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ditional Income Tax, or any tax, so that this tax was taken off the labourer.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer appealed to evidence showin that the Malt Tax, which yields last year 5,400,0001., was collected more economically than any other tax of equal amount, and that the Excise regulations interfered less with the manufacturer. If this large sum was obtained in a manner so little oppressive to the consumer and the producer, a strong case was made out in favour of the tax. He admitted that the consumption of malt had not increased in proportion to the population; but the habits of the people had changed. The consumption of intoxicating liquors was diminishing, and that of non-intoxicating liquors increasing. According to the evidence of Mr. Barclay, the repeal of the malt duty would reduce the price of beer only a halfpenny per quart; was it worth while to sacrifice so large a revenue for so small an advantage to the consumer? The repeal of this tax, Sir Charles observed, would encourage illicit distillation; and Mr. Cay ley had made a strange proposition, that the hop-growers, who paid only 400,000/., should be pacified by the sacrifice of 5,000,000/. If the House consented to give up this amount of revenue there would be no possibility of getting rid of the Income Tax, or of carrying out the system of policy for which that tax was continued.
Mr. Disraeli admitted that, after the vote upon the Income Tax, this question occupied a different position from what it did in the last session. He could not consider it as a mere question of fiscal regulation, or of interest to the labourer: he lookedatthis tax with reference.
to the influence it exerted upon the capital of the most suffering class, which was acknowledged to be in a dilapidated state; and what was the remedy offered by the Government? To give up the cultivation of wheat, at the same time keeping up a heavy duty upon another crop, to which the British farmer had recourse for some compensation. It was impracticable to maintain the Malt Tax, or levy a large local revenue separate from the general revenue, if that Whs not done for agriculture, which the first lights of political economy had sanctioned, and if the cultivators, owners, and occupiers of the soil were not placed upon the same level as other olasses. Protection had nothing to do with this question, inasmuch as the Malt Tax was a burden peculiar to the land, and a large revenue was raised by local taxation from the soil for the purposes of the community, to which the community did not contribute. If Parliament was of opinion that this unequal burden should remain, it was for Parliament to offer terms. He should vote for the motion as a protest against the course it was pursuing, which was both unjust and injurious.
Mr. Fuller was understood to support the motion, as did
Mr. Hume, who expressed his astonishment at the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had made no answer to the motion. He professed to carry out the principles of free trade, yet turned round and refused to give cheap drink to the working classes.
Mr. Bass, who had given notice of a motion to reduce the tax onehalf, likewise supported the motion.
Mr. Brothcrton protested against the delusion that the repeal of this tax would benefit the poor man; bread was a necessary of life, but beer was not.
Mr. Henley and the Marquis of Granby rested their support of the motion upon the same grounds as Mr. Disraeli.
Lord J. Russell noticed the discordant suggestions of the opponents of the tax for supplying the void that would be created by its repeal. That of Mr. Hume, to save the 5,000,000/. out of the army and navy expenditure, which was not greater than in 1845, the House was not prepared to adopt, and the finances would thus be left in a ruinous condition.
Upon a division, the motion was negatived by 258 against 1'23.
A further experiment in the same direction was made by Mr. Bass, on the 17th of June, when that hon. Member sought to obtain a partial reversal of the vote of the House on Mr. Cayley s resolution, by moving that half the Malt Tax should be repealed on the 10th of October, 1852. The Chancellor of the Exchequer opposed the half repeal on the same grounds as he had opposed the total repeal, and with the additional objection that the proposed measure would leave untouched all the evils of the Excise machinery. After a general discussion, Mr. Bass's proposition was rejected by 76 to 31. An attempt made by Mr. Frewen, one of the members for Sussex, to obtain a benefit to the hop-growers by a remission of the duty on their produce, was equally unsuccessful, the motion being negatived by 82 to 30. But the Ministers were not always equally fortunate in defeating the .^scale projects of their opponents. ~ iv were again twice out-voted in present session on the same
motion, which, in the preceding year, they had twice unsuccessfully opposed, and had ultimately defeated only by strong exertions. The motion in question was that of Lord Xaas, the member for Kildare. that the House should go into Committee respecting the mode of levying duty on homemade spirits taken out of bond.
The case assumed by Lord Naas was, that the Irish and Scotch distillers are injured by the present mode of levying the duty on homemade spirits taken out of excisebond—upon the quantity originally placed in bond, instead of on the quantity taken out of bond, notwithstanding the large deduction from the original amount which is made by evaporation and leakage. The Government case in reply was, that this leakage and evaporation is a known average quantity, for which, in the fixing of the relative duties on home-made spirits and foreignmade spirits, the home maker receives an ample allowance; the distinctive modes of levying the duties being made necessary by the increased and different facilities for fraud placed in the way of the home producer. Lord Naas went over his case much as he explained it in the last year. Mr. James Wilson and the Chancellor of the Exchequer repeated the Government objections. Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Carter, Mr. Grogan, Mr. Hume, Colonel Dunne, Mr. Napier, and Mr. Hastie sided with Lord Naas; Mr. Gibson, a member of a former Select Committee on the subject, and Sir George Clerk, sided with the Government. Lord John Russell, just before the division, threw in the remark that the simple question was, should the duty on Irish and Scotch spirits be lowered? He must say that the duties on spirits were not the kind of tax which he specially desired to reduce. Mr. Disraeli interposed his sanction of the motion: it was quite time that these routine reasonings and stereotype arguments of public officers should receive some decided check. The House divided, and the numbers were—
. For the motion to go into
Committee . . . .159
Ministers and Opposition
The Speaker had to give his casting-vote, and in accordance with custom he voted for going into Committee, that the House might have an opportunity for second thoughts on the resolution itself. The result produced great cheering from the Opposition.
On the 6th of June the Ministers were again defeated by Lord Naas, and in a more decisive manner. On the House going into Committee on the resolutions already agreed to, the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved that the chairman do leave the chair, and was outvoted by 140 to 12a. Sir Charles
Wood then gave notice that on the report of the resolutions being brought up, he should once more take the sense of the House upon the subject. He did so, and at last succeeded in defeating his opponent, the Bill brought in by Lord Naas being thrown out by 194 against 166.
A nearly similar result attended a motion made by Lord Robert G rosvenor, for leave to bring in a Bill to repeal the annual certificate duty on attorneys and solicitors. The noble Lord proposed not to remove the duty in the present year, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer would promise a favourable consideration of the subject in the following session, he would not press the motion at all, though he regarded the tax as a sample of unjust legislation against a class. The Chancellor of the Exchequer declared that the revenue could not afford the loss of this duty, neither did he regard it as having a paramount claim to remission. On a division the Government were defeated by 162 to 132. The victory, however, was fruitless, as the Ministers succeeded in getting rid of the Bill before the second reading.
Foreign And Colonial Affairs—Ceylon, and the charges against Lord Torrington—Notice of Resolutions censuring the Conduct of that Nobleman and of Earl Greg given by Mr. Baillie—Lord Torrington enters into a detailed Explanation of his own Conduct in the House of Lords—Remarks of Earl Grey, and of the Duke of Wellington— Important Debate on Mr. Baillie's Motion continued for two Nights— Speeches of Sergeant Murphy, Mr. Ker Seymer, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Hume, Sir James Hogg, Sir F. Thesiger, Mr. Hawes, Mr. Gladstone, the Attorney-General, Lord John Russell, and Mr. Disraeli •—Mr. liaillie's Resolutions are negatived by a Majority of 82. ColoNial Expenditure And Self-government—'Sir William Moletworth moves Resolutions in favour of a Reduction of the former, and an Extension of the latter tothe British Colonies—His able and comprehensive Speech—He is answered by Mr. Hawes—Speeches of Mr. Adderley, Mr. Cobden, and Lord John Russell—The Debate is adjourned, and is not afterwards resumed. Affairs Of The Cafe Colon V—Political Agitation and Discontent in that Settlement, and renewal of the Kafir War—Debates in Parliament on these subjects—Mr. Adderley mooes an Address to the Crown, praying that a Commission may be sent out to inquire into the Relations between the British Government and the Kafir Tribes—His Speech—Lord John Russell moves as an Amendment, that a Select Committee be appointed with the same object— Speeches of Mr. Vernon Smith, Mr. F. Scott, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Roe buck, Mr. Labouchere, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and other Members—The Amendment is carried by 128 to 60—Further Discussions in the House of Lords, and in the House of Commons, on the vote being proposed for the Expenses of the Kafir War in Committee of Supply—Important Debate on the Political Grievances of the Cape Colony in the House of Lords, on the Motion of the Earl of Derby—He enters fully into the subjects of the Postponement of the promised Constitution, and the sending of Convicts to the Cape—Earl Grey defends his own Policy—The Earl of Malmesbury, Lord Lyndhurst, Lord Cranworth, the Lord Chancellor, the Duke of Argyll, and the Duke of Newcastle, take part in the Discussion—Lord Derby's Motion for a Select Committee of Inquiry is negcrtived by 74 to 68. Sir James Brooke—Mr. Hume moves for an Inquiry into the Conduct of this Officer in reference to some of his operations against the Di/ak Tribes for alleged Piracy—Mr, Headlam, Mr. H. Drummond, Mr. Milnes, and Lord Palmerston vindicate Sir J. Brooke's Character—Mr. Cobden supports the Motion —Mr. Gladstone discredits the personal Charges, but is in favour of Inquiry—On a Division, the Motion is defeated by 230 to 19. Thk Slave Trade—Interesting Statement made by Lord Palmerston respecting the progress made towards its Suppression—Remarks of Sir John Pakington and Mr. Hutt. State Prosecutions Of The NeapoLitan Government—Publication of Mr. Gladstone's Letters to the Earl of Aberdeen—Strong public interest and sympathy excited by these disclosures—Sir De Lacy Evans questions the Government on the subject in the House of Commons—Answer of Lord Palmerston, and steps taken by him in reference to Mr. Gladstone's Pamphlet.
THE affairs of Ceylon, and the charges of mal-administration alleged against Lord Torrington in his government of that island, which had occupied a prominent space in the parliamentary proceedings of the two preceding years, were in this session again made the subject of warm discussion, and at length finally disposed of. Considerable delays had arisen in prosecuting the inquiry referred to the Select Committee of the House of Commons ; partly from unavoidable causes, the distance of the scene, and the absence of the necessary witnesses ; partly, as the adversaries of the ex-Governor alleged, from obstacles thrown in the way of investigation by the Colonial Office at home. At an early period of the present session, however, Mr. Henry Baillie, who had been the Chairman of the Select Committee, gave notice of his intention to move the following resolutions:—
"1. That this House, having taken into consideration the evidence adduced before the Select Committee appointed to inquire into the grievances complained of in the Crown colony of Ceylon, is of opinion that the punishment of the natives of that island implicated in the disturbances of 1848 has been excessive and unnecessarily severe. . "2. That this House is of opi
nion that the execution of eighteen persons, and the transportation, imprisonment, and corporal punishment of one hundred and fifty persons, by military tribunals, for alleged offences after these disturbances had been suppressed (during which one individual only of Her Majesty's troops had been slightly injured), is at variance with the merciful administration of the British penal laws, and is not calculated to insure the future affections and fidelity of Her Majesty's Colonial subjects.
"3. That this House is therefore of opinion, that the conduct of Earl Grey, in signifying Her Majesty's unqualified approbation of Lord Torrington's administration of Ceylon, has been precipitate and injudicious, tending to establish precedents of rigour and severity in the government of Her Majesty's foreign possessions, and injurious to the character of this country for justice and humanity."
Circumstances, which arose in part out of the Ministerial crisis described in a former chapter of this volume, led to the postponement of Mr. Bail lie's motion, which did not come on for discussion till the 28th of May. Meanwhile, Lord Torrington, feeling the painful predicament in. which his political reputation was placed, determined to vindicate his own conduct by stating his version of the trans