HL Deb 16 March 1818 vol 37 cc1100-1
The Marquis of Dowshire

presented two petitions, one from the city of Dublin, and the other from the town of Belfast, complaining generally of the excessive burthen of taxes, but especially distinguishing the Window tax as that which, in their opinion, bore most unfairly as well as most heavily upon them. The noble marquis said, that when the window-tax was originally proposed at a period previous to the Union, Mr. Corry, then chancellor of the exchequer in Ireland, had urged it merely as a war tax, to subsist only for a limited time. The tax, however, grievous as it was felt to be in Ireland, was continued from year to year, in spite of various remonstrances urged in the most temperate manner at various meetings in a multitude of instances. It was no party question. The cause had been taken up by all classes and descriptions of men, who, though they had willingly submitted to the privations which they believed to be necessary in an urgent moment, yet trusted, in rational expectation and in the confident reliance on the word of a respectable minister, that the burden would be removed as soon as the cause for imposing it should have ceased, They found themselves mistaken. A tax which had been proposed as expedient for maintaining a necessary and indispensable war, and which had been agreed to on the express condition that it was to cease at the conclusion of the war, still-continued, and still excited murmurs and dissatisfaction. The petitioners were actuated by the purest motives, but they could not complacently refrain any longer from appealing to the liberality and equity of parliament, for redress under so oppressive a grievance. They were the more confident of finding their petitions favourably received, as the wisdom and justice of the legislature had prevented the occasion of similar petitions from the people of England, who enjoyed the advantage, in point of taxes, of the change which had taken place from a state of war to that of peace—The petitions were ordered to lie on the table.