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duced any effect in spreading the con- man, that the shutting up of windows tagion of fever through Ireland. He under this tax had not had the effect had devoted much of his attention to of spreading more widely amongst the the subject of contagious fever, and population of Ireland the fever which conceiving that the operation of the had proved so fatal. This he stated window-tax was likely to increase that not on the authority of any ambigudisorder by a want of air, in conse ous order, worded so as to prevent, quence of the windows being closed up, not encourage, applications. He he issued an order to different collectors would appeal to the authority of all and inspectors in the districts where the medical men who had considerthe disorder prevailed, directing them ed the subject, and who declared, to have it made known, that where that the shutting up of the windows ever it was found by a physician that had produced the most lamentable windows should be opened in houses effects. Dr Barry of Cork had given where fever existed, there would be evidence on this subject, which was no additional tax charged for any perfectly conclusive. He had stated, windows so opened. When this or that in the lower rooms of houses in der was issued, the persons to whom that city, where the windows were it was directed were ordered to make not blocked up, the tenants were free returns of the applications made in from fever, while the upper rooms, the different places for leave to open where there was not a free circulawindows, in order to ascertain how tion of air, were filled with contagion. far the tax really operated in increa- If Ireland did not pay an equal share sing the contagion. He would now of public contributions, facts would inform the House what were the re- easily prove this to be merely because turns made on that occasion, from burdens were laid upon her beyond which it would be clearly seen, that her strength. In 1808, the revenue the window-tax did not at all tend to of Ireland amounted to 4,417,000l. the increase of fever. In Dublin Since that period, taxes were imposed there was not a single application to on the suggestion of the finance miopen a window-in Kildare none-in nister, to the amount of 3,500,0001. Waterford none in Cork none-in What was the result? How much did Coleraine one. In all-there were the revenue of last year exceed that only seven applications in Ireland. It of 1808 ? It exceeded it in the sum was possible that physicians might of only 50,0001. Yes-taxes estimahave ordered windows to be opened ted to produce 3,500,0001. had really in some instances without having in. brought in only 50,0001.! This was formed the inspectors of taxes of it; a decided proof of the inability of the but such could not be the case to any country to pay: He should call the extent. From this it appeared, that attention of the House to the inthe window-tax was not, in any crease of taxation since the Union. per, instrumental to the fever in Ire- At that period, the window-tax was land.
from one to four shillings per winSir John Newport said, that the dow: it was now from three to 148. window-tax affected the great body At the period of the Union there was of the poorest part of the communi no horse-tax; there was now a horsety in Ireland. He alluded to those tax of 21. 175. Tea, of the best kind, who resided in lodging-houses in great paid 7d. per Ib., the worst 5d. ;-the cities and towns. He denied the state- tax was now 98 per cent ad valorem. ment of the right honourable gentle. The tax wine had increased in the
proportion of five to two; and the re than this country, the loss occasionvenue had decreased in the propor- ed by the want of consumption contion of two to five. On an average, sequent on the war. It might seem the taxes were more than doubled that an entirely new scheme was more since the Union; and thus individuals, advisable ; but, considering the fate deprived of their comforts, were in- of that proposed by the gentleman at duced to become absentees. He the head of the department in Irestrongly recommended to Parliament land, he was led to believe that an to lessen the taxation on Ireland at abatement of the tax, as already expresent, that she might be better able isting, would give more general satisto bear it at a future period.
faction. By the law, as it before Mr Shaw's motion was supported stood, no house in Ireland having less by Sir Frederick Flood, Mr Grattan, than seven windows paid a duty. It Mr Calcraft, and some other mem- was now moreover proposed, that in bers. Being put to the vote, it was houses with more than that number, negatived only by the small majority of which a great proportion was let in of 67 to 51.
lodgings to poor people, 1s. a window On the 13th May, the Chancellor only should be charged; but with the of the Exchequer laid open his plan condition that this indulgence could for the mitigation of the Irish assess- be granted only in such cases where ed taxes. He did not conceive that the windows were used not only for Parliament lay under any pledge for light, but also for the admission of the repeal of the window-tax, nor air. Of late years great additions that Ireland had any claim to that ex- had been made to all the taxes on tent. At the same time, looking to carriages, servants, and all the rest the distressed situation of Ireland for pressing more peculiarly on the highthe last three years, he thought it be- er orders. The laws imposing them coming the justice and liberality of had been looked upon as sumptuary Parliament to afford her some relief. laws, necessary for prohibiting imOf the window-tax, accordingly, he prudent show and ostentation. On was prepared to grant a reduction; each of these he now intended a great and he would very shortly explain the relief, in the hope that diminishing nature of his proposition for that pur- the duty on carriages would produce pose-noticing also the principal al- employment for the manufacturer ; terations he proposed to introduce and that a general abatement in the under other heads. But he must first taxes would operate as an inducestate, that he had no intention of pro- ment to gentlemen of property, now posing any alteration in the hearth- absentees, to reside at home. On, tax. From the window-tax, which all descriptions of carriages a great was decessarily felt to be very severe abatement of duty would be made, in its pressure, he proposed to make but more particularly on one class, a reduction of 25 per cent, bringing which he might call the national one, it to what it had been before the last jaunting cars. The duty on keeping augmentation. Since which, he was that vehicle, which had been 61. 10s. obliged to allow there had been a con- was now to be reduced to two guineas. tinual falling off in the proceeds of Sir H. Parnellconsidered the hearththe tax. That sprang, perhaps, from tax as the most exceptionable of all, the general stagnation in business, on account of the odious right of which peculiarly affected Ireland search in the dwelling-house with she feeling, in a much higher degree which it was accompanied; but the
Chancellor of the Exchequer stated, had been thrown out of the trade no the collecting-officer in Ireland could less than 189 tanners, 338 tawers, not enter into every room of a house forty-one oil-dressers, and twelve in order to make a correct return, parchment-makers. He stated, that but was obliged to form an estimate those yards which were still occupied upon a general view, the tenant be- were not in full work, and that the ing obliged to shew the contrary if trade had declined equal to onehe objected to it.
seventh, instead of having increased Sir John Newport afterwards mo- with the population of the country, ved, that the reduction of the win- as it had always done before the imdow-tax should be 50, instead of 25, position of the double tax. The deper cent. A debate of considerable crease of this trade, the noble Lord length followed, in which Mr Peel, deduced also from the diminution of Mr Vesey Fitzgerald, Mr Leslie For the import of foreign hides, which dibes, Sir F. Burdett, Lord Castle- minution was nearly equal to onereagh, and other members, took part; half the quantity imported in 1812. but little new could now be advan- He was aware that the produce of ced, either in point of fact or argue the tax had rather advanced within ment. The original motion was then the last year, but that advance was carried, by 80 against 55.
in fact the consequence of the inThe hardship of the additional lea- creased quantity of leather disposed ther tax imposed in 1812, having been of in that year by those who were the subject of numerous petitions, selling off their stock, in order to get Lord Althorpe, on the 12th March, out of the trade altogether. The moved for leave to bring in a bill for whole produce of this tax did not exits repeal. His motion, he said, was ceed 200,0001. ; and be it recollectsupported by more than a hundred ed, that the tax objected to was impetitions ; and though all trades were posed in war-that it was deemed a ready to petition for what was bene- war tax, which was to cease upon ficial to themselves, he was prepared the restoration of peace. But, was to shew that the leather trade had the sum which he had stated such as remarkably declined, since the impo- should reconcile the House to the sition of the new tax in 1812. Du- hazard, if not the ruin, of a great ring the five years previous to the ad- branch of our manufacture ? It was ditional duties being imposed, there calculated that not less than 71,000 were forty-five bankruptcies in the persons had been already deprived of leather trade, making an average of employment by the depression of this nine in each year. Whereas in the five trade, in consequence of the addiyears immediately subsequent to that tional tax, and that the loss thus sasperiod, there were seventy-five bank- tained in the resources of the counruptcies, making fifteen in each year, try, exceeded one million and a half. and a surplus of thirty bankruptcies The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the five years. In 1808 there were would have no objection to a com1725 licences for the manufacturing mittee of inquiry into the state of the of leather ; in 1812 there were 1760; leather trade; but he begged leave but in the course of five years after to state, that it was by no means in the additional tax, there was a re- the declining condition which had duction of 889 licences, which shewed been represented. He would go back that the additional duty was oppres
For the four sive. Within the last half year, there years after 1778, the average amount
to the American war.
of the leather tax was 204,000l. In did not wish to treat the petitions with the four years before 1791, it was neglect, but proposed to refer them 215,000l. ; in the four years before to a committee, though he must let 1812, it was 394,0001.; and in the the House into the secret of why last two years since the peace, it was they were so very numerous. A let254,000l. It appeared from those ter had come into his possession, statements, that the duty did not by which had been addressed as a cirany means impede the consumption cular to all persons concerned in the of leather, as it appeared, that be trade. It was as follows: " It is netween 1791 and 1815, there was an cessary that you should send as many increase of 50,0001. a year. Fifty- petitions as possible to Parliament six of the seventy-five bankruptcies against the additional duty on leather, mentioned had taken place within the before Thursday the 12th of March. last two years and a half
. That num- Every exertion ought to be used, ber deducted from the whole num- both by applying to members, and by ber, seventy-five, within the period every other means, as the present very mentioned, would leave a less average favourable opportunity is not be nethan the noble Lord had laid down for glected.” He begged the House to the five years before the tax. With consider calmly what would be the respect to the number of licences, it result of repealing duty after duty, was perhaps known that the peace of on the complaints of petitioners. 1814 had disappointed several leather. There were at present petitions on manufacturers, who reckoned on a the table praying the repeal of duties continuation of the consumption oc- and taxes to the amount of three casioned by the war. Another ground millions and a half, without including mentioned in favour of the bill was the English window tax, which would the decrease in the importation of probably share the fate of the Irish hides. But the noble Lord should re- window tax, if the latter were repealcollect, that during the war England ed. If the entire of the taxes were was the great market open to the con- to repealed in that way, what was to tinent of South America, and that be done? If they were to continue the greater part of the continent was repealing the taxes which were nesupplied by England with the hides cessary to the country, they would which came from that country. But in a short time have no other alternow that peace was restored, Eng- native left but disgrace and bankruptland shared that market with other cy on the one hand, or the imposicountries. The leather trade had tion of the property tax on the other. not only increased, but was still in- Lord Castlereagh could not avoid creasing, as well in consumption as saying a few words on this question, in price. In March 1817, sole lea- which appeared to him to involve ther was from 15d. to 17d. per lb.; most important consequences; there and in March 1818, it was sold at might, upon every subject of taxafrom 18d. to 21d. per lb. The num- tion, be such warm appeals made to ber of steam engines employed in it the feelings of the House, as, if efhad increased from one to five. The fectual, would soon leave the countrade in oil-dressed leather, upon try without any revenue. He hoped which no additional tax had been im- the House would pause and consiposed, had decreased much more than der the subject seriously before they any other branch, having fallen off adopted the motion. He trusted from 133,000l. to 40 or 50,0001. He that, out of any false or mistaken feel
ings of humanity, they would not do mate loss to the revenue. The effects an act which would tend to destroy of this tax were severely felt by all the revenue of the country. Although persons who were great employers ; there might have been a diminution but as government was the greatest of the demand for leather, yet late employer, so it fell with particular returns shewed the trade to be revi- force upon them, and what they imaving. From a comparison of the gined they gained in one way, they quantity of leather exported for the lost in another. After a debate of five years before the increased duty, some length, Lord Althorpe's motion with that which had been exported was carried against ministers by a in the same period after it, the ac- majority of ninety-four against eightycount was entirely in favour of the four. Leave was therefore given to latter period. For the former five him and Mr Brougham to bring in years, the quantity exported was the bill. 5,603,395 pounds weight, and that in Ministers, though thus defeated in latter years, including the year 1817, it the opening of the measure, deteramounted to 10,710,073 pounds. This mined to make another stand against a proved the increase of the trade; but proceeding which appeared to afford if the number of the manufacturers a dangerous precedent. On the 6th was diminished, it was to be attribu- April, at the second reading of the ted to the cause he had before stated, bill, Mr C. Grant moved, that it the effects of great capital being em- should be read a second time this day barked in the business.
six months, that is, not at all. After Mr Brougham said, there had al- a warm debate, consisting chiefly in ready been two committees appoint- the repetition of former arguments, ed without any valuable result; and Mr Grant’s motion was carried by he was convinced that the issue of the narrow majority of 136 against the one now proposed would be the 130. The measure was thus lost in
If there was no evidence be- the present session. fore the House,-if they were quite Salt, both as a necessary of life, in the dark upon a subject, and wish and a material in the most important ed to get information by means of a productions of industry, is perhaps committee—then ministers said, “no the most improper of all the subjects committee-do not inquire ;" but on which taxation is imposed. When when there was evidence before the used, indeed, in agriculture or the House-when the information deri- fisheries, it is allowed either duty ved from former committees was in free, or at a reduced rate; but the black and white upon their journals arrangments for keeping this favour-then the cry was “ a committee- ed salt distinct from that which pays inquire." He saw no necessity for duty, subjects the dealer to much inany inquiry in the present case. The convenience, and affords ample room thing was quite clear, and no addi- for fraud and evasion. These cirtional evidence was necessary to have cumstances had drawn the particular it understood. This tax was one up- attention of Mr Calcraft, who was on a common necessary of life, and unwearied in his efforts, either to obhe conceived its imposition highly tain a repeal of this duty, or to reimpolitic. It was one of those arith- move the grievances with which its metical blunders in which the appear- collection was attended. In bring. anceof immediate increase was adopt- ing it forward, on the 10th March, ed, though it led to a certain ulti. he stated that it was unnecessary to