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would produce two millions per annum more than those articles at present afford.
Now if a faithful collection of the excise duties alone, and that too on four articles only, would produce two' millions a year more than those articles afford at present, surely the House will be far indeed within the bounds of truth, when they fay that a faithful collection of all the excise duties, and of all the customs, would annually produce that increase of two millions. The truth, then, of this part of the resolution being indisputably establiilied, I cannot but indulge the hope that it will be adopted by the House; and I am the more anxious that it should be so, from-a belief that the public will then draw from it two conclusions, both of them unquestionably just, and, in these desponding times, of great consequence to the public credit of the kingdom. The one is, that except in a "Very few trifling instances, the failure in the revenue that has bet;;; so much talked of and so much lamented, is a failure in the collection of the duties, not in the consumption of the people.
The other conclusion is, that there is good reason to believe that the income of the State may be made co-extensive ^with its wants.
But it is not alone to the public credit of the kingdom that the effects of this resolution are confined; for it involves in it considerations of the highest moment to the manufacturing interest, to the interest of our commerce, to our naval strength, and to the general energy of Government. At present a considerable part of the community, perhaps the most active and the most enterprising part, are employed, not in adding to the riches of the State by their, manufactures, or the tillage of the soil, not in improving her commerce or increasing her naval strength, but in exporting the specie of the nation in return for the manufactures of France, or for the produce of the East Indies, imported in the ships of foreign companies, who obtain by this means the advantage of supplying half the consumption of the English market ; an advantage, by the way, without which thole foreign companies could not continue to exist. They arc often employed too in combating the ships, and waging war on the servants of the Government. Powerful from their numbers by land as well as by tea'(for a single gang sometimes consists of joo men) and armed for the * Vol. XIII. P contest,
4 contest, they have established a law of the strongest, on the ruins of every other law.
If from natural honesty, or a fense of the obligations of his oath, an officer attempts to discharge his duty, injuries and insults, and in many instances loss of life are his sure reward. Cruelties the most savage sometimes mark their proceedings. One officer was taken from his bed, and in his own house, in the presence of his family, was deliberately murdered; others maimed or disabled, cripples for life, are become warnings to the honest to' beware of doing their duty. With such dangers before him, the officer is compelled to acquiesce in the commission of frauds, which no courage on his part can successfully oppose, no diligence is able to prevent; nor can we be surprised if in many instances the officer becomes an associate in the crime, and joins in defrauding that revenue which he finds it impossible to protect. Under such circumstances shall we condemn the conduct of the officer, shall we remind him of the obligations of his oath? What will be his answer, will he not tell us, "Some blams I confess is imputable to me, but is it not a reproach to Government, that an officer of fifty pounds a year cannot do his duty but at the hazard of his lifer" I fear there would be much justice in such a reply; and indeed what respect will be paid to the executive government, when it is known that 100 vessels of warlike equipment traverse our own seas in defiance of our power. Or what reverence can be paid to the Legislature, when it is known that not only the most expeditious, but the surest, and in all respects the least hazardous means of growing rich is to violate the laws? I fay, Sir, in all respects the least hazardous, for as things are now circumstanced, the revenue laws are ruin to the conscientious, but they are sure gain to the fraudulent dealer. Thus an illicit trade is established on the Tuins of honest industry. The wealth of the State is seized by violence or purloined by corruption. The violation of oaths is considered as a privilege of office, the benefit of which few men refuse, or regard as a matter of reproach. Government itself is held in derision, and the laws are treated with contempt: surely the House will agree with their Committee in thinking that these enormities do deserve -. the earliest and most serious attention of Parliament. Should ! the House adopt their resolution, it will encourage them to bring forward their plans for remedying the evils they have - ... .' 'described,
described, and, if possible, for establishing a compleat and effectual reform.
The House then went into a Committee of supply, to consider of the ordnance estimates.
Mr. Stecle moved, that a sum not exceeding 111,000!. be Mr. St:ele. granted to His Majesty for services done by the Board of Ordnance, but not provided for by Parliament. This motion passed without any opposition. He then moved for another sum of 430,000!. for the ordinary and extraordinary services of the present year.
Mr. Hujfey opposed this motion in part, as far as it in- Mr. Hussey. eluded estimates for fortifications, until the Committee ihould be furnished with proofs of the necessity of them; and as far as it included the sum of i8,oool. for the purchase of Sir Gregory Page's house on Blackheath, for the use of the company of cadets at Woolwich.—This brought on a most tedious conversation, in which the same members, availing themselves of the privilege of Committees, were up ten times. It turned principally on the necessity or impropriety of building fortifications round the dock yards.
Mr. Minchin said, that the whole system of attack with.Mr. Min. artillery had lately undergone a total change. Formerly, if a dock was surrounded with good works, it might bid defiance to an enemy who should be able to come so near even as to make a lodgment on the glacis; from thence he might be driven by the garrison and artilleryof the place; but now if an enemy was to get within a mile even of a dock yard, he would soon reduce all the stores to ashes with red hot balls and bombs: so that it was thought necessary that there should be additional works near the sea, and farther removed from the walls surrounding the docks.—This doctrine was controverted by Lord Mulgrave, but supported by General Conway. At last a compromise was made at the suggestion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was agreed that nothing should be granted for new works, or for the purchase of Sir Gregory Page's house; but that the estimates of the expences necessary to carry on the repairs, of the old works should.be voted. The necessary deduc-. tions, according to this compromise having been made, there remained the sum of 324,9641. which was voted without a division. The Houle was then resumed, and adjourned at eleven o'clock.
The order of the day for going into a Committee on the bill for explaining and amending the receipt-tax act, was,
Lord John Lord *fobn Cavendish then moved that the Speaker do now Cwcndisli, ieave the chair. The motion was opposed by Sir Cecil Wray, Mr. George Onflow, Mr. Duncombe, and Mr. Robinson, (members for Canterbury) who all condemned 'the tax as vexatious and oppressive. Mr. Onflow in particular said, that one of his constituents, a shopkeeper at Guildford, had assured him that the receipt-tax would make to him a difference in his trade of 500I. a year. The tax, on the other hand, was defended by General Murray- and Gen, Ross, by Lord Nugent and Lord John Cavendish; the lat-^ ter of these two noble Lords' said he believed the Guildford elector must have imposed upon his representative, when he told him be would lose 500I. a year by this tax; for taking all the receipts given by that shopkeeper to be for forty shillings each* which was the'lowest sum taxed, he must turn annually Iod,ooo1. in order that this tax should make a difference to him of 500I. The Earl of The Earl of Surry reminded gentlemen, that the question Sony- Bow was not whether the receipt-tax was a good or a bad one; the question was not whether it should be repealed or, not: the tax was actually jn being, and the question was 'simply, whether the Speaker should leave the chair, that the . House might go,into a Committee on a bill for rendering more efficient a tax which had been already imposed by act of Parliament: and therefore there was now no ground for debating upon the tax itself. The House then divided, when there appeared, *
For the Speaker's leaving the chair, —• Against it,
33. Majority a 34.
The House then went into a Committee on the bill, and several amendments were proposed and adopted. \ati Beau- Lord Beaucbamp, as Chairman of the Committee to whom «!ump. it had been referred to examine the Journals, and search for precedents relative to instructions given'by that House to parsons vested with a discretionary power, touching the exercise or non-exercise of that discretion, presented the report drawn up by that Committee. It began with precedents so far back as the year 1716. The first was an instruction or order from the House of Commons to tbe UniverGty of Cambridge, not to chuse for Chancellor the Duke of Buckingham. Others were against the felling of trees on the lands settled by marriage on tbe Qiieen, consort to Charles II. until such times as the House mould have formed certain regulations, which yeie then under the consideration of the House. There was I y. another.
another precedent of a message from the House to the Court
Mr. H. Dundas said it was impossible for gentlemen, from Mr. H, the cursory manner in which they had heard the report read, Dundaj., to be able to determine at that moment how many of these precedents applied to the end for which they were extracted from the Journals; some delay was necessary for the purpose of affording gentlemen time to look into the history of the different transactions on which these precedents were founded. H« therefore moved, that, a sufficient number of copies of the said reports be printed for the use of the members.
"The Solicitor General seconded the motion. He said this The Soliciwas a business which concerned the public at large ; and they tot Gen. ought, therefore, to be made well acquainted with the grounds on which the House was about to proceed. It was necessary, also, that gentlemen should have time to consider the precedents adduced. To his mind many of them appeared to have not the least relation to the resolutions of the Lords, which were the objects to which they were supposed to point. '• Lord Beauchamp said he had no objection either to go into Lord Beau, the business then, or defer it till to morrow; whenever he chainP'should do it, he would endeavour to point out the tendency and bearings of the different precedents that had been collected by the Committee.
Mr. Fox was willing to allow of a delay; but he did not Mr.For. :think it ought to go beyond to-morrow. The printing, however would necessarily occasion a greater delay.
Lord North said the House of Commons held its privileges Ld. North. ,pnly in she name of the people; and consequently gentlamen