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wish to discommend the jealousy of the other House, in respect to the great constitutional question of money Bills; he believed great good to the Public had arisen from it. Having put this strongly, the Duke said he had heard nothing that in his mind was a sufficient answer to his former argument—h* should, therefore, persist in his objection to the clause: And he accordingly moved that the clause be rejected, declaring his intention to take the fense of the House upon it.
The Earl of Guildford rose again to support the motion; he declared he could not agree with the Noble and Learned Lord's position, that masters of families would pay for their servants; he thought the reverse was much more likely to be the cafe *, and on that idea he founded his argument against the clause in question—it was on that ground that he rested his objection, as he saw clearly that a master who disapproved of the practice among servants of wearing hair-powder, and who was far from wisliing all his servants to wear it, might in some cases either be obliged to pay for a servant's wearing it, or incur the penalty. The Earl admitted that the Noble and Learned Lord's arguments were good, if it were the principle of the Bill, or the tax itself, that they were opposing; but that was not the cafe. He for one highly approved the tax itself, and therefore he wished to render it as palatable as possible to those who were to pay for it. Supposing even that the Commons were to throw out the Bill on account of die alteration, the Commons would do as they had done in various other instances; they would bring in another Bill, nearly the fame, nay, the very fame, as that they threw out, and pass it in a few days, so that scarcely any time would be lost. But there was another consideration, and that a material one, viz. that the clause would be perfectly nugatory for one year at least, and for that period would have no effective operation at al!. The clause required every master of a family to give in a list of such of his servants as wore powder between the 5th of April in one year and the 5th of April following; the present Bill was not to commence before the 6th of May, consequently no master os a family could comply with the clause, as far as related to the period of time between the 10th of April 1795 and the 5th of April 1796. His Lordship concluded with declaring, that if the Noble Duke did take the sent; of the House, he should certainly vote with his Crace.
Lord Slihkland s.iid, that undoubtedly the Bill would be rejected by the other House-, if the clause under discussion should either be omitted or modified: But without meaning to disparage a pretension of the House of Commons, which was founded on great constitutional principles, he sliould stijl
think think it his duty, as a Peer of Parliament, to make in money Bills any alteration that he might think substantial, or os sufficient importance to compensate the delay of a few days. But having laid this, he must add, that the clause objected to by the Noble Duke, did not appear to him to be affected by any of the reasons that had been brought against it. The general principle of the tax was not disputed. The emergency of the times, the essential interests of the country, had induced a necessity to impose new taxes: A tax on the wearers of hairpowder, though liable, as all taxes are, to some objections, was admitted to be one of the least objectionable that could be brought forward. If then it were a right tax to be imposed, it seemed to be a necessary consequence, that their Lordships must concur in rendering it fully and justly productive: The clause in question was for that purpose. It had been said of that clause, that it converted masters of families into common informers. But was there not more sensibility than good fense in this objection? was it not a mere play upon words? Of ■what were masters of families to be informers? Of the number of persons within-their household, who to their knowledge and belief ought to pay the tax. They were accordingly to give in an annual list of the names of such persons. If those persons had paid, the list would serve to shew the exactitude of the family: If there should be any in the list who had not paid, it would subject them to be called upon to do what in strict integrity they ought to have done voluntarily. And surely it was to be wished, both in a moral and political sense, that one part of a family should not be permitted to avoid its share of the public burdens, whilst the other part was honestly bearing its full proportion of them. His Lordship confessed, that when he first hfeard the objection of his Noble Friend (the Earl of Guildford), that for the current year's operation of the Bill the clause would be nugatory, on account of its directing that a list was to be made out in each year, between the loth and 19th of April in the present year 1795, up to the 5th of April 1796; whereas it would not commence its operation prior to the 6th of May; it had struck him as an objection of some weight against the clause, insomuch that for a moment he had imagined it would be wise either to amend or reject the clause, even if it should affect the Bill in another place; hoping in that case that a new Bill might be brought in, and passed in time, to lose not a single day's effect of the produce of the tax. Upon maturer consideration, however, it occurred to him, that even come to the worst, the inconvenience would net be very great; as the master of the family, when called upon to pay for such of his servants named in his list as wore powder, in cafe the fact were so, might easily clear himself, by faying, " It is true, such of my servants as aTe stated in my list to have worn powder, did wear it in April last; but on or before the 6th day of May, when the operation of the Act commenced, they left off wearing powder, and have not worn it since."
Lord Hay rose again, and commended the tax as an admirable one, but wished it to be made less objectionable in respect .to the clause in question: His Lordship was proceeding to explain the grounds of his opinion, when he was reminded by several Noble Lords near him, that he had either read the clause inattentively, or misapptchended its effect. His Lordship, therefore, proceeded no farther.
The Duke of Norfolk said, it was because he was a friend to the tax, and wished it to be efficacious, that he was so earnest to rescue masters of families from the operation of a clause, which, he must still insist, did not at all tend to further the object of the Bill. His Grace said, he wished to render the tax at once productive and palatable to those who were to pay it, and therefore he should persist in his motion.
The Earl of Moira concurred jn the fame sentiment, and assigned his reasons for it.
At length, the question being put, the Lords divided:
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The report os the Committee was then agreed to, when
Lord Mulgrave rose, and expressed his regret that he had not been earlier in the House, as he meant to recommend to their Lordships consideration and relief a most meritorious class of men, on whom the tax would operate in a manner not burdensome in point of fact, for they could not possibly afford to pay it, but in a manner extremely mortifying to their pride, and deeply wounding to their feelings: Re meant the officers in the army on half-pay, who did not receive I col. a year, or any thing like half that amount. His Lordship said, he had observed with satisfaction that a clause stood in the Bill, by which clergymen, whose income did not amount to iooi. a year, were exempted from payment of the duty. In like manner he wished to see the half-pay officers of the army exempted, than whom, he well knew from long acquaintance with their merit, a set of men better entitled to consideration did not exist. His Lordship described the situation of half-pay officers with great force and feeling—full of honourable fears, disabled by wounds, and worn down in the service of their country, they were compelled to retire to some obscure village or hamlet, there to eke out their scanty pittance os pay, and poorly provide for their subsistence. How cruel was it then to hurt the honest pride and wound the fine feelings of such worthy beings, and the more especially when it might be so easily avoided, as he would take upon him to assert, that not a shilling more would be produced by the tax, if an exemption in the favour of those whose cause he was pleading were not admitted. The extending the tax to half-pay officers would sink them in their own consideration and degrade them in that of the Public; they would feel themselves forced out of their rank in the community, and deprived of the means of appearing in that line of respectability, to which their honourable services and established merit gave them so ample a claim. Having uTged their just pretensions to protection and even partial savour in terms of great energy and impressive eloquence, his Lordship begged to be informed, what was the earliest day on which he could regularly move a clause of exemption in behalf of the half-pay officers of the army.
The Earl of Moira said, he concurred with the Noble Lord in every part of his argument. The Noble Lord had treated the matter of it in so powerful a manner that he had left but little indeed for him to add. That description of men, the half-pay officers, certainly deserved every possible consideration and favour; many of them had been reduced to half-pay much against their own inclinations; having been so reduced, let it be recollected that they could not accept of any office or employ, without forfeiting their half-pay. Scanty therefore' as their pittance was, they were by law disabled from increasing it, unless they chose to forfeit their rank, forget that they had bled in the service of their country, and mingle again with the common mas:: of mankind, forgetful of what they held the dearest pride of their hearts, the military merit that had distinguished them among their brother officers. How must such men, the Earl said, find their feelings hurt, when they saw the curate os the village, or the subalterns on full pay, of the fame rank with themselves, powdered out, and by the comparison could not but be conscious that they stood in the eyes of all around them degraded, by being incapacitated from making the lame figure and appearance as gentlemen in society, which they had from their first entrance into the army been accustomed to make? Would not they be forced to consider themselves as men marked out for disgrace, and sit to be stigmatised on account of their poverty? Let their.case be put on the strongest possible grounds, let an exemption siom the tax in their favour be even deemed an act of charity, it would be a charity that would carry a peculiar grace with it, and their Lordships would have the satisfaction to find that the beneficence of the Legislature had done honour to the nation. In every way that the i mattftr matter could be viewed, his Lordfliip contended that the halfpay officers ought to be exempted from the tax, and the more particularly as the tax produce would not be increased a single guinea, if half-pay officers were not exempted, although their • feelings would be severely mortified and deeply wounded. He concluded, with declaring, that if he should have the good fortune to be present in the House when the Noble Lord brought in his exemption clause in favour of half-pay officers, he certainly would give it every support in his power.
The Lord Chancellor informed Lord Mulgrave that he would have an opportunity to introduce the clause in question, by way of rider to the Bill on the third reading, and it lay with his Lordship to move that the third reading be on such a day, as he thought he should be ready with his clause.
Lord Mulgrave thanked the Noble and Learned Lord for his information, and said, there were two reasons, which would certainly induce him to wish for the earliest day possible ; the one was, the having the important advantage of the support of the Noble Earl, who had in so powerful a manner pleaded the cause of the half-pay officers that day ; the other arose from the consideration, that if the clause were adopted, and any danger should happen in respect to the present Bill in another place, in consequence of their Lordships having made an alteration in it, an opportunity would be afforded for the immediately bringing in and passing another Bill, so that no injury might be sustained in the expected produce of the tax itself, which he highly approved.
His Lordship named the next day, for bringing in his clause; the Bill was therefore ordered to be read the next day.
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
Thursday, April 23.
A message from the Lords informed the House that theit Lordships had agreed to several Bills, and passed others, to which they desired the concurrence of that House.
INN-KEEPERS AND SOLDIERS.
The Stcretary at War gave notice, that the next day he should move for leave to bring in a Bill to relieve inn-keeper4 of part of the burdens under which they at present labouredj and also that he should have a proposition to submit on the estimates which were then before the House.