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tracting loans and increasing the debt in times of peace. He next went over the often repeated statements respecting the expense of collecting the revenue, which amounted to a sum of four or five millions a year, and increased our taxation to an amount of 59 millions a year, and then digressed into a long remonstrance against the mismanagement and expenditure of our Colonies. In the early part of next Session he would put his statements of that evening upon record, in order that every man who had leisure might read and reflect upon them. He concluded by moving that the Bill be taken into consideration that day three months.
Mr. Muntz seconded the amendment.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer contended that the various reductions of expenditure which Mr. Hume had proposed in the course of the present Session were not consistent either with the safety or with the interests of the country, and he showed that a vast majority of the House had concurred in the amount of the various establishments now proposed for the defence and maintenance of our commercial greatness and national independence. He reminded the House that there were only three ways in which it could meet a deficient revenue. The first was by increased taxation; the second, by the reduction of establishments to the amount of the revenue; and the third, by having recourse to some such means as were now proposed, of borrowing money to meet our expenditure. If it were necessary to support our existing establishments, and if the country would not submit to increased taxation, the only course left to the Government-which nevertheless he ad
a measure which he regarded as being occasioned by the extravagant establishments kept up by the Government. He also demurred to the plan which Sir Charles Wood meant to adopt for raising the loan, it being in his opinion a preferable course to borrow the money in the market rather than to sell stock to the required amount, which he regarded as an improvident proceeding.
A more formal discussion upon these financial arrangements took place on the 29th August, when a motion was made for the committal of the Bill introduced to give effect to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's propositions. Mr. Hume, on this occasion, renewed at some length his opposition to the Ministerial plan. He objected, first, on the ground that the Bill was a measure for the creation of a loan of two millions in time of peace, which would add 60,000l. 70,000l. to the interest of the debt, and, secondly, on the ground that it sanctioned a very impolitic mode of borrowing money for the country. Early in the Session he had urged on the Government the propriety of either diminishing the expenditure within the revenue, which then showed a deficiency of 2,900,000l., or of providing by taxation to meet the excess of our expenditure. He had urged the propriety of not add ing to the amount of the debt in time of peace, and had shown that a very large portion of our expenditure was not necessary. On a division the numbers were 157 in favour of continuing a large expenditure, and only 59 against it. After recapitulating at considerable length the various economical motions which he had proposed in the course of the Session, Mr. Hume dilated on the impolicy of con
mitted to be an objectionable course -was to cover an extraordinary and temporary expenditure by the loan which he now proposed. Having promised Mr. Hume that in the next Session the Administration would adopt all practicable measures of economy in every department of the State, he applied himself to a very brief exposure of the monetary doctrines of Mr. Muntz, and concluded by recommending the Bill to the support of the House.
Mr. Henley and Mr. H. Drummond declared their intention of supporting the Government. Mr. Spooner announced the same intention, but launched out into an emphatic invective against the present system of the Currency.
Mr. Cobden held up to the high admiration of the House and the country the declaration of Sir R. Peel, that he would not carry on the Administration of the country if he could not make its expenditure equal to its revenue. The present Government had departed from that rule; and, unless the country took the subject up and prevented this system of borrowing, it would be carried on to the same extent as it had been in France and Austria, and would plunge us into the same ruin. With our local expenditure in poor rates and in county rates our aggregate taxation amounted this year to 70 millions sterling. That sum was monstrous, and it was impossible for us to go on raising it. He then defended the speech which he had made at the commencement of the Session for the reduction of our military armaments, and he attributed the temporary panic of invasion which was then felt to the interested exertions of military men, who desired employment.
He should certainly vote against this loan.
Mr. A. Smith contended that the Government had done all in its power to avoid the position in which it was now placed, of being obliged to borrow in time of peace. At the commencement of the Session Government had proposed increased taxation, but, in conformity
to the wishes of the House and the country, had subsequently abandoned it. He had supported, and should have continued to support, Government in that taxation, but still he could not shut his eyes to the fact that the state of the world justified them in conceding to the deliberate decision of the House that it was not expedient to increase taxation this year. As then Ministers could not increase taxation or diminish establishments so as to equalize income and expenditure, no other resource was left to them but to incur a loan. He should, therefore, support the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In conclusion, he read Mr. Cobden a severe lecture for asserting that the apprehension of war at the commencement of the Session had been propagated by professional men for their own private interest and emolument. He utterly denied the truth of such an imputation.
Lord G. Bentinck contended that Mr. Cobden was the last man in the world who ought to charge his opponents with propagating delusions. Mr. Cobden might think that 17 millions might be reduced at one slash of the knife; but few gentlemen had been found to coincide with him in that opinion. Though the House at the commencement of the Session had refused to grant increased taxation to the Government, it had
never been asked whether it would reimpose the duties on Customs which had been lately repealed. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had made such a proposition to the House, he should have given it his most hearty support. The taxes which had been repealed amounted to the deficiency which we had now to supply. He therefore called on the House not to look for the filling of the Exchequer to the spendthrift mode of inflicting debts on our posterity by incurring loans in the 33rd year of peace, but to the reimposition of the Customs Duties which we had repealed to our own damage and to the benefit of the foreigner.
the resources of the country, our expenditure exceeded our income, and it became necessary to have recourse to a loan. It would not have been wise to increase the permanent taxation of the country to meet a temporary deficiency, and Government had in consequence proposed a temporary increase of the per-centage on property, which it was obliged subsequently to abandon. Having abandoned it, Government said that it would endeavour to ride over the difficulty by means of the balances in the Exchequer, provided that the Income Tax was continued for three years. In the present condition of the country, however, it did not appear to be wise to allow those. balances to run too low, and it was therefore deemed expedient to supply them by a loan. He then proceeded to show that no better course had been suggested by any party in the House. Mr. Hume and Mr. Cobden thought that we might have made great reductions in the amount of our military force. He could not consent to those reductions when they were first proposed, and recent events had con firmed the propriety of the decision which he had then announced; for it was now evident that in February last the Government of France intended to make war in Belgium, and a war in Belgium would have kindled a conflagration in Europe. He would not enter into any refutation of the arguments used by Lord G. Bentinck in favour of the reimposition of the duties on timber and raw cotton, further than was necessary to remind the House that all the leading statesmen of this country, from the days of Sir R. Walpole down to the present time had declared taxes on the raw materials of manufactures to
If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that he would reenact the Corn Duties, which had produced 700,000l. of revenue in 1846, he did not believe that any man in the country would have grumbled at it. In conclusion, he exhorted the House to beware of those gentlemen who decried all who differed from them, who thought themselves the only oracles, and who declared, in the language of Jack Cade before he ordered Lord Sele off to execution, “I am the besom who shall sweep the House clean of all such villains as thou."
Lord J. Russell was of opinion after all the experience of this Session that the Government had not acted unwisely in proposing an increase of the Income Tax, in order to meet the deficiency in the revenue. On a former occasion he had shown that in the last few years ten millions of taxes, which pressed heavily on the springs of industry, had been taken off; and the result was, that when an extraordinary pressure took place on
be the worst taxes that could be imposed. As to the reimposition of the Corn Duties, he would only say that he very much rejoiced that in the present circumstances of the country we had not the sliding scale of 1845 to prevent the steady
importation of foreign grain into our harbours.
The House then divided, when the amendment of Mr. Hume was negatived by a majority of 66 to 45.
Alteration of the Navigation Laws-Announcement respecting them in
MONG the measures which formed the Ministerial programme at the opening of Parliament, a settlement of the Navigation Laws was one of the most pro
minent. By the Free-Trade party
regarded as the complement of