§ On the House meeting again in the evening,
§ Sir Samuel Whalley
rose to bring forward his Resolution for the repeal of the whole of the Assessed Taxes. The hon. Member complained of the unequal pressure of the Assessed Taxes on those who kept carriages, horses, and servants. One of the Assessed Taxes was on horses above a certain standard. The effect of this was, that, to get horses of a size below that standard, the excellent breed of that useful animal the English pony was discouraged; the breed had become greatly deteriorated, and we now had a race of Shetland ponies, some of them not much larger in size than a good Newfoundland dog. It was absurd, he contended, to let the tax fall on the horse according to his height, as it prevented many from keeping a horse which would be of real use to them. The unequal pressure of the taxes was the cause of driving many persons with large families 353 to the continent, where they spent their incomes, which would be of vast service to their country if spent at home. The man of property who remained at home, and kept up his establishment, was made to pay exorbitantly, while another man of even still larger property, who was niggardly and mean, and lived in lodgings, was almost wholly exempt from direct taxation. He, therefore, would recommend a Property-tax; and to avoid all inequality and injustice, he would suggest, that all persons should make a return of the amount of land they held, the rent they paid, if any; and in that way the value of the property might be easily ascertained. The landlords, of course, ought to be allowed to make deductions for all mortgages and rent-charges. The amount of every man's funded property might be easily ascertained. Thus, he apprehended, the tax would be deprived of its disagreeable inquisitorial character, since no man need make disclosures, and the evasions would be inconsiderable. As he was not, however, competent, from ill-health, to the task he had undertaken, he would leave it in the hands of the hon. member for Worcester, who had an Amendment to propose upon his Motion, which he would submit to the House in the following form:—"That, as the Assessed Taxes are prejudicial to the home trade and manufactures of this country, and as their pressure occasions persons of moderate fortunes to spend their incomes abroad, it is expedient that they should be repealed, and the deficiency in the revenue supplied by a tax upon real property, securities on real property, and the public funds.
§ Mr. Robinson
then brought forward his Amendment; and, after remarking upon the position in which he was accidentally placed, called the attention of the House to the fact, that last year he had been supported in a proposition similar to that he was now about to introduce, by 157 Members. A strong presumption was thus afforded, that at that time there existed a very general opinion that a great change ought to be made in the system of taxation.
§ Mr. Gisborne moved, that the House be counted; and, there not being forty Members present, it was adjourned.