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House, must have been before the House , might be sustained. If the present meanearly two months; why was not the Bill sure should be adopted, it would be brought up sooner? With regard to the laying a ground for the most alarming hon. baronet's being surprised that his consequences. The army was increasiog lion. friend should rather bave argued from in every part of the globe at the moment the case of the proprietors of Sadler's it should seem most unnecessary, and, at Wells, than from the Bill itself, where the moment when it was stated that the those who introduced a Bill, did not ad- glory of Great Britain was in its utmost vance an argument in its support, it was splendour, and its power unrivalled ; in pronatural to look to the case of the parties, | portion as peace was declared to be secure, to see what arguments they themselves the country was called on to increase its grounded their application upon. If there expense. was no occasion for the winter managers / Mr. Pitt contended, that the clause was to be heard by counsel, he supposed that good, as it provided workmen to do work the winter managers would not desire to better than it would otherwise be done, put themselves to that expense; but, it and at a saving after the proportion of was clear, from what had been said in 20001. in 22,0001. These were both, their behalf, that they did think it neces- therefore, desirable matters; and it was sary to be so heard, and the House must also a wise measure, as it would render give parties leave both to think and to those who acted as artificers useful in time act for themselves, as they were, un- of war. The only question was, whether doubtedly, best able to judge what was any actual inconvenience would exist from the most requisite to take place upon their the measure, and whether there could account. He hoped, therefore, that the result from it any dangerous consequences original motion might pass, being deter- to the constitution. mined to take the sense of the House upon Sir W. Molesworth considered it as a danthe question, if it were opposed.
gerous precedent, and as the beginning of The House divided for the second a system which could not be too narrowly reading on the 4th of April : Yeas, 48; guarded. They ought to repel innovation Noes, 39.
| in limine, and as it was a system that might
go to the shipwright, and to every other Debale on the Clause of the Mutiny Bill department of government, it met his defor incorporating the New Corps of Mili- cided reprobation. tary Artificers. 7 March 12. The report Mr. Hussey was concerned to discover of the committee on the Mutiny Bill was that the vigilance of the country was not brought up; and, on the reading of the roused on a question of the greatest con
clause for incorporating the newly-raised stitutional importance. He could not · corps of military artificers,
avoid deeming the paltry saving of 2000). Mr. Sheridan said, that he conceived a year, an insufficient reason for putting the object of it to be so important, that he 600 Englishmen under military law. It was determined to oppose such an innova- was an improper exertion of such a law, tion in every stage, and to take the sense and a dangerous precedent. of the House concerning its alarming ten- Sir C. Gould spoke in support of the dency. He stated his objection to the clause. adoption of the new principle of expe- Col. Fitzpatrick opposed it as unnecesdiency and economy-the more dangerous sary, and unconstitutional because the more plausible-instead of the Mr. Pelham expressed his alarm at this old principle of defence and actual neces. measure, which he conceived to be uncon. sity. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stitutional, and declared his determination did not seem to have a right feeling for to oppose it, as by the plea of economy the fundamental principles of the consti- the House might be deluded, and the tution. He had been too apt to lend only means of checking expenditure de. himself to every project of his colleagues, feated. and to think his office was merely that of Mr. Marsham said, that if the House furnishing defences of the measures of agreed to put 600 Englishmen under marother men cloathed in fine language. The tial law for the paltry consideration of present measure had been brought forward 20001. a year, they would be devoid of upon the specious pretence of economy, those feelings for the constitution, for a plea that ought ever to be cautiously which they ought ever to be most vigilant. admitted, when under it the greatest evils Mr. Steele said, that the artificers had, in fact, been voted in the estimate before | 20001. a year, we should therefore agree Christmas, and that the present clause to deprive 600 men of those franchises could not therefore be considered as new which they now enjoyed, in common with matter before the House. If government their fellow-citizens. He therefore wished bad any design of smuggling the measure that this clause should be suspended, as through the House, they would not have he conceived it to be a consideration of made any amendment, as then that body very great importance to the constitution of men would have been included under of the country. the old clause, rendering all persons be | Mr. Pitt reminded the hon. gentleman, longing to the train of artillery, amenable that the question before the House was, to military laws.
whether the Bill should be read a third The Surveyor of the Ordnance contended time when that was done, then would that it was impossible by any other means be the proper season for the hon. member to keep so useful a set of men together. to come forward with his motion. He urged the necessity of extending mili. Mr. Sheridan considered the clause as tary law to them, to prevent their deser- involving a very important constitutional tion of the public service in time of question, and therefore wished it to be war, and argued against the possibility of postponed until the morrow, that gentledanger to the constitution, were the House men might have an opportunity of consito adopt the measure.
dering it with that attentive deliberation Mr. Courtenay said, that he never bad which it really merited. The question heard of any difficulty in raising of artifi- put by the hon. gentleman whether the cers in time of war. He saw no neces- | artificers had yet been enlisted and atsity for the measure, and particularly for tested as soldiers, had not been answered. gunners and master-gunners being under Mr. Steele said, that all the artificers the law, who were never so considered were intended to be enlisted, and that before, but were liable to dismission if some of them were already embodied. they acted improperly.
Mr. Sheridan said, that if they had alSir C. Gould said, that both gunners, ready been embodied, those who were the and master gunners had been tried by authors of that measure had been guilty of court martials.
a very illegal act, for he understood the Mr. For said, that the clause must ope- recruiting orders had been issued previous rate to the surrender of part of our liberties. to the meeting of Parliament, and, conseWhen a minister came into the House to quently, they had taken upon them to propose either an increase of the excise, raise a body of men without the consent or of the military laws, it was bis duty to of Parliament, and without having stated make out an exceedingly strong case for any reason for a measure which could so doing. In the present instance, the only be justified from the strongest polis only one given for the deprivation of the tical necessity. liberties of individuals, was the saving of The Secretary at War observed, that 20001. per annum. The present question the King, by his prerogative, certainly when considered as going to the depriva. had a right to raise troops, subject aftertion of the rights of individuals, became at wards to the sanction of Parliament. once important and alarming.
Mr. Fox admitted that, in time of war, The question was put, and the House | the King might raise troops without the divided : Yeas, 114 ; Noes, 67.
immediate consent of Parliament, and
even on the alarm of war, the House had March 13. On the order of the day always been disposed to consider it suffor the third reading of the Mutiny Bill, cient reason to justify the raising of such
Mr. Hussey objected to the clause a body of troops as the exigency of the which respected the new corps of military occasion might require, of which the artificers. He wished te know if they House would afterwards judge, approve, had already been enlisted and attested as or condemn accordingly; but he denied, soldiers. If they bad not, it was a very in the most direct terms, that in time of violent and arbitrary measure to say to peace, the King could constitutionally these men, you must now eplist as soldiers, exercise any such power, or that the Exeand be subject to military law; otherwise cutive Government could be warranted, we shall turn you adrift. It was a paltry after the alarm of war had subsided, in
consideration in ministers to infer, that directing any number of troops to be . because this scheme would save the nation levied, on the faith of a subsequent act of parliament, and, far less, that they could sure from ninepence to sixpence per day. legally raise a corps which was new to It was stated also, in the warrant, that this country, and for which they had not | those men were to be employed on the even the implied approbation of any fortifications. Considering the noble duke's former act. Some gentlemen had stated passion for military projects, the House the advantages of such a corps of artificers ought to be watchful of every opportunity in our garrisons abroad. For his own part, which he might embrace of gratifying his he reprobated every attempt to introduce favourite pursuit, as he would no doubt into this country the military establish- employ these 600 men on a principle of ments of any garrisons which were not economy, as he did the convicts. immediately under the protection of the Sir Charles Gould observed, that every British Legislature.
man who did enlist, whether under the Mr. Piti denied that there was any in- authority of the Mutiny Act or not, was tention to surprise the House into this subject to be tried by military law. Were measure. On the contrary, the warrant the soldiers themselves to be judges of the for recruiting the corps had been laid law? If this were once admilted, it would upon the table before the Ordnance Esti- open a door to every species of disorder. mates were voted; they had been raised Mr. Fox contended, that the lowest upon the same principle with all the new soldier had a right to judge of the tribunal levies, a measure which the apprehension by which he was to be tried. If he was of war had justified, from a liberal inter- not included in the number limited by the pretation of the King's prerogative. Mutiny Bill, he might refuse to be tried
Mr. Fox contended, that no interpreta by military law; and it was as much his tion of the King's prerogative could jus- right as any man's in that House to appeal tify the countenance of a measure which to the laws of his country. If the doctrine had originated on the alarm of war, after that day laid down by the learned gentle. that alarm had subsided.
men were admitted, the Bill of Rights was Sir C. Gould asserted the right of his virtually repealed. He trusted that such Majesty to levy troops on the faith of doctrine would never be supported by the their being afterwards sanctioned by Par- Chancellor of the Exchequer, and much liament,
more did he wish that it should not be The Bill being read a third time, the countenanced by those who might one Speaker informed the House, that it was day be called on to sit as judges on the now the time to move any amendment on lives and properties of their fellowthe Bill. :
subjects. Mr. Hussey then moved, that the Mr. Pitt agreed in the general princlause for subjecting the artificers to mili- ciples laid down by Mr. Fox, but defended tary discipline be left out.
the measure of raising a corps of artificers Mr. Sheridan could not avoid repro- subject to military law, which neither bating the dangerous doctrine laid down violated the principles of the law nor the by sir Charles Gould. If it was true that constitution. the King could raise any number of Mr. Fox observed, that though no man troops without the consent of Parliament, could entertain a doubt of his private re. or, what was the same thing, not voted gard for the noble duke at the head of the by Parliament, he was then independent ordnance, yet the principle of subjecting of Parliament as long as he had money to so many men to his caprice was of that pay those troops. Mr. Sheridan denied tyrannical nature which every man must that any such power could be exercised abhor, and which he trusted the House by the King on constitutional principles. would not countenance. He maintained that every man who ex- | Mr. Hussey's amendment was negatived ceeded the number limited by the Mutiny without a division. The question was then Bill, did not come under the Mutiny Act, put, that this clause stand part of the nor, consequently, under military law. Bill; and the House divided, Yeas, 142; He took notice of ihe singular manner in Noes, 70. which the warrant directed the men to be attested, that if they were not found to | Debate on Mr. Fox's Motion for the be good carpenters, masons, bricklayers, | Repeal of the Shop Tax.] Mr. }'ox rose collar-makers, miners, &c. of which the to make his promised motion for the reduke of Richmond was to be the sole peal of the Shop Tax. He observed that jusige, they might be reduced at his plea- it was not his intention to take up much of the time of the House in going over the , bis constituents, the inhabitants of Westarguments formerly urged against the Tax. minster, to make, showed that they were. Of those arguments every member of the And, would any person maintain such an House was in complete possession, and absurdity as that they desired the repeal they would now be recollected with addi- of a tax from which they derived a profit? tional weight, as that which before might -Such were the general grounds on which have been considered by some as a sort of the impolicy and oppressive tendency of hypothetical reasoning, had now been the Tax had been formerly argued. There confirmed by experience. The original were now some which might be considered argument against the Tax was, that it was as new grounds. In the first place, there not a general tax which affected every was a petition from the commissioners apmember of the community equally, but a pointed to collect the Tax, stating that they partial and oppressive tax that bore only found from experience that it was a peron a particular body of men. In answer sonal rather than a general Tax, and that to this, it had been urged, that the shop- they were unable to levy it, according to keepers would be able to levy the amount the tenour of the Act, without oppression to of the tax on their customers, and by that individuals. The case of the bankers was means shift the burthen from their own a striking proof of this. Had they any shoulders to those of the consumer. Ex- means of levying the Tax on their cusperience had proved the complete fallacy i tomers ? Or were their profits greater now of this argument, and shown that the than they were before? Another reason shopkeepers alone were affected by it, was its total inequality, and that it fell without a possibility of levying it on the heavier on the lower class of shopkeepers community at large. If they could have than on the more opulent, and that a man done this, how were they to effect it? who had less business and a less capital, Undoubtedly, by raising the prices of their being assessed according to the rent of his respective commodities in proportion to shop, paid more than a man whose capital the amount of the Tax. But, had they was larger, and his trade more extensive. done this? He defied any man to show It frequently happened that a person, for that there was the least degree of coinci- | the sake of a shop to carry on his busidence between the Tax and the rise in the ness, was obliged to take a large house, price of goods. If, then, there had been for no part of which he had any occasion no rise in the price of goods, the Tax was but the shop. This person was assessed, borne by the shopkeeper only, and not by not according to the rent of the shop, the community at large.-And yet, in this which was necessary to his business, but instance, although he was ready to admit the rent of the house, which was not necesthat, in all cases, the opinion of the sary. In answer to this objection it had persons to be taxed was not a sufficient | been said, that such person might levy ground of objection to a tax, the opinion part of the tax upon his lodgers. But of the shopkeepers themselves was a strong ! how was this to be done? The shop in the and a convincing argument against the first instance was no recommendation to Tax. Had they been able to raise the lodgers, but the contrary; and if he atprice of goods to the full amount of what tempted to raise the price of his lodgings, they paid, they would not have stopped his neighbour, who had no shop, and conthere. They would have added some sequently did not pay the Tax, would thing more; and having thus converted effectually prevent him by a compeinto a means of profit what they at first ex. tition. In this point of view he chalclaimed against as a burthen, their com- lenged any man to show that it was plaints would have been at an end: they not partial and unequal, and that, conwould have acquiesced in the Tax as a trary to the operation of every wise thing which was not merely a burthen, but and judicious tax, it did not fall heaviest an instrument in their hands of considerable on those who were the least able to bear advantage. Had this beeen the case? | it.- Mr. Fox said, he was in possession of Had their complaints against the Tax some particular instances which he would ceased? Were they not now as loud and state ; and in what he was going to menas earnest in their remonstrances against tion he desired to be understood as not it as they had been at the first moment of meaning to say that the grievance was not its being proposed? The present applica- felt in as great a degree in other places ; tion, the petitions on the table, and the for, undoubtedly, the unequal and oppresmotion which he was bow instructed by sive tendency of the Tax was not local. In the city of Bath, a poulterer paid 195. ; | approved of that tax, because he knew the in the same street, and but a few doors tax would be paid by those who kept them. distant, another poulterer, whose capital He was convinced it would be paid by was not near so large, nor his business near the members of that House. But the so extensive, paid 51. 45. If this man were Shop-tax was not a tax of that description, to attempt reimbursing himself by raising and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer the price on his small trade, what would would give it up, he would, if called upon, be the consequence ? His customers would propose another much more productive, leave him, and go to his neighbour, who, which would be borne without a murmur, with a large trade, and paying a tax com- and prove beneficial to trade and navigaparatively next to nothing, would be tion. If he could, in any degree, contriunder no such necessity of raising his bute to remove the burthen of so unequal prices. In the same city, and in the a Tax from the shop-keepers, he should same street, one silversmith paid 41., an- consider his life as not having altogether other 8l., and a third 81. 5s. The reason been uselessly employed. of this inequality was, that the Tax was Sir G. P. Turner said, that two motives not what it professed to be, a shop-tax, induced him to vote for the repeal of the but a tax on houses !-Upon the whole, tax. First, his constituents had instructed as the discontents concerning the Tax had him to vote for it. His next reason was, gradually increased as the operation of it that he thought all persons ought to be had been more generally felt, and as it taxed equally, and to pay according towbat was absurd to suppose that any description they possessed. of men would persist in their complaints Sir John Miller said, that he had not, against a measure which they did not feel before this day, troubled the House with to be a burthen, it ought to be repealed, any opinion of his respecting the Shop-tas, and some other less partial and less on nor should he now take up much of their pressive substituted for it. For, although time, for that indeed neither time nor he admitted that it was not a general rule talents were requisite to convince every unfor repealing a tax that there were com- prejudiced auditor, that it was most clearly plaints against it, yet, in such a case as the a partial and an oppressive tax. He said present, where the complaints were ovi. he had voted once, and but once, for this dently well founded, as experience had Tax, partly from being deceived, and shown them to be, it would much better thereby misconceiving what he now found become the wisdom and the justice of the to be the true principle, effect, and opera. legislature to listen to them, than to disre- tion; and partly from a consideration of gard them.-A report bad lately prevailed, national embarrassment, which required, that it was the intention of the Chancellor at that season, a strained revenue, however of the Exchequer to propose either a re. l it could be raised, to encounter the public peal, or such a modification of the Tax as exigencies. The minister's difficulties had would obviate the objections which had been very great; he had faced them with been urged against it. This report he had exertion and fortitude, and he had at this never believed, and had always discounte. moment the happiness to see them comnanced, because, if it had been true, the pletely subdued. Sir John called empha. right hon. gentleman, either when he gave tically upon the independent gentlemen notice of his motion or since that time, then present, who, like him, had been, would have signified such his intention. heretofore deluded by specious statements, If that had been done, he would have de- or by regards to public necessity, to come layed his motion till he had heard what forward with him manfully upon the present that modification was to be, or if it were occasion, and by retracting, to atone for done now, he would withdraw it. Mr. Fox their former error and unintentional opconcluded with moving for leave to bring pression. From whatever point of view in a Bill to repeal the Shop-tax.
he looked at this tax, he declared he Lord Hood seconded the motion, and could discover in it nothing that was not hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer highly exceptionable. If it was a personal would not pertinaciously adhere to a mea- tax attaching only upon a particular desure which experience had shown to be scription of the community, (and that oppressive and unpopular.
that was its true bearing he had not a Sir Benjamin Hammet said, that the doubt in his mind) there was not a colour Shop-tax, had been accompanied by an- of argument that could uphold it; no, not other; a tax on maid servants. He had for an instant. If it was admitted that it