Imatges de pàgina

Mr. Tierney then repeated, that if the House heard nothing from him on the subject, they would take it for granted that he was wrong, and that the matter was at an end.

Mr. Smith (Chairman) said, he had not interrupted this digression, owing to the importance of the matter, but he must now recall Gentlemen's attention to the clauses of the bill.

In that part where deductions were to be allowed to traders,

Mr. Alderman Combe faid, that as it had been confeffed that this bill branched out from the principle of that which had last year passed for the accumulated aileffed taxes, and certainly contained much of its hardhips, he hoped that it would also contain a portion of that lenient spirit towards a particular class of people which the right hon. Gentleman was last year induced to give-he meant the retail shopkeepers. Gentlemen must know that in chusing their residence, manufacturers will settle where labour is abundant, where rent is low, where fuel is plenty, or where provisions are cheap, but the thopkeeper, who sells to the public the articles of manufactory, cannot have much ele&tion-he inust have a shop in a populous street, that shop must make a hand. some appearance to thew off the articles it exhibits, in order to catch the attention of passengers. The ihopkeeper himself, as well as his alistanis, must be more particular in their dress and appearance than those whose buliness does not require continual intercourse with their customers, and the high-rented house which they occupy cannot be considered but as an article or implement of trade, and is as much fo as their weights and scales, or their measures-he trusted, therefore, that the committee would consider this class of traders, and grant them fome alleviation - for which purpose he moved, that after the few words general deduction, should be added--and the amount of rent of such houses and warehouses as belong to tenants of retail jhaps, and are inhabited by retail traders.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to adopt the words from the bill of last year, that the retail shopkeepers should deduct two-thirds of their rent, the remaining third it might be supposed that they would pay for their own accomodation, which was adopted.

The schedule being gone through,

The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, that having already opened to the House the general nature of the new clauies SI 2


which it was his intention to offer, he should not now enter into any detailed explanation of them, particularly as the clauses seemed to meet the general concurrence of the committee.

There was one material clause, however, which had been deferred, and which he had not yet explained; he meant the clause for granting certain modifications in the cases of children. It was his intention to move that the modification to be granted in these instances should be carried beyond the modification allowed last year under the bill for the assessed taxes. In that act no allowance was made for children under the number of four.-From four the scale rose to eight, and from eight to ten. In the first scale ten per cent was allowed, in the fecond fifteen, then twenty. He thought that in the present case it would be preferable to grant an allowance for each child, descending so low as one. The presumption which this deduction proceeded was, that children did make a very considerable addition to the expence of a family, and by fo much dimished taxalle income. It was clear at the same time that the expence of children wirs greater in the proportion to small incomes than in the higher clasics of income. Upon this principle the fcale of massification was regulated. He should propose, therefore, that from the lowest rate of income compecheaded in this bill, 6cl per ann. up to 4001. the allowance Thould be five per cent. for each child; from 400l. up to iocol. he ikould propose al. per cent. from 1000l. up to goool, three per cent. and not to swell the modifications with any unneceffary distinctions, two per cent. for all above goool. ceived that this modification would be generally agreeable, and embrace all those cases in which it would be the with of the House to grant modification, and it would at the same time be observed, thai the rate of modification was much more advantagcous, in particular in the reduced scales, than the modifications in the Afeffed Tax Bill had been.

The Speaker faid, that he should detain the House but a very few moments to express the great fatisfaction which he felt at the clause which had now been offered. In such a measure as the present it was fruitles to fuppose that great hardships would not take place; it would be fruitless to affect not to foresee the difficulties with which the execution of a measure so important and necessary would be accompanied. He hoped, however, that the House would not attempt to remedy all the hardships, because such an attempt would probably have the effect to render its application ftill more unequal, with the additional inconvenience of dininishing the advantages and the produce of the bill. They ought to take their stand upon a great prin

He con

ciple, and to that they fhould adhere. The principle here was to raise within the year a certain fum from the income accruing within the year. If they wished that the measure should be attended with its proper advantages, they would abstain froin trying to apply a remedy to every particular cale of inconvenience that might be stated. They should be guided rather by duty ihan by feeling, or rather, they should correct the narrow view of individual intereft by an enlarged consideration of the security of protection which every individual derived from those measures which tended to secure the bleflings of that constitution under which we lived, and that independence which we enjoyed. It was clear that children absorbed a great part of income in the lower clafes than in the higher, and this was the principle of the modifications proposed. The satisfaction of the House would, he was fure, be equal to what he felt in contemplating the cales to which these modifications would apply. They would relieve many respectable fainilies who lived in the country on moderate incomes. They would relieve many of those who had meritorioully come forward for the public defence in yeomanry corps, in volunteer corps, &c. Above all, they would relieve that most valuable class of men the Clergy. The situation of these men, fo useful, so respected, were in every view entitled to the attentiou of the House. Bound by their situation and their education to live, perhaps, in a stile above their income, though not beyond their respectability, they would derive that relief from those modifications which every man must with they should receive. To those who looked at the practice of our ancestors, it would be a proud confideration to find that the idea of granting any modifications or relief in the inodes adopted for railing the supplies was new, that it was peculiar to theke tiines. Look at the bead-roll catalogue of taxes, and of revenue acts. In the tenths, in the subfidies, in the centages, and treillages, &c. no fuch modifications had ever been introduced in favour of any defcription of property. In other times, four thillmgs in the pound on real property, and two thillings and fixpence in the pound on moveable property, had been impoled, without any modification whatever. When in lieu of these mods of railing supply the land tax was imposed, it was laid on all kinds of property without discrimination of circumstances, or any allowance for the term by which it was held. It was reierved for these times to grant those modifications which gave relief in cases where it was desirable to mitigate the weight of public burden. He should be sorry, however, to fee the measure frittered away, and its benefits reduced by too many modifications. The great object of the measure was to supersede the necessity of excessive loans, to diminish the weight of permanent burdens, to relieve public credit from the pressure it received from accumulating debt. It would operate on the hopes of those whom it was our interest to encourage and to animate ; it would operate on the fears of those whom it was important to convince of our power and our resources. In the contest in which we were engaged the best way to bring it to a conclufion was to shew that we were prepared for its continuance. The enemy had first attacked the principles of our constitution, and endeavoured to sap the attachment of the people to their government. In this, however, they had been difappointed by the firinness of that House, as the repretentatives of an immense inajority of the people of this country. They had next attacked our independence, but that threat had served only to excite an univerfal burst of indignation against those who had ineditated the presumptuous delign. They had founded their hopes too on the embarrassinent which our public debt would occasion. It had been said, and not unrealonably, that our public debt was the best ally of the enemy. It was in the power of this House then, and he trusted it would be their difpofition, to dininiin, if not to diffolve, that alliance. He should be forry to (ce any modifications of the tax that could tend to defeat to important advantages which it was calculated to produce. He should be forry to see any thing done to cripple a measure that must send so much to dismay, the enemy, to inspire confidence at home, and to give confidence to our allies. Such a measure would tend no less to these great objects than our naval triumphs, than that great victory we had lately obtained, and which would be remembered to latest pofterity with pride and exultation. One of its first effects would be to roule others to contribute to the great work in which we were engaged; that the public debt, like other allies of


enemy, would cease any longer to inspire them with hope or ourselves with despondency. He hoped the House would forgive him for having trespalled upon them with these observations; in other ftages of the business he was precluded from giving any opinion on the principle of the measure, and he rejoiced to see the modification proposed by his right hon. Friend, which, preserving that principle, afforded that relief which it was felt most urgent to befow.

Sir W. Pulteney said, that he disapproved of the measure, not on account of the fums it was to raise, but what was unconstitutional in the mode; and he withed it to be underitood that his filence on the prefent occafion fhould not preclude him


great and at a future period from giving any opinion which, on consideration, he should form on the clauses proposed.

Mr. Ryder said it was with great pain that he felt himself obliged to differ from his right hon. Friend (Mr. Pitt) respecting the modifications proposed. He thought that the inodification was extended too much to the higher classes.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid he was sure the opposia tion which had been made by his right hon. Friend to this measure was founded upon the purest principles, and were well worthy the confideration of the Houle when these clauses were printed. He, however, still retained his opinion, that the exemption he had proposed was founded both in justice and humanity. It was very true that there might he many cases in which children fo far from being a burthen might be a benefit to their parents, but it would be extremely difficult if not impoflible to make the distinction among the poorer class of penple. Children were more expensive when they were young than when they grew up, now the case was directly different with respect to perfons of large fortune; but it would be impoflible to draw any line between them. He was afraid that it would be impotlible to make this bill operate equally in every case; but if any clause could be suggested that would diminish the inequality,' he should be happy to support it.

Mr. Wilberforce allowed there was fome weight in the hon. Gentleman's obje&ion; but it did not appear to him fufficiently weighiy to prevent his aflenting to the clause of his right hon. Friend.

The Speaker said a few words in explanation ; after which the new claufes were brought up, and ordered to be printed, together with the whole of the bill. The report was then ordered to be taken into further confideration on Thursday next.

Colonel Mitford said, that on account of the hill lately introduced into the House for exempting persons serving in Volunteer corps from being drawn for the milicia, he thought it his duty to enquire into the present state, both of the ordinary and the fupplementary militia. With that view he would now move, Thai there be laid before the House an account of the establishment and present effective force of the ordinary and supplementa! militia to as late a period as the same could be made up, distinguifhing the respective force of each militia.

Col. Sloane seconded the motion, which, after a few words from the Chancellor of the Excheguer, was agreed to.

The other orders of the day were then disposed of, and the House adjourned till Wednesday.


« AnteriorContinua »