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gument was a mere quibble, applied to the ' to Great Britain, do beseech him to use case of lord Pigot, and the character and that influence he so deservedly possesses situation of the donor. He attributed the with his gracious sovereign, to induce whole of the troubles at Madras to the in- him to offer such terms to the deluded trigues and corrupt arts the nabob used to Americans, as may regain not only their raise a faction against his lordship, both obedience, but affections; to intreat him here and in India.
to employ his faithful servants, sir William . Mr. Macdonald allowed, that there were and lord Howe, as ambassadors rather than strong reasons to believe the council were warriors, as ministers of peace, not as miinfluenced by corruption ; but as there nisters of vengeance. Let the noble lord was no direct or substantial proof before indulge his own humane disposition, as I the House, the House could only equita- trust he will, in following this advice, he bly judge according to the proofs on the will not only meet with the zealous suptable, which in his opinion fully justified port of an unimportant individual like the resolutions of the general court. myself; he will, I am confident, meet with
The Committee divided ; ayes 67, noes that of a large majority of this House ; 90. A motion was then made, That ile and what is still more, he will be gratified chairman do now leave the chair, which with the most pleasing of all rewards to a was agreed to without a division. So that liberal mind, the heart-issuing applause of the Resolutions were lost.
an approving and grateful nation. I pro
| fess I am not so sanguine as to expect a Debate in the Commons on the Servants' revenue from a ravaged and impoverished Tax.] May 26. In a Committee of the country; I am not so obstinate as to perwhole House on the Servants' Tax Bill, sist in playing a game, at which I am con
Sir Charles Bunbury moved to add, vinced I must be a loser ; I am not so fine after the word ' servants,' the words, “ of a gentleman, as to despise the vulgaradage, 16 years of age and upwards.” In open- which tells us, “ It is folly to throw good ing his motion, he said, it was impossible money after bad;" I am not, therefore, for to consider of the taxes without turning squandering any more solid British guineas, his mind to the occasion of them. That with the doubtful and distant hope of herethe American war, though begun upon after obtaining some flimsy American the justest principles, was no longer justi- paper ; I am not for lavishing more millions fiable in prudence or in policy ; that he in search of a peppercorn, which perthought it necessary before the close of chance we never may be able to wring the session to declare his opinion upon from them. It is, indeed, Sir, a melanthis important subject, lest administration choly consideration to those gentlemen should be misled, and imagine that all who many years ago voted for laying a those who, like himself, had supported go- duty on stamps in America, that in purvernment in this unhappy contest, were suit of that object, unhappily entered into, of the declared and uncontradicted opi- and fatally persevered in, we are now on nion of that hon. member, a brother coun- the eve of deliberating on a Bill for laying try gentleman (Mr. Vyner) who, on the an additional duty on stamps in Great day the army was voted, had conjured the Britain. noble lord (North) to remember that. It is a mortifying reflection to other taxation was the object of the war; that gentlemen, who have been led to support in hopes of forcing the Americans to con- this ruinous war, from an idea that the tribute to the public burthen, he then honour and dignity of the country required voted for the large number of troops pro- | it; that in attempting to maintain national posed, and would give 13s. in the pound, dignity, they are driven to the necessity rather than consent to any peace, if that of lowering the dignity of the individual object was not obtained. I, Sir, (said sir man, and that by the proposition of the Charles ) who am, I flatter myself, as zea- | noble lord now before us, that proud anilous a friend to government and my coun- mal is made a taxable commodity, and retry as the hon. gentleman, who have as duced to the humiliating level of salt, soap, high an opinion of the abilities and good and candles. For man, in this oppressed intentions of the noble lord at the head of state, I stand up a feeble but zealous ad. administration, do implore him, not to re- vocate, and trust, if he be not entitled to member, but forget the object of the war; favour, he will at least have the same meaand being convinced, that a continuation sure of justice as his fellow-sufferers, salt of this disastrous contest must be ruinous and candles; and that an ounce of bim
will not be rated as high as a pound; in other words, that a boy will not pay the Same tax as a man. I cannot help considering this indiscriminate taxation of men and boys, as owing to an inattention in the framers of the Bill, as it is directly contrary to the principle of almost every other tax Bill, in which duties are levied in proportion to the value of the commodity, a principle founded in reason and equity, and sanctified by usage. I beg the House to consider the distinctions made the other day by the noble lord when he stated the new duties upon the different kinds of glass—the green, the crown, and the plate glass; the duties were proportioned to the value and the size—the mode was universally approved, but I apprehend it would have caused general astonishment if the noble lord had proposed to lay an equal tax on the magnificent plate glass which adorns the stately drawing-room of the fashionable dame, and the little square bit which in the servants’ hall enables her footman to tie his bag on. And yet this proposition would not have been more inequitable than that now under consideration, whereby you are required to pay the same tax for a little urchin, and his lofty, able, and far more useful parent. The boy is certainly an infericr and less valuable servant, he ought then to be taxed in [..." to his worth ; that persons, who, from their circumstances, or choice, are inclined to take up with an inferior servant, may not be equally assessed with those whose ample fortunes enable them to retain the most accomplished. As taxes on inanimate things seem not to suffice, and as this devouring war has already produced this tax upon mankind, if it should continue, which God avert it is probable you will have other duties proposed on animated beings. If this should be the case, and a statesman was to offer to lay an equal tax on animals in an infant and in an adult state, would you not be shocked with the glaring injustice of such a proposition ? Would it not strike you as inequitable and absurd, to levy the same duty on a lamb and a sheep, a pig and a hog, a chicken and a fowl, a gosling and a goose 2 And surely it is equally unjust to make no distinction betwixt a boy and a man The noble lord when he opened this proposition, remarked, that the expenditure of every gentleman was a fair presumptive proof of his income. In this, as LVOL. XIX.]
a general maxim, I will agree. He added, that the number of servants was a test of his expenditure, and that, consequently, every person paying so much per head for his male servants, would be taxed in proportion to his income. In this additional argument there is much fallacy. The number of servants can never prove the expenditure; it is the quantum of wages allowed to such servants. If ten boys can be kept for the same sum as five men, which (wages, board, and clothing considered, I maintain they may) the gentleman who keeps these ten boys is not richer (to judge by the test proposed by the noble lord, that is, his expenditure) than his neighbour who keeps five men, and ought not consequently to pay a greater tax. It necessarily results, that the number of servants is no test of the expenditure; and I trust the distinction I have contended for, appears reasonable, and that if the exigencies of the state require us to lay a tax of one guinea per annum upon men servants, we ought in proportion to lay a tax of half a guinea per annum on every male servant under the age of 21. But as this regulation may occasion more difficulty in the collection, and as the laying any tax upon youths under 16, who are of little service in families, may prevent their being taken into gentlemen’s houses, as they now very frequently are, in compassion to the indigent parents of such poor boys, I propose that all male servants under 16, should be exempted from paying any tax; and in compassion to the state (which is indeed an object of pity whilst this wasteful war continues) that those of 16, and upwards, should pay the full tax of one guinea per head, as if they were arrived at the age of 21. Mr. Vyner said, that though he should be convinced by the hon. baronet very readily, if he gave his opinion about a horse, provided he was sincere; yet he was not persuaded by what he had said, to give up the American war, though he wished to see an end of it; neither did he insist upon taxation as the mode of revenue; but if it could be got in the way of trade, or in any other mode, it would satisfy him : but for the present, till something could be obtained, the war must be supported; and therefore he was against the motion, thinking the tax, a very proper one, and the more so, as he believed it would be a very productive one. Mr. T. Townshend was glad to find country gentlemen coming to their senses
so far, as to see the fatal consequences of members of the Committee of the Comthis American war, which he was sure theypany of Merchants trading to Africa, was would do more and more; and that Mr. presented to the House, and read; setting Vyner, though he would not be persuaded forth, “ That the petitioners are committee by any arguments, would by his feelings men for the direction and management of be induced to give up the war, as well as the affairs of the African Company, under the causes of it; but that he, as to the mo- the authority, and according to the provition, was not convinced so far, as to ap- sions, of an Act passed in the 23d George prove of it, though he rejoiced at finding the 2d, intituled, • An Act for extending the sentiments of gentlemen changed, and improving the Trade to Africa ;' and which he believeù would be the case more that the present Committee doth annually and more every day; that he rather liked receive from parliament considerable sums the tax, especially because he thought it of public money, for the faithful application would be a productive tax.
of which they are responsible; this public Lord North hoped the opinion would money they would be most unworthy to not prevail generally, that the tax on ser hold, and it would be highly improper for vants would be so productive. He hoped the House to intrust it in their hands, if they it would answer the sum it was taken for, stood justly chargeable with any abuse but begged it might not be taken for whatsoever; and that the petitioners bav. granted, that a tax which was merely ex. | ing å legal tenure in their said corporate periinental would turn out so abundant. office, during the term, and under the con. As to the motion, he was against it, as it ditions, appointed by the said Act, are, by might affect the tax; nor did he see the the law of this land, intitled to protection analogy of the argument to the tax, for it for their corporate character, without went rather to the weighing boys, which which protection they will be unable to perhaps the hon. baronet might be used perform their duty; they have also a pro. to, with lambs and chickens, and taxing perty equally to be protected, by the same them proportionably, than to exempt law, in their honest fame and reputation as them; and that as he thought they were | private citizens and merchants; their pritaxable objects, he was against the motion. vate credit, they humbly represent to the
Sir George Yonge begged leave to join House, must be affected to their extreme issue with the noble lord in that part of detriment, should any misconduct or unthe argument, which fixed the merits of faithfulness, particularly in a pecuniary and the question upon the consideration of commercial trust, be publicly imputed to boys being taxable objects. It was not them, and not publicly disproved; and fair to the argument, to rest it solely on that the petitioners observe, with the ut. the invidious part of the consideration, most concern, a paper laid before the which respected boys kept for horses at House, nurporting to be ' A Return from Newmarket; he was no friend to New the commissioners for trade and plantamarket, never was there, and never would • tions, relating to the general state of the be there for the purpose of gaming or run trade to Africa, and signed George Gerning horses. He thought the question maine, Soame Jenyos, Robert Spencer, truly stated, was, whether boys were tax. • Bamber Gascoyne, Whitshed Keene, C. able objects? To determine this, the sense F. Greville, and William Eden;" and and spirit of the legislature ought to be that, in the said Return, the following consulted, which upon no occasion had heavy charge against the Committee for considered boys as public objects, on which conducting the said trade is made, and prethe law ought to fall.
tended to be supported by evidence, viz. Mr. Fux said, he thought boys ought · It appears, so far from this trade' (meannot to be taxed ; though he might be ing that part of the African trade under thought to speak partially, yet he meant the direction of the committee) having to shew, that lord North's argument was been carried on in a free and open mannot conclusive.
ner, for the benefit of the public, accordThe Committee divided; for the motioning to the intention of this honourable 17, against it 101.
• House, and agreeable to the spirit and
• tenor of the Act which constitutes the Proceedings in the Commons on the State present committee, that a private trade, of the African Company, and of the directly tending to a monopoly, hath Trude to Africa.] May 23. A Peti- been set up and established by the go. nion of John Bourke and John Barnes, vernors and chiefs of the forts in Africa ; and that this private trade, so injurious them, who shall be guilty of any misbe"to the interests of the public, hath been haviour contrary to the true intent and • carried on by them in conjunction with meaning of the said Act;' and, in order • persons at home, some one or more of to enable the said commissioners of trade • whom have at the same time been mem- to execute with effect the said trusts and • bers of the committee above-mentioned ;' powers, the petitioners, as members of that and that the petitioners, members of the committee, are also directed, by the Act present committee, deliberately weighing aforesaid, to give to the said commisand considering all the particulars and cir sioners • a just and perfect account of all cumstances of the said charge, do affirm to their transactions, once a year, or oftener this honourable House, that the same (so if thereunto required by the said commis. far as the petitioners are, or may be, com. sioners, or any three or more of them, in prehended therein, by participation, con- which shall be contained an account of nivance, or neglect) is absolutely false; • all the monies received and disbursed by and the petitioners, in justice to the cha- the said committee, or their order; and racter of Daniel Wier, esq., commissary. also an account of all the orders and ingeneral in America, a member of this com- structions given by the said committee, mittee, and now abroad on his Majesty's as well to their officers and servants in service in a most important trust, do assure • Great Britain, as on the coast of Africa, this honourable House, that they have and all the answers given thereto by the abundant reason to be persuaded, that the said officers and servants employed by said charges, with regard to him, are the said committee, and of all other matequally groundless and injurious; and if ters and things whatsoever, which shall any other committee-man has acted con- l be transacted by the said committee;' trary to his duty, and contrary to the true and now the petitioners most humbly ro. intent and meaning of the said Act, the present to this honourable House, that, if petitioners are not acquainted with or privy there be a foundation in truth for the to the same; and that the petitioners, with many and most gross abuses stated to be the feelings of injured, and the confidence prevalent in the management of the Com. of innocent men, do supplicate from the | pany, by which the African trade is asHouse a full and strict enquiry into their serted in the said return to be so much imconduct, offering themselves to the heaviest paired and endangered, the means of repunishment which the just indignation of dress and correction have always been in This House can inflict, if any part of the the hands of the commissioners themselves; said charge, so far as regards them, can be and the petitioners humbly conceive, that made good by the said commissioners of it is a most unwarrantable proceeding in trade, or by any other persons, and most the said commissioners, who are authorized humbly request, that they may be con- by act of parliament to judge the comfronted, as the rules of justice require, 1 mittee-men, and to punish them if delinwith their accusers; and the petitioners, quents, to omit the performance of this in order to facilitate the inquiry of this duty, and to charge those whom they had honourable House, do wave the privilege power to order and control, with the con. of all accused persons, in not being com. sequences of their own neglect; and that pellable to answer such questions as may the punishment and remedy, appointed by criminate themselves, and are ready, most act of parliament for sach misbehaviour cheerfully, to give full and satisfactory an- as is stated in the said return, is to remove swers to all interrogatories, without excep. | the committee-men charged therewith tion, which this House, or any committee from their employments; and the mode thereof, shall think proper to propose to of proceeding prescribed by the Act is, them; and that the petitioners represent that whenever any committee-man shall to this honourable House, that the said • be charged with misbehaviour in his em. commissioners of trade are appointed, by ployment, the commissioners for trade the African Act aforesaid, supreme judges and plantations shall summon such com. and comptrollers in all cases of abuse or mittee-man to appear before them, and misbehaviour in the African trade, with shall, in case he attends, hear the said the fullest powers over the committee and committee-man, and upon his attendance all the servants of the Company, without or default, examine into the truth of the exception, and are authorized by the said said charge before they shall remove him Act, to remove any of the said com- from his employment as aforesaid ;' but mittee-men, or any servant appointed by the petitioners represent to this honourable
House, that the commissioners of trade, instead of summoning and hearing the petitioners, and removing or acquitting them according to their deserts, did, contrary to the true intent and meaning of the said Act, and to all the rules of equity and justice, institute of their own authority a secret inquisition, and did privately examine Richard Camplin, secretary to the said committee, and did, without any warrant from law, as the petitioners conceive, enjoin him to keep secret the matters on which he had been examined; which injunction the said Richard Camplin did comply with, and refused to give the petitioners any information thereof, although by his duty, as the confidential servant of the African Company, he was bound to inform them of any accusation or proceedings against them; and when the petitioners did repeatedly desire of the commissioners of trade, that they might have a copy of the said report, or the heads thereof, the said commissioners did absolutely refuse to comply with the said just and reasonable request; and that this method of proceeding is not only injurious to the petitioners, but tends to misinform and misguide this House; the order of this honourable House, is, to lay before them a general state of the trade to Africa; the return is a partial state, relating only to that particular district which is under the management of the African committee, which, the petitioners assert, must tend to produce a fallacious and delusive state of the said branch of commerce; and the petitioners most humbly conceive, that, even supposing this return did not contain matter tending to criminate any persons in a public trust, yet, as a mere state of the trade, it ought to have been formed on some sort of examination or inquiry of the committee-men, who are chiefly concerned in the management of that trade; by declining this natural, obvious, and necessary inquiry, and by proceeding in a secret and surreptitious manner, the petitioners assert, and engage
to prove, that a most erroneous as well as
imperfect state of the African commerce,
is laid before this House; for the peti
tioners affirm, that the said trade, until the troubles in America had come to their
height, was in a most flourishing and
growing condition; and that, therefore,
all causes assigned for its decay must, as
such, be improperly assigned, the effect
itself not existing; and that the petitioners
do not assert that, in such a remote and
complex object as the trade and settlements under the management of the African committee, no abuses or errors whatsoever do now, or have at any time prevailed ; but they do insist, that no abuses have ever been complained of, and proved to them, to which they have not given such remedy as the case required, or their legal authority did admit; and they most humbly submit to the wisdom and justice of this House, the mischievous consequence inevitable to every administration of public affairs, from the highest to the lowest, if persons shall be encouraged to pass over the proper department for complaint and redress of grievances, and then to criminate, for a defect of such redress, that office to which application has never been made; and the petitioners cannot avoid observing to this House, that, in the vast multiplicity of abuses, grievances, and mismanagements, with which the said return is filled, scarce one date, place, or person, is specified, so as to enable the petitioners to discover the delinquents (if any delinquents there be), or to remove the abuse (if any abuse exists), nor have the commissioners of trade thought proper to communicate to the committee the names of the accusers, or the particular circumstances of the accusations, by which alone the nature of the charges could be ascertained, or their credibility established; the petitioners therefore do most humbly and earnestly implore the justice of this honourable House, that, for their present defence and future direction, the whole of the evidence on which the said return has been founded, together with the names of those who have witnessed the said several facts, be laid before this honourable House, or be made otherwise accessible to the petitioners, as they find themselves much injured, and the trade under their management greatly misrepresented, by the said loose and general charges; and the petitioners, lastly, beg leave to represent to this honourable House, that, in the confused body of matter contained in the said return, several things are alleged as grievances, which the petitioners have always apprehended, and do still conceive, to be strictly legal; and other matters and practices are complained of, as detrimental to commerce, which the petitioners apprehend to be extremely useful, if not necessary to it; these last matters the petitioners do request leave to state at the bar of this honourable House, most humbly desiring