Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

12 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

fianta CarrcsjtotoL. j


fianta CarrcsjtotoL. j [We deem it right to state that we do not identify ourselves f with our correspondent's opinions.] iParty politics in reference to the Budget now run kigh. In my capacity as a London correspondent, however, I have no desire to lean to either side I have but to note the aspects of the political horizon. It is impossible, then, to glance at the political world without ,coming to the conclusion that the present Government .are strong. They show signs of strength. The double attack by the Conservatives on the Palmerston Ministry has signally failed. Mr. Disraeli's onslaught and Mr. Du Cane's forlorn hope have both proved not only un- successful, but have, to a great extent, damaged the party that made the attempt. Giving the Conservatives every credit for sincerity, there is little doubt that the majority of the House and the country are against them on some of the leading features of the Budget. The battle of the Budget has now commenced in earnest and inch by inch the ground will be contested. It is curious to watch how the decisions of the House of Commons have an immediate action upon the interests of the country; for instance, we are reminded that the moment the House passed the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the wine duties, the change in this important branch of trade commenced. Till the 1st of January next there will be only a duty of 3s. a gallon on all foreign wines imported into this country and from that date a graduated scale of duties accord- ing to proof—Is. a gallon on wines under 18 degrees proof; Is. 6d. under 26 degrees; and 2s. under 40 degrees. Now commences the change in the wine trade. There will be, I suppose, a revolution in it such as it has never before had. People talk about the light wines of France as if they were the only wines to be affected by the new law; but we shall soon find the fact to be very different to this; Would that with this change in the law there were also more new regu- lations to prevent adulteration! How much "port" shall we have for sale now, I wonder ? Already there is about twice as much "port" sold in this country as really comes from Portugal. It is manufactured "port;" of course as much like genuine port as a penny Cuba'is like a genuine Havannah. An enormous lot of rub- bish will now be sent into the market, and it is high time that some powerful repressive measure were brought to bear upon the adulterators—not of wine only —but of almost every article of consumption. Mr. Scholefield's Bill will be, I fear, so far alrbut powerless in this matter. In connection with the wine-duty question there is another question arising out of the Budget which is of great interest. I refer to the proposed alterations in the licensing system. Opinions differ very widely here on this matter but there is no mistake about the opinions of the public-house interest. Public opinion varies,' but public-house opinion ia time as the needle, to the pole." The Morning Advertiser, as everybody knows, represents the publican interest,, and it is curious to notice how this journal attacks Mr. Gladstone for the changes he proposes to make. It says, for instance One year of the operation of Mr. Gladstone's licence to confectioners and proprietors of refreshment places generally, to sell wine, will inflict an injury on the morals of the community which it will require a whole generation to repair;" and it further opines that this part of the .Budget "will prove the parent of evils of such fearful magnitude, both as regards the present life and that which, is to come." But the most curious feature of the Tizer's" antagonism, is that it actually sides with the teetotallers :-—" We are glad to perceive that the Total Abstinence Society has begun to take up this question, and that the religious bodies are preparing to bring all their powerful re- sources to bear against the passing of that part of the Budget which contemplates the granting licences for the sale of wine to the classes we have mentioned." For a paper which is almost exclusively supported by pub- licans, which is managed by a committee of publicans, and which belongs, in fact, to the "licensed victuallers," this phase of political antagonism is certainly curious. By the way, it is very curious also that the publicans' paper should be edited by a teetotaller, but it is not more curious than true. Mr. Gladstone, however, has to contend against a powerful body when he has opposed to him the public-house interest. The publicans, as a body, are very powerful here. During the period of an election this power is manifested very decidedly. In London the candidates for senatorial honours are ob- liged to court the favours of the publicans. The com- mittee-rooms are all at public-houses, and in return for the large amount of custom which the election pro- ceedings brings to the house, Boniface gives the can- didate a good deal of assistance. Any one who puts up for a metropolitan district knows full well that he must engage a number of public-houses, or he will stand no chance. This accounts, perhaps, for the way in which the metropolitan members are opposing the proposed abolition of the public-house monopoly. If they do not, the publipans will mark them for vengeance next election. On dit that the match between the Prince of Orange and the Princess Alice is off, or, to speak more politely, that the offer of the Prince's hand and heart has been declined. Of course, the public are not supposed to know anything about it, but it has oozed out that an objection has been raised by her Majesty to the be- trothal. As the match would be, for political and religions reasons, of an advantageous character, it is whispered that the reasons why it is put off are of a serious and of a personal character. Speculation is, of course, on the qui vive to know what these reasons are. The ladies are in these matters the best judges, and the ladies come to a unanimous conclusion, as far as I know. They sum it up in a few words: "She don't like him." If this be the case, the decision at which the Queen has arrived does her great credit. Royal mothers have not usually been so considerate of young ladies* feelings. Your readers may often catch sight of such a para- graph as this:—" His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, honoured the performance of Christy's Minstrels with his presence on Thursday last, at the Town Hall, Oxford. His Royal Highness was attended by the members of his suite." This may all be very well; it is perfectly legitimate, no doubt, for the young gen- tleman to go and hear the Christy Minstrels, attended 'by the members of his suite." But, if all I hear be true, his Royal Highness likes now and then to rid himself of this incumbrance. Our old friend Haroun Alraschid, of the Arabian Nights, used to slip out from his courtiers, and' wander about Bagdad in disguise. All sovereigns, more or less, must have a fancy for the same thing. The Prince of Wales, however, is still in statupwpillai'i, and generally speak- >i.i T t • • ,ther J ales went How as I eard here- your f, the :ment e kably y had •ently -,f the paid to ine motion untu he tmu uad io unique an Jfthn matter alluded to. If any old trees had been cut dov -n he should be sorry for it. After some remarks from the Lord Chancellor, the Mar quis of Westmeath, and the Earl of Carnarvon, the sen "„s of hills for Consolidating the Criminal Law were read a see, md time. The House afterwards went into committee on the Indie t able Offences Bill and the Court of Chancery Bill whicl: I both passed through committee. The report of amendments of the Endowed Schools Bills was brought up and agreed to. The St. Mary in Rydal Marriages Validity Bill was read a third time and passed. Their Lordships then adjourned. In the House- of Commons the preset! tat'on of petitions for and against the chief points in the Budget agi;m«cpuoied a considerable^iortion of the early part of the eveiiidg. Mr. Jackson moved that a humble address be presented to her Majesty, praying that she will be graciously pleased to Issue a Royal Commission to inquire into the system of control and management of her Majesty's dockyard, the pur- Chase of materials and stores, the cost of building, repairing, altering, fitting and refitting her Majesty's ships.—Ordered. Mr. Stanhope moved for some returns relating to the in- come tax, which were agreed to, Questions relating to different features of the Budget were put to the Chancellor of the Exchequer by several members, to which Mr. Gladstone gave suitable answers and explana- tions. In reply to Mr. Kinglake, Lord J. Russell stated that the papers completing the guarantee treaties, wli, ch had been moved for on Thursday last, required for the purpose of the discussion respecting Savoy and Nice, would be found in the 3rd volume of the State Papers. Some discussion followed on a motion by Mr. T. Dun combe relative to the Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, which was ultimately withdrawn. The adjourned debate on the Conservative amendment to the Budget was resumed by Mr. Hubbard, who made an able speech against the Government proposals. He was answered with equal ability by Mr. E. Baines, the member for Leeds. Several short speeches followed, of which the most notice- able were those of Mr. Horsfall and Mr. Byng, both in sup- port of the Budget. Sir F. Baring spoke at some length in general condemnation of Mr. Gladstone's scheme, expressing his alarm at the pro- spective deficiency of twelve millions in a Budget to be pre- sented in a newly-constitui ed Parliament. Mr. Bright observed that there was but one opinion ex- pressed in the country with respect to the general proposi- tion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the mQtion, which was a fair one, went to defeat the whole scheme, to reject the budget and the treaty, and to overthrow the Govern- ment. The result of this would be a new budget, indirect taxes, and, at the same time, an estrangement from France, which he thought would be very unfortunate. The treaty, he observed, was but a part of the proposition of the Chan- cellor of the Exchequer, who proposed to reduce and simplify the tariff, and to abolish the hated excise upon paper and he asked the opponents of the Budget whether Id., or 2d,, or 3d., in the pound Income-tax was too much to pay for the great good which the country would receive from it. But, although he spoke thus in favour of the treaty, the Budget, and the relaxation of the tariff, he was not unmind- ful of one great blot in the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer he alluded to the frightful, the scandalous increase of expenditure, Mr. Whiteside, after a reply, seasoned with sarcasm, to Mr. Bright, discussed the treaty, which he termed a partial and one-sided instrument. He especially condemned the article binding England not to impose a duty on the exportation of csal, which deprived the House, he said, of its legislative authority in the matter. He returned to the speech of Mr. Bright, upon which he expended a good deal of declamation, lively, satirical, and discursive and then attacked the financial scheme of the Government,—the reduction of the wine duties, the repeal Of the paper duty, and the income- tax, upon the demoralising and mischievous effect of which he vehemently insisted, declaring the doubling of it to be an immoral proposition, calculated to corrupt society. The treaty, in his opinion, ought to be reconsidered, and the budget, under the circumstances of the country, he considered unwise and inexpedient. Mr. Cardwell observed that the motion demurred to no particular article in the treaty, nor to any proposition in the budget, but raised the whole question of our financial policy in the fairest manner. He justified the course pro- posed by the Government by the success of the policy upon which it was founded, observing that even where duties were altogether remitted, it was a mistake to suppose that no returns to the Exchequer were obtained by the remission. But returns to the Exchequer were not all the benefits con- ferred by the remission of taxation; it had trebled our foreign trade, added to the wealth of every class of the community, diminished the expense of pauperism, and ex- tended social comforts. On the motion of Mr. Newdegate, the debate was again adjourned. The Valuation of Rateable Property (Ireland) Bill passed through committee. After some further business, the House adjourned. In the House of Lords on Friday, Feb. 24th, Viscount Dun- gannon introduced his resolution about clergymen preaching in theatres, but it was by no means palatable to the House. Lord Shaftesbury and the Duke of Marlborough defended the special religious services. The Bishops said little and in the end Lord Dungannon withdrew his resolution, and the House adjourned. In the House of Commons, after a long series of questions upon a great variety of subjects had been put and answered, a novel question was put by Mr. Hadfield as to the great and disgraceful prize fight for what is called the championship of England. The Home Secretary remarked that he could do no more than instruct the police to prevent it, but he held out little hope that the police would scent out the time and place. The adjourned debate on Mr. Du Cane's motion was resumed by Mr. Newdegate, who condemned the financial plan of the Govrnment, and warned the House that 12,000,0002. would not represent the deficiency it would have to cope with in the year 1861-62, and this deficiency Mr. Bright, he said, threatened to fasten, by direct taxation, upon real property. Mr. Bright, in explanation, said he had never made such a proposition. Mr. Bernal Osborne replied at some length, answering those who called the Budget a Manchester one by saying that it was just because it was a Manchester Budget that he gave it his support. Mr. T. Baring spoke at some length against the treaty and the Budget. Mr. Milner Gibson had heard with regret, he said a person of such high authority in the commercial world as Mr. Baring condemn the policy and financial arrange- ments of the Government; but he recollected that Mr. Baring had been the uniform and persevering op- ponent of commercial reform. In defending the provisions of the treaty Mr. Gibson showed that the benefits conferred by it upon the agricultural class, in supplying articles which they were in the habit of consuming at a lower rate, would not be inconsiderable, while the poor-rate would be diminished by the demand for labour which the reductions of duty would create. There was, he observed, a great feeling against the income-tax; but 30,000,000z. expended upon our military and naval armaments obviously necessi- tated a high income-tax; and he contended that it was not out of proportion to our expenditure, being 36 per cent upon 70,000,000z., the same rate as when the tax was first introduced. He felt strongly that it would be most unfortunate if the House of Commons should throw out the French treaty, and put its veto upon the remissions of duty proposed by the Government on the ground that the income-tax was a little too high. Mr. Walpole explained his reasons for voting for the reso- lution, and foreshadowed the difficulties of next year. In voting for the resolution he had no wish to displace the Go- vernment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, after listening to the speech of Mr. Walpole, he could understand his premises apart from his conclusion, or his conclusion apart from his premises, but it was a riddle more hopeless than that of the Sphinx. He was favourable to the main features of the Bud- get, favourable to the treaty with France, and favourable to the maintenance of the Government, yet he was about to vote for the motton of Mr. Du Cane. After noticing some of the topics discussed by Mr. Walpole and Mr. Barirg, and as indignant allusion to a speech of Sir. J. Pakington at a hop-growers' meeting, denouncing the Budget, he passed to the general issue before the House, and the motion as it stood. The Budget, he observed, had been pronounced in that House ambitious, audacious, and a bold experiment upon the country; but Mr. Bright had given a different description of it. He had said truly that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could lay no claim to the merit of originality he simply walked in the footsteps of those who had gone before him. What, he asked, was the motion ? It declared that "it was not expedient to add to the existing deficiency by diminishing the ordinary revenue." Could this be recon- ciled with the treaty ? In its terms it was aimed at the very life of the treaty. But much more than this. It was an opinion repudiating and condemning the mass of our com- mercial legislation for the last 18 years. He reviewed the financial operations of 1842, 1845, and 185S, and in- sisted that the plan which he proposed corresponded with those measures, referring to special circumstances further justifying the course, the effecS1 of which would be to add to our resources, creating constantly growing funds by the remission of taxes. He admitted that it was impos- sible to expect a rapid return to a lower expenditure but, being on a high level of expenditure, let us he said, strengthen ourselves by pursuing the course which in former years had been found so efficacious. The stationary system of finance recommended by the motion would sacrifice the supply gained by past legislation, and provision must be made by new taxes. He was quite satisfied, he said, in conclusion, with the issue raised. If Parliament was to be reformed, the best security they could take was to show that they had done justice to all classes while the old system was in ex- istence. Mr. Disraeli denied the exact similarity between the measure the Chancellor of the Exchequer had introduced and those he had referred to in 1842, 1845, and 1853. Of the Budget he would say that it aimed at too much, and pro- vided too little. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had esti- mated his deficiency at 9,400,000^. it would be a moderate estimate to add a million more to the army expenditure on account of China; but, takingthe deficiency at only 9,400,0002. for the next year, he would find wanting the 1,400,0002. for malt and hop credits, while 1,000,0001, would be required tor Exchequer Bonds. It was because Mr. Gladstone's plan was not like those he had cited that the motion called upon the House to interpose and express an opinion upon his proposition. With respect to the treaty, he and his party had no prejudices against a commercial treaty with France on the contrary, if the position of affairs permitted, nothing could be more desirable. But his ob- jection to this treaty was that it was drawn with a want of forethought-'Jf knowledge of the circumstances with which the negotiator had to deal, and that by the treaty the defi- ciency under which we were suffering would be largely in- creased, to the extent of 500,0002. beyond the amount at which Mr. Gladstone had calculated his loss. He exposed what he characterised as the great failures of the famous budget of 1853, which he connected with that of 1860, and asked why, after these conspicuous failures, the House should put confidence in a wild and improvident project of the same financier. Adverting to the state of affairs in Italy, he put it to the House whether this was a moment when we ought to husband our resources, instead of sacrificing portions of our ordiuary revenue. Lord Palmerston said he was not going to discuss the ex- traneous topics introduced by Mr. Disraeli. He reoalled the House to the subject before it—a resolution which, in a short compass, was one of the most important ever submitted to it. The motion involved two questions-our commercial re- lations with a foreign country, and the development of our national resources at home; it asked the House to reject summarily and by anticipation the treaty and the Budget. If we were to face a large expenditure, we ought to do all we' could to increase our resources and the two measures were directed to that object, while they would spread over the other countries of Europe the sound principles of commer- cial intercourse. The House then divided, when the numbers were— For the resolution 223 Against 339 Mai orjty for the Government 116 Tho announcement of the numbers was received with loud applause. The remaining business having been disposed of, the House adjourned. In the House of Lords on Monday, Feb. 27, Lord Brougham called the attention of the House to the sufferings and hard- ships suffered by women and children employed in bleaching and dyeiug works, and asked the Government whether it was intended to extend the benefit of the Factory Act to such women and children. Lord Granville said lie would make inquiries on the subject. Lord Dungannon presented a petition from 300 women of a; vlesbury, against legalising marriage with a deceased wife's sis tor. and Lord Wodehouse'presented a similar petition from 42; 5 woiiimt of Aylesbury, to a contrary effect. After a few rex. uarks floul the Lord Chancellor and Lord Dungannon, the sub ject dropped I jord Hardwicke, in calling the attention of the country to the state of the naval reserve, thought that the present num- ber of our naval reserve was not sufficient for the defence of the country. He was sorry to see the little which had been as Y et done to provide the country with an efficient reserve, and condemned the practice of allowing .the Coastguard service LO he deteriorated by the indiscriminate admission of persons who had been engaged in the coasting trade. The Duke of Somerset, in reply, explained the steps which had been taken by the Admiralty to establish a supply of boys for the Navy by means of training-ships stationed at the naval and commercial ports, and proceeded to point out what improvements were contemplated on the present system, in order to make the education given to lads for the Navy efficient for rendering them good and able sailors. He said efficient for rendering them good and able sailors. He said that great liberality had been lately shown to seamen, and that means were now under consideration for the quicker and more frequent payment of wages. He hoped the number of volunteers would be much increased when the suspicions engendered by the extreme liberality of Parliament were dissipated, and when seamen became thoroughly impressed with the knowledge that they would never be called out ex- cept in cases of absolute emergency. After a few remarks from Lord Ellenborough, the subject dropped, and their Lord- ships adjourned. In the House of Commons, the House having resolved itself into a Committee on the Customs Acts, The Chancellor of the Exchequer' moved a resolution on the wine duties, introducing the motion with a minute and somewhat technical explanation, observing that the subject was one of the most difficult connected with fiscal and com- mercial law. He explained the reasons which had induced the Government to depart from the simple method of one uniform duty upon wine, and had compelled them to pro- pose a varying scale of duties. A uniform rate of Is. per gallon would have occasioned an enormous fiscal sacrifice but there was a much more serious reason-namely, the re- lation between the duty upon wine and the duty upon spirits, and hence it became necessary to adopt what was termed the alcoholic test. The proposed scale by the alcoholic test had some reference to value, and the system of classification had been resorted to in the case of sugars but the test in the case of wine was a more cer- tain one, and there was no fear of fraud. There was another important point, he observed, connected with this change- namely, the drawback on wines. As a general principle, in his opinion, nothing could be worse than the allowing of drawbacks upon articles subject to Customs duties (Excise duties being of a different character); and although on general grounds there was no reason whatever for allowing a drawback on stocks of wine, yet it happened that there were specific and partial arrangements under which a claim migbt be put forward on the ground of good faith. The Government, therefore, proposed to grant a drawback for reasons and on conditions which he explained. Mr. Baillie asked for more explicit and satisfactory in- formation as to the mode in which it was proposed to supply the deficiency of revenue, and Mr. Bentinck said the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not only about to reduce the revenue without showing how the deficiency was to be made up, but to take taxes off the luxuries of the higher classes without attempting to deal with those affecting the labouring poor. Mr. Crossley observed that the working classes would be benefitted by every measure which increased the demand for our goods, and consequently for their labour. The Chancellor of the Exchequer made a brief reply upon the various questions raised in the debate, which subse- quently, though of a discursive character, turned mainly upon two points—the malt-tax, upon which Mr. Ball and Mr. Bass made a vigorous onslaught; and the wine drawback, with reference to which Mr. M. Milnes moved an amend- ment of the resolution, enlarging the eonditions in favour of the holders of stocks but this amendment was negatived upon a division. The first part of the resolution was then agreed to; in the remaining part the Chancellor of the Exchequer substituted the 1st of January instead of the 1st of April" 1861, for the date on and after which the scale of duties according to strength should take effect; and for 15 degrees, as the rate of proof spirit at which the scale should begin, he substi tuted 18 degrees. After some further discussion, the resolution was agreed- to, and the Chairman was ordered to report the same. The Administering of Poison Bill was read a second time. After a short discussion, the Packet Service (Transfer of Contracts) Bill was read a second time, and other bills were advanced a stage. Mr. Cobbett obtained leave to bring in a bill to amend the law relating to the office of coroner, and to provide for the payment of coroners by salary. The House then adjourned.






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