*LORD HARRIS moved the Second Reading of this Bill, which, he said, had given rise to ample discussion and to a vigorous criticism and opposition in another place. The proposal of the Measure was to grant out of Imperial revenue half the rates payable in respect of agricultural land. Agricultural land was defined in the Bill, and the half of the rates was to be based upon a valuation to be made this year and up to March 31 next. There were in the Bill the necessary directions to authorities as to the mode in which they were to rate, and there was also a definition of who the spending authorities were. It seemed to him the Bill came to them with two especially strong recommendations, and with another also of some strength, having regard to the principle which ran through the Measure, but not of such force as the first two. Firstly,
the Bill was passed by enormous majorities in the House of Commons; secondly, it was recommended by a majority of the Royal Commission on Agriculture; and, thirdly, in one part of the Amendment to the Second Reading in the other House, moved by Sir Henry Fowler, there was an acknowledgment of the principle of the Bill. He supposed that if there was one subject which was specially placed before the constituencies at the last General Election it was the distressful condition of agriculture. Many constituencies expressed themselves distinctly desirous that Government should give its attention to the condition of agriculture, and, if possible, help it in some material way. The modes in which agriculture could be assisted were very few. The Royal Commission on Agriculture found that the cause of the depression in agriculture was the continuous and serious fall in prices; but, whatever opinons may have been expressed by individual candidates in the Election last year as to our system of free imports, the Government received no mandate from the constituencies to change our present system of free imports. To make such a change would have been one way of assisting agriculture. Agriculture might be assisted by a general readjustment of rates so as to relieve what was claimed to be the inequality of rating, but clearly any such readjustment could only be the outcome of the Inquiry appointed ad hoc, and which would undoubtedly occupy a long time. It had been alleged that agriculture had no special claim to assistance because it was favourably treated in the matter of the Death Duties. If that allegation was sound it at any rate had been upset in recent years by legislation. He could not conceive that now it could be said that personalty as compared with realty was unduly taxed. That was the position when the present Government came into power. A very large majority gave a distinct expression of opinion that the condition of agriculture was to be taken into consideration at once. The Royal Commission which was appointed by the late Government indicated, in an interim Report, the way in which assistance was to be given. It reported as follows:—
We have practically completed the collection of evidence on the various matters which have
been referred to us; but, owing to the multiplicity of subjects into which inquiry has been made, and the great amount of information obtained thereon, it is not possible for us to submit at the present time a final Report which could adequately deal with the important and serious question of agricultural depression in Great Britain.
But the evidence which has been brought before us has convinced us of the extreme gravity of the agricultural situation. We have consequently tome to the conclusion that it is our duty to submit to your Majesty, without delay, certain suggestions which are calculated in our judgment to some extent to relieve the agricultural community, and which cannot be carried into immediate effect without legislation in connection with the financial arrangements of the coming year.
It is undoubtedly true that the severity of the depression varies greatly in different districts, but we have come to the conclusion that there is no part of Great Britain from which it can be said to be altogether absent. With rare exceptions it has existed and increased in intensity throughout the country for the last 12 or 15 years. In many districts it has reached a stage so acute that the consequences have already been most disastrous.
And then came the seventh paragraph:
But the witnesses have been practically unanimous in their desire that agricultural land should be relieved from some of the burdens which it now hears, and there is a general consensus of opinion in favour of State loans for agricultural improvements. We believe that if something is done at once in each of these directions, it will mitigate the results, and may possibly to some extent arrest the progress of the depression.
In paragraph 33 on the same point he found the following:
On no subject has a greater concurrence of opinion prevailed on the part of the tenant farmers who have been examined by us, and who have appeared before our Assistant Commissioners, than on the injustice of the present system of local taxation and the necessity for its readjustment so far as it affects agricultural lands. It has been represented to us again and again by these witnesses that the owners and occupiers of agricultural land are specially rated for purposes for which they ought not to be rated; that the capacity of the land to bear the charges now borne by it has been greatly reduced; that agricultural land has to bear an undue share of the local rates in proportion to the present value of its produce; that many of the charges on real property are essentially Imperial charges, and ought in fairness to be borne by all classes of property, and that the whole question of local taxation ought to be reopened and considered in a comprehensive manner, so that all classes may be made to contribute in proportion to their ability to the expenditure on the relief of the poor, education, lunatics, police, administration of justice, and other national purposes, now mainly chargeable on the local rates. No tenant farmer has
questioned the necessity for a radical alteration in the existing system of local taxation in the direction of relieving agricultural lands from some of the local burdens to which they are subjected in relation to this expenditure, although, as was to be expected, the opinions of the several witnesses have differed as to the manner in which this relief should be obtained and the directions in which it is most urgently required.
In paragraph 46 he found the following:—
The adoption of this recommendation will necessitate some rise in the rates in the pound of the local rates in all districts containing agricultural lands, and where these lands form a large proportion of the rateable property a very considerable rise, unless the deficiency created by the relief thus given to agriculture is made good to the local authorities from the Imperial revenue. In order to meet this difficulty, we recommend that so much Imperial revenue as is required for this purpose should be divided amongst the local authorities, in proportion to the additional charges which will in the first instance be thrown on other properties in the several districts in consequence of carrying the above recommendation into effect.
There was also a minority Report, and in the first paragraph they recognised the serious condition of agriculture. They stated:—
We think that it is important and necessary to point out at this stage of our proceedings, and with a view specially to the consideration of the burdens on agricultural land, that the depression has been and still is far more serious in the eastern and southern counties of England, over an area of rather more than one-third of England and Wales, including such counties as Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire, or the greater parts of them, than in the other parts of Great Britain.
The objection taken to the Bill in the other House was not to the fact that relief was given to local burdens, but to its being given to a particular class of property. The agricultural interest, therefore, might claim that both Parties had acknowledged the desirability of readjusting local taxation, and that it was fair to make a grant from the Imperial revenue. There was no other expedient before the Government than to assist this heavily-burdened industry from Imperial revenue. Among the objections was one that the Bill established a system of national poor rate; but, if that was so, the Opposition in the House of Commons had failed to give expression to their opinions, for they had admitted the desirability of readjusting taxation. It had been suggested that in consequence of the grant there would be a
tendency towards extravagance, but his experience of the Board of Guardians led him to the conclusion that the grant would be economically administered. As a matter of fact, there were very few things upon which the guardians could indulge extravagance. The tendency towards extravagance, if there was such, was not amongst the rural, but amongst the urban members of the Board. Under the Bill the ratepayers would continue to be rated as before with regard to houses and premises, and these would be valued as before, but separately from the land. Already in some 1,500 parishes the farm buildings were rated separately from the land. The fundamental principle of valuing for rating purposes was to value property in consideration of the purpose for which it is used. It might happen that in the midst of a thickly-populated area the land of a business man, whose business was carried on over a considerable ground area, might be rated very much below what it would be rated at for building purposes. As regarded machinery, the farmer would be rated in precisely the same way as the manufacturer; the machinery itself was not rated, but the enhanced value of the building in consequence of the presence of fixed machinery was taken into consideration. With reference to the argument that the Bill was unfair because the urban rates were so much higher than the rural, he pointed out that the rural ratepayer had to do without a great many luxuries that the urban ratepayer was able to maintain, by the mere fact of a large population being collected together which could combine for various purposes. He had an extract from his own neighbourhood which showed that in two parishes, one urban and the other rural, lying side by side, the Poor Rate was precisely the same, the County Council Rate was the same in each case, and the main difference was in the General District Rate falling upon the urban parish, a difference of something like 1s. 6d., and it was almost entirely made up by such advantages as paving, lighting, scavenging, and draining. Possibly in larger and wealthier urban districts they might find that the rates had been increased there by such advantages as baths and washhouses, free libraries, and even in some cases he
believed by tramways. Of course, if urban ratepayers chose to indulge in luxuries of this kind, which the rural ratepayers had to do without, it was inevitable that their rates would be higher. Another subsidiary objection which was taken was that the relief given by this Bill was given in regard to rates which had been considered as hereditary. They knew what the opinions of the noble Earl opposite were as regarded the principle of heredity. [The EARL of ROSEBERY: "Hear, hear!"] And he should be curious to hear how he dealt with the matter in this case. When was this principle to commence? By the Act 33 and 34 Elizabeth, overseers were appointed who were ordered to raise up taxation and provide work for the necessary relief of such as could not work in a parish. Moreover, Justices might rate other parishes in order to help a poor parish. The statute which was passed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth provided that, not only as regarded the relief of the poor and the finding of work for the abled-bodied poor, was it incumbent upon every parishioner out of his means to provide the necessary sums or material, but also as regarded technical education and apprenticing of the children of the poor. That was the law of the country till 1840. From various causes it had become customary to rate only land, and at last somebody appealed against the rate on the ground that it was unjust and had not been imposed upon all the inhabitants in the parish. The Courts held that the rate was unsound, and considerable confusion resulted. In consequence the Act of 1840, 3 and 4 Victoria, cap. 89, was passed. Among the arguments used by the Attorney General of the day were that there was no doubt that ever since the statute of Elizabeth stock-in-trade was liable to be rated, and that the then state of the law ought not to continue, as it enforced a most inquisitorial research into the private affair's of individuals. The latter objection was raised to the Income Tax, but without avail. Were they to appeal to the principle of heredity as embodied in the usage of 200 years or as embodied in the usage of some 50 years? Surely the former would be the greater value. The Act of 1840 exempted stock-in-trade, whilst it specifically directed overseers to rate
agricultural land, woodlands, and coal mines. It seemed to him perfectly fair to claim that the houses and building premises of the farmer were to him precisely, the same as were the houses and business premises to the manufacturer, and the land itself was a very important item in his stock-in-trade. And yet the manufacturer and the urban ratepayer was freed from all ratepaying as regarded his stock-in-trade, while the farmer, even under this Bill and after half the rate had been remitted, would still be rated as regarded that particular item. This principle permeated all the rating of the country; land, as soon as it became useful for brickmaking, cement, or concrete making, at once became more valuable for rating purposes. The agricultural rate was no longer taken, but the land was valued according to what it could produce for bricks, cement, concrete, etc. The rate was paid by the person who extracted the earth from the quarry or the pit, and the persons rated had to pay the rate there and then, but as soon as the bricks, etc., got into the yard of the contractor they were no longer rated, as they were part of the stock-in-trade of the manufacturer, who was exempted by the Act of 1840. He argued that the land and its produce had for years been most unfairly treated as to the way in which it had been rated. Another subsidiary objection taken to the Bill was that the benefit derived from this grant would not be distributed on an equitable basis. Undoubtedly that was one of the most serious objections to the Bill, as it was the one that was most difficult to meet. But if their Lordships were going to analyse the justice or the injustice of a remission of taxation, and to ascertain which man could bear taxation and which could not bear it, they would have to undertake an Inquiry which would not be concluded for a long period, and which would compel them to postpone indefinitely the relief to agriculture which the constituencies were asking Her Majesty's Government to grant without delay. Another argument that had been advanced against the Bill was that under its provisions the lands that were rented the highest would obtain the greatest benefit because they were rated the highest. He did not, however, think that that assumption would be
found to be correct. Where a number of farms had gone out of cultivation in a particular distressed district, the farms which remained in cultivation would have to bear the rates of those which were no longer cultivated, and consequently they would be very highly rated. In such cases rates would be high, although the rents might be low and the lands were derelict. He would give their Lordships an illustration of rates being high where the rent was low. On page 299 of the second Report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture, the following case would be found:—Twenty years ago the farm of 500 acres was let at £2 per acre. In 1892 the rent was reduced 50 per cent., making it £500 per annum, while the capital employed on the farm was £4,000. In 1892 the farm paid no interest on capital, and paid no rents, and the accounts, which had been most carefully kept from year to year, showed that there had been a loss on valuation of £235, the rates being £59. In 1893 the farm again paid no interest on capital and no rent, while the valuation showed a loss of £954, the rates being £90. The accounts for 1894 afforded a curious instance of fluctuation of profits, because, although the capital employed was reduced 25 percent., the farm paid £146 interest on capital, and £500 rent, and left £144 of profit to the farmer, the rates being £79. In 1895 the farm paid £52 interest on capital, about one-third of what it ought to have paid, it paid no rent, the rates being £84. So that in the four years £313 had been paid in rates, £698 had been received in interest and rents, and the loss on the valuation was 25 per cent. That was the result of farming on some of the best land in East Kent. He thought that that was a very fair illustration of how the argument that high rates meant high rent could be met. It had also been argued that, whatever assistance was given to agriculture would go into the pockets of the landlord. It seemed to him difficult to say precisely where the relief would go to. He might, however, safely say that the relief would go to the land, and it was the object of Her Majesty's Government that it should do so. He could understand that, where a farmer was doing fairly well, and was earning a percentage, although not a fair percentage,
upon his capital, that he might, if he were honest, leave something to his landlord. Of course, in the case of leases the whole of the profit, after paying the fixed rent, would go to the tenant. The suggestion that a share of profit would go to the labourer had been treated with derision, but in his opinion if a farmer found at the end of the year that he had made a larger profit than he anticipated, he would use a portion of it in paying for more labour, because that would enhance the profit derived from the farm. As he had said, he could not say where the relief would go in all cases, but as there were three parties interested in the land, it might be taken that each of them would obtain a fair share of it, and that it would not all go into the pocket of one of them. It had been objected with one breath that this relief was an enormous one and with the next that it was a mere dole which would be powerless to effect the relief of agriculture. Whichever was the true description of it, the agriculturists recognised that Her Majesty's Government was trying to do something practical to help them, and was not merely expressing a barren sympathy for them without giving them any material assistance. Before he came to the end of his remarks, he wished to deal with a particular statement which had been made by Sir W. Harcourt in the House of Commons, in which he said that farmers in a particular county had alleged that the distress came not so much from a drop in prices as from their unfair treatment by their landlords. Sir W. Harcourt, referring to Hampshire, said:—
I have also rend these very important and instructive documents, the Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, and, naturally, one of the first Reports that I looked at was that relating to the county in which I reside, a Report furnished by a gentleman extremely well known to every agriculturist—Dr. Fream. In cases where what were regarded as only fair and reasonable rents, maintained even in the good times, the tenants have been held together; but on other estates, where old tenants were got rid of for the sake of others willing to pay higher rents, the result has been disastrous. Unduly high rents were accompanied by short tenancies. Many and frequent changes were consequently the result, and the general tendency of such a policy has been ruinous. It is maintained that those landlords who have been in the habit of making reasonable reductions when asked have done best in the long run; and, on the other hand, that a generation of farmers has been ruined through a lack of timely concessions.
Anyone reading that would come to the conculusion that that was the opinion of Dr. Fream, whereas, in fact, it was only a letter from a single farmer to Dr. Fream, Then Sir W. Harcourt went on to quote a letter to Dr. Fream, which, he said, was sent to him by a farmer whose family had been tenants on the same estate for two centuries. In that letter it was said:—
Since our conversation I have considered the matter somewhat, and, writing from a tenant-farmer's point of view, and solely as regards arable land, I beg to append my humble opinion, formed from costly experience of the causes of the present ruinous state of our industry.
Sir W. Harcourt went on to say—
He proceeds to speak of bad seasons and of foreign competition. Yes, and he speaks of another thing, which I hope the hon. Gentlemen who cheer will note—'the disinclination and refusal of landlords in most cases to meet their tenants. Some, not all, are now offering 15 or 20 per cent. abatement. When, as is the case for the last two years, more than the rent has been lost, this is too little. In seasons like the last two 50 per cent. should be allowed to tenants of a few years' standing, to enable them to hold on.' Then comes another cause for the ruinous state of the agricultural industry—'absence of combination and any real representation in Parliament.' Both Houses are overdone with landlords and their advisers. The interests of the tenant-farmers are now, and have always been, neglected.
All this was contained in a letter from a single farmer to Dr. Fream. He should like to read to the House a statement of Dr. Fream himself. As regards the "disinclination and refusal of landlords in most cases to meet their tenants," Dr. Fream said:—
In the area that came under my observation, I did not meet with a single exception to the rule that the rents have been reduced during the last 12 years. In some cases these reductions have been so great that tenants are practically keeping on the farms at their own rentals. A large tenant farmer said to me:—'It has come to this. You may regard the land as practically of no value, and look upon the rent as merely covering the interest on the outlay on house and buildings.' And he added that by the time the landlord has met all expenses, he has scarcely got anything left for himself. Not only are the rents a diminishing quantity, but some have not been paid for years, though the reduction may have gone almost as far as possible short of extinction. The landlord does not get even a fair interest on the cost of the buildings and yet with rents down to nothing, as it was expressed to me, the tenants continue, many of them, losing money.
That was the real opinion of Dr. Fream. Why did the right hon. Gentleman suppress all this and give so misleading a version to the House and the country. He always regretted to have to make personal observations on people who were not present, but he was sure Sir William Harcourt would forgive him for correcting his statement and giving the true version of Dr. Fream's views. To sum up, his arguments were that the constituencies at the last Election gave the Government a most distinct injunction, by an enormous majority to look into the state of agriculture generally, and to assist it as quickly as they could; that the Royal Commission, by a majority of its members, recommended the particular form of assistance embodied in the Bill; that the principle of the readjustment of the burdens on real property was admitted by the Amendment of the Opposition in the House of Commons; that this mode of assistance was the only form in which assistance could possibly be given at once, and that, as a matter of fact, there was no injustice in agricultural land being relieved of half the rates, because urban ratepayers were already excused from paying rates on their stock-in-trade, whereas the farmer had to pay rates on what he regarded as his stock-in-trade, namely, the land. Those were the grounds on which he begged to move, "That this Bill be now read a Second time."
§ *LORD FARRER
, in moving to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Motion to insert the words, "this day three months," said it was with great diffidence, as one of the youngest Members of the House, that he rose to move the rejection of what appeared now to be the principal Bill of the Session, and he should not have done so had he not felt convinced that it was a very bad Bill. The argument of the noble Lord who had just sat down really came to this:—We promised to do something for agriculture; we do not know what to do. We got a recommendation from the Commission; we do not adopt it because we think it will do very much good to agriculture, but because it is the only thing we can do.The Bill was based on the authority of the Agricultural Commission. That Commission went into a number of subjects. They went at great length into 1065 the question of bimetallism. To his mind, it was a most cruel thing to dangle before the poor farmer the suggestion that by increasing the number of counters with which men do their business, agricultural depression would be removed. Still more foolish was it to suppose that people were going to change the standard of value in this country for any such purpose. That bubble was soon pricked by the masterly speech of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. Then the Commission did something else. They got a number of statistics from that able man, Sir Alfred Milner, statistics of a very doubtful character, and adopted them as the foundation of a Scheme for altering the finance of the country. One of the discoveries of the majority of this Commission was that the Land Tax which had been redeemed for generations was still an actual burden on the land. They hurried up an interim Report which was never fully discussed or examined, and they did their best to prevent the minority from making a Report. Fortunately, however, the minority did make a Report, and it was from that Report was obtained an insight into what was the real state of agricultural depression in the country. He was not going to deny that there was very grave agricultural distress, but until they knew, in the first place, what were the causes that had led to it, and, in the second place, what was the nature and character of that distress, any remedies would be empirical and useless. There were two fundamental causes for the present distress. The first was the great fall in prices, and for the causes of that they must go back fifty years to the repeal of the taxes on food. The second great cause—and it was shared by the agricultural capitalist in common with all other capitalists—was that by some process, which he called a blessed process, a large share of the profits of industry had been transferred from saved capital to labour. There could be no doubt that the distress complained of had not reached the agricultural labourer. He, at any rate, till within the last two years, was far better off than he had ever been in the matter of nominal wages, and still far better off in real wages by reason of the cheapness of 1066 the things he had to purchase. These two blessed and happy causes had led to the great improvement of the masses of the people, but at the same time no doubt to great suffering on the part of the farmer and the landowner. But when it was suggested that the remedy for that was a paltry alteration in rating, it was but the old story of dame Partington and the Atlantic. What was the real nature of this distress? The distress was as different as possible in different parts of the country. There were parts in which there was no distress at all, in which the assessment and value of land had gone up. There were other parts in which the fall in value had been small, and others in which it had been large. The average fall had been about 26 per cent., but it varied from less than nothing to something like 40 per cent. He believed there was in the possession either of the Commissioners or of the Local Government Board a map which showed where there was great distress, and where there was less or none. He wished the House could have had that map before them. There was great distress in the east and parts of the south, and especially in the arable counties; but in the north and a great part of the west there was nothing which could be called distress. But that was not the only great difference. The land surrounding the great towns formed a very large part of the whole land of England. The value of that land had risen by reason of the demands made on it by the inhabitants of the towns. There was no distress among persons in the immediate vicinity of the towns; on the contrary, such land let at a very high value, and there were also many cases in which the letting value was no indication of the real value. In the county of Surrey and other residential parts of England the land was still used for the purpose of agriculture, but if anyone wished to buy, it he would find that its capital value was five or six times the letting value as agricultural land. At the same time, the rates were only levied on the letting value. In his immediate neighbourhood in Surrey, there was land which would let at not more than 10s. or 15s. an acre as agricultural land, and which yet 1067 would cost £100 an acre to buy. It was taxed at one-fifth its real value for local purposes, and he was not sure that it was taxed at one-fifth only of its real value for Imperial purposes, and he would ask the House whether it was wise in an assembly which consisted largely of landowners, to call attention to such a fact as that? They heard a good deal of the unearned increment in London, and they were going by this Bill to give back half the rates to persons who owned such land as he spoke of. Did the House think that would pass without comment? He had heard much about obstruction in the House of Commons, but he would point out that this very question of accommodation land, which Mr. Chaplin admitted to be a very important question, was relegated to the morning of an All-night Sitting in the House of Commons. The question of accommodation land, and of the boon which the Government proposed to bestow on the owners of such land, was a bigger question than the Government imagined, and a great deal more would be heard of it. He admitted fully that there were cases of great agricultural distress, and he would like to see them relieved, but when the amount which it was proposed to give had been spread over the country, including areas where there was little distress and areas where there was none, the sum available for places where there was genuine distress would only be about a shilling an acre. That would hardly satisfy a distressed farmer in Essex. Then, would this relief go to the landowner or the farmer? Under leases no doubt it would go to the latter, but five-sixths of the land of this country was held under annual arrangements which were subject to readjustment every year. Supposing prices were to continue to fall and a farmer not under lease were to ask his landlord's agent for an abatement of rent, would not the agent at once say, "You have had relief this year to the extent of £5, £10, or £20 under the Agricultural Rating Bill, and therefore we must postpone the question of abatement until next year." That, he held, was likely to happen as long as human nature remained unchanged. The greater part of the relief would go to the landlord, and it was difficult to see that a single acre of land would be kept in 1068 cultivation as the consequence of this dole, or that a single additional labourer would be employed. But it was said that this was not merely a Measure for the relief of agricultural distress, but also a Measure for the reform of the law of rating. Now there were two grievances of which ratepayers complained. There was first the question of the incidence of rates as between the owner and the occupier; but that question this Bill left untouched. In the second place there was the question whether personal property paid its fair share towards the local expenses of the country. How were the Government dealing with that? They dealt with the question in the rural ratepayer's favour, leaving it untouched in as far as it concerned the town ratepayer. The noble Lord (Lord Harris) had found fault with the phrase "hereditary burdens." But the author of that phrase was the present First Lord of the Admiralty, who, in a book which was the foundation of all their knowledge upon this subject, had pointed out that the poor rate and certain other rates upon rural land had always existed; that they had not increased; that land was bought and sold subject to them, and that they had thus become what he termed "hereditary burdens." He did not altogether approve of that phrase, but undoubtedly when taxation had been permanent in respect to certain property for a certain time and did not increase, it ceased to be a special burden upon the land and became a deduction from the value of the land before the owner had use of it. What was the case as regards rural rates? Mr. Goschen showed that in 1841 the rate was 2s. 7d. in the pound, and in 1868–69 it was still 2s. 7d. in the pound. According to evidence taken before the Agricultural Commission, it appeared that that rate was now only 2s. 3d. in the pound. The rate therefore had diminished. In the cases of 20 rural unions inquired into by the Commission, the rate was 2s. 4d. in 1867, and 2s. 2d. in 1892; or per acre the average rate in those unions was 2s. 6d. in 1867 and 1s. 9d. in 1892. Let them compare that state of things with the case of London. In 1866 in London the rate was 4s. 4.75d. in the pound; in 1876 it was 4s 10.2d.; in 1886 5s. 3.6d.; in 1896, 6s. 2.42d. 1069 Therefore not only had the rate become enormously larger, but it had also increased enormously, and it was the increase of the rate quite as much as the amount of the rate which was the real burden. What was true for London was true also in the case of other great towns, in some of which the rate was as much as 5s. in the pound; in West Ham he believed it was between 8s. and 9s. Town rates had increased enormously, and in these circumstances did the Government think that the inhabitants of towns would quietly acquiesce in their proposals? Did they not think that those proposals would cause great discontent? Let them remember that it was through the expenditure of the urban ratepayer's money that the value of the land in and around the town in which he lived was increased. The landowner enjoyed his unearned increment due to the labour of the townsman, whilst his land did not now contribute anything like its proper share to the local taxation of the town. That was a grievance of which landlords might expect to hear a great deal more. ["Hear, hear!"] But so far from remedying this existing grievance; this Bill aggravated it, because it proposed to give an additional dole to the owners of this land out of taxation that fell upon the dwellers in towns. In order to carry out their scheme the Government proposed to make further alterations in our system of local taxation. They distinguished between the valuation of land and the valuation of buildings in unions or districts which comprised both, and they threw a larger proportion of this burden on buildings. The result would be that whilst the Government dole would make up existing deficiencies, yet if the rates increased the increase would fall in a larger proportion upon buildings than upon land. Mr. Chaplin defended the proposal by saying that it would make the owners of buildings in semi urban districts more economical in their public expenditure. Municipal bodies, however, wanted no inducement of that kind to make them careful in their expenditure. Another innovation introduced by this Bill was that land was to be valued separately from buildings, but how were barns, pig-sties, and buildings of that kind to be valued apart from the land? ["Hear, hear!"] Whoever heard of the value of a barn 1070 apart from the land on which it stood? In his own parish every farm would have to be revalued under this artificial system. The Government called this an improvement of the law of rating, but as a matter of fact their Bill would make the state of the law much worse than it was now. But there was even worse behind. The last point on which he had to trouble their Lordships was the source from which the Government dole was taken. If they gave money to one class of persons they must take it from somewhere else. Money did not come out of nothing. Now, how did this Bill deal with this part of the question. It said—and this was perhaps the most absurd part of this bad Bill—that it should come out of the taxes on personal estate before they reached the Exchequer. As if the Government could earmark these funds and thus appropriate them. Of course, what would happen was that the common purse would be depleted just as much as if the money had gone into it and was then taken out. If they took water out of the pipes which supplied the cistern, they lowered the level just as much as if they took it out of the pipe which left the cistern. By taking the money before it reached the Exchequer, they might and they did confuse the public accounts, but they lowered the level of the money in the common purse of the nation just as much as if they took it out of the common purse. And of what did this common purse consist; how was it filled? More than half of our taxation revenue consisted of taxes on consumption, taxes mainly on tea, spirits and tobacco consumed by the masses. Of the remaining half, more than a moiety, or quarter of the whole, came from Schedule D of the Income Tax and other taxes on business and industry, and less than a quarter of the whole from taxes on capitalised property. The dole given to landowners must come, in the main, out of the pockets of the workers, out of the industry of the country. Let him quote our highest living authority—Mr. Gladstone. In 1883 the right hon. Gentleman said:—The transfer of a rating charge to the Exchequer, in whatever form it is done, is a question of a transfer from a fund supplied 1071 almost entirely by property to a fund supplied in a very large degree by labour. Every time we place a grant-in-aid upon the Consolidated Fund we commit this offence of laying upon labour a very large proportion of the charge heretofore borne by property.The dole which the Government proposed to give to landowners would be drawn from the industry of the country and applied to one class, and that chiefly the landlord class, and did their Lordships think that was a wise, a just, or a popular thing to do? The Government admitted that the grievance of the urban districts was a serious one, but all they had promised by way of relief in their case was a Royal Commission to be appointed, presumably by the President of the Local Government Board, whose care for towns or urban districts is shown by this Bill. He had now shown their Lordships in the first place that this Bill would really do nothing to relieve agricultural distress; secondly, that so far from being an improvement of the law of rating, it introduced confusion and injustice; and, thirdly, that the Government were taking money under the Bill from the industry and labour of the country, and giving it to one class of the occupying owners in the country. For those reasons he moved the Bill be read a Second time that day three months.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER (The MARQUESS of SALISBURY)
The noble Lord who has just spoken must be aware that we cannot, according to our ordinary practice, when we get into Committee, alter the details of the Bill, and therefore comments on the mere Committee part of the Measure are not very relevant to the issue which is now before us. No one can say that this Bill has been insufficiently discussed in the other House of Parliament. I think we have no probability here of an all-night sitting, and for that mercy we must be thankful. ["Hear, hear!"] The arguments that were used on both sides are very familiar to all who have followed this Bill through its weary course, and I do not think that, with other and more attractive matter on the Notice Paper, I should be justified in detaining your Lordships very long upon the question. The noble Lord dealt with the matter in two aspects. He questioned the relief that was given to agriculture, and he questioned the justice of remitting the Poor Rate upon the land. I shall 1072 not contest the statement of the noble Lord that the advantages conferred by this Bill, whatever they must be, must, by the very nature of the case, fall in different degrees on various parts of the country. I can only say that there is no kind of taxation with respect to which that is not true. There is no remission of taxation which would not be exposed to a similar reproach. We have not to deal with an absolutely uniform body of taxpayers, but with a body of interests, and whatever measures we may take there must be some cases where persons whom we do not intend to benefit will have an advantage from what we do, and there will be cases where those we do intend to benefit will not benefit as largely as we could wish. But that is a weakness inherent in all legislation, and if we abstain from legislation simply because our legislative action will not affect all classes and interests alike, we should never consent to any legislation at all. ["Hear, hear!"] But I do maintain that the general effect of this Bill is to benefit the occupiers of this country. And it is obviously so for this reason. The Measure is only taken for five years. Anybody who knows anything of the progress of agriculture in this country will know that any Measure affecting occupation for five years will affect the majority of occupiers in the country. The noble Lord has an extraordinary belief that the greater part of this country is held upon annual tenure, and that there is a readjustment every year. ["Hear, hear!"] I wondered in what distant island the noble Lord had been living that he could have conceived such a delusion. It is absolutely untrue. ["Hear, hear!"] As far as my knowledge goes I believe it is the fact that in the south of England the land is generally held nominally upon annual tenure, but the rule which universally prevails is that as long as the occupier lives the rent is not disturbed unless it is disturbed in the tenant's favour. It is admitted that the leaseholder will get the whole benefit of this remission in the rates, and I believe it is certain that in the vast majority of the cases the occupier also—because he will continue to hold at the same rent while he lives—will get whatever advantage is conferred by the remission of rates upon his farm. There may be scarce and distant 1073 instances where the legal power is misused or the general understanding is neglected, but of course the common result to any man who manages his property in such a fashion is that he would get no farmer in the present falling state of the land market to take his land, and everyone knows what that means to the landowner. I wish to say, in passing, a word in favour of the landowner. I shall be thought to be as courageous as the well-known Scotch clergyman who said a word in favour of "the puir deil." [Laughter.] It is usually assumed that the landowner is a mark for every taxpayer—that no one can complain of injury done to him, and that any Measure is condemned if it can be shown to be for his advantage. But that amiable system of argument, which is part of the general condemnation of all rich men, assumes that all landowners are large, and comes from people who seem never to have realised the fact that there are an enormous number of small landowners in this country. I asked a friend to look up the figures of a county, not one with which I myself am connected, but one with which my noble Friend Lord Spencer is connected, and when we examined the figures we found, taking only those landowners who had more than an acre and excluding mere house property, that whereas there were about 1,100 men who had more than £100 a year, there were nearly 5,000 who had less than that sum. Now, why are these unfortunate people who have less than £100 a year never to be the subject of your consideration? Why are you always to neglect their interests and postpone their claims because there happen to be other landowners who possess a large income in land? They have exactly the same right as persons who earn their living in any other manner; and to refuse to consider the rights of a large number of persons because there are by their side a small number of persons whom you do not wish to consider, seems to me to be unduly exalting the importance of the large proprietors, and to imagine that because there are a small number of large proprietors therefore the rights of the small proprietors should be entirely neglected. Therefore, what I have to say with respect to the incidence of this Bill is that in the first instance it will be a benefit to leaseholders; 1074 that in the second instance it will certainly be a benefit, according to the almost universal practice in England, to those who hold their land by annual tenure; and in the third instance it will be a great benefit to the small freeholders—a class who deserve your consideration, and whose interests you ought to encourage. So much for the benefits conferred by the Bill. The noble Lord tells me that we have taken it from labour and given it to capital, and he founds that statement upon the fact that there is a portion of our revenue which is paid by the labouring classes; it is the portion which consists principally from the nerve stimulants of various kinds that we tax. But in this Bill the payment of which he complains is taken from the Death Duties, and it is not true that the Death Duties are an old tax, so that you can confound them with the taxes upon tea or upon spirits. The Death Duties were imposed two or three years ago, and, having been imposed two or three years ago, you take a certain amount of money out of what they bring in and you give it to the relief of the occupiers and the small freeholders of the country. To say that that is taking money away from labour and giving it to capital appears to me to be the most outrageous misrepresentation of the real facts of the case. Then the noble Lord deals with the question of personal property. I quite admit that I should have been very glad if it had been possible to include urban property in the relief given by this Bill. The sum at our command is small, and we had to take the case which was most pressing and was most urgent. But the noble Lord must remember that the case of rating—of local taxation—as it presses upon urban and upon rural property, is of a very different kind. Local taxation on urban property or on houses situated in the country is another sort of house tax, a very heavy one. Local taxation upon land is a tax upon machinery, it is a tax upon the elements of production, it is a tax upon the industry, and, therefore, the hardness, if there is a hardness, in confining rating to real property presses much more severely and is much more contrary to the ordinary principles of taxation in the case of rural land than in the case of houses. I have only a word to say in respect to personal property. The noble 1075 Lord tells us, using a phrase we have heard again and again, it is not an hereditary burden. But is it not an hereditary burden upon personal property too? Why is it not an hereditary burden upon personal property? There it is in the Act of Elizabeth laid upon stock-in-trade quite as distinctly as ever laid upon real property, either in land or houses. Why is personal property not subject to that hereditary burden? Has it been relieved by process of law? It was relieved by process of law in an annual Act that was passed at the beginning of the present reign. Up to the beginning of the present reign personal property was undoubtedly liable to rate quite as much as real property, and now every year you pass a special Act exempting personal property from its share in the rates. You acknowledge that it is not a, permanent feature of your institutions, because you embody it in an annual Act. It is certainly not an hereditary exemption that personal property enjoys, because, if this Parliament were now to be prorogued without any further measures being taken, the liability of personal property would revive again according to law. There is, therefore, no pretence for saying it is an hereditary burden, and I should demur to that phrase "hereditary burden" when we know that hereditary exemptions are never considered. For more than 100 years land was free from the particular burdens that were imposed upon it by the legislation of two years ago. Why was that not an hereditary exemption? It had existed for 100 years, and when the noble Lord tells us all land has been bought subject to the varying burdens of the Poor Rate, and therefore it has become, not a rate, but a rent-charge, he states what is largely inconsistent with the fact. Many noble Lords in this country will be able to tell him that there are acres and acres of property in this country which have never changed hands since the time of Elizabeth, and the owners of which, if it is an injustice to single realty out for special taxation, are suffering that taxation as keenly as they did 300 years ago. I have thought it necessary, in courtesy to the noble Lord, to answer arguments which have been answered by day and by night again and again in the other House of Parliament, but I do not feel I have any 1076 right to detain the House by dwelling upon the question. I will only repeat that the benefit of this Bill is for the occupiers, for the leaseholders, for those who hold from year to year, and for the small freeholders of the country who cultivate their own land, and that we have adopted this particular mode of relief because we wish to make a breach in a vicious method of taxation, and to mark the injustice, of which all of us have long complained, and which exempts personal property, being about five-sixths of the property of the country, from bearing burdens which all property should bear alike. [Cheers.]
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
, who was received with cheers, said: My Lords, it is a little difficult to tell where to take the noble Marquess with regard to this Bill. He has told us, though not in very clear terms, that we are not exactly competent to discuss so financial a Bill.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER
My doctrine is that we are perfectly competent to do what he proposes—namely, to throw out the Second Reading; but according to the practice of Parliament—I do not say we are intrinsically incompetent to do it—it would be a grave departure from ancient practice if we altered the Bill in Committee.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
But we do not propose to alter the Bill in Committee, and therefore I do not quite understand what the objection taken by the noble Marquess amounts to. I understood it was a veto on discussion, and I confess from what has taken place I understood that that veto had been imposed because after the speech—the vigorous and excellent speech—of my noble Friend, one of the greatest economic authorities in this country at this moment, had been delivered, I expected to see a dozen noble and independent Lords spring from their seats to answer him, or at least to see a competition amongst the various Members of the Cabinet in this House to have the privilege of demolishing his arguments. But, on the other hand, if we are not to touch this Bill at all, why was it introduced to us in a speech of an hour? I do not 1077 disparage the speech or the speaker, but I do not quite understand the footing on which we are. The Bill, which is one of the principal Bills of the Government, is introduced by a Member of the Government whose talents we all recognise, but whose position in the official hierarchy is an honorary one, and introduced in a speech of an hour, and then we are given to understand by the noble Marquess that we have nothing to do but to pass the Bill in silence. I confess that, though I do not uphold the right of this House to discuss financial Bills, we are at any rate obliged to take this opportunity, which is the only one that offers itself to us, to protest against a Bill which we believe to be vicious in principle and ineffectual in practice. Now there are certain grounds on which I think we are all in accord in this House. We none of us deny the fact of agricultural distress. I suppose nine noble Lords out of every 10 who are listening to me have the gravest reason to feel the pinch of agricultural distress; but I think there are, at any rate, three limitations that we should impose upon that fact. In the first place, it is not, as my noble Friend pointed out, universal. In the next place, there are hopes, judging from the evidence that was given before the Agricultural Commission, that it has seen its worst, and, at any rate, whether it is universal or whether it has seen its worst or not, it is not the only distressed industry in the country, but it is the only one to which you propose to give relief. ["Hear, hear!"] We have been told what the Bill is not, but it is very difficult to find out what it is. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board took advantage of the introduction of Sir Henry Fowler's Amendment to state that this was not a remedy for agricultural distress, and it was quite evident from the speeches just delivered here that it was not to deal comprehensively with the system of rating. It is obviously not a remedy for agricultural distress. We did not want the declaration of the President of the Local Government Board to assure us of that fact, because, after all, what you deal with is not the grievance of the agriculturist. The grievance of the agriculturist is not the rates that fall upon him. In order not 1078 to remedy agricultural distress, but I suppose to relieve it, you take what is undoubtedly the lightest burden on the farmer and you propose to relieve it partially and incompletely. What is the heaviest burden upon the farmer? It is rent. ["No!"] Well, what is the heaviest burden?
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
That was an isolated case, and I will give another isolated case—the case of a farm in Mid Norfolk. In 1884 the rent of the farm was £1,206. In 1893 the rent was £543 and the rates £39. You can hardly say that there rates were the heaviest burden on the land. ["Hear, hear!"] I do not wish to say anything in disparagement of the landlords. I do not wish to foul my own nest, for I am a landlord myself. What are the benefits to be conferred on the farmer? What is the farmer to get from the landlord? He will get £685, but under your Bill he will get the munificent sum of £19 10s. I am giving the figures from a farm in South Wilts. In 1869 the rent was £1,042; in 1893 the rent was £520. The rates are £55 2s. For all I know the case may arise on the estate of the noble Marquess.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE)
No; I am in North Wilts.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
Well, at any rate, a neighbour of the noble Marquess has given the farmer are mission of rent of £522 on this particular farm. You in your Bill, for which you have strained every maxim of political economy, give him the munificent sum of £27 11s.! Of course nobody is in such affluent circumstances as to disdain the gift of £27 annually; but what I ask is this—is the game worth the candle? [Cheers.] Is it worth while to produce a sense of injustice in the great mass of urban ratepayers in order to afford this illusory remedy to a distress which is only too real? ["Hear, hear!"] I suppose it would not matter very much if you were only going to give the dole to distressed districts, but your dole is universal, indiscriminate. You are giving more to Lancashire, where the average rent is £2 an acre, than to distressed Essex, where the rent is 10s. an acre. You will give relief to accommodation 1079 land near towns, for which you are unable to find a definition in this Bill, but for which you were able to find a definition in the Irish Land Bill. What is the case of the market gardens which in many instances pay £10 a year rent to the landowner until such time as he transforms them into a building property? If you wish to relieve distress relieve distress, but if you wish to relieve prosperity say so, for that is what you are going to do by this Bill. What might you have done? I am not so barren in suggestions as to criticise the Bill without offering any plan in return. You might have done what you did in Ireland; you might have scheduled the distressed districts. Where is the map to which the noble Lord alluded? Why is not that produced? Because if it were we should know the places which we wish to relieve.
The map is not an official document. It was never approved by the Royal Commission. In fact, the Commission as a body knew very little about it.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
It was prepared by the Chairman. There is no difficulty in making it official, and if it is not made official, what is the Board of Agriculture for? You have robbed the President of the Board of Agriculture of all his duties. Let him betake himself to a construction of a map showing the distressed districts. [Here a map was handed to the noble Earl] I have here a map which has been presented to Parliament. ["Hear, hear!"] Does that make it official? How did it leak into Parliament—how did it dribble in?
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
, having handed the map to Lord Harris, said: Let us pass from that. I say that your remedy is partial, incomplete, and not just in its application. Of course, the whole thing might be stated as a rough-and-ready and haphazard subsidy to agriculture, but I believe the whole policy to be a mistake. I think what you are going to do is to produce a very great discontent with a very inadequate result. I will return to Lancashire. There are in that county several vast estates, and I know that there is a strong feeling among manufacturers and 1080 citizens that they should be allowed to acquire the freehold of their premises. There is a feeling of discontent now because that is not open to them; but what will they think when they find that they have to pay half the agricultural rates to swell the revenue of the great landlords? [Cheers.] On this subject the feeling of Lancashire was plainly expressed by Mr. Whiteley, the Member for Stockport. ["Hear, hear!"] In the second place, I have the gravest doubt whether the Bill will confer any boon at all. We had one experience—in 1888—of subsidy, but in that case it did nothing to alleviate local burdens whatever. The noble Marquess says that the Bill is only for five years, but I doubt whether you can give subsidies for five years and then be able to withdraw them. At all events, the Bill was not introduced for five years originally. The noble Marquess has promised an Inquiry into the whole incidence of rating, which shows that he recognises a grievance which should be inquired into.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
The noble Marquess did not seem to recognise the grievance of the urban ratepayers. At, any rate, we are face to face with this Inquiry. We all know before we begin two facts—one is that the average of the rural rates is now 2s. 4d. in the pound, and that the average urban rates are two or three times greater than that. You have another fact to face. The whole rates of this country amount to £29,000,000 annually, and of these the rural rates come to something like £4,000,000, so that you have left £25,000,000 to deal with. Are you prepared to deal with urban rates on the same scale which you have applied to rural rates? If so, you will have to give 10 or 12 millions in addition to the two millions which we say you are throwing away now. There is another point. What is the financial outlook of this country? [Cheers.] I know that a Peer has nothing to do with finance. He has no connection with taxation except the payment of taxes, but in a private capacity it is possible for a Peer to consider the question of our future taxation. At this moment you are mortgaging the surplus which you 1081 inherited from us. You are mortgaging it for five years, which may or may not be the duration of the present Government in Office. What is the outcome? You are spending money with both hands in a time of profound peace. You are spending a sum unprecedented except in a time of war. ["Hear, hear!"] The noble Marquess found himself the other day so hard put to it that in sup port of an Imperial enterprise, which he described, and justified from that point of view, as one of the greatest moment, he had to appeal to private enterprise and private subscription in order to assist him in his efforts. [Laughter.] But if he cannot get his private sub scriber he must go to the public contributor. He will want money, I predict it to him, and I venture to say he will not contradict it—after the Egyptian Treasury is exhausted, and after the £35,000 has been contributed by India—[cheers]—when those not illimitable resources of supply are exhausted, the noble Marquess will want some money for North Africa. Is the noble Marquess quite sure he will not want any money for South Africa? [Hear, hear!"] Is the noble Marquess quite sure he will not want any money for education? Is the noble Marquess quite certain that the state of Europe is such, and the state of Asia, and Africa, aye, and of America, is such that he may not have to assert himself in various quarters of the globe at once at great cost to this country? Well, I say that it is not at this time that you should take your surplus and give it in this improvident manner, not as I believe to the benefit of any class of the agricultural community, but to be spent, as they think fit, by the local authority. I come to my last point, and it is this—Where does this money come from? The noble Marquess said, with a confidence which I can only describe as sublime—[laughter]—that it comes from the Death Duties. By what art does the noble Marquess ear-mark that particular source of contribution? He said, by the bye, I remarked that the Death Duties were only established two or three years ago; I think he will find he is mistaken.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
I do not think the word "present" occurred, but I have no doubt that is what the noble Marquess meant. You can no more ear-mark the money that comes from these Death Duties for this or any other purpose than you can ear-mark any rent from any particular farm on the Hatfield estate. In fact, the last would be infinitely more easy than the first. Money is paid into the Exchequer and from the general body of the taxpayers comes the money that this Bill demands. Of course, you may call it the Death Duties, or you may call it the Income Tax, or you may call it what you like, but, of course, it comes from the pocket of the taxpayer. [Cheers.] Now, I want to know whether the taxpayer is particularly anxious to pay this subsidy. In my humble judgment he is not so anxious. I quite admit that there has been no great or universal protest as yet from the people of this country against this particular form of class and sectional subsidy, but of this, at any rate, you may be certain, that there are classes of taxpayers—not merely the classes who only pay taxation, as the noble Marquess said, in nervous stimulants—but who pay the direct taxation, who very jealously scrutinise every addition to that taxation. There is the class who live in houses just over the £20 limit, and who pay House Duty; there are the half-million, more or less, who claim abatements in the Income Tax, and who, therefore, may be considered a class that should be treated with indulgence, but who, at any rate, whether they should be treated with indulgence or not, are a class who you may be certain will scrutinise very closely every item of your Budget. I want to know whether they will be satisfied by being told that, though they might have had a penny taken off the Income Tax, that penny will not be taken off the Income Tax, but that two millions will be spent out of the Death Duties for the resuscitation of agriculture. I am afraid that they will think that they would have preferred having the penny taken off the Income Tax, and that they are comparatively indifferent to the exact sources from which this money will come. But, at any rate, I am quite certain of this, that when they come to realise the exact 1083 nature of your proposals you will have from the general body of the taxpayers of this country a protest so universal that it may alarm the strongest Government that has ever existed in this country. It is for that reason that I wish to take an early opportunity of joining in that protest, and also because I believe no Bill more unjust, more inoperative, and more futile has ever been submitted to the judgment of Parliament. [Cheers.]
§ The House divided on the Question whether "now" shall stand part of the Motion:—
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Lauderdale, E.|
|Halsbury L. (L. Chancellor.)||Lichfield, E.|
|Devonshire, D. (Lord President.)||Macclesfield, E.|
|Mar and Kellie, E.|
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.)||Morley, E.|
|Bedford, D.||Onslow, E.|
|Fife, D.||Orford, E.|
|Richmond, D.||Portsmouth, E.|
|Sutherland, D.||Powis, E.|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Ravensworth, E.|
|Abergavenny, M.||Saint Germans, E.|
|Ailesbury, M.||Selborne, E.|
|Bristol, M.||Stanhope, E.|
|Hertford, M.||Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)|
|Northampton, M.||Waldegrave, E. [TELLER.]|
|Zetland, M.||Yarborough, E.|
|Pembroke and Montgomery, E. (L. Steward)||Falkland, V.|
|Lathom, E. (L. Chamberlain.)||Knutsford, V.|
|Abingdon, E.||Melville, V.|
|Albemarle, E.||Portman, V.|
|Annesley, E.||Templetown, V.|
|Bathurst, E.||Lincoln, L. Bp.|
|Belmore, E.||Salisbury, L. Bp.|
|Camperdown, E.||Addington, L.|
|Carnwath, E.||Balfour, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Bateman, L.|
|Coventry, E.||Belper, L.|
|Cowper, E.||Boston, L.|
|Dartrey, E.||Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne)|
|de Montalt; E.|
|Dudley, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|Ellesmere, E.||Brougham and Vaux, L.|
|Haddington, E.||Burton, L.|
|Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)||Manners, L.|
|Manners of Haddon, L.|
|Chelmsford, L.||Mendip, L. (V. Clifden.)|
|Cheylesmore, L.||Methuen, L.|
|Churchill, L.||Middleton, L.|
|Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Minster, L. (M. Conyngham.)|
|Clinton, L.||Monck, L. (V. Monck.)|
|Clonbrock, L.||Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)|
|Connemara, L.||Morris, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||North, L.|
|Crofton, L.||Northington, L. (L. Henley.)|
|De L'Isle and Dudley, L.|
|de Ros, L.||Pirbright, L.|
|De Saumarez, L.||Poltimore, L.|
|Dorchester, L.||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)|
|Douglas, L. (E. Home.)|
|Dunning, L. (L. Rollo.)||Ranfurly, L. (E. Ranfurly.)|
|Forester, L.||Rathmore L.|
|Foxford, L. E. Limerick.) (TELLER.)||Rodney, L.|
|Gage, L. (V. Gage.)||Sherborne, L.|
|Glenesk, L.||Shute, L. (V. Barrington.)|
|Grey de Ruthyn, L.||Sinclair, L.|
|Hampton, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Hare, L. (E. Listowel.)||Stanmore, L.|
|Harris, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Herries, L.||Stratheden and Campbell, L.|
|Hopetoun, L. (E. Hopetoun.)||Stuart of Castle Stuart, L. (E. Moray.)|
|Howard de Walden, L.||Sudley, L. (E. Arran.)|
|James, L.||Swansea, L.|
|Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)||Templemore, L.|
|Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)||Tredegar, L.|
|Lawrence, L.||Westbury, L.|
|Lovaine, L. (E. Percy.)||Worlingham, L. (E. Gosford.)|
|Lovell and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Hobhouse, L.|
|Carrington, E.||Kensington, L. [TELLER.]|
|Crewe, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Lingen, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Monkswell, L.|
|Stamford, E.||Playfair, L.|
|Strafford, E.||Reay, L.|
|Oxenbridge, V.||Ribblesdale, L. [TELLER.]|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)|
|Burghclere, L.||Russell of Killowen, L.|
|Coleridge, L.||Thring, L.|
|Davey, L.||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Farrer, L.||Wandsworth, L.|
|Hawkesbury, L.||Welby, L.|
|Herschell, L.||Wolverton, L.|
§ Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.