Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the pocket of the proprietor of the was corn a fit subject for taxation

at all ?

He declared it was not a
He alluded to the effect of irre. fit subject for taxation at all, be-
gular importation on the currency, cause it was a poll-tax, paid alike
referring to a return of the fluc- by the poor and the rich ; and it
tuations in the amount of bullion fell most heavily on those whose
at the Bank since the enactment resources were the most slender.
of the last charter. At one period It was also a poll-tax eminently
in 1838, when the importation of uncertain in its operation ; as it
foreign corn was at the rate of depended on the wind, and the
562,000 quarters a month, it ap- weather, and the seasons, whether
peared that there was only one farthing of the duty should be
2,800,0001. bullion at the Bank to paid. The necessity of the trea-
meet all the liabilities of the coun sury, however, could not depend
try. Every British statesman for supply on the vicissitudes of the
ought to congratulate himself that
this demand for foreign corn did The Duke of Wellington re-
not occur simultaneously with the peated some of the recommenda-
American disasters. But what an tions of the Ministerial plan ; and
illustration did this case afford of insisted, in contradiction to Lord
the boasted independence of foreign Monteagle, that the price of corn
nations which these Corn-laws had always been steady under the
were to bring about.

Corn-law of 1829. Lord MontThey could not much longer eagle had said, that the slidingsupport with any safety a system scale was an absurdity only known which separates classes, and places to the Corn-law : “It might be the highest personages in the State an absurdity; the noble Baron in the position of making laws ap- might have good reason to think parently for their own benefit, and so; but, begging the noble Baron's against the interests and welfare pardon, the principle of a slidingof their fellow countrymen. scale had always been known in

Lord Brougham approved of the corn-trade of this country. Lord Melbourne's resolution, com The Corn-law of 1794 contained paratively; for the preference of a graduated scale of duties, dea fixed duty must depend greatly pending on the state of prices in on the amount, nor could he in

this country:

It had invariably any case regard it as sound legisla- been the principle acted on, and tion. Taking it, however, at 8s., was always applicable to any arhe thought it somewhat the better ticle that was produced, the quanproposition of the two; but there tity, quality, and value of which was no difference between them depended on the state of the seain extending the markets for our sons in which it was produced." products abroad, or increasing the He said that Lord Melbourne growth of corn for this market. need not go back to the Greeks The latter trade must depend upon and Romans in search of expeits profits, and the dealer could rience as to dependence on foreign not tell whether he could afford nations; in our own time, we had to bring in his corn with the ad seen the Emperor of Russia imdition of 8s. duty, until he should pose a duty on the export of corn, know what the price is here. But avowedly to raise the price in this

country; and only last year it had large exports and refuses to import been forbidden. The supply of our products in return; and then Britain depended on the tranquil, he enlarged on the advantages of lity of the countries lying on the the sliding-scale. banks of two or three streams that On a division, Lord Melbourne's run into the Baltic. It remained motion was negatived by 117 to to be proved that the Corn-laws 49: majority, 68. produced drains of gold from the Lord Brougham then moved Bank in payment for sudden im, these resolutions : ports of grain. Those inconve “ 1. That no duty ought to be niences were produced by other imposed upon the importation of circumstances. Certainly, if large foreign corn, for the purpose of sums were required to be sent protecting the agriculturist, by abroad at once for the payment of taxing the introduction of food. corn, the deficiency of bullion must 2. That no duty ought to be be aggravated; but he believed it imposed upon the importation of was found that corn, under ordi- foreign corn, for the purpose of nary circumstances, was constantly regulating trade, by taxing the inin the course of being imported, troduction of food. and that a demand for the intro “3. That no duty ought to be duction of a supply into the home imposed upon the importation of market, arising from any failure in foreign corn, for the purpose of the harvest, did not require the raising the revenue, by taxing the transmission abroad of large sums introduction of food." of specie. Corn was brought into The resolutions were rejected the market only by opening the by 87 to 6. doors of the public storehouses, Upon the House going into and it was paid for by the money Committee, Earl Stanhope moved circulating in the interior of the the omission of clauses 12 and country. It was true that the re 13, which related to the appointplacement of the corn so consumed ment of inspectors in the City of would require the transmission of London; objecting to exclude Lonlarge sụms; but that was done by don from the list of towns redegrees.

turving averages.

The clauses, Lord Lansdowne followed up however, were affirmed without a Lord Melbo irne's arguments, and division. ridiculed the successive attempts Lord Beaumont moved to omit to amend the Corn-laws six times clause 17, under which dealers in within a few years, and each corn were to make returns to the time with confidence as to its inspectors ; proposing that the rebeing a final settlement; yet fo turn should be made by the grow. reign corn was not excluded, and ers, and not by the dealers. 110 remunerating price” was se The original clause was afcured.

firmed; other amendments moved Lord Fitzgerald followed, com by Earl Stanhope, Lord Beaubating the doctrine of the mutual mont, and Lord Mountcashel, were dependance of foreign countries; rejected in a manner equally unpointing to Russia, who sends us equivocal, and so the bill passed,

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Financial Measures-Embarrassing Circumstances of the Country

Sir Robert Peel's bold and comprehensive Plans of Reform-His
Speech on introducing his Budget-Its Reception by the House-
Remarks of Lord John Russell- In the House of Lords Lord
Brougham moves a String of Resolutions respecting the Income-tax-
The Earl of Ripon moves ihe previous

question, which is carried
Debate in the House of Commons on Finance Speeches of Mr. F.
T. Baring, Mr. Goulburn, Lord Howick, and Lord John Russell
Sir Robert Peel vindicates his Measures, and explains the Machinery
of the Income Tax Bill-Reception of the Measure by the Opposition
in the House of Commons Notice given by Lord John Russell-
First Debate on the Subject-Objections against the Tax urged by
different Members-Some of the Liberal Party support il-Speeches
of Mr. Smith O'Brien and Mr. Roebuck-Sir Robert Peel defends
his Measures against the Objections urgedSpeech of Lord John
Russell - Altempt to postpone the Decision of the House by Motions
of Adjournment - They are negatived, but, ultimately, it is deferred
till after the Easter Recess— The Subject resumed-State of Public
Feeling respecting il-Mr. Blewitt moves an Amendment on Sir
Robert Peel's Resolution, but afterwards withdraws it-The First
Resolution carried without a DivisionDebate on the Second Reso-
lution - The Second and Third Resolutions carried --Lord John
Russell moves an Amendment condemnalory of the proposed Tax
Speeches of Mr. Goulburn, Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Macaulay, Lord
Stanley, Mr. Labouchere, Sir R. H. Inglis, Viscount Sandon, Mr.
O'Connell, Mr. Hawes, Sir James Graham, Mr. F. Baring, Mr.
Ferrand, and other MembersThe Debate continued for Four
Nights, after which the Amendment is rejected by 308 to 202-On
the First Reading, Lord John Russell moves the Rejection of the
Bill-Speeches of Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Raikes Currie, and Mr.
Roebuck - The Amendment is negatived on a Division by 286 to
188-Progress of the Bill in Committee-- Amendment of Mr. Ri-
cardo for exempting Terminable Annuities is rejected - Discussion
on Schedule D-Mr. Roebuck moves an Amendment to reduce the
Amount payable on Profits of Trades and Professions-It is op-
posed by the Government, and rejected - Rapid Progress of the
Committee with the Clauses of the Bill-Mr. F. Baring's Proposal
lo exempt Foreign Fundholders, and various other Amendments, are
defeated by large Majorities, and the Bill passes through Committee

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

-On the Third Reading Mr. S. Crawford moves an Amendment which is negalived-Mr. Hume, and Mr. F. Baring oppose the Measure-Speech of Mr. Goulburn- The Third Reading is carried by 199 lo 69.


THE difficulties which Sir Ro- feebleness and inadequacy to the

bert Peel had to encounter occasion. The reasons and policy in framing a measure of finance, on which this great fiscal reformaadapted to the exigencies of the tion was founded, the principles country, were of a more than on which it was framed, and the usually formidable nature. He calculations on which its details had not, like many other financiers, were adjusted, were set forth in a as Mr. Goulburn in 1830, or Lord speech which, for luminous stateAlthorp on more than one occa ment and thorough mastery of the sion, a considerable surplus revenue omplicated subjects involved in it, at his disposal. Sir Robert Peel has seldom been surpassed in Parwas embarrassed by a certain defi- liament. Though the great imciency for the ensuing year of portance and ability of this oration 2,570,0001., with contingencies in well entitle it to be perpetuated in China and India of uncertain its entire shape, the limits of this amount. And even this deficiency work render it necessary to confine was not the mere temporary result ourselves to such a condensed sumof a sudden pressure, but a decline mary of its principal features as in the receipts of some years stand can be presented within a narrow ing, in despite of an increase both compass. On the 11th of March, of duties and of population. Under pursuant to previous notice, the these circumstances, it was obvious Jong-expected development of the that mere temporary expedients, Ministerial plans was made in a and such petty devices of financial Committee of Ways and Means, dexterity as had served the turn of before a full and anxiously attenChancellors of the Exchequer in tive House. Sir Robert Peel comeasier times, would now but ag- menced with a short preliminary gravate the evil. The present appeal to his audience for a patient juncture demanded a remedial mea and impartial hearing of the whole sure of a bold, comprehensive, and measure that he was about to prosubstantial character, going to the pose, avowing at once his own root of the mischief, and applied unfailing confidence and composure rather to the basis than the details of mind in proceeding with a full of our financial economy. In this consciousness of the integrity of respect, the measure produced by his motives to the discharge of a Sir Robert Peel and his colleagues great public duty, and his convicshowed no disproportion to the tion that a full and unreserved emergency. On the contrary, the disclosure of all the difficulties in breadth and boldness of the scheme which the nation was placed, and took the House of Commons, and a manful resolution to look all its the country by surprise. What- embarrassments boldly in the face, ever other objections might be was the course which wisdom and alleged against it, and many were duty alike dictated, and the first urged from various quarters, it step towards improvement and was safe, at least, against those of recovery.. He then at once pro

ceeded to a statement of the actual loans. When the Post-office reycircumstances of the country, and enue was abandoned, a surrender the alterations proposed. The late which he had dissuaded, the ParChancellor of the Exchequer had liament which gave it up, engaged calculated the probable revenue to grant some other supply in its for the year ending April, 1842, stead. Should he, then, impose a at 48,310,0001., and the probable tax on articles of consumption, on expenditure at 50,735,0001.; and the necessaries of life? He could that calculation had proved to be not consent to place burthens upon very nearly accurate; the actual the labouring classes; and if the result being only 160,0001. below House attempted that, recent exthat estimate of revenue, and a perience proved, that they would little, he knew not precisely how be defeated. The late Governmuch, below that estimate of ex- ment had proposed an additional penditure. For the year ending per centage of 5 per cent. on the April, 1843, the estimated revenue Customs and Excise, and of 10 would be 48,350,0001.; the esti- per cent. on the Assessed Taxes. mated expenditure 50,819,0001., In last year, the additional per and the consequent deficiency centage on the Customs and Ex2,469,0001. A further probable cise, instead of producing 51. on outlay must be provided for in each 1001., had produced but respect of the war in China. about 10s.; but the per centage Something must be made good for on the Assessed Taxes had proAustralia, and something in Ca- duced considerably more than the nada, and a considerable addition estimated result of 101. for each must be made to the army estimates 100l. ; a new survey, however, on account of the war in Affghan- having been made for the purpose istan. The finances of India too, of the increased assessment. These required attention. If Indian cre- facts proved that the country had dit were shaken, the credit of arrived at the limits of taxation on England would be affected ; and articles of consumption. All these the present state of Indian finance resources, then, being set aside, was not a consolatory one.

He should he revive old taxes ? Should feared, that the deficit thereupon he go back to the Post-office ? At in the two years ending May next, present, the new packet expenses would not be less than 4,700,0001. being added, the Post-office proHow then were these deficiencies duced no revenue at all, but rather at home and in India to be met? occasioned a charge; but he did Should we persevere in the system not think the recent reduction had of the last five years the system yet had a sufficient trial to justify of loans and Exchequer-bills, the as yet an increase upon postage. system of permanent addition to Should he revive the taxes upon our debt? Was there a prospect salt, upon leather, or upon wool ? of any considerable reduction in Upon the faith of their abolition expenditure? or was the present various contracts had been entered deficiency an occasional one No; into, and salt particularly had it had been proceeding for the been applied to various new purlast six years. In such circum- poses. Should he resort to locostances, he could not resort to the motion for the purposes of taxamiserable expedient of continued tion? He was reluctant to tax

« AnteriorContinuar »