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well without. burthening the nation. And if we judge in this manner, there can be no doubt that the expectations raised by the public will be amply satisfied.
Now, therefore, I wish to call the attention of the committee to this object. I am clear that we immediately appropriate this million to the payment of the debt, even although the time when we shall have this surplus free from all other expenses, cannot be exactly ascertained. I myself am persuaded, that, as I have already intimated, we have certain extraordinary resources to which we may apply to liquidate this sum, without the addition of new taxes. Let us then examine what sums they are for which we have to provide the means of payment.-- This extraordinary ex· pense chiefly arises from the navy: and it was occasioned by the
very large contracts into which we had entered for the bailding of ships. On this account 2,400,0001. had been called for this year, as the extraordinary expense of the navy; but this would not continue to be required after the ships now building were completed. This would decrease each year, and would be, in every probability, reduced to a standing sum for a peace establishment in the year 1790. This expense, and the very liberal establishment of 1,800,0001. would enable us to possess a marine the most flourishing this country ever beheld. As the estimate for the navy stands this present year, it is 600,0001. above what is stated at the settled peace expense in the year 1790. But it is to be noticed, that, after two new ships have been completed, which will be in the course of this year, this extra sum will be reduced to 400,000l. ; this, in four years, amounts to the sum of 1,600,0001., and, with the additional expense of this year, to 1,800,0001.
With regard to the army, the expenses also had been very great, but were of a nature which also tended to diminish, in time, but which it was impossible to restrict. What this chiefly arose from was, as I mentioned before, from pensions to officers' widows, and to officers upon half pay; and this sum amounted to about 260,0001. Under this head of expense comes also that occasioned by bills of exchange from our colonies abroad;
these amounted to very considerable extra sums of late years. But when we recollect, that we are not now obliged to keep up the immense establishments abroad that we have been accustomed to do, we may expect these will diminish very rapidly. Our chief expense at present arises from Canada ; and from the well-known prudence, honour, economy, and disinterested spirit of the gallant officer who is now appointed to that command, we have every reason to hope that a very considerable saving of expense will be produced. I need only mention his name to enforce conviction of whatever I say in his praise; the great and gallant officer I speak of is Sir Guy Carleton. Those who are acquainted with his military talents and military conduct, deservedly hold him high indeed. But from his no less acknowledged disposition to economy, from his vigilance and activity, we may say, that whatever can be done by care and attention will be effected. And at present, even the extraordinary expense is not very considerable, as far as it has come to our knowledge; but we have reason to think that a saving may be produced on this establishment. .
Another matter of expense comes properly under this head'; and it is what the House have already acknowledged to be a just demand upon the justice and generosity of this nation, that is, a provision for the American sufferers. Their situation demands the most tender consideration. Nor would I chuse to mention any sum for this purpose ; if it was a great one, it would raise the expectations of those unhappy people ; and I would not wish to say any thing more to them than that I hope there will be a generous and liberal regard paid to their melancholy and unfortunate circumstances. Another matter of extra expense under this head, is the ordnance; but as parliament have not decided what is to be the expense of it, and have already disapproved going into large additions to this part of the national establishment, I shall not say what sum will be necessary for this purpose. All these different subjects of expense are, in a great measure, uncertain ; nor is it possible at present to say, with
minute accuracy, to what particular sụm they will amount : but I think a sum of 300,000l. is likely to be the call for those purposes, and to be provided for in the course of two or three years.
There is another matter of expense which the committee have not mentioned in their reports, and which is the subject of the King's message this day; this will be a matter before parliament. The impossibility of reducing the civil list within the sum of 900,0001. allowed by parliament, proceeded chiefly from that part being mortgaged for the payment of certain exchequer bills, by annual payments of 50,0001., which reduced it from 900,000 to 850,000l. Of these exchequer bills there remains due about 180,0001. and there was besides, an arrear against the civil list of about 30,0002, more. The crown had long been embarrassed by this incumbrance; and that it may be entirely removed, I shall move on this day se’nnight, when His Majesty's message shall be taken into consideration, for the sum of 210,0001.
The whole, therefore, that we are now to find the means of providing for is, the extra expenses of the navy and army, which I have stated liberally at 3,000,0001. This is to be accounted for in the course of four years, after which time we shall have a clear annual surplus of a million, unincumbered with any demands upon the national income. Although this sum should bę funded, and ways and means found to answer the interest, it would not occasion any great burthen upon the people; but the state of this country at present is so very flourishing, that I am happy to say that it will not be necessary to burthen the people with any taxes upon this account, but certain extraordinary resources are to be found within ourselves that will abundantly answer what is here required. The committee first make men. tion of lotteries ; which are, indeed, a resource that government can have recourse to, but which is in itself so encouraging to a spirit of gambling, that it is doubtful whether it ought to be adopted. The spirit of gambling is indeed so deeply rooted, that I am afraid it is of little consequence whether a lottery be withholden or not, and it is always a resource equal to 140,000l. ; however, as it is not resolved by government whether there shall be one this year, I shall not put it to account.
The next head they mention is that of army savings, and this bears the appearance of being very considerable: and indeed a very considerable sum under this description had been paid into the exchequer ; this consisted chiefly of money that had been appropriated to different services, and which had not been expended. This had been very considerable in the peace following the war before the last; and from the extent of the immense grants during this war, we might expect much more. Of these sums, together with the surplus of several funds, the amount of 450,0001. had already been paid into the exchequer. There are, besides this, immense sums in the hands of former paymasters, which, it is to be expected, we shall be able in a little time to come at. The mode, hitherto, of keeping the army accounts has been extremely open to abuse; and accordingly paymasters have taken every advantage to keep the public money in their hands. Notwithstanding this, it is to be hoped that as soon as the commissioners have time to call in the out-standing accounts, they will be enabled to collect a very great sumy: this is justified as far as they have gone; but the labour is extremely great, as they have to go through no less than one hundred and eighteen regiments of foot, and as many regiments of horse and dragoons whose accounts for non-effective men had not been examined into for twenty years together. One regiment they had gone through already had produced 22,0001. for the use of government; and although I cannot be so sanguine as lo hope that every regiment will produce as much, yet I think I may state the total, including contracts and other articles of abuse, at the sum of 100,0001.
The next source mentioned by the committee, is a balance due from the East-India company for the subsistence of troops in India, and on account of victualling the navy. This amounted to 600,0001.; and there was a probability of its being paid in a very short time. The committee also mentioned the unclaimed dividends in the funds, that a part of them might be applied consistently with the safety of the public creditors to the public use.
The crown lands are also a source of produce; but as it is not determined how to dispose of them, I will not mention them in the account; and that perhaps it might be thought right to apply them to the relief of the American loyalists.
The great article upon which the committee dwell, and upon which they founded their expectations of a permanent surplus, is the improvement of our revenue by proper regulations to discourage smuggling, and give room to the fair trader to reap those advantages which are due to his labours, and which must in every light add to the amount of the customs; this, both by encouraging the legal merchant, and bringing those goods to a regular entry that would have been clandestinely disposed of. The regulations which had been already made in this respect, had not had room for their full operation, and yet they have occasioned a very great addition to the revenue of the nation, and might be expected still to increase, as this increase is regular and progressive, and not the sudden effect of the suppression of our warlike operations. It is indeed not easy to be conceived, by those not conversant in those subjects, how numerous and • how artful the frauds are which are daily put in practice in every subject of the national revenue. One article, that of wine, required immediate remedy; and I fatter myself with very great sums indeed from this branch. The consumption of wine in this country is not diminished, and yet it does not appear that the average of last year compared with the year 1746, is equal to it in produce of revenue, so far that it sinks below it no less than 240,0001. Without laying a burthen upon the country, there are many regulations to be made in the article of spirits that will increase the revenue from that branch of trade. The article of tobacco is another object that attention must be paid to: and I have no doubt that from the regulations that will be proposed in these articles, at least 300,0001. annually may be produced. In. another session of parliament I intend also to bring about a con