Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

perity, and there was a real, and not a for many years, the brewer was the only fictitious surplus in the Exchequer. The man who got the benefit. Indeed, that right hon. Secretary for the Home Depart- hon. Gentleman said in effect, “ If you'll ment, in dealing with this question last take off the whole malt tax, we will give night, had argued as if there was a great you something handsome;" and it seemed surplus in the Exchequer, and he did not that this “something handsome,” if oneseem for a moment to consider that by half the malt tax was repealed, would be taking off the malt tax he was making a a farthing a quart on the price of beer! deficit. The right hon. Gentleman kept But if it did not benefit the artisan, how steadily out of the consideration of the would this partial remission of the malt Committee the fact, that in taking off the tax benefit the farmer? Now, he was himmalt tax he was making such a deficit that self a considerable barley-grower. He had the Government were obliged to extend taken some pains in considering the suband double the house tax, and to lower the ject, and he did not believe the proposed income tax to 1001. of precarious income, measure could benefit the agricultural inand 507. of fixed incomes. The right hon. terest generally. What portion of the Gentleman had argued the matter as if he agricultural interest was chiefly suffering was doing all this from an overflowing Ex- at this time? Not the producers of barley. chequer, instead of commencing by making He knew that the barley-producers were a deficit.

He (Mr. B. Osborne) thought never better off than they were now. He the right hon. Home Secretary, when he had himself sold barley last week, and he was arguing as to the effect of repealing had never got a better price since he had the malt tax, and looked back for something been farming. But what was the deslike 100 years, quite forgot the altered cription of agricultural land, the occupiers habits and tastes of the people of this of which were now complaining? The country. He seemed completely to have heavy clay lands, the wheat lands. Well, forgotten that the people of this country he might be told, perhaps, that this land now consumed upwards of 60,000,000 lb. would be forced into the production of of tea, and 40,000,000 lb. of coffee, a cir- barley; but what sort of barley would they cumstance unheard of 100 years ago, and get from such land ? Every one at all acthat the taste for those beverages was quainted with the subject knew that the unquestionably extending. He (Mr. B. inferior sorts of barley had no sale with the Osborne) would not stop to argue this brewers, but the brighter kinds of barley, question upon sanitary grounds, for he be- such as the best Chevalier barley, were lieved that to be purely nonsense. He be- what they bought. It was then absurd to lieved it would be just as possible to prove suppose that the partial remission of the that there was a great increase of nervous malt tax could be of any benefit to the disorders in consequence of the use of tea, farmer. Then something had been said as to prove that there was any barm in good about the advantages which would be dewholesome beer-such beer as was brewed rived by the farmer with regard to the by his excellent Friend the Member for fattening of cattle; but the opinion of all Derby (Mr. Bass). He (Mr. B. Osborne) be the practical men of science-of Baron lieved with the noble Lord the First Com. | Leibig, of Dr. Lyon Playfair, and of others, missioner of Woods and Works (Lord J. who were examined before Lord MontManners) beer to be a good, wholesome, eagle's Committee in 1846—was, that and national beverage, and, therefore, he cattle might be fattened much better upon at once disinissed all sanitary considera- ground barley than upon malt. He denied tions on the subject. He must deny, how- that this partial remission of the malt tax ever, that this proposed reduction of the would benefit either the consumer by lowmalt tax was a consumer's question. He ering the price of beer materially, or the denied that the price would be materially agricultural interest as a whole, by allowing affected so far as the artisan and mechanic the farmer to grow a high class of barley, were concerned. What had every Gentle or to fatten his cattle to advantage. But man who was acquainted with the brewing he could adduce on this point the evidence trade, and who had spoken during the of a Gentleman who had applied his mind debate, said on the subject? The hon. to these matters, and who was well quaMember for Derby, who, he thought, had lified to form a judgment on the subject. sailed rather near the wind with regard to in the year 1851, when the hon. Member protection, had admitted last night, that for Derby (Mr. Bass) brought forward his although barley had been falling in price Motion for a reduction of one-half of the

[ocr errors]

malt tax, the hon. Member for North | Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) expressed Exchequer to propose to repeal half the himself in the following terms :

malt tax and to make up that deficiency by

laying a tax on houses and incomes. He "No man had voted more steadily than himself for the total repeal of the malt tax; but its thought that if the Committee adopted the partial remission would neither diminish the ex

proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pense of its collection nor remove the restrictions they would enter upon a most mischievous which it imposed upon agriculture or on brewing course, for they would remove a tax which at home; in short, it would afford none of those was collected at the least possible expense, indirect advantages which the agricultural com- which was onerous and oppressive to no munity valued. rather support the partial reduction of a Customs one, which would not relieve the agriculduty than of an Excise duty, because a reduction tural interest as a whole, and which would in the former case would lead to a diminution in not cheapen beer to any great extent. the staff for collecting the Customs, while no such They would, in fact, be repealing a tax in advantage could be obtained by the partial repeal order to keep up a delusion that it would of an excise tax.”—[3 Hansard, cxvii. 912.]

benefit the agricultural interest, while, in Now if he (Mr. B. Osborne) were to speak fact, it would only benefit the brewer and for five hours—if he were making a Budget the publican. He must say he regretted speech, and he did not say so sneeringly, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer apfor he had listened with great delight to the peared to have forsaken all his former whole speech of the Chancellor of the Ex- schemes. He wished to know why the chequer-he could not adduce better rea- right hon. Gentleman had not moved for a sons against the partial remission of the Committee of the House to consider the malt tax. He therefore claimed the vote peculiar burdens affecting land. What of the hon. Member for North Warwick. had become of the right hon. Gentleman's shire on this occasion. He had, however, schemes for the growth of tobacco in Irea still higher authority against the partial land ? What had become of the right hon. repeal of the malt tax—that of the late Sir Gentleman's proposals for placing the esRobert Peel, who summed up most com- tablishment charges of the poor-rate on the pendiously the advantages and disadvan- Consolidated Fund? The right hon. Gentletages of the tax in a speech which he made man had given no reason the other night in 1835. In that speech the right hon. for not having stood by his colours, and Baronet proved most conclusively that no for not bringing forward some Motion to tax was collected at so trifling a loss to place the establishment charges on the the revenue, and he showed that 5,100,0001. Consolidated Fund. If the right hon. Genof revenue was collected at an expense of tleman's arguments were good for anything only 150,0001., and he warned the House in 1849 and 1850, why did he not bring in the most emphatic language against forward some Motion on these subjects tampering with that tax. He (Mr. B. now? He (Mr. B. Osborne) would not proOsborne) found that whenever the House mise the right hon. Gentleman his vote, had made any changes in the malt tax, but he would tell him this, having some they had always come back to its reim- interest connected with land—that he position. In 1816 one-half of the malt tax thought it would be a very fair subject of was removed, and in 1819 it was again im- inquiry whether there were any peculiar posed. In March, 1821, the tax was re- burdens affecting land, in order that the pealed, and in the following April the vote question might be finally set at rest. He was rescinded. In 1833, on one Friday thought the right hon. Gentleman was the tax was repealed, and, on the following bound, after all his promises, to have held Friday that vote was rescinded. In 1833, out to the agricultural interest something Sir William Ingilby, who was then an more solid than this partial repeal of the amateur Chancellor of the Exchequer, malt tax, which was, in fact, no concession brought forward a Budget, by which he to the agricultural interest. He (Mr. B. proposed to repeal the malt duty; that Osborne) entirely dissented from the manner Budget was accepted; but the House of in which the income tax had been treated Commons would not make up the deficiency by the Government. He regarded that tax which that repeal would occasion by laying as most inquisitorial in its nature, and as on fresh taxes on houses and windows; on extremely demoralising to the people of the contrary, they took off the taxes on this country. It was only necessary to houses and windows. They were put on read the evidence of Mr. Pressly, and again, but it remained for the right hon. of the other witnesses examined before the Committee on the Income Tax, to beturing upon any criticism of those opinions, satisfied of its demoralising tendency. that no one more admired his literary He must, however, deny the statement talent; he read bim with delight by day, which had been made, that that tax had and listened to him with pleasure by night; been imposed in order to maintain free he was a man who must do honour to any trade. He understood, when the tax was assembly of which he was a member. But brought forward by the late Sir Robert this must be said of that distinguished Peel, that it was proposed as a temporary Member of Parliament and of the literary expedient to make up a deficit. It was world, that he gave somewhat original merely a temporary expedient voted for reasons for his change of politics--a subthree years; but Parliament had since gone ject into which he (Mr. B. Osborne) should on voting it for three years at a time. It not have thought of entering, but that the had been said that the public had become hon. Baronet had considered it necessary habituated to this tax; but, for his own to make a defence, not only for the Minispart, he hoped the public would not be ters, but for himself, when his conduct come habituated to it, for he regarded it was not impugned. The hon. Baronet said as a most odious tax, because it was both he had always abided by the Liberal party inquisitorial, and, therefore, demoralising. till it was in a state of exhaustion, and The Government were bound to state their then he left it. For what? Because he views upon this subject, and as to the differed with them on the principle of free length of time for which this income tax trade. And what did he do? Why, he was to be imposed; for they had at other joined the other party just as they had times given very strong opinions upon it. given up the principle for opposition to Lord Derby said, on the 28th of February, which he had left his friends! A singular 1851, in the other House, that “any sur- reason for so eminent a Member of Parliaplus revenue that might arise should in ment to give! Singular that he should the first instance be applied towards a re- have left the corpse of the noble Lord the duction and final extinction of the income Member for the City of London without tax;" and that was followed up in the consigning it to a decent funeral; but more House of Commons by a Motion to that singular that he should have left the noble effect, made by the right hon. President Lord upon a difference on the principle of of the India Board (Mr. Herries), whom free trade, and joined the right hon. Genhe (Mr. B. Osborne) was sorry not to have tleman opposite just as he had given up heard

upon this Budget, for the right hon. the principle for which the hon. Baronet Gentleman was an able financier, and his forsook the noble Lord! He hoped the studied abstinence from assenting to any hon. Member had not forgotten his speeches thing in this Budget was remarkable; when for the ballot and triennial Parliaments. he was appealed to, there had been nothing He hoped the air of Hertfordshire had not but a grave shrug and a very suspicious bad that enervating effect upon him that silence. He (Mr. B. Osborne) would not he had forgotten his vigorous youth when go into the distinction attempted to be representing Lincoln. But he chiefly redrawn between precarious and certain in- ferred to the hon. Baronet because he come; he did not feel qualified to give any gave an extraordinary opinion, for him, the opinion as to the justice or the scientific other night, in favour of direct taxation. accuracy of the discriminating duty pro- Probably one of his books, by which he posed. That question had puzzled many would live longest in the world, was that wise men.

He remembered hearing the admirable work upon the institutions of late Sir. Robert Peel say, that if you de- this country-England and the English. termined to interfere in that way, you He (Mr. B. Osborne) would advise every would have to do away with the tax alto- new Member immediately to get a copy of gether—that you never could make any that work, because there was a chapter on approximation to a discrimination. He the formation of a national party which, at (Mr. B. Osborne) wished to look further this particular epoch, was well worthy of into the subject before pronouncing upon study, and in which he gave his opinion that part of the scheme. He would pro- upon taxation; and here were his views on ceed now to advert to some very remark- taxation. They were a little curious, as able opinions which he had heard uttered compared with his present views. This the other night by the hon. Member for was in chapter 8. The book was published Hertfordshire (Sir E. B. Lytton), whom, in 1840 :however, he begged to assure, when ven- “I have little faith in the virtue of any com

now

enam

This was

mutation of taxes. I have studied the intricacies | (Mr. B. Osborne) was one of those who, of our finance; I have examined the financial though representing an English constitusystems of other countries ; and I cannot discover any very large fiscal benefit as the probable ency, but not from any paltry consideraresult of new combinations of taxation. House tions merely of property in Ireland, would and window taxes are less just than property tax.” never shrink from saying that he thought, He then went on, in reference to direct under the circumstances of Ireland, it was taxation, of which he was

neither wise, beneficial, nor politic, to exoured

tend
any

additional taxation to that country. " An immense national debt renders direct

He would go further, and say, the “Contaxation a dangerous experiment.”

solidated Annuities” were a gross injustice And here was a most extraordinary note; to that country; and the labour-rate, by he believed it was only appended to the which money was forced upon the people fourth edition. [Sir E. B. LYTTON: The of that country, and no option was given book was written twenty years ago.] This them in the spending it, but their roads was published in 1840, according to the were broken up and the people demoralised date on the title page. [Sir E. B. LYTTON :

was a bad and unjust system. He would Yes; but that is a recent edition. The say, further, that the potatoe famine ought book was originally published in 1833.1 always to be looked upon as an Imperial But had the hon. Member forsworn all his calamity, and Ireland no more charged for opinions of twenty years ago ? Then he it than she would have been for the exdid not tell the whole secret the other pense of a defence if a foreign invader had night. He thought the hon. Member landed in Ireland; and till these accounts quitted his party only for free trade. But were put upon a juster footing, he, for one, at any rate this note was worth listening

would be no party to an increase of taxato, and was most instructive.

tion upon Ireland. But, if the arguments revised by the hon. Gentleman; it was the of the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. Davilast edition he revised, and here was the son) last night were to have any weight, editor's note; let county Members listen one could have little hope for Ireland. to this :

The hon. Member, who said he was no “I firmly believe that if the national debtor be orator, but a simple man of business, gave ever in danger, the fatal attack will come less as a reason for supporting the Budget, that from the Radicals than the country gentlemen, there was a most popular Lord Lieutenant, who are jealous of the fundholder or crippled with a most amiable Chief Secretary, and most inortgages. The day after the repeal of half the intelligent Law Officers. It was

true malt tax (leaving a large deficit in the revenue) was carried, I asked one of its principal supporters

, the people of this country were to be

enough ; but was that any reason why a popular and independent country gentleman

loaded with the house tax? If he (Mr. He (Mr. B. Osborne) believed it was the hon. Member for the North Riding, Mr. himself to the Irish Members, who he

B. Osborne) might respectfully address Cayley, and he had nothing to say against thought in the main always voted right, the account of him

for the advance of great and liberal prin“ how he proposed to repair the deficit ? By ciples, he would say to them, “Beware a tax of 2 per cent,' quoth he, upon Master Fundholder.' If that does not suffice,' asked 1. how you inflame the mind of the English

Why, then we must tax him 4 per cent,' was the people by laying on a tax you refuse to honest rejoinder!”

bear yourselves. But the virtues of the The hon. Member, transplanted from the Irish functionaries were no argument for healthy atmosphere of Lincoln to the ra- | laying on a tax, and would be very little ther sickening and enervating soil of Hert- consolation to the English householder fordshire, came down and said it was writ- when the collector called. The right hon. ten twenty years ago. He (Mr. B. Osborne) | Gentleman the Home Secretary wound up supposed the hon. Member was now a con- his most interesting and spirited speech by vert to direct taxation, and very probably an elaborate panegyric upon his Colleague he would go upon “ Master Fundholder. the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He In this debate very little comparatively had (Mr. B. Osborne) was not prepared to say been said

upon the Irish part of the ques- that in many points of that panegyric he tion. The right hon. Gentleman the Chan- did not fully concur. He would grant all cellor of the Exchequer, in his address that was said as to the energy, the ability, to the Buckinghamshire constituency, elo- the great powers of the right hon. Gentle. quently alluding to that country, said that man--he would grant it ungrudgingly and “ Ireland had irresistible claims." He fully He thought the right hon, Gen

seen.

tleman had the ingenium velox, audacia was to be maintained ? He had always perdita, sermo promptus.

But he must been foremost in favour of the remission of take exception when the right hon. Home indirect taxation. [Mr. OSBORNE : No!] Secretary talked of him as the most bold | Why, the hon. Gentleman had voted for and prudent financier the world had ever the repeal of the corn laws, the abolition

With regard to finance, he (Mr. of the differential duties on sugar, and B. Osborne) was of opinion that the great other indirect taxes. The hon. and galmajority of that House would incline to lant Member had declared himself disapthink that in financial projects “ discretion pointed with the proposition of the right was the better part of valour.” But the hon. Gentleman, and had characterised the right hon. Gentleman went on to say, Budget as meagre; but, on the other hand, following in the footsteps of the hon. the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Member for the North Riding (Mr. Cayley), Halifax and the right hon. Member for the that this Budget must be a most popular University of Cambridge were of opinion Budget, because there was such a cordial that the Chancellor of the Exchequer bad reception at Guildhall ; and he quoted a aimed at too much, and that he would passage from Lucretius, as he (Mr. B. have done better if he had extended it over Osborne) believed, but he was irresistibly two years. In his (Mr. Alderman Thompreminded of a parallel case, as narrated son's) opinion, the Budget was a bold, by Buckingham to the Duke of Glo’ster, statesmanlike, and wise measure, and deof what had occurred in the Guildhall served the confidence of the country. He when the Duke's claim to the Crown was would even go further, and say that, with urged there. Gentlemen would remember the exception of certain objectors within the quotation in Shakspeare:

the walls of Parliament, it had been re“ When he had done, some followers of mine own, ceived with very general acceptation. The

At lower end o' the hall, hurl’d up their caps, hon. Member said the Budget was framed And some ten voices cried 'God save King in a revengeful spirit. Did he mean to

Richard !' and thus I took the 'vantage of those few

say that the working classes would receive * Thanks, gentle citizens, and friends, quoth 1; no benefit from the reduction of the duty • This general applause and cheerful shout on tea, and from the reduction of the sugar Argues your wisdom and your love to Rich- duty in July ? (Mr. OSBORNE : That is

not in the Budget.] Well, but when he The passages were somewhat parallel. complained of the hardship upon those who He would venture to suggest to the right occupied houses at rents between 101. and hon. Home Secretary, when he quoted the 201., it was proper to show that the occureception at Guildhall, that it was not very piers of 101. houses had obtained great probable a set of well-to-do gentlemen, relief from the course of legislation which who were met to discuss the tender merits had been adopted of late years, and that of turtle and venison, would be inclined to they had no cause of complaint whatever criticise with any severe eye the dry details in being called upon to contribute towards of a financial project. No, those were not a house tax. The tax, in point of fact, the classes they must quote as giving a would fall upon the capital invested in cordial reception to their Budget. It was houses, the 'rents of which were from 101. the industrious clerk, striving to support to 121., the returns from which were in his family upon an income of not 1501. general from 10 to 20 per cent; it apa year-it was the energetic mechanic just peared to him, therefore, that the proposed emerging into independence, whom they extension was rather & landlord's than a must ask what they thought of the Budget. tenant's question. The hon. Gentleman Sure he was this Budget could never be the Member for the North Riding had atpopular with those classes in this country ; tempted to show the distinction between and he called upon the Committee, in the taxing houses and land; but land being name of those classes, to resist a Budget worth thirty years' purchase, and houses which was based at once upon tyranny and only fifteen, it was clear that the latter injustice.

produced double the income, and ought to MR. ALDERMAN THOMPSON said, that pay a larger rate of taxation. He did not he should like to hear the hon. and gallant mean to say that he was prepared to vote Member who had just sat down state to for doubling the house tax, but that he was the House the sources from which he prepared to vote for extending it to the thought the taxation of the country ought 101. householders, both because of the to be raised, and how the national credit large incomes which houses of that de

ard.'"

« EdellinenJatka »