Page images

war, on the part of America, was un. -the annual taxes and a grant of provoked by any conduct of ours ; at exchequer bills, to renew the exchethe same time, he was as anxious as

quer bills which it would be necessary any gentleman in that House, to see to pay off. He should also propose, the war brought to an honourable that of two sums of exchequer bills, conclusion by ministers. He confess. amounting together to fifteen millions ed he saw no grounds for the gloom and a half, which were annually rewhich some honourable members felt. newed from year to year, twelve milHe would not, however, enter into lions and a half should be provided for; counter predictions, finough he avow, thus considerably diminishing the uned himself to be one of those who did funded debt. Lastly, he should pronot despair of his country, but belie- pose the renewal of the vote of several ved it to be possesseri of sufficient years past, providing for outstanding strength and sufficient power to wage exchequer bills.” this war to a successful issue.”

Mr Tierney entered minutely into After some further observations the state of the revenue and public from different members, the address expenditure, and maintained, that mi. was carried.

nisters had put a falsehood into the On the 14th November, in a com- mouth of the Prince Regent, when mittee of supply, Sir George Warren- they made him say, that the revenue der moved, “ That 70,000 men be was in a flourishing condition. He employed for the sea service for the stated, “ that he had drawn out a pa. year 1815, including 15,000 marines." per which he held in his hand, the And this resolution being agreed to, substance of which he would now Sir George moved, “ that the sum of state to the House. In this statement 1,615,2501. be granted for the wages he had assumed that peace would be of those men.” On this motion a long completely established by the 1st of debate ensued. Mr Ponsonby, after January next, and that all the expenses expressing his surprise at the early of the war might be wound up for meeting of parliament, which he con- twenty millions. If, on the 1st of sidered as an indication of financial January next, they could consider peace embarrassment on the part of the mi- as permanently established, this was nistry, called for such an explanation the way affairs would stand. Taking of the real financial state of the coun- the accounts of the revenue as the same try as would warrant him, and every with those of the 18t January last other member, in concurring in the year, which he had reason to believe votes proposed to them.

would not be far from the truth ; for The Chancellor of the Exchequer notwithstanding what the right hostated, “ That although in a few days nourable gentleman had been pleased he should have spontaneously explain. to say of the flourishing state of the fied the financial measures which he had nances, and of the great expected in. in view, yet that he had no objection crease, when the accounts were made whatever to make the statement at the up to the 1st of January next, the ex. present moment. In the first place, ces above the preceding year would then, it was not his intention to pro- not probably be more than 300,0001., pose any loan, any funding of exche. or 400,0001.; taking, then, the amount quer bills, or any measure of a similar to be the same as at the 1st of Janunature. All that he should move forary last, the produce of the consolida. would be the grants usual at the early ted fund would be 38 millions, after part of the session--the ordinary votes making the necessary deductions. To that, add the amount of the share of charge of 5,289,000l. There was, therethe lottery, the revenue of the Post fore, a deficiency here of 502,0001. On office, &c. and the whole of the in- the whole, then, the affairs of the unicome of the permanent and annual ted kingdom would stand in this

way. taxes would be found 41,591,000l. and The income of the whole of the em. not one farthing more. That was all pire amounted to 46,377,0001. and not the income of the country. Now, the one farthing more. The amount of charges against this income were, Ist, the charges against this sum was the interest of the national debt, 46,312,0001., leaving a balance of only amounting to 35,680,000l. ; and 65,000). to met the expenses of the 495,0001., the interest of the debt of country, and not one farthing more. the Emperor of Austria ; making in If peace could be established by the all 96 millions odds. Then there was 1st of January next, not one moment the interest and sinking fund on 30 ought to be lost before the House millions of outstanding exchequer- considered how they were to meet the bills, which he would suppose to be expenses of a peace establishment. As fuoded at 75, a much more favourable there was only 65,000l.of clear revenue, supposition, he had no doubt, than the where was the rest to come from? He result would justify. This sum fund. was sure he had laid sufficient grounds ed in the 3 per cents, with the corres before the House to induce them to go ponding sinking fund, would give into this enquiry, except they meant to 1,600,000. There were also the ex: prove to the country that it was their traordinary expenses up to the lat of intention to go on from day to day January, taken at twenty millions, without meeting the difficulties of the which he also supposed to be funded nation in the way which they ought at 75, making an additional interest of to do. He had been casting about a million. A considerable addition to in his mind where the right honour, the pension list would also take place able gentleman was to find resources, in consequence

of the
peace. Taking

He had last year laid his hand on the it at 1,745,0001. this made the whole sinking fund, and by that means saved of the charge 40,334,000l. But then, taxes to a considerable extent, and, as in addition to this, there was 600,0001, he thought, had done much mischief. for Ireland, and when this was taken That right hon. gentleman had vauntinto account, it would leave a surplus ingly said, last year, that the counof revenue to meet the expenses of the try was possessed of a bank of one country, of only 568,0001. for Great hundred millions of disposable stock, Britain. No man in the House could and he had asked if there ever was ew him that one farthing more was any other na

of which the governderivable from the permanent revenue

ment at the end of an expensive war of the country; but it would be ne could put its hand into a fund of simicessary to take Ireland also into ac. lar amount? Now, the right hon. gentle. count in a view of our situation. It man had put his hand into this bank, was necessary to look all our difficul- and he wished to learn from him what ties in the face, and here the prospect would be in it now, if peace were eswas most lamentable indeed. The re- tablished to-morrow morning ? Why, venue of that country amounted to not much more than 30 millions. We 5,056,0001., or in English money had, therefore, before finishing the 4,607,000.. Add to this the lottery, war, got rid of all this sum but 50 miland the whole was in English money lions. If the right honourable gentle4,787,0001. Against this there was a man took this sum, then to the 65,0001. he would have an additional million black side of the account. Where was yearly; and if to this he added 300,000l. the rest, then, to come from? Would for the excess of this year's revenue the right hon. gentleman have it by above that of the preceding, all that loans ? That would not do, however. he could have in this way was merely Perhaps what was lurking in his mind a million and a half. He wondered as an available resource, was the prothat the right honourable gentleman, . perty tax. But the property tax must when casting up in his mind how stocks expire in six months after the ratificahappened to be so low, never came to tion of the treaty of peace; and nothink of the sinking fund. At this thing was, therefore, to be looked to moment the sinking fund was worse from it." by 4,400,0001. than if the right hon. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, gentleman had never been heard of; in answer to Mr Tierney, said, " that for what with the sums he had taken what was meant by saying, that the from, and those he had turned from it, finances of the country were in a good instead of 15 millions, there was now situation,' was, that the revenue was only a sinking fund of somewhat above increasing, which he had proved to the eleven millions. What was the pro, house beyond all means of contradic. portion between the sinking fund and tion. The House would find that the the usredeemed debt of the country? revenue had been increasing from year If the right honourable gentleman had to year, and from quarter to quarter. let it alone, the proportion would have On the 10th October, 1813, it was been as 40 to 100. The proportion 60,876,652., and on the 10th Oc. was now very different. What were, tober last past it was upwards of then, the resources of the right hon. 63,461,8641. As far as the accounts gentleman! He might say he looked were before the House, this was indis. to contemporary different war taxes. putable ; and it was in the power of But of the war taxes, besides the pro. gentlemen at once to satisfy themselves. perty tax, which were not permanent, The right honourable gentleman had there was only about six millions and entered into a long detail of accounts, a half; and this was all which thé in order to show that the consolidated right honourable gentleman could de- fund and annual taxes would not much rive from this source, even supposing exceed the permanent charges of the all the war taxes to be retained. But country. Undoubtedly that fact was the right honourable gentleman well true. He expected the permanent reknew that many of the war taxes could venue to increasc; but the fact was, not be counted on in a time of peace; that it could not much exceed the and if he could find four millions avail. charges. But, let the House consiable in such a period, it would be the der the present situation of the counvery utmost. There would thus re- try, with reference to its situation on wain to the right honourable gentle- any former occasion of a similar nature. map five millions and a half. Did he At the conclusion of the American think this sum fully equal to all the war, the consolidated fund scarcely ex. wants of a peace establishment ? tended to the interest of the national

“Now this was the state of things, if debt. What gloomy predictions had the country left off war by the period he on that occasion been made ! And in had fixed on. If the war went on then, how few years, under Mr Pitt's admithings would be much worse, and con- nistration, did the country regain a siderable additions must be made to the flourishing situation! This afforded a

[ocr errors]

hope, that the finances of the country aware that the situation of the country
would now also soon be relieved from was such as to require a full investiga.
difficulties. With respect to the period tion ; but this could not be done till
referred to, the taxes corresponding the establishment of peace, as till then
with the consolidated fund were then the permanent expenses of the country
the sole resources of the nation. But could not be known. He, for one,
at present we had more than twenty. would not shrink from any such inves-
four millions of war taxes. Supposing, tigation.”
therefore, we added something to our After some further discussion, the
burthens, we had this twenty-four mil. resolution was agreed to.
lions, from which a diminution would The sum of 2,286,375l. was next vo-
still be effected.

ted for victualling the navy, 1,956,5001.
“ The right honourable gentleman for the wear and tear of ships, and
had stated, that but for him the sink. 318,500l. for ordnance for the sea-
ing fund would have been between service.
15 and 16 millions. But, would the The Chancellor of the Exchequer
right honourable gentleman lay his then moved, “ That 1,650,0001 be
hand to his heart, and say, if he thought granted to his majesty to discharge the
that the country would have been more remainder of the bills of credit, or
flourishing than it was at present, if other securities, issued by virtue of the
the sinking fund had been untouched, act of the 54th of his majesty, intitu-
and from six to seven millions of new led, • An Act for giving Effect to cer-
taxes imposed on the country? If they tain Engagements of his Majesty with
should have occasion to call for new the Emperor of Russia and the King
taxes, the best preparation for them, of Prussia for furnishing a Part of the
was the having forborne to impose any pecuniary Succour for assisting his
new ones so long. By merely impo. Majesty's said Allies in supporting the
sing at the return of peace

those taxes Expenses of the War with France,' tofrom which the country had been gether with the interest due thereon.' spared during the last year of the war, This motion was agreed to. The the right honourable gentleman's pro- right honourable gentleman next moblem might at once be solved. The ved, “That the sum of 12,500,0001. be right honourable gentleman had rather granted for the discharge of outstand. triumphantly asked, what had become ing exchequer bills, created under the of the fund which was to be reserved 54th of his majesty.”-Mr Ponsonby for the time of peace ? That fund had enquired, what was the gross amount, certainly been reduced by the necessi- at present, of outstanding exchequer ties of the country; but there would bills ?- The Chancellor of the Exat Christmas next be sixty millions chequer said, the amount would be laid still remaining, instead of between on the table in a few days; he believed thirty and forty millions, as had been it to be about 59,000,0001.--Mr Ponstated by the right honourable gentle. sonby observed, that 54,000,0001. was man. Now he apprehended, that if the greatest amount of outstanding at the close of any former war the most exchequer bills he ever before recol. prosperous, any Chancellor of the Ex. lected. It would be well, however, chequer had been enabled to inform when the account was laid before them, parliament that he had 60 millions of if the amount was not found to exceed stock applicable to the public services, the right honourable gentleman's calthis would have been considered as a culation.—Themotion was then agreed most singular circumstance. He was to; as also another, granting the sum

of 15,000,000l. and 10,000,0001. for evening. But, satisfied as he was that the discharge of the outstanding ex- the events which had taken place could chequer bills issued for the service of be proved to be the results of the li. the year 1814, charged on the aids berality of the British parliament, with of that year outstanding and undis- as much certainty as any thing could charged.

be proved that depended on the conOn 18th November, in a commit- tingency of human affairs, he had no tee of supply, the Chancellor of the difficulty or hesitation on the subject. Exchequer moved the following re. The accounts that had been laid on solution : “ That it is the opinion of the table would show that, a sum nearthe committee, that a sum, not ex. ly amounting to 19,000,000% had been ceeding eight millions, be granted to drawn this year by bills on the trea. his majesty, towards making good the sury for army extraordinaries. He amount of bills of exchange, drawn would state the places from which upon the lords commissioners of his they had proceeded, the amount from majesty's treasury for the extraordi- each place, and subsequently their obpary expenses of the army, and which jects, Guernsey and Jersey, 24,0001. . ; have been paid out of money paid to Heligoland, 46,0001. ; Germany and the paymaster of the forces, between the the north of France, 1,411,000l. ; 27th December, 1813, and 1st Novem. Spain, Portugal, and the south of ber, 1814.”—Mr Tierney remarked, France, 8,612,0001.; Gibraltar and that it was extraordinary that thecom- the Mediterranean, 4,259,000l. The mittee should be called on to vote to two latter sums, amounting to little pay a sum of eight millions, without less than 13,000,000L were the imexplanation, particularly as nine mila mediate consequence of the war in the lions had been voted for the same pur- peninsula. The West Indies, 889,0001; pose last year, of the expenditure of North America, 3,112,0001. ; South which no account had been given.— America, 233,0001. There were seveThis remark produced a statement ral other smaller sums, making a tofrom the Chancellor of the Exchequer, tal of 18,900,000l. It would appear full of very valuable and satisfactory by the papers that our expenditure in information, relative to the military the peninsula alone, including the sums and foreign expenditure of the coun- drawn from other quarters, but applitry.—He stated, “ that when the ed to the same service during the year, great amount of our military expenses amounted to at least 15,000,0001" To was considered, nothing could justify all those who recollected the situation that expenditure but the result. He of things two years ago, nothing could was perfectly aware, that unless he be more obvious than that there was he were able to shew (as shew he could at that time a great crisis in the af. with perfect ease) that if parliament fairs of Europe. At the moment of had not entrusted to his majesty's mi. the explosion of the war between nisters the mighty means which had France and Russia, it was clear, that been confided to them, the Duke of whoever was the conqueror would Wellington would, at this moment, remain master of the destinies of the have been defending the frontiers of world. Had the French emperor sucPortugal, and our allies have been pur- ceeded in his design of subjugating suing a hopeless war, or have made a Russia, England would have been the separate and inglorious peace, on the only nation in the world who could Vistula or the Oder, he should not be have withstood his arms ; it, indeed, justified in proposing the vote

of that she could have stood alone amidat

« PreviousContinue »