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duce excceded the produce of the fame quarter in the former year by the fum of 9,0:01. He afked, had the board of revenue, in whofe hands the management of the tax was vefted, prefented any memorial to the treafury, ftating, that the produce of the tax was declining, and that fuch a regulation, as the bill enacted, appeared to them to be neceffary? Mr. Marsham admitted, that it did not appear, that the fuffering the post-horfe tax to be farmed would prove the fource of much abufe or oppreffion; but it established the mode of tarming the public revenue, and in future times might juftify a wicked miniter in the groffeft violation of the conflitution. All bad practices had been grounded upon precedents, moft of them introduced upon plaufible reafons, and where the ground of objection was weak in almost every other inftance, but that of the propriety of guarding against the incroachment of mifchief.
Mr. Baftard conceived, that fome proof ought to have been laid before the houfe, that the frauds charged by the minifter did actually exift, before fuch a bill as the prefent had been introduced, and that an authentic return fhould have been made of the number of horfes kept by the various innkeepers in the kingdom, with a computation of the number of miles they might be fuppofed to travel. Mr. Pitt had faid, that the public paid the tax individually, but, when paid, it did not find its way into the exchequer. If the fact were fo, it only proved, that the board, to whofe management the collection of the tax was intrufted, was not fufficiently alert, and that they ought to find means for remedying a neglect, which lay wholly with themselves. He obferved upon the
late in reafe of the tax, and asked whether on that account it would not be better to poftpone the meafure, and to fuffer the public, ra ther than the farmer, to benefit by the progrefs of that increate? By a claufe in the bill he faw, that thefe contractors were not to be deprived of their votes. This was the tree, whofe fruit the miniftry defired to pluck; but he hoped the house would blast that fruit in its bud. Mr. Bastard added, that, in adopting this meafure, the execu tive government was giving up its refpontibility, and that, which was the last thing they fhould part with, the power of redress. Provided the fubject were aggrieved, and com plained to that houfe, what was the anfwer they would be obliged to return? They must say we have tied our hands; we have given away for three years the power of watching for your welfare; we can do nothing till the contract is expired. Still tarther, the qualifications of the contractors made no part of the bill. No matter how bad their characters, provided they gave fufficient bail. He recollected an oriental obfervation, which came home to this point. It was complained, that the character of one of the Indian contractors was notorioufly infamous; and what was the anfwer? Why the lefs humane was the collector, the fitter he was for his office; and who knew, but that Gunga Govind Sing might hereafter farm the impofts of Eng
erown additional influence. Every man, who had lived through the existence of a war, knew what a contractor was; and did not every man know, how improper the influence was that was circulated through them? The farmers of the revenue would be contractors under another name. Shameful was the idea of there being a middle man between the fubject who paid the tax, and the exchequer that feceived it, a man, created for the purpofe of growing rich out of the diftreffes, and at the expence of the public. The precedent was in the highest degree alarming, and required to be warmly retifted in the outfet. Mr. Jolliffe remarked, that the produce of the post-horse tax increafed annually, and for the laft year had amounted to 114,0001; fo that 456,000 1. had been expended in that mode of travelling only. The bill was opposed by Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Windham, lord Maitland, Mr. Wilbraham, fir Gregory Page Turner, Mr. Sloper, Mr. alderman Townfend, and Mr. Dempfter. Its principle was vindicated by Mr. Grenville, Mr. Ar den, Mr. Macdonald, Mr. Drake, Mr. Rolle, Mr. Addington, fir William Molefworth, fir Richard Hill, fir James Johnstone, fir Benjamin Hamet, fir John Miller, Mr. Powys and Mr. Martin; The houfe divided upon the fecond reading, ayes 62, noes 95; and upon the question for going into a committee, ayes 14, noes 100. The principle of the bill was alfo debated in the houe of lords on the twenty-first of May, when the fpeakers against the meature were the duke of Norfolk, lord Portchefter, lord Carlisle and lord Stormont; and its defenders lord Hopetoun, lord Townshend and lord
Hawkefbury. It paffed through the ufual stages without a divifion.
As it is one of the principal objects of fuch a narrative as ours, to record thofe features and charac teriflic circumstances, which distinguifh one year and one feffion of parliament from another, it would be improper that we fhould omit to obferve, that the feffion of which we are treating had the honour to bring forward to public notice two young men, Mr. Charles Grey and Mr. William Lambton, of the most diftinguifhed abilities and the most promiling genius. The fentiments of Mr. Grey upon the commercial treaty we have already recorded; and we fhall have occafion to be ftow upon him a farther notice in the courte of the prefent volume. Mr. Lambton was among the oppofers of the bill for farming the revenue of the post-horse tax. But the fubject, upon which he had first offered himself to the attention of the houfe of commons, and upon which he fpoke with greater compafs and ftrength, was the motion of Mr. Fox on the twenty-fourth of April, for the repeal of the tax upon retail fhops.
Upon this occafion Mr. Fox ftated, among other arguments, an account of the proportions in which the hop tax was affeffed. The whole revenue produced was 59,00 l; 17,000l. of which were paid by the city of Westminster, 12,000 I by the city of London, and 12,000l. by the adjacent villages, fuch as Mary bone, High Holborn, and Wapping; and he asked, whether forty-three fhares for the metropo lis out of fifty-nine, were not fo monftrous a difproportion, that every man who heard it must be ftartled, and feel a conviction, that the tax was most partial and unjust
in its operation? Mr. Lambton,
tion. Mr. Lambton concluded with intreating the minifter, not to remain thus obftinately wedded to his own opinions, but to give this one inftance of condefcenfion. Such an act would only be ftooping, if it could be called ftooping, to rife the higher; and he might be affured, that, by adopting it, far from forfeiting any reputation, he would confiderably add to his character and popularity. The houfe divided upon Mr. Fox's motion, ayes 147, noes 183.
On the feventh of May Mr. Pitt moved a refolution in the committee of ways and means, for impofing the additional duty, which he had formerly fuggefted to the houfe, upon the licences of the retailers in fpirituous liquors. The rates he propofed were from two pounds per annum to five pounds four fhillings, in proportion to the different rents of the houses. The produce of this additional tax he estimated at 80,000 1.
A bill was introduced by adminiftration, fo early as the fecond of February, for amending and rendering more effectual the laws for fupprefling unlawful lotteries; and the object of the bill was ftated by Mr. Rofe, to be the removal of the jurifdiction at prefent lodged in the juftices of the peace, and the vesting it in the judges of the courts of Westminster. The reafon of this change, he ftated, to be the general evafion of the penalties, which was now practifed. The procefs generally iffued, directed the goods of the offender to be diftrained upon his premifes, and the offender had nothing to do, but to remove from Westminßer into the city, or from the city into Westminster, in order to defy the power of the magistrate. There was alfo a clause in the bill,
by which the infurance of whole tickets was permitted to their immediate proprietors, while all other kinds of infurance upon lotteries were forbidden. This claufe was warmly oppoted by Mr. alderman Newnham, Mr. alderman Townf end, Mr. Dempfter, Mr. Francis, fir Grey Cooper, and Mr. Fox. By the latter it was remarked, that, while it was the profeffed object of the bill to difcourage gaming, it did that which no other act of parliament had ever done, and by legalizing one fpecies of insurance, opened a door to a thousand evafions. He muft alfo obferve, that the paffing fuch a bill as the prefent, just upon the eve of drawing the lottery, had a very unfeemly appearance, and gave rife to a good deal of fufpicion. In the mean time the public would reap no advantage from the confequent in creafe of the price of tickets, fince they had long ago made their bar gain, and received all they could gain. The house divided upon the claute, ayes, in favour of its making part of the bill, 126, noes 97.
The fame kind of debate was epeated upon this bill in the house of lords, when the contefled claufe was oppofed by lord Derby and lord Carlisle, and defended by the earl of Hopetoun. Lord Sydney in reply to the imputation of a collufion, which had been infinuated against minifters, faid, that he was acquainted with no gamblers, and thanked his God that he never affociated with that defcription of men, let their rank or fituation in life be ever fo high. Lord Stormont congratulated lord Sydney upon the virtuous circle of his acquaintance, but obferved that it must be very confined, if it excluded every man who made a bett above ten pounds; and excmpted
that nobleman from the fociety of fome of the firft, and most of the greatest characters in Europe, Lord Thurlow remarked, that a plain ftate of the question would fhow, that the provifion was built upon the primary notions of justice. It was fimply, whether a perfon, who had embarked a part of his fortune in any particular contingence, was to be admitted to the liberty of infuring it against the hazards arifing from fuch a fituation. He could not conceive any reafon, why a toleration or a legal authority fhould be given to one fet of individuals in certain inftances of contingency, and refused to others in fimilar intances. He entered into the hif tory of lotteries, remarking upon the different degrees of caprice with which they had been treated at dif ferent periods; and obferved, that the tranfaction of infurance had not been declared illegal till the year 1782. Lord Loughborough replied to lord Thurlow. He contended, that there was no refemblance between the infurance of merchandize and that which was authorized by the prefent bill. In the former every precaution was exerted by the law, that the infurer fhould be paid in exact proportion to the lofs he had fuftained. But was there any provifion in the prefent bill for that purpofe? On the contrary, gaming was legalized in the utmost extent. Every perfon holding a ticket might open a policy upon it, and by infuring it over and over again, might derive the moit multiplied and difproportioned advantages. The debate concluded with an amendment moved by lord hurlow, that every infured ticket fhould be depofited in fome place, to be appointed by the commillioners of the lottery for that purpose. The bill was returned
to the commons; and, being rejected in conformity to the ufage of that houte, which did not admit the the lords to make amendments in a money bill, was again introduced as a new bill, and paffed into a law.
The fubject of the alteration of the mutiny bill, which had been made in the preceding year in or. der to include officers by brevet in the operation of military law, was revived as a topic of debate in the prefent year, and received an ample difcuffion in both houfes. It was now acknowleged, that officers on half pay were not intended to be included, the contrary of which was reprefented by oppofition as refulting from the frict conftruction of the claufe; and it was argued, that there was no juft ground of distinction between them and brevet officers. The claufe was oppofed in the house of commons by colonel Fitzpatrick, fir James Erkine, Mr. Jolliffe, Mr. Francis and Mr. Fox; and was defended by fir Charles Gould, fir George Yonge, and fir George Howard. Upon
a divifion the numbers appeared, ayes 73, noes 25.
It was argued by lord Thurlow in the houfe of lords, that the claufe did not in reality amount to an alteration of the mutiny bill. Previously to the opinion, lately delivered by the judges in the cafe of general Rofs, martial law had been understood to extend to officers holding commiflions by brevet. The bill therefore did nothing more, than declare that exprefsly to be law, which had been underfood to be the law before. Lord Loughborough controverted this pofition. In the cafe of general Rofs, no man could have shown a ftronger with to have his conduct inveftigated; and who had started
the difficulty? Not general Rof, not any member of the long robe; but the members of the court martial themselves. Their knowledge of the culloms and ufage of their own profeffion fuggeted the difficulty, and upon that the question had come betore the judges. As one of them, he had delivered his opinion, the unanimous opinion of all; and, after he had delivered it, he had heard from an infinite number of officers, that they should have been exceedingly furprised, had the decifion been other than it The clause was oppofed by lord Stormont, lord Portcheller, and lord Rawdon; and vindicated by lord Sydney, lord Hawkesbury, and the duke of Richmond. It was carried without a divifion.
On the twenty-fixth of March lord Rawdon called the attention of the house of lords to the convention with Spain of the fixteenth of July 1786, and moved, as a refolution, that it did not meet the favourable opinion of that house. The article, upon which he animadverted, was that, by which the British poffeffions upon the Mosquito fhore were furrendered, in exchange for a fmall tract of land upon the bay of Honduras. He afferted, that we certainly could have made a better bargain, than to have ceded to Spain a tract of land, at least as large as the whole kingdom of Portugal, which yielded us cotton, indigo, logwood and fugar, in exchange for a liberty to cut logwood, and a fcanty fettlement of twelve miles in extent. Indeed it was not only injurious and degrading to the nation, but it was an act of ingratitude to the British subjects there, to whom we had long afford. ed protection, and from whom we had received in return every mark of refpect and affistance they could