Imatges de pÓgina

fhould pay a tenth of his income, when no more was exacted from those who poffeffed one thoufand and ten thousand a year for doing nothing? An objection to this bill was, that it would fhew every bit of property in the country; and he asked, Whether it would be likely to do good, to put on record the exact amount of the incomes of the feveral bodies corporate throughout the kingdom? He believed they would not be fond themselves of rendering an account of their poffeffions, left, in the hour of distress, Government should know where to lay their hands. The Church was proverbially jealous, and he believed, in fome Deans and Chapters, the Burfers were obliged to take an oath not to betray their fecrets. This hint he merely gave in kindness and caution [a laugh]. He then argued at fome length upon the inequality of the tax, which he humoroufly illuftrated with this obfervation. Suppofe, faid he, it was proposed to take away a tenth from every man's height, let him be what fize he might; you take away a tenth from a man fix feet high, and you leave a man still of a tolerable good fize, fit for all the offices of man. You take a tenth from a man five feet high, and you leave a reasonable sized being. But when you take a tenth from one who is only about four feet, or hardly that, you leave a figure only fit to be exhibited among the other curiofities of nature at Exeter 'Change. Or taking a tenth of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's eloquence, you left him enough for ordinary purpofes-but to take a tenth from fome perfons, would leave them scarce any at all. He concluded by obferving, that if we had no means of refifting an enemy, but by fo violent a measure, he would affent to it; but he would never agree to it, unless he was affured it was abfolutely neceffary. He profeffed his determination to oppose it in every fstage.

Lord HAWKESBURY thought, if the principle of raising a large fum within the year were agreed to, no better mode of carrying that principle into effect than by the prefent measure could be discovered. Perfection was not in human nature, but this came as near it as human wisdom could devife. There were but three ways of raifing fuch a fum; by taxing either capital, expenditure, or income. The first was impracticable, or, if attempted, would be the most vexatious and objectionable of the three; the fecond had been tried and found inadequate; and there was no choice left but the third, the prefent bill. The most equal plan in point of impoft certainly was that of last year, which was a tax on income in expenditure, but it had failed. He asked if the present tax would not fall as lightly on the poor as on any other class? Would the widow, with a small income, pay lefs if the tax were laid on articles

of confumption? Certainly not. But this measure had been moft approved by those on whom it would fall most heavily-the mercantile gentlemen in the city of London. A tax on confumption would affect them in a very small degree, their expenditure being feldom equal to their income; and yet they had come forward, much to their honour, and in a manner almost demanded this meafure. If a better plan could be propofed, he would adopt it; but as this was the nearest perfection, the moft equal that could be found, having the fingular merit of keeping all orders of fociety in their relative fituation, he muft give it his hearty fupport. The objections to its inequality had been illuftrated by a comparison of taking off a tenth of a man's height; but this bill took nothing from the height of the dwarf. The loweft orders, from whom nothing could be had without taking the bread out of their mouths, were fpared. He denied that the bill attacked Corporations or the Church in a partial manner; he had always held these institutions effential to the safety of the Conftitution and Laws; but if they were as injurious as they were useful, he would contend for the prefervation of their property, fince, if it were feized or invaded, all other property would foon follow; a fact of which we had feen a a ftriking inftance in France. He contended that the bill, instead of being a plan of indifcriminate rapine, as it had been called, fpread itself as equally over the community as any measure could 'do, having the fame object in view.

Mr. Alderman ANDERSON faid, great injuftice had been done to the city of London, with refpect to their patriotic fpirit. The merchants and others had ftood nobly forward in fupport of the country on many occafions, particularly in the voluntary contributions, in the lift of which he did not find the names of fome gentlemen very free in cenfuring the city.

Mr. TIERNEY wifhed no more credit to be given to gentlemen of the city for public fpirit than they fhould be found to deferve, and he thought their recommendation and promife of fupport of the prefent measure should not have the degree of weight that was given to them, fince it might yet be found that their patriotic spirit on this occafion was all vapour. This opinion he founded upon their conduct refpecting the loyalty loan. They had come forward with very warm proteftations of ferving the country at that time; but when the loan fell to a great difcount, and they were lofers by their loyalty, they came to that House and begged relief. Their public fpirit changed into felfish feelings; and possibly they might conduct themselves in a fimilar manner on this measure. To the voluntary contributions he certainly had not fubfcribed, because the

taxes he was compelled to pay by that bill were quite as much as he could afford; but he thanked the Alderman for having mentioned them, as it called to mind the noble and truly patriotic conduct of a gentleman in bufinefs, and a Member of that Houfe, whofe liberality and public fpirit must warm the heart of every one who thought on them, and with whom it really was an honour to live in the fame country; he would fay, if he did not know it was diforderly to name him, Mr. Peele, of Manchefter. This gentleman's houfe alone had fubfcribed 50,000l. while many of the first houses in the city of London, which were worth millions, and boafted of their public fpirit, excited contempt by comparison, having given only a paltry 1,000l.

Mr. SIMEON faid a few words in fupport of the claufe.

Mr. ROBERT THORNTON congratulated the House and the country on the propofed bill, and the general fupport it received. Who would have fuppofed, two years ago, that this Dutch tax would have met with fo much approbation? A tax on income was the moft equal that could be propofed, as it would fall equally on all property, which was in itfelf very unequal, fome men having no property at all. An honourable gentleman had fpoken ludicroufly of cutting a flice off men's heads to make them equal; in doing fo he might, perhaps, go down to the neck, and cut the head off altogether, as they had done in France. This was a French principle of which he was not very fond. The merchants of the city of London, a class to which he had the honour of belonging, had been much diftreffed by the war; but, he admitted, they were better able to struggle through its difficulties than other claffes, as they had opportunities of repaying themselves by advantages in one way what they loft in another. They were doubly taxed, but they were doubly able to bear it. Notwithstanding thefe circumftances, they had come forward with fpirit on every occafion in fupport of the country. In all public fubfcriptions they took the lead. The honourable gentleman had mentioned their want of fpirit, with regard to the Loyalty Loan, but if they found it neceffary to fecure themfelves against a heavy lofs, he could not blame them. He (Mr. Thornton) had had a part of that loan, but he never made any application on the subject. Others, however, might stand in a different fituation. Very good and loyal men might calculate on lofing five or fix per cent. by their fubfcriptions; but when the lofs extended to 15 or 20 per cent. they might not be prepared to meet it, and yet be good loyal men notwithstanding. He approved of the principle and generality of the bill; but there were fome clauses which he should propofe to amend when they came under the con

fideration of the Committee. Particular claffes fhould be favoured, Such as women with a small pittance. Single women who cannot undertake laborious employments, fhould alfo be confidered. It was not in their power to affift themselves in a way in which men can do it. Another clafs of people that should be spared were clergymen and curates, with fmall incomes.

Mr. DENT faid a few words.

Mr. W. SMITH thought his honourable friend (Mr. Tierney) had been completely juftified in all he had faid respecting the merchants of London, by the acknowledgments of the honourable gentleman (Mr. Thornton). They felt the effects of the war lefs than other claffes, and might therefore be more ready to give it fupport; but Mr. Smith denied that their opinion should pass as the fentiments of the city of London at large, compofed as it was of numerous and various claffes. Mr. Smith then made fome objections to the claufe.


Sir G. P. TURNER faid he had just arrived from the country two hours. As all knew war could not be carried on without money, and this plan he thought the beft for raifing it, a tax on income was the best of all taxes: he had long recommended it. He believed he was the first to propofe in that House this very tax. He had long recommended a tax on the funds; and he thought he need not fay he was interested in such a measure: this bill taxed the funds, and that part of it he alfo confidered as of his originating. The ladies had been spoken for. He wished alfo to speak in behalf of the farmers. If the income of farmers was curtailed, the confequence would be, they would raise the price of corn, and then provifions would grow dearer, till God knows where the evil would end. He approved of the bill, and he took great credit to himself for having always fupported the prefent Minifter. He trufted that this bill would fhew the defperate French we can lay afide our luxuries, and give up a part of our income to defend our Constitution and laws. Sir Gregory concluded by hoping this bill would be fo modified as to do away all thofe little jealousies of one man paying more than another.

Mr. WIGLEY faid a few words in reply. He would not divide the House on particular parts of the claufe, but he would wait till he could divide against the claufe altogether.

The CHAIRMAM put the question on inferting the words "office, ftipend, penfion," which was carried. The questions on the scale of charge, and on other parts of the first clause, were afterwards put and carried without a divifion.

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Mr. TIERNEY moved, that the word "all" (income) be left He did not wish to give trouble; but his object in this was, to make the bill fall properly on incomes. His motion was negatived; and the question being put " that the whole of the first "claufe do pafs," the Houfe divided-Ayes, 123; Noes, 9.

The Committee reported progrefs, and afked leave to fit again



Tuesday, December 18.

Lord GRENVILLE moved the order of the day for the second reading of the bill for enabling His Majesty to accept the services of fuch British Militia regiments as fhould be willing to ferve in Ireland.

Lord HOLLAND oppofed it. That the measure was not fuch as fhould be paffed as a matter of course; that it was one which involved a question of great delicacy and importance; and that would, at least, leave the poffibility of an imputation on the Legiflature. Having violated their pledge, and broken their contract, were propofitions fo clear, that it would be a waste of breath and time to infift upon them; and it was not neceffary to refer to the arguments used last year to establish them, fince even the supporters of the bill at that time admitted them. Taking it for granted, viewing it in every other

therefore, that fuch was its nature, and light as connected with the fafety and liberty of this country, he could not help conceiving it an imputation on His Majefty's Minifters that they did not move for a call of the Houfe on a question of fuch great importance, and that they chofe rather to hurry it forward with a thin attendance than have it maturely and deliberately difcuffed in a full one. That no argument could be drawn from its then adoption in favour of repaffing it now, the time of reasoning which was adopted in its fupport, was fufficient to prove-The fupporters of the bill were then fo ftruck with the danger of the meafure, that they all expreffed fears for the Conftitution of the country; nay, fome paffed the only night (that clapfed between its mention and its becoming a law) in fleepless anxiety. It was true, indeed, that on the Secretary of State's (under whofe aufpices, it was introduced in that Houfe) declaring, that it was neceffary (and it was furely natural that he would exprefs an opinion that his own measure

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