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“ Resolved, " That it is the opinion of this committee, that, towards raising the supply granted to his Majesty, there be charged annually, during a term to be limited, the several rates and duties following, upon all income arising from property in Great Britain, belonging to any of bis Majesty's subjects, although not resident in Great Britain; and upon all income of every person residing in Great Britain, and of every body politic or corporate, or company, fraternity, or society of persons, whether corporate or not corporate, in Great Britain, whether any such income shall arise from lands, tenements, or hereditaments, wheresoever the same shall be situated in Great Britain, or elsewhere; or from any kind of personal property, or other property whatever; or from any profession, office, employment, trade, or vocation ; that is to say,
One one-hundred-and-twentieth part of such income, if the same shall amount unto 601. per annum, and shall be under 65l. per annum.
One ninety-fifth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 651. but shall be under 701,
One seventieth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 701. but shall be under 751.
One sixty-fifth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 751. but shall be under 801.
One sixtieth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 801. but shall be under 851.
One fifty-fifth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 85l. but shall be under 901.
One fiftieth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 901. but shall be under 951.
One forty-fifth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 951. but shall be under 1001.
One fortieth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1001. but shall be under 105l.
One thirty-eighth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1051, bnt shall be under 1101
One thirty-sixth part of such income, is the same shall amount to 1101. but shall be under 115l.
One thirty-fourth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 115l, but shall be under 1201,
One thirty-second part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1201, but shall be under 125l.
One thirtieth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1251. but shall be under 1301.
One twenty-eighth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1301. but shall be under 1351.
One twenty-sixth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1351. but shall be under 1401.
One twenty-fourth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1401. but shall be under 1451.
One twenty-second part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1451. but shall be under 1501.
One twentieth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1501. but shall be under 1551.
One nineteenth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1551. but shall be under 1601.
One eighteenth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1601. but shall be under 1651.
One seventeenth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1651. but shall be under 1701.
One sixteenth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1701. but shall be under 1751.
One filteenth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1751. but shall be under 1801.
One fourteenth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1801. but shall be under 1851,
One thirteenth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1851. but shall be under 1901.
One twelfth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1901, but shall be under 1951,
One eleventh part of such income, if the same shall amount to 1951. but. shall be under 2001.
And one tenth part of such income, if the same shall amount to 2001, or upwards.
The resolutions were agreed to, and the report was ordered to be received on the following day.
December 14, 1798.
MR. HOBART brought up the report of the committee on the bill for imposing a general tax upon income. On the question “ that this report be now taken into further consideration,"
Mr. Pitt, in reply to Sir John Sinclair, and some other members, who had expressed their decided hostility to the bill, spoke to the following effect :
Sir,-Impressed as I am with the conviction that there never was a subject of greater importance in all its aspects, and in all its consequences, agitated within these walls, I should not have thought it incumbent upon me, in the present stage of the business, to have troubled
any observations, were there not some points which have been touched upon to-night, which I am desirous, as soon as possible, to place in their proper point of view. What has been urged by some gentlemen who spoke in the course of the debate, while it could not be considered fairly as argument, was directed in such a manner against the farther progress of the measure, was so calculated to excite prejudice, and to beget misconception, that it demands some degree of uotice. It is a satisfaction to me to find that the propriety of raising a certain part of the supplies within the year has in general been conceded. If we can judge from what has appeared topight, there is nobody in the house, except the honourable baropet * who opened the debate, who is disposed to contest the principle. I am thus relieved from the necessity of detaining the house with any argument upon that subject, or saying any thing in reply to one solitary antagonist by whom the principle was denied. Whatever authority may belong to that individual member, and no man has more, the worthy baronet himself seemed to rest entirely upon that authority, as he did not add a single argument in support of his position. The house then will no doubt be willing to dispense with any argument upon this branch of the question. There were some others, however, who, entering upon
the consideration of the subject with liberal professions of approbation, and a firm conviction of the necessity of great and extraordinary exertion in the cause in which we are engaged ; admitting the benefits which might be derived both in present vigour and permanent resources, from the plan of raising a great part of the supplies within the year, yet thought themselves at liberty, not after full consideration of the whole details, not after weighing maturely the regulations by which this great principle is to be carried into execution, and followed up with effect, not after long and sincere endeavours to remedy what was defective, and to im
Sir John Sinclair.
prove what was wrong, reluctantly to dismiss the measure as impracticable to the end proposed, but, in the first instance, hastily, peremptorily, and impatiently, to shut the door against all improvement, and to oppose all farther deliberation. Although agreeing in the principle, and aware as they must be that a measure of such magnitude and importance must depend much upon the arrangement of details, and the regulation of provisions, they seem resolved to check all attempt to bring these points again into consideration. Confessing the necessity of great and vigorous efforts for the salvation of the country, in which some of them, now for the first time, have tardily discovered, that our safety is involved, they do not wait to reject the measure upon any ground of final and invincible objection, but they come forward to resist it in the very outset, previous to a mature examination of its details, and a sincere endeavour to correct its provisions.
The honourable gentleman who spoke last * approves of the principle of raising a considerable part of the supplies within the year, but he declares himself an enemy to any plan of rendering that principle effectual by a general tax. The house will, no doubt, think this a most valuable concession of the honourable gentleman! If it be necessary for the effort which we are called upon to make, if it be essential to the firm establishment of public credit, to the future prosperity of the empire, to obtain that supply which is requisite for the vigorous prosecution of the contest, it is evident that it must be obtained by a sudden tax immediately productive. If it is impossible, by an increase of the existing taxes on consumption, by introducing evils ten times more severe than those which are imputed to this measure, it is evident that nothing can realize the principle but some extraordinary and general tax. If the honourable gentleman, as I perceive he does, admits that such an increase of the taxes on consumption as would produce ten millions within the year is impracticable, it follows that there is no other mode but a tax upon property, so far as it can be discovered. We must lay the contribution, then,
* Mr. W. Smith,
either upon capital or on income. From this general operation, however, the honourable gentleman would exempt all those whom he is pleased to call exclusively the useful classes, and lay the whole of the weight on what he calls the useless class. In the class of useless the honourable gentleman has thought proper to rank all the proprietors of land, those men who form the line which binds and knits society together-those on whom, in a great measure, the administration of justice, and the internal police of the country depends ;-those men from whom the poor receive employment, from whom agriculture derives its improvement and support, and to whom, of course, commerce itself is indebted for the foundation on which it rests. Yet this class the honourable gentleman thinks proper to stigmatize useless drones, of no estimation or merit in the eyes of society. When the consequences with which this light flippant theory, the offspring of mere temporary unthinking policy, would be attended, are fairly considered, the honourable gentleman will find that his distinction between useful and useless classes is as little founded in truth, as the practical system he founds upon it would be consistent with the general interest of those whom he thinks entitled to peculiar favour. The question then is, whether capi. tal or income be the proper object of contribution ? The honourable gentleman says that capital is the criterion which ought to be adopted in the case of the commercial man, and income where it is derived from land. Taking for granted, that the principles of the honourable gentleman were well founded, no less than three-fourths of the whole income liable to contribution is calculated to arise from this source. Even upon his own argument, then, be ought not to consider this measure as so incurable as to refuse going into the committee. If, then, be is sincere in his profession of desire to facilitate the raising of a considerable part of the supplies within the year, why should be refuse to proceed farther in a measure which is at least capable of embracing three fourths of his object; and in other parts susceptible of alteration and improvement ? If, however, what has been so universally recognised as important to be done, is to be done effec