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ending on the 5th of January, were made | In 1815, 6,500,000l. was raised in Engup on that day. The House knew very land, at 71.4s. 7d. per cent. ; and 2,000,0002. well, that the joint accounts were not set- in Ireland, at 6l. ss. id. And in 1814, tled at that period, and, therefore, any 5,958,000l. was raised in England, at arguments or calculations founded upon 51. 18s. 9d., and 3,000,000l. in Ireland, at that supposition, must be erroneous. He 5l. 11s. 9d. [Mr. Bankes seeming to begged, in the first place, to observe, that doubt the accuracy of the latter stateof this sum of 6,100,000l., 3,500,000l. re- ment], Mr. Fitzgerald said, he was quite mained in the Exchequer of Great Britain, certain that he was correct; because, applicable to the uses of the contribution though for the reason he had before account, and 2,000,000l. surplus remained stated, he had not brought all the neces in Ireland, to be remitted to this country sary documents down to the House, he on further account. Every exertion had recollected perfectly well having called been made to accomplish remittances to the attention of the House, last year, to this country, on account of the debt due this extraordinary circumstance, of the on contribution account; but it had been Irish Loan having been borrowed on lower found impossible to make remittances to terms than the English, notwithstanding a greater extent than 1,250,000l. without the legal rate of interest in Ireland was injuriously interfering with the mercantile one per cent. higher than it was in Engconcerns of Ireland. When his right hon. land. The entire charge, therefore, for friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, these years, was, in 1812, 422,000/-in last year, stated the English Budget, he 1815, 595,000l.-and in 1814, 521,000l., estimated the whole contribution of Ire- making an aggregate, for the three years, land at 8,700,000!,; but in point of fact, of 1,540,000l. The estimate of the the charge was 10,500,000l., exceeding taxes, to meet this charge, was, in 1812, the estimate by 1,800,000l.; and that sum, 468,000/-1813, 600,000l.; and, in 1814, the hon. gentleman had conceived himself 535,000l., amounting to 1,605,000l. He warranted in classing as a part of the had no objection to meet the hon. gentledebt due by Ireland to Great Britain, for man on the ground he had taken, either which provision should have been made, with respect to the nature of the taxes, or although the hon. gentleman ought to have the pace they had kept with the bur been aware, that the knowledge of this thens of the country. The increase of the additional charge could only be derived revenue in 1815, over that of 1812, was from the documents which had been laid 1,561,900l. The estimate of the taxes upon the table a few days ago, containing was 1,603,000l., the deficiency, therefore, the accounts of the expenditure of each was but 230,000l.; and, as in the produce country. Instead, therefore, of a defi- which he had stated, credit was only given ciency of 6,100,000l., as stated by the to him for six months, of the taxes laid on hon. gentleman, there was, in point of by him last year, he had a just right to fact, a deficiency only of 800,000l.; and assume, that the other half-year's produce had it not been for an excess of expen- would be 267,000l., which would yield an diture over estimate, there would have exceeding of nearly 40,000l. been a surplus of nearly 1,000,000l.
The hon. gentleman then adverted to the loans raised for Ireland within the last three years, which, he said, had been raised at 7 per cent.; he then stated the amount of the tax raised to pay the interest, in which, he said, there was a deficiency of 400,000l. in the same period as the provision ought to have been 1,600,000l., and actually produced but 1,200,000l. He would take upon himself to convince the hon. gentleman, that he was completely mistaken on both those points. In the year 1812, 4,700,000l. was raised in England, at a charge, including the sinking fund, of 71. Os. 9d. per cent.; and a loan was raised in Ireland of 1,500,000l. at the lesser charge of 61. 4s.
He begged to observe, that he should not have been surprised if the new taxes had been unproductive last year, because they frequently were so, not only in Ireland, but in England also, the first year they were laid on. Besides, in Ireland the sources of taxation were so narrow, that individuals were frequently able to anticipate the taxes that were to be imposed, and were consequently enabled very much to diminish the receipt of the tax for a certain period after it was imposed. The hon. gentleman had animadverted upon the materials upon which the taxes in Ireland were imposed; they were, he said, almost always the same, such as the duties on spirits, sometimes raised, sometimes lowered, tobacco, stamps; and
we had last year, said the hon. gentleman, | in preference. So much for 1812.-In a schedule of the customs. In his enu- 1813, the taxes were on tobacco, excise meration of the articles of taxation, the upon leather, assessed taxes, postage, hon. gentleman had totally omitted the and malt. There was not one of those very great augmentation which had taken taxes that had not exceeded the estimate, place in the assessed taxes, and it was particularly the malt-duty. There was, some consolation to him to find, that at the same time, a duty of 6d. upon what had been represented as one of the spirits, which was pressed upon him by most objectionable of his taxes was so the representatives of Ireland, and necessoon forgotten. But was the House aware sarily concurrent with the increased duty that what the hon. gentleman had passed on malt. Last year there was the "scheso slightly as a mere regulation of the dule of the customs;" but the hon. gentleCustoms, was, in fact, no less than the man said, there were spirits again-there important measure of equalizing the whole was so, but the hon. gentleman knew of the Custom-duties of Ireland to those very well the circumstances under which of Great Britain-a measure more exten- it was imposed-he knew that it was done sive than ever had been adopted in Eng- to remove, if possible, the jealousies and land, and by which the Custom-duties were apprehensions of the distillers of England, made permanent in Ireland, as in England, and to do away objections that had been and all the English war-duties were thereby urged to the intercourse of spirits, to adopted in that country. The House, he which Ireland is entitled under the Act of hoped, would forgive him for going into Union. There was a paper, to which this detail, because no one could have the hon. gentleman might have had acsupposed that what the hon. gentleman cess, as it had been laid before the Comhad lightly spoken of as a schedule of the mittee of Finances, up stairs. The statecustoms, was really such a measure as he ments in that paper were of a most satishad now described. He did not arrogate factory nature, and with the permission to himself any credit for having brought of the House, he would read some extracts forward that measure, because he had from it, to show the inaccuracy both of merely discharged his duty; but surely, the hon. gentleman's statements and of if any man had ever departed from that his conclusions. system, which the hon. gentleman had reproached him with, of not looking difficulties in the face, and making exertions to meet the pressure of the day, he had done it in the instance to which he alluded.
Mr. Fitzgerald then stated, that the produce of malt in 1802, was 116,000l.— in 1811, 348,000l.—and in 1814, 566,000l. He would not trouble the House with going through all the small articles contained in that paper, but merely touch upon the leading ones. Spirits, in 1802, produced 270,000l.-in 1811, 685,000/
With respect to spirits, he could not help observing that the observations which had been made upon this subject at dif-in 1814, 1,575,000l. Tobacco, in 1802, ferent times, were extremely inconsistent. gave 140,000/-in 1811, 311,000l.-in When a right hon. friend of his (Mr. 1814, 504,000l. Hearth-money had inFoster) had proposed to diminish the duty creased from 32,000l., in 1802, to 64,0001. on spirits, it was objected to as being cal- in 1814. The Assessed-taxes had been culated to injure the health, and to de- doubled, quadrupled, and quintupled. moralize the people, by making spirits The Servants duty had been increased cheap. When the duties were afterwards fourfold. Windows, in the last three raised, partly in consequence of the re- years, had been increased 100,000l. Withcommendation of a committee for the out going into more details, he should purpose of encouraging the use of malt only observe, that many thousand inliquor in Ireland, objections were again stances had occurred, in which articles made, and he thought rather inconsis- had been brought to charge under the tently, and so thought an hon. gentleman assessed taxes, which had never been opposite to him (Mr. Wilberforce), who made productive before; and he would now cheered the hon. gentleman, and show, when he came to state his budget supported him, who was himself a member to the House, improvements which had of that committee, and who, on the occa- been made in the collection of taxes, sion alluded to, supported the increase of which were absolutely unexampled. duty on spirits, on the principle of encouraging the consumption of malt-liquor
He would now, with the permission of the House, proceed to state the amount
of the revenues in the three years which the hon. gentleman had selected for his particular animadversion. In 1813, it was 6,016,448/-in 1814, 6,160,190.and, in 1815, 6.716,0564-[Mr. Bankes said, across the House, "gross revenue?"] -Certainly he was speaking of gross revenue; and he was perfectly justified in so taking it; for the propositions of the joint contribution were founded upon the gross, not the net revenue. The hon. gentleman had repeatedly noticed the difference of the expense of the collection of the revenue in the two countries: in Ireland it was above 14 per cent., whereas, in England, it was little more than 6 per cent. That was true; but the reason must be obvious to any one who considered the different amount of the revenues of the two countries. In the one they were about 65 millions, and in the other about six millions. A moment's reflection must convince the House, that the expense of collection must be greater in Ireland, where, though the sum to be collected was smaller, yet the establishment was nearly as large as it was in Great Britain, and the number of the persons employed nearly as great. But if the revenues of Ireland were to be increased three-fold, the collection would remain the same, and then they would be raised at less than 5 per cent., and, therefore, cheaper than they were collected in Great Britain. The hon. gentleman had of course fallen into a similar fallacy with regard to the Property-tax, which he said was not above 21. 3s. 5d. per cent. But the hon. gentleman and the House must be aware, that a very large proportion of the Property-tax was collected without any expense at all, he meant that which was deducted from the dividends paid at the Bank. Besides, it was to be recollected, that in England, the commissioners were not paid.
that purpose, without any interference or aid of the military. The mistake of the hon. gentleman, he supposed, was founded upon the circumstance of the military being employed in putting down illegal distillation, and in assisting to apprehend persons who had violated, or were violating the penal law of the country. Outrages certainly had been committed in particular cases, and resistance had been offered; but it was when attempts were made to seize illegal stills, and not when the civil officers were collecting the revenue. He did not mean to conceal facts from the House, or to deny that great outrages had at various times been committed. He did not wish to hide the dark side of the picture; the people of Ireland had enough to be proud of; they were known to be gallant, generous, and brave; and those very disorders which every one lamented, might be the ebullitions of minds, more ardent and less cultivated perhaps than yours, but possessing some of the finest sentiments that adorn human nature. I think, said the right hon. gentleman, I know my country; and if the hon. mover was acquainted, in the slightest degree, with our wishes or our feelings, he would not have described us as he has done to the House to-night. But will not the House require some more data to proceed upon, before they adopt the hon. gentleman's proposition? He repeated-of that proposition he meant not to complain, he felt every respect for the quarter from which it proceeded, and for the public motives by which it was dictated; but had the hon. gentleman formed even the vague estimate of what the produce of this tax in Ireland might be, if we were to proceed upon any of those grounds upon which the Union proportion of contribution had been calculated; and he had no difficulty in saying, that erroneous as he believed them to be, as the measure of our expenditure, or of our means, they would be found still more fallacious as a scale of the respective income or property of the two islands; yet, adopting that proportion for the sake of argument only, the produce of a property-tax in Ireland, taking the highest relative produce which had ever been yielded in Great Britain, the produce from Ireland at 2-17ths would be (he would state it generally) in amount, 1,600,000l. The hon. gentleman would bear in mind, and it must not escape the recollection of the House, that this was
He thought it right here to advert to a mistake into which the hon. gentleman had fallen-a mistake, however, in which it was highly important, that neither the House nor the hon. gentleman should for a moment continue. The hon. gentleman had stated, that the military in Ireland were employed in the collection of the revenue, and particularly that which was raised upon the distillers. Nothing could be more unfounded than that statement of the hon. member. The revenue in Ireland, of every kind, was raised by the civil officers, employed for
giving credit to Ireland for a collection | absentees at the annual sum of 3,000,000. of the tax in the first year of its applica- He was sure that he was warranted in tion, under circumstances of difficulty, estimating it at this sum. The tax rewhich he would advert to by-and-bye, as ceived upon Irish rents in the Exchequer accurate, as vigilant, and perfect as the of England, was 300,000l. This sum, experience of sixteen years, and the en- then, was to be deducted from the gross actment of successive laws, had made it produce which was expected from the in Great Britain. If he were to compare duty on Irish property; for he did not the probable produce of this duty in suppose that the hon. gentleman would, if Ireland, with that which it had yielded his principle was to be extended to Ireland, in Great Britain on its first introduction propose that this portion of the duty should there, he need not tell the hon. gentleman remain in the British Treasury; if he did 2-17ths would not aid him much in pro- so, and thus charge the Irish landlord viding ways and means for this single year, twice over, it would, indeed, be the most for which he had been good enough to effectual absentee tax that could be sugundertake for him to find a supply ;-but gested :-that which he (Mr. Fitzgerald) what further, Sir, was to be deducted had thrown out as feasible in the last year, from this sum of a million and a half, was but a trifle to it; and yet gentlemen which we thus hope to receive ?-first, the had then started, even at the spectre of a Property-tax now paid in this country by tax, which would have affected the land Irish proprietors resident in Great Bri- of the absentee. But, to return-300,000%. tain. It is difficult to estimate, and im- per annum was to be deducted on this possible to ascertain the amount of that head: there was another deduction to be absentee property, which thus contributes made also, and we could get more accuto the British exchequer. In the year rately at the grounds of that; the divi1804, the state of the exchanges between dends upon that portion of the Irish debt, Great Britain and Ireland, which had which had been created in this country, risen to an inordinate height against Ire- and of which the interest was payable land, were brought, by a right hon. friend here, were already subjected to the Proof his (Mr. Foster), under the considera-perty-tax; and thus the resources of Iretion of a committee of that House. It land were made to contribute to that was many years before he (Mr. Fitzgerald) amount of British duty which had been bad the honour of a seat in it; but he re- stated. That is, either her means had collected it was in evidence before that paid you so much, or provision had been committee, stated by a gentleman who is found for it in these successive loans which since deceased, a man of ability and ex- had now become her permanent charge. tensive information, (he meant Mr. Paget, The amount of our funded debt in Great whose house was then, as it is now, under Britain on the 5th of January last, was his successor, Mr. Bainbridge, the prin- 94,000,000l.; he hoped this year would not cipal medium of remittance between add much more than ten millions. The Great Britain and Ireland, as well of pri- interest payable in Great Britain on that vate remittance, as of all those sums debt, was upwards of 4,000,000l.; but alwhich are sent over on account of the lowing for that portion of the debt which Irish Treasury)-it was stated by him, and was redeemed, he might state the amount he (Mr. Fitzgerald) had reason to think of Property-tax thus received from Ireunderstood, that the remittances of ab- land, at 300,000l. more. You thus resentees rents alone amounted to 2,000,000l.ceive on her debt as much as from the annually. If we considered the great absentee proprietors. Your estimated increase of the number of our absentees, produce, then, in Ireland is reduced to which was natural, and of which, what- 1,000,000l. Did the hon. gentleman proever might be the local effect in the coun- mise-did he even hope, that in the first try which they left, it would be idle in year of its application, in any year of its him to complain, for it was out of our application, the collection of that duty power to control it-if we considered could be made as effectual, or the duty itself further the great increase which the hon. relatively as effectual as the experience gentleman was justified, he admitted, in of years had made it in Great Britain? stating, as an additional ground of the motion which he had submitted, in the rent and value of our lands, it would not be too much to estimate the remittances to (VOL. XXX.)
He was ready to do justice to the public spirit of the English nation, to that spirit which had carried the country though the greatest contest in which any country had (3 K)
ever been engaged; that spirit, he knew, was not extinct; and if we were again to assume the proud character which in the last war we had sustained, not less by the firm perseverance of the people, than by the successes of those armies whom a Wellington led, we should find, in that public spirit and constancy, which all classes of society had manifested, resources for the contest-far, far beyond what a measure of finance could give, or any revenues, from either country, though they had been called war's sinews, and were no contemptible weapons of war. But while he admitted all this-while he admitted that public spirit which he was convinced, in many instances, would not evade the fair, the legitimate, the lavish contribution to the public exigency; yet, had we not heard hon. gentlemen, even while approving the principle, yet complaining of its inquisitorial power? Upon what ground does my right hon. friend (Mr. Vansittart) resist the modifications which are so earnestly proposed, but that it is his duty to guard against those evasions which, even in England, would be attempted-which in every country would be attempted, and which, if the hon. gentleman would prevent in Ireland, he must give us something more than his naked resolution-something more than a mere assertion of principle;-he must show us that assimilation is not only good, but will be productive in a greater degree, than the application of any other principles is likely to prove. But, how productive? By what machinery does he propose that his duties are to be collected? Does he expect to find a class of men corresponding to those who act as commissioners of the Property-tax in that part of the United Kingdom with which he is acquainted, who are to be our unsalaried commissioners? To whom, said the right hon. gentleman, are we to confide this inquisition of a people? I would rather dwell with pleasure on those traits of national character, of which, as an Irishman, I am proud, than on that state of our society, than on those habits of our gentry, those unhappy feelings which religious and political differences have produced, and any or all of which leave us without that body of persons, who in England discharge so many important duties, and to whom none are, confided more important than this. But, Sir, look at your own Acts; look at the complicated machinery which you employ, look at
the corrected failures of one system, and the anticipated failure of another-in the first instance, the commissioners of your Land-tax to be commissioners of this Act, and to be chosen at a general meeting convened by the sheriff; the hon. gentleman is perhaps not aware that we have no persons in Ireland corresponding with them-yet these, Sir, are to choose commissioners, from whom I know not. I will not weary the House with the enumeration in the detail, but I think there are 57 cases of commissioners enumerated in the different Acts. I do not now refer to this as a further illustration of the inexpediency, of the absurdity, I had almost said, of creating this fabric for even a single year. I do not desire or wish to prove further than I have already done, how ridiculous it would be to enact for this year, to take as the source of that revenue which ought to flow into the Exchequer before that year is elapsed, a system of complicated operation, which it would take three years of industry equal to the hon. gentleman's, and of a zealous desire to collect Irish revenues, not less than his, to make available or productive: but I refer to this, to show that all the revenue which the hon. gentleman would thus collect, is not to be considered as clear gain. I believe he has more than once adverted to the expense of the collection of our revenue: I hope he will find in many branches of it, that since I have had the honour of adminis tering that department, that expense has been diminishod. At the same time it is inevitably greater than the example of Great Britain would lead those who are unacquainted with the subject to expect: but what is to be the expense of these new establishments in Ireland?—At least, we do not desire what I have seen some of the public prints impute to my right hon. friend (Mr. Vansittart), as his motive for continuing the tax in England-this multiplication of new appointments, those armies of well-paid commissioners and assessors, whom the hon. gentleman, contrary to his ancient principles of economy, would create. In a word, Sir, the expense would interfere seriously, indeed, with the hon. gentleman's project, however plausible it may seem. I am convinced, that, after the deductions which I have stated-after allowing for the expense which would attend its collection, the residue would not only not supersede the necessity of a great loan, would not only not