HC Deb 26 April 1805 vol 4 cc446-9

The house having resolved itself into a committee of ways and means,

Mr. Foster

said, he should only intrude upon the attention of the committee for a few minutes. It would be recollected, that early in the present session he had stated, that a loan of 1,000,000l. would be proposed to be contracted for in Ireland for the service of that country; he had also stated, that there was a sum of 800,000l. due upon treasury bills, respecting which be expressed a wish to reserve all discussion till a future day. He had now to state to the committee, that he had proposed to raise a loan of 1,800,000l. in Ireland. Offers had been made there, which were not accepted: offers were then made in this country for the loan, which he had felt it his duty to accept; and it was the contract so made, that he had now the honour to submit to the committee. The terms of the loan were,

100l. Long annuities £5 0 0
24l. in the 5 per cents 1 4 0
making together 61. 4s. the annual charge for the loan; but in addition to this there was 4s. 10d. for the sinking fund on the 5 per cents. and 8s.4d. on the long annuities, making altogether a sum of 6l. 17s. 2d. per cent. He trusted the committee would not consider the terms' of the loan as disadvantageous to the public, when it was stated, that for the loan of two millions and a half, which was raised in the early part of the session for Ireland, the annual charge amounted to 6l, 17s. 7d. The latter loan was not only made upon terms more favourable to the public, but it had this further advantage, that a great part of it was in annuities, whereas the other created a permanent debt. He would now, with the permission of the committee, say a few words upon the reports which were circulated respecting the rejection of the offers made in Ireland for this loan. The offers made by the persons who wished to contract for the loan in Ireland were as follows:
Annual charge to the nation.
100, 3½ per cent. stock £3 10 0
48, 5 per cent. ditto 2 8 0
148, Sinking Fund, 1 per cent. 1 9 7
7 7 7
He had already stated, that the annual charge on the present loan was 6l. 17s. 2d. so that there was an actual saving of 10s. 5d. per cent. The difference also on the capital of the debt created would be immense. If the offers made in Ireland had been accepted, the subscribers would have had a bonus of no less than 13 per cent. and therefore it was not surprising, that where the advantage to them was so great, they wished to have their offer considered as a contract. He would now explain to the house the whole of the transaction, as far as related to the offers made in Ireland. The first offer made there was for 49, 5 per cents.; this being represented as unreasonably high, it was reduced to 48½, and on further representation, to 4S. This offer had been received by the lords of the treasury in Ireland, subject to his approbation. He would shew by the letter of the bidders themselves, that they did not consider any engagement made with them. The letter stated, that they would abide by their offer, if they were indemnified for any depression that may take place in the stocks here before the return of the express with his answer. This offer was made in Dublin on Monday the 16th. The letter of Messrs. Bogle, French, Burrows, and Canning, was answered by him by an express, which arrived in Dublin on the Sunday following, stating, that their offer could not be accepted. There was not in their letter, nor in any one of the papers, one word that went to shew he was bound. The bidders merely said, they would abide by their offer if indemnified against possible depression. Now they complained, and said they had a right, merely because they were not allowed the 13 per cent. bonus they had carved out for themselves. He trusted this explanation would set his conduct in a fair light.

Sir J. Newport

expressed himself extremely happy to hear the right hon. gent. give so truly satisfactory an account of this transaction. He had heard of the rumours that had been alluded to, but could not believe them, and it gave him the greatest pleasure to hear them so completely done away. He highly approved the loan having been made in England in preference to Ireland, because it could not fail to be eventually truly advantageous to that part of the empire. In a poor country like Ireland the great object should always be to bring capital into it. Here would, therefore, be nearly 2 millions of capital sent thither, and that Irish capital, which, if taken as a loan, would be locked up for that purpose, might now be much more beneficially employed by being vested in trade, in the promoting and encouraging manufactures, in the improvement of agriculture, and in many other modes which that part of the kingdom is deficient in at present, and to render which most flourishing and prosperous, capital is only wanted. He allowed, there were some things attending this mode of raising money by loans, which he did not altogether approve, such as being connected with a sinking fund, and other inconveniences; but it was but fair and right to consider every matter of this kind in all its bearings, and to put up with the bitters, for the sake of enjoying the sweets. Upon the whole, he thought the right hon. gent. had conducted the business in a manner highly creditable to himself, and very advantageously to the country, and it was with infinite satisfaction he gave his approbation to it. The resolutions were then read and agreed to; the house resumed, and the report ordered to be received on Monday.—Adjourned.