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a state of peace, we shall have a revenue equal to our whole landed annual product. We are now, Sir, at the end of April, and 18 millions are yet to be found. Three payment have only been made on the Loyalty Loan, and there are still seventenths of it to be made good, which amount to 12,600,0001.--We are to vote 18 millions to-day; so that between this day and the ift of January next, we have yet to find for the public exigencies, the enormous tum of 30,600,000l. We have to furnish in fo Thort a space of time as 35 weeks, 30,600,000), or, in other words, almost 1 million per week, till the end of the year.
« But, Sir, there is still another point of view in which I wish to place this most terious and alarming consideration. In 1796, the new taxes only produced 3 millions. What then, Sir, is the burden which the subject has hitherto felt? The weight of that sum alone. But the taxes to be imposed this day, with all the others will make 7 millions and a half. So that we have actually felt only three millions. We have been told, indeed, very rhetorically, that we were yet but scratched by the war : scratched we are, and that pretty severely, but very slightly coinpared to the wounds which are to be inflicted on us; and the burdens to be imposed upon people which they must suffer when they come to pay 7 millions and a half instead of three. That it is right and necessary to look these dangers in the face, the Right Honourable Gentleman himself admits, though he is by no means ready to practise the theory which he proclaims. There still remains another article with respect to future expenditure, to which I wish to direct the attention of Gentlemen. I mean, Sir, the Bills to be drawn this year, in St. Domingo, on this country, probably to the amount of 900,oool. The Bills drawn in January amounted to 700,000l. Whether they have been paid, I cannot undertake to say; but if half remains unpaid, and an additional sum of 900,oool. is drawn for, I conceive it very difficult to find how the whole is to be discharged. I do not blame the Select Committee for proceeding to their report on the calculations laid before them, but I blame both the Committee and the House for not grounding their opinion on others that convey more solid information; I mean those which are furnished by experience. I am fully sensible of the inestimable value of peace to the country, and it will, by a geometrical progression, become more valuable every year. I know no system to obtain the blessings which it diffuses, and secures, but an unequivocal and steady pursuit in the attainment of it. It is not, Sir, in my opinion, likely to be re. stored to us by sending Mr. Hammond, or any other man in the hour of impending danger and necessity to Vienna, but in
openly declaring and vigorously adhering to equitable and honourable terms. But something more is requisite to be done. The House must prove themselves the Representatives of the people. They must shew the people that they do not blindly confide in a Minister by whom they have been so often and so shamefully deceived; and if there is not patriotism enough left to force them to act thus, there is, I do not hesitate to assert, an end of the Constitution. From the measures pursued, and the fyftem avowed by Ministers of persevering in them, the country is every day involved in additional perplexities and embarrassments. It is in vain we look round for an open and cheering prospect, for amid this labyrinth and confusion we strive to no purpose to rescue ourselves from diftress-
“While Alps on Alps arise." «With respect to the Vote for the Army Extraordinaries, does any man think that the arrears of the army will be extinguished by that measure? No, Sir! I am of an opinion directly contrary. The exertion of the public spirit is in this moment. ous crisis absolutely necessary. The people ought to know, that we should have a complete change of system---a change from a blind confidence in Ministers to a watchfulness and jealousy of their conduct. Sir, I have nothing farther to remark than that if the Right Honourable Gentleman means to take the sense of the House on the measure of lending 200,000l, to the Emperor, I fhall most certainly oppose it.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that without wishing to go over the ground which the Right Honourable Gentleman had taken, which might remain for future discussion, he merely rose to state, that it was certainly his intention to move a Reloa lution respecting the 200,000l. as a Loan to the Emperor.
Mr. Grey faid, that there was an article in the Report of the Select Committee, of which he wished to have some explanation. There was a sum of 1,500,000l. stated to be unfunded debt not sufficiently provided for. He wished to know from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether fums had not been specifically granted last Session of Parliament for the payment of this charge, the Money for which had however been diverted to other purposes ? That the Right Honourable Gentleman had violated the Acts of Appropriation, and diverted the Money granted by Parliament to different objects, he had already stated against him as very highly criminal. The instance to which he here alluded would shew that the Right Honourable Gentleman Atill persevered in this conduct, and would unmask the system of finance which he pursued. The Bank had advanced the fum of one million and a half on the Consolidated Fund. In the month No. 34.
of April last a Loan of seven millions was raised for the purpose of paying the advances made by the Bank; and the sum of 55 millions was specifically granted for repaying the Bank such advances, among which this article was included. It appeared now, however, that the Money had not so been applied. This debt was kept concealed till disclosed in this Report, and now it was to be discharged from the supplies of this year. If the House allowed such practices to continue, if they allowed a Chancellor of the Exchequer to set at nought the Acts of Appropriation, and to apply grants of money to purposes for which they were not originally destined, they would betray their duty to their constituents and to the country. He was very anxious to get an explanation of this circumstance, and he was afraid the Right Honourable Gentleman would not find it easy to give a satisfactory one.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that from the warm manner in which the Honourable Gentleman had proposed his question, it might perhaps be difficult to satisfy him, but he hoped he should be able to satisfy the House on the subject. The objection, however, was founded entirely in misconception. The sum had not been granted by Parliament for that specific purpose, nor had there been any violation of the Appropriation Act. When the Loan was made for the purpose of paying off the debt on the Exchequer Bills, the Bank had not availed themfelves of the opportunity to subscribe, and there was power by the Act of Appropriation to pay them in Cash. This, at the end of the year, made the grant exceed the supplies, and the fum alluded to so far from being concealed, was comprehended in the last Budget, and was paid out of the supplies of the year 1797:
r. Grey said, he had never heard of this sum not being paid till he saw it in the Report of the Select Committee. He therefore wished an unequivocal answer to the question he had proposed. He asked, whether the sum of one million and a half had not been granted for the purpose of repaying the advances made by the Bank? Whether this sum was comprehended in these advances, and whether the grant, to this extent at least, had not been diverted from its destination?
Mr. Steele stated the history of this sum in the same manner as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and was surprised that the Honourable Gentleman, with so little justice, propriety, or foundation, and uninformed as he was on the subject, could bring forward against his Right Honourable Friend an accusation of a practice which the House had always reprobated.
Mr. Grey said, that the Honourable Gentleman's assertion that the House had always reprobated the practice was as illa
founded founded as his charge against him of accusing without information. He had proved to the House that on former occasions the Right Honourable Gentleman had been guilty of that practice, and if the House had done their duty, he would not have been in a situation to repeat his offence. Mr. Grey reftated his charge, and read the evidence of Mr. Bosanquet before the Secret Committee, which proved that this sum was not repaid from the fum destined to pay the advances of the Bank, but was paid by the Bank keeping back their subscription to the last Loan. The explanation attempted to be given would lead the Houfe to believe, that after all the transactions that had taken place between Ministers and the Bank, after the former had been solicited day after day, and week after week, to repay the sums advanced by the Bank, that the latter did not avail themselves of the opportunity they had of obtaining payment of this sum. Let any one look at the Report of the Secret Committee, and believe this story who can. He wished that some Director of the Bank were present, to give the House satisfaction on this point.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, that the Report of the Secret Committee was but recently distributed, and he was not yet ready for the discufsion. It was proved, however, that this fum had not been specifically granted, and that payment of it had not been withheld. Inttead of having violated the Act of Appropriation, it had been strictly observed, as there was no power to discharge the debt in cash, and the Bank had not availed themselves of the mode by which the payment must have been made.
Mr. Fox said that the Right Honourable Gentleman defended himself by comments on form, and special pleadings. It was certain that whether or not the sum had been specifically granted for the purpose of paying off that debt, it had been granted in contemplation of that being done. What the House had done in this view, or if the Right Honourable Gentleman was better pleased with his own long word in contemplation of this, had not been complied with, and the money had been diverted to other purposes.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that when he acted upon the spirit of an Act he was accused of violating its letter ; and . now when he had complied with the letter, he was accused of special pleading.
Mr. Fox faid, that the Right Honourable Gentleman had not complied with the spirit of the Act. He had raised money on false pretences, because it was not applied to the objects for which it was originally asked. Mr. Grey repeated his objection. 7 S2
Mr. Sheridan said, that as the Report of the Committee of Finance had been the subject of some animadversion, he should fay a few words on this point. The Right Honourable Gentleman had formerly misrepresented what he had said upon this report on a former occasion. He had said that he considered himself responsible for every part of it against which he had not dissented. He believed there was no material fallacy in the Report. The instructions under which they acted, however, had prevented them from proceeding entirely in the manner which his Honourable Friend had justly preferred.
As to the taxes proposed this night, Mr. Sheridan pronounced them to be as frivolous as they would prove oppressive and unproductive. They also carried with them this additional calamity, as was truly observed by his Right Honourable Friend (Mr. Fox) that they would not answer the views of the Minister, who would soon be obliged to lay on the fhoulders of the people an equal or greater load of fresh taxes. The double toll to him appeared a tax which violated every principle of justice; and the tax on newspapers he could not but regard as a vital blow struck at the liberty of the press, in the only manner in which a Minister could dare to aim it, by putting the information conveyed in them at a price beyond the reach of the majority of the public. The reading of newspapers, the Right Honourable Gentleman conceived to be a luxury; it might be one to his mind; but surely it was difficult to conceive what luxury could be afforded by perusing a black catalogue of miseries, calamities, and disgraces, which had continued to afflict the country for these four years past. This tax he was determined to oppose in every stage, as he was convinced that its ultimate effect would be the annihilation of the liberty of the press; to secure which was undoubtedly the interest of a Minister situated as was now the Right Honourable Gentleman.
The Resolutions were then put, and all agreed to without a division, except that which imposed an additional tax of 1d on newspapers---On this the House divided,
Ayes - - - 151
Majority 108 Adjourned.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Thursday, April 27. Lord Auckland moved that a Message should be sent to the House of Commons, requesting the House to communicate to their Lordships the Reports from the Committees of Secrefy and of Finance. Agreed to. Adjourned.