Imatges de pàgina

affect the rich. Hence would he recur to what he formerly faid, but what could not be too frequently repeated, that the duty of that House was not to reject all measures of taxation, but'to render them as little capricious and unequal as possible. What would be the effect of the prefent bill? It would lay a tax generally on all with less convulsion in all the classes of fociety than would be occasioned by any other pra&icable tax. He had heard much of Jacobins and their fyftem of levelling all classes to one vulgar standard. The present tax had, indeed, been objected to on the presumed ground that its effect would be to level distinctions, but he was far from entertaining this opinion ; on the contrary, he believed the tax would extensively afford the 'means of preserving that order and just diftin&ion of classes which God and Nature every where wisely eftablished and maintained.' 'An hon. Gentle man had said, that 40 afford any relief to persons likely to be more affected by the tax than others, was to forget the principle of the bill. In his opinion this remark was both weak and facile. It was the duty of the House to consider the situation of every class of people, and to endeavour to'make every new tax bear upon them with as little weight as pollible. It was his wish and that of those whom he had the honour of fupporting, that the tax might fall equally; and, as was said on a former evening, not cruelly nor'unjustly on one class, whilft others enjoyed undisturbed the possession of their ample fortunés. Once for all, he would impress it on the House, that the 'with neareft his heart was to preserve the orders of faciety, administering to each an equal measure of justice, watching over the character,' the lives, and the liberties of all, and by making a general allowance to poor and rich, freeing the present meafure from every severity of character, and giving it as a precedent to all future time, that it is eminently the desire of the members of the British Senate to give to every scheme of finance the emphatical character of a fair, an impartial, and equal meafure; that it seeks to impose a fair, an impartial, and.equal tax. Upon these general grounds the motion would receive his hearty support.

Sir Francis Baring said, he must ftill objed to it as a new tax upon industry, and as tending to the disclosure of private property, on which rested his principal objection. Commissioners and Affiftants were indeed to be appointed to enquire into the cafes where payment should be refused; but it would not be in their power to discriminate juftly between many fimilar cases that may occur : many persons may be seemingly in fimi



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lar circumstances, yet a disclosure of circumstances might be fatal to some, though not, objected to by others of them. They were left, however, no alternative but to disclafe. A noble Lord asked, why oppose the measure unless a better one is proposed? He would propose what was in his mind a better plan-he meant that of the Allefled Taxes, which should not have been relinquished, merely becanfe it had in some cases been evaded; but these defects might eafily be corrected, instead of doing away the measure altogether

.. Horses and carriages, &c. were objects easily seen, and theretore a tax, upon them could not be evaded; but no man was safe from a disclofure of his private ciroumstances; for whatever might be the precautions, the secret would be fure to get abroad. Better means of secrecy thould be discovered, or the measure fhould not be enforcedi.

Sir James Pulteney recoinmended that the disclosure of mer cantile property thould be made in the same manner as that of landed property ; that would obviate the most material objection to the plan. Some alterations might also be made in the scale. It began too low, and did not go high enough. Moreover, as the revenue promises to continue in a flourish. ing state, some relief for the poor classes might, he thought, be taken from the Sinking Fund, and by entaiting fomething on posterity, these hardchips might for the present be some what alleviated. He was no enemy to taxes of compulfion; he preferred those on consumptive articles, which, whatever might be said, were in a great measure optional. To take money directly out of the pockets of the people, was granting by a bounce a great and dangerous power to minifters... Optional taxes raised a better barrier against the assumption of such a power. No doubt the mode: now proposed might be the cheapest and most convenient, yet other plans inight tie i followed with more safety, and he would therefore give them the preference,

Mr. Burdon wished the progress of the bill might not be retarded, and be trusted that its execution would not create any of the difficulties that had been flated, especially as it might still receive fresh amendments. An hon. Baronet seems to prefer optional taxes, and pronounced the affefled taxes to be optional ones; yet,s upon mature reflection, he was sure that the worthy Baronet must see that they were not more optional than the tax now proposed. It was by at 1) tention to the public revenue that national-liberty and inden pendence were beft supported; every care should therefore


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be taken to prevent its being attacked by fraud. Those who defraud the revenue would, in his opinion, be as strongly difposed to defraud their neighbours if they faw the same certainty of not being detected. It was his wish that every one in the same circumstances should pay alike towards the proteation of our national liberties." "He could afsure the Houfe that such at least was the wish and opinion of his constituents. He and they had some objections at first against the excise laws; but he approved of them, inasmuch as they were intended to protect the revenue; besides, we saw every day immense breweries and immense distilleries established, and the owners of them rise into great consideration and wealth. When some of them came into that House, whatever their public spirit might be, they made no objections to the oppreflive nature of the excise laws. Indeed it now fell to our lot to carry on taxation to a very great and a very unpleasant extent; yet, he trusted in the event, it would prove favourable to our national liberty, and it was this option that the mode now proposed, would of all other be leaft objectionable to the country at large; in giving it his support, he had done 'no more than his duty to his conftituents, for it was their with that the tax should extend equally to all who were intereked in saving the country.

Mr. Henry Thornton said, that all were agreed that the war fhould now be carried on with vigour, but how could it be prosecuted with vigour br success, unless fome efficient meaTures were adopted like this now proposed. He agreed that every member had howevét a right to oppofe it, though they Inight not be able to devise a better plan. He begged them

however to consider, that what the exegencies of the state - now called for, was not one million or iwo millions, 'But a

sum no less than ten millions. A less from would be of na avail; therefore those who agree to carrying on the war, must also agree to the mean: necessary for carrying it on with effect, and if iney disapprove of the old mode of raising these means, why not accede to

e other now propofed? The or. dinary mode of taxation could never raise the sum now wanted, and would belides bear harder on captial than that which is objećied to. Perhaps a tax both on income and

property might be deemed a preferable ore; but then it would be liable to a double objection, to disclofure of circumftances, and the ordinary objection to taxes on capital. It was upon the whole therefore better to perfevere in the plan now offered to the Housę, both as more simple in its nature, and more likely to raise the sum required. Besides, the public and the House seemed disposed to adopt it, and as he had no particular plan of his own, it should meet with no opposition from him. Its importance to the country would be great indeed -our navy was to do all-- we must also be strong and prepared against the enemy at home, But whatever might be the intention of the enemy to invade us, it was by no means So favourite a scheme with them as to make war against the British finances through the medium of British trade-by wounding our trade they well knew that they vitally woundert our finances rour finances should therefore be the first object of our care. But we should recollect that the national debt had swollen to an immense fize, and meafures should be taken to prevent ils encreasing. The paying


now and immediately a large fum, would be attended with this good effect; it would Thew, at least, that we were able to support our finances and our public credit. To this fafficiency in the circumstances of the nation the flate might resort in any great

emergency or difficulty. This would likewife prove a great crfecurity to our public funds, and in every point of view the d measure appeared to be pregnant with such immediate ad

vantages, that it could not but have his countenance and fupport.

Mr. Martie wished that the bill might be proceeded in, and he was ready to vote for it; but if in the further progress, he saw any greater difficulty arise, or a better plan proposed, than what was now before them, he thought proper to reserve to himself, tbe liberty of voting againlt the bill altogetherent

The question was now, put and agreed to without a divi. fion : after the first amendment was read,

The Chancellor of ike Exchequer said, that from the lateness of the hour, and from the nicely of several points which fill remained to be disculled it was his opinion, that the further confideration of the should be postponed till the

$8904 next day, when would be fresherand better able

to enter on the discussion. Mr.W. Smith observed, that though it was a much later hour when the House were going into the committee on this bill, yet the right họn, Geirleman would not admit the argument which he now employed himself. If there was not great inconvenience to be feared from it, he rather felt with ihe hon. Gentleman that the buliness Tould be now cone zinued.




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The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, that it was not to suit his own convenience or that of any particular Gentle many that he was anxious tó poftpone the further consideration of the report, but 'merely for the benefit of the matter it self. He then concluded by moving, that the report be taken into further conlideration the next day, which motion was agreed to. 7oi. The

Mr. Secretary Dundas moved the further confideration of the report on the bill for exempting, under certain conditions, perfons servidg in volunteer corps from being ballotted into the fupplententary' militia. The motion being agreed 10, Mr. Dundas proposed the new amendments which he mentioned the preceding day, which were adopted.

The bill was then ordered to be engrossed, and to be read a third time the next day, if then engrossed.

The other orders of the day were then postponed, and the House adjourned at a quarter past ten o'clock.'

birinchi HOUSE OF LORDS.

The bills upon the tabld were forwarded in their respective

Mr. Hobart presented from the Houfe of Commons the Asmorial Bearing Tax Bill, the Annual Indemnity Bill, and two Private Bills, all which were severally read a firit time.

The order of the day for the second reading of Mr. Rickett's Divorce Bill being read, counsel were called to the bar, who examined witnesses to substantiate the necessary facts and make out their case. : Mr. Garrow premised to their Lordihips that their cafe rested upon circumitantial evidence Lolely, but so strong and conclufive that it had already satisfied a jury of the country, and he had no doubt it would fatisfy their Lordships. Witnesses were then called to prove the facts neceilary for the satisfaction of their Lordships, as the marriage of the parties, the adultery, the decision of the Ecclesiastical and other Courts below. By the statements of counsel, and the examination of the witnesses, it appeared that the peritjoner, Edward Jervis Ricketts, Esq. was married to the hon. Cassandra Twilleton, youngest daughter of the late Lord Saye and Sele, in the month of January, 1790; that they cohabited together as man and wife, until about the middle of the month of October, 2797; and that there are


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