have a perfect right to discuss it and a full right to throw it out if we so will. I need hardly say that I am not going to propose that the Finance Bill should be thrown out, but I do claim the right of this House to discuss a measure of this great importance." To such an extent did the Lords then proceed to discuss the Bill that it did not pass its third reading until too late an hour to receive the royal assent on the 29th July; and it was not, indeed, until the 1st August (conveniently, as it happened, a Bank Holiday) that the Bill actually became an Act of Parliament and passed into law.
The country was thus just saved from a situation which had a momentary appearance of developing into a constitutional difficulty.
THE year 1904 which had begun in a very unsatisfactory manner from a financial point of view showed, as the months passed by, a distinct tendency to improve, and was characterized in its latter portion by a gradual revival from the depression which had followed the South African War. Although this recovery came too late to produce any marked effect on the revenue, it was, nevertheless, a satisfactory feature of the year that the additional taxation provided by the 1904 budget had proved more than sufficient to re-establish an equilibrium between the expenditure and the receipts, a fact which enabled Mr. Austen Chamberlain to open his second budget