Imatges de pàgina

cause, by the failure of the former one, the revenue lost two million. But two million were well loft, in his opinion, sooner than we should lose the integrity of the conititution. But he denied that the revenue could sustain any loss ; on the contrary, it would gain more by placing more confidence in the good will and liberality of the people. By gentle mcans every thing may be had from them: by force, nothing. The character of the people thould not be mistaken-if they are taken by the generous hold, there would be no end to their generosity (a loud laugh] ; we should therefore be watchful to prevent their good disposition from being insulted and abused.

Mr. Wigley confessed that it was the usual practice of the House to postpone the preamble of most bills, but he did not see why that pra Nice ihould be perfifted in if the fact contained in the preamble was asserted to be false, which was the cafe on the present occafion.

Mr. Secretary Dundas allured the committee, that he had never before heard a debate upon this stage of a bill, and it was his wish to close it in a fair manner. To postpone the preamble of a bill was surely as much a matter of course as almost any of the forms of the House; but to prevent the procrastination and delay of the business, which seemed to be the object of some Gentlemen; he was willing to humour them in the present instance. He would, however, appeal to the feelings, to the honour, to the candor, and to the information of every Gentleman who had a knowledge of the .country, whether profiting by that information which they derived from their local situation, and putting their hand upon their hearts, they were not ready to agree that the affefled taxes had been shamefully evaded. They were contenently convinced that the preamble of the bill stated nothing but the truth; indeed, there could be searcely found any one that entertained a doubt of it. On this he would move that the sense of the House be now taken, waving the usual custom of postponing the preamble.

Mr. Lloyd profelled himself a firm friend to the present measure; and he had often, he said, heard the eonduct of the right hon. Gentleman, Mr. Pitt arraigned for not having brought forward a similar plan sooner, when every subject in the kingdom was ready and willing to contribute towards the exigencies of the state. He would beg his pardon; but he must say that the right hon. Gentleinan had hisher:o been miltaken in his plan, for the plan the country wished for was Hh2


one that should tax all equally. The plan of last year did not answer their wishes in that respect; ihe prefent one does, for all descriptions are desirous to see the taxes fall equally upon all-industry had hitherto been heavily taxed, while those who possessed immense fums from mortgages, and in the funds, were left untouched, and without ever having been called upon to bring in their mite towards the public exigencies of their country. He hoped every Gentleman would attest that this was the general with of the nation. He felt it his duty to do so, and that duty he was ready to perform.

The question was then put, “ that the preamble do stand part of the bill ?”

Mr. Tierney objected to the preamble's standing part of the bill: he agreed with an hon. Gentleman, that harth words should not be used-harsh words were always impolitic; but words which were applicable to the measure, which described it, and by which it would be recognised and known, were surely proper to be used. Now in his mind the preamble was a direct and grofs charge upon all the gentry of England, and if the hon. Gentleman complains of harsh words, he will find them in the text of his preamble. The Right hon Gentleman (Mr. Dundas) fays, let every man lay his hand upon his heart, and say, whether he does not know that the affessed taxes were evaded? Let us for it know what he means by evasion. If he means that under this tax, Gentlemen kept fewer horses, fewer carriages, fewer houses, and abridged the luxuries in which they formierly indulged, and if he calls this evasion, they may have been evadid; but was not this diminution of luxury rendered necessary by the circumstances of the times. If the accumulated weight of the burthens of the war had obliged men to retrench, was this to be called evasion ? Mr. Tierney had not, in his own instance, kept a horse less, but was there any 'blame imputable to the man who had from prudence or from neceflity leffence his expence? For all evasions which could be conceived, this new bill had provided remedies, and surely there was no argument for setting out with a harsh imputation on the Nobility and Gentry of England; the words could admit of no other construction. When Gentlemen fwore off on the fcore of income from the aflelled taxes, to call this evasion was to say that they had been guilty of direct, wilful and gross perjury. But he would now beg Icave to ask, at what particular period, and under what circuinstances was it that the couniry was to be thus branded as


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not being fit to be trusted upon their oath? Was it not after the right hon. Gentleman had estimated the rental of the nation at one hundred million sterling, and after the sum raised for the exigencies of the last year had amounted to 30 million? Was it not then after the country has willingly given one third of their property for the public service? It was, therefore, peculiarly hard, when new taxes were now to be raised, that ihey should not be called for in more decent. terins. It was doubtless still harder to be subjected to the imputation of perjury, without any means of getting rid of the imputation, for thould a man be supposed by the surveyors to have under-rated his income, what means has he of proving that he has not incurred this foul imputation ? Against so monstrous a plan he must raise his voice in behalf of the people of England, whom he could not patiently sce thus taxed, not only in pocket, but in character.

Lord Hawkesbury said, in answer to the hon. Gentleman, he only wished to read part of the preamble" that whereas fundry evasions had taken place."-It was a libel upon those sundry persons only.

Sir IV. Young and Mr. Jones each spoke a few words.

Mr. W. Smith declared, that as an appeal had been made to the observations of Gentlemen, he protested that, as far as he was capable of judging, the assessed taxes had not been much evaded. By modifications that bill was reduced to 4,500,ocol.--since then the 'hon. Gentlemen had stated that he expected it would produce four millions. There was only therefore a defalcation of one ninth, and when his other taxes produced as near, they were not suspected to be much evaded.

Mr. Ellison said, he would give his vote for the preamble; and he confidered the oppolition made to it as creating a frivolous delay.

Mr. Smith contended, that the delay was not frivolous, and that the hon. Gentlemen had no right to call it so.

The question was then put upon the motion which was agreed :o.

The committee proceeded to consider the first clause.

Mr. Tierney observed, that this clause went to repeal the affessed taxes,

and was a breach of faith towards the subfcri. bers to the last loan, that was to say, 'a breach of faith, when the tenor of the Act of Parliament preceding the loan was considered. The Chancellor of the Exchequer denied there was any


breach of faith in this case, upon which a conversation arose between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mr. Tierney, each maintaining his own original affertion.

The committee having proceeded to the second clause.

Mr. Wigley observed, that this clause took in income of whatever kind. If it had been only for one year, it would be less objectionable, but being during the continuance of the war, he thought it would work a great hardship. He stated a variety of objeciions to this clause, and concluded with proposing an amendment, the substance of which he said was, that permanent should be distinguished from a tempo- · rary revenue in the charge that was to be laid


it. He therefore, to forward that idea of distinction, proposed that the first part of the clause should only affect a permanent revenue. He said, if the committee adopted that distinction, he should proceed to take notice of life estates, and propose a charge upon that branch of income of a smaller proportion than that which now stood in the bill. He then proposed that certain words in the clause should be left out, for the purpose of inserting others to answer the end he had in view, and which he had already described.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer opposed this amendment. He declined entering into the question at large, having stated his sentiments already at length upon the subject. This propofal, he said, was totally destructive of the whole principle of the measure altogether. The essential principle of which was to raise a large sum for supplies within the year; for that purpose Income and Income only could be considered as the object of impost, because if we applied to any thing but Income we applied to capital, which was not the object we ought to have in view ; by this attempt to make a distinction between the income of a person who gained it by his industry, and the person who had it from the produce of his real estate, the very thing would take place which Gentlemen seemed so anxiolis to avoid, namely, an unjust and distressing inequality; for thus blending a man's income with that of his real estate, and mixing them together, could only go to the injury of the inheritance of the estate, by causing it to be incumbered, which was an injury of the most serious nature, and in a national point of view would not be raising the money within the year, for that would indeed be only producing a certain sum of money within the year, but much of it was to be paid by others afterwards, and by those whom it was not the object to tax at all; he meant those who would be entitled

to estates hereafter ; that could not be fairly said to be raising money within the year. It mattered not for the purpose of raising money within the year, of what a man's income was composed, whether the rent of land, or any thing else; the income was the ability to pay during the year-going out of that plan, was abandoning the principle of raising money within the year. He then shortly recapitulated his former arguments upon insurances for lives, and concluded with giving the amendment his decided negative.

Mr. Alderman Lushington, said he had no opposition to offer to the principle of the bill; the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that it was not a measure of duty upon capital, or in other words, upon property, but upon income. The principle of the bill, however, was departed from in some particulars ; he meant this observation to apply to 1hort annuities. He did not, however, oppose any part of the bill, but he must express a hope that it might undergo fome modifications. He had conferred with his constituents, and he was happy in being able to inform the committee that his constituents had no objection whatever to contribute from their mercantile income to the service of the State, although they felt that by this measure they were taxed double the proportion they could have been called upon in any other mode of taxation; or rather, they paid double to that which perfons living upon an income which was not the produce of iheir industry paid. There were some parts of the measure which he thought raiher unconstitutional ; he meant the mode of enforcing the Acto--but this and some other points he hoped would be modified,

Mr. Dent thought that a distinction ought to be made between a permanent and temporary income.

The Solicitor General observed, that if any distinction was made between the temporary and the permanent income of any man, that would make it directly an impost upon the capital of him whose income was permanent; and he was perfectly persuaded it was impoflible it could be otherwise.

The Attorney General followed upon the fame fide, and in order to thew the absolute impossibility of ascertaining the value of each person's interest in different sorts of estates, or rights to the possession of land, and all sorts of real property, reminded the committee of the complication of difficulties which occurred in courts of law upon questions of estates tail, of estates for life, of reversions, remainders, expectancies, contingencies, executory devises, trults for terms of years,


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