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much mistaken, if the conftitution would not survive them buth. In replying to his obfervations on the intention of making the Land Tax perpetual, and rendering some tax that was permanent annual, the Right Honourable Gentleman, with his accustomed loftiness of tune, had asked, has not the Honourable Gentleman yet become fufficiently acquainted with the hiliory of Parliament, to know, that almost every session there is fome tax repealed, in order that another may be impored, while yet the faith of Parliament, as pledged to the publis creditur, remains untouched. It was true, the daily experie: ice of Gentlemen had caught them, that tax-laws were frequently repealed, and as for himself, he could not have been lo long in the habits of hearing the Right Honourable Gentleman without hearing also of repeals. The Right Honourable Gentleman had, indeed, a knack of turning about with uncommon agility, from one side of a measure to another, and without being fingularly pliant in his difpofition, he yielded with great readinoss to attempts at repealing a tax, provided a subliitute was as readily as proved of. But he was by no I.cans ready to adinit that the present was a case, which in its nature at all assimilated to that oher mentioned by the Rishi Honourable Gentleman. If indeed the consolidated fud had produced a surplus, the Righe Honourable Gentleman might do with it what he pleased, but certain he was, u at that fund did not then do more than barely mcet the charge upon it. He would ask then, whether, if in this situation, it would be right to render appuil whac had always been Curhidered perpetual, and on the good frich of which rested the cunfidence of the public creditor? Would it be faid, that 2,4000,cool. of the consolidated fund could be directed for the purpose of promoting this scheme without injuring public credit? It would be a violation of the faith of Parliament, and he could not admit that the proposed appr. pria:ion of the consolidated fund would be any check on the influence of the Crown, until the Right Honourable Gentleman had shewn that there was a surplus. In fine, from every view he could then haftily take of the subject, he was in his own mind perfuaded that the inconvenience arising to public credit now, from any excess of funded capital, would not be remcdied, but it would injure the public molt cruelly and unjustly.
Lord Sheffield said, it was true he had not troubled the Committee with his arguinent, and the reason was, that as it bad been (tegeited, that the measure would come before the House in a more comprehcnlive manner on Weonciday, he had reserved himself for that occafion Notwithstanding the powers of the Right Honourable Gentleman's cloquence, he had not 50
during the time he was in Parliament, altered his opinion of any measure which in his mind he had thought impolitic; and however he might be accused of warmth, he could not concede it to any man that it was in his nature to be petulantly warm, or in habits of entertaining animosity towards any one.
Mr. H. Browne conceived that the measure had every appearance of producing the most salutary effects, and was furprised to hear Honourable Gentlemen assert it would be of injurious tendency. The terms proposed, instead of bearing hard on the landholders, appeared to him to be, in fact, too advantageous. They were nut compulsory, and whether the landholders would accept them or not was entirely at their own option. The inability of landlords to avail themselves of the advantage held out to them, he could not admit. Their fituation was not so melancholy as stated. In the American war land fell down as low as 22 years purchase ; there was bcfides every symptom of decay in every other specics of property ; but now, with all our taxes, and not withitanding all our difficulties and dangers, it was at 28. Rentshad not fallen, nay, in fome instances they had risen, so that the landed interest had been very flightly injured. Landholders, therefore, had it ia their power to avail themselves of the proffered terms, which, he repeated, were very advantageous. And as to the funds, he would maintain, that it was impossible but they must rise when · the number of sellers were fewer, and of buyers more, which would be an effect produced by this Bill. He apologized for troubling the Committee, which, he said, he was induced to do, that the assertion of the Honourable Gentleman might not go out into the world uncontradicted, being determined to reserve himself for some future opportunity.
Sir Benjamin Hammett considered it a mistaken opinion, that the country was driven to the physical necessity of raising the supplies within the year. He knew the country had the ability to do it, and the exertion was worthy of a nation opposing the progress of a ferocious enemy. He did not, nevertheless, think the present a politic measure in every point of view; and, in- . stead of taking stock in payment of the Land Tax, he wilhed the Chancellor of the Exchequer had proposed that it should be paid for in hard cash. But while he threw out this hint, he was far from offering any opposition to a further increase of the Land Tax ; he already paid 500l. towards it, and would pay double that sum to promote the welfare and provide for the defence of the country. :
Sir William Pulteney was willing to agree that it was hi_hly proper that a sufficient delay should intervene between the proporal of the plan now submitted to the House and its ultimate
discussion, for it was of a magnitude and importance that called for a minute enquiry into its merits or defects, which inquiry could not be duly gone into without the subject having been fully and maturely examined. But though the present might not be the fittest moment for entering into that discussion, he saw no impropriety in any Gentleman's throwing out such objections to the plan, as, from the first view of it, might strongly press upon his mind, and this was the line of conduct which he himself was desirous to pursue; for though he would reserve the greater part of what he had to offer on the subject till. after he had more strictly scrutinized it, he would, in the mean time, express what was the impression which the speech of the Right Honourable Gentleman, who opened the business, had immediately made upon his mind. And, in the first place, he was very far from agreeing with that Right Honourable Genileman, that the measure now proposed by him would, if carried into execution, be attended with very beneficial effects, in relieve ing the present exigencies of the country, and adding to the refources which it required, in order to carry on with vigour and effect the arduous contest in which we were engaged. In his opinion, it would be attended with consequences of a totally contrary nature ; nor would he hesitate to dcclare, that, by adopting the plan now proposed to the Committee by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that Right Honourable Gentleman was going to make a very bad bargain for the country, which, far from promoting, would tend to defeat the very obje&ts he had in view. From what he had been able to collect from the speech in which the plan was explained to the Committee, it did not appear to him as if the Right Honourable Gentleman had viewed and taken in all the sides of it-it was a plan, indeed, which seemed to have much of splendour and magnificence in it, and this magnificence might acquire an additional swell from the powerful eloquence with which the Right Honourable Gentleman was in the habit of unfolding his plans to the House, but, however it might appear magnificent in its outline, it would not, on a deeper examination, prove to be very folid. There was a variety of topics, which, on a future occasion, he would touch on, and have discussed; but he was now bold to say, that the result of the plan was to sell a perpetual 5 per cent. He could not believe that the Right Honourable Gentleman would have ever thought it reasonable to propose to Parliament to raise money by a perpetual 5 per cent. for surely this mode of railing money differed in nothing from rai..ng money by a 5 per cent. ftock; it was even doubtful to him whether stocks would experience any rise by any quantity of stock being redeemed by this measure : focks were as low during the American war, as 5 C 2
they were now, vet our capital was not then so great : it might be said, but he would not believe it, that the wealth of the natior had since been doubled; but be that as it may, it was his opinion that the amount of capital did not influence the price of stocks; it was by the greater or less proportion of confidence roposed by the public in the security of Government, that the state of stocks was raised or depreffid; they had nothing at all to do with the amount of capital ; but for the present he had only to repeat, that the pian now proposed went to raise money on the very extraordinary terms of a perpetual 5 per cent.--it was therefore proper, that sufficient time should be given to the House thoroughly to examine the nature and tendency of this new and momentous measure, nor could he approve of the er. traordinary precipitancy of the Honourable Gentleman (Mr. H. Browne), who found every thing right and laudablc in the measure, though he had heard its mcri's discussed and descanted on only by the Right Honourable Gentleman who had just proposed it to the House.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer professed himself ready to improve his plan by any hints which might hereafter be thrown out by the worthy Baronet, or any other Honourable Member ; but at present he could not help expresling some surprise at the measure being found objectionable, as borrowing money by a perpetual 5 per cent. Surely the observation of the Worthy Baronet, that this was borrowing money at an higher rate than was ever proposed to Parliament, must appear an observation unworthy the acutencís and financial knowledge usually displayed by the Worthy Baronet. For this would be the case only while the stocks were at 50. The remainder of the Land Tax would bear a different price, in proportion as stocks migte atterwards rife. There was no question of a nominal 5 per cent. nor could it be proved that fo heavy a burden had not ever been entailed on the country; for borrowing money at present in the 3 per cent. would be entailing a perpetual 6 per cent. annuity on the nation; as to the quantity of stock not influencing its price, surely this was not confiftent with common observation, for the quantity of stocks, like that of every other commodity, must cateris paribus, mcre or less detriminc its price.
The Chairman then reported progress, and the Committee was ordered to fit again on Wednesday the 4th inst.
DEFENCE OF THE COUNTRY BILL. On the question being put for the third reading or this Bill,
Mr. Nicholls rofe. He said, that if in no former stage of the Bill he had nor given it opposition, it was because he had considered it was solely meant as a measure to enable his Majçíty more effcctually to provide for the safety of the country.
On the subject of danger the Minister was better informed than he could be, and to the giving the Crown the additional power afforded by this Bill,' he could have no objection, if used exclusively for the protection of this country ; but if under its authority, and relying on the additional force it was probably capable of bringing into the field, the regular regiments were sent to Ireland to keep up there the hellith spirit of coercion, which had long and fatally disgraced its Government, he would not give it his assent; he would do any thing rather to restore that unhappy country to tranquillity, convinced as he was in his own mind, that to persevere in coercion were to sever Ireland from the empire, and whatever it was that did so would be the destruction of this country. In America, the firmness of the people had opposed an impregnable barrier to the encroachments of a coercing Government, and the issue of that contest taught the world that fix millions of people fighting for their liberties were not to be awed into subjection by coercive measures. The Irish, like the Americans, were struggling to arlert their invaded rights, and maintain the dignity of their insulted, oppressed country. Coercion would not do Ministers must abandon the system. And for himself, though friendly to Parliamentary Reform, and anxiously desirous of peace, he confidered even the attainment of these great national benefits inferior in immediate importance to the restoration of tranquillity in Ireland.
[Here Mr. Ryder said, that any discussion of the affairs of Ireland would be totally irregular on a question such as that then before the House.]
The Speaker observed, that as long as the Honourable Member (Nicholls) confined himself to the original line of argument, which was, that if intended to defend this country, he would not oppose the measure, but if meant to enable Minisfers to send troops to Ireland, there to propagate a system which he thinks coercive, he would oppofe it, he would be perfectly in order, but it would be disorderly to enter into a general statement of the American war, and the conduct of former Minilters. The Honourable Gentleman must, thercfore, keep to his original line of argument, or, by abandoning is, oblige him to interrupt him.
Mr. Nicholls said, he believed he had been perfectly in order. The Bill contained a grant of additional powers. If those powers were wanted for one purpose, viz. the defence of the realm, he atsented to the grant: if they were wanted for another purpose, viz. the coercion of Ireland, he thought it his dury to resist the demand. The King had lost fix millions of subjects in America by the folly of former Ministers, who had