knew that tea was one of the few comforts of the poor, and he regretted that anything had been done in the Budget to lesson the ability of the poor to enjoy that comfort. Hon. Members had stated that tea was injurious to the system, but he could say that of 1538 the many thousands of cases which had passed under his hands professionally, he had never known a death from tea-drinking. Tea was one of the least injurious of beverages. One hon. Member had said the constituents of tea were similar to the constituents of strychnine. That sort of comparison ought not to be made in a scientific sense, because the ultimate constituents of any article were no guide to the effect of the article. He had seen thousands of people grossly injured through being saturated with beer, but while the Government had been making tea less accessible, and incidentally placing tea producers in our Colonies at a serious disadvantage, they had been engaged in protecting the people who produced beer, which was the cause of serious injury to the population. Such action might be good for the Party, but he could not congratulate the Government upon their choice from the point of view of the public welfare.
There was another reason why he regretted the increase of the tea duty. A certain Member of the House, who had made himself very prominent as the exponent of a new fiscal policy, had in his capacity of missionary made a proposal by which a reduction of the tea duty would make way for the introduction of other taxes, which world be injurious to the people. That being so, the present Government, in view of the pledges it had given, ought not to have tampered with the tea duty, which appeared to favour the policy of the Member for West Birmingham, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have been the very last man to identify himself with such a course of procedure. He wished to protest in the first instance against the tea duty, which was injurious to the poorer classes and the colonial tea-grower, and generally to the welfare of the country.
Then came the question of tobacco. In the financial history of the country every Chancellor of the Exchequer who had touched tobacco had burned his fingers, and the right hon. Gentleman had proved no exception to the rule. The tobacco duties brought in £12,000,000 to the Exchequer, and taxes which produced so much and represented so enormous a percentage on the actual value of the articles taxed required to be dealt with very 1539 cautiously indeed. The variations of the tobacco duties in the present Bill exhibited bad finance, and were strongly marked with the evil of protection. They were cruel, not only to the trade—and especially to the retail trade—but also to the consumer. Looking at the taxes as imposts upon luxuries, one could see how very unequally they effected different classes of smokers. In the case of cigars, an extra sixpence was put upon a box, value from 60s. to 100s., to the purchaser, and it was not a large increase to the class who smoked cigars. But on fifty shillings worth of cigarettes the extra duty would be three or four shillings, or four or five times the amount on cigars. Surely, in the name of justice, the tax in these cases ought to be relatively equal. The proposals of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to stripped tobacco and cigarettes were suicidal imposts, because they tended to destroy themselves. Some 10,000,000 lbs. of cigarettes were consumed in the year, of which only 500,000 lbs. were foreign-made, and upon that one-twentieth an extra 1s. per lb. was to be placed. The result would affect two classes of imported cigarettes very unequally. Cheap cigarettes would practically be, kept out of the country altogether, and the dearer cigarettes would be affected unjustly. In fact, he was assured on high authority that the foreign cigarette trade would be killed. There was a certain quantity of foreign cigarettes, chiefly Egyptian, but some Russian, brought into this country. These cigarettes, which were of high quality, had to compete with cigarettes made in this country from the same tobacco, which would not have to pay the extra duty. The result would be that cigarettes made from Turkish tobacco, matured in Egypt, and made in this country, which were indistinguishable to the ordinary smoker from the foreign made cigarettes, would be given a great advantage. Moreover, these English cigarettes imitated the labels and boxes of their competitors so closely that, to the ordinary superficial observer, there was no difference whatever. That was unfair competition. The makers had asked that if they were to pay the extra duty a special stamp should be allowed to protect them from the spurious article, but 1540 the request had been refused, and the trade would be steadily squeezed out of existence.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN,) Worcestershire, E.
said the remedy for that was to put into force the Merchandise Marks Act, not to seek protection, as the hon. Member was doing.
SIR WALTER FOSTER
said that had been tried, but it was not sufficient to prevent the fraud upon the public. Thus the tax was obnoxious in itself, and would bring a diminishing amount to the revenue. The proposal would also have an important effect upon the market. The great tobacco business which manufactured probably three-fourths of the cigarettes consumed in this country had not yet largely increased its prices, but there were various indications that the price would go up. If the Imperial Tobacco Company, which made hundreds of millions of cigarettes every week, took advantage of the exclusion of the foreign article to raise its prices, an enormous profit would go to one firm, and a comparatively small amount to the Exchequer. If the price were raised 6d. per lb., the home manufacturers would make £225,000 a year extra profit, and the Exchequer would benefit by only £20,000. Any tax which made that possible was based upon a bad system of finance.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)
asked whether the hon. Gentleman objected to home manufacturers making £225,000?
SIR WALTER FOSTER
said he objected to home manufacturers being enabled by this House to make £225,000 at the expense of the public, while the Exchequer received only £20,000. That was the basis of his argument against the tax. Every tax was bad which interfered with trade, punished the public, and did not proportionately benefit the general revenue of the country. Again, with reference to strips, the right hon. Gentleman sat convicted by his own action. By relieving certain importers of the penalties of the clause he had given up £200,000 in connection with 1541 the stocks of that particular kind of tobacco, but by relieving the trade to that extent he had practically admitted that the tax was an unjust imposition upon the people who had been importing strips up to the date of the Budget speech. The tax would continue to affect the tobacco trade, because by reason of the imposition being greater than the cost of stripping, it would not be worth while importing strips in the future. Therefore this also was a suicidal tax, inasmuch as it would kill itself so far as the Exchequer was concerned, and instead of getting the same amount of money from the tax year by year, the right hon. Gentleman would get a diminishing amount, and for that reason the tax was an example of bad finance. Moreover, the tax would inflict a very grave injury upon the retail traders, of whom there were some 120,000 in the country. In consequence of the tax they had to pay to the manufacturers a slightly higher price for their cigarettes, but they were not able to charge any more to their customers.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY
I thought the hon. Gentleman said just now that the public were going to pay £225,000 more for their cigarettes, but he now says the extra cost will fall upon the retailer.
SIR WALTER FOSTER
regretted that he had not reduced his argument to the level of the comprehension of the hon. Baronet. [Cries of "Order," and "Withdraw."]
SIR WALTER FOSTER
said the hon. Baronet had interrupted him two or three times with frivolous remarks, and he thought, therefore, he was entitled to make that retort. The two arguments were not inconsistent. The hon. Baronet was confusing the profit of the manufacturer with the profit of the retailer, which was a totally different thing. The retailer could not protect himself, the manufacturer could. The retailer received his cigarettes in packets, and had to sell them at a certain price; the manufacturers made up the packets, and could, naturally, in various ways, recoup himself for the extra duty. In many cases the difference 1542 meant a loss of several shillings a week to the retailer, and in that respect the tax was a cruel one, inflicting injustice upon particular sections of the community. He regretted that the Budget of a year such as the present should be defaced by such defects. The Bill contained many points which were unworthy of the House of Commons, and of the present crisis in national taxation. It professed to go upon the old lines, but it introduced a form of protection naked and unashamed, which it was necessary for all free-traders to resist, even to a division upon the Third Reading. The Bill was an object-lesson in bad finance. The duties upon stripped tobacco and cigarettes would be of diminishing value to the revenue, and would probably introduce serious alterations in the profits of a particular trade. That was not the object of taxation. The object of taxation should be to get money for the Exchequer, at the same time adequately protecting the public. The taxes, instead of protecting the public, played into the hands of a huge tobacco monopoly, and on that account they were bad financially. They would be unprofitable to the Exchequer, burdensome to the consumer, favourable to the big manufacturer, and hurtful to the small trader. Any Finance Bill containing defects of this character all believers in honest trading were bound to resist to the very end.
§ MR. ROBSON (South Shields)
said he certainly could not allow the Third Reading of the Finance Bill to pass without drawing attention to one feature of it—by far the most prominent feature—viz., that for the first time in sixty years the country had now a Budget which deliberately destroyed a flourishing branch of international trade. This was not a mere question of passing finance. The country was here faced with the destruction of a branch of its international trade, deliberately undertaken, in the first instance, he dared say in ignorance, but certainly maintained with a full knowledge of the facts. That destruction of trade could no longer be said to be in doubt. They had heard it repeatedly from people engaged in the importation of stripped leaf that that importation had ceased entirely. What the Government were doing was not merely hampering or impeding that trade; for the moment, 1543 at all events, they had destroyed it. That was a very remarkable condition of things. There was no doubt also that, with the destruction of this branch of imports, there had been a destruction going on somewhere in the corresponding branch of the export trade, because the additional value which this stripping gave to the imported leaf was a value paid for by exports. That value this year would have been met by sending certain goods to America from whence this country obtained the stripped leaf. What those goods would have been they could not tell; but they did know that they would not now be sent, so that this country had a branch of import trade destroyed and also some unknown branch of export trade either hampered or limited. This was not a mere isolated circumstance. It was impossible to treat the destruction of any part of our international trade under existing circumstances without reference to the wider policy which was being advocated in connection with our fiscal relations. The House had not paid sufficient attention to the fact that the destruction of our international trade had now become an avowed object of policy on the part of a great Party in this kingdom. They had that idea cropping up in one suggestion after another, and they had it all summed up in the phrase of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham when he commended to England the ideal of what he called "a self-sufficient Empire," than which a more fatuous phrase was never laid before any people in substitution for economic doctrine. This country was not to import the tobacco leaf stripped; the people here were to strip it themselves. This was something more than what the Leader of the Opposition called a "whiff of protection"; at least, if this was a whiff of protection one wondered what on earth the tempest would be like. This country, he presumed, would then have no international trade left. It would instead of that have a most desperate form of Little-England commercialism—a trade confined entirely to its own shores. What was the branch of the home trade they had got? The Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them that for the trade thus destroyed this country had got another trade, 1544 which he said he was assured by many manufacturers would be un-remunerative to this country. He wondered what the trailers of this country would think when they were told that scientific taxation involved the destruction of a remunerative branch of trade because it had the taint of the foreigner, and the substitution of an un-remunerative trade because it was a home industry.
There were those in this country who believed that they were going to get in place of the foreign trade that this scientific taxation would destroy a great colonial trade. He had listened with much interest to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India, because it was instructive from many points of view. He was alarmed at the right hon. Gentleman's cheerfulness, and he went on to explain his cheerfulness. The right hon. Gentleman said that Consols had only fallen from 110 to 88, that we had only added about £150,000,000 to the National Debt; and that while we had doubled our annual expenditure we had not doubled our National Debt. He confessed that he did not like the right hon. Gentleman's cheerfulness, but he then went on to attack the hon. Member for Hawick Burghs because he said the Colonies were not subscribing in due proportion to Imperial defence—a fact which no one who had ever attempted to deal candidly with our Imperial relations had refrained from mentioning. The Secretary of State for India said those references were intensely irritating to the Colonies. They were told the other day by another distinguished authority on the Government side that the object of fiscal union with our Colonies was not to terminate in some mere economic advantage, but that it was to go on to a more complete and harmonious Imperial union, which should embrace national defence as well as Imperial preference. So, apparently, while they were told by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham that the bond after which he was striving was a bond of Imperial defence, the moment a Member of the Opposition pointed out how defective that bond was at present, it became intensely irritating to the Colonies. It would not seem, then, that colonial trade was going to be a very 1545 adequate substitute for the international trade that this Ministry had set itself to destroy.
With regard to the character of the substitute, the Chancellor of the Exchequer wrote to the Tobacco Section of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, saying he had received representations from manufacturers that stripping would still be unremunerative in this country. The manufacturers in Liverpool met this with a prompt and emphatic denial. They said they had been in communication with numerous manufacturers, and their experience was that the opinion that the new regulation would practically prohibit the use of imported strips after existing stocks were worked up, was universally held by manufacturers. "The Section," the reply went on, "has been unable to find a manufacturer of any importance holding views to the contrary, and would be glad to be put into communication with those who have made the representations you refer to." This letter had been entirely ignored by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he thought the House of Commons had the right to insist that some answer should be given. The letter contained a very unpleasant insinuation that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not received representations for which he vouched. He sincerely believed that the right hon. Gentleman had received them, but they were entitled to have their names made public, or else to have a statement that the manufacturers dared not make their names public. It was not to be endured that men should advise these public burdens out of which they were seeking some private benefit in secret. They must now settle their standard of fiscal morals, and make up their mind what was meant by corruption. They must make up their minds that every manufacturer who had a private interest in a public burden should declare that interest when he advised the burden, or else hold his peace. They had a right to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take up this challenge from the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce. The manufacturers referred to did not include their old friend Mr. Gallaher, because the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce said that no manufacturer of importance would make such a statement to the Chancellor 1546 of the Exchequer, and so he was out of the question. They were now saddled with a burden of 3d. per lb. upon stripped leaf, and they wanted to know who had brought that tax about. No Chancellor of the Exchequer ever decided upon such a tax without some advice, and those who gave the right hon. Gentleman that advice ought to have given it only under the consciousness that they were performing a public duty, and not to serve any private ends. Up to the present the Chancellor of the Exchequer had ignored that challenge, although he was quick enough to demand some explanation in reference to Mr. Gallaher, when he (the speaker) made some remarks about that gentleman, and he had given him that explanation. Not only this, but he had repeated outside for Mr. Gallaher's benefit what he said in the House. This was the first case they had had of this kind for something like sixty years, and they were determined to have every precedent clearly established. If private manufacturers were to be allowed to go slinking around the corridors of the Treasury, recommending taxes out of which they were seeking to make private profit, then they ought to know it. Let them clearly understand that this was the new method, and one of the inevitable accompaniments of scientific taxation. This was the first step in fiscal and political corruption. It was the first and essential method of corruption, and, instead of seeing to shield them, the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to be the first to take care that the names of all such persons were put boldly and clearly forward. The House was entitled to have a plain statement in answer to the letter from the Tobacco Trade Section of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, in order that they might judge what the motives of those people were who succeeded in misleading the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and placing this great burden upon the trade and people of England.
§ * SIR FREDERICK WILLS (Bristol, N.)
recognised with gratitude that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had acceded, to a certain extent, to the propositions he had placed before the House on previous occasions. When the right hon. Gentleman proposed to levy the extra tax upon stripped tobacco, equal to about 50 per 1547 cent. of the value of the article, he entered his caveat, for it was a very extraordinary thing to place a tax representing a very large sum on the tobacco merchants, who only numbered some twenty firms. These manufacturers would be subject to a tax of between £300,000 and £400,000—nay, he might put it as high as £600,000. A penny a lb. meant £5 per hogshead, and 3d. a lb. worked out at about £600,000. In order that the merchants should be able to clear their stocks they required to get £600,000 more for the tobacco they held than was expected before. As a matter of fact the trade in stripped tobacco had absolutely ceased since these proposals were made. Naturally, no man would be so foolish as to think of buying stripped tobacco at the old price. It would pay him very much better to get leaf tobacco and strip it himself, which he could do for halfpenny a pound, or something less. There were many men in this country who only paid a farthing per pound for stripping. It would be absurd to suggest that people would rather pay threepence a pound extra for stripped tobacco than go to the trouble of getting it done themselves at a cost of a farthing or a halfpenny per pound. He sympathised with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his wish to get money. They all wanted to get money, but they wanted to get it honestly; and without imputing any unworthy motives to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he would say that he did not understand this question. The right hon. Gentleman had met his appeal by reducing the duty in the shape of offering a rebate, not only to the merchants but to the manufacturers, of one-half of the proposed charge. He had promised them a rebate of three halfpence per pound, but he contended that he ought to have gone the whole way. If he thought he had no right to tax to the extent of threepence, he had no right to tax to the extent of three halfpence.
He was sorry that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not seen the wisdom of acting on the advice of his predecessor, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol, who assured him that it was a very dangerous thing to tamper with the tobacco trade, which paid £12,000,000 a year to the revenue of this country. He had hoped 1548 that the right hon. Gentleman would have taken those words to heart. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol had not only been Chancellor of the Exchequer for seven years but he had been President of the Board of Trade for four years before that, and he consequently spoke with a considerable amount of experience to which the present Chancellor of the Exchequer could hardly aspire. The right hon. Gentleman was placed in a most difficult position. He was asked at short notice to undertake the position, and acting on advice he had proposed to inflict a tax on the tobacco trade of something like £600,000 and to give a rebate of £300,000. The merchants were, of course, devoutly thankful for that concession. He did not know how they were getting along now on the subject, but when he saw them last they told him that the trade had got into an absolute state of stagnation. He would appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on their behalf— not of the manufacturers, because they could always take care of themselves. They had the opportunity of altering their prices, but his appeal was also made on behalf of the retailers, upon whom a great hardship would fall. There were certain articles that the retailers could not possibly raise in price, but which must be supplied to the public at fixed prices no matter what they had to pay to the manufacturers for them. He supposed the retailers paid income-tax the same as other people, and he could assure the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he would not get as much income-tax out of the retailers as he had done in the past because their profits would be so considerably diminished. He desired to repeat that if it was a wrong thing to victimise a trade to the extent of £600,000 it was equally wrong to do so to £300,000. They would naturally rather have the smaller figure, but the truth of the old maxim could not be denied that what was morally wrong could not be politically right.
He was sorry to speak against any proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but as a man with some conscience left he could not vote for this tax. He had been appealed to by hon. Members to give his opinion again on this subject on the ground of the position he occupied in the trade. There was no 1549 secret about his position; everyone knew he was one of the directors of the Imperial Tobacco Company. Once more he would appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reconsider his decision. They all made mistakes in this world, and the man who never made a mistake was the man who never made anything else. It would be very simple for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to admit that he had made a mistake; that the revenue would not gain by the proposal, and therefore he was prepared to announce a further alteration. At any rate he would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to increase the rebate to the extent of a penny per pound; but the simplest thing would be to leave the tobacco duties exactly as they were in accordance with the advice of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
was understood to disclaim having received such advice from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol.
* SIR FREDERICK
WILLS said that in his speech after the Budget the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol congratulated the right hon. Gentlemen on the ability with which he had discharged a very difficult duty, but at the same time expressed his extreme regret that he intended to interfere with the taxation of tobacco. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol had further pointed oat to the right hon. Gentleman that the tobacco trade was a very sensitive trade, and it was a very great mistake to interfere with a trade that yielded £12,000,000 a year to the revenue. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer had not the experience of his predecessors, and therefore he was not to be blamed for his inexperience.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Will my hon. friend allow me to read what my right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol did say. He said—I will not attempt to discuss the proposed changes in the tobacco duties. I sympathise with my right hon. friend in one of his proposals, that with regard to imposing greater taxation on the imported leaf without the stalk than is now imposed upon it, as compared with the tax on the imported leaf with the stalk. But I would like to give my right hon. 1550 friend a little warning with regard to the tobacco duties.Having expressed sympathy with my proposal, he gave me the warning to which my right hon. friend alluded.
§ * SIR FREDERICK WILLS
said that was probably a more correct statement of what the right hon. Gentleman did say. But if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol did consider that it was an ingenious thing for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to hit upon a different method of taxation, as between leaf and stripped tobacco, he went on to say that the tobacco trade was a very sensitive one, and it would be a very serious thing to interfere with a trade that yielded £12,000,000 a year to the revenue. It would have been very well had the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to put on an extra fraction of a penny, but threepence was a big order. He would, in conclusion, appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to follow on with the good work he had already begun, and take off the other half of the duty, or, failing that, to increase the rebate by one penny per lb.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
said he was sure hon. Members on both sides of the House would concur with him when he said that they were indebted to the hon. Baronet opposite for the practical knowledge, honesty, and good sense of the speeches he had made on the tobacco question. He hoped the repeated appeals of the hon. Baronet would have due weight with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This debate had had many interesting episodes, but he was inclined to think that the most interesting of all had been the warlike incursion of the Secretary of State for India. He presumed the right hon. Gentleman was speaking as the late Minister for War; but even so, he was at loss to understand his purpose. Was it in order to make an attack on his successor? Undoubtedly his speech was an attack or criticism, direct or indirect, on his successor, though it was also in part, no doubt, an attack on that side, whom the right hon. Gentleman might regard as possible successors of himself and his Party. The topic introduced in a moderate, accurate, and considerate speech by his hon. and learned friend the 1551 Member for Hawick Burghs—namely, the small proportionate contribution of the Colonies towards the cost of the Imperial Navy—had been discussed over and over again. Nemesis soon overtook him for the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Yarmouth took the same view as the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Border Burghs. He was amazed at the language of the Secretary of State for India. Had the right hon. Gentleman forgotton the part he himself had played in urging that very question officially on the Colonies? Had he forgotten the Colonial Conference, the Memorandum of Lord Selborne, and his own representations? Were not the Colonial Premiers reminded of the value of their commerce, and told that, while the Navy cost Great Britain 15s. 1d. per head of the population—it was £1 per head now—the contribution of the Colonies was only 4d. per head? There was a Paper laid before the Conference by the right hon. Gentleman himself, in which he made fantastic and amazing proposals that the Colonies should enter into a scheme of Imperial Army defence. Did that irritate the Colonies? Would the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues publish the reply of the Colonial Premiers, which had not hitherto been published. The Report of the Conference was mutilated, and gave them merely the wisdom of the present Secretary for India and of Lord Selborne. There was another document for which those two Ministers were responsible, which they on that side had till now refrained from mentioning from sheer shame. A Paper was laid before the Colonial Premiers pointing out to them how infinitesimally little the Colonies had contributed, not merely to the Navy, but towards the cost of the South African War, compared with the contributions of the United Kingdom. The statement in which the figures were worked out was made in a rude and offensive way. Yet now the right hon. Gentleman, forsooth, took upon himself to rebuke his hon. and learned friend.
When his hon. and learned friend introduced the question of the Colonial contribution he was dealing with the subject of expenditure. On that point he would say that it had been made abundantly clear that our expenditure would have 1552 been very much larger if we had been living under a régime of what was called scientific taxation, which some hon. Gentlemen opposite advocated. In regard to naval construction, it had been made clear that, as compared with the three next naval Powers, which were all protectionist Powers, we had an advantage of 30 per cent. If we were a protectionist people the Navy Estimates amounting to £37,000,000 would have been £50,000,000 without producing larger results. Every £7 spent by us at present in ship construction produced a result for which £9 had to be expended in protectionist countries—that was to say, we had a free-trade advantage of 30 per cent. Would the right hon. Gentleman explain the mystery which hung over the question of why this Bill had to be got through by 1st August? He could not understand the ground on which that allegation was made, and his belief was that it was a hallucination. The three great blots upon the Bill he considered were, first, that as regarded our capital position it marked a distinct step backwards; secondly, that it imposed an undue amount, not of indirect taxation, but of indirect taxation affecting articles consumed by the poor; thirdly, that it evaded and avoided non-taxed sources of revenue. One of these was the licence duties. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might very well have got £7,000,000 out of those duties. The right hon. Gentleman had never proved to the House that it could not be done. In another Bill now before the House, a new departure had been made in this matter which ultimately would enable a Chancellor of the Exchequer of the future to do what the Chancellor of the Exchequer now had not done, namely, to claim for the Exchequer the monoply value of all these licences. In the present state of our finance it was the duty of Parliament to recall the unfortunate doles which were given under the Agricultural Rating Act.
The Secretary of State for India had expressed surprise that the Opposition had voted not merely against taxes of which they disapproved, but against taxes of which they approved. He pleaded guilty to the accusation. In the present Parliament he had not registered a single vote in favour of any 1553 proposal of the Government, and most certainly he had never voted for their having any money at all; and he did so simply on the ground that, in his judgment, they had no right to be where they were. They had no right to a single penny in Supply, or to a single tax to make good grants in Supply. He regarded them not as His Majesty's Ministers, still less as Ministers of the country, but as the Government and colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Manchester. He had no confidence in their administrative capacity; he believed they had outstayed what little warrant they ever had, and every vote he gave would be designed to deprive them of the means of doing more mischief to the country.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
None of my friends on these Benches will have felt disposed to quarrel with the hon. Gentleman when he said he regarded them as the friends and colleagues of the Prime Minister, under whom they are proud to serve. The hon. Gentleman professes not to regard us as Ministers of the Crown. I do not know that that will greatly affect of our position or preclude our carrying on the useful work which we have to do. Anyone who has been present during the discussions must have felt that the interest of the day certainly was not in the debate, though some excellent speeches have been made, but in the division which will shortly come off. An hon. Gentle-man opposite has taken the somewhat unusual, and certainly the strong, course of moving the rejection of the Third Reading of the Bill which makes the whole financial provision for the year. In his opening sentences the hon. and learned Gentleman sought to justify that course by stating that in their discussions on this occasion there had been introduced an element of force. I make nothing in the way of a personal confession, but if there has been one Minister holding my position in recent times who has been reluctant to closure discussion, it has been necessarily myself in the circumstances in which I stood, and with the knowledge how suddenly I had come to that great position. I speak within the recollection of the House when I say that the course which I took was imposed upon me by the attitude of hon. Gentlemen during the 1554 progress of the discussion The discussion certainly on this Budget has been remarkable, not so much for anything that has been said in the course of it, as for the way in which interest in it has sprung up or diminished in consequence of changes in the prospects of other measures, and the allocation of time for these other measures. For the purpose of securing their wishes in regard to other Bills, the Budget has been made a tool and instrument by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I do not wish to dwell upon the events of the other night. The hon. Member for Poplar declined to discuss Clause 4 at half-past one in the morning because it raised an important question of principle, but consented to take a division upon it without any discussion at three o'clock on the next day.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said he adhered to the view which he then held. He did not think that after a long sitting of twenty-six hours they were in a position to discuss the clause. He thought the blame, if blame there was, rested on the Government who made them sit up all night. [MINISTERIAL cries of our "Oh."]
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
We not sat up all night on that occasion. My contention is that the hon. Gentleman only wished to discuss the clause in order to prevent business from going on. The discussion having been deferred until the next day, the hon. Gentleman's desire for discussion vanished in the twinkling of an eye, and he took one of those early divisions for which hon. Gentlemen have sought so busily. The hon. Gentleman's argument shows the amount of reality there has been in the discussions on the Budget. That is the measure of the importance which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite really attach to the subject over which they have wasted so much time. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh."] I am not going at this last stage to travel again over all the details which occupied us so long in the earlier stages of the Bill. Indeed, the force of criticism on my proposals was, in nay opinion, destroyed by the universality of those criticisms directed which I took was imposed upon me by the not against these proposals only, but against every tax included in the Budget. 1555 The financial reputation of my predecessors has fared no better at the hands of these critics than my own. The proposals of my right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol were declared to be ruinous and destructive to the trade and prosperity of the country, and even the relief my right hon. friend the Member for Croydon was able to offer last year has been the subject of equally bitter criticism, and has been equally denounced as grossly unjust. The fact of the matter is, that while hon. Gentlemen opposite are united in the determination that so long as they can live and fight no change shall be made in our fiscal system, they are equally united in declaring in detail that every existing tax is bad.
Nothing has been more interesting during the course of these discussions than the development of their theory of free food. For many years the Party opposite were responsible for the finances of the country, yet their consciences, and the consciences of their leaders, were never stirred because taxes remained on articles of food. It was only when my right hon. friend proposed a shilling duty on corn that the real rigidity of the free food doctrine became apparent. And now we have learned in these debates that there is nothing sacred about corn, that it stands in no different category from other articles that are taxed. It is so difficult to deal with a united Party when they speak with half-a-dozen different voices. I have listened through the debates, and I have heard one hon. Member after another and one right hon. Gentleman after another declare that tea is as much a necessity for the people as bread, that sugar is as much a necessity for the children of the poor as bread, that it is equally bad to tax sugar and tea as to tax corn. Yes, but we do not stop even there. There are hon. Gentlemen who, on one subject, always speak their mind. They unite only in their views of the demerits of the present Government. The Government would not he here [OPPOSITION ironical cheers] but for the profound difference that has separated us from the Party opposite and in consequence of which we have secured the trust and confidence of the country [OPPOSITION ironical cheers] for a period unequalled in recent years. There were hon. Gentlemen opposite who, not 1556 confining their opposition to the tea and sugar duties, moved to reduce the income-tax on the merits of the tax itself. They moved to reduce even the whisky tax. The hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last said the whisky duty and the beer duty were as great an injury and wrong to the poor of this country as any other part of our taxation. The fact of the matter is they have committed themselves by their votes and speeches to a declaration that every indirect tax is bad, and it may be supposed that when their turn comes they will introduce a simple Budget by which the whole of the revenue will be collected by death duties and income-tax. I wish them joy of their taxation, but I do not think it will redound to the credit or stabilty of our fiscal system.
I am not going to enter on the fiscal controversy. I take the existing financial system as it is, and I say that it depends on recourse to direct and indirect taxation alike—to those twin-sisters, as Mr. Gladstone called them, in a passage just recalled to the memory of the House—to whom I say every Chancellor of the Exchequer should pay his addresses alike. It is not only necessary to have recourse to indirect taxation but also just. After all, who profits by the expenditure which this country incurs? Are the interests at stake confined to one class or one section of the community? I will not dwell upon the great part of the civil administration which is more especially directed to securing better homes for the people, better conditions of work by inspection of workshops and factories, and so forth; I will not dwell upon the vast sums spent on education, the largest portion of which is mainly enjoyed by the poorer classes. If we turn even to the expenditure on the Army and Navy, is the poor man's home less precious than the rich man's? Would he suffer less if our shores were invaded? Who would be the first to feel any weakening of our power on the seas or any interruption of the food supply? Is it unfair or unjust to working men in a free country who have a share in the advantages of our Government to make their contribution to the common ex-expenditure of the State which is the home and the guardian of them all? If the appeal is made to both direct and 1557 indirect taxation I do not think a fairer distribution could have been framed in present circumstances than that which I have ventured to submit to the House. My position is described by the hon. Member for Poplar as scarcely fair to myself or the country. The hon. Gentleman described me as a protectionist. I will not bandy words with he hon. Member, who said he was a free-trader. The hon. Member has never bad free trade. He would never make trade free on the lines on which he is proceeding. He is not doing anything to render it freer than it is. I have never called myself a protectionist. I supported the corn tax proposed by my right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol. I was content to renew the tobacco tax imposed by Mr. Gladstone. Both taxes have been described as protectionist. Is my right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol a protectionist? Was Mr. Gladstone a protectionist in 1868? When the definition of protection is so wide as to include two such distinguished predecessors in the office I hold, I do not think it worth while to dispute whether protectionist is an accurate term to apply to myself or not. I was told that. I do not pretend to believe that our present financial system is in all respects the best we can obtain. We have not got free trade. The question is in what degree can we get free trade. Can we make trade freer and better than it now is? That is a question for the future, and one which the country will have to decide. We will have to decide whether the degree of interference which every Government has exercised upon our trade should be exercised in the way it is exercised now, or whether it could be better exercised in other ways. For the present my business is to propose a way of meeting the financial requirements of the present year not inconsistent with the system which has been so long in force. That is the system which the Government undertook to observe, and to that undertaking I have faithfully kept.
I produced a Budget on the old lines, and I think one not open to more objection than any other Budget on the same lines. I am aware that some of the duties of my Budget excited spasmodic and for the moment, 1558 warm interest in the House; but I am not going to travel again over the whole case which I submitted in support of the changes I proposed. It was alleged by some hon. Gentlemen that the amount of money I shall obtain was not worth the disturbance which any alteration in the duties must cause. It is absolutely necessary, in my opinion, if we are to have such a Budget as will uphold our credit, that I should have a larger margin beyond the estimated income of the year than I can get from the income-tax and the tea duty. I do not believe I could have made a general increase in the whole of the tobacco duty without so lessening consumption as to destroy to a large extent the new revenue I looked for. I found a gap existing in the present scale, and I thought that by filling that gap I could obtain the money that is necessary for the revenue of the year, without hardship or injury. An hon. Gentleman has spoken of the new rate I proposed as being 50 per cent. of the value of the raw material. The hon. Gentleman omitted to mention that the present duties are from 600 to 700 per cent. of the price. The duties are now differential. They were only not differential before my proposal came in, as between whole leaf and stripped. What was it that made it right and proper to differentiate in all other cases and not between whole leaf and stripped? In the increase and the new rate;of duty I have had regard to the existing scale in manufactured tobacco. I have had regard to what I believe to be a fair average of the duty cost of tobaccos such as come into this country and I have then adjusted the duties on that basis. Hon. Gentlemen opposite make it a great cause for complaint that; in so doing I may have transferred or induced the transfer, to a greater or less extent, of a process of trade to this country which has hitherto been carried on abroad. That would condemn a great many other duties which do not trouble the consciences of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I venture to ask one question. The old rates of duties penalised a manufacturer who attempted to carry on that process here. They were admittedly unfair to him. Is the doctrine of free trade to be put so high that we are not to rectify our duties in a case of that kind? That we are to be so 1559 careful that we should not help our home manufacturers and our home workers? I shall by my proposal, I believe, raise the revenue required for the present year. I shall remove an anomaly which has long existed in our Customs duties, and, incidentally, I shall have been able to provide a means by which the House will be able in the matter of drawbacks to remedy an admitted wrong and injustice, and in the matter of moisture to carry out what was almost a promise of my predecessor.
I turn now to the wider questoin raised in this discussion. The hon. Gentleman who opened the debate, in a speech of great force, complained that my financial methods were unsound for another reason. The hon. Gentleman said in the matter of the unclaimed dividends account I had been using capital to meet the current expenditure of the year. I remember that when the late Government — the Government to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth belonged—were in some financial difficulties, they met the current charges on account of the Naval Defence Loan by throwing them on the Sinking Fund, instead of raising new taxation. In 1862 Mr. Gladstone, in his Budget speech, recounted the steps which he had taken in the previous three years to meet current expenditure out of extraordinary revenue. From balances he had withdrawn £4,000,000. By expediting the payment of the malt duties, that was, by securing in one year the revenue of another—he had got an additional £2,000,000. Then he had a repayment of £500,000, which he also used to meet current expenditure. Then Mr. Gladstone concluded by saying that the Government had exhausted their casual resources—that they remained no longer. I would not stand alone, therefore, if I had to plead guilty in the full sense to the charge which the hon. and learned Gentleman has brought against me. But I do not admit that that correctly describes the operation which the House is now sanctioning. The other day an hon. Gentleman on the other side of the House referred to the Consols in the unclaimed dividend account, and said that t he interest upon them was paid regularly i to the Exchequer, and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer laid violent hands 1560 upon it. If that were true, it would be part of the current revenue and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not need to lay hands on it. But the Consols are an asset standing to the credit of a body whose total assets exceed its nominal liabilities and vastly exceed the claims which could in practice be brought against it. I propose to realise a million out of these assets and apply it, not to meeting the expenditure of the curren year, but to straightening our balance, with the bank. That is a very different transaction, and is perfectly sound in i self, and wise in the circumstances of the present time.
A more serious complaint is that made as to the recent growth of expenditure. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is condemned because he has done nothing to reduce that expenditure this year. If I remember rightly what I have read in the "Life of Mr. Gladstone" by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, Mr. Gladstone during four or five years of office was engaged in ceaseless efforts to reduce expenditure, but was not able to reduce it at all in the first or second year. In four or five years he made an appreciable impression, though nothing like that which hon. Members appear to think can be effected by a wave of the Chancellor's hand. I have had barely as many months as Mr. Gladstone had years to carry out such a task. Let hon. Gentlemen give me four or five years; but even then I could not give a promise as to what might be accomplished. I do not think great advantage is derived from making general observations on expenditure. When made by my predecessors they have not led in their hands to any large reduction. But I do agree that the financial condition of the country demands—as it is receiving—the most serious attention, not only of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but of the whole Government. I do not, however, agree that we are on the verge of a catastrophe, or have any reason to be ashamed of our national credit compared with that of other nations. Of course, there has been a very considerable fall in Consols; but everyone knows that the very high price of Consols has been abnormal and artificial. I do not myself think it is a healthy state of things. 1561 My hon. friend the Member for Exeter complained that the character of Consols has altered, and that they have become much more fluctuating than they used to be. But there are other things besides the action of Governments which have contributed to that result. One of the reasons why they have fluctuated so is because our credit was so good that gentlemen engaged in more speculative operations have covered those operations by dealings in Consols, which they know are always easily realised. My hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn pointed out that, in spite of all these jeremiads, our national credit was higher to-day than that of any other Power.
I announced earlier in the day that the new resources of the Savings Banks are no longer sufficient to finance the new Military and Naval Works loans; that is, I think, a natural result of the high prices of securities and the low value of money a short time ago, and the fall in price of securities which has since taken place. When the small depositors could earn better interest in the Government Savings Banks than anywhere else, they naturally brought their money to those Banks. Now that they have opportunities of investing to better advantage elsewhere they naturally do so. In my opinion there is no cause for alarm in regard to our financial position, but there is every cause for circumspection, for careful examination of all new demands, and for prudence in the undertakings on which we embark. I have tried to impress on the House on earlier occasions that our financial reserves are no less important a part of our defensive system than our military and naval reserves, which are more visible but not more real. To maintain our financial reserves in a sound and healthy state, to have our taxes at such a point that in case of a great emergency we can easily raise a largely-increased revenue, is and must be the endeavour of every Minister of Finance in this or any country.
The hon. Member for Poplar spoke as if economy and the cutting down of expenditure were exactly synonymous terms. I venture to say that that is a most dangerous statement, and I am sure the hon. Member did not mean what his words seemed to convey. It is not economy to cut down necessary expenditure, to deplete 1562 the military or naval reserves, or to leave ourselves in a position of unpreparedness for attack; that would result in far heavier expenditure when the crisis arises, and might result in disaster which no expenditure could reduce. If there is one lesson more than another which we may learn from recent years it is that one cannot rely on being able to make good in haste preparations which one has neglected to make at leisure. The expenditure on the two services is very high. The naval service shows the greatest increase; it has been directed to the maintenance of a standard hitherto approved of by both sides of the House, and from which I hope, in spite of the declarations made in the debate, neither side of the House will depart. The hon. Member for Poplar said that the purchase of the Chilian battleships ought to have resulted in a decrease in the Naval Estimates. Naturally the first result, however, was to throw an additional burden on them. But if he means that these ships must be counted in any calculation of our strength, so that the new programme of this year and next year must be affected by the fact of the purchase, of course that is so; that has already been done as regards the present year, and it will be done by my noble friend in regard to next year.
As to the future of naval and military expenditure I have refrained from making any pledges. We have to reconcile the needs of economy with the needs of defence. We have to measure the burden to the backs which have to bear it. We cannot afford to risk the safety of the Empire or the security of our seaborne trade. A good deal has been said as to the contributions of the Colonies to our military and naval expenditure. I have never concealed my hope that in the years to come these great nations of our own flesh and blood will take a larger share in all that concerns the welfare of the Empire as a whole, and, whilst gaining additional influence in its councils, will bear a larger share in its expenses. Members of the present Government responsible for the various Departments concerned have in their conferences with the colonial representatives explained to them the situation, and invited their patriotic consideration of a question which concerns 1563 us all. But it is another thing to make our debates in the House of Commons a vehicle for criticism and reproach of the Colonies. The latter way is far less likely to secure their goodwill and their assistance than a direct appeal when we meet them to discuss our common affairs. Any contribution which they may make now or hereafter must be their free gift to the service of the Empire. We value it only as it is freely offered. We value what they give now not merely for the amount of relief which it may afford us, but for the sentiment which it shows on their part for the common interests and common ties which unite us. If in future these ties can be strengthened in any way it will not be the least of the many advantages we shall reap that the Empire may be a more united whole, feeling more keenly its common interest and its common duties to the flag that shelters us all.
§ MR. McKENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
said that the right hon. Gentleman had given a very interesting account of himself. It appeared he did not call himself a protectionist. He was under the impression that the right hon. Gentleman was a "whole-hogger"; but since Oswestry "whole-hoggers" were not quite as whole as they were. It was very difficult to follow all these fine shades; but they knew now that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was content to take his stand under the banner of Mr. Gladstone. He had noticed that the present Government were willing to take their principles and policy from public opinion; they were prepared to submit everything to public opinion, except their own conduct. They knew what the judgment would be. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had observed that there had been a warm but spasmodic interest in the tobacco tax. The interest was warm and persistent; and that it could only be expressed spasmodically was not their fault. The Government put the Budget down one day and removed it the next, although the Opposition would have been only too glad to continue the discussion from day to day in order to get an intelligible answer from the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the reasons for his duty. Even at this last moment, the Chancellor of the Ex- 1564 chequer was unaware of the effect of his duty. The right hon. Gentleman still talked of differentiating manufactured tobacco from raw tobacco; and asked why stripped tobacco should not be noticed. It was true, as had been stated over and over again, that the duties on manufactured tobacco were protectionist duties. Mr. Gladstone found them there, and did not remove them entirely. But it was quite another matter to introduce new protectionist duties, as the present Chancellor of the Exchequer did. He confessed that he shared the distrust of the business community in the financial capacity of the Government. That distrust was shown by the present price of Consols. There was no better test of the belief of the financial community in the stability of the present Government than the price of Consols. In his introductory Budget speech, the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the country was now apparently entering on a cycle of commercial depression. They all remembered that in 1895 prosperity was promised, not from the influence of the stars, but from the influence of the Tory Government. To-day, it was a cycle of depression for which in many respects this Government or any other Government could not be held responsible. But, nevertheless, it was very considerably due to the extravagant and wasteful expenditure of the right hon. Gentleman and his friends. If Consols to-day stood at 88, it was because year after year the Government, instead of laying by treasure in the good years, made merry with their surpluses, and when the bad times came they were unable to make both ends meet. Last year the Sinking Fund was re-established, and yet the total indebtedness of the country was £4,000,000 more than at the beginning of the year. The right hon. Gentleman took credit to himself for having left the Sinking Fund standing; and yet, what was the result? According to the Chancellor of the Exchequer they would have paid off £1,000,000 out of £794,000,000 of debt. The failure of the Government to make any substantial provision for the payment of the Debt was the reason why Consols were down to 88. If any substantial effort had been made last year to re-purchase Consols, and if that 1565 effort had been continued, the business community would have greater confidence in the financial ability of the right hon. Gentleman. He greatly feared, however, for the right hon. Gentleman's sake, that his first experiment in controlling the financial resources of the country would
§ mark him as a failure as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 206; Noes, 129. (Division List No. 288.)1567
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Fisher, William Hayes||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Allhusen,Augustus HenryEden||FitzGerald,Sir Robert Penrose-||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||M'Iver,Sir Lewis (EdinburghW|
|Arrol, Sir William||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Forster, Henry William||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Aubrey-Fletcher,Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Gardner, Ernest||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W.F.|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Maxwell,Rt.Hn.SirH.E(Wigt'n|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Gordon,Hn.J.E.(Nairn & Elgin||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Gordon,Maj.Evans-(T'yH'mlets||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch'r||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Balfour,Rt.Hn Gerald,W.(Leeds||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Montagu, Hon.J.Scott(Hants.)|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Greene,SirE.W.(B'rySEdm'nds||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Morgan, DavidJ.(Walthamstow|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Gretton, John||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. Hicks||Groves, James Grimble||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Hain, Edward||Mount, William Arthur|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Bill, Charles||Hardy,Laurence(Kent,Ashford||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Bingham, Lord||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Harris,F.Leverton(Tynemouth||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Bond, Edward||Harris, Dr. Fredk. R.(Dulwich)||Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Parker, Sir Gilbert|
|Brassey, Albert||Heath,Arthur Howard (Hanley||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Heath, James (Staffords. N.W.||Peel,Hn.Wm.Robert Wellesley|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Heaton, John Henniker||Percy, Earl|
|Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Butcher, John George||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Cavendish,V. C.W. (Derbyshire||Hogg, Lindsay||Pym, C. Guy|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hope,J.F. (Sheffield,Brightside||Randles, John S.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Rasch, Sir Frederick Carne|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J.A(Worc.||Howard, J. (Middd., Tottenham||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hozier,Hon.James Henry Cecil||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hunt, Rowland||Ridley, Hn. M.W.(Stalybridge)|
|Colomb, Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R.||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kennaway,Rt.Hon.Sir John H.||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Keswick, William||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Knowles, Sir Lees||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lawrence,Sir Joseph (Monm'th||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos.Myles|
|Davies, SirHoratioD.(Chatham||Lee,ArthurH.(Hants.,Fareham||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Saunderson,Rt.Hn.Col.Edw. J.|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long,Rt. Hn.Walter (Bristol,S.||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lowe, Francis William||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Spear, John Ward|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth||Stanley, Edward Jas.(Somerset|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Stanley,Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Macdona, John Cumming||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Stone, Sir Benjamin||Warde, Colonel C. E.||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Stroyan, John||Webb, Colonel William George||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart|
|Talbot, Lord E. Chichester)||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G(Oxf'd Univ.||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd||Wylie, Alexander|
|Thornton, Percy M.||Whiteley,H(Ashton und. Lyne)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Tritton, Charles Ernest||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Tuff, Charles||Wilson,A.Stanley (York, E. R.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir|
|Tuke, Sir John Batty||Wilson, John (Glasgow)||Alexander Acland-Hood|
|Valentia, Viscount||Wilson-Todd, SirW. H.(Yorks.)||and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.||Perks, Robert William|
|Allen, Charles P.||Fuller, J. M. F.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Asher, Alexander||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Berwick||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Asquith,Rt.Hn.Herbert Henry||Griffith, Ellis J.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Bell, Richard||Harcourt, Lewis V.(Rossendale||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Benn, John Williams||Hardie,J.Keir(Merthyr Tydvil||Rose, Charles Day|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hayter, Rt.Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Runciman, Walter|
|Brigg, John||Helme, Norval Watson||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Shackleton, David James|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Higham, John Sharpe||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Holland, Sir William Henry||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Horniman, Frederick John||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Slack, John Bamford|
|Burns, John||Johnson, James (Gateshead)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Burt, Thomas||Joicey, Sir James||Stanhope, Hon. Philip James|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Jones,William (Carnarvonshire||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Caldwell, James||Kearley, Hudson E.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Kilbride, Denis||Taylor,Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Labouchere, Henry||Tennant, Harold John|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Langley, Batty||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Tomkinson, James|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Cremer, William Randal||Leese,Sir Joseph F.(Accrington||Tully, Jasper|
|Crombie, John William||Lough, Thomas||Wallace, Robert|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lundon, W.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Delany, William||Lyell, Charles Henry||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||M'Kenna, Reginald||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Wason,John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Markham, Arthur Basil||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Mooney, John J.||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Elibank. Master of||Moss, Samuel||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Ellice,Capt.E.C(S.Andrw'sBghs||Moulton, John Fletcher||Wilson,Henry J.(York, W.R.)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Murphy, John||Woodhouse,SirJ.T.(Huddersf'd|
|Evans,Sir FrancisH.(Maidstone||Nolan, Col. P. John (Galway,N|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Farrell, James Patrick||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Herbert Gladstone and|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Dowd, John||Mr. William M'Arthur.|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||O'Shaughnessy, P.J.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Partington, Oswald|
Bill read the third time, and passed.
§ Adjourned at sixteen minutes after Twelve o'clock.