« 上一頁繼續 »
À ND fhould be heard by their counsel, franking was also another proper was generally reprobated; but be. plan for raising the revenue. It ing unconvinced by the arguments might be right that the letters to ftated in opposition to him, he put members of parliament should come the matter to the decision of the free; but they ought not, surely, house, and lost the question by a ma- to be indulged in the vanity of exjority of 178 to 15.
empting other men from paying A more general debate upon the their taxes. He stared, that the tax on receipts was now commenced abolition of the custom of franking, by fir Cecil Wray, who inveighed would produce (wenty thousand against it as a most partial expedient; pounds; and that an additional since it would affect the commercial penny on the postage of all letters, interest in a great degree, and be would be another proper source of hardly felt at all by the landed gen- revenue. He therefore moved, tlemen. It had excited a high alarm “ That the tax bill Mhould be reamong his constituents; and he had committed.” in his hand a petition against it fub- Mr. secretary Fox declared, that fcribed by nearly four thousand it was very disagreeable to him to names. Yielding therefore to their vote in opposition to a respectable instructions, as well as to the con- body of his constituents, who had viction of his own mind, he urged instructed him to employ his endeahe house to reject it, and to prevail vours to prevent the tax on receipts. with the chancellor of the Exche. He was, notwithstanding, convinced quer to substitute a tax in its place in his own mind, that the objecless oppressive and obnoxious. The tions they entertained against the tax, tax on receipts was not properly a were founded in a misapprehenfion tax on the rich. It affected most of its nature, and that it included the middling ranks of men, and within its bosom no real cause for was laid very partially. It would alarm. Accordingly, while some of fall fo heavily upon some traders, his constituents were hostile to it, that it would subject them annually there were others of them who be. to a fum not less than two hundred stowed upon it their fincere appropounds. It was a general prin- bation. With regard to himself, ciple, that all taxes Mould have a however, he had uniformly dereference to the expenditure or the clared it as his sentiment, that a reconfumption of the person or the ar- presentative was not bound in all ticle taxed. Now this tax was imposed cases to sacrificd his own judgment to so unequally, that while it would be the instructions and opinions of his felt feverely by fome orders of men, constituents. And, perhaps, there it would touch others very flightly. was no object whatever of parlia. He thought, that instead of a tax mentary confideration, in which a that would clog all money transac- representative was less bound to obey tions, it would he a wiser expedient to the directions of his constituents, lay an additional land-tax. He con- than on the topic of a tax. A tax tended, that the land-tax, so far was ever argued upon with improfrom being too high, was, in rea- priety withour doors. In that house liry, too low. This doctrine might it was understood the moft clearly. be unpopular in the house, but it The people argued from what they was folid, and not to be controvert. individually felt, and not upon prin. ed. The abolition of the right of ciples. But the members of the house accustomed to business de- then contributes equally with every bated the merit of a tax compara- other person to almost every other tively, and took in the idea that a tax. The abolition of the privi. tax productive to a certain amount ledge of franking might doubtless must be imposed. It could judge of be thought of with propriety; buti two taxes, whether they would be ever it should become a subject of con. more or less burthensome, and could fideration to the commons, it would give the preference definitively and be wrong to retain the priviledge in with judgment. It was in this view any degree. The letters to the of the tax upon receipts that the members of parliament ought to house had bestowed upon it their be taxed as well as those to every fanction. It was always upon this other person. If the abolition was ground of comparison that taxes to be made at all, it ought to be towere to be judged of. It was not tal, and without reservation of any proper to inflame the people without kind. doors about them, to pronounce The tax on receipts was in every them to be absolutely bad, and to respect fair and right. It was so foment discontents and clamour. constructed as to guard the poor
To obtain petitions against a tax from oppression. Even to the rich including a great variety of names it offered no compulsion. It was was very casy, and very immate- optional, and therefore a tax upon rial: no fure argument could be luxury; for a receipt was a matter founded upon a practice of this fort. for which there was no absolute neAfter a clamour has been raised cessity. He could not perceive that without doors against a tax, a meet. this tax was open to any one reasoning of individuals who are affected able or substantial objection. by it is called. The persons com- Mr. Beaufoy conceived that as posing this meeting, even if they the provision of taxes for supplywere not affected by the tax, are ing the necessities of the state was the improper judges of it. But being most difficult of all the duties of a concerned to escape from it, and minifter, the raising of obstructions having their own interest solely in to them could only be justified by view, resolutions are proposed to the most urgent and forcible conti. them which they greedily swallow. derations. At the same time it was A petition is drawn up the per- just and right that the house should fons agreeing to the resolutions fub. cbtain every possible information' fcribe it, and it is carried about to with regard to the taxes. In the be subscribed by other persons of prefent case it onght to enquire inthe same description. What is this to the probable effects of the bill. but to trifle with public affairs ? and As the trustees of the people it ought to be strenuous to faften an unme- to examine it with minute and anxi. rited odium upon ministers? To ous attention.
The payments of encourage such plans is the buli- every man should be in proportion neli of faction, folly, and idleness. to his wealih; and no class of in
To increase the land-iax was of dividuals should be selected froin the all projects the most violent and ab- mais of the people to be made the furd. It was agreed upon every objects of a severe or peculiar opo hand that this tax was of all others prefTion. the most partial. For the land. Upon its face the tax under conholder first pays for his land; and ideration has indeed an air of in 1783.
partiality. partiality. But the citizens of Lon. Quillings per annum. But it will don have pronounced it to be par- turn out very differently with the tial to extremity; and that while its merchant and trader. Commercial burdens will hardly be felt by the houses in the city of London will landed interest, it will weigh down pay' to this tax from ten pounds to the commercial with a heavy op two hundred a year; an expence preflion. To the country gentle. that is oppressive and most unequal. man it operates as a tax upon in- It is a rule of policy, that every cume; and not on the property from individual should contribute to the which that income is derived. It is neceilities of the state, in propor. a tax upon the two thousand pounds tion to the revenue he enjoys under a year which he spends; and not its protection. This rule has a deep on the fifty thousand pounds which foundarion in the nature of civil somake up the value of his eítate. ciety, and in the iminutability of Now to a person in trade it is a tax juftice. It might be asked, there upon the whole amount of his capi- fore, with propriety, what have the tal; for his capital, or at least the merchants and traders done, that greatest part of it, is laid out by they fhould be excluded from the him in the course of the year. If benefit of this rule. To oppress therefore he thould employ fifty them is individually an insult to thousand pounds in his bufiness, the them; and it acts as a stab to comtax will operate upon the whole of merce. It muft bring down ruin that sum; and he will pay towards upon the trade and manufactures of it twenty-five times more than the the kingdom. country gentleman who has an equal The people appeal against the fortune.
tax, not only to the justice, but to By the spirit of the act every gen. the humanity of the house. After tleman may at his pleasure throw having borne with patience the burthe expence of the tax upon his dens of a cruel and unnecessary war, tradesman. He will say to him, they beg not to be subjected to a tax “ If I pay you this bill you must more ruinous and cruel than any give me a legal discharge." The which they have hitherto endured. tradesman may indeed say, “ It is The merchants in particular, after you who must provide the stamp.” having contributed beyond their But the gentleman might reply to proper proportion in suitaining the him, “ It is enough for me that I weight of a most expenfive war, pay you the money : I cannot take infift not to be fingled out as the obthe trouble of providing you with jects of a peculiar and refined opstamps ; and if you disturb me with preffion. They alk not for any inyour impertinence, I must give my dulgence. They are willing to sufcustom to those who are worthy of tain the Phare that belongs to them it." The tradesman is, undoubt. in the taxes of their country; but edly, in a situation where he must they solicit that no double portion submit, or endanger his ruin. Now may be forced upon them. After fince the expence of the stamp must suffering calainities, they deprecate fall on him who gives the receipt, the wantonness of oppression. They what will a country gentleman pay defire to be trcated as men, and not for the receipts he is to give to his to be insulted as flaves. They are tenants ? The question is obvious. ready to submit to a just aftesment He will not pay more than forty of their means, But they must re
monstrate against injustice, and can- gulation. The question for the renot bur recollect that they ought to commitment of the bill was lost be governed by the equality and the without a division ; and upon the virtue of a free state, and not the third reading it was passed. caprice and the violence of a matter In the house of peers petitions a. , or a despot.
gainst it were presented by merNotwithstanding the objections chants and traders, and by the city which were made to the receipt-tax, of London ; but these obstructions it appeared to the generality of the were unavailing; and there it was house to be a wife and falutary re- agreed to without any amendment.
CH A P. XVII.
Reduction of the Army. Eftimates. New Army Regulations. Bill for taking
away the Right of Compounding for the Duty on Malt made for private Consumption. Petition of the American Loyalifts. Bill for their Relief “HE house of commons being fer strong battalions thinly officered,
difpofed to take into consider- or thin battalions strongly officered. ation the army estimates for the re- The point had undergone a scrumainder of the current year, colonel tiny and attentior; and as he beFitzpatrick, the secretary ac war, lieved that a private foldier was very
intimated that it was a plea- foon formed when placed among June 13. fing circumstance to him
veterans ; but that it was a difficult to have it in his power to announce matter to form an officer; he was the intention of his majesty to make firmly inclined to prefer thin bata very confiderable reduction in his talions strongly officered.
Upon army. No more than fixty-four this way of thinking, a determinaregiments of infantry were to be tion had been taken to reduce the kept on foot, excepting out of this companies from ten to eight, except regulation the fixty-fifth and the in the guards and household troops. fixty-eighth regiments, which were
At the same time it was proposed to be upheld in the room of two re- that the captains of the two reduced giments now in India, in the pay companies should remain in full pay. of the Company. The cavalry He also adverted to a faving which also were to be greatly reduced. would be made in consequence of an The principle of these reductions intended conversion of two regiwas economy.
But while it was ments of heavy dragoons into light right to consult this principle in the horse, for the purpose of giving afpresent condition of the empire, it fiftance in the prevention of sinugivas no less expedient to proceed up- gling. Upon the reduction of the on it with a due confideration to the force beyond the fea, he was not lafety of the country. On this prepared to advance any resolutions ground it was proper to rest and to or opinion. The regulations, howe pause; and a question very natural- ever, which were about to take ly presented itself, whether in a re- place in the army, might produce a duction it was most eligible to pre- laving to the amount of one hun
dred thousand pounds. He moved ing the charge of five provincias accordingly the following refolu. corps formed in North America, tions.
for 183 days, from the 25th day “ That a number of land forces, of April 1783 to the 24th day including two thousand and thirty of October following, both inclu. invalids, amounting to feventeen five. thousand four hundred and eighty. " That a fum, not exceeding two three effective men, commission and hundred and five thousand five hunnon-commiflion officers included, bedred forty-two pounds, and twelve employed from the 25th day of June fhillings, be granted to his majesty 1783, to the 24th day of Decein- for maintaining his majesty's forces ber following, both inclusive, being and garrisons in the plantations and 183 days.
Africa, including those in garrison “ That a fum not exceeding at Gibraltar, for 183 days, from three hundred and eight thousand the 25th day of June 1783 to the two hundred seventy-seven pounds, 24th day of December following, fix shillings and three-pence be grantó both inclufive, ed to his majesty for defraying the " That a sum, not exceeding eight charge of 17,483 effective men, for thousand one hundred thirty-seven guards, garrisons, and other his pounds, and cight Millings, be grantmajesty's land forces in Great Bri: ed to his majesty for defraying the tain, Guernsey, and Jersey, for charge of full pay to the commis283 days, from the 25th day of fioned officers reduced with the ninth June 1783 to the 24th day of De- and tenth companies of several recember following, both inclusive. giments of foot, for 183 days, from
" That a fum, not exceeding for the 25th day of June 1783 to the ty thousand two hundred forty-one 24th day of December following, pounds and fourteen shillings, be both inclusive. granted to his majesty for defraying " That a fum, not exceeding eighs the charge of eight battalions of thousand one hundred thirty-one foct for 183 days, from the 25th pounds, thirteen Chillings, and eight day of June 1783 to the 24th day pence, be granted to his majesty for of December following, both inclue the pay of the general, and generat five.
staff-officers in Great Britain, for 183 “ That a sum, not exceeding one days, from the 25th day of June hundred thirty-fix thousand eight 1783 to the 24th day of December hundred eighty-eight pounds, eleven following, both inclusive." thillings, and fix pence, be granted to These resolutions were agreed to his majesty upon account for defray. without difficulty, and the coming the charge of his majesty's forces mons soon after considering that the serving abroad, exceeding the pro- ferjeants of the army were a meriposed establishment for 183 days, torious body of men, concurred in from the 25th day of June 1783 to opinion that two hundred of them, the 24th of December following, who were infirm, should be admirboth inclusive.
ted to the king's letter lift. By this “ That a fum, not exceeding bounty one Thilling per day was thirty-eight thousand pounds, four- now to go to four hundred men who teen Millings, and three-pence, be had spent their lives in the fervice granted to lis majesty for defray- of the public; and whose infirmi