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Sir James Sinclair Erskine had no obje&tion for the present to accede to the proposed tax, provided the right hon. Gen. ileman would pledge himself to the Committee he had mentioned, early in the next leffion of Parliainent.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did repeat his pledge.
The Master of the Rolls said he highly approved of the proposition of his right. hon. Friend, to let this subject be inves: tigated by a select commiitee, who should ascertain the du. ties that ought to be paid by England and Scotland; for it was very well known, it at the grain of Scotland was of a quality much inferior to that of England.
Sir William Erskine and Mr. Cha, kes Grant Thought sucli an investigation would be highly proper and necesiary.
The Chanceilor of the Exchequcr, in reply to some obser. vations made by Lord Archibald Hamilton, said it was his intention, early in the next feflion, to move the appointment of a select committee, to conlider of the relative duties which ought to be paid by both countries.
Mr. Plumer took notice of the duty paid by malt in the beginning of the American war, which amounted to no more than 6s. per quarter; if the duty now proposed to be laid on was to take place, the whole amount of ihe malt tax would be 345, 84. per quarter. Such a tax as this, coupled with the intended tax on land, would form a burthen so heavy that it could not be borne. He would therefore move, as an amendment, that instead of an additional duly of 28. there be laid a duty of only is per bushel on malt.
Mr. I amb seconded this amendımcnt. '
Mr. Charles Dundas supported it; because this new tax would be a great hardship on malifters, whose stock in hand was now to pay the additional duty.
The Secretary at War said, that as the representative of a great agricultural county, which must be materially affected by this tax, he felt it his duty to support the amendment propsed by his hon. Friend. The malt-tax had been cara ried to an extent much greater than it Ahould have been ; and much greater than should ever have existed with re. gard to the produce of land. His conitituents were as loyal men as any in the country; and they were ready to contribute everything in their power towards its defence; but he considered the present tax as a great grievance, which would have a very injurious operation on agrieulture.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed his fears, that if the Committee adopted the amendinent just proposed, they VOL. IV. 1802-3. Uu
would forego the principal means of carrying on the juft and necessary war in which we were engaged; as the public would be deprived of no less a sum than two millions sterling Unless a tax was to be laid on, which would carry into the pocket of the public the whole amount of that sum, we should forego a considerable portion of what the public was justly entitled to. Either this tax must take place to the whole extent of what was intended, or the brewes would have a most enormous profit on his commodity ; unless a regulation was made that would impose a great hardship upon him. If he was restricted with regard to the price of his beer, he would alter the quality of it so as to do a great injury to the public. What he proposed was, that the brewer should have a profit no greater than the amount of the tax ; and if the tax was to be less than the amount proposed, the brewer would ftill charge an additional halfpenny per pot for his porter, and his profit would be equal to the sum of which the public would be thus deprived. He would declare to the Committee that he had maturely considered this subject, and from every thing he could learn concerning it, he knew not where to find a mode of carrying on the war so little liable to objection as that of the present duty. If the House was determined not to have taxes for the vigorous prosecution of the war, it was better to make peace at once on any terms that could be obtained. Gentlemen must do fo, unless they made up their minds to support the contest they were engaged in. Every body knew that great sacrifices must be made, and great privations suffered, in order to carry us through this struggle. All the different classes of the community must bear their Share of the burthens, and the best mode was to lay them on manfully at once. He was sure that the lower classes, who must always feel the weight, even of taxes laid upon the rich, were alive to the situation of the country, and ready to contribute their share to the exigencies of the public. He had had many opportunities of knowing the sentiments of the lower classes of people ; and he could say they were manly and patriotic in the highest degree. He saw them grieve for any misfortune that might have befallen their country; and he saw them participate in the joy occasioned by any favourable turns of fortune. He saw them cheerfully contri. tributing their mite towards the voluntary contributions which had been raised in a period of great difficulty. Every body knew that an enthufiaftic spirited patriotism pervaded
this class of people , who composed our fleets and our armies. They knew that their best interest was to sustain the liberty and the constitution of this country; which could only be done by making great sacrifices. He could not agree with those who said the present measure would be injurious to agriculture. The continuance of the tax would be only commenfurale to the continuance of the war, and if this tax was now got rid of, he could assure the Committee, that it would not be possible to put another in its place which would not be liable to fill greater objections. With regard to the mallsters, he was ready to afford them every possible relief as to paying the duty on the stock in hand. But if the present mo. rion was to be carried, the sum of 1,300,000l. would be placed in the pockets of the brewers; and therefore he should consider himself as abandoning his duty, if he listened to any proposition by which the produce of the tax could be limited. Let Gentlemen for a moment consider the nature and the course of the war we were engaged in, and say, whether we ought to shrink from a tax on tea, or on malt:a thing which was trifling compared to the magnitude of the object it was to accomplish.
Sir Robert Buxton said, he considered the present as an on. equal tax upon landed property. Besides, he did not think the tax would be so productive as was expected, and wished that, instead of this, a tax might be laid on the notes of country bankers.
Mr. Vanfittart pointed out the following as the times when maltīters should be required to pay the duty on the stock in hand :-The first instalment on the 15th of September; the second on the 24th of O&tober ; the third on the 16th of December; and fourth on the 15th of January.
Mr. Atkins and Mr. Whitbread wished the first instalment might not be made till the ist of November. After a long conversation, in which several other Members took a part, the House divided. For Mr. Plumer's amendment, iiAgainst it, 61. The bills were then ordered to be reported.
The other orders of the day being disposed of, the House adjourned.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
MONDAY, JUNE 27.
Eight bills were brought up from the Coinmons, and sented by Mi.C, Dundas, Mr. I. Hawkins Browne, and others, and read a first time.
The Lord Chancellor left the Woolfack, and gave notice, that he should move, that the House be fummoned on Wednesday next, to take into consideration the standing order, No. 126. His Lord hip faid, that when any private property was purchased for a public purpose, such as to accom- , modate a turnpike, an enclosure, a canal, or any other object of that fort, and the title could not be quite fatisfactorily made out, although perhaps a few months would have made the title complete, it was usual for the seller to depofit the purchase money in that great reservoir the Court of Chancery, and there to let it be till a fufficient title was made out. This circumstance naturally invited persons to come forward, as claimants, although they might have but à shadow of a claim, and who would not otherwise have thought of setting up their claim. If, therefore, the deposit was 2001. it frequently put the seller to the expence of 40 or 501. costs, to recover his 2001. He meant, therefore, on Wednelday, to move an amendment of the standing order, viz. that the costs should be paid by those who set up a claim; and he was prompted to move his proposed amendment from circumstances which came under his own experience, in consequence of the professional office which he held. Ordered.
JUSTICES BILL. The House resolved into a Committee on the Justices' conviction bill.
Lord Sheffield, in consequence of the conversation with the law Lords on a former day, poftponed to another sessions, that part of the bill which regulates the forms of convictions, and the part “ to render justices inore safe in the execution of their duty," was agreed to in the Committee, and ordered to be reported. By this bill, any action brought againft any justices, on account of any conviction made by virtue of any act of Parliament, or for or by reason of any act, matter, or thing, done os commanded to be done by such justices, for the levying any penalty, apprehending any party, or carrying of any such conviétion into fuch effe&t'; and wherein, up on the trial of the same, it shall appear to the fatisfaction
of the judge, that the defendant had a reasonable ground for making such conviction, (although such convi&tion thall hare been quashed) and the said judge Mall accordingly certify the same upon the back of the record, then the plaintiff shall not be entitled to recover more than the fum of two-perce, nor any costs of suit whatever.
Their Lordships then disposed of some private business, and adjourired till next day.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
MONDAY, JUNE 27 Foote's divorce bill was read a second time, and ordered to be committed the next day fe'nnight.
The Scotch road and bridge bill was read a third time and passed.
Captain Cochrane moved, and it was ordered, That there be laid before the House a copy of the inemorial and of the papers connected therewith, which were presented to the Lords of the Adiniralty by captain Cochrane on the 27th January, 1799, relative to prizes and prize questions.
The workhouse bill was read a third time.
A message from the Lords informed the House, that their Lordships had agreed to the clergy residence bill, to which their Lordships had made several amendments, in which they desired the concurrence of that House.
The Speaker informed the House that he had received a copy of ihe minutes taken at the Waterford election, and that he had issued his warrant that notice Mhould be inlcrted of the same in the London Gazette; and that the Sclect Committee, to whom the merits of the petition relpecting that election had been referred, do meet again on the 3 July next.
The Southern whale fishery bill was read a second time and ordered to be committed for the next day.
The militia field officers' augmentation bill was reported, ordered to be engrossed, and to be read a third time the next day, if then engrofred.
WOOLLEN MANUFACTURERS, Mr.Wilberforce rose to present a petition in behalf of a large body of persons interested in the woollen manufa&tures, and who composed a large portion of the industrious manufacturers of Yorkshire. The petition was of a nature which, in his opinion, deferved the serious attention of the House. The claule in the bill, respecting the use of machinery and apprentices, against which they wilhed to petition, the pe