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the dignity of the house to ascertain the fact, before they adopted the bill, to which, however, he professed himself friendly. The honourable member concluded with moving for an address to his majesty, praying that copies of the patents of the admiralty and navy boards should be laid before the house. After a little opposition, the motion was carried. Accordingly, on the 16th, Mr. Garthshore brought up copies of the said patents. On the motion for the third reading of the bill, an amendment was proposed by Mr. Sheridan, in order to guard against the influence of the crown, that in case of any vacancy among the commissioners, from death or resignation, his majesty should not be at liberty to appoint any member of that house to supply their places. e chancellor of the exchequer thought the object of the honourable gentleman would be answered by leaving out that clause of the bill which allowed the appointment of members of parliament. Mr. Sheridan replied, with regard to the amendment he proposed, he could not consider the suggestion of the right honourable gentleman sufficient to answer his purpose; for the clause referred to must be expunged, should his amendment be adopted, and he wished to have the jealousy of the house, relative to the influence of the crown, marked on the face of
position than might have been expected from its obvious necessity. The same bill passed the lords on the 24th of the same month, having undergone several amendInents. A more general attention to the finances of the nation was soon after displayed by the ministry; and on the 25th of February, lord Auckland rose in the house of lords to move for certain papers explanatory of the of state of the finances. His lordship then moved for the following accounts: An account of the net produce of all the permanent taxes, and also of the duties granted annually, adding thereto the payments on account of bounties on corn, and other bounties and drawbacks, for three years, ending the 5th of January 1803, distinguishing each year and each quarter. Also An account of the duties on sugar remaining on bond on the 5th of January 1801, 1802, and 1803, respectively. Also An account of the duties on beer and malt, postponed and outstanding on the 5th of January 1803, and which would have been paid at that time, if the ordinary coursa of payment had taken place. }. a few words from lord Rawdon and lord Grenville, lord Auckland likewise moved for an account of the permanent annual charge on the consolidated fund, existing on the 5th of January 1803, exclusive of the part payable by Ireland, and distinguishing such part as is applicable to the reduction of debt. All these motions were agreed to. On the 2d of May, his lordship also moved for an account of the net produce of the duties on malt, of the public taxes, and permanent reE 2 Venue, venue, from the 5th of January 1802 to the 5th of April 1803, &c. &c. be laid on the table. His lordship said, this account would prove, beyond all question, that the net amount of the whole revenue was thirty-four millions, and the expense upon that was only seventeen millions five hundred thousand pounds; so that there would remain a surplus of better than sixteen millions applicable to the public service, for the support of the royal family, and for defraying other necessary charges.—The account was ordered, and soon after presented at the bar. These financial statements were taken into consideration on the 13th of May; when lord King rose, and said, it was a subject highly interesting and important, and of the last consequence, that the erroneous ideas which had been spread among the monied interest of the country, and the public in general, in consequence of the noble lord's statements, should be corrected. With this view, he had for some time been particularly anxious to have this subject discussed, that the situation of the country, with respect to its finances, and the proportien of its revenue to its expenditure, might be clearly ascertained. The noble lord (Auckland) had expressed himself in terms of exultation upon what he was pleased to call the astonishing increase of the revenue of the country. Whether this exultation was well founded was another point, not perhaps so evident as his lordship might imagine. His lordship then entered into a series of calculations, in order to prove the errors of the noble lord’s statements respecting the revenue and the charge upon it. The noble lord then stated the total
amount of the revenue to be upwards of 33 millions, with such a charge upon it as left a very inconsiderable surplus in the hands of government to the public exenses of the year. It was evident, j even from the papers on their lordships’ table, and from the speech of the chancellor of the exchequer lately published, that this statement was not correct. His lordship then, after a number of calculations to prove his point, contended, that the amount of the revenue was, in fact, no more than somewhat beyond thirty-one mil. lions; which made a difference of about two millions between his calculations and those of the noble lord to whom he alluded. His lordship then adverted to the erroneous statement made by the chancellor of the exchequer, and the fallacious views of the proportion between the revenue and the exI...". of the country, which he had held out to the public. He then turned the attention of the house to the ruinous consequences that must result from the practice of peace loans, and asserted that the only remedy was to equalise the revenue with the expenditure, however great. After some severe animadversions on ministers, for the gross and palpable mistakes wift these papers and the statements of ministers betrayed; his lordship concluded by moving, that the financial papers on their lordships’ table should be referred to a private committee, who should examine the same, and report their conclusions and opinions respecting
them to the house. Lord Auckland said he conceived that their lordships had armple materials already on their table, and therefore would negative the appointappointment of a committee. He had ventured, on a former occasion, to assert, from some acquaintance with the subject, that the whole actual income of Great Britain, for the current year, was not less than thirty-four millions sterling : certainly, a magnificent receipt if it should appear to be accompanied by a general and progressive prosperity. He had stated this at a period when the French writers and journals were most actively employed in decrying our means of exertion, and exhibiting us as sinking rapidly into a gulf of national bankruptcy. . It had been his professed and sole object to give a true state of the actual revenue and permanent charge, prepared and verified, and signed by officers of acknowledged accuracy and integrity ; by those equally respectable for their public services and private characters. He would now briefly recapitulate the results, which were not matters of debate and dispute, as they rested on the evidence of facts, and the deductions of plain arithmetic, With these views he would confine himself to the abstract of the public income and permanent charge for the year ending the 5th of April 1803. The first article in that abstract showed that the net produce of the permanent taxes for the year had been 29,357,575l. The whole of that sum had been received in the exchequer, except about 470,000l. which had been paid in bounties on corn and rice, and which might clearly be considered as revenue; for, without too presumptuous reliance on the goodness of Providence, he must observe, that there had been no instance of our paying bounties on corn previous to 1796; and the expediency of ever recurring to such bounties was at least doubt
ful. The natural demand of the
market, aided by the commanding opulence of the country, would, in all instances, best effectuate the supply of provisions from foreign countries. – 2. The next sum, 165,763.l., was an increase, within the year, of balances in the hands of the receivers, and evidently a part of the revenue accruing within the year.—3. Beer duties postponed on the 5th of April 1803, in consequence of the credit given by law to the brewers, 245,871 l.— 4. Land-tax unredeemed, and annual malt, 2,000,000l.; to which must be added 125,6111. paid in transitu by the country receivers, for the militia and other purposes, making together 2,125,6111. — 5. The arrears outstanding on the beer and malt duties imposed in 1802, being 557,4931. – 6. The amount of the new additional assessed taxes, according to the assessments actually made, though not yet received, 835,646l:—7. The further produce of the new duties imposed in 1802, of which three quarters only were yet received. The accounts on the table stated the fourth quarter at 1,052,116l. These several sums 29,357,573 165,703
1,052,116 Formed a total of 4.34,340,069 He must also add the annual profit of the lottery, which was stated at 370,000l. making altogether an income of 34,710,000l. And here he must observe that he had taken no credit, either for the progressive increase of every branch of the revenue, nor for the EastE 3 India India contribution. He would next proceed to state the permanent charge on the revenue, in doing which he would take no credit for the reduction of interest
Permanent charge on the unredeemed debt -
He had not included the imperial loan, because as yet it made no part of the permanent charge, and rested on the good faith of the court of Vienna, which we had no reason to doubt. On the other hand, however, he had not taken credit for any casual receipts, which, under the various heads of repayments of loans and imposts, balances, arrears of taxes, &c. were very considerable. Deducting the permanent charge24,631,000l.from the total income 34,710,000l. the balance, being 10,069,000l., would be the sum applicable to the annual expense of the army, navy, ordnance, and miscellaneous services. And we had this large sum exclusive of what was paid for the civil list; and exclusive also of the 5,800,000l. applying itself to the daily reduction of the debt: by the excellent operation of which system, the debt was gradually converting itself into revenue. He would next show that the great increase of our revenue had gone hand in hand with the augmented prosperity of cur trade and manufactures; he might add, with our agriculture and population, and with every circumstance that constituted national strength. It would be found in the papers before the house, that in the 20 years from 1784 to 1803, the annual produce of the old permanent taxes had increased from eleven millions to
in a period of peace, nor for an: nuities to the amount of 450,000l. which would expire within the next five years.
- E. 17,674,794 - 5,806,121 1,151,016
sixteen millions. And with respect to the commerce, that the total annual value of the British exports and imports, taken on the same scale of valuation, was nearly doubled since 1793, and trebled since 1783. The total real value of British produce and manufactures exported in the year 1802, had been 48,500,000l. The revenue applicable in 1792 to the army, navy, ordnance, and miscellaneous services, was 4,700,000l. In the o: year it was 10,069,000l.
e was again aware that he should be told, that great as this revenue might be, it was three or four mil. lions below the expenditure of the year. If it were meant by that insinuation, that the budget of the year ought to have brought forward additional taxes to that amount, he could not hesitate to say, that such a proposition, if it had been made by the chancellor of the exchequer in November last, would have been treated with disregard and derision. He trusted, that he was as desirous as any man living to avoid the creation of new debt, and to resist any system that might counteract the gradual discharge of the old debt. But surely
we could not be considered as hav.
stroy the blessings of peace, of which he talked so much. He had uniformly acted as if his government could not subsist and be maintained except in a state of agitation and convulsion. We had borne this treatment till the cup of provocation was filled to the very brim. Such a state of things must now resolve itself, said he, into settled peace or open war. He concluded by saying, he should negative the motion. The earl of Moira considered the papers moved for by the noble lord, voluminous as they were, together with the inferences he drew from them, as tending to form a delusive representation to the eye of the public. He could not but recall to the attention of the noble lords one gross error in a paper laid upon the table, whereby an over-statement appeared, amounting to 900,000l. on the annual revenue. The noble lord had, however, properly rejected the erroneous paper, and moved for a vast variety of other accounts, into which he should not for the present enter at any length. His lordship then went into several statements and arguments, founded upon lord Auckland's speech, in which he endeavoured to show the fallacy of that noble lord’s reasoning. He observed, that the noble lord had only brought forward, by his own statement, nine millions, to meet an expense of thirteen millions. There was therefore a deficit of four millions—a glaring deficit indeed, more especially when we compared it attentively with the awful circumstances of the present times. But what could be more preposterous and improper than to make our comparison between the state of our finances now and in 1787 ? He knew, and the
public at large knew well, that they had greatly increased since that period. And what had been the fruits of this great and unnatural increase of the expenses of the country What was our position as a state, after all this vast expenditure of public money? Had it produced any real peace or tranquillity, any real solid security, any hope even of rest or repose, after the agitation we had experienced 2 In what sort of state had it really left us at last? In his (lord Moira’s) calculation and statement, he had not included any thing relative to the present irritation and consequent armament; which, however, might and would add so much to our expenses. But the noble lord himself had told them, that he had not seen, since the conclusion of the treaty of peace, the signs of the spirit of conciliation. Why then, he would take the liberty of asking him, how he could think of preserving peace 2. What rational grounds could he have for his calculations : What solid reason for indulging hopes of the diminution of the peace establishment But still, he (lord Auckland) considered the increase of revenue as consolatory: in one respect, he did so too. It was consolatory to him, it was a matter of rejoicing to him, to see that the wonderful and unceasing industry and skill of this great country carried on our manufactories, and pushed, forward our trade and commerce, in spite of all the burthens that had been imposed upon them. This was, indeed, a consolatory and noble view of public affairs. It peculiarly characterised the country, and made us hope for every thing. But to such a people he would use a different tone." He would not talk to them in triumphant lan
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