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deal destruction on the inbred vipers that have attempted to raise their envenomed stings against their parent foil. He then concluded by expressing a wish that something might be devised in favour of the country gentlemen, that would relieve them from a disclosure of their private circumstances.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that he was strongly called upon by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Tierney) to consider of some means of extending to the landed gentry the same exemptions from disclosure that was granted to commercial men, which means of relief, he thinks, may be very easily discovered. In not, however, bringing forward any such means, he must incur the charge of hardness of heart and apathy from that hon. Gentleman; but, in spite of that apathy and hardness of heart, he had often discussed that subject, and adduced a variety of reasons to thew that no such plan could or ought to be adopted. It was matter of great difficulty to procure perfons qualified for inspecting commercial statements; where, then, find those who could judge of all kinds of concerns? Besides, the adopting of such a plan would destroy the confidence the public. had in the measure when they saw that no distinction was made between rich and poor, but all were to pay alike, without any concealment, disguise or partiality. This consideration outweighed in his mind every obje&ion, and that so powerfully, that not only he would not devise such a plan, but he moreover would resist it, if any such was proposed.
Sir James Pulteney said, it was his intention to propofe some amendment to prevent the disclosure of landed property. It was his wish to see abolished the invidious distinètion that vas attempted to be made between the landed and the comL.ercial interest. If the measure was unconftitutional, it was in this respect ; for such distinctions must impair the strength of the constitution. It was, moreover, inconsistent with the principle of the bill to grant any exemption to any particular description of men; all or none should enjoy that privilege. The commercial income might be estimated at above 40 millions, nearly half the property of the kingdom, and what was practicable in favour of one half, could not be absolutely impracticable in favour of the other : to him at least there appeared no impracticability in it; and whoever reads page 47 of the bill would see that what was proposed to be adopted with regard to any commercial men, might easily be applied to the landed interest. The right hon. Gentleman talks much of the good effect that will arise from the publicity of the measure. But he could not see why one half of the community should be judged in a particular and different manner from the other half; it was an invidious distinction, and would prove detrimental in its consequences. He had hitherto voted for the bill, because he thought that the extreme necessity of the present emergency called for fome mode of raising a large sum of money , but it was not a inode of taxation to be had recourse to in ordinary times. If the amendment he hinted at was introduced, the meafure should then have his complete acquiescence.
Sir W. Young fpoke in favour of the West India merchants, and said, he was sure that they would not have objected to a disclosure, if it had been required of them.
Mr. Percival contended that the measure would have the full effect upon the enemy which was expected to arise from it ; for when it was put in execution, it would cut up by the roots all the hopes the enemy fo fondly entertained from the downfall of our funding system, while it must convince them that we still possess resources fully equal to any emergency. Neither would it trench on the liberties or comforts of the prefent race. There were only five or fix gentlemen in the House who disapproved of it, and perhaps a few out of the House. The enemy therefore must see that they have a whole country unanimous againft them.
Mr. William Smith defended the consistency of Mr. Tierney, who, he said, might recommend the preference of the affeffed taxes as the preferable one of the two. Although many material alterations had been made in the present bill, yet it still remained fo objectionable, that he could not vote for it. The radical objection still continued, which was, that of unequal taxation, by taking every fort of income in the fame
proportion. His other objection was to a disclosure, that had in fome degree been remedied with respect to one class, yet it still remained a great pressure upon the other classes. The income of a commercial man could not be stated in certain cases without danger to him ; so, on the other hand, the outgoings of the landed Gentlemen were matters of
delicacy. There still remained so much hardship, that he must oppose the measure.
Mr. Tierney faid a few words in explanation.
The Attorney General faid, that the wifdom of the House had decided last year, that a great part of the fupplies fhould
be raised within the year, and of the propriety and necessity of such a measure there could not remain a doubt in the mind of the man who observed how rivetted it is in the mind of ihe enemy, that, though they cannot fight our fleets or our armies, yet they may hope to overpower us, by making us persevere in the funding system; but this hope must vanish, when they see that we can carry on the contest with energy against them, without materially increasing the funded debt. Doubtless, there is great inconvenience in raising all the fupplies within the year, and the atteinpt must prove particularly inconvenient to some particular classes, but such is the necelsary consequence of every system of taxation. The one now proposed involves less of them than any other thai can be devised; it is better and more effectual than a tax upon capital, or upon articles of consumption, for capital in land is not immediately productive, and therefore cannot answer the present calls, and if you tax articles of consumption, they must not be luxuries but the necessaries of life, and then you throw the whole burthen upon the middle classes of the community.
The Solicitor General followed the same train of arguments.
Mr. Elliot and Mr. Tyrwhitt supported the measure as highly creditable to the spirit of the country, and as the most effectual that could be adopted to confound the hopes of the enemy.
The question was now loudly called for, and the House divided. Ayes,
2-Majority, 91 The Chancellor of the Exchequer then proposed a variety of clauses by way of riders to the bill, which were agreed to, and as he had a great variety of other clauses to introduce, and as there remained a number of verbal alterations to be still made in the bill, he thought it beft now to adjourn, and to take the clauses into further consideration the next day at three o'clock, that the whole might be gone through at an early hour, and the bill then sent to the other House of Parliament.
Mr. Tierney asked, whether there was any clause for admitting voluntary contributions? and whether those who had given a fifth of their income, were to continue the same pa, friotic generosity under the new plan?. The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied that the clause ad
mitting mitting voluntary contributions remained still in force, and therefore there would be no impediment to the receiving of such voluntary gifts. To the second question he had only to fay, that he could propose no clause for compelling those who last year paid a fifth of their income to do the same this year. On the contrary, it was his opinion that they ought to pay only a tenth.
Sir Gregory Page Turner hoped the right hon. Gentleman had not pmitted some clause in favour of widows and spinsters with small incomes.
Col. Mitford explained the nature of some clauses which he intended to propose ; after which the other orders of the day were deferred, and the House adjourned at half past eleven.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
TUESDAY, JAN. I. The Newfoundland Judicature Bill, the bill enabling his Majesty to take up persons suspected of seditious pradices, &c. and the bill for exempting volunteers in the local corps from serving in the militia, were brought up from the Commons, and severally read a first time.
Eight Naturalization Bills were also brought up from the Commons, and read a first time.
The Armorial Bearing Bill, and the Annual Indemnity Bill, pafled the committee.
The House again resolved itself into a committee on Mr. Rickett's Divorce Bill, when a clause was amended, and the report ordered to be received the next day.--Adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
TUESDAY, JAN. 1.:
Sir W. Dolben took occasion to observe that the growth of timber was an object of great national importance as it regarded the navy. He was sorry to observe that timber was not planted in the grounds which had been enclosed of late years by the authority of parliament, and that in that particular the public interest had been neglected. He wised to fee an order made in the House that when 50 acres and upwards should be allowed to be inclosed by parliament, a proportionable quantity of such land should be allotted for the growth of timber for the navy.
Mr. Pierrepoint approved highly of the sentiments just uttered by the hon. Baronet, and hoped to see them adopted by the House.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved the order of the day, to take into further consideration the Income Bill.
A great number of verbal amendments were proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and adopted by the House.
Sir G. Turner proposed an amendment' to one of the clauses, for the purpose of providing that of the income of any widow or spinster, up to ihe sum of 300l. a year, no more than one-twentieth be taken by this bill. The amendment was rejected.
Sir 7. Pulteney, after taking a general view of the bill as it affected landed proprietors and commercial men, maintained the propriety of allowing to the landed interest the same advantage of secrecy from the afTefTor with regard to the dirclosure of income as was allowed to commercial persons, and for that purpose he moved an amendment in the clause which inlcudes the oath, &c.
This amendment was supported by Sir W. Pulteney and Mr. Jones; and opposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who retained the objections he had formerly urged against it; and also by Mr. Simeon, who, although he once approved of the general principle of the amendment, was now convinced of its danger, if not impracticability. The amend ment was put and negatived.
A valt number of other verbal annendments were then proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and adopted by the House, but there being fill many remaining, some of them with blanks to be filled up, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at 6 o'clock, moved, that the House do proceed further in the consideration of the bill the next day.--Ordered.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 2. The several bills before the House were each forwarded & stage.
The report of the Divorce Bill (Mr. Rickett's) was reVOL. I. 1799.