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the same amount of force would not always be necessary for this service ; but that portions might be withdrawn gradually, as the colonists became accustomed to the superior administration of British laws. But as all these colonies were conquests, and as the greater part of them had experienced the contagion of French revolutionary principles; as the inhabitants of nearly all were at that time adverse; and as the greater portion were impatient, turbulent, and even democratically inclined; it was deemednecessary to take the estimate at the above standard.
Upon these principles, the total peace establishment was taken at 99,000 men ; thirty thousand of which (twenty-three thousand for the new colonies, and seven thousand for the new mode of relieving distant garrisons by regiments instead of by drafts) were required for services entirely new, and not having any existence in 1792. Thirteen thousand more of this number were required, in the unanimous opinion of all parties, as an addition to the former establishment for Ireland, and two thousand for Jamaica, under her new relation of neighbourhood to Hayti. With these deductions, it will be immediately seen that there was a very near correspondence in the estimates for the two periods of 1792, and 1816. The main and indeed the sole difference was in the small addition to Canada and the Leeward Islands ; the actual addition to the home force in Great Britain being chiefly for the relief by regiments to our remote garrisons. As such were the reductions made in the
with respect to the number of men to be retained in pay and service, the reduction proposed, and afterwards executed within the year, for the navy, was still more considerable. The peace establishment was here taken at thirty-three thousand men, being an immediate reduction of upwards of seventy thousand ; and, including the public yards connected with this service, of upwards of one hundred thousand men. The result of the reduction in these two heads of the public service was briefly, that before the end of the year of 1816, and before the meeting of the session of parliament for the year following, upwards of three hundred thousand soldiers and sailors had been disembodied and discharged from the public service. From the end of 1814, the earliest moment from which it was possible to commence the work of retrenchment, two hundred and twentyone thousand eight hundred men had been disbanded from the regular force. And in the year 1816, this amount of reduction was augmented by a further discharge of fifty-six thousand three hundred and forty-three men, disbanded before the conclusion of that year. In the speech by which the session of 1816 was opened, his present Majesty had commanded the commissioners to assure the parliament, that they might rely on every disposition upon his
part to concur in such measures of economy as might be found consistent with the security of the country, and with the station which we occupy in Europe. In this manner did his Majesty's ministers redeem this pledge of public economy and reduction in the establishments. Considering the magnitude of force upon which reductions were to be made ; the variety and complexity of the interests concerned; the number and remoteness of the stations; the diminution of demand upon the trade and commerce of the country; and the general stagnation consequent upon the first transition from war to peace; it is assuredly not too much to assert, that in such an interval of time, and from such a national force, no period of our history exhibits such an amount of reduction.
As such was the reduction of the number of men in the naval and military service, it was attended, as a matter of course, by a similar diminution in the yearly supplies for these services. It would be impertinent to the present purpose of these remarks to repeat in detail the estimates of past years; the object is briefly to establish the first position of our statement; that his Majesty's ministers have made all possible reductions in the public expenditure, and commenced such reductions at the first possible period. Suffice it therefore to add, as regards the supplies of the year 1816, that, when compared with the estimates of the previous year, the public expenditure was reduced by upwards of seventy millions. In the three branches, the Army, Navy, and Ordnance, nearly forty millions were at once struck off. As respected the burdens of the country, eighteen millions of taxes were repealed within the same year ; a sum exceeding the whole of the national revenue, before the war, by two millions. Under all these circumstances, it is assuredly but justice to his Majesty's ministers to acknowledge, that in the arrangement of the peace establishment at the end of the war, and in the amount and promptitude of the reductions, they satisfied every reasonable expectation. Nor should it be forgotten under this part of the subject, that they raised the whole supply of the year, still necessarily large, (twentyseven millions) without the imposition of any new taxes, and by the sole aid of an advantageous bargain with the Bank of England.
Having laid this ground-work for the future peace establishment in 1816, it will immediately appear, that his Majesty's ministers have followed up the same plan of economy and reduction to the present period.
Upon this principle they continued progressively to reduce the amount of the public expenditare. In 1816, the estimate for the army was taken at 99,000 men. In the year 1817, the colonies newly attached to our empire having become more firmly settled, and the internal tranquillity of Ireland assuming a more promi
In the sup
sing aspect, this estimate was reduced to 81,000, being a reduction of nearly 18,000 men. In the year 1816, the number of men taken as the estimate for the navy, was 33,000. For the year 1817, the estimate was reduced to 19,000, a reduction of nearly one half, or 14,000 men, from the former amount. plies, there was the same earnest and zealous reduction, and ready and sincere economy. In 1816, the supply of the army for this first year of the peace establishment had been taken at 10,564,000. For the year 1817, the supply was taken at a small excess beyond nine millions ; a reduction of nearly two millions in this branch only. In 1816, the supply for the navy was taken at 9,434,000. In 1817, this supply was reduced to six millions. The ordnance for 1816, exceeded one million and a half. For 1817, it was reduced by nearly half a million. The miscellaneous for 1816, had been estimated at two millions and a half. For 1817, it was reduced to seventeen hundred thousand pounds. The total supply for 1816, had exceeded twenty-seven millions. For 1817, the total supply was a small excess above twenty-two millions, being a reduction of five millions upon the expenditure of the year. Such, therefore, were the further reductions made in the year 1817, beyond those of 1816. The army was reduced from 99,000 to 81,000 men. The navy was reduced from 33,000 to 19,000. The expense of the army was reduced from eleven millions to nine millions. The expense of the navy was reduced from ten to six. The ordnance was reduced nearly one fourth in its whole expenditure. The miscellaneous more than one third, and the whole annual expenditure was reduced by one fifth.
As respects the Ways and Means of the same year, it may be sufficient to state, without entering into a minute financial detail, that about nine millions and a half of the supply of this year were raised from the ready-money sources annually at the disposal of government; such as the annual duties, lotteries, old stores, &c.; that the remaining twelve millions were raised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on exchequer bills, instead of a loan ; and this issue was made upon such advantageous terms, as to save government nearly half a million in the computed difference between the interest of exchequer bills and the expense of a loan. By a most acute and assiduous attention to the state of the money-market, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had relieved it in due time, by paying off twenty-seven millions out of forty-two of the floating unfunded debt ; and having thus left fifteen millions only in the market, he was enabled to raise the twelve millions required for the service of the year by the cheap and easier process of exchequer bills, instead of loan.' The effect of this vigilant attention to the money-market, on the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and of the above measure, which arose from it, was such an improvement in the state of the public credit, that the stocks, which in 1816 had been generally at 62, had risen to 74 in the commencement of the year 1817 ; being an improvement of 12 per cent. on the hundred pounds stock, and of nearly 20 upon the hundred pounds sterling. Exchequer bills, which had been at 54 per cent. in 1816, were reduced in 1817 to 3 per cent. only ; a reduction, which, together with other circumstances, rendered the raising the supply of the year by exchequer bills so much more advantageous than resorting to a loan.
There were two further circumstances in the financial history of the year 1817, which prove the attention of ministers at once to a just economy in the national expenditure, and to the due relief of the industry of the laboring classes suffering under the temporary pressure of an adverse season. The first of these measures was the appropriation of a million and a half of money by government to commissioners, for the employment of the poor. The second was the bill for the abolition of sinecures.
The former of these measures was rendered necessary by the peculiar difficulty under which the year 1817 was commenced. This year opened with a considerable deficiency, not less indeed than ten per cent. on the whole amount of the public revenue ; with a harvest less than an average by at least one-third, and with a most material reduction in our general commerce, trade, and industry. This reduction indeed necessarily followed the cessation of the large war expenditure amongst ourselves, and the resumption by the continental nations, of those several branches of navigation, commerce, and manufacture, which, though originally belonging to themselves, had, during the war and the hostile occupation of their soil, been transferred to Great Britain. Suffice it to say of this temporary aid, that it was as cheerfully given as it was imperiously required.
The second circumstance, the abolition of sinecures, was a concession to popular opinion, and was chiefly of public value, inasmuch as it afforded the occasion of producing before the public the real state of a question upon which they had been much deluded. According to the popular writers of the day, and even to some of the members of the House of Commons, who hastily and unwarrantably adopted the assertions of such authorities, much of the public distress was imputable to the lavish expenditure of government and ministers. In the discussion of the bill for the abolition of sinecures, it appeared that the whole amount of them did not exceed one hundred thousand pounds; that there were not more than three of them of any considerable annual income ; that they were part of the funds of the crown, for rewarding civil services; and that, with scarcely any exception, they had been given to the families of high public officers, in lieu of pensions to which their services had entitled them. Under such circumstances the country could gain little by the abolition of sinecures, which were effectually pensions with the name of offices. But, under the current delusion of the day, the bill was demanded by the popular voice, and was cheerfully conceded by his Majesty's ministers. They deemed it, however, and they doubtless still deem it, a duty of candor, not to catch at a praise to which they had no just claim : they gave the bill because the public demanded it; but they stated that its value was nothing, and upon this score to nothing do they lay claim, The
year 1818 opened under a more favorable aspect than the preceding year, and the ministers found themselves in a condition of prosecuting their resolute purpose of reducing the national expenditure. The supply of the year was accordingly taken upon a reduced scale, through all the four branches—the army, navy, ordnance, and miscellaneous.
For the year 1817 the supply for the army had been nine millions and eighty thousand pounds; for 1818 it was eight millions nine hundred thousand pounds. In the navy, the supply for 1817 was seven millions five hundred and ninety-six thousand pounds, which included a sum for the reduction of the navy debt. In 1818 it was six millions four hundred and fifty-six thousand pounds, being a saving of nearly one million in the navy. The ordnance for 1817 was one million two hundred and seventy
thou. sand pounds; for 1818 it was one million two hundred and fortyfive thousand pounds. The miscellaneous for 1817 was one million seven hundred and ninety-five thousand pounds: for 1818 it was one million seven hundred and twenty thousand pounds. For the year 1817, the total of the supply for these four branches of the expenditure had been a small excess above twenty millions. For the year 1818, the same supply was a small excess above eighteen millions, a saving of nearly two millions upon the former year.
In the financial history of this year, it is an act of justice to the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to omit the effective expedient by which he provided the Ways and Means. Including the interest upon exchequer bills, and the Sinking Fund, upon their amount, the total supply for the year was about twenty-one millions. Of this amount about seven millions and a quarter were, of course, raised in the usual way, by the annual unappropriated taxes, the lottery, old stores, and arrears of war duties. Of the remaining fourteen millions, three millions were procured by the sale and transfer of stock from funds of a lower to higher denomination of interest; the difference of value of the two stocks, about eleven per cent. being paid to government for the exchange.