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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 in. in 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 sums; but that was done by don from the list of towns redegrees.
The clauses, Lord Lansdowne followed up however, were affirmed without a Lord Melbourne'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 growreign corn was not excluded, and ers, and not by the dealers.
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.
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 HouseRemarks of Lord John Russell- In the House of Lords Lord Brougham moves a String of Resolutions respecting the Income-taxThe Earl of Ripon moves ihe previous question, which is carriedDebate 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 RussellFirst 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 urged-Speech of Lord John Russell - Attempt to postpone the Decision of the House by Motions of Adjournment~ They are negatived, bul, ultimately, it is deferred till after the Easter Recess— The Subject resumed-State of Public Feeling respecting it - Mr. Blewitt moves an Amendment on Sir Robert Peel's Resolution, but afterwards withdraws it-The First Resolution carried without a Division-Debate on the Second Resolution-The Second and Third Resolutions carried - Lord John Russell moves an Amendment condemnatory of the proposed TaxSpeeches 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 Members - The 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. Ricardo 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 opposed by the Government, and rejected -- Rapid Progress of the Committee with the Clauses of the Bill--Mr. F. Baring's Proposal to exempt Foreign Fundholders, and various other Amendments, are defeated by large Majorities, and the Bill passes through Committee -On the Third Reading Mr. S. Crawford moves an Amendment which is negatived~ 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
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 wbich 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 complicated 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 proceeded to a statement of the actual loans. When the Post-office revcircumstances 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 5l. on outlay must be provided for in each 1001., had produced but respect of the war in China. about 10s.; but the percentage 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 Exchequerbills, 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 bad it had been proceeding for the been applied to various new purlast six years. In such circum- poses. Should he resort to focostances, he could not resort to the motion for the purposes of taxa. miserable expedient of continued tion. He was reluctant to tax
the means of transferring from hands of British subjects or of place to place the labour of those foreigners. He estimated the whose labour was their only capi- assessable yearly value of the land tal. Gas light would fall within at 39,400,000l.; of houses at the same analogy, and ought to 25,000,0001. ; of tithes, shares in retain the same exemption. After railways and mines, and other ridiculing the various suggestions similar property, at 8,400,000l.; of people who were constantly total, 72,800,0001. From this he sending him projects for taxes on would deduct one-fourth for the pianofortes, umbrellas, and other exemption which he proposed to articles, accompanied with claims give to all incomes under 1501., of very large per centages upon and then the tax thus far would the proceeds, he came to the ques. give him 1,600,0001. The occution raised by the late Govern- piers of land (assessed at half their ment, how far it might be possible rent,) would yield 120,0001. to obtain increased revenue from Next came funded property. The diminished taxation; a
dividend paid in 1841 was which the fullest consideration had 29,400,0001., from which he would satisfied him, was wholly inade- deduct 1,000,0001., in respect of quate to the immediate emergency. the Savings-banks; but he must That a nation's revenue was even add upon bank, foreign, and other tually increased by diminished stocks 1,500,0001., making a total taxation, might be quite true; of almost 30,000,0001., from which but the first effect was always a he would deduct one-fourth for fall of that revenue, and a long incomes under 1501. a-year; and interval was found necessary to then the proceeds of his tax would restore the amount. This prin- be 646,0001. He now arrived at ciple was illustrated by what had the incomes of trades and prohappened with respect to wine, fessions, a part of the subject attobacco, coffee, hemp, rum, sugar, tended with great difficuliy; the and other articles. A mere re- produce he expected from this duction of duties, therefore, would source was 1,250,0001. From the not suffice to meet the present income of public offices, he calcuexigencies; and he would now lated upon 150,0001. The total state what was the measure which would be 3,771,000l. With re. under a deep conviction of its spect to the duration of this imnecessity, he was prepared to pro- post, the view of Government pose ; and which he was persuaded was, that it might probably require would benefit the country, not
to be continued for five years ; only in her pecuniary interests, unless in case of such a revival of but in her security and her cha- commercial prosperity, from the racter.
other measures, which he was He would propose, for a period about to propose, as might induce to be limited, an Income-tax of Parliament to take the opportunity not more than 7d. in the pound, of revising the subject ; but he or about 3 per cent, from which would, in the first instance, prohe would exempt all incomes pose a continuance for three years under 1501., and in which he only. would include not only landed but In case of war, he should deem funded property, whether in the it reasonable that Ireland should