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HOUSE OF COMMONS. .
FRIDAY, MAY 27. Mr. Lyttleton postponed his motion respecting courts martial from Monday to Friday next.
On the Sussex sessions bill, a division took place on an amendment proposed by Mr. Leach to leave the cinque ports out of the bill: For the amendment
68 Against it
51 On the motion of Mr. Rose, it was ordered, that the house should go into a committee to consider of certain regulations for the exportation of sugar and coffee from the West India islands to any part of Europe, and for the importation of corn into the said islands.
In a committee on the bounties on the white herring fishery, it was resolved, on the motion of Mr. Rose, that à bounty of two pound per ton be given to all vessels above sixty, and under a hundred tons, employed in that fishery on the coast of Great Britain and Ireland, for five years'; and one pound per ton to all vessels of larger die mensions, for the same period; and three thousand pounds to be divided in bounties to vessels of above fifteen tons, employed in the herring fishery on the coast of Scotland. The report was ordered to be received on Monday.
After an explanation of the objects of his motion, Dr. Lawrence obtained leave to bring in a bill for preventing the frauds practised on merchants, ship-owners, and un. derwriters, by boatinen and others, within the jurisdiction of the cinque ports; and likewise for the adjustment of salvages, &c.
The Brighton road bill, or Pyecombe roads, was read of third time, and ordered to be engrossed.
NEW FINANCE PLAN. On the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the house resolved itself into a committee on the resolu. tions of the committee, respecting the transfer of 3 per cent. stock for life annuities.
Mr. Tierney submitted a variety of calculations, tend. ing to sbew the inefficacy and inutility of the measure. If.
ever there was a period, he submitted, when a man would be disinclined to increase his income at the expence of bi capital, it must be at that period when there was a tax Upon income, and none opon capital. He objected to the plan particularly, because it interfered with the sinking fund, and with the faith of the country pledged in consequence of that measure : but he did not do so in the abstract; he objected to it because it was a direct infraction of that measure, without being calculated to produce any advantage to the country. He was against any interference with the sinking fund, unle s it was to restore it to the state i) which it had stood previous to the year 1902. In that case the public would begin, in the next year, or in-the year following, to feel the advantages of it; but by the present measure this alleviation of the public burthens must be protracted for a number of years. The act stipulated that the commissioners should from time to time, from year to year, lay out large sums in the purchase of stock. It was no answer to those who had contrae'ed on the faith of these annual purchases, and who might have done so with the view of a speedy sale, to say, « there is no harm done, in the course of ten years. perhaps things will be restored to their proper and ordinary çourse. Having once adopted the present measure, it would be in vain to say that the sinking fund was meant or intended to be beld sacred ; for in agreeing to this proposition the house practised one of the grossest infractions upon it. The honourable gentleman dwelt on the extravagant inducement which this measure held out to a man, probably 70 years of age, to leave his family and relatives destitute, seeing he could thus raise his own income in the proportion of 12 to 3, or instead of 1001. could procure for his own life 4001, per annum. If, therefore, ihe right honourable gentleman was to carry through the measure, he hoped he would limit the age. But, on the whole, he submitted to the commitee, that the present was a measure which ought not to be suddenly gone into.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer had no exrectation, that the progress of the measure proposed would be very rapid. The present was not a plan which be would have been inclined to propose, as affording resources for the service of the year ; but he was convinced, from the in. formation and applications be had already received on the
subject, that it would be one of permanent advantage, and of which, though no question of revenue were connected with it, the advantage would be generally and sàs tisfactorily felt. He was convinced there would be apo plications for liberty to avail themselves of this measure, from sources of which the honourable gentleman had at present no idea. There were persons in the constant has bit of taking annuities for themselves and others, to whom this measure would present the means of saving all the original expence of such a contract. Stript, as the present measure would be, of every expence of this kind, he was satisfied it would prove an object of public as well as of individual advantage. The honourable gentleman had not said any thing as to the morality of the measure, which was a strong objection to it on a former night; lie should not therefore enter on this point, but should content himself with observing that there appeared to him to be nothing unusual, or inconsistent with political economy, in allowing persons the opportunity of providing for themselves in this manner. What were friendly societies? Were they calculated for the advantage either of the widow or the children? They surely were not; but by them part of the income was laid aside for the benefit of the person himself, without any regard to his family. The right honourable gentleman alluded to the proposal of sir George Savile, which, though not adopted by pará. liament, was still an authority ia fivour of such a measure. As to the idea of this being any infraction on the measure of the sinking fund, he alınitted that it was so in maaner and in words, but not at all in spirit. It would have the effect of taking out of the markrt a quantity of stock, and of substituting in the place of it what would, by no means, be so marketable a commodity. It would, in fact, give additional effect to the two objects of the sinking fund. By the former operation, the amount of the dividend only would be taken out of the market; by the present incasure, the amount of the capital itself would be taken out of it. Thus, not only the redemption of the debt would be secured, but that object would also be effected at an earlier period. Instead, therefore, of being an infraction on the sinking fund, it wonld add fresh vigour to it.
Lord Henry Pelty said, the measure, he was convinced, would have so little effect, that his opposition to it might
[com. be the smaller, were he not aware that in following that course he should not acquit himself properly with the committee. The right honourable gentleman admitted, that he expected no great immediate effect from the mea sure, but had said it would be gradual. In this his lordship could hardly agree; for if he at all understood the plan, the right honourablc gentleman expected the fuuds to rise; and whenever they did rise to a certain, height, the measure was to cease. His lordship thought the plan altogether objectionable, in a political, moral, and financial point of view. He askel, would it be proper, or rather would it not be dangerous in the extreme, if the great bulk of the property of this country were allowed to be thrown into annuities? The right honour. able gentleman had referred to the case of benefit societies as one in his favour. If he (lord I. Petty), however, had been to select a case on the other side, he did not think he could have bit on one more completely in favour of his argument. In the case of benefit societies, part of the income of a week was converted inio a fund for the support of the person during life ; thus a temporary was converted into a more permanent fund. But hy the present measure, the permanent was to be converted into the temporary fund. His lordship was decidedly of opinion, that this measure would be prejudicial not to those alone wko were induced to try its effect, but also to the public creditor. The right honourable gentleman, surely, did not mean to state that these annuitics would not be transferred, and of course wouid, in a different shape, bring the same quantity of stock again into the market ? Did he mean to contend that it might not happen, that, from the casualties of human life, a person who had purchased an annuity. might not be obliged to sell it again? Thus, though government might be ready to grant to persons wishing to purchase annuities for their own lives, which must at all times be preferable to those on the lives of others; yet persons would often be found, compelled by some pressure, to sell their annuities to a disadvantage, and purchasers would also be found, tempted by the desire of a profitable bargain.
Br. Iluskisson stated, that with respect to the noble lord's plan, it would not be interfered with by this mea sure, because certainly the siaking fund would in ten years be in as good a situatio.., notwithstanding the ope
ration of this plan, as under that of the noble lord. This plan was not to hold out an inducement, but to afford an opportanity to persons wishing to purchase annuities, to invest their capital in that manner; and it would undoubtedly be a great convenience to many individuals, who might have to bequeath annuities to dependants, to have their lands discharged of such annuities by purchases under the present plan. The honourable gentleman then shewed by calculations, that the operation of this plan will accelerate the period of the redemption of the public debt, without producing the inequality in the effect of the sinking fund apprehended by the noble lord.
Mr. Tierney explained, by re-urging his former statements and arguments, to shew that the principle of the sinking fund would be violated by the plan.
Mr. Huskisson also explained.
Mr. Davies Giddy thought that the plan now proposed would have the effect of encouraging a greater degree of frugality in the lower classes, by affording them an opportunity of applying their savings, with perfect security, to the increase of their incomes, and that in this point of 3 view the benefit would overbalance any evil which might arise from it.
Mr. Biddulph did not think there would be any sound objection to the adoption of this plan; on the contrary, he was friendly to its adoption, because in a free country like this there should be as great a diversity as possible of option afforded to persons wishing to lay out their capital with security ; and to show that he was friendly to the adoption, he proposed that the annuities should be rendered more marketable by facilitating the insurance of the lives of the nominees, by taking off the tax upon the policies of insurance upon such lives.
After a few observations from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the resolutions were agreed to, and the report ordered to be received on Monday.
COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS. The house went into a committee of ways and means on the motion of Mr. Foster, Mr. Wharton in the chair.
Mr. Foster after detailing the history and progress of the bank of Ireland, stated, that it was proposed that the bank capital should be increased from one million and a half to two millions and a half; the interest on the