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borrowed, and subsequent settle- a system of taxation applicable to ments made. His amendment their fellow-subjects. li was in would not correct the abstract im- that sense only that the tax in policy and injustice of the Bill, question could be said to be po. but it would considerably mitigate pular. those insuperable objections he felt Lord Aberdeen showed that no to the Bill in its present form, as precedent existed for the course inflicting the grossest jnjustice then proposed to be taken. Preupon innocent parties.
vious amendments effected in bills The Earl of Aberdeen was still sent up from the other House had unable to understand the course been agreed to, because they did of Lord Derby; who had truly not touch the produce of the tax; said that the Bill was the corner but the amendment was of a stone and foundation of the finan- totally different character; and cial system of the year, and as would destroy the intention, and signed his desire not to destroy cut off the produce of the tax. that system as a reason for not But, whatever the House of Comopposing the second reading, but mons might do, it was utterly imwho came down with an possible for the Government to amendment which would destroy think of acceding to the amendthe whole edifice_with what sin- ment. cerity and tenderness for the pre He was proceeding to describe servation of the corner-stone, Lord how the late Government had Aberdeen would leave the House adopted the principle of a tax to judge.
on successions, when the Earl of If the amendment were carried, Malmesbury cried, “No, no!” not one farthing of the tax as re. Lord Aberdeen, in support of his garded settlements, would be paid assertion, then quoted from the within one generation. “That is speech of Mr. Disraeli, as what the noble Earl calls preserv. ported in Hansard, but Lord ing the corner-stone and founda. Derby called him to order, addtion of the financial system of the ing, “I can save the noble Earl year!” He had also affected great some trouble in referring to retenderness for small proprietors: ports of what is said to have taken but settled estates are rare among place in the other House of Parthe middle classes, who are at liament, by simply assuring him, this moment liable to the legacy upon my own knowledge, that no duty. The noble Earl (Winchil. proposition nor scheme for impossea) who spoke early in the debate ing any succession-duty was at made a touching allusion to the any time submitted to my con"bold Barons;" and, judging from sideration, or to the consideration, eppearances, some noble Lords as far as I know, of any single seeməd disposed to act on the member of the Cabinet of which principle which actuated the bold I was the head.” Barons of old- that of feudal ex Lord Aberdeen retorted, that emption from burdens borne by Lord Derby himself had not been the rest of the community. The strictly in order, and he proceeded object of the present measure was to read from speeches delivered to extend to the “ bold Barons by Mr. Disraeli on the 3rd and
16th of the preceding December, natural to extend direct taxation passages stating that the late Go- than to those who enjoy the great vernment had carefully examined privilege of society, that of sucthe question of the stamp and ceeding to property?
The tax probate duties, and did not think was not aimed at a particular class, it impossible at the right time to but at all classes; and the position bring forward a tax on successions. of the owners of land would be
The Earl of Hardwick as a strengthened by making them member of the late Cabinet, de amenable to the same law as their nied that any idea of imposing fellow-subjects. The great families such a tax as the present had of the country did not owe their ever been presented to them. He position to exemptions from buralso took Lord Aberdeen to task dens. Did the Duke of Norfolk for sneering at the bold Barons.' owe his high position to having
Earl Granville admitted that escaped the legacy-duty ? Why, Lord Derby was not responsible the great families and landed profor everything said and done by prietors would gain, in the proshis political adherents in the other perity of the country, infinitely House. He also explained that more than they would be called Lord Aberdeen had not intended on to pay. The system of finance any taunt by his allusion to the of which the Bill was a part, was bold Barons, and that as regarded a sound system, because it left the the propriety of the course taken prosperity of the country at liberty by Lord Derby, he had only con to increase, and gave security that tended that it would be most un- only one great direct duty need be wise and inexpedient. There were preserved, when the present innot twelve persons, he said, in that come-tax expired. House whose personal interests The Committee then divided would be affected by the Bill, and on the amendment, when there their votes would be found on the appeared Content 62, Non-Conside of Government.
tent 102. The Duke of Argyll showed that After considerable minute disthe clause was not retrospective, in- cussion the remaining clauses were asmuch as it did not impose a tax agreed to, and the House reon persons who had already suc- sumed ceeded, but on those who for the On the motion for the third future should inherit successions. reading on the 28th of July, the He also charged the late Govern- Earl of Clancarty stated his obment with having rendered the jections, and charged the ministers present measure necessary by their with scouring the embassies of the rash and reckless proposals in re Continent for votes, and depriving ference to the income-tax.
Ireland of its Governor in such Lord Lansdowne pointed out, haste that time was not allowed that the particular character of the for the Lords Justices to be sworn. financial system was not that the On the question that the Bill succession - tax and income - tax do pass, Lord St. Leonards spoke should act together, but that the at considerable length, chiefly for action of one should ultimately the purpose of proposing clauses make provision for the abolition of as a protest against the measure. the other. Where was it more Their main object was to cut off
its restrospective operation, but taken to abolish this duty. Mr. they were not adopted, and after a Gibson urged the oppressive nature brief conversation the Bill passed. of this charge upon the vehicle of
In the House of Commons, on knowledge, and the difficulties it the 14th of April, Mr. Milner cast in the way of literary specuGibson brought forward the sub- lation, and the consequent check ject of taxes on knowledge. He it gave to sound education. He moved three resolutions, to the then dwelt upon the injustice, imeffect that the advertisement duty policy, and inequality of the ad. ought to be repealed; that the vertisement duty, a tax of small policy of subjecting the cheap amount, only 178,0001. a year, periodical press to stamp duties which he denounced as a barbarous and other restrictions, is inex- toll, unworthy of a commercial pedient, and the law relative to country; and he insisted upou the taxes on newspapers in an un- impossibility of protecting newssatisfactory state ; and lastly, that papers, whose legitimate fund was the excise-duty on paper materially their advertisements, against un. obstructs good cheap literature, taxed compositions. The removal and that the maintenance of this of the duty would augment the tax as a permanent source of re number of advertisements, and the venue would be impolitic, and consequent increase of postage would impede the progress of would alone cover the loss of reeducation. He said he had thus venue. In the last place, Mr. framed his motion in consequence Gibson discussed the policy of reof having observed that, although straining by stamp duties the the three taxes might appear to cheap periodical press from pub. many unconnected, they had been lishing news, contending that this imposed at the same time, and was a question of policy, not of were part of a system of policy de revenue. The stamp-duty on news signed, to a certain extent, to re- papers originated in a desire to strain the press. But the resolu- restrain their issue, from a false tions would be submitted to the theory which associated cheap with House separately, so that the mischievous publications; whereas, assent to one would not pledge to cheap periodical works, narrating another. It might be said, that the current events of life, supplied he should have waited until the antidotes to the poison of seditious appearance of the Budget, but if and blasphemous writings. When the Chancellor of the Exche- the amount of duty was reduced, quer intended to deal with these the restrictions were made more taxes, a vote of the House would severe, on the ground of “safety;" strengthen his hands; if not, it but at the present day no objection might suggest to him the pro was entertained to the diffusion of priety of falling in with its views. useful knowledge, or even of poliThe last resolution affected about tical information. The power of 900,0001. of the public revenue, the Government was now sustained but it did not pledge the House to upon the utility of its policy and an immediate repeal of the duty its desire to benefit all classes. on peper, but only that as early an If the stamp-duty upon news found opportunity as the state of the an equivalent in the exemption for revenue would allow should be postage, let the established papers
remain as they were, and let the contrary opinion. It would be a unstamped papers pay for trans- breach of duty on his part to enmission through the post; but courage or advise the House to postal revenue should not be con pass these resolutions. He had nected with a tax upon news, already protested against the pracwhich was a clumsy and defective tice of condemning taxes which scheme. A small postage upon the House was not prepared to the transmission of newspapers repeal, thereby creating expectawould go far to replace the re tions not to be fulfilled. venue lost by the repeal of the Gibson had not proposed any substamp-duty. Mr. Gibson dilated stitutes for these taxes, amounting upon the defects and inconsist. to 1,400,0001., and the House encies of the law relative to news should not condemn taxes unless papers, the attempt to define prepared to dispeuse with them or which term he showed to abound to provide substitutes. He should, with perplexities, which, he said, therefore, move the previous quesit behoved the Government to re tion. With respect to the papermove without delay.
duty, he should be glad to disMr. Ewart seconded the motion, pense with it, for, though a large and dwelt upon the advantages that part fell upon paper used for inwould accrue to morality and order ferior purposes, he agreed that it from the repeal of the stamp and was a most objectionable tax upon advertisement duties.
mental efforts. The advertisementThe Chancellor of the Exche- duty he likewise acknowledged was quer observed, that the resolutions A very onerous charge. But he related partly to subjects of policy, warned the House of the misaud partly to matters of revenue. chievous precedent it would set by On the question of policy he had condemning taxes isolated no special authority to speak; but grounds, without regard to the he believed that the law relating expenditure of the country. In to taxes on newspapers was in an the eight weeks he had been in unsatisfactory state, and it was office, propositious had been made the intention of the Government in that House for the repeal of shortly to bring in a Bill to clear duties to the amount of 7,000,0001. up the state of that law, and to The claims on behalf of newsprevent any harsh or severe inter- papers for relief froin taxation pretation of it, irrespective of the would have a fair consideration -question of the stamp-duty. As that is, a just and impartial comto the second resolution, it had parison with claims for relief by been said that the stamp-duties other great interests of the counhad not been imposed for revenue, try. · He admitted that it was fair but to restrain the press. This that these questions should be was not the policy of the present raised, but he prayed the House Government; they thought that not to slide into the bad habit of perfectly free discussion was not dealing so lightly with these quesonly not to be regarded as an evil, tions of revenue without the means but contributed to strengthen the of giving practical effect to their institutions of the country, and resolutions. nothing would be done by the Mr. Bright said the speech of Government to afford ground for a Mr. Gibson had not been an
swered. These duties were not be postponed until the Government brought forward as unjust taxes, had time to consider duties of an but as instruments which re- analogous character. Was the strained the press; and it was House, then, justified now in deal., time that a Government profess- ing with the first resolution ? His ing a regard for education should opinion was that they were not deal with these taxes. It was not justified in dealing with all the a question of revenue, for it could three duties, considering them in be shown that if the advertise a fiscal point of view; he proposed ment and stamp duties to consider only the first. What abolished, the loss of revenue was the principal argument brought would be so small as not to be forward by Lord J. Russell? Why, put in the balance against the that no proposal for the remission advantages which would arise from of taxation should be made before it.
the Budget, and what success it Mr. W. Williams, Mr. D. Sey would have afterwards the House mour, and Mr. J. Phillimore, also would decide. The proposition supported the motion, and the amounted to this, that the adminisAttorney-General gave an exposi- tration of the day should have the tion of the state of the newspaper exclusive privilege and monopoly law.
of proposing a remission of taxation. Lord John Russell said, these Such a doctrine was most danduties all stood
What chance had the grounds, and he did not think that House of dealing with this imthe term taxes on knowledge ap- portant question, if they lost the plied to them. It had been said, present opportunity ? He was that the stamp-duty was originally ready to vote for the repeal of the imposed as a restraint upon the advertisement duty, as this was a diffusion of knowledge, and he did policy he had been prepared to not think it consistent with the propose to the House as a policy policy of this country to impose which he believed sound and bene. such a restriction; but while he ficial ; he did not think the House regarded this as a tax for revenue, could advance the general question he was afraid if it was removed if this opportunity were missed, mischievous publications would and he recommended them to adopt still exist. With regard to the the motion. paper duty, he put it to the House Mr. J. Ball did not consider whether it was not premature to Mr. Disraeli's support an honest enter into a question which in- one, and would not, therefore, join volves the general taxation of the him in voting for the resolution. country.
Mr. Cobden presumed that Mr. Mr. Disraeli sympathised with Gibson was in earnest, and desired Her Majesty's Ministers, having to see these taxes abolished, and had to consider this question when he heartily accepted the assistance in office, and his colleagues had of Mr. Disraeli and his friends. thought that no time should be Upon the general question he relost in proposing the repeal of the ferred to the evidence of the large advertisement duty; but it was the circulation of exceptional publicaopinion of Lord Derby that, on the tions, contending that in the abwhole, it was better that it should sence of the duty the good cheap