Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

The solicitor general observed the case with other acts of parlia, that the principle of the bill was ment, and was both moral and polipreviously recognized by the law al- tic. This act, however, in case the ready in force, and every objection teftator stated the legatee to be his to the present bill bore equally a- child, provided that it should en. gainst that. To ascertain the va- joy the exception in favour of lue of ves, the aliessment was lineal descent. Several occasions taken as low as possible; the tax of dispute between the executors was to be taken in four different and legatee were, he stated, re. payments, so that if the person did moved by this bill, and several not live till the last, the tax would doubtful cases ascertained. Ac-. not be collected. The duty of an cording to the existing laws, there executor was, he contended, made were few cafes in which, if any easier by this tax, as a line was dispute arose, the books and pri66 chalked out" for him. It had a vate concerns of individuals might superior advantage to other taxes, not be examined. as it took nothing from what a man The bill was strongly opposed had really in pofleffion. A variety by Mr. W. Smith, Mr. Francis, of other advantages were pointed and general Smith, and supported out by the learned gentleman. It by Mr. Pitt. It passed by a maappeared strange to him, that the jority of 78 in the house of comtax should be considered as inju- mons; but was again fpiritedly atrious from its occasioning the pub- tacked in the house of lords by licity of private property, when, he lord Lauderdale, who considered it, said, in other countries it was sup- when coupled with the landed proposed to strengthen credit. In Ja- perty bill, as tending to sweep all maica, an executor was bound to the property of the kingdom into render an annual account of the the hands of government. Their property, and was liable to heavy effects would be the most felt by penalties for concealing it. the members of that house, a house

Mr. Grey thought that whatever of hereditary members. In time, might be the policy of that coun: his lordship said, it must swallow try, it would be extremely preju- up the fortunes of their lord thips' dicial to the commercial credit of collateral heirs, who might fucceed this. In this country, where large ca- to their titles. Had such a tax pitals were embarked in commerce, existed in the last century, none if two or three collateral succefiions there would have pofleffed fufficient were to take place in a short time, property to support their rank and would not the subtraction of 6 per character. In the case of the duke cent. make a heavy impression, and of Norfolk, 600,ocol. would have take from actual employment of ca- been taken from his family. Taxes pital? Mr. Grey strongly supported on legacies had, inderd, been imthe arguments of Mr. Fox, which, posed; but it was never thought he thought, had been by no means that minifters would extend the aniwered.

principle so far as to impower The attorney general, in a speech themselves to seize the whole caof great legal ability, stated, that, pital of the kingdom, and impo., with respect to this bill affording verilh noble families till they were no exception in the case of illegi- likely to become convenient tools timate children, this was precifely to the minister. Ilis lordship no.

[ocr errors]

ticed the unequal operation of this the bishop of Rochester, who obbill in the instance of a military served that churchmen paid taxes man, who could only sell an an- in the fame proportion with other nuity left him at four years' pur- men: and the bill passed. chafe; whereas, those who were The bill for a tax upon the suc. less exposed to hardships, less active ceffion to real estates met with in the defence of their country, ftill fironger oppofition. Mr. Rathmight dispose of it for thirty-one leigh, Mr. Newnham, Mr. Crewe, years' purchase; yet they would pay lord G. Cavendislı, fir W. Pultethe same tax. If the collateral pro- ney, Mr. Bastard, lord Sheffield, perty of all other descriptions of MF. M. Robinson, general Sinith, men was thus to be affected, his Mr. Harrison, Mr. Buller, fir A. lord hip thought that of the church Ferguson, Mr. Francis, Mr. Sheshould not be exempted; but that ridan, and Mr. Fox, ftrenuously all churchmen, upon translation or opposed it; it was supported by presentation to a living, should, for the attorney and solicitor general, four years, be obliged to give up a the secretary at war, Mr. M. Mon. proportion of their annual income. tague, Mr. H. Brown, and the The tax was impolitic, upon the chancellor of the exchequer. On established maxim that it was least a motion from Mr. Sheridan for injurious to the community to tax poftponing the third reading for consumption and not capital. Taxes three months, the majority against upon productive capital, he observe the motion was only one. Mr. ed, tended to withdraw it from the Pitt then moved for its being again support of industry, and diminish- read the following day; when the ed that wealth on which circulation ayes and noes being equal, the depended, and whence national speaker gave a casting vote for the prosperity was derived. Our ene- motion. The bill, however, apmies would, he thought, have a pearing so thoroughly obnoxious, very unfavourable idea of our re- Mr. Pitt abandoned the measure, sources, from our adoption of such by moving the next day for deferunheard and untried measures. ring the third reading to that day The argumfents of lord Lauderdale three months. were opposed by lord Grenville and

CHAP. V.

Mesage from the King relative to Peace. Debates on that Subject. In the

House of Commons In the House of Lords. Mr. Grey's Motion for Peace -Rejected. Maroon War. General Macleod's Motion on that Subject. Mr. Sheridan's Motion for Papers relative to the West India Expedition. Succellive Debates on this Subject. Motion relative to M. Sombreuil, and the Quiberon Expedition.

A

ty *, relative to his difpo- to give it the speediest effect in sition to meet any negotiation on producing a peace, was read by the * The same wkich was referred to during the debates on the loan.

1peaker Speaker on the 8th December, pre- had voted for the death of the king. vious to the report of the budget. These had been described as men On the following day, Mr. Pitt who brought on the war, and with moved an address in reply. He whom no settled order of things observed that the sentiments ex- could take place. The revocation pressed in the message were con- of the decree respecting intermedformable to those delivered from dling with other governments had the throne at the commencement long once taken place. That deof the sesfion, with a view to the cree, he observed, had in fact been formation of a government in a retaliation upon the coalition of France, with which a secure and kings against their own governhonourable peace might be con- ment. This, however, he did not, cluded. He renewed those senti- he said, juftify. What was the ments as applicable to the present time when the French government French government, the recent was thought fit to be treated with? successes of our allies, and the em- when the rulers of it adopted the barrailment of the enemy's finances. system of self-election,- took all

Mr. Sheridan wished to know power into their own hands,- and what had occurred, in the space of treated with contempt the rights, five weeks at most, of so important opinions, and interests of the peoa nature as to occasion such an al- ple? Yet then gentlemen exteration of sentiment in the mini claimed, this was something like a fter. In fact, however, he had regular government; something only one week for this change : was now got resembling the British otherwise why not have declared constitution : and indeed, the way it before the settlement for the in which they chose to express their loan, which would have saved the attachment to it, was by their eagernation two millions ? Mr. Sheri- ness to retain its abuses. All this dan thought this change of opinion looked as if the minister had some could not be fincere, but intended subterfuge. Mr. Sheridan further to defeat the motion for peace, of 'strongly insisted on the propriety which Mr. Grey had given previous and necellity of not considering any notice. This very government, particular form of government in Mr. Sheridan said, which the mi- France as necessary for peace, nister stated on the opening of whenever it could be effected on the budget to be “ not only on suitable terms; and moved an the verge but in the gulph of amendment, which in substance bankruptcy, and rapidly approach, went to express the concern of the ing to what must inevitably over- house, that any thing in the interthrow or destroy it;" this very go- nal affairs of France should have vernment was now represented to induced his majesty to a difpothe house not only as a form of sition unfavourable to meeting a government with which we may negotiation for peace with the ene, safely negotiate, but as capable of my; that if the present circummaintaining a secure and pernia- stances in France only were ads nent peace.

Would the minister mitted as a ground for negotiation, say he was more reconciled to any change might be considered as thofe who exercised the functions a ground for discontinuing any of government? Of the execu- treaty which was begun; and theretive directory, four out of five fore the house prayed to have this

principle

principle entirely disclaimed, and ties with the French, which had mar the form of government in rever been violated. He further France might be no bar to negoti. observed, that we had been bafiled ation, whenever a peace could be every where but at sea – had spent safely effected; and that his ma- above 50 millions sterling ---- and jelty would be pleased to order an added above 80 millions to the naimmediate negotiation to com- tional debt. He thought there was mence.

a part both of the message and adThe amendment was opposed by dress so equivocal, that he wished Mr. Wilberforce and Mr. M. Ro- ministers to be tied down really to binson. In reply to the former, negotiate by the terms of the Mr. Grey observed, that none could amendment, which declared the gowith that peace, however desirable, vernment of France 210 bar to this should be procured even at the risk business. of inglorious submillion, or that Mr. Pitt observed that the amendfuch a relaxation should take placement went much further than the in the conduct of the war as to address: it required ministers to prevent our exacting those terms enter into immediate negotiation, which the king of England was whether they saw a proper difpoentitled to ask. The government lition on the part of the enemy or which the French had chofen, was, not. He denied that our having however, in fact, the same in prin. entered into the war was an ag. ciple with the one with which this gression on our part, or that mi. country went to war-that which nitters had ever asserted that the minifters had declared fo odious restoration of monarchy there was and dangerous, that we could only a fine qua non. From the change find safety in its utter destruction. which had taken place in the We had, he faid, first engaged in French government, — from the war with the Briffotines; the fuc- change which had arisen in the cessors of that pariy were at present mode of calling forth its supplies, in power, more moderate indeed, and, above all, the change in the but precifely acting upon the same temper and sentiments of the peoprinciples.' The only difference ple, – there was a hope that peace was, they had a council of ancients might be concluded with thein at instead of a committee, and a coun- this time, which had not existed at cil of five hundred instead of a any other period of the war. The national convention. France, he new constitution, in its formation, observed, was still a republic, one admitted the falsehood of the doc-. and indivisible ; and he wished to trine of perfect equality They know how ministers reconciled the admitted of artificial distinctions, conduct of declaring at one time which fastened and kept together that nothing but the destruction of the mass of society. They had laid certain principles could prepare the hold of one of the elements which way for peace, and at another tak- contribute to form a social state for ing advantage of a very slight va- man- a mixed form of governriation of circumstances, to follow ment:-and their present legislative the line of conduct so often recom- system, however long it might enmended to them in vain. At that dure, was conítituted on å printime, Mr. Grey stated, several con- ciple very different from that of finental powers had concluded trea- pure democracy. The subject of

the

the decayed finances of France had ment to the motion for a pacifica. already been fufficiently discussed; tion, which he called a conditional in addition to what had been said, declaration that we were disposed he would only call the attention of to treat with France whenever there the house to the dying confession of was a government capable of maintheir old government, and to the taining those relations. With this infant acts of the new. Mr. Pitt glaring fact before their eyes, would observed that the British character the house again leave it in the power in war had never been more ex- of minifters to juggle with words? alted than in the prefent. What Would they not think it prudent had been done in Holland and Ger- to bind them down to a specific act many? We had gained the three upon their own words? If they did moft important points; Martinique, not, what confidence could 'they Cape Nicola Mole, the Cape of have in the present declaration Good Hope. If the amendment, more than in the past: Mr. Fox and the advice of its promoters, was pointed out many evasions which adopted, the discretion of govern- might otherwise occur. The miment would be entirely taken nifters, he said, had persuaded the away, and the responsibility dou. house to leave them open, and had bled.

neglected the time upon which The present measure was consin other statesmen had wisely seized, dered by Mr. Fox as a total retrac- and happily improved. The gention of all thecharges which had been tleinen with whom he acted, never made against himself: for he had did contend that the French confrom the first maintained the very stitution was well framed; and they doétrine delivered in his majesty's utterly detested the atrocities that message. The amendment, he con- had been committed there; they tended, so far from exceeding, did had only aflerted the capacity of not go to the extent of the message: that country to maintain faith with it only declared that there were foreign nations. He thought the no impediments to treating, in the present government no more capa. form of the government in France. ble of this than any of its predecefIn supporting the amendment, he fors. The Briilotine party mainwas far from arguing against the tained the treaties of their prede. aidress: he was, in fact, supporting cessors. The execrable tyrant, Roit by what gave it meaning and bespiere, had observed, with equal force. The message, he said, ex- fidelity, the treatics made with pressly deciared that the French · Briflot. His successors were equalhad now adopted such a form of ly steady in the external system government that Great Britain which had been adopted. Consimight safely tisat with them. If dering the treaties which ministers that was the case, what pofiible had made, with whom they had objection couid there be to a de. made them, and what acts of aban. claration that we would treat with doned tyranny they had not dirthem. The fitness of that country countenanced, it was not worthy to maintain the relations of peace the manly character of the British and arnity was evident to the whole nation to abet them in their resif. world, and would have been so to tance to a treaty with France. Mr. the minifter, had he been fincere in Fox expatiated with his usual abi. June lait, when he moved an amend- lity on what he conceived the ab

surdiis

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »