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yourable to evasion ? Would he recognise pleased to consider in the odious light of the justice of a principle, which he would spy, it is a matter for the committee to utterly nullify by the provisions he recom- adjust the powers and the duties with mends to carry it into effect? What then which he shall be entrusted. Is this, does he do to invigorate those extraor- however, any argument for the immediate dinary efforts which are necessary for our rejection of the bill? Does the hon. gen. success in a contest, which has long been tleman really think that no precaution considered to be connected with our ex. whatever ought to be taken to avoid those istence? The greater part of the hon. scandalous evasions which there is but too gentleman's speech was founded upon ob- much reason to expect may be attempted? jections to the provisions of the bill; and But it is maintained by the hon. gentlemany of his objections were either utterly man, that no evasions have taken place to unfounded in any thing it contains, or of defeat the operation of the assessed tax such a nature as to admit of being cor- bill which passed last session. He is rected in the committee. To the main culiarly fortunate in the instances which objection, it may easily be answered, that have occurred to him, with respect to the the hon. gentleman assumes what is not in patriotism of his friends; but he has rated the bill. I allude to what was stated res. their zeal beyond the mark. It is rather pecting the character and duties of the singular that he has not taken the opporsurveyor to be appointed under the bill. tunity of extolling their liberality in subI will not recapitulate the odious descrip- scribing to the voluntary contributions. tion which the hon. gentleman applied to The observations made by the friends of the persons who were to act in this capa- government, are, however, of a very
dif. city. What is the tendency of such in- ferent kind. His must have been a chosen vective, but to bring into discredit those circle, yet others were as large as the officers under the revenue, without which hon. gentleman's, before the new lights it could not be collected ? The hon. gen. broke in upon him. But notwithstanding tleman says that the surveyor is at liberty the assertion, I must say, that great and te surcharge to any amount, and pending notorious instances of the concealment of the appeal to which this surcharge gives property have occurred, the check prorise, the tax will continue to be levied on vided by the legislature has been found the whole of the demand, including the insufficient to produce any adequate end, surcharge. What is the remedy which and the declarations which have been the hon. gentleman discovers for this? given in, have, on various occasions, He tells us, that the discussion of the ap- eluded the expected operation of the act. peal might be rendered so intricate as to Is it not then a matter of great concernconsume six, or even twelve months. ment-is it not a subject worthy of grave This objection he urges triumphantly, at deliberation, to consider what means may the very time too that he states it to be be devised to render the measure proposed the mode which a person surcharged will as efficient as possible to the public seradopt for his relief, at the very moment vice? The surveyor is not to be a person when he is compelled to acquiesce in the on whose discretion any assessment is to payment of a surcharge, from which he depend: he is to assist the commissioners iakes care that it shall be impossible for with information, and to discharge that the commissioners of appeal to relieve him! duty which his oath prescribes, of preventSuch an argument is the consequence ing evasion where it might be within his which is stated. In fact, however, it so knowledge that it was attempted. It is happens, that no such grievance can said in proof of the importance of the exist. The surveyor's surcharge is not surveyor's office, that they have great inacted upon in the first instance, unless fluence with the commissioners in other confirmed by the commissioners. The matters where the revenue is concerned; surveyor has no discretion whatever to but, when the character of the commisadd to the charge on which the contri- sioners is taken into view, this remark butor shall be compelled to pay. The will prove that, instead of that profligate, objections of the hon. gentleman, instead worthless class, which the hon. gentleman of operating against the bill in toto, de- describes, they are
men who monstrate the necessity of going into the mended themselves by the propriety of committee. As to the general declama. · their conduct and the performance of their tion upon the character and function of duty. But, says the hon. gentleman, the the surveyor, whom some gentlemen are surveyor is the only man whom we con
sider as likely to be bound by his oath. will attempt something which has never Yet is there no distinction between the yet been done by any system of taxation, cases? Is the temptation to perjure the something which springs from theories of same ? Has the man who is sworn to the legislation, neither founded in wisdom por performance of his duty, the same reason justified by experience. I proceed to to disregard it, which the man has who explain my meaning more fully. The hon. is endeavouring to avoid the payment of gentleman says, that if two persons have money to the state? What, then, is re- each 5001. per annum, one of which dequired ?-A particular statement of in- rives his income from land, the other from come, to guard against the evasion which industry, they ought not to be both taxed was practised when a general statement equally at 50l. He assumes, that each was only required. What is it but the having 450l. a year left, the impost is unmeans of correcting those frauds which equal, What does the new tax do? Are every man's observation but the hon. they not left in relation to each other pregentleman's had ascertained to be pre- cisely as they were before ?
The tax valent? The hon. gentleman speaks, creates no new inequality. The justice too, of the surveyor's power to extract or injustice remain precisely as they were. from the books of public bodies. Here To complain of this inequality is to comthe hon. gentleman, from not attending to plain of the distribution of property; it is the bill itself, is entirely mistaken. The to complain of the constitution of society. surveyor has no such power; he is to To attempt to remedy it, would be to folmake extracts from, and to have access low the example of that daring rabble of to, the public books, to which at present legislators in another country, from whom even any person may easily procure access the hon. gentleman borrowed some of his for any purpose, even of mere curiosity. political principles, and which though he Might not any body now procure infor- now reprobates, he still seems inclined to mation how much any mercantile house follow up. To think of taxing these two possesses in the three per cents? The sur- species of incomes in a diferent ratio, veyor, then, is authorized to suggest would be to attempt what the Duture of doubts, to collect information; but he has society will not admit; what has never no right whatever to ask questions of the been practised in the course of four thouparty surcharged, or to have any inspec- sand years. But on what foundation tion of his books. Does not the hon. gen. does this principle, which the hon. gentleman, however, perceive that all these tleman has broached, rest? Where is the points are proper subjects for considera- clear inequality on which he so vehetion in a committee, where it is perfectly mentły insists? Is the industry of the arcompetent to move any alteration which tist, the manufacturer, the mechanic, less gentlemen may think necessary? the creature of the protection of law,
As to the criterion of the general tax, less involved in the great contest in which it has likewise been objected to the de- we are engaged, less likely to be overtails, that the application is unequal in re- thrown in any disasters of the state, than spect to the nature of income, its duration, the income which arises from land ? I &c. Although I do not intend to enter heard, with satisfaction, the argument of so much into the discussion of the provi. an hon. baronet behind me, though I cansions of the bill, I am anxious to remove not, perhaps, go along with him to the ex. those erroneous conceptions which are tent to which he carried it; of this, certainly entertained upon this subject. Here I I am sure, that if all classes in this country cannot help remarking, that the arguments are not strictly equally sharers in the adof the hon. gentleman, on this branch, vantages which the constitution of this suppose that it is necessary to correct the country affords, there are none who ought inequalities which distinguish the mode in not to contribute in proportion to their which all taxes are imposed. If such be means for the public defence in a quarrel, the sentiment of the hon, gentleman, his in which the comforts and the happiness objection goes a great deal farther than of all are so deeply involved, unless when the bill before the House. The inequa- the compassion of the legislature forbears lities of which he complains, arise out of to extend the scale of taxation to those the nature of society, and the distribu. who are in the lowest class of income, tion of its rank, and the classification of The principle of the hon. gentleman then is its property. If he attempts to remedy entirely unfounded. In imputing to him what he in this considers as urgent, he that extravagant principle, which strikes
at the whole distribution of property in | posts, to make any difference in that order society, I am sure I do nothing which his which the nature of society has already own arguments do not justify; nor do I established. It is necessary to observe think I am mistaken in stating those prin- the arrangements which have been already ciples, for the hon. gentleman was parti- formed, and to accommodate the proporcularly careful to repeat his monstrous tion of taxes to the classes of property propositions over and over again, in pro- which have already been marked.' To portion as he saw that they were disgust. proceed beyond this, is to dissolve all es. ing to the feelings of the House. That in- tablished principles, and to overthrow the dustry ought to be encouraged and pro. fabric of society which time and the promoted, is a sentiment which nobody will gress of accumulation have reared. Ano. dispute. It should be remembered, how ther curious inference may be drawn from ever, that this, among many others, is a the observations made against the hardcase in which virtue is its own reward. ships incurred by persons possessed of life What, then, is the true state of the argu: estates, of temporary ones, and of those ment? An income of 5001. from land who receive the rewards of laborious emmay be equal to about 15,0001., so that a ployments. It happens singularly enough, man is contented to take three per cent that the public offices held under governfor his capital. In the funds, according ment, uniting in their nature profits deto circumstances, and in the different rived from labour and temporary estates, funds, a man may have five, or even six are included in the operation of the bill. per cent. If he lays out his capital in Now, Sir, these gentlemen who oppose it, trade, and adds to it his own industry, he have proposed on former occasions, as a gets from 10 to 15 per cent. Now, if great resource for the national expendiyou leave the proportion undisturbed, ture, that all those offices should be made what is it that forms the encouragement to contribute largely to the public serviceto lay out money in trade and manufac- I do not mean sinecures, for they wished wres, but the improved produce derived to suppress them. The calculations fure from industry? This is the incentive nished this night are not more exact than which enflames enterprise, and stimulates those of the hon. baronet on that occaingenuity. Allow that order, under which sion; the references certainly were not your commerce and your arts have risen those of the board of agriculture ; but the to such an unexampled height of prospe- hon. baronet had made the prodigious rity to remain undisturbed, and you pre- discovery, that if all the public offices serve that incentive, that encouragement, were placed on a reduced establishment, and that reward, on which industry de- and others suppressed, the sum of ten milpends. I much doubt, indeed, whether lions would be saved to the public. I was any table which the hon. gentleman could highly pleased with the project, and sinform from all the new political lights cerely wished for the execution of it; but which he ever received, could lay the I was always unfortunately stopped in foundation more secure or more perma- every attempt I made to go on with it, nent for arts, commerce, and every kind by finding that the entire expenses of of exertion, than that on which they the public offices only amounted to onehave grown so great, and flourished so tenth of the prodigious saving which long.
was so confidently held out. The hon. There is another argument of great au- baronet's attention has been taken up with thority, which gentlemen employ; an ar- agricultural studies and military tactics, gument which for some time past, I have or he might have known, that a committee seen much insisted upon in some of the appointed for the express purpose, had newspapers-that this was a tithe, and made a very different calculation. We that all tithes are unfavourable alike to have already had a committee of finance, industry. The argument has no applica- which has discharged the important duties tion to the present case. The tenth, which attached to it in the most satisfactory this bill imposes, is a tenth of the clear manner -a committee which, except that profits after the expenses of labour have the hon. baronet was not a member of it, been deducted. The more I have thought is perfectly to the mind of every gentleupon this particular subject and upon tax- man in this House, and many of its sug. ation in general, the more am I convinced gestions for economy and regulation have not only of the futility, but the danger of been carried into effect with great advanany attempt, by the distribution of im- tage. From this digression, however,
into which I have been carried by the I the man who has an annuity or an income,
It is objected still, that it is unjust that subject of offices, I now return.
I was stating with how little favour the the fruit of his labour, should pay in the hon. gentleman and his friends formerly proportion of a man who has the same reconsidered annuities for life in the case of venue from fixed property. This objeclaborious offices ; let us now see how tion is altogether a fallacy. A pernianent their old opinions tally with their new, estate, which is represented as namely this branch of income was most dying, and, as it were, the property ofa man obnoxious to taxation, now it is to be after his death, contributes on every eximost favoured. The hon. gentleman gency which may occur ; the income from does not think that a great increase of labour and industry is extinguished; it taxes on consumption would be more ad- contributes but once! it is no longer the vantageous than a general tax on all in- property of the same person : while the come. Is the inequality or the hardship other, which is considered as the same greater now than it was, or than it would property, is subjeet to renewed demands. be, should taxes of consumption be in. This reasoning may be thought refined ; creased ? If not, then the hon. gentleman is but the answer is justly applicable in the only quarrelling with this tax, because it case where the reason, why fixed property is not so unequal as the former mode of should contribute more, is founded on its contribution had been. This plan, which supposed permanency, in opposition to is more general, more comprehensive, the fleeting character of the other. How which embraces a great deal of property then is it possible to discriminate between which formerly eluded taxation, and by the various kinds of property; or to enter consequence, distributes the burthen more into the details which could alone enable fairly, is considered inadmissible. But I you to apply any scale of exemption, am told, that a large sum within the year without an investigation more oppressive, cannot be raised by increasing the exist. a disclosure more extensive, than any ing taxes on consumption. What is the thing which the bill permits? How much consequence? Does not the hon. gentle safer is it to submit to those inequalities man compel us to resort to the more ex- which are the lot of man, and which it is pensive expedient of raising money by not the business, nor is it in the power, of loans, instead of adopting a plan more ex- schemes of finance to correct! Could we tensive in its effect, while it provides for even indulge the wish to correct these inthe redemption of what it is necessary to equalities, which arise out of the very na borrow, without that load of permanent ture of society, is this the legislative retaxes, which the funding system renders medy? Let us then forbear to attempt what indispensable? But, it is said that a tax is perhaps beyond the power of human leon capital is preferable. Was it not gislation to correct. It is an enterprize proved, however, that from the state of that would hurry us far beyond our landed property, not more than one-third depth, and lead to consequences far more of it is now in the liands of persons who extensive than we can foresee, and might could be called upon to contribute, so produce an overthrow of all establishthat two-thirds would be placed wholly ments, and all regular order, which it is out of reach for any purpose of present impossible to contemplate without appreexertion? What is the great object of the bension. The principle of argument that measure before the House? Is it not to goes to remedy this supposed evil
, belongs raise within the year, from what consti- to the school of dangerous innovation tutes the means of individuals within the which weought not for a moment to indulge, year, such a proportion as is deemed ne- The consequence of this tax then will be, cessary for the exigencies of the state, that whoever contributes a tenth of his and the magnitude of the present crisis income under this bill, will have a tenth Do you wish to avoid burthening the pub. less to spend, to save, or to accumulate. lic with a loan? What advantage would At the end of the war those who shall you derive from it, however, if individuals have contributed will be no poorer; they mortgage their estates? Would not the will only be to the extent of it less in. aggregate of private loans encumber the creased'in riches than they would have mass of national wealth as much as if the been. The advantages of it are in a parnation contracted the obligation? The ticular manner in favour of those on whom object then is, to make the annual means it will fall, instead of accumulating taxes of individuals applicable to a supply within on consumption, as it will bring all income
to contribute more equally, and include a subject which had been much in his great deal of that which, in the hands of thoughts; it was a subject which nearly those who spend less than their income, concerned the character and dignity of escapes contribution altogether. Laying the House, and of every individual memaside the proud idea of the vigour, per- ber. Whether the matter he was about manence, and renewing energy which this to bring forward would lead to any mo. measure secures, there is one case which, tion, must depend in a great measure on with a view to that class who are really the reception which the House would willing to save for the benefit of those for give to the remarks he wished to throw out. whom they are bound to provide, makes It was a standing order of the House that some modification. It is in favour of strangers should be excluded from the those who have recourse to that easy, cer- gallery, but this order had not been rigotain, and advantageous mode of providing rously enforced, and some how or other, for their families by insuring their lives. statements had been made in the public In this bill, as in the assessed taxes, a de- newspapers, said to be the report of what duction is allowed for what is paid on this passed within that House, but in various account. Such is the general view of the instances which had come within his merits of this important question. It is knowledge, they had contained misrepreone which has engaged much of my seri- sentations, and had an evident tendency ous attention, and I am far from presum- to prejudice the public mind against the ing that it has already attained the per- deliberations of parliament. It became fection of which it is capable. The ine.
The ine. the House, therefore, seriously to consi. qualities objected to it are not peculiar to der whether it was not bigh time to meet its nature; they arise from our social the evil of which he complained, and to state itself, and the correction of that or- prevent the misrepresentation of gentleder we cannot, as we ought not, attempt men's speeches. For his own part, he to alter. It would be a presumptuous at. entertained little doubt that the object of tempt to derange the order of society, some of the parliamentary reports to which would terminate in producing con- which he referred, was, to aim a blow at fusion, havock, and destruction, and with the constitution, by means of an attack on a derangement of property, terminate in that House and its members. If it was the overthrow of civilized life.
merely the case of an individual who bad The question being put, “That the said been thus injured, or of himself in parti. Report be now taken into further consi- cular, he would not press this matter upon deration;" the House divided :
their consideration ; but he had thought Tellers,
for years past that there existed a studied Lord Hawkesbury
design to misrepresent, and even to vilify YEAS
183 the members and their proceedings. He Mr. Simeon
had been told, when in the country, that S
he had both spoken and voted differently
from what he had done, and he had beard The Report was then taken into fur persons in the country again and again ex: ther consideration, and the bill was re- press themselves with astonishment at the committed.
speeches and votes of individual members,
to which they had been led by the misreList of the Minority.
presentations which had gone forth in the Baring, sir F. North, D.
public papers. Some of those vehicles Burdett, sir F. Plumer, W.
had contented themselves with merely Brogden, J. Sinclair, sir J,
stating, that some honourable member had Combe, H. C. St. John, St. A.
made a very able or eloquent speech, Denison, W.J. Tierney, G. Grey, C.
whilst the speech of another, in opposition Western, C.C. Hobhouse, B.
to it, had been given at great length. Wigley, E. Hussey, W.
The evident design of this was to bias the Jekyll, J. Smith, W.
public mind against their constituents. Nicolls, J. Taylor, M. A. An evil of such magnitude should be re
medied some way or other. He could Mr. Wilberforce's Complaint of Misre- not but be anxious, not only that his own presentation of the Speeches of Members.] character, but that of every honourDec. 20. Mr. Wilberforce said, he wished able gentleman should be represented to draw the attention of the House to a fairly. He was far from objecting, that