House Of Commons
Friday, March 11, 1842.
MINUTES.] BILLS. Private.—1°. Ferry Bridge and Bo-rough Bridge Road; Birmingham and Derby Junction
Railways Brentford Gas; Indemnity Mutual Marine Assurance Company; Northern Coal Mining Company; Gosport Pier; Wakey Hill Inclosure; Runcorn, Frodsham, and Northwich Small Debts; Toxteth Park Paving and Sewerage; South Metropolitan Gas; Mersey Conservancy; Liverpool Borough Court; Liverpool Improvement; Liverpool Health of the Town and Buildings Regulation; Northern Union (Newcastle and Darlington Junction) Railway; Bristol Floating Dock; Bristol and Gloucester Railway; Greenock Harbours; Thames Haven Dock and Railway; Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Manchester Railway; Yate Inclosure; London and Blackwall Railway; Guarantee Society; National Floating Breakwater Company; Buckland Inclosure.
2°. Holywell Roads.
3°. and passed:—Leicester and Ashby-de-la-Zoueh Road; Hinckley Road.
PETITIONS PRESENTED. By Mr. Scholefield, Mr. Brotherton, Mr. M. Phillips, Mr. B. Wood, Mr. T. Duncombe, Mr. Cobden, and Mr. Villiers, from Birmingham, Sal-ford, Wimbledon, Manchester, Southwark, St. James's, Clerkenwell, Great Yarmouth, Braintree, Stockport, and other places, for a Repeal of the Corn-laws; from Youg-hall, Guildford, Tipperary, and other places, for the Importation of Grain in preference to Flour; from Kinalea, and other places, against the Corn Importation Bill; from B. Baker, and others, for Compensation to Corn Inspectors; from Ballybacon, &c., against Reduction of Duty on Oats.—By Colonel Rushbrooke, and Mr. Hardy, from Colne, Hepworth, and Clare, against any further Grant to Maynooth College.—By Mr. Muntz, from Birmingham, against certain Portions of the Borough Improvements and Buildings Regulations Bills; and from Derby, in favour of said Bills.—By Lord M. Hill, from Bridgewater, and Evesham, against the Importation of Labourers into British India.—By Mr. O'Connell, from Leicester, and other places, for a Repeal of the Legislative Union.—By Dr. Bowring, from the Brewers of Bolton, that Brewers Casks may not be Liable to be Distrained for Rent—By Sir C. Napier, for the Settlement of Portuguese Claims.—By Mr. E. Tennent, from Down, Waterford, and Dromore, in favour of the Marriages (Ireland) Bill.—By Mr. Gregory, from St Mary's, Dublin, for Alteration of the present System of Education in Ireland.—From Streatham, Epsom, and other places, for the Redemption of Tolls on the Metropolitan Bridges.—From H. Meggison, against the Railway Bill.—From Leamington, for Substituting Affirmations instead of Oaths.
Colonial Passengers Bill
having moved the Order of the Day for going into Committee on this bill, for the purpose of postponing it, said that he proposed to fix it for Monday next, in the hope that by that time he might be able to go into committee on the bill pro forma, for the purpose of inserting various alterations and amendments, which, at the suggestion of different parties, he intended to submit to the consideration of the House. It might be convenient also to state, as at this period of the year agreements were being made by persons in the emigration business, and intending emigrants, and as emigration might be materially affected by the passing of the bill, that he did not propose to have the bill come into operation so as to affect the emigration of the present spring. He would insert words to provide for its coming into ope- ration at a period certainly not earlier than the 1st of June next.
Committee fixed for Monday.
understood that the noble Lord would only go into committee pro forma on Monday. He presumed the noble Lord would give notice of the day on which he intended to have the bill discussed in committee.
was not even sure of being able to go into committee with the bill pro forma on Monday. If he should be able, it would be only for the purpose of inserting alterations and amendments; after which, the bill would be reprinted, and he would take care to give notice of the day on which he proposed to proceed further with it.
West India Bishoprics
Sir Charles Napier
asked the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, when he would proceed with his bill respecting the bishoprics of the West Indies?
said, that not being aware of any other objection to the measure than that stated by the gallant Commodore, he would proceed with the bill according to the intention he had already stated.
Sir G. Clerk
moved the following resolution: That the seat of Lord Bruce for the borough of Southampton has by law become vacant, he being now Earl of Elgin, a peer of the United Kingdom.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
said, that he had no doubt as to the substance of the motion, but he thought it right that the House should have some authentic or efficient information of the death of the Earl of Elgin and of the elevation of Lord Bruce to the Peerage.
said, he thought he could give his right hon. Friend the official information which he desired, inasmuch as there had been an order of council passed that day, directing him to prepare a warrant for Lord Bruce as governor-general of Jamaica.
Sir G. Grey
said, he thought the House should be cautious not to establish a precedent which might lead to inconvenient results.
Major G. Bruce
said, he could certify to the fact which was then the subject of discussion, having attended the funeral of the late Earl of Elgin.
Resolution agreed to.
Affairs Of India
Mr. S. Wortley
begged to put a question to the right hon. Baronet upon a subject to which it was impossible to allude without pain, and of such importance, that he believed it would account for the question he was about to ask. The subject to which he alluded, was the late melancholy disasters they had met with in the West of India. Intelligence had been received in this country from Cabool, stating that the garrison of the place were in circumstances of the most imminent danger. Reports had reached this country lately, that those circumstances had been followed by others still more alarming—that the garrison of Cabool had been utterly destroyed, and that the troops in Candahar had been cut off from all communication on that side, and that the troops at Jellalabad were in great danger. What he wished to ask from the right hon. Baronet was, such authentic information as Government might possess with regard to the correctness of the report. First of all, he wished to know what information had been received with respect to the unfortunate troops in Cabool? and secondly, what was the position of those in Candahar and Jellalabad, and what prospect of relief they had from the government of India.
Sir R. Peel
said, that to the question put by his hon. Friend he could not give ft very satisfactory answer, and although he had it in his power to do so, he doubted whether it would be consistent with his duty to answer some of the questions that had been put to him. But in a matter of such importance he would not hesitate to give the information which he possessed, and which, although not entirely official, might, he thought, be relied on. The latest accounts which had been received from the Governor-general of India were dated Calcutta, January 22, giving only an account of the scandalous and perfidious act by which Sir William M'Naghten had lost his life. No account subsequent to the despatch of February 1, from Bombay, had been received. Another account, not of an official nature, but of the correctness of which there could be little doubt, had been received in a letter from Dr. Reid, dated Peshawar, 16th of January. It spoke of a letter which was dated Jellalabad, the 13th, and from that letter, it was impossible to doubt, that her Majesty's troops had recently sustained great reverses. A capitulation, as far as it could be judged from the accounts, ap- peared to have been signed with the Affghan forces, and by an act, as it would appear, speaking, as he said before, from information not strictly official, but from accounts of which the credibility could hardly be questioned—by an act marked with a perfidy and treachery almost as gross as that by which Sir W. M'Naghten lost his life, the English troops were attacked three days afterwards, and had certainly sustained great loss; but, he trusted, that there was nothing in the accounts that had been received that ought to create dismay. Her Majesty's Government would take every measure, that it might be advisable to take to repair this partial disaster. Under the circumstances, he had no doubt Parliament would give her Majesty's Government its confidence and support, whatever might be the demands which they should feel it their duty to make, in order to repair the disaster that had occurred, and to satisfy the public in this country, in India, and throughout the world, that they were determined to spare no sacrifice in order to maintain their Indian empire.
Sir J. C. Hobhouse
said, in the whole course of his life, he had never been so much gratified as by the statement just made by the right hon. Gentleman. He had no doubt, but that the Queen's Government would do its duty, and the assurance just made must tranquillise all those unnecessary alarms which had before existed, and for which there would not now be a pretence for existing in the mind of any right thinking man. The right hon. Gentleman was right in saying, that this House would stand by the Queen's Government on this occasion. So far from party feeling prevailing, the House would see, that it had nothing to do but to exert itself to the utmost to repair the disaster that had occurred, but which he, at the same time, thought had been much exaggerated.
Financial Statement—Ways And Means
Sir G. Clerk
moved the Order of the Day for the House to go into Committee of Ways and Means, and
having left the Chair,
Sir R. Peel
rose and spoke as follows: —Sir, as the House has now sanctioned the votes that her Majesty's Government considered it their duty to propose for the maintenance of the chief military establishments of the country, I rise to redeem the pledge I gave some time back, that I would avail myself of the earliest opportunity, consistent with parliamentary usage and the public interest, to develope the views of the Government with reference to the financial and commercial policy of the country. No one can feel more than I do the importance and the extent of the duty that devolves on me. No one can be more conscious than I am how disproportionate are my intellectual powers to the proper performance of my task; but, Sir, I should be unworthy of the trust committed to me— I should be unfit to stand here in my place as the Minister of the British Crown—If I could feel disheartened or discouraged— if I could entertain anything but composure and contentedness of mind—anything, I may say, but that buoyancy and alacrity of spirit which ought to sustain every public man when entering upon the discharge of a great public duty; conscious that he is actuated by no motives that are not honourable and just, and feeling a deep and an intimate conviction, that according to the best conclusion of his imperfect and fallible judgment, that which he intends to propose will be conducive to the welfare, I may say, essential to the prosperity of the country. Sir, from some of the embarrassments which often accompany a financial statement of this kind, I am free. It is sometimes necessary, on such occasions, to maintain great reserve, and to speak with great caution. A due regard for the public interest may impose on a minister the duty of only partially disclosing matters of importance. But I am hampered by no fetters of official duty. I mean to lay before you the truth—the unexaggerated truth, but to conceal nothing. I do this first, because in great financial difficulties the first step towards improvement is to look those difficulties boldly in the face. This is true of individuals—it is true also of nations. There can be no hope of improvement or of recovery, if you consent to conceal from yourselves the real difficulties with which you have to contend. I have another motive also, for making a full and unreserved disclosure. It is my intention, on the part of the Government, to undertake the responsibility of proposing that which we believe essential to the public interests. With you will rest the responsibility of adopting or rejecting the measures which I propose, and it is therefore fitting in order that you may be enabled properly to perform the duty which you owe to the country, that you should have before you every information —every element which is necessary for the formation of a full and impartial judgment. Sir, I have but two requests to offer to the House before I enter on my statement. The first is, that they will bear in mind that from the period when I bring forward my financial statement I am labouring under some special disadvantages. I speak particularly with reference to the estimates which I may form of the probable revenue of the country. I have considered it to be my duty not to wait until the supplies have been voted—until the financial accounts of the year have been closed. If, hereafter, in my estimates, formed as they shall be with every desire that they should be just and accurate, I should have been found to have been mistaken, I trust the House will bear in mind that I am labouring under disadvantages to which others have not been exposed. Another request which I shall make is, that the House will have the goodness to postpone its judgment until I shall have laid before it the whole plan of the Government—that they will not judge hastily on a partial development of my views—that they will not hastily pronounce that what I may propose is an insult to the country—or, if I affect any particular interest, that I shall not therefore be given out as proposing something that is perfectly unreasonable and unjust. I earnestly hope that every man, bringing to the consideration of this subject a full sense of our real, but not insuperable difficulties, will postpone his judgment until he has before him the whole of the plan which I shall propose. I shall now proceed, Sir, in the ordinary manner to state the facts with reference to the finances and expenditure of the country; and, in the first instance, I have to refer to the estimate which was formed by the right hon. Gentleman, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. F. T. Baring) with respect to the probable revenue and expenditure of the country in the year ending the 5th of April, 1842. Sir, events have proved that that right hon. Gentleman's estimate was as nearly correct as it is possible for an estimate to be. I think the right hon. Gentleman calculated that the income of the country might be expected to realise the sum of 48,310,000l. He calculated the expenditure for the same period, that is, for the year ending April 5, 1842, at 50,731,000l. There were some slight variations afterwards made in the votes, which, of course, the right hon. Gentleman could not foresee at the time when he was speaking. There was a supplementary vote taken for, I think, the Ordnance estimates, in the first Session of the present Parliament. I think there was also a vote omitted, that, namely, for the Caledonial Canal; but the amount of the difference made by these changes was so small as to be hardly worth referring to. Of course, it is impossible to say, at this moment, whether the right hon. Gentleman's estimate is perfectly correct or not, because a portion of one quarter of the year is not yet closed. The actual produce of the revenue from April 5, 1841, to February 26, 1842, was 43,730,000l. If you estimate that the receipts for the current quarter of the present year will be equal to the receipts of the current quarter of last year, you must add to the actual receipt the sum of 4,323,000l. Consequently the revenue will amount, on the 5th of April, to 48,053,000l., being less than the amount estimated by the right hon. Gentleman by 160,000l. On the other hand, the actual expenditure was not quite so great as that which he estimated, or rather will probably not be so great, and consequently his estimate, which took the expected deficit at 2,421,000l., will probably, on the whole, I think, exceed the actual amount of the deficit. The actual amount of the deficit for a year will, I think, be 2,334,000l., speaking, as I said before, from estimate only with respect to the last quarter, but giving the best estimate I can form of the probable amount of the deficiency for the present year. The deficiency, therefore, for the current year we may assume to be about 2,350,000l. I now proceed to estimate the income for this year, which will end on the 5th of April, 1843. I take the Customs for the ensuing year at 22,500,000l. The Excise, on account of the unfavourable season for malting, I am afraid we cannot take at a higher sum than 13,450,000l. Supposing there is a favourable harvest, that will have a tendency to increase the Excise revenue, but it has also a tendency to diminish the amount of the revenue you derive from the importation of foreign corn. With an unfavourable harvest, if your Excise is diminished in amount, then there will be some compensation to be expected from the import duty on foreign corn. I will take the Customs, then, for the year ending April 5, 1843, at 22,500,000l.; the Excise at 13,450,000l.; the Stamps at 7,100,000l.; from the Taxes I expect to obtain 4,400,000l.; the Post-office, I think, may probably yield 500,000l.; the produce of the Crown lands I take at 150,000l., and the other miscellaneous items of revenue at 250,000l., making a total of estimated revenue for the year ending the 5th of April, 1843, of 48,350,000l. The expenditure, now that the House has sanctioned the votes for the army and navy, can be estimated with greater accuracy. The interest on the debt will be 24,627,000l.; terminable annuities, 4,076,000l.; the interest on Exchequer-bills, 722,000l., making the whole charge on account of debt, 29,427,000l. The other charges on the consolidated fund I will take, including the civil list 390,000l., at 2,368,000l. The field I have to travel over is so extensive, that perhaps it will be better that I should omit mentioning the various items. The total charges on the consolidated fund, therefore, will be 31,795,000l. The vote for the army, if ultimately sanctioned by the House, will be 6,617,000l.; that for the navy will be 6,739,000l.; that for the Ordnance, 2,084,000l.; the miscellaneous charges on the annual grants by Parliament will be 2,800,000l.; the vote on account of Canada, which is to be expended on the clothing of the volunteers, will be 108,000l. I think it was understood that, when that charge should cease, a corresponding sum should be expended on fortifications. I therefore take it at 108,000l. I will take the charge for the expedition to China, upon the whole, at 675,000l. for the present year. That vote consists of two parts, which I will state to the House. 175,000l. will be required to defray the arrears of expenditure for the current year, and a sum of 500,000l. to meet the charge which it will be necessary to provide for by actual vote during the year ending April 5, 1843. The total amount, therefore, of the estimated expenditure of the country will be 50,819,000l. The general result then is, that the expenditure for the year ending April 5, 1843, will be 50,819,000l., and the estimated income will be 48,350,000l., making a probable deficiency of 2,469,000l. But that deficiency is upon the votes of the year—upon the expenditure which it will be necessary to provide within the year. To that deficiency ought to be added the actual charge which may be incurred on account of the hostilities carried on with China. I do not contemplate that it will be necessary to provide within the year more than 500,000l., but he would form a very inadequate estimate of the probable cost of that expedition who should think that the total expense will be limited to that sum of 500,000l. Sir, the expense of our expedition to China stands thus:— The arrears of the sums that were due to the East India Company on the 30th of April, 1841, were 708,000l. A grant was made in the Session of 1840, of 173,000l. That left the arrears of former years to be provided in 1841 at535,000l. The estimate of the expenditure to the 1st of April, 1842, was 658,000l., making the total charge of April, 1842, 1,192,000l. There have been applied to that charge the grant of Parliament which was made for the Session of 1841, and which amounted to 400,000l.; and there has also been applied in India money derived from the ransom paid for Canton to the amount of 618,000l. I have, therefore, to set off for the whole of 1841, against the charge of 1,192,000l., actual payments to the amount of 1,018,000l., leaving the arrears to be provided for at present 175,000l. Looking to the extent of the preparations which have been made for the continuance, and, I trust, the completion, of the hostilities with China, I do not think I can safely estimate the cost for the year ending the 6th of April, 1843, at much less than 1,400,000l. or 1,500,000l., for 500,000l. of which we make provision in the present year. But let us take the whole cost at 1,300,000l., that is the lowest sum we can fairly take, there will then be a deficiency, gome time or other to be provided for, of not less than 800,000l. Therefore, to my estimated deficiency of 2,470,000l., in the sum to be provided for the general service of the year, you must add the probable demands which may be made upon you to the extent of 700,000l. or 800,000l. In addition to this, there may be demands for Australia and other colonies, that may possibly amount to the sum of 100,000l. I do not take into account the charge which will probably be necessary on account of Canada—it is not a charge exactly, but I think there was an engagement that we should give the aid of our credit to Canada for a loan of 1,500,000l. But that, I apprehend, is altogether independent of actual charge; and I think that, under the circumstances, we should not be disinclined to support the credit of Canada by that of this House. At the same time it is right, that the whole extent of our engagements should be placed fairly before the country. In addition to all this, those events of which we have had recent cognizance, as having occurred in Affghanistan, may, and so far as I can form a judgment, will impose upon her Majesty's Government the necessity of calling on Parliament to sanction, perhaps, a considerable increase in the army estimates. I think it not fitting that we should come to any hasty decision in the absence of official information; but I have already received a decisive proof that the Members of this House, the representatives of a great people, will be determined to make every effort which may be necessary for the purpose of repairing occasional or partial disasters, and vindicating the authority of her Majesty's name in India. Bear in mind, then, that to my estimate of the actual deficiency of 2,470,000l. for the general service of the year, and of the deficiency which must at some time or other be provided for on account of the expenditure in China, you must add the probable demand I may have to make for the increase of the military or naval establishments of this country, having regard to the position of affairs in the East. Sir, for the purpose of bringing before the House a full and complete view of our financial position, as I promised to do, I feel it to be my duty to refer to a subject which has of late occupied little attention in the House, but which I think might, with advantage to the public, have attracted more of their regard—I refer to the state of Indian finance, a subject which formerly used to be thought not unworthy of the consideration of this House. I am quite aware that there may appear to be no direct and immediate connexion between the finances of India and those of this country, but that would be a superficial view of our relations with India which should omit the consideration of this subject. Depend upon it, if the credit of India should become disordered, if some great exertion. should become necessary, then the credit of England must be brought forward to its support, and the collateral and indirect effect of disorders in Indian finances would be felt extensively in this country. Sir, I am sorry to say, that Indian finance offers no consolation for the state of finance in this country. I hold in ray hand an account of the finances of India, which I have every reason to believe is a correct one; it is made up one month later than our own accounts—to the 5th of May. Some question may arise on the papers presented to Parliament with respect to the commercial assets of the Company, but I have every reason to believe this to be a true account of the position of Indian finances. It states the gross revenue of India, with the charges on it; the interest of the debt; the surplus revenue, and the charges paid on it in England; and there are two columns which contain the net surplus and the net deficit. In the year ending May, 1836, there was a surplus of 1,520,000l. from the Indian revenue. In the year ending the 5th of May, 1837, there was a surplus of 1,100,000l., which was reduced rapidly, in the year ending May, 1838, to one of 620,000l. In the year ending the 5th of May, 1839, the surplus fell to 29,000l.; in the year ending the 5th of May, 1840, the balance of the account changed, and so far from there being any surplus, the deficit on the Indian revenue was 2,414,000l. I am afraid I cannot calculate the deficit for the year ending May, 1841, though it depends at present partly on estimate, at much less than 2,334,000l. The House, then, will bear in mind, that in fulfilment of the duty I have undertaken, I present to them the deficit in this country for the current year to the amount of 2,350,000l., with a certain prospect of a deficit for next year to the amount of at least 2,470,000l., independently of the increase to be expected on account of China and Affghanistan, and that in India, that great portion of our empire, I show a deficit on the two last years which will probably not be less than 4,700,000l. Sir, this is the amount of deficiency we have to meet (I mean, of course, only the part I have stated affecting this country); how shall that deficiency be supplied? We cannot escape the consideration of that question; and it is our duty, no doubt, before any proposition be made, to exhaust in consideration the modes by which that deficiency can be supplied. Shall we persevere in the system on which we have been acting for the last five years? Shall we, in time of peace, have resort to the miserable expedient of continued loans? Shall we try issues of Exchequer-bills? Shall we resort to saving-banks? Shall we have recourse to any of those expedients which, call them by what name you please, are neither more nor less than a permanent addition to the public debt? We have a deficiency of nearly 5,000,000l. in two years; is there a prospect of reduced expenditure. Without entering into details, but looking at your extended empire, at the demands that are made for the protection of your commerce, and the general state of the world, and calling to mind the intelligence that has lately reached us, can you anticipate, for the year after the next, the possibility, consistent with the honour and safety of this country, of greatly reducing the public expenses? I am bound to say I cannot calculate upon that. Is this a casual deficiency for which you have to provide a remedy? Is it a deficiency for the present year on account of extraordinary circumstances? Is it a deficiency for the last two years? Sir, it is not. This deficiency has existed for the last seven or eight years. It is not a casual deficiency. In the year ending the 5th of April, 1838, the deficiency was 1,428,000l. In the year ending the 5th April, 1839, the deficiency was 430,000l. In 1840 it was 1,457,000l. In 1841 the deficiency was 1,851,000l.; in 1842 I estimate the deficiency will be 2,334,030l. The deficiency in these five amounts to 7,502,000l.; and to that actual deficiency I must add the estimated deficiency for the year ending the 5th of April, 1843, 2,570,000l.,making an aggregate deficiency in six years of 10,072,000l. I am sure I shall not be blamed for adhering to my resolution, in making a full and unreserved disclosure of our financial situation. I do it, as I said before, because I am deeply impressed with the conviction that a full knowledge of the truth is the first step to improvement; and because I have that confidence in the resources, in the energy, and the wisdom of Parliament, that I cannot consent to avail myself of that miserable subterfuge of withholding any knowledge I may be able to communicate with respect to the financial difficulties of the country. Well then, Sir, with this proof that it is not with an occasional or casual deficiency that we have to deal, will you, I ask, have recourse to the wretched expedient of continued loans? Sir, I cannot recommend such a step. It is impossible that I could be a party to a proceeding which I should think might, perhaps, have been justifiable at first, before you knew exactly the nature of your revenue and expenditure; but with these facts before me I should think I was disgracing the situation 1 hold if I could consent to such a paltry expedient as this. I can hardly think that Parliament will adopt a different view. I can hardly think that you, who inherit the debt that was contracted by your predecessors, when having a revenue they reduced the charges of the Post-office, and inserted in the preamble of the bill a declaration that the reduction of the revenue should be made good by increased taxation, will now refuse to make it good. The effort having been made, but the effort having failed, that pledge is still unredeemed. I advised you not to give that pledge; but if you regard the pledges of your predecessors, it is for you now to redeem them. If, however, you are not bound by the pledges of your predecessors you are bound, I apprehend, by the engagement which you yourselves have contracted. Almost the first vote you gave after the election of the present Parliament was the adoption of a resolution that it was impossible to permit that state of things to continue which presented constant deficits of revenue. Parliament assured the Crown that they would without delay apply themselves to the consideration of finance, and would adopt some measures for the purpose of equalizing revenue and expenditure. I apprehend, therefore, that with almost universal acquiescence I may abandon the thought of supplying the deficiency by the miserable device of fresh loans, or an issue of Exchequer-bills. Shall I then, if I must resort to taxation, levy that taxation upon the articles of consumption, upon those articles which may appear to some superfluities, but which are known to constitute almost the necessaries of life. I cannot consent to any proposal for increasing taxation on the great articles of consumption by the labouring classes of society. I say, moreover, I can give you conclusive proof that you have arrived at the limits of taxation on articles of consumption. I am speaking now of articles of luxury which might be supposed not to constitute the consumption of the laborious classes, and I advise you not to attempt taxation, even upon those articles, for you will be defeated in your expectations of revenue. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. F. Baring), attempting to redeem the pledge which had been given by Parliament to repair the deficiency which was caused by the defalcation of the Post-office revenue, proposed in 1840 that 5 per cent, additional duty should be laid on the articles of Customs and Excise, and 10 per cent. additional on the assessed taxes. [Noise.] I am much obliged to the House for the patience with which they listen to me, and feel sorry to trouble them with these details, but I do think them necessary parts of the statement I have to make. The net produce of the Customs and Excise, in the year ending the 5th January, 1840, after deducting drawbacks and repayments, was 37,911,000/. And here I must observe, that I am now merely exhausting the different means by which men might contemplate the supplying of the deficiency, and trying to show that increased taxation upon any articles of consumption will not afford relief. I wish to carry your judgment along with me. I said that the net produce of the Customs and Excise in the year ending the 5th January, 1840, was 37,911,000l., and the estimated increase in the Customs and Excise by the additional 5 per cent, was 1,895,000l. Comparing, therefore, the income from Customs and Excise in 1840 with that in 1842—and I take 1842 in preference to 1841, because you can thus more fairly estimate the effect of the increased duty. I find while the estimated produce of the Customs and Excise was 39,807,000l., the actual produce was only 38,118,000l., the actual increase being, instead of 1,895,000l., only 206,000l.; not 5 per cent, increase in the amount of revenue, but little more than one half per cent, realised in the attempt to impose 5 per cent, additional duty. In the depression of trade there may, undoubtedly, be circumstances sufficient to account for the expectations of the right hon. Gentleman not having been realised, but still, making every abatement for these causes of decrease, I think it impossible not to admit that 5 per cent, increase of duty on articles of consumption would not produce 5 per cent, in net amount to the revenue. At the same time the right hon. Gentleman's estimate with respect to the produce of the assessed taxes was fully realised. I know it may be said that full time has not been given for notifying the intention to discontinue some articles par-taking of the nature of assessed taxes; but, on the whole, I think we may disregard that circumstance, for although the notice of such discontinuance may not have taken full effect, yet the inference, I think, may be fairly drawn, that the right hon. Gentleman did not overdraw his estimate. The net produce of assessed taxes in 1840 was 2,758,000l.; the 10 per cent, additional being 275,000l., the estimated produce was 3,034,000l.; but the actual produce of the assessed taxes, including the additional 10 per cent, for the year ending the 5th of January, 1842, very far exceeded the right hon. Gentleman's estimate; for, instead of realising only 3,034,000l., as he calculated, 3,500,000l. was realised. From this perhaps I should make an abatement on account of the survey of windows. That new survey of windows produced an increase in the revenue of 430,000l.; consequently the increase in assessed taxes alone ought perhaps to be diminished to something like that amount; but still, if you make that abatement, you will find that the right hon. Gentleman's estimate was verified—there was an increase in the assessed taxes to the full amount he calculated, the increase being 311,000l., or 11½ per cent, was produced by the nominal imposition of 10 per cent, additional duty. I compare these two results—I compare the complete failure of the taxes on consumption, and the complete justification of the taxes upon something analogous to property. I find in the one case the estimate was verified, I find in the other it was disappointed. These are the results I feel it my duty to bring before the committee; but my immediate object was to adduce a proof that you had arrived, for purposes of revenue, at the limits of taxation upon articles of consumption. Then I say, making abatements on account of the depression of trade, I do not think any man can resist the conclusion which I draw, that to lay 10 per cent, additional on Customs and Excise will end in nothing but failure and disappointment. I have now discarded the notions of supplying the deficiency by incurring fresh debt. I have attempted to carry your conviction with me, while I have endeavoured to show that I cannot look to taxation on articles of consumption. Now, it is possible to resort to other expedients. Shall I revive old taxes that have been abolished, or impose new ones? Shall I restore the old postage duties? I do feel it to be necessary that you should adhere, not to the contract you have enter d into, but to observe the request I made at the commencement of my address—that you should suspend your judgment until you have heard the entire of my plan. I must deal with each of these questions step by step. What I ask is, that you should not condemn any individual proposition until you can judge of it in relation to the whole. Never doubting the social advantages of the reduction of the duty in postage, thinking that the duty as it existed was too high, and might fairly admit of reconsideration and reduction, I did nevertheless deprecate, in the then state of the finances, the reduction which took place to 1d. upon all letters. I do believe, if it were necessary, I could show to you that from the post-office you do not receive one farthing of revenue. If you will add the charge of the packets to the other expenses of the post-office, the account which will be presented to you will show a deficit in the revenue of the post-office. But when I state that, I do not undervalue the importance of the reduction in a moral and social point of view. I will not say, speaking with that caution with which I am sometimes taunted, but which I find a great convenience—I will not say that the post-office ought not to be a source of revenue. I will not say that it may not fairly become the subject of discussion; but I will say this, that I do not think the recent measure has had a complete and full trial; and I am so sensible of the many advantages which result from it, that I cannot recommend that in the present year we should attempt to alter it. I say again, notwithstanding all the taunts to which 1 have been exposed during the last month in consequence of my proposal in respect to the Corn-laws, that no man can feel a more intimate conviction than I do, that whatever be your financial difficulties and necessities, you must so adapt and adjust your measures as not to bear on the comforts of the labouring classes of society. My conviction further is, that it would not be expedient, with reference to the narrow interests of property, that that should be done. Well then, Sir, I must, with my sense of public duty, abandon the hope of realising in the present year any revenue from the post-office. Shall I revive the taxes which were laid upon great articles of consumption, and which were very productive? Shall I revive the taxes upon salt, upon leather, and upon beer? With respect to leather, for instance, I do not know that the reduction took place with perfect wisdom; I am very much afraid that the full amount of the reduction was not carried to the account of the consumer. I believe you omitted to take a step which you ought to have adopted concurrently with the reduction of the duty on leather—namely, to reduce the duty on the import of foreign hides. I am afraid you reduced the duty on leather in favour of a monopoly, and without benefit to the consumer. But the question is not now whether we shall reduce an existing duty; the question is whether we shall revive a duty that has been abolished, and on the faith of the abolition of which various contracts, numerous commercial and manufacturing arrangements, have been made. If I take the case of salt, for in. stance, I find that, since the reduction of duty, salt has been consumed in a variety of ways, in which its use was never before contemplated. On account of chymical discoveries and improvements, in consequence of the application of science to manufactures, salt now enters into a variety of products. The ground upon which the abolition of the duty was strongly urged was, the importance of facilitating the supply of salt to the working classes; bat, independently of their consumption, in my opinion it would be unwise to revive the duty on this article, on account of its extensive use in manufactures. There might be a danger of interfering with manufacturing industry, which would greatly check its prosperity; there would be a necessary system of drawback on account of the salt consumed, which would lead to opportunities of evasion and fraud, and increase the necessity tot larger excise establishments. I don't think, I need argue, therefore, against the revival of the duties on salt, leather, or beer. Shall I, then, resort to locomotion for the purpose of finding a substitute? (Shall I increase the taxes on railways? I confess nothing but a hard necessity would induce me to derive revenue from locomotion. In the present state of this country, when it is a great object to facilitate the transfer of labour, and to enable those to whom labour is capital to bring it to the best market—seeing the immense social advantages which result from the freedom of communication, not perhaps immediately visible, but still not the less real, I should contemplate with great reluctance and regret, the necessity of increased taxation upon railroads. Again, gas has been suggested as a proper object of taxation. I must say, I should be also unwilling to add to the taxes on gas. I range the taxes on locomotion and the taxes on gas-lights, on the same category with the taxes on salt—not that the same principle is exactly applicable: but I freely own, seeing the deficiency I have to supply, 1 should be unwilling to look for revenue either from locomotion or gas-lights. Shall I, then, look for any portion of this deficiency to any of those miserable dribblets of taxation which occupy the attention of provincial Chancellors of the Exchequer? There are those who seem to have nothing else to do but to suggest modes of taxation to men in office, and as I tried to discourage the applications to me for foreign consulships, and had thought of advertising with reference to Downing-street, I had no connection with the next door; I shall take this opportunity, with reference to these subjects of favourite occupation and amusement to those who in small communities turn their attention to financial affairs, and who fancy they have made some discovery that pretty nearly puts them on a level with Archimedes; when finding that piano-fortes, umbrellas, or such articles are not subject of taxation, they immediately suggest them to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, accompanied with a claim for a very large percentage on the ground of the novelty of their discovery and the certain success of its application,—I shall take this opportunity, of discouraging all such suggestions by assuring these volunteer financiers that men who are spending eight or ten hours a day in consideration of matters of finance are at least as likely to form an accurate judgment on such matters as those who suggest such pitiful propositions. There is another source, which adopting this process of exhaustion, I must not forget, which was brought for-ward and urged upon the House by the late Government, and to which I feel it my duty to refer. Shall I then hope for the increase of revenue from diminished taxation? Before I apply myself to this point, let me remind you of the extent of your deficit, the amount of the sum to be provided for, and the proof I have offered you that it is not an occasional or casual deficiency you have to make good. No one has greater confidence than I have in the ultimate tendency of reduction in taxation on the great articles of consumption, if wisely managed; but after giving to this subject the fullest consideration, I have come to the complete conviction that it would be mere delusion to hope for supplying the deficiency by diminished taxation on articles of consumption. I have a firm confidence that such is the buoyancy of the consumptive powers of this country, that we may hope ultimately to realise increased revenue from diminished taxation; but a long period must elapse before this end is attained, and I feel confident that the adoption of any plan like that proposed by the late Government, or the adoption of any other plan for raising revenue by means of diminished taxation, would not afford any immediate relief, or provide any resources on which we might rely for supplying the deficiency of the revenue. I have looked with considerable attention to the effect produced by a reduction of taxation upon. articles of considerable consumption, and I do perceive that in many cases that elasticity which gives, after the lapse of time, increased revenue, but in almost every instance—in all, I believe, without exception, the space of time which elapses, after reduction of taxation, before the same amount of revenue is realised, is very considerable. Let us take the case of wine. In 1825, the revenue derived from wine was 2,153,000/. The duty was reduced from 9s. 1¼d to 4s. 2¼d. the gallon; and in the next year after the reduction of the duty there was a falling-off of the duty from 2,100,000l. to 1,400,0002. In the next year, the duty amounted to 1,600,000l.; In the subsequent years to 1,700,000l., 1,400,000l., 1,500,000l., and the duly has never since realised its former amount. Upon tobacco, the duty was reduced from 4s. per lb. to 3s. per lb. Previous to the reduction of the duty, the revenue derived from tobacco amounted to 3,378,000l.; and immediately after the reduction, there was a falling off. It fell from 3,300,000l. to 2,600,000l., then it rose to 2,800,000l., and in the following years realised 2,700,000l., 2,800,000l., 2,900,000l., and again, 2,900,000l.; but the duty on tobacco has never recovered its former amount. The case generally relied on as showing the advantage of a reduction of duty on articles of consumption, is that of coffee. The duty on coffee was diminished from 1s. per lb. to 6d. per lb. This was in 1824, when the revenue received from coffee amounted to 420,000l. In the next year after the reduction the amount of duty fell to 336,000l., then to 399,000l., and in the third year the duty recovered itself, and has gone on advancing Still, even in this instance of coffee, which is by far the most favourable case, a period of three years elapsed before the full amount of duty was realised. The duty on hemp was reduced from 9s. 2d. per cwt. to 4s. 8d. At the time of the reduction, the revenue derived from hemp was 236,000l., and since then hemp has never yet paid but half that amount of duty. In the case of rum, there was an increase of revenue after the reduction of duty from 12s. 7d. per gallon to 8s. 6d. The duty on sugar was reduced from 27s. per cwt. to 24s. At the time of the reduction, the revenue derived from sugar amounted to 4,896,000l.; it then fell to 4,600,000l, to 4,300,000l., and then rose to 4,500,000l., and it has never since paid the same amount of duty. I do not think I need go through the whole of the articles in detail in which a reduction of duty has taken place. In addition to tobacco, hemp, sugar, and the articles I have mentioned, the duty was also reduced on glass, beer, soap, paper, on newspapers and advertisements; but I think, I need not refer to all these articles in detail. In many of these cases, there has been no considerable reduction of the amount of duty, but, with the exception of coffee, which realised the full amount of duty in the third year after the reduction, and rum, there is not a single article the duty on which has recovered itself within a period of five or six years after a considerable reduction. Therefore, on this ground, I am led to believe, that with respect to the present deficiency of the revenue, which it is necessary to supply, you cannot look to that supply from a mere reduction of duty upon articles of consumption; and if you resort to that as the only means of supplying the deficiency, you must make up your mind to continue the system, which I thought you were ready to abjure, of having recourse to loans and those other devices I have before alluded to, for the purpose of making up the defi- ciency. I trust that I have—I will not say, convinced you that none of those measures ought to be adopted, but that, at any rate, I have clearly explained the grounds on which I cannot be a party to their adoption. I will now state what is the measure which I propose, under a sense of public duty, and a deep conviction that it is necessary for the public interest; and impressed at the same time, with an equal conviction that the present sacrifices which I call on you to make will be amply compensated ultimately in a pecuniary point of view, and much more than compensated by the effect they will have in maintaining public credit, and the ancient character of this country. Instead of looking to taxation on consumption,— instead of reviving the taxes on salt or on sugar,—it is my duty to make an earnest appeal to the possessors of property, for the purpose of repairing this mighty evil. I propose, for a time at least, (and I never had occasion to make a proposition with a more thorough conviction of its being one which the public interest of the country required)—I propose, that for a time to be limited, the income of this country should be called on to contribute a certain sum for the purpose of remedying this mighty and growing evil. I propose, that the income of this country should bear a charge not exceeding 7d. in the pound; which will not amount to 3 per cent, but speaking accurately, 21. 18s. 4d. per cent; for the purpose of not only supplying the deficiency in the revenue, but of enabling me with confidence and satisfaction to propose great commercial reforms, which will afford a hope of reviving commerce, and such an improvement in the manufacturing interests as will re-act on every other interest in the country; and, by diminishing the prices of the articles of consumption, and the cost of living, will, in a pecuniary point of view, compensate you for your present sacrifices; whilst you will be, at the same time, relieved from the contemplation of a great public evil. [Interruption, and cries of "Order!"] I hope hon. Gentlemen will allow me to make the statement I have yet to lay before the House uninterruptedly. In 1798, when the prospects of this country were gloomy, the Minister had the courage to propose, and the people had the fortitude to adopt, an income-tax of 10 per cent. The income-tax continued to the close of the war in 1802; and in 1803, after the rupture of the peace of Amiens, a duty of 5 per cent was placed upon property. It was raised in 1805 to 6¼ per cent, and in 1806 again to 10 per cent; and so it continued to the end of the war. I propose that the duty to be laid on property shall not exceed 3 per cent, or, as I said before, exactly 21. 18s. 4d., being 7d. in the pound. Under the former tax, all incomes below 60l. were exempt from taxation, and on incomes between 60l. and 150l., the tax was on a reduced rate. I shall propose, that from the income-tax I now recommend all incomes under 150l. shall be exempt. Under the former income-tax, the amount at which the occupying tenants were charged, was estimated at three-fourths of the rent. It is admitted, I believe, that to calculate the profits of the tenants at the three-fourths of the rent, was too high an estimate. I propose, therefore, that in respect of the occupying tenant, the occupation of land shall be charged at one-half, instead of three-fourths of the rent. I believe this to be a perfectly fair reduction, and it was contemplated in 1816, when Lord Bexley proposed the renewal of the income-tax. I believe it to be a perfectly fair reduction, inasmuch as rents have increased in reference to the value of land in a proportion to justify it. I propose, for I see no ground for exemption, that all funded property, whether held by natives of this country or foreigners, should be subject to the same charge as unfunded property. This is the nature of the proposition which it is my intention, with the full and unanimous concurrence of my Colleagues, and with the deepest conviction on our parts that is wise and necessary, to submit to the House. Of course, the House will call on me for some estimate; the best I can form of the probable produce of this tax. I am sure that every Gentleman will admit that the means of forming an estimate are imperfect, but I will give the best I can make, and state as clearly as I can the grounds on which it is based. In 1814, which is the last year in respect to which we have returns, the income in Great Britain, assessed to the property-tax, was 170,000,000l. The property on which the income-tax was assessed, was comprised in five different divisions or schedules. The schedule distinguished by the letter A contained the property which was derived from land. It was divided into three classes;—the rent of land, the rent of houses, and the rent derived from tithes, quarries, mines, canals, and other similar descriptions of property. The property classed under the rent of land, in respect of which a duty was imposed, amounted to 39,400,000l. The rent of houses equalled 16,260,000l,; the profits from tithes, &c., 4,470,000l.; making a total value of the property derivable from lands of 60,130,000l. Schedule B contained the rent of land in respect of occupation by occupying tenants; and the amount of income on which the duty was imposed equalled 38,396,000l. Schedule C contained the income from public funds and similar securities, amounting to 30,000,000l. Schedule D contained the profits of trades and professions, amounting to 38,310,000l.; and schedule E the income of public officers, amounting to 11,744,000l. Now, I will in the first place deal with schedule A. As I said before, the rent of land is there stated at 39,400,000l. Now, I cannot doubt that the return of peace and the cessation of war prices must have had a considerable effect in reducing the rental of land; and, taking into consideration the effect of the restoration of the currency, the rental of land may probably at first have fallen far below that amount; but still, when I look at the improvement which agriculture has received from mechanism, and the effect of the application of science to land, I cannot but entertain a conviction that the present rental of land must be equal to the rental in the year 1814. I will, therefore, assume that the rental of land is at present equal to what it was in 1814; and put it down at 39,400,000l. The rent of houses in 1814, equalled 16,260,000l. I presume I am acting in accordance with the general opinion of this House in entering into these details. In 1814 the number of houses was 2,231,000.; in the present year the number has increased to 3,460,000. If the increase of rent be proportioned to the increased number of houses, I shall be justified in estimating the amount of income derived from the rental of houses at 25,000,000l. There is another principle on which I can form my calculation. I can take a proportion of rental which was valued to the house-tax, and compare it with the valuation for the purpose of the property-tax in 1814, and I find very nearly the same result. A calculation founded on the relation which the charge to the house-tax bore to the charge to the property-tax will give a present income of 25,000,000l. Forming an estimate, therefore, in either way, I calculate the present rental of houses at 25,000,000l. With respect to tithe, little doubt comparatively exists. As far as I can learn, from the information of the tithe commissioners, the amount of tithe is 3,500,000l. I find that the dividends, as far as I have been able to ascertain the fact, of railway companies, canals, and other property of a similar nature, amount to 3,429,000l. I do not think that the annual profits derived from mines and iron-works are more than 1,500,000l. Adding these three last mentioned sums together, the result is a total of 8,400,000l. I will now recapitulate the estimate of property in schedule A. I calculate the rent derivable from land at 39,400,000l., the rent of houses at 25,000,000l., tithe, railway shares, and mines, and other property of the same description, at 8,400,000l., which gives a total income in respect to which a tax is proposed to be imposed (subject to a limitation I shall presently mention) of 72,800,000l. I propose, however, that all incomes under 150l. shall be exempted from the tax. This is an immense deduction, being not less than one fourth of the total of the accessible property. Deducting that one fourth, the produce of the tax on the species of property included in schedule A will be 1,600,000l. Schedule B is the rent of lands in respect of occupancy. The sum assessed in 1814 was 38,396,000l., but in that year the value of tenants' occupancy was assumed to be three-fourths of the rent; whereas I take it at one-half of the rent. I assume, then, the rent of land which I can touch by my assessment, in the first instance, to be reduced to 26,000,000l., on account of that reduction from three-fourths to one-half. Then I must apply another exemption, namely, all tenants who derive profits less than 150l. a year. On that account I must make a further reduction; so that, upon the whole, I cannot calculate upon a greater amount of duty than 150,000l. from occupying tenants. The effect of this will be, as I calculate the profits at one-half, that a tenant who pays a rent of less than 300l. a year will be exempt from this tax, unless indeed be has other sources of income. I now come to schedule C. Schedule C comprises income from public funds and securities. The capital assessed under this head in 1814 was 30,000,000l. The payments in the year 1814 for dividends and interest of public funds and securities amounted to 29,400,000l. I think there cannot be a question that I ought to deduct the whole amount of payments on account of saving-banks. I must, there fore, on that account, make a deduction of 1,000,000l., which will give me a net income assessable to the property-tax from the public funds of 28,400,000l. To that I must add for the dividends on Bank Stock, India Stock, and Foreign Stock, the dividends of which are payable in this country, an amount of 1,500,000l., making a total amount of very nearly 30,000,000l. for the amount of payments in the year 1841. But again I must apply a deduction on account of all exempted incomes of less than 150l. a year. I deduct one-fourth on that account, and the estimated pro duce of the property-tax, arising from public funds and securities, is 646,000l. Schedule D, in 1814, contains income derived from the profits of trades and professions. Here it is exceedingly difficult to form an estimate which shall approach the truth. I find that the total exports and imports in 1814, compared with the total exports and imports in 1841, were in the ratio of 86 to 138 but the declared value of those exports bears only a ratio of 45 to 51. The quantity of British shipping, however, employed in commerce in the year 1814 was 1,990,000 tons, and in 1841 it was 3,292,000 tons. From this I cannot form an estimate upon very satisfactory grounds; but I think that the income derived from trades and professions in the present year cannot be far short of 56,000,000l. I deduct one-fourth on account of exempted income, and the produce of the tax upon the whole I calculate at 1,220,000l. Schedule E contains the income of all public officers. In 1814 the income of all public officers amounted to 11,744,000l. On account of the great reductions in our establishments which have taken place, a very great deduction must be made from the income of public officers. I do not think it could be safely estimated at more than 7,000,000l., instead of 11,744,000l. I again must deduct one-fourth for exemption; that leaves as assessable a sum of 5,250,000l., and the produce of the tax 155,000l. 1 will recapitulate the total estimated amount of duty from the application of a tax which I will take at 3 per cent., for the purpose of keeping the subject clear. Under
|Schedule A I calculate upon deriving||1,600,000|
|Making the total aggregate estimated receipts||£3,771,000|
I will now state what are the views of her Majesty's Government with respect to the duration of this duty, if it shall meet with the sanction of the House. I trust that Parliament will confirm the duration I am about to propose; and I trust that Parliament would not be unwilling, in case of necessity, to continue the duration of this tax for a period of five years. But still there may be, as there have been before, and of which I do not despair, those revivals of commercial prosperity, coupled with the measures which I am about to propose, that may make Parliament naturally anxious to have an opportunity of reconsidering the subject at an earlier period than that which I name; they may wish to have the opportunity of considering the operation of this tax at an earlier period than five years; and although I must contemplate the possibility, for public interests, of that duration, and although I trust that, in case the experiment should not be complete, Parliament would not hesitate to prolong it, yet I think, upon the whole, it is only just, in the first instance, to limit the experiment to a period of three years, in order to give Parliament an opportunity of continuing it at the end of that time, if necessary. I propose that it shall commence so that the 10th of October next shall be the first half year. 1 come now to consider a matter intimately connected with this, and of great importance just now, namely, the relation of Ireland to this country, with reference to this finance. In my opinion, if war should arise—I speak, of course, of some great European contest, calling upon this country to put forth all its energies—I will not hesitate to express my opinion, that in such a case Ireland ought to contribute, and I believe she would be desirous to contribute, her full share of the national expenditure. But when I am proposing a tax limited in duration in the first instance to a period of three years, and when the amount of that tax does not
exceed 3 per cent., I must, of course, consider, with reference to public interests, whether it be desirable to apply that tax to Ireland. 1 must bear in mind that it is a tax to which Ireland was not subject during the period of the war; that it is a tax for the levy of which no machinery exists in Ireland. One advantage of the tax here is, that I can raise the amount at less charge than any other kind of tax. The machinery is complete; but Ireland has no assessed taxes; the machinery there is wanting, and I should have to devise new machinery for a country to which the tax has never been applied; and although I claim for Parliament the entire right to apply to Ireland this tax, if such necessities as we have seen should require it, yet in the state of society in Ireland there is something peculiar, which makes the devising of machinery for its collection matter of grave consideration. At the same time, as no part of the empire will be more benefitted by the reductions which I am about to propose than Ireland, and as Ireland is united with this country, I think Ireland ought to bear a fair proportion of the public charges, and of that increased revenue which I am about to raise. If I find the means of raising from Ireland any thing which might be considered of about an equivalent amount to that which she would contribute under an Income-tax, I should not be reluctant to raise that amount by other means. I think I can suggest two modes. [ Slight interruption.] I have a very extensive theme to travel over, but I will not detain the House long, if you will favour me with as little interruption as possible. 1 can, I think, raise an amount very nearly equivalent to that, or perhaps quite, which Ireland would have to contribute by an Income-tax, perfectly consistent with the terms of the Act of Union, and without imposing any serious burden upon that country. I propose, in the first place, to levy a duty of 1s. a gallon upon spirits manufactured in Ireland, and I firmly believe that, by this means, a considerable revenue may be derived, not only without injury to the Irish distillers, and to Ireland itself, but with much positive advantage to them and to the country. I must shortly call the attention of the House to the state of the spirit duties. In England the duty upon spirits is 7 s. 10 d. a gallon; in Scotland the duty is 3 s. 8 d.; and in Ireland it is 2 s. 8 d. a gallon. If it were
possible to equalize the spirit duties in the three countries, great advantage would result from it. It would be of the utmost advantage to place all articles of produce of the three countries—the three constituent branches of this great empire—upon precisely the same footing, and do away with all this system of duty and drawback on the intercourse of the three countries, which leads to great frauds, and operates most prejudicially; and I think I can say conclusively, that so far from Ireland deriving any advantage from the diminished rate of duty, it has had a very prejudicial effect upon her commerce. As I said before, the duty on spirit in Ireland is 2 s. 8 d. a gallon, and 3 s. 8 d. in Scotland. What is the consequence? The Scotch distiller exports his spirits in bond, and on landing it in Ireland pays the Irish duty of 2 s. 8 d. a gallon; but the Irish distiller has no corresponding advantage in exporting his spirits to Scotland; and he pays upon its arrival there 1 s. duty on account of the increased duty in that country. The consequence is, that Ireland receives a large supply of spirits from Scotland, but sends no corresponding supply of spirits to Scotland. I cannot give a stronger proof of the evil that arises from different rates of duty applicable to different parts of the empire. Again, Ireland appears to have another nominal advantage on account of the drawback upon malt, but that, in fact, operates to the prejudice of Ireland. The Scotch distiller sends his spirits to England, but he has no drawback on account of malt, because the English distiller has none; but the Scotch distiller, in sending spirits to Ireland, has a drawback of 8 d., because the Irish distiller is entitled to a corresponding drawback. That again tells injuriously to the Irish distiller; and Ireland would itself derive a positive advantage, although paying a higher duty than at present, from equalizing the duty upon spirits between Ireland and Scotland. Of course it is desirable to consider what would be the probable amount of duty which I should derive from this change of the duty on spirits in Ireland. I believe that no one will deny that spirits are a fit subject for taxation, and that the limit to a tax on spirits is that rate at which it will yield the greatest revenue to the State. At any rate, it is no objection to a duty on spirits that it may encourage the consumption of other excisable articles of a less exciting and injurious nature.
The consumption of spirits in Ireland in the last year was 6,500,000 gallons. It increased very rapidly from the 5th of January, 1839, to the 5th of July, 1841, and with a surprising and most laudable constancy the people of that country, in the fulfilment of the engagement they have entered into, abstained from the consumption of that article. I am sorry however, to say, that the force of the temperance obligation appears to be relaxing in that country. It may have arisen from some other causes; but there has been an increase in the consumption of spirits from the 5th of July, 1841, to the present time. I have enquired most minutely into the probable effect which the increased duty of 1 s. might have in encouraging that great evil—illicit distillation; but from the opinion of competent authorities upon this subject, whom I have consulted, I think that spirits in Ireland will bear a corresponding rise to the amount of duty on spirits in Scotland without any risk of diminishing consumption, or giving encouragement to illicit distillation. If that be so, if an additional duty of 1 s. a gallon be paid, taking the annual consumption of spirits at what it is now, namely, 6,500,000 gallons, after de-ducting for some decrease in consumption and for an increased expense of supervision, I should hope to realize from spirits in Ireland an income of 250,000 l. The other source from which I contemplate deriving an additional income from Ireland is making with the tax on spirits an equivalent for that which I should have hoped to derive from a property-tax, is a source perfectly legitimate, and in its effect will, to a certain extent, fall upon property. I propose, in respect to the great mass of articles, particularly with respect to all those which are connected with property, to equalize the stamp duties in Ireland with those in this country. At the present time the duties are the same upon newspapers, marine insurance, policies, protests, and foreign bills of exchange. I propose not to increase the stamp duties in Ireland in all cases, for I propose no addition to the rate of duty upon advertisements, or upon leases just fallen in. In each country, both in Great Britain and Ireland, I propose to make some reductions in the stamp duty. On charter parties in every part of the United Kingdom I propose a reduction from 35 s. to 5 s. I propose also to reduce
the stamp duty on bills of lading in Great Britain and Ireland from 3 s., the present amount to 6 d. But I propose to raise Ireland to the English level, with respect to those stamp duties which affect property, and to make the contributions from Ireland equivalent to a contribution from a property-tax. I estimate that the equalization of stamp duties in Ireland to those of England, with the exception 1 have mentioned — namely, advertisements, which I do not propose to raise, is likely to produce 160,000 l.; add that amount from the stamp duties to the 250,000 l. from the spirit duties and the increased duty from Ireland will amount to 410,000 l., and I have the most perfect conviction that that is wiser and better, and more just under present circumstances, than to devise new machinery, and impose a property-tax in that country. At the same time, with respect to absentees from Ireland, I propose that they shall be subject to the Income-tax as if their estates were in England. If they find the burden onerous they can throw it off by returning to their own country, and by spending their income on their estates, they may escape the levy I propose. But speaking of regular professed absentees, living and spending their incomes in this country, without any call of public duty, I think the income they derive from Ireland ought to be subjected to the same impost as incomes derived from England. Sir, there is one other duty I mean to pro-pose. At present there is a duty imposed by law upon the export of coals in foreign ships of 4s. per ton. When that duty was imposed, it was the policy of the Legislature to encourage the employment of British vessels, and no duty was imposed on coal exported in British ships. Now, the operation of the reciprocity treaties, as no duty is levied on coals ex ported in British ships has been to exempt foreign ships from the duty which it was originally intended to levy on the export of coals, Sir, I must say I cannot conceive any more legitimate object of duty than coal exported to foreign countries. I speak of a reasonable and just duty, and I say that a tax levied on an article produced in this country — an element of manufactures—necessary to manufactures —contributing by its export to increase the competition with our own manufactures —I think that a tax on such an article is a perfectly legitimate source of revenue.
Sir, it is important to consider the rapid increase in the quantity of coal exported; in 1831 the quantity was 356,000 tons, the duty received being 50,000 l.; inl833, the quantity was 448,000 tons, the duty being 64,710 l.; in 1839, the quantity was 1,192,000 tons; in 1840, 1,307,000 tons; but the realised income, instead of being, as in 1833, 64,000 l., was only in 1840, 6,900 l.! Now, I do not intend to increase the duty. I wish not at all to prohibit the export of coals; but I propose that the duty at first intended to be levied on coals exported in foreign ships should be paid, and with this view I propose that the duty of 4 s. per ton shall be levied on coal exported in British, as well as in foreign ships, thus removing the exemption which under the reciprocity system the foreign ships claim, and also removing all grounds of complaint. If the duty of 4 s. shall be paid on the same number of tons as are now exported, I shall then derive an annual amount from this source of revenue of 200,000 l., not an in-considerable increase of revenue, and operating, as few taxes do, to the encouragement of native industry. Now, Sir, having stated to the House all the new taxes I mean to propose, perhaps it may be convenient to the House that I should briefly re-view the total amount. Of course I am speaking of the yearendingthe5th of April, 1843; as it is from the 5th of April, 1842, that I propose these taxes to commence with the exception of that on spirits, which (in order to avoid evasion) I must propose for adoption at the earliest possible period. Then, Sir, calculating with respect to the property-tax a receipt of 3,700,000 l. (dealing only, now, with round numbers) —from the stamp duties equalization 160,000 l., from the increase of spirit duties 250,000 l., and from the duty on the export of coal 200,000 l., I make the total 4,310,000 l. as the amount of annual estimated income derivable from the new imposts I propose. [Mr. Labouchere intimated across the Table that Sir Robert Peel had omitted an item of 70,000 l., to which the right hon. Baronet assenting, stated the amount then would be 4,380,000 l.] Now, Sir, I must deduct from this amount the estimated deficiency on actual votes, for which, of course, I must provide—that I take to be 2,570,000 l. leaving a surplus of 1,800,000 l. But then the House will bear in mind that this deficiency arises on votes for the
current year, and that there must be added the excess of expenditure on the China expedition, &c, which I cannot estimate at less than 800,000 l. Whatever measures also it will be necessary for us to adopt in respect to India must be deducted from the estimate; but for the present, with these reserves, and subject to such additional deductions, I calculate on a surplus of 1,800,000 l. after providing for the excess of expenditure on actual votes. Having that surplus, then, Sir, in what way shall we apply it? I propose to apply it, namely, in a manner which I think will be most conducive to the public interests, and most consonant with public feeling and opinion—by making great improvements in the commercial tariff of England, and in addition to these improvements to abate the duties on some great articles of consumption. Sir, I look to the tariff, and find that it comprises not less than 1,200 articles subject to various rates of duty. During the interval which I have been blamed for taking to consider the subject, I can only say, that each individual item in that tariff has been subjected to the most careful consideration of myself and Colleagues. In the case of each article we have endeavoured to determine, as well as we can the proportion borne by the duty to the average price of the article, for the purpose of ascertaining to what extent it may be desirable to make reductions of the several duties; and the measure which I shall propose will contain a complete review, on general principles, of all the articles of the tariff, with a very great alteration of many of the duties. We have proceeded, Sir, on these principles (observe, that I am speaking of general views; there may be individual articles which should form exceptions, but I wish a general result); first, we desire to remove all prohibition, and the relaxation of duties of a prohibitory character; next, we wish to reduce the duties on raw materials for manufactures to a considerable extent— in some cases the duty we propose being merely nominal, for the purpose more of statistical than revenue objects; in no case, or scarcely any, exceeding, in the case of raw materials, 5 per cent. I speak of course, in a general way. Then we propose that the duties on articles partly manufactured shall be materially reduced, never exceeding 12 per cent. Again, I say, I speak only as to general principles,
and without reference to particular cases that may be excepted; while as to duties on articles wholly manufactured we pro pose that they shall never exceed 20 per cent. These are the general views of the Government as to the maximum duties to be imposed, not referring to certain commodities which I will mention subsequently. The course we have pursued, Sir, is this:—We have arranged the whole tariff under twenty heads. Under the first head, for instance, including live animals, and provisions of all kinds; under the second, articles considered as spices; under the third, seeds; under the fourth, wood for furniture; under the fifth, ores, and other materials for manufactures; and without, Sir, going through all the immense mass of detail, I propose forthwith to lay before the House the amended tariff scheme. It is all prepared, it is arranged as clearly as possible under the twenty different heads, classing as nearly as practicable articles of a similar nature, each schedule arranged under five columns—the first giving the names of the articles, the second the present rate of duty, the third the amount of duty actually received during the year 1840, taken from the Import Duties Committee Report, the fourth the proposed rate of duty to be levied on articles imported from foreign countries, fifthly the proposed rates of duty on the imports from British colonial possessions. Now, Sir, it appears that I could not lay before the House my project in any clearer way than in the one I intend. To attempt to go through all the provisions of my plan, at present, would increase my labour too much, and too greatly fatigue the House. Here, Sir, is the new tariff, arranged under the twenty different heads I mentioned; and on Monday morning all those engaged in commerce and manufactures throughout the country will have the opportunity of seeing what are the duties which the Government intend to propose. [The right hon. Baronet laid the paper on the Table.] Now, Sir, speaking generally, as I said before, I think that out of the 1,200 articles in the tariff, it is proposed to reduce the duty on 750—on all those articles which enter into manufactures as chief constituent materials. There remain about 450 articles on which it does not appear necessary for the interests of commerce and for the interests of consumers to make any deduction of duty. But on
750 duties out of 1,200 I do propose reductions, some of them most material. Now, there are some very important articles on which we do not propose any reductions; partly from considerations of revenue exclusively; partly on this account, that we found, on entering office, there were negotiations pending with many states in respect to proposed commercial treaties, and we have done all we could to continue those negotiations, commencing also some with other states. We have at this moment a treaty pending, commenced under the auspices of the noble Lord opposite, with Portugal, and I firmly believe, had it not been for recent events disturbing the peace of that country, this treaty would ere this have been completed. We have opened communications with Spain for the purpose of forming a commercial treaty with that country, strongly urging on that country the policy of encouraging international commerce. As to this treaty, I can say nothing more at present than that the proposition was favourably received by the Spanish government. We have, further, negotiations pending with Sardinia and with Naples; we have commercial treaties arranging with some of the South American states; we have, moreover, intimated to France our earnest desire to resume negotiations for the completion of a commercial treaty, founded on principles, as I believe, of reciprocal benefit, and having a tendency to strengthen the ties of amity and friendly feeling between the countries. This treaty which was nearly completed by the noble Lord, I must wish had been carried into effect by him, believing most sincerely that France and England would, morally as well as commercially, have derived the greatest benefit from it. I know not which country would have benefited most. There is the opportunity of materially benefiting the industry and trade of both countries by the relaxation of present duties—would the prejudices of the French people admit of it, the benefit resulting to one country would re-act beneficially on the other, to an extent not to be estimated. I think it however right, adhering to strict truth, to add that I can offer no prospect as to the probable period at which this treaty may be ratified, but with my conviction of the reciprocal benefits certain to result from it, I sincerely hope that the public mind in France will support the Government of that country in
carrying it out. Now, while these treaties are pending, there are several articles, wine and brandy for instance, which would enter into discussions with these states, and in respect to the duties on which, therefore, I shall humbly advise the House not at present to make any material relaxation. I will not now enter upon the question as to whether it be or be not wise to make reductions of duty on imports without obtaining an assurance of corresponding relaxations from the countries benefitted by our reduction of duty, but I must say, that when we make such reductions on articles imported, we ought to do our utmost to procure from foreign countries benefitted thereby corresponding advantages for England. Nor can I deem it wise to diminish the hope of satisfactorily arranging these relaxations with foreign nations by rashly reducing the amount of duties on articles which must form the bases of negotiation. 1 do not, therefore, propose any reduction in the amount of duties on brandy, wines, &c, though I hope that they may be reduced when corresponding relaxations are made by other countries benefitted by our reductions. These observations are applicable to various kinds of fruits on which I should be desirous of remitting duties, but on which, as they form the subject of negotiations with some foreign powers, I propose to retain the present rates of duty, in order to facilitate our negotiations for the remission of duties on British manufactures and commerce. I do not think it necessary to enumerate other articles with respect to which no alteration will be made. The tariff will soon be in the hands of hon. Members, and will furnish them with the requisite information. Now, Sir, these various reductions removals of prohibitions, or relaxations of duties, on articles such as oil, ores, &c,— these reductions having a tendency to remove the burdens upon commerce, and increase its buoyancy—and producing as they will, I firmly believe, advantages to commerce and manufactures far exceeding in proportion the loss to the revenue, will consume about 270.000 l. of the surplus I have mentioned. Sir, I have been speaking of reductions of duty on articles entering into manufactures; I now address myself to the consideration of reductions in duties on great articles of consumption. Sir, the chief articles of consumption to which duties refer are (independently of
wines, &c.) sugar, coffee, and tea. I wish I had it in my power to state to the House, that her Majesty's Government could propose to Parliament such an alteration in the duties on sugar as would be likely to afford a large measure of advantage to the consumer. I do not deny, that if we were wholly unembarrassed by the question of the slave-trade, that I should have felt it my duty to propose a considerable alteration on this subject; but, looking at our position with reference to our own West India colonies, and having due regard to our relations with foreign states, and bearing in mind the treaties into which we have entered, I confess I do not see how it would be possible for me with justice or with safety, to propose any modification of the duties now collected from sugar; at the same time I am quite prepared to admit that this is a department susceptible of some change. The proposition which I shall have to make will be, not like the measure proposed in the last Session of Parliament, which would have had the effect of exposing sugar, the produce of British possessions, to foreign competition; but, on the contrary, one which will protect the British producer, while, as I hope, it will do no injury to the consumer. If I did reduce the duties on sugar, 1 trust that the reduction would be such as to ensure an increased consumption at a diminished charge. I need scarcely remind hon. Members, that it is of the utmost importance so to limit these changes as that the profit shall fall, not into the hands of the retail dealer, or rather, I should say, that the whole advantage of the remission of duties should accrue to the consumer alone. I cannot consent, neither can those with whom I have the honour to act acquiesce, in any arrangement the effect of which would be to permit the accession or the import of sugar into this country, the produce of Brazil or of Cuba, without making some effort for the purpose of restraining that trade which this country has so long and so vigorously resisted. I retain the opinion which I formerly expressed upon this subject—that I do not believe it would be consistent with the honour and character of this country to take any course, however strong the motive for its adoption, the tendency of which would be to give the remotest sanction or encouragement to that traffic; but, on the contrary, to spare no pains and evade no sacrifice
which could with safety and justice be made for the purpose of effecting its abolition, or, as far as our power extended, of mitigating its severity. Considering then the peculiar circumstances of our position with respect to the slave-trade, I cannot think it would be for the honour, the character, or the advantage of this country that we permit a competition between sugar the produce of British possessions, and the sugar of foreign colonies produced by slave-labour. Is it politic to adhere to the principle of reducing the duty on sugar the produce of British possessions alone? I greatly doubt the policy of any such reduction. If there could be a free competition, then I should say, that the case would be most materially altered. Nothing can be more evident than that it would be greatly to the advantage of the West India proprietors, that her Majesty's Government should encourage the growth of their sugar by a considerable remission of duties; but while sugar received only that support which was at present conceded to it, it should not be forgotten that the trade in sugar partook in some degree of the nature of a monopoly, and therefore am I afraid to reduce the duty. I am afraid, as the supply is limited, that the cost price to the consumer would not be reduced. I am afraid, that such reduction would operate, not as a relief to the consumer, but a bonus to the West India proprietor; and though I do not disguise from myself the advantage of reducing the duty on sugar, yet, after every consideration which I have been able to give the subject, I am not able to communicate views differing from those which I expressed last year. There are, I confess, some circumstances from which I derive consolation in adhering to these views; I find that in the year 1841, there has been a very material increase in the consumption of sugar the produce of British possessions. I shall now proceed to lay before the House a short statement, showing the recent consumption of sugar, and the amount of duty collected from the importation of that commodity. In the year 1840, that is, the year ending the 5th of January, 1841, the quantity of sugar imported from British possessions was 4,035,000 cwt. In 1841, viz., the year ending on the 5th of January, 1842, the importation of sugar amounted to 4,880,000 cwt. The quantity of sugar imported for home consumption in the
year 1840 was 3,594,000 cwt. In 1841 it was 4,058,000 cwts. The gross amount of duty collected in the year 1840 was 4,465,000 l. In 1841 the duty collected amounted to 5,120,000 l. Thus it will be seen that the duties, without the addition of the foreign sugars, correspond as nearly as possible with the calculation made last year by the right hon. Gentleman opposite; but the House would, of course, see that the consumption of the present exceeded the consumption of last year, and the total amount imported from British pos sessions in the East Indies in the current year exceeded the importations of the pre ceding season. It is almost needless to observe that the imports afford the best data which we can possess for the purpose of forming an estimate of the probable supply for the ensuing year. There is at present, or I should say there was on the 5th of the present month, in London, of British plantation, Mauritius, and East Indian sugar 410,000 cwt., while in the out ports the quantity was 180,000 cwt. The total quantity then in warehouse in this country was 590,000 cwt. On the expected imports of sugar during the year 1843 I have sought the best information, and consulted those on whose judgment I have good reason to rely. The result of the communications which I have held upon the subject lead me to the conclusion that as nearly as possible the imports of sugar in the next year may be estimated at 2,400,000 cwt. from the West Indies, 800,000 cwt. from the Mauritius, and 1,700,000 cwt. from the East Indies, making a total of 4,900,000 cwt. Now. if we add to this the quantity at present in warehouse in England, namely 590,000 cwt., we have for the consumption of the year 1843 a quantity of sugar which might fairly be estimated at 5,490,000 cwt. The amount of sugar taken out for home consumption in the present year was 4,040,000 cwt.; now that would leave a surplus over the largest quantity ever derived from British colonies of not less than 122,000 cwt. The statements which I have made are founded upon the best and the most accurate information which it was in my power to obtain, but I do not mean to say that it warrants a conclusive argument against the principle of permitting foreign competition in the article of sugar, supposing always that we were not embarrassed by the question of slavery; but 1 am happy to say that the opinion expressed by
Government as to the anticipated reduction in the price of sugar, and the increase to the revenue without resorting to foreign supplies, has been fully realised. I am quite aware that other questions have arisen with respect to the application of our efforts towards laying a foundation for the gradual abolition of slavery, in the success of which the country is much interested, and the success of which is of the highest importance to the honour, the good faith, and the prosperity of Great Britain. Imputations on the honour and good faith of the country have been thrown out in reference to the efforts which we have made to accomplish the total abolition of slavery. One of the fairest and most obvious modes by which charges of that nature may be answered is, to avoid anything which could be construed into an encouragement, direct or indirect, of the slave trade; therefore am I disinclined to incur the risk of doing anything that could tend to increase the horrors of slavery. On those grounds, then, I adhere to the opinion which I expressed in the course of last year, and which I repeat on the present occasion, that I am opposed to the reduction of the duty on sugar while it partakes of the character of a monopoly. I now come to two articles of very general consumption—coffee and timber. With respect to both of those I trust that the propositions that I shall have to make will be more generally acceptable. I am sorry to say that though there has been an increase in the consumption of sugar, there has been a decrease in the consumption of coffee. In the year 1840 the home consumption of coffee was 2,870,0001b. In 1841 it was 2,844,1001b. The gross amount of duty received in the former year was 922,000 l., and in the latter 880,000 l. The duty on foreign coffee is 1 s. 3 d., while on coffee produced in British possessions the duty is only 6 d., and the duty on coffee produced in territories comprehended within the limits of the East India Company's Charter is 9 d. Will the House do me the favour to look for a moment at the effect of this condition of our fiscal regulations? Coffee the produce of Brazil and Hayti is conveyed to the Cape of Good Hope, and thence transmitted to England, in order that it may come in at a duty of 9 d. This, with 1 d. for the charges of freight, places foreign coffee under a burden of 10 d., when coffee the produce of British possessions pays 6 d. Now, it appears to
me in this case the wisest, the fairest, and the best policy to make a reduction on great articles of consumption, instead of several of smaller amount on articles of minor importance. I desire to make the reduction considerable, and I desire at the same time to make it effectual, and the mode in which I propose to accomplish this is, by imposing two simple duties, and to get rid of the absurdity of sending coffee from Brazil and Hayti to take a voyage to the Cape of Good Hope before it comes to England. I thus appear to myself to get rid of the charges of freight, and to place the provisions respecting the importation of coffee upon a simple and intelligible basis. I intend that coffee the produce of British possessions shall come in at a duty of 4 d., and that all foreign coffee shall pay 8 d. I shall now proceed to calculate the probable loss to the revenue from this arrangement. In the year 1841 the quantity of coffee imported from our own possessions was 463,0001b. The supply of foreign coffee during the same period was 10,849,0001b. Now, with the altered duty I find, upon the most accurate estimate which can be made of the probable loss, that it will uot exceed 171,000 l. The whole of the calculation into which I have entered stands thus:—
The Revenue for 1841, derived from the present duties, viz.
|From British possessions,17,571,884lb. at 6d.||463,699|
|— Foreign countries, 10,899,0961b. at 9d 1s. and 1s. 3d||427,947|
|Revenue received in l841||891,646|
Assuming no increased consumption, the Revenue at the two duties of 4 d. and 8 d. would be—
|From British possessions, 17,571,8841b. at 4d.||292,864|
|— Foreign countries, 10,849,0961b. at 8d.||361,636|
|Revenue for 1842-3||654,500|
|Revenue for 1841||891,646|
|Loss, assuming no increase of consumption||237,146|
|Assuming that the increase of consumption will be 10 per cent., viz. producing||65,450|
|Probable loss of revenue||171,696|
Adding this loss to that which I have already estimated will be incurred by the reduction of the duty on articles consumed in manufactures—namely, the sum of 270,000 l., it will show a total decrease of 441,000 l. in the revenue now obtained
from the necessaries of life. The other great article to which it is necessary that. I should now direct the attention of the House is the article of timber. I am anxious to begin by applying as much as possible of the surplus revenue to the reduction of the duty on timber, but here again I find myself considerably embarrassed by our relations with Canada. The present rate of duty on foreign timber is 55 s. a load, but the duty on timber is now levied in a complicated and unfair way. And in taking the average amount of duty on foreign timber, including the duty on deals, staves, and laths, taking the whole together, the aggregate amount will not exceed 41 s. a load. The duty on colonial timber is 10 s. a load, and here also the average duty may be taken at 8 s. or 9 s. a load. It appears to me, that it would be of the utmost advantage, if you make a reduction in the duty on timber, to let it be such a reduction that the consumer should be certain of deriving some benefit, from it, and then to make the reduction in such a way that, in the peculiar position of the Canadas, and knowing the importance attached by them to the timber trade, we should not suddenly, or indeed not at all, affect the interests of those colonies; and I think there can be a mode suggested if the House will consent to a considerable loss of present revenue, by which the object to which I have alluded may be attained. If I am correct in supposing that the amount of duty upon foreign timber does not exceed 41 s. per load, the scope within which I can act is somewhat limited. There have been various measures proposed upon this subject. That measure which I must confess appeared to me to offer the greatest objection, was that proposed last year by Government, and which offered the slightest possible relief to the public. By the measure of last year, it was proposed to reduce the duty on foreign timber, but to increase that on Canadian timber. I am going to act on a totally different view. I wish to put all political considerations on one side. I am anxious to avoid, as far as possible, those paltry objects which sink into nothing when I consider the immense interests which are at stake. The measure of last year proposed no relief to the consumer, and no addition to the revenue. My object, having a surplus to deal with, is to consider how 1 can deal with it to
the greatest advantage to the consumer— how, without inflicting any injury on Canada, I can secure the most substantial benefit to this country, to the manufacturing, to the commercial, and to the agricultural interests. It appears to me, that if there is one article more than any other, on which a great reduction of duty is likely to prove beneficial to the public, it is this. It may not offer such plausible promises as some other reductions that might be proposed. It may, for instance, be represented to the working classes that this is a reduction of duty from which they will derive no benefit. But that would be a very false and superficial view of the subject. The real way in which we can benefit the working and manufacturing classes is, unquestionably, by removing the burden that presses on the springs of manufactures and commerce. I should propose—as I believe the aggregate average duty upon foreign timber does not exceed 41 s. I should propose, in order that the reduction may be carried out to a sufficient extent to benefit the consumer, that for the present, the duty on foreign timber, as distinguished from deals, should be reduced to 30 s. I should propose, that for the present year, that is to say, the year ending 5th April, 1843, the duties on deals should be reduced to 35 s. But I propose to make a total change in the mode of collecting the duties, and to place all the ports of the Baltic on the same footing. I propose, that in future the duty shall be estimated by cubical measurement, instead of the cumbrous, injurious, and unfair mode by which the tax is at present levied. In the year after next I propose —for I am anxious to prevent the possibility of inflicting any injury on Canada; in the committee which sat in 1835, Lord Sydenham held out a distinct prospect to the Canadians, that no sudden measure should be adopted calculated to injure the timber trade of that country;—it is therefore the intention of her Majesty's Ministers to evince no disposition in the reduction which they should feel it their duty to make, to impose any disadvantage on the inhabitants of Canada. I stated last year, on the subject of the timber duties, that I should reserve my opinion with regard to them, until I should see how an alteration of them would affect our colonies, and particularly until I should consider its effect on our political relation with the important province of Canada. I
still maintain, that the utmost caution should be exhibited in our relations with Canada, and that nothing should be rashly done that may be likely to affect injuriously the interests of its inhabitants. With this feeling I propose an alteration in the timber duties, and shall be anxious to benefit the Canadian as well as the British consumer. On these grounds I propose, that after the 5th of April, 1843, the duty on foreign timber should be reduced to 25 s. a load; that the duty on deals should, at the same time, be reduced to 30 s., and that the duty on lath wood should be reduced to 20 s. If the House will consent to make this reduction in the duty on foreign timber—and there is none more likely to encourage the commercial interests of the country—it will be necessary to consider how our relations with Canada stand with respect to the timber trade. With respect to those possessions, with which I trust this country will ever maintain the most friendly relations, I think it desirable that we should act on the principle of treating Canada as if it were an integral part of the empire. The distance of Canada from this country, and the cost of bringing timber to this country, must in itself necessarily place Canada Under a great disadvantage in her commerce in that article with this country; and, therefore, I think if the duty on timber be reduced to 2 s., and the duty on foreign deals to 3 s., it appears to me if that reduction be made, that we have no alternative but to admit Canadian timber into this country at an almost nominal duty. Sir I propose that the duty upon colonial timber be reduced to 1 s. a load, that the duty upon deals be reduced to 2 s. a load, and that the duty on lath wood shall be reduced to 3 s. a load. Now, I shall say at once that the adoption of this measure cannot fail to produce a great loss of revenue, but having made a reduction in the duty on articles that enter into the elements of manufactures, I cannot see any more beneficial reduction than a reduction of the duty levied upon timber. The total loss, in consequence of this reduction in the duty on timber, will, I estimate, amount to 600,000 l. If the House wish it I will go through the details of the calculations by which I arrive at this conclusion. I am ready to go into these details, but I own I should be glad to be spared them, as I shall be glad to spare the House the trouble of listening to them. There are two, and only two, other great reduc-
tions of duty to which I wish to call the attention of the House, and I cannot help thinking that on these I shall carry the unanimous opinion of the House with me. Sir, there are at present levied certain duties on the export of British manufac-tures—duties, Sir, which I think are contrary to a sound principle of legislation; and these duties I find amount to the sum of 108,000 l. a-year. Part of these duties arise from the export of woollens and of yarns which are exported to countries with which we have no reciprocity treaties.
|I find the duty on woolen manufactures amounts annually to||£30,000|
|That on linen yarns to||4,000|
|On silks to||4,800|
|On manufactured iron to||24,000|
|On some other articles to||9,000|
|On earthenware to||8,000|
|On provisions to||5,200|
To these may be added for some minor articles about 20,000 l. giving a total of upwards of 100,000 l. a-year. Now, Sir, I propose to remit altogether the export duties on British manufactures, and thus there will be incurred a loss of revenue at 103,000 l. a-year. "There is another and a different class of duties that I think unjust, and towards the removal of which I think a part of the surplus should be applied. In the first place, I will call your attention to the duty upon stage-coaches: and in dealing with this question you must consider the amount of competition which the proprietors of these coaches have to contend against, especially on those lines of road where railways have been established. To make that competition more difficult, you subject them to unjust taxation. As I said before, I am unwilling to place any new tax on locomotion; but I am anxious to propose the remission of existing encumbrances. At present, railways pay to the State only one-eighth of a penny a mile for every passenger, and, speaking of the pre- sent year, I do not propose any augmentaon to this tax. I do not mean to say that these duties are too low; but, when the duty on stage-coaches is considered, I say stage-coaches pay a great deal too much. The rate of mileage imposed on stage-coaches, if licensed to carry not more than six persons, is one penny a mile; if licensed to carry not more than ten persons, three halfpence a mile; if not more than thirteen, twopence, and if not more than sixteen, three pence. Then, in addition to this, there is a license
duty of 5 s., besides the assessed taxes on coachmen and guards. On railroads, no corresponding taxes are imposed. I shall propose, that stage coaches be subjected to a uniform mileage of 1½ d., that the licence be reduced to 3 s., and that the assessed taxes on coachmen and guards be taken off altogether. This proposition, if assented to by Parliament, will lead to a loss of revenue amounting to 61,000 l.; but it is a loss which, I feel persuaded, can be vindicated on principles of strict and impartial justice. I also propose to take off the duty imposed upon persons who are in the habit of letting job carriages, and this will lead to a loss in the revenue of 9,000 l., making a total loss in the revenue of 70,000 l. on account of stage coaches. I will now shortly review the whole of the financial arrangements which I have detailed.
|The estimated deficiency of this Year is||£2,570,000|
|The reduction in the various articles of the tariff, to the number of 750, will not be more than||270,000|
|The loss on coffee I estimate at||170,000|
|That on timber at||600,000|
|The repeal of the export duty on British manufactures will occasion a loss of||100,000|
|And the reduction of the duties on stage coaches will lessen the revenue by||70,000|
|Making a total deficiency in the public income, in consequence of the proposed reductions of||£3,780,000|
The loss of 3,780,000 l., deducted from the estimated revenue to be derived from the new taxes, and which is calculated at 4,300,000 l., will leave a surplus of 520,000 l. to meet the increased estimate which I may have to propose on account of India; to meet the increased charge which may be necessary to prosecute the war with China; to meet any increased reduction of duty which it may be necessary to propose on account of the completion of commercial treaties with other countries. I believe I have now concluded the task I have undertaken. If I have been enabled clearly (which is all I have aimed at)—clearly and fully to develope the views of her Majesty's Government, I am greatly indebted for that success to the very kind and patient attention with which the House has listened to the exceedingly long, and, I am afraid, in some respects, tedious details with which
I have been compelled to enter. I have laid before you, without reserve, the whole plan of the Government. I have given you a full, an explicit, an unreserved, but I hope, an unexaggerated statement of the financial embarrassments in which we are placed. There are occasions when a Minister of the Crown may, consistently with honour and with good policy, pause before he presses upon the Legislature the adoption of measures which he believes to be abstractedly right; he may have to en counter differences of opinion amongst Colleagues whom he esteems and respects; he may sincerely believe it to be for the public interest that the Government of which he is a Member should retain power, and that, therefore, he should not hazard its existence, by proposing a measure which might not ultimately succeed, and thereby endanger the safety and security of his Government; he may, on comparing the consequence of exciting and agitating the country by discussion upon a measure in which he may not ultimately succeed, think it possible that there is a disadvantage in proposing that which he believes to be abstractedly right, for the evil of fruitless agitation may possibly countervail the enunciation of a right principle. But there are occasions, and this is one of them, upon which a Government can make no compromise—there are occasions, and this is one of them, upon which it is the bounden duty of a Government to give that counsel to the Legislature which it believes to be right—to undertake the responsibility of proposing those measures which it believes to be for the public ad vantage, and to devolve upon the Legislature the responsibility of adopting or rejecting those measures. I have performed on the part of her Majesty's Government my duty. I have proposed with the full weight and authority of the Government, that which I believe to be conducive to the public welfare. I now devolve upon you the duty, which properly belongs to you, of maturely considering and finally deciding on the adoption or rejection of the measures I propose. We live in an important era of human affairs. There may be a natural tendency to overrate the magnitude of the crisis in which we live, or those particular events with which we are ourselves conversant; but I think it is impossible to deny that the period in which our lot and the lot of our fathers has been cast — the period which has
elasped since the first outbreak of the first French revolution—has been one of the most memorable periods that the history of the world will afford. The course which England has pursued during that period will attract for ages to come the contemplation and, I trust, the admiration of posterity. That period may be divided into two parts of almost equal duration; a period of twenty-five years of continued conflict— the most momentous which ever engaged the energies of a nation—and twenty-five years, in which most of us have lived, of profound European peace, produced by the sacrifices made during the years of war. There will be a time when those countless millions that are sprung from our loins, occupying many parts of the globe, living under institutions derived from ours, speaking the same language in which we convey our thoughts and feelings —for such will be the ultimate results of our wide-spread colonisation — the time will come when those countless millions will view with pride and admiration the example of constancy and fortitude which our fathers set during the momentous period of war. They will view with admiration our previous achievements by land and sea, our determination to uphold the public credit, and all those qualities by the expedition of which we were enabled ultimately, by the example we set to foreign nations, to ensure the deliverance of Europe. In the review of the period, the conduct of our fathers during the years of war will be brought into close contrast with the conduct of those of us who have lived only during the years of peace. I am now addressing you after the duration of peace for twenty-five years. I am now exhibiting to you the financial difficulties and embarrassments in which you are placed; and my confident hope and belief is, that following the example of those who preceded you, you will look these difficulties in the face, and not refuse to make similar sacrifices to those which your fathers made for the purpose of upholding the public credit. You will bear in mind that this is no casual and occasional difficulty. You will bear in mind that there are indications amongst all the upper classes of society of increased comfort and enjoyment—of increased prosperity and wealth, and that concurrently with these indications there exists a mighty evil which has been growing up for the last seven years, and which
you now are called upon to meet. If you have, as I believe you have, the fortitude and constancy of which you have been set the example, you will not consent with folded arms to view the annual growth of this mighty evil. You will not reconcile it to your consciences to hope for relief from diminished taxation. You will not adopt the miserable expedient of adding, during peace, and in the midst of these indications of wealth and of increasing prosperity, to the burdens which posterity will be called upon to bear. You will not permit this evil to gain such gigantic growth as ultimately to place it far beyond your power to check or control. If you do permit this evil to continue, you must expect the severe but just judgment of a reflecting and retrospective posterity. Your conduct will be contrasted with the conduct of your fathers, under difficulties infinitely less pressing than theirs. Your conduct will be contrasted with that of your fathers, who, with a mutiny at the Nore, a rebellion in Ireland, and disaster abroad, yet submitted, with buoyant vigour and universal applause (with the funds as low as 52), to a property-tax of 10 per cent. I believe that you will not subject yourselves to an injurious or an unworthy contract. It is my firm belief that you will feel the necessity of preserving in violate the public credit—that you will not throw away the means of maintaining the public credit by reducing in the most legitimate manner the burden of the public debt. My confident hope and belief is, that now, when I devolve the responsibility upon you, you will prove yourselves worthy of your mission—of your mission as the representatives of a mighty people; and that you will not tarnish the fame which it is your duty to cherish as the most glorious inheritance—that you will not impair the character for fortitude, for good faith, which, in proportion as the empire of opinion supersedes and pre dominates over the empire of physical force, constitutes for every people, but above all for the people of England— I speak of reputation and character— the main instrument by which a powerful people can repel hostile aggressions and maintain extended empire. The right hon. Baronet concluded by moving the following resolution:—
" That, towards raising the supply granted to her Majesty, there shall be charged, levied, collected, and paid upon every gallon of spirits of the strength of hydrometer proof, which shall, on or after the eleventh day of March one thousand eight hundred and forty-two, be distilled in Ireland, or be in the stock, custody, or possession of any distiller in Ireland, or which having been distilled in Ireland or Scotland, shall on or after that day be in warehouse
Financial Documents Quoted By Sir Robert Peel
|ESTIMATE OF EXPENDITURE ACCORDING TO THE ACTUAL VOTES, INCLUDING ORDNANCE SUPPLEMENTAL VOTE.|
|Mr. Baring's estimate for the year ending 5th April 1812||£||£|
|Actual produce from 5th April, 1841, to 26th February, 1842||43,730,044|
|Estimated receipts from 26th February, 1842, to 5th April, 1842(same as last year)||4,323,639|
|Actual amount from 5th April, 184l, to 26th February, 1842||47,287,633|
|Estimated amount from 26th February to 5th April, 1842||3,100,609|
Estimated Income for the present year 1842–43.
|Total Estimated Income||£48,350,000|
Estimated Expenditure for the year ending April 5, 1843.
|Debt funded and unfounded.|
|Interest on management of the||£||£|
|Total Charge of the funded debt, exclusive of the interests on do nations and bequests||28,704,667|
|Interest on Exchequer Bills||722,783|
|Other charges on the Consolidated Fund. Civil List||390,730|
|Annuities and pensions for civil, naval, military, and judicial services, charged by various Acts of|
in Ireland, and be taken out of warehouse for consumption in Ireland, or which having been taken out of warehouse in Scotland for removal to Ireland, shall on or after that day be brought into Ireland, an additional duty of one shilling.
|Parliament on the Consolidated Fund||617,000|
|Salaries and allowances||254,000|
|Diplomatic salaries and pensions Judicial service||187,000|
|Miscellaneous Charges on the Consolidated Fund||191,300|
|Total Charges on the Consolidated Fund||31,795,480|
|Services to be voted in Supply.|
|Miscellaneous, chargeable on the annual grants of Parliament||2,800,000|
|Insurrection in Canada||108,000|
|China Expedition 500,000|
|The estimated charge for the year ending April 5, 1842, made up after all the estimates were voted was||50,777,432|
|Actual expense of Chinese operations, estimate||1,500,000|
|Exclusive of vote for year ending April,1843||£1,000,000|
|EXPENSE OF CHINA EXPEDITION|
|Arrears of sums due to the East India company on the 30th April, 1841||708,755|
|Grant made in the Session of 1840||172,442|
|Arrears of former year to be provided in 1841||535,313|
|Estimate of expenditure to the 1st April, 1842||658,379|
|Total charge to April, 1842||1,193,692|
|To which have been applied— Grant of Parliament in Session 1841||400,000|
|Arrears due on 1st April, 1842||175,262|
|Estimate expense of year ending April,1843, is 1,500,000l, on account of which it is proposed to vote||500,000|
|Total to be voted for China in 1842.||£675,262|
|ESTIMATE OF INCOME AND EXPENDITURE, SHOWING THE PROBABLE DEFICIENCY FOR THE YEAR ENDING 5TH APRIL, 1843.|
|That deficiency will arise on the votes for the year.|
|The real deficiency will exceed it.|
|The estimate of the expense for China for 1842-3 cannot be less than 1,200,000l.—may be 1,500,000l.||£|
|Take the lowest sum||1,200,000|
|The estimate for this year||500,000|
|Credit pledged for Canadian loan||1,500,000|
|Canadian fortifications 100,000l. a-year, provided for Indian finance.|
An ACCOUNT of the DEFICIENCY of the INCOME of the UNITED KINGDOM, for the Years ending the 5th of January and 5th of April, 1838,1839, 1840, and 1841, with the estimated AMOUNT of the DEFICIENCY for the Year ending the 5th of January and 5th of April, 1842.
|Years.||Ending Jan. 5.||Ending April 5.|
|1843 (certain deficiency)||2,570,000|
|Total deficiency in six years||£10,075,638|
|Note.—The figures in the first columns are|
|A RETURN, showing the amount ofDUTYcollected on each of the undermentioned articles etained forHOME CONSUMPTION in the year (ending the 5th of January) previous to the reduction of the duty on such articles respectively, and the REVENUE collected thereon in each of the seven years following the reduction.|
|WINES, TOBACCO, COFFEE and HEMP, reduced in 1825.|
|ARTICLES.||The duty reduced in 1825.||Amount of duty received in 1824.||Amount of Duty received in each of the seven years subsequent to 1825.|
|Wine||From 9s. 1½d. to 4s. 9¼d.||2,153,112||1,424,326||1,600,587||1,700,051||1,473,546||1,524,168||(a)1,535,484||1,715,812|
|Tobacco||From 4s. to 3s||3,378,537||2,658,769||2,826,379||2,763,875||2,849,706||2,924,265||2,964,502||3,080,599|
|Coffee||From 1s. to 6d||400,988||369,570||399,690||440,245||498,951||579,363||583,751||598,038|
|Hemp.||From 9s. 2d. to 4s. 8d.||236,191||104,456||104,460||95,051||84,841||83,268||108,717||(b)27,473|
|(a)The rates of duty on wine other than French were increased, and that on French wine further reduced in 1831.(See the article on French wine below).|
|(b) The rate of duty on hemp was again reduced in 1832.|
taken from the printed accounts, Nos. 87 and 438; those in the second column from No. 268, of 1841, with the exception of the year 1842.
|MR. BARING'S ANTICIPATION OF THE INCREASED REVENUE TO BE DERIVED FROM THE TAXES IMPOSED IN 1840.|
|Mr. Baring imposed his 5 per cent, duty on Customs and Excise, and 10 per cent, on Assessed Taxes in May, 1840.|
|The net produce (after deducting drawbacks and repayments) of the Customs and Excise in the||£|
|year ending Jan. 5, 1840, was||37,911,506|
|The estimated produce of the Customs and Excise, with the additional 5 per cent.||1,895,575|
|Was, for the year ending Jan. 5,1842||39,807,081|
|The actual produce was||38,118,221|
|The actual produce was||206,715|
|Being not 5 per cent., but a little more than half per cent.|
|The net produce of Assessed Taxes in the year||£|
|ending Jan. 5,1840, was||2,758,590|
|The estimated produce, with the 10 per cent. Addition||275,859|
|The actual produce of Assessed* Taxes, 10 per cent. included for the year ending Jan. 5,1842, was||3,500,922|
|Deduct for the new survey of windows, &c.||430,975|
|The increase therefore on Assessed Taxes was or 11¼ per cent.||£311,357|
|RUM reduced in 1826.|
|The duty reduced in 1826.||Amount of duty received in 1825.||Amount of Duty received in each of the seven years after 1826.|
|Rum||From 12s.7 1.5 d to 8s 6d. per gal.||£||£||£||£||£(c)||£||£||£|
|(c) The rate of duty on rum was increased 6d. per gallon in 1830.|
|SUGAR reduced in 1830.|
|The duty reduced in 1830.||Amount of duty received in 1829.||Amount of Duty received in each of the seven years subsequent to 1830.|
|Sugar||From 27s. to 24s. per cwt.||£||£||£||£||£||£||£||£|
|FRENCH WINEreduced in1031|
|The duty reduced in 1831.||Amount of duty received in 1830.||Amount of Duty received in each of the seven years after 1831.|
|French Wine||From 7s. 3d. to 5s. 6d. per gallon.||£||£||£||£||£||£||£||£|
A RETURN of the AMOUNT of DUTY on NEWS PAPERS and ADVERTISEMENTS in the Year (ending January 5), previous to the Reduction of the DUTY, and of the REVENUE Collected in each of the Seven Years after such Reduction.
|Years.||Amount of Duty.||Years.||Amount of Duty|
*Duty reduced from4d to 1d.
|1833||Duty reduced from 3s. 6d. to 1s. 6d.|
|The act reducing the duty from 4d. to 1d., to commence from the 15th September, 1836, also repealed the discount of 20l. per cent, previously allowed on newspapers, and which in 1835 amounted to 97,796l.|
Remarks on the Property-tax.
|Former Property-tax. Incomes under 60l. a-year exempt, and incomes between 50l. and 150l. subjected to a reduced rate of charge.||Proposed Property-tax. All incomes under 150l. a-year totally exempt.|
|Charge Imposed.||Charge Imposed.|
|In 1798||10 per cent.||7d. in the pound, or 2l. 18s|
|In l803||5 per cent.||4d per cent.|
|In 1805||6 ¼ per cent.|
|In 1806||10 per cent.|
|Tax payable in respect of||Tax payable lit respect of|
the occupation of lands in the occupation of land in England three-quarters of the Great Britain one-half of the above rate, and in Scotland above rate.
Foreigners having money Funded property, though in the funds exempt from in the hands of foreigners, duty on such property. Charged with duty.
Property Assessed under former Acts Imposing a Property-tax.
|Income assessed in 1814||£170,000,000|
|SOURCES OF INCOME CLASSED IN FIVE SCHEDULES.|
|A. Property derived from land.|
|1. Rent of lands||39,400,000|
|2. Rent of houses||16,260,000|
|3. Tithes, mines, quarries, canals, iron works, &c.||4,470,000|
|B. Rent of land in respect to occupation||38,396,000|
|C. Income derived from public funds, and similar securities (sum on which assessment made)||30,000,000|
|D. Profits of trades and professions||38,310,000|
|E. Income of public officers||11,744,000|
|1. Rent of lands in 1814||39,400,000|
|Affected by two causes acting in different directions;—first, by cessation of war, and restoration of currency;—second, application of science and mechanical improvement. Present estimate||£39,400,000|
|2. Rent of houses in 1814||16,260,000|
|In 1814, number of houses, 2,231,000; present number,||3.460,000.|
|If the value proportionate to increase of number, present income from houses||£25,000,000|
|From calculations founded on house-tax, same result. Assume, therefore as rental of houses||25,000,000|
|3. Tithes £3,500,000|
|Dividends from railways, canals, &c. 3,429,000|
|Mines, ironwork 1,500,000|
|Total, 3rd class||£8,400,000|
|TOTAL INCOME AT PRESENT,|
|Rent of land||39,400,000|
|Rent of houses||25,000,000|
|Tithes, shares, mines, &c.||68,400,000|
|Deduct for incomes under 150l. per annum one-fourth the produce of duty will be||£1,600,000|
|Rent of Lands in respect of Occupation.|
|Sum assessed in 1814||£38,396,000|
|Value of tenants' occupation, assumed in 1814 at three-quarters of rent paid (admitted to be too high, I take it at one-half), I assume rent to be||26,000,000|
|Deduct exemptions under 150l., produce of duty||150,000|
|Public Funds and Securities|
|Capital assessed in 1814||30,000,000|
|Payments of dividend and interest in 1841||29,400,000|
|Deduct for saving-banks||1,000,000|
|Add for dividends on Bank, and India, and Foreign Stocks||1,500,000|
|Deduct one quarter for exempted incomes, estimated produce of tax||£646,001|
|Profits of trades and professions assessed in 1814 at||38,310,000|
|(Difficult to form an estimate.)|
|Total exports and imports in 1814 are to those of 1840 as||86 to 138|
|Declared value||45 to 51|
|British shipping in 1814||1,990,000|
|Deduct one-fourth for exempted incomes. Estimated produce of tax||1,225,000|
|Income of all public officers in 1814||11,744,000|
|Great reductions of establishments Probable present income||7,000,000|
|Deduct one-fourth on account of exemptions, leaves||5,250,000|
|Produce of tax||155,000|
|TOTAL PRODUCE OF DUTY.|
|DUTY ON COALS EXPORTED.|
|There is a duty of 4s. per ton on coal exported in foreign ships. There is none on coal exported in British. The distinction is unavailing on account of the reciprocity treatise. 1 propose a duty of 4s. on coal exported in all ships.|
|Estimate of duty from tax of 4s. applied to British, and therefore all foreign 200,000l.|
|PRODUCE OF NEW TAXES AND ESTIMATED EXPENDITURE FOR THE YEAR ENDING APRIL,:—|
|Stamp duties, Ireland||160,000|
|Spirit duties, Ireland||250,000|
|Export of coal||200,000|
|Estimated deficiency of expenditure, Compared with present income||2,570,000|
|That deficiency arises on the votes only, on the necessity of making actual pecuniary provision—the extra expense for China. The measures that India intelligence may render necessary are not provided for.|
Revision Of Tariff
It is computed there are 1,200 different rates of duty, all carefully considered. Proportion borne by duty in each case to average price considered.
General Principle of Alteration.
1. Removal of prohibitions and relaxation of prohibitory duties.
2. Reduction of duties upon raw materials for manufacture to very low duties; in some cases nominal; in none exceeding 5 per cent
3. Reduction of duties upon articles partially manufactured to a point not exceeding 12 per cent
4. Reduction of duties upon manufactured articles to a point not exceeding 20 per cent
5. Reduction of duties upon colonial produce.
|Imports in the year ending January 5,1841||5,035,000|
|Imports in the year ending January 5, 1842||4,883,000|
|Entered for home consumption in 1840||3,606,000|
|Entered for home consumption in 1841||4,065,000|
|Gross amount of duty in 1840||4,465,000|
|Gross amount of duty in 1841||5,123,000|
Estimate of the Import of Sugar for the Year 1841.
|British plantation, Mauritius, and East India sugar in ware-house—|
|In London, March 5||410,000|
|In out ports, March||180,000|
|Total in warehouse||590,000|
|Expected import of sugar in the year ending April 1843:—|
|Total available in 1842-3||5,490,000|
|The quantity of sugar taken out for home consumption in 1841-2, 4,040,000 cwt., leaving a surplus above the largest consumption of sugar, 1,220,000 cwt.|
REMOVAL OP DUTIES—EXPORT.
|There has been a reduction in the consumption of coffee.|
|Entered for home consumption in l840||28,708,000|
|Gross amount of duty in 1840||£922,000|
|The duties on coffee are—.|
|On foreign coffee||15d. per lb.|
|On coffee the produce of British possessions||6d.—|
|Coffee imported from any British possession within the limits of the East India Company|
|The coffee of Hayti and Brazil take advantage of this. In dealing with coffee, or any similar article, it is important to make such ft reduction as shall reduce the price to the consumer.|
|The Revenue for 1841 derived from the present Duties, viz.:—|
|From British Possessions, 17,571,8841b., at 6d||463,699|
|"Foreign countries, 10,849,096lb., at 9d., 1s.,and 1s, 3d||427,947|
|Revenue received in 1841||£891,646|
|Assuming no increased consumption, the Revenue at the two duties of 4d. and 8d. per lb., would be:—||£|
|From British possessions, 17,571,8841b., at 4d.||292,864|
|"Foreign countries, 10,849,096lb. at 8d.||361,636|
|Revenue for 1842,3||654,500|
|Revenue for 1841||891,646|
|Loss, assuming no in crease of consumption||237,146|
|Assuming that the increase of consumption will be 10 per cent, viz., producing||65,450|
|Probable loss of revenue||£171,696|
Propose—on Canadian Timber—
- Timber, 1s. duty.
- Deals (loads), 2s. duty.
- Lathwood, 2s. duty.
On foreign timber for the year ending the 5th of April,1943, —
- Foreign timber, 30s.
- Deals, 35s. (cubical contents).
- Lathwood, 20s.
For the year ending the 5th of April, 1844,—
- Foreign timber, 25s. per load.
- Deals, &c 30s.
- Lathwood, 20s.
The great object in reducing the duties on timber is to make such a reduction as shall benefit the consumer, and at the same time shall not injuriously affect the interest of Ca-nada. Present rate of duty on foreign timber is 55 s. per load; but take the average of duty on timber—deals, staves, lathwood, it does not exceed 41 s. per load. Duty on colonial timber, 10 s. per load; average duty, 9 s.
Great object to place the Canadas as nearly as we can on the footing of an integral part of the empire. Do not lay down that rule generally, but peculiar position of Canada.
|Estimate of Revenue front the Timber Duties, from the 5th of April, 1842, to the 5th of April, 1845, at the under-mentioned Rates, and assuming no increased consumption|
|Foreign timber, 180,000 loads at 30s||270,000|
|Foreign deals, &c, 350,000 loads at 35s.||612,500|
|Foreign lathwood 25,000 fathoms at 20s.||25,000|
|Total of foreign timber||£907,500|
|Colonial timber, 570,000 loads at 1s.||28,500|
|Colonial deals, &c, 263,000 loads at 2s.||26,300|
|Colonial lathwood, 25,000 loads at 2s.||2,500|
|Loss, supposing no increased consumption||£601,491|
|Estimated loss upon the proposed Duties upon Timber, from the 5th of April, 1843 to 1844, supposing an increase of consumption took place, as follows:—|
|Foreign timber, 201,600 loads, at 25s,||£252,000|
|Foreign Deals, &c., 420,000 loads, at 30s.||630,000|
|Foreign lathwood, 25,000 loads, at 20s.||25,000|
|Total of foreign timber||£807,000|
|Colonial timber,684,000 loads, at 1s.||34,200|
|Colonial deals,&c.,326,000 loads, at 2s.||32,600|
|Colonial lathwood,25,000 loads, at 2s.||2,500|
|Total of foreign and colonial||976,300|
|Probable loss at this estimate||£589,991|
|In this calculation, it is assumed that the consumption of foreign timber would increase by 12 per cent., and of deal, 20 per cent.: of British possession timber 20 per cent., and on deals at 24 per cent.|
|SHORT REVIEW OF THE WHOLE FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENT.|
|Estimated deficiency on present income for the year ending the 5th of April, 1843, is||2,570,000|
|Reduction on various articles of tariff, raw material, seeds, &c.,||270,000|
|Coffee, loss on||170,000|
|Repeal of export duties||100,000|
|Repeal of duties on stage-coaches||70,000|
|Estimated amount of taxes||4,300,000|
To meet increased estimates for India, increased charge for Chills, remission of duties on account of commercial treaties.
Lord J. Russell
said, whatever opinion the House may ultimately entertain in respect to the plans now brought forward by the right hon. Baronet, no Member in this House can possibly entertain any doubt either as to the importance of those plans or to the great ability and clearness with which the right hon. Gentleman has explained them to the House. But, Sir, I should not think I were doing my duty, and I hardly think it would be consistent with the expectations of the right hon. Baronet himself and the Government, that on hearing plans so important and so extensive, now proposed for the first time, I should state any opinion as to the course I may ultimately take in respect to them. I shall, therefore, on the present occasion, make but two or three observations as to the general nature of the measures pro posed. The right hon. Baronet has referred to the plans of the late Government; but without attributing any intentional misrepresentation on the part of the right hon. Baronet, I must say, that he was hardly correct in his view of the principles of those measures, for the reduction proposed in the duties on wine, corn, and coffee, in former years, can hardly be considered similar to the reductions now contemplated. But upon this topic I may hereafter take an opportunity to indicate those principles more particularly. The measure now pro posed is, to call upon the country to make a great exertion, and by means of direct taxation to endeavour to equalise the revenue with the expenditure. The late Government did not think it advisable, on a view of the whole state of the country, to call upon the House to agree to any mea sure of direct taxation. I think the right hon. Baronet has exaggerated in some degree the nature of the occasion for which we are now called upon to legislate. We did not consider last year, that the crisis was at all similar to the state of the country in 1798, or at the period of the late war, when the country was called upon (and justly called upon) to make very great sacrifices, and to undergo great expense in naval and military preparations. The right hon. Baronet has told us, that in the course of six years, with the present deficiency, a debt of 10,000,000l. will have been incurred. Now in the year 1814 it will be remembered, that the drafts drawn by the Commissary-general in Portugal alone amounted to 10,000,000l.; and, again in 1815, the subsidies granted to the German powers amounted also to 10,000,000l., independent of the other military and naval expenses. Lord Bexley, in a speech of his, stated that the amount of debt incurred in four years was no less than 160,000,000l. I am stating this merely as partly justifying the course we took last year; but it is quite a different thing for the Members of the Government to come forward, and state, that they refrain from calling upon the country to make any great exertion, or to incur any considerable sacrifice in the way of taxation; it is a different thing for the Government so to perform their duty, and for independent Members of Parliament to be parties in the refusal to comply with a contrary demand. I do not say this as meaning that I am at once to acquiesce in this proposition. Far from it; and I feel the difference of our situation now from that in which we were placed last year, in respect to the question which we may be called upon to consider. The right hon. Baronet proposes an income tax from which he expects to derive 3,700,000l.; and from the whole taxation from England and Ireland, under this head, 4,381,000l. The right hon. Baronet having stated this, proceeded to another part of his plan, in which he proposed to sacrifice a certain part of the surplus he would thus obtain in improving the tariff of the country, and taking away some of the more oppressive duties. The right hon. Baronet was more happy in speaking of this than any other part of his plan. The correctness and steadiness of the principles he then laid down, the principle of getting rid of prohibitory duties, is that in which we, on this side of the House, fully and cordially agree. And the more generally that principle is made applicable, the better will it be for the future position of the country. With respect to the mode of applying that principle as proposed by the right hon. Baronet, I cannot, at present, form any opinion. There are 750 or 760 articles on which the duties are to be reduced—the extent of which reduction we are to be informed on Monday next—but I may state, that this proceeding is in accordance, not only with the principles we professed when in office, but also with the speech which, under our advice, was made by her Majesty in August last. But, Sir, as to the application of those principles, both in regard to a measure that is now going through the House, and to the subjects adverted to by the right hon. Baronet to-night, I am disappointed that the sound principles do not go still further. The articles I speak of more especially are the important ones, timber and sugar. In making a sacrifice of 600,000l. of revenue, the right hon. Baronet would, I think, have done better if he had made the sacrifice on the article sugar, rather than on the article timber. Without giving any positive opinion, I do not think the advantage is equal to what would have been obtained by a greater sacrifice in the article of sugar. Notwithstanding the objections stated last year, and referred to by the right hon. Baronet to-night, in regard to slavery, I must say that we are, in respect to this article sugar, creating a monopoly, which up to a few years ago, did not exist. In former days, the object was to support the West India colonies. Now we are called upon to protect the East India colonies. Do the West Indies furnish the large quantities of sugar which the right hon. Baronet referred to to-night? By no means. The imports of the last year from the West Indies were even less than those of previous years. The increase has been from the East Indies, which, but a few years ago, came to us to demand an equalisation of the duties on East and West India produce, and to adopt those principles of free-trade, which it is now their interest to oppose. Every year that you go on refusing to admit foreign sugar into the British market, by imposing upon it a prohibitory duty, you encourage the growth of this monopoly-sugar in the East Indies, and place greater difficulties in the way of all improvement in your tariff. I object, therefore, to the determination of the Government on this point. With respect to the modes by which the Government plan is to be carried out, I have stated already that that is too important a point to give any decided opinion upon at present. I am glad to find that the right hon. Gentleman, though he does not take the view which we did upon these subjects, is willing to pay great homage to sound principles; and also that his measure is one of great importance, and which must be accepted or rejected as a great measure—and not as one of mere detail. In the present situation of the country, whatever view is taken, it must be confessed by all parties that the Government have acted in a manner worthy of the Government of a great country, in proposing such a measure on such principles. And without reference to the con-duct of the Ministry, of which I had the honour to be a Member, we shall now endeavour, to the best of our ability, to form that judgment which we may think most useful to the country, and likely to give finally the most content to the people, and to maintain that high character which I trust every Member of the House feels equally the importance of, whether he sits on one side or the other.
conceived that there could be no more legitimate source of taxation than ardent spirits, and he should not object if that taxation were prohibitory in its amount—but there was this danger in the present proposition, that it would increase the evils of private distilleries in Ireland, and it was well known that all crimes connected with smuggling arose from illicit distillation. Never was there a period when it would be more objection-able to recreate that evil in Ireland than the present. The last reduction in the duty on spirits in Ireland had almost put an end to illicit distillation, but the present proposition, which was to make an increase about equal to that reduction, would probably have the effect of reviving it. Then, with respect to the Irish distillers. He was glad to find that the right hon. Baronet had at length discovered the inexcusable wrongs that had been inflicted upon Irish distillers. The Scotch distiller could send his spirits into Ireland in bond, but the Irish distiller could not send his spirits into Scotland in the same way. Then, again, the duty on Irish spirits was taken as they came from the still, no allowance being made for evaporation or leakage. This was not the case with regard to the Scotch or the English distiller. The attempt to collect an income tax in Ireland would be a total failure. This was not a property tax, but an income tax, and he could promise the machinery for collecting it would cost more than the revenue they would obtain from it. To tax Irish peasants, was to tax mere moonshine. He was sorry to hear the right hon. Baronet say that it was his intention to assimilate the stamp duty in Ireland. He thought this would be productive of much evil. They were more in the habit of relying- in Ireland upon plain paper. The House was not aware of the importance of this consideration. It should be remembered, too, that this was one of the compensation taxes of the Union—the dissimilarity of the stamp duties between the two countries. This charge was to be put upon Ireland, as it was said, to make her bear her due pro-portion of the English burdens, and that statement had been cheered; but when Ireland asked for a fair proportion of English rights, hon. Gentlemen did not cheer then. Hon. Members forgot the financial robbery of Ireland that had taken place at the union with England. At that period England owed 446,000,000l., Ireland owed only] 1,000,000l. The interest on the English debt was nearly 17,000,000l., and Lord Castlereagh stated at the time that Ireland should never be called upon to pay any portion of the English debt, and that England would provide for this 17,000,000l. by separate taxation. But had England done this? Of late years she had not paid in separate taxation more than 6,000,000l. a-year, and of that difference the difference in the stamp-duty formed a part; and if they imposed an income tax on Ireland she would have still have to pay 8,000,000l. a-year more than her fair share of the public burdens. Ireland could not afford additional taxation. They had already lowered the revenue of Ireland by the admission of foreign provisions. He hoped the right hon. Baronet would take the case of the distillers into consideration, though he trusted that he would not obtain the revenue he expected to derive from spirits.
agreed with his noble Friend (Lord J. Russell), that the proposals of the Government were too important to render it possible for those who heard them then for the first time to express any opinion upon them. In compliance, therefore, with what seemed to be the general understanding, he should abstain from any remarks upon the general proposition, reserving himself until the papers which the right hon. Baronet had promised to lay before them should be in the hands of Members. He should then be prepared to consider fairly those proposals totally apart from all party feeling. His only object in rising was to ask the right hon. Baronet what course he proposed to pursue? Very great anxiety would be felt in the town and in the country as to what might be the ultimate decision upon the Government measures; and it was therefore important that no unnecessary delay should take place in giving the House an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon them; and it was also important that they should know as soon as possible what were the means by which the largest of the proposed new taxes, the income tax, was to be raised. He, therefore, wished to know what course the right hon. Baronet in-tended to pursue.
Sir Robert Peel
Sir, I did not expect that on a subject of such magnitude as that which is now before us the House would deem it expedient to come to any immediate resolution. The noble Lord will bear in mind that I deprecated the expression of any immediate opinion, and that I thought it best, that, in the first place, the whole scope of my plan should be weighed and considered. To that opinion I adhere. As regards myself, however, the method of proceeding which the House may think fit to adopt [is a matter of indifference. I am ready, if it be considered desirable, to draw up the amended tariff, in the most clear and distinct form, and to lay it on the Table immediately. It does not appear to me that any injury could arise from a short delay in the votes on the income and coal tax. But much inconvenience, I think, might be caused by the postponement of the resolution having reference to spirits. For the framing of that resolution supposes, that even if the proposed duty be not adopted, the revenue shall not suffer. What I should propose is, that the resolution relating to the tax on spirits should be agreed to in that qualified shape, and I hope the House will not object to pass it in that form. This resolution is now laid on the Table, and the House will bear in mind the great importance of proceeding with it, as speedily as possible, consistent with the due deliberation which such a subject calls for, as commercial dealings in the meantime are in a great measure at a stand-still. I can only say, that whether the resolutions be adopted or not, the sooner the decision is come to the better will it be for me, for the prosecution of the public business, and for the country. In short, we should proceed as rapidly as possible. With respect to the Corn-Bill, while I have no personal wish on the subject, I should propose that as, (until the measure be passed), uncertainty and interruption are caused in the Corn-trade, we fix the committee upon that bill for Monday. With the present resolutions I shall proceed as rapidly as I can. But as, probably the amended tariff will not be immediately in possession of hon. Members, I should propose to take the resolu- tion on the income tax on Friday, and the committee on the Corn-bill on Monday.
Lord J. Russell
was understood to say, that it was not his wish to offer any further opposition to the Corn Bill, and, therefore, it would be useless for him to propose any amendment on that bill with respect to the amount of duty; but there were some hon. Members who intended to make proposals and require explanations, which would have the effect of protracting the discussion, and he thought, therefore, that it would be impossible to go into the discussion of the Income-tax on the same night as that set apart for the consideration of the Corn-laws.
Sir R. Peel
thought it important to ascertain the opinion of the country on his proposal; he would, therefore, not proceed with the further consideration of his resolutions till Friday next.
complained that, on Thursday night, when the Exchequer-bill question—so deeply interesting to a numerous body of individuals, and which Government ought to have brought on a month ago—stood for discussion, not one Member of the Government was present. Care was taken that no House should be formed on an evening when important business stood on the paper, when the hon. Member for Sheffield had intended to move for a select committee to inquire into the special burdens peculiarly affecting the landed interest in this country. Without pronouncing any decided opinion at present on the plan of the right hon. Baronet, he felt that he should be unmindful of the duty which he owed to that constituency which he bad the honour to represent, many of whom were engaged in the timber trade, if he forbore to protest against the alteration proposed with regard to the timber duties. He objected strongly to the proposed mode of taking the duties on timber—namely, by the cubic contents, a mode which, if not utterly impracticable, could not be adopted without the greatest inconvenience to the trade. He trusted, therefore, that the right hon., Baronet would, in compliance with the representations which would no doubt be made at the Board of Trade, see the propriety of modifying this part of his project. He could not help taking a general review of the scheme of the right hon. Baronet. On the whole, he did not think it likely to give much satisfaction. The only thing they were sure of was a very large amount of direct taxation, with some special exemptions. Now he thought the House entitled to more information as to the resources of the country before they were called upon to pronounce this amount of taxation necessary. The right hon. Baronet congratulated himself on the increased consumption of sugar, but he (Mr. Hawes) contended that the consumption per head had, on the contrary, diminished. In 1831 the consumption per head was 261bs, whilst in 1841 it was only 24lbs. The duty on foreign coffee too he thought enormous, and there were several other points open to objection. He did not see that a satisfactory system of compensation was adopted in the proposed tariff. In fact the only thing the country would get by the affair was a positive amount of taxation.
Sir R. Peel
begged to assure the hon. Gentleman, that no one was more agreeably surprised to find the House not sitting On Thursday evening than himself. He had only asked for postponement for one day, on the same ground as that alleged by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, and he certainly thought, that after sitting for three nights until past one o'clock, there was nothing unreasonable, having a measure of such importance to bring forward, in allowing an interval of one day to pass.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that in consequence of several amendments which had been suggested with reference to the Exchequer-bill fraud by competent persons, it had (been found necessary to submit to a slight postponement in bringing the matter forward.
Lord J. Russell
wished to know what number of names the right hon. Gentleman proposed to place on the commission.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
wished to know what had been done with the money paid for the ransom of Canton? Government had no right to apply that money without the consent of the House.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, he had laid the papers relating to the ransom money on the Table of the House, in which the hon. Member would find an account of the manner in which it had been disposed of. It was his intention to bring in a bill to justify the appropriation of that money.
Mr. T. F. Baring
agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that it would be right to obtain parliamentary sanction for the appropriation of the money. He, while he should offer no obstruction to the speedy passing of the Corn Bill, must enter his protest against being considered to approve of that measure, or of the resolutions now proposed by the right hon. Baronet. The considerations urged by the hon. and learned Member for the county of Cork were of much importance, and he would remind the House that it had happened before in Ireland that in adding to the nominal duty on articles, they had actually diminished the amount of revenue accruing from those articles. Questions of the magnitude and importance of the present should be considered rather with a view to their whole character than to any particular detail. Direct taxation had hitherto been looked upon as a weapon, kept in the armoury of statesmen for times of war, and other occasions of great and pressing emergency. Measures involving the commutation of taxes from one class to another, should be entered upon with the utmost caution. He concurred fully with his noble Friend, that they should be careful, while meeting the difficulties of the case, to maintain the reputation for good faith which this country had always enjoyed, and he (Mr. Baring) would pledge himself that, in the consideration of this question, he should forget party feelings, and deal with the propositions of Government precisely in the same spirit as if they had emanated from those with whom he acted himsef.
asked the right hon. Baronet what would be the terms of his intended proposal regarding the importation of foreign provisions and live cattle?
Sir Robert Peel
I purpose to remove the prohibition—to admit foreign provisions and live animals on certain terms. These terms will be included in the tariff. I feel that I ought not to be called on for more particular explanations just now. Those explanations will be given in due time, but in the mean time I cannot give them to individual Members.
Mr. Hodgson Hinde
felt called on to make a few observations to that part of the right hon. Baronet's scheme proposing certain duties on the exportation of coals. He thought the proposal to renew the duty was by no means a feasible or prudent one. The right hon. Baronet had grounded this proposition on three expec-tations—first, that the revenue would be increased by it; secondly, that it would economise the whole; and thirdly, that it would be a protection to our native industry against foreign manufactures. Now, those who were well acquainted with the foreign coal trade, knew that that trade had grown up since the duty on exportation was removed. If the duty was renewed, the export would fall off, and though the right hon. Baronet might obtain 50,000l. or 60,000l., the amount before raised from this service, he would not obtain near what he (Sir R. Peel) expected from the measure. The right hon. Baronet was also somewhat mistaken in thinking that the measure would economise the supply of coal for this country. This idea was fallacious. The coal exported was small coal, which was separated from the larger coal, that must be taken out of the ground whether the small coal was in demand or not. The consequence of a decrease of exportation would there-fore be, that the amount of that exportation would be wasted. but not that a smaller quantity would be taken from the bowels of the earth. The other portion of the right hon. Baronet's argument, that the measure would afford protection to native industry against the competition of foreign manufactures, might be valid if the countries to which we exported the largest quantity of coals were our rivals in manufacturing industry, and those from which we might chiefly fear competition. But any Gentleman who looked at the papers that had been laid before the House would see that this was not the case. Our exports of coal to Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Nor-way, Spain, Portugal, Russia, and the United States of America, amount to 1,129,000 tons. These were not the countries from which our manufacturing industry feared competition, and the ex-port of coal to Belgium and the German States, which were our chief rivals, was not more than a ninth part of the quantity he had stated. He therefore hoped that the Government would not persist in re enacting a measure, the relaxation of which, at a former period, was held to be of such benefit to the country.
said, that though the subject which had been brought forward to-night was very extensive, and embraced a vast number of topics, he, nevertheless, could not refrain from saying a word or two upon it. Very great credit, he thought, was due to the right hon. Baronet for the able speech he had made this evening. That speech was remarkably lucid, and embraced very large and statesmanlike views, He was perfectly satisfied that if his principles generally were carried out they would be ultimately of the greatest advantage to the country, and would give such an impulse to trade and commerce as would confer the greatest benefit on the nation. That part, however, to which he intended to take exception, which gave great pain to him, and which would be productive of great annoyance out of doors, was the tax which the right hon. Baronet was about to impose upon income. For this, he very much feared that the right hon. Baronet's old supporters would again complain of him. He believed they would declare that the right hon. Baronet had manifested great caution up to a certain period, but up to that period his caution had yielded. He believed that this would be a most unjust tax. [" No."] Hon. Gentlemen might exclaim "no," but he said "yes." The people of this country were prepared for a tax upon property. They were quite prepared that that tax should be imposed in strict accordance with the amount of property. Now, inasmuch as the Government had manifested so strong an attachment to a graduated scale with reference to the food of the people, he thought they might be induced to apply the graduated scale in reference to this tax upon property. The people, would, therefore, be at a loss to find out why her Majesty's Government should profess so strong an attachment to a sliding-scale in reference to corn, and an attachment for a fixed duty in reference to income and property. In a state like this, where it was presumed that they had the full protection of the law—that all the rights the law conferred with reference to the liberty of the subject should be enjoyed, was it in such a state as this, that they should be called upon to contribute to the taxes of the country according to his means? But it appeared that the right hon. Baronet was making the same principle apply which was made to apply before. He declared an Income tax to be the most unpopular tax that was ever introduced in England. The right hon. Baronet had stated a proposition with reference to farms and farmers. Now, being somewhat of a farmer himself, he felt a very strong in- terest on this point. If he understood the right hon. Baronet correctly, the case was this—that, supposing a man rented a farm at 300l. a-year, it was to be presumed that his profits were to be 150l.
Sir R. Peel
said, that with respect to the occupying tenant, the property to be assessed was to be determined with reference to the amount of his rent. It was assumed, under the former law, that the profits amounted to three-fourths of the rent he paid, but he (Sir It. Peel) thought that that was too great an assumption, and he accordingly proposed that the profits should be supposed to be only one half. If a person rented a farm at 400l. a year, he would presume that his profits were 200l., and he would be assessed accordingly. If, however, he paid only 299l. a year rent, he would escape altogether.
begged to ask the right hon. Baronet, whether he was aware that, by such a proposition, he was giving a benefit to the landed proprietor as well as to the farmer. He wanted to know why a different rule should be pursued with reference to a farmer from that which was pursued with reference to a tradesman. The right hon. Baronet must be aware that the farmer sometimes rented a farm under 300l. a year, but had got a capital on his estate of 5,000l. or 6,000l., and his profits amounted sometimes to 1,000l. a year. [" No, no,"] He said "Yes, yes," and he could prove it. Now such a person would (if the proposition of the right hon. Baronet be carried out) be subject to no Income-tax. On the other hand a tradesmen in Fins bury would have to pay a heavy Income-tax, though his capital might not amount to 5,000l. He hoped that this point would be reconsidered, for the principle upon which it was proposed to act was most unjust, and would be productive of the greatest discontent throughout all classes.
Mr. S. Wortley
was greatly surprised at the astounding assumption of the hon. Member for Fins bury. He had no doubt that if the hon. Member proved that any farmer, who only paid 300l. a year rent, made 1,000l. a year profit, the right hon. Baronet would take every care that such an income would not escape taxation.
said, he only put this as an extreme case. He only said, supposing a man who only paid 300l. a year had a profit of 1,000l. year out of his farm.
First resolution agreed to.
"2. On the the question, that the malt allowance now payable on every gallon of spirits distilled in Ireland from malted corn only, not being mixed with any unmalted corn or grain shall cease and determine."
said, he did not wish to detain the House, but he hoped that the right hon. Baronet would not press this re-solution upon the House. It was the only one that sought to be pressed forward. He hoped that an opportunity would be given to the distillers in Ireland to be heard against it.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that the right hon. Gentleman appeared to mistake the position in which they were placed. The moment the intention of her Majesty's Government was announced with respect to this subject, the distilleries in Ireland would increase the price of their whiskey. The only object her Majesty's Government had, was to enable it to obtain the increase in the duty which the distiller would at once exact from his customer.
Resolution agreed to.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
"3. That, towards making good the supply granted to her Majesty, the sum of 8,000,000l. be granted out of the consolidated fund of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland."
understood, that, in his absence, a question had been asked as to whether he intended to persevere in the motion of which he had given notice for last evening. Not, however, having had an opportunity of bringing that motion on in consequence of there having been no House yesterday, notwithstanding there was a Government measure to be brought forward in committee; namely, the "Forged Exchequer-bills Bill," he conceived that the discussion upon his motion should be taken before the Corn-law proceeded any further; and, therefore, he intended to proceed with the measure unless the right hon. Baronet would be willing to give him the committee which he sought for.
Sir R. Peel
said, so far as he was concerned, the hon. Gentleman was greatly misinformed if he imagined he had put such a question. With respect to there not having been a House last evening, he must say that he was agreeably surprised at such a circumstance. That being the case, he hoped the hon. Gentleman would take ano- ther course than that he had just stated his intention of adopting. He hoped he would postpone his motion to the next notice day.
said, that if his motion were for this evening, and that he were asked by the right hon. Baronet to give way to him, he should have done so at once, out of respect to that right hon. Gentleman and the important subject he was about to bring forward; but it was a very different question to postpone this question beyond Monday next, as it ought, in point of fact, to be preliminary to the Corn-law. He begged to assure them, though he did not wish to throw any factious opposition in the way of the right hon. Baronet, he felt the question of so much importance that he should bring it forward on Monday, unless the right hon. Baronet was disposed to entertain his proposition, and give him the committee he asked for.
hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give this assurance.
Sir R. Peel
begged that no inference whatever would be drawn from his silence on this point. When this motion should be brought forward, he would then state his intentions relating to it.
would persevere with his motion on Monday.
before the committee agreed to the vote, begged to state that he was not altogether satisfied with the proposition of the right hon. Baronet. He did not see why the Irish gentlemen should be exempted so much from this taxation. The Irish gentlemen should bear an equal portion of the taxes as the English.
said he thought he could prove the hon. and gallant Gentleman to be an Irishman. There was a statute of Henry the 6th, declaring that every person wearing hair on the upper lip should be considered an Irishman.
Resolution agreed to. Report to be received.
West India Clergy
then moved the Order of the Day for going into committee on the West India Clergy Bill.
On the motion that the Speaker do leave the Chair.
said, that perhaps he ought to have made any observations which he intended on the second reading of this bill; but he was not in London. He begged to say, that he did not feel the slightest opposition to the measure; indeed, it met with his most cordial approbation. He had already declared his opinion, that wherever the authority of the British Crown existed, proper provision should be made for the Established Church. He thanked the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies for the measure; he should have received it gratefully from any Government, but he thought it came with peculiar grace from the noble Lord, who had mainly been the instrument of carrying the great measure of Negro Emancipation. On the introduction of the bill, the noble Lord had said, the alterations proposed would be attended with no increase of expenditure, but he hoped that, supposing the existing allowance had been found insufficient for the enlarged establishment, the noble Lord would not have shrunk from making a further provision. He conceived that the principle of such measures was to make adequate provision for the spiritual wants of the colonies, and at the same time to give a proper remuneration to the persons appointed. He wished, therefore, to draw the attention of the noble Lord to the case of the Bishop of Toronto, who presided over a very extensive diocese, and was not provided with means adequate to support the dignity of his position. The late Secretary for the Colonies, Lord Glenelg, had divided the diocese of Ca-nada, and made Toronto a separate see, on the distinct understanding that no salary would be attached to it. The professional income of the Bishop was only 600l. or 700l. per annum, which was derived from the Archdeaconry, and the living of Toronto, and it was only by holding these pluralities that he had this income. He might probably be told that the point would be settled in the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill; but at present there were no funds arising from that source which could be applied to the present case. He called on the noble Lord to make some temporary provision for the see of Toronto, until the operation of the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill included it.
said, he should make no objection, if the hon. Member for Droitwich, proposed this addition to the income of a Protestant Bishop out of an ecclesiastical fund, but when it was proposed to take money from the consolidated fund for the purpose of providing for the spiritual wants of a particular denomination, he could not conceive that any right to do so existed. The hon. Member said, that 600l. per annum was too small a stipend for a Bishop—but the Protestant Bishop of Nova Scotia had an income of 2,000l. per annum; and the Roman Catholic only 75l. If the stipend were paid out of the consolidated fund, no such difference should be made.
Sir Robert Inglis
heard with great pleasure from the hon. and learned Member for Cork, that he would not interfere with the regulations of the bill; he, therefore, should claim his vote against the amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Marylebone, for reducing the number of Bishops. He felt with the hon. Member for Droitwich, that the increase of the number was doing well, but he thought that the Government need not have reduced the remuneration to the lowest possible amount. He was confident that if an appeal had been made to Parliament, they would have granted a higher remuneration.
Sir C. Napier
asked if he understood the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies aright in stating that there would be one Bishop at Berbice, one at Barbadoes, and one at Antigua, and which of them was to have 3,500l.
hoped that the bill would be discussed in committee. He had found that the Bishop of had 4,000l. per annum, and three Archdeacons 4,500l., and it was his intention, with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by the advice of the late Bishop of Barbadoes, to create three bishoprics with stipends of 3,500l., 2,000l., and 1,500l. per annum, which would be paid by the sum at present granted.
House in committee.
On the first clause being read,
Sir C. Napier
rose to move the amendment of which he had given notice. He thought it quite proper there should be a bishop of Berbice and Demerara; but he did not see the least reason why, when there were steam-boats to carry the bishops from one place to another with the greatest facility, there should be one at Barbadoes and another at Antigua. Travelling from one of these places to another was like going on a party of pleasure. Another objection which he had to the proposed measure was, that he did not know who was to be the cheap bishop. It was impossible for a bishop to live in a proper manner on 1,500l. a-year in the West Indies, and it was equally impossible for an archdeacon to live on 500l. a-year; and he was afraid that next year the noble Lord would come down to the House and propose an increase in their salaries. Under these circumstances he thought the number of bishops be reduced from three to two, and he begged leave to move that the word "two" be substituted in the clause for the word "three."
Lord J. Manners
hoped the hon. and gallant Commodore would not persevere in his motion for a reduction in the number of the bishops. The grounds of the hon. and gallant Member's opposition hardly bore him out in his proposition. If the noble Lord should come down to the House next year to ask for more money for these bishops, that would be the time for this amendment, but until then, there did not appear to him to be any sufficient reason for asking the House to curtail the number of the bishops. It was his sincere conviction that it was beneath the dignity of a great and important country which could afford to spend millions in armaments to Syria, India, and China—it was, he considered, wholly beneath the dignity of such a country to baggie and peddle about some few hundreds which were wanted for ecclesiastical purposes. The hon. and gallant Member was himself a living proof of the might and puissance of the empire. To whatever quarter of the globe he might have sailed, he must have heard the sound of the English language, and have there seen the English flag. He certainly felt some surprise, therefore, that the hon. and gallant Member should oppose the propo-position for those additional dignitaries for the colonies.
hoped the hon. and gallant Officer did not seriously intend to press his motion. He (Lord Stanley) declared himself in competent to discuss the question as to a proper provision for the bishops; and whether the hon. and gallant Commodore was more competent to decide the matter than the heads of the Church, he should leave the hon. and gallant Commodore himself to determine. The question ought not to be treated in the mode adopted by the hon. and gallant Commodore. It was very well as a joke to describe the visitations of the bishops once a-year as parties of pleasure—but the hon. and gallant Member should recollect, that one of the objects of the present bill was to prevent bishops having such extensive dioceses as to preclude them from visiting all parts more than once a-year. When the increasing population of the West Indies was taken into consideration, and also the earnest desire for religious instruction which prevailed there an additional responsibility rested on Government to provide for their spiritual wants. When Government came into office, the bishopric of Barbadoes was vacant, at least the bishop had tendered his resignation, and it was only incomplete in some matter of form. By this step, Government might, had it so chosen, have filled up the appointment, which was endowed with an income of 4,000l. a-year, and 1,000l. retiring pension. But, instead of so doing, Government, after a consultation with the heads of the Church, had thought it better, with the approbation of the heads of the Church, to create three dioceses out of the one bishopric, and to distribute the funds of the bishopric among them. It had been found necessary so make this division in order to supply the clerical necessities of the population. The three archdeacons were to be created bishops, and they were to have the funds of the bishopric assigned between them. The course Government bad thought fit to adopt was not to increase the patronage and emoluments of the bishops, but to give the archdeacons that power over the clergy in their dioceses, by conferring on them a higher rank. He had, therefore, determined to advise her Majesty to divide the bishopric into three dioceses, and to confer them on the three archdeacons. The duties had been assigned, and the emoluments divided, under the sanction of the heads of the Church, and he had no intention to come down to Parliament hereafter for an increase of salary. He trusted, therefore, that the House would accord in a measure which had received the sanction of all parties
Mr. V. Smith
could not vote with the hon. and gallant Member for Marylebone, because he was satisfied with the reasons assigned for appointing three bishops. He hoped that the noble Lord would consider himself pledged not to require any addition to the salaries hereafter, and stated his dissent from the unequal apportionment of them proposed by the noble Lord, for which he had assigned no reason. He saw, though with much regret, that it was owing very much to the neglect of the Church of England in the West India colonies that the Dissenters were able to do so much more than the Church in those colonies. He trusted, however, that the noble Lord did not mean to establish a bishoprick in every colony, because nothing could be more detrimental, and especially to the spread of the Church of England itself, than the establishment in all the colonies of thestate religion of this country. The hon. Member concluded by suggesting, that in the present bill, retiring pensions should be provided for bishops no longer able to perform their duties.
Mr. William Williams
would support the amendment of the hon. and gallant Commodore, because he believed that a Bishop in the West Indies could not live upon 1,500l. a-year, and that, before two years passed by, the noble Lord or his successor would come down to the House and make a strong appeal to Parliament for an increase of these salaries. It was, besides, a great injustice to the people of this country that they should be taxed to pay for Bishops in the West-India colonies. Those colonies ought to pay for their bishops. The people of this country had quite enough to do to maintain their own bishops, and were taxed quite sufficiently for these colonies, without paying anything more. To protect these new colonies they had already to pay a double price for their sugar. Had the noble Lords opposite heard the right hon. Gentleman's statement of the embarrassment of our finances? What had brought our finances to this state, but expenditure like this, which was quite uncalled for? If he went through all the items of our expenditure he could point out how they could save the whole amount of the taxes now required, without impairing the efficiency of any part of the public service. The hon. Gentleman the late Under Secretary for the Colonies (Mr. V. Smith), had asked the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) to assure the House that he would not come down and ask for an increase of salaries to these bishops, but he believed, that if the hon. Gentleman himself were in office, he would be just as likely to propose such an increase as the noble Lord.
Mr. Vernon Smith
was perfectly ready to pledge himself, that he would make no such proposal.
had sat quite long enough in that House to know that the less was said so much the better, and he had never seen that maxim better illustrated than the speech of the hon. Gentleman; for this was not a question of money, but simply of an increase of bishops; and he was satisfied that there would be no demand for more money, and that the Bishop of Berbice could live very well on 1,500l. a-year.
Sir C. Napier
assured the two noble Lords opposite, that he was quite as sensible of the value of religion as any noble Lord. He made no joke about the party of pleasure. He said, that now steam communication was established, the Bishop of Barbadoes might make a round of visits to all the islands in fourteen or twenty-one days. He had as much respect for the Church as the noble Lord, and he never would have proposed to give a bishop in the West Indies, where living was expensive, such a salary as 1,500l a-year.
said, that if that was the only objection he could easily remove it, for the Bishop of Berbice and Demerara, in addition to the 1,500/. a-year out of the consolidated fund, would have 500l. out of the colonial revenue, which he now received as archdeacon, so that he would receive in all 2,000l. a-year.
in allusion to the claim of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University, for his vote, begged to say that he did not mean to vote.
The committee divided on the question that the word "three" stand part of the clause: Ayes 126; Noes 17; Majority 109,
List of the AYES.
|Ackers, J.||Dickinson, F. H.|
|Acton, Col.||Dodd, G.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Douglas, Sir C. E.|
|Antrobus, E.||Dowdeswell, W.|
|Arkwright, G.||Drummond, H. H.|
|Attwood, M.||Duncan, G.|
|Bailey, J.||Duncombe, hon. A.|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Egerton, Sir P.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Eliot, Lord|
|Barneby, J.||Escott, B.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Evans, W.|
|Baskerville, T. B. M.||Filmer, Sir E.|
|Bell, J.||Fitzroy, Captain|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Ffolliott, J.|
|Borthwick, P.||Forbes, W.|
|Broadwood, H.||Forester, hn. G. C. W.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Gaskell, J. Milnes|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Gladstone,rt.hn.W.E.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Gordon, hon. Captain|
|Busfeild, W.||Gore, W. O.|
|Chetwode, Sir J.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Clayton, R. R.||Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Grey, rt. hn. Sir G.|
|Collett, W. R.||Hamilton, W. J.|
|Corry, rt, hon. H.||Hardinge, rt.hn.SirH.|
|Courtenay, Viscount||Hardy, J.|
|Cripps, W.||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Crosse, T. B.||Heneage, G. H. W.|
|Dawnay, hon. W. H.||Henley, J. W,|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Patten, J. W.|
|Hinde, J. H.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Hindley, C.||Peel, J.|
|Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.||Praed, W. T.|
|Hodgson, R.||Pringle, A.|
|Hope, A.||Rashleigh, W.|
|Hornby, J.||Reade, W. M.|
|Howard, hn. E. G. G.||Rushbrooke, Colonel|
|Inglis, Sir R H.||Scott, hon. F.|
|Johnson, W. G.||Sibthorp, Colonel|
|Johnstone, Sir J||Smith, rt. hn. R. V.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Jones, Captain||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Knatchbull, rt. hon.||Stanley, Lord|
|Sir E.||Stewart, J.|
|Knightly, Sir C.||Stuart, H.|
|Larpent, Sir G. de H.||Sutton, hon. H. M.|
|Legh, G. C.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Lincoln, Earl of||Trotter, J.|
|Lindsay, H. H.||Vere, Sir C. B.|
|Mackenzie, W. F.||Villiers, Viscount|
|Mainwaring, T.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Manners, Lord J.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Master, T. W. C.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Miles, P. W. S.||Whitmore, T. C.|
|Morgan, O.||Wilbraham, hon. R. B.|
|Morris, D.||Wilde, Sir T.|
|Mundy, E. M.||Worsley, Lord|
|Murray, C. R. S.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Newry, Viscount||Yorke, H. R.|
|O'Brien, A. S.||Young, J.|
|Packe, C. W.|
|Paget, Lord W.||TELLERS.|
|Pakington, J. S.||Fremantle, Sir T.|
|Parker, J.||Hope, G.|
List of the NOES.
|Aldam, W.||Gore, hon. R.|
|Berkeley, hon. C.||Leader, J. T.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Murray, A.|
|Bernal, R.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Powell, C.|
|Brotherton, J.||Wakley, T.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Wood, B.|
|Forster, M.||Napier, Sir C.|
|Gordon, Lord F.||Williams, W.|
Remaining clauses of the bill agreed to the House resumed, and the report received.
Exchequer Bills Loan Acts
House resolved itself into a committee of the whole House to consider the Exchequer Bills Loan Acts.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that the subject which he was about to bring before the attention of the committee, was one of considerable importance, but upon which he did not apprehend that any great difference of opinion would prevail. The committee was aware that commissioners had, some years since, been appointed to whom Exchequer-bills were en- trusted with a view to their being advanced for the purpose of carrying on public works upon good security for the repayment of their amounts being given. The object which he had in bringing this subject before the committee was, to continue that system for a limited time, but upon a footing more advantageous to the public. The course had been to make advances on Exchequer-bills, which were sold in the market, and at the end of twelve months, were exchanged by the Government for supply bills; and so they formed part of the unfunded debt of the country The amount of the advance, being subsequently repaid, was carried to the general account of the Consolidated Fund, and the result was, that we went on spending as income the money which should have been applied to getting rid of debt. In 1837, it was proposed, that this system should be put an end to, and that, instead of these bills being converted into supply bills, they should be annually discharged, and the inconvenience of increasing our funded debt thus obviated. The result of this was beneficial in one sense, but had led to other inconvenience; it was this, that these Exchequer-bills became depreciated in the market, and were only taken at par by the commissioners of the national debt on account of the savings banks, and held by them; and at this moment the bulk of these bills were held by the commissioners, and were liable to be paid off in money. He need not state to the House that, under the existing circumstances of the country, the payment of an amount exceeding one million at the end of the April quarter, would be a measure which would produce extreme inconvenience to the public finances. He, therefore, proposed that the commissioners of the national debt should avail themselves of the power which they possessed by law, and should deliver up the Exchequer-bills of this character which they held for the purpose of being cancelled, receiving stock in exchange for it under the provisions of the law as it now stood. Having, therefore, disposed of these bills, the accumulation of which was mainly attributable to the vote of large sums of money for the construction of workhouses in Ireland, it would rest with Parliament to decide what course should be adopted in future. There were two lines which might be pursued. Parliament might, in the first place, say that it would not sanction the continuance of advances of this description; or, secondly, it might mate arrangements to obviate the possibility of similar difficulties again arising. His own opinion, was that the system of making advances for carrying on public works, was one which it would not be wise to depart from, more especially considering that it had been carried on with advantage and profit to the public. From papers which had been laid before the House, it appeared that the repayments receivable by Government would amount to 360,000l. a-year, and, as a sum of that amount would enable these commissioners to continue their advances to applicants upon the scale upon which they had before acted, the proposition which he submitted to the House was, that the money paid in on account of the repayment of the loans already advanced, should be re-advanced upon the proper securities to the parties applying. By this means a constant circulating fund would be provided, which would enable them to provide for the wants of the country with regard to the execution of public works, which would not increase our unfunded debt, and which Parliament might, at any time, put an end to, if it were discovered that the system did not work well. He proposed, that the bill to be introduced to carry out this plan should be in force only for a limited period, and that it should render the works in England, Scotland, and Ireland equally entitled to the advantages of the system, provided their conductors were equally able to give security for the repayment of the money. This was a necessary enactment with regard to Ireland, because it appeared that sums had been granted for the completion of workhouses there, which had been found to be insufficient for the complete fulfilment of the object in view. He believed, that the House would concur in this measure, and that they would be the less disposed to object to it on account of the admirable mode in which the commissioners, who had heretofore managed these advances, had conducted the duties of their department. The public knew the merits of those individuals, and they ought to know also that they had discharged their duties entirely gratuitously. They were persons of consideration, and whose time was highly valuable to them; but they had given up other engagements for the purpose of investigating claims made upon the public; and having done so, the cases were rare indeed of any loss having been sustained by the public. To one, more especially—he meant Mr. Harrison—who had for twenty- five years devoted himself almost incessantly to the public service, and with the greatest advantage, the thanks of the public were more especially due. Having made this explanation of his views, he should propose a resolution to the committee embodying his proposition, which would form the foundation of a bill to be hereafter introduced. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the following resolution.
"That her Majesty be enabled to direct issues to be made out of the consolidated fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to an amount not exceeding 360,000l. per annum, to commissioners, to be by them advanced towards the completion of works of a public nature, for the encouragement of the fisheries, or the employment of the poor, on due security being given for the re-payment of the sum so advanced."
Mr. F. T. Baring
expressed his entire concurrence in the views of the right hon. Gentleman, and his approval of his proposition, which appeared to be nearly exactly similar to one which had been before him while he was in office. He must also express his cordial concurrence in the observations of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the services of Mr. Harrison. He believed, that the public was much indebted to that gentleman for his eminent services; but the tribute of the public respect came better from the right hon. Gentleman, who was in office, than from him.
would caution the Government to discourage over-speculation by its loans, which only produced ruin to the speculator and those trusting to the success of his exertions.
Resolution agreed to.
House resumed. Report to be received this day.