« ZurückWeiter »
to give my vote for the slavery of Europe. triumph be not the moment to think of But if there be no man upon earth who will peace, in what state ofour affairs can weturn venture to assert so monstrous a proposition; our thoughts to this great object with proif the very reverse of all this be demon- priety? I see no ill consequence that strably true; if every step that the enemy could result from making offers of peace takes upon the continent is a step to the frankly and directly. This country, howaccomplishment of our destruction, if ever, is again to be embarked on the ocean every city that he ransacks, every district of continental politics; we are again to that he acquires, is a fund of wealth and a enter the lists without knowing the purlevy of soldiers, to be employed hereafter poses for which we are engaged, or the in an exterminating war against us: then, extent to which we may be involved. The in God's name, to what do we look? or hon. gentleman says, that the faith of trea. wherefore are we hesitating ?”
ties with France is not to be trusted. If Since, then, Sir, this motion appears to there be any thing in such an objection, me to be founded on no principle of policy it must be an objection to all peace. He or necessity; since if it be intended for a says that if the negotiation of Paris or censure on ministers,- it is unjust; if for Lisle had concluded in a treaty, the expea control, -it is nugatory; as its tendency dition to Egypt would nevertheless have is to impair the power of prosecuting war taken place. On this principle we are with vigour, and to diminish the chance never to make peace because treaties of negotiating peace with dignity, or con- may be broken. Thus we are again brought cluding it with safety; as it contradicts back to the war of extermination, which without reason, and without advantage, I thouglit had now been exploded. But the established policy of our ancestors; - it seems, as the phrase is, we are to rouse as it must degrade in the eyes of the world Austria and Prussia to second the magnathe character of this country; as it must nimity of Russia and the vigour of the carry dismay and terror throughout Eu. Porte on this occasion. Is there any man, rope; and, above all, as it must administer who understands even the grammar of poconsolation, and hope, and power, and litics, that can look for efficient co-operaconfidence to France; I shall give it my tion towards any great object of general most hearty and decided negative. concernment to Europe? Who does not
Mr. Jekyll said :-I expected, Sir, that know the schemes of aggrandizement which the motion would have been attended with Russia meditates at the expense of Turat least this advantage, that it would have key? Who did not apprehend that when procured to the House the satisfaction of a Russian fleet was allowed to pass the knowing the precise object of the war. Dardanelles, the Ottomans had, as it were, My hon. friend over the way, has not, how- consented to their destruction ? ever, afforded us any certain ground of What kind of vigour do we expect to be judgment upon this point. The hon. gen- displayed by the Ottoman Porte in this tleinan thought proper to state that my new scheme of coalition ? Does not every hon, friend's motion had no reference to body know, that as a nation, the Turks are the peace. On the contrary, the motion had most sluggish people on the face of God's. so far peace in its contemplation, as it was earth? Have we not proofs before our the direct purpose of it to avoid all en- eyes of their debility and impotence? gagements which could tend to impede a How, then, can men of common observapeace on secure and honourable terms. tion talk to us of the importance of the The hon. gentleman alluded to the victory Turkish co-operation for any efficient atof the Nile. He asks, what was the sen- tack upon France? What part can they sation which this glorious achievement perform in the great schemes which are to produced ? I will tell him, that the sen- be attempted for the deliverance of Eusation of joy which it occasioned was com- rope ?-İ am afraid indeed that continental bined with the hope that it might tend to connexion is too surely the forerunner of the restoration of peace. Now, however, foreign subsidy. If subsidies are to be it is thrown out that not peace but war granted, the sending our specie abroad was the great consequence to which it led, must be the necessary consequence, and and we are called upon to rejoice, not in to what that may lead it is impossible to its pacific effects, but in its tendency to say. No man can feel more than I do the give new vigour to schemes of warfare and splendour of lord Nelson's victory; but coalition. If the moment in which we while this blush of triumph sits upon the stand on the proud eminence of such a face of this country, there is a disease upon
its vitals which must excite some alarm. / raising those extraordinary supplies which This is the state of our finances. On this are necessary to defray the expenses of subject we have the result of the laborious war, one of four measures, has been investigations of a committee in cart loads usually adopted. In some countries, a ofstatements which there seems no inclina- treasure has been accumulated for that tion to discuss. It is a subject, however, to purpose in time of peace; in others, the which our attention is immediately directed, necessary supplies have been raised within when the measures which are to be adopted the year. According to a third plan, the necessarily lead to subsidies. We are told sums wanted have been levied by compul. that many of those powers on whom the sive loans, of which there was lately an scourge of French tyranny has fallen are instance under the directorial tyranny of so exhausted, that they have not physical France. The last plan, is that of raising resources left to enable them to throw off money by means of voluntary loans, or the yoke under which they labour. What through the medium of what is called the a prospect does this open to us! What funding system; a mode of raising money unlimited demand for subsidies and pecu- which some gentlemen are inclined to reniary aid of every kind from this country! probate, because they only contemplate its The hon. gentleman made some allu- defects, but which I have ever considered sions to what had been said in another as the climax of financial invention, the place respecting the insular policy of this greatest of all political discoveries, the country, and I am sure the expressions most valuable mine that ever a nation was which be quoted were not in the style by possessed of, and, in a peculiar manner, which the eminent statesman is distin- the source of the strength, the prosperity, guished. What the hon. gentleman means and the happiness of this country. Inby a “snug, tight, domestic war” I cannot deed, Sir, it may be sufficient to remark, tell ; but I am sure that the principles laid that if we had attempted to carry on our down by that person for the insular policy wars on any other plan, in consequence of of this country, are the true principles of the inability of the subject to bear the our prosperity. I have ever thought that pressure of additional taxes, either those the policy of this country was, to avoid wars must have been in the highest degree continental connexions, and our most unsuccessful, from the want of funds to eminent writers have recommended this carry them on, or the people would have policy.
been driven, by oppression and despair, The motion was negatived.
into a state of insurrection; nor could we
have preserved, as we have hitherto been Debate in the Commons on the Income fortunately enabled to do, amidst all the Duty Bill.] Dec. 5. Mr. Pitt brought calamities of war, that best source of pub. in the bill “ to repeal the duties, imposed lic prosperity, the means of industry and by an act, made in the last session, for of re-production. granting an Aid and Contribution for the But, we are told, that we have funded prosecution of the war; and to make more too much already ; that the price of stocks effectual provision for the like purpose, is low; that money cannot be borrowed by granting certain duties upon Income, in large sums, except on very disadvantagein lieu of the said Duties.” The bill was
ous terms; that we ought to husband the read a first time. On the 6th, it was read funding system ; that we must pay a sala second time, and on the 7th it was com- vage for the protection of our property; mitted.
and, above all, that we are now under the
necessity of resorting to a new financial Dec. 14. On the question, that the re-expedient, namely, that of borrowing a port be taken into farther consideration, part, and of raising the remainder of the
Sir John Sinclair said : -I arise, Sir, to extraordinary supplies by taxes within the oppose the motion, from the full convic- year. There can hardly be, in my opinion, tion, that the present bill is so exception- a more erroneous idea. If the funding able a measure, that it is impossible, by system is at all to be abandoned, instead the efforts of any committee whatever, to of pursuing this miserable expedient, the make it entitled to the approbation of the result of irresolution and timidity, we House. I shall endeavour, with as much ought manfully to resolve to raise, not the brevity as possible, to explain what has half, but the whole supplies within the occurred to me on this interesting sub- year. By following the plan that is project. The House is fully aware, that for posed, we shall neither enjoy the advan
tages of the one system, nor of the other, but 375,0001. and for that paltry and mi-
It is next contended, that the new If the m of this House in partisystem has already answered in practice ; cular, were to recollect the many strong and to it, we are told, ought to be attri- declarations which were made in its buted, the presept flourishing state of our favour, from authorities they are in genepublic credit, and what is called the high ral accustomed to listen to with peculiar price of stocks. There never were more attention and respect, they would probagroundless assertions. During the Ame- bly hesitate in regard to the adoption of rican war, the lowest price that the funds a new system, for raising any part of the ever reached, was, in February 1782, supplies within the year. Indeed, the when the 3 per cents were never lower question is, whether it is not better to than 531, though no artificial means were have some criterion, than none at all? By made use of to buoy them up by means having a criterion, you stand some chance of weekly purchases. When the bargain of preventing evasion, and, above all, you for the loan was concluded in April last, render a harsh inquisitorial disclosure of the 3 per cent consols were above 48 ; property unnecessary; but if you have they are now at 54: Is it possible to sup- none, unless the most oppressive and typose, therefore, that this plan has at all rannical system is pursued, the whole in. materially contributed to increase the come you can expect to derive from the price of stocks; the difference is 6 per measure, will depend on the voluntary cent. Can no other cause be assigned for seal, and unfortunately, the lax morality, that rise, but the measure now under con- of the great body of the people. But if a templation? Is nothing, for instance, to new plan must be adopted, and if property be attributed to the land tax redemption instead of expenditure, must be attacked, bill, which, I am informed, has partially it becomes a matter of nice discussion, succeeded in particular districts, and the whether the extraordinary contribution beneficial consequences of which we hear should be raised by a tax on capital, or a so much of on other occasions ? nothing tax on income, or by blending the two to the astonishing increase of our com- together, which though the most complimercial wealth, and the improvement of cated, yet being unquestionably, the our agricultural resources ; and nothing justest, ought to be preferred. What I to our naval victories? to which, indeed, mean is, that every man should pay, in. more than to the financial measures of the stead of 10 per cent on his income, 1 per right hon. gentleman, our present pros-cent on his capital, and 5 per cent on his perous situation ought to be ascribed. In income, by which persons who had no short, four causes are assigned for this capital would be greatly relieved, and rise of 6 per cent as suits best the conve- those who were possessed of considerable nience of the minister. Let us give each property, would pay more in proporof them a fair proportion, namely, 1į per tion to their opulence, than under the cent. Let us suppose that we have occa- system that is proposed. Almost the only sion for 25 millions this year, and that we objection to this plan is, the difficulty of borrow the whole, instead of raising a part ascertaining the value of a man's capital. on the new principle, within the year, the But is it not the same in regard to his in: difference, at the rate of 1į per cent is, come, unless it arises from some fixed and
regular stipend, and is liable to no uncer- discovered, or the old ones improved; tainty of deduction? Let us consider who contribute so essentially to enrich this important part of the subject in the the nation, and who are justly accounted three great lines, of a landed income, of a the surest source of its commercial commercial income, and of a professional prosperity. Or, above all, are we to tax income.-A landed income may be sup- industry? If so, the man that is idle and posed the most certain and permanent, | profligate will pay nothing; whereas the and in some particular instances it may be sober
and industrious will
be burthened in so; but, in general, a person of landed proportion to their exertions. Let us property, after deducting every public next consider how professional men can tax or imposition to which he is liable, is ascertain their incomes. To what a subject to a variety of burthens. In the variety of casualties are they not exposed! first place, he is frequently under theneces. They may be disabled by sickness; they sity of being at very heavy legal expenses may be injured by ill founded personal or for preserving his property, and he is even political prejudices entertained against clearly entitled to deduct those expenses, them; or their profits may be impaired as it is proposed that the public shall by public calamity and distress : indeed, avail itself of that part of his income, by many of them must be ruined by this bill
, taxing the gentlemen of the law. In the which must diminish, in various instances, second place, he is under the 'necessity of their professional business; and all of spending money in the improvement of his them will be entitled to the deduction of estates, as in draining, fencing, building, a full third of their clear income, which &c. And in the third place, any person every prudent professional man does usuof landed property is subject to a variety ally deduct, to form a provision for himof deductions in consequence of the rank self in his old age, and a capital for his - he holds in the state ; he is obliged to act family at his death. as sheriff, as justice of the peace, and These circumstances prove, that it is as other public situations, without any re
difficult to estimate income, as to ascercompense or emolument whatsoever; and tain the value of capital, and are strongly if any plan is in agitation for building a in favour of that blended system which bridge, for making a turnpike road, or seems to be the only just principle on forming a canal, which may ultimately which such a tax or contribution as this prove of material consequence to the can be imposed. Indeed how is it possineighbourhood, a gentleman of landed ble to demand, at the same rate, from a property must subscribe for all such mea- person who has an income without a casures, unless it is intended to check by pital, and from one who has both income law the progress of public improvement.-- and capital ? One person, for instance, It is still more difficult to ascertain the draws his subsistence from an income of income of the commercial individual, 6001. a year, from the profession of the whose capital and income, indeed, are in law; at 10 per cent he is charged with fact so intimately combined together, that 60l. to the excheqeur, which he must deit is impossible to separate them. The duct from his income. Another person income of a commercial man, also depends has 20,0001. of 3 per cent consolidated upon a variety of circumstances besides annuities, producing him 6001. At 10 per his capital; it depends on the situation in cent he will only pay 60l. also, though which he happens to be placed, the con- by selling only about 1201. of his 3 per nexions which he has formed or inherited, cents according to the price of the stocks, the talents which he employs in his busi- he pays his tax, and only loses about 31. ness, and the industry with which he pro- 12s. per annum of his income. Where secutes it. Are we to tax situation ? | then is that boasted equality, which is That was given up in the case of the said to be so much in favour of this plan, famous shop-tax. Are we to tax the ad. and which renders it so infinitely superior to vantage derived from connexion ? It every other? On these grounds I cannothelp would be the first time that any, individual thinking, that if the measure is at all to be ever paid any demand to the exchequer, adopted, it ought to be altered on the for having a number of friends, and pro- principle which I have now taken the li. bably deserving them. Are we to 'tax berty of recommending, namely, that of talents ? It would be a strange circum- laying the tax partly on capital and partly stance in finance to impose burthens upon on income. those, by whose ingenuity new arts were Let us now, Sir, proceed to consider the specific plan that is submitted to our pose that there are 3,000 persons who enconsideration in the present bill. The joy, at an average, 1,0001. each (which, House must still recollect the elaborate in these luxurious times, will include, I am speech, in which the right hon. gentleman persuaded, all the misers in the kingdom), laid before us a general view of the in- the total income they possess will not excome, supposed to be enjoyed by all the ceed 3,000,000/. per annum, and the tax various classes of the community. In will not produce above 300,000l. Anosome points I may differ with him; and when ther description of persons, are those who I heard the right hon. gentleman expres- formerly lived up to the full extent of sing himself with so much doubt respect their income, or, perhaps, beyond it, but ing various particulars, and resting on the who will now begin to save, and to reduce antiquated notions of Davenant, and the their establishments, in order to pay this guesses of modern authorities, I could not new contribution. I am afraid this class help wishing that the right hon. gentle will be a very numerous one, and that, to man had given more assistance to an in the full amouut they are compelled to pay stitution I had the honour of suggesting; to this tax on income, we shall loose in I mean, the Board of Agriculture, by the excise and customs, and other whom all these points, had it been pro. branches of the revenue. The only reperly supported, would have been before maining class consists of those who will this time, fully ascertained. It has ever continue to live as formerly. Perhaps, been a favourite opinion with me, that no indeed, they cannot retrench, owing to country could be well governed, unless its the largeness of their family, their profesreal situation was thoroughly known- sional situations, and various other cir“ Ad consilium de republica dandum, ca- cumstances. Having neither saved the put est, nosse rempublicam.". Indeed, money before, nor being able to save it had not the progress of that institution now, they must either deduct it from their been checked, by those who were regard. capital (if they have any), or borrow it less of the interests of the country they where they can find it. governed, provided they could gratify And this leads me again to allude to their own personal spleen and resentment, the great disadvantage of blending the we should now have been debating, not two systems together, namely, that of on loose calculations and uncertain data, borrowing money for the public service, but on a general report on the state of the and of raising the supplies within the country, founded on authentic information, year. The consequence of a public loan which it would have been in my power, is, that all the money of the kingdom not before this time, to have laid upon the only flocks into the metropolis, but also table of this House. But let us suppose into the hands of a particular set of indithat the calculations of the right hon. viduals who job in the funds. What folgentleman, if not perfectly just, yet are lows? It is evident that any private persufficiently accurate for the purposes of son cannot borrow money almost on any discussion; and that the various classes of terms. Whereas, if there were no loan, the community, which he has enumerated, the circulating wealth of the kingdom have an income of 100 per annum; yet I would be spread over the whole surface question much, whether they really can of the country; the loan-mongers of Lonafford to pay any thing like so large a don would be glad to lend their money sum as ten millions, in the course of one on respectable private securities, and less year, in addition to the thirty millions, difficulty would be found in raising the which they already yield to the exche whole of the supplies within the year, quer. The persons who will be subjected than the proportion which it is proposed, to this new tax on income, may be divided by this bill, should be levied. We shall into three classes. The first consists of suppose, however, that the nation is able those who already save a part of their in. to pay the proposed tax of 10 per cent on come, and who, by this act, will be income; yet, when I consider the various obliged, however reluctantly, to part with objections which may be urged against it, a portion of those savings which they were some of which go to the very root of the anxious to lay up. It is the principal ob- measure, and others, which, though they ject of this bill, to get at this description affect only particular branches of it, yet of individuals. But I do not think that are almost of equal moment, I can this resource is any thing like so conside- scarcely think that the House will be rable as gentlemen imagine. If we sup- disposed to pass such a bill into a law.