Page images
PDF

efftct to the measure, tbey advised that another parliament should be summoned, and promised on their loyalty to retire each into his own country, and there use all their influence to bring u;> the public mind to the exigencies of the present situation. And what was the result? what was the conclusion of a war of twenty years? a pe ice dictated by Edward as he was marching back (rota the aiege of Paris. Upon that glonousexampleEnglishmen should nxtheireyes, gare, till they kindled into the real and intrepidity which glowed in the hearts, and distinguished the conduct, of our ancestors. What would be the event of our present contest was only known to that Being who sees every thing in their first causes and ultimate consequences. It was our part to discharge our duty with fortitude in obedience to his moral law; and what that duty was no man could hesitate to prouounre—danger with glory, or ruin with disgrace. He concluded by pointing out to the honourable baronet, who moved the amendment, his total want of support, and joined in the requests which had already been made to him, to withdraw the motion.

Mr. Wjlberforce laid, that he coincided in regretting an amendment had been proposed, and wished that nothing had been said expressive of a want of unanimity. It appeared, however, that with this exception all assented to the address, though with different views. For himself, he must say, that he could sot Lment that the negotiation had been commenced, nor rejoice that it was broken off; on the contrary, he sincerely regretted with the king's minister, and the people at large, that it bad such an unprofperotts issue. So far from rejoicing

179*.

at the obstinate temper of the enemy, he thought it m.itter of serious concern; ani he looked out with anxiety to the time, when, under the influence of returning reason, the French nation would negotiate with an earnest desire of that police which was still more necrssary to them than to ourselves. In the meantime he would tell the people that they must content themselves to bear considerable burdens, because all they possessed, and all that was valuable to them in life, was at stake; that as the conduct of the enemy proclaimed that the failure of the negotiation proceeded not from the kind's ministers, but their own ambition, Englishmen should feel the necessity of cominj forward to preserve their constitution, should reflect on what their happiness depended; and to secure those objects, should join hand and heart together, proclaiming to the. world", that however divided before, they would unite for general safety. Of this universal harmony of sentiment he thought the unanimity of that night a happy omen, and he hoped the honourable baronet would withdraw his amendment, in order to give that beginning its full force.

Sir John Sinclair said, that he had not proposed it without due consideration, '.ut he candidly contested he was not insensible to the weight of the arguments he had just heard. He sincerely wished for unanimity, and assured the ho*se that he was willing to sacrifice not only his opinion, but any thing else which he possessed, to the welfare of the country; and would therefore cheerfully withdraw his motion.

The amendment was then withdrawn, and the address passed nem. con,

[graphic]

CHAP. IF the political business of the session was little interesting and little important, the magnitude of the details respecting the national finances have amply compensated for this deficiency. The year 1 "98 may he considered as the termination of the funding system in this country; a system which was now found inadequate to the emergencies of the times, and could no longer support the enormous weightwhich, without a new plan of political economy, it would have been necessary to lay upon it.

» C H A P. II.

Bill for restraining tie Payment of Cash at the Bank continued. Produce of the Taxes for 1797- Army Estimates and Supplies for 1798. Account of the first Budget and the Ways and Means. Treble Assessment Bill. The Outline of it as p.issed into a Lais. Debates upon it. The Resolution agreed to. Rrad a first time. Debates on the second readingOn the thud reading Introduced into the House of Lords,and passed. Debate on Mr. Nichollt's Motion, that the Salaries of certain Offices shall be applied towards carrying on the War. Mr. Coke's Motion for limiting the Fees of the Tellers of the Exchequer for a certain timerejected.

Nov. 15. The first financial measure of the chancellor of the exchequer this session, was a motion for a committee to inquire into the expediency of continuing the restriction upon the bank, which had been laid in the preceding session by an act, intituled, " An act for confirming and continuing, for a limited time, the restriction contained in the minute of council of the 26th of February, 1797." He pointed out many obvious circumstances which rendered the adoption of this measure necessary. Mr. Hussey, in a subsequent stage of the bill, contended against the necessity of the restraint which had been laid upon the bank, with respect to payments in specie, and urged several

arguments to prove the present measure to be replete with the most dangerous consequences, and could by no means reconcile to his mind the idea of continuing the restriction to the extent of time proposed, one month after the close of the present war. The minister replied, that, though by the bill the restriction was nominally continued during the war, still it empowered the bank, at any intermediate period, to resume its payments in cash, by communicating its intention to the speaker of the house of commons, and giving one month's notice. It was necessary, he said, to hold out to the enemy, that the country was prepared to meet all the efforts of desperation; but it did not followthat the restriction would be continued during the whole war. The bill afterwards went through the several stages in both houses with little further opposition, and wa» passed into a law.

Previous to the accustomed detail of the supplies, and ways and means, for 1798, the reader -will probably not be displeased with the following statement of the total amount of customs, excise, stamps, and duties, for one year, ending the 10th of October, 1797, which were kid before the house:

Customs,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The total charge on the consolidated fund for one quarter, 1 ending the 10th of October, 1797, was J

Surplus of ditto for the same, was

[ocr errors]

On the 20th of November, the bouse having formed itself into a committee of supply, the secretary at war moved the usual resolutions on the army estimates. A charge, he said, had taken place this year, upon several articles which was not proportional to the articles themselves. This circumstance originated in the increase of pay voted to the officers and soldiers in the preceding year, which had created an obvious increase of expence. Notwithstanding this increase on the face of the estimate, he was happy to state to the house, that, compared with the estimate of last year, there was in the sum total a saving of about 652,0001. But to ascertain the real difference of the ezpence of last year and the present, it was necessary to take out of the estimate that sum which was classed last year among the army extraordimries: the sum was 300,0001. so that the difference of the estimate amounted to 952,0001. This was cot all; another change had taken yfafr, arising out of the increase of pay last year. Troops on foreign stations were furnished by government with provisions, and on this accoant 2d. per day for each man

.£. 5,161,939

was stopped, in consequence of the new regulation of pay. This sum might be supposed to be 100,0001.; making in all, with the former two articles of 652,000 and 300,0001. a saving of above one million.

The whole of the regular force, he said, would amount to 78,627 men. These consisted of guards and garrisons, that is, the regular forces in Great Britain, and the Isles of Guernsey and Jersey, which amounted to 48,609 men, and of the troops in the plantations, including all other regular force, except that in Ireland and the East Indies, amounting to 30,018 men. The militia and fenciblcs had been a little reduced, and amounted to about 55,291 men. The fencible cavalry would bear some reduction, as several of them had been sent to Ireland ; these, however, amounted to about 6911 men, making in all, of regular and irregular force 140,829 men.

In consequence of the suggestion of the committee of finance, it was proposed to change the fees which had been hitherto received into fixed salaries. For his own part, however, he doubted whether this would be a real advantage to the public. C2 F It

[graphic]

It had been falsely represented, as if was well known that men were to» the tees at present amounted to a frequently entrapped into the serpermanent and regular sum. No- vice. This idea was not new; he thing could be more erroneous, had voted for such a measure twenty They depended upon peace or war, years ago, when brought forward and varied even during the years of by colonel Barr6, and then the war. The secretary concluded with period of service was fixed at sir moving the first resolution, relative years: if that bill had then passed, to the amrni t of the troops under the nation would now have felt an the denomination of guards and additional security in knowing that garrisons. Upon this question, there were spread over the country general t'itzpatiick arose and su^- a lar^e body of men accustomed to gested a material aHeration in the the use of arms, mode of recruiting the army. It had The secretary at war objected often been observed, he said, that strongly to the measure thus proin this country, where we boasted posed by the hon. general; and the of so high a degree of liberty, the several resolutions of supply wer« condition of the soldier was worse then moved and carried, than in any other place in Europe. The house again f rmed itself Here the soldier was bound to serve into a committee of Supply on the for life. In other parts of Europe 22d of November, wh n the chanthe service was limited. He urged cellor of the exchequer moved the several reasons why the period of following resolutions for the ensuingservice should be fixed, the princi- year, vix. That, there be voted pal of which was humanity, as it

£.

For the civil establishment of Canada - ... - 7,1 SO For Nova Scotia ...-.--- 5,915 For New Brunswick r - - , - - - - 4,550

For the Island of St. John ------ 1.90O

For Cape Breton - - - - - - - - - 1,840

For Newfoundland -------- 1,23*

For Bermudas -------- 580

For the Pahama Islands - - - . - - - 4,100 For Dominica - - - - --- - - 600

For New South Wales - - - - - » - 6,157

For the suffering clergy and laity of France - 168,000

For pensions and allowances to the American royalists - - 44,000 For secret service abroad -------150,000

• For bills that are or may become^ lue for the settlement of New') „g _«_ South Wales - - - - - - - } ''

For maintaining convicts at home ----- 33,385

For bills on Douglas harbour - - - - - - 2,600

On the 24th of November, Mr. of the measures which he proposed Pitt introduced what may be called as the foundation for raising the his first iudi/el, for in April he supplies, and for meeting the exibrouglit up another. He stated to gencies of the ensuing year. Aa the committee the general outline the principle of that part of the

intended

intended plan to which he was most desirous to direct the attention of the committee was new in the financial operations of this country, «t least for more than a century, he did not then call for a decision upon the business, but went fully into an explanation of it. The question was, by what means the house was to provide for the annual expences in such a manner as to enable the eouorry successfully to resist the trowed intentions of an arrogantfee to destroy its liberties and constitution, to cut off the sources of BS wealth, ks independence, and its glory? The house, in pledging itself tosnpport the honour and interest of the country at every hazard, had acted from the dictates of sober reflection, and spoken the language of indignant feeling. He then stated, under the usual heads, the •mount of the supplies which would be required. He began with the nms which would be necessary for the service of the navy. There had slready been voted for this branch the sum of 12,539,0001.; and the estimates for the present year had been made out in a new form, inleaded, with more correctness th.in formerly, to present a full view of the expence that would be necessary. Instead of the former allowance of ♦I. per month, which was found to be inadequate, the full expence had been taken into view. But even in their present shape the estimates were not to be considered as <o accurate as to exclude the possibility •f any excess. Besides the abovementioned sum, there was a navy «ebt, owing to the excess of the preceding year above the estimate, mounting to three millions. This, however, formed no part of the expence for which it was then necessary to make a cash provision. It would only be- reeyiisite to pro

vide a sum equal to the interest; and in the then state of the funds, that provision could not be calculated at less than 250,0001, By a regulation adopted the year before, to prevent the depreciation of navy and exchequer bills, by providing that the period of payment should never be very distant from their date, there would be on their monthly issue of 500,0001.afloating debt of 1,500,0001. to be funded, arising out of the excess of the estimates for the year 17*7. There would likewise be a similiar sum of 1,500,0001. falling due in the yeaf 1799; but f°r these no cash provision was necessary, nor were they included in the supplies to be raised. The sum of 1'2,539,0001. was all that entered into the account of the supplies under thia branch for the ensuing year.

The expence for the army, excepting only barracks and extraordinari-s, had likewise been voted. This article he took at four millions, besides the vote of credit, making an excess of about 1,300,0001. at the end of the year. The account of the extraordinaries was taken at 2,500,0001. The charge under the head of barracks was estimated at 400,0001. The expence of guards and garrisons, and the general articles included un ler this head, had already been voted, amounting to 10,112,0001. The ordnance, he said, might be takin at 1,300,0001. and the various articles of miscellaneous service at 673,0001. There remained only two articles to be noticed, the sum of 200,0001. appropriated for the , reduction of the national debt, and about 6"8O,00Ol. arising from deficiences of grants. From the whole then, it appeared, that the sum now to be provided for was about Iteenty fivt millions and. a half. Supposing C 3 the .

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »