HC Deb 17 April 1866 vol 182 cc1509-76

Sir, I rise to move— That upon any future remission of indirect taxation, this House will take into consideration the Duty upon Malt with a view to its immediate reduction and ultimate repeal. I have once more to bring this important question under the consideration of the House, and I trust that they will not refuse their assent to the moderate Resolution which I now move. I am myself inclined to think that, considering that the country has now been subjected for a period of twenty-four years to the payment of the income tax, which was revived for the purpose of enabling the Government to remove the duties on all the great necessaries of life, and considering that that object has been attained in respect to every one of those articles with the exception of beer, the beverage of the poorer classes, I might fairly ask the gradual application of the income tax to the repeal of the malt tax. Bui as I am aware of the difficulties with which I have in this case to contend, and as I do not wish to create any unnecessary, opposition, I only invite the House to affirm the Resolution that whenever am such surplus of income may exist as will enable the Chancellor of the Exchequer to effect any substantial remission of indirect taxation the malt tax is the first tax with which he ought to deal. I will here briefly direct the attention of the House lo the principle on which the financial business of the country has been conducted during the last twenty-four years, first by the late Sir Robert Peel, and afterwards by my tight hon. Friend the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, treading in the footsteps of his master and predecessor. Their policy was to repeal or to reduce the duties on all the raw materials of industry and on all the chief articles of subsistence, whenever the state of the public revenue admitted of the adoption of such a course; and I freely admit that they have pursued that policy with great advantage to the country at large. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has recently told us that, as far as he could estimate, the working classes pay one-third or, perhaps, five-twelfths of the total taxation of the country; and, as I believe, according to the best estimate, I can prove that the working classes consume three-fifths of the total quantity of beer consumed by our population, and that the consumer of beer pays, by reason of that tax, fully three or four times the amount paid into the Exchequer, it seems to me that this impost constitutes a charge which it is our special duty to diminish, if possible, at the present moment, when so many Members of this House are strenuously urging upon us, night by night, the interests and claims of the working classes. The malt tax as compared with the income lax or tin fire insurance duty, or the tea duty, or the sugar duty, all of which we have reduced within the last few years, stands alone in this respect, that it is a tax upon an article which is almost exclusively consumed by the working and the poorer classes. In the year 1842, the late Sir Robert peel introduced the income tax as it means of reforming the fiscal system of the country, and repealing or reducing the duty upon all articles of general consumption. That distinguished statesman, in one of the early debates on the subject, used these words, to which he entreated the attention of his right hon. Friend— No one can feel a more intimate conviction than I do that, whatever be your financial difficulties or necessities, you must so adapt and adjust your measures as not to bear on the comforts," [still less, he might have said, on the necessaries of life,] "of the labouring classes of society. Now, I venture to say that this is a tax, and the only one left, that bears directly not merely on the comforts but on the ne- cessaries of life as regards the poorer and labouring classes. In pursuance of the line of policy announced by Sir Robert Peel in the very first year of his financial administration, the repeal or reduction of taxes was brought about on no less than 750 articles of consumption. He began with those articles in more general consumption. In 1843, 1844, and 1845, Sir Robert Peel continued to act on this enlightened policy, and he believed that at the end of the latter year taxation was either repealed or reduced on 1,000 articles of consumption. It was foreseen by some of the more sagacious among the statesmen of the day, and doubtless by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, that before Sir Robert Peel could advance much farther in this line of policy the Corn Laws must be repealed; for it was quite impossible from year to year, and even in debates on his financial policy, to talk of the repeal of duties on all articles of consumption, and especially on those duties which bore ever so indirectly on the necessaries of life without remembering that there was a tax on corn—on bread itself, the chief article of popular consumption. Accordingly, in 1846, the duty on corn was repealed; but, not long after Sir Robert Peel ceased to be a Minister of the Crown. For a time there was a pause in legislation on this subject; but I am bound to say that from the moment his right hon. Friend took office as Chancellor of the Exchequer that line of policy was revived, and it has been continued to the present day. If I have any complaint to make of my right hon. Friend, it is not that he has pursued the enlightened policy of his illustrious predecessor in the repeal of duties on articles of general consumption, and especially in setting free the trade and commerce of the country, but that while the duties have been either repealed or reduced almost to nothing upon every other article of consumption, this one article of malt alone has been left untouched, unrelieved by any remission of taxation, and on the single occasion on which it has been dealt with by the Ministry of the day, the tax has been actually increased. I will not go through the tariff of Sir Robert Peel; but although 700, or 800, or 1,000 articles have been relieved of duty, this one article of malt has been permitted to go untouched. You have repealed the duties on food, clothing, and indirectly on dwellings; for with respect to houses the tax does not extend to those occupied by the poorer classes. You have repealed the duties on bricks and timber, except a small remnant which is to be dealt with in the treaty with Austria. You have repealed the duties on cotton and wool, the bases of the clothing of the people, the duties on corn, flour, and soap, on cattle and meat, and on provisions of every description. Why should this one article of malt, which, with the exception of tobacco, is the only, I will not say luxury, but necessary of life of the poorer classes, be excluded from the category? The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken a distinguished part in repealing duties, and I ask him how he can, consistently with his own principles, retain this tax? It is said that malt and beer are not taxed more directly than some other articles in general consumption—that tea, sugar, and wine are taxed; but when we see the duty on tea reduced to 6d. a pound, and the duties on sugar and other articles very considerably reduced, I think that, pari passu, the reduction of the malt duty might have been considered. But wine is a foreign article, entirely consumed by the rich and well to do, whereas malt is consumed by three-fifths of the poorer classes of the people. On what principle have you reduced the duty on wine from 5s. 9d. a gallon to almost a nominal sum, to 2d. or 3d. or 4d. or 5d. a bottle on your Lafitte, your finest Chambertin, Claret, and Burgundies, while you retain a tax of some 30 or 33 per cent on beer? It is, surely, contrary to sound principles of taxation to impose a small duty on the beverages of the rich, the production, too, of foreign countries, and to lay a heavy tax of 30 or 33 per cent on a home-grown commodity, which is almost a necessary of life to the humbler classes. But there is another principle violated by the retention of this tax. The greatest writers on political economy, from Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill (I ought to beg the pardon of the hon. Member for Westminster for mentioning him by name, but it is a name that lives in the political history of his country), and all the most enlightened statesmen, have over and over again exposed the impolicy of placing any tax on the raw material which has afterwards to be worked up and pass through various stages of manufacture. The reason is obvious. You impose a tax of 70 per cent on malt in proportion to the barley; but before this tax comes to be paid, and before the article reaches the consumer in the shape of beer, to the tax is added the interest or profit of the maltster, the interest or profit of the brewer, and the interest or profit of the publican, increasing by accumulation it each successive outlay; and the consequence is that the consumer pays not the original: 21s. or 22s. a quarter, but all the subsequent additions and accumulations of interest and profit. But I would now wish to show what is the addition to the price of beer which is really charged upon the consumer by reason of the tax on malt, for this is important as showing the smaller price which the consumers would have to pay for good and wholesome beer, instead of a bad and deleterious article, if the tax were abolished. I am aware that the calculations on this point have been strongly controverted, and when some time ago I asked the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he could furnish the House with any. Return of the annual quantity and price of beer made for sale in this country, I was disappointed to find that no such information could be obtained. In the debate last year I ventured to repeat what had been stated by my noble Friend the Member for Huntingdonshire in the previous Session, that the whole price paid by the consumers of beer in any one year in the United Kingdom was about £60,000,000 sterling. That statement, although uncontradicted in this House, has elsewhere been described as exaggerated. The statement was made on the authority of The Economist, an authority which he remembered hearing his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer commend as highly trustworthy upon all questions of finance, and I have never yet heard it positively asserted that this was an over estimate, and it is supported when we consider the returns of the quantity of malt charged with duty. In 1864 this was a little above 6,000,000 quarters, the duty being about £7,000,000. Taking one description of beer with another, a quarter of malt produces about 144 gallons of beer, so that, multiplying the number of quarters by the number of gallons of beer brewed in this kingdom, you get within a small fraction of 800,000,000 of gallons. Now, let us consider the aggregate price paid by the consumer, and here again we are obliged to rely mainly on The Economist; but I have consulted the papers issued from time to time by the Board of Inland Revenue, and also per- sons the best informed on the subject, and I believe that the average price at which all beer is sold in England is, as near as may be, 1s. 6d. per gallon. The price at which beer is purchased in public-houses is from 1s. 4d., 1s. 6d., to 1s. 8d. per gallon, or 4d., 5d., and 6d. a quart. I am aware that some brewers brew beer which they sell for 2s., 3s., 4s., and even 5s. per gallon to well to do families of the middle classes, but the larger quantity of beer is sold at 1s. per gallon, and therefore I should not be far from the mark in putting the average price of the beer sold throughout the United Kingdom at 1s. 6d. per gallon. As to the quality of beer, I can only say that I wish that beer such as that brewed by my hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Bass) were more generally consumed by the working classes. Taking the quantity of beer sold to be 800,000,000 gallons, its value at 1s. 6d. per gallon would be £60,000 sterling, the very sum mentioned by The Economist. And now of this sum I hope to satisfy the House that no less than £20,000, or one-third, is paid by reason of the malt tax, while a sum of only £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 goes into the Exchequer, so that the duty in effect increases the price by 32 or 33 per cent, In the first place the quarter of barley costs the maltster 32s., and on that quantity when turned into malt he has to pay an additional sum of 22s. for the malt tax, and on the total cost, 54s., he charges the sum of 7s. as his profit. Now, the sum of 7s. charged as profit must be proportionately divided between the cost of the barley and the amount of malt duty, and the portion charged in respect of the malt duty necessarily increases as the beer passes from the brewer to the publican, and from the publican to the consumer, each of whom charges a profit in respect of the sum originally paid by the maltster as malt duty According to my calculations, the sum eventually paid by the consumer in respect of the malt duty amounts to 32 per cent, or about one-third of the whole sum he pays for the beer he purchases. That sum being £60,000,000 paid by the public for the beer they consume, about £20,000,000 is attributable to the duty; or, assuming that I have placed the charge for brewing too high, as has been alleged on a former occasion, the sum of £18,000,000 is taken out of the pockets of the people by this tax. Such is the tax which the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the enlight- ened advocate of free trade, and the advocate of the working classes of this country, and who contends that the working classes are entitled to be represented because they pay so large a proportion of the taxes, continues to impose upon them. I hope I am not asking too much in desiring from the right hon. Gentleman an explanation as to how much of the five-twelfths of the whole taxation of the country which the working classes pay he attributes to this tax. I believe I rather understate than overstate the case when I say that three-fifths of the whole of the beer of the country is consumed by the poorer classes. If so, what is the result? Why, by continuing this tax on one of the necessaries of life you place a burden almost intolerable on the class the least able to bear it. Well, you have reduced the tax on wine, which is a luxury, by 40, 50, 60, and 70 per cent, but upon the working classes, the chief consumers of beer, you place a burden amounting to three-fifths of £20,000,000. I believe that if the malt tax were repealed the people would be able to buy their beer at one-third of the price now paid for it. I have not, as yet, taken any part in the debate on the Representation of the People Bill; but as I happen to be the president of a working man's college, and vice-president of three or four other working men's institutions, I may say with sincerity, that having come a good deal into contact with the working classes, I should be glad to see them admitted to a share in the elective franchise, due regard being had to the balance of political power. I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how, after having directed the financial affairs of the country for so many years, and having had such a surplus of revenue to deal with, he can perpetuate a tax which imposes on the labouring class so heavy a burden. What would be the result of the reduction of the malt tax on prices? What I believe, and what I think I can convince the House of, is this, that if the malt tax were repealed the public would be able to buy their beer retail at a largo reduction of price. I believe also that the effect, without at all injuring the great brewers of the metropolis, would be to break through the system they adopt of investing money in public-houses, not according to the real value, but letting them at disproportionate rents, while, by reason of the extra amount of beer sold, their profits are enormously increased. My figures have been disputed by the advocates of temperance on the one hand, and by the great brewers of London on the other. Let me state what I have actually done myself, and, let me say, that I could have brewed a much larger quantity for proportionally less. I have myself brewed from ten to twelve quarters of malt, and I will state the result. At the time I made the experiment barley was 32s. per quarter, the amount of duty may be taken upon the increase at 22s., 4s. is the expense of malting, making 58s., which with 7s., the maltster's profit, makes the price of the malt 65s. Then 10s., the price of the hops, would make 75s. I now come to the disputed item—the expense of brewing—for which I allow 5s., making in all 80s. For this I found that 144 gallons of good and wholesome beer could be obtained equal to what is sold at public-houses at 1s. 6d. and 1s. 8d., and by private houses at 1s. and 6s. 2d. I come to the conclusion that you can get wholesome beer of excellent quality at something less than 7d. per gallon; and, if there were no duty, the consequence would be that you could brew beer of a quality superior to that sold at the public-houses at 1s. 6d. per gallon for less than 5d. per gallon. If you go back to the time of James I., when there was no malt duty in England, and when there were no Excise vexations or restrictions, malt and barley were at the same price—16s. per quarter—and good wholesome pure ale was sold at 1d. per quart at every inn and public-house throughout the country. Is not this conclusive to show that now that barley is only double the price, or 32s., good beer would be sold at inns and public-houses, if there were no malt tax, at 1d. a quart. It would be well, indeed, if the Government would direct experiments in brewing good and wholesome beer in small and large quantities, paying no malt duty; and I believe the result would be to show that if the malt duty were repealed beer might be sold by retail at 5d. a gallon, and yet allow large and substantial profits to the brewer and the publican. Does it not, then, become us to consider whether some change might not be made, so that the poorer classes of the community may be benefited? Nor must we underrate the importance of supplying to the families of England good beer, instead of the pernicious stuff which is sold at many public-houses. I know a gentleman who has tested several kinds of beer, obtained from public-houses chiefly in Westminster. He obtained samples from twelve public-houses in Belgravia, Chelsea, the New Cut, and other adjacent localities. The price of that beer was 6d. per quart; whereas I have shown that good wholesome beer can be produced for less than 7d. per gallon. I will refer for one moment to the sample purchased at 6d. a quart in Westminster, The alcohol amounted to about 6 per cent, and on further examination it was manifest that eighty-two gallons of water had been unduly added to what had been brewed from the quarter of malt, and that the purchasers had consequently been defrauded to the extent of £8 0s. 4d. One of the samples was stated to present traces of colouring matter, to be sweet in taste, of a dark colour, and muddy, so that the public were not only deprived of a good healthy article for a fair price, but had imposed upon them one of a deleterious character. I have gone carefully through all the speeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon this subject, and have failed to discover what the arguments really are upon which he meets this demand upon the part of the poorer classes of the community for a relief from taxation. I entertain the highest and most unfeigned respect for all that falls from the right hon. Gentleman, but I must repeat that I have heard no sound argument from him upon this question. When the right hon. Gentleman had an interview with the deputation which waited on him at Downing Street, he said that this question involved the whole system of taxation upon stimulants, which produced enough to pay the interest upon the National Debt. Now, there is no magic in the term stimulant; and I believe that if we look to health, and even morality, we might well reduce the tax upon beer in preference to that upon tea and coffee. Beer is drunk by the working classes in moderation, and it is not because some persons are drunkards that the whole working classes are to be stigmatized as vicious and immoral. To impose total abstinence upon them, and prevent the hard-working man from indulging in a little beer from day to day, would be a most intolerant course. I cannot, therefore, consent to the proposition of the advocates of temperance societies that beer should be heavily taxed in order to prevent drunkenness. For my part, I believe that the proper course to pursue was to have reduced the tax upon malt pari passu with those upon tea and coffee and other articles, I my- self voted for the repeal of the Corn Laws, though at the time I thought that the change should have been more gradual, and that the duty upon malt should be remitted pari passu with the duty on foreign corn. This course was advocated over and over again by Sir James Graham, Mr. Cobden, Sir Robert Peel, and the now President of the Poor Law Board, the originator of the measure for the abolition of the Corn Laws. At all events, I am clearly of opinion that the relaxation of the duty upon tea and coffee has now gone far enough without some corresponding relief being given in reference to malt. As to the argument upon stimulants, I contend that spirits stand by themselves, and that the Government is justified in imposing upon spirits any amount of duty that is not so large as by re-action to diminish the produce of the tax. In Scotland and Ireland, however, the case might be different, where whisky-and-water is drunk as beer is in this country; and, therefore, looking at the whole question, it is, no doubt, full of difficulty. But for what has such mighty talents been bestowed upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer if not for overcoming difficulties of this kind? The fact that there is difficulty is no reason why the labouring classes should hi taxed to the extent of £20,000,000 a year, and such a reply is not worthy of the right hon. Gentleman. As to one other stimulant, tobacco, it is, no doubt, a luxury, but I do not on that account wish to see it taxed excessively, because it is the solitary luxury of the poor man; but I contend that neither tobacco nor spirits ought to be put on the same footing as malt. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated that no benefit would result to Scotland and Ireland from the abolition of the duty on malt. But I believe that the repeal of the malt tax would be attended with very great benefit to Ireland, especially where, upon the eastern coast, it would bring into cultivation a large extent of land which was now occupied as pasture land, and this would tend to enrich the country by enlarging the commerce and increasing the cattle of the kingdom. In reference to Scotland, also, I have beard many persons regret that beer is not there the national beverage; and, perhaps, if the duty on malt were repealed, it would have a tendency in this direction. Looking at the matter as a whole, I am of opinion that the removal of such an embarrassing restriction upon trade and commerce, and manufactures, would be attended with the most beneficial results in the three kingdoms. I see that there is an Amendment upon the paper in the name of the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate), and I also recollect that on a previous occasion he placed an Amendment upon the paper to the effect that the burdens upon land should be equalized with those upon other interests. This Amendment has not been repeated on the present occasion, and probably he has since then looked into the Report of the Committee of 1846, in which they found, as a fact, that the special burdens upon land, such as the tithe, poor rate, land tax, highway rate, and church rate, amounted to 11 per cent upon the annual value of the land. At all events, he now abandons that Amendment. What he proposes now appears to be this, that he would apply all future surplus of income over expenditure not to the remission of taxation, that, in fact, no tax should in future be repealed, but that any surplus should go in reduction of the National Debt. I think that I can leave such an Amendment entirely in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who will agree with it if he thinks that the income tax, the insurance tax, and the malt tax should be permanently continued. In conclusion, I would say, that it is my sincere conviction that the repeal of the malt tax would be attended with great benefit to the people of England, Scotland, and Ireland; and I hope that the time is fast approaching when those enlightened principles of commercial policy which regulate our commerce will be applied to the malt tax, so that the millions of the poorer classes may participate in the benefits of that policy. The hon. and learned Member concluded by moving the Resolution.


, in seconding the Motion, said, the constituents of hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House were not the only persons throughout the country who took an interest in the repeal of the malt tax. On the other hand, he was glad to find that an increasing number of hon. Gentlemen who support the repeal had been returned in the present Parliament to sit on his side of the House. He believed the House had never realized how great an interest was taken in this question in many parts of the country; and perhaps it was impossible for this to be realized in a House in which there was so large a preponderance of borough Members. There were many counties in which a greater interest was taken in this question than in the questions of Reform and church rates put together, and he believed hon. Gentlemen would support him in saying that this question influenced the seats of county Members at the late Election more than both those questions put together. On few questions, he might add, had so many petitions been presented during the present Session, nor had those petitions been got up like some of those which emanated from the towns, but were signed by thousands of people who were scattered over the counties. He was led, then, to ask why the question excited so unequal an interest in that House in past years? It was not because of any apathy on the part of those who were opposed to the tax out of doors, nor because of any want of able advocacy, for the efforts and ability of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down in dealing with the subject were fully appreciated by the agricultural classes. This ability had been always supplemented, as it would be tonight, by the high practical knowledge of hon. Gentlemen who sit behind him. Was it, then, the fact, as he had sometimes heard it stated, that an agricultural question could not meet with fair play in that House because the counties were so under-represented? That was a question which would, no doubt, be fully discussed on another occasion. Or was it true that they were received coldly because of the influence of a Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer? It was often said that the right hon. Gentleman who now filled that office was prejudiced against the agricultural interests, but he did not think it was reasonable to charge him with being so because he declined to relinquish £6,000,000 of taxation. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks (Mr. Disraeli) was first Chancellor of the Exchequer he proposed the remission of half the amount of the tax; and the substitution, instead, of a fresh duty; but when he held that position for the second time he made no mention of the malt tax in his Budget, nor did he hold out the slightest hope in those agricultural exercitations with which he favoured his constituents in the autumn that he would remit it should he again accede to office. That being so, he did not think that the charge of being hostile to the claims of the agricultural interests in the matter was one to which a Liberal Chancellor was especially open, Then came the question whether the subject was submitted to the House in a shape which would enable a Chancellor of the Exchequer to deal with it. The question consisted of two distinct parts, First of the arguments for the repeal, and secondly, the question of how the deficit was to be recouped to the Exchequer. He had observed that hon. Gentlemen, when addressing sympathetic audiences in the country, usually confined their observations to the arguments for the repeal, and shirked the financial difficulty involved in the question; whereas, in the House of Commons, he felt that no consideration or argument could have much effect on the repeal as long as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had the fortress of the deficit of £6,000,000 to shield himself under. He thought that no Resolution on the subject could be practical unless it affected the second half of the question, and therefore he hoped, if they were unsuccessful that night, that the next. Motion proposed to the House on the subject would be a substitution of a tax upon brewing. As the Motion at present stood the position of those who were in favour of a repeal of the malt duty was that they were desirous of giving the Chancellor of the Exchequer such support as that, in the event of his having an available surplus, he might regard himself as free to consider whether it would be consistent with his duty to give the agriculturists that remission of taxation which they were promised by a statesman twenty years ago. Whilst the Motion was submitted in its present state he thought it most politically consistent to support a Chancellor of the Exchequer who had remitted taxes without the imposition of new ones. He sincerely trusted that the right hon. Gentleman might add the reduction or remission of the malt duty to his legislative triumphs, and make amongst the farmers, perhaps the only class of Her Majesty's subjects amongst whom he had not made, what the Poet Laureate declares to be the reward of "taking off a tax,"—" an everlasting name."

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, upon any future remission of indirect taxation, this House will take into consideration the Duty upon Malt, with a view to its immediate reduction and ultimate repeal."—(Sir Fitz Roy Kelly.)


, while admitting that the agricultural interests had to contend with great difficulties, which they had borne manfully and with good temper, observed that if a sum of £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 were to be given away by the remission of this tax, it seemed to him that they I might renounce for ever any hope of reducing our National Debt. At the end of the French Revolutionary War the redeemable, value of the Debt was estimated at upwards of £800,000,000, and according to the financial accounts of last year it amounted to £775,000,000, That Debt was to be measured not solely by its amount, but by the annual charge, now something like '£25,000,000, which it imposed upon tie country. That charge was, perhaps, not felt just now to be a very great, burden, but a time of difficulty and pressure might arise when the people would ask how it came to be imposed, and why it was continued. The principle of the obligation to pay off the Debt bad been asserted at different times. In 1819, a Resolution was passed for setting apart the sum of £5,000,000 annually for that purpose. In 1828 a Finance Committee again asserted the obligation of the- country to make a gradual reduction of the Debt, and suggested that at least. £3,000,000 a year I should be provided for that purpose. The: only law passed, however, was that now in force, and which directed the appropriation of a certain portion of the annual surplus for the reduction of the Debt. There were some people who looked at the National Debt as a part of the wealth and property of the nation, though he did not suppose that any Gentleman in that House was so ignorant of political economy as to maintain that proposition. It was no: doubt true that there might be too great a hurry to pay it off; and that was the error of the year 1819, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to raise new taxes with the view of providing a surplus for the reduction of the Debt. In the case of an estate, it might be good policy not to pay off a mortgage, but to apply the surplus revenue, after payment of the interest on the mortgage, to the improvement of the estate. When, however, the estate was improved and its productive powers fully developed, then the honest and prudent proprietor would look the difficulty in the face and address him-self seriously to the reduction of the mortgage. The present was a time at which we stood, as a nation, in that position. It should be recollected that many persons were now likely to be admitted to the franchise who were not disposed to admit the benefits resulting from the past policy of the country, which had led to the accumulation of the Debt, and were inclined to take advantage of the arguments urged against the obligation to pay it. Many Gentlemen who, if they were in the House at the present day would be sitting on the opposite Benches, had held strange doctrines in regard to the National Debt. Some of them had been led away by the notion that, as the Debt was contracted in a depredated currency, it ought not to be paid in a metallic currency. It would not, then, be surprising, when such strange ideas, so inconsistent with the interest and honour of the country, could be held by persons holding a high position in that House, if, after a larger infusion of the Democratic element in the representation, these objections to the payment of the National Debt should be revived, and he, therefore, thought it of the greatest importance that an opportunity should be taken to assert in the strongest manner the obligation of the country to pay the Debt. The Amendment he was about to propose did not entirely preclude the repeal of the malt tax, which he thought in many respects an objectionable tax, and he entirely agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite that the poor man ought not to be required to pay a higher tax on his beer than the rich man on his wine. He was not particularly enamoured of the malt tax, and he had suggested nothing in his Amendment directly in favour of it, but if the malt tax were repealed measures must be adopted to supply the deficiency by other taxation, the landed interest contributing towards that taxation in proportion to the benefit they derived from the repeal of the malt tax. It appeared to him, coupling the conduct of the party opposite in reference to the Reform Bill, with their conduct on the question before the House, that it was evident that that party was determined upon government for the land and by the land. He did not, however, wish to raise party considerations, but merely desired to impress upon the House that this was a question which concerned the honour and safety of the country. He concluded by moving, as an Amendment— That in the present state of the taxation and resources of the Country it is the duty of Parliament to make provision for the systematic reduction of the National Debt, and not to sanction any proposal for any repeal or change of taxes which is likely to be attended with a diminution of the Revenue.


In rising to second the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford, I hope I shall not be suspected of any disposition to abuse the indulgence which the House has so recently and so kindly extended to me. But I have for some time felt so serious, I may say so solemn a conviction upon the subject which my hon. Friend has brought forward, that it is almost a matter of conscience with me not to let slip an occasion of endeavouring to impress that conviction on some hon. Members of this House. Not long ago it might not altogether unreasonably be supposed that the unrivalled growth of this country in every kind of wealth—the limits of which it seemed impossible to define—was an excuse to us, and even a justification, for leaving our pecuniary obligations, without any serious attempt to reduce them, to weigh upon posterity, whom we might reasonably expect to be better able to support them than we ourselves are. This, however, was at no time a conclusive argument or a sound excuse, because future generations will have their own exigencies too; and we have had an example of it in the fact that not many years ago two years of war sufficed to re-add to our National Debt nearly as much as had been subtracted from it by the savings of fifty years. But, more recently, facts have been brought to our notice, which have been too much overlooked; showing that the excuse we made to ourselves is not admissible in the case of a nation whose population greatly exceeds that which with the existing resources of science can be supported from its own soil; who are therefore dependent for subsistence on the power of disposing of their goods in foreign markets and whose command over those markets depends upon the continued possession of an exhaustible material. The termination of our coal supplies, though always certain, has always until lately appeared so distant, that it seemed quite unnecessary for the present generation to occupy itself with the question. The reason was that all our calculations were grounded upon the existing rate of consumption; but the fact now is that our consumption of coals increases with such extraordinary rapidity from year to year, that the probable exhaustion of our supplies is no longer a question of centuries, but of generations. I hope there are many hon. Members in this House who are acquainted with a small volume written by Mr. Stanley Jevons, entitled The Coal Question. It appears to me, so far as one not practically conversant with the subject can presume to judge, that Mr. Jevons' treatment of the subject is almost exhaustive. He seems to have anticipated everything which can possibly be said against the conclusion at which he has arrived, and to have answered it; and that conclusion is, that if the consumption of coal continues to increase at the present rate, three generations at the most, very possibly a considerably shorter period, will leave no workable coal nearer to the surface than 4,000 feet in depth; and that the expense of raising it from that depth will entirely put it out of the power of the country to compete in manufactures with the richer coal-fields of other countries. I think that if there be anyone in this House, or out of it, who knows anything which will invalidate these conclusions of Mr. Jevons, it will he right for him to come forward and make it known. I have myself read various attempts to answer Mr. Jevons, but I must say that every one of them, admitting the truth of everything said, has only made out that our supplies will continue a few years longer than the term which Mr. Jevons has assigned. It fact, it has now come to this, that instead of being at liberty to suppose that future generations will be more capable than we are ourselves of paying off the National Debt, it is probable that the present generation and the one or two which will follow, are the only ones which will have the smallest chance of ever being able to pay it off. Now, what is the duty which facts of this sort impose upon this country? Are we going to bequeath our pecuniary obligations undiminished to descendants, to whom we cannot bequeath our assets? Suppose the property of a private individual had come to him deeply mortgaged, and that the bulk of it consisted of a mine, rich indeed, but certain to be exhausted in his lifetime, would he think it honourable to waste the whole proceeds of the mine in riotous living, and leave to his children the payment of the debt out of the residue of the estate? Then what would be vicious and dishonourable in a private individual is not less dishonourable in a nation. We ought to think of these things while it is still time. This country is at present richer and more prosperous than any country we ever knew or read of, and it can without any material inconvenience or privation set aside several millions a year for the discharge of this important duty to our descendants. I do not think we are much to blame as far as we have yet gone. It was perfectly right to get rid of all very bad taxes, all those which produced a greater quantity of incidental mischief than advantage to the revenue from their imposition. Thanks to the progress of opinion, and thanks also to the enlightened and far-sighted Minister who has administered our finances for some years back, this work has been nearly performed. There are very few taxes remaining which are utterly unfit to exist. If there are any, they do not yield so large a revenue; but that we may hope, without much difficulty, to get rid of them also. The bulk of our revenue is derived from a comparatively small number of imposts, each yielding a considerable sum, and none of which, I think, is now very seriously objectionable in principle, or greatly mischievous in practice, any further than is inevitably incident on the payment of taxes. I think it is perfectly legitimate to try experiments upon these taxes, if there be any chance, by lowering the amount, to increase the revenue. It is also legitimate to vary the mode of imposing taxes; for example, by levying them at a later stage in the production of the article, by which means we may get rid of objections such as some which have been brought forward by the lion, and learned Member opposite. But if we are to abolish any tax which yields a revenue of £5,000,000 or £6,000,000, merely in order to have the satisfaction of expending the amount in some other way, it will be, as it appears to me, a criminal dereliction of duty. If we are able either by increasing our resources or by a retrenchment of our expenditure to dispense with the malt tax, how much wiser and worthier it would be if we were to set apart this tax as a fund for the extinguishment of our Debt. I beg permission to press upon the House the duty of taking these things into serious consideration, in the name of that dutiful concern for posterity, which has been strong in every nation which ever did every thing great, and which has never left the mind of any such nation until, as in the case of the Romans under the Empire, it was already falling into decrepitude, and ceasing to be a nation. There are many persons in the world, and there may possibly be some in this House, though I should be sorry to think so, who are not unwilling to ask themselves, in the words of the old jest, "Why should we sacrifice anything for posterity; what has posterity done for us?" They think that posterity has done nothing for them: but that is a great mistake. Whatever has been done for mankind by the idea of posterity; whatever has been done for mankind by philanthropic concern for posterity, by a conscientious sense of duty to posterity, even by the less pure but still noble ambition of being remembered and honoured by posterity; all this we owe to posterity, and all this it is our duty to the best of our limited ability to repay. All the great deeds of the founders of nations, and of those second founders of nations, their great reformers—all that has been done for us by the authors of those laws and institutions to which free countries are indebted for their freedom, and well governed countries for their good government; all the heroic lives which have been led, and all the heroic deaths which have been died, in defence of liberty and law against despotism and tyranny, from Marathon and Salamis down to Leipsic and Waterloo; all those traditions of wisdom and of virtue which are enshrined in the history and literature of the past—all the Schools and Universities by which the culture of former times has been brought down to us, and all that culture itself—all that we owe to the great masters of human thought and to the great masters of human emotion—all this is ours because those who preceded us have cared, and have taken thought, for posterity. Not owe anything to posterity, Sir! We owe to it Bacon, and Newton, and Locke, and Bentham; aye, and Shakespeare, and Milton, and Wordsworth. I have read of an eminent man—I am almost sure it was Dr. Franklin—who, when he wished to relieve the necessities or assist the occasions of any deserving person by pecuniary help, had a way of his own of doing it, and it was this. He said to them, "I only lend you this; if you are ever able, I expect you to repay it; but not to me: repay it to some other necessitous person, and do it under the same stipulation, that so the stream of benefits may still flow on, as long and as far as human honesty can keep it flowing." What Franklin did from beneficence, in order that the greatest possible amount of good might be extracted from a limited fund, our predecessors, to whom we owe so much, have done from the necessities of the case. The debt of gratitude due to them is such as makes it at times almost an oppressive thought that not one tittle of that vast debt can ever be directly repaid to those from whom we have received so much. But, like the objects of Franklin's beneficence, we can indirectly repay it, by paying it to others—to those others whom also they cared for, and for whom, and not merely for us, their labours and sacrifices were undergone. What are we, Sir—we of this generation, or of any other generation, that we should usurp, and expend upon our particular and exclusive uses, what was meant for mankind? It is lent to us, Sir, not given: and it is our duty to pass it on, not merely undiminished, but with interest, to those who are in the same relation to us as we are to those who preceded us. So shall we too deserve, and may in our turn hope to receive, a share of the same gratitude.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the present state of the taxation and resources of the Country, it is the duty of Parliament to make provision for the systematic reduction of the National Debt, and not to sanction any proposal for any repeal or change of taxes which is likely to be attended with a diminution of the Revenue,"—(Mr. Neate,) —'instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, it might seem presumption in him to follow one of the greatest living philosophers (Mr. J. Stuart Mill), but he must trust to his practical knowledge on the subject to make some amends. It did strike him that the learned and eloquent essay they had just heard on coal fields and the National Debt had specially nothing to do with the malt tax. He could not for the life of him understand why, when farmers asked for their fair share of the reductions in taxation which had been so general, they should be met by such an argument now used for the first time. The hon. and learned Member for East Suffolk (Sir FitzRoy Kelly), in introducing the subject, had spoken of it in such exhaustive terms that it only remained for him to view it in its agricultural aspect. Farmers sought for the repeal of the malt tax to enable them to enjoy some of the advantages of free agriculture which other classes derived from free trade. As a class they had obtained very few of those bene- fits which resulted from free trade. They might, as consumers, have their tea and coffee a little cheaper; but, as the great producers of food, they had, of course, been injured rather than benefited, Their great production, wheat, had been reduced in price something like 10s. or 12s. per quarter; and although they had received a remunerating price for meat, yet their loss of stock had been very serious indeed. They sold barley at 4s. a bushel, but after undergoing the process of manufacture that 4s. was made into 8s. As a member of the deputation which on this subject had gone to the Chancellor of the Exchequer it was allotted to him to point out how the duty affected the growers of barley; and he did this by reference to his own farm. Last year he grew 200 acres of barley, and sold it for malting purposes at about £1,400. The duty that would be charged on it would be nearly £1,000. This duty bore most unfairly on different classes of barley, and was specially injurious to the growers of the inferior class. This inequality had been felt, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had last year introduced a Bill providing that barleys should be malted by weight; but the Excise had entirely destroyed the good which the right hon. Gentleman wished to confer, and there was hardly a bushel of British barley malted by weight instead of measure. The best barleys would always command a very ready sale, and he knew a very considerable maltster who was ready to enter into a contract to pay 5s. per quarter more for barley if the duty were repealed than he was now paying. He need not say that an advance of 6d. a bushel on barley would be equal to about £1 an acre on all the barley grown, and when they considered that the agriculturists had lost 50s. per acre on their wheat, he did not think the House should grudge the boon which was now asked. He did not concur with the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate) in saying that if the agriculturists obtained a little advance in price, landlords would take the advantage of it. If there was anything in that argument, how was it that with the reduction that had taken place in the price of wheat, there had been no corresponding reduction in the rent of land? He thought they might rest with perfect security on the good sense and kindness of their landlords that they would not take one single 6d. of the reduction in the duty in the shape of advanced rent. The hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate) had at- tempted to frighten them by Lolling them they would be inundated with foreign barley. They were to a certain degree inundated with it already, and the repeal of i the malt tax would not add much to the quantity of foreign barley. Some very considerable maltsters malted one-eighth and some even one-fourth of the whole quantity; and one of the principal brewers had used upwards of 45,000 quarters of foreign barley this year in manufacturing malt. He did not think they would have any large quantity of foreign malt imported into this country if they had a free; trade in it, because the foreigner had neither the capital, the climate, nor the conveniences which were requisite to enable him: to make much more malt than he now did. He need not tell the House that the exports of beer continued to increase, as did also the exports of malt; and the duty which; the consumer of beer had to pay in England was not only returned on the exported article, but the cost of collection was also remitted to the foreigner who might consume the malt. The duty enhanced the price of malt in a remarkable manner. I He had a Return for the year 1795, when the duty on malt was just half what it was now, and on comparing that with: the Return for 1862, he found that the; price of barley was 2s. a quarter less, and the price of malt 22s. more at the latter, period than at the former one. The high duty depreciated, the price of barley. Towards the close of the Great War the duty varied very much. From 1814 to 1816 the old war duty on malt remained—namely,; 4s. 6d. per bushel, and the price of barley was 33s. 8d. per quarter. During the next three years the duty was reduced to 2s. 5d. per bushel, and the price of barley rose to 49s. 6d. per quarter. In the three years which followed, the Government increased the malt duty to 3s. 7d. per bushel, and the price of barley fell to 26s. 9d. In the next three years the duty was lowered to 2s. 7d., and the price of barley rose to 34s. 10d. It was a curious fact how these duties greatly curtailed consumption. Even so slight an increase in them as 5 per cent had a remarkable effect in that direction. Our present 5 per cent was imposed in 1840, and the consequence of that was that 4,000,000 of bushels less were malted than in the five previous years, while the I price of barley was reduced 3s. per quarter. Again, in 1855, during the Crimean War, when the duty was 4s. there were only 30,000,000 bushels malted, while the price of barley was 34s. 9d.; whereas, when the present rate of duty was restored, in 1857, they made 38,000,000 bushels, and the price of barley rose to 41s. 1d. per quarter. The duty on malt might be taken at 70 per cent, while the duty on tea, at the average rate of 1s. 8d. per 1b., was 30 per cent. It was most unfair to class beer and spirits together; but, if that was done, it should be remembered that the duty on foreign brandy had within the last twenty years been reduced 500 per cent, and that on English gin had been increased 157 per cent, and English gin was principally made from British grain. During the last twenty years upwards of £150,000,000 had been remitted in the shape of Customs duties, besides something like another £40,000,000 of Excise duties, making together nearly £200,000,000. During the same period malt had paid to the revenue something like £100,000,000. With regard to the feeding qualities of malt, his experience as a farmer had been varied and considerable. He had found that a large quantity of indigestible and unpalatable hard food was made both palatable and digestible by a fair admixture of malt with it, and that its effect upon young stock and sickly animals was perfectly marvellous. Calves and lambs made great progress when fed upon it. In his own county Mr. Salter had raised a large flock of lambs with sweet wort instead of milk, which under present circumstances it was rather difficult to obtain. The Government would of course refer him to the experiments of Mr. Lawes, but those experiments had been conducted upon totally wrong principles—that was to say, they proceeded on the idea that malt should be used largely as a substitute for other food. It was wrong to give 4 1b. a day to bullocks and 4 1b. to sheep. He should never have thought of giving more than 2 1b. a day to bullocks and ¼ 1b. to sheep. As to pigs, they had stomachs which could digest anything. Malt should be used rather as a good, sound, healthy condiment than as a substitute for oilcake and other food. He complained that the malt tax restricted cultivation, and made the farmers grow certain crops where they would much prefer growing others. He would like to dispel the idea that if they had cheap corn they must as a necessary consequence have cheap meat. The consequence of having cheap corn was that as a matter of course some land must be laid down in grass, and that was held out to them as the only means by which they could compete with the foreigner. He contended that arable land in the south, east, and centre of England, and in parts of the Lothians would produce as much meat as if it were laid down in grass, and that the country has now the benefit of all the corn produced upon that land. Of course, under grass there would be much less expenditure by the farmer in manual labour. The cheapness of corn had in a measure, even upon land that was under the plough, reduced the quantity of stock kept; because it was impossible for the farmers—and it was the small farmers generally who reared stock—to meet their fixed payments from the corn they sold, so they must prematurely sell a portion of their young cattle, which thus caused a diminution in the quantity of stock. That process commenced about 1850, and had been going on gradually. The pressure was not felt during the Crimean War, but it had been felt lately; and of course the disastrous cattle plague had considerably augmented it. His hon. Colleague, himself, and one or two other Members of that House had presented 273 petitions from various parishes in East Norfolk, and signed by 13,000 of its inhabitants. There was this difference between the labourer in the town and the agricultural labourer, that whereas the former got bad and adulterated beer, through the operation of the malt tax, the latter got none at all except at hay seasons and at harvest time. Nothing would so much conduce to the sobriety and comfort of the labouring population as their being enabled to procure cheap and wholesome beer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer lately told them most forcibly of the amount of indirect taxation paid by the poor man. The right hon. Gentleman said the labouring man paid largely in the shape of duty on spirits and tobacco, and as he did not add also "on beer," it followed that if the consumer did not pay the duty, then the farmer did. In fact, the whole system connected with beer was a gigantic monoply. It began with the maltster and went through the brewer until it reached the consumer. The labouring man should have his fair share of beer, and now that the price of meat had risen so much beer was more than ever necessary to him. It was said that there was no possibility of the labouring men brewing beer in their tea-kettles, but out of twenty men whom he employed on one farm last harvest seventeen did brew at home, and he need not say they were the best men by far. Beer was in fact requisite to the labouring man if he were best well fed. For some time he persisted in not giving his men beer, and gave them money instead, but he found that a "wet great went further than a dry shilling," and he was obliged to abandon his system. When the farmers went to the Chancellor of the Exchequer he said that economy must be practised before there could be a remission of the malt tax. He, as a young Member of that House, had entertained a wonderful notion of the power that certain Liberal Gentlemen must exercise over the Estimates. He had expected to see on such occasions the Benches opposite tilled with hon. Gentlemen arrayed against the Government and always paring down these Estimates. With the exception, however, of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton), whose consistent liberalism and economy must have won him the admiration of the House, he had not heard a single Member of those who so strongly advocated economy out of that House move the reduction of a single Vote in that House. He had also thought that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have been the person to exercise that economy; but as the right hon. Gentleman told the House that it was the duty of the Independent Members to carry economy into the Estimates, he was afraid there was no chance of reducing the Estimates by £6,000,000 in any such manner. Of one think, however, he was certain—that beer ought to be free. It was the produce of our own soil and the drink of the agricultural labourer. He would, however, argue the question on the supposition that it could not be wholly free, and that it was necessary to provide a substitute. What did the Chancellor of the Exchequer thick of a duty of 1d. per gallon on beer? Something of that sort was proposed by a deputation who waited on the right hon. Gentleman early in the Session. He told them it was an impossibility; but had he not carried out the principle by his remission of the hop duty and imposing a licence on the brewers of 3d. per barrel? By that remission the hopgrowers had pocketed all the duty they had previously paid, and had received 20s. per cwt. more than when they paid the duty The hop duty, by means of brewers' licences, amounted to £300,000, and he had reason to think that if the brewers' licences were increased by 3s. per barrel that would bring, for brewers' beer alone, £3,800,000, and if they allowed anything for the increase of consumption and licences for private brewers, there would be no difficulty in raising £4,500,000. He would not advocate a beer tax, but as hon. Members on his side had been taunted for not finding a substitute, he begged, with due respect, to throw out this suggestion for the consideration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The plan would be attended with this difficulty, that they must inflict a licence upon private brewers. It might be so much on the assessment of a farm, or house, and so much on the beer they brewed, and Parliament might exempt all cottages and houses under £7 value, as that was a favourite figure with the right hon. Gentleman. By some such measure the Chancellor of the Exchequer might reduce the price of beer by 25 per cent, and the public would have very much better beer. The cheapest article of which beer could then be made would be malt, and there would then be no reason for using sugar and the various adulterations that were now so extensively practised. He thanked the House most cordially for the patience with which they had hoard him. He trusted that he should never talk on a subject he did not understand, and as that rule was put forward by the hon. and gallant Member for Berks (Colonel Lord Lindsay) early in this Session, he would only add that from what he had seen during the present Parliament, he believed that rule was not invariably acted on in the House of Commons.


said, there was a difference of opinion as to the precise effect of this tax. He could not endorse the opinion of the hon. and learned Member that while the amount spent in beer was £60,000,000, £20,000,000 of it were occasioned by the aggravation of the tax; nor could lie agree with the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Milner Gibson) that the duty on the barrel of beer was only an addition of 12½ per cent to the consumer. The duty on the barrel instead of being only 6s. per barrel, was when it reached the consumer 12s., and as the price of a barrel was 48s. they must deduct the 12s. from 48s. before they got the figure of comparison—the cost price. This showed that the tax was really one-third of the price, or 33 per cent. It was astonishing to hear the praises that had been lavished on this tax. In fact, if it was all that it had boon described to be, it I was like the quality of mercy, that blessed him that gave and also him that took. While it benefited the Exchequer it benefited the farmers and growers of barley— O fortunati nimiùm si bona sua nôrint Agricolæ! If farmers could only look through the spectacles of the brewers, they would gladly acknowledge the blessings of this tax. The great mistake that the President of the Board of Trade made was, that he put the tax, when the beer found its way to the consumer, at the original price at which it was levied; but it was a well understood law in political economy, that whatever might be the tax upon a raw material, it must be increased by the profit of every new set of hands through which it passed before it reached the consumer. According to this, the duty must be increased 10 per cent by the maltster, and 50 per cent by the brewer, and 33 per cent by the retailer, so that altogether the entire increase would be 93 per cent on the duty, and about 52 per cent on the price. Thus the brewer might brew ten bushels of malt at 80s. and hops at 16s.—the expense of brewing was about 5s., to which he would add 6s. per bushel, on account of the competition between German yeast and his grains, but he would have 110 gallons at 96s. This he would sell at 146s. 8d., and the difference between the producing and the selling price would be 52 per cent upon the cost of production. But if he retailed it, it would sell at 183s. 7d., or nearly 100 per cent. If the taxation was taken into account, it would show a difference of 40 per cent, for it would cover a deduction from 183s. 4d. of 53s. 7d., the amount of the tax upon this quantity of beer. It was thought a safe estimate that 33⅓ per cent would be the difference between the price at which beer was now sold, and that at which it would be sold if the malt tax was not to continue. He thought he had shown that the tax was very heavy, and that it was oppressive, and it was still more so when it was compared with the duty upon wine. The duty upon claret at 36s. is 2s. per dozen, or about 5 per cent, and on the finer kinds of claret, such as ambitious hosts produce when they entertain prelates of the Church and Ministers and ex-Ministers of State and set their best wines before their most honoured guests, the price being 144s. per dozen, the duty on such wines almost vanished altogether. He certainly felt that they were all much obliged to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for reducing the duty on claret, and thus allowing the light wines of France to be brought into the country. Poets and moralists had sighed over the preference given by our fiscal system to port over claret— Firm and erect the Caledonian stood, Prime was his mutton and his claret good; Let him drink port! the wily Saxon cried, He drank the poison, and his spirit died. Now, if there was this difference between claret and port, there was a still greater difference between malt liquor and whisky. And now he would come to deal with the question that it was impossible to reduce the duty on malt without at the same time reducing the duty on whisky. When he formerly sat in the House he was accustomed to hear Chancellors of the Exchequer say that as to whisky there was but one rule, and that was to extract from it the maximum of revenue. He knew it was no part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's duty to take into account moral considerations; but if he could by his fiscal legislation produce a beneficial effect on the moral and social condition of the people, he was sure the right hon. Gentleman would be glad to do so. He had one or two other observations to make on this subject, but he would be very brief. He might say that he never before knew a tax press upon a trade which the traders were not anxious to remove. But in the present case, though the consumers could not force a repeal of the tax, though the farmers were restless and impatient, the brewers were happy, prosperous, and contented; and it was not difficult to account for this. He would not say that the tax made the trade a monopoly, but it certainly tended to restrict competition. For the natural effect of a tax of 20s. upon what was worth 40s. was that £60,000 was required to carry on a brewery, which, if there was no tax, could be equally well carried on with a capital of £40,000; and this prevented competition in the trade, and gave the brewer a power of advancing the price, to the disadvantage of the consumer. If they repealed the tax either the brewers would continue to employ the same capital and one-third more beer would be produced, or one-third of the capital at present locked up in the trade would be set at liberty. As to the agricultural part of the question, he did not attach much importance to the increased price which the growers would receive for their barley if this duty were repealed, because, in the first place, he did not think that increase would be much; and, in the second, he believed that what increase there was would soon find its way into the pockets of the landlord. But that was not the great advantage which the farmer would receive. He believed that malt was of the greatest value to a farmer when judiciously applied. He agreed with the hon. Member for Norfolk (Mr. Read) who had just spoken that for young and for sick cattle malt would be invaluable. Another advantage would be that coarser varieties of barley, which were called "bigg" in the North of England and "bere" in Scotland—varieties which could not now be malted because of the duty—could then be used with advantage. Then the consumers would get a great advantage, and there wore no greater consumers than the farm labourers. He quite agreed that the wet great went farther than the dry shilling. Hon. Gentlemen who, like himself, were employers of agricultural labour, must frequently have seen the hay-field on some cold or wet day turned into a place of jollification by the judicious supply of a little beer. In fact, beer was a necessary of life. If protracted labour was to be kept up they 'must give a generous diet. And be it remembered that all these advantages would go into the pockets of the farmer; for though it was true, as he had said, that an increase in the price of the produce of the land raised the price of the rent, yet he never heard that the farmer's rent was raised because the necessaries of life had become cheap. He did not want to exaggerate his case. He did not believe that the labourers would brew their own beer if tin duty were repealed. The age of brewing malt in tea-kettles was past. But the labourer would get his beer cheap and good. If the tax were 33 per cent on the produce, then he had a right to say that the abolition of the duty would reduce the price of beer one-half, so that beer which was now 6d. per quart would be 3d., and beer at 4d. now would be sold at 2d. And he had no fear that this would lead to additional drunkenness. Whether beer was cheap or dear, if a man could not often get it, generally when he did get it he would make the most of it, and he believed that when the labourer had the free use of malt liquor he would learn from experience that if he was to enjoy his beer he must take it in moderation. He asked the House to repeal the tax because it was oppressive and partial, because it was more in amount than any existing tax upon an article of prime necessity, and because it pressed more particularly upon the working classes of the country. On all these grounds, then, he felt it his duty to support the Resolution.


said, he felt that the able arguments that they had listened to that evening in favour of the repeal of the malt tax applied with even greater force than similar arguments last year, because since that time about £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 of taxes had been repealed which were said to press upon other interests in this country. He would endeavour, with the leave of the House, to point out one of the many modes in which the malt tax operated prejudicially to the interests of the grower of barley. Formerly it was the custom for maltsters to attend the country markets and themselves purchase the barley they required, paying the farmer for it the following week; but since the Chancellor of the Exchequer had reduced the time for the malt credits the maltster required a larger amount of capital to enable him to transact the same amount of business as formerly, or he must do a smaller amount of business with the same capital. Well, what was the result? The maltster now not unfrequently, when he attended the country market, stood by, looking on, and when a farmer took a sample of barley to him, worth, say, 35s. per quarter, the maltster would offer only 32s The farmer would not accept the offer, but eventually took his sample to a person called a "tranter"—that is, a barley merchant, and sold it, perhaps, at 34s. per quarter, and the tranter thus might buy hundreds of quarters, and pay the farmers for them the following week. But what happened then? The tranter would immediately sell the identical sample of barley for 35s, or 36s. to the very same maltster who had just before offered the farmer only 32s. per quarter. And why? Because, owing to the malt tax and the short malt credits, the maltster was often called upon to pay the malt duty before he had been paid for his malt, or perhaps before he had sold it, and the tranter would give the maltster three or four weeks' credit, and at the end of that time, if the maltster's finances were not very flourishing, the tranter would take a bill at two or three months. Therefore, the maltster would give the tranter more money for the barley than he would the farmer, and thus the monopoly caused by the malt tax, which had always been felt to be a great grievance, had been increased and intensified in an immense degree. With regard to the question of the adulteration of beer, he had no doubt there were many most respectable and honourable brewers and publicans who would not condescend to adulterate their beer; nevertheless, adulteration was carried on to a great extent, and a chief cause of it was the high price of malt caused by the malt duty. He did not profess to be able to mention the names of all the various articles used in the adulteration of beer, but hon. Gentlemen had, perhaps, heard that tobacco was used; that salt and sugar were used; that quassia, wormwood, coculus indicus, and other articles most injurious to the health and constitutions of our countrymen were used, and he thought the House would agree with him that they ought to do their best to discourage that adulteration. He believed if they were to repeal the malt tax they would not only remove a very great inducement to adulteration, but malt, which was the best article from which to make beer, would be sold at its natural and cheapest price. Now, free trade might be very good trade if it was fairly and justly carried out, but when they allowed malt made in this country to be sent abroad free of duty, which malt might be made into beer for the use and benefit of the labourers of foreign countries, whose goods might be brought into competition in English markets with those of the English manufacturer, it was scarcely fair that for the same article the English labourer should be called upon to pay a heavy duty. And, again, malt might be sent abroad duty free, and used by foreigners in feeding their cattle, which might afterwards be brought into this country to compete with animals belonging to British farmers, who were not allowed to use malt unmixed unless they paid a heavy tax upon it. The permission to use malt mixed with linseed was simply valueless. The Returns up to 1865 in the ninth Report of the Inland Revenue Office showed that about twenty-eight persons had made entry of malt houses for making malt duty free; but probably one-half of these malting houses would be closed during the year ending the 25th of March last; and no wonder, when the quantity of malt mixed with linseed which they delivered was under 9,000 quarters. He would not at- tempt to foretell what would be the amount of increased consumption of malt if the duty were repealed, but he might mention that during the Russian War, in 1854, the malt tax was increased by 10s. per quarter, and he could inform the House what was the effect of that addition to the duty. In 1851, 1852, and 1853, the duty on malt was 21s. 8d. per quarter, and 5 per cent, and the quantity of malt that paid duty was, in 1851, 41,337,415 bushels; in 1852, 41,072,486 bushels; in 1853, 42,039,752 bushels. Well, from the 8th of May, 1854, the duty was increased by 10s. a quarter, and was continued until the 5th of July, 1856, and during those years the quantity of malt that paid duty fell, in 1854, to 36,819,360 bushels; in 1855, to 33,887,564 bushels; and in 1856, to 36,980,040 bushels. But in the three following years, when the extra 10s. was removed, and the duty had returned to the original amount, the quantity of malt that paid duty increased to, in 1857, 40,301,514 bushels; in 1858, 41,605,654 bushels; and in 1859, 44,219,257 bushels. These figures, he thought, spoke more eloquently, and were more convincing than any of the arguments which the Chancellor of the Exchequer used upon the spirit duties, and, therefore, not only as a matter of justice to the producer of barley, but also in the interest of the consumer, he would ask the House to support this Resolution. When the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke respecting the Franchise Bill in those terms of sympathy respecting those of "our own flesh and blood" who had suffered destitution and almost starvation, he would ask him to prove that he was sincere—to prove that he was in earnest in desiring their welfare—by supporting this Motion, which he ventured to think would be a boon much more practical, much more substantial, and much more beneficial, and which would be appreciated by them in a much higher degree than the suffrage that he was prepared to offer to them.


could not see why malt had not been dealt with in the same way as other articles, the duties upon which had been repealed during the last twenty-four years. Glass, sugar, timber, soap, wine, paper, ribands, gloves, playing cards, and other things had been the subjects of the repeal of taxation, and it was difficult to say why the arguments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to curtailing the comforts of the poor, restricting employment, and promoting industry, which had been advanced in favour of the remissions already made, did not apply as much to malt as to any other article. With respect to adulteration, he might remind the House there was convincing evidence that beer was equally as much adulterated as wine, and, as beer was the drink of the poor, its adulteration ought to concern the House more than that of wine, which was merely a luxury for the wealthy. The Chancellor of tin Exchequer seemed to infer from the quantity of beer consumed that people drank more than was good for them; but, although the same sort of argument might have been used respecting wine, the drink of the rich, it did not operate to prevent the remission of duties. Many gamblers had ruined themselves with playing cards, but yet the duty upon them was remitted. He did not admit the justice of the argument, that it would be scarcely fair to Ireland and Scotland to repeal the duty on malt without also remitting that upon whisky, because one reason, why those countries did not consume malt was, that tin poorer people were obliged to content themselves with whisky-and-water. They abstained from beer for much the same reason that men did from claret when it was beyond the reach of the multitude. Perhaps, the real reason why the malt tax had not been dealt with before was that it would have been necessary to make a large remission all at once. It would not be worth while to remit less than half the tax, or £3,000,000; and it seldom, happened that our income exceeded our expenditure by more than £1,000,000. He could not but regret that the malt tax was not dealt with before the income tax was reduced below 7d. in the pound, because the country had become accustomed to that amount, and the back of the bearer, so to speak, was used to the burden, Nearly all payments and agreements during the preceding twenty-five years had been adjusted on the supposition that that scale of taxation would continue, and its retention would not, therefore, have imposed any hardship upon any class, He thought the Motion of the hon. Member for Oxford ought to have been brought forward before the last remission of 3d. upon the income tax. That reduction in the income tax amounted to about £4,000,000, and half the existing tea duty, amounting to about £2,000,000 a year, had also been taken off. He was as anxious as the hon. Members for Oxford (Mr. Neate) and Westminster (Mr. J. Stuart Mill) that the National Debt should be reduced, but he believed that the time for such a step would not have arrived until the malt tax and other obnoxious duties had been reduced or repealed. Indeed, in spite of the Emancipation of the Slaves, the Irish Famine, the Russian War, and other serious drawbacks, our National Debt was at the present moment smaller than it was at the time of Napoleon. In point of fact, it had been reduced from £830,000,000 to £785,000,000. A good deal, however, might still be done in the way of converting perpetual annuities into terminable annuities, and as some of these would expire, he believed, next year or the year after, the money thus set at liberty might be applied to the repeal or the reduction of some of our most obnoxious taxes—one of the foremost among which was the malt duty. The repeal of taxes during the last twenty-five years had increased our national wealth to £28,500,000 a year, according to Sir Stafford Northcote, much more than would in all probability have been the case if our surpluses had been applied to the reduction of our National Debt; and he believed that the malt tax might be dealt with without a realization of the apprehension of those who were in favour of its continuance.


said, that if the Amendment were adopted it would operate against the reduction of any tax unless it could be shown that no diminution of revenue would take place as the result of the remission. He was reminded by the speech of the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. J. Stuart Mill) of the circumstance that at the time of the French Treat) many of the Gentlemen sitting on the Opposition side of the House argued that it was scarcely expedient to sanction the free removal from this country of coal, which was one of our most important products, in exchange for merely foreign luxuries. He was not however one of those who took a vindictive pleasure in the success of prediction when it was not for the benefit of the people, but he could not help being reminded of the arguments that had been used on that occasion. The hon. Member called the plan of Mr. Pitt for reducing the National Debt unfortunate. It was not unfortunate in its conception, for it was cordially approved of by Mr. Fox and the leading statesmen of the time, but in its result—and why? Because the war which Mr. Pitt expected to be of brief duration extended far beyond his lifetime and that of his illustrious opponent. He was not disposed to quarrel with the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate) for his views. The hon. Gentleman said that in the many years of peace we had had the National Debt had been very little reduced. That was certainly true, and he thought it much to be regretted; but whatever measures the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have desired to adopt for the reduction of the National Debt, the right hon. Gentleman would always have found great difficulty in resisting the pressure put upon him by those who were anxious to secure the reduction of particular taxes, and whatever public spirit might have been displayed in the right hon. Gentleman's propositions, regard for the present would always have favoured the postponement of their consideration. But the malt tax pressed to an unusually heavy extent upon both the producers and the consumers, and it was strange, to say the least of it, when articles of foreign productions were so freely relieved from taxation that a duty which weighed so heavily upon a most important domestic produce should be allowed to continue. The tax had existed for so long a period that many were accustomed to consider it as a tax of only trifling amount; but supposing the produce of an acre of barley to be only five quarters—no extraordinary quantity on land adapted for this purpose—and supposing the barley was grown once in four years, the amount of duty on an average which was raised from that acre would be £1 7s. 1d. every year—more, indeed, than was generally paid in the shape of rent to the landlord. He would not exactly say that the result was a deterioration in the value of the land, but the tax certainly acted as a discouragement to its cultivation. Barley was the second most important produce of the English soil, and it was of importance to the good cultivation of land that it should be encouraged, because agriculturists very well knew that it was not an exhaustive crop, and that it grew very well in harmony with turnips, which was one of the most useful crops the agriculturist could grow. The duty was not of recent growth, for it had been in existence during the last 150 years, but the consumption of malt had greatly decreased as compared with the population of the country. The quantity of malt that paid duty in England and Wales in an average of twelve years ending 1720 was 24,191,000 bushels annually, and the annual average during twelve years ending 1816 was only 23,197,000, the actual decrease being 994,000 bushels annually, although the population of the country had nearly doubled in the interval. The reason for this decrease might be found in the circumstance that the tax paid in the one instance was 6¾d., and in the other 4s.d. It was true that some other articles had come into competition with malt, but if the tastes of the country had not been interfered with by the imposition of such a heavy tax the consumption of malt would in all probability have kept pace, at all events in some measure, with the increase in the population. It was urged that Ireland and Scotland were not so greatly affected by this question. What had resulted from the reduction of the duties in those countries? In 1822 the duty, both in Ireland and Scotland, had been greatly reduced. In Ireland it was reduced from 3s.d. to 2s. 7d. Well, the average amount of the tax for three years before the reduction was £291,318; and the average of the three years after the reduction was £283,221. Therefore, the amount brought in to the revenue was very little less than it had been before. In Scotland, in the same year, the duty was reduced from 3s.d. to 2s. 7d. The average produce of the duty before the reduction was £207,717, and after it £332,115; so that though the duty was reduced the amount actually realized by the revenue was very greatly increased. He thought, therefore, that the benefits arising from a reduction of the tax had been sensibly and materially felt in those countries. In this country, too, a similar result had followed the reduction of the beer duty. The aggregate of the three years before that duty was reduced was 79,042,281 bushels, while the aggregate of the three years after it was reduced was 98,412,251 bushels. When other duties had been reduced a great increase of consumption had followed, but in the case of malt it was said that the increased consumption which would be caused by a reduction of the duty would not pay—at least, not to any considerable extent—for the loss which the revenue would sustain. For his part, he was of opinion that that was a great mistake, because the authorities of former times had frequently concurred in saying that the consumption of malt would increase in the event of any sensible reduction being made in the amount of the duty. Take the case of one of the articles which was said to compete with malt. With a duty of 2s. 2d. per 1b. upon coffee, the average annual consumption of that article from 1805 to 1807 was 1,113,000 1b. The duty, however, being reduced to 7d., the average annual consumption for the next five years was 7,177,000 1b., and the duty rose in amount from £121,698 to £209,334. Surely that might encourage them to imagine that a like result would follow the reduction of the duty on malt. Why was that alone to be excluded? He was of opinion that both consumers and producers would derive benefit from its reduction, and that the improvements that had taken place in agriculture would alone enable the country to supply a very far greater quantity of barley than had ever yet been grown. There were other causes also which would enable the country to contribute a larger amount of barley. For instance, since the year 1710 the Inclosure Acts which had been passed had brought into cultivation in Great Britain and Ireland upwards of 7,000,000 acres, and about 5,000,000 in England and Wales alone. He would direct the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to an authority which that right hon. Gentleman would scarcely question. In 1835, a Commission was appointed to inquire into our whole fiscal system, and at the head of that Commission was placed Sir Henry Parnell, a man who possessed a rare knowledge of the subject. In their Report they stated that at the outset they entered upon the consideration of excisable articles with the idea that, however much the duty on other articles might be reduced, it would be very inexpedient to reduce the duty on malt. But that opinion was greatly altered by subsequent inquiry, and they declared in their final Report that— If there were no factitious cause for elevating the price of barley, arising from the direct effect of a duty on foreign barley, or from the indirect effect of duties of other kinds on foreign corn, we should not feel any hesitation in saying that the proper way of dealing with the malt duty would be to reduce it one-half. But nothing, in our opinion, can be more unwise than to reduce duties on articles which are fit subjects for taxation without at the same time taking care to secure the most abundant supply that is possible to be secured of the materials which are necessary for their production. Now, since that Report was written the duties on foreign corn have been swept away, and every facility had been given for securing an abundant supply of foreign barley. Ought we not to hope, therefore, that the recommendation of the Commission might now be taken into consideration? The Chancellor of the Exchequer had largely availed himself of the other recommendations made by them. They recommended that the duty on soap, paper, hops, bricks, and glass should be removed, and their recommendations concerning those articles had been acted upon. Then, as to the malt duty, the Commissioners said, with respect to the future— If the duty were reduced to one-half, there seems to be reason to expect, provided that a sufficient supply of barley could be obtained, that the reduction weald not be followed ultimately by any loss of revenue. He thought that passage would startle those who maintained that only a very trifling increase would follow the reduction of the malt duty. There men few men who had directed their attention to this subject whose words were more deserving of the consideration of the House and the country than those of the Commissioners of 1835, and he hoped they would not be without effect on the future course of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in dealing with this important question.


said, he did not intend to go into the general question, but he could not pass by without protest the astonishing and outrageous assertions which had been made respecting the profits made by brewers on the capital invested in their business. The calculations of the hon. I and learned Gentleman the Member for East Suffolk had produced a somewhat soporific effect upon him, and as the statement of the hon. Gentleman mingled with his dreams he almost thought he was in Paradise. The hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken of 50 or 60 per cent profit, and made out that the tax of £6,000,000 received by the Exchequer acted as a harden to the consumer of more than £20,000,000. Now, he would appeal to the common sense of the House as to whether it were possible that any hon. Gentleman should lend £10,000 to a maltster, and that in the course of three months that sum should by some magical process increase itself to between £30,000 and £40,000. The malt tax was paid upon malt which, probably within three months, on the average, would be sold in beer. Now, was it possible that the sum paid to Government as malt tax should re-produce itself with such rapidity as to yield to the maltster, the brewer, and the publican a profit amounting to three or four times its original amount? It was altogether impossible. The hon. and learned Gentleman and the hon. Member who followed him on that side of the House had both based their extraordinary calculations on the idea that the cost of brewing amounted only to 5s. a quarter. Now, there might be some truth in that statement if by brewing was meant merely mixing hot water with the malt; but every one who possessed any aquaintance with the subject must be aware that the brewer had various other expenses to incur. He did not remember what the cost of brewing the hops and malt might come to, but it was a comparatively small amount. The immense expense attending the sale of beer to the public arose far more from the distribution and other causes of charge than from the brewing. He had put down some of these items, and he found that the brewing, distribution, and all other incidental expenses connected with the manufacture of a quarter of malt into beer for public consumption amounted to 25s. The firm with which he was connected paid £30,000 a year in wages. Besides salaries and wages there were other very large expenses connected with a brewery. For a large brewery premises covering some acres of ground were required; a perfect army of horses had to be maintained; there were discount and bad debts, casks, the cost of water, which was very large, because steam engines were employed, rates, and taxes, &c. He found that, taking a number of years, the total expenses were from 22s. to 25s. per quarter of malt. The monopoly of the brewers was often spoken of in that House and elsewhere, but it was a great mistake to suppose that such a monopoly existed in London, where they owned but a small number of the public-houses. As regarded advances to publicans, there were various trade reasons connected with those advances. He need not trouble the House with details, but the usual course was this:—A man came to a brewer and said,—"Such a house is to be sold; will you advance me a portion of the money necessary for its purchase? You will have the security of the lease." On representations such as that a brewer advanced money to the publican, but the latter, at any moment he pleased, might go to another brewer and get him to make a loan to pay off the previous one, or might raise money in any other manner to pay a brewer to whom he did not wish to be any longer indebted, and might then at once transfer his custom. If the great profits were made by the London brewers which some Gentlemen seemed to suppose, there would be a dozen great companies started within a few months to take the trade out of their hands. He admitted that a vast quantity of adulterated stuff was sold to the people, and that was a great evil; but the beer was adulterated after it left the breweries. Publicans because they could make up beer from materials on which they did not pay a heavy duty, might use those materials, and, under these circumstances, there was no doubt a great deal of adulteration. For his part, he believed the malt tax was a very mischievous tax. It did great harm to the farmer, to the brewer, and, above all, to the consumer. It would be a great relief and benefit to the country when it could be done away with; but, though he held that opinion, he was not disposed to support the Motion of the hon. and learned Member, because in these matters they must trust very much to the Government, and with such a Chancellor of the Exchequer as the right hon. Gentleman who now presided over the public finances of the country he felt that the Government were not indisposed to do what they could for the relief of the industry of the country and of the community at large.


had to apologize to the House for occupying their attention when so many older Members better qualified to discuss this question might more profitably have claimed to be heard; but it was a question in which his constituents took so deep an interest that he felt he should not be justified in remaining altogether silent upon the occasion. As having the honour to represent the great barley growers of West Norfolk, he must claim the indulgence of the House; and as their advocate, he ventured to say that they were entitled to be heard when they claimed justice from Parliament upon a question which they conceived and rightly believed most materially to affect their interest. They asserted that the pressure of this tax was a most serious interference with the arrangements by which their business was carried on. They were prohibited from converting the produce of their land to such purposes as might be most advantageous; and, above all, they justly complained that good faith had not been kept with them, and that the promise made to them by the great apostle of free trade, Sir Robert Peel, that the repeal of the malt tax should follow the repeal of the Corn Laws, had not been kept. He believed those complaints wore in the main just. He knew they were honest. The lion, and learned Gentleman (Sir FitzRoyKelly) had reminded the House that the late Sir James Graham, the late Mr. Cobden, and he believed he was right in saying the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Poor Law Board had all expressed themselves as concurring in the opinion of Sir Robert Peel; and Mr. Cobden, in a remarkable letter which had been published, compared the case of the British agriculturist, who, after raising a bushel of barley, was compelled to pay a tax of 60 per cent before he was permitted to convert it into a beverage for his own consumption, with what he had seen in foreign countries, and said that he could call to mind nothing so hard and unreasonable. He went on to say that the cultivators of vineyards in France and the growers of olives in Spain and Italy would never tolerate such treatment of their wine and oil, and that the most remarkable feature of the present ease was that it was a flagrant exception to an otherwise universal rule. He further stated that all the financial measures which he had recommended had been carried out with this one flagrant exception. These recommendations had been made in 1848, and he made a striking observation in the words that he was Not sanguine enough to hope that the agriculturists will be more fortunate during the next fifteen years than they had been during the last. Those fifteen years had elapsed; the farmers had gone on urging their claims with more or less perseverance, and hoping almost against hope; but he did sincerely trust that they might hear some expression from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that evening which would give them some assurance that the farmers were nearer to obtaining that justice at his hands than they were when those remarkable and almost prophetic utterances were made. This was not a question which concerned agriculture alone. Every labourer, whether he were agricultural, artizan, or mechanic, had an interest in this question. If our legislation had made his bread cheap, it had made his meat dear; and did hon. Members remember tire very strong argument which had been used to induce the landed interest to accept free trade, "You must not tax the food of the people?" He asked them were they not by this tax taxing the food of the people? "Oh, no," they said, "this is a luxury." What! was a man's daily meal a luxury? And was the gallon of beer which the poor man fare wed in his cottage to be taxed as a luxury? He knew it had been argued that cottage brewing was merely imaginary; but he gathered from a very interesting letter which was published by Mr. Herman Biddell, of Ipswich, in February, 1865, that in that neighbourhood the system was almost universal. At harvest time it was very general in most of the eastern counties, and he could answer for his own neighbourhood, that the labourers found no difficulty in brewing at their own homes with such appliances as they had at hand. In many places it was the custom of the farmers to give their men a small quantity of malt for their own brewing, and with this they brewed a good wholesome and nutritious beverage, which supported them far bettor during a hard day's work than the adulterated beer which they bought at the public-houses. This, then, was another effect of the tax upon malt, it discouraged the system of cottage brewing, and thereby encouraged the consumption in rural districts of adulterated beer, which was necessarily injurious to health; while in the towns it encouraged the consumption of ardent spirits, the injurious and demoralizing effect of which was an established and undeniable fact. Nor was it wholly irrelevant to refer to the large and increasing consumption of opium among the poorer classes. Was it for the sake of revenue that they taxed the poor man's little plot of barley before the fire which baked his bread was allowed to brew his beer also? He was not going into statistics to prove exactly how much this tax diminished the price of barley, or how much it increased the price of beer. Many calculations had been made on this subject, but he feared statistics were of that plastic nature that they might be moulded to suit an argument, and that if he were to attempt to strengthen his by those means he should invite contradictions such as had fallen to the lot of all those who had attempted to make these calculations on whichever side of the question they had endeavoured to argue. But he would take it that a tax which raised £6,000,000 principally from among the poorer classes of consumers and the not very wealthy occupiers of land must fall heavily on small incomes. If this were a mere question of some small addition to the price of barley, he might hesitate to press the repeal of this tax so strongly upon the House; but at the present moment the agriculturist had strong claims upon their sympathy; the value of the produce of his land had been lowered by the enormous importation of foreign corn, and he had learnt to look to his cattle as some compensation for his losses on this head; but, owing to the misfortune which had befallen him in the breaking out of disease among his cattle, and the restrictions which Parliament had necessarily been obliged to place upon their free movement, this resource had almost failed him, and owing to the legislation which he had vainly endeavoured to contend against, while foreign cattle had been freely brought into the market, his own had been excluded, and he had had to moot again an undue competition with the foreigner. Of this he did not complain. The circumstances were peculiar—perhaps unavoidable. All he asked on behalf of the farmers was that on the mere question of revenue unnecessary restrictions should not be placed upon the disposal of his produce, and that taxes should only be levied upon the fruits of his industry under circumstances of the greatest necessity. He might say that the disease in consequence of which the farmer had suffered had been the immediate effect of legislation; but he should be sorry to say one word which might be construed as in any degree adverse to the general principles of free trade. All he asked was that those principles should be applied when they were in favour of the farmer, as they had been most ruthlessly applied whenever they had been against him. He thought that he had shown that there were good and sufficient reasons for the abolition of the malt tax. He now came to the objections which were made to its repeal, and he was at once met by an observation which he believed he was not incorrect in attributing to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that if they repealed the malt tax they struck at the root of the whole system of indirect taxation of the country. The right hon. Gentleman enumerated the duties upon tea, coffee, sugar, wine, spirits, and tobacco, placing them in the same category as malt. He must confess he was surprised to find the malt tax in such company; for, with the one excep- tion of spirits, which, for reasons to which he had adverted, he put out of the question, those duties were all Customs duties, levied on imported articles, while the malt tax was an Excise tax, levied upon home produce, and ought more properly to have been classed with the duties on bricks, glass, and paper, all of which had been repealed; while, as an Excise duty, the malt tax was left alone, with the one exception to which he had alluded. For the sake of its future existence it was necessary to find it some other associations, and this was why they found it clubbed with a number of Customs duties with which it had only one incident in common—that of being an indirect tax. They were told that if they repealed the malt tax they must repeal the Customs duties also. Now, this was a mode of reasoning which, no doubt, from inexperience he was unable to follow, and he believed it to have very little force. The other objection he admitted to be a more difficult one to meet—namely, the large amount which this tax produced. They were asked, of course, how they proposed to replace that sum. But the question of the repeal of the malt tax must necessarily be dealt with from that side of the House as an abstract question, and it was in that sense the Resolution before the House proposed to deal with it. If the right hon. Gentleman had the will to do anything in this direction, he would not want any prompting from that (the Opposition) side of the House; but he might say in passing, that he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not adopt a suggestion which had been made, that this tax should be compensated by a duty upon beer, for he thought that would in a great measure neutralize the value of the boon which the absence of the exciseman would confer upon the labouring classes. They were not told this year to expect any very considerable surplus. No doubt their position had been much weakened by the course pursued by the right hon. Gentleman in his last Budget; but was it too much to ask that as the surplus last year was mainly devoted to the reduction of indirect taxation for the benefit of the rich, the surplus of the present or future years should be devoted to the reduction of indirect taxation for the benefit of the poor? Thers was only one more point to which he would allude, and that only in a few words. It was the proposition which formed the Amendment of the hon. Mem- ber for Oxford. No doubt, if the taxes I pressing heavily upon particular industries were repealed, it would be the first duty of this great nation to reduce the pressure of the National Debt; but if those who advocated the repeal of the malt tax were to wait for that which they claim until the National Debt had been paid off or materially reduced, he thought they had not miscalculated when they believed the cause of the farmer and the workman did not meet with much sympathy at tin hands of Her Majesty's present Government.


said, the Gentlemen opposite had clearly proved that in the case of an indirect tax there were separate profits charged thereon by the original producer, the middleman, and the retailer, all enhancing the price, and raising it by an amount in excess of that received by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, But the points thus established were not peculiar to the malt tax. They applied to all indirect taxation. Having been for many years a member of the Liverpool Financial Association he rejoiced to hear the principles of that body so clearly enunciated on the other side of the House. The tax was discussed as one affecting the working classes, but many other articles besides beer were consumed by the working classes, remission of taxation with regard to which would be equally or move beneficial to them. The tax upon beer and that upon sugar equally produced about £6,000,000 to the State, and as regarded the burden upon the consumer he could not see that a shadow of difference was made by one article being produced abroad and the other at home. The tax upon malt, like that upon sugar, was about 33 per cent, but the tax upon tobacco and grain whisky was at the rate of 600 per cent; and therefore in the case of tobacco and spirits, the loss to the public through the several profits of producer, middleman, and retailer, was enormously greater than in the case of malt. A pound of tobacco cost about 6d., and the duty was 3s. 2d. A gallon of grain whisky cost about 1s. 8d., and the duty was 10s. So far from wishing to see the tax upon spirits reduced, he should like to see it kept up to the highest point consistent with the maintenance of the revenue, and he was disposed to think that it was up to that point already, and, perhaps, a little beyond it. The tax upon malt liquors might be fairly compared to the tax upon whisky, as both were intoxicating drinks, and if the relative amounts of alcohol were compared lie believed that, quantity for quantity, the tax upon the alcohol in the spirits was very much greater than the tax upon the alcohol in the beer. If the duty upon malt were reduced the greatest injustice would therefore be done to the producers of spirits, and the burden on the poorer classes would not be removed so much as it might be by the remission of some other taxes. Malt liquors, no doubt, were chiefly drunk by working men, but the adult male population of all classes did not constitute above a fourth of the entire population, and from these, again, must be deducted the large number who refrained on principle from all intoxicating drinks. A reduction in the sugar duties, which produced the same amount to the revenue, on the contrary, would benefit the entire population; for every one, from the infant more than a few days old, was a consumer of sugar, whilst, certainly, not one-half of the people would be benefited by the repeal of the duty on malt. For that reason he thought the tax ought to be allowed to remain. Of the principles expressed by the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment he cordially approved. It was discreditable to a rich country like this that no serious effort had been made to reduce the National Debt. Such an attempt was popularly regarded as impossible; in fact, one rarely heard it spoken of except in a jocular manner, It was talked of as an absolute impossibility—as if a mountain were proposed to be removed. But if they could spare the duty upon malt and devoted two-thirds of it to that purpose, he thought, with a real desire to pay off half the National Debt, they might do so in about sixty years. What they needed was to convert one-half of the National Debt now bearing interest at 3 per cent into terminable annuities at 4 per cent. As the interest on half of the Debt was only £13,250,000, increasing the interest from 3 to 4 per cent would only require £4,500,000 a year; and thus by converting one-half of the Debt into terminable annuities it would vanish in about sixty years. That would be a great measure for any Finance Minister to introduce into the House of Commons. He, therefore, heartily approved of the Amendment, and if there were £6,000,000 to spare they had much better apply a large portion of it in the way proposed than in reducing the malt duty, which, after all, would only lead to a reduction in the price of beer to the working classes of about a farthing a pot.


did not rise to discuss the question of how far the support of the Resolutions of the hon. Member for Suffolk would carry out the principles of the Liverpool Financial Reform Association. All he would say was that he was glad to hear that the hon. Member opposite was going to support the Resolutions of his hon. and learned Friend (Sir FitzRoy Kelly); and all he could say further was that he hoped they would be both successful in getting rid of the malt tax, and then there would be time to argue how far they could agree with respect to other matters of taxation. Nor did he rise to follow that able, eloquent, but somewhat discursive speech of the hon. Member for Westminster. We had hitherto been told that the repeal of the malt tax was a subject of the dullest and most prosaic character that could be discussed in the House; but he thought the hon. Member for Westminster had just achieved the highest oratorical triumph which he had as yet gained in the House, for he had managed on the dry and prosaic subject of the malt tax to interpolate an eloquent dissertation on the blessings of posterity from the days of Marathon and Salamis down to those of Leipsic and Waterloo, and he had further managed to connect the subject with the illustrious names of Newton, Locke, and Bacon. But when the hon. Member for Westminster descanted on the gradual deficiency in the supply of the coal-fields of the country he felt that the hon. Member was bringing us down to an era of more recent date than the days of Marathon and Salamis, and he (Mr. Du Cane) was reminded of the days when he took a somewhat leading part in opposing the passing of the French Commercial Treaty—a treaty which, besides placing English beer on an unequal footing with French wine, left the gradual supply of our coal-fields to the tender mercies of the French nation. Every argument which had been adduced by the hon. Member to-night had been then advanced on that (the Opposition) side of the House. But hon. Members opposite, in their zeal for the passing of the French Treaty, did not at that time think of the posterity that was to come after them, and were ready to leave posterity for a few hundred years to come to shiver through the inclemency of an English winter, and cry, "Poor Tom's a cold," whilst they did not by any means bless the memory of their ancestors. He did not wish on the present occasion to go into the general question, but would make a few observations on one particular point, and that was how the malt tax affected the interests of the farmer. The complaint of the farmer with respect to the malt tax was this—that at the present time, when the price of wheat was so low as to be barely remunerative, and there was, moreover, a gradually increasing importation from America and elsewhere, the farmer would, most gladly, if he could, make up the balance by growing less wheat and more barley. That was the plain case of the farmer. But the Excise laws stepped in and rendered all but a superior class of barley a mere drug in the market. The real value of the barley crop to the farmer was so well set forth last Session by one of the ablest and most practical agricultural authorities in the House (Mr. Caird) that he hoped he might be permitted to read a short extract from the speech delivered on that occasion. The hon. Member said— Of all our crops, barley is the most friendly to the farmer. It is the shortest time in the ground, is the least exhaustive of soil, is sown at the best season for clearing and cultivation, whilst it affords the best preparation for grass, and is the most suitable to be followed by green crops. Barley promotes good husbandry, and the price of meat in this country must become a matter of increasing importance. The rise in the price of meat during the last ten or fifteen years is equal to nearly £20,000,000 per annum. Here was far more than an equivalent for the loss of the malt duty to the revenue. If by a change in our mode of agriculture we could to some extent meet the increasing demand for butcher's meat, we should be fully compensated. He (Mr. Caird) went on to say— The barley farmer can scarcely be a bad farmer. His corn crop is not only, less severe on the land, but is succeeded by green crops and grass. It would be an immense advantage if barley could to a large extent be substituted for wheat. These remarks were made by Mr. Caird before the country was visited by the cattle disease, and if he did not speak in the spirit of prophecy his words had increased at least a hundredfold in importance. Even if the rinderpest should disappear to-morrow the worst consequences of the visitation had yet to be experienced. The effect of the visitation at this moment did not represent merely the loss of so many pounds of solid food or solid gold withdrawn from the capital of the country; it represented the loss of the future source from which the supply of stock was to be derived. It was the future and not the present that would be most affected by the cattle plague, and every effort would be required to supply the loss which it had entailed upon us. With such a prospect as this before us it seemed to him the height of impolicy to maintain such a restriction as the malt tax on the productive resources of the country, when its repeal would help the breeders of stock to recover for the country what it had lost by the rinderpest. He was well aware that at the present moment there was a great difference of opinion between Mr. Lawes on the one hand and the great body of agriculturists on the other as to the respective merits of malt and barley as fattening food for cattle, lint even if Mr. Lawes' reports were reliable, and even if it were evident that the fattening properties of barley were greater than those of malt, yet as the malt tax was a restriction on the cultivation of barley as well as on malt he maintained that the farmer ought to have the discretionary power to use his own soil, and that the malt tax ought to be equally removed. But the House would remember that there was something peculiar in the manner in which the experiments of Mr. Lawes were laid before it last year. They made their appearance very much after tin fashion of a certain book of statistics on another subject, which had been recently presented. They came about a day or two before the discussion which they were intended to influence. The House entered into the discussion almost without having had time to look into the Returns, and at a time when it was impossible to give them anything like a fair answer. But during the year which had since elapsed Mr. Lawes' experiments had been subjected to the test and scrutiny of almost every practical agriculturist in the country. He could not speak for the agricultural world at large, but he could speak for his own constituents, many of whom were largo barley growers and cattle feeders, and amongst them he found only one concurrent and unanimous opinion, and that was that the experiments of Mr. Lawes had been conducted in a partial and unsatisfactory manner, and were contrary to the experience of nearly every large cattle-breeding farmer. He had received a number of communications on this point, but the one that set forth most clearly the case against Mr. Lawes was a letter which had been forwarded to him by Mr. Sea- man, a veterinary surgeon at Saffron Walden, who stated that Mr. Lawes' experiments were unaccompanied by substantive facts, and that all farmers were pretty well agreed that raw barley given to sheep as they were usually fed was poisonous. He stated that one farmer who used raw barley for feeding sheep in 1864 lost twenty-five in the course often weeks. Mr. Seaman's experiments in food had been conducted on a most extensive scale for many years, and he gave an exact account of the character of malted barley he employed. Mr. Seaman also expressed his willingness to pay compensation for all sheep which died from eating malted barley, and challenged Sir. Lawes to do the same with reference to sheep fed in accordance with his plan on raw barley. He did not know whether Her Majesty's Government intended to accept the challenge offered to Mr. Lawes; but if they should accept it he would be happy to bet pretty heavily on the side of his friend Mr. Seaman. All the opinions he had heard about Mr. Lawes' experiments agreed that they must have been made with brewers' malt. He asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether in the present position of the cattle-breeding branch of the agricultural interest, the ease presented in its behalf was not deserving of his serious consideration? There were certainly rumours that the halcyon days of large surpluses and favourable budgets were gone by, and that instead of listening to the glowing descriptions from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to which they had been accustomed, they would probably find themselves in the position of Canning's needy knife-grinder, when he made the confession, "Story, I have none to tell, sir." But when a burden cannot be altogether removed at least its pressure may often be made more light; and he would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, surplus or no surplus, he could not convert the tax on malt into a tax on beer, so that it might bear pretty equally on all classes of the community? He was sure he might venture to say that a large majority of the farmers of this country would be satisfied with such a concession. Great difficulties, no doubt, stood in the way, but in the case of a man of such great powers in finance as the Chancellor of the Exchequer these difficulties ought not to be considered insurmountable; and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give them some hope of such a scheme. If, at the present time, the nursing of his weak and somewhat tender franchise Bill took up all the hours of the right hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Du Cane) hoped that— When the hurly-burly's done, And the battle's lost or won, if the victory should incline to his side, and the right hon. Gentleman should remain Chancellor of the Exchequer, he would take such a scheme of commutation into his impartial consideration. He had addressed himself to this question without wishing to rest what he said on feelings of party, and he should regret if this question were ever to be dealt with as a party one, or as one not affecting the interests of all classes in the country.


stated his intention to support the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the course it was expected he would pursue, although he did not desire to press upon the right hon. Gentleman the acceptance of the precise terms of the Amendment. If any person, whether a spirit-drinker or a seller of beer, were to ask him what he would do with reference to the repeal of the malt tax, he would be content to give him this short answer, "So long as the House of Commons encourages our present expenditure, the people must bear their share of the taxes, and they must pay them either in meal or in malt; and I think it far better for them that they should pay in malt than in meal." He thought if Gentlemen opposite had as much regard for the agricultural classes in the counties as he thought hon. Members on their side showed for the working classes in the towns, when they gave such an answer as that he had stated, that they would not be so solicitous to obtain the repeal of the malt tax. Throughout the reports of the investigation into the state of the labourers of England made by the Assistant Poor Law Commissioners appeared painful evidences of the effect upon the rural population of the country of the drinking of beer, which was found to be one of the chief causes of the state of degradation into which they had fallen, and he did not deny that such was the case in the towns. If there should be a remission of the duty on malt, it ought to be for the benefit of the consumers; but the people who would be the chief gainers by its repeal would be the farmers. An attempt had been made to draw an analogy between the duty on malt and that formerly imposed on hops, but, in his opinion, it had signally failed. The tax on hops embarrassed the cultivator in all his transactions, whereas barley was not subject to duty until it got into the hands of the maltsters. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, he maintained, did not seem entirely to have shaken off their Protectionist views, and argued in favour of the repeal of the duty on grounds upon which they were no longer justified in dealing with it, as a mere farmer's question. If they looked at the addresses issued to the electors previous to the last General Election they would see that a remission or repeal of the malt tax was dwelt upon as likely to prove a great benefit to the agricultural interests. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Suffolk in complaining of the tax seemed always to keep out of view the important fact that it was a tax levied upon an article which was used for the purpose of brewing intoxicating drinks. His hon. and learned Friend had stated that according to the analysis which had been made there was 6 per cent of alcohol in every gallon of adulterated beer, and it might be assumed that in beer which was not adulterated the quantity was nearly 10 per cent. But, be that as it might, 6 per cent of alcohol was equal to 12 per cent of proof spirit, so that there was in every gallon of beer a commodity which could not be bought in its original form of spirits without the payment of a shilling duty, and yet the hon. and learned Gentleman was indignant because a small duty was paid on malt. He thought it might be said of the agriculturists that they never knew the happiness of their own position, and they ought to be thankful that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not put a duty on beer proportionate to that upon spirits, for both articles contained a considerable infusion of alcohol. But then it was said that spirits were bad only when drunk as spirits. He, however, could not see the difference between those vicious classes of the community, as his hon. and learned Friend had called them—adding that he referred only to the Scotch and Irish—who drank spirits-and-water and those who drank the decoction which was called beer. Yet the man who chose to take the former had to pay at the rate of 10s. a gallon for his spirits. And when it came to be a question on what commodity it was most desirable to levy a tax, having regard to the best interests of the people, he must say that he thought beer came next after gin as a beverage, the drinking of which did the least good when drunk in moderation and the greatest amount of harm when drunk in excess. He thought he might add that hon. Gentlemen opposite would be conferring a great boon upon the country if, instead of trying to procure cheaper beer for the working classes, they would seek to do for them that which had already been effected for the population of towns—to make it illegal for their employers to pay them their wages in any commodity except money, but above all in the commodity of beer. The greatest benefit had resulted in towns from the adoption of that system for working men, who were now taught to apply their wages to their own benefit and that of their wives and children. Instead of that system, however, the practice prevailed to a very large extent in the agricultural districts of paying men in harvest time, when they should endeavour to husband their resources, to a great extent in beer. [Sir FITZROY KELLY; What sort of beer?] He should rather ask his hon. and learned Friend, who, from constant study, had become so wise in the literature of the subject for information upon that point; but he found the usual allowance to be "two quarts of beer daily, at one penny per quart." It appeared there was still beer to be had at that very moderate charge, as in the days of King James; but whether it was a bit better now than then was not stated in the record from which he had derived his information. But, be that as it might, the fact remained that it was in many parts of England the practice to pay working men their wages in beer, and malt also; and he could under those circumstances well understand that the farmer might imagine that if the duty were remitted the remission might in some way or another find its way into his own pocket, though if there were any truth in the principles of free trade they would find themselves to be mistaken. For his own part, he could not help regarding it as greatly to be regretted that barley, instead of being wasted in the manufacture of drink, did not enter much more into consumption as an article of food; and he would impress upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer the expediency of maintaining the whole of the malt tax rather than accede to the Motion under discussion for the purpose of accomplishing the end which was suggested by his hon. Friend the Member for Westminster, in one of the most generous, elo- quent, and noble speeches which had ever been delivered on the subject in that House It must be some satisfaction to hon. Gentlemen opposite who were so afraid of Liberal constituencies to find that it was from Westminster a voice had been sent to warn them against the improvidence which they were so anxious to recommend to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Those hon. Gentlemen were not, in his opinion, sufficiently alive to the way in which the permanent taxation of the country must press upon them as inheritors of the soil of England, otherwise they would not underrate the importance of endeavouring to diminish the National Debt, with respect to which a vast change was taking place, inasmuch as in consequence of the great increase of securities offered to those who had money to invest, that Debt was no longer resorted to as the only means of investment. There was in the country not only an immense amount of funds connected with railways, but £150,000,000 worth of obligations had been brought from India into the market at a high rate of interest. Consequently, people were not seeking the public debt as an investment for their money, and the public funds were depreciated to such an extent as astonished those who wrote about finance. Was it not an. evil to have in times of prosperity the public funds in a condition such as they had not been in for years past? The only remedy was to retrench the amount within the limits of the demand. It was unfortunate that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been defeated in his efforts to reduce the National Debt, but it was the duty of the House to encourage the right hon. Gentleman in a firm system of finance, and not to give way to these claims for remission of taxation, which were founded on no sound principle, and would be, if complied with, injurious to the great mass of the people.


said, that as the malt tax had been in existence for five generations, there was no man living who inherited property except that which was subject to its operation. There was, therefore, no ground for regarding it as a grievance upon individuals. Neither was it a greater upon consumers connected with land, more than on other consumers connected with other industries. On the contrary, he supposed that the swarthy blacksmith of Wolverhampton or Birmingham, or the coal-heaver of the Thames would consume four times as much malt liquor as the agricultural labourer. No doubt the tax sometimes prevented the cultivation of land in the manner which the occupier might have preferred. And certainly, if the tax prevented the employment of land to the best advantage this involved a national loss. The question however was, whether the benefits derived from our fiscal system, as a whole, did not counterbalance the mischief arising from the restrictions it imposed upon certain trades? The comparisons which had been made between the ratio of the taxation upon beer and that upon wine he regarded as arbitrary and irrelevant. Then it was argued that because we had free trade a tax on malt was intolerable; but that seemed to be equivalent to saying that because we had free trade we were to have no taxes at all. The principle of free trade properly understood did not require the removal of all Customs duties, but only the removal of such duties as favoured a certain class of producers to the disadvantage of others. He was not, nor, perhaps, was any one, an advocate for the malt tax in itself; it was a question of comparison between this tax and others, and they should consider whether the majority of the people desired its removal. There was nothing like a general call for the removal of this tax; and, indeed, last Session there was a Bill in this House, approved of by many persons, which would have prohibited the sale of all intoxicating drinks in certain districts. He himself believed that there were duties which were much more onerous than the malt tax, and which should be removed before it, though if the Chancellor of the Exchequer should find himself in a position to part with the malt tax he (Mr. Hubbard) would in that case support such a proposition. His hon. and learned Friend (Sir FitzKoy Kelly), however, was not satisfied with this, but called upon the House to pledge itself now that the Government should be bound to remove the malt tax on the earliest opportunity. He (Mr. Hubbard) could not join in that demand, especially as he himself had a Notice on the Paper in favour of repealing the fire insurance tax, an imposition which was utterly indefensible. The sugar duties, in his opinion, had also a prior claim for remission over the malt tax, seeing that sugar was used as an article of food by every man, woman, and child in the kingdom. This being so, he regretted that he could not vote for the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend, which would amount to this, that there should be an instruction to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in preparing his next Budget. He regretted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have on a former occasion appealed to the nationalities of Irishmen and Scotchmen for the rejection of this Motion; for if it were dangerous to evoke class interests it was surely most dangerous to evoke national jealousies. As to the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Neate) he quite agreed in the duty of diminishing the National Debt, but he made this stipulation, that so long as there were taxes which were unjust, oppressive, or obstructive to the comforts of the people—and he admitted that the malt tax came within the category—they ought to apply themselves to the improvement of the revenue, and to the abrogation of such taxes before they entered upon the very proper but less obvious duty of diminishing the National Debt.


said, that the greater part of the observations which had been made in opposition to the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend, and certainly the whole of the declamation of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, might have been spared if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had only taken the suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for North Essex (Mr. Du Cane), and substituted a tax on beer for that on malt. The consumers of beer had not called for the repeal of the malt tax, although the tax was indirectly imposed on them, and it would be only consistent with the principles which had guided the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the last ten years to lay this tax on the consumers. The reduction of the tax was imperatively demanded as an act of justice to those who had so long agitated for its repeal. The farmers who produced barley laboured under an intolerable grievance in conducting their business, for they frequently could not sell their produce for malting, because under the present system it could not to the profit of the maltster be converted into malt. The farmer looked on this tax much as a cotton manufacturer would on an import duty on cotton, or a coal owner on an export duty on coal; and so long as the tax remained there would always be an idea of injustice. A tax on beer sold by brewers at the rate of 1d. per gallon and a license duty on private brew- ers would probably produce a revenue of not less than £4,000,000, and therefore a reduction of the duty to the extent of £2,000,000 might well be made, with a prospect of a further reduction. He thought it most unfair and unjust to raise the question of the National Debt with reference to the claim for the repeal of this particular tax, which was the only one which had not been reduced.


I will say a word first, with the permission of the House, in regard to the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend, and I venture respectfully to ask him to withdraw his Amendment. I was very sorry that my hon. and learned Friend described himself as unable, from, not having expected the subject to be opened to-night, to do full justice to the matter. I may say, likewise, the admirable, the remarkable speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Westminster had but one fault with reference to the subject to which it referred, and that was its brevity. But the question raised by the Amendment is, I think, by far too important to be dealt with in a manner purely incidental to the subject. And I am bound also to observe, and I think my hon. and learned Friend the Mover of that Amendment will concur with me, that there would be something invidious in taking a particular tax out of the category for reduction, and setting it aside for affecting permanently the reduction of the National Debt. The question raised by the Amendment is one which I hope will not be pressed to a division at present; not because it is not a matter fit to be entertained, but, on the contrary, on account of its importance; and I will go one-step farther, and say on account of its urgency, for I am very strongly persuaded that it is a subject that should be fully unfolded before the House and taken into its consideration, and I may venture to say that it is my intention to take the opportunity of offering some observations to the House upon it when I make my financial statement. No decision on this occasion would, I think, be satisfactory in connection with this question. Well, pass to the Motion made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Suffolk, and I am afraid he will be thinking I repeat an old formulary when I once again make the protest I have made scores of times with regard to committing the judgment of the House by anticipation in respect to the disposal of an unknown surplus to one particular claim among various competing claims which at the time are not brought before the House. On no occasion while I have had a seat in Parliament have I to my knowledge voted for any proposition of such a nature. All these proposals labour, in my opinion, under what I may call an original sin which is entirely incurable. They are attempts to commit the House to conclusions, while the House has not in its possession the means of judgment, and their only effect can be to fetter the future action of the House, and create embarrassment and disappointment among those who have fair claims on the public Exchequer. But particularly I am bound to say this is an objection which is fatal against the Motion of my lion, and learned Friend at the present time, because it is a Motion which aims at dealing with a gigantic sum. The malt tax at present amounts to between £6,500,000 and £7,000,000, and yet my hon. and learned Friend calls on us to vote— That upon any future remission of indirect taxation this House will take into consideration the duty upon Malt, with a view to its immediate reduction and ultimate repeal. But there is no operation that can be affected on the duty on malt at an immediate cost of less than £2,000,000 or £2,500,000. That is the very lowest sum for the first step that may be reasonably contemplated. How can the House be called to pledge itself that when there may be half a million or three-quarters safely and prudently disposable in remission of indirect taxation it is to be fettered by a previous pledge not to listen to any other claim, because it is bound to take into consideration the remission of the duty on malt, which it cannot take into consideration unless it has £2,000,000 or £2,500,000 to give away? My hon. and learned Friend will say that his Motion is not meant to embrace the case of a limited or moderate surplus of that kind. But that, at any rate, is a matter of private construction and interpretation. The terms of the Notice are perfectly clear. They absolutely pledge the House to devote, not as against direct taxes, but as against indirect taxes, any surplus revenue whatever to the reduction of the duty on malt. Although the effect of that might be that the surplus in our hands might be ineffectual for touching the duty on malt, and still quite sufficient for touching other duties, yet because of this pledge that surplus could not be made use of at all. These, in my opinion, are the grounds why this Resolution should not be entertained. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Essex, who spoke with his usual ability just now, alluded to a rumour that the state of the public finances was not very flourishing. The state of the public finances is to my mind perfectly satisfactory. Those who recollect that by the legislation of last year we were compelled, by the nature of our laws, and our fiscal system, in adopting the changes which then found their way to our statute-book, to dispose by anticipation of a million and a half of the revenue of the coming year, will not be surprised to learn that, as there has been no material reduction—indeed, I think no reduction at all—upon the whole of the Estimates for the year, there can be no large sum at the disposal of this House. But if that be so, why should my hon. and learned Friend at this time ask us—unless it be for the purpose of giving a momentary and rather delusive satisfaction to his constituents, to bind ourselves by a Resolution that can have no present or even proximate effect? Surely, it is hardly worthy the legislative dignity of this House that it should be persuaded to embark upon such a proceeding. The question, however, having been raised and discussed, I must advert shortly to one or two points upon which great stress appears to have been laid. As far as I have been able to gather from this debate the sentiments of hon. Gentlemen opposite, many of whom have addressed the House with great ability, and to one of whom in particular (Mr. De Grey) I have pleasure in referring, as I believe he addressed us for the first time, and I hope he will have many opportunities of addressing the House, with increasing satisfaction to us and to himself—as far, I say, as I could collect the general feeling in the minds of Gentlemen opposite, it was this—that it was a hard case that when almost all other duties now forming part of the public revenue had been subjected of late years to review the duty upon malt had not been so treated. That was a sentiment which appeared in many of the speeches that we have heard, and I am not at all surprised that it should have done so. It was said, in simple phrase, that this article also might take its turn. Now, in the first place, it must be recollected—although I do not mean to dwell upon it—that there are exceedingly important exceptions to that observation. The duty on tobacco remains without any diminution whatever; and the duty on spirits has undergone a small increase in England and a very large increase both in Scotland and Ireland. But, Sir, we must not only consider whether the duty on malt has recently been dealt with as other duties have been; we must consider its relation to other duties in reference to the nature of the commodity and the amount and the other incidents of the burden. Why is it that malt, when considered with reference to the amount of the burden laid upon it, has not been recently a claimant for remission, or, at least, has not been able to present in that point of view the same claims for remission as tea, sugar, and many other articles? Why, Sir, it is because this particular commodity obtained its remission nearly forty years ago, and long before it was dreamt of reducing the duty on tea, on sugar, or on most of the articles in which the comfort of the people was involved. Those articles were left burdened with an enormous taxation, while £3,000,000 of the public revenue were given away in the abolition of the beer duty. Therefore, it was no wonder, considering that such a step should have been taken at such a time, that the claims of malt, whatever they may be, have since then been postponed, because, in point of fact, relatively, they were met in anticipation. But is the taxation upon malt at this moment excessive or unjust, considered with reference to its amount, and judged upon these assumptions: first of all, that the total revenue to be raised is a revenue required for the wants of the State; and secondly, that we are to look to the extent of the burden in conjunction with its other circumstances, and to the character of the article on which it is laid, in determining what share of taxation it ought to bear. Upon these principles let us look at the duty upon malt. That duty I believe to be at present, on a fair and liberal estimate, in almost exact correspondence with duties on tea and sugar. I think it is less; certainly it is not greater; but for the present, to avoid controversy, I wish to take it as being equal to those duties. Well, Sir, we really hear hon. Gentlemen rise almost into enthusiasm upon the virtue of beer. I am not here to deprecate it. I never have adopted that tone with respect to the comforts or the luxuries—call them what you like, but if it were our, own case, I think we should say for ourselves that they were necessaries—of the other classes of the community. But hon. Gentlemen are sometimes not satisfied with placing upon the humble ground of almost physical necessity the indulgence or the use of these commodities, but beer is held up by them as if it were positively an evangelizing power. If, they say, you will only take away the malt duty, beer will be both cheap and perfectly tree from adulteration; and it will regenerate the community. That is really the sense of many of the speeches which have been delivered to-night, in perfect good humour and with perfect sincerity; but I must say I think that tone of sentiment is considerably overstrained. I am not here to denounce the use of beer as a vicious indulgence. It may undoubtedly become so, but it is not to be so regarded in general. Still, it is pressing the claims of that excellent commodity a great deal too far, when it is put forward as one of the greatest instruments and missionaries of civilization. As my hon. Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets has said, there is a great deal of alcohol—by which we mean proof spirits—in beer. Look at how the alcohol in beer is treated as compared with the alcohol in spirits. By much the greater part of the alcohol which is drunk in this country is in beer. In beer not less that 60,000,000 gallons, not of pure alcohol, but of proof spirits, are consumed; while in what we call spirits, the quantity of alcohol consumed is about 26,000,000 or 28,000,000 of gallons of proof spirit. Now, the 60,000,000 gallons consumed in beer pay to the revenue £6,500,000; and the 26,000,000 or 28,000,000 of gallons in spirits pay to the revenue about £14,000,000. That is to I say—we say to the consumer of beer not only as compared with the consumer of neat spirits, but as compared with tin-consumer of "toddy," or of spirits mixed: with water, "If you choose to consume your alcohol in the shape of spirits, you must pay 10s. per gallon; but if you consume it in the shape of beer, you will have only to pay one-fourth of that rate, or even less." Surely there is not in that state of things any primâ facie case of injustice. Then, as regards wine, why my hon. Friend knows that the quantity of alcohol consumed in wine is comparatively insignificant. It is not one-twentieth of the quantity consumed in beer. I believe it is not more than the quantity which is used in the manufacture of that much admired beverage for which the name of a Member of this House is so distinguished. If you are to compare the taxation upon beer with that upon wine, I say then you must compare those incidents of beer and of wine which go together, and in respect to which the two articles bear some analogy; and, if you do that, you will find that the alcohol in wine as well as in spirits is much heavier taxed than is the alcohol in beer. With regard to the Act which was passed by this House last year, to enable maltsters to have their grain tested either by gauge or by weight as they pleased, instead of being bound to one method, as under the ancient law, the hon. Member for East Norfolk, if I understood him rightly, stated that the regulations imposed by the Excise had been so severe that the measure has been entirely inoperative, and that he did not believe a single quarter of malt had been made under it. The hon. Gentleman has been misinformed, for the new law has been in operation for a very short time; but out of the 9,300 malthouses in the United Kingdom not fewer than 419 in England, besides a few in Ireland, have been worked under that Act, and 2,225,000 bushels of malt have been brought under its operation. The information, therefore, received by the hon. Gentleman has been very erroneous, and he can have the facts embodied in the form of a Return if he wishes. Sir, my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham has found fault with me for raising, as he says, national jealousies between the three kingdoms on this subject, and for appealing to the Members for Scotland and Ireland to resist the repeal of the malt duty. Now, I beg to inform my hon. Friend that he has entirely misconstrued and misapprehended the effect of my reference to that subject. I have never sought to enlist the votes of the Members for Scotland and Ireland against the repeal of the malt duty on the grounds of national jealousy. But my duty is this—when a demand is made upon the public Exchequer, to consider before meeting it in the House of Commons what other demands it must, if it be acceded to, necessarily entail, and the state of the case I find to be this, that whereas the national drink of England is beer, and a sum of £6,000,000 of duty is paid by England upon that beer, the corresponding beverage of Scotland and Ireland is not beer, but is whisky, which is far more heavily taxed than beer. When, then, English Members ask for relief from £6,000,000 in favour of their commodity, it is my duty to consider what the effect of granting that relief will be upon Scotland and Ireland, with regard to the taxation laid upon their national beverages, and if my hon. Friend is of opinion that while the English beverage should be freed from all duty we could continue to levy 600 per cent upon the national beverage of Scotland and Ireland, he has a very different estimate of the Members for those countries than I have. Such a thing is impossible, totally impossible in my opinion. Of course, my hon. Friend has his own opinion, and he may think that Scotland and Ireland would be perfectly contented to pay their £3,000,000 a year upon the spirits drunk by the labouring classes of those countries, while in England beer would be entirely freed from duty, but I am bound to say that I regard the idea as entirely chimerical. The foreseeing these things, the pointing out these other claims, is a totally different thing from endeavouring to excite national jealousies upon this subject. There would be no national jealousy at all, but there would be a claim to be treated upon the principle of equality, and it is that claim which I wish to keep in view. Sir, I have spoken now with reference to taxation upon the article of alcohol where found in the product of grain. That leaves open a very important question, which has assumed, to my satisfaction, greater prominence in the speeches of several hon. Gentlemen than it has done on any former occasion. The hon. Member who last addressed the House, the hon. Member for Essex, and likewise the Member for East Norfolk, referred very distinctly to the subject of a substitute for the malt duty in the shape either of a beer licence or a beer duty. But I hope those hon. Gentlemen will remember this—the Mover of the Resolution has given no countenance whatever to that proposal. The hon. and learned Gentleman stands, and is if he pleases perfectly entitled to stand, upon this simple ground—"I bring my objections against this tax and call upon the House of Commons to repeal it. As to finding a substitute, that is the duty of the executive Government." That has virtually been the language of my hon. and learned Friend, and that language he is quite entitled to hold. In like manner, one hon. Gentleman who ably supported him distinctly entered his protest against the idea of substituting a tax upon beer. Now, I do not at all disguise from myself that there are enormous difficulties with regard to such a substitution. I frankly own that I do not know at the present moment how these difficulties are to be overcome. I do not say that they are insuperable, but if they are to be overcome it must be by a general concurrence of views on the part of the different classes and parties who are concerned in the question, of which concurrence there is at the present time no distinct prospect. Some hon. Gentlemen may think it is in the power of those who conduct the finances of the country to devise schemes of the kind; but I feel quite certain that any scheme that could be devised by the Government would have no chance of meeting with the approval of Parliament unless Parliament were in a state of mind generally prepared to join in overcoming whatever difficulties would have to be encountered. I have never said at any time, nor do I say now, that that substitute, if it were practicable, would not be attended with very great advantages. I quite admit the soundness of the principle in levying the tax upon any article at the latest stage, the stage immediately preceding consumption. I am quite convinced that it is desirable, if possible, to leave barley absolutely free from all restraint up to the time at which it leaves the hands of the farmers. I do not, indeed, know that I should be able to concur in the views of those who think that the agriculturist suffers very heavily as matters now stand from the pressure of the malt duty; but I am quite aware that there are differences of opinion on the point, and I should be very glad to see the whole handling of the grain by the farmers left absolutely free. No plan of the kind, however, can be adopted except with a very general concurrence of opinion and a general co-operation among all parties and classes who would be affected thereby. I do not know that I need trouble the Committee at present with any further remarks on the general question, but the question of a substitute is vital to the whole matter. Surely, my hon. and learned Friend cannot think that it would be wise for the Government to throw out a number of these vague pledges to the country with reference to one of the very largest among all the branches of the public revenue. The malt duty is at the present time the second or third in importance among the branches of public revenue, and we ought not to throw out vague pledges with respect to which it is perfectly uncertain when we can redeem them. If it were a mere question of the form of the tax, that would be another matter; but the hon. and learned Gentleman asks us not to change the form but to vote for the application of all surpluses if they go to indirect taxation to the reduction of the duty on malt with a view to its ultimate repeal, and I am bound to ask my hon. and learned Friend in return the old question put by the Duke of Wellington, "How is the Queen's Government to be carried on?" There is no prospect, as hi knows, of our being able to part with so enormous a sum of money; and, barring a substitute, I must tell my hon. and learned Friend that he is really, as was said by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, the most effective advocate of the doctrine of the Liverpool Financial Reform Association; for it is impossible to exempt this one great article of the comforts of the people from taxation in whatever form, and at the same time continue to levy £30,000,000 in Customs and Excise upon their comforts in other quarters. If, therefore, you provide no substitute, it would be, as I have ventured to call it on previous occasions, the deathwarrant of indirect taxation. What the consequences of that would be I leave my hon. and learned Friend to consider. In my opinion, it is a change which is one of the vastest which could be proposed in this House. I believe it to be a change beyond human power in any proximate circumstances to carry into effect, I do not say it is a change which this Motion pledges us to make, but I think the Motion tampers with the important considerations that are involved in it. Both upon this ground, I therefore, and also upon the ground that this discussion is one wholly speculative, inasmuch as the House has not the means, and has at present no anticipation or prospect of the means, which would possibly enable it to take any step in this matter, which involves so very serious a loss of revenue, I hope that the House, without in the least degree expressing any obstinate determination to adhere under all circumstances to the present form of the tax, will not agree to the Motion of my hon. and learned Friend.


said, he would withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 150 Noes 234: Majority 84.

Adderley, rt. hn. C. B. Hamilton, Viscount
Anson, hon. Major Hartopp, E. B.
Bagge, W. Harvey, R. B.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Henniker, Lord
Barnett, H. Herbert, hon. P. E.
Barrow, W. H. Hervey, Lord A. H.C.
Barttelot, Colonel Hodgson, W. N.
Bass, M. T. Holford, R. S.
Bateson, Sir T. Holmesdale, Viscount
Beach, Sir M. H. Hornby, W. H.
Beach, W. W. B. Howes, E
Benyon, R. Huddleston, J. W.
Beresford, Capt. D. W. P Humphery, W. H.
Bourne, Colonel Hunt, G. W.
Bovill, W. Jervis, Captain
Bowyer, Sir G. Jolliffe, H. H.
Bridges, Sir B. W Kelk, J.
Bromley, W. D. King, J. K
Brooks, R. Knight, F. W.
Bruce, Lord C. Knightley, Sir R.
Bruen, H. Knox, Colonel
Buckley, E. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Buller, Sir E. M, Lennox, Lord G. G.
Burghley, Lord Leslie, C. P.
Burrell, Sir P. Lindsay, hon. Colonel C.
Campbell, A. H. Lindsay, Colonel R. L.
Cartwright, Colonel Long, R. P.
Cavendish, Lord E. Lowther, hon. Colonel
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Lytton, rt. hn. Sir E. L. B.
Cholmeley, Sir M. J. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Clive, Capt. hon. G. W. Martin, P. W.
Cobbold, J. C. Miller, S. B.
Cole, hon. J. L. Miller, T. J.
Cooper, E. H. Mitford, W. T.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Cox, W. T. More, R. J.
Cubitt, G. Neeld, Sir J.
Dering Sir E. C. Newdegate, C. N.
Dick, F. Noel, hon. G. J.
Dickson, Major A, G. North, Colonel
Dodson, J. G. Paget, R. H.
Dowdeswell, W. E. Parker, Major W.
Duncombe, hon. A, Phillips, G.L.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Dunne, General Portman, hon. W. H.B.
Du Pre, C. G. Pugh, D.
Dutton, hon. R. H. Read, C. S.
Dyke, W. H. Rebow, J. G.
Dyott, Colonel R. Repton, G. W. J.
Earle, R. A. Rolt, J,
Eaton, H. W. Royston, Viscount
Egerton, Sir P. G. Russell, H.
Fane, Lt.-Colonel H. H. Russell, Sir C.
Fane, Colonel J. W. Sandford, G. M. W.
Farquhar, Sir M. Schreiber, C.
Fellowes, E. Sclater-Booth, G.
Floyer, J. Scott, Lord H.
Foley, H. W Selwin, H. J.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Selwyn, C. J.
Foster, W, O. Severne, J. E.
Freshfield, C. K. Smith, S. G.
Galway, Viscount Somerset, Colonel
Gaskell, J. M. Stanhope, J. B.
George, J. Stanhope, Lord
Gilpin, Colonel Surtees, H. E.
Goddard, A. L. Sykes, C.
Gooch, D. Taylor, Colonel
Goodson, J. Thorold, J. H.
Grey, hon. T. de Treeby, J. W.
Grove, T. F. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.
Hamilton, Lord C. J, Walcott, Admiral
Western, Sir T. B. Wyndham, hon. H.
Whalley, G. H. Young, R.
Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Whitmore, H. TELLERS.
Williams, F. M. Kelly, Sir F.
Wise, H. C. Du Cane, C.
Acland, T. D. Evans, T. W.
Agnew, Sir A. Fawcett, H.
Akroyd, E. Fenwick, E. M.
Allen, W. S. Fildes, J.
Anstruther, Sir R. FitzGerald, Lord O. A.
Antrobus, E. FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W.
Armstrong, R. Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W.
Ayrton, A. S. Foljambe, F. J. S.
Aytoun, R. S. Forster, C.
Bagnall, C. Forster, W. E.
Bagwell, J. Fort, R.
Barclay, A. C. Fortescue, rt. hn. C. P.
Baring, T. Fortescue, hon. D. F.
Barnes, T. Gavin, Major
Barry, C. R. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Barry, G. R. Gilpin, C.
Bazley, T. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Beaumont, H. F. Gladstone, W. H.
Beaumont, W. B. Glyn, G. G.
Beecroft, G. S. Goldsmid, Sir F. H.
Biddulph, Golonel R. M. Goldsmid, J.
Biddulph, M. Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.
Bingham, Lord Gower, hon. F. L.
Blennerhassett, Sir R. Graves, S. R.
Bonham-Carter, J. Gray, Sir J.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E.P. Greville, Colonel F.
Brecknock, Earl of Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bright, Sir C. T. Gridley, Captain H. G.
Bright, J. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Briscoe, J. I. Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.
Browne, Lord J. T. Hanbury, R. C.
Bruce, Lord E. Hankey, T.
Bruce, rt. hon. H. A. Hanmer, Sir J.
Buxton, C. Hardcastle, J. A.
Candlish, J. Harris, J. D.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Hartington, Marquess of
Carnegie, hon. C. Hay, Lord J.
Castlerosse, Viscount Hayter, Captain A. D.
Cave, T. Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Henderson, J.
Cavendish, Lord G. Henley, Lord
Chambers, T. Herbert, H. A.
Cheetham, J. Hibbert, J. T.
Childers, H. C. E. Hoare, Sir H. A.
Clinton, Lord A. P. Hodgkinson, G.
Clinton, Lord E. P. Holden, I.
Clive, G. Holland, E.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hood, Sir A. A.
Collier, Sir R. P. Horsfall, T. B.
Colthurst, Sir G. C. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Colvile, C. R. Hubbard, J. G.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Hughes, T.
Crawford, R. W. Hughes, W. B.
Crosland, Colonel T. P. Hurst, R. H.
Crossley, Sir F. Ingham, R.
Dalglish, R. James, E.
Davey, R. Jardine, R.
Denman, hon. G. Jervoise, Sir J. C.
Dillon, J. B. Johnstone, Sir J.
Duff, M. E. G. Kekewich, S. T.
Duff, R. W. Kinglake, A. W.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Kinglake, J. A.
Dunkellin, Lord Kingscote, Colonel
Ellice, E. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Esmonde, J. Knatcubull-Hugessen, E
Labouchere, H. Platt, J.
Laing, S. Potter, E.
Lamont, J. Potter, T. B.
Lawson, rt. hon. J, A. Price, W. P.
Layard, A. H. Pryse, E. L.
Leeman, G. Pritchard, J.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Proby, Lord
Legh, Major C. Rearden, D. J.
Lewis, H. Robartes, T. J. A.
Locke, J. Robertson, D.
Lusk, A. Rothschild, N. M. de
Mackie, J. Russell, A.
Mackinnon, Capt. L. B. Russell, Sir W.
Mackinnon, W. A. Salomons, Alderman
M'Lagan, P. Samuda, J. D'A.
M'Laren, D. Saunderson, E.
Maguire, J. F. Scholefleld, W.
Mainwaring, T. Scott, Sir W.
Marjoribanks, D. C. Seely, C.
Marshall, W. Shafto, R. D.
Martin, C. W. Sheridan, R. B.
Matheson, A. Sherriff, A. C.
Matheson, Sir J. Smith, J. A.
Milbank, F. A. Smith, J. B.
Mill, J. S. Speirs, A. A.
Mills, J. R. Stacpoole, W.
Milton, Viscount Staniland, M.
Mitchell, A. Stansfeld, J.
Monk, C. J. Sullivan, E.
Monsell, rt. hon. W. Synan, E. J.
Montgomery, Sir G. Talbot, C. R. M.
Morley, S. Taylor, P. A.
Morris, M. Tollemache, J.
Morris, W. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H
Morrison, W. Trevelyan, G. O.
Murphy, N. D. Vandeleur, Colonel
Neate, C. Verney, Sir H.
Nicol, J. D. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
O'Brien, Sir P. Vivian, H. H.
O'Conor Don, The Waterhouse, S.
Ogilvy, Sir J. Watkin, E. W.
Oliphant, L. Weguelin, T. M.
O'Loghlen, Sir C. M. Whatman, J.
Onslow, G. Whitbread, S.
Otway, A. J. White, J.
Owen, Sir H. O. Williamson, Sir H.
Padmore, R. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Paget, Lord C. Wyvill, M.
Palmer, Sir R. Young, A. W.
Pease, J. W. Young, G.
Peel, A. W.
Pelham, Lord TELLERS.
Peto, Sir S. M. Brand, hon. H. B. W.
Philips, R. N. Adam, W. P.

Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.

The Clerk, at the Table, informed the House that Mr. Speaker had been obliged, by the state of his health, to retire from the House for the remainder of the night:—Whereupon Mr. Dodson, the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order of the 20th day of July 1855.