Imatges de pÓgina

jection there could be to appointing a committee from the House itself to take this matter into consideration. Much might be done by a committee of this kind. He was of opinion that much might be expected out of economical arrangements. He was glad to see that the Chancellor of the. Exchequer appeared to approve of this idea.

He had some more ideas upon this subject, and which led him to object to the measure now before the House. The effect of such a ineasure as this would be to encourage profusion and to perpetuate the war-for if this country was to see it could raise 10 millions within the year, it would become fond of the war, which must lead to its ruin. He was afraid that if this refource was once established as an article of finance, it would not be very easy to get rid of it; while the war continued it was impossible to get rid of it--but in time of peace it was a question with him whether this would not be confidered as a convenient article in the public re. venue towards discharging the national debt, and of keeping a large establishment even when there was no war. This he felt the more, as it was to be under the management of those to whom a cold æconomy was an object of disapprobation. He was afraid that 'if this law passed, we should fee no end of the tax ; and he was afraid also, that this would prove the fruitful parent of other exactions. The minifter had for the present contented himself with moderately demanding only one tenth of every man's income, but if ihis measure was agreed to, the principle would be established for taking away a fixth, or an half of every man's income ; for that might be the effect of some future tyrannical regulations of this measure. He would ask the House, if they knew where this was to stop? Formerly, when taxes were imposed in a great measure on consumption, a man might, by prudence, perhaps enjoy many of the necessaries of life without difficulty, and those who could obtain luxuries, enjoyed them, so that the Exchequer was full, and individuals were rich. That could never be the case if this impoft was to be laid upon income, for then a man's prudence could not diminish the duty upon him, as in the case of duty on consumption it did.' This year it was only a tenth that was called for, the next may be a fifth, then a third, and next the whole: If this was to be the case, the House would give him leave to say, ihai under such apprehenfions the people of this country could not long proceed.



Such were the objections he had to the measure now before the House, to which he conceived there would be no answer, except general declamation and bitter phillippicks against the French Directory. He felt as little disposed as any man to give way to the ambition of the French Directory, and he would go as great lengths as any man to oppose them. But because the French Directory are ambitious, were the people of this country to be oppressed and ruined? He had now stated his sentiments on this measure, and he had only, in addition to what he had said, most earnestly to request the members of the House to consider this matter dispassionately, without giving way to partiality for one individual, or indulging prejudice against another. Let them consider that they themselves must soon feel the effect of it, and that their posterity may regard it as the greatest calamity that ever befel any country.

Mr. Simeon observed, that the hon. Baronet was perfectly right in calling the attention of the House to this important measure; indeed all questions or finance were peculiarly within the province of that House. He approved also of the request of the hon. Baronet, to lay aside all prejudice. The single question, in the first place was, whether or not, confidering all circumstances, it was wife to raise a large sum of money within the year? upon

which he believed there was but little variety of, opinion. The next point would be, whether it was wise to continue the assessed taxes, or adopt the present measure. Upon the funding system it was not proper to say we should go as far as we could; that, he was convinced, we had not done yet, but we should stop in due season, and this measure said you must stɔp upon the funding fyftem, not because you cannot go on, but because prudence advises you to stop here. He had not heard any gentleman say it was wise to continue the assessed taxes. He opposed these assessed taxes last year because lie thought the plan would not answer ; but he was glad the measure had been tried, because it has had the effect of ripening the public mind for another measure which was now before the House. He could not agree with the hon. Baronet with regard to a tax upon capital in real estate ; because he thought it would be imposible 10 ascertain its value, or the value of the interest which each individual who enjoyed it had in that estate. The same objection would apply to fome other species of capital ;--as to capital in the funds, the idea of taxing it w 23


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unjust in the highest degree, inasmuch as it might be the ruin of the holder by compelling him to fell out to an immense disadvantage. The case was quite different upon income. .

He then proceeded to take notice of hints that had been thrown out upon a former occasion, relative to the taking the property to be found in corporations and church lands, for the use of the state. He hoped that would never be deliberately proposed in that House. Corporations were extremely useful for the purpose of administering local justice ; and which they did administer as regularly, and as well, as it was administered in Weftıninster Hall; and he belicved there was no complaint upon that subject in any part of the kingdom. As to the manner in which corporations sometimes shewed their hospitality, he saw no reason to complain of it; to put men occasionally in good humour, appeared to him to be a harmless thing and no reason why the property Thould be taken away. As to the church lands, he warned the House, but indeed, it wanted no warning, of the effect of such a measure in another country; it led to anarchy and confufion; and so it would here; for the clergy were the great prop of the state, by the influence they had upon the morals of the people; when that prop was taken away, the building must fall. But we thould not be so unwise as to follow the example that was set to us. He believed, indeed, that religion was spreading over this country by the interposition of divine Providence.

Gentlemen faid that this measure was hard; he wished they would tell him what they meant by the word hardshipSuppose thirty millions were to be raised by a loan, and taxes were to be imposed for the payment of the interest of the money, would not that appear to be hard? What was the hardship? It was not in the tax ; it was in the cause of the tax-that cause was the war; and until we had peace, ibe hardship must continue. To obtain peace we had done every thing that a great and dignified nation could consent to do. Indeed hardship was to be judged of by comparison. We thought our condition hard in England: would we change with Switzerland? Would we change with any other part of Europe? Would the London merchant change conditions with the merchant of Amsterdam? Why then talking of hardhip without taking it in a comparative view, was talk. ing without sense.

He knew of no better way for discussing the poliey of this neaiure ihan by looking at the effect it was likely to have

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on the price of the articles of life. Would they rise in proportion to the sum raised, which must be the case when a loan was made ? By no means: he took it to be clearly otherwise ; for, as it affected every individual alike, there was no chance of charging more upon any article of trade now than formerly; for each individual will be governed by prudence as far as regards himself; and that from its very nature, will keep the prices of the articles of life where they are, or nearly so, the buyer and feller being affected by this plan actually alike.

As to the probability of emigration, he had not any of the apprehensions expressed by the hon. Baronet. In the first place, this plan affected no man whose income was under bol. a year, and therefore it was not likely to affect the price of labour. If, indeed, the price of labour could be affected by the measure, there would be something to be apprehended from emigration ; but a man whose income was 200l. a year in this country, whether by trade or otherwise, was not very likely to emigrate. He thould be glad to know of the hon. Baronet where men were to go? Would they go to France; or would they cross the Atlantic? He believed very few perfons of 2001. a year would try the speculation : each individual would contider he was as well off as his neighbour, and remain where he is, in hopes of better times, which must arsive when peace comes.

He professed himself an enemy to all species of declamation upon this subject. He thought that mischief might be produced by calling this an inquisitorial measure. Many honest people among the public, for want of opportunity of being better informed, allociated ideas to words in a manner very different from the meaning of Gentlemen who used certain words in that House. Thus, for instance, when the word " inquisition" was uttered, a great part of the public annexed to it the idea of “racks and tortures.” So again, when a furveyor was called a spy, the public annexed m.can and dishonest ideas to that office ; but, in fact, these were to be men, whose duiy it was to be serviceable to the publie ; and as well might the Attorney and Solicitor General be called spies, because they instituted informations again ihose who misconducted themselves. Indeed, he thought this an absolutely useful as well as necessary measure; and he believed it approved in every corner of this country. Our enemies had made this measure neceflary, for they had not left us in doubt what their object was; it was avowedly the destruction of this country. That had evidently united us all; it ought to unite us all.

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As to the idea of the hon. Baronet in having a committee of the House to consider of a better plan than the present, he had no doubt but that any committee of that House would be a fenlible committee, especially if they had the hon. Baronet at their head; but still he did not see why they should be wiser than the whole House. He then defended the particular provisions of the bill with regard to the mode of appointing commissioners, and concluded with observing, that he thought the measure altogether a very good one, and that the oppofition to it could only tend to damping the ardour of the people.

Mr. Michael Angelo Taylor said, that if he thought this measure would produce all the advantages which his learned Friend who had just spoken had said it would produce, he fhould be one of ihe first to approve of it. But as this was a measure which deeply affected the principles of the conftitution of England, he wilhed it to be gravely and candidly argued, and that no topics of declamation against the tyranny of France, or on the danger of French principles, had mingled in the discusion. If the measure was good, why not discuss it freely and fairly? If bad, no declamation would alter, although for a moment, it might support it. Perhaps some Gentlemen might think that, although the measure might contain some provisions which ought not to be affented to, yet that it ought to go into a committee that the defects might there be remedied: but he was of opinion that he had objections to urge against the general spirit of the measure, which no committee could remove.

He gave norice last feilion of parliament that he should early in this move for the repeal of tlic afleffed taxes bill; but from the information he received from the minister himself he found that to be unneceflary, since he was himself about to repeal that bill, and which indeed was proposed to be done by the present measure, which meafure, however, he should have opposed sooner, but that he had been confined by illness. There was one thing which he could not help saying, although it had not an immediate bearing, in his view of the case, upon the present subject, yet it had in the view of the right hon Gentleman: that was, as the minister had ftated, there were many instances of the aflelled taxes bill being Thamefully and fcandalously evaded; and he wondered that people who liad lived under a free government fhould


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