Page images
PDF
EPUB

responsibility they incurred in principle in the form least offenlosing this opportunity of termi- sive. The Bill now before the nating the contest.

House prevented any such arMr. Collier reviewed the pro- rangement and all mutual conposed Bill of Mr. Estcourt, and cessions ; it was, therefore, better stated his objections to what that it should be stopped, and he termed his scheme for ste- he moved to defer the third readreotyping Church-rates, which ing for three months. changed the incidence of the This amendment was seconded tax, making it not a personal by Lord R. Cecil, who congratucharge, but a charge upon the lated Sir J. Trelawny upon his land; and, so far from being a having disconnected himself from measure of relief from Church- the Liberation Society, the object rates, it would render them per- of which was the destruction of manent. There was, in his opi- the Church of England. He denion, only one way of dealing nied that this Bill was one of with this tax—its abolition. liberty or of enfranchisement; it

Mr. S. Estcourt, after replying was, he said, a Bill of disfranto the objections offered by Mr. chisement and of pains and peCollier to his proposed scheme, nalties. said he objected to Sir J. Tre Mr. H. Lewis supported the lawny's Bill on two main grounds. Bill. He believed, he said, that In the first place, it prohibited a conscientious principle was inparishioners from exercising a volved in this question ; but, in mode of local self-government voting for the Bill, he was concoeval with the earliest period of vinced that it would confer a our legislation, putting an end to great boon upon the Church of an old common law right. This England, which ought to live in was an inherent vice of the Bill. the hearts and affections of the Then, in the next place, the Bill, people, and never could, so long in its present stage, stood in the as they were vexed by the miserway of a practical solution of the able bickerings caused by Churchquestion, precluding every at- rates. tempt at compromise, and shut Mr. Cross said he should asting the door against an amicable sume that a great majority of the arrangement, which it was de- House and the country desired sirable to keep open to the last. a settlement of this question. Without discussing the scheme As to the kind of settlement, he had offered ineffectually as opinions differed.

Some were a compromise, he adverted to for a total abolition of Churchwhat he considered to be the rates; others would have no surprinciple upon which an arrange- render. He concurred with Mr. ment should be based. The only Estcourt that the only practical safe course

to departas way of settling the question was little as possible from the old by personal exemption; and he principle of Church-rate. Allow proposed that all persons who every man to exempt himself objected to pay Church-rates personally from an obligation to should have an opportunity of support a Church of which he was saying so, and be exempt without not a member, and adopt this declaring themselves to be Dis

was

senters. The Bill stood in the Mr. Bright said all the plans way of a measure to carry out which had been proposed did not this settlement, and he should hit the grievance. The object support the amendment.

was to get rid of every shred of Sir G. Lewis observed that the what the Dissenters regarded as objection to Church-rates was a the supremacy of the Church of conscientious objection, which he England in relation to this parbelieved to be sincere, and it was ticular question; to place the impossible to offer a valid argu- Church and other sects in that ment against a conscientious ob- respect upon an equality. The jection. On the other hand, it resistance to Church-rates was was urged that by the abolition not grounded upon the amount; of Church-rates the essence of there must be something deeper an Established Church would be in the matter than money. He annihilated. This objection, he was going, he said, to vote for the thought, after what had been third reading of the Bill; but he done in Ireland, had not sufficient was ready to assent to a comproweight. He was prepared to vote mise by which the compulsory for the third reading of the Bill. power of levying the rate should At the same time, he was quite be withdrawn and the term of ready to enter into a discussion total abolition delayed. of other proposals. His objection Mr. Stansfeld observed that to the proposal of Mr. Cross was this question was one of policy that it would reduce a Church- rather than of principle. It was rate to a voluntary contribution, totally distinct from that of a sepadepriving it of the character of a ration of the Church from the rate, the principle of which was, State. No scheme of compromise that it should be general and had been, or could be, proposed compulsory, while it would con- that would not be objectionable cede the whole doctrine upon and degrading to Dissenters; which the Bill was founded. He and he believed that all attempts (Sir George) would propose a would be vain, mischievous, and plan which would begin by lay- dangerous. ing the charge upon those who Mr. Whiteside accused Sir G. were members of the Church, Lewis of inconsistency, professand who testified the same by ing himself utterly unable to reattending the church. Some ob- concile his logic with his vote. jection might be made to the He denied that this was a questerm of pew-rents,” but it tion of policy merely; it was a seemed to him that a rate might question of principle. be so imposed, that it should be gressive movement was made compulsory, and that it would pro- against the Established Church, vide a sufficient fund for main- and the opposition proceeded taining the fabric of the Church. from a desire to maintain the old

Mr. Newdegate vindicated a principles of the Constitution. proposition he had before made Upon a division taking place for a substitute for Church- a singular result appeared. There rates, and opposed the third reading of the Bill. Mr. Buxton

274 approved of Mr. Cross's plan.

Noes

274

An ag

were

Ayes

[ocr errors]

The Speaker was consequently or shall be changed. As far as I called upon to give a casting vote. can collect the opinion of this The right honourable gentleman, House from the course of the amidst great anxiety and pro- debate, I think the general opifound silence, stated the grounds nion of the House is in favour upon which he should give his of some settlement of this quesvote, as follows:

tion different from that which "If the equality of voices had is contained in this Bill—and I arisen in an earlier stage of the think I shall best discharge my Bill, I should have had no diffi- duty by leaving to the future and culty in the course to be pur- deliberate determination of this sued; because, guided by a rule House whether a change in the which has been established by law should be made, if the many able men who have pre- House should think right so to ceded me in this chair, I should do, rather than by taking upon have desired so to vote as to give myself the responsibility of that the House another opportunity change. I therefore give my of deciding the question for voice with the Noes.'" itself, rather than to have taken Much cheering from the Oppothat decision into my own hands. sition side of the House folBut that rule does not now pre- lowed this announcement. The rail on the third reading of a Bill was thus lost, but it is bill. We have now reached the probable that the decision here third reading of this Bill, and I given only anticipated the rejecfind that the House hesitates, tion which it would have encounand is unable to express a de- tered in the House of Lords, had cision or to give any determina- it been suffered to go up to that tion whether this law shall stand assembly.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER III.

FINANCE.-The Annual Budget is brought forward by Mr. Gladstone on

the 15th of AprilHis Speech and Financial Propositions : remission of id. on Income Tax and Repeal of the Paper Duty-Remarks of Sir Stafford Northcote, Lord Robert Cecil

, and other Members-The Motion for going into a Committee on the Budget leads to protracted DebatesThe proposed Repeal of the Paper Duty excites much Opposition from the Conservative Party-Speeches of Mr. Thomas Baring, Mr. Bentinck, Sir S. Northcote, Mr. Seymour Fitzgerald, Mr. Milner Gibson, Mr.Whiteside, Mr.B. Osborne, Mr. Horsfall, Mr. Horsman, Mr. Bright, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Disraeli, and Lord Palmerston-No Division takes place, and the House goes into Committee-Further objections urged at this stage by the Opposition -Mr. Hubbard proposes a Resolution, which is withdrawnOn the Proposition to renew the existing Tea Duties, Mr. Horsfall moves, as an Amendment, to reduce the Duty to 18.-A Debate ensues, in which the Marquis of Hartington, Sir S. Northcote, Sir George Lewis, Mr. Disraeli, and Lord Palmerston take partThe Resolution of the Government is passed by a Majority of 18The other Resolutions are carried, the remission of the Paper Duty exciting strong protests from the Conservatives - The Chancellor of the Exchequer announces his intention of including all the financial arrangements of the Budget in a single BillObjections taken to this mode of proceeding-Mr. McDonough argues against the form of the Bill on Constitutional grounds-He is powerfully answered by Sir James Graham-Sir William Heathcote, on behalf

of himself and Mr. Walpole, expresses dissent from Mr. McDonough's views-Mr. Rolt, Mr. Whiteside, Lord R. Cecil, and Mr.Horsman support the objections to the BillMr. Puller, Mr. Mellor, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Lord Palmerston justify the course taken by the GovernmentThe Bill is read a second time and committedFurther discussions on the Paper Duty-On the 4th clause repealing that impost, a warm and protracted Debute arises

After Speeches from the leading Members on both sides, a Division takes place, which exhibits a Majority of 15 for the GovernmentThe result is hailed with acclamation by the Ministerial party-The Bill goes up to the House of Lords-Earl Granville proposes the Second Reading in a temperate Speech-The Duke of Rutland moves the rejection of the BillThe Earl of Derby strongly condemns the Budyet, and disapproves of the mode of proceeding by a single Bill, but advises the withdrawal of the Amendment-Speeches of the Duke of

Argyll, Earl Grey, and Lord Monteagle-The Duke of Rutland withdraws his Motion, and the Bill is passed, nem. con.

1.- Various motions for financial reductions and enquiries-Mr. Hubbard moves for a Committee to enquire into the means of mitigating the inequalities of the Income Tax— The Motion is carried against the Government by a majority of 4, but the enquiry by Committee leads to no result, Mr. W. Williams moves a Resolution in favour of assimilating Probate Duties on Personal and Real Estate— Negatived by 167 to 51-Mr. Dodson brings forward a Motion for the Repeal of the Hop Duty-The Motion meets with some support, but it is resisted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and rejected by 202 to 110-Mr. H. B. Sheridan asks the assent of the House to a proposition for Lowering the Duty on Fire InsuranceThe Motion'is opposed by the Government, and thrown out by 138 to 49—Mr. Arthur Mills proposes the Appointment of a Committee to enquire into the Colonial Expenditure of Great Britain

- After some show of objection, the Government gives way to the wish of the House, and concedes the Committee.

T

It was

re

THE annual statement of the penditure by 822,0001. The re

Chancellor of the Exchequer venue of 1860-61 amounted to was awaited this year with great 70,283,0001., showing a decrease anxiety, and the financial debates of 806,0001. as compared with which arose from it furnished at the revenue of 1859-60. Last once the keenest occasion for year taxation had been remitted party struggles, and the subjects to the extent of 2,900,0001., while of most exciting interest to the new taxes had been imposed public. On the 15th April Mr. nearly to the same amount; and Gladstone made his statement there had been temporary reto the House of Commons, com sources last

year

which reduced pressing his exposition within a the absolute diminution to rather smaller compass than in 500,0001. The expenditure having some preceding years.

been 72,842,0001., and the remarked, like his former Budget venue 70,283,0001., there speeches, by great lucidity and sulted a deficiency of 2,559,0001. argumentative power. The right But, allowing for drawbacks on hon. gentleman began by ob- stocks belonging to the accounts serving that the retrospect was of the former year, and for other unfavourable, and that whatever deductions, the real difference might be thought of the legisla- was 855,0001., which he thought, tion of the past year, it was no under the circumstances, not an ordinary year of the financial unfavourable state of things. He policy of this country; and he then showed the result of the then proceeded to lay bare to the actual receipt of the revenue in view of the Committee the ma its details, compared with the terial facts exhibited by the estimated amount. The Stamps, financial history of the year. The Taxes, Post-office, Crown Lands, expenditure estimated and pro- and miscellaneous sources, which vided for was 73,664,0001. The had been estimated to produce actual amount was 72,842,0001., 27,457,0001., had actually yielded being less than the estimated ex 27,5 12,0001.- a difference of only

« PreviousContinue »