Hide Articles List

14 articles on this Page

HOUSE OF LORDS.—THURSDAY,…

,MR. liume,s MOTIONS.:

MR. DISRAELI'S MOTION.

News
Cite
Share

MR. DISRAELI'S MOTION. The adjourned debate was resumed by Mr. M. GIBSON, who said he regarded the two proposal. before the House as founded upon entirely different principles. Mr. Disraeli's proposition in- volved simply a transter of taxation, whilst that of Mr. Hume con- templated a reduction of expenditure, with a view to the relief of all classes from the oppressive burden of taxation. Mr. SEYMER opp IS d the amendment and supported the resolu- tions, whilst Lord NoREUfiYS would vote both against the resolu- tions and the amendment. Mr. C. LEWIS shuwed that, from the earliest times, local taxa- tion was exclusively imposed upon real property, personal pro- perty having been exempted, from the impossibility of adequately rating it. Mr. W. MILES contended that the local rates were unequally an.1 unjustly distributed, and that justice and sound policy, espe- cially in the present state of the agricultural interest, demanded a more equitable apportionment of local taxation. As to the malt- tax, the time for its repeal had not, in his opinion, yet arrived. All classes had not yet felt the pinch of free trade (hear). The time would come when they would do so, and then it would be for the H JUse to consider the propriety of reimposing some of the import duties which had been abandoned (laughter and cheers). When the duties were reimposed it would be time to consider the propriety of repeiding the milt-tax. Mr. BRIGHT observ d that the ground upon which the hon. gen- tleman had placed his resolutions was the supposed prevalence of agricultural distress. But he thought that the hon. gentleman's own speech had ^disproved the existence of general agricultural distress, such distress not prevailing in the north. This plea, therefore, was taken from under the hon. gentleman's feet, and the pretence on which they had been brought forward had failed. There was no reason why they should adopt so sweeping a change in the system of local taxation, which could not be justified on general grounds. By throwing the local rates, either in whole or in part, upon the Consolidated Fund, they would, if they left the rates to local distribution, greatly increase their amount. To throw local administration into the hands of the Government, would be a most objectionable course. The effect of the proposal before the House would be to raise the value of the landed pro- perty of the country to the extent of from sixty to one hundred millions. And this would be effected at the cost of the traders and small farmers of the country. There was not a more merito- rious class than the tenant-farmers in the country. To bring them relief he was anxious to repeal the malt and hop duties, and he was astonished to find that when such a proposition was before the House the" farmers' friends" should turn the cold shoulder upon the farmers (heir, hear). Now they were tilent- Their lips were now forbid to speak Tliat once familiar word." (Laughter.) There was but one mode of bringing relief to the farmers. They must reduce expenditure, and then diminish tax- ation. Such was the object of the amendment, and it would, therefore, have his support. Mr. NHWDHGATE supported the resolutions as being founded in justice, and comprehensive as regarded the relief which they pro- posed to afford. Mr. S. HERBERT denied that agricultural distress was to be at- tributed, as had been alleged by some hon. gentlemen, to the price of wheat. If they transferred one-half of the local taxation to the Exchequer, they would introduce an extravagance into its admi- nistration which would end in anything but relief to the agricul- tural interest. The tendency of the scheme was towards centra- lisation, and he would greatly regret anything which would mate- rially trench upon that local administration which had been at- tended with such advantages to the country. Mr. CAYLEY and the Marquis of GIANBY supported the motion. Mr. GOULBURN would not consent to go into committee to ar- range a change of taxation, unless he had a tolerably good idea of what that change was to he. No such idea of what was contem- plated was conveyed by any of the speeches made in favour of the resolutions. against which he should vote. Lord J. RUSSKLI. observed that if he could prevail upon him- self to vote for going into committee, it would be from a motive of curiosity to ascertain what was the plan of Mr. Disraeli, of which no distinct outline had been given. When that plan was proposed, every one believed that an increase of the income tax wis contemplated (hear). The hon. member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Christopher) had proposed a moderate duty on corn. Six millions from a moderate duty on corti Then came his hon. friend (Mr. Cayley) with a most astounding proposition. What, he would ask again, was the great secret? He (Lord John) had formerly given advice to the agricultural interest, which it had disregarded, as bethought, unfortunately for itself. He now ven- tured once more to counsel it, not to close with the proposition submitted by Mr. Disraeli, not alone from considerations con- nected with the welfare of that interest itself, but also with that of the entire eou ltry. As to the amendment, he regarded it as ill-timed, and would vote against it, so that the' main proposition might be submitted to the House, against which he would also vote, as a measure which, if carried, would only lead to a war of classes, and to other evils of which no one could contemplate the blre possibility with indifference (cheers). Mr. COBDKN would not weary the House by any reference to the speech of the hon. member for Buckinghamshire, because, after the speech of the Chancellor of the Excnequer, that would only be "toslaythesiain" (hear, hear). The question proposed by the hon. gentleman had been resolved by the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer into this, that it was a proposal to lay on be'ween £41)0,000 and £;'¡On,ooo upon the tenant-farmers on the plea of being a benefit to them. That proceeded, too, upon the assump- tion that it was proved to demonstration, and beyond cavil or con- tradiction, that the local burdens laid upon property were borne by real property, and not by the floating capital of the country. If the House agreed to that proposition, they might feel inclined to reduce the burdens upon real property but was there one human being who would deny this proposition, that. if they reduced the burden upon real property, the relief would go into the pockets of the owners of that. property (cheers and dissent from the Protec- tionist benches) ? But there would be farmers who would read what he was saying, and farm labourers too, and he would put the case of two farms to be let of precisely equal intrinsic value as re- garded the quality of the soil and the situation, but upon one of them the poor-rates should be 2s. in the pound, and on the other 8s. in the pound. Now, would any hon. member tell him that he would let the two farms for the same rent ? He asked for even a nod of assent from hon. gentlemen opposite. Why there was not a farm agent or valuer in the kingdom who would not scout the proposition that those two farms would be let at the same Tent. Those persons would tell them that, after deducting the rates from the value of the land, the difference was always taken as the amount of the rent. Did not such a proposition, therefore, as that of the hon. gentleman come before them under false pre- tences, or even very much like a hoax ? The House were called upon to believe that the agricultural labourer was suffering from the low price of provisions. The noble lord the member for West Sussex (the Earlof March) spoke of seven years of those halcyon days of protection, and declared how well the agric ultural labourer was off in those years. Now. he (Mr. Cobden) had taken some pains to inform himself upon this part of the question, and he de- nied that the labourer was better off in dear years than when corn was cheap. Take the year 1817, adverted to by the noble earl, and let them compare the situation of an agricultural labourer hav- ing a famdy of five persons in that year and the present. If he consumed as much bread as the union allowed him he would eat ten 41b. loaves per week. which in the year 1847 cost him 9d. per loaf, or 7s. 6d. in all. The price of these loaves is 6d. at present, so that the same quantity of bread now would cost him 5s., or less by 2s. 6d. than in 1847. The reduction of wages might be Is. per week, or, taking the reduction at the noble earl's own showing, at 2s. per week, it left the labourer benefited to the amount of Gd. per week in bread, in addition to the reduction in the price of sugar and other articles. But take the ca.se of the manufacturing and other labourers in the north of England and m London, and com- pare their situation at present with what it was in the bygone and cherished years of protection-years which had gone by for ever. The mechanics, porters, and labourers in the north of England were saving from 2s. to 3s. per week in the diminished price of bread and other articles, tantamount t) an advance of 15 per cent in their weekly income. The period of 1793 was one in which the farmers felt themselves perfectly safe and at ease, and how was it that they found themselves in that condition when the prices of their produce were as nearly as possible the same then as now —what was it ttiat occasioned the difference ? The price of wheat in 1790, was not much different from its present price. But how was it then with the articles which the farmers consumed ? Iron and all the implements made of iron were then double their pre- sent prices. Clothing-all clothing was at least double its present price, and cotton clothing was four or five times the price that it bore at present. Salt was double its present price, having then been about 4s. 6d. a bushel, and now not exceeding 2s. 3d. Tea, sugar, coffee, soap, fuel, candles, and spices were all vastly dearer than at present. But on the other hand, butchers' meat, bacon, butter, cheese, poultry, eggs, were all of them cheaper than in these days --all those articles were dearer now than then. Wherein, he w: u d ask, lay the se tret of the farmer's prosper y? He put thac question to the landlords, and if they spoke their mind, freeiy and candidly, they would say that the difference lay in the rent. The rent of land at present was double, and in many cases treble, what it had been in 1790. He had no fear of being contradicted when he said, that the rent of land now was double its rent in 1790. And now he would tell the landlords that if they meant or intended to keep up the old rents, they must have farmers of more capital and intelligence ttian those to whom they had previ- ously been in the habit of letting their lands. In future the lands lords must proceed upon mercantile principles. If re.,i,,s wel-e to be maintained the land must be made more productive than ever, and that was only to be done by farmers of greater capital, skill, and energy than the present race of tenants. But then thj la d- lords must also be willing to accept as tenants, farmers who would not be afraid to vote according to their own judgment of puolic men, and landlords must give up battue sh otiiig. By an e,treme preservation of game landlords would drive men of capital off their estates. If landlords desired to imitate the example of a certain noble lord and his friends, who in the course of a single day shot 530 head of game, they could not hope to keep up their rents, or command the votes of their farmers. They ought to be content with money, and not demand both game and votes, in add t on to high rents. His advice to the landlords was, not to delude the farmers into the belief that a return to protection was possible. A return to a duty on corn was as impossible as the repeal of Magna Charta nor need they dream of high prices again. Such prices were incompatible with the welfare and prosperity of the country. They could not better benefit the farmer than by voting for a re- duction of expenditure—a course which would ultimately leal to higher rents, for where taxes were low the rent of land was high (cheers). Mr. DISRAELI replied. He would tell them that the only con- sequence of the rejection of that resolution would be a proposition conceived in a severer spirit of justice (cheers). Let not the Government suppose that the suffering landed interest which they had for years been conspiring to injure—(cheers)—that the various classes of that interest would renounce for a moment every chance they had to find a remedy from the Legislature (cheers). They would have in the end to do that suffering landed interest justice, and he warned them that before the session ended they would for the third time be appealed to (cheers). Like the unknown strangers in the Roman legend they would come; on the third time only one book would then remain, but they would take it up, and on it would be inscribed Protected and regenerated Eng- land" (great cheering). The House then divided on Mr. Disraeli's resolution- For Mr. Hume's amendment 70 Against it 394 Majority_ 324 189 Against them 28'J Majority 19] The following members voted against Mr. IIume's amend- ment:—Viscount Adare, W. Bagof, D. A. Davies, Bowel Gwyn, Sir F. Lewis, O. Morgan, E. Mostyn, Lord G. Paget, Col. Powell Pryse Pryse, David Pugh, R. Richards, G. R. Trevor, Col' Tyute, J. H. Vivian, Sir J. Walsh, Col. Watkins, F. R. West, Sir W. Wynn, C. W. Wynn. F>r:—'It. J. Blewitt, John Williams. The house rose at a quarter to three.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.—FRIDAY,…

VOTE BY BALLOT.

SUPPLY.- NAVY ESTIMATES.

HOUSE OF LORDS.—MONDAY, MARCH…

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE TO DISEASED…

HOUSE OF COMMONS.—MONDAY,…

HOUSE OF COMMONS.—THURSDAY,…

ARBITRATION.

MR. HUME'S AMENDMENT.

EDUCATION IN THE ARMY.

SUPPLY.—THE ARMY.