The Marquess of Chandos
rose to bring forward his Motion. As that was the third time he had brought the subject of the Distress 86 of the Agricultural Classes under the notice of that House, he should not think it necessary to enter into the subject at great length. He deeply lamented the failure of his former Motion, as it was one calculated to afford considerable relief. But though he bowed, as he was bound to do, to the opinion of the House, yet he still entertained the same opinion. It was impossible to conceal the desperate condition of the farmer at present, as contrasted with his former position, and as impossible that relief could be longer withheld from him without sacrificing the whole agricultural interest of the country. All must be of the same opinion on this point. He would, then, the distress of the tenants being known to every Gentlemen, call on the House to afford relief. The measure which he meant to propose to the House for its adoption would not be final, but only temporary, and suited to the existing exigency. Ever since the commencement of the reign of George 3rd, the Poor-rates and the County-rates had been increasing, and all falling with cumulative weight on the farmer. It was thought by the former Government that the reduction of the County-rates, and the expenditure of money in building bridges, and striking out new lines of communication, would tend to relieve the distress of the agriculturists; but those plans were not attended with the desired effect. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed another measure, the Commutation of Tithes in England and Wales. That measure, however, had not been brought forward as it was generally expected it would ere this have been, and he had been extremely pained to hear the noble Lord that evening state that it was not the intention of his Majesty's present Administration to proceed during the present Session with more than two measures, of which a Bill for the Commutation of Tithes was not to be one. He was of opinion that a Commutation of Tithes would be a measure of very great practical utility to the landed interest, and rejoiced indeed should he be if the appeal which he was then making on their behalf should have the effect of inducing the noble Lord and his colleagues in the Government to reconsider their determination, and within a few days to announce to the House that they would not allow the present Session to pass without introducing a Bill embodying the propositions which Earl Spencer in the first 87 instance, and the right hon. Baronet, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, had announced from the Treasury Benches. In submitting to the House his present appeal it was his (Lord Chandos's) intention to embrace the relief likely to result from the repeal or reduction of local as well as general taxation. With regard to local taxation, his opinion was, that much might and ought to be done for the farmer. That it might be done the declarations of the Government were sufficient guarantee, and that it ought to be done, if practicable, required but little, if any, ingenuity to prove. When they considered the present prices of landed produce—when they found that in every, no matter how trifling, article of that produce, foreign markets competed, and competed with success with those of Great Britain—when they recollected that at the present moment wheat, which last year fetched 6s. the bushel now brought only 4s. he did confidently expect the House would concur with him in thinking the time was come when it was incumbent on them to look out for some means of relief for the farmer, and devise some measure, which, if it should not have the effect of bringing back to him all that prosperity he in past times enjoyed, should at least take from him those burthens which nothing but a continuance of that prosperity could enable him to endure. They might not—it would be idle in him to contend they could—give relief to the extent the fanning population required, but at all events it was in their power to effect such a reduction in local as well as general taxation as would give to their exertions that energy which their present depressed condition altogether kept down. Was the House in possession of the tremendous fluctuations in prices which had attended the sale of British farming produce? He held in his hand a paper from the pen of an able writer, he meant Sir John Sinclair, in which the average prices of wheat from the year 1800 to the year 1835 were given, which was in itself quite sufficient to present a lamentable picture of the depression at present endured by the landed interests. From that document it appeared that in 1800, the price of wheat was 110s. per quarter; in 1812, 122s.; in 1833, 53s.; in 1834, 44s.; and in 1835, 38s. showing a continually descending scale of prices. Might he not, when looking at this table, safely gay that the time had arrived when 88 something must be done by legislative interference to check this fall of prices, to relieve the farming population of some of their burthens, and, above all, that measures should be taken to give them that protection which could alone secure a market, even though an indifferent one, for the produce of their land? Upon looking into the last Mark-lane Express he found there had been introduced of foreign grain into the British market during the week,—bailey 515 quarters, and of Irish oats, 33,496 quarters. That quantity within the short space of six days, had been brought into competition with British produce; and, at the same time, of bonded corn and of flour there was a considerable quantity disposed of. Was it possible to expect that the British farmers labouring under this disadvantage, together with au amount of taxation totally unproportioned to the income they derived from their labour, could find the means even of sustenance for themselves and their families? If the Government were bent on ameliorating their condition there were many practicable improvements which, though in themselves they might be insufficient in affording that immediate relief which was so loudly called for, would, if adopted, prove of great ultimate benefit and assistance. If, for instance, among other improvements, the Government were to advance money and buy up the corn of English growth, according as the market became overstocked, and bond it for future use when the supply was less extensive, it struck him they would be doing that which might be the means of great relief and benefit. This project did not form a part of the plan he had to submit to the House, but he threw it out in the hope the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer might be induced to consider its practicability. The relief he at present sought was, in a great measure, that which would arise from the reduction of local taxation. Every country Gentleman must be well aware that the county-rates came upon the farmer with a heavy pressure. It was the land which was obliged to pay for the prosecution of felons at Sessions and assizes; it was the land which was called upon to maintain and support prisoners; it was the land which had to defray the expenses attending the building and repairing of bridges; and it was the land which had to bear the cost of making and keeping in order the 89 highways of the country. These constituted some of the heaviest burthens which the suffering farmer had to endure, and it was with a view to relieve him, if not of all, at least of some portion of their pressure, that his present Motion was introduced. What he had to propose to the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was, that the recommendations contained in the report of the last Select Committee on County-rates should be acted upon, and that, without further loss of time, measures should be introduced to carry them into execution. His anxious desire was, that Parliament should relieve the land in the way that Report proposed—namely, by exempting the farmers from the heavy payments, under the head of County-rates, they were now called upon to make, and by throwing them amongst the general charges on the country. On what principle of justice was it that the public, who enjoyed the chief benefits of the bridges of the country, many of them completed at an immense cost—indeed, he might mention that one lately erected in the county to which he belonged, had cost the land no less than 22.000l.—were not called upon to contribute one fraction towards their expense? Was it fair, that the poor farmer should have to pay for a bridge situated, as was often the case, some fifty or sixty miles from his home, which, in all probability, he would never see or use? It was from such an unjustifiable imposition he sought relief, and certain he was, if the country Gentlemen, whom he had the honour to address, were sincere in their professions of anxiety to assist their suffering constituents, they could not avoid giving him their support. The prosecution of felons, and the support of prisoners in gaols, he would likewise make a national charge. As to the expenses consequent upon the repair and maintenance of the highways, he thought they might, with the greatest propriety, be charged to the national purse; and when he recollected the great inconvenience and loss sustained by the farmers in being obliged to perform statute labour on the roads, he was more than ever anxious to see such a proposal acceded to. When, indeed, he found the toll owners of the country rolling in affluence, and discharging their duties by deputy, and at the same time saw the poor farmer obliged to contribute the labour of his men and cattle—labour which would be of the 90 utmost use to his land—he could not avoid expressing his surprise they should have so long patiently endured the exaction. With respect to general taxation, although much could not be done, yet something in the shape of relief, was practicable. The noble Lord, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer during the last Session, told the House, when making his financial statement, that very little could then be done for the agricultural interest, but that the little which could be done, would be of the greatest use to the farmer. In fulfilment of this promise, the noble Lord reduced the Window-tax on houses rated under 20s. per annum, affording a relief to the agriculturalists of 35,000l. a-year—reduced the duty on carriages employed in husbandry, to the amount of 10,000l. a-year—reduced the tax on horses and cattle employed in husbandry, which gave a saving of 3,000l. a-year—and, lastly, reduced the taxes on male servants under eighteen years of age, which benefitted the farmer to the extent of 20,000l. a-year. This was, indeed, a trifling degree of relief to a distressed interest, but, trifling as it was, it was sufficient at the moment to raise the spirit of the farmer, and to engender the hope that at an early period each of the taxes so reduced by the noble Lord, might be totally repealed. The duty on tax carts ought, he thought, at all events, to be repealed; and if so much could not be done with the other taxes he had particularized, at least some further reduction might be effected. He felt that in making this proposition, he might be told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the surplus revenue would not admit of making the required concessions, and that, at all events, he ought not to have mooted the subject, untill the Budget was before the House. With such excuses and comments he had been put off, he was sorry to say, by more than one former Administration, but he trusted that they would not be had recourse to upon the present occasion. He asked but for little; and he did hope, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, that the little he asked, would be conceded to him. His opinion, that the Repeal of the Malt-tax would be the most beneficial concession to the agricultural interest, the Government could make, remained still unchanged: but, as a large majority of the House had decided against such a mea- 91 sure, he felt it would be a useless intrusion on their time and patience, again to moot that question. Such being the case, he was reduced to the necessity of asking but an instalment of relief, if it were only to give hope that, when circumstances permitted, further concessions would be made, he entreated the Government to grant to the farmer the trifling boon he now, on their behalf, solicited. He had but one object in making the application. It was not a party object—it arose in an anxious desire to give hope and consolation to the English farmer, and of use to the best interests of the country at large. He meant to take the sense of the House on his proposition, and anxiously he trusted to see the country Gentlemen to a man marshalled in its support—in the support of the most important interest of their constituents. The case which he laid before them, was one of the deepest distress—a distress which they all knew was not feigned—which they all must acknowledge was entitled to relief. Twice had his Majesty, in his Address from the Throne, alluded to the distress of the agricultural interest, but as yet no substantial remedy had been devised. How long was this to continue—how long could it be continued without danger? When the whole of the agricultural part of the country was pressing forward for relief, when the pauper population was disturbed, when the Poor-laws were failing in many instances to prove so successful as had been expected. ["No, no,"] He would repeat that in many instances the Poor-laws were not proving so successful as had been expected—it was certainly necessary for Government to introduce some measure of relief. Some hon. Members seemed to think the Poor Law Bill had succeeded in effecting the object of its framers. In the county which he had the honour to represent there was to be found sufficient proof that it had not, and he believed that county did not stand forth as an isolated example of its ill effects. He should not have another opportunity during the present Session of bringing on this question, and he had now brought it forward in a modified way. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had ample means of protecting the farmer to the extent now sought: and when large quantities of foreign butter, cheese, and other articles of consumption, were daily poured into this market, some 92 steps ought to be taken to secure a proper remunerating price to the farmers of this country, who also brought those articles into the market for home consumption. There were besides other articles requiring to be protected, in which the Scotch farmers were more particularly interested, and those were clover and other seeds, of which large importations annually took place. He would again repeat, Government was in a position to give the trifling relief he now asked on behalf of the farmers, and he trusted there would be no objection to it. He, however, would tell the House candidly that he intended on some future occasion to ask for more extensive relief, but he would not do so until he saw a possibility of its being conceded without in any way unfairly prejudicing the other interests of the country. The noble Marquess concluded by moving, "That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, expressing the deep regret this House feels at the continuation of the distressed state of the agricultural interest, to which the attention of Parliament had been called in his Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne in this and the preceding Session, and humbly to represent to his Majesty the anxious desire of this House that the attention of his Majesty's Government should be directed to the subject, with a view to the immediate removal of some parts of those burthens arising from the pressure of General and Local Taxation."
The Earl of Darlington
rose with great pleasure to second the Motion of the noble Marquess, who, upon this occasion, as on every other since his entry into public life, had showed himself well deserving of the proud title which he generally received—that of "the farmer's friend." The picture which had been drawn of the distress endured by the agricultural population was not, unfortunately, an exaggerated one; it was impossible to give it that character, even if it were desired; and, as the proposition of the noble Marquess was as moderate a one as could be conceived under the circumstances—in fact, if he had any fault to find with it, it was that of being too moderate—he earnestly and sincerely trusted that the Government would see the absolute necessity of acceding to it. In their consideration of the subject, they ought not to forget that in two successive speeches from the Throne, agricultural distress had formed 93 the theme of regret and commiseration, and unless King's Speeches were to be regarded as mere nothings, or as so many words of delusion and deception, they could not shrink from realizing those hopes which his Majesty's recognition of their claims were so calculated to excite. It was true that, in the speech of 1834, no actual promise of relief was held forth; but why have alluded at all to the distress, if not with an intention of recommending some alleviation? As to the capability of Parliament to afford relief, he thought little need be said. The means could easily be found if the inclination were not wanting. In regard to general taxation he admitted little could be done, Parliament having, during the present Session, decided that the only general tax which could affect them, he meant the Malt-tax, should not be removed; but as respected local taxation, the taxation from which the farmers principally suffered, and of the burthen of which they chiefly complained, it was possible that great and important concessions might be made. When the last Budget was produced, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a surplus of 1,800,000l.; and it was naturally expected that something would have been done for the distressed landowners; but in the result, the surplus, with the exception of some few thousand pounds, was devoted to interests which did not require relief one-half as much as did the agriculturists. Among others the House-tax was repealed; and by its repeal a boon was given to the nobility, who did not need it, while none whatever was bestowed upon the farmer, who really required it. From what had been stated by the right hon. Baronet who had lately held the office of Prime Minister, and who was not one who was likely to raise hopes that might be disappointed, he was sure that if that right hon. Baronet had remained in office, something by this time would have been done for the effectual relief of the farmers of this country. He would now shortly allude to the means which struck him as most calculated to give a salutary assistance to the interest which he advocated. Upon the subject of county and highway rates he had no observations to make, farther than that he entirely concurred in the view taken of them by the noble Marquess. As regarded tithes, while he admitted they were a great burthen on the farmer, and while he confessed that a 94 measure of commutation struck him as most desirable, and should always have his advocacy, he felt bound to say, he was utterly at a loss to conceive in what way the farmer would derive any pecuniary benefit from it. Neither could he see how he had been benefited with respect to Poor-rales, although the supporters of the Poor-law Bill insisted so strenuously that such would be the case. He was not so much opposed to that Bill as many with whom he generally acted; on the contrary, he thought many of its enactments were good, and that hereafter it would be found of great practical utility; but he utterly denied the assertion that its enactment, gave the smallest relief to the farmer. It would require a great deal of money to bring the Bill into full operation, and the consequence would be that for some years, so far from being diminished, the Poor-rates would be considerably increased. If the Legislature proposed giving relief through the medium of a Poor-law Bill, they could only do it by making the Poor-rates a state tax instead of a parochial one. So desperate was the condition of the agriculturists, that it was, in his opinion, the duty of the House to brave all difficulties, and go to the root of the evil. It would be found that the contraction of the currency was the root of the evil. Agriculture suffered, and the system began to be felt the year preceding that when preparation was made by the Bank for the resumption of cash payments, and that system, in spite of every resistance, would have to be altered, or some measure, of some sort or other, brought forward to counteract its evil effects. Although for the last three years there had been successive good harvests, yet, considering the burden of taxation, and other disadvantages under which the farmer laboured, it was impossible for him to pay his rents.
§ Lord John Russell
said, in rising to make some observations on the Motion of the noble Lord opposite, he must acquit him of having brought it forward from any party or factious motive; on the contrary, the noble Lord, in bringing forward his motions relating to the distress of the agriculturists, whoever were the Ministers in power, desired no doubt to draw from them and from the House some opinion with respect to that distress, and with respect to the burdens under which the agricultural interest laboured. Whatever 95 else, then, he might say of the Motion of the noble Lord, or of the speech with which be prefaced it, he certainly should not impute to the noble Lord any other motive than an anxious desire to promote that cause of which he was the zealous advocate. He felt himself called on to remark that the proposition of the noble Lord avowedly fell very far short of a remedy for the distress which it was his purpose to remove. The noble Lord stated—and he would not dispute the point—that the farmers of this country were labouring under great distress, and he proposed to relieve them by the removal of local taxes; but the noble Lord did not propose, as he understood him, to carry his relief beyond the amount of the present surplus—beyond that amount which the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Robert Peel) and his right hon. Friend (Mr. S. Rice) were prepared to state was the present surplus of revenue.—[The Marquess of Chandos did not bind himself to that.]—As the noble Lord who made the motion, and the noble Lord who followed him, and who did not submit any distinct proposition—as neither of those noble Lords entered upon either of the two great questions, an entire commutation of taxes, or a complete alteration of the currency—he considered himself at liberty to evade those questions entirely, and to hold the discussion to be limited within the bounds of the surplus revenue, whatever the amount might be. He would, then, take into consideration the noble Lord's proposition, in connexion with the Government of Earl Grey and that which followed till the end of last Session. It would be remembered, that during Earl Grey's Administration a Committee was proposed to inquire into the distress of the agricultural interest. That Committee was very fully attended by Gentlemen connected with the landed interest of the country: his right hon. Friend the Member for Cumberland was in the Chair, and no one better adapted for that situation could be found. After several days of laborious investigation, the Committee drew up a Report, and that Report ended by declaring, that it was more to forbearance than to the active interposition of Parliament that they must look for relief of agricultural distress. The Report made another assertion, the accuracy of which no person could doubt, and which went to the very foundation of agricultural dis- 96 tress, namely, that while the outgoings of the farmer were considerable, and the price of his produce much diminished, the burdens, consisting of county-rates and so on, had very much increased. This undoubtedly was the case. In 1791 the general average of wheat was about 47s.; in the beginning of 1793 it was 41s. In 1833 and 1834 the prices had not been very different; and he had been informed that the present average price was below 40s. While the prices had come back to what they were in 1792 or 1793, the present burdens were very much more heavy and oppressive. [Instances of this were given in the Report of the Committee appointed on this subject last year, some of which the noble Lord detailed.] He would observe, with respect to the Report of the Sub-committee that was also appointed, that Report stated that the expense of the prosecutions which took place—the prosecutions being of a public nature—ought to be defrayed, at all events in part, by the public, and recommended that the expense should be the expense of the assizes, and not of the quarter sessions. To that proposition there was the objection, that such a system would hold out a direct inducement to commit prisoners to the assizes and not to the quarter sessions, although perhaps an answer to that might be, that it would be necessary and requisite to distinguish between offences. There was another question in relation to this subject of the very highest importance, upon which the recommendation of the Committee could not be adopted without the very fullest consideration—he meant the expediency of introducing a public prosecutor into all our trials. From all he himself had heard, he was inclined to think that it would much improve the practice of the law, if they adopted in some respect that practice. But still it ought not to be adopted generally and at once; it should rather be introduced gradually and partially, by way of experiment at first. But there was another reason for not adopting the conclusion of the Select Committee. In considering the proposition made by that Committee, it appeared that they might in another way give a relief greater than that which they had contemplated. For instance, that Committee proposed to relieve counties from the expenses incidental to assize prosecutions, to the amount of 67,000l.; from the expenses of convicts, 97 to the amount of 15,000l.; and with respect to County-rates and expenses at quarter sessions, to the extent of 64,000l., making in all 146,000., Now the proposal which he had to make, was, to take the half of that whole sum, including the expenses of assizes and quarter-sessions, and pay one half of it out of the general revenues of the State. With regard to Gaols, that question was already before a Committee in the other House of Parliament, and would probably be made the subject of a separate bill. It was the intention of Government to propose such a Measure as would insure uniformity of discipline, and when that great object had been secured, it would be time to consider whether the expense should in part be borne by the public. Before he left the subject of County-rates and the recommendations of that Committee, of which he had the honour of being a Member, he might be permitted to mention that very great and important economical improvement which would result from the appointment of a Finance Commmittee of Magistrates in every county, by insuring a regular audit and examination of accounts, and by taking, when it is necessary, a new valuation. Of this he would only mention a single instance which had happened within his own personal knowledge, that in the county of Devon the expenses of felons and prisoners had been actually reduced three-fourths by the efficient superintendance of such a local finance Committee—a Measure which could in all cases be carried into effect by counties themselves without aid or intervention of Parliament. He had now explained the views he entertained with respect to County-rates. The local burdens which pressed peculiarly upon agriculture were divided into County-rates, Tithes, and Poor-rates. The next subject, therefore, which he should revert to was Tithe. With respect to the commutation of Tithes, it had been undoubtedly under the consideration of Government, and it had, indeed, been agreed to bring forward some measure on the subject; but great difficulty was found in making a compulsory settlement of the question, dependent as it must be upon the ratio of payment for a certain number of bygone years. The right hon. Baronet, for the purpose of avoiding all the difficulties which enveloped the subject, proposed to introduce a Bill for the volun- 98 tary Commutation of Tithes. He had stated, when the right hon. Baronet introduced the measure, and he still was of the same opinion, that such a measure could be generally carried into effect, and especially in those places where the greatest irritation prevailed. Of the justness of that opinion, he was still firmly convinced; but, at the same time, he was perfectly satisfied to allow full opportunity for the exercise of every effort which could be made to set at rest this intricate and difficult question. If the right hon. Gentleman still wished to carry forward his plan, he should certainly give him his vote—on the principle that the measure would deserve a trial; but if he did not press forward that measure, he should propose that a Select Committee should be appointed, embracing various Members from different parts of the country, representing the various interests of those who were liable in particular districts, to the payment of tithes, for no compulsory measure could be properly and finally settled, unless it were examined by some body of men before whom the various claims and interests of the different tithe-payers were fairly heard. There was another topic to which the noble Lord adverted—Poor-rates, from the law in reference to which, that had been passed last Session, he did not seem to think much relief had been given. Now, upon that subject, he very widely differed from the noble Lord. All the information which he had received, was of precisely an opposite character and tendency. Although the Poor-law Amendment Bill was only partially in operation, and would not come into complete and general operation for some time, yet, so far as averages could be taken, there was a considerable diminution of the burden of Poor-rates, and the relief which had been afforded, was of a kind which he thought must be considered most satisfactory. He had some statements upon this subject, which had been drawn up with great attention and care, and with all the experience which the Commissioners were possessed of, which tended to show practically the working of the new Poor-law Bill. For instance, there was an average taken of 165 parishes in Berks and Sussex, in which the expense of maintaining the poor, for the year ending March, 1834, was 79,498l. and, during the same period, till March, 1835, 99 the charge was only 69,433l., showing a diminution of no less than one-eighth. If this great diminution could be reckoned on generally, which he thought, when the Bill, was in complete operation, might be fairly expected, there would be a saving of not less than 1,000,000l. to the country. His expectation was, that before long he should be able to state there had been a diminution to that amount, and in that particular direction no one could doubt it would be of the very highest value. But what was of more importance than even the amount of money saved, was the moral effect which the operation of the Bill had on the character, particularly, of the agricultural labourer. The great evil which had been fully acknowledged by all who had practically studied the question, was the vast quantity of what had been called surplus labour, which compelled the farmers to give employment to those half who were supported by the parishes, and whom they would not otherwise have employed. It had been found in many parishes, that no sooner was it proposed that those labourers should, in place of being supported by the parish, go to the workhouse, than the greater part of them immediately found employment. They had not become vagrants or lawless persons infesting the country, but were employed by the farmers, conducted themselves properly, and received increased wages. Such were the effects he had expected from the change effected in the Poor-laws; those who formerly received money for work, which to the farmers was worth absolutely nothing, many of them being men whom the farmers could not employ, were now usefully employed, the farmers finding, from the change in their character, that their labour was highly beneficial. He would give only one more instance of a parish (Bledlow, as we understood,) in the county of Bucks, with which the noble Marquess was acquainted, where by order of the Commissioners, it had been proposed that a number of paupers, then unemployed, should go to Manchester, whither they had, in fact, migrated, and were now receiving double their former wages. Twenty more were now anxious to follow their example, and the burdens of the parish had actually been reduced more than one-half. Such was the information which he had received, and which he thought the House would be 100 glad to hear, of the working of the Poor-law Act, in its yet early stages, from which the noble Marquess seemed to expect but little relief. For his own part, he had felt that the Government of the day in introducing such a measure, were not certainly adopting so popular a course, as if they had taken off 2,000,000l. or 3,000,000l. of taxes; but ultimately, he felt persuaded, a more beneficial effect would be produced by it, than by any such reduction, while the value of labour would be materially augmented, and the condition of the peasant most extensively improved. When the hon. Member for Oldham brought forward his Motion on the subject, he should be prepared with materials to lay before the House, by which, on the evidence of the Commissioners, he should be able to show what the actual operation of the measure had been; and he believed he should then be able to establish that, so far from its being a measure, as that hon. Member chose to represent it, tending to make the independent labourer live on worse and coarser food, it was calculated, on the contrary, to raise the character and improve the wages of the labourer, making him feel the true value and importance of that independence which he had formerly, in a great degree lost, when even by the sacrifice of his independence, he obtained only the most wretched food in those pauperized districts, where he could get little or no work to perform. He believed that the consequence of the new law would be, to proportion employment to the demand for it, and make both the employed and the employers more independent, and give them a greater respect for each other. He would not go further at present into this subject, but would content himself with alluding to that other point which had been touched on by the noble Lord—the reduction of public and general taxation. It had always been his opinion, that on those local burdens, of which he had spoken, the Poor-rate, and the County-rate, the greatest impression could be made by local economical management, by wise and prudent measures introduced into Parliament. But in the present state of the country, no such reduction of general taxation could be effected, as would give the required relief to agriculture. It must be admitted, he thought, that substantial relief could not, as regarded general taxation, be afforded to agriculture; 101 and that being admitted, the Malt-tax not being to be repealed, and there being scarcely any other tax that could be said peculiarly to affect agriculture, he thought they would be holding out a most fallacious and delusive hope, if they pledged themselves to give their immediate attention to general taxation, as it affected agriculture, with the view to the removal of taxes from the agricultural interest. The noble Lord had proposed one or two things which certainly could not afford much substantial relief, the noble Lord's intention being rather to convince the fanner that his distress was really felt, and sympathised in, by the Legislature, encouraging him to hope and exertion, than to lighten their burdens. Now, he sympathized with the farmer most sincerely, and he could not but think that a reduction of rent would be the most effectual of all relief which could be administered to him. He very well remembered the ridicule with which the noble Marquess had assailed his noble Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (now Earl Spencer,) when proposing to repeal the tax on shepherds' dogs, and he wag rather surprised at finding the noble Marquess, in his temporary character of Chancellor of the Exchequer, following the steps of his noble Friend so very closely on the present occasion, as to dwell pathetically on the grievance of a farmer's being obliged to go to market in a cart without springs, lest it should be subjected to duty, as a thing which, in its alteration, would afford any very substantial relief to agriculture. The fact was, no such custom prevailed as farmers going to market in such vehicles, and he was quite surprised at the statement of the noble Marquess. Upon a whole view of the subject, he should beg leave to move, by way of Amendment to the noble Lord's proposition, that all the words be left out after the word "that," for the purpose of inserting the following—"That this House will direct its early attention to the recommendation of the Committee which sat last Session of Parliament upon the subject of County-rates, with a view to the utmost practicable alleviation of those burdens to which the land is subject, through the pressure of Local Taxation."
§ Mr. Cobbett
rose for the purpose of making some observations in consequence of what had fallen from the noble Lord (Russell) who had just addressed the 102 House. The noble Lord had referred to the Motion of which he (Mr. Cobbett) had given notice with respect to the Poor-law Amendment Bill, with the view, no doubt, by anticipating, to prejudice that Motion and render it, if possible, abortive. And what was the information which he had submitted to the House to illustrate the operation of that measure? From whom had it been derived? Why, from the Commissioners themselves. How often had that House been deluded by the statements of Commissioners? Nothing was so absolutely monstrous as the credulity of those who always believe the Commissioners' statements, and believe nothing else. The Commissioners, he dared say, would tell them them they were doing a great deal—no doubt. What had they their salaries for? They were, in fact, pleading for their salaries, they were writing for their salaries, and they gave their evidence for the purpose of making the House and the country believe that they had earned something. He maintained that in respect of savings, never would there be so much saved except by acts of sheer cruelty as the amount of the salaries paid to the Commissioners. The report of those Commissioners in which the Bill had been introduced, was full of falsehoods from beginning to end; it had been contradicted by Magistrates, by country Gentlemen, in pamphlets and in paragraphs innumerable. No doubt the noble Lord believed in the information he had received; but with respect, for example, to the case of Sussex and Berks, where it was alleged so great a diminution had taken place, it had occurred before the Bill had been introduced at all. Why, naturally there must be a diminution in consequence of the low price of wheat; but they might depend upon it, the evidence of the Commissioners was all the way through fallacious; substantially there was not a word of truth in the Reports they made to the Government. But supposing there could be savings, would the House not listen to the means by which it had been brought about? Would they not ask how it had been effected? He would tell them. There was a union in Sussex of 36 parishes, of which the Duke of Richmond was the chairman. He held in his hand their printed bill of fare; let any Gentleman read that document. [Cries of "Read, Read."] Let them read it themselves [loud laughter], and they would see how the 103 savings were effected. This was the Duke of Richmond's bill of fare. [Renewed cries of "Read, Read."] Why were they so impatient? Here was an account of the food of a boy, and Gentlemen who had boys of their own, would recollect that a boy of ten years of age, would eat as much as a man.—Now in the dietary of the Duke of Richmond, a boy of ten years of age, had on Sunday 12 ounces of bread made of flour which cost 5s. a-bushel, half-a-pint of milk gruel, 7 ounces of rice, and another half-pint of milk gruel for supper. What was the Bill of fare for a man? [Cries of "Read, Read."] He had seven men at his farmhouse, and there was not one of them who did not eat more substantial food for his breakfast or dinner one day than the Duke of Richmond's bill of fare allowed a man for a whole week. The noble Lord had only to submit for one week to the treatment and diet prescribed by the Duke of Richmond's bill of fare to be for ever convinced of the severity and cruelty of the Poor-law Amendment Bill. The noble Lord had stated that he (Mr. Cobbett) had represented the Poor-law Bill as tending to make the poor live on a coarser sort of food; he had never so represented it; all he had said, was, that such had been intended by those who invented it, and the Barrister who drew it up, had in his printed instructions, this passage:—"It is desirable so to frame the law as to cause the working people to live on a coarser sort of food." The noble Lord, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, denied it, but he (Mr. Cobbett) had himself seen the document; he had moved for it in the regular way; let it be produced, and the document would speak for itself. A spaniel dog should be allowed more than was by the system assigned to a man; the system was monstrous, and it ill became a noble Duke, drawing 12,000l a-year from the land of the country, to sanction it. Upon the other topics which had been alluded to, he should not long detain the House. He saw no prospect of relief to the farmer even from the proposition of the noble Lord. He knew too well the depth of their distress—how great, how universal it was—to entertain the hope of its being relieved by any such measures. The noble Lord was deceived as to the relative amount of what was complained of. In his own case, he paid 160l. rent, 28l. tithes, 31l. poor-rates, 4l. county-rates, 104 3l. 10s. road-rates, and 270l. wages; but a small portion of the outgoings of a farmer consisted of road and county rates, and making the farmers a present of those rates altogether, would not effectually relieve them. He acknowledged that he could not help feeling much surprise that any hon. Member should treat tithes as a burden deeply affecting the landed interest; it might be expedient to reform the Church, and to make an extensive change in the nature and administration of her revenues, but he desired to learn wherein did the burden of tithes consist? Agriculture had flourished at many periods since the general collection of tithes came to be established in this country, and if tithes were really such a burden as had been represented, that could hardly have been the case. One thing was clear,—that if they made a material change in the law as it related to tithes, the effect of it must be to place the parson in a worse or in a better condition than he was in before; the tithe-payer would either pay less to the parson or he would not; if less, the difference must be handed over to the landlord. Now, it did appear to him much better for the tithe-payer to deal with the parson than with the landlord. Something had been said about the necessity of relieving the agriculturists from the expense of maintaining the roads in a state of good and sufficient repair, and of relieving them by making the country at large defray the expense. If such a principle were adopted, the rest of the community might very well exclaim, "What! make us pay for maintaining your roads in good condition, for your profit and convenience?" In his opinion, the House might go on for ever discussing topics of this nature without arriving at any sound or practical conclusion; they might go about here and there searching for hidden causes, but he could tell the country that they overlooked, or seemed to overlook, which in effect amounted to the same thing, the real cause of all the agricultural difficulties of England,—it was neither more nor less than the change which had taken place in the value of money. Therein lay the true source of the national misfortunes. He called upon the House sincerely and earnestly to apply its mind and attention to the real remedies of which that evil admitted, and not waste its own energies and disappoint the public expectation with futile attempts to admi- 105 nister to a disease that admitted of only one cure. As to the Corn-law, respecting which a good deal had been said, he hesitated not to affirm that it afforded no protection whatever to the agriculturist. It was perfectly true that the effect of the Corn-law was to exclude foreign corn, but the price of corn had been sinking in England for many years past. Notwithstanding all their protections, they had not been able to keep up the price of wheat, and wide-spread distress had been the consequence. The original moving power by which that distress had been occasioned was, he contended, the well-known Currency Measure of the right hon. Baronet near him. The subject, however of the Currency was to come on next week, and considering that the proper course for him would be to reserve himself until then, he should not, on the present occasion, take up more of the time of the House in arguing the question, as to the degree in which the state of the Currency affected agricultural distress; he should merely content himself with saying that the universal cry of the farmers was, "Give us more money; we want a little more money, for there is a surplus of labour to which we cannot give employment for lack of a sufficient circulating medium." In endeavouring thus to stale what were not the causes of agricultural suffering, he hoped it would never be supposed that he meant to convey that those causes were beyond the power of the House; on the contrary, he felt assured that the House ought to feel itself under a most binding obligation to take the matter in hand, for until something was done by Parliament, the condition of the farmer would remain unimproved.
Lord George Lennox
said, that, after the unfounded attacks which had been made upon his noble relative (the Duke of Richmond) by the hon. Member for Oldham, he felt himself called on to address a few words of explanation to the House, which, he trusted, would be heard for that reason. That hon. Member had thought proper a few days back to bring forward in that House charges against his noble brother; but he (Lord George Lennox) had treated them with the contempt due to all misrepresentations and mis-statements of the kind. No sooner, howevever, did the report of the hon. Member's speech reach the county of Sussex than a meeting of the Magistrates 106 of the union was convened, and an unanimous vote of denial of these charges was come to at once. That was the strongest refutation which they could have, while the Magistrates unanimously expressed their disgust at the allegations. But the hon. Member, notwithstanding, appeared still determined to continue his misrepresentations. With respect to the hon. Member's statement, that the Duke of Richmond was making any income out of the poor of the union of Westhampstead he most unqualifiedly denied and contradicted it. If the hon. Member chose to bring any tangible charge he (Lord George Lennox) was prepared to refute it at once; but he disbelieved everything which the hon. Member had said on the subject of his noble relative. He would put the character of his noble Brother and that of the hon. Member for Oldham in competition—no, he would not do that. But if any hon. Gentleman chose to do so, he was confident of the result; it would be soon seen which came out of the scrape best. As to what the hon. Member had called "the Duke of Richmond's bill of fare for the poor," he could only say that the sneer was not merited, as the regulations contained in that document were framed with a view to the interests of the pauper as well as the rate-payer. He had nothing further to add to what he had so imperfectly said in defence of his noble relative, except to implore the House not to take for granted anything whatever which fell from the hon. Member when the character of his noble Brother or that of other individuals of rank and station was involved.
§ Mr. Cobbett
could assure the noble Lord and the House, that he did not know that any one in the House could possibly be offended by his observations. But he was perfectly ready to re-state and prove every word which he had uttered on the subject.
§ Lord W. Lennox and Mr. Clay
rose together. The former was loudly called on by the House, even after the Speaker had decided in favour of the latter.
§ Mr. Clay
said, that the hon. Member for Oldham had treated with the utmost disdain all those modes of relieving agricultural distress which had been suggested in the course of the Debate; and ascribed its cause to the passing, and its only remedy to the repeal, of the Bill of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tam- 107 worth, for the regulation of the Currency, How far he was justified in that sweeping denunciation and broad assertion he should proceed to examine. If the hon. Member's position were the true one, it was very singular that wheat only should be affected by the change in the monetary system of the country. There were other commodities equally the produce of agriculture, the price of which was not in the slightest degree affected, except for the better. He should, however, upon a future occasion, have another opportunity of stating the causes of the distress, and the mode of relieving it. On that occasion he trusted that he should have the noble Lord upon his side, although he was willing to allow that those who differed from the noble Lord could not have a more courteous, a more kind, a more candid, or a more honourable adversary. He would now wish to briefly confine himself strictly to the relief to which the agriculturists laid claim as a matter of right. The noble Marquess had attributed the distresses of the agriculturists in the last year to the large importation of foreign corn, when, in fact, there had been no importations of wheat into England, except from Ireland, and he did not imagine that the noble Marquess would call that a foreign importation. The noble Marquess had next alluded to the importation of foreign barley, but how could the noble Marquess reconcile to his theory the fact, that while the price of wheat was low, that of barley was high? The noble Marquess had suggested, that Government should be prepared to buy up the corn of the British corn-growers, and to keep it from, or to pour it into the market, according to the current prices; but the noble Marquess did not perceive that this would put a stop to that spirit of speculation and of competition upon which the interests of all markets, and of the public at large, were known to depend. He was of opinion that the agriculturists were entitled to relief only where they were taxed beyond a fair proportion as part of the community. The agriculturists, however, possessed the advantages of a monopoly for their produce, and he trusted that if the noble Marquess did obtain for them the relief he sought, he would be prepared to give up the monopoly of the Corn-laws; for to retain both, would be manifestly unjust, He felt as much as any man 108 for the distress of the agriculturists, but, as he saw no way of relieving them, he should give his vote for the Amendment.
§ Mr. Benett
wished only to correct the errors of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets with respect to the relative prices of wheat and barley. He believed that no person in England was ignorant of the causes of the difference except the hon. Member himself. The difference in the price of wheat or barley arose entirely from the badness of the crop of barley; and if the hon. Member would only look back to the market prices, he would find that barley, two years ago, had been as low as it had been for twenty years. Another cause of the high price of the barley was the Repeal of the Beer-tax, and in the next year, the price of barley would again bear its price proportionate to that of wheat. For his part, he thought it of very little importance whether the House adopted the original Motion or the Amendment. The only difference between them was, that the original Motion alluded to relief to be derived from a reduction of general taxation, and the Amendment related to local taxation. If the Amendment precluded any man from hereafter voting for any repeal of general taxation, he would not vote for it; but it would not have such an effect. He agreed with Lord Western, who had laid it down that the causes of agricultural distress, and the sources of relief must be sought for in the Currency Question. He would not at present enter into any question relative to a silver standard or a gold standard, but convinced he was, that relief to the agriculturists in one way or the other, was to be sought for only in an alteration of the currency laws. He thought that the Poor-laws ought to be under the control of the Government, with a view to their being ultimately thrown upon the general resources of the country. Formerly, when land was the sole support of the labourers, land bore the sole weight of the Poor-laws, but now that there existed such mercantile and manufacturing property, this ought to bear its share of Poor-rates.
§ Lord Arthur Lennox
addressed the House. He begged the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel who had risen to speak) pardon for standing even for a moment between him and the House; but a necessity had been imposed upon him 109 of saying one word in reply to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Oldham, and he only rejoiced that the precedence which had been given to other hon. Members, had prevented his addressing the House at the first moment, when his feelings had been under considerable excitement. He owed no such apology to the hon. Member for Oldham; but he did owe a great deal of deference to the decency that ought to be observed by every hon. Member to the Chair, and to the House itself. He had only risen to say, that the hon. Member for Oldham had totally misunderstood all that had fallen from his hon. relative, the Member for Sussex. The hon. Member for Sussex had said, that the charges which had been brought against his noble brother (the Duke of Richmond) had been totally disproved; and he (Lord Arthur Lennox) would give the most positive, unequivocal, and unqualified contradiction to the charges, and, as strongly as Parliamentary language would permit, to the hon. Member for Oldham. The son of the hon. Member for Oldham had been a candidate to represent the city of Chichester, and whether his defeat was the source of the calumnies vented by the hon. Member for Oldham against his noble brother, the Duke of Richmond, he would not pretend to say; but he would say, that when he recollected the late contest, and reflected upon the perfect and gentlemanly manners which the son had evinced throughout the whole of it, it was scarcely possible for him to believe that he was any relation to the father.
§ Mr. Cobbett
had derived his information from Mr. James Gray, of Chichester, who had said that he was able and willing to substantiate every word of it against the Duke of Richmond.
§ Sir Robert Peel
could not regret that he had given the noble Lord an opportunity of venting his feelings, which were very natural, and reflected honour upon him. He was perfectly convinced that the hon. Member for Oldham must have laboured under some misapprehension of what he had heard with respect to the noble Duke alluded to, and the motives by which he was actuated; for he (Sir R. Peel) felt himself bound to say that the extensive experience which he had had of the noble Duke in his Parliamentary career had completely satisfied him that his character was of that nature that the 110 imputation which had been cast upon it must be totally unfounded. The noble Duke might differ from the hon. Member for Oldham with respect to the policy of the Poor-laws, but as to the motives of the difference the noble Duke was above all suspicion. He would, however, proceed to the question that was before the House, and he was sorry to say that many subjects had been introduced into it which, although bearing on the condition of the poor (and, if the question was upon the general state of the agriculturists, proper to be introduced) yet could not, when their importance was considered, with any advantage to the Question under debate, be introduced into a desultory discussion. The most prominent of these irrelative topics was the operation of the Poor-laws and the probable effects of the Poor-law Amendment Act of last Session. Another of the topics that had been introduced was the state of the currency, another was the Commutation of Tithes; each had been interwoven with the state of agricultural distress—each was a subject in itself of immense importance, and requiring a separate discussion, and no advantage could arise to any one of them in having it mixed up with the Question now before the House. With reference to the Currency Question, it was admitted on all sides that the subject was one of immense importance, and that it ought to be the object of a separate discussion, and accordingly notice had been given of a distinct and regular Motion upon the question of the currency. He hoped that whatever hon. Member brought the subject forward for discussion would at the same time bring forward his plan for relieving the country from the evils that were said to arise from the law as it then stood. That House had heard many declamations on the evil state of the currency. One hon. Member had said, "something must be done on the subject." Then came some other hon. Member, and said, "the matter never can be allowed to rest where it was." Now he hoped that all such Gentlemen would in future go one step further, and at once tell the House what specific alterations they would wish to have introduced. Would these hon. Members propose to introduce a paper currency, an unlimitted paper currency, not convertible into gold? Would they, on the other hand, wish to introduce a debasement of the standard? Would they 111 wish to propose a re-adjustment of contracts? And if they did, then would he ask, of what contracts? Of contracts made within what periods? These were the matters which hon. Members ought fairly to bring forward, nor ought they to discuss the evils arising from the alteration of the currency without, at the same time, discussing the different measures of relief. The hon. Member for Oldham had that night stood forward as the advocate of the agricultural interests. In that, at least, the hon. Member was consistent, for, throughout all his life he had supported the same cause. But how did he purpose to benefit the cause? He had looked back into the paper of notices of motions, and he there found that the hon. Member for Oldham had a Motion on the books no longer ago than last July, the principle of which was that they do what they like with the currency, but the whole charge of the national debt ought to be transferred to the land. Yes, the hon. Member for Oldham had said, that personal property was subject to very unfair burthens in being subject to the interest of the national debt; and his relief from this evil was, to subject land to the exclusive burthen. With respect to the Poor-laws Amendment Act, he had gone into that, question when the Bill was before the House, and he had voted for the Bill. He had never expected that the new system would be carried into effect without exciting local dissatisfaction, but he was bound to say that the dissatisfaction which had been excited had been much less than he had anticipated, and at all events it had not been sufficient to convince him of the impolicy of that important measure. Another question was the Commutation of Tithes. He trusted the noble Lord would not persevere in his intention to transfer the question to a Committee. He would most undoubtedly prefer that the noble Lord should take time, and let the Executive Government consider it. Whether any of the three plans that had been proposed were to be pursued; whether the principles of the Bill introduced in 1833; whether Lord Althorp's plan of having the tithes converted into rents applicable to certain districts; or whether the House were to proceed upon the principle of a voluntary commutation, the plan which he had proposed, he would rather that the noble Lord opposite should say that the 112 Executive Government was determined to apply its mind to the measure than that it should be transferred to a Select Committee. He hoped that the noble Lord would think the subject deserved to occupy the attention of Government, for Government had more means of inquiry into it than a Committee, and he was convinced whatever measure might be proposed, that ought to be proposed on the responsibility of Government. He would now come to the object of his noble Friend's Motion. His noble Friend proposed that the House should agree to address the Crown to direct his Majesty's Ministers to consider the state of the agricultural interests, with reference to a view to its relief from general and from local taxation. With respect to general taxation, he could not but observe that the House was discussing the question at a time at which, if no change had been effected in the financial prospects of the country, they had a surplus revenue so very small that no reduction of taxation could be ventured upon without causing more injury than benefit, and in the situation in which he stood he could not excite hopes in the agricultural interests which, as a Minister of the Crown, he should never have thought of realizing. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he had anticipated that what was called the Budget of the year would have to be proposed to the House by himself, he had assumed that the net available surplus, after providing for all that was chargeable for the debt and for the public services, which the general interests of the country compelled a Minister to attend to, would be only 250,000l. Under such circumstances, then, he could not now be a party to a resolution which would lead the agriculturists to believe that he contemplated any great reduction in the burthens of the country. He should always hold the opinions which he ever had held as to the great advantages of strictly maintaining public credit. A greater ultimate chance of relief would exist from the maintenance of public credit by looking to a legitimate means of reducing the interest of the public debt than by acting precipitately, and by relieving public burthens at the expense of endangering public credit. He believed that it would not be easy for any man to point out any one particular tax that fell exclusively upon the agriculturists. If the exception 113 were the Malt-tax he must say that in the course of that Session he had thought it his duty to dissent from the proposition to reduce that tax. He would for a moment suppose that there existed a greater surplus of revenue over expenditure than was contemplated, then, he asked, what tax ought he to remove? He need not discuss the amount of the surplus; but, supposing it to be of an amount that would authorize Government to contemplate a greater reduction of taxes than was intended—supposing that Government intended to make a greater reduction of taxes than the existing surplus of 250,000l., and trust to a chance improvement of the revenue to fill up any deficiency—still should he find it difficult to select a tax to reduce or take off which fell exclusively on the landed interests. If it were conceded that a certain tax fell exclusively on the landed interests, still he should require time to consider whether he should benefit the landed interest more by taking off that direct tax than by removing some other that pressed injuriously, though indirectly, upon productive industry. He was not prepared to say, that there was not a tax or taxes in the whole system of taxation the diminution of which might not benefit the landed interests, and he should lake an opportunity of throwing this out for the consideration of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (the Chancellor of the Exchequer). He would advise the right hon. Gentleman to consider the operation of the auction duty. Whether there would be a surplus revenue sufficient to enable the right hon. Gentleman to make any reduction of that duty he could not say, but he was sure that the landed interests would derive great benefit from such a measure, nor could the revenue suffer much, for little of the auction duty was derived from the sale of landed estates, as it was the practice, in order to avoid the duty, to put up lands to sale by auction merely in order to ascertain their value, and afterwards to dispose of them by private contract. He would likewise advise the right hon. Gentleman to take into consideration the state of the Land-tax, with a view to making changes in the collecting of it. Then would come the question on the increase of the duty on spirit licences. He believed that the effect of the duty had been unjust in the extreme. This duty, as it then stood, had been imposed very late in the 114 last session, when the parties interested in it had not had an opportunity of presenting their remonstrances against it. The tax upon the manufacture of glass he considered as peculiarly deserving of a favourable consideration; and there were many other taxes which he thought were also worthy of the attention of the Government, with a view to reduce them with as little delay as the state of the finances of the country would permit. He entertained very strong doubts if a substantial relief afforded to those interests would not aid the landed interests more than any direct removal of agricultural duties. Under all the considerations in which he viewed this question, he confessed he did not feel justified in exciting expectations in the agricultural body, which he feared it would not be possible safely to realize. The last part of the subject to which he should refer was the local taxation. This, certainly, did bear heavily on the landed interests. At the same time that he was willing to afford every practical relief, he did not consider it fair to excite in the minds of the landed interest any expectation that there was likely to be any material alleviation of their burdens. He looked upon it that a greater relief would be derived from a new valuation than from any transfer of taxation. The chief objection to a new valuation was the expense that it was supposed would attend it, which had been stated as high as forty or fifty thousand pounds for some counties; but in the county of Lancaster, where the expense was likely to be greater than in other counties, on account of the number of large towns, the valuation had been conducted with perfect satisfaction to all interests, and at a comparative small expense. The operation was simple and appeared to have been conducted without exciting any great dissatisfaction, or leading to many appeals; so that in two counties,—one, most important for its manufactures—the other, for its agricultural produce—a new apportionment of the public burdens, in this particular, was made without dissatisfaction. He would, therefore, advise those interested in the county expenditure, to weigh maturely the evidence which had been given upon this subject—to ascertain whether such new valuation could be made through local means—and, if not, if it should be necessary to obtain an Act of Parliament for such a purpose, whether it might not 115 be expedient to take that course, the object being to provide a new valuation of lands, with a view to ensure a more equal apportionment of the rates levied upon them, than was now made. The relief he should have proposed to extend to agriculture, in the course of the present Session, had he remained in office, would have been of very material benefit to it. He should have proposed to exempt the land altogether from the burden of the Church-rates; for it appeared to him that, though land might be a proper subject of contribution, yet that the same circumstance which, as he apprehended, made the County-rate and the Poor-rate fall with greater severity on the land than applied to the case of Church-rates, also—namely, that personal property did not contribute its fair proportion to this tax. The amount of the Church-rate, as calculated by Lord Althorp, was 550,000l. Now, if the land were relieved of 300,000l. of this amount, by doing away with charges which ought never to have been borne by the Church-rate, and if the remaining 250,000l. were transferred to the revenue of the country, there would be a relief to agriculture of not less than 550,000l. on account of the Church-rate; a relief, however, not exclusively to the land, but shared by all property now subject to the Church-rate; because some proportion of the 550,000l. was raised upon houses and other property, as well as the land. The noble Lord had alluded to the recommendation of the Committee as respected local taxation for bridges, roads, and other local improvements. There was a difficulty, he apprehended, in transferring from the County-rates any charges connected with the ordinary public local interests. He would not advise, for example, that charges for bridges, for roads, for the maintenance of the poor, or for any of those objects which might be better administered under local supervision, should be paid out of any other funds; for he thought, even apart from any considerations of public economy, that it would be wrong to transfer such supervision from the hands of county magistrates and gentlemen, who, being directly interested in these services, were more likely than other officers to carry them into complete effect. There ought to be limits assigned to the system of centralization. It was very well to say that Government would employ men of 116 high reputation, who would do the several descriptions of work at a less expense; but he believed that the ultimate effect of these central boards would be to withdraw the local expenditure from the honest supervision of the local authorities, to the great disadvantage of the public; and that the country would be thus involved in great additional expense for the management of local affairs. But there was one purpose to which local taxation was now applied which stood distinct from all the rest, and one which might be undertaken by the Government to the profit of the whole community—he meant the administration of the criminal justice of the country. The noble Lord truly stated, that it was proposed by the Committee of last year, to relieve the County-rates from the charges on account of criminal trials at the assizes; and to leave them subject only to the charges for criminal trials at the quarter sessions. But the noble Lord added—and justly—that there would be great caution required in the adoption of such a measure, in order to prevent the county magistrates (who, of course, would be interested in diminishing the local expenditure) from transferring a more than due share of this expense from the county funds, by making committals for trial at the assizes, which ought properly to take place at the quarter-sessions. In order to remedy this the noble Lord proposed to take the aggregate of the expense of the two descriptions of trial and make a division of it so that one moiety shall be borne by the county and the other by the public. But, considering that the whole cost of trials at the quarter sessions did not amount to more than 78,000l. he trusted that the noble Lord would conclude with him, that it was better to make no distinction between the two items, but to transfer the whole expense of the administration of criminal justice to the public. That expense would amount to not more than 150,000l. in the aggregate a-year; and this expense should be kept down by introducing every economical arrangement possible, consistently with the exigencies of justice, such as in the allowance to witnesses, and the number of counsel to be employed; and by placing the whole system upon one intelligible plan. It was extremely difficult to draw a line between cases which properly belonged to the assizes, or properly belonging to quarter-sessions, The prin- 117 ciple was the same, however, as to such arrangements, with regard to both; and he believed there would be a greater inducement to economy by taking the whole of the charge upon the state, than if they left one part of it to be defrayed by the state, and another by the county. The removal of offenders, after conviction, certainly could be conducted at a less expense by these means, and thus the county would be relieved of a considerable burden, without subjecting the public to an equivalent charge. Government would act, in short, as to these matters, upon a combined plan; whereas each county adopted a different course—one conveying them by boats, and another by public carriages, to the annoyance of all other passengers. He was sure that any one who had happened to share a coach with convicts under sentence would be ready to agree with him, that this practice ought to be done away with. By contracting, upon a large scale, this business of conveyance would not only be conducted at a less expense, but such a scandal as that would be altogether avoided. The motives of economy and discipline, as well as the proper enforcement of the law should operate with the Government to induce them to adopt this course of proceeding. He was inclined strongly to advise that the whole of the charges connected with the Administration of criminal justice, should be undertaken by the Government, not merely with a view to relieve the county of its local expenditure on that account, but with a view of giving Government the whole control of it. There was, at present, no part of our judicial system over which the Government had so little, and ought to have so strict a control. It would be better to make a gradual trial of this plan, in order that the Government might feel its way before finally embarking upon it. There were more powerful reasons for its adoption than the prospect of relieving the country from the charge. It would have on a tendency to prevent compromises the part of the prosecutors, as well as frivolous and vexatious prosecutions. This, therefore, was the extent of the remission of taxation he was disposed to advise. It was one which, he must admit, if carried into effect, would have exceeded the amount of the surplus of the year's revenue; but he considered that some of the other taxes might have been increased, without 118 at all endangering the public confidence, if this experiment had been carried into effect. These were the general views on which he was disposed to act. The Resolution of the noble Lord did not, he observed, point to any particular amount of reduction. It left that matter still open for consideration; but it distinctly encouraged the hope that it was the intention of the House, when called on to discuss the subject of local taxation, to give every practical relief that could be afforded to the landed interest consistent with the maintenance of public credit. If his noble Friend would take his advice, he should be satisfied to obtain, on the part of his Majesty's Ministers, an admission of the general principle—without pressing the matter of his Resolution to a division. His noble Friend had better let the Chancellor of the Exchequer state, officially, what the amount of the available surplus was, and what proposition he had to make unconnected with general taxation, and then submit a specific motion with respect to local expenditure, reserving to himself the right of afterwards pressing the remission of any particular tax. If his noble Friend did not take that course—he, for one, was bound to say that he could not acquiesce in the Motion,—thinking it open to the objection of exciting too great hopes on the part of the agricultural interests. He sympathized with their distresses as deeply as any man, but he was not willing to aggravate them—as they would be aggravated—by the excitement of hopes which could not be realized consistently with the maintenance of the public credit.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
rejected altogether, the prophecies of the hon. Member for Oldham, because, although in some respects that hon. Member might have proved himself to be a true prophet, in others he had demonstrated himself to be one of the most delusive seers that ever ventured to utter a prediction. He could not forget a threat which was held out, some years ago, by a certain great public writer—that, upon the coming to pass of a certain contingency, which he specifically described, the Ministers of the day were to be sacrificed upon the gridiron—that elegant culinary utensil with which the hon. Member appeared to be so pleased, that in the failure of his own prediction, he selected it for the instrument of his own voluntary martyrdom. Know- 119 ing as he did, that the contingency had happened which the hypothesis anticipated, and that the sacrifice which was to follow had not taken place, he could not help rejecting all the other prophecies of the hon. Member as equally vain and false. But, to proceed to the immediate Question before the House, he wished, in the first instance, to assure the noble Marquess (Chandos) that the present motion was not necessary to induce his Majesty's Government to come forward with some measure for the relief of the agricultural body. The Committee on whose Report the House was called upon to proceed, was appointed, he believed, by his noble Friend, (Earl Spencer) and the Members of his Majesty's present Government. He gave his entire assent to the Report, and he begged leave to assure the noble Marquess Chandos, that whether the present Motion had been made or not, his Majesty's present Government was fully prepared to have introduced some measure of agricultural relief to the consideration of Parliament. The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) had spoken of an existing surplus revenue; but the right hon. Baronet had assumed this, surplus without anticipating the possible course of future debates. He must be aware that there was a large Question now pending with regard to Danish claims; and one, also, involving the interests of many merchants of the city of Dublin, who claimed to be remunerated for losses they had sustained through the fire of the Custom-House of that city. He received with great respect and thankfulness, the suggestions which the right hon. Gentleman had thrown out; and certainly, in principle, he entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman. He agreed—that if it were possible, to dispense with those portions of the auction-duty which pressed heavily upon the sale of land, it would be a considerable relief to the landed interests; and he agreed with him, perhaps still more cordially, that if some modification or alteration were to take place in the duty upon glass, there was scarcely any matter connected with fiscal considerations, to which the attention of Governnent could be directed, with more beneficial and practical results. But, in approaching this subject, he could not think that the agriculturists were entitled to say, that justice had not hitherto been fully done to them, in what had already been 120 effected with reference to their claims. The noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman had both stated that there was a difficulty, perhaps, in determining what it was in the way of relief, which should next be done. The hon. Member for Old-ham said, that neither the removal of the tithe, nor the reduction of the Poor-rate, would be any substantial relief; and he believed it would be heard with feelings of great despondency by the agricultural interests, that the removal of the Corn Bill, and the alteration of the Currency were the only expedients which in his opinion, could be suggested. Those persons he must remark, did not do justice to Parliament who said that no relief had hitherto been given to the agricultural interests. It was difficult to obtain the attention of the House to a mere recital of facts, especially after the excitement of such speeches as they had heard; but if the House would indulge him, he would remind them of a few of the measures which had been of late years passed for the benefit of agriculture. Taking alt the taxes which had been reduced since the war, he believed the balance of reduction would be found to have been in favour of the agriculturists. The total relief, granted to them since that period, amounted to 8,356,000l. If any one would take the trouble to analyze the financial Return which had been made during the last five years, he would find agriculture had obtained its full portion of relief during that interval. Since the termination of the war the actual amount of relief to the agriculturists in matters of excise alone amounted to 7,384,000l. The amount of relief given in customs was undoubtedly small, not exceeding 6,000l. or 7,000l.; but the relief in the assessed taxes amounted to 935,000l., and in stamp-duties to 29,000l., making a total relief of 8,356,000l. of taxes bearing upon agriculture since the commencement of the peace in 1815. It had been said in the course of the debate, that the proposition brought forward by his noble Friend was not calculated to satisfy the agriculturists themselves. To what extent then were taxes to be reduced? would they reduce the duties on tax-carts, the grievance which had so long existed? were they to discuss whether the farmer shall travel with or without springs to his cart, in reference to a branch of taxation which was no real grievance? Supposing that every tax which was 121 thought to press particularly upon the agriculturists were removed to-morrow, in what condition would they find themselves when they came to discuss the question of the Corn-laws? Hitherto, in debating that question, the chief argument upon which they had relied had been the particular duties and taxes which pressed exclusively upon them. Should the agriculturists succeed in their present views therefore, they would deprive themselves of their own great argument whenever the question of the Corn-laws should come to be discussed. The noble Marquess (Chandos) had spoken of foreign competition as one of the great evils with which the agriculturist had to contend, and he complained of the importation of butter in particular; but did not the noble Lord recollect that there was a duty of 20s. per cwt. upon foreign butter, and that there was also a high duty upon cheese and upon seeds? He would just read to the noble Lord a list of the taxes which were imposed for the protection of agriculture. Upon bacon there was a tax, per cwt. of 1l. 8s.; bark, per ton, 13s. 4d.; beer, per 32 gallons, 2l. 13s. 4d.; butter, per cwt. 1l.; cider, per tun, 21l. 10s.; cheese, per cwt., 10s. 6d.; hay, per load, 1l. 4s.; hides, per cwt., 2s. 4d.; hops, per cwt., 8l. 11s., madder, per cwt., 1s. 6d.; mules and asses, 10s. 6d.; horses, 1l.; oil, rape and linseed, per tun, 39l. 18s.; peas, per bushel, 7s. 6d.; perry, per tun, 22l. 13s. 8d.; potatos, per cwt., 2s.; seeds, clover, hay, &c. 1l.; spirits, foreign, per gallon, 1l. 2s. 6d.; rum, per gallon, 9s. 6d.; tallow, per cwt., 3s. 2d.; tares, per quarter, 10s. Did those statements show that the laws were indifferent to the protection of the agricultural interests? Whether the list of duties he had just read had been wisely imposed or not he should not then stop to inquire—he had merely alluded to them to show that the agriculturists had not been so much neglected as the noble Lord seemed to suppose. If the whole taxation of the country were taken together, he believed it would be found that the agriculturists bore a smaller proportion of it than any other class of persons in the kingdom. During the reign of William 3rd, the total revenue of the country amounted to 48,000,000l., out of which 29,000,000l. was borne by the general taxation of the country, and 19,000,000l. by the land-tax. In the reign of Queen Anne the total amount of 122 the revenue was 62,518,000l., out of which 21,285,000l. only was exclusively borne by the land-tax. In the reign of George 1st. the total amount of the revenue was 76,968,000l., out of which 18,470,000l. only was borne by the land-tax. In the reign of George 2nd, the total revenue was 216,015,000l. out of which only 49,000,000l. was borne by the land-tax. Thus it would be seen, that at the accession of George 3rd, the burden borne by the agriculturist was far less in proportion to the general amount of taxation than it had been during any of the anterior reigns since the time of the Revolution, so if the landed interest estimated its present contributions it would find them much less in proportion even than they were in the reign of George 3rd, He agreed with the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), that it might be well for the Government to undertake the expense of the criminal prosecutions throughout the country; but it would be better to take off half at present, rather than at once throw the entire burden on the country, whatever might ultimately appear to be the duty of the Legislature. It would be necessary, in the first instance, to have the assistance of those who had been long connected with the administration of justice in different parts of the kingdom, and not make at once an entire change in the whole system. If they acted in this manner for one year, possibly it might appear advisable to propose a plan to Parliament in the next, by which Government might take the whole of the expense upon itself. The right hon. Gentleman knew by the result of the experiment that had been made in Ireland, that there was great difficulty experienced in checking the expenses attendant upon trials; but it was not so much a question of amount, as one of principle, that he regarded it. Such an important step as this should be taken cautiously—and it would be much easier for Parliament to decide upon the case, after considering the effect of remitting half of these charges to the country, than by commencing with the remission of the whole. With respect to the charge for the conveyance of prisoners, the view taken by the right hon. Baronet was undoubtedly the correct one. He only regretted that it had not been carried into effect before, because all business of that description, and the duty of defraying the expenses, undoubtedly 123 belonged to the Government, and not to the county wherein sentence was pronounced. As to the other reports which had been alluded to, there was only one remaining to which he should think it necessary to refer; and that was the recommendation that the House of Commons should be at the expense of all Parliamentary Returns. If that recommendation be adopted, he would take upon self to say that there was no return which, in future, would not be made the subject of a money speculation. If they allowed the Clerk of the Peace to refuse to execute the Order of the House, unless the payment be attached, it would give rise to an appearance of disrespect, and for the first time introduce a new principle—before quite unknown—into the management of this department of the public business. He did not see how the noble Marquess, after all that had been said, could with a due regard to the end which he himself had in view, do otherwise than acquiesce in a compromise which would lead to the attainment of his object, by first producing a conformity of opinion. The noble Marquess having put himself forward as the advocate of the interests of the farmers, must be desirous of producing unanimity between all parties, in order that all might concur in devising the best mode of relieving their distresses. The noble Lord had proposed the relief of the farmers from some of the assessed taxes. With respect to the small amount of Window-tax to which the farmer still remained liable, he felt it would be impossible to comply with the noble Lord's suggestion. The farmers, as he had already shown, had received an immense relief from the repeal of assessed taxes. With what justice, then, could they claim a complete exemption from the Window-tax, unless the Government were prepared to extend a similar exemption to all classes? There were in Great Britain 2,846,179 inhabited houses, out of which 377,000 were charged to the Window-tax—of these only a small proportion were occupied by agriculturists and upon those occupied by agriculturists, the tax was already very considerably reduced. To carry the reduction further, without extending it to all classes, would only be to increase in a tenfold degree, the breach which already existed between the agricultural and commercial and manufacturing classes of the community. But although he differed from the noble Lord 124 upon that point, he begged to assure the noble Lord, and to assure the House, that no exertion would be omitted on the part of the present Government to afford every possible practical relief to the agricultural interest. Acting in that spirit it would be their endeavour to carry the recommendations of the Committee of last year into effect to the utmost possible extent. One portion of the recommendations of that Committee was, that a Commission should at once be appointed for the purpose of inquiring into the expense of prosecutions and also of the expense of fees to counsel, county officers, &c. That Commission was appointed by the Government of Lord Melbourne upon the termination of the last Parliament—it was now carrying on its inquiries, and ere long its report would be laid before the House; then, and not till then, would the House be in possession of the information necessary to enable it to form a correct judgment upon the question. He objected generally to the motion of the noble Lord, inasmuch as that it was premature. He was prepared to acquiesce in it as far as it was distinct and intelligible; but he objected to it as far as it was indefinite and unintelligible; Let the noble Lord come forward with his proposition on the subject of horses employed by the agriculturists, and he should be prepared to meet him, but he felt that he could not meet him upon an indefinite motion of the description then before the House. Above all, he would not join with the noble Lord in an Address to the Crown upon the Report, because such a course of proceeding would favour the presumption that it required an interposition either on the part of the Monarch or of the House itself to dispose the Government to adopt any measures which were really calculated to relieve the agriculturist. Whilst, therefore, he saw every reason to adhere to the Report of the Committee of last year, he saw no reason whatever to induce him to acquiesce in an undefined Resolution which might pledge the finance of the country to concessions which it might not afterwards have the power of making. Upon these grounds he should decidedly oppose the Motion, and he thought the noble Lord would much more consult the interest of the agricultural classes of the country by adopting the Amendment that had been moved, than by persevering in his own Resolution.
§ Sir Charles Burrell
was understood to 125 observe, that the desire which had been expressed by the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to afford assistance to the agriculturists of this country, was an admission that that class of the industrious population of this country did labour under the pressure of great and grievous distress, which justified them in their endeavours to obtain relief. He trusted the noble Lord opposite did not rely upon the operation of the Poor Law Amendment Act as the means of providing employment for the unemployed agricultural population, for he was satisfied that unless that measure underwent considerable alterations, so as to enable parishes to counteract the obstinacy of one or two individuals, it would entirely fail in its object in this respect. His sincere opinion was, that the evil consisted in the currency system of the country, which if not altered in some sale and considerate manner, would, in the end, not only be destructive to the landed interests of the country, but also to the fund holders themselves.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
trusted the noble Lord, the Member for the county of Buckingham, who had again attempted to break the ice which had so long been frozen over the agricultural interests of the country, would at least take the sense of the House upon the present occasion. The Motion of the noble Lord had only been met by promises of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that if he waited till "to-morrow and to-morrow," important measures would be brought forward. Notwithstanding these promises only two measures had been announced, or were known to the House as intended to be dealt with during the present Session; he alluded to the Irish Tithe Bill and the measure of Municipal Reform. He agreed in the opinion expressed by the hon. Member for Oldham, that unless something was speedily done for the agriculturist, a convulsion must be the result, and he was satisfied that the relief most worthy of consideration, as best calculated to save the agricultural interest, was the introduction of a silver standard of currency.
said [amidst cries of "Question"] that those hon. Gentlemen who cried out "Question," were totally ignorant of two facts:—first, that there was such a place as Ireland; and secondly, that agricultural distress was as great, if not greater, in that country than 126 it was in England. There was not a word said about the agricultural distress of the Irish, and among all the schemes proposed for relief, there was not one mentioned that was applicable to his countrymen. They had been during the debate totally forgotten. The gallant officer, who had just spoken, had made use of many metaphors, and spoke of certain remedies. The remedy proposed by the noble Lord was only like paring or clipping the thorn in the field. One remedy, the only sure one, was passed over—namely, one that would have the effect of mitigating the horrors of the Gold Currency Bill. If no one else would, he would put in his claim for that scheme, which was better than all the other schemes he had heard that night proposed. He had risen merely to remind the House that Irish agricultural distress was totally forgotten by them, and that it was infinitely as great, if not greater, than it was in England.
The Marquess of Chandos,
in reply, said that he had not hoped to please both parties by his Motion. It was his duty to bring forward the Question that night, and he would take another opportunity of having it discussed again. Every Motion on agricultural distress was met by arguing that it was impolitic to grant it, or that the remedy required would be inefficacious. When he had brought forward a Motion for the Repeal of the Malt-tax, he was met exactly in the same way. When he brought forward this Question last year it was lost by a majority of only 16; and he was then told by Ministers, and by some of those who voted with him, that it would not be efficacious at all. When the repeal of the Window-tax was mooted, they were told that a partial repeal of it would do no good—that the whole of it must be taken off. The taking off the House-tax was, however, conceded by the Government, and he knew for what reason it was conceded. If the farmers followed the bad example of those who clamoured for the Repeal of the House-duty they would also be relieved. He hoped, nay he was sure, that the farmers of England would not follow that bad example. They would not employ means of intimidation or resistance, but they would come year after year and lay their grievances before that House; and he was sure that in the end that House would do them justice. Whatever might be the vote of that night, he felt that in bringing forward the present Motion he was but dis- 127 charging his duty to the country and to his constituents. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that evening, that as long as the present Corn-laws existed the present Motion would not cause relief to the farmer of such magnitude or extent as he (the Marquess of Chandos) expected from it. Whenever a specific motion for the relief of the agriculturists was brought forward, it was met with what amounted almost to a decided negative. The Motion for a Repeal of the Malt-tax was treated just in the same way as the present one. He begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) in what shape lid he propose to grant relief to the farmer? From what he had seen, the intentions of the right hon. Gentleman would not go half so far to relieve the farmer as the measures projected by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer. When the Budget was brought forward, if this Question should be again mooted, it would be met with the objection that it was an attempt to alter all the financial arrangements of the Government. In fact, all motions of the present nature were dealt with in the same way. A Motion like that before the House was lost last year by a majority of sixteen, and he feared that he would have now voting against him some of those who then supported him. He regretted to see on the part of Government, so little attention paid to the wants of the farmers. Conscious that he had, to the best of his ability, discharged his duty towards the country and his constituents, he would for the present say no more, but simply leave the Question in the hands of the House.
§ The House divided on the original Question: Ayes 150; Noes 211: Majority 61.
|List of the Ayes.|
|Alsager, Richard||Branston, T. W.|
|Archdall, M.||Brownrigg, J. S.|
|Astley, Sir Jacob, Bt.||Brudenell, Lord|
|Attwood, Thomas||Buller, Sir J. B.|
|Bagot, Hon. W.||Burrell, Sir C. M.|
|Baillie, Col. H.||Burton, Henry|
|Barnard, Edward G.||Campbell, Sir H. P.|
|Barneby, John||Carruthers, D.|
|Bateson, Sir R.||Chichester, A.|
|Beauclerk, Major||Clayton, Sir W.|
|Bell, Matthew||Clive, Hon. R. H.|
|Benett, J.||Cobbett, W.|
|Bethell, R.||Codrington, C. W.|
|Blackburne, J. J.||Cole, Viscount|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Compton, H. C.|
|Borthwick, Peter||Corbett, T. G.|
|Crawley, Samuel||Ossulston, Lord|
|Crewe, Sir G.||Palmer, R.|
|Cripps, J.||Parker, M. N.|
|Curteis, Herbert B.||Perceval, Colonel|
|Curteis, Edward B.||Pigot, R.|
|Dalbiac, Sir C.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Dare, R. W. H.||Pollen, Sir J.|
|Duffield, T.||Pollington, Viscount|
|Dugdale, W.||Poulter, John Sayer|
|Duncombe, Hon. W.||Praed, J. B.|
|Duncombe, Hon. A.||Pringle, A.|
|Dundas, R. A.||Pryse, Pryse|
|Eastnor, Viscount||Pusey, P.|
|Edwards, Colonel||Richards, J.|
|Elley, Sir J.||Rickford, W.|
|Elwes, J.||Rooper, J. Bonfoy|
|Fector, J. M.||Rushbrooke, R|
|Feilden, W.||Sanderson, R.|
|Ferguson, G.||Scourfield, W. H.|
|Fleming, J.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. F.|
|Foley, E. T.||Sheldon, E. R. C.|
|Folkes, Sir W. J. H. B.||Sibthorpe, Colonel|
|Forester, Hon. G. C. W.||Simeon, Sir R. G. Bart,|
|Fremantle, Sir T. F.||Smith, A.|
|Gaskell, J. Milnes||Smyth, Sir G. H.|
|Geary, Sir W. R. P.||Spooner, R.|
|Gore, W. O.||Spry, S.|
|Greisley, Sir R.||Stanley, Lord|
|Greville, Sir C. J.||Stewart, J.|
|Grimston, Viscount||Surrey, Earl of|
|Grimston, Hon. E. H.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Halford, H.||Thomas, Colonel|
|Halse, J.||Townley, R. G.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Trelawney, Sir W. L.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Trevor, Hon. G. R.|
|Hanmer, H.||Trevor, Hon. Arthur|
|Handley, Henry||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Hayes, Sir E. S.||Vere, Sir C. B.|
|Heathcote, G. J.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Henniker, Lord||Vernon, G. H.|
|Hill, Sir R.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Hodges, Thomas Law||Walpole, Lord|
|Hope, Hon. J.||Walter, John|
|Hoskins, Kedgwin||Welby, G. E.|
|Hotham, Lord||Whitmore, T. C.|
|Houldsworth, T.||Wilkins, W.|
|Irton, S.||Williams, Robert|
|Jones, W.||Williams, Sir J.|
|Kelly, F.||Wilmot, Sir J. E Bt.|
|Kerrison, Sir E.||Wilson, Henry|
|Knatchbull, Sir E.||Wodehouse, Hon. E.|
|Lefroy, A.||Yorke, E. T.|
|Lennard, Thomas B.||Young, Sir W. L.|
|Lewis, David||Young, G. F.|
|Lowther, Hon. H. C.||TELLERS.|
|Mandeville, Viscount||Chandos, Marquess of|
|Manners, Lord R.||Darlington, Earl of|
|Mathew, Captain||PAIRED OFF.|
|Maxwell, H.||Baring, H. B.|
|Miles, W.||Caley, E. S.|
|Mordaunt, Sir J.||Egerton, Sir P. de M.|
|Morgan, C. M. R.||Sinclair, G.|
|Neeld, Joseph||Twiss, H.|
|Norreys, Lord||Vaughan, Sir R. W.|
§ The Amendment was agreed to.