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of property, of classes, of corporate bodies, of individuals, was discussed in this remarkable speech, which, as Sir Thomas Farrer remarks, 'called down on him as much wrath at the time as has ever been directed against "socialist plunderers.' In fact, to this very day, almost forty years after its delivery, should one join a group of grey-haired members of Parliament or superannuated officials, and utter the phrase, musty parchments,' the effect is little short of electrical. That phase of alarm and fear for their title-deeds felt by the landed classes in 1856 has now, of course, quite passed away, but the recollection of Lowe's remark, which drove Lord Galway almost frantic, is still, in a manner, fresh in the minds of many representative men of his class, to whom the phrase, musty parchments,' seems to recur like a favourite line in an old comedy. Such is the mellowing effect of time: for, when the speech was delivered, this and such-like touches evoked a storm of indignation and Lowe had to withdraw his Bill. It is suggestive to reflect that he failed to carry the measure solely on account of his superabundant mental activity and power of generalisation, and that where he failed, in all probability, many a dull man would have succeeded.
The Corporation of Liverpool, the body chiefly interested in maintaining the shipping dues, employed Sir Frederick Thesiger, afterwards Lord Chelmsford, to withstand this terribly upsetting Vice-President of the Board of Trade. That able counsel, as may be imagined, urged every possible reason in favour of vested interests and the rights of property. He declared, amidst the applause of frightened capitalists on both sides of the House, that Lowe's measure was a measure of confiscation. This led to a pretty passage of arms. In the course of his rejoinder Lowe said :
The hon. and learned member claims for the people of Liverpool a right to tax for the benefit of the town of Liverpool the dress of every woman in England, from the Queen upon the throne to the maid-of-all-work who scrubs the steps-to tax them for the
present and all future time, not only to its present amount, but, if it should rise to double its present amount with the rising commerce of the country. He claims on the part of the people of Liverpool, not only the power to levy this tax, but to be exempt from the tax which they levy on others; while Manchester has to raise 80,0007. by means of a borough fund, Liverpool will be exempt, unless the Bill should pass, from any borough fund at all, and the ratepayers will be exonerated from those local burdens which it is the business of self-government to levy for local purposes. This is a claim of taxation without representation, and without giving a voice in the imposition and distribution of the burden. These are the claims which are preferred, and which the hon. and learned gentleman has not blushed to use all along as convertible with property. Property! This may be property, but it is M. Proudhon's property -le vol....
The hon. and learned gentleman says that about two hundred years ago this property and the right of taxing their fellowsubjects were purchased by the Corporation of Liverpool from Lord Molyneux's family. What was the nature of this purchase? The hon. and learned gentleman was too dexterous an advocate to tell the House. The purchase money was about 7001. and the taxes were then about 147. a year. That was the nature of this right upon which this enormous superstructure has been raised, and upon which the Corporation of Liverpool claim to levy this princely revenue. [The shipping dues of Liverpool then amounted to 125,000l. a year.] We are told that to meddle with this is not only to endanger the tenure of all corporate property, but the tenure of all private property itself. Sir, the hon. and learned gentleman sneers at the notion of a distinction between the property of a corporation and the property of an individual. That distinction is not one of my drawing, but it is one deeply engraved in the laws of the country and in the reason of things. Corporations exist neither by themselves nor for themselves. They are the creatures of public utility, and when they cease to subserve the public utility, they may and ought to be abolished. If the Legislature has the right to abolish these corporations, it has also the power to abolish rights which are inconsistent with the end and aim of their being. So long as they answered those ends, the Legislature ought to support them-when they cease to accomplish those aims, you will only set up anarchy and confusion if you continue them, and it becomes the wisdom and the duty of the sovereign Legislature to take away their power if they cease to fulfil their objects.
In tracing the origin of the shipping dues and other sources of revenue, the speaker did not spare the corporations, and his words were quoted with horror by Bumbledom in every part of the country. They ate,' he said, 'they drank, they bought, they sold, they feasted, they jobbed, until the day of reckoning was at hand.' His speech overflowed with irritating epigrams. In their anxiety, he declared, to preserve inviolate the privileges of particular corporations, they disregard the interest of the greatest corporation of all -the community at large.' As to giving the corporations a lump sum in compensation for their right to levy these dues (as Disraeli had proposed), the thing was preposterous. The case did not admit of compensation. The shipowners were subject to an unjust tax; to withdraw from the corporations the right of exercising this iniquity, and at the same time to compensate them, was to enlarge the area of injustice. It has been said,' he remarked in his telling peroration, 'that these dues are very light, and the injury they inflict is but small; that to the increase of trade, and not to the high rates levied, is attributable the large amount the aggregate dues have now reached. I agree with Bentham, who thinks there is no injury so slight, or trickery so small, but that its multiplication must inevitably lead to dangerous consequences. If I rob a man farthing by farthing, in time I shall find the bottom of his pocket; pour water drop by drop on his head, and in time you will kill him. Gutta cavat lapidem.'
When the Bill was withdrawn, his opponent, Sir Frederick Thesiger, wittily observed: Yes; Lowe and I have thrown it out!'
It ended in a Select Committee on the Liverpool case, in which Lowe displayed wonderful industry and acumen. But one strongly suspects that Lord Palmerston, who hated the probing of matters to their root, must have gravely shaken his head over the whole business. Yet it is deserving of recognition that all the reforms advocated by Lowe in what
was deemed this most revolutionary speech on the shipping dues, have since been carried, ending with the abolition of the London coal duty, which, however (to quote the words of Sir Thomas Farrer), was an octroi duty and not a robbery.'
A TRIP THROUGH THE STATES AND CANADA
IT has always been known in the inner circle of Lord Sherbrooke's old and intimate friends, that some five and thirty years ago he paid a flying visit to America; but among his papers and memoranda there was no record of this journey. He does not seem to have corresponded with anyone during the two months of his absence, which is hardly to be wondered at, considering the enormous distances he travelled in this brief space of time. Fortunately, he had a fellowtraveller, Sir Douglas (then Captain) Galton, who has very kindly furnished some particulars of their journeyings, together with a collection of letters written by himself at the time from America to his wife.
They left England in the s.s. Canada, of the Cunard · Company, for Boston, via Halifax, on August 2, 1856. On board was Mr. James Russell Lowell, who had just published his famous Biglow Papers. In after years, when Mr. Lowell came to this country as American Minister, he was a friend and near neighbour of Lord Sherbrooke in Lowndes Square, but they met for the first time on this voyage. Sir Douglas Galton, writing at sea after they had been about a week from port, remarks: Mr. Lowell, the author of the Biglow Papers, to whom Clough gave me an introduction, is most agreeable and gentlemanlike; one might take him for an Englishman.' There was also among the passengers on board the Canada the