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was drunk, he did not intend the slightest diminution of respect or loyalty to the Queen, explaining, as I have done, that it was not a political act, but an act of faith to a spiritual sovereign, and not interfering with any political allegiance. Colonel Greville, I understand, is a Protestant himself, but the large majority of the meeting were Roman Catholics; and he positively declares that, so far from sharing in any of the sentiments of the speech quoted by the noble Marquess, he utterly disclaims that he entertains any sort of sympathy in the slightest degree for such opinions. Well, having received this positive disclaimer from Colonel Greville, both with respect to the spirit in which he was present when the Pope's health was drunk before that of the Queen, and with respect to the sentiments which the noble Marquess says are seditious, and which I call very improper, but do not know if they amount to sedition-Colonel Greville having utterly disclaimed all participation in such sentiments-the Lord Chancellor did not think it necessary to proceed further in the matter by dismissing him from the magistracy. I have not the honour of Colonel Greville's acquaintance. He is a Member of the other House of Parliament, and one certainly not friendly to the present Government, but quite the contrary; but I am authorised by him to express before your Lordships this disclaimer in his behalf. The noble Marquess says that the communication with the Lord Chancellor was a close communication, and he wishes for a public disclaimer; so far as my assertion can answer the purpose, I have authority to repeat, on the part of Colonel Greville, that disclaimer which he addressed to the Lord Chancellor. That being the case, I am, as I said before, not at all concerned to justify the conduct of Colonel Greville, and still less to justify many of the speeches delivered on the occasion referred to. I am concerned only in justifying the refusal of the Lord Chancellor to dismiss Colonel Greville from the magistracy. In that course I think his Lordship was perfectly right; and he has said that these inquiries were made for his own satisfaction, and not in order to meet the noble Marquess. The noble Marquess may easily conceive that the correspondence between Colonel Greville and the Lord Chancellor might involve matters which it would not be at all desirable to lay before the public, and I must decline to give my sanction to its publication.
The Earl of Aberdeen
THE EARL OF DESART said, that the utmost importance was attached in Ireland to a show of promptitude and vigour on the part of the Executive in repressing the utterance of treasonable speeches by gentlemen holding Her Majesty's commission of the peace. It had long been the practice in Ireland, by means of speeches and pamphlets circulated among the people, to inculcate in their minds the spirit of that treasonable axiom, that England's difficulty was Ireland's opportunity;" and when such speeches were sanctioned by the presence of any servant of the Crown, or person holding the commission of the peace, a great want of confidence and trust in the vigour and firmness of the Government was produced on the part of the people, unless they perceived that the Executive was ready to suppress any show of treasonable sufferance on the part of those who were employed under the Crown, and especially those who were in the commission of the peace. Prior to the ridiculous attempt of Smith O'Brien and his party in 1849 the same course was adopted both by the publication of pamphlets and the making of speeches. He remembered well how utterly futile they proved to be, and he knew also how futile they were at this moment. At the same time, he must say that it was most dangerous to allow a practice of the sort to continue amongst an excitable and impressible people like the Irish-a people who were bred up in hostility to England and the English Government, and which feeling of hostility was fostered by agitators, and backed up by the priests of Ireland, who had, by dint of the most extravagant superstition, established their au thority over the minds of the people, and he had almost said over their souls and their bodies. If the people were now, as he had good grounds for believing they were, anxious to shake off these fettersanxious to emancipate themselves from the slavery in which they had so long been held-their Lordships might rely upon it that that feeling would be very much weakened by every show of indecision or want of firmness on the part of the Executive in dealing with the cases that might be brought before them of treasonable conduct on the part of those who were in the service of the Crown. When the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) was in Ireland, a magistrate of the county of Kilkenny was indicted for holding treasonable language at a public meeting in that county, and, being convicted, was impri
He did not refer to "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
soned for the offence. that particular instance as a precedent. But he could not help saying that he thought such conduct on the part of magistrates was most reprehensible. They ought to bear in mind that forgetfulness of their duty was fatal to their own character; and that, by so acting, they did a great deal of mischief in weakening the desire of the people to emancipate themselves from the influence of political agitators and the spiritual tyranny of the clergy.
THE MARQUESS OF WESTMEATH said, that the disclaimer which he had gained from the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) of any concurrence in the sentiments and language held at the meeting on the part of Colonel Greville was most gratifying. He regretted that it had not been accompanied by an expression of regret on the part of Colonel Greville that he had been present when the healths of the Pope and the Queen were drunk in the order and in the manner in which they were. He could not make so light of the matter as the noble Earl had done; but he had no doubt that the noble Earl conscientiously thought that this matter was not so serious as he (the Marquess of Westmeath) believed it to be. While he was thankful that the Government had not disgraced a man who was a relative of his own, he did not think that the circumstances warranted the aspect which the noble Earl had put upon the Motion. Provided this matter brought home to the mind of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland the conviction that the public eye was upon him, and that hereafter, so long as he remained there, he must not blow hot and cold, having one measure for one person, and another for another, he (the Marquess of Westmeath) should be satisfied with the disclaimer he had obtained, and would withdraw his Motion. Motion, by leave of the House, withdrawn. House adjourned till To-morrow.
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
Monday, May 15, 1854. MINUTES. NEW MEMBERS SWORN.-For Devonport, Sir Thomas Erskine Perry; for Lichfield, Lord Waterpark; for Hastings, Frederick North, Esq. PUBLIC BILLS. -1° Hospitals and Infirmaries (Ireland).
2° Excise Duties; Customs Duties.
EXCISE DUTIES BILL.
Order for Second Reading read.
MR. CAYLEY said, he rose to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. It was always a painful thing to resist a financial proposition made by the Government, and more especially was it so at a critical moment like the present. Impelled, however, by a sense of public duty, he was under the necessity of interrupting the harmony which had hitherto distinguished the proceedings and votes of the House in respect to the supplies which the Ministers had asked for to enable them to carry on the war in which we were now unfortunately engaged. The proposed increase of the malt tax was not only a measure unjust in itself, but inconsistent with the principles of commercial policy which Ministers had insisted on being recognised, and which the Opposition had assented to. In taking that course, however, he and those who supported him were actuated solely by a sense of public duty; and it was upon that ground that they based their opposition to what they regarded as an oppressive, an unjust, and an unequal tax. So indisposed had he been to undertake the office, that he had waited anxiously for several days in the hope of seeing some other Member notify his intention to oppose the proposition of the Government with reference to the malt tax: but no one having done so, he had undertaken the office, painful as it was. With regard to the war for which they were asked to vote supplies, he thought it was as inevitable now as it had been unnecessary in the first instance; for no one who had read the blue books which had been laid on the table could come to any other conclusion than that it had been brought about by obsequious and vacillating negotiations, and that the means which had been intended to preserve peace had caused us to bump against war. He did not make the charge of vacillation against the whole of the prevent Government, because previously to the commencement of 1853 the negotiations had, in his opinion, been carried on with prudence and magnanimity by the noble. Lords the Members for Tiverton (Visct. Palmerston) and London (Lord J. Russell), and by the Earl of Malmesbury. If, indeed, England had at that time chosen to adopt a selfish instead of a magnanimous policy, it would have been easy to allow Russia and France to battle out their differences together; for what was meant by the large forces which had been raised throughout Europe during the last fifty years? They
But then the
extent allowed to escape.
meant the dread of the claw of the Eagle on the one hand, and of the paw of the Bear on the other. England, however, had the magnanimity to interpose its friendly offices between France and Russia in 1851, and France wisely and gracefully retired from the fatal course which she had been pursuing. He could not, however, quite exonerate the noble Lord the Member for London, because in the secret correspondence he appeared inadvertently to consider Russia's claim to a protectorate over the Greek subjects of the Porte as tenable, and had thereby indirectly given the Emperor a right to assume that that part, at all events, of his policy would not be opposed by Lord Aberdeen's Cabinet, But Lord Clarendon, immediately on succeeding to the noble Lord in the Foreign Office, had distinctly accepted the Emperor of Russia's policy throughout, and the conclusion of those secret negotiations was a memorandum of Russia, virtually clenching the English Government to the compact. If Lord Clarendon's language had been as firm during those secret negotiations and when Prince Menchikoff was at Constantinople as it had been in the present year -if Russia had been told in confidence in those secret negotiations, as she treated us so confidentially, that if her forces en-tective policy in staying the falling duty on tered the Principalities we must at once enter the Black Sea and put an end for ever to the status quo-the Principalities would not have been entered, and no war would have taken place. It was clear to his (Mr. Cayley's) mind, that the language of the English Government at the beginning of 1853 had misled the Emperor of Russia-that no one intended or desired war less than the Emperor of Russiaand that if it had not been for the language and conduct of the Government of this country, and especially if Lord Aberdeen had not been Prime Minister, there would have been no war. This was conspicuous from the papers laid before us. But the Government, having bungled us into this war, now asked us to pay the expenses of it, and the House had voted Estimates for that purpose, believing that the money would be raised in an equal and just manner; instead of which, the policy that the Government had adopted was unequal and unjust, and totally opposed to those principles which it had itself laid down as politic. The House had cheerfully granted an income tax, although it was paid principally by real property, while incomes from trade and professions were notoriously to a great
sugar, the effect of which was to operate protectively towards the West Indian interest. The Chancellor of the Exchequer bore a high character for moral integrity, notwithstanding the failure of his financial schemes, and he believed that the right hon. Gentleman would be actuated by no undue motives; but it was a curious circumstance that, while he had it in his power to stay the fall of the duty on tea, he had preferred to stay the fall of the duty on sugar. He supposed the right hon. Gentleman was not now connected with the West India interest, but he remembered having heard in that House from the right hon. Gentleman, exactly twenty years ago, one of the most eloquent, convincing, and impressive speeches he had ever heard, and one which was then understood to have been delivered on behalf of that interest. His present plan would certainly act protectively towards the West India interest, which had, no doubt, been much injured, and therefore was entitled to any consideration it could obtain. But he could not understand why the right hon. Gentleman, with all his ingenuity, had selected malt for taxation instead of choosing something more novel. There could not be a greater interference with in
dustry than the malt tax. He should pose that the Government would adopt like to see the hon. Member for the West any suggestion of his; but he told them Riding (Mr. Cobden) or the hon. Member what they might have done by a system for Manchester (Mr. Bright) amenable to which would have been more in conformity those civil attentions which were now paid with their principles as well as more in by the exciseman to the maltster, and see consistence with equality and justice than how they would bear the interruptions, that which they had adopted. Barley was penalties, and annoyances which encum- to the agriculturists of this country what bered the dealing with that article of pro- cotton was to the manufacturers. Barley duce. What the Government had promised was the pivot upon which improved and them was freedom of trade, and surely free- scientific agriculture turned, and it was dom of trade meant an unrestricted trade. the grain with which the foreigner could One of the great grievances, however, of least interfere. He wanted to know, then, which the agriculturists had had to com- what greater interference it would be with plain ever since the repeal of the Corn Laws the industry of the country to lay a tax was, that the Government had not given upon cotton yarn than it was to lay it upon them an unrestricted trade. They had agricultural malt? One single reason, and begged of the Government to be true to only one, was given why malt should be their own principles, but they had never taxed, and that was that it was an ancient been so. They had contended that the tax, and a tax on the consumer. He (Mr. malt tax and the hop duties were a viola- Cayley) would show how it was a much tion of those principles, and now the Go- greater tax upon the producer. But, if vernment not only did not relieve them, that tax fell on the consumer, why did they but actually aggravated them to the ex- make an outcry against the tax upon cotton tent of a third or nearly a half. Was yarn? Cotton yarn went equally into conthere no other commodity which they sumption with malt, and so a tax upon it might have found to operate upon of equally would only be a tax on the consumer. But extensive consumption? They said that when a tax on yarn existed it was soon they were about to tax the consumer; but clamoured off. And why was it not now they would not by this measure tax all the revived?-because they found it would hit consumers. The mercantile classes would the manufacturers, and the manufacturers to a great extent escape, while the tax would were a body not to be trifled with. The fall upon the poor man, by whom this na- repeal of the Corn Laws operated in favour tional beverage was considered as a staff of of the consumer, and to the detriment of life. If they desired to lay a tax upon the producer. The effect of the repeal the consumer, they should lay it candidly, of the Corn Laws had been to introduce openly, and equally. There was but one 8,000,000 or 10,000,000 quarters of foreign efficient method of doing this under the corn, and the result of that was to lower existing system of finance; and that me- the price. The Government had told them thod would not be nearly so great a violation that they could not have a Parliamentary of their own principles as was involved in price for wheat; but he objected to their the present proposition. We now imported present policy that they forced a Parlia100,000,000l. worth of goods into this mentary price upon barley; for by their country annually, and a tax of 5 per cent interference with malt they made beer four upon this would yield 5,000,000l. That times dearer than it would otherwise be. sum would have sufficed for the Chancellor If beer could be manufactured perfectly of the Exchequer's wants. This would have free, if there were no licences and none of been general and equal, and would have that monopoly which this tax and the fallen upon the trading classes as well as licensing system had engendered, beer on the labourer, the farmer, and the land- which now cost 4d. per quart might be owner, without interfering with the in- brewed for 1d. The effect, then, if this dustrial processes of the country. If tax were repealed, would be an increased 10,000,000l. even had been required, it demand for barley, and, if it followed the might easily have been procured by a tax course of other articles of general consumpof 10 per cent upon imports, with little tion, after a reduction or repeal of duties, the variation on the price, for the burden of increase would be at least threefold. From such a tax would not have been borne ex- this it was evident that this was not merely clusively by this country, but would have a barley question, but that it was a wheat been shared by those countries from whence and oats question also, because, the prethe importations come. He did not sup- sent consumption of barley in malting
being 5,000,000 quarters, if there were an increased demand for 8,000,000 or 10,000,000 quarters of barley, it was evident that the same amount of wheat and other grain must give way to it; for barley and wheat, it was clear, could not grow on the same soil at the same time, and barley for malting was an article almost exclusively of British supply; 8,000,000 or 10,000,000 quarters of wheat or oats, therefore, would be taken out of the market, and, the demand continuing the same and the supply less, the price of wheat and other grain would be enhanced; and, therefore, he had always contended that if the malt tax had been repealed, it would have gone far to compensate the British grower for the repeal of the Corn Laws. Instead of that, however, they were now going to aggravate the injury which they had already inflicted upon the agricultural interest; and so unjust, unequal, and oppressive was the proposition, that he was at a loss to what to attribute it, or to understand whether it were intended as a fling at a class or a blow to a party. In consequence of the numerous restrictions and oppressions produced by the malt tax, the brewer and the maltster took out of the public purse more than the Exchequer received, by upwards of threefold. The malt tax at present, therefore, cost the country, not merely 5,000,000l., the nominal amount which went into the Exchequer, but in reality 20,000,000l. He (Mr. Cayley) could prove, by the evidence of practical brewers, that ale which sold now at 5d. per pot could-if there were no tax, no licence, no excise, no penalties-sell, with profit, for 2d. Out of the extra charge of 3d., only a fourth went to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the remaining threefourths being pocketed by the maltster and brewer, not in the way of ordinary profit, but in excess of the ordinary rate of profit, through the monopoly engendered by this tax and its accessories. So that, in fact, in order to raise 5,000,000l. of revenue, the public was mulcted to the extent of 20,000,000l.; and that was taken, not so much out of the pockets of the trading classes and the rich, as out of the pockets of the poor and hard-working man. Now, the malt tax affected the landed producers also indirectly in this way-an acre of land produced, say five quarters of barley, which could be converted into beer at a cost of about 107. were there no tax; whilst at present it cost 50l., which, he did not hesitate to say, upon every cultivated acre of
land in the kingdom-whether of the plains of Ireland or the hills of Scotland-was equal to a tax of 25s., because the effect of the malt tax was to diminish the consumption of barley, and to increase the growth of wheat. Repeal the malt taxyou would create an entirely new demand for at least 8,000,000 quarters of the British grain of barley, that would raise its price, at first, say 7s. or 8s. a quarter; but the next effect of it would be to diminish the growth of wheat and oats to that extent, namely, of 8,000,000 quarters,. which would permanently raise their price, say 5s. a quarter. The average produce of grain in this country was not less than five quarters per acre. The rise on each quarter by a repeal of the malt tax of 5s. would be 25s. an acre. The maintenance of the malt duties, on the other hand, prohibited this advantage to the landed interest, and operated as a tax upon the land of 25s. an acre. For, if the repeal of the Corn Laws lowered the price of wheat 10s. a quarter, by admitting 8,000,000 quarters of additional supply, which it did previous to the gold discoveries, it was clear that a new demand for 8,000,000 quarters of grain must tend to raise its price; and 5s. a quarter increase was a moderate estimate; and this was what was called justice and free trade. Why not apply taxation in a more just manner? If individual articles were to be invidiously selected for the inquisition of the exciseman, and the pruning-knife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, why was the produce of British agriculture alone doomed to the infliction? It really seemed as if a decree had forth from William gone Ewart Augustus (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), not, as of old, that all the world should be taxed, but that no one in the world should be taxed but the poor farmer and the poor labourer. Then see how this tax had operated in a moral point of view. In the year 1795 the tax on a barrel of malt in Ireland was 2s. 6d.; in 1801 it was raised to 6s. 6d., at which time the consumption of malt had diminished from 1,284,000 bushels to 173,500 bushels. In other words, there was seven times more malt consumed at the commencement than at the close of these six years. The Government of the day taxed out the consumption of beer in Ireland, and taxed in the consumption of whisky in that country, and compelled the Irish to become a whisky instead of a beer consuming people. In 1792, when the tax