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ammunition, bullet-moulds, percussion caps, officers' uniforms, revolvers, pikes, bayonets, and other implements of a warlike character were found in considerable quantities, concealed in houses and premises at Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and other towns. Large supplies of matériel were also stopped in transitu on board steam-vessels coming from Liverpool and other places to Irish ports. The arrests of persons implicated in the conspiracy were very numerous. Some were seized who had recently arrived from America and had arms, large sums of money, or treasonable documents in their possession. Many, respecting whom secret information had been given to the police, were taken in their own homes, chiefly in the towns, but few of the farmers or persons belonging to the agricultural class being implicated in the conspiracy. It was observable, as was noticed last year, that the hostility of the Fenians, as expressed in their manifestoes and documents, was quite as much directed against the Roman Catholic hierarchy and clergy as against the Protestant or English proprietors. On the other hand it deserves to be recorded that the Bishops and priesthood took a prominent part in denouncing the folly and wickedness of the conspiracy, and used their just influence with their flocks in warning them against any participation in the guilt of such proceedings.
Whether the leaders of the movement ever seriously entertained the design of an armed resistance to the Queen's authority but were prevented from taking any such steps by the precautions of the Executive, or whether their design was merely to worry and embarrass the English Government, and, while availing themselves of the funds liberally supplied by their partisans and enjoying the éclat and self-importance conferred by their position as leaders, to play on the fears and distract the repose of the owners of property and peaceable subjects of the Queen in Ireland, it may not be easy at present to determine; at all events it is satisfactory to record that, notwithstanding all the professions and menaces held forth, no drop of blood was shed, no shot fired, no outrage or murder traceable to any Fenian origin, was committed. The day preceding Christmas Day, which rumour had assigned as the date of the rising, passed off without any incident of the kind, and the year terminated without either the realization or the attempt to realize the confident vaunt, that the great conflict between the Fenian confederacy and the usurping power of England would be finally determined by force of arms upon Irish soil before the end of the year.
FINANCIAL AFFAIRS.-Prosperous condition of the public revenue-Expected remis
sions of taxation-The Budget is brought forward by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the 3rd of May- Proposal to reduce the timber duties, the wine and stage-carriage duties, and other minor taxes-Scheme for the gradual conversion of the national debt into terminable annuities - Favourable reception and adoption by the House of the former portion of the scheme- The plan for reducing the debt meets with some objection, and is ultimately given up-Motion of Sir Fitzroy Kelly in favour of a reduction of the malt duty-Mr. S. Mill asserts the prior obligation of attempting to redeem the national debt--- The Chancellor of the Exchequer opposes the motion, which is rejected, after a full debate, by 235 to 150. THE ARMY Esti. MATES are moved by the Marquis of Hartington, who enters into various details of military organization and expenditure – The votes, showing a reduction of 250,0001., are agreed to Lord Clarence Paget moves the Estimates for the Navy, which are slightly below the preceding year- The expenditure and administration of the Admiralty undergo much criticism in the House of Commons--Charges of waste and extravagance are brought against the department - Defence of the system by Members of the Government-Supplementary Estimates for conversion of Enfield rifles into breech-loaders are proposed late in the session by General Peel, the new Secretary of State for War-The expenditure is sanctioned by the House-Vote for fortification of the arsenals proposed and withdrawn. The CIVIL SERVICE Esti. MATES.-The vote for education -- Statement of the Vice-President of the Committee of Council. CHURCH RATES.— Bill for their abolition brought in by Mr. Hardcastle -Important statement of opinion by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who undertakes to bring in a Bill to abolish the compulsory payment-Explanations made by him on introducing his scheme to the House-- Subsequently to the change of Ministry Mr. Gladstone's Bill is debated and read a second time, but proceeds no further Mr. Hardcastle's Bill is withdrawn--Proposed abolition of tests on taking degrees at Oxford and Cambridge-Bill of Mr. J. D. Coleridge, after passing second reading and Committee by large majorities, is postponed— Bill of Mr. Bouverie meets with the same result— Proposed measure for legalizing marriage with a deceased wife's sister is rejected on a division.
The flourishing state of the public revenue under Mr. Gladstone's administration has been for several years past so familiar a feature that it has come to be regarded almost as a matter of course. The existence of an annual surplus since the full development of the Free Trade policy took place, notwithstanding the constant reductions of taxation in progress, is regarded pretty much as a certainty. Under these circumstances, the financial statements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer are looked upon in scarcely any other light than as admirable exhibitions of financial skill and oratorical ability. The crowds who throng the galleries of the House of Commons on these occasions are attracted much less by the hopes and fears excited by the prospect of financial changes than by the enjoyment of that versatile and skilful eloquence with which Mr. Gladstone is wont to embellish the dry details of fiscal policy, and to enchain the attention of his auditory by a recapitulation of facts and figures which, in less skilful hands, would be regarded as a wearisome infliction. The
published quarterly statements of income and expenditure for the
On the 3rd of May, in rising to lay his annual account before the Committee of the whole House, Mr. Gladstone began by expressing his satisfaction that he could now enter upon a subject with which no animosities were concerned. He said he had not to announce any surplus revenue on such a scale as that which they had had to dispose of during the last three years. During those years he had to ask the House to make arrangements to dispose of sums averaging three millions and a half of money. But although we moved within more contracted limits in the fiscal affairs of the present year, he had proposals to make which would not be without interest and importance. The total estimated revenue for the past year was 67,812,0001., and the estimated expenditure 65,914,0001., leaving a surplus revenue of 1,898,0001. ; but this had been reduced by various items, for which provision had not otherwise been made, to 1,338,0001. He had estimated the loss to accrue from the reduction of the duty on tea at 1,868,0001. ; the actual loss amounted to 1,871,0001. And the loss upon the diminution of the income tax he had estimated at 1,650,0001., whereas the actual loss was 1,568,0007. It was satisfactory to know, as indicating the advance of the country in wealth and prosperity, that a penny in the pound income-tax, instead of 1,000,0001., now produced 1,400,0001. With regard to the effects of the reduction in the fire-insurance duty, he had estimated the loss at 260,0001.; the actual loss had been 272,0001. He had calculated that the increase in the value of the property insured would be about 10 per cent., but in point of fact it had reached only 5 per cent. After stating the results in regard to the other items of revenue, Mr. Gladstone came next to his estimates of the revenue and expenditure for the financial year
1866-7. His estimate of expenditure was as follows :-Funded and unfunded debt, 26,140,0001.; consolidated fund, 1,880,0001. ; army, 14,095,0001.; navy, 10,400,0001.; collection of revenue, 5,003,0001. ; packet service, 821,0001.; miscellaneous estimates, 7,886,0001.; making a total of 66,225,0001., as against 66,147,0001. expended last year; being an increase on the estimates of the current year, as compared with the past, of 78,0001. The revenue for the current year he estimated as follows:-Customs, 21,400,0001. ; Excise, 19,750,0001. ; stamps, 9,450,0001. ; assessed taxes, 3,400,0001. ; income-tax, 5,700,0001.; Post-office, 4,450,0001. ; Crown lands (including China indemnity), 3,100,0001.; giving a total estimated income of 67,575,0001. Deduct from this amount the estimated charge of 66,225,0001., and there would be a probable surplus of revenue over charge amounting to 1,350,0001., which, but for the changes of last year, would have been between 2,700,0001. and 2,800,0001. The changes referred to were :-950,0001. reduction of the income-tax; 260,0001. reduction of insurance duty; and 207,0001. reduced duty on tea. The right hon. gentleman then referred to the benefits produced by the commercial treaty with France, which were now so evident that they needed no elaborate demonstration. On this subject the right hon. gentleman said—“The exports of France in tissues are considerable, in cotton, linen, woollen, and yarns of all kinds, but the general history is this: Take the year 1860, the year before the treaty was established. In 1861, just as it happened, we ourselves felt the panic which was in England, when no doubt the prophets of England thought, 'See here is the ruin we told you would come.' In 1862, matters began to mend. I will state the figures of 1864 as compared with 1860 in millions of francs. In cotton goods France exported in 1860, 69 millions; in 1864, 93millions. In linen goods she exported 153 millions; and these were the very things in which it was supposed that the French industry would be ruined by British competition. Yet in 1860 France exported linen goods to the extent of 15 millions, and in 1864 to the extent of 24 millions of francs. In woollen goods she exported in 1860, 2997 millions; and in 1864, 356 millions. In yarns she exported in 1860, 12 millions; and in 1864, 43 millions. The total amount in 1860, immediately before the treaty, and when French manufactures were admitted to be in a flourishing condition, was 327 millions ; in 1864, after it had been ruined for four years by British competition, it was 517 millions. The exports increased, if possible, in a more remarkable manner. I will state the figures, and I may here say they were all articles with regard to which great alarm prevailed in France as to the effect of English competition. I am not now stating what we sent to France, but what France sent to us in articles which it was supposed our competition would drive even out of the French markets. They are woollens, linens, cottons, yarns, manufactured earthenware, glass, and salted fish. Her exports to England of those articles before the treaty amounted to 584 millions in 1859, but in 1864 they had risen to 141 millions." The right hon. gentleman then referred to the treaties with Belgium, the Zollverein, and Austria, and to the beneficial results which have followed, and are expected to follow, in consequence thereof. He then proceeded to state the reductions which he contemplated. He would propose to repeal the duty on timber, and to equalize the duty on wine in bottles to the duty on wine in the wood. “The duty on timber is a very low duty, and that is the best which can be said in its favour. When a thing is bad, the best that can be said of it is, that there is very little of it. In every other point of view the duty on timber is as bad as it can be. To begin with, it is a protective duty; to go on with, it is a duty on a raw material ; and lastly, it is a material of which this country stands in great want, which is of such vast bulk, and which has to be brought such distances, that to continue the duty on it is the very essence and quintessence of political folly. The history of the consumption of timber in this country is rather remarkable. In 1811 the duty on timber was high, and the consumption was 417,000 loads. At that period, certainly a most illomened one for commercial legislation, the duties were further raised ; and in 1814 the consumption had fallen as low as 218,000 loads."
He would now pass over a long period of years up to 1841, when the system of reducing the duties commenced. The right hon. gentleman then detailed the various reductions made in the duty, and showed that each reduction thereon was followed by an increase in the consumption, so that in 1859 it amounted to 2,480,000 loads, and within the six subsequent years increased 50 per cent., the total amount now being 3,700,000 loads. He then referred to the proposed reductions and equalization of duties on wine in wood and in bottle, also the abolition of dutyon pepper, whereby the mischiefs of adulteration would be prevented. As to the duties upon locomotion, the revenue produced therefrom, in all its forms, including taxes on carts, carriages, and horses, amounted to 1,600,0001., and 459,0001. was derivable from railways. With none of these did he propose to interfere. But he must call attention to post-horses and carriages and all hackney vehicles, which produced a revenue of 266,0001., bearing chiefly on the labouring and middle classes, as the present tax amounted to 9 or 11 per cent. on the profits of the London and General Omnibus Company, and of other similar companies. The tax on all such carriages he proposed to reduce from one penny, as charged at present, to one farthing per mile. These reductions would dispose of 562,0001., being rather more than half of the estimated surplus.
He now came to propose the disposal of the remaining half. In his view the time had come for giving more attention than Parliament had hitherto paid to the subject of the National Debt. At the close of the great European war the debt amounted to 900,000,0001. The lowest point to which it attained was on the 5th of January, 1854,