Documents connected with the Hong Kong Stamp Act, passed in the Legislative Council, Sept 5th 1866

DOCUMENTS

CONNECTED WITH THE

HONGKONG STAMP ACT.

COLON

TOS

LIB

PRINT

5639

PASSED IN THE

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL,

L

OFFICE

ARY.

SEPT. 5TH.

59

PUBLISHED AT THE DAILY PRESS' OFFICE,

WYNDHAM STREET, HONGKONG.

1866.

TO.

2

(EOFYP)

DOCUMENTS

CONNECTED WITH THE

HONGKONG STAMP ACT,

PASSED IN THE

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL,

 

NIAL

COLONI

OIT

OUT

OFFICE

SEPT. 5TH.

LIBRARY

PRINTED AND PUBLISHED AT THE CC

DAILY PRESS

OFFICE,

WYNDHAM STREET, HONGKONG.

1866.

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THE HONGKONG STAMP ACT,

THE GOVERNOR'S REVIEW OF THE COLONIAL

FINANCES.

At the sitting of the Hongkong Legislative Council, which took place on the 25th of July, 1866, His Excellency the Governor, Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell, C. B., reviewed the financial state of the Colony as follows:-

In laying before you the estimates for the year 1867 and moving that the Bill voting the requisite supplies be read a first time, I think it better not to defer to the second reading certain explanations, which if given early are more likely to assist your deliberations than if withheld to a later period.

The Colony is approaching a new and peculiar phase, in its his- tory and it will require the exercise of much prudence and forethought on the part of this council to pilot the vessel of the state safely through the difficulties that are gathering round it. One thing at least we can do, viz, ascertain the present exact financial state of the Colony, and though enquiries of that nature lead often to unpleasant surprises nevertheless a fearless scrutiny of the position is the most effective com- mencement for solving such difficulty.

I propose we undertake that scrutiny, and the more thoroughly to understand the position of the Colony, I invite you to go back a few

years and ascertain the proportions borne by the Revenue to the Expenditure.

Taking the six years from 1860 to 1865 we find the following amounts received and expended.

DATE.

REVENUE.

EXPENDITURE.

1860

$452,063

$347,475

1861

610,757

526,232

1862

631,260

587,634

1863

576,204

586,395

1864

637,846

763,308

1865

843,444

937,805

1[

TOTAL.

$3,751,574

$3,748,850

Thus in six years whilst we find the Revenue steadily increasing till from $452,000 it had risen to upwards of $843,000 or nearly double its amount in 1860 we also find the expenditure increasing so nearly in the same proportion, that at the end of these six years there was only the slight difference of $3,724 in favour of the revenue, over expenditure for that period.

Looking first to the Revenue you will find that a large portion of its increase, was derived from premiums, realised by the sale of Land- and that out of the total amount of $670,273 received as premiums for land sold, since the foundation of this Colony, no less than $502,956, were received during the six years from 1860 to the close of 1865. Those premiums however constituted a large portion of the capital of the Colony, which unlike our great Australian and American colonies, has but a very limited capital in land, so much so, that although only 827 acres have been sold, nevertheless it is true that comparatively very little valuable land remains undisposed of.

The Colony had however, on the 1st January 1860, a surplus acumulated, of $207,229 and consequently on the 1st of last January, with the slight addition above mentioned of $3,724, there should have been a surplus of available assets, amounting to $210,952. From difficulty in collecting arrears, and other causes, the surplus assets, at the beginning of the current year, was only $184,000.

At the beginning of last year 1865, however, though we started with a surplus of $298,000, yet at the beginning of this year, that surplus was only $184,000. Therefore in the year 1865 our expenditure had exceeded our revenue by $114,000, and I fear our financial state is not improving, even by taking the most favourable view of matters,

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and the subject is one into which I have gone very fully.

There was, according to the Auditor General, at the end of last year, a surplus of only $108,000-and at the close of the current year there will probably be only a nominal surplus of assets amounting to $85,000, including therein all arrears of taxes, and a large sum of £17,000 sterling which the Colony holds in bills on the Agra and Masterman's Bank.

Thus during the first six months of this year we shall have exceeded our Revenue by $75,000, and it is probable that during the last six months we shall exceed it by $23,000, or nearly $100,000 during the whole year. In reasoning thus, I have accepted a calculation of the Auditor General, that from the 30th June to 31st of next December the Colonial Revenue will be $380,000, and the Expenditure $403,000, but I am nevertheless bound to say that I have received more unfavorable computations from others, and I certainly think the views of the Auditor General go to the extreme of the favorable aspect of our affairs, which it would be prudent in this Council to adopt as the basis of any Legislative policy or action.

Moreover it would be unsafe to suppose that even the above nominal surplus consists of assets readily available, as part of those assets is in England--some, like the subsidiary coins soon expected, are or may be in transitu when wanted, and part consists of arrears of taxes, consequently it is quite a possible contingency that the Colony although having nominally available assets, may be obliged to borrow money in the course of the next few months to enable it to meet its engagements.

The really important point, however, to consider is the fact, that during the last six years--despite of much elasticity in minor branches of Revenue the Colony has expended more than half-a-million of dollars of its capital in the shape of Premiums received from land--and though its Revenue otherwise has largely increased during the same period-it nevertheless is certain that the time is approaching when the whole of the surplus capital will have been used up-and if the expenditure be continued on the same scale, there will be a considera- ble deficit.

I agree with the Auditor General in ascribing this great and progressive deficiency in the assets of the Colony, to the heavy expenses attending the establishment of the Mint together with the heavy annual cost of the same. The capital sunk in the Mint, including ground, machinery, buildings, &c., has already exceeded $350,000, and the annual cost including wear and tear of machinery, and interest on capital, is nearly $130,000. For all this outlay the Colony has hitherto received nothing in return, nor is there any immediate prospect of the experiment paying its expenses. The latter are in this country and climate found by experience to be so much heavier than at home in

proportion to the amount of work done, that the experiment is in various particulars more hazardous here than elsewhere. Nevertheless I consider the progress recently made by the very zealous and hard working staff of the Mint is so encouraging, that I have felt justified in putting down $60,000 as likely to be earned by the establishment next year, and to diminish so far the present annual expense, leaving, however, the Colony still a probable loser of more than $60,000 by the speculation in 1967.

As it is impossible to permit the continuance of an annualyl increasing deficit we must devise a remedy. This may be done in two.

ways.

1st by diminishing your Expenditure;

2ndly by increasing your Revenue..

I presume no member of this Council would wish to vote for the abolition of the Mint till it be more clearly ascertained, whether the experiment may not yet succeed better, especially when all the subsidiary coinage is produced at the establishment. Yet the mint

has been the principal cause of recent deficiencies.

Again I venture to say that neither this Council nor this com- munity would advocate balancing the account by any abnegation or neglect of the plain duties of a Government as such. It is true we might save money by allowing our buildings to decay, and our roads to get out of repair, by neglecting the sanitary precautions rendered necessary by this climate,by diminishing our Police and otherwise declining to advance with the times, or to meet the increasing exigencies.. of an increased population.

Any gentleman, nevertheless, who can suggest retrenchment without impairing the efficiency of the Public Service, or entailing the neglect of some plain duty by the Executive, will confer an obligation on the Government and the Community. I have earnestly desired to effect some retrenchment myself, and I candidly confess that when I came to examine into what remained to be done, I was surprised to find how much that amounted to. Nevertheless I do not suppose, even for your own sakes that you will long be content to leave the health of the town impaired through an inadequate supply of water, and the very imperfect drainage which pollutes a great part of it; nor do I believe that you are prepared to forego in the least degree, anything which you consider it the duty of a liberal and enlightened Government to undertake and go through with.

I have not even ventured to strike out votes for ornamenting public grounds, planting of trees, and such things as are not merely necessary in the most meagre acceptation of the term, but are symp- toms of a refined and civilized tone in the community. I do not believe I should truly interpret your wishes if I were to do so. I have

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therefore judged it better to meet the crisis by not abandoning any useful work or evident duty, merely because it entails expense. I prefer inserting all that I think consists with our duty, the position of the Colony, and the natural expectations of those whose affairs we admi- nister, and trusting to you to make good the deficiency. I have there- fore proposed an expenditure of $970,000 including $165,000 for Public Works, though I do not believe you will have really a revenue. of more than $852,000.

There will thus be a deficit on the year of nearly $120,000, and I apprehend that you will find it expedient to make good that deficiency by increased taxation in some form, and I know of none less objectionable than the Stamp Act which has proved a source of so much profit to the Singapore Government with so little injury to the community.

Hongkong has hitherto enjoyed a remarkable immunity from any taxation, in the ordinary sense of the word. Excise and Customs duties are here unknown, whilst the only taxes payable, partake rather of the character of Municipal rates than contributions to the General Government which here occupies the position and discharges the duties of a Municipal body.

No doubt this complete freedom from taxation, combined with the wonderful advantage of its geographical position, have made Hongkong what it is converted an insignificant fishing village into a magnificent. city--and rendered it the depot for the enormous and increasing com- merce of these Eastern Seas. It is desirable therefore to preserve these advantages, and it is because I believe that here, as at Singapore, so similar in every respect to this colony, a large addition may be made to the Revenue by a Stamp Act without entailing the depressing effects which might follow other taxation, that I suggest this policy, as the best which circumstances permit.

It is possible however that some wiser measure may be proposed, -and if so, we can discuss the question. I now merely wish to announce that whilst I feel obliged to come before you with estimates necessarily exhibiting a large deficit, and a deficit which there is no reasonable hope of soon seeing disappear, I also rely on your providing permanent funds to meet that deficit, in preference to abandoning any expenditure essential to the maintenance of order and safety, and the improvement of the health and general convenience of the Community.

This is not the time for going into details, and without detailed explanations I am aware that many of the items in the proposed estimates must appear somewhat unintelligible, especially as some are connected with others to be early submitted to you, but not yet formally before the Council. Therefore, I shall be glad, if any member of Council will, between this, and next meeting, ask explanations trom the Auditor General, or myself, and meantime as sonic assistance to

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you, I lay on the table a comparative Statement of the estimated expenditure of 1866, compared with that estimated for 1867-together with explanations of the causes of the decrease acd increase in each item.

LETTTER FROM THE GOVERNOR TO MR. WHITTALL. Previous to the day appointed for a public meeting to momorialise the Governor against the proposed Stamp Act, His Excellency ad. dressed the following letter to MR. WHITTALL, the senior Non- official Member of the Legislative Council.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE,

25th Augnst, 1866.

MY DEAR SIR,—It occurs to me that the meeting to consider the proposed Stamp Ordinance might be assisted, by removing one or two popular errors which now encumber the field of discussion. They are within any own personal knowledge and can of course be best vouched by myself.

Thus I should like it to be distinctly understood that, when fixing $120,000 as the yearly addition to the Colonial Revenue, which a review of our financial position led me to think requisite, I had not the remotest intention of imposing taxation to a larger amount.

It is nevertheless quite true that the Schedule of the Ordinance, as it now stands, would probably produce a much larger sum. That Schedule however was purposely left thus comprehensive, with a view to deciding with the advice of the Council, on the distribution of the proposed limited taxation, and the items expedient to reject and retain. I felt that on such points the opinions of the Unofficial Members and the Mercantile Community ought to carry weight.

Secondly, I have to disclaim for myself any merit or the reverse in framing the provisions of the proposed Ordinance. It is almost a verbatim copy, except in one or two points peculiar to Hongkong, of the Ordinance long in force throughout India, and more especially in the neighbouring Straits Settlements, where I understood, on the best authority, that the measure had been working satisfactorily, and had completely refuted prophetic warnings of evil similar to those uttered here.

It may be well to add that the completion of various provisions in the Schedule had been purposely deferred till, the appropriate moment of discussion in Council. Thus, the lowest amount of a Comprador's Order, liable to duty is left unsettled, an observation which applies to several other items.

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As the above matters lie within my own personal knowledge I have through it right to state them to you not merely as senior Non- Official Member of Council, but as being in a better position than myself to correct misapprehensions injurious to a discussion which, to be useful, should start with correct premises.

Of course those who think no taxation needed, and those who, even if taxation be required, think a stamp duty not the best tax, are quite right in opposing a measure which they disapprove. The introduction of any tax is a most disagreeable duty, and I almost envy those who are satisfied that none is necessary, even though we continue the Public works and progressive improvements, which I trust will long mark auspiciously every year of the Colony's history.

I know that the form in which the estimates are printed, by order of H. M. Government, and several other minor considerations, excuse a large margin of misapprehension on our financial position. I believe it would be very easy to furnish a meeting of the General Public with, not one, but several apparently triumphant proofs, drawn perhaps from opposite and inconsistent sources, of the temporary nature of our financial difficulties, and yet the best of these proofs would probably be a delusion which a brief explanation from the Auditor General could dispel.

it.

Individually of course, I regard a Stamp Duty as preferable to any other mode of taxation in the Colony, otherwise I would not propose I do propose it, till a better and wiser scheme be suggested, because I see in it a system tested already in a neighbouring colony and through- out British India without injurious results to commerce. I see in it a system capable of immediate contraction, and expansion according to the Public emergencies; I see in it a measure which indirectly compels others than mere residents here, to share the burden as well as the profits attendant on busines conducted here; I see in it a means of abating the Gambling by time bargains which must injuriously affect legitimate business; I see in it a system approved, by the most eminent political economists as apportioning taxation according to the magnitude of the transactions which it reaches, and finally I attach the more weight to this latter consideration, because the opposition to the measure is so general here, that I infer from thence a Stamp Act would equitably include and affect all interests.-Believe me to be, very faithfully yours,

RICHARD GRAVES MACDONNELL.

(signed)

To the Hon. J. Whittall.

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RESOLUTIONS.

PASSED AT A PUBLIC MEETING HELD ON THE 28TH OF AUGUST, at

THE SUPREME COURT HOUSE, Hongkong.

"That in the opinion of this Meeting, the Stamp Ordinance which has recently passed its second reading before the Legislative Council is a measure fraught with serious and grave consequences to the well- being and prosperity of this community, that by the enormous burden it will cast upon trade, it will certainly tend to the prejudice of all existing interests in the Colony, and that the only thing which would justify its imposition, viz:- An imperious necessity,' does not in their opinion, exist.”

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That in the opinion of this Meeting, even, accepting the expenditure of the Colony for the year 1867 at the sum appearing on the debit side of the Estimates, there is no absolute necessity for any new mode of taxation, and that the sums necessary to be spent in the year 1867 can be raised by modifications of the existing taxes and rates, in a manuer calculated to be less prejudicial to the Colony, than by putting into force this New Act so repugnant to the feelings of the Community."

"That although this Meeting recognises the fact that the estimates. for the year 1867 are already passed; they think that His Excellency the Governor should be requested to defer the actual expenditure of the following items, viz :-

New Road $23,000.

Roads in Kowloon $4,000. Sanitarium $11,000.

voted on the estimates, until the results of next year's working of the Mint be seen, on the grounds that although this outlay might be desirable for a Colony with a surplus in hand, the works are not of such importance as to necessitate their completion, when a new tax has to be imposed to carry them out."

"That a Memorial embodying the wishes of the Community and conveying to His Excellency the Governor their requests, based upon the sentiments expressed at this Meeting be drawn up and presented to His Excellency, and that the following gentlemen be requested to Act in drawing up the same and getting it signed, and also to be a deputation of the Community to present it-Messrs. McDouall, Maclean, Dalziel, Kaiser, J. S. Lapraik, Parry, Sassoon, W. H. Forbes, Nissen, Ryrie, Kaye, D. R. Crawford, Conil, A. F. Heard, Bosman, J. B.. Endicott, and B. Pallanjce.”

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THE MEMORIAL AGAINST THE STAMP ACT. TO HIS EXCELLENCY SIR RICHARD GRAVES MACDONNELL, KNIGHT, C.B., GOVERNOR AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE COLONY OF

HONGKONG.

THE MEMORIAL OF THE UNDERSIGNED,

COLONY- Humbly Sheweth.

INHABITANTS OF THE

That at a Public Meeting held at the Supreme Court House, Hongkong, on the 28th Day of August instant, attended by a very large number of the Residents of the Colony, certain resolutions were earried, Copies of which are attached hereto, and to which we beg Your Excellency's attention.

That in accordance with the fourth resolution, Your Memorialists now proceed to address Your Excellency on the subject of the proposed Stamp Ordinance.

In the first place they beg to refer to the items of Expenditure in the Estimates of 1867, in respect of which the alleged deficit in the Revenue is expected to arise, being Five in number and amounting to $114,000, and looking at their nature and character, they beg to lay before Your Excellency their opinion, that in respect of these items-

Firstly. There is no necessity for any new method of taxation of a permanent character.

Secondly. Even if there is a present necessity for more money than the ordinary Revenue of the Colony will supply, the best mode of raising the required sum is by direct taxation, in the manner always hitherto pursued in the Colony, which can be done, without any difficulty, by an increase of existing taxes, or by the imposition of a special rate of a similar or analogous character.

Thirdly. While your Memorialists fully agree in the proposition that all Public Works, necessary for the advancement of the Colony, in either a sanitary, or social point of view, should be proceeded with, they respectfully urge that the three items of proposed expenditure alluded to in the third resolution are not of such a character as to necessitate their being carried out, until the future financial position of the Colony, as depending in a great measure upon the maintenance or abandonment of the Mint, is determined, or until the Ordinary Revenue of the Colony will admit of the expenditure.

Fourthly. If your Excellency should coincide with Your Memo- rialists in their lastly expressed opinion the items of expenditure calling for consideration are two; one, the $26,000 towards maintenance of the Gun-boat, the other $50,000 for part construction of a reservoir. With regard to the latter item, Your Memorialists, representing, as they do, all sections or interests of the Community, beg that Your Excellency

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will provide for this sum by a special rate for a fixed period, either added to the present Water Rate, or imposed on the assessed Rental of the Colony as a Reservoir Rate," or what is perhaps a more desirable plan, by borrowing this money on Debenture, securing the holder by a charge on a Water Rate, to be levied for the purpose over a longer period.

With regard to the former item, for the Gunboat, Your Memorialists feel assured that the proper way to pay for this is to class it as Police Expenditure, and levy for it an additional Police Rate, which will be readily borne by all classes of the Community, who all, without excep- tion, will benefit by its maintenance.

Having thus respectfully laid before Your Excellency the deliberate conviction at which they have arrived, Firstly, with regard to the charac- ter and necessity of the proposed expenditure, and Secondly, as to the mode in which the necessity for more money, if it exists, should be met, they now proceed to entreat Your Excellency's patient and favourable consideration of the feeling entertained by, they may say, the whole Colony, that a Stamp Act or tax to be passed for, or levied on, this Colony, is calculated to do serious and grievous prejudice to the interests of all classes of the residents, and is, in principle, inapplicable to the place and its circumstances, and this quite irrespectively of the amount to be raised by it, or the retention or abandonment of any items in the Schedule to the Ordinance as published.

Your Memorialists are emphatically of opinion that any Stamp Tax must be disastrous in its effects on the welfare and prosperity of the Colony. The trade which is now carried on in the Colony has grown gradually up, induced partly by the protection to property always to be had here, and partly by its being a conveniently situated place for the producer to come to meet the exporter on the one hand, and the con- sumer, or speculator upon consumption to meet the importer, on the other. These undoubted advantages possessed by Hongkong however, did not suffice to bring the trade here, until it was largely favoured by outside influences, and fortuitous circumstances. The Establishment of heavy taxes and duties formerly at Macao, drove a good deal of native Commerce over here, and though these taxes have now ceased to exist the trade has remained here, because it has had nothing to gain by returning to Macao hitherto, and, though this is but a small element in the great whole, it is well worthy of consideration as embodying the principle for which Your Memorialists contend. Again, after the des- truction of the Factories at Canton, 1856, came what may be called a turning point in the fortunes of Hongkong. The Merchants had after the cessation of hostilities, to consider whether, in the utter absence of all taxation on trade here, it was necessary to incur the expense of building at Canton and keeping separate, Establishments there, to do business that

:

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could be done equally well here, and, finding, as they did, that the Chi- nese, on whom the trade depends were willing to come here and settle, they have almost entirely abandoned Canton, as an Emporium or place of business. A wise and purdent course of legislation in the Colony, has kept the taxation necessary to raise the requisite amount of Revenue, in a purely local and direct channel, and, by carefully abstaining from producing any fear in the minds of people elsewhere, who send to the residents here to have their transactions carried out, that any, even indirect, taxation upon trade would ever be imposed, has mainly con- tributed to attract new trade hither and keep that already secured. The residents here have always readily paid this local direct taxation, because it pays them to do so, by offering inducements, as there is no doubt it does, for business to be sent here, which might just as readily be transacted elsewhere, and your Memorialists believe that any additional Revenue, necessary to be raised, would always gladly be paid by the residents here, who, one and all, are dependent for their livelihood upon the influx of trade and commerce to the port and to induce an increase of which, it is so vitally important that the previous character of the taxation here should not be altered in the smallest degree.

With all respect to the opinions expressed by Your Excellency, in your letter to Mr. Whittall, on the subject of this tax, there is one sentence in that letter which clearly indicates the danger of imposing it, and shews why a tax of this nature will cause dread in the minds of absent traders and speculators, and lead them to send their orders elsewhere. The sentence is this "I see in at a system capable of immediate contraction and expansion according to the Public exigencies." It is this expansive property that is the evil at the bottom of the whole proposition, as, passing a Stamp tax, avowedly as the future proper mode of meeting any "Public exigencies that may

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arise, amonnts to a declaration that, if money is needed for expenditure in the Colony, Trade must be taxed by new or altered Stamp imposts to supply the amount. While on the subject of Your Excellency's letter your Memorialists would also point out, that though the proposed Stamp tax was originally given out to be merely a temporary measure to provide for the alleged deficit for 1867, it appears from Your Ex- cellency's avowal in the letter, that $120,000 is fixed as a yearly addition to the Colonial Revenue," to be derived from this source, and the introduction of this measure will be the more dreaded, as its positively permanent character, and certain "expansion" if money be required, is thus announced as the Policy of the Colonial Govenment for the future That the fact of the existence of the dread or ap- prehension to which they allude, and that its effect will be prejudicial to the welfare of the Colonists, are matters beyond doubt, and not mere baseless suppositions, Your Memorialists have alrealy received

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substantial evidence in more ways than one. They submit to Your Excellency, that their unanimous feeling against both the principle, and effect, of any Stamp tax, is worthy of serious attention from the fact, that all previous legislation here has been in accordance with their present conviction, and also because it is not on their part, a captions objection to the expenditure of money, but an anxious protest against its being paid for in this way, coupled with an offer of readiness to be taxed, to any necessary amount, year by year as real occasion arises, in the mode suggested by them or in any other way not so likely to be productive of evil results to the Community.

Your Memorialists, in addition to objecting to the imposition of a Stamp Tax as being in principle wrong, even for providing for a temporary deficit, do most solemnly and earnestly protest against the even more injurious policy, declared in Your Excellency's letter, of seizing the opportunity, of there being an alleged need of money, for a purely temporary and transitory purpose, to impose upon the Colony and its trade, a yearly additional tax of $120,000, being equal to one-seventh of the present annual Revenue.

The only argument Your Memorialists have heard in favour of taxation in this manner, is, that it is not politically expedient, to derive ́all Revenue from one or more specific sources, but if this be true as an abstract proposition of political economy, surely the fact that since the existence of the Colony, the Legislature have followed the course without even demur on the part of those taxed, is sufficient to shew that Hong- kong, in its circumstances, is in an exceptional position, and must be dealt with as the position requires, and not in the manner required by any abstract dogma or theory.

There are many other objections to the imposition of any Stamp Tax, partly to the principle, and partly to the operation, of such a measure, on which Your Memorialists will not dilate, but they may point out, as instances, the severity and stringency of the provision s punishing breaches of the Ordinance, the difficulty and cost of collection, and almost certain evasion of it by such of the Chinese as remain here, its vexatious intricacy, and its inequality, in leaving untaxed a large body of Residents who, if not individually wealthy, are wealthy as classes or interests, and who ought to contribute to these local requirements.

Your Memorialists in conclusion beg to express their conviction that though this is a Crown Colony, and they can be taxed by an Order in Council, or an express Order from the Government to the Governor here to levy a tax, or raise a subsidy, yet when, in compliance with the standing Orders of the Legislative Council, and the whole previous course of practice here, the Council, as such, are asked to pass or reject, a measure involving the mere mode of raising the requisite sums, Your

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Memorialists are then entitled to have their ideas on that subject received through the recognized medium, the Non-Official Members of the Council, and as their remonstrances were of no avail, they conceive themselves further entitled to bring before the Government the strong opinions they entertain on the matter, and firmly though respectfully, to urge Your Excellency to a consideration of what is at best, a mere question of expediency, affecting their interests only, and upon which they ought to be considered, if not the best judges, at least as the best exponents of the balance of benefit or prejudice that may result from the measure.

Your Memorialists therefore humbly beg Your Excellency to consider the question, to defer such portion of the Expenditure as is not of immediate or vital import to the Colony to a more auspicious period; to raise any Sums that may be presently needed by some other, and less hurtful method, and to postpone indefinitely the further considera- tion of any Stamp Tax, or at least until all other available and usual sources of taxation have been exhausted.

SIGNATURES.

Jardine Matheson & Co.

H. Murray.

W. Hastings.

W. Kirby.

Chas Rivington,

A. C. Sandmann. ?

Peter G. Laurie.

H. G. James.

Augustine Heard & Co.

J. Dottell.

Lewis P. Thomas. Olyphant & Co. J. F. Rose.

Smith Archer & Co. Alexander Ross. J. Stimson. Bosman & Co. O. H. Burrows. Birley & Co. P. F. Cama & Co. Gilman & Co. William Parke. Charles Deane. A. M. Glennie. J. A. Costa.

Bourjau, Hubener & Co.

A. Bourjau.

O. Booth.

Fred. Clauss.

D. W. Gutten

E. E. da Silva. T. Herwig. Francis Chomley. Dent & Co. G. Overbeck. B. T. Kindersley. Duncan Davidson. A. J. Ede.

T. B. Endicott. Thos. Hunt & Co. Wm. C. Morrison.

L. P. Ward Severs & Co. Reynvaan Brothers. Holliday, Wise & Co. Howard Hodges. J. B. Coughtrie. F. C. Adams. W. S. Foster. Peterson Brothers. T. G Detterman. T. Baulson.

L. C. Volkmann. Broadbear Antony & Co. John Burd & Co. H. Kiær.

M. Poulsen. R. Jensen,

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Reynolds & Co. L. A. Rozario. V. Kresser. John Lowden. C. Moodie. H. Smith.

J. Jackson. E. R. Smith. L. Mackintosh. E. Arthur. Robert Guild. J. A. Taylor. H. H. Nelson. H. Jorge. Siemssen & Co. F. Hockmeyer. P. G. Hubbe. W. Kock. P. Gabain. H. Hoppius. R. Werlich. A. Von Leesen. Lyall Still & Co. Alfred S. Post: R. Lyall G. E. Stokes. R. C. Smith.

C. J. d' Ozorio.

T. Schroeder.

D. Sassoon, Sons & Có:

J. B. Elias.

Russell & Co.

W. H. Foster.

E. D. Barbour.

Emil Vogel.

Chas. A. Lovett.

Chas. A. Gilson:

John W. Terry. Q. A. Guttierrez. Smith Kennedy & Co. Vaucher & Co. E. Beart.

Bowra & Co.

Borneo Co. Limited.

George Crichton.

H. Nicaise.

De Silver & Co.

H. de Silver.

E. Mellish.

S. W. Baker & Co.

A, Shaw.

J. B. Miller.

Alfred L. Turner.

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J. Hart. D. Ruttonjee: Reiss & Co. William Morgan. A. Hancock.

A. Hay Anderson. James H. Cox. M. M. Walker. E. Figgis. James Greig.

H. M. Davidson. A. Newton. Gifford F. Parker. N. Mody & Co. George, R. Gleimius. F. J. Reynolds. F. Major. Ed. Baker. G. P. Thomson. Ed. Norton. Crawford D. Kerr. Carlowitz & Co.

David Welch, William Keene. Oxford & Co. Arthur M. Kast. Charles D. Weeks. Richard Deacon.

J. McDouall.

L. Cameron.

J. M. Matson. G. O. Scott.

F. J. Barros.

G. M. Carvalho.

Charles T. Gaupp & Co. H. Hoffmann.

Hesse & Co. H. Kirchhoff. J. Hauschild. Framjee Cowasjee. Silveira & Co. W. A. Middleton. A, Uhlmann. W. G. Cearns. C. Braga & Co. Talbot & Co. F. Blackhead & Co. Thomas Algar,

F. Rapp.

C. Schmidt. Adam Scott & Co.

H. Johnston.

C. Buddi.

!

John Craig. J. P. Campos. Geo. Withers. P. Eduljee. C. Rustonjee. Thomas Callis.

Charles D. Weeks. D. L. Woodin. L. F. Campos. W. R. Dalziell. W. Kaye. W: T: Pode. Phillips, Moore & Co. Charles C. Cohen. M. Moore.

R. S, Walker & Co. Blum Brothers & Co. E. Garetta.

L. Lyon.

Jamsetjee Nusserwanjee & Co. Eugene Schwerer.

Gibb, Livingston & Co. Johnson & Co.

Turner & Co. A. McLeod.

Wm. C. Gomer. H. B. Lemann. Robert C. Lambert. T. G. Linstead. A. Eimbecke. A. Scott. Thomas C. Russell.

G. H. Heaton.

J. Smith.

J. McEwen & Co. H. D. Sullivan. Lane, Crawford & Co. T. Willaume. William Punchard. Charles Jameson, J. E. Toppin. J. Fairbairn. John L. Cox. R. Cathman. M. C, de Rozario.

Rozario & Co.

William T. Antey. H. Ralph. Dreyer & Co.

Kirchner Boyer & Co. Francisco A. Gomez. Douglas Lapraik & Co. Joseph E. Manger.

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Alfred T. Manger.

A, F. dos Remedios. M. de Souza.

John Lapraik, sec. H. K. & W. D. Co. George M. Minto, manager H. K. &

W. D. Co.

Charles McIntosh.

R. D. Starkey.

Rawling, Medlen & Co. William Gaskell. John G. Francis.

S. J. S. Magniac. Edward J. Sage. John Patten. A. Boyer. J. F. Collago. L. Thevenin. Fawcett & Co. A. Bleecker. John J. Pearce. G. Falconer & Co. J. Noble.

A. W. Smith.

R. E. Baker.

A.. Harley. Azavedo & Co. Landstein & Co. C. G. Oldace. Camajee & Co. T. M. Gonzales. J. W. Hagedarn. K. Radecker. Raynal & Co. George Holmes & Co. J. Murjee & Co. B. D. Rustomjee. G. H. Ebrahim. Nowrowjee Hosunjee. F. B. Cama & Co. M. Lalljee. Dhurumsey Poonjabhoy. A. Sappoojee, R. Habbibhoy.

E. N. Usibios.

A. R. Bulilios.

C. P. Charter. William Wetherall. R. F. Addyman.

J. Searl.

W. F. Driscol. E. Libley.

J. Whistler: C. A. Spring

J. B. Abbott.

R. B. Slate. William H. Nolleys. J. Macklehose. J. D. Woodford. L. C. da Silva.

Ray & Co. A. Jorge.

C. H. Claussen. G. R. Lammers. Charles Luttsens. Otto Freidrich. George Whitehouse. A. Conil.

Edward Reymers. W. S. Riddell. H. Kaiser.

J. Jackson, Jr.

F. Stone.

George F. Weller. W. Hunter.

Edward H. Pollard. H. C. Caldwell.

J. S. Betts Jr. J. Booth.

A. Percy Sinnett. Bonnett & Co.

James Gardner.

D. Khakoo.

*18

M. Nusserwanjee & Co. H. L. A. Sheerajee & Co. Fazul M. Dandibhoy. L. D. Ludabost & Co. H. M. Padsa.

Nowrowjee & Co. B. N. Gusder. B. Danecuren. H. Mehdee. L. Rissram. B. Abdoolally: Jairez Marajee & Co. P. Rustomjee.

M. M. Moxana.

Abdoolally, Ebrahim & Co. A. Abdoolkader.

F. V. H. Eduljee & Co.

N. Abdoolely.

H. H. Oomer.

Mohamased Dhurmusey & Co.

M. D. Ghandy & Co.

E. Bezooji.

D. Vursojee & Co. A. Pestuji.

P. & A. Č. Camajee & Co. Cowasjee Pallanjee & Co. S. Rustomjee.

S. E. Judah & Co. Joshua & Co.

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PROTEST BY THE NON-OFFICIAL MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.

[The following protest by the Non-official Members, was read at the sitting of the Council, which took place after the presentation of the Memorial, on the 5th of September].

Under the privilege accorded to us by Rule 15, of General Rules for the Legislative Council of Hongkong, we beg to protest against the Stamp Ordinance being passed, or promulgated, on the following grounds :-

1stly, That the expenditure proposed in the Estimates for 1867 would be covered by the existing Revenue, were it not for the absorp- tion of so large a portion of it by the military contribution, and as the latter amount has to be voted yearly, it is clearly open to consideration at each recurring period. This contribution was originally exacted against the recommendation of the then Governor, the Protest of the majority of the Legislative Council, and the unanimous remonstrance

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of the community; and the two principal reasons for such a demand upon the Colony, were; 1stly, an apparent surplus Revenue which in fact never existed; and 2ndly an expected profit from the Mint, which expectation was equally groundless. Since the first exaction of this sum by the Imperial Government, the Military Establishment has been largely reduced in its staff, its material, and its numerical strength, and the Gun-boat borne upon the estimates for 1867 is as much as the Colony can be expected to pay for, in the face of the admitted fact of the sums of $866,270 (exclusive of Stamp Act) being insufficient to pay for what Government consider necessary expenditure in a Colony of the size and position of Hongkong. These are new reasons not previously urged against the exaction of this sum, but in our opinion when added to those formerly advanced, are unanswerable.

2ndly,―That, assuming that the military contribution remains to be paid, the alleged deficiency in the Revenue to meet the expenditure arises from the following items on the expenditure side of the estimates for 1867.

1 Cost of maintenance of Gun-boat,.

.$26,000

2 Amount to be expended on additional Reservoir

at Pok-foo-lum,..

$26,000

-3 Sanatarium at Kowloon,...

$11,000

4 Carriage Road to Gap above Race course, 5 Roads in Kowloon,..

$23,000

$ 4,000

$114,000

That, in preference to imposing an entirely new tax the natural and ordinary course of Legislation with regard to Item No. 1 would be to impose a special addition to the Police Rate for the year of the requisite amount, and the expenditure would thus be borne by the proper constituency, and come under its own departmental accounts as it undoubtedly is of a Police and protective character.

With regard to Item No. 2 a similar argument applies, and the expenditure can only properly be met by a special addition to the Water Rate, which would gladly be paid by the community in this form, and, if any difficulty be imagined in this course, the Government could obtain the money on a debenture, for three years, at eight per cent per annum, giving the debenture holder a charge on the extra water rate to be imposed for three years expressly to provide for it. The only argument adduced against this is the reluctance of Govern- ment to borrow, but this is an evil of minor character to that threatened by the proposed Stamp Ordinance.

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Item No. 3 is an expenditure of a decidedly experimental character, th and considering recent medical protests against the salubrity of Kowloon and the sad loss of life the military recently suffered there, or from disease contracted there, it might well be deferred until the result of the military Trial Barrack there, (now approaching completion) is known.

Item No. 4--This cannot be called a necessary expenditure being one purely for the greater comfort and convenience of that minority of the Public who can afford to make pleasure excursions or to keep horses and carriages. The Road leads to nowhere, can never, in any way be helpful to trade or commerce, and the expenditure is one that ought only to be thought of when the Public Purse is in a position better able to afford ornamental inprovements or extra conveniences than now when a new tax has to be imposed for the purpose.

Item No. 5.—This small sum is only alluded to as embodying the principle of the next ground of protest, as roads in Kowloon are only wanted if people are expected to take up land, build and occupy houses, shops, or godowns there, which, in our opinion, will not be the case if the Stamp Ordinance passes.

3rdly, That the tax will be an undue burden upon Trade, and seriously detrimental to the true interests of the colony. Hongkong produces nothing, and the position it has acquired, in a Mercantile point of view, is partly owing to convenience of position coupled with a certain security afforded by being a British Colony, but mainly, and chiefly, since there have been no burdens on trade whatever, and it has been therefore cheaper to have this as a port of call for orders, as a depot, and centre of exchange and shipping business, than at any Chinese Port, where vessels have to pay Port Dues &c., and goods have to pay customs dues, and where shipment and reshipment are encumbered by customs, forms, and requirements. This must be borne in mind when considering this tax, as a great many of the items in the Schedule will have to be borne by a foreign principal, the Agent here having no interest (beyond commission) in the transaction. The Charterparties, Bills of Lading, Agreements, Bills of Exchange, Policies of Insurance, Agreements, and Powers of Attorney to carry out such operations, would all be taxed, though no "trade," in the proper sense of the word, originates here as a part of export, and the tax would have to be paid by persons who can get their business done without such a tax, say at Macao. The tax will drive business away very probably, and also deter people from investing capital in property as heretofore.

4TH.-That the tax will be unequal in its operation, and press unduly upon European and American Residents, as the Chinese are certain to evade the Ordinance, and without much fear of detection their

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documents being in their own language and never seen by others than er, those directly interested.

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5TH.-That a new kind of tax should only be imposed when existing means fail, and that so far from there being any necessity for such an impost at present, it is not only unnecessary but politically inexpedient as all the money really required for the Public Service in 1866 can, if managed, be readily raised by a special increase for a fixed period of the existing taxes respectively appropriated to each item of expenditure.

LASTLY.-On the ground that this being a measure of taxation, should under the terms of Lord Stanley's despatch to Governor Bowring dated the 5th March, 1858, meet with the concurrence of the Majority of the Legislative Council, whereas the expressed opinions of the Majority of the Council were against the second reading of the Ordinance, and the Majority of one vote which appears as the actual result of the voting on the occasion was obtained solely under the pressure of that obligation on official members to vote, even against their convictions, for a measure proposed by Government, which places us and all other Non-Official Members of Council, necessarily in a minority of votes in questions affecting the welfare and interests of the colony and its residents, even though the opinions of the majority of the Council may be with us, and against the proposed Government measure.

J. WHITTALL.

JOHN DENT.

H. B. GIBB.

ADDRESS OF THE GOVERNOR AT THE COUNCIL

MEETING OF SEPTEMBER THE 5th.

I gladly find myself once more in a position to give this Council and the Community at large such explanations, as I hope may remove many misapprehensions connected with the measure submitted to you for placing your finances on a sounder footing.

I would have done so earlier, but felt it right to accede to the wishes of certain gentlemen, who asked for time to complete a Memorial against the proposed Stamp Bill. Accordingly I first adjourned the Council till last Friday, and on receipt of a further communication from the same gentlemen, adjourned the Meeting to this day.

To make the interval as useful as possible, I published in the Government Gazette of the 1st instant the Schedule intended to be affixed to the Bill-a Schedule of that description and extent which

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from the first I had hoped, and which I should have preferred, to have framed in Council with your aid, after a careful sifting of the items in the Singapore Act. That Schedule has now been several days before the Public, and I am quite ready to amend it still further, if improve- ments can be suggested.

The Memorial transmitting resolutions against the Stamp Ordinance and presented to me this day has also been some time before the Public whilst the protest of three of the Non-official Members of Council, which you have just heard read, was laid before me by those gentlemen a week back. I have therefore the advantage of dealing with both instruments at once, and ascertaining whether either contains reasons that should stay the action of the Executive in this matter.

I must here remind you that a Public Meeting was held on the 28th ultimo to get up a Memorial against the imposition of any Stamp Duty, and that previously I had become aware that the intentions of Government were very generally misrepresented and ill understood. I therefore took at once such measures as placed fully before the Public my intention of raising just as much and no more by the proposed duty as might meet the probable annual deficit-assumed to be about $120,000. It was also stated that the published Schedule of the Singapore Act would be so modified as to meet the limited requirements of this Colony.

Very extensive circulation was given by the Press to those explanations, but nevertheless they were completely ignored subse- quently by the Meeting, and unnoticed in the Protest.

Hence the value of those documents is impaired, for, I presume that here as elsewhere it is desirable and convenient that partics protesting should know against what they protest.

Thus a great portion of both the Memorial and Protest is really irrelevant, and directed against a proposal which I do not make, and which I never did intend to make.

Still through both documents runs a line of argument applicable to any Schedule of Stamp duties, viz.: the argument that the finances of the Colony exhibit no deficiency of a permanent character-and if they do, that a Stamp duty is not the best mode of meeting it.

Before dealing with these points I must advert to one assertion of the Memorialists who affirm that "though the proposed Stamp Act was originally given out to be merely a temporary measure to provide for the alleged deficit of 1867, it appears" from a subsequent statement by me that $120,000 "is fixed as a yearly addition to the Colonial Revenue to be derived from the new duty.'

""

I regret that such an assertion should be made so lightly, as it almost imputes a breach of faith to the Government for which there is not the shadow of a foundation. I recall to your recollection that on

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the 25th July I laid before you a statement of the financial position of of the Colony, and having shown that there had been for some years an annually increasing deficiency "I stated it was impossible to permit its continuance, and that there were two modes of dealing with it-by diminishing your expenditure or increasing your revenue. gave reasons for preferring the latter course, and my intention to ensure such result by a permanent increase of Revenue was obvious from the context, and especially from my recommending a Stamp duty, the least likely of all taxes to be introduced for one year only. It so happens, however, that I left no room for mere inferences. I put an end to all doubt by subsequently adding the words "whilst I come before you with estimates necessarily exhibiting a large deficit, and a deficit which there is no reasonable hope of soon seeing disappear, I rely on your finding permanent funds to meet that deficiency, &c., &c."

To assert in spite of such plain language that I gave out the Stamp Act to be merely a temporary measure to provide for the alleged defi- ciency of 1867 ”—is therefore, to say the least of it, very illogical.

Reverting however to the general argument against the necessity for any permanent addition to our Revenue-which forms a most legitimate ground for discussion-I cannot too strongly impress on you that almost the whole case for the Stamp Duty depends on the expediency and necessity of keeping up the usual expenditure in the Surveyor General's department. Strike that off and you can balance your Revenue and Expenditure at once. No other items are capable of reduction in the same degree, because even closing the Mint to-morrow whold not bring you back the large sums sunk in starting it,—and as shewn by the Estimates, would only save $20,000 in 1867-its sup- posed cost over receipts during that year. Now a saving of $20,000 does not give you $120,000, the sum required to square your account, and neither I nor this Council are at liberty to take such action, nor would as yet be justified in closing the Mint-a step premature and undesirable, till we know what profit it can realise by the subsidiary coinage, a process just commenced, and on which the profits are larger and expenses smaller than in coining dollars.

The main question, however, preliminary to imposing any taxation is whether for several years to come there is any fair probability of the usual expenditure and the ordinary Revenue of the Colony balan- cing one another in the natural course of events. I venture to say that no one has given such details on this point as would justify us in adopting such a conclusion.

It is true that on all sides there is a very creditable willingness expressed to meet all necessary expenditure. So far, so well, but the moment the items of expenditure are mentioned, there is an immediate

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onslaught on them and a declaration that some are unnecessary, and that others may be put off, whilst for the remainder it is better to borrow money at "8 per cent," or to double your Police and other Rates irrespective of the object for which those rates have been imposed.

I may en passant explain that some of the items suggested for omission are not happily selected. The Road from the Gardens to the Gap is one passed in the Estimates of 1865, and deferred by discussions with the Military Authorities. It is now again brought forward not merely as a boon to all classes in the form of an easily reached and agreeable addition to their walks and drives, but also as opening up hereafter pleasant and suitable Villa sites, destined at some future period to repay part of the cost of the Road's construction.

The suggestion to strike off the $4,000 for Roads in Kowloon is not feasible, because the Colony is actually bound by agreements with its tenants to expend that sum. As to the proposed outlay on the Sanatarium at Kowloon, referred to in the Memorial and Protest, it has only been deferred till now by discussions between the Civil and Military departments. It may be regarded as eventually reproductive because calculated to open up and render attractive a valuable property hitherto neglected, through causes beyond the control of the local Executive. Already Kowloon brings you a Revenue of $20,000 per annum, and it was understood originally that money derived from thence was mainly to be expended in improvements there. I think," whilst discharging that obligation, there is reasonable hope when the fine site of Mount Elgin is occupied by a suitable building, that public attention will be once more attracted to the neighbourhood with results beneficial to the Treasury. The utility of other and important items is not disputed, such as the intended Reservoir at Pokfolum and a contribution by the Colony towards the maintenance of a Gun-boat to be placed at the disposal of this Government. The ex- pediency however of raising money by a Stamp Duty for those purposes is disputed, and I shall presently come to that point.

In the mean time I would observe that, although I feel it right to show that no items have been placed in the Estimates without due con- sideration, I nevertheless regard the discussion of these particular details as really but an adjournment, and as it were a frittering away of the main question which lies behind all such minor discussions. That question is, whether there really be any reasonable ground to suppose, or whether it is desirable, if practicable, that for many years the expenditure should be less than now on works of utility and ornament, the promotion of sanitary objects, and general convenience or the rendering productive, property which now lies unproductive.

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If our last road and our last drain and our final repairs to Public buildings, if in fact everything that marks progress in a Community not yet smitten by decay, could be all completed by the end of 1867, most assuredly it would be unwise to introduce a Stamp or other tax of a permanent character to tide us over so short an interval as twelve months.

Yet those who signed the Memorial and the Protest know well that of all Public expenditure, the one which tells most in conser- ving the reputation of Hongkong as the best commercial centre for the great financial operations of commerce in this part of the world, is the Government expenditure on useful and sanitary, and (within reasonable limits) ornamental works. I hope that such expenditure will never be less than in recent years.

Strike out this or that item for next year and you will find they were merely "stopping the way" of other items no less necessary and useful in their turn because finality in progress is a thing contrary to the law of growth in a young and vigorous community.

The mould, therefore, in which you should cast your legislation ought to adapted to the proportions and the end which it is the hope of this colony to attain hereafter, and I trust that we shall not be ad- vised again to borrow money at eight per cent to fulfil what I regard as our ordinary annual duty, loading our finances with obligations increased by heavy interest and for repayment of which, if honest we must either impose an equivalent burthen by taxation in some other form or discontinue our Public improvements hereafter.

These are some, but far from all the reasons, which should induce us to look our affairs in the face and cheerfully consent for the permanent benefit of the community to provide funds adequate to discharge our natural, and ever recurring duties.

Possibly however, as the Estimates show a surplus on this year of about $85,000 it might be thought reasonable to wait for the expenditure of that sum. It may therefore surprise you to learn that although, if at the end of the current year the machinery of Government was suddenly to stop, and all expenses cease, the assets of the colony might after collection of arrears and realising outstanding balances, be found to reach some $80,000 beyond its liabilities, nevertheless you cannot hope to conduct the affairs of a large concern like this Government without some capital sunk to give you a margin to turn in. The whole Civil establishment is at this moment being paid with borrowed money. The Colony has actually no funds available and has been obliged to use for its current expenditure portions of the fund known as " Judicial deposits," -money entrusted by the Courts to the custody of the Government. The greater part of these funds, will be called in after vacation, and must be made good by the Colony, whilst if other funds

26

now expected, but not arrived, be not available, I shall have to prove the accuracy of the Memorialists' estimate of our flourishing financiał condition by appealing to them for assistance.

In proof of this I lay before you the usual weekly statement of the Treasurer, dated last Monday, the 2nd instant, and you have only to glance at it to see that, omitting the small balance of $6,426 then payable to the British Postmaster General-the Colony had only $59,200 to make good its liabilities to the Judicial deposit fund amounting to $147,249. In other words the Colony on Monday last owed that fund-which is soon to be called in-no less than $88,049. I therefore feel that you must agree with me in thinking it high time to put our finances in order.

I come now to the second great branch of the subject. Assuming that our financial difficulty is not unreal, it is said, this is the worst of all measures and a Stamp Duty the most unsuitable of taxes-that it will destroy the freedom of the Port, drive away trade, banish the Chinese, who will not even live at Kowloon, according to the Protest, if the Stamp Ordinance passes. Indeed I have seen in print of late some very gloomy pictures of Hongkong a few years hence, when the Stamp Duty shall have converted it into a sort of howling wilderness, and the tenants of its palatial dwellings: shall have become refugees at Macao and Canton, and the shipping which, at this moment crowds this magnificent harbor,, shall have taken refuge in the muddy shallows of Macao..

I think I am entitled to ask in what manner the freedom of the: Port will be narrowed, and what Duties will be levied on goods? What Port charges be payable, or what interference with the liberty of the Port can possibly result? No special case of the kind has yet been pointed out. All is vague and declamatory prophecy.

Those results have not followed the adoption at Singapore of a policy precisely similar in principle to that of the proposed Ordinance. Yet Singapore is essentially like Hongkong in being a free Port and a Commercial depot-where produce of other countries centres tor subsequent distribution.

There are no Customs Duties at Singapore any more than here-- though some fees received for Registration of Shipping under the Merchant Shipping Act are entered under the head of Customs" and might without explanations mislead on that point.

Now with this striking similarity of circumstances between Hongkong and the Straits Settlements, increased by the large Chinese pcpulation settled in the latter-why should we infer such fatal results to our commerce from a Stamp duty, 1-4th of that imposed in those Settlements.

The Straits Times of the 25th ultimo speaks of the Stamp Act as

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working satisfactorily and expressly says that no complaint is made that it offers any impediment to business "--and in his annual report, just received, I find the Governor entirely confirming that statement, and adding the remarkable fact that at Singapore, Penang and Malacca the fines and penalties recovered under the Act for the preceding year "has not exceeded in the aggregate 200 Rupees," or less than $100!

It would seem superfluous waste of your time to argue that, if a heavy and complicated Stamp Act works satisfactorily and without impediment to business in a Colony wonderfully similar to this in its general business transactions, it follows that an extremely simple application of the same principle, with a greatly lighter tariff would probably work even more satisfactorily.

Compare the Schedule of the proposed Ordinance with that of Singa- pore, instead of 71 heads under which duties are leviable in the latter place, you find only 21 here--whilst the omitted items are considerable, such as Stamps on Cheques, Policies of Insurance, &c., &c. In those which are retained--as Bills of Exchange and Conveyances the appli- cation of the Duty is greatly simplified and reduced. I therefore assert that the probable satisfactory working of the Bill here follows as a simple logical deduction from the facts ascertained at Singapore, and effectually disposes of nine-tenths of the denunciations against it- whether founded on the character of the trade here—the history of the Colony-its previous legislation, or the danger of the precedent now introduced.

Why therefore should this Council give to this vague, and I will even say, these unworthy apprehensions, greater weight than to the evident conclusions, which our Reason forces on us. I know one reply which has been given, and indeed the Memorialists do give it without any diffidence in the assumption that they represent all the interests of the Colony and speak its unanimous voice.

I must distinctly say that the Memorialists do not represent all the Colony nor even those residents who now pay more than half the Re- venue of the Colony, for the Asiatic residents pay 4-7ths of the exist- ing ordinary Revenue. I have moreover received urgent remonstrances from several gentlemen, whom the Memorialists say they represent, declaring the proposed duty the fairest to the poorer class of European Householders, and protesting against what they somewhat unceremo- niously call the selfish effort of the Memorialists to roll a burthen from themselves and their principals, without caring who may have to bear it, provided it falls from their own shoulders.

I will admit, to the fullest degree, the weight due to the position and individual intelligence of the leading Memorialists. And I further admit that it would be difficult to find a more intelligent Community than this in proportion to its numbers. Nevertheless I can recognize

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a Merchant's or Banker's experience and intelligence without being surprised-if he becomes suddenly incapable of seeing the wisdom of forcing him to pay a per centage towards the Public exigencies. There- fore I think the policy of such a tax, as the Stamp Duty, can be more fairly decided otherwise, than by taking the votes on such a subject of the very persons, who expect to pay the greater portion of it.

It is unquestionably a Duty levied on the general business trans- actions of the Colony-which may be said to comprise in round num- bers including dealings with land, Bills of Lading and Exchange, &c., &c., transactions representing annually some 120 millions of Dol- lars. It is true that the tax is intended to be extremely light, not even one per mill, whilst much of that will fall on absent parties inte- rested in and deriving profits from those transactions, but otherwise in no way contributing to the expenses of the place. Nevertheless small

as that amount may be, those who have the largest transactions will have to pay the largest proportion, and I do not hesitate to assert that it is evidently right and just they should do so here as they do at Singapore.

Still if any better mode of repairing our financial position had been suggested, I was always ready to give it the most favorable consideration, because even an unreasonable repugnance to a just and necessary measure should at times have some weight with a Government.

Yet what alternative I ask has been suggested? Procrastination and a temporary loan-as though, when we are already paying our way, as I have shewn, with borrowed money, it is not high time to devise means rather for repaying such debt, than for borrowing more.

That was one plan-another was to throw the cost of various Public Works on the House Rates. That, say the Memorialists, "has hitherto been the wise and prudent course of legislation," and previous legislation has been in accordance with their convictions," &c.

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Let us follow up this reasoning, and see where it would lead. When Legislation first commenced here rates were unknown. As money was wanted houses were subsequently taxed. At first lightly, and subsequently more heavily, till now the rates amount to 12 per cent on the rental. Therefore, say the Memorialists, Householders should now pay more because they already pay so much. Thus if "previous Legislation" had gone on piling every burthen on that one species of property till rates amounted to fifty per cent we should, according to the Memorialists, have all the stronger argument for raising them still higher.

I confess I should argue in the reverse way, that in proportion "as there has been previous legislation" of that kind, the more it becomes the duty of the Government to devise some fresh scheme for raising the necessary supplies instead of unfairly laying every new burthen on one

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species of property. Throwing everything on the House Rates would really make scarcely any perceptible difference to the leading firms, but it would make a very sensible and painful difference to a class of persons, who find it already very difficult to procure suitable or healthy abodes, and I would give to that consideration in this climate, greater weight than in Europe.

But, say the Memorialists and my protesting friends, a Reservoir should be met by a Water Rate, and the cost of the Gun-boat by an increased Police Rate. If it were so I think it would be soon necessary to raise those rates in some other than the old way-but I deny that the cost of a great Public Work like the contemplated Reservoir should be thrown on the Householders alone. In the first place it is notorious that the existing Water Rates have been paid by numbers without receiving the supply to which they were entitled and I scarcely see why, now that we propose to give the promised supply, we should demand additional payment. 2ndly. One main reason for increasing the supply is to ensure the means of cleansing the Chinese portion of the Town-and this, it must be frankly owned is done more from sanitary reasons affecting the general community than from a regard to the interest of the Chinese, who would prefer living in their ordinary indifference to cleanliness if we were to permit it. We know, however, that yellow fever and cholera produced in the Chinese quarter may spread to the European quarter and we endeavor therefore for our own safety to purify the abodes of our neighbours.

As for the gun-boat, if H. M. Government be still disposed to continue their liberal offer of such a vessel, it would be for the purpose of enabling the Colony to perform its duties as a separate State better than heretofore, duties which involve a surveillance over the neigh- bouring waters, and the prevention of any part of the Colony being made a rendezvous and place of equipment for Pirates. The cost whether large or small of discharging that duty should evidently be borne by the General Revenue, and not by each Householder, as though he were contributing to the expense of the Police for patroling his street. Finally as to this question of increasing the rates, I would remind the Council that at a Public Meeting in August, 1864, consist- ing of nearly the very same persons who attended the recent Meeting, an address to the Secretary of State was voted protesting against the Military Contribution, and one of the leading arguments in that address was the poverty of the Chinese residents, who were represented some to be "quite beyond the pale of taxation," and the majority of the rest to be only artisans or small shopkeepers in a way of business

far from lucrative."

Cl

I have already stated that this impoverished class contributes 4-7ths of the Colonial Revenue, and I may now inform you that

30

although the European population pays $110,000 of the Rates, the Chinese already pay no less than $94,000. Now it does seem inconsistent to have represented them two years ago as incapable of bearing the burthen of taxation, and yet when the object is to move that burthen from the Europeans to discover that doubling the rates, to which the Chinese already contribute so heavily, would be a just and expedient measure. I think it would be well, if each indignation Meeting, before endorsing any Memorial, were to refer to the records of its predecessor.

I may add that even the weak argument of the Chinese probably evading the provisions of a Stamp Ordinance is not borne out by experience in the Straits, where the Chinese regard the Government Stamp as giving an additional validity to their bargains, in harmony with their own customs, and which they think well worth the cost.

I scarcely know whether I ought to note the fact mentioned in the Protest that one of the official Members of Council expressed an opinion. adverse to the principle of the proposed Bill. I understood him merely to ask for an inquiry into the preferable mode of raising the necessary funds, and that he disapproved of the Schedule of the Singapore Act, which I likewise disapproved. I believe that the amended Schedule entirely meets his views, and fancy it really meets those of many others originally opposed to the measure, and indeed it is quite evident from the tone of a portion of the Press that the Memorialists do not represent Public feeling so generally as they had supposed.

I regret extremely that I have been obliged to occupy your atten- tion so long, but I have no other means of placing before the Public the Government view on a very important question. I shall, however, only advert to one more point, but that is the heaviest grievance of the Memorialists, viz.: "the expansive powers of a Stamp Ordinance." It appears I had mentioned this as amongst the advantages of such taxation. This they call "the evil at the bottom of the whole proposi- tion.' I would remind them that, if I mentioned that point, I equally alluded to such a Bill's " capability of immediate contraction whilst the objection of expansiveness lies more or less against every scheme of taxation. Those who see a capability of expansion in Stamps have not failed to discover it also in the Police and Water Rates, and even to press it to extent of class legislation.

""

In point of fact, however, it was rather contraction than expansion, which I had in view-for I was aware that a serious objection to the Bill-and one, which deprives me of the adhesion of some leading Members of the Community-is that it is impolitic for the Colony to shew any surplus on its Balance Sheet. It is though-I hope only by a few that the Home Government might in such case increase the Colonial contribution towards Imperial objects.

31

You see that I am very candid—but that such feeling did exist, and does exist is well known to many of my friends, and I could not ignore it.

I therefore caused the proposed Bill to be so framed as to give the Governor in Council power to annul or lessen the Duty on any item, but no power to add to the items or increase the Duties. It does appear to me therefore rather hard that, having been thus careful to prevent the receipts from the Stamp Duties exceeding the contemplated requirements of the Government, I should find the Memorialists designating my well intentioned effort in their behalf-as

"the evil lying at the bottom of the whole proposition."

I have now put the Government case before you-and shall be well pleased, if I find on discussion that without undue sacrifice of Revenue, I can redistribute the incidence of the proposed taxation in a manner more acceptable to those whom it will affect.

THE STAMP ACT

HONGKONG.

ANNO TRICESIMO

VICTORIÆ REGINÆ.

SIR RICHARD MACDONNELL, KNIGHT, C.B., Governor and Commander in Chief. No. 12 of 1866.

An Ordinance enacted by the Governor of Hongkong, Title.

with the Advice of the Legislative Council thereof, for imposing and regulating Stamp Duties in

the Colony.

[5th September, 1866.]

I. This Ordinance may be cited as "The Stamp Short Title. Ordinance, 1866."

of terms.

II. In the construction of this Ordinance the Ex- Interpretation pression "Governor" shall include the Person for the time being administering the Government of the Colony of Hongkong, and the term "Collector of Stamp Re- venue "shall include the Person for the time being appointed by the Governor to have the control and management of the Stamp Office.

Appointment of Collector of Stamp Revenue.

Governor to

32

III. The Governor shall appoint a Chief Officer who shall have the control and management of the Stamp Office and who shall be called the "Collector of Stamp Revenue," or by such other title as the Governor shall direct.

IV. The Governor may appoint all such other appoint all other Officers as may be required to carry on the Business of

the Stamp Office.

Officers of the

Stamp Office.

Salaries of Officers.

Stamp Duty payable under Schedule to this Ordinance.

Penalty for drawing, &c., unstamped or

V. The Salaries of all Officers appointed under this Ordinance shall be fixed by the Governor in Council.

VI. For every Deed, Instrument or Writing which shall be executed from the time when this Ordinance shall come into force, and which shall be of any of the kinds specified as requiring Stamps by the Schedule annexed to this Ordinance, there shall be payable to Government a Stamp Duty of the amount indicated in the said Schedule to be proper for such Deed, Instru- ment or Writing.

VII. If any person shall draw, accept, endorse, negotiate, pay or receive Payment of any Bill of Ex- change, Promissory Note, or other similar Instrument, of Exchange, &c. or if any Person shall make, execute, or sign, any Deed,

insufficiently

stamped Bill

Governor in Council to prescribe the form, &c., of Stamps to be used.

Governor in Council may

Instrument or other Writing, on unstamped or insuffi- ciently stamped Paper or other material, which should bear a Stamp of the value set forth in the Schedule an- nexed to this Ordinance, every such person so offending shall forfeit a Sum not exceeding Fifty Dollars, or a Sum equal to Ten times the value of the Stamp omitted to be used, if the Sum so calculated exceed Fifty Dol- lars. Provided that this Section shall not apply to Agreements by Letter.

VIII. The Governor in Council shall prescribe the form, size and material of the Stamps to be used, and the mode and place of impressing, affixing or deno- ting, thereupon the value of the same under the Pro- visions of this Ordinance, and may from time to time alter and vary the Orders which he may so issue, and the Orders made by the Governor in Council under this Section shall be published in the Government Gazette.

IX. It shall be lawful for the Governor in Council by an Order to be published in the Government Gazette to authorize the use of adhesive Stamps for any Deeds; Stamps for any Instruments or Writings required to bear a Stamp.

authorize the use of adhesive

Deeds, &c.

1

S

c

33

adhesive Stamps

X. In any case where an adhesive Stamp shall be Obliteration of used as hereinbefore authorized the Person making the when used. Deed, Instrument or Writing to which such Stamp is affixed shall before the Deed, Instrument or Writing shall be delivered out of his hands, custody or power, cancel the Stamp so used by writing thereon his Name, or the Initial Letters of his Name, or in such other man- ner as to show that such Stamp has been made use of, and so that the same shall not admit of being used again; and if any Person who shall write or give any Receipt or discharge, or make or sign any Draft or Order or any other Deed, Instrument or Writing with an adhesive Stamp thereon when an adhesive Stamp is allowed to be used, shall not bona fide in manner afore- side cancel such Stamp, he shall forfeit a sum not ex- ceeding Fifty Dollars.

XI. The Duty imposed by this Ordinance on Bills Stamps on Bills

of Exchange, &c, of Exchange shall be paid on account of all Bills drawn within but payable out of the Colony, and on account of all Bills drawn out of the Colony which shall be ac- cepted, endorsed, transferred, paid or otherwise nego- tiated within the Colony wheresoever the same may be payable; and the Duty so imposed on Bills drawn out of the Colony may be denoted by adhesive Stamps to be affixed to such Bills as hereinafter directed.

adhesive Stamp

XII. The holder of any Bill of Exchange drawn The Holder of a out of the Colony and not having a proper Stamp affix- Bills drawn out

of the Colony ed thereon as herein directed, whether the same be a to affix an single Bill or one of a set of two or more Bills shall, thereon before before he shall present the same for acceptance or for negotiating it. payment, or endorse, transfer or in any manner nego- tiate such Bill, affix thereto a proper adhesive Stamp for denoting the Duty of this Ordinance, charged on the amount of such Bill when drawn singly, and the Person who shall present such Bill for acceptance or payment, or who shall endorse, transfer or in any manner nego- tiate such Bill shall, before he shall deliver the same out of his hands, custody or power, cancel the Stamp so af- fixed by writing across the Bill as his Endorsement, his Name or the Name of his Firm, and the Date of the Day and Year on which he shall so write the same or by affixing thereon or across the same the Seal or Mark which he is in the habit of using or in such manner as to show that the Stamp has been made use of, and so that the

||

!

Penalty for

for neglecting

to cancel such Stamp...

34

same shall not admit of being used again; and if any negotiating such Bill without a

Person shall present for acceptance or for payment, or Stamp affixed or shall accept, pay or endorse, transfer or in any manner negotiate any such Bill as aforesaid, whereon there shall not be such adhesive Stamp as aforesaid duly affixed, or if any Person who ought, as directed by this Ordinance to cancel such Stamp in manner aforesaid, shall refuse or neglect so to do, every such Person so offending in any such case shall be liable to the penalty prescribed in Section VII of this Ordinance, and no Person who shall take or receive from any other Person any such Bill as aforesaid, either in payment or as a security or by pur- chase, or otherwise shall be entitled to recover thereon, or to make the same available for any purpose whatevere unless at the time when he shall so take or receive such Bill, there shall be such Stamp as aforesaid affixed there- to and cancelled in the manner thereby directed.

Provisions of Sections XI and XII apply to Promissory Notes. Penalty for drawing Bills purporting to be drawn in a set of two or

more and not drawing the whole number of the set.

Effect of a

stamped.

XIII. The provisions of Sections XI and XII shall apply to Promissory Notes as well as to Bills of Exchange, so far as the same may be applicable.

XIV. If any Person shall within the Colony draw any Bill of Exchange purporting to be drawn in a set of two or more, and shall not draw at the same time, on Paper duly Stamped as required by this Ordinance, the whole nuinber of Bills of which such Bill purports the set to consist, he shall forfeit a sum not exceeding Five hundred Dollars.

XV. Except as otherwise provided by this Ordinance, writing not duly no Deed, Instrument or Writing for which any Duty shall be payable under this Ordinance shall be received as creating, transferring or extinguishing any right or obligation, or as evidence in any Civil Proceeding in any Court of Justice in the Colony, or shall be acted upon in any such Court or by any Public Officer, or shall be Registered in any Public Office or Authenticated by any Public Officer, unless such Deed, Instrument or Writing be upon a Stamp or, when an adhesive Stamp shall be allowed to be used, shall bear a Stamp of a value not less than that indicated to be proper for it by the Schedule annexed to this Ordinance: Provided that every Deed, Instrument or Writing liable to Stamp Duty shall be admitted as evidence in any Cri- minal Proceeding, although it may not have the Stamp

re th

V

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Or

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35

required by this Ordinance impressed thereon or affixed Proviso.

thereto.

Deeds inadvertant-

payment of proper stamp.

Collector within

XVI. Clause 1. If any Deed, Instrument or ly executed on Writing required to be Stamped under this Ordinance, paper not shall have been executed on paper not bearing the pro- Stamp may be bearing proper per Stamp, the Collector of Stamp Revenue if satisfied duly stamped on that the omission or neglect to execute such Deed, In- strument or Writing on Paper bearing the proper Duty and

penalty, if Stamp, did not arise from any intention to evade pay- brought to the ment of the Stamp duty prescribed by this Ordinance Six Weeks. for such Deed, Instrument or Writing, or otherwise to defraud the Government, may on payment of the pro- per Stamp Duty, or if the Deed, Instrument or Writing shall be insufficiently stamped, on payment of such sum as with the amount of the Starup upon such Deed, In- strument or Writing shall suffice to complete the pre- scribed amount, and as a penalty, double the amount of the proper Stamp Duty or of the amount required to make up the same, direct that such Deed, Instrument or Writing be duly stamped: Provided that such Deed, Instrument or Writing be presented to the Collector of Stamp Revenue for the purpose of having the proper Stamp affixed to or impressed upon it within six Weeks from the date of its execution.

Penalty if

Six Weeks of

Months of that

Clause 2. If any Deed, Instrument or Writing re-

executed on quiring to be stamped under this Ordinance which shall

unstamped or have beeu executed on unstamped or insufficiently insufficiently

stamped Paper stamped Paper shall be brought to the Collector of and brought to Stamp Revenue for the purpose of being properly be stamped after. stamped after Six Weeks from the Date of its execution, execution but but within Four Months from that Date, the Collector within Four of Stamp Revenue, if satisfied that the omission to date. execute such Deed, Instrument or Writing on Paper bearing the proper Stamp did not arise from any inten- tion to evade the payment of the Stamp Duty prescribed by this Ordinance for such Deed, Instrument or Writing, or otherwise to defraud the Government may, on payment of a sum sufficient to make up the proper amount of Stamp Duty, and as a penalty, treble the amount of the proper Stamp Duty or of the amount required to make up the same, direct that the requisite Penalty if Stamp be impressed on such Deed, Instrument or brought after Writing; or if such Deed, Instrument or Writing shall not be brought to the Collector of Stamp Revenue un-

Four Mouths.

Collector to determine whether on payment of

36

til after the expiration of Four Months from the Date of its execution the requisite Stamp may be ordered to be impressed on payment of the proper Stamp Duty or of the sum required to make up the proper amount of Stamp Duty and as a penalty Twenty times the amount of such Stamp Duty or of the amount required to make up the same.

Clause 3. It shall be the duty of the Collector "of Stamp Revenue to determine whether the requisite Stamp shall be impressed on any Deed, Instrument or penalty a Deed, Writing falling under the last two preceding Clauses, which shall have been executed on unstamped or insuffi- ciently stamped Paper.

&., shall be

stamped.

Collector to decide

amount of Stamp Duty to be impressed upon any Deed, &c.

The Governor may in certain

Clause 4. Whenever a doubt shall arise respecting the proper amount of the Stamp to be impressed under this Section on any Deed, Instrument or Writing the Collector of Stamp Revenue shall determine the amount of Stamp to be impressed upon such Deed, Instrument or Writing.

Clause 5. In any case falling within this Section in cases order the which it shall appear to the Governor that the Collector proper Stamp to of Stamp Revenue has directed an improper Stamp to be impressed.

be impressed upon any Deed, Instrument or Writing the Governor may, if the Stamp so directed to be im- pressed upon such Deed, Instrument or Writing shall not have already been impressed thereupon, order the proper Stamp to be impressed upon such Deed, In- strument or Writing upon payment of the proper amount of Stamp Duty and the penalty to which the holder of such Deed, Instrument or Writing is liable under Clause 1 or Clause 2 of this Section.

Remission of Penalty.

The Stamp impressed under the preceding Section to be

Clause 6. If the Collector of Stamp Revenue be satisfied that the omission or neglect to execute such Deed, Instrument or Writing on Paper bearing the proper Stamp arose solely from urgent necessity or unavoidable accident, he may remit the penalties pre- scribed by this Section.

XVII. The Stamp which shall be impressed under the last preceding Section shall be taken in any Court of Justice to be the proper Stamp required by proper Stamp. this Ordinance for the Deed, Instrument or Writing on

taken to be the

which the same is impressed.

¿

e

37

under Section

may receive in

XVIII. Clause 1. In any case in which a Stamp In cases falling might be impressed under Section XVI of this Ordi- XVI, Civil Courts nance, any Civil Court may receive in evidence any may rece Deed, Instrument or Writing not bearing the Stamp unstamped or

insufficiently. prescribed by the Schedule annexed to this Ordinance stamped Deeds on payment into Court of the proper amount of Stamp on payment of Duty to be determined by the Court, whose decision Stamp Duty and on the point shall be final, together with the penalty Penalty. required by the said Section

the proper

Clause 2. An entry of such payment setting forth Procedure on the amount thereof shall be made in a book to be payment under.

preceding kept by the Court, and shall also be endorsed on the Clause. back of the Deed, Instrument or Writing, and shall be signed by the Court. The Court shall at the end of every month make a Return to the Collector of the Stamp Revenue of the Money (if any) which it has so received distinguishing between the sums received by way of Penalty and the sums received by way of Duty, stating the number and title of the suit and the name of the party from whom such Money was received and the Date (if any) and description of the document for the purpose of identifying the same; and the Court shall pay over the Money so received to the Collector of Stamp Revenue or to such Person as he may appoint to receive the same, and the Collector of Stamp Revenue or other proper authority shall upon the production of the Deed, Instrument or Writing, with the endorsement hereinbefore mentioned cause it to be stamped thereon with a Stamp of the amount paid into Court on account of such Duty. The provisions contained in Clause 6 of Section XVI as to the mitiga- tion or payment of penalties paid to the Collector of Stamp Revenue shall be applicable to penalties paid into Court under this Section.

stamped Deed,

XIX. No Deed, Instrument or Writing executed on No unstamped unstamped or insufficiently stamped Paper other than or insufficiently an agreement by letters shall be stamped at any time af- &c., to be ter the execution thereof except as hereinbefore provided or with the sanction of the Governor.

stamped except as aforesaid.

cases other than

for in Sections

XX. When in any case other than the cases provi- Procedure in ded for in Sections XVI and XVIII of this Ordinance, those provided any Person shall entertain any doubt respecting the pro- XVI and XVIII per amount of Stamp Duty for any Deed, Instrument or for determining Writing, he may apply to the Collector of Stamp Re- of Stamp Duty

proper amount

+

to be impressed on any Deed.

Government not responsible for

to Deed, &c.

38

venue for an adjudication with a view to remove such doubt and shall at the same, time pay a Fee of Ten Dol- lars for the same, and thereupon the Collector of Stamp Revenue shall determine the amount of Stamp which such Deed, Instrument or Writing should bear, and on payment thereof shall cause such Deed, Instrument or Writing to be impressed with such Stamp and an addi- tional Stamp denoting that such adjudication Fee has been paid. A Deed, Instrument or Writing so stamped, shall be received in evidence as properly stamped in any Court of Juscice.

XXI. The Government shall not be responsible for loss or damage any loss or damage which shall occur in respect of any Deed, Instrument or Writing, entrusted to the Collector of Stamp Revenue for the purpose of being stamped, and no Person employed by the Government in the Stamp. Office shall be responsible for any such loss or damage. unless such Person shall wilfully, fraudulently, or by gross negligence cause such loss or damage.

Provisions of Sections XVI

and XVIII not

to extend to Bills

of Exchange, &c. Expense of providing

&c.

XXII. The provisions of Sections XVI and XVIII shall not extend to Bills of Exchange or Promissory Notes or to Receipts for Money.

XXIII. Every Person receiving payment of any Receipt, Stamps, sum of Money the receipt for which under this Ordi- nance requires a Stamp shall (if required) give a receipt bearing the Stamp indicated by this Ordinance and shall bear the expense of furnishing the same, and in case of refusal, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding Fifty Dollars. The expense of providing the Stamp of any Bill of Exchange, or Promissory Note shall be borne by the Person making or drawing or negotiating the same.

Effect of

provision

XXIV. Every provision contained in the Schedule contained in the annexed to this Ordinance shall be of the same Force

as if it were contained in the body of the Ordinance.

Schedules.

Governor in Council may lower Rates of Stamp Duty or altogether exempt the same &c.

XXV. The Governor in Council may from time to time by an order to be published in the Government Gazette direct that such lower rates of Stamp Duty as he shall prescribe shall be taken on all or any of the Deeds, Instruments or Writings specified in the Schedule annexed to this Ordinance or altogether exempt the same and in like manner as occasion shall require cancel or vary such Order to the extent of the powers hereby

39

given. Such cancelinent or variation shall also be no- tified in the Government Gazette.

damaged or

XXVI. Clause 1. If any Stamp shall have become Renewal of damaged, spoiled, or unfit for use either by any accident spoiled Stamps. happening to the same or because of some error in the drawing up or copying any of Deed, Instrument or Writing thereupon, which being discovered before such Deed, Instrument or Writing shall be finally signed and exe- cuted, renders the same of no avail; or when by reason of the death or refusal of the party whose signature may be necessary to effect the transaction intended by such Deed, Instrument or Writing it remains incomplete and of no avail; or when by the refusal of any office or trust that may be granted by a Deed, Instrument or Writing it has failed of the purpose intended; or if any Deed, In- strument or Writing duly stamped shall not have been finally executed by reason of any accident having hap- pened to the same, or because of some error in the draw- ing up or copying thereof having been discovered, the same is rendered of no avail; or if by reason of failure of consideration the transaction intended by such Deed, Instrument or Writing cannot be effected, orsuch trans- action has been effected by some other Deed, Instrument or Writing duly stamped or in the case of a Promissory Note, Bill of Exchange, or the like if by non-delivery to the payee or person acting on his behalf or from other cause the same is never brought to use, and in the case of a Bill of Exchange other than a Bill drawn in sets as provided in this Ordinance if it shall not have been sented for acceptance, in all such cases it shall be compe- tent to the Collector of the Stamp Revenue upon delivery being made of such Stamped Paper so damaged, spoiled, or rendered unfit for use to cause a similar Stamp or Stamps of equal value to be delivered to the Owner of such Stamp so damaged, spoiled, or rendered unfit for use or to his representative, without payment. The provisions of this Section shall not extend to any Bill of Exchange drawn in a set, if any one of such set shall have been delivered to the payee, nor to any adhesive Stamp.

pre-

renewal,

Clause 2. The Owner of any Stamp which shall Application for be damaged, spoiled, or rendered unfit for use as afore- said shall prefer his application to the Collector of Stamp Revenue and if such Collector be of opinion that the

Collector may repay the amount of

40

application ought to be complied with he shall deliver or cause to be delivered, subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, to the party or his representative a Stamp similar or of equal value to that which has been damaged, spoiled, or rendered unfit for use. Provided that the application be made within Six Months of the period when the Stamp shall have become damaged, spoiled, or rendered unfit for use.

Clause 3. In any case in which under this Section the Collector of Stamp Revenue may give a new Stamp damaged Stamps in lieu of a Stamp damaged, spoiled, or rendered unfit instead of giving for use, he may in lieu thereof if he shall see fit repay to the party making the application the amount of such Stamp in Money.

New Stamps.

Conveyance to state truly the amount of

the Purchase Money.

Mitigation or return of Penalty under this Ordinance.

Prosecution to

XXVII. In every Instrument charged under the Schedule annexed to this Ordinance with an ad valorem Duty, the consideration money or amount paid or secured or agreed to be paid or secured thereunder shall be truly expressed and set forth and in default thereof every Person who shall knowingly and wilfully execute any such Instrument, and every Person who shall knowingly and wilfully insert or set forth in any such Instrument, a less amount than the full and true consideration Money or amount paid or secured or agreed to be paid or secured thereunder shall forfeit a Sum not exceeding Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars.

XXVIII. The Governor may upon petition order any penalty imposed under this Ordinance to be mitiga- ted and if paid may order the whole or any part of it to be returned, and all decisions, orders, or acts of the Collector of Stamp Revenue shall be open to revision by the Governor and may by him be reversed, or modified.

XXIX. No Person shall be proceeded against for be by Attorney any offence affecting the Public Revenue under this Ordinance except at the suit or prosecution of or with the consent of the Attorney General,

General.

Offences cognizable by Magistrates of Police.

Rewards to informers.

XXX. Every Offence under the Ordinance may be summarily tried by the Magistrates of Police or either of them.

XXXI The whole or any portion of every Fine re- covered under this Ordinance may be warded to the informer either by the Court imposing the Fine or by the Governor.

41

XXXII. This Ordinance shall commence and take effect on such Day as shall hereafter be fixed by Proclamation under the hand of the Governor.

SCHEDULE.

1. Agreement, or any Minute or Memo-) randum of an Agreement not being under seal or of the nature of an Obligation for the payment of Money, and not specially charged with Duty under this Schedule, whether the same be only evidence of a Con- tract or obligatory upon the parties,..........

NOTE. If two or more letters are offered in evdience to prove an Agreement between the parties who shall have written such letters, it will be sufficient if any one of such letters be Stamped as an Agreement.

EXEMPTION,

Label, Slip, or Memorandum containing the heads of any Fire or Marine Insurance to be effected.

Memorandum, Letter or Agreement made for or relating to the sale of any Goods. Wares, or Merchandize, or to the sale of any Shares in any Public Company.

Memorandum or Agreement made between the Master and Mariners of any Ship for Wages.

2. Bank Notes, or other Obligations for the payment of Money issued by any Banker or Banking Company in the Colony for local" circulation and payable to bearer on demand,

50 cents.

A Stamp Duty of half per cent per $100 of the average value of such Notes in Circulation during each half year, to be calculated by the value of such Notes in circulation on the last Saturday of each month during such half year, from a Statement there- of to be furnished by each Banker or Bank- ing Company to the Collector of Stamp Revenue and verified on Oath by the Banker or the Manager or Agent and Accountant of such Banking Com- pany.

42

3. Bills of Exchange, Promissory Notes) or other Obligations for the Payment of Money not included in the last preceding Article and not being Cheques or Örders for the payment of money at sight or on demand, if drawn singly....

If drawn in sets...

4. Bill of Lading or Acknowledgment of or for any Goods or Effects to be exported, for each part of every set......

5. Bond or other Obligation concerning Respondentia and Bottomry,.........................

6. Charter Party or any Agreement or Contract for the charter or hiring of any sea going ship or vessel,.....

7. Transfer of Shares or Stock in any Public Company,...

8. Power of Attorney,

9. Note of Protest, by any Commander or Master of a Vessel,.

10. Any Notarial Act whatsoever notother- wise charged in this Schedule,....

11. Receipt or Discharge given for the payment of Money or in acquittal of a debt paid in Money or otherwise, when the sum received, discharged or acquitted exceeds $10, J

EXEMPITONS.

Letter sent by Post, acknowledging the arrival of a Currency, or Promissory Note, Bill of Exchange, or any security for Money.

Receipt or Discharge written upon or con- tained in any Bill of Exchange, Promissory Note, Deed or other Instrument charged with Duty under this Schedule and duly Stamped.

$1.

50 cents on each part of

the set.

10 cents.

When the Sum secured doesnot exceed $10,000, $10; when above $10,000, £20.

$5.

See Article 13.

$2.

25 cents.

$1.

3 cents.

12. Probates and Letters of Administra- tion with or without the Will annexed,.......

The same advalorem Duty as on a conveyance to be calculared upon the value of the Estate and Effects for, or in respect of which, such Probat e or Letters of Administration shall be granted exclusive of what the deceased shall have been pos- sessed of or entitled to as a Trustee for any other Persou or Persons, and not benefi cially.

43

13. Conveyance. Assignment or Instru- ment of any kind or description whatsoever not specially charged with Duty under this Schedule executed for the transfer for valu- able consideration either by way of Mortgage or otherwise of any Property, moveable or immoveable, or of any Right, Title, Claim or Interest in, to, or upon the same,..

Where in a Mortgage the Sum secured is unlimited,.

Deed or other Instrument of Gift or of Exchange or Settlement where no Money consideration, or a merely Nominal Money consideration, passes......

EXEMPTION.

Transfer by mere Endorsement of a duly Stamped Bill of Exchange, Promissory Note, or other Negotiable Instrument, or of a Bill of Lading, and Transfer by Assignment of a Policy of Insurance.

14. Mortgage,.....

15. Re-assignment of any Mortgaged}

Property,

16. Letter or other Instrument of Hypo- thecation accompanying deposit of Docu- ments of Title to any Property....

17. Duplicate or Counterpart of any Deed, Instrument, or Writing of any descrip- tion whatever chargeable with Duty under this Ordinance,..

If the Duty chargeable on the Original exceeds 50 cents but does not exceed $10,... If the Duty chargeable on the Original exceeds $10 but does not exceed $20.....

If the duty on the Original exceeds $20.... Provided that such Duplicate or Coun- terpart Stamp shall be affixed upon the pro- duction of the Original Deed, Instrument, or Writing bearing its proper Stamp and not otherwise.

18. Lease or Agreement for a Lease made for a term of years or for a period determinable with one or more life or lives or otherwise contingent in consideration of a Sum of Money paid in the of premium, fine, or the like if without rent,.....

way

25 cents for every $100 or part of $100 of the consideration Money or amount secured up to $1.000, and $2 for every $1,000 or part of $1,000 after the first $1,000,

$25

$25

See Article 13.

The same as on the As-

signment.

Same as a Mortgage.

The same Duty as the Original when such Duty does not exceed 50 cents.

$1

$2

The same ad valorem Stamp as on a Conveyance See Article 13.

i

:

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19. Lease or Agreement for a Lease of any Land, House, Building or Tenement at a Rent without any payment of any sum of Money by

of fine or premium.-

way

When the Rent calculated for a whole

When the Lease When the Leas is for a period is for a period

not exceeding

One Year.

exceeding One Year.

Year shall not exceed in value $100,

$ c.

$ c.

Above $ 100 but not exceeding

$ 250...

0.50

1.00

39

$ 250

$ 500...

1.00

2.00

$ 500

""

$1,000...

2.00

4,00

"

$1,000

$2,600.

4.00

8,00

"

$2,600

$5,000...

10.00

20.00

20.00

40.00

5.00

10.00

and for every additional $1,000 or any part thereof,...

20. Lease or Agreement for a Lease of any Lands, House, Building or Tenement, stipulating for a Rent granted in considera- tion of a fine or premium,.

NOTE. A Lease, executed in pursuance of a duly Stamped Agreement for the same, shall require a Stamp of One Dol- lar only, to be affixed on production of such Agreement.

21. Every Instrument in Writing under seal not otherwise specially charged with Duty under this Schedule,

GENERAL EXEMPTIONS.

Any Deed, Instrument, or Writing of any kind whatsoever made or executed by or on behalf of Her Majesty or of any Department of Mer Majesty's Service, or whereby any Property or Interest is transferred to or any Contract of any kind whatsoever is made with Her Ma- jesty or any Person for or on behalf of Her Majesty or any such Department as aforesaid.

NOTE.-The foregoing exemption does not ex- tend to any Deed, Instrument or Writing, executed by the Registrar of the Supreme Court as Official Administrator or by a Re- ceiver appointed by any Court; neither does it extend to a sale made for the recovery of an arrear of Revenue or Rent or in satisfac- tion of a Decree or Order of Court, in any of which cases the purchaser shall be required to pay in addition to the purchase money the amount of the requisite Stamp.

A Stamp of value equal to the joint value of the Stamps for a Convey- ance in consideration of the fine and a Lease for the Rent.

$10.

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When of several Deeds, Instruments, or Writings a doubt shall arise which is the principal, it shall be lawful for the parties to determine for themselves which shall be so deemed.

In any case however where there are more Deeds than one, every other Deed than the principal requires a Stamp of Two Dollars and every such collateral Deed shall specify, by its contents which other is the principal Deed,

Any Deed, Instrument or Writing requir- ed by the foregoing Schedule to be Stamped, may be written on one or more Stampts,if the value of the Stamps used amount tc he value required by the Schedule.

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