Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

ed that his resolution stated a smaller charge sary than it supposed. But the objection than would really be necessary. It stated, did not at all attach to the 9th resolution. that in the ninth year a loan of between His modification would still relieve the four and five millions would be necessary noble lord from the mortgage of the war to be charged on the consolidated fund. taxes, and from his loans of 32 millions. But lie had not noticed the progressive Whatever advantage the noble lord would sums, and consequently the progressive derive from his increased sinking fund, vet charges on the consolidated fund. It was in that would not counterbalance the inconvenifact necessary to provide, not only for the ence to the money market. It was sufficiently sum advanced but also for the suin staken obvious that they wished for no vexatious de from the consolidated fund, and that thus for lay; he had exposed himself to the risk of fal9 years taxes to the amount of 6,019,0001. ling into mistakes, from his anxiety that the would be requisite at the close of the ninth outlines of his view of the subject should be year. The two grounds on which he wished before the house before the discussion of to modify the noble lord's plan, were these: the plan. But yet he was under consideraIst. To relieve him from the necessityof mort- ble embarrassment from not having been gaging the war taxes; if his modification able to obtain from the noble lord the subdid not do that, it did nothing; 2dly, To sequent tables, which were wanting to enalimit the amount of the loans within the ble him to complete his own view; though year, and consequently the charge. By the he admitted that this did not proceed from noble lord's plan, the loans would rise from any unwillingness in the noble lord to fur12 to 32 millions, and what he wanted was nish them. But certainly the embarrass. to relieve the market from the dangerous ment was excessive, to be called upon, with effects that would result from the borrow- such a short preparation, to decide upon à ing of such an enormous sum as 32 millions plan not for one year, but for 20 years, a within the year. His modification was ex- circumstance in which the credit of parlipensive for the present, but, if acted upon, ament was materially involved. The noble it would come to this, that at the end of lord proposed to call upon the house to nine years, you would have an alternative decide upon the first resolution. He adof acting according to circumstances for the mitted that this did not preclude the parlinext eleven years. If the war continues ament from taking up the subject again, but for the whole twenty years, then he admit- it was unseemly for parliament to be placed ted that it could not be carried on without in such a situation, that it must adopt a plan additional loans, and an addition to the per- for 20 years, and then be obliged, like chilmanent taxes. But if peace should be cren, to revise it in a year or two. This made on or before the 9th year, then no exercise of discretion would be attended new taxes would be required in addition with great embarrassment and loss of parliato those which the noble lord proposed, for mentary character. He really iherefore the excesses of the sinking fund would be wished that in the further proceedings of disposable for the loan of the preceding this subject, some method should be agreed year. But supposing the case of war, then upon, which would prevent this embarrass3 millions must be raised to be distributed ment, and enable parliament to decide on over a period of 6 years, and the balance a full view of the subject. For this pur in favour of his plan, even on the supposi- pose, two courses miglit be adopted. The tion of twenty years war, would be the dif- noble lord might allow it to lie over for ference between 6 millions and 21 millions some time, till the menibers should have pledged. He objected to the system of had full time to consider it in the present double loans; first a loan, then the interest, session; or if that should not be agreed to, and next a loan to pay the interest of the then as a dernier resort he would propose interest. But if this plan was to be acted that the noble lord should only act upon his on, then it ought to be for a period as short plan for one year, and leave parliament as possible, and he thought it should be free to investigate it in the interval between confined to 9 years, instead of 20. What this and the next sessions. It was so emever embarrassment there might be in the barrassing and difficult, that the noble lord, modification, it arose out of the noble or his successor, must desist from the eselord's own complicated system. The spirit, cution of it. This was his opinion, and he therefore, of his 8th resolution was still hoped the loble lord would not press it into just, though greater loans would be neces- a committee at present, when he must know that parliament was so little prepared to Mr. Long rose. The noble lord, he enter upon the consideration of the plan. observed, must recollect that he had told The accounts which he had called for would the house that various tables were to be soon be before the house, and then the distributed, in order to enable that house to noble lord might proceed in the present acquire a full and complete view of his session, but now it was merely a question of plan. · Gentlemen had had them but for a confidence on the part of the ministers, and short time, and he submitted to the noble submission on the part of the house. He lord's candour, whether it was possible eveu hoped the noble lord would not proceed for those who were conversant with subjects with this intended plan on the spur of the of this nature, to make themselves masters moment. This improper haste would be of it within a period so limited. It would attended with great mischief, and in the end certainly give more satisfaction if the consiprove highly derogatory to the character deration should be postponed for a few of parliament. He concluded by moving, days. However as the house was called that the consideration of his Resolutions upon to discuss the noble lord's plan, he should be postponed to that day se'nnight. would now offer the few observations that

Lord Henry Petty did not think it ne- at present occurred to him. cessary to enter upon that part of the noble Lord Henry Petty observed, that the lord's speech, which contained his amended right honourable gentleman had better state statement. He certainly would not object to these in the committee. any day for the consideration of the noble Mr. Long replied, that he thought it lord's resolutions, only, he must observe, more regular to proceed now, as his objecthat they must come under review in dis- tion went rather to the principle of the plan cussing the present plan. He wished only than to the detail

. He observed, however, to say a few words with respect to the de- in continuation, that he did not object even lay solicited by the noble lord. He denied to the principle to a certain extent. It might that this was a question of confidence on possibly be a fatal error to adhere too the one part, and submission on the other. pertinaciously to the present plan of taxMinisters wished to adopt the plan, notation, and though he thought that the noble from a vain confidence in themselves, but lord's plan was carried to too great an exupon a full and deliberate investigation by tent, yet he was fully aware of the difficulparliament. It would be recollected that ties attending his situation. He did not, he had first moved the resolutions two or however, consider the difficulty which the three weeks ago, that a fortniglit was allow noble lord found last session, in finding out ed to consider them, that this period ended proper objects of taxation, as a proof that last Wednesday, and that it was only on new taxes could not be raised. But he that day that the proposal was made for fully admitted that it was highly expedient going into the committee. All he asked to impose no new taxes, for the present, if now was, to vote them in the committee: it could be avoided. This was his opinion, the report would come up next Wednesday, and it was sanctioned by that of the noble and they might then be further considered lord's predecessor. New taxes to any great and discussed. They might also be discus- extent would occasion a very heavy pressure sed in the different stages of the bill, which on the people at present. Then what other it was desirable to carry forward with all resources were there? There were two, reasonable dispatch, that ministers might namely, the war taxes and the sinking fund. proceed to the general financial plan. His noble friend (Castlereagh) objected to This dispatch was not required from any the plan of compound loans. But whether difficulties arising from the want of an im- the borrowing was from the consolidated mediate supply, but because it was desira- fund or the war taxes, there must be supble to proceed to contract for the loan as plenientary loans. To a certain extent, soon as possible. The motion of lord therefore, he saw no objection to borrowCastlereagh for the postponement of his ing from the war taxes. But he must object own resolutiops was then agreed to. to the system of pledging the whole of the

Lord Henry Petty moved that the House war taxes, independent of the property tax, should resolve itself into a coinmittee to and at last the property tax also. The consider further of the Finances of the noble lord ought to borrow only on such Country, which was agreed to. On the as might be supposed to yield their fullest motion for the Speaker's leaving the amount in time of peace. He might conchair,

tinue the war for five years, by borrowing

easy terms.

on this portion of the war taxes. The sum the object of the original proposer of the of 11 millions might be annually borrowed siviking fund that it should be allowed to in this way, or 13 millions, if necessary, accumulate so as to extinguish the debt. and for those suins the permanently pro- The intention was principally to keep down ductive war taxes, with the expiriog annui- the debt, so as to prevent it from becoming ties, would atford an ainple provision for inconvenient to the public. For the proof five years. He thought the war taxes ought of this it was only necessary to look at the pot to be pledged to a greater amount, as plan of 1786. The maximum of 4 millions it was contrary to the policy of this coun- was then established, and after the fund try. The convoy tax, for instance, could had attained to this, then the interest was not properly continue beyond the duration to be at the disposal of parliament; so, from of the war. The taxes on tea and spirits the year 1808, 200,0001. of taxes might be also would certainly be diminished in their taken off annually, or applied to other pusamount during peace. Could the noble poses, as the case might be. But the noble lord possibly expect that these would al. viscount who was chancellor of the excheways yield their present amount? He surely quer in 1802, altered this plan, and uncould not, and yet this plan took the whole doubtedly then had the full assent of a of these taxes at their higliest amount. right hon. friend of his (Mr. Pitt) now no The noble lord might so manage as to in- more. No one was more ready to submit crease the amount of the war taxes, when to the superior judgment of his right hon. the loans must be procured on disadvanta- friend alinded to than he was, and especially geous terms, and diminish their amount on a matter of this sort, but still he felt when the loans could be contracted for on great objections to the plan then adopted,

He ought to recollect the na- and since that time he certainly had seen ture of his system of ways and means. He no reason to alter his opinion.—But he did ought to consider the furious objections not object to the borrowing from the war made to the property tax, which was called taxes, if this should be confined to 5 years. a system not of taxation, but of confisca- The noble lord imposed no new taxes for tion. He ought therefore to pause before the first 3 years. He highly approved of he pledged this and other tases.--But if that, not merely on account of the relief he had great doubts as to the propriety of which it afforded to the people, but also pledging the war taxes to the full extent because it rested upon principles of sound proposed by the noble lord, he had still policy. For by this means taxation might stronger. doubts respecting the data on be bad recourse to with greater vigour afwhich the plan was founded. The noble terwards if this should be necessary, and lord supposed that the war expences would besides, this circumstance would have the riot exceed 32 millions annually during the best effects upon the permanent taxes. If, wliole period. lle could not reasonably therefore, the period had been confined to conclude that there was any probability that five years, he could have had no objection this would be the case. He ought to have to the plan. The noble lord might have, taken into account the subsidies that might in the mean time, observed the progress of be wanted, and the depreciation of money the sinking fund, of the war taxes, and of which must take place in the course of that the permanent taxes, and borrowed upon time. It was true that the noble lord had these as bie should find it expedient. But stated, that for subsidies a distinct provision to take a period of twenty years, and to must be made, but at the same time they proceed upon the supposition that thirtyought rather to have been taken into the two millions only would be required for the general account of expenditure, as it was war expenditure, was to legislate on grounds unusual to provide for subsidies distinctly the most uncertain and erroneous that could by that name. The right hon. gent. then possibly be conceived. stated bis objection to the system of the ac- Mr. Tierney rose. The right hon. gent. cumulation of the sinking fund, and provid- who had just sat down, objected to the ing for the loans at 5 per cent. instead of period of 20 years, and thought that the one per cent. according to the old plan, tittest stage to stop at was 5 years. But as it afforded an uodue advantage to the bis reasoning proceeded on stockholder, at the expence of the public. grounds, when he supposed that this plan He had great objections to the plan of ac- was intended to legislate to 20 years. It cumulation adopied in 1802. li never was did no such thing. It merely held out what might be done in 20 years, certain originaliy intended solely for the benefit of data being allowed. It did nothing what the stockholder. The advantage was given ever to tie up the hands of the house, or to the stockholder, but the fund was printo prevent ihem from adopting such al. cipally intended for the benefit of the pubterations as circumstances 'might render lic. He thonglit the measure of 1802 an necessary. It was no disadvantage to argue improper one, and he and another were with a view to a period of 20 years, as the the only persons who spoke openly against arguinent was not to be conclusive or bind- it on ihat occasion; and contended that ing; but to satisfy the house that so much the allowing of the sinking fund to accumight be done in twenty years, would not mulate would be inconvenient to the country. prevent them from exercising their dis- Then, what was the remedy? The noble cretion afterwards. The right hon. gent. lord had chosen the proper medium by agreed, that it would be inconvenient to his plan. He had given the stockholder impose new taxes at present: that was con- the benefit of the 5 per cent. instead of one ceded by the noble lord near him, and per cent. at present, with a view to the by the general' voice of the country, not great loans that might be necessary afteronly by those who merely wished to be wards, so that the whole was for the benerelieved from the pressure of taxation, but fit of tlie country, which was the great obgenerally by those who looked to the ject of the sinking fund. It was intended policy of the thing. It did certainly afford to facilitate the loans, the immediate ina hope that recourse might be had with crease of the sinking fund. That was the more vigour to the permanent taxes, and reason why so large a percentage was he was glad the right hon. gent. had said allowed at tirst.–Why, then, the right hon. so, because this served to remove the ob- gent. talked about the improbability of the jection which he himself had made with re- war expenditure being contined to 32 mil. 'spect to the amount of the permanent lions. But his noble friend had not pledged taxes. As to the permanent taxes, be himself that this alone should be the agreed that some of them might fall short amount of the expenditure. His object of their present amount, but this was no was to shew, that supposing the war exobjection whatever, unless the plan went to penditure should not exceed the enormous cut off the power and the means of im- sum of 32 millions, still the war might be posing taxes hereafter. Now, so far was continued for so long a time without any ibe plan from doing this, that even by additional taxes. This was a circumstance the right hon. gent's own confession, it which must occasion astonishment in every tended to render the sources of taxation one, and must excite amazement from one more productive. The plan was not abso- end of Europe to the other. The right lutely wedded to the present taxes. Oihers hov. gent. might say, that an additional miyht be imposed, if there should be a de- sum would be wanted; why, then, Joans ticiency. The whole proceeded on this, must be provided to answer that. The that such was to be the amount of loans right honourable gentleman had then advertif the war continued for such a time. ed to the subsidies, and said that these bad Where the taxes proved unproductive, not been usually provided for distinctly as others must be provided to supply their subsidies, but had been included in the place, and according to the right hon. loans. But he had never heard of a loan gent.'s own shewing, it was better to have where the object of subsidies was concealed. recourse to taxes afterwards, if they should They were generally provided for distinctly be wanted, than to raise them at present.— by way of loan, or by a vote of credit

erroneous

, The next point that called for observation which was understood to apply to unforewas, the extent to which the war taxes seen expences. The plan took the basis of were to be pledged. The right hon. gent. 32 millions, because some basis must be agreed that it was a proper thing to pledge adopted. Any one might take 34 millions the war taxes, but not to the extent pro if he pleased, and calculate the advantages posed, and thought that it was improper to of the plan upou that. He would only have a 5 per cent. sinking fund, instead of have to make the requisite allowances, and one per cent. as formerly. But this was that was all the difference. But in the entirely of the nature of a bargain with mean time it was a good thing when 3-2°milthe stockholder. He agreed with his right lions could be produced, and the only bon. friend that the sinking fund was not question was. whether this was the best VOL. VIII.

3 F

mode of managing that sum. There was naturally expected, therefore, to hear some no doubt as to the sum being produced. proposal similar in principle to those: the That being the present sum requisite for the Resolution, however, under our considerawar expenres, and that sum being pro- tion is the converse of that principle, as it duced, this plan proceeded upou the sup- not only has a direct tendency to interrupt position that thirty-two millions would be the progress of the old Sinking fund, in the amount of the war expenditore. As to paying of the present debt, but anticipates the depreciation of money, he did not very our resources instead of providing new ones. well under tand what the riglit bon. gent. The truth is, which cannot be concealed, meant by that argument, tor, if there was that instead of following up the principle any mode better than another to prevent established and acted upon by my late right the depreciation of money, it was to prevent hon. friend, of increasing tbe sinking fund, any additional taxation. It was curious and diminishing the debi, it is proposed to then to have this thrown in the teeth of us to adopt one, which in the course of its those who were doing that which of all operation, will have the effect of dininishother things tended most to prevent the ing the Sinking Fund, and increasing to an depreciation which was apprehended. That in mense amount the capital of the debt. this depreciation might take place, however, Any wise and practicable plan that could be to a certain extent, was not at all unlikely; devised for avoiding, as far as may be prubut it was one of the advantages of this dent, the imposition of taxes, arising out of plan that it confined it within proper the systems alluded to, must be received bounds. This was all that was necessary with as much partiality by me as by any in reply to the right hon. gent, as he had menber in this house, considering who was not entered into the details of the plan the author of those; but nothing can lead His objections, therefore, to the principle me to approve of any diversion of the Sinkappeared to be ill-founded. The house ing Fund from the purposes to which it is then went into a committee.

now applicable by law, without all the conMr. Rose addressed the Committee near- sequences of that having been previously ly as follows:-1 am aware of the disadvan- and most attentively weighed. I was tage under which any one must rise ir this averse to the departure from it in 1802, committee, to make observations at all un- foreseing the danger of a further deviation; favourable to a plan which holds out to the and it was with reluctance that Mr. Pitt country' a certain prospect of not being gave his consent to it, as is well known to subjecied to taxes for 3 years to come; others as well as to myself. The authors of aud that for a considerable period, such the present scheme admit

, as they must do, as shall be necessary will be to no “ that they take in aid certain excesses to considerable amount. Objections, how-accrue from the present Sinking Fund." ever, of so serious and important a nature hich is explained by a statement, that it press upon my mind upon the subject is meant the application of the old Sinking that unless they shall be removed by the Fund shall cease wheu it shall be equal to noble lord, they will compel me, in the the interest of the present debt; by which discharge of my duty as a member of par. I take it for granted is meant, the amount liament, to resist at least the immediate of the debt at the time when the income adoption of it, especially on the basis pro of the Sinking Fund shall be equal to the posedl; under a persuasion that if, contrary interest of the debt, and not to the amount to the present inipression on my mind, the of the interest of the debt at this time. It scheme shall be found to be a good one, is true that when Mr. Pitt established the other means than those proposed must be Sinking Fund, it was limited to 4,000,(2001. devised for carrying it into effect. High and the surplus was to be at the disposal eulogiums were bestowed by the noble lord of parliament; but if that had not been alin the course of his opening Speech, on the tered in 1802, to compensate for the Sinksystem of the Sinking Fund, and on the one ing Fund baving been provided by Mr.Adfor raisivg large sumis within the year, to dington, for 86,000,000/. of capital then wards carrying on the war; and great praise funded, there can be vo doubt but that the was very liberally given to the incompara- surplus above the 4,000,0001. and the anble man (Mr. Piit) whom this country and nuties as they shall fall in, would have been the world have had the misfortune to lose, left to the aid of the Fund. I must at the for having established those systems. I same tine, do Mr. Addington the justice to

« AnteriorContinuar »