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· 240,000l. Without laying a bur. to the house, amounted to no more
then upon the country, there were than 900,ocol. ; and that therefore many regulations to be made in the the additional sum of 100,000l. article of spirits, that would increase must be raised in order to complete the revenue from that branch of the proposed annual million. This trade. The article of tobacco was sum he was happy to be able to obanother object that demanded the tain without laying any taxes that attention of the legislature; and would be burthensome to the people Mr. Pitt had no doubt, that, from at large. He would first move for the regulations that would be pro- an additional duty upon spirits. posed under these heads, the sum They had formerly been charged of 300,00ol. per annum, might at in what was called the wash, with least be obtained. In another sef- feven pence per gallon. This was fion of parliament he intended also afterwards decreased to five pence; to introduce a consolidation of the and he should now fix it at lix pence customs, which would undoubtedly per gallon, which would produce add greatly to the produce of the about 70,ocol. Another operation revenue. If therefore the subject he would propose was only the mowere fairly confidered, we might dification of a tax; it confited in here see fums equal to the extraor- a duty upon the importation of two dinary demands, without any new species of timber; and this he took application to parliament, and with. at 30,000l. A farther tax which out any additional burthen upon the he proposed was upon an article of people.
mere luxury, upon perfumery and One million was the sum annually hair-powder; and this he would to be contributed to the linking rate at 15,000l, or 20,000l. Thus, fund, and Mr. Pitt proposed, that he would make up the requisite this money Nould be placed in the sum in order to complete the anhands of commillioners appointed nual million. for that purpose, in quarterly pay
Mr. Pitt proceeded to explain to ments of 2;o,cool. each, to begin the house the effects, that would be on the fifth of the following July. produced by an attention to comHe undertook to fhow in what ma:- pound interest. The million to be ner this money would be furnithed applied would by that hypothesis for the three quarterly payments, amount to a very great sum in a pethat would fall within the current riod, that was not very long in the year. He stated the ways and ineans life of an individual, and was but at 13, 362,4801.; and the supplies an hour in the existence of a nathat had been voted at 12,477,0351. tion. It would diminish the debt Of consequence, there remained a of this country so much, as to prefurplus of 885,395l. This furplus vent the exigencies of war from Mr. Pitt considered as affording not ever railing it to the enormous only the requifitc fum of 750,000l. height they had hitherto done. la but als) a romainder of 135,400l.; the period of twenty-eight years and including the increase of the the sum of a million-annually im. revenue according to the ideas of the proved, would produce an income committee, a remainder of 449,0931. of four millions per annum. Care
Mr. Pirt now came to oblerve, therefore must be taken, that this that furplus, the existence of fund were never divertid from its ori. which he had endeavoured to prove gival destination. This had hither
to been the bane of this country. trust, when the bill should come If the original finking fund had before the committee. He was far' been properly applied, it was eafy from afcribing any merit to himself, to prove that our debts at this mo- in suggesting the scheme; but he ment would not have been very could not but think himself very burthensome. To prevent this abufe happy, that, instead of expending for the future. Mr. Pitt proposed, the money of the public, he thould that the sum be vested in the hands have the good fortune to be led to of certain coramiffioners, to be by fet about diminishing its burthens. them applied quarterly to the buy- The plan had long been the wish ing of stock; fo that no fum and the hope of all men ; and he Tould ever lie within the grasp of felt uncommon pleasure in being a minister great enough to tempt able to flatter himself, that his name him to infringe upon this national might be inscribed on that firm corevenue. By placing it in the lumn, which was now about to be hands of commissioners, it would raised co national faith, and national be rendered impoflible that this prosperity. should be done by stealth ; and a The first person, who suggested minister could not have the confi- his remarks upon the plan which dence to come to that house, ex. had been opened by Mr. Pittwas pressly to demand the repeal of lo fir Grey Cooper. He ridiculed the beneficial and necessary a law. stress, which had been laid upont he
The performs, who should be ap- mode of the accumulation of mo. pointed to this commission should be ney at compound interest, and re. of rank and distinction, to secure marked that it was a propofition them from suspicion, and to create, perfe&tly simple and obvious to as far as character could go, a be every capacity. He observed, that lief of their discharging their trust the mode in which the late comwith rectitude and fidelity: In the mittee had proceeded in making up first place, he thought it right, that its report, was extremely unfair. the person, by whom the office of They had taken the amount of the speaker of that house hould be receipt of the public income for the filled, fhould be placed at the head prefent year, because it had proved of it. Parliament could not more a remarkably favourable year; and folennly promulgate its high sense had not slated against it the real exof the duty by which the com- penditure of the year, because that millioners would be bound. He would have afforded no surplus thought also, without afcribing any upon the striking of the balance. thing to himself, that the person Very different had been the conwho held an office so intimately duct of the father of the president connected with finance, as the of the comınittee, Mr. George chancellor of the exchcquer, ought Grenville, who in a pamphlet, that to have a place in that lift. To had been published under his directhefe might be added the inafter of tion at the clofe of the preceding the rolls, the governor and deputy war, entitled Considerations on the governor of the bank of England, State of the Finances of the Nation, and the accomptant-general of the had expressly declared that he did high court of chancery. Such not think himself at liberty to take
persons Mr. Pitt should the receipt of the current year for propose to be appointed to this the batis of his enquiry, because that was the year immediately after thought proper to leave out of their the conclusion of the peace, and of calculation the year 1782, which consequence had been a year more they stated to have been uncomproductive than usual. He remark- monly deficient. Now the use of ed upon the language of Mr. Pitt, an average had ever been to strike who had said, that the three mil- a balance between sums of a differe lions of exchequer bills to be paid ent amount, and to take into conoff need not be taken into the ac- fideration a number of years, among count, as they made an article un- which there might be fome of exder each distinct head of supply, traordinary scarcity, and others of and of ways and means; those to extraordinary plenty. Mr. Fox be paid off ranging under the for- reminded the house of the ridicule mer, and three millions more to be Mr. Pitt had thrown upon the lanissued in the discharge of them, guage he had used on the first day ranging under the latter. Was Mr. of the session, when hc had observPitt aware that the circulation of ed in a moderate style, that he bethese bills would be a great incon- lieved there might be some existing venience, and under certain cir- surplus. The fact was now ascere cumilances would materially de- tained, and he begged leave to ask, press the market? The conduct of whether, so far from its being true, Lord North in 1773 had been very that there was some surplus for the different, and much more provi- present year, there was not an aca dent. The amount of exchequer tual deficiency? bills did not at that time exceed In the opinion of Mr. Fox, 1,839,0ool.; and yet he had exert- twenty-eight years was too long a ed himself to reduce their value to period to which to look forward for 1,000,000l., and had suspended the the effect of this plan. Before that payment of the funded debt for that term was arrived, it was not imoperation, which had been thought probable we might have another by persons of the greatest experi- war, and a variety of circumstances ence the most adviseable mode of might occur, which would operate applying the surplus of the year. as a temptation to a future chan
Mr. Fox introduced his remarks cellor of the exchequer, and a fur with declaring, that no man in ex. ture house of commons to repeal istence ever was, or ever had been the act, annul the institution, and a greater friend to the institution divert the appropriation of its stock of a finking fund, than he had to the immediate services of the fhown himself from the first mo- year. It was a melancholy reflecment of his political life. He con- tion, which was held out to the pubdemned the mode in which the late lic by the report under confideracomınittee had proceeded in strik. tion, when it was the clear deducing an average, which he said was tion from the whole, that the permot only different from every for- manent peace establishment was not mer committee, but which totally to be expected before the year 1791, reversed the very principle upon eight years after the conclusion of which an operation of this kind the war. In order to give the promust be founded. In illustration per degree of efficacy to so importe of his remark, he instanced the ant a measure as that which was "produce of the tax upon malt, in now before the house, Mr. Fox reeftimating which the committee had commended to the minister to pro
vide new taxes in lieu of such as ing off a part of the national debt, had failed, in order to make up the which had been by a subscription sum for which those taxes had ori. of individuals, to whom the faith ginally been given. The shop-tax of parliament had been engaged to for instance, had been estimated at redeem sțecific portions at certain 120,ocol. It appeared however, itated periods. He dwelt upon the that its actual produce would differcnce between the two plans, amount to no more than 70,000 ; observing that under the latter, the and, when the modifications which engagement of parliament was held were now introduced thould come equally sacred, with the pledge geinto operation, the whole would be nerally to pay the interest of the reduced to an income of 50,000l. national debt; and undoubtedly, In this case he held it to be the du- nothing short of a national bankty of the chancellor of the ex- ruptcy would have prevented the chequer, either to propose a new fums for which the nation was entax that would be efficient for gaged, from being paid to the indi120,000l., and repeal the shop-tax, vidual subscribers. Mr. Fox also
that would produce expressed fome doubts, whether the 70,000l., the sum by which the compelling the commillioners to lay actual produce of the shop-tax fell out the money on certain days short of the amount at which it might not raise the market, and to had originally been estimated. In- discover sellers, when none might stead of applying an imaginary for- voluntarily offer, might not fo far plus to the purpose of instituting inhance the price of the stock, as to a smking fund, he would have ad- occafion the benefit to be entirely vised the creation of an actual mil- lott to the public. lion by the introduction of new Mr. Pitt replied to the objections taxes, and the placing the fund of Mr. Fox. Hic observed, that'the upon a solid foundation, which was idea of paying off a part of the debt now built upon nothing but vision- by a fubfcription of individuais, had ary predictions.
been suggested to him by several Mr. Fox ftated two specific ob. persons, and had received his own jections to the plan which was de- approbation, but that he had afterfcribed by Mr. Pitt. The first was wards been obliged to reject it on the idea of making the sum appro- account of the inconveniencies to priated inalienable in time of war ; which it was liable. With regard and he endeavoured to point out to preserving the fund to be invari, several disadvantages which would anly applied in diminution of the result from this provision. His debt, this was to be considered as other objection was pointed against the most effen:ial circumstance of the circumstance of making the en- the measure. To suffer it at any gagement into which parliament time or upon any presence to be dientered for paying off the debt, a verted from its object, would be matter only of general obligation, to defeat and overturn the whole and thus leaving both the commis- of his plan. He hoped therefore fioners and the object of their insti. when the bill he should introduce tution liable to be annihilated by a inould once have passed into a law, future parliament. He reminded that the house would hold itself sothe house of the mode of the ori- lemnly pledged never to liften to any ginal institution of a plan for pay. propolal for its repeal,
Upon the second reading of the ridan brought forward a number of bill for the citablishing of a fund to motions, of which the house had been be inalienably applied to the paying for fome time in expectation, and off the national debt, which took the object of which was to censure place on the sixth of April, Mr. the report which had been prelented Husley aligned several reasons, by Mr. Gienville's committee. though ardently attached to the These motions he fopported by a ide of a finking fund, that induced specch of great brilliancy, and in him to fear, that the appropriating the course of which he displayed a any part of the public revenue to very intimate and comprehensive this purpose was not yet pra ticable, acquaintance with the subject of He desired, that he had felt great' tinance. It was not his purpose to fatisfaction, when Mr. Pitt, in tak- enter into any argument respecting ing notice of the excess of the ex- the principle of the bill for the ellapenditure of the present year be- blishment of a sinking fund, or to yond the general itement in the discuss the propriety of applying report of the committee, had friid, the surplus supposed to exist, in the that, though there migh', upon the manner provided by that bill. The foar ensuing years, arise an excels object, up in which he intended :o of disbursement to the amount of enter, was, the examination of the Three millions, he had however no great and important question, whedoubt that money would come into ther there actually existed any
fur the hands of the public fuficiently plus. He was well aware, that, early to answer that demand. But however intimate were the connecupon recollection he had found, tion of the subject with the welfare that the receipt of that money was
of the nation, it was not one of cxtremi ly uncertain. The pay. those, in which the house took any ment of the debt of the East India great delight, or to the discullion of company was not a thing that could which they were fond of attending. he counted upon wirl securi y, con
The critical fituation of the country fidering the embarraflinent in which however, and the magnitude of the the affairs of that coinpany were in object in qucstion, he hoped, would volved. The unclaimed dividends be thought to entitle it to their parat the bank could not be applied to ticular notice. In the commencethe service of the nation, without fe- ment of so important a business, curity being given to the public plain-dealing was first of all indir creditor, that the money should be pensibly necesary. Above all it forthcoming when properly called behoved that house not to deceive for; nor ought it to be touched itself, to gloss over nothing, to avoid without a diligent search afier the nothing that made against the delirowner of the dividend. Mr Husleyed purpose. Under this impression complained of the inconveniences it was, and not with any despondent that would arise from the quantity ideas of the national resources, that of exchequer bills which were at he meant to call their attention to this time unfunded, declaring, that, the report upon the table; and he if great care were not taken, the re- conceived that he should be able to sule would be, that the public in prove, that it was drawn up upon their traffic in the funds would buy erroneous principles, that it was redear and sell cheap.
plete with mistaken calculations, On the fourth of May Mr. Shę, that the committee had acted under