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that the Church had even now obtained a mere 5
cent. beyond that to which it had a strict positive right. The House had advanced its position greatly in showing respect for public opinion —too much respect indeed, he thought, considering the change he believed to have occurred recently in that public opinion.
Lord Athlumney regretted that the opportunity had been missed of sending forth a message of peace and conciliation to Ireland by granting glebe-houses to the other religious communities. But he was ready to accept the terms which had been made, and he predicted the benefits which might result from the Bill to his country
Earl Stanhope would have considered the loss of the Bill, great as were the objections to it, as a public misfortune. He deprecated discussion of the amendment to clause 68, and while defending his own amendment in favour of co-ordinate endowment, maintained also the expediency of not now insisting upon it.
The Duke of Marlborough and Lord Lyveden, from opposite sides of the House, expressed their satisfaction with the compromise.
The Earl of Fingall expressed the gratitude of the Irish Roman Catholics to the House for the result.
The Earl of Bandon by no means sympathized with the exchange of mutual congratulations on the great work crowned on that evening He dwelt particularly on the injustice of requiring payment of the building charges on the glebe-houses.
After a few words from Earl Granville in acknowledgment of the manner in which the compromise had been received, and for the purpose of explaining that the addition of 12 per cent. was a suggestion not originally of the Government, but of Lord Cairns, and after a solemn protest by the Bishop of Tuam against disestablishment, as a national sin, and against disendowment, as a national injustice, the House proceeded to consider and, subject to the compromise stated by Lord Cairns, to agree to the several amendments of the Commons to the Lords' amendments.
One division only took place, viz. on the question with respect to residences of incumbents, but the Commons' amendment was carried by 47 to 17.
In this manner the long and fierce controversy which this Bill had engendered seemed to be happily set at rest. It was no doubt a matter of great satisfaction to many politicians, to whatever party they might belong, that a question so embarrassing, and of such urgency that it could never be set aside until dealt with in some shape or other by legislation, should be terminated. The public, too, were weary of the controversy, and rejoiced to hear of a settlement. Many, however, who held staunchly to the Conservative side in politics, and many ardent adherents of the Church Establishment and of the Protestant cause, were greatly disappointed at the concessions which had been made by their representatives; and severe reflections were cast in some quarters, and especially from the other side of the Irish Channel upon the motives of those Parliamentary leaders who were considered to have betrayed the cause. The spokesmen of the two parties, indeed, alike expressed satisfaction with the terms of the compromise, but from various expressions of public opinion it might be gathered that on a broad view of the matter the conditions of the treaty left a considerable balance of advantage in the hands of the authors of the Bill.
There was an unusually full attendance in the House of Commons on the next day, when the amendments agreed to by the Lords were to be taken into consideration. Mr. Gladstone was received with much greeting from his party when he rose to move that the House should
accept the amendments without exception and without reservation. He assented to the excision in the preamble, on the ground that in the 65th clause enacting words would be inserted sufficiently indicating the application of the surplus; the retention of the date at 1871 he regarded as a token not of victory, but of the harmonious opinion of both Houses; and on the deduction of the curates' stipends, the arrangement of the Lords he considered as fair and reasonable. As to the glebe-houses, he observed that the Government originally would not have been disposed in the last resort obstinately to stand by the clause, but the discussions here and elsewhere had so complicated it with the question of equal treatment of the clergy of all religions, that it was impossible for them to yield. Substantially, therefore, it would remain unaltered, though there would be an advantage to the clergy in allowing them to except from the commutation of their life interests the commutation for the house and land they occupied. The surplus clause would be reduced to a very simple form, for while it would declare that the surplus should be applied in the main for the relief of unavoidable calamity, it would leave the particular mode open for the direction of future Parliaments. This would substantially carry out the intention of the Government that this great sum of money should not be held back as the subject of intrigue, bargains, and pledges at every future Irish election. Mr. Gladstone vindicated the original determination of the Government not to shrink from the disposal of the surplus, expressing his firm conviction that to have followed the precedent of the Reform Bill of 1866, by attempting to separate the two parts of the subject, would have been equally fatal to the measure. Passing to the last point of the compromise—the 5 per cent. added in the commutation clause he did not conceal that he held it to be of great importance, and a concession against the principle of the Bill. But looking to the mischief of leaving the controversy open, and in deference to the opinion of the House of Lords, and wishing to preserve the harmony between the two Houses (which had never been so severely tried, but which, thank God, had stood the trial), the Government had not felt itself justified in refusing the overtures made to them on the point.
Mr. Vance, the Conservative member for Armagh, expressed his opinion frankly upon the arrangement, which he characterized as
"an unconditional surrender," and he specially blamed the House of Lords for yielding on the question of the Ulster glebes.
Sir Roundell Palmer recognized the wisdom of giving way when the point was reached at which further resistance could only damage those whose interests were involved.
Mr. Kirk expressed himself dissatisfied with the unequal treatment the Presbyterians had received.
Sir F. Heygate hoped that the predictions of peace and harmony might be fulfilled, though he had personally little expectation of the sort from a Bill which he disapproved of as strongly as ever.
Mr. Lefroy spoke in the same sense, and Sir J. Esmonde and Sir P. O'Brien reciprocated this hope on the part of the Roman Catholic members.
Mr. Charley protested strongly against the whole principle of the Bill, and regretted that the Lords had not thrown themselves boldly on the “ Conservative democracy” of the country.
Mr. Miall congratulated the Irish Church on having shaken off its political character, and on the part of the Non-conforming body offered her every assistance and sympathy.
Mr. Disraeli took exception to Mr. Vance's complaint that this was “an unconditional surrender.” If there had been
difference between the two Houses on principle, it might have been wise to delay a settlement for another year, but when it was entirely one of detail delay would have been a doubtful advantage. He preferred to describe the transaction in which the House was engaged as a wise and conciliatory settlement, rather than as “an unconditional surrender.”
After several other members had joined in the general strain of congratulation and approval, the amendments were all adopted without division, and the Bill was for the last time returned to the Lords.
On the 26th of July it received the Royal Assent.
Such was the conclusion of the proceedings which carried to a successful termination the Irish Church Bill of 1869-a measure certainly of very remarkable character, whether we regard its principle, its structure, or the history of its progress through Parliament. The principle of the measure was, and will no doubt continue to be for a long time to come, a matter of the keenest controversy and inveterate difference of opinion. As to the construction of the Bill by which the object was effectuated, it must be admitted to have been devised with extraordinary skill and ingenuity. It was originally presented to Parliament in a carefully elaborated and well-digested form ; it was singularly brief in its enactments, and was so drawn as to provide against almost every contingency and to meet every variety of circumstance. It was carried through its various stages, in the face of a united and powerful opposition, mainly by the resolute will and unflinching energy of the Prime Minister, who throughout the long and arduous discussions, in which he took the leading part, displayed in full
measure those qualities of acuteness, force of reasoning and thorough mastery of his subject for which he had long been conspicuous, but which were never more signally exhibited than on this occasion. Upon the whole, whatever may be thought of its merits or demerits, it can hardly be disputed that the Act for the Disestablishment of the Irish Church, introduced and carried into a law within somewhat less than five months, was the most remarkable legislative achievement of modern times,
FINANCE_Mr. Lowe, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, presents his first Financial State
ment-Novel and ingenious character of his scheme for re-adjusting the Assessed Taxes-Surplus obtained by this arrangement applied to the remission of Fire Insurance and other duties–Favourable reception of the Budget-Objections raised to the proposed prepayment of certain taxes by Mr. Ward Hunt and other Members - Difficulties suggested in regard to the Bank of England and the Money MarketAnswer of Mr. Lowe to such objections— The propositions of the Government are adopted and the Bill passed – Expenses of the Abyssinian Expedition—The original Estimates having been greatly exceeded, further Votes asked for-Complaints of the extravagance of the Military Expenditure-A Select Committee is appointed to investigate the affair— Military and Naval Estimates—The Army Estimates are proposed by Mr. Cardwell, and exhibit a large reduction from the preceding yearThe Votes agreed to-Condition and organization of our Military Force-Debate in the House of Lords on this subject, originated by Viscount Monck-Motion by Lord Elcho in the House of Commons in favour of a Standing Army of ReserveThe motion, after debate, withdrawn—The Navy Estimates, which are also largely diminished, are moved by Mr. Childers-Discussions on the organization of the Admiralty, the propositions for Ship-building, and the mode of making Contracts The Votes proposed are agreed to-Purchase of the Telegraphs by the Government—The Postmaster-General brings in a Bill for raising the sums required by the Act of 1868, and makes a statement as to the operation - The Bill, after some protests from dissentient Members, is agreed to-East Indian Finance—The Duke of Argyll lays before the House of Lords a statement respecting the Finances and Railway system of India, which is followed by a debate-Proposed future execution of Railways by the Indian Government, Financial Statement by Mr. Grant Duff in the House of Commons, and discussion thereon-The CoinageQuestions raised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the expediency of imposing a Seignorage-Controversy on this question.
Unusual interest and curiosity were excited by the first financial statement to be made by Mr. Lowe. It was anticipated that his plans would bear the stamp of that originality and boldness which characterize his mind, and that he was not unlikely to strike out a new path to the enlightenment, if not to the relief, of the tax-payer. The occasion indeed did not appear a promising one, for he had inherited from his predecessor the heavy deficiency caused by the Abyssinian Campaign, and the revenue, so long buoyant, had begun to show symptoms of reaction. Mr. Hunt in 1868 had anticipated an income of 73,180,0001., and the result had proved to be only 72,591,9911. It seemed not improbable that some new or increased tax would have to be imposed to meet the liabilities of the year. The removal of any of the existing burdens was supposed to be at mresent impracticable. Under these circumstances, somewhat discouraging to a new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Lowe
proceeded on the 8th of April to unfold to a Committee of the whole House the state and prospects of the national finances. With no further preface than a prayer for indulgence in the discharge of a long and intricate duty, which he added was wanting in no element of embarrassment or difficulty belonging to a Budget, he entered at once into an elaborate analysis of the accounts of the past year. The actual receipts he stated at 72,592,0001., which was a deficiency of 558,0001. on Mr. Hunt's estimate. The items which had fallen below the estimate were :-. Customs, 376,0001. ; Stamps, 433,0001.; Assessed Taxes, 46,0001.; Property-tax, 82,0001.; while, on the other hand, the Excise had exceeded the estimate by 132,0001.; Post Office, 10,0001.; Crown Lands, 10,0001.; and Miscellaneous, 252,0001. In a similar comparison of 1868-9 with 1867-8 he showed that while the Excise had risen within the year 300,0001., Income-tax, 2,441,0001., Post Office, 30,0001., Crown Lands, 15,0001., and Miscellaneous, 779,0001., the Customs had fallen off 226,0001., Stamps, 3231., and Taxes, 15,0001.; and, going more minutely into details, he brought out the general result that the falling off had been mostly on articles consumed by the poor, such
, as tea, coffee, sugar, and tobacco, while the consumption of articles used by the rich, such as wine and brandy, had all risen. The actual and estimated outgoings of the past year he compared in the same manner, showing that by reductions of expenditure in various branches a saving of 511,0001. had been effected, which about balanced the falling off in the revenue. In all these calculations he left out of sight the Abyssinian votes as an entirely extraordinary expenditure. Passing next to the finances of the current year, he thus estimated the revenue and expenditure :
9,997,000 Miscellaneous Estimates
9,530,000 Revenue Departments
4,976,000 Packet Service