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where appeals were made, the sentences of the regimental courts martial were not only confirmed by the superior court, but the punishment greatly increased; and he never knew an instance of their decisions being reversed, or any kind of slur or stigma thrown upon them by the general courts. He entertained another objection to the clause; no provision was made for the attendance of a proper person or officer upon these courts martial, where the evidence was now proposed to be taken upon oath, to take an account of the testimony so given.. He alluded to a person empowered as the deputy judge advocates, to take an account of the proceedings, and to transmit them to the proper officer; such a regulation was the more called for, as the witnesses were liable to the pains and penalties of perjury, and without it accusations of that kind must be made from the loose and vague recollections of the persons present. He objected to the proposed arrangement, on grounds of wisdom and policy. The course hitherto pursued ought not to be departed from; but if the new regulation was deemed an improve ment, such a precaution as he had suggested. ought at least to be adopted. He assured their lordships he came forward on the pre-agreed with every thing that had fallen from sent occasion, merely from a sense of duty, a very near relation of his, as to the clause and from his zeal for the well-being of the in question. He cordially agreed with the army, and the general good of the service. sentiments of the noble marquis, in the preConstituted as the clause then was, he must sent instance, particularly in the propriety oppose it. of appointing a superintending officer to attend at the regimental courts martial, for the purposes mentioned, and he seemed to think the paymaster would be a proper person for the purpose. Though he highly respected every thing that fell from the noble secre tary of state, yet, in the case before them, he disagreed with him in every thing he ob served, save one point, which was, that no necessity existed for the proposed alteration; and he appealed to the reverend bench, whether, as christian prelates, they could approve a measure, tending to the multiplication of oaths?
of the members of such courts martial, who were generally inclined, whenever it could be done with the least regard to propriety, to a lenient mode of proceeding, would be the more shackled, in consequence of the proposed alteration.
Lord Hawkesbury agreed with what was stated by the noble marquis and the royal duke, with respect to the general conduct of regimental courts martial. He had every reason to believe, that, as much of what was correct, humane, fair, and honourable, prevailed in these tribunals, as in any other whatever. He was free to admit, no absolute necessity existed for the alteration; yet he felt it would involve such advantages, as should induce its adoption. He referred principally to the check and controul it would establish as to improper evidence on the part of persons not military; with many of whom, an unfounded degree of prejudice and clamour obtained, with respect to the character and profession of a soldier. It established some degree of security as to evidence of that kind, and would give an air of proper solemnity to the whole of the proceedings in regimental courts martial..
The Duke of Clarence .cbserved, he.
Earl Camden, in general terms, defended the clause as it then stood in the bill. He conceived the provision by no means liable to the objections entertained by the noble marquis. He thought it would add a degree of solemnity to the proceedings at such courts martial, and obviously give a greater security for the correctness of the testimony given by witnesses.
The Duke of Cumberland expressed his coincidence in the opinions of the noble marquis, on the present occasion; and, after what had fallen from him, a few words from himself would suffice. First, he should observe, that, in the course of his own experience, and as the result of his inquiries from able and intelligent officers, he never heard a single objection to the long-established mode observed in regimental courts martial; then why adopt a measure which must inrity; on the contrary, he thought, by produce the belief, that the former practice was viding additional securities for the correctcomplained of? Secondly, he objected to ness of the proceedings, it must have an opthe alteration, as more likely to tend to an posite effect. With regard to the appeal increased severity, instead of a more lenient made by another illustrious personage, to system; inasmuch as the discretionary power the rev. bench, if it went for any thing, it
Lord Mulgrave. defended the clause at some length, and with much ability.. He differed from a royal duke, for whose character and opinions he had the most pro found respect, in his idea, that the alteration would tend to a system of increased seve
thereupon, as early in the week after next as may stand with the convenience of the house. Sir, it would be desirable for any man, who wishes to bring into view a question of great extent and consequence, and for me more than any other, that his audience should be in some degree possessed of the general nature of the subject. I cannot hope, though I very much desire it, that many gentlemen will have taken the trouble to examine attentively the whole of these voluminous pa
involved an application to the bishops to bring in a bill to abolish the administration of oaths in general. Upon the whole, thinking the system of regimental courts martial would be every way ameliorated by the clause, he felt it his duty to support it. The question being put their lordships divided, when there appeared for the clause 22, against it -13, majority 9. The bill being gone through without any amendment, the house was resumed, and the report of the bill forthwith received.-Ad-pers relative to the late and present war with journed. the Mahrattas. To save them some trouble, and perhaps to invite them to read more and to enter farther into the inquiry, there are a few principle documents which I think will give a general insight into the subject, and engage them to proceed, and which I therefore beg leave to recommend to their attention. The instructions to colonel Collins; the instructions to colonel Close; the treaty of Bassein, from which, as it appears to me, the war may be dated; and, finally, the map of India annexed to the papers.
Lord Castlereagh.-The notice given by the hon. gent. is so general and undefined, that I am at a loss to conjecture what the objects are which he has in his view, and to which I should of course wish to turn my own thoughts. I therefore hope and request that the hon. gent. will state more distinctly the points to which his intended motion is directed, or at least the particular subjects which he means to discuss. Mr. Francis made no reply.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Friday, March 15.
[WAR IN INDIA.]-Mr. Francis. Before I proceed to the notice which I propose to give this day, I beg leave to ask the noble lord on the other side a question for information, very fit to be given to the house, and materially connected with the subject which I mean to bring under their consideration. By the papers on the table it appears that the war now or lately carried on in India against Holcar, was declared by lord Wellesly so long ago as the 16th of April, 1804, and I presume must have been in his contemplation some time before that date. This we know indirectly through the govern-ment of Bombay. My question is, whether at this day the Court of Directors or the Select Committee have received any direct communication from lord Wellesley of the origin and the motives of this war?
Lord Castlereagh: My answer to the question put to me by the hon. gent. is that, at this day, no advices have been received directly from lord Wellesley, concerning the origin and the motives of the war with Holcar.
Mr. Francis.The fact of itself deserves the attention of the house; since nothing -can be more precise and peremptory than the injunction of the law, by which the Go vernor General and Council are ordered, in all cases where hostilities shall be commenced, to communicate the same to the Directors, by the most expeditious means they can devise, with a full state of the information and intelligence upon which they shall have commenced such hostilities, and their motives and reasons for the same at large. I now, sir, beg leave to give notice that it is my intention, with permission of the house, to bring under their consideration a general view of the state of the Bri-tish dominion in India, and to make a motion
[SALT DUTY BILL.]-Mr. For wished to state to his majesty's ministers the substance of a communication which he received by a letter from Yorkshire. It observed, that by the last Salt Duty bill there was a severe penalty laid on all retail shopkeepers who should sell at any thing lower than the standard price, and the same penalty was exacted in that now in its progress. When the present bill was brought in, an officer was sent down to Rotherham, and the places adjoining, to announce the new duty, and take an account of the stock in hand. In consequence of this, the salt manufacturers ceased to sell; but the retail shopkeers continued to sell at four-pence halfpenny a quart, as before, for which informations were laid against them to recover the penalties. He wished to know whether these proceedings took place by the authority of government?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, that the sending down of the officer was cer tainly premature, and that it would be un
reasonable to inflict any penalties upon the fand if he wanted a clue, he would refer to shopkeepers. the memorable failure in 1800. These balances were so enormous a grievance, that as long as he had a seat in that house, he should bring the subject annually under the consideration of Parliament. Were these sums available, they would have superseded the necessity of a loan in this country of 24 millions for Ireland, and it would be easy to recede from the plan of borrowing another million, and to issue government paper in the room of it. Even the four millions revenue promised, must be more uncertain under this system, as it must come through the hands of the same bankrupt collectors, who were already so very much in arrear. To prove the hardships Ireland laboured under, he contended, that one of its great
Mr. J. Fitzgerald opposed the bringing up of the report. He contended, that the loan was made to a larger amount than was necessary, and that if it were even necessary, the interest of it might be defrayed with out having recourse to any new taxes. The revenue of Ireland was only taken at 4 millions though every body knew that it would be considerably more. In the last year, the right hon. gent. (Mr. Foster) imposed additional taxes of 1,150,000l. by way of regulation, and 76,000l. to defray the expences of a direct loan; and he now stated, that est difficulties arose from the debt it conthere was out of last year's revenue a sur-tracted in the year 1800, for the purpose of plus of 843,000l. but that it must remain purchasing the representations of boroughs locked up in the Irish treasury until the pro- necessary to be disfranchised for the purportion of Ireland to the joint expences of poses of the union. He did not see why the empire should be paid. Upon this prac-this-should fall exclusively on Ireland, or tice of retaining the surplus of the consoli- why England, which benefitted by the dated fund since the union, it would follow, union, should not pay a part of the exthat there must be now a total surplus of pences of it. On these and various other about 4 millions applicable to the expences grounds, he maintained that his country exof the year. This was a mode of proceed-pected from the right hon. gent. that he ing very disadvantageous to Ireland. He would resist new taxes in Ireland, while sacrificed much by opposing the union; but there was a considerable balance due to it now that it was effected, he considered the from England, which had the means of paytwo countries as one, and thought they ment. should be treated equally. The sums returned of duties due, but not immediately payable, were to the amount of 636,3461. which either were or ought to be now in the treasury of Ireland. This, as well as the balances in the hands of the collectors, ought to be a productive fund, and if it was not, he must call upon those who promised Ireland so much benefit from the union to put an end to this system of patronage and influence. It was allowed on all hands, to be a very great grievance to that country, and yet notwithstanding so many complaints, the government had not removed any one of these collectors, though in a man's private concerns he would not allowfectly unroofed. The present plantations an agent to pay himself, and also retain an being only in their infancy, would not be eighth part of his receipts, unless, on the available in less than half a century, and, assurance that the balance was quite safe. to depend upon them for immediate purHe had a right, therefore, to take it for poses, would be as absurd as that of a man granted, that this was a solvent and sufficient who, being advised to drink cyder, should answer, for which reason he should bring it set about planting an orchard. He also reinto the amount of the year. He would probated the tax upon horses, and he could teven venture to ask the right hon. gent.not well discriminate between horses for whether he had reason to think that a re-pleasure and horses for use, as they were mission was given of any of these balances? both so generally united; but what he de
REPORT OF THE Irish Budget.]-Mr. Foster moved the order of the day for bringing up the report of the committee of ways and means of Ireland.
Mr. Dawson said, the hon. gent. who spoke last had anticipated much of what he had intended to state. He confessed, that some of the taxes proposed appeared to him unexceptionable, though there were many of the articles upon which he wished all taxes to be abolished in that country. Though he had no objection whatever to the duty proposed on raisins, pepper, and coffee, yet he had every objection to an encreased duty on timber. Instead of being, as stated, la protection to the growing plantations in Ire. land, it would encourage the cutting down of what little timber there was, and leave the cottages of the miserable peasantry per
precated most was, the precedent which might induce some future chancellor of the exchequer to extend the tax to horses used in agriculture. He touched upon all the articles in the catalogue of taxes, and dwelt principally on the Postage Duty, to which he would, however, make no objection, in consequence of the assurance given by the right hon. gent. that the posts would be pro tected, and he also hoped that the revenue of it would be collected with more regularity and economy, instead of costing the country, as it did now, an expence of 11. 16s. per cent. While these subjects were under consideration, he hoped some attention would be paid to the districts of houses in Ireland, and for the distillery of that per nicious spirit called whiskey, which, though under excise, did not produce a shilling to the exchequer, while posts of smugglers were stationed through all parts of the country. To prevent these smuggling abuses, he hoped measures would be taken for establishing maritime turnpike gates, between the ports of Dublin, Waterford, and Donaghadee, and a more direct communication opened between the coast of Carnarvon and Ireland.
in the middle of the day by a single man, only armed with a stick. The effect of this was that the letters from Waterford to Clonmell were obliged to be sent by special messengers, as none but boys are employed by the post-office. At the general postoffice the letters were thrown by carelessly and promiscuously, and accessible to any one who should think proper to call for them. When the letters were sent out, it was usual for the postman to go home first to dinner, and then leave the letters behind him, while he went to a public house; so that if the expectant merchant went to the man's residence, he found the letters lying there totally unprotected; and the bills and notes were very generally either lost or embezzled. The costs of the accountants now were at their own discretion, liable to no check whatever, as there was no person to check them; and such he complained was the case in all the public boards and offices in Ireland.
Mr. Hawthorne said, that the balances of the collectors, though stated at 1,200,0001. were actually no more than 130,000l. as the duties were not yet paid, which were to produce the remainder. As to the general state of the country, he said, that so far
Sir J. Newport thought that the schedule, comprising such a multitude of merchan- from Ireland's being unfairly dealt with, dise, should have been submitted to the in-the expences of the army, and works nespection of mercantile men, as it was im-cessary for its defeuce, amounted to a much possible for any member of that house to greater sum than the whole of its proportion be so good a judge of the local effect such to the joint expence of the empire; so that taxes may have in different places, as the its taxes must have been much greater only parties more immediately concerned. In for the union. To prove this, he referred referring to that schedule, he found the du- to the accounts, which would shew, that the ties on spermaceti candles, copper, tar, &c. proportion of its debt accumulated more in raised to seven times their former duties, the four years before the union, than in the while rattans, walking sticks, and other in-four years since it had been carried into ferior articles, experienced a diminution. As to timber, he said the last duty had diminished the consumption so much, since the union, that the revenue on them was 11,000l. The present tax, he thought, would reduce the consumption so much, that the duty would not pay the expence of the collection, and would render the cottages uninhabitable. The want of domestie comforts at home frequently encouraged the inhabitants of the country to idleness and riotous conduct at home. In the south of Ireland, the want of timber was a most grievous hardship, as in the county of Tipperary there were farms to the extent of sometimes 2 miles, without a hedge or bush to be seen upon them. He complained greatly of the want of security to the mails in Ireland, which were sometimes robbed VOL. IV.
Mr. Foster said, he deemed it unnecessary to go into a detail of all the branches of the taxes alluded to. The appropriation of the produce of the sinking fund in Ireland was to pay the expences of the loan, the ratio of its separate expences, and paying the usual sum towards the sinking fand. If then there were arrears of money, there were also arrears of charges, and it was necessary to leave balances in the hands of the collectors to prepare for any contingency, and not be unprepared for any thing that may happen in case of any attempt on the part of the enemy. In fact, if these funds were taken away, there would be a necessity for other supplies to defray the coming charges, and if any part remained undis posed of, it would come in aid of the sup
and with peculiar hardship, on the retail importer, while the wholesale importer was altogether exempt from it. It therefore affected greatly the commercial industry of the country, and, as such, he hoped the right hon. gent. would agree to relinquish it.
Mr. J. Latouche opposed the tax, as a tax upon the industry of retailers, who, if it was not for this duty, could, by united speculations, become themselves wealthy merchants in the course of time.
plies of the ensuing year. He owned, indeed, that the balances remaining with the collectors were very great, in spite of all the exertions he had made to prevent it; but such had been long the practice in Ireland, and old habits could not speedily be got rid of. In respect to the duty on timber, he was glad the objections were stated, as this tax was mostly confined to deal board and staves; and all timber used in the butter and provision trade were totally exempted. The new duty, which was no more than 4s. 6d. on 72 cubic feet of timber of the value of 61. would be scarcely felt by any one, for when, in consequence of the war, the price of the same quantity of timber rose from 31. to 61. the buildings continued without any diminution. In regard to the horse tax, also, gentlemen would find the exemptions were extended to all horses which carried or brought home a load; to all those used by clergymen, physicians, &c.; to those on which farmers rode to places of worship, to markets, or to the quarter sessions. He admitted that the conveyance of the mails was very insecure, and would remain so, unless, for the convenience of the public, and the safety of letters, the Postoffice was enabled to employ other messengers than boys, who loitered on the way, and were exposed to robberies. To shew what uncertain couriers these were, he mentioned an instance of a gentleman who met one of these post-boys playing on the road, and the bag of letters lying by him. When the gentleman asked him how he could be so careless and dilatory? the boy replied, "Oh, please your honour, that is not the mail, it is only an express." In proportion to the frequency of robberies, he said, in the same proportion must be the number of prosecutions, which rendered the expence of the collection something more than 1001. per cent.-The first resolution was then read and agreed to. On reading the second resolution, for the 6 per cent. duties,
Mr. May rose, and said, he had presented a petition against these duties, from the inhabitants of Belfast, and he begged the patience of the house till he stated a few observations in support of the petition of his constituents. They had not, he said, desired him to present it, from any wish to exempt themselves from the payments of taxes in general, but from a wish to have taxes imposed in such a manner, as to bear equally on all descriptions of persons. This tax was not so constituted, but bore entirely,
Mr. Ker stated that the tax was not only unjust, but it was almost unproductive, and should on every account be abandoned.
Sir C. Price considered this duty as a check to the progress of commerce, by discouraging the activity of men of small capitals, and particularly injurious fo the commerce between this country and Ireland.
Sir G. Hill contended that the tax would prove of singular detriment to Ireland. He felt the impolicy of a tax on the retail dealers, and believed that it would undermine the internal trade of the Irish.
Sir J. Newport thought it only tended to produce and encourage manifold, manifest, and absolute frauds.
Mr. For wished that, as the tax would bear particularly hard on the retail trader, it might be abandoned.
Mr. Foster said that the tax had existed since the days of Cha. II. The operation of the tax was confined to tobacco, tea, and brandy. He was not for speculative opinions respecting taxes during a period of war. He would not think of giving up this tax, while he adhered to that on timber. He was grateful to the merchants of London for their advice to the merchants of Ireland; and hoped that the former would not decline taking that of the latter, on such questions as might tend to the general advantage of the two countries. The wholesale dealers had purchased the tax by sacrifices at the time it was first laid on; and the wholesale dealer had now a right to have his interests properly guarded.
Mr. Corry was unfriendly to the tax. Three sessions ago, he had proposed the repeal of the tax. Yet, from good dispositions towards the right hon. gent. (Mr. Foster), he had discouraged his own constituents from sending to him petitions against it, because he did not wish to cast obstacles in the way of the right hon. gent. in devising the taxes. He was not for taxing the patient retail dealer, tugging at the oar of industry, and catching every fleeting breeze to make his little bark gain in safety the haven