Imatges de pàgina

&c. &c. all which, he faid, took up the whole of a man's professional life to comprehend, and often two lawyers might find themselves employed, first, in the court of Common Pleas, then, by writ of error, in the court of King's Bench, from thence into the Exchequer Chamber, and, finally, into the House of Lords, when perhaps the question involved only one of the abstruse points to which he had just called the attention of the committee, namely, whether, under a will, a certain person named in it took an estate for life, or something more. If these things were so difficult to professional men, the cominittee would pardon him when he said they could not sufficiently comprehend them to make them the fubje&t of taxation, or of raising large sums of money on them within the year for the service of the state ; and to all these difficulties would they be exposed, if they attempted to make any distinction betwcen the permanent and the temporary income. In short, he could not talk intelligibly to the committee, unless he had a law dictionary before him. He then paid a compliment to the spirit of the citizens of London, on whose behalf the worthy Alderman, their Representative, had spoken, and pronounced a panegyrick on the constitution of England, to support which this measure was proposed.

Mr. Tierney argued strenuously against the general effect and tendency of the bill; he faid, he thought the bill would occalion a great deal of injustice and discontent in this country, He took occasion to observe, that he was happy to hear that the citizens of London had thewn such a spirit of pure patriotism as the worthy Alderman had assured the committee they felt. It came a little late, but he was glad to find it at any time from Gentlemen who hitherto had contributed little but professions. He reminded the committee of the conduct of some of the Gentlemen of London upon the loyalty loan. He observed, that any person who had gone abroad many years ago, and left an agent to receive his money in the funds for hiin, would find a difficulty, when he had only 9-10ths of his income remitted to him, to believe that the funds of this country are not taxed. He observed also that, if a man pura chased an annuity of rool. a year for six years, and that des terminable on the life of another ; could any man fay, that that was an annuity of rool. a year? Suppose a man had 1000l. in trade, and that trade produced a given income, was that income to be fairly considered as an income independent of capital, or that by taxing it the capital was not taxed? we were sadly deceived if we thought so, for part of that income


was nothing more than the return of the capital, and whenever that income was taxed, it was taxing part of the capital in its progress back again to its owner.

This reasoning applied particularly to all those who had shares in canals, or who embarked in any hazardous enterprise whatever; and no man could vote for this measure, uniess he was prepared to say that hazardous enterprises of all kinds whatever ought to be discouraged in this country. The same thing was applicable to the farmer who took a lease of a farm, and laid out a capital upon agriculture; no man ought to vote for this bill but he who thought that the man who improves the foil of the earth by tillage ought to be discouraged, for if his income was taxed, it was only arresting his capital in its progress to return to its owner. He was not stating these things with any view that the minister could alter or amend any of them, for he believed that the bill was incapable of any alteration. It must pass altogether, or not at all, and the more he examined the more he felt it his duty to oppose this bill. He took a view of the various inequalities of this bill, which he illustrated by cases from the funds, as persons had bought in at a high or a low price,'both being charged alike by this tax upon income, whereas one man might have laid out nearly double the money of the other. He observed also, that the case of the officers of the army and navy would be extremely hard under the present measure ; he had lately received a letter from an officer, which stated, that he, the officer, had no income but his pay, and that Government did not pay him, but was now in long arrear to him; this person would be charged according to his income, although, in fact, he had not for a long time received any thing. He asked whether this was justice, or any thing like justice ? He then proceeded to explain what he meant by the allufion he made some time ago to corporations and church lands, he wished them to be held sacred; but, when the whole will or disposition of the people was to pass for nothing, and the necessity of the state was every thing; when no regard was had to the property of individuals, the case of corporations and church lands, like that of every other property, was altered, and that which under one system of finance would have been facred, continued no longer fo. He thought that in general ministers of ftate were not overpaid in their falaries; but, if the property of individuals was to be thus taken away, he had no scruple in saying, that for any man to have 10,000l. a year from Government for any labour he performed was intolesVol. I. 1798.

I i


able. He observed, that this attack upon the property of every individual of the country put in his thoughts the suppofition of taking away one-tenth of the stature of every man. One-tenth of the stature of the giant would do very well; he would be tall still-one-tenth of the next to him in stature would do pretiy well also, for he would be still equal to the middle size ; but one-tenth taken away off the little man, filted him for nothing but to be shown as a rarity at Exeter Change.

Lord Hawkesbury defended the principle of the bill, which he considered as the wiseft that ever was adopted in any Itate.; not indeed that it was perfect, for that it was not the lot of man to produce any thing of that description, but that it came nearer to that point than any thing that ever was yet invented, and one of the great excellencies of the measure was, that it tended to keep all mankind in the same relative fituation in which they are at present; a thing which a tax upon consumption cannot in the nature of things do. He said, as to the observations of Mr. Tierney upon taking away onetenth of the stature of each individual, that one description was passed over, namely, the dwarf, for he was not at all touched by this measurc; to apply this, he observed that no individual was at all affected, if he had not bol. a year.

Sir John Anderson concurred in every word that had been uttered by his worthy colleague and brother Alderman. He had also conferred with his constituents upon this measure, and every one of thein approved of the principle of it, but they hoped it would be modified. He took notice of what had been said by Mr. Ticrney upon the conduct of the city of London ; he thought the patriotisın of the citizens of London deserved better treatment. He thought they shewed their spirit in a manner that did them high honour for their voluntary contributions, although he did not see the name of the hon. Gentleman among them upon that occasion.

Mr. Tierney faid that he had never said any thing against the citizens of London. He had heard of the patriotisin of the citizens of London, and after the loyalty loan became a losing thing, they came to the House to ask for a compensation; and lie thould not wonder if, after this bill be a little felt by them, they should be as loud and clamorous against the measure as they were for an indemnity upon the loyalty loan. He did not subscribe in the city of London to the voluntary contribution because he could not afford more than his affeffed taxes; but there was a gentleman, whose name


he confessed, he never could think of without esteem, a more honourable or splendid thing was never done by an individual, than was done by that gentleman. He would indeed break in' upon the orders of the House, so far as to name him, he meant Mr. Peele. He rejoiced in the conduct of that gentleinan, he was an honour to the character of an English merchant. He was glad that this business of the city of London was brought forward; because it gave him an opportunity of expressing the contempt he had for some of the Citizens of London, who, to his knowledge, in some houses that were worth a million of money, subscribed the thabby dirty sum of 1ocolas a voluntary contribution.

Mr. Simeon supported the Bill.

Mr. Robt. Thornton defended the Citizens of London, as well as the mercantile interest in general, for the spirit with which they came forward in defence of their country at this important crisis. He admitted, however, that merchants could better afford to be taxed than any other class at present in the community, for they had in this war had the means of paying themselves in many instances. He agreed with the worthy Alderman who said that all men in trade were doubly taxed by this Bill from any thing they ever felt before, but that they were willing, and in general very able to bear it. He defended the conduct of the Subscribers to the Loyalty Loan; he thought it was natural enough for them to apply for fome remuneration when they loft fifteen or twenty per cent by a bargain; however, they had not got any thing by their application to that House. He professed himself highly delighted at seeing the spirit with which this measure adopted, in which, however, he should be glad to see some modifications in favour of widows, poor clergymen, &c.

Mr. W. Smith opposed the measure in question in an able speech.

The Attorney General said a few words in addition to what he had advanced concerning the legal difficulties of applying this measure to any thing but Income.

.Sir G. Page Turner claimed to himself the merit of having been the first who proposed to the House a Tax on Income, and particularly that arising from the Funds; and on that account he could arrogate to himself some degree of vanity. The war could not be carried on without money, and this was the fairelt way of railing it. But he agreed with an Hon. Gentleman (Mr. Thornton) that there ought to be fome exemptions in favour of the Ladies. He hoped the ComIi 2

mittee don,

mittee would also make an exemption in favour of small farmers, otherwise they would be obliged to raise the price of their commodities.

Mr. Wigley made a short reply, in the course of which he observed, that if the amendinent he proposed was objected to, he thould not divide upon it, but he should afterwards take the sense of the House upon the whole clause.

The Amendment was negatived without a division.

The Committee then divided upon the whole Clause, which contains the rate of Impost

Ayes (for the Clause) 123-Noes 9.

The House being resumed, the Chairman reported progross, and obtained leave to sit again; and at half past 12 o'clock the House adjourned.


The Military Voluntary Service Bill, and the Scots Small
Notes Bill were read a third time, palled, and fent down to
the House of Cominons.

The House went into a Committee on the English Small Note Bill, and an amendment, as to the duration of the Bill, was moved, and agreed 10, and inseried. The Bill was then reported.

A Bill of Divorce between Hooker Bertelot and Frances Amelia Orton, his now wife, was presented and read a first time. The usual orders were made, according to the regulations respecting Divorce Bills.

The House then waited till half past fix for the Bills expected from the House of Commons, when Mr. Hobart brought up and presented ihe Land Tax Sale Bill, the Loan Bill for three millions, and two private Bills, which were severally read a firlt tiine. Adjourned.

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WEDVI, DIY, DEC. 19. A Petition was presented on behalf of the Mayor and inhabitants of the City of Rochester, praying that a Theatre may be allowed to be establithed there, &c.-Ordered to be laid in the rable. A Petition was presented on behalf of the Bakers of Lon

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