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move the first resolution ; but perhaps the committee would wish to bear a statement of the heads of the resolutions.
The first resolution declares that the land-tax should be rendered perpetual, subject to certain modes of restriction, regulation, and redemption.
The second provides for the appointment of commissioners to sell the land-tax upon the terms and at the rate I have already stated.
The third gives power and preference to the owners of land to purchase the land-tax according to the nature of the interest they have in the estate, whether a fee or otherwise, and that in the event of the person in possession declining to purchase, the next in succession, or the person in remainder may do so. And that any third person may make such a purchase for the
The fourth gives power to owners to sell part of their estates, or raise money by way of rent-charge to enable them to purchase the tax.
The fifth gives power to third persons, the owner of the land having declined it for a given period, to purchase the tax.
The sixth describes the node in which the payment shall be made.
The seventh regulates the power of the collectors in receiving
The eighth limits the time during which the power of redemption shall continue.
The ninth imposes a penalty on those who purchase and do not make good the payment of their instalments.
The tenth provides that if any assessment which shall continue to be charged shall be found to exceed 4s. in the pound on the annual value of the messuages, &c. an abatement shall be made.
The eleventh prescribes in what manner a register shall be kept for entering proceedings under this plan.
*The twelfth provides that when the whole land-tax shall be brought up, the assessment shall cease.
The thirteenth transfers the business of the commissioners, appointed to carry into effect the plan for the reduction of the national debt.
The fourteenth provides that in case any additional land tax should be imposed, it shall not operate heavier on those who have purchased the former tax than on others.
The fifteenth contains an account of the sum of 1,400,0001. which it is intended to produce annually.
This is the proper statement of the heads of the résolutions which I propose to be discussed hereafter; but if any gentleman has any thing to offer now, I should be glad to hear him.
After some discussion of the measure, the chairman reported progress, and the committee was ordered to sit again on Wednesday.
April 20, 1798.
A message from his Majesty was brought down by Mr. Secretary Dürdas, and read from the chair as follows:
« GEORGE R.
His Majesty thinks it proper to acquaint the House of Commons, that from various ad rices received by his Majesty, it appears that the preparations for the embarkation of troops and warlike stores, are now carried on with considerable and increasing activity in the ports of France, Flanders, and Holland, with the avowed design of attempting the invasion of his Majesty's dominions, and that in this design the enemy is encouraged by the correspondence and communication of traitorous and disaffected persons and sor cieties of these kingdoms. His Majesty places the firmest reliance, under Di. vine Providence, on the bravery of his fieets and armies, and on the zeal, public spirit, and unshaken courage of his faithful people, already manifested in the voluntary exertions of all ranks of his Majesty's subjects for the general defence, and more than ever necessary at a monient when they are called upon to contend for the preservation of all that is dear to them.
“ His Majesty, in pursuance of the act passed in the last session of parlia ment, for raising a provisional force of cavalry, has thought it right to give directions, that the said cavalry should be drawn out and embodied; and it is also bis Majesty's intention, to order the part not yet embodied of the auga VOL. III.
mentation made to the militia, under the acts of last session, to be forthwith drawn out and embodied, in pursuance of his Majesty's communications alo ready made to the House of Commons on this subject.
“ His Majesty feels it incumbent on him to make the fullest use of the ex. tensive means already provided by the wisdom of parliament for the national defence. But he feels it at the same time, under circumstances which he has stated, indispensably necessary to recommend it to the House of Commons, to consider without delay of such farther measures as may enable his Majesty to defeat the wicked machinations of disaffected persons within these realms, and to guard against the designs of the enemy, either abroad or at home.
" G. R."
Mr. Dundas then moved an address of thanks to his Majesty in the language of the message, which was seconded by Mr. Pitt.
After Mr. Sheridan had spoken in warm approbation of the address, and in a tone and language calculated to auimate the exertions of the country at this important crisis,
MR. Pitt rose to reply:
Being so well satisfied with certain parts of the speech of the honourable gentleman who has just spoken; admiring, as I do, in common with the rest of the house, the energy, the vigour, the manliness and eloquence, which were displayed in that speech, I should be extremely unwilling to take notice of other parts of it in which we differ; but I beg it to be understood, it is because I do think unanimity valuable upon the present occasion, and at this moment, in this house, that I shall abstain from comments upon parts of that speech, to which I cannot assent. I had much rather express satisfaction at the present opinion of the honourable gentleman, from whatever ground it has arisen, that his opinion has been changed with respect to the conduct, which this country ought to observe with regard to France; I am glad that he now at least agrees with us in the necessity of resisting the arms of France, and in calling on every man to join in that resistance.—I say, I had rather do so than enter into the discussion of other points in which I differ from that honourable gentleman. I will not suffer myself to follow him over many of the various topics which he has introduced tonight. The merit of his disinterestedness I do not mean to detract from, because he has candidly stated, that while he gives his assistance to us in the present crisis, he does not approve of any part of our conduct which he has formerly censured. I therefore receive his aid now, as I am confident he intended it to be received, as a testimony of his public spirit. I am more convinced now than ever that that whicb now animates the zeal, calls forth the ardour, and occasions the display of the eloquence of that honourable gentleman, is owing to the conduct of France; that which now produces unanimity in this house and in this country is nothing more than a display of those principles, a developement of that character, which belonged originally to the French revolution-an event which, for a while, unfortunately had the countenance of that honourable gentleman, but which was then resisted by the nation at large; a resistance which, if not made earlier than the period of the honourable gentleman's conviction of its propriety, would have been too late; even unanimity itself would then have been useless, and the honourable gentleman would have been left with out a place for the display of his abilities in this house. I must also
say, that although I do not wish to detract from his talents ; although I admire his eloquence, and revere the wisdom of some part of his conduct this night; although I rejoice in the unanimity which we are likely to have upon this occasion, yet it is not to the wisdom, or to the splendid display of talents, or to the animated zeal of an individual, that we are to look for safety; it can only be considered as giving aid to the efforts of millions acting under the clearest necessity. That honourable gentleman, therefore, 'will not think I should depreciate him, or any other individual, if I said it was 'adding but little to the efforts of a nation nearly unanimous before; a nation which did not want that honourable gentleman to tell them, they are contending for liberty, for order, for property, for honour, for law, for religion, and even for existence. They would have been happy to have had him contending with them from the commencement of this contest ; they would, however, have been able to have gone on without him. While I say this, let me give that gentleman the praise and thanks that are due to him for setting the example he bas done; for, be it recollected, be has set an example of unanimity in this house for opposing the common enemy; let us allow the credit that is due to him; but let us not do such injustice to the zeal and the energy of the country as to doubt, that England was as secure before this unanimity as it is now, and as I trust it will be after it.
On the subject of Ireland, the honourable gentleman says he will make a motion on some future day. I will venture to say, that when that subject comes to be discussed, if Ireland forms now part of the weakness, instead of the strength, of the British empire, it is because those very French principles, the fatal inAuence of which that honourable gentleman has stated to-night, in a strain of energy and captivating eloquence which I will not weaken by attempting to repeat his words-it is. owing, I say, to these French principles, which found their way into that kingdom, where the arts of deception, from various causes, are more easily practised, and are more successful than in this. I will therefore say, that with every desire, with every wish, to see adopted a system of conciliation with Ireland, when that may be practicable, I must tell him, that if he means by a peace with Ireland, peace with those who are devoted to the French, I think that would be as mean a capitulation, as that which he described with respect to our submitting to a foreign yoke: I say, you may as well expect peace with a French army at the gates of London, as peace with the jacobins in Ireland.
If I doubted any thing on the subject of French ambition, which was introduced by that honourable gentleman, it was upon the reserve which he made for treating with the French after an invasion. I know no situation which can justify a nation of freemen under any circumstances, in making a treaty of capitulation, or surrender of liberty and independence to the mercy of the enemy; and it is a sentiment in the heart of every Englishman, a law beyond any statute, that it would be high treason for this country to treat with France, while a single regiment of French forces remained in England. I must apply