Imatges de pÓgina

chants and manufacturers. The honourable gentleman ought to have argued against fubfidies altogether, though he had formerly approved of the prefent one.

Mr. Tierney denied that he had. Mr. Pitt then begged his pardon. After Mr. Wilberforce had spoken to order, the bill was then read a third time and paffed.

The next fubject that engaged the attention of the houfe in a financial view was fome regula

tions in the income-tax.

The chancellor of the exchequer, on the 4th of April, moved that the 39th of his prefent majefty be read; which being read accordingly, he obferved, that at the prefent moment it was not his intention to trouble the houfe with any enumeration or detail of the particular claufes of the bill, which he was defirous to bring in to amend the above act, it being merely his wish that the bill might be brought in as foon as poffible, read a first and fecond time, and then be printed for the perufal of gentlemen during the recefs; after which the houfe might enter into minute and mature coufideration of it; he should therefore move "that leave be given to bring in a bill to explain and amend the above act, and render it more effectual." -Leave being accordingly given, and the bill having been regularly introduced after the order of the day for the fecond reading of the above bill, on the 17th of April, Mr. Rofe obferved, that, in confequence of several objections which had, fince the house last met, been made to the bill in its prefent fhape, and alfo of feveral alterations which had been fuggefted, it was the wifi of his right honourable friend to have further time to re-confider the bill. He therefore moved, that the faid order be dif

charged. Mr. Rofe then moved, that the faid bill be read a fecond time on Friday fe'nnight.

Mr. Tierney faid, that the minifter had obtained the leave of the houfe to bring in a bill to amend an act paffed laft feffion, without mentioning the purport of the bill. It had been read a first time, and, by that and the order for printing, it had become the folemn act of the houfe. When printed and fent forth to public view, it appeared to be a bill of fùch a monftrous tendency as ought never to have been fuffered to be brought into that houfe. The right honourable gentleman had thus faddled the house with the odium and difgrace which attached to a bill belonging folely to himself, and he could by no means think of giving his affent that fuch a bill fhould be read fecond time at all He therefore gave, notice, that on Thursday he fhould move for a repeal of the in come-tax altogether.

The fpeaker recommended to gentlemen to examine the bill with the utmost care and attention, to fee how far that part of it pointed out by the honourable member (Mr. Tierney) was founded on fact. He meant they should do this by the next day. He faid, by the ftanding orders of the house, no new tax could be laid on but by a committee of the whole house; and as this bill did not originate in fuch a committee, it would, for want of that, be vitiated; becaufe, if the fact were fo, the bill must be withdrawn, and in fuch case the motion for the fecond reading on Friday fennight would be nugatory.

Mr. Role acknowledged the fact, as ftated by the honourable gentleman oppofite to him, but it had been owing to inadvertency, for the bill had been printed and circulated

ulated through the country; which howed they could not fuppofe that fuch an error was contained in it.

Mr. Grey faid, that from the whole manner of proceeding, it was evident, that it exhibited an appearance to the world which was very extraordinary. The house had, in confequence of the novel procedure of the right honourable gentleman in introducing this bill, certainly received a bill which it ought not to have received: this bill had received the fanction of the house to its being printed, at the fame time that it now clearly appeared that if the bill had been regularly brought into the houfe, it would have been difcuffed, and by that means no doubt would have been entertained at all.

He coincided entirely with his honourable friend (Tierney) in thofe objections which he made to the fuggeftion of alterations coming from perfons without doors rather than within." This," faid he, "is one of the proceedings which I moft reprobrate, and which has, I fear, tended more than any other to lower the character and dignity

of the house."

Lord Hawkesbury faid, in regard to the fact which had been ftated by the honourable gentleman oppofité, he was certain that the omiflion had been owing entirely to inadvertency. The general objection which had been urged in the prefent debate was, that the bill was brought forward without opening the contents. What reafon could there be for doing fo? It is a bill to amend an aft paffed laft felhon, which act had been highly approved by the public; but not withstanding that, he believed there were very few perfons, however much they liked that bill, who did

not think it wanted amendments; and under this impreffion he should think the chancellor of the exchequer was wafting his own time, as well as that of the houfe, if he had gone into the detail of a meafure which had previously received the approbation of both that house and the country.

Mr. Johnes faid, that the honourable gentlemen oppofite to him had all confeffed there were great irregularities in the bill. He did not think this was the only complaint against it. If he understood the bill right, it went fo far as to prevent people from reducing their affeffed taxes, which was a direct call on them for ten per cent. more of their property than they paid under the former act. It was in other refpects fo very oppreffive and inquifitorial a bill, that he had heard many of the minifter's own fteady friends declare it muft be very materially altered. If he was to fpeak the fenfe of the people pon it, he verily believed nine out often thought it so very monstrous, that it ought to be burnt by the hands of the common hangman.

In this defultory debate there were many fpeakers, and the foli citor-general remarked, that the "proceedings of the houfe on that occafion, inftead of being thofe of a dignified affembly, refembled the revolutionary tactics of a jacobin club. He then fpoke at great length against the irregularity and unfairnefs of oppofing the motion of Mr. Rofe. The only objections, he continued, that could be urged against the fecond reading of the bill, were two: The firft was, that the claufes were oppreffive-the other ground was, that the bill violated a standing order of the house. How improper, indecent, and difgraceful, would it be then to throw


out the bill for this reafon, which was not afcertained to exift, and to leave it in doubt in what manner the house fhould again act in fimilar circumstances. He thought it would be much better if every honourable gentleman fhould have a little leifure to make up his mind. -Among the fpeakers on this occafion, were Mr. Sheridan, the mafter of the rolls, Mr. Dent, Mr. Vanfittart, colonel Gafcoigne, and Mr. W. Smith. The question being now loudly called for, the motion of Mr. Rofe, tha the bill be read a second time on Fri ay fe'nnight, was put, when there appeared-ayes 85,

-noes 20.

The next day the fpeaker faid he imagined that all the gentlemen prefent had turned their attention to this fubject; for his part, he had given it his moft ferious attention: and the refult of his investigation was, the complete confirmation of the opinion which he had yesterday entertained concerning the bill; namely, that there were fome provifions in it which oug t to have originated in a committee of the whole houfe; and if that was the opinion of the houfe, the confequence was, that the bill ought to be withdrawn.

On the motion of Mr Long, the order was difcharged, and the bill was accordingly withdra vn,

they fhall detect in fraud; to tax, according to their defcription of income, perfons who refide occafionally in the country; and to reftrict to perfons making returns of 2000l. per annum the right of appeal to the commercial commiffioners; which feveral refolutions were, after a converfation between Meflrs. Tierney, alderman Curtis, Baftard, M. A. Taylor, Jolliffe, and fir W. Geary, agreed to. The houfe, in a committee on the income-bill, on the 20th of May, resolved, 1ft, That it is the opinion of the commitee, that the rules prefcribed in the feveral acts for granting duties on income, as far as relates to the mode of afcertaining income on land occupied by the owner, or by a tenant at rackrent, fhall be repealed. 2d, That in lieu thereof, fuch income arifing from land occupied by the owner, or by a tenant at rackrent, fhall be taken in the proportion hereinafter fpecified to the aggregate amount of the following articles, viz. rent for one year payable to the landlord; parochial and other rates and affeffiments charged on the said lands, or upon the occupiers in refpect of fuch lands, on the ave rage of three years, ending on the 25th of March preceding, if payable by the occupier; the value of all tithes, when taken in kind, or agreed to be paid in fatisfaction for the fame, within or for the last preceding or current year. If fuch aggregate amount be under 300l. a-year, the income to be taken at three fifths of fuch amount; and if at 300l. or upwards, then at threefourths of fuch amount; and in cafe of lands occupied by the owner, the income arifing therefrom fhall be taken at the aggregate amount of the rent of which the fame are worth, to be let by the year,


Mr. Tierney then obferved, that it muft now appear to every gentleman, that there was no unfairnefs in the objections he had made to the bill yesterday; they being fuch as it was the duty of every member to make, whether the chancellor of the exchequer had been present or not.

The houfe of commons being in a committee on the income-tax, on the 19th of May, Mr. Rofe moved a refolution, empowering commifoners to furcharge perfons whom

year, according to the ordinary rent of lands of the like quality, and under the like circumstances, in the fame neighbourhood, and two-thirds part of what would be computed to be the income of the tenant at rack-rent, as above mentioned. 3d, Refolved, that it is expedient that the provisions of the faid acts, which exempt any perfon from the faid duties, who fhall be refident in this kingdom for a temporary purpose, fhall not exempt any perfon refident for more than fix months. 4th, Refolved, that in all cafes where the commiffioners appointed to execute the said acts shall affefs any perfon at any greater amount than the fum delivered in his statement, or fhall increase fuch affessments, fuch commiffioners fhall be authorised to charge fuch perfons, for every fuch increase beyond the fum delivered in his statement, with a proportion not exceeding double the amount by which the duties with which fuch perfons would otherwife have been chargeable, under or by virtue of the faid acts, or either of them, fhall be increased."

On the 26th of May, the house having refolved itself into a committee on the income-bill, Mr. W. Smith wished to know the object of the third claufe, requiring that perfons should diftinguifh in their returns how much of their income arifes from trade, and how much from other fources. If he faw that any great national object could be attained by it, he would withdraw his objections to the claufe; but in his mind it merely went to gratify an idle curiofity.

Mr. Pitt faid, it must be very fatisfactory to have the proportion of the public burthen which fell on the commercial intereft clearly afcertained. The claufe was then read and agreed to.

The fourth claufe being read, re

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Mr. W. Smith objected to the fixth claufe, by which the receiver was not fworn to fecrecy, while the commiffioners who appointed him were. Mr. Pitt faid, the re ceiver would not know the amount of the returns to the commercial commiffioners, as it would be done by letters inftead of real fignature. It was at length agreed that the receiver fhould be fworn to fecrecy aifo.

The chancellor of the exchequer moved, that the blank in the fe venth claufe, refpecting perfons in London and its vicinity, be filled up with 2007. The object of this claufe, he faid, was, that no perfon whofe income did not amount to 2001. and confequently did not pay 20%. fhould come before the commercial commiffioners of London. This was not for the purpose of oppreffing the little traders, but because they were not likely to be known by fuch perfons as the prefent commercial commiffioners were, and because they would have the

the fame benefits of fecrecy, and other advantages of the higher commercial claffes. It became the more neceffary for him to enter into this explanation, as an idea had gone abroad, that an invidious diftinction was to be adopted.

Sir Francis Baring fuggefted an amendment, that the income of the preceding year must be alfo not above zool. The claufe fo amended was then agreed to.

All the intermediate claufes to the twelfth were then fucceffively put, and agreed to.

Mr. Hobhouse objected to the mode in which it required the returns to be tranfmitted by the commercial-commiffioners to the commiffioners of taxes. He thought it would be fufficient to ftate to them the gross amount, without diftinguishing how much from trade, and how much from other fources; and therefore moved, that the words diftinguifhing, &c." be left out. Agreed to.

The two next claufes were agreed to with a few verbal altera


whom had thereby been enabled to lower themselves in the scale of income below what they would have fairly paid, and many to reduce themselves below 60l. fo as not to pay any thing at all. The proportion he fhould now ftate was, if fuch aggregate amount be under 300l. a-year, then the income fhall be taken at three-fifths of fuch amount; and if upwards, then at three-fourths. Mr. Harrifon entered into a calculation to fhow that the proportion would be much more than 10 per cent. on the income of the farmer: from one view of it he infifted he would pay 237. on 120%. and from another, at the rate of 9s. 4d. in the pound. He alfo inftanced the great hardship which it would impofe on a man taking a long leafe, which did not yield him any immediate profit, and recommended that the actual gain should be the measure of the tax.

Mr. Baftard, faid, the landed intereft, and the farmers particularly, were cruelly oppreffed. He would take the inftance of a farmer who rented twenty acres of land, at 154, an acre, which was no uncommon price in the neighbourhood of London and other great towns. For this farm he would pay 300l. a-year for rent, and would be supposed to make a clear income of 250l. But to pay this tax alone, and pay his landlord, he muft make by these twenty acres 550l. a-year, which was altogether impoflible. For thefe and other reafons, he wished to have the farmer put, in respect to affefliment, exactly on the fame foot

Mr. Pitt then called the attention of the committee to the next claufe, (the fixteenth) ftating the manner in which the income of landlord and tenant was to be taken. The claufe was in lieu of the schedule now repealed; the articles which it embraced were, however, the fame, but the proportion would vary. Gentlemen, he faid, would recollect, that last year it was agreed the profit of the landlord and tenant was not to be ascertained by the amount of rent only, but by the aging with tradefmen. gregate of rent, poor's rates, and tythes. Two deductions were then allowed by taking away one-fourth, and afcertaining the profit at half of the remaining three-fourths, or thereabouts. This mode was too favourable to farmers, many of

Mr. Vanfittart propofed an amendment, by leaving out the words "the value of all tythes taken in kind," as tythes he thought could not be well afcertained in respect to their value, and could form, therefore, no fair ground

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