Sivut kuvina

10,000,0001. but of nearly thirteen 1823

2,469,000 millions and a half. On January 1824

1,017,000 5th, 1819, the amount of unpro 1825

520,000 vided Exchequer bills in the hands This proceeded, indeed, on the of the Bank, and of the public, was supposition, that the whole amount 19,480,0001.; and, on January had been funded; but the funding 5th, 1826, it had been reduced to of any part of it would have 6,139,0001. This reduction had brought upon the country a probeen effected prineipally in the portional additional charge. first three years, from 1819 to complain of government not hav1822, during which 10,000,000l. ing funded largely in 1823, was had been reduced, in conformity to complain of the absence of miswith the recommendation of the management. The funds in that bullion committee; and, in the year had not been between 90 course of the three following and 100, as they were in subse years, a farther reduction of up- quent years. They were about wards of 3,000,0001. had been 72 when the dead-weight arrangeeffected. Facts like these suffi- ment was entered into, and 74 in ciently vindicated government from the April following. To have any charge of having neglected the funded at such a price would at reduction, or having been favour- once have roused in wrath against able to the growth of the unfunded government all the economical prodebt. It could be reduced only in pensities of the supporters of the one of two ways, by converting the present resolutions. In 1824, Exchequer bills which constituted again, the high price of stocks it into stock, or by raising money to presented another difficulty; for, pay them off. Now it had been when stoek was high, funding was the opinion of government that the no easy operation, however desirous country would gain more by re- government might be to effect it, ducing the taxes, by encouraging because the holders of Exchequer manufactures and commerce, by bills were then unwilling to part reducing the Customs, and striking with them unless they received a at the prosperity of the contraband premium. Moreover, it would trader, than by funding a greater have been most inconsistent to quantity of Exchequer bills; and have attempted to fund a mass of on that opinion they acted. Be- Exchequer bills, at the same time sides, at no time since 1818, could when they were proposing to rethe funding of Exchequer bills duce the 4 per cents. The latter have gone on, without loss to the measure might have been a wise public. If the whole sum of one, or it might not, but it would 44,000,000l. the amount of the have been utterly impracticable in unfunded debt, provided and un- connection with the funding of provided, in the hands of the Bank Exchequer bills : it was necessary and the public in January, 1819, to relinquish the one measure or had been funded in that year, it the other. Yet, even in 1824, would have cost the country an government had been enabled, by additional charge of 5,125,0001.- the productiveness of the revenue, if in 1820 £. 5,352,000

a large amount of defi1821

4,126,000 ciency bills. 1822

2,692,000 The resolutions were negatived

to pay


without a division ; and the chan nation of the war---the reduction cellor of the Exchequer, a few days of taxes--the diminished consumpafterwards, expressed his intention tion of exciseable articles of repaying the Bank, during the sinking fund--the dead-weight year, six millions of the Exchequer and the burden and patronage of bills held by them, and of funding the naval and military establisheight or nine millions more. ments. The assertions contained

The same topics, and, along with in the resolutions, so far as related them, almost every topic connected to the reduction of the debt, was with the state and management of this: - That the assertions made the finances, were again brought be- to this House by the chancellor of fore the House by Mr. Hüme on the the Exchequer, on the 3rd of 4th of May, by a formal motion on March, 1823, that a reduction of the state of the nation. Although 24,766,520l. in the capital of the motions of this kind had commonly unfunded debt had been effected been introduced with the intention by the operation of the sinking of interrupting or embarrassing fund, from the termination of the ministers in the measures which war up to 5th January, 1823; and they might be pursuing, he dis- again on 13th March, 1826, that claimed having such an object in

a farther reduction of the public view on the present occasion. He debt of 18,401,000l. had been said that his only purpose was, by effected between the 5th January, drawing the attention of the House 1823, and the 5th January, 1826, to the statements which had been making together a reduction of put forth concerning the financial 43,167,5201. in the capital of the situation of the country, to remove public debt, since the termination the delusions which these erroneous of the war, are not consistent with statements had produced and fos- the accounts before the House, as tered, and to prove that we were appears by the facts contained in pursuing a course of extravagance, the following resolutions." These and were enduring an amount of facts, on which was made to rest taxation which no community this charge against government of ever had borne, or ever could bear. having misled the country either

The motion was preceded by a from gross ignorance or by stateseries of no fewer than forty-fivements deliberately false, were said resolutions, embracing almost every to be found in comparing the point of financial discussion, and present amount of the debt with perplexed by an infinite variety of what it had been in the beginning minute details. This perplexity of 1817, On 5th January, 1817, was far from being diminished by thefunded debt amounted, in round the manner in which the mover numbers, to 796,000,000l. and the thought proper to treat his sub- unfunded to 50,000,000l. ; the total jects--not arranging his resolutions being 846,000,0001. On 5th Janin any connected series, nor yet uary, 1826, the amount of the keeping such of them as regarded former was 778,000,0001., and that one topic distinct from, and inde- of the latter 41,000,0001.; the total pendent, of those which were ap- being 819,000,000l. The decrease plicable only to another. In sub of capital, therefore, was only stance they related to the reduction 27,000,000l. Of these twentyof the public debt since the termic seven millions, eighteen consisted


of the reduction in the funded charged from the funded and debt; and of this 18,000,0001., added to the unfunded debt. - The 7,000,000l. bad been cancelled total amount of the revenue of the without the aid of any surplus United Kingdom, received in the

Thus there was for nine years, 1817-1825 (and exLife Annuities cancelled .. £.5,730,212 elusive of all sums received for loan's Land-tax redeemed ... 805,992 or dead weight), was 531,266,5351., Unclaimed Dividends 185,452 and the total amount of expendiFive per Cents paid off.... 82,840 Transfer of Capital from

ture, including every charge for England to Ireland, and

interest of debt, and the civil and vice versa

129,789 military establishments during the

same period (exclusive only of £.6,934,285

payments to the commissioners of Whence it appeared that only

thesinkingfund), was 508,309,6141. 11,000,0001. of the funded debt showing a clear surplus of revenue had been actually reduced. The of 22,956,922l.: which, with the annual charge upon

this debt,

sums paid by Austria and the

East-India Company, make an however, was of much

greater importance. In 1817 it was

amount of money of 25,965,5391. 29,870,8531., and on the 5th disposable for the redemption of January, 1826, 27,679,856l.; being ceived from the Bank of England

debt, exclusive of 6,917,5691. rea reduction, during the intervening in the three years 1822-25, in period, of 2,190,0001. The charge on the unfunded debt on the 5th part payment of an annuity of January, 1817, was 2,051,242.; had become of these 26,000,0001.

585,7401. for forty-five years. What and on the 5th January, 1826, was 1,256,4821. ; being a reduction

surplus money? There was of 794,0001. on the interest of the no sensible reduction of the debt

in the mean while unfunded debt. The total reduce

no reduce tion was 2,985,000l. Now this

tion of the capital; no reducreduction had been effected to the

tion of the charge. For, although

there thus amount of nearly 2,000,0001. in

appeared to have dependently of the sinking fund, been in the pine years, 1817--25, or any surplus revenue. The

a disposable surplus revenue several items of this part of the 6,917,5691. received from the Bank

of 25,965,5391. (exclusive of reduction on the annual charge for annuity, in the three years were these

1822--5) there had only been a Imperial Annuities expired

reduction in the capital of the in 1819

£.230,000 Exchequer Annuities ditto 18 750 funded and unfunded debt, during Long Annuities cancelled

the same period, of 20,393,4951. for Life Annuities..... 17,490 whilst the finance accounts shewed Conversion of 5 into 4 per

no decrease of the annual charge

1,207,137 Ditto 4 into 34 ditto..

that would not have been effected 381,035

by annuities fallen in, cancelling Total £.1,854,412 or conversions of stock, and dimi

nution of interest onunfunded debt, ing thus a total of upwards of without reference to the surplus 1,800,0001., exclusive of cancelled revenue. dividends and of dissentients dis Ministers, therefore, it was con



cluded had been guilty of mislead- sum on the best termis he could. ing and deluding the country con- But because of the necessity of cerning the diminution of the debt, providing for this delusive Sinkingand of its charges. The great in- fund, the government on that oestrument in producing this delusion casion raised a' very much larger had been itself one of the grossest sum, and upon terms unfortunately of all delusions, viz., the Sinking- disadvantageous in proportion to fund, the operation of which, Mr. the amount of such loan. On Hume had no hesitation in declaring, every occasion the result had been had added little less than two hun- the same; and the mischiefs and dred millions to the debt, from the fallacy of the whole plan were evitime of its establishment up to the dent from the details embodied in year 1817- assuming the same the following resolutions. proportions of actual charge, and “No.21.-That by a return made the charges which, but for its ex to this House, the total nett revenue istence, would have been saved on of Great Britain (exclusive of loans) loans, &c. His resolutions, there- for. twenty four years, between the fore, asserted : “ That no nation or 10th day of October, 1792, and body corporate, in their collective the 5th day of January, 1817, capacity, can derive pecuniary be- appears to have amounted to nefit or advantage of any kind, by 1,126,640,4171.; and the total exmerely trading with themselves ; penditure (exclusive of all sums and therefore the Sinking-fund sys- paid to the commissioners for the tem of Great Britain, established reduction of the national debt), solely for the purpose of the na- during the same period, appears to tion trading in its own obligations, have amounted to 1,533,628,6311. was founded in fallacy, and has being an excess of expenditure been maintained by delusion. over revenue of 406,988,2141.; but That the Sinking-fund system as three quarters of a year from the is not only useless for any benefi- 5th day of January to the 10th day cial purpose to the state, but high- of October, 1799, appears to have ly objectionable, from the loss it been stated twice, three fourths of occasions, and from its direct ten- the excess of expenditure in 1799 dency to promote a system of spe require to be deducted, making the culation and gambling, altogether actual deficiency of revenue to be inconsistent with the well-being about 393,000,0001. of the country; and therefore, “ No. 22.- That, although the ought to be forthwith abolished.” actual revenue during the twentyThis, he said, was proved, not only four years, from 1793 to 1816 inby the enormous charge of ma- clusive, fell short of the expendinagement which that fund entailed ture only about 393,000,0001., it upon the country but also by appears by a series of resolutions the immense actual loss of capital submitted to the consideration of which it had occasioned to the this House on the 25th of July, country, between 1794 and 1817, 1822, that an amount of no less amounting to not less than 35 mil. than 618,163,8577. of money was lions. On one occasion government raised by loans and Exchequer bills, wanted to borrow 5,000,0001.only. during the said period of twentyAn individual would have gone. four years, viz. from 1793 to into the market, and raised that 1816 inclusive. Vol. LXVIII.


“No.22.* _That, by the sixth of stead of effecting new loans, and the before-mentioned series of re- creating new debts, to support an solutions, it appears, that whilst imaginary fund for the discharge 618,163,8571. of money was raised of other debts, had annually apby loans and Exchequer bills be- plied the surplus revenue, and tween the 10th day of October other resources, to the purchase of 1792, and the 5th of January, stock at the average rate of the 1817, that 188,522,8481. only was respective years. paid to the commissioners for the Another set of these multifarious reduction of the national debt, resolutions went to aver, that, since leaving the enormous sum of the war, taxation had increased, 136,641,5171. totally unaccounted instead of being diminished ; that, for.

during the last three years, a mil“ No. 23.--That, by another ac lion more had been raised by taxes count, presented to this House in than in the three preceding years, 1822, it appears, that in the year and that this augmentation was so 1815, annuities of different deno- far from being the effect of an inminations, all in perpetuity, were creased consumption with diminishcreated tothe amount of 3,083,6211., ed duties, that the consumption., equal to 102,787,334l. of three in point of fact, had greatly deper cent stock, for which only creased. The only nominal reduc: 53,819,7861. money was received, tion of taxation, Mr. Hume said, being at the rate of 100l. of three had been the repeal of the propertyper cent capital created for every tax; but the abolition of this tax 521. 7.8. 2d. of money received. had given no relief to the public,

“No. 24.-That, by another ac because its amount continued to be count, presented to this House in raised in a different manner; all 1825, it appears that between the that the public gained was, that 5th January, 1824, and 5thJanuary, the taxes were more judiciously 1825, the commissioners of the collected, and the burden was someSinking-fund have purchased what lightened by being more 3,627,225l. of three per cent widely spread. The assertion of stock, for which they have paid government, that 27,000,0001. of 3,416,031l., being at the rate of taxes had been reduced since the 94l. 38. 5d. for every 100l. of such war was an utter delusion; and stock, at a loss of 411. 163. 3d. of could neither have been made nor money, for every 100l. stock re- believed, had it not been from purchased, as compared with 1815.” measuring the amount of taxation

In short, for about twenty-four by a wrong standard, and neglectyears, while we had been borrowing, ing altogether the established say at 5l. 59. we had been re-pur- standard of value. The money chasing at about 41. 108. ; leaving amount of taxes raised in Great a charge of oneper cent for ever on Britain, on the average of the three the 200,000,0001. or thereabouts, years, 1813–15, the period of the absorbed during that time, by the largest receipt during the war, Sinking-fund, and made applicable was 69,010,2271. per annum; but to the reduction of the public debt. as that amount was in paper All the ruinous consequences of money of nominal value, and not this delusive scheme would have exchangeable into gold, on an been avoided, if government, in« average of the three years, at a

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