Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

he considered it something like a proud , the utmost value: he alluded to the gesituation for Great Britain, that the House nerally understood refusal of the Bank of should know, that the country and Europe England to give the loan contractors and should know, after the mighty exertions the public that accommodation which for we had made (without now entering into the last 25 years it had afforded, by the question of the fitness of the late war, making a proportion of advance on the or of the necessity for such expenses in instalments of the loan. He was very conducting), after the immense sacrifices | glad that they had not consented to conof treasure to which the nation had subtinue this assistance; first, because, unless mitted, that it was at this moment, after he was much mistaken in his prophesy, a general wind-up of its concerns, in pos- the public would find that it could do session of a real unequivocal surplus of, without it with the utmost facility; and, income beyond its expenditure of not less secondly, because the transaction exbibitthan two millions. He also agreed, that ed the corporation of the Bank of England it was most fit that that surplus should be in its true and proper colours. When he carried further than the existing amount spoke of this corporation, he begged to of two millions that it should be in- be understood as having no reference to creased by the two modes, of reduced the conduct of particular individuals, beexpenditure and additional taxes, to five cause he had reason to know that there millions. After the country should thus were among the directors some who had be placed in an attitude to command re- divided the court on this question, and spect from all the world, he should feel had done their utmost to resist the determost happy if, by economy, by the pro- mination of the majority. Of the acts of posed regulations in the collection of the the corporation, however, he could only revenue, and lastly, by the operation of judge as they presented themselvns, and compound interest, those 5 millions were it appeared that it had peremptorily reraised to 8 millions of surplus. That such fused to continue the accommodation it had should be the case, was not only of im- so long, given. Yet the directors must portance as affecting the national debt, forgive him for asserting, that there was but of infinitely more consequence in a something of littleness and low-mindedmoral point of view. It had been said, ness, something of pique and spleen, in and said truly, that while we were with this refusal : it was an opposition to the out a surplus, the country was not in a government and the country, wholly unsituation to defend itself from sudden worthy of persons professing to take such hostility: with a surplus of two millions, an interest in the concerns of the nation. it would have more power to assume a It was, perhaps, natural that the corpodefensive position: 5 millions would still ration should feel some degree of resentmore strengthen it, and with a surplus of ment against government, which, after 8 millions, he should be glad to know if 25 years of subserviency, had at last there was any nation of the world (though broken the fetters by which they had been God forbid that he should insinuate that so long and so injuriously bound; and he there existed at present any such design) was not surprised that the directors now which could make an attack

upon

Great came forward and considered such an Britain with the remotest chance of attempt as a resistance to their high and success. With respect to the loan, he, mighty authority. It was not to be won. for one, was desirous of bearing his testi- dered that four and twenty merchants, mony of approbation to the whole plan men engaged in the pursuit of gain, should this year adopted by ministers for raising be a little intoxicated with the

power they a surplus: as far as his observation went, lad for a series of years exercised, and it was a plan that gave universal satisfac- they might be allowed to feel a little tion, excepting to a few who, from a per. chagrin and soreness that their power was version of understanding, obvious enough now at an end. They had hitherto been and easily, explained, had taken it into anxiously consulted by ministers in all their heads that a loan of 30 millions exigencies regarding the finances, and no would be much more advantageous to the doubt they thoughi it a little hard that nation than one of 12 millions. There those to whom (though not quite disin. was one part of the subject not adverted terestedly) they had given their advice to, but upon which he was peculiarly and assistance, now turned against them. sensitive; and though it appeared in Perhaps even they might feel some portion itself trifling, it might produce results of of resentment at the apparent ingratitude of their protegés, the first lord of the to the loan. Now, he could only have treasury and the chancellor of the ex- obtained his information from one of the chequer. It would be easy to go more at members of the court, and that member large into this point, but he would merely could not have communicated it without congratulate ministers that they had at a breach of duty and of confidence. On length effected their emancipation from a the part of himself and his colleagues, he species of tyranny as disgraceful to the would assert, that whatever had been the government as injurious to the best in- result of their deliberations, they bad not terests of the country. With respect to been actuated by any thing like pique or the proposal for raising three millions by animosity towards the existing governtaxes, he was certainly disposed to think ment; they felt themselves superior to that this was not the most judicious such paltry motives. The directors had moment for making the experiment: it been told, that they were not to be poliwould have been more advisable to have ticians: that they had nothing to do with deferred it until next year, when it might the state of the country, or its interests; be known whether the existing pressure and that they ought to confine themselves upon and stagnation of trade had been to their books and banking business ; but removed, and after the operation of the in the particular in which the hon. gentleplan suggested by the Bank committee man had blamed the Bank, he ought had been ascertained. He took it for rather to have applauded it, at least if he granted, that further opposition to the wished to be consistent with himself. principle would be ineffectual; and as to Why had they refused to grant the usual the taxes themselves, every gentleman in accommodation to the contractors, but a future stage would have an opportunity that they might preserve that control over of expressing his opinion : at present he their issues for which the hon. gentleman did not wish to commit himself upon a and his friends had so long contended ? If subject that he had not duly considered the directors wished to have this complete He could not sit down without expressing control, it was impossible that they could his regret, that in consequence of the undertake to make the usual advances, temporary indisposition of his right hon. without knowing the limits to which those friend (Mr. Tierney), he had been the advances might be required. Suppose, first to reply to the chancellor of the ex- for instance, the loan had been 30 millions, chequer: that indisposition, he was happy and the Bank had been called upon to to add, was only temporary, and most advance 9 or 10 millions. Suppose, too, probably his right hon. friend would be an unfavourable harvest, or any other found at his post to-morrow.

important external circumstance, over Mr. Manning was not much surprised which they could have no influence, were at what had just fallen from the hon. to raise the price of gold to 4l. 158. or gentleman on the subject of the Bank of even to 4l. 10s. per oz., what then might England, though, considering the many not have been said against the Bank? opportunities he had sought to make Would not the hon. gentleman have been attacks upon that establishment, it might one of the first to charge the directors have been spared upon the present occa- with imprudence for not preserving a due sion. The terms the hon. gentleman had control over their issues, when they knew employed, had certainly been far from that a bill had passed to compel them, at courteous, but such at the same time as a certain time and according to certain he was in the habit of employing. The rates, to pay their notes in gold ? It was compliment which had been attempted to due to the great establishment of which the directors as individuals, he was not he was speaking, that it should stand right for one at all disposed to accept, when it in the eyes of the House and of the counwas asserted that in their corporate capa- try; and once for all, he repeated, that city they had been guilty of a total dere- the conduct of the directors, on the parliciion of duty, and with acting in hosti- ticular question referred to, had nothing lity to government from pique, spleen, to do with the point now before the comand littleness of mind. He denied the mittee. He was quite willing to bear his charge most unequivocally. The hon. share of responsibility for the decision at gentleman had talked of information he which that body had arrived, and he would had received regarding the opinions and not attempt to screen himself by any ex. conduct of the directors in their court, on planation of the motives by which he had the subject of advances to the subscribers been actuated,' He assured the hon. gen

tleman that it would be much more to his or little-mindedness; he believed that they credit if in future he would abstain from rather felt a pride in giving relief to the employing such epithets as he had that distresses of the country. The circumnight applied to the Bank of England, stance alluded to would, however, introand such as those with which, week after duce greater independence of the Bank week and day after day, he had fatigued on the part of government. The obserthe House. He again insisted, that pub- vations made by the hon. member (Mr. lic considerations only had influenced the Grenfell), respecting the advantages of Bank: at whatever conclusion the House placing the finances of the country in a might arrive, it was the anxious desire of situation that would command respect the court of directors to comply strictly from other countries, indicated a truly with the directions of parliament.

British feeling. It had been frequently Mr. Pearse insisted that the attack made asserted, that ministers were deterred, upon the Bapk was wholly upwarranted from a sense of their weakness, from and unprovoked. Whenever the conduct bringing forward the measures which were of the directors had been alluded to, the necessary for the security of the country. hon. gentleman had constantly indulged As he had opposed temporary expedients, himself in a violent strain of invective, be considered himself bound to give his unjustified by any facts he was able to ad- support to a sound and vigorous system duce. If this practice were continued, of of finance. The measures adopted for the course the House would pass its own judg- restoration of a metallic currency had his ment upon it. He would not throw back entire concurrence. The measures for upon the hon. gentleman any of the gross providing a real and effective sinking fund, terms he had used. Whether the hon. he considered as founded both on political gentleman were actuated, in his uniform and financial justice. They were calcuabuse of the Bank, by any feeling of lated to put the country in a situation to pique or revenge, he could best deter- deter insult, and to prevent war. mine.

Sir J. Newport saíd, the Bank had been Mr. Mellish despised the compliments justified in using their discretion in adoptpaid to him at the expense of his col-ing measures to enable them to resume leagues. The information on which the cash payments. With respect to the hon. member had spoken, must have been measure proposed, he thought it was ill. derived from a breach of confidence on advised to add to the taxation of the the part of one of the directors, and if he country at present, as the people were knew who that gentleman was, he would not in a situation to bear additional bur: be the first to move a vote of expulsion thens." The tax on malt he understood, against him. He could assure the House,' was to extend to Ireland and Scotland, that the Bank had no pique against mi. while the tax on spiritugus liquors was nisters, and he would add, that that body confined to this country. This would have had performed their duty in a manner the effect of injuring the morals, and which entitled them to the thanks of the lessening the comforts of the people of country. The hon. member for Portar- Ireland, as it would drive them to the use lington (Mr. Ricardo), found fault with of spirits which would be cheap as comthe Bank directors for not baving attended pared with malt liquor so taxed. He sufficiently to the interests of the proprie- hoped the right hon. gentleman would tors; the hon. member for Marlow (Mr. perceive the expediency of encouraging Grenfell), on the contrary, said, that the the use of malt liquor instead of spirits, Bank had too many bonusses, and that the as it was materially conducive to the public ought to share in the profits. How morals and happiness of the people of were the directors to act so as to meet the Ireland. wishes of both gentlemen.

Mr. Bennet observed, that the country Mr. Grenfell said, that the information had some time ago been promised a sink. he had received had been communicated ing fund of 21 millions, and a total aboli. by a Bank director, in the open street, in tion of the war taxes. Now, however, it the presence of three or four gentlemen, was found that they had only a sinking and without any intimation of secrecy fund of two millions, and that seven milbeing required.

lions of war taxes were still continued, Mr. Protheroe said, he was confident: They ought to remember the promises from the character of the Bank directors, made in 1816. It was then said, that the that they were utterly incapable of pique revenue of the ensuing year would amount to 49 millions, whereas it turned out to be therefore passed, allowing the transfer of no more than 44,593,000l. The revenue English stock to Ireland. This act having of the last year had arisen to 48,416,0001. passed, there was such a remittance of but what security had the country money from Ireland as to raise the ex. now that next year's revenue would not change between Dublin and London from decrease as that of the year 1816 had 84 to 14 per cent. If the English sinking done? In 1817, there was a deficiency of fund was to be reduced by 13 millions five millions in the promised amount of the and the Irish sinking fund was to remain revenue. How then could the promised untouched, it was obvious that the specurevenue of

any

future year be depended lation in the Irish funds would raise the on? Was this, he would ask, a time to sinking fund of that country in proportion impose new taxes on the people? He had to its stock, the consequence of which no hesitation in saying, that distress and would be, the raising the price of Irish misery, and crime resulting from this stock much above that of English stock. misery, were more prevalent now than He recommended it to the consideration they had been at any former period. In of the chancellor of the exchequer, wheevery district nothing was to be found ther the stock of both countries should but poverty and wretchedness. It was not be placed on an equal footing. He impossible to say what would be the re- was opposed to any new taxes, as he consult of this situation of things. They ceived this was not the proper time to immight force the taxation, but they must pose them. What prospect had the do it on one of two grounds---either they country now that the revenue would remust take from poverty what poverty main at it was, any more than they had could not spare, or else those taxes must in 1816 ? If they looked to the amount be made up from the poor-rates. As to of the revenue in January 1819, they the malt tax, he should give his opinion would find that the increase in the cusupon it when that question came to be toms was caused by a system of specudiscussed. If these new taxes were ulti- lation and overtrading, from which the mately carried, it must be because we country was now suffering and must were at the commencement of a new continue to suffer for a considerable time. parliament. No member supporting such The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, a measure at the close of a parliament that the Irish consolidated fund was sufficould face his constituents without re- cient to meet the immediate charges upon ceiving that treatment which his conduct it in time of peace, and therefore it was merited.

unnecessary to apply the sinking fund of Mr. Mansfield said, that if new taxes that country to the purpose of a loan. It were necessary on account of the financial was necessary, after the contributions state of the country, and if the lower made by Ireland to allow her to recover orders were exhausted and depressed, the herself a little; besides, this trading in the House had a splendid opportunity of in- Irish funds could not be to a great troducing, not an income tax, but an ab- extent. When there was a loan of 30 solute property tax-a tax upon the millions here, no more than 4{ millions fundholder and the landlord, a tax upon had been transferred to the Irish funds, themselves and upon the wealthier part therefore the present loan of 12 mil. of the community. He thought it infi- lions could not be supposed to affect nitely better for the House to say, those funds to any great extent.

He “ Come and lay on a modified property saw po grounds for taking a gloomy view tax of which we shall feel the burthen, of the revenue of the country: he had than to impose any other tax. But if stated on a former occasion that there gentlemen would not have a property tax, was a perceptible diminution in the reve. he thought the taxes proposed were lenient. nue in the last quarter ; but since that pe

Mr. I. P. Grant said, if he understood riod he had received accounts of paythe right hon. gentleman rightly, the sink- ments having been made which, on the ing fund of Ireland was not to be made whole, turned the balance in favour of the applicable to the purpose of a loan. present year. The sinking fund of that country was Sir R. Wilson said, that if he wished to greater in proportion to its stock than the see a public commotion in this country, English sinking, fund was. In conse: he would support, not only the resolutions quence of this, the commissioners found it before the House, but all the measures of difficult to invest their money; an act was his majesty's ministers. Though the chancellor of the exchequer conceived he Mr. Calcraft said, the more he heard of was secure in his taxation by the holy the new taxes, the less he liked them, alliance in front, and a strong army in his thoughı he had but little doubt that if imrear, the public creditor might, in the end, pused, they would be paid; but they be willing to exchange these securities for would be paid in part out of the poorthe old system of the country. It was rates. He was inclined to believe, that overwrought taxation in France which notwithstanding the untoward state of the produced a convulsion, which lopped off country (which he could not help thinktwo-thirds of the public debt, and though ing would not long continue), the revenue the successor of that system boasted that would keep up to the 54 millions, at, the guillotine was a mint and produced which it was estimated by the finance money by that expedient, he was at last committee. The moment however, which paid in his own coin. When the French had been chosen for the imposition of armies entered Prussia, their generals new taxes, was, in his opinion, as unfaraised money where the Prussian finan-vourable as could be pitched upon; and ciers thought nothing was to be found, though he thought it would be desirable but the people repaid themselves by the to have a sinking fund of 5 millions, he did punishment of their oppressors. It was not think the terms of the loan would possible to lay on taxes, but if they did have been more unfavourable, if there had not take warning from decrease, decline, been one of only two millions. On the and discontent, a convulsion would ensue. subject of economy he had heard a great He attributed a great part of the expense deal, but he was still of opinion, that thrown on the public, on account of the great and important reductions might be colonies, to improvident management. made. He had not been able in the preHe had been attached to the corps which sent session to discuss the army estimates, captured the Cape of Good Hope. They but he thought those of the present year found that colony, with a well paid army as objectionable as the celebrated esti: of 4,000 men, an improving city embel. mates of 1816, about which so much had lished with new works; a public treasury been said at that time. If he lived until well filled: and all this had been done by next year, and had a seat in the House, the Dutch governor Jansens, without a he would make it out to the satisfacshilling from the mother country for se- tion of the House, that those estimates, veral years, and while the trade of the co- were extravagantly large, and ought to be lony had been intercepted; yet that reduced. colony was a constant drain on this coun- Mr. Alderman Wood opposed the new try. In Ceylon a war was carried on, taxes, and said, he was surprised that the which would cost the country one million landed interest supported them. Though and a half. That morning advices had the tax on foreign wool had been held out been received from Lower Canada, that as a bribe to them, that tax would not the House of Assembly had refused to alter the price or prove any protection to vote the supplies proposed to them stating, the home growers. The malt tax would that the internal improvement of the pro- be a much greater loss than the wool vince was the first duty of the legislature, duty could prove a gain to the agriculand that “ that duty would be most effici- turist. Farms were now scarcely to be ently performed by reducing the over- let at the old rents. In Suffolk, in the grown bulk of the civil list of the pro- midst of a barley country, 700 acres vince, the progress of which in every spe could scarcely be let for 3501. a year, and cies of public improvement, seemed to in some parishes the poor-rates were a have been tardy, in the direct proportion guinea in the pound. of the speed with which the expenses had

Mr. Ricardo said, he had already opaccumulated." He was happy that the posed the grant of 3 millions towards a assembly had done so; if they had not, the sinking fund, because he did not wish to expenditure of which they complained place such a fund at the mercy of miniswould have destroyed all independence, iers, who would take it whenever they and not a word against the government thought that urgent necessity required it. would have been heard, except through He did not mean to say that it would be the mouths of a “ factious opposition.” better with one set of ministers than another; ; Feeling as he did the injustice and impo. for he looked upon it that all ministers licy of the new taxes, he would object to would be anxious, on cases of what they every proposition respecting them. conceived emergency, to appropriate it to

I

« ÖncekiDevam »