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bited too flourishing a view of our year, he could only answer the condition, had brought into his right hon. gentleman, as he had view certain particulars which answered an hon. member some could not enter into a fair com- nights ago—he would not premaparison. He had taken the whole turely tie up his own hands, but charge of the consolidated fund would reserve to himself the and the sinking fund, and had power of adopting those mea. then shown that our expenditure sures which the situation of public had considerably exceeded our affairs rendered most expedient. receipts. It was impossible that Several other gentlemen spoke this should not be the case, as so on this subject, some of whom considerable a part of the war appeared by no means inclined to taxes had been abolished. Par- adopt all the flattering predicliament had thought fit to relieve tions contained in the ministerial the country from fifteen millions speeches. The motion was at of taxes, and thus they neces- length agreed to; and the same sarily and unavoidably prevented committee was re-appointed, with the effect which would have been the exception of two, who were produced in the redemption of no longer in parliament, and the debt by these fifteen millions whose names were supplied by annually. With respect to his two other members. The whole plan of operations for the present number announted to 21.
CHAPTER CHAPTER IV.
The House of Commons in a Committee on the Exchequer Consolida
tion Acts. The Chancellor of the Exchequer moves for a Committee on the Consolidated Fund Produce Bill. * The House of Lords reads for the third time the Bill for rendering the Produce of the Consoli. dated Fund available for the Public Service, which passes. The Earl of Harrowby's Report from the Select Committee. The same in the House of Commons.
N March 8, the House of namely, six millions, which was
Commons having resolved nearly as large a sum as itself into a committee on the usually accumulated from one Exchequer Consolidation Acts, quarter's end to the other. He the Chancellor of the Exchequer should further propose, that at said, that he did not anticipate the time these sums were taken any objections to the arrange- from the exchequer, exchequer ment he was about to propose. bills should be replaced as a seBy the practice of the exchequer, curity, which bills should be the revenue received for the pure realised at the close of the quarter, poses of the consolidated fund It would be recollected by the accumulated till the end of the committee, that a negotiation be. quarter, and those sums had not tween the Bank and Mr. Perceval been made applicable to the took place in 1808, at which time public service, but the Bank had that minister entertained a similar had the advantage of the interest idea. But this plan was subseon them. The accumulations of quently given up, and Mr. Perthe sums thus received for the ceval thought that the more con. consolidated fund, which were venient mode would be, to accept not applicable at present, unless from the Bank the sum of three to the payment of the interest of millions without interest, in lieu the public debt, the sinking fund, of the advantages the public and the civil list, he proposed to would have otherwise derived apply to the public service, till from the appropriation of these required for their original pur. sums to the public service. At pose. The simple proposal, there. the time when Mr. Perceval made fore, which he had to submit to his arrangement, the balances in the House was, that the public the hands of the Bank were far should have the benefit, instead more considerable than at preof the Bank, of those accumula- sent. Since that time the amount tions. The sum to be thus ap- had greatly decreased in conseplied, however, he should propose quence of the peace; and a very to be limited to a definite amount, large sum had been taken from these balances by the new ar required for the services for rangement with regard to the which it is appropriated.” payment of the sinking fund After several members had under the consolidation acts. spoken on each side, the resoluThe remaining balances had been tion was agreed to. reduced as low as could be al- On March 18th, the Chancellor lowed with safety; and from the of the Exchequer moved the order accounts upon the table, it would of the day, for the House to rebe seen that there were seldom in solve itself into a committee on the hands of the Bank, balances the consolidated fund produce for more than ten days of what bill. On the motion,
« That the public service required. He Mr. Speaker do now leave the had now the satisfaction of stating chair,” to the committee, that the Bank Mr. Grenfell said, that the prohad expressed its willingness to posed measure was by no means assist in carrying this plan into what the House had a right to execution. In the measure he expect from the repeated stateshould propose, he should also ments and declarations of the introduce a clause limiting, for a chancellor of the exchequer, certain time, the application of since the commencement of the the sum of six millions, so taken session, and particularly those of out of the exchequer, to the February 1st. He would venture public service, and applying it to to appeal to every member in the the liquidation of debts due to House, whether what had fallen the Bank from government. It from the right hon. gentleman did would be recollected, that there not amount to this—that as public was an arrear of the consolidated money had accumulated in the fund amounting to upwards of hands of the Bank of England to three millions outstanding from the amount of seven millions, he last January 5th, to the liquida. had a measure in contemplation tion of which debt a portion of which would have the effect of the sum of 6,000,0001. would be abstracting six millions, and renapplied. With a view of satisfy- dering it available to the public ing all parties, he should intro service. Something had fallen duce a clause for limiting the con- from him leading to a supposition tinuance of the measure to the that he meant to limit his bill to 5th of July, 1820. He con- the exchequer balances, which cluded with moving, “ That it is had immediately induced him the opinion of this Committee, (Mr. Grenfell) to state that there that it is expedient the growing were other balances, amounting produce of the Consolidated Fund upon an average to three millions, in Great Britain be made appli- and that he should not be satiscable in each quarter, to an fied unless they were also approamount not exceeding six mil. priated to the service of the nalions on the whole at any time, tion. Did not the right hon. for such services as shall be voted gentleman then assert unequivoby parliament, until the same be cally, that his plan would not be confined to the exchequer de- sometimes oftener, to the exposit, but would embrace all the chequer. If, in the course of public money in the hands of the business, still further sums could Bank; or, to put it more shortly, be rendered available for the deprive that body of six out of public, he was ready to admit that seven millions, leaving one mil- such savings ought to receive imlion as an adequate remuneration mediate attention. He had no for its trouble. Now, the utmost hesitation in saying, that the inthat could be obtained from the terest of six millions would be bill was, that the public would available to the public, three milreceive what was equivalent to lions on the day after this act the interest upon three millions passed. The bill did not protect instead of six. "It was well known the Bank against any further rethat there were no less than 56 duction of their balances, if it balances of various kinds in the should appear advisable to make hands of the Bank, and the mea- such reduction. sure now proposed, only touched Mr. Tierney said, that these one of them.
Bank balances consisted of two The Chancellor of the Exchequer descriptions; one from the grow. said, that the very title of this ing produce of the consolidated bill was the best answer to the fund; the other arising from the hon. gentleman's observations. general receipts of the departThat title was for the application ments of the government. How to the public service, of a part of came it, then, that the proposed the growing produce of the con- measure was reduced to so limited solidated fund. It professed a scale? As to these six millions solely to refer to the exchequer being made available, he believed bills account, which was certainly that such a hope had no existence only one, though a very impor- but in the imagination of the tant one, of the 56 accounts of chancellor of the exchequer. He, balances. The hon. gentleman however, first took credit for three was well aware that since the millions, going to meet certain peace, the public balances in the arrears and deficiencies arising on hands of the Bank had been re- former quarters out of the consoduced to six or seven millions; lidated fund. Now, for such a he must also know, that with re- purpose, he had no necessity for spect to several of these balances the present bill, as there already he had no control, as their appro- existed an act of parliament which priation was specifically enjoined provided for such deficiency by by a distinct act of parliament. The issue of exchequer bills, which There was, it is true, another bills were to be met by the cur. branch of public balances in the rent revenue of the succeeding hands of the Bank, namely, the quarter. Then came the other revenue balances, which were no branch, namely, the re-payment of longer suffered to remain in the three millions due to the Bank. hands of private bankers, and What means had the House of these were paid weekly, and knowing, that a sum existed to
be thus applied ? Would the ordered to be received on the folchancellor of the exchequer say, lowing day. that there existed the means of On March 29th the House of making to the Bank an actual Lords entered upon the third and positive payment of three reading of the bill for rendering millions? Surely, he must feel the growing produce of the conthat it would be unbecoming in solidated fund available for the him to say so, merely because public service. such a balance existed on one The Marquis of Lansdowne particular day in the quarter. said, that the bill should have his Let him remind the right hon. warmest support, since nothing gentleman, that early in the pre- could be more just than its prosent session, he himself thought visions, so far as they went. He that the consideration of the must, however, call their lordBank balances should be referred ship's attention to the principle on to the committee now sitting on which it was founded, and the the Bank question. The right very limited extent to which that hon. gentleman concluded with principle was carried. Alluding, moving as an amendment, the then, to the spirited efforts made postponement of the committal of by a member of the other House the bill until Monday se'nnight. (Mr. Grenfell) to obtain for the
The Chancellor of the Exchequer public a share in the balances left replied, that his bill went to regu- in the possession of the Bank, the late the whole question respecting marquis observed, that the bill the Bank balances, and he could confined the application of its not consent to postpone it for the principle to one description of object alluded to.
balances, namely, that on the The House divided on the growing, produce of the consochancellor of the exchequer's lidated fund, and asked, why was motion : Ayes, 154 ; Noes, 80. not this principle carried to a The House then resolved itself greater extent? Why was it not into the committee.
applied to the balances of the Mr. Tierney having pressed the customs and excise, of which at chancellor of the exchequer to least three millions might be state, in what manner he expected made available each quarter in to have between two and three the same manner? It had been millions available to go in reduc- boasted that the arrangement tion of the Bank loan, and that contemplated by this bill would gentleman having replied, that produce a saving of interest on he expected the amount would balances to the amount of six milturn out as he had already stated lions, whereas the fact was, that it, Mr. T. declared that he did the average of these balances did not believe a single word of it. not exceed four millions. Besides,
Some other questions and an- the advantage could only be enswers were made by different joyed by the public for a small members, after which the House part of the year ; for it was prowas resumed, and the report was vided, that the bills made out