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fix. He therefore made no estimate on always considered it desirable, that the the subject, because, under such circum- financial state of the country should stances, any estimate must have been de- be detailed in the beginning of the year, lusive. It thus appeared, that if the re- a practice which he must object to. ferees had not concluded the transaction it was very hard that the hon. gentleman, with more expedition than was anticipated, having called for this financial statement the balance-sheet of the present year would at the beginning of the year, should then have been less unfavourable, by the amount (to use a favourite phrase of his)“ turn of the sum to which he had just adverted. round upon him," and reproach him for The House, however, would observe, that not having anticipated that of which it this purchase was not an item of ex- was utterly impossible he could have any penditure bringing no return; but that it knowledge previous to its occurrence. was the purchase of an improving annuity. The hon. gentleman complained, that, The present times were unprosperous; but, whereas he had estimated the expense of nevertheless, in the present year, this the army, &c. for the last year, at 150,0001. was bringing in an improving 7,747,0001.; it had actually amounted to revenue, and was now paying above 5 per 8,297,0001. That was perfectly true; cent. He repeated, therefore, that this but how did it happen? All that he could not be called an item of expenditure could possibly do at the commencement in the ordinary meaning of the expression. of a session was, to state to the House Then there was the money advanced in the sum which he thought it would be expursuance of act of parliament to the pedient to vote in the supply, It was, corporation of London, to assist in building however, utterly impossible that all the London-bridge. That stood on just the money voted in the supply for the year same ground. It was impossible for him should be drawn in that year; for a great at the beginning of the year, before the part of that supply was applicable to corporation of London knew what would services in distant parts of the world, and be the expense of the undertaking, and could not be comprehended in any limited whether it would be necessary for them to period. A great part of the 8,297,0001. enforce the provisions of the act, by calling was on account of grants of antecedent on the Treasury to advance them a loan years. It also happened, that, in 1826, on the credit of the Orphans' Fund, to the services were paid more rapidly than introduce to parliament any estimate on was usual. At the close of the year, a this subject. In fact, the city of London state of political circumstances arose, would never have applied to the Treasury which rendered it necessary to draw out for pecuniary aid for this purpose, had it not money for the services of the year more been for the peculiar circumstances which rapidly than ordinary. Had it not been last year attended all money transactions, for the armament which had occurred and drove them to the wall, when they the balance-sheet on the table would have endeavoured to obtain the requisite supply presented a very different appearance. It elsewhere. For the sum advanced by the was also clear that, in exact proportion as Treasury on this account, they had the the payments in 1826 for the army had tangible property of the city of London been rapid, the grants remaining to be pledged to them as security; and until disposed of had decreased. It was the the repayment of the principal, interest of same with the Navy and the Ordnance. between two and three per cent per annum. As to the Miscellaneous estimates, they -This item, therefore, did not belong to were made up partly of the grants of what was ordinarily called expenditure. former years, which became payable in the The advances to the commissioners of year, and partly of grants within the Exchequer bills, and for the employment of year. The difference between the estimate the poor out of the Consolidated Fund in and the sums actually paid amounted only Ireland for public works, came under the to about 100,0001.: and, although he did same rule. But, with all the labour and not pretend to assume any great credit on ingenuity for which the hon. member for that account, he did not think that it was Abingdon was so eminently distinguished, any reproach to his foresight, that he had he defied him to anticipate, at the be- not been nearer in his anticipation. The ginning of the year, what the amount of hon, member had then fallen upon all his those advances would be. Here was the (the chancellor of the Exchequer's) errors, hardship of his case. The hon, gentleman with respect to the estimated receipt of
the year. It was perfectly true that he | his error. He had made another mistake. had been too sanguine. It would be Before the final termination of the lottery absurd to deny it. He had expected, that he had been led into the mistake of conthe revenue would be more productive ceiving, that a certain portion of profit than it had turned out to be. But the remained to be received by the public hon. member had not quite fairly argued this from that source. He had not found out subject. He certainly had anticipated that, his error until it was too late to rectify it; in the year 1826, the Customs and Excise and had, therefore, anticipated a receipt together would yield 36,846,0001. The of 180,0001. which never accrued. These actual produce had been 36,450,0001.; were the circumstances which reduced the being about 400,0001. less than he had anti- produce of the Miscellaneous estimates cipated. Now really such a difference on below his estimate. But then the hon. a revenue of nearly thirty-seven millions, member for Abingdon said, that he had between the estimate and the produce, taken credit for repayments made to the that estimate framed too under circum- commissioners of Exchequer-bills in Engstances of considerable difficulty, and land, and of the Consolidated fund in which baffled all attempts at rigid calcu- Ireland, to the amount of 273,0001. Never. lation, was, comparatively speaking, so He had always excluded items of that desmall, that, upon his word, if he did not scription from his statement; it being know that a prophet had no honour in utterly impossible to anticipate either the his own country, he should be tempted to issues or the returns. It would indeed be claim credit for his accuracy, instead of a miserable trick, of which he was sure admitting the justice of the hon, member's the hon. gentleman could not suppose that reproach, and allowing that his want of he would be guilty, had he taken credit foresight ought to withdraw from him the for repayments without noticing issues ; confidence of the country. On the article but the fact was, that the hon. gentleman of Stamps he certainly had been decidedly was wrong in imagining that he had adwrong. He estimated their produce at verted to the subject at all, in his antici7,400,0001. ; but he got only 6,702,0001. pation of the receipt and expenditure of The fact was, that he had been too san- the year.--He was not aware that he guine. It was, perhaps, the error of his could at present go more particularly or character.
However that might be, he minutely into these points. "It would cermost willingly allowed that he had been tainly have been more satisfactory to himwidely wrong in this estimate. But he self, and, he presumed, to the House, if he could by no means admit the justice of had been permitted to delay saying any the hon. member's remark, that with re- thing on these subjects, until he could spect to the Miscellaneous estimates he have put the House in possession of all he had not dealt quite fairly. Undoubtedly had to suggest with respect to the finances those estimates had not produced the of the country, instead of being hurried amount which he had supposed they would into a premature and partial exposition, produce. He had estimated them at hardly intelligible to his own mind, and 1,350,0001.; they had produced only be- which, he was therefore persuaded, could tween 900,0001. and 1,000,0001. One of not be very intelligible to others. That, the items of these Miscellaneous estimates however, was not his fault. When a fit was the return which he expected from opportunity should occur for a full disIreland of the old silver coin which had cussion of the subject, he should be ready been called in. In the antecedent year to prove to the House, and he thought the sum of 500,0001, had been voted for a satisfactorily, that although on the face of new silver coinage in Ireland ; and he had the balance-paper there appeared to be a anticipated, that the return of the old surplus of only one million, there was no silver coin to the Treasury would amount reason whatever to infer from that circumto 400,0001. ; whereas it had amounted stance, that we were incapable of making only to 206,3651. More, however, was every effort that might be required for the receivable, and no doubt would be received maintenance of our honour, and for the in the present year ; the delay in its pay- support of the various establishments ment having been occasioned by no im- which were necessary for the good of the mediate demand having been made for it. country. From
his source arose a deficiency of Mr. Hume admitted, that the right n. nearly 200,0001. ; which was undoubtedly I gentleman had satisfactorily explainedh e
deficiency in the produce of the Miscel- on paper, that five millions and a half of laneous estimates, and hoped he would debt had been redeemed. He must prohave the power of affording the further test against such a delusion. He would explanation of which he had spoken. He show that the surplus million was already feared, however, that, as the only docu- absorbed by the expenses which had been ments on the subject were the accounts of incurred ; leaving out of the question all the receipt and expenditure, and as those considerations of loans or sinking funds. documents were incapable of alteration, He would take it for granted, that the the right hon. gentleman would find his revenue of the present would not exceed task one of considerable difficulty. To the revenue of the last year. In the first mix up the consideration of the Miscel- place, there were life annuities to the laneous estimates with the other topics, amount of 580,0001. a year, which, strange tended to create confusion. He did not to say, were never brought to the public mean to throw any imputation on the account, but were always paid out of the right hon. gentleman, but merely to say, sinking fund. Then there was the sum that in his estimates of last year he was of 200,0001. increase in the interest of the too sanguine. If, however, the expense outstanding debt; occasioned by raising, of the year was founded on this erroneous on the first of January, the rate of interest estimate, it was too much to say that they on Exchequer-bills from three half-pence were warranted in continuing the expense, to two-pence; and lastly, there was nearly after the exaggerated estimate of the in the sum of 400,0001. to supply the deficome had been discovered. He would ciency arising from reducing the five per confine his remarks to the ordinary revenue cents. These three sums would make it and expenditure; to the amount received necessary to pay 1,160,0001. more in 1827, from taxation ; and to the amount paid than in the last year. The consequence for the maintenance of our establishments, was, that, supposing the surplus of 1827 and for the interest of the debt. If the to be equal to that of the last year, there House would do him the favour to attend would, nevertheless, be a bonå fide defito him, he would endeavour to explain ciency of above 140,0001. We had inthe matter. In 1825, the revenue was curred a debt of 3,000,0001, in the ma52,000,0001.; in 1826, it was 49,600,0001.; nagement of the dead weight of only being a diminution of 2,400,0001. Out 13,000,0001.-So much for attempting to of this revenue the act of parliament re- bolster up the sinking fund. We had quired that a nett surplus of 5,000,0001. been proceeding in this unnecessary accushould be applied as a sinking fund. In- mulation of debt from the period of sir stead, however, of a surplus of 5,000,0001., Robert Walpole to the present time. If, the right hon. gentleman himself admitted, under the name of a sinking fund, ministers that he had only a surplus of 1,000,0001. had at their disposal a surplus revenue of It followed, then, that there was a defi- 5,000,0001., they would sooner or later ciency in the last year of 4,000,0001. The find means of expending that surplus, and expenditure of the country had increased applying it to other purposes than the reas follows:-In 1825, the army, navy, duction of debt. Ministers had yet to reordnance, &c. had been 17,212,0001.; in ceive the remaining part of this thirteen 1826, they had been 19,344,0001.; being million of dead weight from the Bank. an increase of 2,132,0001. Combining the The last payment would be in April, 1828. deficiency of revenue with the increase of Unless government pursued a different expenditure, it was easy to understand course with this fund, they must be why the surplus should not exceed a adding to the debt, by funding at least million. The question for the House to five millions a year. If they went on consider was, whether we were in a con- as the act of parliament required, they
, dition to go on in the same manner next would incur, by the end of the year, year? The right hon. gentleman said, that a debt of 3,600,0001. This would be we were; he (Mr. Hume) said that we independent of the amount of the ex-, were not. Why? With that surplus pedition to Portugal. These debts were million we had pretended to reduce five incurred in what the ministers of the millions and a half of debt. But how? Crown called supporting the honour of In the old way. By borrowing four mil- the country. Thus they would run on lions and a half, and adding to that sum, until they got into a state of bankruptcy, the million of surplus, we made it appear which would eventually be the end of
their “honour.” It was impossible for (his efforts to uphold the situation of the the chancellor of the Exchequer to make country with reference to foreign nations. one million pay five millions, or to an- What was the proud situation of this counswer the public creditor, if he went on as try, of which the right hon. gentleman he had hitherto done. France, Holland, boasted? It was merely the situation of America, and other countries were paying an arbitrator, to settle all affairs except off their debts, or reducing taxation, ei- her own. The affairs of Portugal did not ther by husbanding their resources, or require so much of our management. It keeping their expenditure within their in-behoved ministers to look at home rather come. England, on the contrary, if par- than go abroad, seeking glory at the canliament persisted in voting estimates upon non's mouth (a laugh). It was well for perthe scale of the present year, must add to sons to look at such matters at a disher already dreadfully heavy load of taxa- tance, and then fancy that they held a tion. He would put it to the House, commanding station. But what a picture whether they should not postpone voting it was that they had to turn over. He such immensely large estimates, until they had often heard it remarked, that men did had a more complete view of the state of not like to look into their affairs when the finances. All he asked was, to let the they were encumbered; and he believed that House vote a sum upon account. If they those gentlemen who boasted of the high and did not pursue this course, they might commanding station of the country, were find themselves in the situation in which very averse to examine its real condition. they were four years ago; when, after He apprehended that they looked upon voting the estimates, the state of the its internal situation in no very favourable country obliged them to withhold the sup- point of view. Instead of vapouring and plies, and the chancellor of the Exche- throwing away money upon other counquer complained, saying, “this is very un- tries, they ought to see if they could keep fair ; you have voted the estimates, and out of debt; and if they could relieve, not now you refuse to vote me money to pay only the poorer classes, but every interest, them.” The House of Commons were then for all interests were pressing upon the obliged to call upon ministers to reduce House for relief. He should be happy to those very estimates which themselves had vote upon account what would allow the previously sanctioned. Let parliament have Ordnance department to go on for three a full statement of what the chancellor of months. That period would be amply the Exchequer had determined the expen- sufficient for ministers to put the House diture to be. Let the House be supplied in a state of information upon the finances with an account of what were the expenses of the country, upon the estimated reveincurred in Portugal, and how they were nue, and the total of the intended expenses. to be provided for, and then they would With this view he had prepared a resoluknow how to proceed. If there should tion, but whether the House would agree prove any deficiency in the Ways and with him or not, he was unable to tell. Means, it would then be in the power of In France, Holland, and other countries, the House to consider whether they could the ministers of the Crown laid before the not lessen the expenditure, instead of House what they intended to call for ; going on to the end of the year, and find and, if this was not approved of by the ing themselves several millions in debt. House, the estimate was sent back to the The various departments of government ministers, who again laid them before the had already made up their estimates, and legislature in an amended state. He it would not therefore be difficult for the asked the House of Commons to do no chancellor of the Exchequer to lay a gene- more, and he was convinced he was acting ral statement of them before the House. a very reasonable part. He would move, The delay of only another month would by way of amendment, “That this House afford the House the opportunity of ascer- does not consider it expedient to vote the taining the real condition of the country. Ordnance or any other Estimates until the He would confess that he felt unplea- Ministers of the Crown shall lay before santly at the manner in which the chan- the House an Estimate of the total excellot of the Exchequer talked of sup- pected Expenditure of the country for the porting the dignity and honour of the current year, as well as the Ways and Crown, and at the confidence with which Means by which it is proposed to meet he spoke of the House supporting him in that Expenditure."
Mr. Baring said, that if in ordinary The unsettled situation of all the leading times there had been such a defalcation in interests of the country—of the commerthe revenue as appeared during the pre- cial, the manufacturing, and the shipping sent year, he should have undoubtedly interests-placed the House in a very awk
a been of opinion, that it would be neces- ward situation as to any investigation into sary for the House either to agree to the the state of the revenue. Notwithstandamendment of the hon. member for Aber- ing the melancholy views which had that deen, or else to go into the committee and evening been taken of the state of the vote the estimates with the strictest inves- revenue, he thought the return upon the tigation into them item by item. Judg- whole to be satisfactory. Considering the ing from the general conduct of the House, extent of distress which had pervaded all he deemed himself justified in saying, that classes of society last year, to a degree it was too inattentive to the condition of that was quite unprecedented, it was surthe national finances. No state that had prising that upon a revenue of 57,000,0001. any pretensions to freedom displayed such there had only been a defalcation of inattention as we did to the comparative 1,000,0001. He confessed he had examount of our expenditure and our means. pected that the defalcation would have The French minister was obliged to make been much larger, and he was glad to find a minute statement of the resources of his that it did not exceed the amount which nation before he ventured to detail to the he had stated. There was no occasion Chambers his plan for raising the supplies for the right hon. gentleman opposite to of the year; and the minister of the king justify himself on account of the degree of the Netherlands had absolutely had his in which the revenue actually collected budget thrown back upon his hands, be- had fallen short of the sum which he had cause he had not accompanied it with a anticipated that it would produce. The sufficient explanation of the national fi- very fact of his estimate having exceeded
As a general principle, he would by so small a sum the amount of revenue say, that it was the duty of the House not actually collected during the distressed to repose a blind confidence in ministers, condition of the country, was a proof that but to look narrowly into the estimates it would have fallen within the mark had which they presented to it. He recol- the country been in its ordinary situation. It lected that in 1816, the House, after vot- would be a juggle, an outrage upon common ing the estimates, found that they were sense, for any man to come down to that greater than the situation of the country House and pretend to predict with the skill justified. It addressed the Crown in con- of a conjuror, the annount of any future sequence, and said that the estimates were year's income: and it would be unbecomnot satisfactory. Amended estimates were ing the high character of the right hon. accordingly returned to it, in which con- gentleman to pretend to any such powers siderable reductions were made, and those of prescience. He must, however, reestimates were subsequently approved. mark, that the estimate of expenditure Now, if the estimates of the present year for the last year, presented by the right had been presented to the House in cir- hon. gentleman, was not so ably concumstances similar to those of 1816, he structed as his estimate of the revenue to should have said that the House would meet it. There was a surplus of two or not perform its duty without adopting a three millions of expenditure over the similar course to that which it then pur- estimates, which he had not yet seen sued. Considering, however, the politi- sufficiently accounted for. The expense cal demonstration which the government of fitting out the armament for Porhad recently felt itself called upon to tugal could not have come into the make in Portugal, and the support which present accounts: if it had, he was the House had given to the government glad of it, and surprised to find that it on being informed of it, he was afraid that was not larger in amount.
He then any hesitation in voting the supplies would proceeded to observe, that if the expenses be productive of bad effect, not only in a fi- of the different departments so far exnancial, but also in a political point of view; ceeded the sums at which they were estiand he should therefore prefer going into mated, it was a proof that they were out the estimates at present, to postponing the of the controlling hands of the governdiscussion of them till the period pro- ment; and that the government was, as posed by the hon. member for Aberdeen. it had once been described, a government