§ "That the duties of Customs payable under section one of The Finance Act, 1898, on manufactured tobacco shall, on and after the 20th day of April, 1901, be increased, in the case of cigars, by six pence per pound, and in the case of cigarettes by one shilling per pound, and the duties payable under the same section on unmanufactured tobacco shall, on and after the same date, be increased, in the case of stripped tobacco, by three pence per pound."
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ MR. ROBSON (South Shields) said that the increased duties which were the subject matter of the Resolution would be 276 opposed on many grounds. He would oppose them on one ground only, and that was because they were unmistakably and almost avowedly protectionist duties. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in introducing them quoted from a speech made by Mr. Gladstone in 1863, when he said the right hon. Gentleman argued in favour of these proposals. The House and the country had become familiar with researches into Mr. Gladstone's speeches for some scraps which might give some kind of colour to protectionist argument. When such quotations were made Mr. Gladstone was wont to ask that the context should be read; and when the context was read it was generally to the confusion of Mr. Gladstone's opponent. The same method might apply to-day; but he did not desire to take up time by adopting this ancient mode of controversy. It was enough to say that Mr. Gladstone was in 1863 engaged in adjusting taxation so as to extend the principles of free trade, and it was fair that what he said should be interpreted by what he did. 277 The same might apply to the utterances I of the present Chancellor. They would judge his free trade utterances by the measures he proposed. The paramount question now was whether those duties were protective or not. The right hon. Gentleman in introducing the Budget seemed to have taken a leaf out of the dialectical methods of the Prime Minister, who said they must look at the motive and that if a duty was not intended to be protective it must not be called protective. That was an ingenious way of dealing with protectionist duties under present circumstances. So far as cigars were concerned the new duty was obviously protective, because it was put upon the foreign product and there was no corresponding Excise on the home product. That was a measure novel to our fiscal policy and required some justification. The Chancellor said it was a luxury tax. What WHS a luxury tax? It was imposed simply for the sake of revenue. It was not, like the sumptuary tax of ancient days, to curtail private or domestic extravagance but for purposes of revenue. They had only just learnt that the revenue to be derived from the tax on cigarettes was £20,000 a year, and from cigars £45,000 a year. No one could believe—he said it with all respect to the right hon. Gentleman—that a tax of £20,000 a year was imposed for the purpose of revenue. This new tax meant a derangement of values as between different kinds of stocks and endless petty interferences with the ordinary course of business. Did the Chancellor of the Exchequer really suppose that a revenue of £20,000 a year compensated for that kind of disturbance of business? Certainly not. Therefore the House was entitled to say that a new tax, primâ facie protectionist, did not derive any free-trade character by being described as a luxury tax. The pretence of free-trade principles with which the right hon. Gentleman sought to disguise the character of the new taxes soon passed away, and they had a much more frank avowal of the right hon. Gentleman's motives and principles when they came to the taxation of raw materials. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that of the tobacco imported into this country for the purposes of manufacture 278 13½ per cent, came as whole leaf and 77 per cent, came in a slightly manufactured form, that was to say the mid rib had been stripped from the leaf. The right hon. Gentleman thereupon discovered an industry which he could assist—he (Mr. Robson) had almost said create, because it had never existed to any large extent in this country. The right hon. Gentleman had said that that industry used to be carried on to a considerable extent in this country; that at one time a large proportion of the tobacco came here in an unstripped condition; that it was desirable to restore that employment.
§ MR. ROBSON
said he was grateful to the hon. Member for Sheffield for that affirmative expression of opinion, because he was trying to prove that this tax was protectionist. The object of this tax was to increase employment or rather to restore the lost employment of stripping the tobacco leaf. But even when the right hon. Gentleman arrived at this plain protectionist motive he still felt that he must inevitably seek for some excuse consistent with free-trade principles. So he would have the House believe that the differentiation which he sought to make between stripped tobacco and unstripped leaf was really; in order to correct an anomaly which: already existed in our Customs tariff. It appeared to be some mistake which I he thought necessary to correct on the part of Mr. Gladstone. Mr. Gladstone apparently was protectionist. What was the only anomaly which could be perceived in connection with this differentiation of these two kinds of leaf? The stripped leaf which came into this country had some small additional value in consequence of the process being performed abroad. The difference in value between that and the unstripped leaf was something like 1½d. per lb. The right hon. Gentleman went on to explain that the revenue as well as the people suffered because there was no extra duty on the stripped leaf, but he did not tell the House one very important fact which might have materially qualified the 279 argument he" made use of in his Budget speech, which was that the importer of unstripped tobacco, if he stripped "the tobacco, had the privilege of taking the stalks back to the Customs.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN,) Worcestershire, E.
I mentioned the drawback.
§ MR. ROBSON
admitted that that was so, but the right hon. Gentleman then inferred that that would be a drawback on exports. The matter had now been put clearly before the House. The right hon. Gentleman had implied that the revenue had lost by not encouraging the importation of unstripped leaf. The precise words used were that the stalk would contain more matter and that therefore it would encourage industry if the leaf were brought in unstripped. The importer of unstripped leaf might go to the Customs and obtain a rebate of the duly, and that, therefore, the importers of stripped and unstripped leaf should be put in a position of equality. There was no information expressly given, or given at all, on the night of the introduction of the Budget. It only cost 1d. a lb., roughly speaking, to strip the leaf, and the right hon. Gentleman had put on a tax of 3d. a lb. That did not mean that he desired to correct an anomaly but that he desired to create a monopoly in this country for stripping the leaf. How did this protectionist tax work? It was a penal duty. It penalised the importer if he imported his raw material in this partly manufactured state. The operation of stripping was simple enough. It was simply drawing the stalk without, if possible, damaging the leaf, and it was an operation which was much better to perform when the leaf was fresh and had come to maturity, in the country where it was grown. In future this work was to be done here, where the operation could not be so efficiently performed. They were dealing with a new fiscal system. They would get more and more protection, the essence of which was that the work which had been hitherto done abroad should be done here.
What was the operation of this tax upon a manufacturer who did not want 280 the stalk? The unstripped leaf which might be efficiently pulled out abroad was packed and sent across the Atlantic at extra cost and additional charges for freight; it was unpacked here and stripped and the stalks sent back to the Customs in order that a rebate of the duty might be obtained—and all these processes were gone through in order that the manufacturer might get something which he did not want and had no use for. Was that good business? It was protection, but was it sensible or sane business? And what was done with the stalk when obtained? The impression derived during the Budget speech was that it paid duty, but, as a matter of fact the manufacturer was able to obtain a refund or rebate upon the stalk which he had imported. At the Customs House, however, fresh difficulties arose. The everlasting question of moisture cropped up, and the Customs House officials would not ordinarily give the refund upon the weight of the stalk. In order that it might be properly tested the stalk had to be ground to powder—which did not improve it even as offal—and then the manufacturer received a penny in addition to the 3s. per lb. duty. Until recently, this offal was thrown away as useless, but it was now used in connection with the extraction of pure nicotine, from which the Chancellor of the Exchequer derived no duty whatever. Could it be contended that the little benefit which accrued from the making of a by-product from this offal was any compensation for all the useless handling and freightage and inconvenience which he had described? If the offal was of value it would be important; but it was not, and the compensation derived from the offal manufacture was not commensurate with the cost of bringing it over.
The right hon. Gentleman had claimed that the tax would create employment. In one sense it would. An enormous amount of employment could be created by hampering great industries with futile and unprofitable processes: but it was the kind of employment of which the pauper's stone-heap was the popular type. The proposal would not increase general employment. The mistake of the protectionist lay in the assumption that 281 when by some extravagant process he had given employment to one set of persons, he had thereby necessarily increased the employment of the community at large. To see whether this fiscal device had increased general employment, its effect upon the trade as a whole must be looked at. It increased the cost of manufacture by these useless processes, and, in so far as it encouraged the use of stalk where it was not used before, it lowered the quality of the tobacco. Moreover, as the cost was increased and the quality lowered, so more capital was called into the business, with the result that profits were diminished. That was the sort of increased employment to be secured from causes which checked consumption, diminished profits, and lowered wages! And that was the kind of increased employment by which the protectionist party were endeavouring to attract the English people to their fallacies.
Another very important view of the matter was that this impost was a differential tax. It differentiated between different kinds of the same raw material. Speaking generally, that was a novel principle. The English manufacturer, relying on our general fiscal system, had imported enormous quantities of stripped tobacco; he now found that it would pay him to go into the market and buy unstripped tobacco in order to strip it here. The result was an enormous appreciation of the value of existing stocks of unstripped tobacco, and a great depreciation of the value of other stocks. This money was put into the pockets of one section of the trade and taken out of the pockets of another. Under these circumstances it was only natural that different sections of the trade should have very different views about this tax. A question that ought not to be lost sight of was—who gained by this differential tax? Obviously the gainers were those persons who used stalk in the manufacture of their tobacco. The feature which protectionists thought so admirable about their system, viz., the imposition of taxes by which somebody gained, was to his mind the evil and curse of protection. The persons who gained by this particular tax were the importers of unstripped tobacco, such as Mr. Gallaher, the founder of 282 the great limited company bearing his name. Which section of the trade had the right hon. Gentleman or his advisers consulted about this tax—the gainers or the losers? One naturally asked whether the Tariff Commission had been consulted. The Tariff Commission was formed for that very purpose, and this was the first opportunity it had had of entering into practical life. Upon that august body there was only one representative of the tobacco trade, and that was Mr. Gallaher himself. It would be interesting, therefore, to examine the views of Mr. Gallaher, because he was not acting secretly or furtively in this matter; he was acting as a statesman, a financier, the shadow behind the fiscal throne; and in the Tobacco Weekly Journal he had stated—In the United States coloured people receive big wages for this work—the work of stripping —which, after all, might be done equally well in this country.
§ MR. ROBSON
said he was doubtful whether the hon. Member who interrupted him would cheer the next sentence—In my evidence before a recent Committee I outlined this idea and my views were generally accepted.This was the germ and the genesis of the new system of fiscal differentiation. Mr. Gallaher had already explained in an earlier part of the article that this was a wise Budget and that the poor man would not pay any more for his tobacco. Then he says—If the independent manufacturers are squeezed out of the trade by the trust octopus I will take care that the British Government will become their own manufacturers, and then the profits will go in reduction of taxation instead of into the pockets of monopolists.Mr. Gallaher said he would take care. He appeared to entertain an inflated or perhaps he ought to say an exalted view of his position and power as a Tariff Commissioner, and he seemed clearly to think that his suggestion, communicated no doubt through the proper channel to the Government, would have the greatest possible weight upon anything which referred to his own trade. He was a man of trade talking about his business, or matters intimately connected with his business, and it was hard to believe that 283 such a man when ho spoke of his influence with the Government was indulging in mere idle, insolent gasconade. What were the grounds on which Mr. Gallaher, as a Tariff Commissioner, thought he would be able to influence the Government? In the presence of a normal state of public affairs one would expect a rebuke to be administered to this Tariff Commissioner. If this Tariff Commissioner's evidence, given before the Committee which was formed for the purpose of advising the right lion. Gentleman, was the reason for the Budget in its present form of course the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not rebuke Mr. Gallaher, but it was necessary that the right lion. Gentleman should tell Mr. Gallaher that he must not give the thing away quite so completely. He thought differential taxation was mischievous, an evil, and a curse, and it was a most dangerous feature in English public, life that they should have a great political party forming a trade group interested in differential taxation, giving evidence before Departmental Committees, having the ear of members of the Government, swaggering about in all the borrowed plumes of a little unofficial position, and then boasting that they were able to influence the fiscal arrangements of this country and doing it in directions which gave them an unearned and an undeserved profit. How much further protectionist taxation and protectionist organisation might go ho did not know, and he was not going to trouble the House with any speculations on the subject now, but he thought the House and the country would do well to watch this situation closely before allowing a Resolution of this kind to pass.
MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)
said that in Scotland there was a sport called a "heresy hunt," which was indulged in by ministers and elders when they had reason to suspect persons of doctrines not strictly orthodox. Every action and every saying of the suspected person were scrutinised, and it was wonderful how heresy was extracted out of things absolutely innocent. The lion, and learned Gentleman opposite would display unrivalled capacities in such a hunt. In this particular instance the hon. and learned Member opposite had displayed a knowledge of the whole subject which he had not the 284 slightest power of rivalling, and he had shown, in discussing this extremely technical subject, the power he claimed for himself as a lawyer to master other people's business. Of all the details of stripped and unstripped tobacco which the hon. and learned Member entered upon he had no knowledge at all, but the conclusion he had drawn was that the whole course of modern business showed what an enormous effect the very smallest interference with taxation might produce. The clumsy old protective duties of sixty years ago were now impossible and obsolete, but although taxation was such a tremendous engine of power it did not follow that the Government should always be wring and stupid in the use of that engine. Because a powerful engine had been wrongly used, was that any reason why they should decline altogether to use it? The same argument would apply to all the latest scientific weapons of the day. They had recently seen that a ship might destroy itself by one of its own submarine mines, but was that any reason why a Navy should decline for ever to use mines to defend themselves? In this power they had a new and tremendous engine which other countries were able to use scientifically, and were not afraid of using. Undoubtedly this power might be used mistakenly, but Germany and America had developed themselves by the use of it at a rate which far outstripped the rate at which this country had developed. The hon. and learned Member talked of Mr. Gallaher, but he had not the slightest idea how this tax would help him, or Mr. Wills, or anybody else. That was not the business of the Government in considering a tax. The question the Government had to ask was whether it would benefit the country at large and not any particular individual. The hon. Member used the rather obsolete argument against protection that it could only benefit one particular class and could not benefit the country at large. Nobody would deny that it was wrong to use taxation in that way and nobody would think of defending such a course. Where a tariff was properly used in the development of the industries of a nation it was not one industry alone which benefited but the whole country. That 285 had been the case in Germany and that was the whole reason and theory of the German scientific view that tariffs had been the most powerful engine in developing their country from the poor fragmentary set of scattered States producing only raw materials to its present position. That was the condition of Germany before List arose and preached a gospel as appropriate to Germany as the gospel of Cobden was appropriate at that time to the circumstances of this country. The position Germany then adopted was that they declined to be a country producing only raw material for other countries to work up. They declared that to develop their country it was necessary to have industries of their own.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
asked if the hon. Member was in order in dealing with the taxes of Germany and America.
MR. PARKER SMITH
said the hon. Member opposite had been allowed to raise the whole question as to whether these taxes involved protection, and so far as he dealt with that aspect of the question he presumed that he would be in order.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is in order in dealing with the question as to whether this is a protective tax or not but he is nor entitled to discuss the question of protection in regard to taxes upon all articles in all countries.
MR. PARKER SMITH
said he apologised to the House for being led into these remarks, but they arose, out of the speech of the hon. Member opposite. He would try to confine himself more to the particular question now before the House The hon. Member had also attacked the tax on foreign cigars and cigarettes. There, he confessed, he, was a little surprised at the hon. Member's argument because the attack mainly was that the tax was not sufficiently graduated as a luxury tax. Supposing it was a tax on foreign cigars and cigarettes, he did not think the hon. Member attempted to argue that, looked at as a purely luxury tax, it was in any way unfair or too heavy. His objection to it was that it did not bring in a sufficient amount to 286 make it worth while to collect. Whether it would be sufficient to have the effect of causing more cigars and cigarettes to be made in England than would have been made if it had not been imposed he did not know. But suppose that it brought more trade to the manufacturers of cigars and cigarettes in England, he held that would be an advantage. It might be —and in all probability would be—an advantage not merely to the people who made English cigars and cigarettes, but to the whole country, for in this small industry it meant a greater amount of employment in England. It was an advantage to have the article made in England even if there was a slight increase in the cost for the same class of cigar when made here, as compared with the price when the cigar was made in Germany.
MR. PARKER SMITH
Advantage to the country. Not an advantage merely to the man who made the cigar, but an advantage to the country at large.
MR. PARKER SMITH
said he hoped there would not be sufficient difference in the quality of the cigar to interfere with the health of the gentleman who smoked it. If the cigar were made here we would have the advantage of the wages paid in England, whereas if the cigar were imported from Germany the whole of the wages and the profit went to the German makers. He knew the reply to that, would be that if the cigar were made in Germany a biscuit would have to be imported by Germany in order to pay for the cigar. Of course, that was the ordinary free-trade reply. But that reply was based on an absolute fallacy. That reply failed altogether to see that the same biscuit had to be made and given to the cigar maker here in England. The biscuit maker did not lose his trade because the cigar was rule in England. He was afraid he was entering rather too much into a lecture upon political economy. He was perfectly certain that this aspect of the question of 287 foreign trade was not sufficiently understood by gentlemen whose studies of political economy were generally confined to a limited number of phrases and elementary matters which appeared in the works of economists, where they were largely qualified. Even in the orthodox works there were qualifications which did not appear in the ordinary political speech either in this House or on the platform. These were the general foreign, Continental, and American views as opposed to a school which everyone would say was an insular school. That school had ceased altogether to have any power abroad, whereas the other school—the modern school of national economy as against individualistic economy—was getting more and more-accepted. He hoped this House and the country would get to understand that school more and more. He was confident that when those views were more understood by hon. Members they would not be content to appeal to a phrase as the final arbiter of practical action. These views bad the support not of those simply who were concerned in their own selfish interests. Hon. Members cheered as if they thought that men who took a different view of political economy from themselves were the only men who had selfish motives. He could assure hon. Members that it was nothing of the kind. He had not sufficient acquaintance with the intricacies of the duty on cigars and cigarettes to say whether it was a protective tax or not, but assuming that the hon. Member opposite was correct in what he said, then it was possible and probable that the effect of such a tax might be entirely for the good of the country at large.
* SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
said he would not follow the hon. Member into what he called the general "foreign, Continental, and American'" political economy. He congratulated him on having stated at the conclusion of his speech that he did not enter into, or refer to, the protective character of the tax now before the House. But he himself would like to refer to that, because in various quarters the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was referred to in very different terms. It was called a free-trade 288 Budget by some, but by most people it was said to have a whiff of protection in it, and that suggested to his mind that it might be found in the luxury tax on cigars and cigarettes. He put a Question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in order to find out what was the total consumption of foreign cigarettes in this country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer informed him that 510,965lbs. represented the foreign cigarettes consumed annually. That weight did not form a very large amount on which to raise revenue for the relief of taxation under present circumstances, and he naturally began to wonder whether there was anything else at the back of this particular form of taxation, for, after all, supposing the consumption kept up, and that Egypt and Turkey, which chiefly sent cigarettes, sent us 510,9651bs. every year, the total amount the Chancellor of the Exchequer would get would be some £25,000. The right hon. Gentleman today admitted that he expected to get only £20,000. showing that the first effect, at all events, would be a probable reduction in the consumption of foreign-made cigarettes. It seemed to him that the alteration of the tax on articles like cigarettes for the purpose of adding so insignificant a sum to the Exchequer was an unwarrantable alteration of the existing duty, especially when they knew from recent circumstances that the existing duty had been strong enough to keep American cigarettes largely out of the country. It came to this, that if the tax was only to raise £20,000 it was not of much use for revenue purposes. It was a small sum he might say a paltry sum, to justify the infliction of a new tax or burden on the tobacco trade. It was causing disturbance of the whole trade by the issue of new price lists, and difficulties of that kind. Assuming it would have a similar effect to other taxes, the effect would be to put up the price of the home-made article in consequence of the extra protection granted against the foreign article.
When he came to consider the amount of the home-made article as compared with the foreign-made article a glimmer of light was got as to the effect on the trade of the country at large. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was not able to give him any statistics as 289 to the amount of cigarettes manufactured in this country, but other I people were not in that position, Certain organs more or less connected with the trade had estimated the home manufacture of cigarettes at from 90 to 95 per cent, of the total consumption. Taking the figures at 95 per cent, there would be a total consumption of 10,000,000lbs. a year, an estimate which he did not think excessive considering the enormous number of cigarette smokers, and the deplorable increase of the habit amongst young people who bought 1d. packets. There was evidence already that the tax had had the effect of increasing the price of the home-manufactured cigarettes. A circular I had been issued to the trade saying that packets of 100 cigarettes would be charged 3d. more, which practically meant 1s. per lb. on British-made cigarettes, In another case an addition of 3d. had been mentioned by the Financial Times as being charged on tins of fifty cigarettes. In reference to the packets of five cigarettes which were sold at a penny with a tube—which was a good point because the tube made them less dangerous smoking to young people these packets were sold by the trade in boxes containing 1,000 which weighed 2lbs of tobacco. But in some cases these 1d. packets were already charged more to the retailer; and in other cases where the packets contained ten cigarettes, the price had gone up Id. There h id been a change of ½d a packet in the price of American-made cigarettes—those known as Richmond Gems. What would be the result if only 1s. duty was used to increase the price of the home-made article as against the foreign-made article? Taking the lowest estimate that 90 percent. of the total consumption of cigarettes is manufactured in these islands; that would leave 10 per cent, for the foreign-made article. Then, in order that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might get £20,000 or at most £25,000, somebody would have to pay some £225,000 additional for the cigarettes, and of that sum the greater part would go into the pockets of the home manufacturers, though perhaps a small part would be taken out of the pockets not of the consumers but of the retailers. But if only 5 per cent, of the total consumption was foreign-made, and 290 95 per cent, home-made, there was the startling fact that £475,000 would be lost to the people of this country through the imposition of a tax which brought into the Exchequer the paltry sum of £20,000. These figures had been worked out most carefully: and ho ventured to bring before the House the fact that this tax of 1s. per lb. on foreign-made cigarettes had ail the worst elements of a protective duty, because it punished the people and did very little good to the Exchequer He believed that this tax was as bad and cruel as any tax could be.
His hon. and learned friend behind him had shown very admirably that the differentiating tax on stripped and unstripped tobacco had a similar effect in punishing the people of this country, but the difference on cigarettes was still greater. Ho wished the Chancellor of the Exchequer could reassure the House that that was not so; that the evil was not so great as was suspected at present. Moreover, he considered this tax was unnecessary, because the trade did not require any protection. It was not long since they saw in the newspapers a report of a case in the Law Courts which gave an inkling of the enormous profits made by certain large tobacco firms. It was shown that a bonus had been offered to the retailers amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds. A trade which was in a position of that kind did not want any extra help from this House to put additional profits into their pockets. Further, they learned that the ordinary 10d. duty which existed between manufactured cigarettes and the ordinary manufactured tobacco was quite sufficient to prevent the invasion into this country from America. When the American Tobacco Combine attempted to gain the monopoly of the tobacco trade in this country that 10d. duty was quite sufficient to give the home manufacturers the advantage by which they were able to resist the capture of their trade. The tax was unnecessary, and the evil of it was in no sense mitigated by the advantage given to the trade in this country as opposed to the foreign trade. He should be glad of anything which would operate to check the evil of cigarette-smoking by lads, but such a tax he 291 wished to be one which should go at once into the Exchequer. If he could see £250,000 going into the Exchequer as the result of this tax he should welcome it as a useful and beneficial means of raising revenue for national purposes. They had on the contrary a tax which would bring an exiguous amount into the Exchequer, and take an enormous sum from the pockets of the public. Therefore he thought it was an evil tax which should be resisted. Now, when they wanted national efficiency and economy—which he believed were the same thing — they should look very narrowly into these attempts at taxation which would do injury to the people at large and yield, a comparatively small benefit to the revenue of the nation.
§ Question put.
§ MR. McKENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
said he was astonished that the House had not had an answer from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the speech made by his hon. and learned friend who opened this debate.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
; We can only speak once in this debate.
§ MR. MCKENNA
The Question was at that moment being put without the House having had the advantage of hearing the Chancellor of the Exchequer at all. His hon. friend stated that this new tariff would be of advantage to a particular member of the tobacco trade, and that particular member of the tobacco trade happened to be a member of the Tariff Commission. Now, it might be said that it was a far cry from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Tariff Commission, and that many steps would have to be taken before there could be proved an immediate connection between the action of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the views of the Tariff Commission. But anticipating that answer he had looked up that morning a speech made by the late Colonial Secretary is his opening address on the constitution of the Tariff Commission. The late Colonial Secretary said—Now, gentlemen, it would be premature for me to anticipate the result of this great Com- 292 mission. All I will say is this—if we are successful, as I believe we shall be, in introducing a tariff which will have fully taken into account all the various interests concerned, and which will generally approve itself to those interested, although even then we shall not have made law—we shall have done a great service to our law-givers, and we shall have paved the way, at any rate, for the immediate realisation of any mandate with which the country may ultimately be pleased to entrust us.It might be said that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer had no mandate to aft on the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, but neither had the First Lord of the Treasury a mandate to permit of the introduction of protectionist legislation at all. Further, nor only had the right hon. Gentleman not had a mandate, but he gave the House and the country a distinct pledge that until after a general election and until he had a majority of the electorate behind him, he would not introduce into the House or be responsible for protectionist legislation.
§ MR. McKENNA
said he did not say that the right hon. Gentleman said he would be responsible at, any time. What the right hon. Gentleman said was that he would not be responsible. As his hon. and learned friend had shown it was not denied, it could not be denied or contradicted, that this was protectionist legislation. It was introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on protectionist grounds. The right hon. Gentleman in his original speech omitted to inform the House that a rebate was given on the stalk when returned to the Customs House; but now that they knew that to be the case it was only in accordance with the ordinary Customs regulations that the duty on stripped and unstripped tobacco leaf should be exactly the same. The proposal was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the express purpose of restoring to this country an industry and in order to give workers in this country an advantage in the stripping of the tobacco leaf. What the value of that work was could be judged by the fact that it was now carried on exclusively by negro labour, and was paid for at the very cheapest rates. If workpeople in this country were to enter into 293 competition with the foreign stripper they would have to be content with very nearly the level of the wages paid to negroes in the United States. One of the gentlemen who advised the Chancellor of the Exchequer recently on this subject went so far as to suggest that if this trade were to be carried on successfully in this country the Government would have to introduce Chinese labour. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that in the five years from 1860–64 only 43 per cent, of the tobacco entering this country was stripped before importation, but that last year no less than 77 per cent, had undergone that process before being brought into this country. That was to say that the Customs regulations had actually driven employment out of the country. The same duty was put on stripped and unstripped tobacco, and a rebate was allowed on the full weight of the stems taken back to the Customs House. If there was a slight difference between the two owing to the greater amount, of water in the stem, that could be remedied by an alteration of the rebate. But what the Chancellor of the Exchequer did was to put an extra duty of 3d. on the stripped tobacco in order to carry out his declared object of; giving employment in this country in the process stripping. As his lion, friend had shown, that was protection, and indeed the only hon. Gentleman who had spoken in defence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposal defended it on protectionist, grounds. He indulged in a protectionist homily, and his only argument was that it was a protective duty which would be of benefit to the country; as a whole.
His hon. friend spoke of Mr. Gallaher's position on the Tariff Commission. There was another point to be raised in regard to this taxation, which was not a pleasant point. The secret of what the Budget was going to be was usually very well kept. It was a matter of great pride that individual traders had: not the opportunity of anticipating the proposals of the Budget and making profits by bringing in goods beforehand. But anyone who took the trouble to look up the March figures for the imports of tobacco would discover a remarkable fact. The imports in March, 1903, of stripped tobacco amounted to 3,622,000lbs. and 294 in March, 1904, to 3,441,0001bs., being a slight decrease. The imports of unstripped tobacco in March, 1903, was 2,063,000lbs, but in March, 1904, the import amounted to 4,622,000lbs., so that some fortunate person was able to anticipate the secret that by a 3d. duty on stripped tobacco and not on unstripped tobacco a fortune was to be made if only before the Budget was introduced unstripped tobacco could be brought into the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer' had stated that of the raw tobacco imported 77 per cent, was unstripped and 23 per cent, stripped, but in March, 1904, the stripped tobacco imported amounted to 3,400,000lbs. and the unstripp'd tobacco to 4,600,000lbs. The percentage was no longer in favour of the stripped tobacco, and one could only assume that the unstripped tobacco was brought in in anticipation of some such proposal as this. They were justified in asking who it was who advised the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Was lie advised by persons interested in bringing in unstripped tobacco? Was he advised by the Tariff Commission? There was no shadow of a suggestion and he hoped it would not be stated hereafter that there was, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was in any way acting in complicity with anyone in this matter. He hoped no one would hereafter quote the phrase, "Willing to wound yet afraid, to strike." No one could say he was saying anything by insinuation which he dared not say outright. What he asked was, Had the Chancellor of the Exchequer been made a dupe? Was it merely an accident that in March of this year the imports of unstripped tobacco should have exceeded all the imports heretofore? It was not because of horn s consumption that there were sue h heavy imports in March. The home consumption of tobacco in March, 1903, was 1,553,000lbs., and in March, 1904, 1,554,000lbs. The home consumption was absolutely normal, and yet they had a gigantic increase in the imports. If it were the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had anticipated the mandate and had acted on the principle laid down by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham in his opening address to the Tariff Commission, if he went to the Tariff Commission 295 for advice, and if the only representative of the tobacco trade on the Tariff Commission, either himself or through others, recommended this tax to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the House had a right to know it.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said that the hon. Gentleman was insinuating a very grave charge. He thought he was entitled to ask that the hon. Member should formulate it in express terms, and then he should be in a position to answer it. Did the hon. Member insinuate that he had given information, direct or indirect?
§ MR. McKENNA
said he thought he did that thoroughly. There was no question of the hon. Gentleman's guilt or innocence in this matter. No one supposed that he was anything but a perfectly honourable man. The question was—was he a dupe? He stated the facts as they were to be found in the public records, and showed that the imports in March or unstripped tobacco were excessive. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would not talk about insinuations.
§ MR. McKENNA
said that he stated the facts. He knew this fact—that Mr. Gallaher was the largest owner of stocks of unstripped tobacco; and also that he was a member of the Tariff Reform Commission. He also knew that the right hon. Gentleman opposite stated in his opening address to the Tariff Commission that, though they were not law-givers, they would be able to do "a great service to our law-givers." He wanted to know whether the great service had been done to our law-givers at this moment by the 'Tariff Commission, and in particular by Mr. Gallaher, the only representative of he tobacco trade upon that Commission, and if not by Mr. Gallaher himself, who 296 the advisers of the right hon. Gentleman had been, in order that they might judge whether there had been any connection, direct or indirect, between the Chancellor of the Exchequer of to-day and the Tariff Commission of to-day, it being an accepted principle of the protectionist party opposite that the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the future should have direct communication with the Tariff Commission of the future.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member has stated as a fact that Mr. Gallaher has imported an exceptional quantity of whole leaf tobacco.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
May I ask the hon. Gentleman a question? Do I rightly understand him to suggest that Mr. Gallaher has imported an exceptional quantity of whole leaf tobacco, and, having obtained that tobacco in this country, has been my adviser in urging me to make a change which was for his benefit? Is that what the hon. Gentleman suggests, and, if not, may I ask him not to repeat the various insinuations which he has already been making, for that is unnecessary, but to state exactly what is the conclusion that he wishes the House to draw?
§ MR. McKENNA
said they had not nearly reached the stage of conclusions yet. They appealed to the responsible Ministers to give them information before they drew their conclusions. He showed a primâ facie case that some one anticipated correctly what the Budget proposals were going to be. A'; to who it was that anticipated them he did not know; but he did know that Mr. Gallaher was a member of the Tariff Commission, and that he had informed the public and the world at large that the Committee had accepted his views and that he approved of the Budget, and he knew also, on the authority of the Tariff Commission and its founder, that although the members of that Commission were not law-givers they were very near it, that if not they very soon would be.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman, as he refused to 297 give the Chancellor of the Exchequer the satisfaction which I think my right hon. friend is entitled to ask whether he will explain a little more fully his insinuations against, me. Does he mean to insinuate that in saying, what was perfectly a matter of course, that an important representative commercial Commission would have great influence with our future law-givers in any recommendations they might make in reference to the tariff, does he mean to insinuate that in saying that, in making that general remark in a public statement, I was suggesting to the members of the Tariff Commission that they should improperly use their position in order to advise the Chancellor of the Exchequer to alter the taxation of the country for their benefit, and if he does not mean that, what on earth does he mean?
§ MR. MCKENNA
said that the right lion. Gentleman's intellect was far too subtle for him. He meant nothing of the sort. The right, hon. Gentleman had really very little to do with this matter.
§ MR. McKENNA
said that he quoted the right hen. Gentleman because he had reason to refer to the Tariff Commission and its objects, and those objects as stated very plainly on the authority of its founder. He found that Mr. Gallaher, of the Tariff Commission, had made recommendations which had proved——
§ Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN
again rose but Mr. MCKENNA declined to give way and both remained standing, amid cheers and counter cheers, and loud cries of "Order" Finally Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN resumed his seat.
§ MR. McKENNA,
continuing, said that Mr. Gallaher's words were—In my evidence before a recent Committee: I outlined this idea, and my views were generally accepted.
§ MR. HARRIS (Tynemouth)
Might I interrupt the hon. Gentleman to say that Mr. Gallaher has given no evidence before the Commission?
§ MR. McKENNA
said that Mr. Gallaher had given evidence before a Departmental Committee which advised the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Mr. HARRIS
rose once more amid loud Opposition cries of "Order, "but as Mr. MCKENNA refused to give way he resumed his seat.
§ MR. McKENNA
said that Mr. Gallaher's statement was—In my evidence before a recent Committee I outlined this idea, and my views were generally accepted.Here they found the work of the Tariff Commission being done.
§ MR. McKENNA
said Mr. Gallaher, the only representative of the trade on the Commission, gave his evidence before a Departmental Committee; the ideas which he outlined were generally accepted; and as a result, he supposed, or at any rate partly as a result, a proposal was introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. That proposal they now found was good for British industry, but not for British industry as a whole, but for a part of it; and it happened to be, as he was informed, that part of the industry in which Mr. Gallaher was himself interested. Those were the facts, bare and simple, so far as they knew them at present. It remained with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who did not take the opportunity earlier, to explain what all the facts might be. He might have a complete explanation which the House would hear, but the fact stood undoubted that this was a protective proposal now. When it was first introduced he was under the impression from the right hon. Gentleman's speech that it was a purely free-trade proposal, and that he was 299 remedying an existing evil in our Customs regulations. The right hon. Gentleman did not mention at the time that a rebate was given on the stalk when it was taker back to the Customs House. They now knew that a rebate was given, and in consequence this was a protective tax. He asked the Prime Minister whether, after his pledge that nothing should be done contrary to the ancient fiscal policy of this country until after a general election, he now proposed to go on with this proposal.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The speech of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down is happily of a kind to which we are not often accustomed to listen in this House, and is one which venture to say, if it reflects discredit upon anyone, reflects discredit on the maker rather than on the persons at whom it is aimed. The hon. Gentleman has thought fit to insinuate repeatedly and persistently charges of what would be dishonest conduct. [Cries of "No."] Yes, of dishonest conduct—if not of absolute fraud against certain persons. I asked him whether his charges were directed against me. Ho said "No" He then branched off to the Tariff Commission. My right hon. friend invited him to condescend to particulars. He again refused to make clear what he did not hesitate to insinuate. I asked him whether Mr. Gallaher, whose name he introduced so freely into this discussion, was the person to whom he imputed this improper conduct. Again the hon. Member, who does not hesitate to make an imputation, refused, when he was challenged, to take the responsibility of his statement. I do not propose to follow the hon. Gentleman into the line of conduct which he has thought it decent to pursue. He has been making inquiries amongst traders. He has been supplied with his information, he admits, by traders who consider themselves adversely affected. It is very natural that anyone who thinks himself adversely affected in a matter of this kind should approach a Member of Parliament to get his case stated, but the hon. Member is no more entitled to mike the insinuations he did against me or those who have advised me than I am entitled to impute improper motives to him in the course he has taken. I think it is better 300 to treat the matter on its merits. [OPPOSITION Cheers.] I am glad that hon. Gentlemen opposite recognise the advantage of that course now that I suggest it. I think it will be better to treat the matter on its merits and make a simple statement of the case before the House.
There are two branches of this subject involved in the changes which I have proposed in the tobacco duties. There is first the additional duty on imported cigars and cigarettes, and secondly, the additional duty on stripped tobacco. I will deal first with the additional duty on cigars and cigarettes. The hon. and learned Gentleman who opened the discussion to-day said that my proposal for an additional duty, unaccompanied by an Excise, upon an imported article of luxury was a novelty in our fiscal system. He is quite mistaken. He has taken a great deal of trouble to study this subject, but he really has not mastered it, I am afraid. He appears to be utterly unaware that what I am proposing is a mere extension of what my right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol did on two occasions without, so far as I am aware, raising in the breast of the strictest free-trader any anxiety. We have had exactly this kind of duty on cigars for several years past. I do not think anybody has been the worse for it, and the Revenue has been somewhat better. It is quite true of my right hon. friend's luxury tax on cigars, as it is true of the addition I make to that tax and the similar tax I propose on imported cigarettes, that it may conceivably have some slight protective effect. That is not my object in proposing it, any more than it was the object of my right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol. Our object was to get revenue. I think there is no more suitable object for the activity of a Chancellor of the Exchequer in search of revenue than cigars and cigarettes. So far we all go together. Then am I to be debarred from raising more revenue on imported cigars and cigarettes because, owing to administrative difficulties, I cannot exactly proportion a corresponding Excise upon home-manufactured cigars and cigarettes? I say it is driving our fiscal 301 principles to a point which is little removed from the ludicrous if I am not to impose a tax which is harmless in itself, which will add something to the Revenue, which affects an article of luxury, and which will be no burden to anyone who pays it because, conceivably, somebody at home may slightly benefit from our procedure.
The hon. Member for Ilkeston pursued an ingenious argument on the most orthodox lines to show that as, according to his calculation, only 5 per cent, of our total consumption of cigarettes was imported, and 95 per cent., or thereabouts, was made in this country, in endeavouring to raise some revenue from the imported cigarettes I should raise the cost of the whole of the home-manufactured cigarettes. He put it into figures. For the sake of obtaining £20,000 upon these imported cigarettes, he said I was going to raise from the consumers of home-made cigarettes in this country a sum which he gave as from £220,000 to £250,000 a year. I really think the hon. Gentleman had better put himself in communication with the great cigarette manufacturers in this country and explain to them the process which will enable them to pocket this enormous sum. They cannot do anything of the kind; competition is too keen to allow it. When the hon. Gentleman said that the price of some of these cigarettes had already been raised, he assumed that that was so in consequence of the duty on imported cigarettes. He should consult the cigarette makers. They would tell him quite a different tale. They would tell him they have raised their price to compensate themselves for the additional duly which I have put upon stripped tobacco. None, of them thinks he can raise the price of five-a-penny cigarettes to the public because I have put an additional duty of 1s. a pound on imported cigarettes. It is quite true that the sum which I raise by these two taxes is not-very large. Every Chancellor of the Exchequer knows that when he proposes a new tax he has a good deal of opposition to meet, and he is not infrequently deterred from making small adjustments, however desirable in themselves, because he does not consider that the gain in revenue would compensate him for the 302 Parliamentary opposition which he would meet. I thought, however, that it was worth while to impose this tax and take the revenue we can get from it. I have been constantly asked why I did not pat a tax on articles of luxury instead of taxing the poor man's tea. I wonder how many of my critics have taken the trouble to consider what article of luxury not now taxed we might put a tax on that would not be open to exactly the same criticism which is brought against my proposal. It is a curious fact that just those gentlemen who are most adverse to any change in our fiscal system express the loudest disappointment that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not made a new fiscal heaven and a new fiscal earth. If you wish to be bound, as for the present I am bound, by all the rules that have guided us in the past, you cannot devise these ingenious taxes on luxury which are to enable you to relieve the burden on the poorer classes.
I turn to the question of "strips." When the Chancellor of the Exchequer is thinking of imposing new taxation he is always under great difficulties; in the matter of making inquiries. If he goes to any member of a trade concerned and begins to inquire into its nature and circumstances, the trader takes alarm, and at once clears as much as he can of the article to which the inquiries refer. I therefore made no inquiries of any member of the trade with reference to my Budget. I acted wholly upon the information which was in the possession of the Revenue Departments and the Treasury. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last suggested that Mr. Gallaher either obtained information directly or indirectly from me or some of those who advised me or that he himself advised me to impose this tax and took advantage of what he knew was going to be done to import an exceptional quantity of whole leaf tobacco.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman did not say that, because he said nothing frankly. If he did not mean that, he meant nothing. In either case I am content to leave him to the judgment of the House. I have 303 seen one communication from Mr. Gallaher. It is a communication made to me since my Budget statement. It was seat to the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, and was to the effect that he thought I had made a mistake in these proposals, and that if I had read his evidence before the Committee to which the hon. Gentleman refers I should not have suggested them to the House. The letter was a private letter to the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, which he desired the Chairman to show me in order to warn me. I hope he will not think I have done wrong in referring to it in public; but when insinuations of bad faith were made, it seemed the least I could do in justice to Mr. Gallaher and myself to state the nature of the only communication of any kind I have had with him in connection with this matter.
What was this proposal? The hon. and learned Gentleman detects in it an ingenious attempt to prepare the way for great fiscal changes or to lead the House along paths they would not with their eyes open be willing to tread. He says this is scientific taxation. I wish my critics would agree among themselves. On the first night of this debate the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition referred to my Budget statement with great kindness and generosity, and assured the Committee that although he had watched most narrowly he detected nothing of a suspicious nature, unless it might be one phrase, in the whole, of my long remarks. My hon. friend the Member for Durham, who will not be suspected of any undue sympathy with my supposed fiscal views, told the Committee that this Budget was a very good free-trade Budget, and that there was not a whiff of protection about it.
§ MR. ELLIOT (Durham)
The expression was first used by my hon. friend opposite, the late Under-Secretary for the Colonies. I afterwards said, thinking the phrase rather a happy one, that, barring some small whiff of protection, this was a very good free-trade Budget.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The hen. Gentleman congratulated himself that there was no scientific taxation about it. That may be a merit or a 304 demerit; but I believe it is true. I have trodden the old path, and have produced what my critics call a humdrum Budget. I had to obtain money, and I looked about to see how I could do it. One of the possible sources of revenue was a general rise in the tax upon tobacco. I satisfied myself from the best information that was available that such a rise as would produce the whole sum I wanted from indirect taxation would undoubtedly check consumption, and would therefore fail to produce the sum required. In the course of these inquiries my attention was called to a gap in our duties on tobacco; that gap I propose to fill, and out of it—after making certain allowances to the trade for which they have been long asking—to bring the sum of £500,000 to the Revenue. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that I made no reference in my Budget speech to the effect which the granting of a drawback on the stalks or offal has upon this question, but he evidently forgets what I did say. I did not go into the subject at very great length, because it is such a very technical question, but I dealt with the question at sufficient length to show every man connected with the trade what I was talking about, and that was my object when I referred to the subject of a drawback. The position is this. We impose, a certain tax on raw tobacco, with a correlative but increased rate on the manufactured article in each of its various stages. But the first process of manufacture, that is the treatment of the leaf, is allowed to come into this country without any corresponding rate in our scale of duties. That anomaly I remove by the duty on stripped tobacco before importation.
The hon. and learned Member for South Shields says that I differentiate between two kinds of tobacco. He is begging the whole question. Tobacco that is stripped is pot raw material. It is tobacco that is partly manufactured. The hon. and learned Gentleman appears to think that the stripping of tobacco is a simple and easy task best performed in the country of origin, and naturally performed there; and that it would be no benefit to the consumer or to the trade to transfer that process to this country. I traverse that statement and every statement he made in that connection. Stripping tobacco 305 is skilled labour, and it is not the simple and easy task that the hon. Member supposes. My evidence leads me to believe that the hon. Member has grossly understated the cost of that process. It is not best performed in the country of origin, and in the case of tobacco for the English market this process is not performed in the country of origin, and even in the case of tobacco for the English market it is to a large extent performed on the Continent, where the tobacco is taken in the whole leaf and then stripped for exportation to this country. I have had brought to my notice the evidence of the people engaged in this trade in Holland. They were considering a proposed alteration in their own Customs duties and pointing out the large employment which this stripping of the whole tobacco leaf for the English market gave to their countrymen in the agricultural districts, especially when agricultural work was slack; they protested against any change in the Customs duties which would injuriously affect this lucrative business. Some of the stripping is also done in this country. The hon. and learned Member for South Shields seems to think it is work unfit for white labour. If he will look at Mr. Booth's great book on "Life and Labour in London," he will find that Mr. Booth expresses his pleasure and surprise at finding in this industry an employment which pays good wages and affords a pleasant contrast to so many of the industries of the East-End.
I do not say it would be right to attempt to bring back to this country, by the agency of our fiscal system, employment which by natural causes has been diverted elsewhere. At any rate such an object is outside the scope of the fiscal system which we have adopted for this country. But I do say that no one who has ever had to deal with our fiscal system in the past intended that our duties should be so drawn as to make trade vary its natural course, and prevent work being done here which would be done here if trade could follow its natural course. Yet that is the position at the present time. This trade might naturally be done here—in fact a great part of it is done here now—but a much larger part would be done here were it not that our duties were so constructed 306 as to penalise any manufacturer who attempted to perform that portion of the work in this country. A greater part of this work of stripping the whole leaf would be done here than is done here were it not for that anomaly in our duties to which I have referred, and which I propose, to remove by the new-duty on imported stripped tobacco. This is quite evident from the figures I have given to the Committee and which I need not now repeat as to the increasing proportion which the importation of stripped tobacco bears to our total importation of tobacco and the decrease in the importation of the whole leaf. I have further evidence upon this point from tobacconists, merchants, and manufacturers, to the effect that within quite recent times they had seen particular kinds of leaf imported into this country in strips which had never been imported in strips before, and I think I could prove to the House if it were necessary that not only is that contrary to the natural course of trade but it is bad for the quality of the article itself. The hon. and learned Member for South Shields, speaking on far too limited information, said that doing this work in this country was much more likely to injure the leaf than when it was done abroad. The hon. and learned Member is apparently not aware that the major portion of the leaf which comes un-stripped into this country is so imported because to bring it in in any other form would injure the leaf. Manufacturers are bound to import the leaf in the un-stripped condition to preserve its quality. Indeed, I am informed that there are some kinds of tobacco which manufacturers would wish to use in this country, but which they will not use because they cannot afford to import it in the whole leaf, and it would not stand carriage in any other shape or form. Apart from the present fiscal controversy, I think the hon. and learned Member ought to have considered this problem in a calm and reasonable light without allowing the balance of his judgment to be upset by fancy bogeys. Let not the House suppose that I have invented a distinction between the whole leaf and the stripped leaf which is unknown to the trade at home or to the Customs duties of other countries. Every country 307 distinguishes between the whole leaf and the stripped leaf, and our own Customs Returns have distinguished between them from the earliest days, except for a period of eleven years when the distinction was omitted. These are perfectly distinct and well understood terms, and there is no justification on the principles on which our tobacco duties are founded for omitting to have a correlative, rate for the first process as you have a correlative rate for every other process. You might just as well say that it is wrong to have a special rate for cigars as apart from tobacco, or for Cavendish as apart from the raw leaf, as it is to have a special rate for strips as apart from the raw leaf.
Looked at from the point of view of what would he a right tariff there were only two alternatives open to me. I might lower the duty on the whole leaf, or raise the duly on the stripped leaf. If I had money to give away I would have lowered the duty on the whole leaf. I had no money to give away, but I wanted some, and raised it by the duty on stripped tobacco. Opinion as to the effect of the duty on the relative values of stripped tobacco and whole leaf in bond or in the marker is very conflicting. The tobacco manufacturers tell me, and I believe tell me truly, that for something like a year or over they will not be able to find a sufficient supply of the whole leaf in the market. That, indeed, is the reason why I feel confident I shall get the revenue which I anticipate from the duty. The hon. and learned Member for South Shields tells me that the holders of the stocks of strips will have to bear all the burden. I wish hon. Members opposite would make up their minds on whom the duty would really fall—on the holders of strips as the representatives of the twenty firms which waited on me the other day said it would fall, or on the poor working men, for whom hon. Members opposite have not said much to-day but for whom they are expressing such sympathy in the constituencies. In my opinion, though there has been considerable momentary disturbance, as was inevitable in such a case, there will be nothing like the disturbance between the stripped leaf and the whole leaf which is anticipated. I think they will be able to 308 work off their stock without much difficulty, and in any case I am happy to know that a very large proportion of the stocks in this country are after all only held on commission, and the importers themselves are not the real owners of the stocks.
I do not know that it is possible, to work out an exact scientific adjustment between the value of the stripped and the value of the whole leaf, and to make that exactly correlative to the rate of duty. Does the hon. Gentleman who complained of my addition to the rate on stripped suppose that the rates imposed by Mr. Gladstone on other classes of tobacco are exactly correlative? At every stage of manufacture except the first stage I say without hesitation that the British manufacturer is protected, and has been protected for forty years. He had his protection established by Mr. Gladstone, he has been left protected by every Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer, and no man has found anything contrary to his fiscal conscience in this arrangement until I proposed something which fills in an admitted gap and makes it possible to do a portion of the work in this country which our fiscal system has hitherto made it impossible to do. The duty I propose on stripped tobacco bears a fair proportion to the duties on the other kinds of manufactured tobacco. It takes its proper place in the scale. It will give a revenue, after making allowance for concessions in respect of moisture and drawback, of something like £500,000 this year, and it will raise it with less hardship to any individuals in this country than any other method that can be conceived. I venture to say, therefore, that hon. Gentlemen are driving their suspicion of the ultimate designs of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer to an extreme point when they refuse to make so reasonable and legitimate an adjustment and extension of our existing duties at a time when increased revenue is so urgently needed.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
said he had listened with much regret to the speech of the hon. Member for North Monmouth. He did not think the hon. Member quite appreciated his responsibility in making that sort of speech. Supposing, for example, he had in his mind another explanation, such as the 309 indiscretion of an official, his proper course would have been not to raise the matter publicly, but to write privately to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to draw his attention to the matter, who, being, on his own hypothesis, a man of scrupulous honour, would have been anxious to trace the matter out. But by drawing public attention to it the hon. Gentleman, however much he might disclaim intention for himself, put into the hands of other people, speaking at some unreported meeting or issuing some little leaflet, the apparatus of calumny. He did not think the duty of a politician was exhausted when he had refrained from calumniating his political opponents. He was equally bound to refrain from making it easy for other people to caluminate them. He listened with great interest and admiration to the speech of his right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose lucidity of mind admirably qualified him for the position he held, but who must sometimes find things troublesome when he was acting, net as Chancellor of the Exchequer, but as a tariff reformer. He would have thought that, with his clear insight into these matters, and his power of expressing himself so distinctly, his right hon. friend must cause not only uneasiness to himself but to many of those with whom he came in contact, some of whom must be near and dear to him. His right hon. friend's defence of his system of taxation came to this, that it was not a protectionist tax, and that those protectionists who believed, like the hon. Member for Partick, that this was a protectionist tax were profoundly mistaken. They did not understand the subject— a thing he could easily assent to—and when properly understood it would be seen that, it had no operation inconsistent with the principles of free trade. He would only observe, rather in the nature of question than of criticism, that he did not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer fully explained, in connection with stripping tobacco, the operation of the drawback, and whether the drawback did not already make such a distinction now as to place stripped on equal terms.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said lie had already explained this matter in reply to a Question put by the hon. 310 Member for Islington, and he did not think it was necessary when speaking that afternoon to again go into the details. The right hon. Gentleman stated the method by which the amount of the drawback was computed.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
said the case for the tax was this, that by stripping tobacco its value was increased, and that therefore there should be a scale of charge on the more valuable article. It was perfectly just to say that what the existing fiscal system did was to interfere with the natural course of trade, and that the alteration was in the direction of free trade in removing a protectionist advantage which the existing fiscal system gave to the foreigner. It was a delightful thing to hear his right hon. friend talking about the natural course of trade; and he was glad that he recognised that trade when it followed its natural course was doing the best it could possibly do for those seeking employment. His right hon. friend did not fall into the error of the hon. Member for Partick, who had supported this tax under a misapprehension, believing that here there was just a ray of sunlight coming over the eastern horizon, heralding the great luminary who was soon to cover the whole world with prosperity. His hon. friend thought that in the tobacco trade, as in any other trade, it was desirable to have a system which enhanced the demand for employment. That was one of the great mistakes of protectionists. There was an abundant demand for employment, and if there were not enough employment it would be perfectly easy to create opportunities of employment by setting up a gratuitous treadmill. What we so often overlooked was that it was not employment that was wanted, but remuneration for it. If by restricting importation the general wealth of the country was diminished, and if by forcing trade out of its natural course labour was employed in such a way as to produce a smaller return than was natural for that labour, there was a smaller fund to remunerate employment for the future; there was a less effective and remunerative demand for employment, and harm was actually done to the cause of employment. He dared say his hon. friends were aware that after the great storm of 1703—the storm of 1903 was of another character—the 311 demand for labour was greatly increased. But if there had been a storm once a week for any length of time the country would have been rapidly reduced, of course, to the condition of a desert. Although the demand for labour might be very great then; would be very little opportunity, after a little while, of remunerative employment, and the consequence would be that the people would be worse off, because of those hurricanes, than before. If you restricted wealth, if you shut out wealth, if you did not lot it come into the country, you made labour less remunerative than it otherwise would be, and you were, as it were an amateur hurricane. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham aspired, like the great Duke of Marlborough, to "ride the whirlwind and direct the storm;" and in so doing he called it scientific taxation. He made these observations quite humbly, not leaving his hon. friend the Member for Partick unconsoled at what might, after all, be the contemptuous putting aside of his views by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The hon. Member for Partick, as a protectionist, supported this tax. He was wrong, not for the first time, about fiscal matters. The hon. Member misapprehended the character of the tax. This was a pure free-trade tax and a pure free-trade Budget; and as such free-traders were entitled to support it.
§ MR. LOUGH
said he was sure that hon. Members had all listened with delight to the speech of the lion. Member for Greenwich. No doubt the noble Lord spoke in the name of the Unionist free-traders, but their policy seemed to be that, although they denounced these duties, they were going to declare the Budget a free-trade Budget and vote for it. He regretted that decision on their part, but it would not alter the determination of the protagonists on free-trade from voting against the Budget. He must congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the excellent temper of his speech, with the exception of one or two sentences; and if the right hon. Gentleman had maintained the same colour in those sentences as in the rest of his speech, his reply to the speech of the hon. Member for Monmouthshire would have been more satisfactory. All the same, the House had not yet got a real reply to the hon. Mem- 312 ber for Monmouthshire. The suggestion of the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich was that the conduct of the hon. Member for Monmouthshire was open to the censure of this House. He himself had not noticed any heat in the remarks of the hon. Member for Monmouthshire. The hon. Member had only called attention to the fact that a great quantity of stripped tobacco had been introduced into this country in March; and the House had not yet had any explanation of that. Why, then, should the Chancellor of the Exchequer get up heat when that fact was referred to? He remembered that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol had to deal with a similar situation. Could the present Chancellor of the Exchequer throw any light on the fact of the greatly increased importation of stripped tobacco into this country immediately before the Budget? The Chancellor of the Exchequer's defence was that he had a precedent for all he did in the former conduct of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol; that he had only carried out the right hon. Gentleman's policy with a slight extension of the principle then established. It was that sort of slight extension of principle of which they were so suspicious in this House. When they looked back on the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol, they, on that side of the House, were not satisfied; but it now appeared that that right hon. Gentleman was not himself satisfied. Two years after the right hon. Gentleman brought in the corn tax that tax had to be abolished, because it was said that new circumstances had arisen, and that the experiment made two years previously could not be continued. Therefore, the House must be very strict in considering any proposal brought forward by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. One great drawback to the system of indirect taxation was the favourable opening it gave to cheat not only the Chancellor of the Exchequer but the consumers of goods.
The House was entitled to complain of the numerous changes that had been made of recent years in the tobacco duties. Within the last six years the whole scale of the 313 tobacco duties had been changed three times, whereas, in the thirty-five years from 1863 to 1898, there were only three changes. These frequent changes had convulsed the whole trade, and had cost in the printing of new price-lists more than the Chancellor of the Exchequer got from the increased duties. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had received a deputation the other day from the tobacco manufacturers, and one of the members of that deputation told him that he had 40,000 casks of tobacco which would be depreciated in value by the Chancellor's proposal by £10 per cask. If that were true, there would be a loss of £400,000 at once to the manufacturer to obtain a tax of £500,000. That man would not bear all that loss himself; he would pass it on to the consumer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in reply said that he recognised that, any alteration of this kind in the duties on tobacco was always pro tanto, at the moment, an evil to those in the trade, and that the necessity of any change in the taxes was an inconvenience and an irritation. His contention was that a change in any duty every two years was too gigantic in these times. Perhaps it would be possible in the course of these debates to convince the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it would be wise for him to abandon these duties. The fighting line he wished to take was that all these duties were strictly protective in their character. What did he mean by that? That any Customs duty on an imported article must be balanced by an Excise duty? Any variation from that sound principle was protection. He refused to receive any explanation that the proposed duties were a tax on luxuries. The late Colonial Secretary talked of imposing a protective tax on manufactured articles of 10 per cent.; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was introducing a 10 per cent, tax on a process of manufacture of tobacco. The proposed tax on cigars and cigarettes was admitted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself to be a protective tax. The right hon. Gentleman said that the tax on cigars would produce £45,000 to the revenue, and ho quoted as a precedent the late Chancellor of the Exchequer increasing the duty on cigars in war time by 8d. per lb. Now the present Chancellor of the Exchequer pro- 314 posed an extension of the duty by 6d. per lb. That was an extremely suspicious procedure and was a very bad example of the protective principle. If it were imposed on foreign cigars, it would include colonial cigars as well.
Very well, that was another blow at the Colonies, and the Empire. India was sending a largely increased amount of cigars to this country, and a 6d. duty on Indian cigars would increase the difficulties of the situation. Had the Chancellor of the Exchequer estimated what it would cost the consumer in this country to obtain his £45,000—an extremely moderate sum—from the increased duty on cigars? We did not get one-fifth of our cigars from abroad: perhaps not a tenth: and the home manufacturers would put up the price of all cigars to the extent of the duty. What kept down the price of cigars was the foreign competition; and, if the home manufacturers raised the price to the extent of the duty, the consumers would pay £250,000 in order that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might obtain for the Exchequer £45,000. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said he hoped to improve the colonial trade; and the right hen. Gentleman had been very indignant all through the debate at the mention of the Tariff Reform Commission. It must be said that it was very curious how the principle of the Tariff Reform Commission had appeared at every stage of the speeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in these debates. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his interview with Mr. Gallaher was full of the idea of giving a return to the Colonies: that his proposal would help the colonial trade in cigars; but he could not see that. Even if that happened, we would be helping the Colonies at great cost to the consumers in this country, and the Colonies would get cheap cigars on which they had not "paid the duty, while the consumers in this country would be subjected to a burden of £250,000. The right hon. Gentleman had no precedent in the Budget of four years ago for dealing with the duty on cigarettes. The right hon. Gentleman's proposed huge 315 duty of 1s. per. lb. on foreign cigarettes would only give him £20,000. The duty, it was said, was aimed at foreign cigarettes chiefly from Egypt and Turkey; but if the duty was to yield so small a sum as £20,000 it did not seem worth the trouble to impose it. One of the best houses for Egyptian cigarettes in the country was in Regent Street, and that firm would not take that impost "lying down," but would at once manufacture their cigarettes here and the consumer would have to bear all the burden of the tax. That was an attempt to diminish foreign trade. He was not in favour of such attempts, because the less this country got from Egypt the less it would be able to send to Egypt.
With reference to the 3d. tax on stripped tobacco, one reason given for it was that its imposition would keep employment in this country. But that was contrary to the principles of free trade. They must not create employment at such great cost to the people of the country. The right hon. Gentleman said that this was the one process of manufacture which was not marked by any tax; and he proposed to differentiate his duties in order that it might be so marked. He thought the House had not yet got hold of what this tax really meant. They had heard that there was a difference of 1½d. between the price of stripped and un-stripped tobacco; but the imposition of the duty would make a difference of 4½d. It was monstrous that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have made such a violent interference with a staple of trade. The proposal was open to every objection that could be made against a protective tax. The right hon. Gentleman said his object was to create employment. He had seen an expert statement to the effect that the cost of stripping in the United States had increased from 40 cents to 60 cents per 100lbs.; and it was added that it was very unskilled labour confined to negroes. The object of the right hon. Gentleman was to bring this low-class trade into this country, and to deprive manufacturers of the liberty of importing either stripped or un-stripped tobacco as they pleased. No worse reason for such a change could be given. It was an uneconomic change. Why should manufacturers be obliged to 316 carry the stalks across the sea when they did not want them. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was full of the idea that if he could stimulate homo trade even at the cost of foreign trade he would be doing a benefit to the country. It did not follow at all. If trade were allowed to flow along the ordinary channels that would be the highest benefit that could be conferred on the country. English merchants allowed the low-grade work of stripping to be done abroad, employing British labour on more remunerative work. Therefore the principle on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer was acting seemed to be a highly unsatisfactory one.
The right hon. Gentleman affected not to understand what lion. Members meant by a luxury tax. What they meant was that an article imported from abroad and mainly used by the rich should be subject to a duty, not a Customs duty only, be-cause a Customs duty must always be balanced by an Excise duty if it was to be a free-trade tax. Any breach of that law seemed to him to be a breach of the principles on which Budgets had been based for many years. The Budget in all these respects seemed to him to be an audacious infringement of the settled policy which this country had practised for many years. All these taxes were protective in their nature and were also open to other serious objections. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that he got £12,500,000 sterling from the tobacco duties. That was a noble revenue to gel from an article like tobacco; and it had been increasing for the last two or three years. No proposal was more dangerous when a tax was producing a splendid revenue, than to increase its weight. Very often that destroyed the productiveness of the tax, and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer was getting such a fine revenue out of tobacco it would have been far wiser for him to have been content with it and very possibly he would have got more out of the existing rates than lie would get out of the higher rates he proposed to impose. There was ample experience during the last few years to show that that was true. The increase of 3d. per gallon on wines had brought in a smaller revenue, and the increase in the duties on beer and spirits were producing at the present moment most unsatisfactory results. Therefore the 317 Chancellor of the Exchequer would be wise to hesitate before increasing the tobacco duties.
The right hon. Gentleman stated that he was going to make considerable changes in the system of drawbacks. The right hon. Gentleman had not vet explained what those changes would be; but he stated that instead of one drawback lie was going to substitute four or five. That would be a very complicated system and he thought that the simpler system would be better. The right hon. Gentleman was bound to lay his full plans before the House and country before he asked the House to pass this Resolution. The discussion had shown that the tax was open to very serious objections, and the amount of revenue would be very small, probably not more than half a million. A previous Chancellor of the Exchequer calculated he would get £600,000 out of the cheque tax; after discussion he was able to see he would not get that revenue, but that, on the contrary, the splendid revenue he was getting from cheques would tie diminished. Many proposals introduced by Chancellors of the Exchequer had been abandoned recently. The taxes on offal, sale notes, and invoices had been abandoned, and he would suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he should keep an open mind on this matter, on the ground that it was by no means certain whether these complicated new duties would produce any more revenue than at present, and that he should not treat the arguments of the Opposition with too much contempt, but should consider whether another course might not be adopted.
§ MAJOR JAMESON (Clare, W.)
said he desired to warmly resent the insinuations and attacks that, had been directed against Mr. Gallaher, who was a personal friend of his, the largest tobacco manufacturer in Ireland, a worthy Belfast citizen, one of the leading Liberals in that city, and a member of the National Liberal Club in London. Mr. Gallaher was one of the few men in Ireland who was able to give large employment to labour, and he protested against his being held up to ignominy for what he was certain Mr. Gallaher had never done, and brought before the House as a 318 gentleman unworthy of trust simply for the purpose of attacking the Government through him. The tax would come out of Mr. Gallaher1 s own pocket—it certainly would not come out of the poorer classes of tobacco—and it was somewhat surprising that the only tax which hon. Members had attacked in this way was just the one which would bring employment, not to Chinese, but to some 400 or 500 worthy Irishmen. This tax would take money out of the pockets of the large manufacturers, but would not raise the price of the lower classes of tobacco. The tax would give more employment to the workpeople, and he would be delighted to see any tax placed on any commodity if it would keep Irish workmen in their own country.
§ * MR. AINSWORTH (Argyllshire)
said that every lion. Member would concur that whatever might be the fiscal policy adopted on that side of the House, it was advocated solely with the view to benefiting the working people in Great Britain, and of course, in Ireland also. It seemed to him rather extraordinary that the debate should have collapsed without some attempted explanation of the extraordinary facts brought before; the House by his hon. friend the Member for North Monmouthshire. He should like to know, if hon. Members opposite were in opposition, and became aware of the facts referred to by his hon. friend, whether there was not one of them who would not consider that he would be false in his duty to this House and to his constituents if he did not immediately bring the facts to the attention of the House. One thing they did expect from heads of Departments in this House, and that was a feeling of responsibility. A head of a Department was bound not only to justify himself, but also to justify every official who served under him. Therefore many hon. Members felt surprised that his hon. friend the Member for North Monmouthshire should have been criticised for bringing what he would describe as an "extraordinary accident" before the House. Let them look at the position of the man in the street. He naturally discussed with his neighbour what the next thing to be taxed would be, and he went into the market and bought the article which he expected would be taxed. But what he wanted to know was this, why should 319 any individual in this country go into the market and buy, not tobacco generally, but one particular kind of tobacco. He thought it was the duty of the Government to give an explanation, if there was any explanation to give; or, if they had no explanation, to say so. This was an object lesson to the House and the country of what would happen if they began to flirt with protection. Enormous private interests were at once brought, on the scene. There was an old saying that "nobody got lost on a straight road." They on that side of the House thought that as long as they adhered to free-trade principles they were on a straight
§ road. There was also a sequel to that saying, which was that "nobody travelled so far as the man who did not know where he was going." That, he thought, represented the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give his most earnest attention to the facts placed before him and that he would be able to give a satisfactory explanation regarding them.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 250: Noes, 176. (Division List No. 105.)323
|Allhusen, Augustus Hen. Eden||Cross, Herb Shepherd (Bolton)||Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Davenport, William Bromley||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Arrol, Sir William||Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||Heath, A. Howard (Hanley)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Denny, Colonel||Heath, James (Staffords., N.W.|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Dickson, Charles Scott||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Helder, Augustus|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield||Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C.||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dxon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Hoare, Sir Samuel|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Doughty, George||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J. (Manch'r)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Hope, J. F (Sheffield, Brightside)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds||Burning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hoult, Joseph|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil|
|Hartley, Sir George C. T.||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Fardell, Sir T. George||Button, John (Yorks., N. R.)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Mich. Hicks||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r||Jameson, Major J. Eustace|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Bigwood, James||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Fison, Frederick William||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh|
|Bowles, Lt.-Col. H.F(Middlesex||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Kerr, John|
|Brassey, Albert||Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||Kimber, Henry|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Forster, Henry William||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Butcher, John George||Foster, R. S. (Warwick, S.W.)||Knowles, Sir Lees|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J.A. (Glasgow||Fyler, John Arthur||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Calloway, William Johnson||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Gardner, Ernest||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Garfit, William||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks., N.R.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Cordon, Hn. J. E (Elign & Nairn)||Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A (Worc.||Gore. Hn G.R. Cormsby-(Salop||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Chapman, Edward||Core, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.|
|Coates, Edward Feetham||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)|
|Coddington, Sir William||Green, Walford D. (Wednesbury||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Greene, W. Raymond. (Cambs.)||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Gretton, John||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Colomb, Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R.||Groves, James Grimble||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hall, Edward Marshall||Macdona, John Gumming|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down. North)||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim. S.)||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool).|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hardy, L. (Kent. Ashford)||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Remnant, James Farquharson||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Malcolm, Ian||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H.,E,(Wigt'n)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Tuff, Charles|
|Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. W.||Robinson, Brooke||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E (Taunton|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Mount, William Arthur||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Shaw-Stewart, Sir H. (Renfrew)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh., N.)|
|Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E.R. (Bath|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Smith, H C (North'mb. Tyneside||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Parker, Sir Gilbert||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Percy, Earl||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset||Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Randles, John S.||Stone, Sir Benjamin||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir|
|Rankin, Sir James||Stroyan, John||Alexander Acland-Hood|
|Rasch, Sir Frederick Carne||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Hammond, John|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Delany, William||Harcourt, Lewis V. (Rossendale|
|Allen, Charles P.||Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Asher, Alexander||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herb. Henry||Donelan, Captain A.||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.|
|Austin, Sir John||Doogan, P. C.||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Duncan, J. Hastings||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Dunn, Sir William||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Black, Alexander William||Edwards, Frank||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Roland, John||Elibank, Master of||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Ellice, Capt E C (S. Andrw's Bghs||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.|
|Brigg, John||Emmott, Alfred||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Jacoby, James Alfred|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Joicey, Sir James|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Farrell, James Patrick||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Burt, Thomas||Fenwick, Charles||Joyce, Michael|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Caldwell, James||Ffrench, Peter||Kitson, Sir James|
|Cameron, Robert||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Labouchere, Henry|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Flynn, James Christopher||Lambert, George|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.||Loamy, Edmund|
|Cawley, Frederick||Gilhooly, James||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)|
|Charming, Francis Allston||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John||Leng, Sr John|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Levy, Maurice|
|Crean, Eugene||Grant, Corrie||Lundon, W.|
|Crombie, John William||Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick)||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Cullinan, J.||Griffith, Ellis J.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||O'Malley, William||Sullivan, Donal|
|M'Crae, George||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Tennant, Harold John|
|M'Fadden, Edward||Partington, Oswald||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|M'Kean, John||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Price, Robert John||Tomkinson, James|
|M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Reddy, M.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Mansfield, Horace Kendall||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Redmond, Wiliam (Clare)||Wallace, Robert,|
|Mooney, John J.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Wason, Jn. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Morley, Rt. Hn John (Montrose||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Roche, John||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Murphy, John||Rose, Charles Day||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Runciman, Walter||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Newnes, Sir George||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Seely, Maj. J.E.B.(Isle of Wight||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Norman, Henry||Shackleton, David James||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Woodhouse, Sir J.T (Huddersf'd|
|O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)||Sheehy, David||Young, Samuel|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Smith, Samuel (Flint)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Robson and Mr. Lough.|
|O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|O'Dowd, John||Soares, Ernest J.|
|O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C.R (Northants|