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ceeded to a statement of the actual circumstances of the country, and the alterations proposed. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer had calculated the probable revenue for the year ending April, 1842, at 48,310,000l., and the probable expenditure at 50,735,000l.; and that calculation had proved to be very nearly accurate; the actual result being only 160,000l. below that estimate of revenue, and a little, he knew not precisely how much, below that estimate of expenditure. For the year ending April, 1843, the estimated revenue would be 48,350,000l.; the estimated expenditure 50,819,000l., and the consequent deficiency 2,469,000l. A further probable outlay must be provided for in respect of the war in China. Something must be made good for Australia, and something in Canada, and a considerable addition must be made to the army estimates on account of the war in Affghanistan. The finances of India too, required attention. If Indian credit were shaken, the credit of England would be affected; and the present state of Indian finance was not a consolatory one. feared, that the deficit thereupon in the two years ending May next, would not be less than 4,700,000l. How then were these deficiencies at home and in India to be met? Should we persevere in the system of the last five years the system of loans and Exchequer bills, the system of permanent addition to our debt? Was there a prospect of any considerable reduction in expenditure? or was the present deficiency an occasional one? No; it had been proceeding for the last six years. In such circumstances, he could not resort to the miserable expedient of continued


loans. When the Post-office revenue was abandoned, a surrender which he had dissuaded, the Parliament which gave it up, engaged to grant some other supply in its stead. Should he, then, impose a tax on articles of consumption, on the necessaries of life? He could not consent to place burthens upon the labouring classes; and if the House attempted that, recent experience proved, that they would be defeated. The late Government had proposed an additional per centage of 5 per cent. on the Customs and Excise, and of 10 per cent. on the Assessed Taxes. In last year, the additional per centage on the Customs and Excise, instead of producing 5l, on each 100l., had produced but about 10s.; but the per centage on the Assessed Taxes had produced considerably more than the estimated result of 10l. for each 100l.; a new survey, however, having been made for the purpose of the increased assessment. These facts proved that the country had arrived at the limits of taxation on articles of consumption. All these resources, then, being set aside, should he revive old taxes? Should he go back to the Post-office? At present, the new packet expenses being added, the Post-office produced no revenue at all, but rather occasioned a charge; but he did not think the recent reduction had yet had a sufficient trial to justify as yet an increase upon postage. Should he revive the taxes upon salt, upon leather, or upon wool? Upon the faith of their abolition various contracts had been entered into, and salt particularly had been applied to various new purposes. Should he resort to locomotion for the purposes of taxation? He was reluctant to tax

the means of transferring from place to place the labour of those whose labour was their only capital. Gas light would fall within the same analogy, and ought to retain the same exemption. After ridiculing the various suggestions of people who were constantly sending him projects for taxes on pianofortes, umbrellas, and other articles, accompanied with claims of very large per centages upon the proceeds, he came to the question raised by the late Government, how far it might be possible to obtain increased revenue from diminished taxation; a resource which the fullest consideration had satisfied him, was wholly inadequate to the immediate emergency. That a nation's revenue was eventually increased by diminished taxation, might be quite true; but the first effect was always a fall of that revenue, and a long interval was found necessary to restore the amount. This principle was illustrated by what had happened with respect to wine, tobacco, coffee, hemp, rum, sugar, and other articles. A mere reduction of duties, therefore, would not suffice to meet the present exigencies; and he would now state what was the measure which, under a deep conviction of its necessity, he was prepared to propose; and which he was persuaded would benefit the country, not only in her pecuniary interests, but in her security and her cha


He would propose, for a period to be limited, an Income-tax of not more than 7d. in the pound, or about 3 per cent, from which he would exempt all incomes under 150l., and in which he would include not only landed but funded property, whether in the

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hands of British subjects or of foreigners. He estimated the assessable yearly value of the land at 39,400,000l.; of houses at 25,000,000l.; of tithes, shares in railways and mines, and other similar property, at 8,400,0007.; total, 72,800,000. From this he would deduct one-fourth for the exemption which he proposed to give to all incomes under 150l., and then the tax thus far would give him 1,600,000l. piers of land (assessed at half their rent,) would yield would yield 120,000l. Next came funded property. The dividend paid in 1841 was 29,400,000l., from which he would deduct 1,000,000l., in respect of the Savings-banks; but he must add upon bank, foreign, and other stocks 1,500,000l., making a total of almost 30,000,000l., from which he would deduct one-fourth for incomes under 1501. a-year; and then the proceeds of his tax would be 646,000l. He now arrived at the incomes of trades and professions, a part of the subject attended with great difficulty; the produce he expected from this source was 1,250,000l. From the income of public offices, he calculated upon 150,000l. The total would be 3,771,000l. With respect to the duration of this impost, the view of Government was, that it might probably require to be continued for five years; unless in case of such a revival of commercial prosperity, from the other measures, which he was about to propose, as might induce Parliament to take the opportunity of revising the subject; but he would, in the first instance, propose a continuance for three years only.

In case of war, he should deem it reasonable that Ireland should

bear her proportion of this tax; but during peace, and for a limited period, and in the absence of all machinery in Ireland for collection, he should prefer to raise the quota of that country by other means. He thought he could do so, consistently with the Act of Union, by two methods, the first of which would be a duty of 1s. per gallon upon spirits. This approach to the equalization of the spirit duty in the three kingdoms would, on certain fiscal grounds, which he explained, be a great advantage to the nation at large, and to Ireland in particular. For a long while, the Temperance pledge in that country had been very effectual, but the consumption of spirits there had of late been again upon the increase. He calculated from this source to receive 250,000l. The other source to which he looked in Ireland was the equalization of the stamp-duty with that of England, from which he expected to receive 160,000%. In Great Britain, however, as well as in Ireland, he proposed to reduce the stamp upon charter parties, and bills of lading. With respect to regular absentees from Ireland, having no call of public duty to fix them in England, he proposed to require from them the payment of the same property-tax which would be required from other residents in this island. Another resource would be a tax of 4s. upon coal exported in British vessels from this country; a fair impost, when it was considered, that the article thus carried abroad was a most important material of our own industry, and a great assistance to that of rival nations. That tax was already imposed on coalexported in foreign vessels, but the vessels

of many countries claimed exemption on the ground of reciprocity treaties: it would now be levied on all alike: Such a tax would probably yield an income of 200,000l. ; and would operate, unlike most other taxes, as an encouragement to native industry.

The aggregate revenue, then, from all these sources would be 4,380,000l.; constituting a considerable surplus, after covering the deficiency on the votes of annual expenditure. This surplus he proposed to apply in relaxing the commercial tariff. He had considered on each of the numerous articles included, the proportion between the price and the duty. His main principles had been, removal of prohibition, and reduction in the duties upon raw materials, which should not, in scarcely any case, exceed 5 per cent. He should also considerably diminish the duties upon articles partially manufactured, the highest being 12 per cent.; and even upon complete manufactures, he contemplated that the maximum should not, in general, exceed 20 per cent. now laid upon the table this amended scale of duties, which had been distributed into twenty different heads; for it was all prepared. It would be found that in about 750 articles, there had been an abatement of duty recommended; and that on about 450 the duty had been left untouched. Treaties were now pending with various nations, in which several of these articles were the subject of discussion; and such articles of course would not be included in the present reductions. The total diminution of revenue occasioned by all the reductions would probably be not more than about 270,000l. On sugar, he regretted



to say, the present Ministers could not offer any reduction they could not consent to let in the sugars of Cuba and Brazil without some securities upon the subject of slavery in those countries; and they thought to reduce the duties on British sugar without a corresponding reduction on foreign sugars, would be merely to give to the British planters a monopolyprice, without advantage to the British consumers. The present prospects as to the supply of British sugar, were, however, of a highly satisfactory character. With respect to coffee, of which the consumption had lately decreased, he would recommend a great reduction of duty, bring down the rate per pound to 4d., upon British, and 8d. upon foreign coffee. The loss of revenue, after some allowance for increase of consumption would probably be 171,000l. On the subject of timber his measure would be the reverse of that which was brought forward by the late Ministry; he would advise a great reduction of duty, which would benefit all classes, from the agriculturist to the ship-builder; but he would interpose protection to the interests of the Canadas, which he would treat as an integral part of this island, by admitting their timber at a duty little more than nominal. Accordingly, while he would lower the duty on foreign timber to 25s. a load, he would let in the timber of Canada at a duty of 1s. The loss on these reductions in the timber duty he estimated at 600,000l. There were yet two other reductions he had to propose one upon the export of certain British manufactures, on which he proposed altogether to remit the duty; the other upon

stage-coaches, the duty upon which, in point of justice, as between them and railway-carriages, he proposed considerably to diminish. These two heads of reduction would produce a loss of 70,000/. On the whole, these reductions, in addition to the excess of expenditure, would increase the deficit to somewhat more than 3,700,000l.; but the estimated produce of the newly proposed sources of income would not only cover this, but leave more than half-a-million sterling, applicable to the contingencies of our distant


Sir Robert Peel concluded with an earnest appeal to the House to support untarnished the name which the English nation had inherited from their forefathers, and which they had maintained in this century throughout a protracted war, and during twenty-five years of peace. He then moved his first resolution, which was, to grant a duty on Irish spirits.

No discussion followed Sir Robert Peel's speech.

Lord John Russell in a few words, welcomed the liberal principles of the measure, but hinted that a relaxation of the duties on sugar would be better than of those on timber. A few exceptions were taken by other Members, but the discussion of so important a

measure was reserved for further consideration. The motion was then agreed to, and the House resumed.

The first Parliamentary discussion which the propositions of the Government gave rise to occurred in the House of Lords a few days after their announcement by Sir Robert Peel. Lord Brougham introduced a string of resolutions touching the Income-tax, by a

speech of great length, in which he stated that his former opinion, respecting that species of impost remained unchanged, but, at the same time, he could not say that it was possible longer to refuse that mode of raising the supplies. He retraced nearly the same ground which Sir Robert Peel had travelled over a few days before, arguing that the deficiency in the revenue could not be supplied by reduced taxation on consumption. He thought, however, that if an Income-tax must be imposed, the same rate of taxation ought not to be imposed on all incomes equal in amount, but varying in kind. The injustice of such a principle became strikingly exemplified, when applied to incomes arising from professions.

He could not conceive anything more lamentable than the state to which a professional man might be reduced, from the state of his health-from sudden weakness of mind, or from a debilitated frame -with distress falling upon him and premature decay, and with his income falling short of his wants, and having no capital to fall back


“Optima quæque dies miseris mortalibus ævi

Prima fugit; subeunt morbi, tristisque senectûs,

Et labor, et duræ rapit inclementia mortis."

These casualties were of the number of those which fell to the lot of the professional man; and these matters should be duly taken into account, before it went forth that you intended to impose the same tax upon his income as upon that of the landowner, the fundholder, or other capitalist.

He suggested a graduated scale, applicable to the several sources of


“He would make the per centage less upon the professions and upon the life estate than in the case of the tenant in fee, even though they should increase from 3 to 4 per cent. the amount levied upon the one, and diminish from 3 to 2 per cent. the amount levied upon the other. If in the case of the professional man, the clergyman, the physician, the lawyer, the literary man, they lowered the per centage to two, though they should be obliged to increase it in the case of others who had capital to deal with to four, he should still by all means counsel them to make the reduction. But it was his most confident expectation, that it would not be necessary; but that, leaving 3 per cent. to be charged upon the one, and lowering the other to two, and giving relief to the tenants, occupiers of land, and professional persons, they would still have enough to supply the deficiency in the revenue.

After a compliment to the Queen on volunteering to subject herself to the Income-tax, and a regret that so splendid a national resource should not be reserved for a period of war, he concluded by moving the following resolution :

"1. That a direct tax upon income ought never to be resorted to unless in some great emergency of public affairs, when an extraordinary expenditure may become unavoidable for a time, or in some pressure upon the finances of the country, which can be sustained by no other means.

"2. That such a tax ought on no account to form part of the ordinary revenue of the State, but to cease with the necessity which alone could justify its imposition; inasmuch as, beside all the other objections to which it is liable,

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