Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

the House were in favour of conceding the borrowing power, Mr. Yillicrs consented to introduce an amendment to that effect into the Bill. The mode of doing this, and the conditions under which the borrowing power should become available were again earnestly debated, and much difference of opinion was expressed. Ultimately, however, the House decided that the liability to a rate-in-aid of the other parishes of an Union should arise as soon as the expenditure of a parish exceeded 3*. in the pound, and that a power to borrow on security of the rates should be conferred on the Guardians, subject to the sanction of the Poor Law Board, whenever the aggregate expenditure of the Union exceeded 8*. in the pound on tho rateable property of the whole Union.

The second reading of the Union Belief Aid Bill was moved in the House of Lords on the 4th of August by Earl Bussell, who dwelt in terms of sincere regret on the present distress suffered by the operatives of Lancashire,owing to causes over which they had no control, and pointed out the necessity of some extra means of relief being provided, as the distress would probably increase during the recess. Having briefly explained the object of the Bill, he showed that the principle on which it was based was no innovation, but as old as the time of Queen Elizabeth.

Lord Malmesbury censured the Government for bringing forward this measure in tho last week of the Session, when it was evident a year ago that such a measure would be ultimately called for. He regretted that the Government

had not adhered to their original measure, and doubted much whether the distress in Lancashire was so great as had been represented. The principle of allowing a parish to burden posterity by raising a loan for a temporary distress was most prejudicial and unwise. He thought it unworthy of the dignity and heroism with which the artisans had borne their sufferings, for a district ordinarily so prosperous to apply for relief when many agricultural parishes were more heavily burdened with rates.

The Duke of Newcastle said the Government brought forward this Bill not as a precedent, but as an entirely exceptional measure. He pointed out that if the rates were low in certain Lancashire parishes, it was no argument against the poverty of the parishes, but showed the noble fortitude of the operatives of those districts in refusing to be a burden on the rates. In postponing this measure Government had acted, in his opinion, wisely in not providing means for relieving distress before the actual exigency arose. In regard to the boi rowing clause, although he would not defend it, he did not think it would work the mischief anticipated.

Lord Kingsdown viewed this measure with extreme pain, and severely animadverted on the conduct of the millowners, who. after enjoying a long career of prosperity, on the first dawn of distress attempted to throw their burdens on others

Lord Egerton welcomed the amendment which had been made in the oilier House with the greatest pleasure, and defended the manufacturers against the remarks made on them by Lord Kingsdown. He described from his own knowledge the efforts made by the masters to relieve their workmen, and pointed out that the low amount of the rates was no criterion by which to estimate the poverty at present in Lancashire. He defended the borrowing clause.

Lord Overstone thought that, although this Bill introduced the objectionable principles of rates* in-aid and modifications of the labour test, it was the only prac

tical remedy for so exceptional a state of things. He hoped this crisis would be but temporary, and protested against the artisans being considered as paupers. They were the victims of strict adherence to a State policy, and their feelings should be strictly consulted.

Lord Russell having briefly replied, the Bill was read a second time; and the Standing Orders being suspended, it went through Committee, was read a third time, and passed.

CHAPTER IV.

Financial AffairsMr. Sheridan motet for leave to introduce a Bill to diminish the duty on Fire Insurance*The Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord Palmerston oppose the motionThe motion it carried against the Government by 127 to 110, but the Bill is not proceeded Kith. The BudgetMr. Gladstone makes his Financial Statement in a Committee of Ways and Means, on the 3rd of April He enters at much length into the state of the Revenue and Expenditure, and the results of past Remissions of TaxationProposes to modify the Wine Duties, and to commute the Hop Duty for a Licence on BretcingA short discussion takes place on this occasion, but on a subsequent day Mr. Disraeli entertfully upon the subject of Finance, and impugns the Chancellor of the Exchequer't policy at unsound and fallaciousMr. Gladstone justifies the meatures proposed by him, and retorts on Mr. Disraeli—Sir Stafford Northcote enters upon an elaborate criticism of the Budget, and expresses dissatisfaction at tie financial positionDiscussion on the proposed Licence Duties on BrewingMr. Bass, Sir John Trottope, and other Members object to the schemeThe Chancellor of the Exchequer abandons the Duty on private BrewingA general Debate on the Financial Policy of the Government takes place on tlic Second Reading of the Inland Revenue BillSir Stafford Northcote again dissects the financial arrangements of the Government, and intimates distrust of tlieir calculationsThe Chancellor of the Exchequer enters fully upon a defence of hit meaturesMr. Disraeli attacks both the Financial and the Foreign Policy of the Government, which is vindicated with much spirit by Lord PalmerstonOn the Third Reading nf the Inland Revenue Bill, Mr. Disraeli again inveighs against the unsoundness of Mr. Gladstone's Financial Policy—He is anrwered by Lord PalmerstonRemarks of Mr. Lindsay, Sir II. Willoughhy, and other Members The Bill embvlifing the several provision* of the Budget passes the House of Commons—It meets with considerable hostility in the House of Lards Earl Granville mores the Servnd Rtading on the 30M of MayIt is supported by the Dukes of Ncwcattle and Argyle, and by Earl Jlussell, and opposed by the Pari of Carnarvon, Earl Grey, Lord Orcrstune, and the Earl of DerbyThe Bill is passed and becomes lawIncidental Discussions on Finance. The Income Tax— Mr. HuUxird moves a Resolution affirming the injustice of applying the tame rate of Taxation to Incomes derived from fixed property and those of precarious tenure—Mr. Crawford seconds the motion The Chancellor of the Exchequer opposes Mr. Hubbard's scheme as incongruous and impracticableThe motion is negatived by 99 to 0'2. Reduction of Public Expenditure—Mr. Stanrfeld gives notice of a motion affirming the feasibility of retrenchment without impairing the efficiency of the public serviceSeveral Members give notice of amendments on this motionProposed amendments of Mr. Walpole and Lord PalmerttonOn the day fixed for the motion Lord Palmerston, treating the question raised by Mr. Walpole as one of confidence in Ministers, calls on the other Members to waive their amendmentsAn irregular discussion ensuesMr. Stansfeld addresses the House and moves his Resolution, which is seconded by Mr. BaxterLord Palmerston moves his Amendment, expressing approval of retrenchments already made and a hope of further diminutionSpeeches of Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Horsman, Mr. Cobden, and other MembersOn a division Mr. Stanfelcfs Resolution is negatived by 367 to C5—Mr. Walpole then, disclaiming any intention of hostility to the Government, abandons his amendmentSarcastic observatio?is are made thereon by Mr. B. Osborne and Mr. Disraeli, who recommends the House to pass Lord Palmerston's Amendment, which is accordingly adopted without opposition.

THE Chancellor of the Exchequer gave no tice that he should make his financial statement to the House of Commons on the 3rd of April. Two days previously to that appointed for the Budget, Mr. Sheridan brought forward a motion for leave to introduce a Bill to reduce the duties on Five Insurance. The measure which he now proposed differed from that which he had unsuccessfully attempted in the preceding Session, in that it sought to reduce the present duty of 3*. per cent, by 1*., and at the end of five years by another ]*.; and ho proceeded to show that the loss would be eventually made up by tho reproductive effect of the reduction of tho duty, the high amount of which, according to the best authorities, checked insurance. He denied that the opposition to the tax was organized by the fire insurance companies, who had an interest in the maintenance of the present

rate of duty, for the collection of which they received a percentage; and argued that competition would prevent an augmentation of the rate of insurance. He denounced the tax as false in principle, as well as unequal and unjust. It punished a man for taking care of his goods, without any equivalent, and left the improvident and reckless man untouched.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in opposing the motion, said he was not aware of any Government having been a voluntary party to the introduction of a Bill for the abolition of a tax, unless they were prepared to assent to such abolition. For this reason, and because it was mischievous to raise expectations out of doors that were not to be fulfilled, he should ask the House to refuse leave to introduce the Bill. He disputed the correctness of the facts relied upon and the arguments employed by Mr. Sheridan, and appealed to experimental evidence adverse to

his theory that a reduction of the duty would greatly increase the amount of the property insured. Ho pointed out the fallacy of regarding this particular tax ns a punishment on the insurer, to whom, it was said, nothing was given in return. Was a man punished for huying tea and sugar'? And what had he in return for the tax upon those articles but the protection of the law? This was a question to bo judged of like other questions of nuance. No member could vote for the motion, unless he was prepared to reduce this duly, whether there was a surplus or not, or, if there was a surplus, to reduce it in preference to any other. The House should not propose to give uway anything till they had it; and when they had something to give away, they should consider claims and merits.

Mr. Malins and Mr. Hankey supported the motion.

Lord Palmerston observed that the main argument in favour of the motion was. that this tax was objectionable; but every tax was liable to some objection or other. His great objection to the motion was founded upon the time when it was brought forward. It was the constitutional principle that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should havo the discretion of proposing the financial arrangements for tho year, and if the House, before tho Budget was proposed, picked out a particular ta\ for reduction, it was impossible to tell how it might affect those arrangements.

Upon a division, the motion was carried by 127 to 110. being a majority of 11 against the Government; but it led to no result,

the Bill being rejected in a subsequent stage.

On the 3rd of April, pursuant to his notice, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a Committee of the whole House, made his annual statement of the national finances. The right hon. gentleman observed that it was, in some respects, simpler than the statements he had made on former occasions; at the same time, there were secondary questions, relating to matters requiring readjustment, which would oblige him to trespass for some time upon tho indulgence of the House. The office of a Finance Minister upon such an occasion was a simple one,—to lay before the House such information as tho Government could give on the revenue, expenditure, and resources of the country. The expenditure for the lost year had been estimated by him at 69,875.000/.; but subsequently to his financial statement, there had been supplementary grants to the amount of 1,490.000/., which made the total estimated expenditure 71,374,000/. The actual expenditure of the year was 70.888,000/., or 538,000/. less titan the total estimated expenditure. Compared with the year 1800-61, the expenditure of wh ich was 72,504,000/., the decrease in 1861-6-2 was 160,000/. Therevenue of the past year amounted to 69.674.000/., which left a deficiency of revenue to meet the expenditure of 1,104,000/. Deducting this sum from the amount of the supplemental grants, 1,490.000/., there resulted a surplus of 335,000/. Comparing the revenue of the last year with that of 1 s>; l - (52. it must be remembered that we ltad parted with three im

« ForrigeFortsett »