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self into a committee of Ways and Means, who die in debt, assets for the payment of
Lord Henry Petty, conformably with their simple contract debts. On the queshis notice of yesterday, moved the follow- tion for the second reading being put, ing Resolutions, 1. " That tonards raising Mr. !!. Ilerbert rose with regret to opthe supply granted to bis majesty, an addi- pose any neasure brought forward by the tional duty of 2s.6d. be charged upon hou, and learned gent. who was the author every gallop of foreign brandy, spirits, of the bill. He lamented that he had vot aqua viæ, or strong waters (other than heard the statement of that hon. and learnrum, spirits, or aqua vilæ, of the produc eci member, when he obtained leave to of the Briis coionies or plantations in bring in this measure; but he had read the bill America), imponied into Great Britain, or since it had been printed, and objected to taken out of any warehouse in which the it because it went to alter the whole of the sune may have been secured for home law of landed property in this country. If consumplion. 2. That an additional duty be understood it right, its object was to of 1s. be charged upon every gulion of make all cases of simple contract debts of foreiga brands, spiris, aqua vitæ, or strong men who shond die in debt, without waters (other tiau run, spirits, or at waking any will providing for such debts, vitæ, of the produce of the British colonies a charge upon their real estates. This or plantations in America), imported into would change the whole law of landed proGreat Britain, and exported therefrom, or perty, which was coeval with the constitutaken ont of any warehouse in which the lion. There were various ways of charging suine may have been secured for exporta- landed property by mortgages and other tion to parts beyond the seas (except to legal instruments, and there were sufficient Ireland). 3. That the said duties sliall be processes for recovering of simple contract charged on all foreign brandy, spirits, aqua debts. Whenever any change had been vilæ, or strong waters, for which all the wade in the cominon law, it had been ge. duties charged or chargeable thereon shall nerally for the worse.
He did not see any not have been paid on or before the 1918 urgent occasion for the alteration now prodav of February, 1807."
posed, much less on so loose and vague a Mr. Rose ol served, that the duty on ground as to provide for simple contract brandy was at present 138. (id. per gallon, debts. It would have the effect of lowering and would by this additional duty be raised the value of freehold property. Another 10 168.; that ihe original cost was but 28.60. objection be felt to the measure was, that per galion, and that such a high duty, con- it would interfere with the elective franchise, pared with the prime cost of the article, which depended altogether on freehold stould become an extreme temptation to property: and if it was to be made liable smuggling, and would not operate as any for simple contract debts, in cases of small material relief to the West India trade. freeholds, the heir might be thereby deprived Desides, le did not dink the regulations of one of the most valuable of his rights. for the prevention of smuggling would be He should have no objection to the measure, as effeciual as was expected.
if it was to be confined to the cases of perLord II. Petly stated, that the system sons who die suddenly or violently; for be of rewards to vigilant and active revenue was sure no honest man who had time to officers, would have a very beneficial effect, make a will would neglect to provide for and that the West India merchants were of bis debts. On these grounds, he felt himopinion, that the addition to the duty on self inclined to oppose the bill. foreign spirits would afford them relier. Mr. Fellowes thought that the bill should
General Guscoijne was of opiniosi, that extend to copyhold as well as to freehold this additional duty on brandv continued, property, because in many cases the freewith the preference to be given by the pub- hold and copyhold property were so blendlic boards to the consumptiou of rum, ell, that it might be difficult to sell the one, would be of material assistance to the West without, at the same time tine, selling the India trade. The resolutions were then other. agreed to.
The Master of the Rolls thought the [FREEHOLD ESTATES BIL..] The So-hon. gent. who began the debate, was right licitor-General moved the order of the in considering this bill as making a very day for the second reading of the hill for material cliange in the law of freehold prowaking the Freehold Estates of persons pérty. The law as it at present stood, established the limits of real and personal | as he had not yet heard the grounds upon property. There were but two ways of which the measure had been founded. charging real property, either by deed scal- | 'There did not appear to him to be either ed, or by will. He had daubts of the po- necessity for the measure or any utility in licy of increasing the modes of afiecting it. One of the objects of the measure, lie freehold property. At present it was im- understood to be, to prevent frauds by possible to charge it by a single scrap of persons who might involve themselves in paper, or by any parole agreement. The debt, anıl, with the money borroweri, pureitect of this measure would be, to do away chase freehold property, which would dethat solemnity which the policy of British scend to their heirs without becoming relaw required in transactions that atiected / sponsible for these debts. This was a case freehold property. The fact was, that the that had sometimes occurred, and whichi parties, by their own act, decided the terms ought to be prevented. But the measure of the contract. The creditor who trusted went, in one respect, beyond its object, and to the simple contract, knew, that he was in another fell short of it. Such cases of not in the same situation as it be back a frauds were costined 10 properties purchabond, and he who had a bond knew he was sed by the delitor, and the bill, by extendpot in the situation of one who had a mort- ing to all freehold property, went beyond gage. He could see no reason why the law its object. But, by being limited to freesirould put the creditor in a situation which hold, and not including copyhold prohe did not bargain for. He might have de-perty, it tell short of its object. It would manded a higher security if he was not sa- Teli ihe fraudulent debtor to purchase copytisfied with the lower, and the debtor might hold and not freehold property; and copyhave refused it. Whiy, then, should the law holul property wouk more effectually esiasay that a man might have the acivantage of ble him to defrand lis creditors, because the best contract which he could have made? copphold property was not liable even If the principle were to be recognized it for specialty debts. In the bill which had would go much further. A tenant in tail been broughi in for the same purpose in, might, by suffering a common recovery,cutofl
' 177?, copyholds and customary freebolds the intail, and make the estate bis own, and bad been included will fieehold property. liable to his debts. If he should die, onit- Having said thus mucli, it was not his in-. ting to suffer such recovery, as the speci- tention to objeci io ihe second reading of alty creditor to be let in, who, as the law the bill, or even its going into a committee; now stood, was barred? Was the law, be- for in the committee his lion, and leamed cause the debtor might have rendered the friend would feel the necessity, for the atestates liable to his specialty debts, to sup- tainment of his own object, to make some ply his act, and let in such creditor! Was alterations in the measure. the creditor to brave every advantage by the The Solicitor General would liave been, operation of la:v, which bis debtor by his extremely glad it the opposition then made act could have given bim? Was the priu- irad been made before, becanse lie woulii ciple to be maintained, of legislating for in that case have had the advantage of the purpose
of putting the creditor in a si-knowing the objections that were felt to a tuation which his own act did not place measure, which he conceived to be of the. him in? This priuciple was not necessary bighest importance. lle must sav that it. for the future, and would be unjust as to would have been more fortunate if lie hari the present. After the passing of this bill, beard the objectious stated by the right bona the freehold property of every nian, who and learned gent. who had spoken last, had contracted any obligation for which sooner, because, though he was convinced, that property was known vot to be liable, that every hon. member was actnated in would it he died, be charged therewith in making objections to any measure by the. the hands of his heir. This would be an purest motives, it would liave been particuinstance of positive injustice, because it | larly desirable for him to have heard the would place the parties in so ditierent a objections just stated earlier, boil because. relative situation from that in which they he had endeavoured to collect the opinion were at the time of making the contract. of his right hon. and learned friend on the When he threw these observations out, he bill, and had submitted a copy of it to him, did it only by way of stating the difficulties and because he could then have given aik. ke felt; not of giving a conclusive opinion, answer that nigbt have been more satisfaca.
tory to the house, than the answer he could | Europe, no property could descend to the Now give might prove. Ile admitted that beir, without being chargeable with all the it was incumbent upon any member who debts of the ancestor. An heir could be proposed any alteration in the existing law, deprived of his whole property by a single to state the grounds upon which he found stroke of a pen, in the presence of three ed such alteration. It his right hon. and witnesses, and was it fit that the only case learned friend had not been present when in which the property should be inalienable he stated the grounds of this measure, the from his heir, was when it was to be made fault did not lie with him. He had on liable for his father's debis. The honourthat occasion siated, that the law of landed | able menuber who had spoken first in the property lad been framed with a view to a vebate, bad said that no honest man would feudal stale of society, which no longer omit to make a provision by will for his existed. It was to pay too great veneration debts, but this bill was to place every man to the wisdom of our ancestors, as it was in the situation of an honest man. Heapcalled, to continue that law unaltered, when pealed to any gentleman who hearil bim, the state of society had undergone a change whether he would wish his estate to descend that rendered it inapplicable to the existing to his heir without being liable for his simstate of society. This country had becomie ple contract debts; and he red, why rea great commercial country, and therefore quire for another what they would be it was necessary to adapt the law of pro- ashamed of for themselves? It had been perty to such a situation of things. The said, that credit had already been carried ordinary obligations in the course of busi- to too great an extent in this country. If ness were not specialty but negociable se- that were the case, they had an effectual curities, drawn at a short date. If specialty inode of checking it, that would be attendcontracts were to be rendered necessary, ed with considerable mutual advantages, that wonld put an end to commercial busi- by abolishing imprisonment for debt. When
The case stated by his right hon. a man was ready to give up all he possessed, friend, had not been urged by bien as the lie ouglit not to be imprisoned' for not doground of his measure. But it was suffici- ing what it was impossible for him to do. ent reason for the adoption of some such Real estates were affected as well by judgmeasure. Breaches of trust were, as the ments obtained on actions proved by parole Jaw now stood, but simple contract debts. testimony, as by sealed instruments or wills
. Personal property bequeathed in trust for In the former case, the charge amounted to the use of infant children, might be sold by a lien on the property. This measure the trustee, and the money laid out in the would neither create a lien nor lower the purchase of freehold property, which, when value of freehold property. The same devised over to his own children, would provision in Scotland was not attended with not be liable to these claims. In like man- any diminution of the value of freehold ner, the proceeds of an esiate devised in properly. The objection that the measure trust to be sold for the use of children, ought to extend to copyhold property, he might be vested in the purchase of lands, could not answer as satisfactorily as the ulrich either when devised over to the others. The bill that had been alluded to, truslee's own children, or in case of his had been brought in by a very learned death, would not be liable to the claims of member of his profession (Mr. Ambler), the persons for whose use the estate was and had failed, perhaps, from having ivcluddevised. The children in both cases would ed in it copvhold and customary freehold be simple contract creditors, and if there property. It would be better to proceed should not be assets sufficient, would be gradually. This as a first step of a system driven to the support of casual benevolence, would be an important measure; as a sinor parochial relief. This state of the law gle measure it would be highly beneficial. was a reproach to the country. There were | It would be extremely desirable that copy. cases that frequently occurred in courts holds should also be made liable; but if of equity, and yet the gentlemen of bis the house adopted his measure, he trusted profession, who alone perhaps were capable they would not stop there. As to the obof framing the remedy, had viewed them jection, that this principle would take in eswith patient acquiescence. The state of tates in tail, he should only say, that he the law was peculiar to this country and knew not why they ought not to be liable. Ireland. la Scotiand, and in the rest of It was a maxim of the court in which his
right honourable friend presided with social interests of the country, yet he did not much benefit to the country, that a man think that they ought to be promoted at the should always be taken to do that which he sacrifice pro-tanto of the permanent landought to do; and certainly as the terrairt in ed interest. He did not think that this was tail might, by his own act, liave made the wanted. But why did not the hon, and estate liable to his specialty debts, there learned gent, make bis bill exactly come was no good reason why the principle mensurate with his object? Why did lie ought pot to be extended to such estates. not apply it merel; to the landholder engage
Mr. Canning observed, that though feel- ed in commerce, and adopt the suggestion ings of veneration for every institution of of the right hon. and learned gent. (the our ancestors ought not to be carried to Master of the Rolls) for contining it to the excess and bigotry, they ought to oper- tirst purchasers of freehold estates. ate so far as to prevent any rash alterations. might secure the object by exiending the Innovations of this nature ought to be re. bankrupt laws to these cases. But as lo garded with the utmost jealousy, and to be the geueral doctrine of the adaptation of examined with the utmost scrupulousness. (laws to the supposed state of the counl Without meaning any disrespect to the try, it would open a door for all reforinahon. and learned gent. who proposed this tion. In the reign of the pliilosophers of bill, (for as to his abilities there could be France, there was nothing great or venerabut one opinion) he must say, that it was in ble in antiquity that was not attacked, before his own opinion, and that of many others, the great revolution which rendered these that a measure of this nature onght rather changes odious to all the world. to have originated in the other house, where were to look generally at the fitness of it might have, in the first stages, undergone things, he would undertake with hail the the revision of the great law magistrates. ingenuity of the hou. and learned gent., to This ought to have been the case, though prove to the conviction of speculative men the hon. and learned geni. had heard of no and many others, that there was nothing difference of opinion on the subject; but that had been hitherto held venerable in if there was a difference of opinion existing our law, that did not require reformation. there that point well deserved the hon. and He could prove, that the right of primolearned gent.'s consideration. The parti geniture ought to be abolisler, and that it cular, object of this bill was to meet the was improper to leave almost the whole to cases of fraud with regard to freehold lazy drones of elder brothers, and leave the estates, but be admitted that with regard rest to make their way in the world as they to copyhold and entailed estates the room could. If you began with these notions, for frauds would still be left open. But there was no end to them. He had therehe insinuated that this was only meant as a fore, his doubts as to the propriety of passing preliminary step to similar alterations with this law, and these doubts were not remove regard to copyhold and entailed estates. ed. He would not, however, oppose the In this view he had strong objections to the second reading, because he wished to olsbill. The hon. and learned gent. admitted serve what amendments might be matie in that one door would be left open for fraud it, but he rather thought that he must be in the purchase of copyhold estates; he under the necessity of opposing its ultimate would ask him whether previous debts success. were intended to supersede subsequent set- The Solicitor General, in explanation, tlements of freehold estates, and to be good denied his having said that it was lois intenagainst purchasers? If they were not, the tion to proceed further. He had merely object of the bill would be evaded; if they stated, that it might possibly appear proper were, then you would only be doing away to parliament to make otber alterations in one opportunity for fraud, in order to cre- the course of time. He had no personal ate a stronger. The hon. and learned gent. object whatever in this measure. liis sole had stated, that this was becoming in a motive for bringing it forward, was a congreat degree a commercial country, and viction of the benefits which the public that in that respect its situation was become would derive from it. different from what it was when this law Mr. Canning disclaimed having impated with regard to property had been establish- any personal motive to the hon. and learned. This was certainly true, but thoughed gentleman. he felt well disposed towards the commer- The Attorney General supported the bill on the grounds of justice and morality, and I unsettled through inadvertence, and not his only wonder was, that a measure of this from any dishonest mtention, that it had nature had not been brought forward soon- his most hearty approbation at present. er. The object was to compel the heir to Mr. Morris observed, that the case of do that justice which his ancestor might be subsequent settlements mentioned by the prevented from doing by various causes. right hon. gent. (Mír. Cauning) over the way, Our veneration for the institutions of our had been already provided for by the statute ancestors must be limited by a regard to of Elizabeth. The case of primogeniture justice. He denied that the evil which this was not at all like the present. No remarkbill went to reinedy was merely a specific able grievance arose from that. He was and partial one. The tendency of our law glad to find that the right hon. and learned was to facilitate the alienation of landed vent. below (the Master of the Rolls) bad property, and to get rid of feudalties, and not given this measure a decided and delithat was certainly not a partial reniedy berate opposition. The bill was then read which went to render the real estates of a second time, and ordered to be commitpersons dying in debt, and perhaps wishing ted to-morrow se'nnight. to discharge then, liable for these debts. [New PLAN or FINANCE.] Mr. It would be a great satisfaction to many Hobhouse brought up the report of the persons, who without any fraudulent inten- conimittee on the Finances of the country. tions found themselves, at the moment of On the motion that the resolutions be dissolution, unable to make arrangements read, for paying their debts as the law now stood. Mr. Sturges Bourne, suggested the proIt would be a great satisfaction to them to priety of delaying the further consideration have the conviction that their debts would of this important question, wlich went to be paid from their real estates. He denie:d subvert the principles on which the whole that a bill of this kind ought will any pecu- financial system of the country; and that, liar properly to originate in the other too, without the house being in possessiou house. The great law magisirates would of several necessary documents. There was have the ineasure before them in due no estimate on the table of the produce of time, if it passed this house. He thought the war taxes, and on this subject the house that the house and the country were un-had only the assertion of the poble lord, der great obligations to his lion. and learn- wiich, however respectable, was not of ed friend for his bill. He was glad that itself a sufficient authority. At that period the subject had been brought forward of the night, too, he could hardly think that and laid open to public discussion. the noble lord would press the discussion.
Mr. Perceval was, upon the whole, rather What necessity was there for haste? If the disposed to favour the bill, for the object measure was in be followed by taxes, it of his hon. and learved friend was one might be expedient to lose bo time in paswhich ought certainly to be promoted, if sing the bills through the house; but this that could be done without injury to the was not the case; and with respect to the proprietors of land, and he was glad that loan, the loan of last year was contracted ibere seemed a disposition on all sides to for at a much later period, and he was canvass this business more maturelv. The satisfied that no inconvenience could arise very reason that rendered it proper to pause from delaying it for at least two months. upon it was that which the hon. and learn- He had no party views in what he stated, ed gent. (the Attorney General) bad urged but he was convinced, that the house had in its favour. He had expressed his surprize not had time to render themselves compethat such a measure had not been propos- tent to decide on this momentous question, ed before. This might be owing to some If, however, they were to be compelled to difficulties attending it which were not at come to a decision, he for one felt it im, present observed, and therefore it was pro- possible to vote for the first and second per to proceed with caution. The cases of resolutions, because they went to mortgage copyhold estates and of estates sold subse- the war taxes, many of which would not quent to debts contracted, mentioned by be available in time of peace, and many his right hon. friend near him (Mr. Canning) others, which policy ought to induce us would be very material difficulties. How at that period to repeal or modify. Of this ever, the bill had so much merit, with regard latter class, were the duties on spirits and to personis dying and leaving their debts tea. Justice also demanded that the ton.