Page images
PDF
EPUB

her navy: or, supposing any arrangements to be made by her with the continental powers, that expense now incurred for our armies would cease, and the supplies at present demanded for them could be applied to the service of our navy: so that he conceived no prospect of the war being continued at the present great expense. Up to the year 1814, a provision had been made for one hundred and forty thousand seamen. These were reduced in the last year to 70,000: but this, instead of a diminution, had caused a great additional expense, as the numberof persons returning from long voyages and claiming the arrears due to them, had made larger disbursements necessary than were called for at any period of the war. This burthen could not continue; and he thought he was not too sanguine, when he looked for a diminution in the naval estimates for the next year, to the amount of four or five millions, including the transport service. The reduction upon the whole, even if the war should continue, might therefore, in another year, be not less than four or five and twenty millions. He believed that in every stage of the late war, this question had constantly been asked, "How shall we go on next year?" The general answer to this had been, that the spirit and resources of the nation would still furnish the means for prosecuting the contest, if it should be necessary. This answer, he thought, might suffice on the present occasion; but it was happily in his power to give one more distinct and specific. The House

were not to suppose the act of 1813 would not yet furnish fresh resources from the fond in the hands of the commissioners for redeeming the national debt.Though when all the grants of the present session were passed, but 9 or 10 millions would remain in their hands; in the next year there would, by the progress of redemption, be found in their care from 20 to 30 millions of stock. We had raised by loans in the present year, no less a sum than 45,500,000l. The House would consider the prospect before us less gloomy than it might otherwise appear when he stated that it was probable, that in the next year the loan required would not exceed 20 millions, and from 20 to 30 millions of stock would be applicable in the hands of the commissioners.

But what had induced ministers to prefer having recourse to a public loan, rather than to a more onerous, though a more prudent and certain mode of meeting the exigencies of the case, was this-they had reason to hope the contest might be short. In whatever light the subject was viewed, whether we supposed the government of Buonaparte was only established over France by the domineering power of a mutinous army, or whether it was assumed that he was invested with the sovereign authority by the suffrages of the nation at large in the present instance, it could not affect the measures which it had become necessary for England to adopt.

Placed in that situation which we occupied, and deeply pledged in respect both of honour and of interest to support at any

hazard

hazard the system upon which the peace of Europe had been restored, we could not but join with the confederated powers to give France encouragement to declare herself, and to enable the royal party to struggle for the liberty of their country before its present chief should be in possession of its whole resources. How far the enterprise might succeed, he could not say. But hearing as he did, in many parts of France; murmurs half suppressed, and seeing in others open hostilities against the ruling power, he could not but cherish a belief that the real supporters of Buonaparte were very few indeed, beyond the limits of the army, which had been accustomed to live under his banners. But supposing, for the misery of mankind, and most of all for that of France, that, carried away by her lust for military triumphs, she should prefer a warlike chief to lead her armies to the conquest of Europe, and that for such a character, she had deliberately rejected a mild and moderate government, terrible as it might be to combat the whole strength of France embodied under such a leader, such a consideration would make little difference with respect to the measures that ought to be pursued. Greater means ought, in fact, to be put forth, and more intense energy exerted to crush a government, in its nature inimical to all other governments. He was unwilling to believe that France had acted such a part; that she had rejected the sway of a moderate and legal Prince, for one who ruled without law, and who even now trampled

on the constitution he so recently pretended to establish. Such a power must be combated. It must find its end in internal discord or by external force, or it would never rest satisfied till its military domination extended over the whole of Europe. He would not however suffer himself to be led into the discussion of topics, however interesting and important, which were not immediately under the consideration of the committee, and was not aware that he had omitted to state any thing necessarily connected with the bu siness of this evening; but he should hold himself ready to offer any further explanation which might be required by the committee. He then moved his first resolution, which was, "That, towards raising the Supply granted to his Majesty, the sum of 36 millions be raised by Annuities, whereof the charges of 27 millions are to be defrayed on the part of Great Britain, and 9 millions on the part of Ireland."

After some remarks by Mr. Tierney, the resolutions proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer were put, and carried.

Irish Budget.-On June 16th, the House being in a Committee of Ways and Means,

Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald (the Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer) rose and spoke to the following effect:

It is to-night, Sir, my duty to submit to this committee the amount of the supply which Ireland is required to provide for the service of this year, and the ways and means by which I propose to make the provision which is necessary; and I cannot lament that

on

on more than one occasion in this House, and in another place, where an inquiry into the state of the finances of Ireland was gone into, the attention of gentlemen has been turned to the revenue of that country and the state of its resources: since so much of what else it would have been my duty to offer to the consideration of the committee, has been anticipated by those discussions. In the statement which I have to bring before you, it will be seen, that however the pressure of the present moment may be felt by England, however great and unexampled the demands on her may be, as represented by my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer of England on a former evening, I have, standing here on the part of Ireland, a duty comparatively more arduous to discharge. Ireland has been called upon, in the last two scssions of Parliament, to furnish a supply, and consequent ways and means larger than have ever heen made before. Taxes have been laid on to an extent which that country, I fear, was little prepared to expect; and we have now to provide still greater supplies, and by imposts exceeding those of the preceding years, great as was the exigencies of those times. How the present charge had been aggravated, my right hon. friend has sufficiently explained. The liquidation of the arrears of the late war, has, indeed, swelled that charge verv considerably beyond the expenditure of any single year It remains for me, however, to perform my duty. I trust that Ireland will not be found unequal to the difficulties of her si

tuation; and if, in the extent and magnitude of her contribution to the general expenditure of the empire, the sacrifices she has been called upon to make are great, it must be remembered, that there are heavy burthens which have hitherto not been imposed on her, though every other part of the United Kingdom cheerfully endures them. Let us not forget, too, that great as the sacrifices may be for which we are cailed on now, or which may be required hereafter, they are the price that Ireland pays for her peace and for her strength, for her security and for her glory.

The right hon. gentleman proceeded to state, that he should submit to the committee as distinctly as he could, the amount of the supply, and the ways and means which he proposed to meet it, as well as the provision for the interest of that loan, which, conjointly with the British loan, had been contracted for in this country, and of which the terms had already received all the sanction which, up to this time, they could have received. He should first state the estimated quota of contribution of the year 1815, at 10,574,2151. The interest and sinking fund on the present debt, 6,098,1491. making the total supplies 16,672,3641. The state of the consolidated fund was, balance in the exchequer on the 5th January 1815, 1,689,252/., remaining of the Irish loan of 1814, 322,500%; remaining of the loan raised in England in 1914, 3,852,3831. making a total of 5,864,165l. But from this he had to deduct, first, the arrears of contribution for 1813, 1,794,3907

1,794,380l.; the same for 1814, 3,294,300l. exclusive of exceedings of army extraordinaries applicable to 1814, and supplied this year; there was also to be deducted the principal of outstanding treasury bills and lottery prizes 282,2401. and for votes of parliament which remained undischarged, appropriated to inland navigations and public buildings in Ireland, 57,4381. making the whole arrear due by the consolidated fund, 5,175,3581.; leaving a net surplus of the consolidated fund of Ireland on the 5th January last, of 688,8071.

Having thus stated the supply, he should proceed to state the Ways and Means. He should first take the surplus of the consolidated fund as made out above,

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

British, equal to 823,3331. Irish, to cover a charge of 727,350l., which the interest and sinking fund alone had created.

Having submitted to the com. mittee this detailed explanation of the Ways and Means, the right 125,000 hon. gentleman alluded shortly to the produce of the revenues of the former years. The net produce in the year ending the

100,000

The Profits on Lotte-
ries, one half of
what had been com-
puted for Great Bri-
tain -
Re-payment of Sums
advanced by Ireland
for Naval and Mi-
litary Services -
2-17ths of Old Naval
Stores, 15 - 17ths
having been taken
credit for by Eng-
land -
Loan raised in Eng-
land for the ser-
vice of Ireland,
9,000,000 British 9,750,000

Making a Total of

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

5th Jan. 1813 5th Jan. 1814 90,305 And 5th Jan. 1815

Ways and Means £16,854,112
He stated the whole of the

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

being an increase of revenue in four years of 1,400,000l.; and he had to remark, that of the taxes of last year, only one half of the produce had been brought into this account. The diminution of the custom duties

in the last year, he had explained on a previous occasion. It had not arisen on any of those articles upon which the increased duties had been imposed. The internal duties, namely, the excise and assessed taxes, for which he might be deemed in some degree responsible, (the produce depending so much on their management and collection), had never been so productive as last year-the sum of nearly 900,000!. having been

paid into the exchequer above the payment of the foregoing year. Since the Union, the increase of the revenues in Ireland had been 41,633,000l.; the total produce having been in the fourteen years to 1801, 29,612,000l.; in fourteen years to 1815, 70,245,000?.

He concluded his speech amidst the general cheers of the House, and the resolutions were agreed to without opposition.

VOL. LVII.

CHAPTER

« PreviousContinue »