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HOUSE OF COMMONS.
and ought to be constitutionably consulted Thursday, April 7.
upon all subjects of new taxes. (AsŚESSED Taxes Bill.] The Chan- from a conviction, that so far as related to cellor of the Exchequer moved the order the 252,0001. the annual charge upon the of the day, for the second reading of the funded exchequer bills, no new taxes were Assessed Taxes bill.
necessary, as he could shew, and on that Mr. Biddulph begged to call the atten account he should oppose the further protion of the house to this bill, which was
gress of the bill. about to pass without that degree of notice The Chancellor of the Exchequer was not which its importance required. This bill sensible of any unconstitutional circumwent to repeal all the existing Assessed stance connected with this measure. If Taxes, and to grant others in lieu thereof, the hon. gent. believed that he could point and as the constitutional mode of proceed out a mode of providing for the payment ing had not been taken with respect to it, of the interest of the addition to the public and no parliamentary ground had been debt, without new taxes, that was a suffilaid for the imposition of new taxes, how- cient reason for his taking the course he ever unusual it was to take such a course, adopted, or preferring his own suggestion. he should oppose the further progress of But the house must expect that the hon. the bill, unless some satisfactory ground gent. should state his proposition before should be shewn in support of the measure. it would interfere with the progress of the The forms of the house were the consti
It was desirable, if the bill was tutional barriers against innovations, such to pass in the present session, that it should as this measure ; and he should therefore be passed with all convenient expedition. oppose the measure, unless a constitutional When the bill should go into the comground should be laid for its adoption. mittee, the hon: gent. would have an op
Mr. Huskisson, not understanding what portunity of making any suggestion that the hon. gent. meant by constitutional occurred to him upon it. But the house ground, begged to state to the house the would not interrupt the progress of the grounds upon which his right hon. friend bill upon the bare assertion of any hon. had brought forward this measure. The member, that there was a something prehouse would be aware that it was due to ferable to the bill, which, upon another the public creditor, when an addition was occasion, he would state to the house. made to the public debt, to make a pro Mr. Tierney observed, that the house vision for the interest and charges accru had not been called upon, on this occasion, ing from such an addition. It would be to vote new taxes.' The notice referred recollected that a sum of four millions of merely to regulation. As the right hon. Exchequer bills had been funded in the gent. had before voted regulations under course of the present session, the charge the pretence of duty, he now voted duties for interest and sinking fund upon which under the pretence of regulation. He amounted to 252,0001. The sum to be would not say that this was absolutely raised by the bill before the house was smuggling the measure, but certainly the something more tħan 100,0001. as part of proper course had not been taken. His the ways and means for defraying the majesty's speech had congratulated the charge alluded to ; as the Assessed Taxes house that a mode had been discovered by were to be collected from the 5th of April which the public service could be carried it was desirable, however, small as the on without any additional taxes; and yet addition might be, to bring forward the the right hon. gent. had proposed a new proposition in time, so that the house and heavy tax, without notice of his inmight be aware of the extent of it. As tention in that particular; without laying he was on his legs he took occasion to any ground for it, and without having state, that there was a clause in the bill brought forward the budget in the usual for reducing the allowance of poundage way. He merely disputed the regularity to the collector's one fourth, by which at present, but, whatever mode might ulthere would be a saving to the public of timately turn out to be the proper one, he fifteen thousand pounds.
thought there were good reasons for deMr. Biddulph was not satisfied with the laying the progress of the bill. explanation of the hon. gent. who had The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that not communicated any thing but what the the design of the bill was to regulate the house knew before. Parliament was á collection of these taxes, to lower the rates great council of finance to the government, in some cases, and raise them in others,
and he saw no objection to the mode that this account, that he had brought in a bill' had been adopted. Sufficient time would with a limitation in point of time. If this be given to examine it when it came into was carried, it would at least secure one the committee.
object, namely, the prevention of any Dr. Laurence observed, that the objec- new grant during the limited period, tion was to the principle, and not to the which might aftect the proceedings of the specific bill. Money was to be raised to committee. With respect to the great answer a new charge on the consolidated measure of absolutely restricting the crown fund, without any statement in the com- from granting Offices in Reversion, his mittee of ways and means that it was for object was now to proceed in the most that object. The whole that was wanted conciliating manner possible, without safor the year ought to be brought under the crificing the principle of the measure. In review of the house at once, in order that opening his views as to the limitation of it might judge whether any, and what time, he thought it in vain to propose a taxes were necessary.
longer period than that which had been Mr. Rose said, that the great principle proposed in the house of lords. This was, not to allow the ways and means to period (two years) was too short in his exceed the supply, and this principle was opinion; but if he were to introduce a not violated in the present instance. The longer period, he rather feared it would consolidation act went a great deal further eit off all chance of the passing of the than this bill, and yet no objection had bill, and disturb the harmony of the two been made to it.
houses. But it had been suggested to Mr. Whitbread observed, that the notice him, that this period of two years would which had been given of the design to lay be the most offensive that could be introthis duty was not at all sufficient, even in duced, for it was exactly that which the point of fairness to those who were to be lords themselves had rejected. This consubject to it. There was certainly no oc-sideration had determined him to relincasion for any particular baste, in providing quish this period, and to propose one for the interest of the four millions, consider which he hoped would be equally useful, ing the flourishing state of the consolidated without subjecting the bill to so much fund, as stated by the gentlemen on the risk. He intended, therefore, that the blank other side. As to the consolidation act, should be filled up, with a provision that he recollected that there had been a great the bill should be in force for one year outcry among the public that taxation was from the passing of the act, and from the carried on under cover of consolidation. close of that period to the end of six weeks This bill was less extensive in its opera- from the commencement of the subsequent tion, but both were liable to strong objec- session of parliament. This would secure jections. No injury would result from the remaining part of the present session, delaying this bill. The Bill was then read the whole of the next session, and six a second time.
weeks of the session following. He hoped [OFFICES IN Reversion Bill.] Mr. I the house would be satisfied with this at Bankes moved the commitment of the Offi- present, with the understanding, that they ces in Reversion bill.
gave up no part of the principle ; but Lord Ossulston rose, and spoke for some still looked forward to the further obtime; but so inaudibly, that it was im- ject of having the measure rendered perpossible to collect even the general pur- manent. The term would be sufficient for port of what he said. He seemed to ar some of the purposes which the committee gue against the amendments of which the had in view, and therefore was applicable chancellor of the exchequer had given to the situation in which the house had notice.
been placed. He had heard that some The Speaker having left the chair, and objection had been taken, on the ground Mr. H. Thornton having taken the chair thất the reasons for the bill had not been of the committee,
stated in the preamble. In the spirit of Mr. Bankes rose, and requested leave conciliation which he wished to preserve, to remind the committee of the situation he would move that it should be stated in in which they now stood, from the former the preamble, that the measure was conbill having been rejected by the lords. nected with something at present pending They were thereby precluded, in point of in the house of commons, and that the form, from bringing forward exactly the words, suspended for a limited time,' same measure this session. It wa should be substituted for the absolute pro.
hibition. He hoped the right hon. the misunderstood, and misrepresented, he chancellor of the exchequer would see should abandon it. He was glad to find that he was disposed to go every possible that, so far, at least, he proceeded with length for the sake of harmony. His the general approbation of the house. right hon. friend had before stated, that with the alteration in the preamble also, he had no objection to the measure, he gladly coincided, as it fell in with the though he did not think it of much con- wish of presenting a new measure to the sequence. The object of the amendments other house. The former bills proposed of which he had given notice, must there to abolish grants in reversion altogether. fore have been to render the measure dif- The present proposed only to suspend the ferent from what it was before, so that it exercise of that part of the prerogative might meet with no opposition in point of for a time to be limited. Thus the present form. As the alteration which he pro- bill was different from the others in subposed would answer the intended purpose, stance and form. Whether, after all, the he hoped his right hon. friend would not measure was likely to be supported in the persist in his amendments, which he could lords so as to pass that house, it was not not agree to.
for him to say ; but he thought it incumThe Chancellor of the Exchequer was un bent on the friends of the measure, and willing that the house, in pursuit of the on the friends of the cordiality of both measure which it thought necessary to be houses, to avoid framing it so that there adopted on this occasion, should send would be obvious ground of objection on back to the lords a bill so entirely similar the face of it, and, consequently, very to that they had before rejected, that their little probability that it would pass. On concurrence could not possibly, with any these grounds, he approved of the measure regard to their forms or consistency, be as it was now proposed by his hon. friend, expected. On this ground, he had, on a and forbore to press the amendments he former night, when his hon. friend pro- had on a former night suggested. He had posed a bill similar, if not altogether the had some other amendments also in view, same as that so recently rejected in the all tending to the same effect, of making upper house, intimated in what respects the measure more acceptable to the lords, he considered the mode adopted by his by coming in a new shape; but he conhon. friend improper. He admitted then, fessed, that the course pursued by his hon. as well as now, that the limitation in point friend, on mature consideration of all the of time, proposed by a noble friend of his circumstances and all the reasons con(lord Hawkesbury) in the other house, nected with the general principle, renhad his entire concurrence. He there- dered these amendments unnecessary. fore could have no objection to that fea- His opinion of the bill itself was not ture of the bill now before the house, changed. He neither saw those great otherwise than as being conveyed in a benefits which some supposed likely to manner in which it could not be expected result from it, in point of public econoto pass the other house. He had at that my; nor did he see that danger to the time intimated his intention of proposing prerogative which existed in the apprea clause, the object of which was entirely hensions of some of the lords. So far as mistaken. Uoderstanding that one great it was represented to the public, that any ground of complaint against grants in re- great diminution of its burdens could be version was, that the want of notoriety effected by the retrenchment of these attending them was likely often to give offices, the promise was delusive, and occasion to their being given to improper would be attended with great disappointpersons, he suggested as a remedy, that ment; to that representation, therefore, every future grant of the kind should be he wished to be no party. On the other published in the gazette. This propo- hand, with respect to the prerogative of sition for regulating the mode of granting, the crown, though some alteration might was supposed to imply a deterınination be made by the bill for the present, by that grants in reversion should be made, taking away the liberty of making grants whereas the object of the committee of in reversion, yet, when the offices so finance was to keep every office as free granted should fall in, the power of the and open as possible to any reform they crown, in that respect, would be increased might think proper to introduce. His rather than diminished. He was of opiproposition was by no means intended to nion, that grants in reversion were often a impede this object; but having been so cheap mode of rewarding public service,
which would otherwise be to be rewarded | notice of the intention of granting an by actual and immediate remuneration, office in the gazette, it would have been at the public expence. Yet, with this easy to evade by giving that notice in the opinion, he thought it desirable that the interval of the prorogation of parliabill should pass both houses of parliament, ment; and the other, that they should not because public notice had been attracted stand in the way of reform, it would be to it; and many members of that house, as impossible fairly to carry into effect, withiwell as a great portion of the public out out either doing injustice to individuals, or of doors, looked upon it as essential, in a granting them a compensation for the injury high degree; and though he did not look they might sustain, out of the public moupon it in that view, he thought so general ney. These amendments, however, the a feeling ought to be gratified, when no mis- right hon. gent. was ready to drop, and he chief could result therefrom. In this view, now seemed anxious only to pass the bill
he fell in with the propositions of his hon. in such a shape as might not give offence friend; and his reason for not declaring to the other house of parliament, standhinself last night was, that he wanted to ing there as the advocate and guardian of be informed of the precise course his hon. the honour and dignity of the lords; friend would take.
though, considering his situation, he (Mr. Mr. Whitbread could not help making a W.) thought that it would have been fully few observations upon what had fallen as becoming in him to have asserted the from the right hon. the chancellor of the rights and privileges of the commons. He exchequer. He began with doing him certainly deprecated, as much as any perthe justice to say, that he had acted with son, a misunderstanding between the two perfect consistency throughout the whole branches of the legislature; but, if such a course of the proceedings upon the pre- misunderstanding could only be avoided sent measure, because he had professed it by a surrender of the privileges of that to be his opinion, from the beginning, that house, he confessed that he would choose little advantage was likely to be derived rather the former than the latter part of the from it. . He had all along contended, as alternative. The right hon. gent. too, ashe had done this evening, that little benefit sumed in argument what he certainly did was to be expected from it in the way of not shew, and what he (Mr. W.) was far economical reform, and that those who from being convinced of, that if the bill held it up as a desirable measure in this passed the house of commons in its present point of view, either completely misunder shape, it would have the concurrence of stood or misrepresented it. He (Mr. W.) the lords. So far was he from being condid not think that it would be productive vinced of this, that from the record which of much present good, but he did think he now held in his hand of what had that it might be productive of great ulti- passed in the other house of parliament mate good. The burdens which the peo upon the former bill, he was inclined to ple had to support were various in their na draw a conclusion directly the reverse. ture, there were burdens of feeling as well From these minutes, he saw that the prinas burdens of taxation, and to their feel ciple of the bill had been objected to by ings it would certainly prove no small a majority of their lordships, and that a alleviation. The hon. gent. expressed his protest had been drawn up and signed by satisfaction that the rt. hon. the chancellor of certain lords expressly against this printhe exchequer had abandoned his amend ciple. The right hon. gent. said that an ments; from whatever motive he had been amendment had been moved by a noble induced to do it, whether from a proper friend of his (lord Hawkesbury) with his deference to the sense of the people, or concurrence. But, after having assented from the recommendation of the higher to the bill to its full extent in the house of classes of the people, or from the advice commons, it would have been but respectof some of his colleagues in office. From ful in the right hon. gent. to have conwhatever motive he had done it, he re sulted the house before giving his assent joiced at it, because the amendments, had to such an amendment, or certainly he they been introduced into the bill, would ought at least to have consulted his cola have rendered it worse than nugatory. leagues before he gave his support to the They had no more connection with the bill without limitation of time. But, it limitation of time, than with any other was material that the house of commons subject to which they might have been ap should be aware, that the same lords who plied. The tirst, which related to giving had voted against the principle of the bill
likewise voted against the amendment ; | bill; but he was extremely desirous that and that his majesty's confidential ser it should be carried into effect, as the first vant was left in a minority in the upper fruits of the inquiries of the committee of house, ranged with the opposition against finance. He thought that the wisest and the princes of the blood, and those who most dignified course for that house to supported them. Upon what ground now, take was, to persevere in sending the bill therefore, he should be glad to hear, would back to the lords, in its old shape; and the present bill not meet the same fate therefore, when it came out of the comwith the other? He knew that in the mittee, it was his intention to move, upon other house there were a variety of little bringing up the report, that the clause of implements (alluding to the proxies), limitation should be left out altogether. which might be shifted backward and for. If he should hear, however, in the course ward, so as to bring the king's ministers a of debate, any reason to induce a persuasecond time into a minority, and to afford sion on his mind that the bill, even in its a new triumph to a party more powerful present shape, would meet the concurrence than the administration.—Mr. Whitbread of the lords, he should desist from his purhere recapitulated the fortunes of the mea- pose, hoping that when it expired it would sure from the first time that it was propos- be again renewed, and that, perhaps, at a ed down to the present day. In the late time when it would have fewer prejudices parliament the house of commons passed a to encounter. At all events, he thought it resolution, founded upon a report of the better to fill up the blank in the way
that committee of finance, for an address to had been proposed, than to limit its durathe king, praying no offices might in fu- tion to two years; because it gave an asture be granted in reversion, and a bill was surance that it would expire during the brought in to affix the legislative sanction sitting of parliament. to this resolution. A dissolution of that Mr. Davies Giddy threw out some ideas parliament took place before the bill was respecting a plan for remunerating public passed; but, when the present parliament services, by which, without diminishing met the bill was renewed, and passed the the sources of national liberality, an imhouse of commons with only one dissenting mense saving might be effected. A sum, voice. It was afterwards thrown out in not exceeding 166,0001. granted in life the house of lords, in such a way as to annuities to public servants, above 45 shew that his majesty's ministers did not years of age, would be amply sufficient take a very lively interest in the measure. The house of cominons were obliged a se
Mr. Fuller considered the measure as a cond time, on finding their intentions tub thrown to the whale, and left by his frustrated, to address the king, praying majesty's ministers to float its own way. him not to grant offices in reversion. This The late ministers managed their tubs session another bill was brought in, which, better; the bill for abolishing the Slave after some debate in the lords, had like- trade, for instance : their chancellor havwise been thrown out. Now, a bill was ing remained in to give it the final sancbrought before the house for preventing tion, after all his colleagues had resigned. the grant of offices in reversion for a limit- Though he thought the bill of no use, he ed time, which he thought likely to meet was willing to gratify the public by passthe same fate with the two former bills, ing it. He respected the people, and felt the consequence of which would be to for them, and thought that they ought to compel the house to recur to the old mea be gratified as much as possible, even in sure of an address to the king: The right their follies; particularly in a case like hon. gent. seemed to think, that the pre- the present, when this could be done withsent bill was not likely to give offence to out much injury to their interests. For their lordships ; upon what ground, it was his own part, he was of opinion that the difficult to conceive; because, if their power of granting reversions was of great lordships were hostile to the principle, service to the public, as a mean of rewardthere was no change in the principle of ing public services; and infinitely preferathe present bill, and the clause limiting ble to granting pensions, which, when they its duration had been proposed and nega- fell vacant, a minister might either put tived. He, for one, therefore, had no hope into his own pocket, or give to a child at that it would pass into a law even in its school. present form. He did not wish to exag Sir John Newport expressed his surprise
te the benefits to be derived from the to find the present measure considered by
for that purpose.