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loose sheets, and then those sheets be made up in a book. Indeed, there should be two books, one to be sent to the parliament, the other to be kept in the county. All this writing to be paid for, by those, for whose benefit it is done, according to the length and depoa sitions that concern them. And it is much if it cost any man five shillings.
The second objection is : That by these abatements, according to the proposals here offered, the tax will fall short.
In answer to which I must acknowledge, that the tax will fall short, at least, half a million ; but if the publick occasions require it, this may and must be made good by a farther tax; which by this time will be pretty equal. And, surely, it is much fitter, that the whole nation should bear this further burthen by an equal tax, than that part of the nation should bear it, by having the inequality continued upon them, and by paying above their proportion.
It is confessed, that, when all is done that hath been here proposed, there will still remain some inequality ; for, as the rates are now, there are many that, to the last great tax, pay under two shillings in the pound; and there is nothing here offered to raise them. We must therefore be content, at least at present, to let them enjoy this advantage. Let them pay twenty pence, or eighteen pence, or less, while others pay two shillings. But that some should pay but twenty pence, or eighteen pence, while others pay four, five, or six shillings, or more; so that some are at ease, whilst others are destroyed; is too unreasonable, and ought to be endured no longer.
You will ask, what injury is it to me, if my neighbour be eased; I answer, the injury is, that I am not eased too. And, if he pay below his proportion, I must pay above mine. And, by the undue easing of him and others, the tax falls short of what it would others wise be; so that the publick occasions call for further taxes, of whick I shall bear part, and still above my proportion. If some part-owners should pay less in proportion than others toward the ship's charge, it would be a plain wrong to those others. And so it would be, if some lands in a marsh should, for maintaining the sea walls, pay but six. pence an acre, when other lands pay twelve-pence.
It hath been said, that, though a tax were laid, as hath been here proposed, yet there would be still some inequality.
But the next tax after might bring things more even. For it might be granted for the same gross sum, with this proviso that none pay above one shilling in the pound; with the same methods for giving ease. And this tax would make good what the other falls short, for both these taxes will amount to three shillings in the pound; which is very near the true proportion, that all lands should pay the tax now on foot.
Thus, by the way that hath been here proposed, there must be two steps to arrive at the reformation intended. But I conceive, upon further consideration, that the thing may be done at once, and that the first new tax may be at the former rates, provided that none pay above one shilling in the pound. Which will be the same thing in effect, as a tax of twelve-pence in the pound, with a new and sure method to have it equally assessed. This tax may, by the good old word, be called a subsidy; and the parliament, now, and at other times, may please to grant either one subsidy, or part of one, or a subsidy and a half, or two or three subsidies or more, according as the publick occasions require.
But still, after all hath been done, the taxes will not yet be exactly equal. For there are divers, as I am well informed, that do not pay six.pence a pound to the great tax* now upon us. I leave these to be further considered, and, in the mean time, though they do not pay to the full, yet they will pay three times as much in proportion, as they did formerly.
I have all this while been driving at equality; but there is an equality so unequal, that I cannot but declare my sense against it; and that is, that houses should bear equal proportion with lands, for which there is no reason, as every man's reason will tell him. They ought, therefore, to be abated a fourth or a fifth part.
If the parliament shall not think fit to enter upon this great work at present (though it is every man's work, and would be soon done) they may however, by a shorter way, give some relief (if they please) to those that are oppressed in the land-tax; that is, to those that pay plainly above their proportion. And this may be done, by making the sum of the tax, next granted, to be something less than the last, and then distributing this abatement among the counties, that are now notoriously overcharged, the other counties continuing as they are. Thus, whereas the last tax was for about seventeen hundred thousand pounds, the next may be for fifteen or fourteen hundred thousand; which is iwo or three hundred thousand pounds less. And then the oppressed counties, which counties are well known, may have their monthly payments abated, in such proportions as the parliament shall find meet. The raising either of men, or counties, is such a noli me tangere, that there is no meddling with it; but there is great reason to hope, that the giving just ease, to those who want it, will meet with no opposition. For my own part, I have no particular concern in this matter. I am in a county that is not like to be eased; and I pay about three shillings in the pound, which is near the true propor. tion : But I wonder the counties, that are concerned, have not peti. tioned all this while. In such a case as this, even clamorous peti. tions would be excusable.
There is another consideration about taxes, which I recommend to those worthy persons who have a hand in granting them; and that is, that the payments be not made too quick. We know that the present great tax (to say nothing of those precedents) is paid with exceed. ing difficulty. And such another tax in the neck of it, to be paid like. wise forthwith, it is doubted would occasion extreme distresses. When a man hath bled much, if you go to take a further great quantity from him, at once, and presently, it may prove fatal, his body cannot bear it: But, after a while, his blood being recruited, and supplied, you may take more without hurt or danger; especially if you do it by dea
* Three shillings in the pound.
grees. And it is just so with our nation in point of taxes. We could pay a moderate tax for many years, and be little the worse; and people would have room, and time, to supply all by industry and parsimony, the two great promoters both of private and publick riches. But our money, of late, hath been swept away so fast from us, little of it returning, that it hath not only sheared from the landlord a good part of his rent, but also disabled the tenant from paying the rest, the market being dead, and no money stirring; and then the cities, and towns, must needs, as they do, find a grievous deadness of trade; so that a general poverty hath suddenly overwhelmed us.
We could better pay two millions in four years, than a million and a half in one year. In which first way, the war might be maintained by taxes, that probably would be paid in time of peace, when we shall be better able to do it. Also his majesty's present occasions will be as well provided for this way, if there be a credit given upon those future payments. You will say, this will draw on interest. But I answer, that the interest will not do us so much harm, as the respite will do us good.
In this affair we must consider, not only what is best to be done, but also, and more especially, what we are able to do. Perhaps, it were best to pay ready money down; but, if we cannot do it, we must be glad to take time, and allow interest: And it is better to have upon us, for some years, a burden we can bear, than to be crushed at once by a burden we cannot bear.
If it be an advantage to lend money to the publick above the com. mon interest, it is among ourselves, and any one that will may have it. There is also this convenience, that all those lenders will be firmly engaged to wish well to the government.
I would not have us follow the example of Holland, where their whole standing revenue is anticipated for a great many years, by vast sums of money taken up at interest; and there are many families, that live upon the constant interest of monies lent to the state. But I hope we shall never be brought to such necessities; and I would have our dealings, in this kind, to be for moderate sums, and a moderate num.
We may remember, that, in King Charles's first Dutch war, the parliament gave at once two millions and a half; but to be paid in some years: So that what is here offered, in this matter, is, even in England, no new thing.
But, what if this war continue next year, and we must raise more money? Hlow, and upon what, shall the tax be laid ? My answer is, that, if there be a necessity for it, it may be a concurrent land-tax; or the tax may be pushed further on, upon some years to come: That is, after the end of the four years before-mentioned.
It cannot be denied, but that the ways now mentioned, and espe. cially the last, will draw on more interest. But, to make this in. terest easy, it is further humbly proposed :
1. That a land-tax be granted, suppose for a million of pounds, payable at the end of five years.
2. That, upon the credit of it, the king be enabled to give tallies,
ber of years.
A TRUE AND FAITHFUL RELATION
PROCEEDINGS OF THE FORCES OF THEIR MAJESTIES,
KING WILLIAM AND QUEEN MARY,
IN THEIR EXPEDITION AGAINST THE FRENCH,
IN THE CARIBBEE ISLANDS, IN THE WEST INDIES: Under the Conduct of his Excellency Christopher Codrington, Cap
tain.General and Commander in Chief of the said Forces, in the Years 1689 and 1690. Written by Thomas Spencer, Junior, Secretary to the Honourable Sir Timothy Thornhill, Baronet, to whose Regiment he was Muster-Master, and supplied the Place of Commissary. London, printed in 1691. Quarto, containing fourteen Pages.
To the Right Ilonourable Edward Russel, Admiral of their Ma.
jesties Fleet for the Year 1691, Treasurer of their Majesties Navy, and one of the Lords of their Majesties most Honourable Privy Council.
I Migur justly imagine myself to be thought rude and impertinent,
when I first presumed to tender this account to your honour; and I should never have adventured upon so great a boldness, if I had not thought it really my duty to present it to your honour's view. And the reason which moved me to it was, because the most notable actions herein related, as the taking of St. Christophers, and St. Eus. tace, were the immediate success of part of that royal navy, which your honour now happily commands in chief ; I mean that squadron commanded by Admiral Wright in the West Indies, without which it had been utterly impossible for the English to have enterprised any thing in those parts. For their majesties islands there were so depo. pulated by a raging mortality, that the surviving inhabitants were even harrassed with a daily fatigue to defend themselves. Upon this motive, joined with the consideration of the innate generosity, which is generally found in all persons so nobly and honourably descended as yourself ; but is so peculiar to the most noble family of Bedford, and with which (as you are a principal branch thereof, so) you are principally adorned ; I first assumed the boldness to address your honour with a copy of this relation; and the high favour you were pleased to vouchsafe me, in your perusal and approbation of it, when it was a manuscript, hath encouraged me not only to send it to the press, but hath also emboldened me to implore your patronage to countenance it, with which it will be sufficiently honoured and defended, and may boldly appear in publick. But, for the return of so high an obligation, as it transcends the utmost of my hopes to accomplish, so I must confess my incapacity to make any farther ad. vances towards it, than an humble and grateful acknowledgment, which shall ever be paid with the strictest observance, by him who craves leave to subscribe himself,
The design of this small treatise is to give a succinct relation of the proceedings of their majesties forces, in the Caribbee islands; and, in a plain and compendious methoil, a faithful narrative of the most remarkable transactions, from the beginning of the war, to this present time: Only I must desire to be excused, in the omission of noting the particular days of the month in some places, the loss of some papers having forced me to be less exact in the performance of that, than I could wish ; but, as this is not absolutely material and per se, but only circumstantial and per accidens, I presume it may the more easily be pardoned.
But, before I fall upon the intended matter, I think it not amiss to shew the first grounds and reasons of the differences which have happened in those parts. Be pleased then to know, that the island of St. Christophers hath formerly been a stage of war between the English and French: But, of late years, matters being accommodated, and the island divided between them, they have each of them lived under their own government, and an act of neutrality hath passed by the consent of both their kings, to the intent they might there enjoy a quiet and uninterrupted peace, notwithstanding any wars that might happen between the two crowns in Europe. But the French, being a fickle and inconstant people, broke through all those considera. tions; and, before the wars were proclaimed between England and France, prompted by some private animosities of their own, and animated by the instigations and impulsions of some Irish upon the island, in the month of July, 1689, entered the English ground with fire and sword, forcing the inhabitants to fly to the fort for their safety.
The English, being in this distress, applied themselves to the government of Barbadoes for assistance; upon which application, the honourable Sir Timothy Thornhill, baronet, offered himself, to go at the head of a regiment to their relief; to which the governor, council, and assembly assenting, the drums beat up for voluntiers, and, in less than a fortnight, there was raised a regiment of seven. hundred able men, all which (the commissioned officers excepted) were fitted with arms, &c. for the said expedition, at the cost and charges of the island of Barbadoes, convenient vessels being also pro. vided, for the transporting them to the island of St. Christopher's.