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“ certain time, that pledge had been ‘given in this, instance. The country “had performed its part of the contract, “and submitted to the tax with unexampled patience, as long as the war “continued. They had now a clear and

“irrefragable right to the benefits of the

“engagements on the other side, and to “expect that the tax should not be re“newed. If the tax were now renewed, “it would not only be a gross violation “of the contract, but it would be an aggravated breach of trust, by making “the very violation of their contract “a sort of precedent for further viola‘tions. It was his firin opinion, that if “the tax were but submitted to for an“other year, it would never be taken off. * New circumstances and new pretences would then arise; and rather than . give up the tax, Ministers would pre-- fer another war, perhaps with the Dey 4. of Algiers, the Nabob of Arcot, or some “of those gentlemen. He should object “to any modification of the tax. if it were reduced to one per cent, or one

“fourth per cent. he should equally

“object to it, as an unfit tax to be intro“duced into a free country. Every man “who is now summoned before the sur* Meyor goes up like a culprit, and feels “like one. The difference is, that by “the law of England, every man is pre“sumed innocent until he is found “guilty; whereas, before the surveyors, : every man is presumed guilty, until he “is found innocent. He did not mean “ to cast the slightest reflection on the surveyors personally, but without such : a course the tax could not be raised.— 4 o' There was another subject which af. - fected the people of this country almost as much as the property-tax.

“Among those taxes which were called

“war taxes, and which by law would “expire about the same time with the “ property tax, there was one of no less “ than two shillings a bushel on malt. “This bore no less on the comforts of the “poor and middling orders, than it did “upon the interests of agriculture. He “had, therefore introduced into the peti“tion a prayer, that this tax also should “not be revived. As this was not regu“larly introduced in the requisition, it “was only by the pleasure and sufferance “of the Meeting, that he could incorpo“rate it with his petition. (The sense of “the Meeting on this point was testifted “by loud applause.) He concluded by

“moving a resolution, that it was expe“dient to present a Petition to the House “of Commons against the revival of those “fares. “SIR. W. HEATHcore shortly second“ed the Resolutions, and observed that he “had voted against the new Malt Duty, This motion being made and seconded, Mr. HUNT rose to speak; but was called to order by Mr. PortALL, and the Sheriff decided, that he could not be permitted to speak till Lord NoTHESK had read a peti, tion; that is to say, Mr. Portall was permitted to make a long speech and a motion, which motion was seconded, and Lord No RTH Esk was to make another motion, and that was to be seconded also, before any person on the other side was to be permitted to speak! If this was fair and regular, it must be acknowledged, that Hampshire has its peculiar mode of conducting debates and discussions. The petition was then produced and moved, and, having been read, was seconded by SIR HARRY Tichbor NE. Here Mr. HUNT requested that the first requisition might be read. It now appeared, that that requisition included, by name, the War Taw upon Malt, which, as the reader will perceive, had been embodied into the Whig Petition, though not mentioned in the Whig requisition. The motive for this act of irregularity was clearly this: that the Whigs knowing that, if they left it out, an amendment would be moved, and that, thus, they would be defeated upon their own dunghill, seeing that the Malt Tax is full as burdensome and as odious as the Property Tax. The getting over this irregularity by “taking the sense of the “Meeting,” as it was called, amounted to just nothing at all; for, by the same rule, any thing might be introduced into the Petition; and yet, as the reader will presently see, great efforts were made to set my Petition aside upon the ground, that it contained matter of complaint, not specified in the requisition. Having thus shewn the tactics of the Whigs this far, and exposed the motive, whence they were led to introduce the Malt Tax, I now proceed to the discussion of the Petition, into which we were permitted to enter, though we had not been permitted to oppose Mr. Portall's resolution. The Whig Petition, as the Times newspaper observes “ was then read “ by the Under-Sheriff. It was of conE 2

“siderable length, as it embraced the “ different points of Mr. Portall's speech, - “and the preambles of the different Acts “ of Parliament on this subject. It also “alluded to the new creation of Knights, “ and observed, that as the Prince Re“gent had been advised to reward the “splendid services performed by the navy “ and army, his civil subjects also, who “had discharged all their duties during “the arduous contest, and patiently sub“mitted to such heavy burthens, con“ceived themselves entitled to some con“sideration for their discharge of duty, “and an alleviation from this most op“pressive tax.” 1 opposed this Petition, which I represented as more resembling a lawyer's brief, in form and language, and a bill in Chancery against the Regent, in matter, than a County Petition against a Tax. I observed, that the passage, alluding to the new creation of Knights of the Bath was peculiarly objectionable; that it sig

that of highway robbers. But, I observed, if this was really the case, who were the highwaymen, this being a question of very material importance to the Country, who had, during all this time, elected and re-elected the men who imposed and supported this tax; that Sir WILLIAM H sathcote, who had seconded Mr. Portall's motion, was one of the first imposers, one of the supporters; that the party, whose friends had now brought forward the Petition, had raised the tax from six and a quarter to its present amount, and that they had done it, too, in the most odious, insulting, and unfeeling manner.—(Here I was called to order again, though I was only asking who the highwaymen were, if it was a highwayman's tax.)—I next observed, that, seeing that the Gentleman thought the imposing of the tax the act of high

waymen, and, as it is well known, that highwaymen generally begin by stepping

the mouth, that they next bind the persons

nified to the House of Commons a sort of their clients, and conclude by ramming

of envious and vain feeling; a poor

their hands into their pockets, I should

sneaking after a share in the baubles of not wonder if the Gentleman were to tell Knighthood, which was very disgusting, | us, that the Parliament who imposed this

and in which I was sure the Meeting tax had proceeded in somewhat the same a way, and that the láws shackling the ,

did not o I was interrupted by Mr. Portall calling to order.

Lwas told, that I was wandering from the

subject before us. The reader will judge what the Order of the Bath had to do with a Petition against the revival of the Malt and Property Taxes; but, he will, I am sure, clearly see, that, as the allusion formed part of the Petition, I was strictly in order, while I was objecting to that part of the Petition.]—I next observed, that the name of highwayman's tar, applied to the Tax on Property by Mr. PortTALL, formed a curious contrast with another part of his speech; for, there he had told us, that the tax was imposed at a moment, when the enemy was at our door, and that the tax was “necessary “to the safety of his Majesty's Crown, “the security of our holy religion, our “laws, lives, and properties!" What? I observed, and do the Meeting, then, really believe, that the king and our holy religion stood in need of highwaymen measures to insure their safety? And, can the Meeting, tan the people of England, look foreigners in the face, and prate about Fnglish liberty, while they confess, that we have lived for nearly twenty years under the operation of power, resembling

Press and diminishing Personal li passed during the same period, ought, at any rate, if we abstained from such irreverend descriptions of them, to receive our reprobation as well as the law imposing a tax property. ground I was proceeding to state what those, laws were, and to shew how lawmaking proceeded, step, by step, until it arrived at that stage, when, as the Gentleman had asserted, it assumed the character of a highwayman's conduct. I was beginning with the law, which inade it high treason to send a bushel of potatoes or a pair of shoes to the Republicans of France who, by the bye, had now some food to spare for us.-[Here I was stopped this matter being wholly inadmissible, having nothing at all to do with the subject of the Requisition; though, as the reader will perceive, it had quite as much to do with it as the Order of the Bath could possibly have.]—I next observed upon what Mr. Portall had stated as to the cause of the tar, and how it came te be laid, and said, that it was a false alarm that prevailed at the time; that the enem was meter at our door; that he never .#

| attempt to land, and that there never

Upon this

was a time when the people of England, of their own force, were not able to defend the country; that no army, and, of course, no tax, was wanted to preserve the country against any enemy that it ever had; and, that it was very clear, and had long since been so, to the whole world, that the war was made, and the tax raised, for the purpose of crushing republican liberty in France, and of stopping, by that means, its extension all over the world.— I was proceeding to shew, that, in part, this object had been accomplished ; but, that we had ruined ourselves by the sucress.-[Here, however, I was stopped; though, I thought, that I had as much right to go into this matter as the other side had to state their notion of the cause and object of the tax.]—I next observed, that the Petition on the table, though it included the War Malt Tar, did not go nearly far enough for me; that I should move an amendment, including all the war taxes, in the first place, being of opinion, that it was a matter of indifference in what shape, or under what name a tax was raised, if raised all; that, in the end, it must be paid by the public at large, and that it signified not one straw to any man, whether he paid it, as the old saying is, in meal or in malt. But,that I did not stop here; that I was for praying, that no other tares might be imposed instead of the war taxes, and was for expressing the opinion of the Meeting, that there was no necessity for any other taxes. All this, however, I observed, was a trifle, in my estination, compared with the laws, passed during the war, respecting the Press and respecting personal liberty, some of which were still in existence, and, therefore, I should propose to pray for the repeal of these laws also.-After a great deal of further interruption from the opposite party, I moved a Petition, the substance of which only I can give, having been deprived of the document itself in the manner hereafter to be described. The Petition, moved by me, was in substance as follows: w

That the war taxes had now no longer any pretence for their continuance, seeing that peace with all the world had been happily restored:—That no new taxes in their stead would be necessary to support the credit and honour of the nation, provided that

a system of economy and peaceful government were adopted in place of the enormous expenditure, and that immense military establishment, which was wholly unknown to our forefathers, and which now threatened to swallow up all the civil powers and distinctions of the country: -—That all pretence for alarm having now ceased, the laws passed during the late war, cramping the liberty of the Press, and also personal liberty, ought now to be repealed:—That therefore, we prayed, that all the war taxes might cease, agreeably to law; that no other taxes might be imposed in their stead; and that all the laws, passed during the war, which diminish the liberties of the people might also be repealed. -

Mr. HUNT seconded the motion, and, though many attempts were made by Mr. PortALL to interrupt him even while he was answering the arguments of that gentleman, he proceeded in a way, and with an effect that made faction feel very sore. —He observed, that the war malt tar was introduced by the other side, not from choice but from compulsion; that they had foreseen, that unless they introduced it, they would be beaten ou their own ground. He observed, that the worthy Baronet, (Sir William Heathcote) had taken great credit for having opposed the war tax upon malt, but, perhaps, that might be accounted for by the fact, that this was a great barley country, and that the worthy baronet was owner of no small slice of this same country; that as to numerous other laws that he had assisted in passing and supporting, though of infinitely more consequence to the people, he had appeared to feel less acutely.—He observed, that he heartily rejoiced at the conclusion of peace with America, and thanked the King's ministers for having acted so wisely; and that, though the Meeting would feel with him deep regret, that the war had not sooner terminated, and before so many disasters had taken place, he was sure that every Englishman would feel consolation in reflecting that, if the trident of the seas had been snatched from us in a few instances; if we had

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now and then suffered defeats on an element called our own, it had been from the arms of free men, and not from those of the hirelings of despots.-In alluding to Mr. PortALL's assertion, that the Income Tax, being laid on in a time of great public peril, it was suffered to pass with little opposition or comment; he observed, that the contrary was the truth; that no tax ever met with such strenuous opposition; that the nowRIGHT HoNour A2 LE GEORGE TiERN EY, in particular, called it by names almost as odious as that now applied to it by Mr. Portall; that he even went so far as to declare, that the people would be fully justified in resisting it by force of arms; but that this was the out of place ontiment of Mr. TIERNEY, who afterwards, when in place, voted for raising this same tax from six and a quarter to ten per cent.—[Here Mr. Port ALL made a very strenuous effort to stop Mr. HU xt; but the Sheriff said he was in order, as well be might, seeing that Mr. HUNT was only shewing that what Mr. Port ALL load stated as to the silent acquiescence of the country, when the tax was laid on, was not true.]——Mr. HUNT continued by observing, that the gentleman deprecated all enquiry into the conduct of those who had laid on, or raised, the tax; but, that it was material for the meeting to recollect, who it was that had imposed and angmented what had been called a highwayman's tar, and es1stially when the faction,who had brought iárðard this charge, were heard endeagouring to throw the blame upon the pregett ministers, and to excite and keep up suspicions against them.—He entered into a curious and interesting calculation as to the tax upon Barley, before its juice reached the mouth; shewing that every load'àf 3arley (40 bushels) paid nearly ficensy founds in tax before it came to the lips of the labortring man, though the price now received by the farmer was not more than seven pounds; so that in every pot of beer which the labourer bought at a public house (if the proportion of the farmer's taxes were included) he swallowed more than four-pence in far.--—But, he observed, in Čonclusion after a variety of other observations), this meeting presents a very curious

spectacle. He said, that he had many,

persons, in his , eye, who, in that very

place, had frequently met to addres, i.

the Government, to approre of the un-
dertaking and the continuing of the late
wars, in the prosecution of which they
offered and pledged “their last shilling:
“ and their last drop of blood.” And
yet, said he, though the government do
not ask, and never have asked, for a sin.
gle drop of their blood, being contented
with the shilling alone, this siligular for-
bearance is repaid by the virulent and
gross abuse, which we have this day heard
bestowed upon it, and that, too, by the
party, who had its full share in the very
measure now so bitterly couplained of.

Mr. Po RTA Li, rose to answer what had
been said on our side. Ile objected to

ter, not notifical in the requisition, and insisted strongly, that, in asking for so much, we ran a risk of losing all. He complained, that an unfair advantage had been taken of him in the comments made on his expressions respecting the high-rayman; said that the words dropped fron him incautiously, and that they certainly called for an apology. But, it is but justice to observo, that no part of his speech was soniuch applyuded as this.

When I came to replji i was interrupted. It was contended that the business was now closed; that Mr. Pont ALL had made his motion, i.at we had answered,

the discussion closed. Eut, the reader will sce, that it was got his motion but mine, which was not under discussion. His had been made, seconded, put, and carried, without our being permitted to: speak. Then came Lord Northesk's mo, tion. That was plit aside for a while by my amendment, which was now about to be put. What right, then, in this stage of the proceedings, could Air. Po RTA1.1, have to the la M. speech?” " The quest was now to be taken upon my amendmeist; but before the questics: was put, I did obtain a hearing, sit. amongst other things, I said tiearly what is, as follows, stated by the Coti RiFR.— “ In the Harpshire Meeting on Tues“ day, ‘Mr. Co E BETA, aniong other “ thiings, said the “ Gentlemen who “brought forward the Petition had acted disingenuously; they had said nothing of the difficulties of the Government. Did they mean to say, that the Government could go on without the Property Tax? Did they wish to substitute “any other tax - rics of, we have

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the amenihacht because it included mat

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** not shew him that Government could .** go on without this Tax. It was,there“fore from the factiousness of party “ that the question was brought forward. It was the trick of a party to impose upon the people, by telling them that they were to get this Tax off; but they could not get it off, without having another, equal in amount, substituted for it.”——I said this, or nearly this; but, the Courier has dealt as unfairly by me as the Whigs dealt by the Meeting; because, I said, along with this, something which the Cour. IER has taken care to leave out: I said that I would defy the Gentlemen to shew, that the Government could pay the public creditors, or go on at all, without the two taxes mentioned in their petition (amounting to a full third part of the present revenue), unless the whole of the army, about all the navy, and a part of the sinking fund into the bargain, were, at once lopped off; and that, therefore,to stir up the people to pray for the taking away of the revenue, without stating, at the same time, the means by which the Government might so on without it, as I had stated in my motion, was to act factiously, was to delude and deceive the people.—Strange to say, this was deemed out of order. One

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man proposes the abolition of taxes, ano

ther objects to his proposition because the Government cannot go on without the said taxes, and yet the second is deemed out of order!—I was for taking off the taxes, but then I was also for saying, at the same time, and in the same Petition, that it was our conviction, that the Credit and Honour of the nation might be maintained without those tares; because, if the Meeting did not think this, their petition must proceed either from faction or ignorance. The Amendment, moved by me, was put and lost, not by a “large,” but by * Yery small majority; after which the

PETITIon, moved by the Earl of Northesk, was carried by a like majority. It was then voted to be sent about for signatures, to be presented by the County Members, who, by a vote of the Meeting, on the motion of Mr. HUNT, were instructed to support it, when presented, The thanks of the Meeting. having been unanimously voted to the High Sheriff, (Mr. Norris of Basing Park) ha, in answer, observed, that he hoped, the next time he met the County, he should have to congratulate them on the Death and Burial of the Property Tar. Whoever was at the Meeting, and who reads this, will say, that I have here given, substantially, a fair account of the proceedings. I had not the smallest hope of carrying my motion. I had not signed any requisition; I had consulted nobody; I had not talked upon the subject to more than four persons out of my own family. I cared not a pin about the repeal of the Income tax, unless all the war taxes and all the laws about the press and personal and political liberty were included; and the only disappointment

that I met with, was, that so large a

part of the Meeting were with me. What has been said of the disingenuousness of the Hampshire Petition will apply to almost all the other petitions against the Property Tax. ... Westminster and the City of Worcester (and there may be some others) are exceptions. But, with these exceptions, it is a clamour against a tax, and merely against a tar. It is an outery for relief, without a word ‘’ said as to the causes of the burden, or as to the means of doing without it. Mr. PortALL, at our Meeting, said that he should approve of taking away a part of the Sinking-fund; the same has been said at other Meetings. Perhaps this may be practicable; but, if it be done without a total disbanding of the army and a discharge of nearly all the navy, will the funded property retain its value; or, any value at all If the fundholders saw, that the taxes were so re

duced as to enable the country to prosper under them, they need not care about

the Sinking-fund; but, what will be their prospect, if, out of 40 millions of revenue, only 20 millions are wanted for the army and navy alone, while their own share of that revenue, exclusive of the Sinking-fund, amounts to 25 to 23 millions? The remedy is, then, 3 reduction

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