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public attention, was the avowed in the midst of a discussion of great tention of ministers to propose the warmth, the question was loudly callcontinuation of the property tax. Al. ed for, and the continuance of the though it was hinted from the begin- tax was lost by a majority of 238 to ning and in the sequel expressly sta. 201. On the succeeding evening, the ted, by the Chancellor of the Exche. Chancellor of the Exchequer rose and quer, that the tax would be proposed stated, that, as his whole plans must at a diminished rate, (five instead of be changed in consequence of the loss ten per cent.); and that, in the mode of this great tax, he must of course of levying it, alterations would be in. have recourse to loans ; and that as troduced tending to lessen the repug- the amount of these would not be nance felt by commercial men to the materially affected by any minor de. exposition of their private affairs ; mands, he would give up the war malt these suggestions proved entirely in- duties also. The prospect of getting effectual to subdue the growing aver rid of these burdens, contributed, in a zion manifested in almost every part powerful manner, to sooth the feelof the island to the prolonged exist. ings of the afflicted classes of the comence of this tax. Petitions were pour- munity. But it is at the best extremeed into the House from every district, ly doubtful, whether, in the end, the signed too, in many instances, and in continuance of the property-tax might particular in the case of the city of not have pressed upon their necessities London, by men of the highest rc. in a manner more equable than any of spectability, who had, during all the the substitutes which were either at struggles of the war, been among the the time proposed by the opposition, firmest supporters of the financial or subsequently adopted by the minischemes of the administration. In the ster. It may be extremely fitting that House of Compons, an attempt was the vanities, luxuries, and even mere made to shew that the tax in ques- conveniences enjoyed by individuals, tion, as originally proposed, was to be should pay tax to the commonwealth; exactly co-existent with the war, and but it seems unworthy of the cause, thai, therefore, a breach of faith would that to these alone the contributions be incurred in any measure for pro- should be restricted. In the propertytracting its operation. This was, tax, as it was levied, there was probahowever, very satisfactorily combatted bly much unnecessary and unwise seby Mr Vansittart, who shewed, that, verity ; but something in the shape of on the first proposal of the tax by Mr a property-tax, is the only impost which Pitt, it was expressly stated, that it can reach effectually the mean-spirited should continue one year peace for and the unpatriotic, the absentee and every year of war during which it the miser. should have existed ; that the Lord On the 27th of May, the House of Henry Petty had, when in office, en- Commons resolved itself into a comtertained no idea of the tax being ne- mittee of ways and means. The Chancessarily to close immediately on the cellor of the Exchequer prefaced his conclusion of a peace; and that no account of the public resources for pledge of that kind had been given by the year, with a statement that these ihe present administration on the re- had been essentially altered in consesumption of the tax last year. The quence of the abandonment of the Decessity of the measure was attacked property-tax. His first proposal was, with greater keenness, and, as it would that the committee should accept of a seem, defended with less power. lo proposition for the Bank of England,
to advance 3,000,0001. at three per crerse in the security afforded to the cent. interest. This proposition being holders of its notes ; 2d, That the attended with two conditions ; 1st, promissory notes of the Bank should That the Bank should be allowed to be continued to be received in all payextend their capital by an addition of ments made on account of the public one-fourth, an increase which the Chan- revenue. cellor said was rendered necessary by He then proceeded to give his gethe great increase of bank paper, and neral statement of the supply for this the necessity of a corresponding in- year :
The ways and means which he pro- provided for by an issue of exchequer posed for answering these charges, bills to replace an equal amount of were embodied io a string of resolu. unfunded debt, which would be paid tions, of which the first and second re- off. After a few observations from ferred to the already mentioned offer Lord Archibald Hamilton, Mr Baof three millions for the Bank of Eng- ring, and Mr Tierney, these resoluland; the third to the surplus of the tions were adopted. grants for 1815, which, at the begin. Mr Vesey Fitzgerald laid before ping of the session, he had calculated the House his intentions with respect at three millions, but which, on more to the Irish revenue of the year.
He accurate enquiry, had been found to began with saying, that the liberal amount to 5,663,755l. ; the fourth to views taken by the House on former a sum of 599,9161., arising from the occasions, justified him in expecting, sale of old naval and victualling stores; that it would approve of his not ha. the 5th to unclaimed dividends of the ving proposed any new Irish taxes, in Bank. The Chancellor mentioned, aid of the services of 1816. He then that “it was not fair that the Bank stated, that the estimated quota of con. should retain in their hands sums which tributions for this year, was 3,145,6561. it was not likely should be called for, British, in Irish currency, 3,407,7941. and which might indeed never be re- The charge for interest and sinking claimed. He therefore thought such fund on the present debt, is 6,826,7301., money might be well paid over to making, with the inclusion of managethe commissioners for the redemption ment, the total supplies, 10,234,5241. of the national debt, to be by them The state of the consolidated fund was applied to the liquidation of the pub- as follows :—The surplus balance in lic debt, subject to the future claims the exchequer at the 5th January, was of the owners for restitution. He pro. 1,448,0861., and there was remaining posed that it should be arranged on of loan, raised in Great Britain for the ibis principle—that all stock on which service of the last year, 2,622,6411. Bri. no dividend was claimed for ten years tish, being in Irish currency/2,841,1941. successively, should be paid over to a total sum of of 4,289,2801. From the commissioners of the national debt, this he was to deduct arrears due on to be by them applied in the manner that day. The arrear of contribution he had already described. A register for 1815, 2,942,2801. British, being of all such payments he proposed 3,187,4701. Irish; the outstanding should be kept both in the Bank and treasury bills and lottery, prizes, at tbe office of the commissioners for 28,8761., and for inland navigations, the reduction of the national debt, and the expences of the office for the and this he thought would be better public records, 81,3641. the total of for the owners than even the present the arrears was 3,297,7101., which, system, proverbially accurate as the deducted from 4,289,2801. leaves a Bank was in all its transactions.” balance of 991,5701.
The 6th resolution referred to “ an Having recapitulated the supply, he extraordinary item of 140,0001. made proceeded to state the ways and means. up of small balances remaining in the The surplus of the consolidated fund as Exchequer, the result of unapplied appeared above, 991,5701. ; the progrants of former years, now amount. duce of the revenue he should only ing altogether to a sum not to be estimate at 6,000,0001. ; one-third of despised. The remaining supplies, the profit on lotteries which Ireland amounting to 2,500,0001., were to be was entitled to receive, 100,000l. ; repayment of sums paid by Ireland for department, and for which the chiefs naval and military services being ad- of departments deserved the greatest vanced out of the revenue of the last praise. He could not better excite year, 111,9601. Mr Vansittart. had that industry, or stimulate that exer. before stated the loan on treasury tion, than by showing to the different bills for which an act has passed both boards that parliament looked to them Houses of parliament, of 1,700,0001. to supply, by their exertions, the neBritish, making 1,841,6661. Irish, and cessity of fresh taxation, and he knew that a further loan on treasury bills that he did not reckon on their exerwould be required to be issued in the tions in vain. There was no principle present year for the sum of 1,200,0001., more important to be kept in view, being a total of ways and means of particularly in Ireland, than that it 10,245,1961. to meet the supply of was better to collect your old taxes 10,234,5241.
well, than to delude the public by Mr Fitzgerald then stated, that the suggesting new and unproductive imHouse was
aware of the reduction poste. He did not found his estimate of the revenue in consequence of of revenue solely on a vague expectathe repeal of that portion of the malt tion of its produce ; the assessments duty in Ireland which correspond- principally of the inland taxes had ed with the late war duty in Great been formed upon a more correct sysBritain ; it was only what the act of tem, and in no branch of our revenue union had prescribed ; but as a mea.
had'a collection been more improved. sure of relief, sensibly as it might be He expected in the present year a felt in this country, it would not be great increase from those duties, and less felt in that where the example had without referring to the excise revebeen followed. He had always re- nue, or to those disputed questions gretted the necessity of augmenting connected with the distillery, which the malt duty; but it was to be re- he purposely avoided, because they membered, that he had never had but were likely to become the topics of a choice of difficulties. The deduce discussion at another and a more contion from the revenue, including the venient time ; it must be obvious to repayment of duty on stock, in the every man that if the practice of illicit hands both of distillers and maltsters, distillation could be checked in some would be, he feared, 300,0001.; other degree (he was not sanguine enough small duties repealed would make a to hope for its immediate extinction), total diminution in the revenue of the excise rerenue would become the 350,0001., and when the committee re.. main source of our contribution. He collected that the whole of the net did not despair either, that the interpayments into the exchequer in the nal difficulties of Ireland would press last year amounted to 5,845,8451., he so heavy as in the last year, a year of was sure he should not be charged sudden and unexampled distress. That with estimating the annual produce of distress was easily to be traced in the the revenue too low when he took it diminished consumption of some of the at 6,000,0001., he feared rather that most productive articles, not only in he should be accused of an excessive our excise but in our customs also. estimate. He thought himself ground- He hoped that our horizon was brighted, however, in hoping for what mustening a little, and that he might be be the increase of more than half a justified in the estimate of six millions million from that improved system of which he had assumed. collection which was visible in every
On the succeeding evening, Mr J.
P. Grant made a motion for a commit. But they were listened to, both within tee on the state of the public finances, and without the House, with that susand on this occasion the attack on the picion which frequent experience of views and plans of the Chancellor of their fallacy had justified. The nation the Exchequer was renewed. The
The was distressed, but it was not despair. desponding prophecies of approaching ing; and in the contemplation of its national ruin were as numerous, and, permanent gains, it found consolation stranger still, as confident as ever. for its temporary difficulties.
VOL. IX. PART 1.