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have to struggle, and triumphed in the contest in which we are engaged, the consolidated fund shall have attained its maximum, and being no longer allowed to accumulate at compound interest, the dividends shall be made applicable by parliament. This will be when the consolidated fund shall be 4,200,0001. Supposing then that by the exertions which we have made, and continue to make, we should go through the difficulties we have to encounter, and pass with success through this crisis of our fate, when the public debt shall be met by the consolidated fund there must be an end of all doubt of public credit ; there must be an end of all question of national securities, of all distinction between landed and funded property. – That moment, then, when least discouraging for the monied man to revert to the funded security, shall be fixed for the owner to avail himself of that redemption which circumstances had at first made impossible. If not redeemed within a given time, however, it becomes material to render the property permanent with the purchaser, to the exclusion of the owner. Three years, then, after the expiring of the ten years, at the close of which the power of redemption is permitted to the owner, seems to be a fair extension of the privilege. It would give to the owner an opportunity to purchase, of which, from his circumstances, he was unable to avail himself on the first offer. — It will give him time for preperation for domestic arrangements, and for raising the neces. sary funds. Thus no party will have reason to complain of his situation. Provisions are made to secure to each the advantages which he will be most likely to prefer.

In the transaction the situation of the monied man is precisely this. During a period of difficulty and danger, he has got a landed security instead of that of the funds. This case, however, will require two regulations; first, that if any person, not the owner, has purchased by the transferring of an annuity, he shall be paid the same quantity of stock upon the redemption, which he had transferred without regard to the price of such stock. Thus, supposing he had transferred to the public in payment when stock was at 50, and in the interval it should rise to 75,

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he will derive all the advantage from the rise, and may thus realise fifty per cent. upon his capital. At the same time he is to have no risk in case of a depreciation of the funds. Should they fall below 50, he is to be reimbursed to the extent of the difference. The situation of the stockholder who becomes a purchaser of the tax is precisely this, that he is speculating upon a rise without any hazard of loss from depreciation.

I have stated these points to show the general tendency of the measure. It will now be seen, that it is liable to no general objections which do not admit of a remedy; that the difficulties in the detail are not such as to impede its progress ; that the advantage to the public is considerable, and the benefit accruing to the individual such as will render it an object for him to purchase. While the monied man is induced to come forward to assist the state by purchasing the tax, a remedy is reserved to the owner, to enable him, at a fixed period, to repair the disappointment he may have sustained from his original inability.

A variety of details must be involved in a measure like the present, but there are none which appear to be attended with great difficulty. On the present plan of repartition, the amount of particular districts remains unaltered, though it may vary within the district, with the improvement or decline of the various parts. In the metropolis and considerable towns this is particularly the case. In the parish of Mary-la-bonpe the extensive improvement has rendered the rapartition lighter, while in other districts it may become heavier from an opposite cause. Provision, therefore, must be made for the situation of an owner purchasing in the different cases of increase or decline.

The most advisable regulation certainly would be, that of leaving it to the option of the owner, whether he will redeem it at the present price that shall be offered to him, or take it according to any future assessment to which it may be subject; the augmentation on which, as it is intended to be proportioned to the present local inequalities in the land tax, will nearly produce the same effect as if that impracticable plan of a general equilisation was to be adopted. But in case of a third person purchasing a part

of this tax, he shall be entitled to receive an abatement propor. tioned to the fund which he may give in exchange for the tax. Therefore it will be extremely material to consider who the purchasers are to be ; whether the land-owners, or other persons not having any property in the land; to see what circumstances may belong to particular places, and whether there may not be a great surcharge in some parishes, and none in others. But it is not necessary for me now to enter into those minute circumstances, which may be better discussed when the business shall come before the House for its consideration, and which will be introduced by way of regulation into any bill that may be brought in, if the House shall agree to the resolutions I mean to bring forward. It would also be desirable to allow a person to purchase not only a certain portion of the tax, but a given share of a district.

These are the circumstances of the case which I have to lay before the House, and which I have conveyed in as short a statement as I was able. The object is one which requires consideration. In the first opening of the matter I avoided going into any minute detail; and although I feel it a matter of propriety in the outline, and such as deserves at least a favourable hearing, yet I wish it to be examined carefully, weighed dispassionately and deliberately, and that parliament may consider, whether it is not such a measure as they ought in their wisdom to adopt at this arduous moment. I shall follow the practice I have observed in other instances with respect to the form of proceeding; that of moving the first resolution, and afterwards all the others in point of form, and then postpone the consideration of the substance of the plan to another day. I should propose taking the opinion of the House upon them on Thursday; and then that the whole subject should go over until after the holidays, in order that gentlemen may take them into the country, and have an opportunity of conversing with their constituents, and learning whether any local circumstance may, in any case, render alteration necessary. I should now, without any farther trouble to the committee, move the first resolution ; but perhaps the committee would wish to hear a statement of the heads of the resolutions.

The first resolution declares that the land-tax: should be rendered perpetual, subject to certain modes of restriction, regulation, and redemption.

The second provides for the appointment of commissioners to sell the land-tax upon the terms and at the rate I have already stated.

The third gives power and preference to the owners of land to purchase the land-tax according to the nature of the interest they have in the estate, whether a fee or otherwise, and that in the event of the person in possession declining to purchase, the next in succession, or the person in remainder, may do so. And that any third person may make such a purchase for the owner, &c.

* The fourth gives power to owners to sell part of their estates, or raise money by way of rent-charge to enable them to purchase the tax.

The fifth gives power to third persons, the owner of the land having declined it for a given period, to purchase the tax.

The sixth describes the mode in which the payment shall be made.

The seventh regulates the power of the collectors in receiving

the money.

The eighth limits the time during which the power ot' redemption shall continue.

The ninth imposes a penalty on those who purchase and do not make good the payment of their instalments.

The tenth provides that if any assessment which shall continue to be charged shall be found to exceed 4s. in the pound on the annual value of the messuages, &c. an abatement shall be made.

The eleventh prescribes in what manner a register shall be kept for entering proceedings under this plan.

The twelfth provides that when the whole land-tax shall bo brought up, the assessment shall cease.

The thirteenth transfers the business of the commissioners appointed to carry into effect the plan for the reduction of the national debt.

The fourteenth provides, that in case any additional land-tax should be imposed, it shall not operate heavier on those who have purchased the former tax than on others.

The fifteenth contains an account of the sum of 1,400,0001., which it is intended to produce annually.

This is the proper statement of the heads of the resolutions which I propose to be discussed hereafter ; but if any gentleman has any thing to offer now, I should be glad to hear him.

After some discussion of the measure, the chairman reported progress, and the committee was ordered to sit again on Wednesday.

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April 20. 1798.
A message from His Majesty was brought down by Mr. Secretary
Dundas, and read from the chair as follows:

“ His Majesty thinks it proper to acquaint the House of Commons that
from various advices received by His Majesty, it appears that the prepar-
ations for the embarkation of troops and warlike stores are now carried
on with considerable and increasing activity in the ports of France,
Flanders, and Holland, with the avowed design of attempting the inva-
sion of His Majesty's dominions, and that in this design the enemy is
encouraged by the correspondence and communication of traitorous
and disaffected persons and societies of these kingdoms. His Majesty
places the firmest reliance, under Divine Providence, on the bravery of
his feets and armies, and on the zeal, public spirit, and unshaken
courage, of his faithful people, already manifested in the voluntary ex.
ertions of all ranks of His Majesty's subjects for the general defence,
and more than ever necessary at a moment when they are called upon
to contend for the preservation of all that is dear to them.

“ His Majesty, in pursuance of the act passed in the last session of parliament, for raising a provisional force of cavalry, has thought it right to give directions, that the said cavalry should be drawn out and enbodied; and it is also His Majesty's intention, to order the part not yet embodied of the augmentation made to the militia, under the acts of VOL. II.


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