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mise of its present owner, the property of to France and to the naval powers who another, just as much as the income arising are so unfortunate as to be compelled to from an estate or from an annuity for life act with France, and to submit to be or years. In short, we cannot look to in- called her allies, the contest would be at come, as liable to a different valuation in an end. For what object of contest could every specific case; nor as a property fairly there be between naval antagonists; the to be deemed an object of taxation, with a one of which has lost to the other, all its reference to a longer interest than the life commerce, all its colonies, all its exter. of its possessor :
nal possessions, all its seas, and nearly all Tanquam
its fleets; a loss including, when the SpaSit proprium cui-quam, puncto quod mobilis nish and Dutch prizes are added to the horæ
list, above threescore ships of the line, Nunc prece, nunc pretio, nunc vi, nunc sorte and more than double that number of fri.
suprema, Permutet dominos et cedat in altera jura.
gates ? I cannot hesitate to say, that a
naval power, so circumstanced, and so And therefore it is, that by this bill, in blocked up in all its coasts and ports, is all cases indiscriminately (and if it were defeated and beaten. Her inhabitants not indiscriminately it would be unjustly), may collect in crowds upon the shore, and the accruing income of the year is made call hard names, and use opprobrious lanliable, for the year, to a deduction in a guage, but they are beaten, and have rated proportion which equally affects all. ceased to be a maritime people for a long
Such then, my lords, is the plan before period of time. So far as our insular inus ; establishing a system of supply, es- terests are in question, the war is brought sentially important in the present strug. to a predicament, in which a man may gle, essentially beneficial on the eventual place his maps before him, and rack his return of peace, and such as will hereaf- information and ingenuity to find new ob. ter induce all nations to pause, before they jects of conquest and acquisition. But in bring upon us the necessity of engaging stating this, let me not be understood to in war with them. I must once more re- give, or to convey, any opinion relative, peat, my lords, that this measure has either to the weakness or stability of the been accomplished by the union of opi- monstrous government which has estapions respecting the nature of the French blished itself in France. It would be prehostility; by the affectionate and grateful sumption to say what may be the permaattachment which is felt by all for a sove- nence of a power, which seizes and approreign who is justly considered as the father priates, without scruple or remorse, the of his people; and by the confidence resources of other nations. No man can which is reposed in the councils of that foretel how long a lawless horde of robsovereign, and in the wisdom of parlia-bers and murderers may subsist by pilment; or, in other words, by the general lage and by crimes, before they are overconviction of men's minds, under which taken by human or divine justice. But (as a noble marquis pointedly expressed one truth at least is obvious and certain. himself on the first day of the session) So long as the French leaders shall ap“ all opposition is dead and buried.”
pear to have no means of existence, but may add, without any want of candour, in prolonging the miseries and calamities that the public opinion is unequivocally which they have caused, and whilst they marked, when public men, in a period of retain the appetite and power of mischief unexampled anxiety, can retire into ob- and destruction, it would be madness and scurity without exciting, in a great and folly, on our part, to suppose that we can enlightened empire, even a whisper of revert in safety to the blessings of peace. public regret.
We ought not to hope for peace, so long My lords, I have repeatedly stood in as the revolutionizing system maintains its this place, during the last five years, a activity. That activity is still exerting foreboder of increasing difficulties and itself, with all the agonies of fatigued but dangers; nor shall I ever be disposed to insatiate malignity, and amidst scenes of flatter either your lordships or myself, or depopulation, bankruptcy, discontent and the country at large. But I now look for revolt. So far as the mere safety of these wards, and with good hopes, to the cheer- islands is in question, we are safe in our ing approach of better prospects. And at own courage and resources; but in lookthis hour, if we could consider ourselves ing towards the wished-for period of pacimerely as a maritime state, singly opposed fication, we must never forget, that the security of Europe is essential to the se- sent measure was one which their lord. curity of the British empire. We cannot ships were called upon by the most powerseparate them.
ful motives to sanction, as, exclusively of Permit me, my lords, before I sit down, the great and salutary principle on which to advert to a circumstance, which, if left it proceeded, it was calculated in every unexplained, might subject me to the im- point of view to defeat the designs, and putation of speaking with an illiberal ruin the
enemy. warmth and prejudice. On the present The Duke of Bedford said, that the and on other occasions, I have used harsh bill turned upon two great and leading language respecting the French as a na- principles. The first of the two principles tion; and surely they have been, during was, how far it was wise and expedient nine years, the most detestable people to raise a great portion of the supplies that ever disgraced the globe on which we within the year, rather than by the usual live, and breathe, and have our being. way of loan? It was impossible to They have been, and still continue to be discuss this principle by arguments drawn the scourge and pest of afflicted humanity. from experience or comparative effect, But I wish, once for all, to be understood because it was a mere speculative quesnot to speak of the French such as I saw tion, and therefore could not be treatand knew them twelve years ago; nor of ed in the same manner as that which the French such as I hope, one day, again had stood the test of trial in repeated to see them. I speak of them as they are, instances ever since the establishment a credulous, subjugated, irreligious, im- of the funding system. There was, howmoral, and cruel people; blind instru- ever, the constant and uniform pracments of the corruptions, caprices, and tice of our ancestors against it; nay more, crimes of a few desperate regicides. I there was the practice of the present mispeak of them as they are, and will conti- nister himself, who had, during five years nue so to speak of them on every occasion of expensive war, followed the ancient that may present itself; because I feel plan of raising the supplies by loans. If, and know, that we cannot be too often then, we were now to adopt the mode and too strongly impressed with a true recommended by this bill, it would be an opinion of our enemy, and with a true admission that the author of it had been sense of our danger. But, God forbid for that space of time in the wrong, that I should apply such expressions to and that the present was preferable to the nation which I saw, composed of a that which he had hitherto pursued. No brave and generous nobility, and a good- | noble lord, he believed, would support it tempered and ingenious people; even then, as positively good; but would merely however, following false lights, and tend- argue for it as expedient, and adapted to ing towards the precipice down which they our present circumstances; but yet it have since fallen. It is among the bitter would not be difficult to prove that, even misfortunes of that nobility, and of the comparatively, it was a more injurious other respectable classes, forced into exile mode of raising the supplies than that and laden with distresses of many kinds, which had been so long pursued. The to feel ashamed of the country which gave second principle of the bill was, whether, them birth, and to carry about with them if the propriety of raising a great part of the sentiment, that the very name of a the supplies within the year were admitted, Frenchman will, for ages to come, sound a tax on income was the desirable means ? gratingly to the ears of mankind. The This was a question of material importance contrast, my lords, is obvious, and offers in the view in which the measures of the itself to our attention. I see it with com- last year were considered; for, by placency and with pride. It is a pardon- raising seven millions within the year, it able pride, and of a good and moral ten. was contended that the general principle dency. Englishmen derive, from their of raising the supplies within the year was consciousness of being Englishmen, an recognised, it might hereafter be conelevation of mind, which, both to the pre- tended that, by adopting the present bill, sent race and to posterity, will operate as they recognised the principle of taxing an incessant encouragement to national income. Now, nothing could be more virtue and to right exertions. “ Vera injurious to the state, than to assume this gloria radices agit, atque etiam propa- as a principle recognised, and to act upon gatur."
it. It had been the general practice of The Earl of Darnley said, that the pre- taxation, to levy as great a portion as
possible of the sum wanted upon articles, a three-hundredth part. If the tax should of luxury and of consumption; and, so continue so long as to make it inconvelong as that practice could be continued, nient for a person to discharge it by disit would never be considered as materially posing of a part of his capital, then in its unjust in its operation, though one des- effect, it will have all the consequences cription might for the moment be more of a permanent tax; in which case it will immediately touched than others; and not only prove more injurious to indivialthough the whole community might not duals, but to the general welfare of the pay towards it in equal proportions, still, state; for there is a most essential disas it was optional, it could not be deemed tinction between taking a sun from the fundamentally wrong. If therefore it was public upon articles as they are consumed, abandoned, it was a confession that we and taking a sum from the means by which could not go on in the most equitable produce is to be obtained. The latter course of taxation. This, then, must be strikes directly at the vital principle of all considered as a forced contribution. If national prosperity, for it operates as a the sum could be raised by a tax on con- check upon improvement. At a time sumption, every body must acknowledge when every writer upon political economy that it would be a preferable mode. But is of opinion, that tithe operates as a geif the state of the country was such that neral check to the advancement of agria forced contribution must be the means culture, and the melioration of the counof supporting the government, then it be try, we are about to adopt a measure came their lordships to consider well, which will establish a new tithe over the whether the general principle of taxation, whole kingdom; and that which in its which required that every man should partial operation is deemed to be so injupay in proportion to the protection he rious, we are about to generalize and exreceived, which protection was commen- tend to all the arts and manufactures, as surate with his property, was acted upon well as to add it to the existing tithe upon in this bill. In his mind the criterion was agriculture. Now, when it is agreed on extremely erroneous. In one case it would all hands that the tithe which is derived be a tax, as it professed to be, upon in- from annual profits ought to be converted come; in another, would be a tax upon into principal, if it could be done without capital. A temporary tax upon income affecting the interests of those who demust in its nature be, in many instances, rive their income from it, you are about a tax upon capital. The present tax was to establish a more enlarged tithe, and said to be for three years. Thus, then, that in the heaviest way; for it not only a person possessed of 1,0001. a year, and proposes to take a tenth of every man's expending the whole of it, could not with industry, but in many cases a tenth of out considerable inconvenience reduce the capital necessary to be employed in bis expenditure to 9001.; whereas, by order to make that industry productive. taking from his capital 1001., he will di- In the mixed and uncertain tendency of minish his income but 5l. a year for each the tax, the most striking inequalities will year, and with comparatively a trifling impede even its success as a measure of inconvenience, he will be thus enabled to finance, whereas, if it had been directed pay his tax. Persons, on the other hand, at capital, it would have been less comwho possess greater incomes than they plicated and less unequal. It is a pretty annually expend, convert their surplus general opinion that capital cannot be got into capital. In both cases, therefore, at nor ascertained; but if the principle be the tax takes from their capital, and not once admitted, that capital or property is from their income. Yet possessing this to be charged in proportion to the proclear character of being, in most instanees, tection it derives from the government, a tax upon capital, it would not be diffi- surely it may be discovered. I do not cult to show how unequal it would be in feel it to be my duty, continued the noble its operation; for if the annuitant is duke, because I state my objections to obliged to have recourse to his capital, one tax, to suggest another in its stead; you take from him a fiftieth part of his but yet I think that a tax might be found property, as the average value of existing equal to the exigency of the moment, annuities cannot be said to be more than and not liable to any of the objections five years purchase. You take from the which are justly advanced against this bill stockholder little more than a two hun-I mean a tax upon successions, not dredth part, and from the land owner only merely collateral, but lineal. This is not my idea, but is the suggestion of a noble / great stress upon the inequalities of the friend of mine, whose abilities this House bill, but most of his arguments on that has often had occasion to witness, parti. head seemed to have arisen from not havcularly on points of finance (the earl of ing kept the real object of the bill, namely, Lauderdale).-Having stated his objec- a tax on income, distinct from considerations to the principle of the bill, his grace tions that apply solely to a tax on capital. went into an examination of its particular All large taxes must be liable to the improvisions, and concluded with remon- putation of inequality more or less, but as strating against the measure being inju- much attention had been paid to avoid rious, impolitic, and unjust.
that effect, as ever was paid to any meaThe Lord Chancellor said, that the pre- sure of finance. The noble duke had sent bill was professedly a bill which had told the House that somebody or other for its object the taxation of income, and had projected a tax that would answer the noble duke had said, it embraced two the same end as the present bill, and be important principles, the one, the princi- less felt, viz. a tax on all successions : but ple of raising a considerable part of the surely a very little reflection would serve supplies of the year within the year; the to show that such a tax must be in its inother the principle of effecting that measure dividual instances so enormous as be by the means of a tax on income. With re- ruinous to the last degree. Hitherto gard to the first, the noble duke did not ap- taxes on articles of consumption had been pear to have completely made up his mind : selected by ministers; and it was evident but he termed it a mere speculative ques- they were wise in so doing, tion, and a mere speculative question it The bill was read a third time, and was, inasmuch as it was new in the prac- passed. tice of finance; but although former financiers had not taken such bold and The King's Message relative to a Union comprehensive views of the possibility of with Ireland.] Jan. 22. Mc Secretary successfully enforcing measures of finance Dundas presented the following Message ofa far greater extent than had hitherto been from his Majesty: attempted, it did not follow that the mea- “ GEORGE R. sure was not likely to be eminently suc- “ His Majesty, is persuaded that the cessful, and it was agreed on all hands, unremitting industry, with which our enethat for a variety of important considera- mies persevere in tlieir avowed design of tions, if a large portion of the supplies effecting the separation of Ireland from this could be raised within the year, it was kingdom, cannot fail to engage the partimost desirable. It ought, however, to be cular attention of parliament, and his marecollected that the present chancellor of jesty recommends it to this House to conthe exchequer, who had proposed the bill, sider of the most effectual means of counwas the very person who had advised and teracting, and finally defeating, this design ; effectually supported the plan of annually and he trusts, that a review of all the cirsetting aside a part of the supplies of the cumstances which have recently occurred year for the useful purpose of applying it (joined to the sentiment of mutual affecto the reduction of the national debt-a tion and common interests, will dispose plan which had now been for some years the parliaments of both kingdoms to procontinued, and from which the public had vide, in the manner which they shall derived advantages so important that the judge most expedient, for settling such a country could not forget the gratitude complete and final adjustment as may best that was due to the man whose genius had tend to improve and perpetuate a conprompted him to carry into execution a nexion, essential for their common secu. design so noble and so useful. It was rea- rity, and to augment and consolidate the sonable, therefore, to infer that the present strength, power, and resources, of the Brie measure of raising a tax amounting to ten tish empire.
G. R." millions upon income, would be found A similar Message was also presented practicable. The noble duke, indeed, had to the Lords by lord Grenville. told the House that a tax on capital directly would be far preferable; to which Debate in the Commons on the King's it was a sufficient answer to state the ab- Message relative to a Union with Ireland.] solute impossibility of ascertaining what Jan. 23. Mr. Secretary Dundas prethe capital of individuals respectively sented to the House, by his majesty's amounted to. The noble duke had laid command, Copies and Extracts of Papers,
containing secret Information, received by the last solemn and final adjustment has his majesty's government, relative to the not answered the purposes for which it proceedings of different persons and socie- was intended. His majesty's ministers ties in Great Britain and Ireland, engaged assume that the House is in possession of in a treasonable conspiracy, and to the information to convince them that this ad. design carried on by our enemies, in con- justment has not been effectual. This does cert with such persons and societies, for not appear to be the conclusion which they effecting the separation of Ireland from are entitled to draw, or the course which this kingdom, sealed up."
the House are authorized to pursue. BeOn the order of the day for taking into fore any new plan of such magnitude and consideration his Majesty's Message of importance as that which is known to be yesterday, being read,
in agitation, can be entertained, it ought Mr. Secretary Dundas said, he consi- to be made manifest, that some new condered it unnecessary on the present occa- tract is necessary, and that the solemn,
sion, to do more than simply move an ad- entire, and final adjustment formerly rati. dress of thanks to his majesty for his gra- fied and concluded has not been attended cious communication, and stating that the with that security to the empire, which it House would take the subject into their was expected to produce. I am struck, serious consideration. On a future op- too, with this consideration still more forportunity, after the House had had leisure cibly when I think of the declaration of to reflect on the matter, and to peruse the Irish parliament sanctioned by this the documents now laid before them, it House. The resolution deserves partiwould be time enough to enter into any cular attention : it is" To represent to discussion. This course he was the more his majesty, that his subjects of Ireland inclined to pursue, as it was not easy to are entitled to a free constitution ; that conjecture the nature of the arguments the imperial crown of Ireland is insepawhich could be adduced in the present rably annexed to the crown of Great stage of the business. He should content Britain, on which connexion the happihimself, therefore, with moving, “ That ness of both nations essentially depends; an humble Address be presented to his but that the kingdom of Ireland is a dismajesty, to return his majesty the thanks tinct dominion, having a parliament of of this House, for his most gracious mes- her own, the sole legislature thereof. sage; and to assure his majesty, that im- That there is no power whatsoever compressed with a deep sense of the magni- petent to make laws to bind this nation, tude of the objects to which his majesty is except the King, Lords, and Commons of pleased to direct our attention, and anxi- Ireland, upon which exclusive right of leous at all times, and particularly at the gislation we consider the very essence of present crisis, to avail ourselves of every our liberties to depend, a right which we opportunity to improve and perpetuate claim as the birth-right of the people of the connexion between Great Britain and Ireland, and which we are determined, in Ireland, so essential to their common se- every situation of life, to assert and maincurity, and to promote the strength and tain." When I find a declaration so clear prosperity of every part of the British em- and forcible as this, solemnly adopted by pire, we shall not fail to enter on this the Irish parliament, communicated to consideration with all due dispatch, and this House, sanctioned and recorded by with the diligence and attention which its us; when I consider that this final adjust. transcendent importance demands. ment has been recognized as the only solid
Mr. Sheridan rose and said ;-I must basis of the connexion between the two declare candidly, Sir, that I am not of countries, I feel myself justified in deopinion, that nothing more is now neces- manding some explanation why it is now sary than to return our thanks, for his to be abandoned, and what other final admajesty's gracious communication. It is justment is to be proposed. It may be impossible to view a subject like this in thought new and unusual to take up the so narrow a light. When we recollect subject in this enlarged view in this stage. that within no very long period, a solemn, The present, however, are times when entire, and “ final adjustment” (mark the slight forms ought not to interfere with words) took place between Great Britain substantial duties. My opinion is, that and Ireland, it does seem to be incumbent the question should be met in the very on those who come forward with a new outset, and canvassed in the very first proposal of adjustment, to show us that shape in which it appears, regardless of (VOL. XXXIV.]