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the inconveniencies, then the necessity often, besides, but a small part of such might be fairly pleaded. But if, on the income. The power, the patronage, the contrary, however it might be attended credit, and the consideration that attended with many inconveniencies, it plainly ap- them, were valued much higher than the peared, that in its principle it was unjust, mere salary annexed to them; and they that in its execution it was oppressive. He were consequently sought after with more was at a loss to see how he should be avidity than situations of a different dejustified in admitting the plea of such a scription that were estimated at a much political necessity. To these, his objec- higher sum. They were, therefore, by tions, the approvers of the bill would op- no means on a level with other sorts of pose a directly contrary assertion. They income. The tax had been justified by a would assert, that the principle and pro- comparison with other taxes. It had been visions of the bill were equitable and just. compared with the poll-tax: this compaHe, however, must persist in styling them rison was surely not very happy; for if it únjust and unequitable; and in this asser- bore any relation to that tax, it ought tion he persisted, not from the suggestion most certainly to convince us, that the of any private interest, but merely upon idea of it should never be entertained; for public grounds. He had heard it asserted, had not that tax been reprobated by our that a majority of the citizens of London most approved writers? "It had also been had declared in favour of the tax. That compared with the poor-rates ; but this merchants of the first order, and under also was far from being a popular tax. particular circumstances, might be able The present tax was also compared to and willing to pay the tax, he was not in- tithes; but there there was often room clined to deny. There was, however, an- for commutation. When a person buys a other class of commercial men, of whom farm, he knows the amount of the poorthe same could not be said ; the class he rates and of the tithes which he shall have alluded to was of a much lower order, to pay; and therefore his case differs from and possessed of far inferior resources. the present, where there is no option. On them the proposed tax must bear with He saw another objection to it, in the oppressive weight. The measure went discretion which the present measure gave also to confound an income arising from to government. Ministers were left to fix laborious industry, an income purely con- the standard ; and he saw no reason for tingent, and which, before the next year, their fixing on the standard they had might sink into nothing, with one of a adopted. permanent nature, and exposed to no vi- Lord Hawkesbury said, that the ques. cissitudes. To tax in equal rate two in- tion was not so much whether the tax was comes of such very opposite conditions, an equal one, as whether it was as equal would surely be a crying injustice. Nor as possible-whether it was not more so did he think, that to him, or to those who than any other that could be devised. held the same opinions with him on a for. Nothing had been offered in the way of mer occasion, respecting the propriety of substitute. The bill under consideration taxing salaries arising from places and was not oppressive in any degree that public offices, there could now be imputed could be avoided, and the tax it sought to any degree of inconsistency. Those sa- impose had for its object to raise a great laries were not solely the reward of labo- part of the supplies within the year. It was rious industry; they were the source also clearly the only tax adequate to this great of enjoyment, as well as of emolument purpose, and better than any optional tax. Yet it would be said that they formed part Anhon.gentleman had again quoted Adam of the income of such persons, and there. Smith to illustrate his argument, that pro. fore would be taxed. But other consider. perty should not be exposed by any tax. ations should be here attended to, and on But what was property ? and who were this point he would again avail himself of the rich ? Property was the command of the authority of Adam Smith. Accord the luxuries and necessaries of life; and ing to that celebrated author, those who the rich were the distributors. From this held public offices, had general means of it followed, that whatever tax affected the rewarding their labours, and the remu- poor, must necessarily affect the rich. The neration seldom fell short of the services present bill would lay a tax generally on they performed; therefore, such emolu- all with less convulsion in all the classes of ments were not an improper object to be society than would be occasioned by any taxed as income. These salaries were other tax.

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Sir F. Baring had no objection to pay | tors, because they knew thatsuch contests one tenth of his income, and every mer- were not consistent with civil liberty. It cantile man with whom he had conversed appeared to him, that the tribunal-which appeared equally willing to pay in a simi- was to decide upon disputed questions, lar proportion towards the exigencies of was one that must be devoted to governthe state. But what he objected to was, ment. It was absurd to suppose that that the tax would subject men to a dis- country gentlemen could be converted closure of their property: The wealthy into executors of revenue. But it was of and the poor had equally to dread the little consequence how the tribunal was effect of such a tax.

now constituted. Since they had granted Mr. H. Thornton said, that the princi- one-tenth of their income, they must agree ple of the bill met his approbation. The to the means of raising it; the minister object of the tax was, to enable us to carry would come another year and say, My on the war with vigour and effect. This mechanism is not complete : you must was no ordinary measure, and ordinary give me the means of carrying the princiobjections could not, with any propriety, ple to which you have agreed into execube urged against it. He thought those tion.” This would be a fair demand on gentlemen wrong who sought to lay the the part of the minister, and he did not tax on property; for the disclosure of see how they could refuse it.

This meaproperty must be more objectionable to sure not only exposed the individual to a every class of men, as it would be more contest with government, but it harassed indelicate than the disclosure of income. and subdued him before he entered into Perhaps it would be better to lay a tax that contest. The people had a right to both on capital and income, than on in- examine into the conduct of government; come only; for a tax on capital would re- but how could they exercise that right duce the tax on income. He must approve when every individual was at the mercy of the present tax, especially as no other of government? The bill had been termed measure was proposed adequate to the ob- a salvage, which the people were to pay ject sought for, and seeing that the only for the protection of the remainder of point at which we were vulnerable to the their property. He thought a loan would enemy was our finances. If any one look. have been a better way of raising the money. ed at the national debt, so much increased With respect to the sinking fund, he said since the American war, they must see it was calculated to increase the public that it could not be increased illimitably, debt, which had, in fact been doubled since nor could the taxes on consumable arti- it was established. cles. It was therefore necessary to re- Mr. Abbot rose to declare his approbaduce the debt, and provide in a different tion of the measure, in which opinion of way for the interest.

it he was happy in not standing alone, as The report was then agreed to. a very great majority of the people had

manifested their public spirit, and ihe just Dec. 31. On the order of the day for sense they entertained of the cause they the third reading of the bill,

were embarked in, by approving of the Mr. Nicholls opposed the measure, as principle of the bill, and acknowledging introducing a new mode of taxation. One the sound policy of raising a considerable of the arguments urged in defence of the part of the supplies within the year. Among bill was, that the people had been accus. those who stood foremost in the support of tomed to taxes upon income, and the land the measure, were to be reckoned a des. tax had been mentioned as an instance of cription of persons, who, from their habits a tax upon income. The latter, however, and occupations in life, should be supposwas a tax upon visible income, whereas ed to be the most conversant in the finan. . the former was one upon supposed income. cial concerns of the country-he meant the In laying on the land tax, great care was leading mercantile and monied men in the taken that the subject should not be metropolis. These had not only assented brought into contest with the government. I to the measure, but had declared their The sum to be raised was laid upon the opinion, that income was one of the most country generally, and then it was subdi- proper objects of taxation-and on the gevided among the different districts. When neral principle that all income should be any dispute arose, theindividual had his fel- rated as it was found, without a reference low.subject and not government to contend to particular cases ; and, indeed, it was on with. This was a wise provision of our ances- this principle that all modes of direct tax

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ation whatsoever operated. As a striking opinion that there was a good deal of preinstance of this, let gentlemen consider judice on the subject of concealment. the principle of the poor laws; they ope- Considering the regulations to preserve rated precisely as the bill in question pro- secrecy, he thought there was not much fessed to do ; and the principle of the to be apprehended on that ground. poor laws was never yet called in question. The prejudice concerning disclosure was One of the prominent features of the mea- stronger in this country than in any other sure was, the increasing scale from a low in Europe. In Scotland all transactions resbeginning up to a certain amount, by pecting real property, and many with rewhich it was to affect income; and by the gard to personal property, were publicly peculiar mode laid down, the poorer cias. registered. In Ireland the same practice ses in society were wholly exempted. To prevailed in the case of real property. In the principleof the bill, several precedents York and Middlesex it existed to a consiin the history of the country clearly ap- derable extent. In the United States of plied; for instance, the poll tax in the America there were public registers for reign of king William. Another peculiar transactions; nor was it found in the cases feature in the bill was, its being more com where these means of avoiding concealprehensive in its operation than former ment prevailed, that they were attended plans of taxation on a similar principle, with inconvenience. Upon the whole, he and less liable to objection. It afforded highly approved of the measure. The the best species of relief against the pos- sinking fund would gradually diminish the sible oppression of those who might act weight of the public debt, and measures under its authority, and every possible re- like

the present would prevent the increase gard was paid to the feelings of indivi- of the permanent taxes. duals. Besides, the mode of collection Mr. Tierney said, that with respect to prescribed by it was economical beyond the hon. gentleman's idea that the mode example. The provisions in the bill, of taxation in question did not proceed which went to implicate the property of upon a new principle, he would contend absentees, were deserving of much com- that the principle, strictly speaking, was mendation, and calculated to render a He believed no precedent could be species of property serviceable to the state found, where men were compellable to which hitherto had not contributed its due state upon oath what they were able to share. Indeed, this principle was not car pay. Something like it, however, had ried far enough; he saw no reason why occurred during the administration of carthe property of foreigners resident abroad dinal Wolsey; but the measure was reshould not be taxed. It was fair that pro- garded by historians as a violent stretch perty which here found a safe asylum, of arbitrary power. With regard to the should pay for that protection which it poll tax, the similitude did not hold good; enjoyed. It was said that this measure in that case, a person had a certain given was unconstitutional. It was easy to as- sum to pay, and no more—the account sert this of any measure. It had a popu. was arbitrarily levied, but then the sum lar sound, and was calculated to excite was clearly defined, and nu disclosure was alarm. He did not regret that the people necessary. In the reign of Henry 7th, a of this country should be ready to take measure not dissimilar was resorted to. the alarm at the very idea of a measure It was commonly called “ lord chancellor being unconstitutional. It was right that Morton's dilemma.” The direction given they should be jealous of a constitution to for the levying of the tax ran to this effect which they owed so much happiness. It -if a man lives on a saving plan, you are was not so easy, however, to show that to consider him as possessed of property it was an unconstitutional measure. It in consequence of his economy. If he gave no new powers to the crown; the lives extravagantly—that is certainly a commissioners were named by parliament. proof of his having something. He was The oath to be taken was likewise objecto convinced that a less objectionable mode ed to. It should be remembered, how could easily be found. He averred that ever, that the commissioners of the land no direct precedent could be found for tax had long had the power.

the disclosure of income upon oath. pect to appeal, it was a thing which ex- There was a particular mode of levying isted in all modes of administering justice, money, which obtained in the early part and was necessary for the fair application of our history. The mode he alluded 10 of the act. As to disclosure, he was of was called the Jew's Ransom; it was that (VOL. XXXIV.]



With res

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a tooth was drawn every day from certain

Tellers. persons of that persuasion, until they paid

Sir William Young ihe tax imposed upon them. One jew at

Yeas {Mr. Perceval

93 Bristol was so obstinate as to have six or seven teeth drawn before he paid. With

Nors { Mr. William Smith

2 regard to a general tax upon income, he objected to it, on the ground chiefly that The Bill was then read a third time. all income was not disposable property. The principle that every man should con- Debate on Mr. Tierney's Complaint tribute according to his means, he ap- against The TimesNewspaper for misproved; but income was a very inadequate representing the Speeches of the Members. ] criterion. The difference between in. Dec. 27. Mr. Tierney said : I am excomes was obvious. A person possessing tremely sorry to be under the necessity of permanent and independent income might calling the attention of the House to what spend what portion of it he chose, with. I deem to be a breach of its privileges. out injury to his heirs ; but income result. No member would be less desirous than ing from personal industry, or from pro- myself to curtail the liberty which the fessions, was very different: it was ne- House has allowed to the editors of news. cessary that a part of the incomes of these papers, of gratifying the curiosity of the descriptions should be laid by as a provi. public, by publishing its debates. No sion for old age.

He would say, that the member is more willing to make a liberal plan of increasing the assessed taxes was allowance for those inaccuracies to which a better expedient than the present. Then publications made in so great a hurry why not try it, modified and improved, must be incident. I am the more ready for another year? The deficiency to which to do this, because it is my real opinion the assessed taxes might be liable, below that the editors and conductors of the the ten millions required in the present papers in general, whatever their party year, could, he thought, be easily pro- attachments may be, use their utmost efe vided. He then proceeded to detail a forts, for the sake of the credit and chavariety of objections against the bill, and racter of their respective publications, to expressed his fears that one of the worst give the substance of the speeches of effects of the measure would be, that it members with every possible degree of would destroy British feelings, and render accuracy. No man, therefore, would be their country less dear to Englishmen, by more desirous to overlook any inaccuracy abridging their comforts in it.

arising from the hurry in which the de Mr. Patten approved of the measure. bates must be written by those who reIt arose from the unanimous sentiment of port them. But I conceive it to be a very all public-spirited men, and their wish to different case, where a statement is made prosecute, to an honourable conclusion, in any newspaper, purporting to be a cona just and necessary war.

It was no con- versation between iwo members published vulsive effort of expiring finance to carry four days after the debate to which it alon the war for another year; but the ge- ludes actually took place, and not only nuine tribute of a patriotic people in sup- misrepresenting the debate, but containport of a constitution, and an order of ing animadversions on it. In such a case, I things, under which they possessed such hold it to be a duty to bring the matter beinestimable advantages.

fore the House. A few eveningsago, I menMr. Perceval contended, that the mea- tioned that a distinguished person at the pesure would cut up by the roots all the riod of the triple assessment, had thought it hopes the enemy so fondly entertained neither a sin nor a shame to evade the from the downfall of our funding system, payment of his taxes; that he was in poswhile it must convince them that we still session of a very handsome pension ; but possessed resources fully equal to any having in view a place of greater imemergency. Neither would it trench on portance, he had resigned his pension, the liberties or comforts of the present taken advantage of the interval

, and made race. There were only five or six gentle- a return of neither one nor the other. In men in the House who disapproved of it, the course of that debate, I was called and perhaps a few out of the House. The upon to name the person I alluded to; enemy, therefore, must see that they had but for reasons which I then thought of a whole country unanimous against them. sufficient weight, I declined doing so.

The question being put, That the bill is but doing justice to the right hon. gen. be read a third time, the House divided :

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tleman opposite to declare, that during | insertion of such misrepresentations and the whole of the conversation which took misstatements as are contained in the place on that subject, he acted with the paper of “ The Times,” now in my hand, utmost candour: he unequivocally avowed is a breach of the privilege of this House.”

| cumstance merely by way of illustration; order of that House, no editor of a newsand on finding, from the whispers that went paper was at liberty to give any account round the House, as well as from other of its proceedings; but it was necessary circumstances, which did not at first strike that the complaint should be expressly him, that the allusion was made to a cer- stated before any order of that House tain noble person, he had fairly and can- could be made in consequence. didly declared, that if I meant that noble- Mr. Tierney said, his only ground of man, I was altogether misinformed, for complaint was, that the editor of “The that he had not only given in his full quota Times," did not state his share in the deof assessment, but had actually contributed bate, in the manner it had been taken by double that sum by way of voluntary con- him; and the aggravation of this complaint tribution ; so that, in fact, he paid a fifth was, that this misrepresentation did not I must own, I was struck with this open arise from the hurry of reporting after and unreserved avowal of the right hon. the House broke up, but was made after gentleman, and did not hesitate to say, a lapse of four days, which circumstance that, supposing the facts to be as he had carried upon the face of it a design of then stated them, I must undoubtedly be wilful misrepresentation, especially as the wrong; and here, I imagined, the matter report was intermixed with the editor's would have ended. However, in a paper political animadversions. called “ The Times," published on the 26th The Speaker said, that the foundation of December, four days after the debate of the complaint, if brought before the alluded to took place, and which I now House, must be a violation of one of its hold in my hand, there is a publication standing orders, which forbad the public. under the head of “ A Conversation be-ation of its proceedings. In 1771 sometween Mr. Pitt and Mr. Tierney," con- thing similar had occurred; and then, the taining not only the supposed substance of complaint brought forward was twofold: what passed in that debate, but also sè- first, for publishing an account of the deveral animadversions on the subject matter bate, and secondly, for misrepresenting thereof. As to political animadversions it.* He was afraid there would be some applied to myself

, I have been so much embarrassment betwixt the standing order used to them of late, that I have ever of the House, and the specific ground on treated them with that indifference which which the hon. gentleman made his comthey generally merit. But, in addi- plaint. The hon. gentleman did not comtion to these, the report I allude to, plain of the publication of the debate, but and which fills four columns, is replete of misrepresentation ; but if the House with the most glaring misrepresentations, should confine itself to receiving this comwhich I conceive to convey a marked dis- plaint, it would appear as if it had lost respect for the House, and which I hope sight of its own general standing order. the House will, in justice to themselves, His opinion was, that it would be right deem worthy their most serious notice. first to complain of the printer of “ The From the particular situation of the paper Times” for having published the debate, called “ The Times,” it becomes still more and, then, as an aggravation, to complain deserving the attention of the House. It of the misrepresentation of that debate; is well known, that the property of that but it would be impossible for the House paper is so valuable a one, from the great to take up the complaint on the latter number of advertisements, that the owners ground only, and not to include the pubof it would not suffer four columns to be lication as well as the misrepresentation. filled with any speeches whatever, out of Mr. Tierney then said: I do complain the regular course of reporting a debate, of the publication, and of the misrepresenwithout being paid for it very handsomely. tation. And upon the suggestion of the From this circumstance, there is good rea- Speaker, the motion which he made ran son to infer that this misrepresentation of thus : “Complaint being made to the which I complain, has been sent to « The Times," and the insertion paid for. * See the proceedings against the Printers I shall conclude with moving, “ That the for publishing the Debates, Vol. 17, p. 58.


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