« VorigeDoorgaan »
that which he had already stated. The fact was, that even with every aid that could be afforded him, it required all the profound skill and admirable combination of our great commander to effect a movement of the British army through a country so exhausted as that in which it was to operate, and to furnish it with an adequate supply in its march. Having said so much of the exertions made by us in Spain and the south of France, he would proceed, in compliance with the hint of the hon. gentleman, to explain those engagements with our allies, to which, in some degree, was attributable the glorious success of the campaign in the North. Many of these engagements had already received the sanction of parliament, as would appear by the papers on the table. By the treaty of Chaumont, the British government agreed to advance to Austria, Russia, and Prussia, the sum of 5,000,000l. for the year 1814, if the war should last the whole year; if not, then a proportionate payment of two months was to be allowed to Austria and Prussia after the signature of peace, and of four months to Russia, to assist the troops of those nations to return to their respective countries. The whole of the money which we had thus stipulated to pay, had been discharged, with the exception of a sum for the Russian fleet, respecting which some difficulty had arisen, that had been referred to the adjustment of his noble friend at Vienna.-[Mr Tierney enquired the amount of that sum.]
The sum remaining in doubt was not very considerable, about 100,000l. more or less. To Austria and Prussia we had paid 970,000 each, their proportion for seven months of the third of the 5,000,000l.: to Russia 1,250,000l.; to Sweden 500,000l. for five months subsidy for the war; and 300,000!. being three months allowance for the return of the Swedish
the general ruin. This appeared to This appeared to those who at the time were entrusted with the conduct of British policy, a crisis in which all minor considerations must yield to the necessity of a most vigorous exertion. Nothing short of an expenditure, which might almost be called unlimited, and which was not calculated upon any former experience, was in fact adequate to the occasion. In 1812, soon after the deplorable catastrophe, which had placed him in his present office, by depriving the country of the services of one of the most virtuous and amiable of men, the Duke of Wellington wrote to his majesty's government, informing them that he found, whatever military force he possessed, he could not extend his operations without a much greater supply of money. Unprovided with this, he must remain chained to the posts which he then occupied, and to a defensive system, as he could not advance to a distance from the supplies he received by sea; but he thought that if he could be furnished with about 100,000l. a month, he might be able to do much. His majesty's ministers undertook to afford him this supply under any inconvenience, and at whatever hazard. During the first year, they furnished him with money at about the rate of 150,000l. a month. In the last year this supply was considerably increased; and during the spring of the present year it was sometimes carried as high as 400,000l. or 500,000%. a month. Of the money thus remitted from this country to the Duke of Wellington about 3,300,000l. was in specie, besides 410,000l. in specie imported from South America, (a part of which, however, had since been sent to Canada) so that a sum of not much less than 4,000,000l. had been furnished in specie for the use of the British army. To all this was to be added large sums drawn by bills on the treasury, which made the whole amount
troops to Sweden; 10,000 Danes had also been subsidized, according to the treaty on the table of the house, and 150,000l. had been paid to Denmark in consequence. By a treaty, long since laid on the table of the house, it was stipulated that 400,000l. should be received annually by his Sicilian majesty to the end of the war. proportion had been paid. He had recently explained the nature of our pecuniary engagements with Portugal and Spain. For some years we had made Portugal a formal allowance of 2,000,000Z. annually, partly paid in moDey, and partly furnished in supplies. Of that sum we had paid Portugal the proper proportion for the service of her troops in the present year, and four months allowance for their return. With Spain, we had no such regular agreement, but we had advanced 1,000,000l. a-year to the aid of the Spanish armies, of which we had paid Spain her proportion, together with the allowance for the return of her troops. We had also afforded considerable assistance to the Spanish government, in advances of supplies, which it had been agreed to consider
a loan, for which that government vas still indebted to us. The only remaining article was a subsidiary corps of 15,000 Hanoverians, placed origitally under the command of the crown prince of Sweden, and now garrisoning the towns of the Netherlands. We had only, however, paid half the expence of the troops since the month of July, and even that would eventually be repaid. The right hon. gentleman here recapitulated the various sams, and stated that the total was somewhat less than 7,300,000l.-Towards the defraying these subsidiary payments, parliament had first granted the sum of 4,200,000l. and afterwards granted three millions more, by way of vote of credit, falling only one
VOL. VIII. PART 1.
hundred thousand pounds short of the payments."
The resolution was agreed to.
On the 21st November the House of Commons resolved itself into a committee of supply, to take into consideration the estimates for the army service;-when Lord Palmerston moved, "that 284,386 men (exclusive of the men belonging to the regiments employed in the territorial possessions of the East India Company, and the foreign corps in British pay), commissioned and non-commissioned officers included, be maintained for the service of Great Britain and Ireland, from the 25th of December 1814, to the 24th of June 1815, both inclusive, being 182 days."
This resolution was agreed to, with several others, for making provision for different articles of the military expenditure.
On the 28th November the report of the committee of supply was brought up, and the whole of the resolutions which it contained were agreed to by the House.
On the 2d June, 1815, the House again went into a committee of supply, for the consideration of the army estimates; when Lord Palmerston made a minute and very distinct statement of the alterations on the different branches of military expenditure in 1815, as compared with those of 1814." On a general view," his lordship said," including the augmentation since the change in our relations with France, there was a dimi nution in the estimates compared with those of last year, without including the militia, which could not with propriety be taken into the comparison, but merely the land forces and foreign corps, of 47,000 men, and 2,652,000l. charges." The noble lord concluded with moving his first resolution: viz. "That a number of land forces, not
expire on the 5th April following, and that it was not meant to be renewed. The return, however, of Buonaparte from Elba, his resumption of the government of France, and the new war into which this country was consequently plunged, rendered it necessary to make provision for a much larger expenditure than had been contemplated. Accordingly, ministers determined to abandon the new assessed taxes which had been agreed to, and to propose a renewal of the propertytax for a year longer, to the 5th April, 1816. A bill to this effect was accordingly brought in, and passed by the House of Commons upon the 5th of May. The majority on this occasion was very great, being 160 to 29, a proof, notwithstanding the clamorous petitions which were presented against it, that it was generally considered as the most proper and effectual nieasure which could have been fallen upon, in the circumstances of the times, for meeting the sudden demands which had come upon the nation. While the property-tax bill was in progress, a motion was made by Mr Bankes for extending this tax to Ireland, but it was negatived. On the present occasion, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after a particular state. ment of the supplies for the year, in which he included some articles of comparatively inconsiderable amount, which had not yet been voted, gave the following recapitulation of the supplies for 1815 :
exceeding 199,767 men (exclusive of the men belonging to the regiments employed in the territorial possessions of the East India Company, the foreign corps in British pay, and the embodied militia), commissioned and non-commisioned officers included, be maintained for the service of the united kingdom, from the 25th of December 1814, to the 24th of December 1815."-This resolution was agreed to; and several sums were then voted for the different heads of army expenditure, forming in all a total of 7.917,387.-The Chancellor of the Exchequer then moved, that a sum not exceeding nine millions be farther granted for defraying the extraordinary expences of the army for the year 1815, which was agreed to.-On the 9th June the ordnance estimates were laid before the committee of supply by Mr Ward, who stated, that the total amount, for the service of Great Britain, forthe year, would be 3,459,600/. 1s. 10d.; and that for Ireland 375,8201. 18s. 10d., making a grand total for the service of the united kingdom, of 3,835,4211. 8d.-This sum was greater than our peace establishment by nearly 1,500,000l.; and less than our last war establishment by 784,000l. He therefore moved for the above sum; and after a long discussion, arising out of minute objections to different articles of the estimates, the motion was agreed to.
On the 14th June, the House resolved itself into a committee of ways and means, for the consideration of the Budget. Before stating the proceedings which took place on this occasion, it is necessary to mention, that in the month of February preceding, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had proposed certain new taxes, consisting of additional excise duties, and of assessed taxes, in order to raise the supplies which had been granted. In proposing these taxes, it was stated by ministers that the property-tax would
And there remained to be borne by England
The vote of credit intended to be proposed this year, and included in the above statement, was to the amount of six millions, and would be made good in the usual way, by a vote of exchequer bills to the same extent. Anxious, however, that there should not be too great a pressure on these securities, he should propose a reduction of three millions from those voted last year, besides the repayment of five millions issued on the last vote of credit: by these means the sum paid off would be equal to that which it might be necessary to issue in the course of the year. He then proceeded to state the ways and means, for meeting the supplies which had been voted. He took the annual duties at 3,000,000l.; the surplus of the consolidated fund he also took at 3,000,000l.-He took the war taxes at 22,000,000l.; the lottery at 250,000l.; old naval stores at 508,000/.: the vote of credit, he had stated at 6,000,000%; the exche quer bills funded, and the loan in the five per cents. would give 18,185,000l.: the second loan 27,000,000l. The amount of these sums fell a little short of the supplies; but upon the whole he expected that the ways and means
which he had enumerated would prove sufficient. After a clear statement of the terms on which the loans had been contracted, which were obviously prudent, and advantageous; and an explanation of the grounds on which he took the surplus of the consolidated fund at three millions, the Chancellor of the Exchequer proceeded to state the amount of the charges on the country by the loans, and the way in which it was proposed to meet them. The total amount of the capital created by the exchequer bills funded, and the loan in the five per cents. amounted to 21,208,000l. 5 per cent. stock; the interest of this to 1,060,000l. ; the sinking fund to 331,000, with the usual charge for management. The loan obtained that day created a capital of 49,680,000l., the interest of which would be 1,517,000l. ; the sinking fund would amount to 758,7007., to which would be added the charge for management. The total amount of the capital created in the present year by funding, was 70,888,000l. The interest on this was 2,577,000l. ; the sinking fund 1,090,000l.; the total annual charge to the country 3,689,000l. The rate per cent. at which the whole of the sum raised in the present year had been obtained was, to the subscribers (including the sinking fund), 5l. 14s. 24d. The total charge to the country was, every thing included, 81. 3s. 51d. He shewed, by a comparison of the expences of this loan with those of former years, that, notwithstanding the immense addition to our debt, the increased expence of these loans was very trifling. This, he said, might be considered to result from an astonishing increase of public credit since the period to which he had referred, or to the improved si tuation of the country. And which ever way it was viewed, the effect was equally gratifying. To provide for the annual charge of 3,689,000, the
man fulfilled the duties of his high office with exemplary attention, he must contend, that he was mistaken when he conceived it possible to carry on the war without an increasing, instead of a diminishing expenditure. It was in the nature of such an expenditure to be rapidly increasing. Circumstances were perpetually starting up to produce this effect. This was a frightful prospect for the country." He then adverted to the deviation from the system of Mr Pitt, of raising so much of the supplies within the year as should materially reduce the amount of the loan; and of affording, by the operation of the sinking fund, the means of obtaining the loan on better terms than the country could otherwise have enjoyed. But by comparing the amount of the loan, and the amount of the taxation during the last eight years, he shewed that, while, previous to 1812, the taxes each year amounted to a great deal more than the loan, since that period the reverse had been the case; so much so, that in the present year the loan exceeded the taxes by 17 millions and a half. As to the sinking fund, it, by the present financial system, instead of increasing, was daily becoming less. He contended that, in place of proceeding in this manner, it would be better for the country to look its expenditure in the face, and either to reduce its amount, or to meet it at once by taxation. He concluded by an attack upon the policy of the government, in having entered into the present war with France.-The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied to the different observations of Mr Tierney. In answer to that gentleman's censure of the financial arrangements, he referred to the measures of Mr Pitt at different periods, and particularly in 1805, to shew, that that statesman did not, in great and extraordinary emergencies, attempt to raise the whole of the expenses by taxation, but by an increase
House had already supplied by taxes of customs and excise on tobacco, and on excise licences, about 600,000l., and there were now under the consideration of the House additions to the stamps and postage to the amount of about 1,200,000l. more, making in the whole a provision by new taxes of about 1,800,000l. Thus it would be seen about half the necessary supplies were provided by taxes now agreed to, or in progress through the House. For the remainder, he proposed to take a sum of from 1,800,000l. to 1,900,000l. out of the sums in the hands of the commissioners for liquidating the national debt, as he was authorised to do by the act of 1813. The sum in their hands was at present about 70,000,000l., and he proposed to cancel so much of that as would suffice to meet the remainder of the charge created by the loan. After a variety of general observations on the state of the country and its foreign relations, he concluded by moving the first resolution necessary for carrying the foregoing views into effect.
Mr Tierney paid the Chancellor of the Exchequer some well merited compliments on the clearness and fairness of his statements with regard to the existing ways and means, on which, upon the whole, he said, that he agreed with him. With regard to the supplies, however, he stated his apprehension, that these, instead of remain ing at their present amount, immense as it was, would go on continually in creasing.- "Let the committee," he said, "look at the progress of our expenditure, creeping up as it had been for the last six or seven years. In 1808, it had been 45 millions; in 1809, 50 millions; in 1810, 48 millions; in 1811, 52 millions; in 1812, 55 millions; in 1813, 57 millions; in 1814, 63 millions; and now, in 1815, 72 millions. Willing as he was to admit that the right honourable gentle