Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

amount in those three last years, that it creased in the last year to the extent of should be at the disposal of Parliament, 1,500,000 yards. But was not the growand applicable to cover the charge of the ing prosperity of the country obvious in loan for either year; but if any deficiency the great public works which were onshould take place, that it was to be dertaken throughout the country - the made good by Parliament. The principle great canals and extensive docks which of this resolution was certainly not that were on all sides establishing? The proupon which his proposition was founded; gress of such undertakings, with as much because, if he were to take an average on spirit, activity, and enterprize, as in a three years, the excess would be 60,0001. time of the most profound and prosperous more than he meant to take for the ser- peace, was a certain indication of tbe vice of the present year. He had ad- flourishing condition of our trade, mangverted to this resolution only to shew, factures, and commerce. that his proposition was not altogether a The Committee would, he trusted, exnovel idea in that House.

cuse him for having called their atten. It might here be material, as well with tion to such topics which were so intia view to form a correct judgment upon mately connected with the subject of that the subject as for the satisfaction of the day. It was of the highest consequence committee, to look briefly to the state of to shew, that the state of the industry, the trade, manufactures, and commerce of manufactures, and commerce of the coun the country, in order to shew, that there try was such as to enable the nation to was a just prospect that their expectation maintain the burthens it had to bear, and would not prove unfounded as to the sta- that wbilst there appeared an increase in bility of the means and resources of the all, there could be no reason for considerempire. This would most satisfactorily ing this a failing or a falling country, appear from a reference to the compara- Though undoubtedly the Committee must tive amount of the exports and imports at be sensible that the pressure of the times different periods. The official value of may bear heavily upon some classes of the imports last year was 36,253,209.. their fellow subjects, a pressure which The prosperous year of peace (1802) was they must all equally lament, yet it was only 31,442,318l. being an increase last consolatory to reflect, that there was no year of nearly 5,000,0001. above the most ground for apprehendiog any material prosperous year of peace. The exports of or extensive national calamity. But it British manufactures last year amounted was not only in our internal resources, but to 35, 107,000l.; in 1802 they were only in our external means and strength, that 27,993, 1991. being a difference between the progressive prosperity of this nation sight and 9,000,0001. in favour of last was to be traced : This too had happily year. The exports of foreign manufac- been made out to the conviction of our tured goods was last year 15,194,0001. enemy. It was but a few years since somewhat less than the amount of foreign that enemy had declared that all he wantexports in 1802, which was 19,152,0001. ed were ships, colonies, and commerce. But it was most satisfactory to observe, If the attainment of such objects were his that though the exports of foreign goods wish, what progress had be made towards had decreased, the export of British ma- their accomplishment? It was only by acnufactures had risen in a greater propor- quisitions from this country that he was to tion, and that there was a greater increase realize any one of them, and yet all the upon the whole of 4,180,0001. the amount commerce that belonged to his empire it of all the exports having been last year had lost; all the colonies that had be 50,300,0001., whereas in 1802, ihey longed to him he had lost; and the few amounted to but 46,120,0001. Upon an ships he had remaining were kept pent up average of the two last years, compared in ports, without ever daring to put to sea with the average of 1802 and the pre- This was the government, too, whose mea. ceding year, the advantage was 3,108,3001. sures were represented as founded in wise in favour of these two years of war over som, and executed with ability, whilst two years of peace. But if the advan. the government of this country had been tage had even not been so much in favour uniformly charged with weakness, ignaof last year, the average would shew, that rance, folly, and imbecility. He should the country was not stationary, but pro detain the Committee with but one more gressive in prosperity. In Yorkshire observation, to shew that the operations alone the manufacture of cloth had in of the wise measures of the orders in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

council, so much abused in this country, | He maintained, that without a reduction
had had the effect of reducing the receipts of the scale of our annual expenditure, it
of the customs in France froin 2,500,000!. would be impossible to carry on the war
to 500,000l. being a diminution of 4-5ths for any long time. Even in the event of
of its whole amouni. This showed how peace they would not be without their dif-
unavailing all the measures of the French ficulties, as it would be expected that a
ruler were to the accomplishment of his considerable share of the public burthens
darling object. He should, therefore, not should then be reduced. When his right
take up more of the time of the commit- hon. friend took part of the surplus of the
tee, but move, That the terms on which consolidated fund to meet the additional
the Loan had been contracted for, should charge of the present year, he did not
be approved of by that committee. much improve the prospect in the event

Mr. Huskisson did not know whether his of peace. He advised the House therefore
right hon. friend, in his very able state- to consider well the nature and extent,
ment, alluded to him as one of those who and applicability of their resources, with
thought the country in a falling condition. a view to peace and war. It was impos-

-If he did, it must have arisen from a sible always to go on in this way, from mistake, because he had neither thought expedient to expedient; satisfied with nor said any such thing. He thought the getting over the difficulty of one year, country was in a state of progressive im without adverting to the accumulating difprovement, which, in a country where ficulties of the next. He begged the property was so well protected, could only House to consider to what, if they went be stopped by some convulsion. What on in this way, they would come at last ? he had said was, that it would be difficult | The hon. gent. here related an anecdote to find new taxes, which would not be ex- which was current in France before the tremely objectionable-hat there was a revolution-some person asked the minislimit 10 taxation—and that we had nearly ter of finance how they were to go on for reached that limit; and that he was cor- a number of years ?-his answer was, that rect in all this, the statement of his right the state of things, such as it was, would hon. friend most fully proved. He must last their time; and after them, no matter himself have felt its force, before he could what became of the finances. In a few make up his mind to propose the mode years after came that horrible catastrophe, which he intended to adopt to supply the the French revolution. He did not mean means of the year. He had heard nothing to say that any minister of this country from his right hon. friend in contradiction would have uttered or conceived so to what he (Mr. H.) had stated on a former worthy a sentiment; but if the House did occasion; and he really wished that some- not take an extensive view of the subject, thing positive could be got from his right and provide accordingly, it would not do hon. friend upon this subject. He wished its duty. He thought that by suitable reto know whether he thought it possible, ductions provision might be inade for both for any great number of years, to continue alternatives, of peace and war, and that adding from a million to 1,200,000l. every too without any diminution of our domiyear to the public burthens ? Whether he nions or of the proper nieans of defence thought this would be sufficient on the and carrying on the war. If he had not present plan, even if it could be procured ? thought so, he would not have been so -and, Whether he hoped that the war ready to come forward with his ideas on could be continued in this way? His right the subject. He had no doubt that this hon. friend had not touched on these might be done.--He should not therefore points; but he thought that his right hon. in saying this, betray the secret of our friend owed it to the country to state what weakness, but the measure of our strength. his views were on the subject, supposing He would not then enter at length into the the war to continue for a great number of subject; but must say that next session years, as, in all probability, it would. it would be the duty of Parliament to conSupposing the presumptions balanced as sider it with attention. His right hon. to the long continuance of the war, and friend had resorted to a source which the speedy conclusion of peace; and this would not avail in other years. If he he thought was a very sanguine view of could have found taxes to answer his purthe matter; even then, he said, that it pose, it would have been a much better concerned us to look at our means of sup- course, and one which no doubt he would porting it for a great number of years. have adopted,

VOL, XV!.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

3 Y

Adverting to that part of the statement practice for the several officers of governwhere the increase of the duty on stamps ment to look at the expenditure in tbeir from 106,0001. to 1,200,0001. had been as- several departments, as applied to a fa. cribed to the regulations and additions of rourite object of pursuit. It had been 1808, he observed that the sta np duties said that we might be in difficulties with had been consolidated in 1906, and had regard to America; but it had not been since been increasing by the usual growth stated that there was any particular reason of the revenue, and the better mode of to apprehend this. Then the use of a collection, as well as by the new duties. large reserve bad been argued upon from There were some articles, such as bank the dispatch, which had been evinced in paper, &c. in which a diminution might sending out the expedition to Copenhagen. be calculated upon, though he allowed -- But in 1801, a large Expedition had that an increase might be expected in been sent to Copenhagen, and with great oiher articles. He disavowed whatever dispatch, when the number of seamen was share of merit might be ascribed to him. much smailer, and the calls apon the serself for any thing he had done in 1908 on vice of the navy much larger. There this head. "The sound principle was to were at that time no less than ninety-four take the whole of the taxes and the charge sail of the line, French, Spanish, &c. Be upon thein. They were in some instances fore the battle of Trafalgar the enemy had above, in others below the charge, although large fleets, and the numbers of our se3certainly upon the whole above. But men did not exceed 120,000 at that time, this course of his right hon, friend would He thought that the distinction between only create ihe necessity of adding ano- the present naval war, and former wars of ther million to next year's loan, so that it the same description, was not sufficiently was only shifting the ground; be might attended to. The object formerly was to as well have placed the charge upon the oppress the commerce of the enemy, but; war taxes. It was, however, a cheering now even with 200,000 seamen noibing part of the statement, that no additional in that way could be done. By the injury burthen was to be created this year. With done to his commerce and revenue, we regard to the statement on the whole, might have hoped formerly to have drived however, he confessed he had been greatly the enemy to reasonable terms of peace. disappointed. When the ministers bad Now, however, there was no hope of doing made up their minds to advise his Majesty this by any such means. His right hon. to promise that the accounts would Le friend had asked, what progress Buona. made up with a rigid attention to economy, parté had made in his favourite object, of he had expected that a considerable re- obtaining ships, colonies and commerce. duction was to have taken place. He But Buonaparié had altered his policy in thought that reductions had been intended that respect, for it seemed now to be his to be made in some of the larger establish- policy to destroy commerce altogether, ments. He did not say that any very and whatever deficiency might be occa. great diminution could be made ; but he sioned in his revenue, he would have no thought a reduction of some millions might scruple in supplying by exactions of any be effected without injury to the country. kind. He had, besides, the command alHe then adverted to the arguments which most of the whole continent, and could had been used by one of the lords of the draw his supplies from all quarters by Admiralty (Mr. Ward,) for keeping up the land. He concluded by adverting to the number of seamen to 145,000 men. It state of Ireland, which had to raise five had been said that it was desirable to have millions by extraordinary means. He a navy, not only sufficient to cope with deprecated any thing like despondency as the whole world at sea, but also a consi- to our resources, but at the same time derable reserve.

To the general propo- urged the propriety and necessity of bussition, that it was desirable, he would as- banding them as much as possible. sent; but then he must balance the advan- Mr. Rose concurred in ihe wish of his tages and disadvantages. It was customay hon. friend that every practicable refor persons out of doors to say, that liberty trenchment should be adopted, and that was desirable--so it was in the abstract; | opinion he had already communicated out but then the government of the country of doors. He felt strongly, that his right must so far infringe on that liberty, as to hon. friend (the Chancellor of the Excheprovide the ways and means of the year. quer) would present himself before the He repeated, that it was too much the House next sessions with a very bad grace,

if he did not prove that the utmost atten. vole of credit equal to that of the last rion had been paid to the economy in the year, when we had Austria and Sweden public expenditure. But to what amount to subsidize ; and tbis yote too in addition the wished for reduction of that expendi- to that already granted to Portugal. What ture would extend, he thought it impos- then could be the object of this vote? It sible at present to calculaie. There was certainly required explanation. As to the happily however no reason to entertain rise io the price of three per cent. slock, any gloomy apprehension. But suffi he thought it owing to artificial causes, cient for the day was the evil thereof. by no means indicative of national prosThere would, he trusted, be a consider- perity, although enabling the right hon. able reduction in the expenditure of the gent. to conclude the loan upon such aduavy, as his hon. friend had estimated, vantageous terms, But the right hon. from the present state of the enemy. As gent. seemed to have had a great deal of to the propriety of a provision for fu- good luck to help him out in his dificul. tyre years, and of an additional tax at ties. In the first year of his financial dupresent in lieu of the proposed appropria- ties, the loan had been provided by his tion of the surplus of the stamp-duty, he predecessors; in the second year between could not help observing, that we had three and four hundred thousand of andone quite enough for our posterity, and nuities fell in; and now a surplus prohe hoped, that they would be able to do duce of taxes offered, which, however, lie as much for themselves. We had, in fact, thought the right hon. gent. was grossly made such arrangements for the benefit of misapplying when setting them apart 10 those who are to come after us, that no pay the interest of the loan. This surplus less than 10 million per annum were set ought rather in his judgment to be inapart to relieve them from debt, which cluded in the produce of the consolidated sum was more than the whole revenue of fund, to which it properly belonged, and a the country, when he first entered into new tax imposed to defray the interest of public life. How the resources of the the loan. But the right hon. gent. by country had been so prosperous as the his measure broke a wisely established statement of his right honourable friend principle, merely to make a fetch at po. displayed, he declared himself unable to pularity, by a shew of declining new account. But somehow it appeared, that taxes. This, however, all thinking men from the industry and ingenuity of our must feel to be mere delusion. For the merchants, every prohibitory measure of sum thus taken from the consolidated fund Buonaparte's had utterly failed of their must be again supplied by new taxes; and object. In fact, instead of limiting our if the right hon. gent. should go on from trade, it had rather been extended in spite year to year, appropriating a part of the of the hostile proceedings of the enemy: surplus of the consolidated fund to pay

Mr. Huskisson disapproved of his right the interests of his loans, it was obvious hon. friend's sentiment in this instance, the public could not ultimately be gainers. that sufficient for the day was the evil But the right hon. gent. was in fact violatthreof. On the contrary, he thought it ing bis contract with the public creditors, would be wise in the present circum- who lent their money upon the security stances of the country, to consider of an of the stamp tax, by appropriating the arrangement of some permanent system surplus of its produce to the payment of calculated to guard against future evil. the interest upon a new loan, and he was

Mr. Tierney thought it necessary that also neglecting to make provision for the some inquiry should be instituted as to the future. Was the right hon. gent. aware, cause of the present state of our resources, while he thus declined to look to future in order to ascertain whether that cause difficulties, that he would in the event was likely to be permanent, or merely of of peace the next day be obliged to find a temporary nature.

This inquiry ap:

nine or ten millions a year of new taxes? peared the more necessary, as even an old Why then be so improvident on this oc- : inember of the board of trade (Mr. Rose) | casion ? He was not one of those who professed himself unable to account for despaired of the resources of the country, that prosperity upon which the House bad or wished to damp its spirit, but he would been congratulated. As to retrenchment, strongly recommend it to the right hon. he heard no proposal of it-he could see gent. to look minulely into our situation. no sign of it--notwithsianding all the pro- With that view he advised the right hon. fessions that bad been made. He saw a gent. at an early part of the next sessions,

to institute a similar inquiry to those which take was by applying the surplus to the took place in 1782 and 1796. The neces- relief of the public from any new tax. sity for such an investigation was obvious. He denied that this surplus could be fairly For the satisfaction of the House and of deemed as a part of what was called the the country it ought to be immediately surplus of the consolidated fund, and there. entered into. He was persuaded that the fore ihe right honourable gentleman's obright hon. gent, did not himself know how jections were inapplicable. That there the country was going on, or how to cal- was a saving in the proposed expenditure culate upon the means of our future pro. would, he asserted, be obvious to any oan vision. It was not for the right honour. who examined the several heads of es. able gentleman then in the present state pence, particularly in the ordnance, the and prospect of Europe, to be contented army and navy. As to the vote of crcuit, with the making of shifts for a session or another opporiunity would occur for distwo, but to lock to some permanent sys- cussing that topic. But although, from tem-to look particularly to the reluction the present state of Europe, it was deemed of our expenditure, for which no disposi- expedient to place such a sum at the tion whatever was manifested by birn, and disposal of bis Majesty, it did not follow above all in future to abstain from crip- that it would be expended. With respect pling the consolidated fund.

to the right honourable gentleman's allo. The Chancellor of the Exchequer observedl, sion to his good luck, he observed, that that the terms upon which the loan had the right hon. gent seemed quite sore upon been that day negociated were in his opi. that point. But the effects of this good nion, the best proof of the increasing luck, as the right hon. gent, would hare wealth and resources of the country, and it, furnished another obstacle to the wish gave the best assurance of hope that in of his right hon. friend. For it appeared future the people would be enabled to that notwithstanding all the drivelling and bear those burthens which the necessities blundering ascribed to him and his col. of affairs might require. With respect to leagues, the country was thriving under the prosperous state of the country, and their government, and in a state of pros. the application of the revenue, he agreed perity, which the right hon. gent. and his with his hon. friend and the right hon. friends, with all their talents, could not gent. that under any government less dis- deny. As to the reduction which had posed to pay attention to measures of taken place in the production of the malt economy, it might rather be productive of duty, that notoriously arose out of the evil than good. It however could not be stoppage of the distilleries, which could denied that there were considerable dimi- only be of a temporary duration ; and he nutions in many of the items of the public had the satisfaction to think that this was expenditure, though certainly not in so the only branch of our revenue which had great a degree as that the committee suffered in the slightest degree a diminucould look to them as any material saving. tion. The right hon. gent. concluded In the ordnance there was a saving this with observing, that he did not mean, in year of 1,500,0001.-- In the army 800,0001. his allusion to his hon. friend (Mr. Has. but there was most assuredly an increase kisson) to insinuate that his hon, friend in the navy expence of between 2 and meant, in a former declaration of his, to 300,000l. It would be recollected, how- create the false impression respecting our ever, with respect to the increase in the means, which it certainly produced. But navy, that he had stated formerly that ex. he thought it right to advert to it, as the pectation from the necessity of making an present appeared a proper opportunity for addition to the number of seamen of 15,000 removing that impression. more than the number employed in the Mr. 8. Thornton was apprehensive that former year, for the purpose of affording the calculation upon the surplus of the assistance to our allies in Spain. The consolidated fund would be found to be right hon. gent. then proceeded to vin- rather vague and uncertain ; the produce dicate the appropriation of the surplus in consequence of the act of the year of the stamp duties, which he proposed. 1908, upon that fund, which had been so He contended that the additions and regu- much relied on, was in great part owing lations made in 1808 had produced much to the product of the duties upon stamps, more than was originally estimated. This rather than to any new taxes imposed at was a mistake in the former calculation, that time. The great object would be to and the only way of correcting that mis- keep the income and expenditure of the

« AnteriorContinuar »