On the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Order of the Day for receiving the report of a Committee on the Postage Acts, was read. On the question that the Report be received,
rose for the purpose of proposing the following resolutions, to be substituted for the report:—
"That it appears from the finance accounts of the United Kingdom, laid upon the Table of this House, that the excess of expenditure over income for the year 1837 was 655,760l., and for the year 1838, 345,227l.
"That from a statement submitted to this House by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the excess of expenditure over income for the year ending the 5th day of April, 1840, is estimated at not less than 860,000l.., making a total excess of expenditure over income, in the three years ending the 5th day of April, 1840, of not less than 1,860,987l.
"That the select committee appointed 'to inquire into the present rates and mode of charging postage, with a view to such a reduction thereof as may be made without injury to the revenue,' reported to this House on the 13th day of August, 1838, as follows:—'That your Committee are of opinion that, so soon as the state of the public revenue will admit of the risking a larger temporary reduction, it will be expedient to subject all inland letters to an uniform rate of one penny per half-ounce, increasing at the rate of one penny for every additional half-ounce.'
"That the net revenue of the Post-office for the year ending the 5th day of January, 1839, amounted to 1,656,993l.. 15s. 3d.; and
He assured the House that whatever might have beets his wish at an earlier period of the evening, yet at that late hour he would endeavour to confine his observations to the narrowest possible compass. Those hon. Members who had read the resolutions would observe that the object he sought to attain was the postponement of the measure then under the consideration of the House. He did not wish to express any opinion hostile to an uniform system of penny postage, whenever the methods by which it would be effected should be suggested, and whenever the House had before it all the consequences which would be entailed if the amount of revenue were lowered by the change. It was stated in one of the resolutions, that at this period of the Session the House would have no opportunity of examining the details of any measure, and it would have no opportunity of discussing the great financial considerations connected with it. He had thought that the measure would not have been brought forward in the present Session. He had heard that a noble Lord, the Postmaster-general, had, in another place, called the measure wild and visionary; and in the Committee which had sat upon the question, every Member of the Government had voted against the plan. Therefore, he had had no expectation that the House would have been called upon during the present Session to give effect to the recommendations of the committee, still less did he expect that they would have been called upon to give effect in the present Session to a plan going far beyond the views of the committee, and at variance with the principle which they had laid down, that the state of the revenue should be considered when they dealt with this question. He had also had the expectation, that when the plan was brought forward the Government would state, not only that the country should have an uniform penny postage, but would state the details of the plan by which this important change was to be effected. They were now told, however, that they were to pass a bill to confide in the Board of Treasury the absolute power of making such arrangements as they might think fit for carrying the plan into effect hereafter. It was not a statesmanlike mode. It was not a safe mode of dealing with any public question, for the House to divest itself of its authority and transfer it to the Treasury. This was not a safe course in any circumstances, and above all, it was not safe to give the Treasury a power to relax taxes. If there was any one subject more than another to which the attention of the House was constitutionally directed, it w as to the burdens and to the taxation of the people—to consider well what taxes were imposed, and under what circumstances they would be relaxed. It appeared, however, from the Chancellor of the Exchequer's communication, that he was not prepared with any details, but that the Government would consider them during the recess, in order to carry the plan into effect next year. Did the House know the extent of the various interests involved in the consideration then before it? He had been the whole morning receiving deputations from persons who felt themselves likely to be aggrieved by the adoption of the plan, whose interests were materially involved in the question, whether the plan was effected by one mode or the other. The paper-makers were afraid that a monopoly would be created in favour of one or more individuals, to the great detriment of their own interests. The stationers' great objection was to the employment of stamped paper. He would not at that late hour enter more fully into this part of the case, but he would state that they had satisfied him that some persons, if one course were adopted, and that others if another course should be followed, would be involved in great losses, and that a few would meet with irretrievable ruin. He asked these parties whether they had not represented their case to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and whether they were not satisfied to trust to his discretion. He was met with one universal shout of distrust. They said that they had representatives in Parliament, and that it was their right to call upon them to protect their interests, and to decide whether one method or the other should be adopted. In pursuing his present course, his right hon. Friend precluded all discussion of the details; it was intended to give the Government a discretion which it was unsafe to intrust to any Government. No Government ought to have the power to execute such a plan in what cases and in what form it would be adopted. This was not only an evil in itself, but it was abominable as a precedent. There was in the present day a tendency to get rid of the business of that House, to avoid, as far as possible, prolonged discussion, and if they once referred questions to the Treasury, at their absolute rule and discretion, to determine the course to be adopted, not only would the question of postage and other matters of revenue be thus referred, but other great questions would be committed to them, on which it was the duty of the House, and which the claims of their constituents and of the country required to be considered in that House. All that he asked for was delay, and in order that there might be time for consideration, that there might be a postponement of the resolution. What were they called upon to do? The right hon. Gentleman did not profess to be able to carry out any new arrangement of the Post-office till next year, and why should they not at the commencement of the next Session, when all the interests should have been submitted to the Government, enter upon the question in something of a business-like manner, and let the people understand the principles on which they intended to proceed. But there were other and greater objections to this measure. He alluded to those considerations of a financial character, which had been briefly sketched in the former debate. Let the House recollect that they had been labouring during the last three years, or, at least, that this was the third year, with an expenditure of the country which exceeded the income. For the last three years they had abandoned the duty—the paramount duty of Parliament—to make the expenditure and income equal; and, if the revenue should fall short, either to reduce the expenditure or to increase the receipt to an amount adequate to meet the different expenses of the country. If they gave effect to the resolution then under consideration, so far from having a temporary deficiency, they would do everything in providing that the deficiency which had occurred for the last three years should be extended for at least ten years. It was calculated that the deficiency, caused by this plan, would be a million, or a million and a half, and there had been already two or three millions deficiency, so that they would be involved in the next year in a deficiency of three or four millions; in the following year, the deficiency might not be 1,500,000l., but if it were only half that sum, they would have before the term when the amount would be made up, in addition to the present default, a deficiency of not less than seven or eight millions. That deficiency must be supplied by a new issue of Exchequer bills, or by a new creation of debt, although, at the present time, we were labouring under more than could be conveniently dealt with. If he had originally felt any evil in the pledge contained in the resolution of the right hon. Gentleman, his opinion was confirmed when he saw that every Member who spoke, even on the Ministerial benches, objected to it also; whilst some considered it absolutely unnecessary, others avowed that they would adopt this as a mode of forcing a reduction of the expenditure. The course they were about to pursue, of again reducing the income when there was already a deficiency, was altogether new. When such a proposition was made to Lord Althorp, no one deprecated it more than that noble Lord. When that noble Lord was called upon to repeal the House-tax and the Malt-tax, he used his utmost endeavours, and with great success, to oppose it; and that was in the year 1833, when the country was not labouring under any deficiency, but when there was a surplus of 700,000l. Let them look, also, at the conduct of his right hon. Friend near him (Sir Robert Peel) when placed in great difficulties. Did he endeavour to carry popular favour by the repeal of a tax which, to his own adherents, was greatly obnoxious. No! he told them to beware, of making any reduction unless there was a surplus; he told them to beware of embarking in a popular and dangerous system of reduction, because it was calculated that, in time, it would repay itself, and was, therefore, said to be unobjectionable. This had been the uniform doctrine of every person who had administered the Exchequer, and it was their uniform doctrine, because the contrary course would be both dishonest and ruinous. The Parliament had no right to make any reduction in the funds, out of which the public creditor was to be paid. The amount of income was now 600,000l. less than the expenditure, yet it was proposed still further to decrease the income, by more than a million and a half, and so neglect one of the first duties of a Government to have such a sum in hand as would meet any demands likely to be made. Nothing was more easy, and nothing was more popular, than to come forward to propose a repeal of taxes. Nothing was more strongly tempting to a Government, and especially to a Government that might be in diffi- culties, than to throw away two or three millions by the repeal of taxes. It mattered not, whether it was a tax such as this, which he admitted pressed on all classes and particularly the poor, or the Malt-tax, which taxed the natural beverage of the country, or the Cotton-tax which prevented the extension of employment, and of the industry of this country. Were they to abdicate their functions to the Government, as he believed against the sincere conviction of the Government itself, for he was sure, that his right hon. Friend would not embark willingly in a course which he thought inconsistent with public faith? If the Ministers of to-day repealed the Post-Cake Acts, which yielded a million and a half, what were their successors to do to-morrow? The cry for the remission of taxes would be great; a multitude of petitions would crowd upon their Table, as was the case in 1835, when innumerable petitions on the Malt-tax were presented; and when the country teemed with efforts for the repeal. And, if it were found that there was a precedent of a Government in a time of deficiency, once yielding a million and a-half, what were their successors to do if pressed to adhere to such a precedent as this? He trusted there were not men in that House so far lost to the influence-of opinion as to afford such a precedent to the public. But there might be men too glad to avail themselves of such an opportunity, and thus endanger the great financial interests of the country. It was from the apprehension that might ensue from such a course, and the fear of the consequences of the course they were about to pursue—it was from these considerations that he was induced to hope that the House would support the resolutions which he had the honour to submit to their consideration, which would not defeat the principle of an uniform penny postage, if such a measure on mature consideration should prove adapted to the real interests of the people—which would not prevent the remission of the tax when the revenue should be in a fit state to suffer such a diminution, but which would give time for due consideration—time to deliberate whether that or any other means might he adopted to arrange the plan so as to free it from the objections to which it was now exposed, and which, at the present moment, they were unable, duly and properly, to consi- der. He would call the attention of the House to the report of the Select Committee, and beg to observe that the committee had not recommended the immediate adoption of a uniform penny postage. The committee had merely recommended that "so soon as the state of the revenue would admit," of risking a large temporary reduction it would be expedient to subject all inland letters to a uniform rate of one penny. They distinctly stated, that the revenue should be the first consideration, and, therefore, recommended in the first instance, the adoption of a uniform rate of two pence. Still he did not think that, consistently with the terms of the report, the committee could be viewed even as recommending the adoption of a twopenny rate at once. The condition of the first paragraph, namely, "the state of the public revenue," appeared to him to be applicable to the whole, and even to be an obstacle to the adoption of a twopenny rate, until they had a surplus revenue sufficient to justify the deficiency which that reduction in the rates of postage might produce. It might, no doubt, be argued otherwise from the report, and that they recommended the immediate reduction of the postage rates to two-pence. If such were the views of the committee, he must say, that his opinions differed from theirs. His view was, and in that respect he believed the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, agreed, that the loss of the revenue would be greater under a twopenny, than under a uniform rate of one penny; and if such were the case, the House ought certainly to wait till the state of the public revenue would justify them in adopting the reduction to the greatest possible extent. Then he would ask the House if the revenue at present exhibited that flourishing appearance to justify them in taking away one million of the public money, when they had besides to provide for a deficiency to the amount of two millions? He certainly was not of that opinion, nor did he think that the House could, on due consideration, agree to a course so unjust to the rights of the public creditor. He was determined, at all events, to record his own opinion on the subject, and he believed there were many persons throughout the country, who, however desirous they might be for the adoption of an uniform low rate of postage, yet, when they came maturely to consider the question, to understand it thoroughly—to know how it bore on the public faith and credit—the manner in which it would impair the resources of the country—he had no fear, when they came to discuss those questions, feeling that they would soon perceive that this was not the time to enter upon a measure of such complicated bearings and grave importance. He had thought it right to say thus much generally for the easement of his conscience, and for his own satisfaction, and whatever the result might be, he should have the proud satisfaction of knowing that he had given his counsel for the postponement of this measure, so as to give time for full consideration, and that he was entirely free from blame. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his resolutions."That it is the opinion of this House that, with a deficiency of revenue during the three years ending on the 5th day of April, 1840, of not less than 1,860,987l., it is not expedient to adopt any measure for reducing the rates of postage on inland letters to an uniform rate of one penny, (thereby incurring the risk of great present loss to the revenue), at a period of the session so advanced, that it is scarcely possible to give to the details of such a measure, and to the important financial considerations connected with it, that deliberate attention which they ought to receive from Parliament."
must certainly confess, after the declarations which had been made by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, on a former evening, when this measure was under discussion, that he felt altogether astonished at the modified shape in which the opposition was now brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman, and that they were not called upon to discuss that question in the manner which he was led to expect from that previous declaration of war, but to meet it in the more simple form in the nature of resolutions for postponement. The right hon. Baronet was far from declaring that the measure was not likely to give contentment to great numbers of people out of doors, or from denying that it would go far to satisfy many of their representatives in that House. He placed his objections, not on the grounds now stated by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, not on the lateness of the Session, not on objections to the principle of a measure which introduced changes in an Act of Parliament, being put into the hands of the Treasury, but he founded his principal objections on two contingencies. The first was, that there should be a surplus revenue equal to that which might be expected to be lost. The other was the contemplated imposition of a tax to supply the supposed deficiency. He could understand perfectly well both grounds of objection, but one was totally different from the other; and he could also very well understand the principle of prudence, which had at length induced the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Member opposite to take their stand against the measure on the principle of postponement rather than on the more direct and tangible ground originally mooted by the right hon. Baronet. He would put the question to them practically. He would put the first contingently. He did not imagine that there possibly could be many persons in that House who expected that the revenue would present such a surplus as would be equal to the amount which they proposed to risk by adopting the penny postage. How, then, could they attempt to legislate upon the principle of such a contingency. Well, then, let them take the other—that they should adopt a contemporaneous imposition of a tax—the imposition of a tax before it could be known whether there would be a deficiency to justify a tax or not. If he had proceeded on such principles, what would have been the consequences? Would he not have found hon. Gentlemen opposite—he took them on their own showing—if he now proposed the imposition of a tax to the amount of one million and a half—would be not have found the most strong, and, he might add, unanswerable opposition against the imposition of a tax sought to be imposed without experience to justify him in calling for its enactment. [No, no!] He thanked hon. Gentlemen opposite for that expression of opinion—for their implied consent to the imposition of a new tax. Let any of them get up to follow out their feelings, and move an amendment for the imposition of a specific tax of any kind. He would support such a motion, taking it as a security tax for this special measure. He was quite sure there must be many hon. Members anxious to avail themselves of this offer, merely restrained by the inconvenient forms of the House from coming forward with a motion for this purpose. But he asked them one and all, would they support the imposition of a new tax when the success of the experiment was untried? Would they do so? As men of sense and practical wisdom, he knew they would not. What then was meant by the plan of postponing the motion for another year? He could see no advantage likely to result from such a course. They would be open to the same objections then as they were at present, unless they could expect that in another year a surplus revenue should exist equal to the whole amount to be taken off. He came then to this conclusion, that this plan of postponement was a convenient way which hon. Gentlemen opposite had chosen of telling the country we do not choose to hazard our popularity by opposing this measure. [No, no?] Well, then, let any of them show that they would be in a different state next year. They could not do that. The resolutions for postponement were not brought forward from any sincere feeling that this was not the time to legislate on the question, but they had been prepared for the mere sake of a division. Reflections had been cast upon him, no doubt, for not having brought this question earlier forward. He thought he was right in not bringing it forward until the country should know the real state of the public finances, and the condition in which they actually were. He thought it was his duty to give the country and the House an opportunity of knowing how these matters stood before a vote was taken that would risk a considerable amount of public revenue. In replying to the observations of the right hon. Gentleman, he felt that he laboured under a considerable disadvantage, because, from the manner in which the opposition had been conducted, he was compelled either to answer objections by anticipation, or allude to objections that had been used in the former debate on this subject. He would say, however, that if this were merely an abstract question of any common tax, no one would doubt that the reduction of it would be a public benefit. It would be conceded that it would confer a great boon on the whole population. He said, such would be the case if it were the question of an ordinary tax. The philosopher and the statesman would appreciate such a step, because, by such a remission of taxation, they knew the contingent benefits that would flow, and the relief that would be given to the trade and industry of the country. Repeal the tax on letters, and there was hardly one person, he might almost say, in the whole country, who would not experience a direct and personal benefit from the remission of the tax. This was not a question of intricacy—it was not one requiring calculation or analysis to understand it. It was a question of simple demonstration, that persons now unable to write would feel an interest and excitement in writing, when the postage of letters was lower, and that the benefit by the poorer classes would at once be felt. If it were a mere question of the reduction of duty, it would be felt as a boon. It would be for some short time spoken about in the country, and some kind notice of the Government might perhaps be given, that had proposed such a reduction of taxation. But that feeling would soon pass away, and the matter would speedily be forgotten. That was not the question, however, which he had had the honour to introduce, and he begged now to ask if he had not laid it honestly and fairly before the House. If he had been hunting after that popularity with which he had been charged by the hon. Gentleman opposite, he would have spared himself some of those taunting cheers which had greeted him on a former occasion from his own side of the House. He had acted on no such principles—he had never disguised from the House, that the real question at issue was not the remission of duty on the postage of letters, but the imposition of a tax to the amount which they proposed to lose. He had never disguised that fact, and the House knew, and he appealed to them all if he had ever used any other argument or spoken on the question in any other light, or with a view to mislead or deceive the House. If he had been in search of that popularity of which he had been accused, he should not have been in want of plausible arguments. He could have told them, that the increased amount of correspondence, and the diffusion of useful information would soon compensate for any temporary loss of revenue. But he had done no such thing; and while he had never undervalued the benefits of the measure, he had always maintained the same opinion, that it entailed a great and enormous sacrifice of the public money; and that unless the House was prepared to make good the amount, he was not prepared, and he hoped no majority of that House ever would be prepared, to sanction its adoption. He appealed to every hon. Member who had waited upon him on this subject if such had not been the constant course of conduct which he had followed, in their interviews with him on this subject. Had he acted otherwise, he would have avoided, perhaps, a great part of the fire which had been aimed at him, both in front and rear; but he had been accustomed to such attacks. However, as his line of conduct had been such as he had now described, in regard to this question, he must say he thought it was really too bad to tax him with seeking after popularity by now bringing forward a measure which he did in perfect honour and good faith, and in regard to which he had never misled the public by withholding facts or information. He had no doubt it would be attended with great loss of public income. He had as little doubt, that it was the duty of the House to guarantee the public creditor against the loss of that portion of his security. Here he was at issue with the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and he regretted, that he was thus also at issue with some friends who were warm supporters of the measure itself. Now he would say, if the guarantee which he asked for was one that Parliament could be called on to make good, the argument of the right hon. Gentleman ceased to be applicable, because then the public creditor would run no risk. But he was told, on the other hand, that the guarantee meant nothing. There never was a greater mistake. The argument of hon. Members opposed to the guarantee was, "Our plan will succeed—there will be no permanent deficiency—there will be a continued gradation of improvement, and ultimately a great increase of revenue." Well, then, were they to oppose a guarantee against a loss which, according to their own showing, never would be sustained? That, however, was not the case with him: he had always admitted there would be a large deficiency. He had never pretended to conceal that; and never hesitated, therefore, to ask a guarantee to make it good. But when those hon. Members maintained, that the guarantee which he asked was valueless on the one hand, because it never would be necessary to enforce it, and refused, on the other hand, to give that guarantee, useless and inoperative, according to their views of the results of the measure, he asked the House if they did not put in peril the very proposition which they thus somewhat inconsistently maintained. The right hon. Gentleman made the danger greater than it really was, as he should be able to show by a very few references, and at that late hour he did not expect the House to follow him into details, but there were a few details which it was absolutely necessary that he should refer to. He took the Post-Office revenue, from 1834 to 1838, during which period there had been an unvarying increasing revenue, and during this time reductions had been made in several branches. In 1834, the gross revenue of the Post-Office was 2,209,439l., and in 1838, the same revenue was 2,438,000l., and it would be found that the increase of the revenue had been in those departments in which the greatest reductions in the rates of postage had been made. He said, then, when these reductions were made, they showed that an increase of revenue followed. This was more particularly obvious, if attention was paid to those branches of the Post-Office in which those reductions had taken place. This supported the argument, not of those who said, that when great reduction was made the revenue would be less, but of those who looked to the elasticity of the Post-Office revenue to enable them to make up any deficiency that might at first accrue. Take, for instance, foreign and ship letters, in which a large reduction of postage had taken place, and it might be taken as a general rule, that that branch of the Post-Office revenue invariably showed the greatest increase of revenue in which the greatest reduction of postage had taken place. He would take a limited period of 1833, and the same period of last year, and he found, that in ship and foreign letters the receipts for the first period were 88,000l., and for the last, 103,000l., being the largest proportionate increase with the largest proportionate reduction of postage. If he translated this into the number of letters sent, he found that the number of ship-letters sent respectively, in a short period of the years 1833 and 1837, were 47,000 and 167,000. This was an augmentation almost fourfold in the correspondence. The reduction of postage proposed in the present plan was much greater, and therefore the other increase in the number of letters was no measure of the increase which would take place in the progress of the system before the House. His right hon. Friend said, that he had had the means of communication with leading persons connected with various trades, which would be deeply affected by this plan, and that those persons had expressed great concern that this plan was likely to affect their various interests, and to prejudice them. No doubt some interests were likely to be affected, and alarm was felt as to the course Parliament should follow; and when so much was said of the stamped papers, and Mr. Dickenson's covers, he was not surprised that some apprehen- sions should be felt, but at the same time it appeared to him a little extraordinary that these great interests should now exerthemselves for the first time on the subject. There must have been a singular remissness on their parts, or they must have been very ill informed on the subject not to have seen the numerous discussions, on this plan that had taken place in the public papers, and to have heard nothing of Mr. Rowland Hill and his plan; nor have been aware of the meetings that had taken place out of doors, nor of the numerous petitions that had been presented to that House, and of the proceedings that had taken place on the subject within the walls of Parliament. The statement that these interests would be largely affected, had indeed been made at the twelfth hour, for not one word had been heard about these interests until the right hon. Gentleman had that night alluded to them, when he declared that they had heard with dismay the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
said, that he had stated that these parties had heard with dismay that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had adopted the plan of Mr. Hill.
would have supposed that these Gentlemen had had some experience, if not of himself, certainly of other Chancellors of the Exchequer. Probably from their better acquaintance with others that had held that office they had inferred that he would have followed the same course that they thought others would pursue. What had previously taken place, seemed to have escaped altogether the recollection of the right hon. Gentleman. He had asked the House to put the Treasury in that situation, so that they could try at the earliest possible period, this system of cheap postage. He distinctly stated, that without this pledge of the House, the Treasury would not adopt the experiment. He only asked that the subject should be tried until the next Session, when they could take any course that might be necessary. He did not call for an absolute reduction, and said that it was unnecessary to look further. Nothing of the kind had fallen from him—non meus hic sermo. He would not take any step without the distinct approval of Parliament, and the pledge of that House to make up any deficiency that might arise. The proceeding gave the Treasury power to proceed, and in case of reduction in the revenue, further steps might be taken; and in the mean time the details might be taken up. No inducement would lead him to proceed even next Session, without such an assent of the House as he now asked for; and this was absolutely necessary if Parliament intended to legislate on the subject next Session. It was not a mere argument, as had been asserted for the postponing the matter till the beginning of next Session; for if some such powers as were now asked for were not then given, it would be equivalent to indefinitely postponing the question. He entirely concurred with his right hon. Friend in the praise that he bestowed on a noble Friend of his, whom he never heard praised without feelings of satisfaction, and for whom he entertained the strongest feelings of reverence and respect—he meant Earl Spencer. The right hon. Gentleman bad asked why he (the Chancellor of the Exehequer) did not act like Earl Spencer in resisting the repeal of the malt-tax, and also the right hon. Baronet, who resisted a proposition made to him when in office, for the repeal of the same tax, although he was urged to do so by many of his most ardent supporters. The repeal of the malt tax, however, would be attended with an absolute loss of revenue, and it might be justly called making a hazardous reduction in the revenue. The proposition for the purpose of reducing the malt-tax was made, in the first instance, by the hon. Baronet, the late Member for Lincolnshire (Sir William Ingleby), and subsequently by the noble Marquess, the Member for Buckinghamshire, but when these propositions were made, neither of them was accompanied with a pledge, that the Parliament would make good any deficiency that might arise in consequence of the repeal of that tax. These were simple propositions for the repeal of that tax, which might have been attended with great prejudice to the public revenue. It would be attended also with an absolute loss of revenue, and the amount was known, but it was not so in this case, which at the same time was accompanied with the declaration of that House, that it would make good any deficiency that might arise. He was satisfied that neither that House, nor the House of Lords, would be indifferent to a matter of public faith, nor disregard a pledge of this kind which he now called upon them to adopt. If the proposition was made for the reduction without being accompanied with this pledge, it would throw discredit on the public resources, and he denied that it was a mere matter of form to make such a pledge. He was perfectly convinced that Parliament would redeem the pledge, and that no Gentleman whom he addressed would refuse to redeem a pledge of faith such as he proposed, that the revenue should not suffer, but that they would make good any deficiency that might arise. He had to express his thanks to the House for having attended to him, and as the right hon. Gentleman had put his amendment on record, he trusted that the resolution already come to by the House, would be confirmed, and also put on record with the distinct pledge involved in it, and if it were not accompanied with the pledge, he trusted that it would be rejected. It was not placed on record as a mere argument for he would not accept it on those terms. If any hon. Members would say that they would vote for the proposition of repeal, but that they meant to throw over the plan, he at once would tell them he would rather at once that they should throw over the proposition. He would state this to hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, and he invited them at once to vote against his motion, if they did not intend to support him in his pledge. He repeated, he placed the proposition in the hands of Members, and he begged of them, if they did not intend to adhere to the pledge, at once to throw aside the whole proposition. He knew that the public disappointment would be great at the failure of the measure, and he was willing that the whole dissatisfaction of the petitioners, and the public, should rather rest on him, than that there should be any misapprehension as to the terms of the resolution, or as to the intention of the persons who proposed it.
, that it was one of the inconveniences attendant upon this question, that the House was called upon to take part in a discussion which commenced at eleven o'clock, and if he had been inclined to take any party advantage, nothing could have been more easy than for him to have objected to proceeding with the question at so late an hour. He confessed he was surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman affect astonishment at the novelty of the course which he had taken. Was he bound to state every objection that he had to offer the other night? He had stated no objection to the principle of the resolution; quite the reverse. What he had said was, that there was an insuperable objection, with a deficiency of nearly 1,000,000l., to pledging the House irrevocably to this measure, at this period of the Session, and without being acquainted with the whole details of the proposed measure. What was there in the amendment which was inconsistent with that objection? Was it not an objection that the plan proposed, that large discretionary powers should be confided to the Government? Was it not a novel proposition when a measure was brought forward, to take the consideration of its details out of the hands of Parliament, and to devolve that responsibility upon the Government? He would remind the House also, that the proposition now made was contrary to the recommendation of the Post-office Committee; for they recommended that the postage should be reduced to the uniform rate of 1d., whenever the revenue would bear it. The right hon. Gentleman had said that he would only ask for discretionary powers for the Government until the next Session of Parliament. But was this the language of the resolution? The resolution which they were about to affirm was no devolution of a temporary authority, and if the right hon. Gentleman meant to tell the House that this was merely an experiment, he had himself urged the most fatal objection to the scheme that could be brought forward, for if it were merely an experiment it would be far better to wait till the next Session, and then, after drawing its own conclusions as to the probable loss which the revenue would sustain, the Government might, upon its own responsibility, ask the House of Commons to take into consideration the interests of all parties affected. The great objection to the resolution was, that with a deficiency of revenue, amounting to nearly 1,000,000l., they were about to incur the hazard of further loss to the extent of 1,500,000l. There had been a deficiency in 1837, there had been a deficiency in 1838, and an increased deficiency in 1839, and yet a proposal was now made to incur the hazard of a further deficiency of 1,500,000l. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the remission of the tax would be of general utility. Was this to be the general principle on which the remission of taxation was to be conducted? Was it only to become necessary to raise an outcry for the abolition of some particular tax, to have it taken off, with a pledge that Parliament would make good any deficiency which might be occasioned by its remission? This was just the course which was pursued by the National Assembly of France. They repealed every obnoxious impost, and placed the deficiency under the safeguard of the national honour, and they repelled, with indignation, the intimation that the public credit might not be safe under such protection. This was the course which the right hon. Gentleman now took, and this was the precedent which he proposed to follow. But was there no other tax which pressed generally upon the public? Had they heard nothing about the window-tax? Had nothing been said about the repeal of the duty on soap? Would not the cause of morality and cleanliness be advanced if the soap-tax were repealed, and Parliament were to pledge itself to supply the deficiency which might be thereby occasioned? Surely, if the principle was a just one, it ought to be applied in all cases. This was the first time that Parliament, whether a reformed or unreformed Parliament, had taken such a course. Men of all parties had hitherto agreed upon maintaining the public faith with the public creditor. In 1833, when Lord Althorp was left in a minority on the question of repealing the malt-tax, he applied to him (Sir R. Peel) the next day for his support to a motion for rescinding the resolution upon which he was defeated, and he told him, that although it was a very strong measure he would give him his support. Now, what were the principles which were laid down upon that occasion—principles which he hoped would not now be departed from? Lord Althorp threatened his resignation if he did not succeed in rescinding the resolution. He had heard a sneer from the opposite side of the House upon the measures which might be taken by the successors of the present Government in office. He would remind them of what had been done by their predecessors. It was well known that the fate of his (Sir R. Peel's) Administration in 1835 depended upon the vote of the House of Commons on the malt-tax. He had, notwithstanding, resisted the repeal of the malt-duty, and being supported by many of his political opponents, he obtained a triumphant majority. The Government might depend upon the same results if they took the same course. There was no exception in point of principle in favour of Post-office duties. He would take as taxes equally objectionable the post-horse duty, and the tax upon stagecoaches. But what said the noble Lord the Secretary for the Home Department in 1833, when Lord Althorp proposed to rescind the resolution for repealing the malt-tax. [Murmurs.] Really, if the House was to commence a discussion of this kind at eleven o'clock at night, after a protracted debate on another important question, they ought at least to afford him a patient hearing, and if they could not blame those who proposed an adjournment. Let hon. Members listen to the doctrines laid down by the noble Lord, and they would benefit by them. The noble Lord said, that the proposition of the hon. Members for Lincolnshire to commence the financial year with a deficit of 1,000,000l.was one which he trusted no House of Commons would ever act upon, and which no Minister should ever sanction. The noble Lord had deprecated beginning the financial year with a deficit; but we had actually now a deficit of 100,000l. and we were called upon to risk another 1,500,000l. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, then Secretary to the Treasury, said on the same occasion, "Let a saving be first effected, or let a substitute be first provided, and then remit your taxes; but beware that you do not by a rash proceeding place the service or the engagements of the country in jeopardy." The right hon. Gentleman seemed to be so sensible of the continued applicability of these principles, that in the course of his speech, devolving his duty upon the shoulders of Members on the Opposition side of the House, he said, "Do you propose any tax which will amount to 1,500,000l. as a guarantee for the loss which may be sustained, and I will support you. "Now, he apprehended that this was rather the duty of the right hon. Gentleman. Why did he shrink from the performance of his proper functions, and content himself with the pleasing duty of remitting taxes, while he left it to the Opposition to find the substitute which he admitted to be necessary? The right hon. Gentleman consoled the House by referring them to the pledge. Now, if he (Sir R. Peel) was perfectly certain that Parliament was determined upon making this experiment, he should infinitely prefer, looking at the interest of the public creditor, that there should be no pledge at all. If the House were to give a pledge, that after the next Session of Parliament, or any other definite time, they would supply any deficiency which might then have arisen, the pledge would be of some service. But that was not the pledge for which the Government asked. The pledge was simply to make good any deficiency in the revenue which might be occasioned by the adoption of the present plan. This was merely a vague general obligation to make good the deficiency at some future time. The author of the plan, Mr. Rowland Hill, whose remarks it was impossible to read without being prepossessed in his favour, admitted that the Post-office revenue might suffer, but added that a great stimulus would be given to commerce, which would be a benefit to other sources of the revenue. But who was to determine what benefit was received? Again, a Member who had given the pledge for which the Government asked, might not withstanding say, when called upon on a future occasion to redeem it, that he had only pledged himself to make good the particular deficiency caused by the Post-office reductions, and although there might be a loss on the revenue derived from the Post-office, other branches of the revenue might have received an equivalent compensation, and therefore that he did not conceive himself bound to make good his pledge. According to the views of one hon. Gentleman, who was a great friend to the measure, the full effect of the plan could not be ascertained for three years. How then, could they say that any deficiency had been occasioned by the alteration till the plan had been brought into full operation? Let nobody ask for the remission of any particular tax in the meanwhile, for it would be impossible to say whether it could be taken off or not. There were other objections to this particular pledge. The parties who were eventually taxed to supply the deficiency might urge that they did not object to taxation for a supply of a general deficit, but that they did object to being taxed to make good a deficiency in the Post-office duties, because they had not received a corresponding benefit. Now, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman what tax he thought of imposing? There was now a deficiency in the revenue for three years of 1,800,000l., and next year there would be a deficit of 1,000,000l. without taking into consideration the estimate made by Lord Ashburton; so that there would be a fourth year of deficit. Now, what tax did the right hon. Gentleman opposite propose? The right hon. Gentleman had said that there was a difference between political and financial considerations; but could the right hon. Gentleman propose the imposition of any tax which would not involve high political considerations? At all events, with a deficit of 2,000,000l. in five years, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whoever he might be, would be called on to provide a remedy. The right hon. Gentleman sought to pledge the House to provide the deficiency which it was admitted would follow the adoption of this plan; but he failed to name the tax he had in contemplation. His (Sir R Peel) belief was, that if it was intended to redeem the pledge, the House would pledge itself now if it adopted the resolution of the right hon. Gentleman, to a property tax; and looking at the state of the public interests, and at the high scale of taxation upon articles which were the elements of manufacture and great consumption, possibly a property tax might be the wisest to be resorted to in such a case. But would the House do so in order merely to raise one or two millions of money? Was it not better to leave the matter unembarrassed by Parliamentary pledges, and trust rather to the general sense of Parliament, to take such a course as the public interest required? He should on these grounds refuse the pledge. The right hon. Gentleman might, if he thought proper, throw on him (Sir R. Peel) the odium and unpopularity of defeating his measure; for that he absolutely cared nothing; but in a matter of this importance, he would rather relinquish public life, and this arena, in which he had combated for thirty years, than he would give his consent to the course of proceeding now proposed. He should co-operate with no hon. Member opposed to him in politics to defeat the plan. If hon. Members of different politics to himself joined with him in rejecting the present proposition, he should pot reject their aid, but he should reject the plan not from objections to the plan itself, but because the pledge by which it was accompanied was indefinite, discretionary, and almost unintelligible. He trusted that the House, comparing the advantage with the disadvantage, considering that this plan was first opened in the budget the other night, and that the House was now, on the 12th of July, discussing a mere resolution, and that no bill on the subject had yet been introduced—remembering that they had not been afforded an opportunity of consulting their constituents—remembering, also, that the Government had not yet made up their minds on the question as to what description of paper was to be written upon, or upon the question involved in the two words new to the language, viz., prepayment and postpayment;—looking to all these circumstances, he trusted the House would not leave these matters to any department to determine them. Was it fitting that the Treasury should have the right to determine, without appeal to Parliament, whether or not any single paper-maker should have the monopoly?—was it fitting for the House now to agree to that part of the measure, which might involve the interests of the paper-makers generally? He would not anticipate or suppose any abuse of the power; but he claimed for Parliament the right to consult those of their constituents whose fortunes were involved in the matter. Would such a course be a good example to set at the latter end of July? It might be fancied that at present there was a popular clamour, which left no option in the matter; but, in his opinion, in one month the public would think it better that the Government should afford them and their representatives an opportunity of considering the subject by postponing it to an early period of the next Session. He had heard with much pleasure, in the course of the debate which this evening had taken precedence, an assurance given by hon. Members on all sides of the House, that whatever alterations they might seek to make in the Constitution of the country, still they were determined to maintain the public credit. He was gratified to hear, that though Parliaments might be made triennial, that Universal Suffrage might be admitted, and the Vote by Ballot introduced, still every hon. Gentleman who had spoken in the debate to which he adverted, had ex- pressed his determination to keep the credit of the country inviolate. Should it, then, be said, that the Parliament, at the end of a Session, with a deficit in the revenue of 1,800,000l. in three years, and of 1,000,000l. in the present, with no possibility of a decreased, but rather with a chance of an increased, expenditure to answer the necessities of the public service, bequeathed to its successors the example first of divesting itself of its proper function, and committing the fortunes and interests of the manufacturers to the control of one department of the State; and, secondly, in the existing condition of the public revenue, for the first time, also, set the example of a government not providing for the maintenane of public credit, not resisting a demand for the removal of taxation, not making those who were to reap the benefit feel the pressure of an immediate substitute, but setting the example of conciliating public favour by the indulgent task of remission, and contenting themselves with an unintelligible pledge, that Parliament would provide a compensation for the deficiency in the revenue which they were about to create.
said, that he admitted the great talent with which the right hon. Gentleman opposite had argued this question, but he seemed to forget altogether that the report of the committee was in favour of this plan. He was willing to admit that all the observations of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, with respect to public credit, were perfectly just, and he could only say that he was ready to go the whole length the right hon. Baronet had gone in supporting public credit. But what was their position in regard to this question? Why, they were in the position that no experiment could be tried unless Parliament granted to the Treasury the necessary powers for carrying the plan into effect, coupled with a pledge to make good the deficiency, should any arise from its adoption. But the right hon. Baronet said, that the House should not he called upon to make such an experiment until the bill containing the details of the plan were before them, and until the amount of the deficiency was ascertained. Now this was impossible. All the Government wanted was, an opportunity of trying the effects of the measure, and afterwards, when they saw their way more clearly than they did at the present moment, of digesting a plan to be laid before Parliament. With respect to the question of stamped covers and the question of prepayment, how was it possible that they could answer for the working of these points beforehand; and if they could not, then he asked how it was possible that they could be prepared now to state what the deficiency would be, or whether there would be a deficiency or no deficiency? The question in reference to a deficiency no man could ascertain, for it was one beyond the power of calculation. On this subject all the witnesses examined before the committee differed. One stated that there would be no deficiency; another said, if any, it would be small; while Lord Ashburton declared that it would amount to the sacrifice of the whole revenue of the Post-office. Now, if the right hon. Baronet had proposed a plan, what would his estimate of the deficiency be? The right hon. Baronet knew that the extreme deficiency might be 1,600,000l.; but between no loss, and the loss of the whole revenue of the Post-office, he could have no means of calculation. That being the case, and it being impossible to tell the amount of the deficiency, or whether there would be any deficiency, they must either defer the present experiment until they had a surplus revenue of 1,600,000l., or adopt the course proposed by her Majesty's Government. He did think that the right hon. Baronet had not stated the case fairly. The right hon. Baronet said, that if Parliament were pledged to make good any deficiency that might arise during the next Session, that would be a definite plan, and not so objectionable as the present. Now, that was precisely his understanding of the proposition before the House. He did not agree with what his hon. Friend the Member for Bridport said the other night, that they should wait three or four years before they called upon Parliament to make good the deficiency; for, on the contrary, he thought, that if the deficiency could be ascertained in one year they were bound to make it up. Mr. Hill and other witnesses, examined before the committee, stated expressly, that although the revenue of the Post-office might be diminished, other branches of the revenue would be increased; but, whether this were so or not, all he could say was, that if a deficiency should occur Parliament would be bound, whenever called upon to redeem their pledge, to make it good. He supported the plan on this ground, on the ground that any deficiency that might arise would be made good. It was, in fact, for this they would have to provide. The present bill was a measure giving to the Treasury powers which they did not possess—power to make the necessary arrangements to reduce the rate of postage, to charge postage by weight, and to fix the manner in which the repayment was to be made. It might be asked how long these powers were to continue? His answer was, only for a year, because next Session all the regulations would come before Parliament in the shape of a bill, and then Parliament might either adopt or reject them. The whole of the regulations, therefore, would come under the control of Parliament, and then Parliament could determine for themselves whether the experiment should continue or not. The pledge would be a security that the plan should not go on unless Parliament approved of the details; and if they were dissatisfied it could not go on, because then the powers given to the Treasury would cease. He was not willing to refuse a trial to this experiment, because he thought it would prove a relaxation of taxation which, while it was beneficial to the community at large, would tend to increase other branches of revenue.
, far from complaining of opposition, was better satisfied that the present proposition met with it, because it was of infinite importance, that by a discussion the public should be informed of its nature and character. He did not agree in the remark made by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, that the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) wished to convert this measure of policy into a party question, for it was one upon which hon. Gentlemen might conscientiously entertain great doubts, though in those doubts he did not join. With regard to the objections which had been raised, it had been first contended, that this was too late a period of the Session to entertain the matter. No doubt the proposition came unexpectedly before the House. But had they never heard of it before? Was the report of the committee unread, or were the petitions which had overwhelmed the House in favour of the scheme forgotten? Had not the progress of public opinion shown, that at a very early period the matter must come under the consider- ation of Parliament? It was therefore no surprise upon the House to bring forward this proposal. Neither could it be a surprise at this period to the other House, for the report had been printed months ago, and communicated to their Lordships, who, like this House, had been also overwhelmed with petitions, and therefore he could not agree in thinking the late period of the Session afforded any ground for rejecting a matter of such paramount importance. It was next objected, that the proposition gave too great a discretionary authority to the Treasury. Why, had the Treasury not power, even now, under one Act of Parliament, to reduce the rates of postage to any extent they pleased? Had they not the power already, under another act, to enforce the payment of those rates in advance? It was true they had not powers which were necessary to charge by weight, or employ the Stamp-office to collect the rates; but was a discretionary power to do this greater than the powers such as he had described, and which the Treasury already enjoyed? Then, because the stationers and papermakers took an objection to the scheme, it was contended it ought to be postponed. Why, the committee had been overwhelmed with the evidence of these opponents, all showing the great increase in the manufacture and use of paper, which would follow the proposed reduction in the rate of postage; and yet, because one individual urged, that his paper was the best to prevent forgery, they were now in a most preposterous state of alarm and fear that their trade would be injured. He thought he might complain of the manner in which the question had been treated. Nobody had spoken of postage, except as part of the revenue. He denied it had ever, from the first Statute creating the Post-office down to the last report, been treated as a mere matter of revenue. The original act by which the Post-office was created, the act of Charles 2d., stated, that "the Post-office was established, not as a branch of the revenue, but for the advantage of trade and commerce." The public was, therefore, right in the view which they took of this matter—namely, that the primary object of its institution was, to contribute to their convenience. The advantage of Post-office communications ought to be accessible to the whole community; and the subject was, in fact, one which ought not to be made matter of taxation at all. Lord Lowther had stated, that the direct revenue to be derived from the Post-office, was not the primary consideration; and this opinion was re-echoed by the present committee of Post-office inquiry: Was it reasonable, then, to impose a tax upon letters of 1,000 to 1,400 per cent.! The right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade, had gone far beyond the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for he spoke of the necessity of supplying the deficiency at the end of the first year of the experiment. He (Mr. Warburton) had always remonstrated against imposing any new tax, until the plan should have undergone a fair trial. A new tax was in itself a great evil, and was still worse if it were imposed only to meet a temporary difficulty. He had given the Chancellor of the Exchequer no pledge whatever on this subject. But he still was ready to admit, that upon a deficiency being proved, Parliament was bound to make good that deficiency. But the way to improve the revenue was not to impose additional taxes, but to revise the existing system. Let them look to the state of their trade in coffee, in sugar, in timber. By placing those branches of trade upon a rational principle, there was within their reach, almost by a dash of the pen, ample means of providing against any deficiency. The corn trade was too delicate a subject for him to deal with on an occasion like this; but if a deficiency were proved, let them revise their trade in coffee, in sugar, and in timber. They might thus attain at once an increase of 5,000,000l., and feel no deficiency. Let not the public, therefore, be alarmed by the supposition that a new tax was about to be imposed, while these great branches of trade were certain of yielding a large surplus if Government only properly applied themselves to the task. The tea trade, as well as many other branches of the revenue, were managed on a principle of which no reasonable man could approve. Lord Ashburton, when examined as a witness upon this subject, had stated that if the effect of the proposed change would not be to improve the Post-office revenue, it would lead to a considerable improvement in every other branch of the revenue, inasmuch as confidence very much affected every branch of business. He thought that three years would be a fair trial of this great experiment, and he felt assured that by that time not only the Post-office, but every other branch of the revenue, would be found to be improved.
had never given a vote under circumstances of greater difficulty than the one which he was about to give upon the question then before the House. It was impossible for any man who was in favour of the reduction of the duty upon postage to have listened to the excellent speech of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, without feeling that he incurred a great responsibility in voting for that resolution. He, therefore, did not think it too much to claim the indulgence of the House whilst he stated some of those reasons which had induced him to give the vote which he intended to give upon the subject. He had long been of opinion that the Post-office was not a proper source of revenue; it ought, in his opinion, and he had long held that opinion, to be employed to stimulate other sources of revenue. He had expressed those opinions in other places; they were not the result of the pressure from without, but were the sincere feelings of his own mind; and he, therefore, had the less hesitation in stating them upon that occasion. He was glad that he was in some degree enabled to throw the responsibility of the whole plan upon her Majesty's Ministers. If they took upon themselves the responsibility and incurred the risk of any deficit in the revenue, he should feel inclined to forego any opposition to the plan in acceding to the wishes which had been expressed in its favour. He could not avoid saying that the speech of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, would have the effect, if such were possible, of increasing the confidence which was reposed in him. He had shown that independence of conduct which had always characterized his public life by the course he had pursued with reference to that subject, by preferring the discharge of his public duty to popularity. He had felt it necessary to offer some observations upon the vote which he intended to give.
The House divided on the original question: Ayes 215; Noes 113—Majority 102.
List of the AYES.
|Adam, Admiral||Attwood, T.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Bainbridge, E. T.|
|Alston, R.||Bannerman, A.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Baring, F. T.|
|†Archdall, M.||Barnard, E. G.|
|†Attwood, W.||Barry, G. S.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Hastie, A.|
|Berkeley, hon. H.||Hawes, B.|
|Berkeley, hon. C.||Hawkins, J. H.|
|Blackett, C.||Hayter, W. G.|
|†Blackstone, W. S.||Heathcoat, J.|
|Blake, M. J.||Hector, C. J.|
|Blake, W. J.||Hill, Lord A. M. C.|
|†Blennerhassett, A.||Hindley, C.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Brodie, W. B.||†Hodgson, F.|
|Brotherton, J.||Hollond, R.|
|†Brownrigg, S.||Horsman, E.|
|†Bruges, W. H. L.||Hoskins, K.|
|Bryan, G.||Howick, Viscount|
|Buller, C.||†Hughes, W. B.|
|Bulwer, Sir L.||Hume, J.|
|Byng, rt. hon. G. S.||Hurst, R. H.|
|Callaghan, D.||Hutt, W.|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Hutton, R.|
|†Castlereagh, Visct.||Jervis, J.|
|Cave, R. O.|
|Cavendish, hon. C.||Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Labouchere, rt. hn. H.|
|Chichester, J. P. B||Langdale, hon. C.|
*Lascelles, hn. W. S.
|Clayton, Sir W. R.||Leader, J. T.|
|Clive, E. B.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Collins, W.||Lennox, Lord A.|
|Craig, W. G.||Loch, J.|
|Crawley, S.||†Lowther, Visct.|
|Currie, R.||Macaulay, T. B.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Macleod, R.|
*Denison, W. J.
|Dennisioun, J.||Marshall, W.|
|D'Eyncourt, r.h. C. T.||Marsland, H.|
|Divett, E.||Martin, J.|
|Donkin, Sir R. S.||Maule, hon. F.|
|Duff, J.||Melgund, Viscount|
|Duke, Sir J.||Mildmay, P. St. John|
|Duncombe, T.||†Miller, W. H.|
|Dundas, F.||Milton, Viscount|
|Dundas, Sir R.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|†East, J. B.||Morris, D.|
|Easthope, J.||Murray, A.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Muskett, G. A.|
|Ellice, E.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Ellis, W.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Evans, Sir De Lacy||O'Connell, D.|
|Evans, W.||O'Connell, J.|
|Ewart, W.||O'Connell, M. J.|
*Fazakerley, J. N.
|Fielden, J.||O'Ferrall, R. M.|
|†Fector, J. M.||Oswald, J.|
|Fenton, J.||†Packe, C. W.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Paget, F.|
|Finch, F.||Palmer, C. F.|
|†Freshfield, J. W.||†Palmer, R.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Palmerston, Viscount|
|Gordon, R.||Parker, J.|
|Greene, T.||Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.|
|Greenaway, C.||Pechell, Captain|
|Grey, rt. hn. Sir G.||Pendarves, E. W. W.|
|Grote, G.||Philips, M.|
|Guest, Sir J.|
*Philips, G. R
|Hall, Sir B.||Pigot, D. R.|
|Handley, H.||Ponsonby, C. F. A. C.|
|Power, J.||Stuart, V.|
|Price, Sir R.||Stock, Dr.|
|Pryse, P.||Strutt, E.|
|†Pusey, P.||Surrey, Earl of|
|Ramsbottom, J.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Rice, E. R.||Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.|
|Rice, rt. hon. T. S.||†Thompson, Ald.|
|Rich, H.||Thornely, T.|
|Roche, E. B.||Townley, R. G.|
|Roche, W.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Rolfe, Sir R. M.||Turner, E.|
|Rumbold, C. E.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Rundle, J.||Villiers, hon. C. P.|
|†Rushout G.||†Waddington, H. S.|
|Russell, Lord J.|
|Russell, Lord||Walker, R.|
|Russell, Lord C.||Wallace, H.|
|Rutherford, rt. hn. A.||Warburton, H.|
|Salwey, Colonel||Ward, H. G.|
*Westenra, hn. H. R.
|Sanford, E. A.|
*Westenra, hon. J. C.
|Scholefield, J.||White, A.|
|Scrope, G. P.||Wilbraham, G.|
|Seale, Sir J. H.||Wilde, Mr. Sergeant|
|Sheil, R. L.||Williams, W.|
|Shelborne, Earl of||Williams, W. A.|
|†Sibthorp, Col.||Wood, C.|
|Sinclair, Sir G.||Wood, Sir M.|
|Smith, R. V.||Worsley, Lord|
|Somerville, Sir W. M.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Spencer, hon. F.||Wyse, T.|
|Standish, C.||Yates, J. A.|
|Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|Stewart, J.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Stuart, Lord J.||Steuart, R.|
List of the NOES.
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Eastnor, Viscount|
|Acland, T. D.||Egerton, W. T.|
|A'Court, Captain||Ellis, J.|
|Alsager, Captain||Estcourt, T.|
|Ashley, Lord||Estcourt, T.|
|Bagge, W.||Farnham, E. B.|
|Baillie, Colonel||Goddard, A.|
|Baker, E.||Gordon, hon.|
|Baring, H. B.||Capt. Gore, O J. R.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Blair, J.||Grant, F. W.|
|Bolling, W.||Grimsditch, T.|
|Broadley, H.||Grimston, Viscount|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Hale, R. B.|
|Burr, H.||Halford, H.|
|Burrell, Sir C.||Harcourt, G. G.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Harcourt, G. S.|
|Canning, rt. hn. Sir S.||Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.|
|Cavendish, hn. G. H.||Henniker, Lord|
|Herbert, hon. S.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Hodgson, R.|
|Hogg, J. W.|
|Darby, G.||Holmes, W.|
|De Horsey, S. H.||Hope, hon. C.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Hope, G. W.|
|Dowdeswell, W.||Howard, F. J.|
|Duffield, T.||‡Howard, Sir R.|
|Dunbar, G.||Hurt, F.|
|Ingestrie, Viscount||Price, R.|
*Inglis, Sir R. H.
|Irton, S.||Reid, Sir J. R.|
|Irving, J.||Richards, R.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Round, C. G.|
|Kemble, H.||Rushbrooke, Col.|
|Knatchbull, r. h. Sir E.||Scarlett, hon. J. Y.|
|Knightley, Sir C.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Knox, hon. T.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Law, hon. C. E.||Stanley, Lord|
|Lincoln, Earl of||Stormont, Visct.|
|Lockhart, A. M.||Sturt, H. C.|
|Lowther, hon. Col.|
*Style, Sir C.
|Mackenzie, T.||Teignmouth, Lord|
*Mackinnon, W. A.
|Thomas, Colonel H.|
|Mahon, Visct.||Verner, Colonel|
|Manners, Lord C. S.||Vernon, G. H.|
|Neeld, J.||Villiers, Viscount|
*Wall, C. B.
*Walsh, Sir J.
|Owen, Sir J.||Wilbraham, hon. B.|
|Pakington, J. S.||Williams, R.|
|Parker, M.||Williams, T. P.|
|Parker, R. T.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Patten, J. W.||Wood, Colonel T.|
|Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.||Young, J.|
|Perceval, Colonel||Fremantle, Sir T.|
|Praed, W. T.||Clerk, Sir G.|
* Absent on the second division.
† Voted with the Noes on the second division.
‡ Sir R. Howard is the only Member who voted with the Ayes on the second division, and with the Noes on the first.
Report brought up and read. On the question that the Resolution agreed to by the Committee be read a second time,
Sir R. Peel moved an amendment to omit such part of the Resolution as pledged the House to supply any deficiency in the revenue occasioned by the reduction of the rate of postage. He did not intend further to discuss the subject, but he asked why should Parliament be called on for a pledge with respect to the obligation of which the proposer of the resolution and one of its chief supporters entertained different opinions? The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated, that he should be prepared to demand the fulfilment of the pledge, if the revenue should be found deficient at the end of next year, while the hon. Member for Bridport thought the experiment ought to be tried for some years before Parliament was called on for a redemption of the pledge.
said, the hon. Member for Bridport might put whatever interpretation he liked on that part of the resolution just referred to; and he thought the right hon. Baronet was not justified in placing in opposition the words of the parties who introduced the present resolution and those of an individual Member of Parliament. The Government proposed the pledge with the distinct understanding that it would be their duty to call for its redemption, whenever a deficiency in the revenue should be found to exist.
said, that he for one should be ready to give his vote for the purpose of supplying any deficiency which might arise in the revenue.
The House divided on the original question: Ayes 184; Noes 125—Majority 59.
Report agreed to.