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ciently appreciated. With respect to the future course of our financial regula tions, one great principle was, that we ought as much as possible to make our income and our expenditure commensurate; and he really thought, although it was alarming to find the conjectural estimate of our peace establishment rated so high as 19 millions, great savings might be made out of that sum. On the present vloe, however, all jealousy seemed to him to be superfluous. It would not tie the House down to any new system of taxation, or to any irrevocable amount of the peace establishment. Before he sat down he must, however, warn his right hon. friend and the House from being so misled as to expect that the proposed taxes would be permanently as productive as they might be in the first instance. With respect to those of excise, such as the tax on wine, they would according to repeated expe'rience occasion frauds on the revenue, and a diminished consumption; and as to the assessed taxes, it would, after a twelvemonth, be in the power of any master of a family to reduce them in his own case, and the general result would unquestionably be a considerable diminution of their produce. This system of taxation, therefore, could not be considered, as he considered the property-tax, a sound, solid, and permanent system of taxation.
Mr. Douglas objected to the confusion arising from the transfer of the ways and means of one year to the supply of another. He recommended to the right hon. gentleman to postpone any further proceeding on this subject until after Wednesday, as the explanations, which would then be given by a noble lord, would probably affect it materially. Certainly, if there was a time in which this country had a right to expect that she should be secured from being again engaged in continental warfare, it was the present; and we had an undoubted right to find that our representative at the Congress had so secured her. He had old prejudices enough left to entertain a horror at the thought of England's degenerating wholly into a military country. Every approach to such a state shook the foundations of our national character. He earnestly wished that the recollections of the war might be obliterated with the war itself, and that from a nation of soldiers we might become a nation of citizens, trusting to our energy and patriotism for defence against an enemy, should any
sudden occasion demand it. To principles almost obsolete he was anxious that we should return. The dictatorship, with which the Administration had for so many years been properly invested, ought to cease with the necessity by which it was required. Until he heard these doctrines acquiesced in, he must withhold his assent to all motions like the present.
Mr. Whitbread expressed his admiration of the sentiments of the hon. gentleman who had just spoken. The original and wholesome practice of the_constitution was, that the ministers of the Crown should first state to Parliament the whole of the supplies which were requisite, and then obtain the ways and means of providing for those supplies. Of late years, however, the budget had been brought forward by piecemeal (a system which originated with Mr. Perceval), so that the House never could have the whole system under review at one time. He admitted that circumstances might embarrass the right hon. gentleman as to his exact estimate of the peace establishment; but an easy remedy was, to delay further proceedings at present-at least to postpone them until the expected explanations of the noble lord, by throwing a light on the determi nations of Congress, should give the House an opportunity of judging of the probable results of its deliberations. He confessed he was not surprised at the eulogium which he had heard from the right hon. gentleman, and from an hon. gentleman on the floor (Mr. Bankes), on the property tax. Like all deceased personages, its vices had vanished from memory, and only its virtues remained. People were generally favourable to the dead; but it should be remembered that that tax was objectionable-not because it was a tax on property-but because it was impossible to divest its mode of collection from partiality and oppression intolerable in a free constitution. It should also be remembered that the property tax was not absolutely dead it only slept. The right hon. gentleman had wedded it to war. It would be up again if we were again involved in hostilities. And here he could not refrain from noticing the hint which had fallen from a noble lord and from the hon. gentleman on the floor. It was evident that in estimating the peace establishment at nineteen millions, a troubled state of things was contemplated, and perhaps the recurrence of bloody wars arising out of the proceedings of the Congress. But
the singular event of which we had very
sion irretrievable ruin to our manufactures,
Sir John Newport said, that his objection
The Chancellor of the Exchequer observed, that one of the resolutions was to continue all the war duties of excise, “with the exception of that on cotton imported in British shipping." The whole extent of his offending, therefore, was, that he did not propose to take off the duty on cotton imported in foreign shipping; the difference of expense on which to the manufacturer would not be above a halfpenny a pound.
Mr. Philips was proceeding to make some observations on the partial and oppressive nature of the proposed taxes, when
The Chancellor of the Exchequer observed, that with respect to one of those taxes, to which the objections of the hon. gentlemen were probably the most strong (the tax on windows), he intended to reserve it for further consideration, and for a revision of the schedule.
Mr. Philips repeated the statement of its being a duty of 5d. a pound.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that that was not the tax then under consideration.
Mr. Philips then adverted to the proposed duty on cotton, and remarked on the inconsistency of the right hon. gentleman, who no longer ago than last session had declared, that in the event of peace it would be impossible for our manufacturers to go on without a drawback, and who now imposed a duty of 5d. a pound on cotton wool imported in foreign vessels, and one penny a pound on cotton wool imported in British vessels! From any advantage proposed by this inequality, a countervailing duty on the part of the Americans would no doubt deprive us. To France the measure would be highly beneficial. In all the arrangements on this subject the interest of France seemed to be consulted, rather than those of this country. The right hon. gentleman's predictions on this subject with respect to France, had been completely falsified. No duty had been imposed in that coun-midable antagonist that the manufacturing try on the importation of cotton; and the interest of the country had ever met with. greatest protection was there afforded to The proposed system was so ruinous, that the cotton manufacture, at the very mo- he would give it the most determined opment that the right hon. gentleman was position in every instance. By it the devising every possible means to bring property tax would not merely be conours to ruin. The passing of the Corn tinued on the manufacturer-it would be Bill in that, House had already occasioned more than doubled. A manufacturer a serious alarm in the manufacturing dis- would now have to pay near 3,000l. a tricts of the country. Was it desirable at year, who had probably never been liable such a moment to propose measures the to a property tax of more than 1,0002. tendency of which was to increase dis- As to the difference between the duty on satisfaction? The hon. gentleman here cotton imported in British shipping and read extracts from a letter which he had cotton imported in foreign shipping, a received from a very intelligent indivi- countervailing duty on the part of the dual, resident in the manufacturing dis- American government would soon equatricts, in which it was declared that the lize it.. measures about to be pursued would occa
Mr. Finlay declared, that he considered the right hon. gentleman as the most for
Mr. W. Fuzgerald said, that the only
duty on cotton in Ireland was a permanent duty.
Mr. Elliot said, that in opposing the Inotion, he gave a vote which he was obliged to give, from the utter want of information to satisfy the House of the necessity of the taxes they were about to
The House then divided: For the motion, 95; Against it, 24; Majority 71.
The House then resolved itself into the committee.
HOUSE OF COMMONS. Tuesday, March 14.
DUTY ON COTTON.] Mr. Finlay presented a petition from the cotton-spinners and manufacturers of Glasgow, praying for a repeal of the duty on cotton, and stating that the drawback on cotton exported would be quite ineffectual. The hon. member, in presenting the petition, made some observations on the impolicy of the duty proposed to be laid on cotton imported in foreign ships. The effect of this, he observed, would be to make a depôt of cotton wool in Holland or France. American ships would be employed to bring the cotton from America to the continent, and British ships would be employed merely as lighters to transport it across the Channel. The American government would not be so neglectful as to fail to impose some countervailing duty on the exportation of cotton wool from that country, in British ships, so that, without benefiting either our navigation or our revenue, the duty would only tend to excite jealousy between the two countries. The progress of the cotton manufactories in France, Prussia, Saxony, and other continental countries, was such as to threaten an ascendancy in those articles, and to render it doubly impolitic to throw any additional burthens upon our manufacturers. It was his intention to move on some future day for a select committee to inquire into the state of the cotton manufactories, and to report their opinions
Ordered to lie on the table. Mr. Whitbread said, that in consequence of a communication from the noble viscount, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who was indisposed, he should defer his motion respecting our foreign relations, which stood for to-morrow, to Monday; and he hoped that, as he had stated the reason for his postponement, his motion on that day
would be allowed to take precedence of the orders of the day.
Mr. Horner asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when a copy of the treaty concluded with America would be laid before the House, and whether it was intended to accompany it with copies of the correspondence which took place in the course of the negociation at Ghent ?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, that the treaty would, no doubt, be laid before the House; but that he was not aware of any intention to present the papers alluded to by the hon. and learned gentleman, respecting the conduct of the negociations at Ghent.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
TAX ON WINDOWS OF MANUFACTORIES.] The Marquis of Lansdowne stated, that there was a subject to which he was desirous of calling their lordships attention without delay, with respect to which many petitions would have been presented, if the forms of the House had permitted it; he alluded to the tax which, from the votes on their table, they knew to be in contemplation in the other House, on the windows of warehouses and manufactories. With the strong opinion which he entertained of the injustice, impolicy, and inhumanity of this tax, he could not suffer the matter to pass without taking the earliest opportunity of calling the particular attention of their lordships to the subject. He was convinced that no modification that could be devised by the noble earl opposite and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, could render this a mode of taxation which ought to be resorted to. Without, however, entering now at length into the subject, he should merely observe, that it was impolitic, as light and air might be considered as part of the raw material in such manufactories,-that the tax was most unjust, because it had no connexion with the opulence of those on whom it was principally to fall; and that it was inhuman, because of the injurious effect which it must have on the health of those employed in the manufactories. It was well known that at best the crowding together so large a body of persons as were necessary in many manufactories, was far from being favourable to health; but the evil would be increased tenfold if the regulations on this subject, proposed in the Commons, were to pass into a law.
He hoped the noble earl and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would reconsider that part of their system of taxation, and feel it consistent with their duty and inclination to abandon this interference with the light and air in these manufactories. Being himself connected with a manufacturing county, he could speak on this point with the greater confidence. To the remainder of the taxes, in as far as they affected those articles which people would have an option whether to use or not, he saw no objection. He might have some doubt as to their productiveness: but he had no objection to them in any other point of view but to this tax on the windows of warehouses and manufactories, he was decidedly adverse, and he could not help stating, at this early opportunity, that in case the measure came to that House, it would meet with his decided opposition.
CORN BILL.] The Earl of Liverpool, in rising to move the second reading of this Bill, which proposed to legislate on a subject so delicate in its nature, and so deeply interesting and important to all classes of the community, said, he was desirous of having it understood, that the opinion which he had formed respecting it, was not one hastily taken up, but the result of long, anxious, and unbiassed consideration. He had been for the last three years revolving the subject in his mind, and looking at it in every possible light, and in all its bearings and consequences; he had read, with all the attention in his power, all the evidence which had been given on the question, and all the publica tions which had been given to the world, many of them of great value, on both sides; and he had done so certainly without any particular bias on his mind, either one way or the other. There were subjects on which perhaps any mind must be under some degree of bias, in favour of one view of the subject rather than another; but if there ever was a question on which his mind was totally destitute of all prejudice, completely free from any undue bias towards one particular view of it rather than another, this was that question. He begged pardon of the House for thus taking up its time on a point which might be considered as personal to himself; but such was the state of his mind with respect to the question now under their lordships consideration.
In attending, then, to this important
subject, the first view of it which presented itself was this-what was the situa tion of the country for which their lordships were now called upon to legislate ? The country was to be regarded, both as a great agricultural and a great commer cial country; and its power and opulence were founded upon and derived from, not one, but both of these sources. This ought to be carefully kept in mind, in considering the nature and consequences of the measure which he now proposed to their lordships for adoption. He said that it was carefully to be kept in mind, because it would show that we ought not to be too much influenced by any line of policy, with respect to this subject, which had been adopted by countries whose situation and circumstances were materially different from those of the country for which their lordships were now to legislate. The policy of importation had, as he was well aware, been adopted by many small republics, ancient and modern-small republics, such as Holland, Genoa, Venice, and others that might be mentioned. These had looked to foreign countries for their supplies of grain; and, as far as they were concerned, that policy might be perfectly sound and proper. But what was their situation? and what were the circumstances in which they were placed? They had risen by their commercial pursuits to a rank and opulence far beyond the proportion of their territorial extent or population. Their condition was such, that they could not have done so by the encouragement of agriculture. Their territory was limited to admit of the successful adoption of any such policy. Even their population was far beyond what could be supported by the produce of their lands; and the extent of their population, as well as their worth, power, and rank among nations, depended upon circumstances which rendered a large foreign supply indispensably necessary. It was impossible for them to feed their population without these supplies from abroad; and, therefore, a policy which should have for its object the raising at home as much grain as should be sufficient for the consumption of their own population, was totally out of the question. That population, though very large in proportion to their extent of territory, was but small when compared with that of the more considerable nations; and a policy which might be extremely fitting to be adopted
by a state whose population did not exceed a million or two millions, might be most unfit and improper for a nation whose population consisted of 10, 15, or 20 millions. A nation of the latter description could not suffer itself to be dependent on foreign supplies for the necessaries of life, without the most palpable impolicy and the greatest danger. In the case of a nation whose wealth and power were founded partly on agricultural industry, and partly on commercial industry, the obvious policy was to encourage both in a due proportion, and not to sacrifice the one to the other. The policy, then, of such a country as this was clearly-that both should be encouraged. His decided opinion was, that the commercial interests of the country ought not to be sacrificed to the agricultural; but with all due regard to the commercial interest,—and he had been educated in a school where he had been taught highly to value the commercial interest, he must also say, that the agricultural interest ought not to be sacrificed to the commercial. The obvious policy was, to pay attention to both in a due proportion. While he said this, however, he wished carefully to guard against its being supposed that these in terests were at all distinct from each other. On the contrary, he trusted he should be enabled before he sat down to show to demonstration that they were the same.
The general principle, supposing all nations, or at least the most considerable nations, to act upon it, was, that in these cases the Legislature ought not to interfere, but leave every thing to find its own level. In such a state of the world, it was perfectly clear that every nation ought to be left to prosecute without interference that particular species of industry for which, by its nature and condition, it was in all respects best adapted. Each nation could then purchase whatever commodities it might require, from those quarters where they could be raised and brought home at the cheapest rate, and of the best quality. If that system were to be adopted by all the considerable nations of the world, there could be no doubt but that it was the system which all must consider as the most proper and desirable. But, unfortunately, the period was not yet arrived when nations would have the wisdom to act upon any such system. It was unnecessary for him to tell their lordships, that the actual state of the world was very different from what it must be before any ( VOL. XXX.)
nation in particular could with safety rely upon such a line of policy. Then if such a system could not be pursued, when considered in connection with the regulations adopted by the several nations of the world, ought the principle to be acted upon by any individual nation's having regard to the different descriptions of industry presented within its own limits? That was a more doubtful question. But this at least he took to be clear, that no nation could so far act upon it without exceptions. He admitted that these exceptions ought to be as few as possible, that the legislative regulations ought to be as limited as the situation and circumstances of the nation could allow. But still exceptions there must be; and with respect to the system adopted by this country, he had only to request their lordships to look at the statute books, and see how numerous these exceptions were. The Legislature had been in the constant habit of interfering, and the plan had grown up and extended through so many ramifications, that it often became absolutely necessary to afford protection to one species of industry in order to prevent its falling a sacrifice to those descriptions of industry which otherwise would be more favoured. Many of these enactments might not have been deemed proper at a more advanced period; and if their lordships were now to begin on a new system, the course of legislation would in all probability be materially different; but these statutes had long been acted upon, and the condition of the country had in a great measure adapted itself to the system. Whatever might be their opinion of these measures, if they had been for the first time proposed, they must now take them as they stood, and legislate with a proper regard to the existing system, considered in all its bearings and relations. The nature and object of that system evidently had been to bolster up particular descrip tions of industry by a variety of protecting regulations. What was the state of their legislation with respect to their woollens, their cottons, their silks, their potteries, and a variety of other manufactures that might be mentioned? All these had been encouraged by high protecting duties, which in some cases amounted almost to a prohibition, so that foreign commodities of the same description were almost entirely excluded from the home market. While such had been the encouragement afforded to these branches of industry, their lordships would consider what would