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the distinction; and the Amendment was rejected by 253 to 117. A more important discussion took place on schedule D, whereby the incomes derived from professions, trades and employments, are made liable to the tax of 7d. in the pound. Mr. Roebuck moved that it be fixed at 3}d. instead of 7d. He took the value of income arising from those sources to bear the same proportion to the value of an income arising from realised property, that an annuity for the life of a man of middle age would bear to the income of fixed property;— that was about one-half; and he thought the tax on either species of income ought to bear a similar ratio. Mr. Goulburn opposed the proposal, pointing to other instances of inequality in taxation, which it was equally desirable, but impossible, to obviate, observing also, that the Amendment had no tendency to mitigate the inquisitorial nature of the tax, which was the great objection urged against it. Mr. Hawes supported the Amendment, urging that the uncertainty attending professional gains, ought to exempt them from taxation in the same ratio as incomes derived from fixed property. Sir Robert Peel observed, that no distinction had been proposed for incomes in schedules A and B, whatever the various durations of interest; fee-simple, tenancy-atwill, and life-interest, were all taxed equally. It was to be noted, however, that trade had a special exemption; the assessment being calculated on the profits of the three preceding years; if it were unsuccessful, it would be proportionably or altogether exempt; and various allowances were made for
The other speakers by whom Mr. Roebuck's Amendment was supported, were Mr. Leader, Mr. Vernon Smith, Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Wallace, and Mr. James; it was opposed by Mr. E. Buller, Mr. Borthwick, and Sir R. Inglis. Finally, it was rejected by 258 to 112. Mr. Sharman Crawford moved another Amendment to defeat this clause, which was rejected by 259 to 50. * A proposition by Sir Charles Napier, to exempt officers in the Army and Navy from taxation, under schedule E, which imposes the tax on pensions, stipends, &c., payable out of the public revenue, was also rejected by 205 to 32. Having advanced so far, the progress of the Bill through Committee was afterwards very rapid, more than eighty clauses being disposed of in one night's debate, and a second sufficed to get through the Bill. But few amendments of any importance were proposed : among those was one by Mr. F. T. Baring, to exempt annuities, dividends, or shares, held by foreigners not resident in Great Britain. He quoted the opinions of several eminent statesmen in favour of such an exemption. Sir Robert Peel said, that Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox exempted for reign stockholders from political motives ; but he did not see the distinction between property held in the funds, and mortgages or railroad shares; and if the foreign fundholder felt aggrieved, the recent rise of 4 per cent. in English funds gave him an opportunity of relieving himself. On a division, Mr. Baring's Amendment was rejected by 203 to 40. Mr. Hume endeavoured to limit
the duration of the Bill to one year, by moving that it should be in force till the 6th of April, 1843, which was negatived by 174 to 52 : and another Amendment, moved by the same Member, that the profits of trade should be calculated on the last year only, instead of the average of three years, shared the same fate. Mr. Benjamin Wood moved the clause before referred to, for enabling persons to set off losses under one schedule of income, against profits under another; but Sir Robert Peel declared himself against this Amendment, saying, that the admission of such a principle would totally change the Bill, and require a material enlargement of its provisions. It was consequently rejected by 110 to 66. On the third reading being moved on the 30th May, Mr. Sharman Crawford moved the following Amendment:— “That as by the existing laws a large proportion of the people of this realm are excluded from voting for Members of Parliament ; and as it also appears, by the reports of different Election Committees, that corrupt practices have been used to an extraordinary extent in procuring the return of Members to this present House of Commons; and as from both these causes, this House cannot be considered a fair representation of the people, it is therefore unfit that any system of increased taxation should be imposed by Parliament, until all just causes of complaint with regard to the mode of electing the Members of this House shall be first redressed.” Sir Robert Peel trusted that he should not be charged with disrespect, if he declined to discuss the Motion. It amounted to a declaration, that the House of Com
mons was incapable to discharge its functions. Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Hume supported the Motion; Lord John Russell opposed it. It was rejected by 156 to 51. Mr. Hume took the opportunity of stating his opinion, that instead of attempting to relieve the distress of the country, by imposing four millions of additional taxation, Sir Robert Peel should have reduced the expenditure; much of that excessive outlay was caused by Lord Palmerston, the evil genius of the country, who had led it into war after war: “In 1792, the entire marine of this country numbered 16,000 seamen, boys, and marines. The amount of the Navy in 1817, after the war, was 19,000; the Army in that year numbered 22,000. In 1822, the number of our forces, Army, Navy, and Artillery, was increased to 97,000; and now the number is 146,000. The sending out 15,000 troopsto Canadahascost 5,000,000l. The fleet on the coast of Syria used to cost 120,000l. ; now it costs 1,000,000l. ; and the employment of so greatly-increased a force there had altogether cost not less than 7,000,000l. or 8,000,000l. He objected to the needless and lavish promotion, unequalled in France, or Prussia, or any other country of a decidedly military character. The amount of our taxation in 1830 was 52,018,000l. Lord Grey's Government made a net reduction of 7,220,000l. ; but, instead of the revenue falling off in proportion, it only fell to forty-nine millions and a quarter, the reduction having given a great relief to commerce. In 1837, the taxation began to increase, till in 1841 it was 54,000,000l. ; and the distress of the country has grown so great, that that amount will press as heavily as 70,000,000l. would have done in 1833. To send round a begging letter was not the way to meet it, but to reduce the military expenditure.” Mr. Hume added, that it was true he had given a vote of confidence to the Whigs, but he now thought it would have been wiser to have turned the Whigs out three years earlier. Mr. F. T. Baring opposed the Motion with a recapitulation of the oft-repeated arguments against the nature of the tax. Mr. Goulburn, having made some reply to Mr. Baring, stated that the expense of collecting the Property-tax of 1815 was 300,000l. He thought that under the present Bill the expense would not exceed half that sum. Under the old Act, the expense of the establishments was 117,998l. ; it was now intended to employ the Commission. ers of Assessed Taxes, which would increase the expenditure of that department by only 30,000l. He had considered Sir R. Inglis's proposition to make 150l. the startingpoint, exempting incomes of that amount, and also the same amount in larger incomes, by taxing only the surplus above 150l. He found, however, on calculation, that such a modification would affect incomes to the aggregate amount of 33,500,000l. ; and to exempt so large an amount, would materially affect the calculations on which the measure was based. The delay in passing this measure had elicited the proof, that the people sympathised with the Government in their endeavours to meet the exigencies of the country, without laying a burthen on the industrious classes. The number of signatures to the petitions
against the Bill had been insignificant. After some further discussion, the House divided on the third reading, when there appeared for the Motion, 199; against it, 69: majority for the third reading, 130. The Bill then passed. In the House of Lords it was subjected to little discussion. It passed a second reading sub silentio, and went through committee without alteration; and it was not till the third reading, that any debate on the measure took place. On that occasion, the Marquess of Lansdowne, recapitulating some of the arguments against the Incometax which had been urged by its opponents in the House of Commons, and which have already been noticed in our summary of the proceedings there, moved a resolution in the following terms:— “That while this É. is unwilling to obstruct the progress of measures calculated to supply the present deficiencies of the public income, and make it fully adequate to meet the public charges, it cannot refrain from recording its opinion, that a judicious alteration of the duties affecting corn, sugar and timber, would have greatly diminished the amount of additional taxation required by the exigencies of the State ; and would, at the same time, from its effect in increasing the comforts of all classes, and lessening the privations of the great body of the people, together with such additions as might have been obtained from some other sources, have been preferable to a tax on income in the present circumstances of the country.” Lord Brougham condemned the Income-tax with all his powers of invective, but said he could find no substitute for it in the unsubstantial proposals of the late Ministry, and so he accepted it perforce. He pointed out some oversights in the framing of the Bill, which, according to his interpretation, would lead to endless confusion in the working.
Lord Melbourne attacked the Bill in a tone of good-humoured sarcasm. Admitting that the financial Government of the country was not conducted by the Administration of Earl Grey and that which succeeded it, according to strict principles; that they had laid the burthen too much on the Consolidated Fund without imposing fresh taxes; yet, he said, circumstances might sometimes require a departure from strict principles.
After a debate of some length, in which the Duke of Wellington, the Earl of Clanricarde, and other Peers took part, the resolution was negatived by 112 to 52.
A contest then took place against the immediate reading of the Bill for the third time, which, after two divisions, terminated in an adjournment.
On the 21st June the Marquess of Clanricarde moved, as an Amendment to the adjourned Motion for the third reading of the Bill, that it be read a third time on that day three months. The Earl of Wicklow expressed his regret, that Ireland had not been included in the operation of the measure. He was followed at great length by Earl Stanhope, who supported the Amendment. Lord Beaumont said, that he would vote, though somewhat unwillingly, for the Bill. Lord Fitzgerald strenuously asserted its necessity, in consequence of the state in which the existing Government had found the national finances on entering office. Lord Monteagle entered into an elaborate defence of his own financial administration, and contended that no necessity had been made out to justify the proposed measure. The Earl of Ripon replied on behalf of the Government; and, on a division, the Bill was read a third time, and passed by a majority of 71.
New Tariff–Preliminary Statement of Sir Robert Peel, before going into Committee—Speeches of Messrs. Labouchere, D'Israeli, Hume, Gladstone, E. B. Roche, and G. Palmer—Motion of Major Vivian, respecting alleged Suppression of Information by Government— Debate, and Division thereon—Motion of Lord Howick against ertension of differential Duties—It is opposed by Mr. Gladstone and other Members, and rejected by 281 to 108–The House goes into Committee on the Bill—Debate on Reduction of Duties on Agricultural Produce—Mr. P. Miles moves an Amendment respecting Duty on live Cattle—He is supported by Mr. R. Palmer, Earl of March, and Mr. G. Heathcote-Opposed by Mr. Gladstone, Lord Norreys, Mr. Gally Knight, and others—Speeches of Lord John Russell and Sir Robert Peel—Mr. Miles's Amendment lost by a Majority of 267—Other Amendments moved by Major Vivian and Mr. Pilliers— Rejecled—The Committee discuss the Items of the Bill seriatim— Various Amendments relating to Butler, Potatoes, Timber, CottonWool, and other Articles, withdrann or negatived—The Bill goes through Committee—Read a third time on 28th June–Remarks of Lord John Russell on that occasion—Declarations of Sir R. Peel respecting Commercial Measures of Foreign States—Debates on Customs-Duties Bill in the House of Lords—It is introduced by a Speech of Lord Ripon—Earl Stanhope moves its rejection—The Duke of Richmond supports the Amendment—Lords Clanricarde and Monteagle speak in favour of the Bill—The second Reading carried by 59 to 4–In Committee, Amendments moved by Earl Stanhope are rejected; and third Reading carried by 52 to 9–Debate in the House of Commons on Sugar Duties—The Chancellor of the Erchequer moves to continue existing Duties for one year—Mr. Roebuck moves an Amendment to equalise Foreign and Colonial Duties— It is defeated by 59 to 18—Another Amendment for reduction of Duties, proposed by Mr. Labouchere—Speeches of Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Hume, Lord John Russell, Mr. Roebuck, and Sir Robert Peel— Mr. Goulburn's Resolution is carried by 245 to 164.
TÉ question of the Income- which had been propounded in the t
ax being now virtually disposed of, the exertions of the Government were next directed to carrying into effect the other great branch of their financial scheme,
early part of the Session—the alterations in the Tariff or Customs-duties. A complete table of the changes proposed, had been printed and circulated very shortly