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away His dislike of the principle of the measure' itself". Thtf Noblfr Duke's objections were certainly valid; as applied to th1* particular clause under consideration. The tax was severe enough in every point of view; but the clause appeared t6 hinft to be severe on masters of families, without answering any adequate-purpose; and when the Legislature imposed a tax that' was in its operation to bear particularly hard on one description os subjects, the injustice was in some degree qualified by thff necessity to make the tax efficient, and the evident reason was, that unless the individual hardship were permitted, it could not be so rendered efficient. But here was injustice which would not add to the efficiency of the tar. It was, he conceived, impossible for masters of famrlres to know whether all their servants wore powder or not; and yet, if, as has been stated, any of them did wear powder, and it could be proved that the" master had accidentally seen the servant powdered, he was to be liable to the heavy penaltyof aol. His objections went however much farther than'to the particular clause. The tax was said to be a tax on vanity; he did not mean to be ludicrous, when- he asserted that a tax on wearing breeches might with just asmuchreafon be deemed a tax on vanity: Breeches, in the consideration of a Highlander, would be regarded as a decoration originating in vanity, and by no means a covering, required by decency or necessity, as he himself could by his daily habit and practice prove, that breeches might well be done without. He assured their Lordssiips he meant this as a grave and serious argument, and he would ask the Noble Viscount near him if he would next year recommend it to his Majesty's ministers to impose a tax on wearing breeches. This might just as well be done, and if it were, he would ask if all menj at least all; resident in the southern part of the country, would not revolt1 at it, and fay that breeches were not a luxury^ but a necessary; indispenfible to general decorum, and to the comfort of individuals. The Highlander would nevertheless fay, No; breeches are an idle luxury, and not a necessary. So in like manner if a man chose to wear hair-powder "by way of decoration of his- head (if it might be termed a decoration), might not he fay, Hair-powder is not a luxury, the habits of lite, the customs of the age, and the general practice, have all contributed to render it so much and so generally in use, that for me to leave off-wearing it, would be to disgrace and make me ridiculous in the eyes of others? His Lordship added further argument to prove the bad policy of 'such a tax, at any • time, but most especially under the present circumstances, and at length repeated his declaration, that if he should be present' at the third reading of the Bill, he would giveit hi» negative.
In the mean time, he thought the Noble Duke's objections insurmountable, and therefore he wished the clause in question might be either rejected or modified.
Lord Sydney assured the Noble Earl he did not rise with any design to accept the challenge, and propose a tax of the extraordinary sort which the Noble Lord had mentioned. It was enough for his Majesty's ministers, whose peculiar duty it was, to find taxes, a duty which they had discharged for a long time in an unexceptionable, but this year particularly, in a most commendable manner; he left it therefore^to them to suggest new taxes, whenever they were necessary. What he rose for was principally to make an observation or two upon the argument of the Noble Duke, who opened the debate. In the first place, he thought the tax an excellent one, and he had no doubt os its being extremely popular. Nor could he easily find out any solid objection to it. No man was obliged to wear powder, and it could not be termed a necessary; the tax, there* fore, as it had been called, was neither more nor less than a tax on vanity,and therefore one of the properest species of subjects of imposition in times of exigency, when great sums were to be raised with least burden to the lower and most distressed ranks of the people. With regard to the clause complained of by the Noble Duke, he really saw no great hardship in expecting the master of a family to give in a list of such of his servants who wore powder, once every year j and however at first masters of families might feel some little difficulty upon the subject, that could only be trivial, and would soon vanish entirely. Kis Lordship made several more observations in praise of the tax, and in defence of the clause objected to.
The Earl of Moira spoke shortly in reply.
The Duke of Norfolk rose again, and professed himself anxious to cafl back the attention of the Committee to the particular tendency of the clause, which he must still complain of as oppressive upon masters of families, without any reasonable plea for it. It obliged masters of families either to pay the tax for their servants, to render themselves liable to a heavy
Eenalty, or to expose them to the chance of bting proved to ave falsified their own signatures, and given in false and incorrect lists, in instances wherein they really might have no such intention. He repeated the case which he had put in his first speech, of the master of a family accidentally meeting one of his female servants powdered, while in presence of a third person, and through forgetfulness omitting to insert the name os that servant in hia list, delivered in to the proper officer; he argued upon the consequences of such accidental omission, and contended, that the master must either turn informer against Vol. III. I his his servants, or pay the tax for the poor girl. Above all, he insisted upon it fhat there was no real use in the clause, and that the Bill would (land, and every necessary end of imposing the tax be answered, just as well without the clause as with it.
The Earl of Hardioicke saw no sufficient ground for the objection raised, but considered the tax as a most unexceptionable one—a tax likely to be extremely popular, and to prove productive, without in any degree falling upon the shoulders of the lower and hard-working orders of the people. He could not by any means agree with the Noble Duke, that the clause under consideration would oblige the master of a family to turn informer against his servants, in the invidious fense of the Word Informer. Let their Lordships recollect the origin of the term, Informer 5 and how the odium of the populace became attached to it. It was formerly held invidious and disgraceful, when applied to informations for neglecting attending on religious service; but every thinking man must deem it meritorious to be an informer for the public good, as in cafes where frauds were attempted to be practised to the diminution of the revenue. After having clearly laid down the distinction, his Lordship said, probably the clause might admit of modification; but he should be exttemely sorry if the Bill were endangered, and a tax, that promised to be equally popular and productive, materially defalcated in the amount of its probable produce. Among other recommendations of the tax, surely not the least in consideration was, that if it should happen to diminish the quantity of hair-powder manufactured and worn in future, it would lessen the consumption of those valuable essentials of life, corn and flour, which were wasted under the name of hair-powder,
The Lord Chancellor, during part of the debate, had gone to the table, and run his eye over the clauses of the engrossed copy of the Bill j when opportunity offered, therefore, he rose again, and delivered his opinion at some length, in favour of the principle of the tax, and of the particular clause in question. The Brll, as well as he could catch the general tendency of its purview and provisions, from a cursory perusal of its clauses, meant this great object—to raise an efficient tax to a large amount; and every clause of it appeared to be drawn with a design to further that purpose. Without the clause objected to by the Noble Duke, the Bill would be good for nothing; so material was that clause to the general object. It was utterly impossible to ascertain the particular meaning and bearing of each clause, without considering them collectively, With relation to each other, and as one served to illustrate the
pther. other. The Noble Duke still persisted in contending, that the clause under debate obliged the master of a family to turn informer against his servants; he denied that it did so iu tht; odious fense of the term Informer, which the Noble Earl had correctly explained to have originated in its application to those who informed against their neighbours, for neglect of religious duties. With regard to the supposed case that the Noble Duke had put, of a master's happening accidentally, in the presence of a second person, to have seen one of his female servants powdered, the circumstance escaping his recollection^ and his omitting to give in her name in his list when he delivered it—it was in the first place an extreme cafe, and a cafe scarcely likely to happen as long as the Bill endured. All masters of families, he took it for granted, would pay for their servants wearing powder; where that wns not the cafe, servants were by the Bill made responsible for themselves, if they wore powder, as they ought to be. Masters of families could not but know whether their servants wore powder or not: Hair-powder would naturally and unavoidably challenge their notice; and if -it had not excited their curiosity heretofore, the obligation of the Bill would call upon them to inquire. Servants, on the other hand, must know whether their masters were aware of their wearing powder or not 5 and they must also know, that if they did put powder in their hair, either their master or they themselves must pay the duty, and take out a certificate. The clause imposed no hardship on masters of families, whose duty it was not to stand by and see the revenue defrauded, when they could not but fully know how much the exigencies of the times required that the public revenue should be rendered as productive as possible. It seemed to have escaped the notice of those Noble Lords who complained of the hardship of the clause, that masters of families who meant to do what was right by the tax, were in no danger. They must be convicted of having tnmvirig/y given in false and defective lists, before they could be made liable to the penalty. Having urged a variety of arguments in reply to the objections that had been stated, the Lord Chancellor spoke of the great indiscretion of that House interfering to throw a difficulty in the way of a Bill, professedly imposing a tax on a luxury, if not peculiar to families of rank and distinction, inseparable from their habits. Did any Noble Lord imagine that an opposition of that nature would come with a peculiar grace from that House in a time of confessed distress and public exigency? Let them for a moment consider the construction it would be liable to without doofs. Let them also reflect Upon the danger in which a rejection of che clause
would put the Bill itself. Most Noble Lords approved the principle of the Bill, and yet that would be set at hazard if any alteration were made in the clauses. The Bill was avowedly a money Bill; and though he would not impeach, in the smallest degree, the right of the House to make any amendment or alteration whatsoever in every Bill that came before them, be it of what nature or description it might; yet they all knew the practice of the other House, in regard to money Bills, in which their Lordships made any alteration. Would it, therefore, on considerations of discretion or prudence, be wise to run the risk of losing the Bill? Even supposing that the other House were to bring in a new Bill, adopting the alteration; that would be open to new discussion and new objections, if started. Much time would, therefore, be lost by rejecting the clause; and a new Bill might not pass. Besides, the Noble Duke, if he understood him rightly, had proposed no modification of the clause, but a total rejection of it. For these reasons, his Lordship said, he should vote for the clause as it stood.
'The Duke of Norfolk confessed, that he had no modification to propose; he really saw not how the clause could be altered, so as to cure and remove his objection. He could by no means agree that all masters of families would pay the tax for their servants | but, on the contrary, must contend, that they would be unwilling either to pay the tax for their domestics, or to suffer them all to wear powder; and the hardship would lie in their acting upon that feeling, and yet be rendered liable to incur the penalty, under certain circumstances. He was a firm friend to the principle of the tax; but he was persuaded, so far from its being an improper thing for their Lordships to interfere with the regulations of a tax Bill, they were in this instance bound to protect the masters of families from unnecessary hardship and oppression—and such, he contended, the operation and effect of the clause in question, if passed into a law, would prove. He denied that the clause could, properly speaking, be deemed a money clause; and he reminded their Lordships of their frequent practice in respect to Enclosure Bills, where they without scruple altered clauses, and without any danger to the Bills. There were, he observed, generally two parties to an Enclosure Bill; one party, who were interested in the passing of the Bill, and gave it their support— the other, adverse to it, and who opposed it in every stage; and yet when they altered or rejected clauses in an Enclosure Bill at their discretion, the other House did not complain of it, but adopted their Lordships amendments, and passed the Bill so amended. His Grace said, he did not by any means