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in the arts that grace mankind other nations excelled you; they sang better, they danced better; but in stating courageous truths, in breaking political or metaphysical chains, here were your robust accomplishments. We have heard of divers anomalies in your policy — they are numerous; your treaties, your subsidies, and your prayers; but you yourself are the great anomaly. The Continent lay flat before your late rival ; the Spaniard had retired; the Austrian had retired; the Prussian had retired; the iron quality of Russia had dissolved; the domination of France had come to the water edge, when, behold! from a misty speck in the west, the avenging genius of these countries issues forth, clutching ten thousand thunders, breaks the spell of France, stops, in his own person, the flying fortunes of the world, sweeps the sea, rights the globe, and then retires in a flame of glory; and, when the human race is in amaze and admiration at his courage and originality, he turns school divine, fights a battle about extreme unction, and swears against the companions of his fortune and his victories. Our Prince is, on the part of his father, the supreme head of the church; we are his national council, and as such, have a right to advise him. I avail myself of this privilege, and say to him, “ My prince, my master, you must take the lead in the deliverance of your people. The graciousness of your manners indicate that you were born for acts of benevolence. Your predecessor, the Plantagenet, prevailed on the continent, so have you; but then he gave the charter and the laws of the Edwards : your other predecessor, the Tudor, she rescued Holland, so have you; but then she passed wise and useful statutes innumerable. You have carried Europe on your back; but then the home measure, the securing and ascertaining and extending the liberties of your people — that, that still remains. The whole body of the Roman Catholics petition for freedom. The destinies of a fifth of your empire are before you. Come - the glory of the house of Hanover is waiting for you; be the emancipator of the Roman Catholics, as you have been the deliverer of Europe, and look in the face, the Tudor and the Plantagenet.”
Mr. Grattan then moved, 66 That this House do resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, to consider the state of the laws by which oaths or declarations are required to be taken or made, as qualifications for the enjoyment of offices and the exercise of civil functions, as far as the same affect His Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects; and whether it would be expedient, in any and what manner, to alter or anodify the same, and subject to what provisions and regulations.'
Mr. Croker, (secretary of the Admiralty) seconded the motion, in a very elaborate and talented speech. It was supported by Lord Normanby, Sir Robert Wilson, and Mr. Wrixon Beecher. It was opposed by Lord Lowther, Mr. Leslie Foster, and Mr. Brownlow.
The House divided, and the numbers reported were, Ayes 242, Noes 248. Notice being taken, that several members had come into the House after the question was put. The Speaker desired the members not in the House when the question was put to signify the same. Accordingly Lord Forbes was struck off the Ayes, and Mr. Bankes, Mr. Ure, General Porter, Lord Rocksavage, and the Marquis of Worcester were struck off the Noes, and the numbers were thus reported, Ayes 241, Noes 243; Majority against the committee 2. Tellers for the Ayes, Lord Nugent, and Mr. Croker.
Noes, Sir J. Osborne, and Mr. Leslie Foster.
WINDOW TAX IN IRELAND.
MR. R. SHAW MOVES FOR A COMMITTEE TO ENQUIRE INTO THE
SUBJECT OF THE TAX UPON WINDOWS IN IRELAND.
MR. ROBERT SHAW had, on a former day, presented petitions
from the citizens of Dublin, praying for a repeal of the window-tax, and on this day he made his promised motion. He contended that the people of Ireland had a right to rely upon the pledge given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (Mr. Corry), in the Irish Parliament, who then stated, 66 That the tax was to meet the exigencies of the moment, and was not intended to be permanent, but merely a war provision.” Either the government or the Parliament of Ireland had been pledged to adhere to this arrangement; if not, the people of Ireland had been deceived. The tax was not only oppressive, but had greatly conduced to increase the fever of late prevalent in Ireland, so much so, that the commissioners of revenue had been obliged to issue an order, remitting the tax in certain cases. He read an extract from Dr. Parker's report of the epidemic fever in 1817, and 1818, showing how much this tax had contributed to increase the sickness in the metropolis. He said that the reduction of twenty-five per cent. was certainly a boon for which the people were grateful; but that their distres as well as their health, required that the tax should be repealed altogether. He concluded by moving, “ That a select committee be appointed to consider the expediency of repealing the act of the 56th of the King, as far as respects the tax upon windows in Ireland.”
Mr. Grattan seconded the motion.
It was opposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Vansittart), Mr. Grant (secretary for Ireland), Sir George Hill (vicetreasurer for Ireland), Lord Castlereagh, Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Richard Martin, and Mr. Marryat. They contended, that the words of Mr. Corry did not bear the interpretation put on them; the financial state of the country would not permit the reduction of such a sum; the debt of Ireland consisted of 104,000,0001. of capital borrowed in England, and about 30,000,0001. borrowed in Ireland. The charges due on the debt payable there were 4,462,3777. the amount of the revenue of Ireland on the 5th of January last was 4,589,9771. leaving a surplus of about 130,0001. but Ireland had another debt payable in England, amounting to 4,767,3921. making a total of 9,229,7691. leaving a deficit of 4,639,7921. In such a state of things, it was not possible to repeal the tax, especially when in the last three years a reduction had been made in the house, the hearth, and other taxes in Ireland, to the amount of 156,5621.
The motion was supported by Sir John Newport, Mr. Hutchinson, Mr. Forbes, Mr. Callaghan, Mr. Colclough, Sir Nicholas Colthurst, Mr. Carew, Mr. Vereker, and Mr. Knox. Mr. Plunket stated, that.by the 40th of the King, c. 52. the tax was declared to be laid on for the purpose of maintaining 50,000 men in Ireland, that the act of the 52d of the King was merely a regulation, and distinctly recognized the window-tax as a war-tax. Ireland had contributed to the exigencies of the empire, when in fact she was in a state of bankruptcy; she had been engaged in a mad career since 1800, and had been going on at a rate (not calculated at the period of the Union), and one which it was not possible for her to support. The tax was odious in Ireland, and in large towns particularly oppressive. Dublin had great reason to complain, for before the Union she had a resident Parliament, and a resident nobility. Upwards of 100 families of the first distinction, lived within her walls; they were now no longer to be found there; in Dublin alone, upwards of 3500 notices of discontinuance had been served on the collectors of the window-tax, and in the last three years the number of notices served amounted to 32,324 ; thus the tax was becoming every year less and less productive. For 1817, the deficiency was 36,768). ; for 1818, 43,2131. ; for the last year 77,9201.
Mr.GRATTAN then rose and said: Sir, after so many speakers have delivered their sentiments on this question, it would not become me to enter very largely into its merits. The anxiety that is manifested by the House, and my own state, would in a great degree prevent me.
The temperate and judicious manner in which my honourable colleague has brought forward this question, and the very able and convincing arguments that have been adduced by my right honourable friend the member for Dublin University, have left me very little to say: and I would fear to weaken their arguments, if I attempted more than a recapitulation. Sir, it has been in my opinion clearly proved, that upon this question there was a distinct pledge given by government respecting the continuation of this tax: to urge this to the utmost is undoubtedly a very tender subject, and to some it has already appeared not a little invidious. There are other grounds upon which to proceed, and I should prefer to argue from them, for although I would not abandon any part of the strength that Ireland has upon this subject, still I should not like to tax Parliament directly with a gross breach of faith : such a charge is very serious in its nature, and were it established, it would only lead to mutual recrimination. Such a consequence no man would deprecate more than myself, conceiving it to be our duty to soften, rather than to exasperate. With respect, therefore, to the subject of the Union that has been alluded to, I shall only say, that my sentiments remain unchanged, and my old opinions upon the nature of the relationship between the countries have undergone no alteration. The marriage, however, having taken place, it is now the duty, as it ought to be the inclination of every individual, to render it as fruitful, as profitable, and as advantageous as possible. I agree with my right honourable friend as to the law; the acts that have imposed this tax clearly show that its existence was intended merely to be temporary, not permanent; and the war being at an end, this tax should have been at an end also. But there is another point more important, and which contains an argument more conclusive that is, the health of the people of Ireland! The opinions of the various physicians; the order from the Board of Excise, and the ravages of the fever itself, prove the necessity of the abolition. You have here not merely the declining health of the people, but you have from the papers on your table, the returns that show the declining state of the tax itself, which is an evidence, not merely of its unpopularity, but (like the
victim that it makes), an evidence of its mortality also. The number of discontinuances that have been served on the collectors, and the diminished produce of the tax, are additional reasons against its continuance. I am willing to admit that, on this point, much has been done by government. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made a substantial reduction, not certainly such as I could wish, but one that undoubtedly entitles him to our thanks. However, Sir, he will please to recollect the state of the country that is affected by this measure the absence of those who ought to reside, and the poverty of those who do, and the consequent inability to pay. He should likewise consider that this tax operates as a drawback on improvement, and deters individuals, from the construction of the very buildings that are in Ireland most desirable. In the city that I have the honour to represent, there is, I regret to say, abundant proof of great distress, of the difficulty to pay this tax. I hold in my hand a statement which has been furnished to me, by some respectable individuals of the city of Dublin, who have submitted certain queries to the church wardens of the different parishes, upon which I am informed that I may rely, and from which I beg to read the following extract; it furnishes a better argument than I could give, and is the strongest proof of the necessity of complying with the motion of my honourable friend to go into a committee. The queries were:
1st, The number of houses in the parish ? 2d, The number inhabited ? 3d, The number to be let, whether occupied or not? 4th, The number of insolvencies?
66 St. Mark's parish. There are 85 shut up; there are 50 to be let; and 120 insolvent. In 1816, a Mr. Piele demanded for his house 1500l. fine, and 1501. a-year; a house in the same street, equally good, was let a few months ago for 6001. fine, and 1301. a-year.
66 St. Audeon's. 400 houses ; 147 were returned in arrear by parish collector, and 95 insolvent.
66 St. James's. - About 700 houses; 50 uninhabited ; 150, or thereabouts, to be let. Half of the houses in St. James's parish are returned as insolvent for grand jury cess. Rent has fallen full one-third.
“ St. Nicholas Within. - 84 houses in both parts of the parish 574); 70 inhabited; 14 uninhabited, and between 30 and 40 returned insolvent, both for grand jury and parish
“ St. Mary's. - 1500 houses; 271 shut up; 291 returned insolvent, on the oath of Mr. Irwin, collector of grand jury cess, 9th November, 1817.
“ St. Thomas's. —1458 houses; 146 returned insolvent, on the oath of Mr. Harricks, the parish and grand jury collector; 450 returned as waste.
66 St. Catherine's. 1887 houses; 105 returned as insolvent; 110 down, or in ruins; 90 waste.
“ St. Bridget's. — 680 houses ; 103 shut up; 57 kept open, but are insolvent.
" St. Andrews. 650 houses; 129 insolvent. “ Werburgh's. - 267 houses ; 37 insolvent.
“ St. Michael's. - 111 houses ; 42 insolvent; and 11 shut up.”