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sary, looking at the future, now, he thought, was the time, when even over-caution was a virtue. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had taken credit in his estimate of the year's revenue for a payment of 750,000l. from China; but would it not be wise to await the actual payment of that sum, the delay of which would at once convert the estimated surplus into a deficiency? He urged the House to pause in the removal of any duty which would not give an impulse to the revenue, unless there was a great reduction of the expenditure. Yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, besides throwing off a penny of the incometax, proposed to repeal the paper duty. If, as he had told them, he could dispense with 2,000,000l., the next consideration was how taxation could be so remitted that the remission, while it improved the prospects of the revenue, would stimulate trade and increase the comforts of the people, which would be the effect of a reduction of 5d. per lb. in the duty upon tea. If he (Mr. Baring) was asked to say whether the Budget was safe, politic, or even honest to the country, he should be obliged to answer in the negative. Mr. Baxter, in reply to Mr. Baring, defended the Budget, which, he maintained, was based upon moderate and reasonable calculations; indeed, competent persons, he said, were of opinion that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had under-estimated the revenue for 1861-62. He thought, however, that the expenditure ought to be greatly, though gradually diminished. Lord Robert Montagu and Mr. Stanhope disputed the existence Wol. CIII.
of a real surplus as claimed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They strongly opposed the repeal of the paper duty, and contended that a reduction of the tea and sugar duties would be more beneficial to the community. Mr. Dodson saw no reason why he should distrust the calculations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the current year, those of last year having turned out remarkably correct. Mr. Baring had suggested that the receipt of the 750,000l. from China was uncertain, but he (Mr. Dodson) thought it was as safe a portion of the revenue as any. With regard to the disposal of the surplus, he was not inclined to quarrel with the repeal of the paper duty, which would be a great benefit, but the question was one for consideration in the Committee. Mr. Baillie contended that dependence could not be placed upon the surplus of 1,900,000l. claimed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was made out, he said, by a process analogous to the raising of money to pay off debts. He objected to the repeal of the paper duty, which would not benefit the community, which the great body of manufacturers did not want, and which would be an advantage only to one small but powerful class—the proprietors of the penny newspapers. Mr. W. Ewart approved the repeal of the paper duty, observing that when excise duties were taken off, the aggregate amount of that branch of the revenue increased. He insisted that it would be a commercial benefit and a literary benefit, and that it would heal the dissensions be[E]
tween the two Houses of Parliament. The Budget was, in his opinion, a wise and sensible one. Mr. Norris and Mr. Black urged the expediency and safety of taking off the paper duty. The former stated on behalf of the paper makers that they were prepared to consent to the removal of the tax; and the latter urged that the public, who now paid a great deal more than the Exchequer gained by the duty, would be much benefited by the repeal. Mr. R. Long and Mr. Longfield strongly opposed the propositions of the Government. Mr. Bentinck, representing the doctrines of the Protectionist party, made a running commenupon the financial speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whom he accused of carrying the principles 9f Free Trade to an extravagant length. He observed that it had not been shown that the great mass of the people would be benefited by the repeal of the paper duty, whereas the remission of the war duty on sugar would be a positive boon to the poor. He asked what those who called themselves the friends of the people were about; why they were prepared to support the financial arrangements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? He could conceive but two possible objects for this part of the Budget; one was, to reclaim the wavering allegiance of a certain portion of the supporters of the Government; the other was, to defy, he would not say insult, the other branch of the Legislature. He denied that there was any surplus, but if it was real, it would not be possible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer in another year to fall back
upon any resource but a large increase of the income-tax. Sir Joseph Paxton cordially supported the repeal of the paper , duty. Sir S. Northcote observed that the Budget had its political side and its financial side; the discussion had turned on the latter,
and to that side he should con
fine himself. He concurred with Mr. Stanhope that there was no real surplus; that, taking the revenue as it stood without the reimposition of duties, there was a large deficiency to be dealt with. He proceeded to establish this position by a minute examination of the financial speech and of the accounts laid before the House, and contended that we had added to our debt last year 1,257,000l., besides a large reduction of the balances in the Exchequer. Before revenue was thrown away, the House, he observed, ought to know what the balances were, which at this time should be strong; and other matters, both of expenditure and revenue, required a strict scrutiny. He entered into calculations regardin the finances for 1862–63, which, he argued, would leave a deficiency of revenue to the amount probably of 900,000l. In the conditions of our trade (many branches of which, he said, showed a marked decline), and in the state of foreign affairs, there might be reasons for a provisional Budget like the present; but this was not a time for introducing into it the surrender of a large amount of revenue, and he urged the House not to commit itself irrevocably to such a proposition, since it must contemplate the possibility of further demands.
Mr. S. Fitzgerald, after noticing the silence maintained by the Government during this debate upon topics which required and demanded explanation, proceeded to discuss the financial statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, he contended, had not dealt fairly and candidly with the House. He pointed out examples of what he considered to be unfair and deceptive statements, and questioned the accuracy of Mr. Gladstone's estimates of the expenditure for the current year, and his anticipations of the revenue. He could not understand the grounds upon which he had calculated that he would receive the sum of 750,000l. from China, inferring from papers which he read, and from the stipulations of the Treaty of Tien-tsin, that not one farthing of this sum could come to the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. With regard to the paper duty, he denied that the House was pledged to its repeal either by its resolution or by the Bill of last year; but it was deeply and solemnly pledged to repeal the income-tax and the tea and sugar war duties, and, if there was a real surplus of revenue, it should, he contended, be applied to the remission of duties that would relieve the great bulk of the people.
Mr. M. Gibson said the calculations of the revenue in the Budget had been honestly made, founded upon estimates of the probable yield of the revenue by men of experience and judgment. He complained that none of the opponents of the Budget had suggested any substitute. The Government had done what they had been told it was their duty
to do; they had provided adequately for the public service, they had been alive to the necessity of upholding the public credit, and they had proposed a remission of taxation that would, in their opinion, be most beneficial to the general interests of the country. With respect to the 750,000l. expected from China, Lord Elgin and Baron Gros had told the Government that a sum of about 1,000,000l. would be paid during the financial year, which would be paid rateably to the Government and to the merchants, and, basing their opinion upon the statements of the only persons who were fit to guide them, the Government considered that at least 750,000l. would be received by the British Exchequer. He read returns of trade in order to show that there was no ground for indulging gloomy anticipations; and said that, believing that they had a surplus of revenue, the Government were bound to propose some remission of taxation, and were they to pass over the paper duty? Were they to ignore all that had taken place with reference to this tax, and consider that the House was not in earnest last year? He contended that, if there was a remission of taxation, it would be impossible to overlook the paper duty, and that the Government had taken a bold, consistent, and honourable course. It had been said that the repeal of this duty would benefit only cheap newspapers; but he insisted that it was a landed as well as a commercial question—that the agricultural interest would experience a relief by the removal of a tax which checked the ex
pansion of the manufacture of paper. Mr. Moffat had very great doubts as to the accuracy of the estimates in the Budget, and whether there was a surplus of revenue. He dwelt with much force upon the glaring failure of the small taxes upon commercial operations imposed last year, as affording ground for the doubts he had expressed, and suggested other reasons for questioning the existence of a surplus. Of the 750,000l. expected from China, he believed, if justice was done, not 100,000l. would find its way into the Exchequer. If taxation was to be remitted, it was, he said, the duty of the Government to prove that there was a surplus. Mr. Whiteside, after noticing the ingenuity displayed in the Budget in the contrivance of a machinery to get rid of the paper duty, and to exhibit an imaginary surplus, urged the injury which the Irish distillers had sustained by what he termed the rash project of the Chancellor of the Exchequer regarding the spirit duties. As to the duty on paper, Mr. Gibson had relied upon an abstract resolution. But the House was oppressed with abstract resolutions; there had been one on the subject of reform. Supposing the existence of a surplus, the income-tax had been stigmatized by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as an immoral tax, which could not be said of the paper duty; why, then, should the former be retained and the latter remitted? So with the war duties on tea and sugar—reason and humanity recommended their repeal rather than that of the paper duty. He adopted the character of the
Budget given by Mr. Baring, that it was not an honest Budget; he trusted that this sentence would be acted upon by the House, and he was confident that the decision would be approved by the country. Mr. Haliburton denounced in very strong language the manner in which the poor were imposed upon by delusions and falsehoods on the subject of the expenditure necessary for the defence of the country. He asked whether any person could imagine that the tea and sugar duties and the paper duty stood on the same footing. To call this duty a tax upon knowledge, he said, was cant. Mr. Osborne remarked that the Budget, like all Budgets, dealt in anticipations. The Chancellor of the Exchequer estimated his revenue at 71,823,000l., and his expenditure at 69,900,000l., which left a surplus of 1,923,000l. Did the House believe the statements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or those of persons who had not his means of information ? He believed there was a surplus of 1,923,000l. Then, ought there to be any remission of taxation? No Chancellor of the Exchequer would be able, with such a surplus, not to remit any taxes. Then, what taxes? The first ought to be the income-tax. What next 2 Let the House look at the position into which the question of the paper duty had got. The honour of the House of Commons was, in his opinion, pledged upon this question; he should take the first opportunity to settle it, and should give his support to the Government in their proposal to repeal the paper duty. Mr. Maguire said he should confine himself to the subject of the paper duty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated, on his responsibility, that there was a surplus, and the question was whether this was a time for the repeal of that duty. The paper manufacture was a most important one; it was in an embarrassed condition, and he contended that the House was bound by the promise made to the trade. He showed the pressure of the duty upon the manufacture of paper, which was almost crushed by it in Ireland. The abolition of the excise duty upon paper would be one of the greatest boons conferred upon the country, and the obligation upon Parliament to repeal it was strong. Mr. Horsfall said he would assume that there was a surplus, and, considering its appropriation, they should look at the general taxation of the country, distinguishing between the ordinary taxation and the extraordinary, imposed to meet the extraordinary exigencies of the State; and he believed that honesty required that the latter should be the first removed. Mr. Horsman remarked that it was a matter of great regret that the question of the paper duties and the difference with the House of Lords should have been brought on again. He was not prepared, he said, for the repetition of the acknowledged folly of last year, the repeal of the paper duties being now combined with an affront to the House of Lords. The several resolutions to be submitted to the Committee of Ways and Means were to be embodied, not, as last year, in separate Bills, but to be contained in one Bill, and sent to the
House of Lords in that new form,
to deprive that House of the right
of independent judgment, and to give them no power but of accepting or rejecting the financial policy of the Government as a whole. There were war taxes on tea and sugar, and these were to be retained; and if a penny war tax was taken off the tax on incomes, and a duty remitted that was not a war tax, instead of a boon conferred upon the country, a gross injustice was perpetuated. Adverting to our expenditure, in the present state of affairs abroad, he thought it extremely difficult to reduce it, and he put it to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say whether any part of our military expenditure was unnecessary or avoidable; if so, how could he reconcile it with his duty to support it? Estimates were increasing throughout the continent of Europe. There was no use in disguising the fact; “We are arming against France" was the universal cry of all nations. Having dwelt very pointedly upon what he considered to be the aggressive policy of the Emperor of the French, which, he said, kept the world in arms, he observed that, taking the resolutions to be proposed to the House as a whole, there were two points for consideration— first, as to whether there was a surplus of revenue; and secondly, the application of the surplus. The first resolution referred to the income-tax, and considering the nature of this tax, and the pledges given to the House regarding it, he hoped the Committee would not let it pass as a mere matter of form. With rerespect to the tea and sugar duties, there were high duties, he