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Lord Castlereagh moves for the appointment of a Committee of Finance.
Finance Resolutions.-Debate on the Report of the Committee.--Resolutions agreed to.Army Estimates.-Navy Estimates.-Ordinance Estimates.- The Committee of Supply and Annual Budget of Ways and Means.--Debate on the Budget. - Excise Duties Bill.- Army Extraordinaries.—Sinking-Fund Loan Bill.—Sir Henry Parnell moves a series of Finance Resolutions, which are negatived by a great majority.
Before entering into the details of repealed or reduced; and that after the Financial operations for the the consolidation of the revenues of year, it seems necessary, first of all, Great Britain and Ireland, from the to lay before our readers a succinct 5th of January 1817, by an act passaccount of the preliminary discus- ed in the 56. Geo. Ill. c. 98, the sions which took place in Parlia. expenditure has annually exceeded ment on the state of the Finances the whole net revenue of Ireland by in general, the amount of the sup- the sum of L. 1,885,472, without atplies necessary to meet the exigencies fording any provision for the civil of the current year, and the particu- list and other permanent charges, or lar mode in which it was deemed most for the proportion of supplies that expedient that the difference be. naturally falls to be defrayed by that tween the amount of the income and part of the United Kingdom. The expenditure of the country should circumstances of Europe, and parbe provided for. That such a defi. ticularly France, had rendered any ciency should exist, notwithstanding very material reduction of our war the marked improvement in the re establishment impossible; while so venue for the year ending the 5th of large a portion of the most producJanuary 1819, and which we have tive taxes being mortgaged for the already noticed at the commence- payment of the interest of the public ment of chapter first, will be matter debt unavoidably tended to create of surprise to no one who considers, the deficiency to which we have al. that since the termination of the war luded. It is true that the removal in 1815, the property tax, and other of the Army of Occupation from taxes in Great Britain and Ireland, France, and the reduction conseyielding a revenue of upwards of quent on that highly just and politi. L. 18,000,000 Sterling per annum, cal measure, held out the prospect had either expired of course, or been of future relief; but could have no
effect to lessen in any degree the House might be in possession of a reburdens of the present year. By port that would show the real situa. the calculation embodied in the reso tion and fair prospects of the counlutions afterwards submitted to the try. The first important point was House of Commons by the Chancel the income of the country; and he lor of the Exchequer, it appears that would simply state the amount of the the supplies to be voted for the receipts, comparing the quarter end· present year were estimated at ing on the 5th of January 1818, with L.25,500,000; that the existing re the quarter ending on the 5th Janu. venue applicable to the supplies a- ary 1819. The receipts on the formounted to about L. 7,000,000, leav mer were L.51,665,458, and on the ing the sum of L. 13,500,000, to be latter L.54,062,000, showing an inraised by loan, or otherwise ; and crease upon the quarter ending the that the produce of the Sinking Fund, 5th of Jan. 1819 of L. 2,397,000. It applicable to the extinction of the was material, however, to observe, that National Debt, would not exceed upon the sum he had first named, L. 15,000,000, leaving only a surplus there were certain arrears of war duof about L. 2,000,000 above the sum ties on malt and property considernecessary to be raised for the service ably beyond L.2,000,000, which reof the year.
duced the income up to the 5th of JaThis being the state of our Finances, nuary 1818 to L.49,334,927, while the Lord Castlereagh moved in the House arrears of the same taxes up to Januof Commons, on the 8th of February, ary last amounted only to L.566,639; for the appointment of a Committee so that the produce of the permanent of Finance, in order to afford a ge- taxes for the latter quarter was in neral outline of the plan which Mi. truth in round numbers, L.58,497,000, nisters intended to submit and to pure being an improvement in the whole sue in the course of the session. The of L.4,163,000, deducting from both House, he said, would, of course, be the amount of the arrears of each. anxious to have the general estimates Members were likewise most prolaid before it ; and as they were em- bably aware, that a considerable abraced in a very narrow compass, it mount of sugar-duty had been adwould not be necessary for him to mitted into the receipts for Decemclaim attention to any considerable ber 1818, which in fact belonged to length : his principal object would the revenue of the preceding year, be to touch upon those points, and which ought, therefore, to be the details of which would subse. added to the produce of the sugar quently come under the notice of the duties of 1819: this would take a committee. He felt great confidence, considerable sum from the net prothat at the termination of the labours duce of 1818, and reduce it to of the committee he was now about L.48,724,000, while that of 1819 reto propose, it would be found, that the mained at L. 54,062,000; the diffebalance in favour of the income had rence, allowing for some other combeen created not merely by reducing paratively trifling deductions, would the expenditure, but by the progres. be L.5,328,000, or not less than an sive advance of the various sources increase of ten per cent. upon the of revenue. His motive for moving ancient permanent taxes. It was imfor the committee so early was, that possible to announce to the puse a it might proceed with its delibera- more encouraging prospect than this tions without delay, and that the state of things afforded. Another sa
tisfactory circumstance well deserv. tured to anticipate ; and adding also ing notice was, that the increase was to that sum, the L.1,413,000 on which not upon any one article which might the Finance Committee had calcu. be supposed to have taken a sudden lated, a total surplus of not less than start, but upon no less than between L.3,558,000 was the result, applicathirty and forty of the articles which ble to the reduction of the debt of constituted the excise account; in- the nation. If the Finance Commitdeed, there were only one or two ar tee, on examining minutely all the ticles, and those comparatively insig. details, should report that such was nificant, on which there was not a the fact, the House would feel ready sensible augmentation : on bricks to allow, that the great objects for and tiles for instance, the employ- which that body had been appointed ment of which unequivocally marked had been accomplished. He would the wealth of a country, there was now touch those points on which Mi. an increase of duty nearly amount- nisters had the satisfaction of feeling ing to half. The last committee sub- that subsequent reductions might be tracted the amount of the sinking fund effected in the present condition of and the expenses of the nation from the country. The House would not the actual income, thinking it a ques- forget that some essential changes tion between the operation of the had taken place, at home and abroad, sinking fund on one hand, and the in- which induced Ministers to think they crease of debt on the other; and in might now carry into effect that ecotheir last deliberation they took the nomy, which would not have been best prospective view circumstances wise or provident until they could would allow, of the income and ex see distinctly the consequences to penditure of the year 1819; and they which it might lead. The policy of thought that they might safely as- the steps they had now taken might sume that the income of the country be the subject of future discussion, would be L.52,500,000, and the ex. but at present it was only necessary penditure L. 51,087,000, leaving a for him to state a few important facts. net surplus of L.1,413,000 at the end The Finance Committee had taken of the year. Comparing this antici- the military estimate at L.8,967,000, pation in May last, with the fact, as assuming a decrease of L.3,000,000 it now turned out, it was obvious, on the return of the British army that the income, instead of being from the Continent; for the House L. 52,500,000, was L. 54,062,000, or would be aware that a considerable L. 1,500,000 better than had been sum must be devoted to the allow. calculated upon. As to the expen- ances of half-pay and pensions to the diture, the Finance Committee had officers and soldiers whose services stated it at L.51,087,000; but the were no longer required. The comestimates now before the House show- mittee had taken the expense of the ed that it was only L.50,442,000, or army at L.8,967,000, exclusive of the about L.650,000 less than the sum L.300,000; but his Lordship was expected. Adding, therefore, the happy to state, that Ministers felt reduction by economy of L.650,000 themselves enabled to take it at to the improved revenue, it appeared L. 8,700,000, inclusive the that the country was now in a better L.300,000; so that the difference in situation by L. 2,145,000 than the favour of a greater saving of the puformer Finance Committee had ven. blic money was L.567,000, and the
whole charge was covered for nually saved could not be calculated L.267,000 less than the Finance Com- lower than L.130,000, or L.140,000. mittee had calculated. On the navy He would next advert to a general, estimate, there was a reduction of but a mistaken, supposition which L. 100,000, and the same saving in had been entertained some short the ordnance department. There time ago, that a great deal of comwas, however, an expense to which mercial distress prevailed; that the the attention of the House ought to exports had been most materially be called, and which was occasioned reduced ; that the ports of the Con. by the pay of regiments for broken tinent were shut, in consequence of periods. It was almost always im- the want of commercial treaties; possible for Ministers to reduce the in short, there was a prevailing noregiments most within their reach. tion, that owing to some supineSome were at a considerable distance ness on the part of Ministers, the from home; a change of cantonments commerce of the country had suswas requisite, and this and other cir- tained a severe and perhaps an irrecumstances it was not necessary to parable shock. Yet how did the detail, occasioned an expense of a fact stand ? Did the returns at all bout L 230,000, L.100,000 being con- verify this gloomy conclusion? On nected with the transport depart- the contrary, they directly contrament: this expense of L. 330,000 dicted it, as the House would perwas, however, only temporary, and ceive by a statement of the official was all that Parliament would be call- value of the exports: he referred to ed upon to vote, connected with the the official value as distinguished topic of military reduction. He from the real value ; which of course would now state the amount of the Auctuated from year to year. The reduction in point of men, taking the official account took the exports at rank and file: the army in France, an assumed value, and was rather to consisting of 20,126, had been redu. be deemed a statement of quantity ced ; of the troops voted last year than of value. It was with most unfor home service and for the colonies, feigned satisfaction he had to obthere had been a reduction of 9,402, serve, in the first instance, that the and in the artillery of 2,035, making last had been the most splendid altogether a diminution of 31,563 year ever known in the history of rank and file, exclusive of officers. British commerce. It even exceedThere was one circumstance of which ed 1815, when the commerce of the the House ought never to lose sight; country had gone beyond its predeand it was this —the annual expense cessors to the amount of not less than was stated to be L.16,237,000; but L. 10,000,000; a rapid advance that neither the whole of this, nor any thing was considered by some persons as like the whole of it, was paid for forced and unnatural, and owing to troops actually on foot, but a large temporary causes that would not afpart, L. 4,358,000, went to pay debis terwards operate. His Lordship was of gratitude to officers and soldiers, obliged to make the calculation upfor services they had rendered their on the three first quarters of each country; so that the direct expense year only, as the returns from of the army could not be stated so the out-ports up to the 5th of Januhigh as L.12,000,000. The pensions ary last had not yet been made and other gratuities were constantly out. In 1815, the official value falling in, and the amount thus an- of British produce and manufac
tures was L. 35,231,000 : in 1816, figures as he seemed to be) that his L. 28,827,000; in 1817, (the year statement was well founded. But if when it asserted that the the Noble Lord was right, all the nation
commercially ruin- merchants with whom he (Mr Tiered,) L. 32,000,000; and in 1818, ney) had conversed on the subject, L.35,325,000, being nearly L.100,000 and the number was by no means beyond the year 1815, the great ex- small, were wrong; for every one of cess of which was assigned to tem. them, to a man, had taken quite a porary, fallacious, and unnatural different view of the question. "Withcauses. His Lordship trusted, there. out going at present into a very mifore, that such a view of the state nute examination of this alleged of the commerce of the kingdom prosperity, might not a great part of was calculated to dispel the gloom it be traced to the immense paper iswhich some had promoted in igno- sues? The manufactures were likerance of our real condition. After ly to flourish; but there were two the Finance Committee should have things to be taken into that account: inquired into all the details of this capital was plenty-he spoke of caimportant subject, would be the pital, paper so called--and labour time for the House to decide upon it. was cheap ; put both those circumBut his Lordship felt the utmost stances together, and the glowing confidence that the result of its in. picture which had been drawn might quiries would confirm all he had ad. be accounted for. He would ask vanced, and would warrant the ut. whether that could be called a flour. most confidence, in the inexhaustible ishing state of trade which rested upresources of the British empire. on such basis? The Noble Lord had He concluded by moving the ap- stated that the total sum in which the pointment of a Finance Committee. revenue of this year exceeded the
Mr Tierney, regretted, that as preceding was L.5,300,000. Adthe Noble Lord had gone into such mitting this sum, and even a little detail, he had not given previous no. more, how did it bear out the argutice of his intention to do so; for no ment which was founded upon it? man who had heard the notice of the The Noble Lord had said, that the motion for the revival of a Finance income and expenditure would meet, Committee, such as had existed in and that there would remain a surthe last Parliament, could have sup plus. There never was a stouter asposed at the time that such a motion sertion than this, nor one which was would be accompanied with the more calculated to give general saopening of the budget for the year. tisfaction to the House and the counHe was not, therefore, prepared to try, if it could be proved. But the follow the Noble Lord into a minute Noble Lord, in building up this ar. examination of all the items, but gument, and drawing so happy a would give to the House such obser- conclusion from it, had thrown out vations as occurred to him on hearing of his view altogether the sinking them. The Noble Lord had talked fund, which he could not but ima. a great deal, and built most sanguine gine was a burden to the country. expectations, upon what he called This he conceived was a delusion on the present flourishing state of trade. the part of the Noble Lord; and it He (Mr Tierney) was not prepared would be a most complete delusion to deny (not being equally well arm on that part of the House, to imagine ed with the several accounts and that this question of a budget could