Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

arrived in August; the approbation of the Marquis of Hastings, though dated only a fortnight after that despatch, did not arrive till the 27th of November. The details of a complete justification may be now on their way.

In this imperfect state of evidence three modes of proceeding presented themselves to Government. The first was, to withhold remuneration altogether from the services of the Indian army till this point should be cleared up : but no man who knows the spirit and temper of armies in general, and the composition of the Indian army in particular, would recommend a course so ungrateful and ungracious. The next was to grant to other deservers the proper honorary rewards, omitting the name of the commander under whom the most considerable victory had been gainedthe name of him in whose praise the letters from India were lavish: but such an exception would have placed on his character a stamp of obloquy too deep to be effaced by any subsequent atonement. The last course was, to include him with the body of officers to whom military honours were due; still, however, expecting and requiring at a future period a satisfactory explanation of this particular part of his conduct. If the House shall be of opinion that the Executive Government have not judged amiss in the choice which they have made between these three modes of proceeding, the House will, perhaps, so far

countenance and concur with their decision as to vote its thanks for military service to LieutenantGeneral Sir Thomas Hislop, in common with his brave compeers in glory; and to be contented with entering, at the same time, a special record of its own suspended judgment on this particular transaction.

I admit the reasonableness of such a record, on the grounds which I have stated; though I feel that, standing in my situation, it would hardly be becoming in me to propose what that record shall be. To join it with the vote of thanks itself, when every end can be obtained by a separate Resolution, would be as harsh as unnecessary : unnecessary, since the suspension of the judgment of the House may be sufficiently marked without such a junction ;-and harsh, because the vote of thanks will be placed on the regimental books, and read in front of every military line in India. This, I am ready to confess, would not be too severe a course if the transaction were finally to be imprinted with a character, such as, I trust, it never can assume: but what would be the feelings of Sir Thomas Hislop and of his comrades, if such a censure were sent forth, in ignorance here, to be read before an audience in India who might well know that it had not been deserved ?

I trust, then, that the House will allow the name of Sir Thomas Hislop to stand in my second Resolution of Thanks, without any phrase of qualification; and in

and in return, if any gentleman shall propose a separate Resolution of the description which I have ventured to suggest, I shall think that by assenting to such Resolution I best discharge my duty to the House, to the Indian army, and to Sir Thomas Hislop himself.

The Resolutions were agreed to without a division.

STATE LOTTERIES.

MAY 4th, 1819.

Mr. Lyttleton moved the following Resolutions :

1. That, by the establishment of State Lotteries, a spirit of gambling, injurious in the highest degree to the morals of the people, is encouraged and provoked.

2. That such a spirit manifestly weakening the habits of industry, must diminish the permanent services of the public revenue.

8. That the said Lotteries have given rise to other systems of gambling, which have been but partially repressed by laws whose provisions are extremely arbitrary, and their enforcement liable to the greatest abuse.

4. That this House, therefore, will no longer authorise the establishment of State Lotteries, under any system of regulation whatever.

Mr. CANNING* thought the question had been taken up on most unfair grounds, and treated in a manner quite

foreign to the subject. The object of this motion was, to deprive Government of £300,000 yearly, and to abolish one of the oldest taxes existing in this country. His honourable friend had said, that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave up the tax, it was their duty to provide him with a substitute; that if this tax were given up on moral grounds, they were to provide an unexceptionable one in its place; but it should seem now, that the burthen of finding a substitute was to fall, not upon those who took away the old tax, but upon

those who were to lose it. But his honourable friend well knew-for, among all the transcendent abilities which he possessed, he thought his tactic in debate one of his greatest-his honourable friend knew as well, and better than he did, that lately they were asked to repeal the salt tax, because it was injurious to agriculture, commerce, and the morality of the people. They were asked also, to repeal the leather tax, because it was highly injurious to the agriculture, commerce, and morals of the country. Nay, among other immoral taxes, very lately they had been applied to, to abolish the spirit tax in Ireland, as exceedingly injurious to the agriculture, commerce, and the morals of the people. Even the window tax was thought to be equally hostile to the morals of the people. Now, he wished those gentlemen who were for repealing all these immoral taxes, would take the trouble of putting their amount together, and to see whether, having done so, they could suggest a pro rata for the quota furnished by immoral statutes; for, in spite of all the declamations they had heard about the life and adventures of a servant maid, every body well knew that taxes always bore hard on the people. To abolish those taxes now, one by one, without at the time providing sufficient substitutes for each, and without waiting for the period at which a general remission of the taxes might take place, would be

[blocks in formation]

to wander in the dark, and uselessly to incur the risk of discovering that they had parted with means which were indispensable to the safety of the country. Now, did the honourable gentlemen suppose that he had said one word about the tax in question, which he (Mr. Canning) could not say, mutatis mutandis, of the spirit tax ? His honourable friend, no doubt, well knew Hogarth's two celebrated prints, in which the effects of gin are so strikingly pourtrayed, possibly with the view of inducing a severe tax upon that article. But what ought to be done ? If they followed up their reasonings against the mischief of spirits, let them abolish, under penalty, the use of them. He was not quite sure that he was correct, for he spoke without book; but he believed the Lottery had existed ever since the revolution. The whole industry of late times had been employed to reform, as fast as possible, the abuses growing out of old statutes; and if any body could, he wished he would find out the practicability of correcting the abuses and excrescences growing out of this and other taxes. Supposing those excrescences taken away,

he could not conceive one, as to the manner, amount, or time of payment, less exceptionable than the lottery. The evils which had been adverted to, arose either from insurance, or from the small division of the tickets. Now, in former times, he recollected tickets being divided into thirty-two parts ! and he believed they had even been subdivided into sixty-four portions. The number of shares had since been contracted to sixteen, and the temptation which had been held out to the lower orders to purchase was thus considerably narrowed. If the honourable mover thought it would ameliorate the system to withdraw sixteenths, he believed his right honourable friend would not be unwilling to adopt the suggestion. But, if they wished to remove the source of a tax that existed in all countries, and which

« ÖncekiDevam »