HC Deb 07 May 1806 vol 7 cc35-50
Sir John Newport

moved, that the house should resolve itself into a committee of Ways and Means, and that the several Accounts presented, relative to the Revenue of Ireland, should be referred to the said Committee. The house having resolved itself into the said committee, the hon. baronet said, that if in attempting to lay before the committee the statement of the Revenue of Ireland, he was possessed of the abilities and eloquence of his noble friend near him (lord H. Petty), he should not feel at all embarrassed at the task he had to perform, because he should, in that case, feel a confidence in his own powers, and by a luminous and perspicuous arrangement of the subject he had to state, arrest and engage the attention of the committee; but as he was not possessed of those powers, he could only promise to lay before the committee, in simple and unadorned language, the Supplies and Ways and Means for the service of Ireland for the present year. Although in some respect he could not congratulate the committee on the state of Ireland, yet he was bound to attribute the deficiency which existed in the revenue of that country to the want of arrangement which prevailed in the collection of its revenues. It must be the wish, as it certainly was the duty, of the government of Ireland, to adopt as soon as possible the same excellent mode and plan for the collection of the revenues that existed in this country. He felt, however, greet satisfaction in stating, that in spite of many obstructions which the trade of Ireland had experienced, and still experienced, that country displayed powers of energy and resource which, under regular and proper management, must render it a source of strength, instead of tending, as he was afraid it did in some instances, to the weakness of the empire. The exports of Ireland amounted last year to above 5,200,000l. officil value, that is above 30,000l. more than the preceding year. The exports of linen had also increased last year. It was 5,500,000 yards and the Import of Flaxseed 1677 hogsheads. In fact, the Exports of Ireland were greater last year than any year since 1792. Another proof of the increased state of the Exports of Ireland might be drawn from the state of the course of exchange, which without any extraneous assistance, had been lower, and more fixed, for the last four months than it had been for several years. But the terms of the Loan lately contracted in Ireland afforded a still stronger proof of the growing prosperity of that country, and of the increased confidence of the people in the Go- vernment. It certainly was a most flattering circumstance that the Loan negotiated in Ireland should be on more favourable terms than the Loan negotiated in this country, and he believed that no Loan had been contracted on such favourable terms since the year 1790. In the Loan agreed for in Ireland the 3½ per cent. stock was taken at 71l. 19s. and it was observable, that on the 19th of April, before the terms were sent over from this country, that stock was at 71l. and two days before the Loan was negotiated, that is on the last day that the stocks were open before the contract was made, they were at 71; so that in fact the Loan was taken at 19s. per cent. more than the market price of the stocks on that day; and there was this further advantage, that the Loan being contracted in the 3½ per cents. there was not so much stock created as if it had been in the 3 per cents. He was sure that the committee would consider that as a good criterion of the growing prosperity of that country, and of confidence in the government. In making this Loan, it was singular that two lists should, without any previous communication whatever, contain exactly the same offer for the Loan. The third list being 4l. higher, the two parties who had offered the same terms agreed to take the Loan between them.—He would now proceed to state to the Committee the Supply for Ireland for the service of the present year. The joint Charge upon Ireland being two 17ths of the general expenditure of the Empire amounted in Irish money to 5,733,988l. the separate Charge as it stood on the 5th Jan. 1806. for interest of the Debt, &c. &c. was 2,922,346l. He begged leave to state, that he should not have found it necessary to propose to the Committee so large a sum by way of Loan if the taxes imposed last year had in their produce fulfilled the flattering expectations which had been held out; but that certainly had not been the case, and he could in many respects account for the deficiency which had taken place. The charge on the Loan for the present year was 313,366l. including the discount and management. This was the whole of the Supply, and amounted in Irish Money to 8,975,194l. The Ways and Means by which he proposed to raise these supplies were as follows: there remained of the Loan last year in England 192,339l. which had not been drawn for, which of course was applicable to the service of the present year. There was a sum of 140,000l. advanced in the Autumn of 1805, by the Treasury of Ireland, for Ordnance Services, and since repaid, One third of the three Lotte- ries for the service of the year, 205,000l. Two seventeenths of the Prizes which His Majesty had been graciously pleased to grant to relieve the burthens of the People 127,450l. There was due from G. Britain to Ireland a sum of 50,000l. for seamen's wages. The Loan for the service of Ireland, contracted for in England, amounted to two millions British, or in Irish money to 2,166,000l. The Loan negotiated in Ireland was two millions, and he proposed to raise the sum of 500,000l. by Treasury bills. The Revenues of Ireland for the present year, including the new duties which he should propose, he estimated at 3,800,000l. These various articles of Ways and Means amounted altogether to 9,181,455l. The Supply as he had before stated, was 8,975,194l. consequently there was a surplus of the Ways and Means above the supply of 206,261l. He had taken the Revenues for the year at 3,800,000l. and he would state shortly to the committee his reason for so doing: the produce of the Revenue up to the 5th of January was 3,354,000l. and he had reason to apprehend there remained about 160,000l. not collected; and these two sums, added to the duties which he proposed to lay on for the present year amounted to rather more than 3,800,000l. In proposing the new Taxes to defray the interest of the Loan, he had endeavoured to press as lightly as possible upon the necessaries of life, or upon those articles which might press severely upon the lower order of the people. The first tax which he had to propose was an augmentation of the duty on Sugar, of 3s. 6d. per cwt. This duty was the same in every respect as that laid on G. Britain in the last and in the present session, but was to be consolidated the present Irish Duties. He estimated the amount at 60,000l. He also proposed that the duty upon East India Sugar should be carried rateably, as it was at present upon the brown sugars. The next tax he had to propose was one which he should have been glad to have avoided if possible; but when it was considered how small a duty the article bore at present, and that there was an additional duty laid on it this session in G. Britain, he trusted the Committee would concur with him, that a small additional duty was unobjectionable. The article to which he alluded was Iron. The duty he meant to propose was 2s. per cwt. which was not above half a farthing a pound. It was to attach upon Russian and other Foreign Iron, slit, hammered into rods, or drawn less than three quarters of an inch square. The com- mittee would perceive that British Iron was left free, and as that was convertible to all agricultural purposes, he hoped that the present duty would not be severely felt; he estimated its produce at 15,000l. The next article upon which he had to propose a duty was Tea. This duty was intended principally for the purpose of regulation, and to prevent evasion. The duty he proposed to lay on was 20 per cent. upon tea under 2s. 6d. per pound, and he estimated the produce at about 2000l. He came next to the article of Stamps. He meant to propose an entirely new modification of the Stamp Duties of Ireland, and he should propose to repeal the existing Stamp Duties, for the purpose of substituting a new act, in which all the duties should be brought into one point of view. He expected as much from the effect of the new regulations which he meant to adopt as from the increase of the duties. This great object was to prevent the evasions which were constantly practised. The stamp duties were in a considerable degree affected by attornies, who, in cases where the proceedings did not go beyond the second stage, did not issue the process upon stamps, though they were charged to the client. Now it certainly was right that whatever was paid by the public should be received by the treasury. There were several other regulations to provent evasions and frauds. The other stamp duties were upon leases, upon bonds (which for small sums was very inconsiderable, and increased asccording to the amount of the bond; but in all cases it was considerably lower than the duty on bonds in G Britain), deeds of sale, awards, agreements, and receipts for legacies. A small duty of 10 per cent. was proposed upon legacies to children, where the sum exceeded 500l.; and upon the licences for Attornies who had not practised three years 1l.; and 2l. upon those who had practised longer. The various regulations and additions to the Stamp Duties, exclusive of the duties upon entries, he estimated at 80,000l. The duties upon entries inwards, beginning with Duties amounting to 5l. and carrying them on proportionably, and doubling them on bills of view and store, except on coffee and tobacco, he estimated at 20,000l.—He now came to the subject of the Distilleries. He had to state to the house, that previous to the last Session, stills of 200 gallons might legally be worked, and during that time, in order to encourage large stills, which could not so easily defraud the revenue, because they could be more easily watched, a bounty was allowed on stills of 500 gallons of 8l. and 16l. on those of a 1000 gallons. But in the last Session all stills under 500 gallons were prohibited, but the bounty upon 500 gallon stills continued; so that, in fact, there was a bounty given to the distiller for working a still which the law directed him to work in. The consequence of this was, a considerable reduction of the revenue, for the distillers reduced their stills to that standard which was more advantageous to them because, from the facility of working them more liquor could be distilled in two stills of 500 gallons than in one of 1000 gallons. This bounty, therefore, acted in a direct inverse ratio to the original intention of government, because it encouraged the small stills. He therefore proposed to take away the bounty upon stills of 500 gallons, to reduce the bounty upon stills of 1000 gallons one half, viz. to 8l. and to grant the bounty of 16 per cent. upon stills of 1500 gallons and upwards. This alteration he calculated would produce 70,000l.—The next proposition he had to make was to put the malt houses in the country on the same footing as those in Dublin and other towns. This regulation he calculated would produce 60,000l. He did not mean to propose any additional duty upon Hats, Auctions, or Paper, but merely some regulations in the collection of the present duty, which would produce about 5000l. There was a small sum paid to Captains of Ships, as portage, which the commissioners of Inquiry recommended to be abolished, because almost all of it went into the pockets of the agents of the Captains. This amounted to 5000l. These were the several duties and regulations which he meant to propose for raising the necessary supplies for the service of the year. The amount of them acccording to the estimate he had made would be 317,800l. from this sum was to be deducted on account of old Duties given, 10,145l., viz. for wool licences 145l. and for the 3s. house tax 10,000l. There would then remain 307,655l. It might be asked why he had not looked to a fund which he pointed out last year as a resource; he meant the balances of deceased and dismissed collectors. He could assure the committee that from the time he came into office he had not been inattentive to this subject, and he was sorry to say, that in the last year a very considerable augmentation of those balances had taken place. In 1804 they amounted to 188,000l. and last year they were 220,000l. which was an in[...] of 82,000l. besides 19,000l. balance of former years, which had been collected; so that the real increase was above 50,0001. If they were to continue to increase at the same rate, they would absorb the hole revenue. He had repeatedly stated in that house, his opinion, that a considerable portion of this money was recoverable, and he now felt himself warranted, after a correct examination, in repeating that assertion. Upon investigating, which he had done minutely, the returns made by the solicitors employed for the recovery of these balances, he found that proper means had not been resorted to to enforce payment; that in many instances insufficient sureties had been resorted to where good ones existed; that men of opulence, who were able to pay had been let to pass free, while poor men had been sued. He had felt it his duty to state his opinion upon every article of these returns, and he had sent over directions for the adoption of effectual measures fur enforcing payment; and he certainly would persevere in his attempts to accomplish that object. He was aware that many of these balances were not recoverable; some were due almost a century; but he was convinced, as he had already stated, that a considerable part of them were recoverable—not less, in his opinion, than 130,0001. If it were due to him, he was sure he could recover it; and with the facilities which the law afforded for collecting the debts of the crown, there could be very little doubt upon the subject. He really should not have felt warranted in asking fur new taxes if he had not been able to state the means which had been used for recovering this money due to the public, and he sincerely hoped that the committee would continue their inquiries every year, and that they would take care that every part of these balances which were recoverable might be recovered, and the remainder done away for ever. There was upon the table a report from the commissioners of Imprest Accounts with respect to the Linen Board; it stated a deficiency to a considerable amount. It was not intended that this report should remain a dead letter. Directions had been given to the Law officers of the Crown to take the most active steps for the recovery of the money, and if any delinquency should occur, that the necessary measures should be taken for punishing it; because it appeared to him that where any delinquency, existed, the bare recovery of the money was not sufficient: for if persons could keep public money for many years, and then when the circumstance, was found out, merely be called upon to pay the money, it would really be giving something like encouragement to such conduct, There was another sum which he hoped to have looked to this year, in aid of the Ways and Means of Ireland, and that was the balance due to Ireland upon the joint contribution, amounting to 860,000l. But upon examining the accounts for last year, it appeared that the excess of payment on the part of G. Britain was 560,000l. and the remaining 300,000l. was absorbed by the money advanced by England for the payment of the Lottery Prizes. He would not trespass any longer upon the time of the Committee. and he begged to return his thanks for the attention with which he had been favoured. He then concluded with moving the first Resolution.

Mr. Foster

said it might naturally be expected that he should make some observations on a subject with which he was lately so much connected, and even alluded to in the speech of the rt. hon. baronet. He expressed great satisfaction in hearing that the Finances and Trade of Ireland were now in the flourishing situation represented; but he felt regret, at the same time, in having to state, that till within these four years the exports had produced more, and therefore left the balance against us. If however, it was true, that since the year 1792 the exports were never greater than in the last year, and that the imports were also increasing, they would be likely soon to bring back the balance in our favour. The rt. hon. baronet said, that his intentions were to raise the whole quota of Ireland, for the present year by Loan, without any War Tax, or means of raising any considerable portion of the Supply within the year. If so, there was an alarming prospect of the growing debt, which he feared the country would be unable to support. In the year 1797 the Debt of Ireland Was 7,000,000l. and, proceeding in the same ratio of increase, in the year 1807 it would be 64,000,000l.; the disparity would be very striking, if that increase were compared with what took place in the Debt of England since the Union. When that event occurred the debt of Ireland was only 32 millions, and this year it was nearly double. The Debt of G. Britain was 460 millions, and was now no more than 548 millions, which the house must perceive not to be by any means in the proportion of seven and a half to one, which was the quota settled for the contribution of Ireland. It was therefore the interest of G. Britain, as well as Ireland, to take the best means of keeping down the debt of Ireland; as when the period equalizing the joint contribution should arrive, that debt would fall upon the finances of this country. This he only stated at present, for the purpose of shewing the necessity of raising a great portion of the expence by taxes within the year. In the present year, two millions were raised for the service of Ireland, by loan, but it must be remembered, that one half of it was supplied by agents going over there from British houses, and purchasing from the funds of this country. He congratulated the rt. hon. bart. on the circumstance of the Irish Loan being raised this year at 7s. per cent less than the Loan for England, which was certainly a symptom of the growing prosperity of the country. As one means of continuing and increasing that prosperity he would recommend to the ministers of that country, to take measures for equalising the exchange. Much, however, was done by the conduct of the late Board of Treasury, which left it on the 5th of Jan. last, without one farthing of unfunded debt or Treasury bills unpaid; a circumstance he believed which scarcely ever happened in that country before. The bad consequence complained of, as arising from the too great issue of paper, was in some measure remedied by the conduct of the late Treasury in sending over silver tokens. The quantity so transmitted was to the value of 250,000l. in silver, and the remainder in copper, making in the whole 359,439l. But even that was far from being sufficient for the wants of the country, which would at least require a circulation of silver to the amount of one million. He had already stated, that when the members of the late Board left the Treasury, not a farthing remained due to any one person on the establishment; nor did their successors find any arrears whatever or any balance due. In the year before that, there was in the hands of the Receiver General a balance of 350,000l. all of which they recovered, except about the sum of 11,000l. It was true, however, that they also took off all the emoluments before attached to the office of Teller of the Exchequer, for which it was their intention to make a compensation, after having recovered from him a balance of 150,000l. Such were a part of the practical effects of the new regulations he introduced into different departments, but they were nipped in the bud about time close of the last session, notwithstanding that the most material of them were supported by the Commissioners of the Customs. By the estimate made in last June twelvemonth, he cal- culated increase in the Revenue of 800,000l. to which he expected to add 400,000l. by the duties on distilleries and malt; but as these articles did not rise in price, the last calculation was not realized. He then entered at large into a justification of the measures adopted in his Administration, and into the produce of the various taxes in different periods; from which he inferred, that in the last year and a half there was an increase of 1½ million which would Shew that the resources of the Irish Revenue were not misconceived by him. The rt. hon. baronet had stated, that there was of the produce of last year, 240,000l. remaining in the hands of the Collectors, which, however, would be made good; but he might also have added, that there was a great defalcation in the collection itself. For instance, the entries on coachmakers and braziers were not collected at all, and the smuggling of tobacco in Ireland was too notorious for him to be under the necessity of proving it. The wine duty also, which in 1800 produced a revenue of 200,000l. was in a great measure lost to the public, by allowing merchants to place the cargoes in warehouses, by which they evaded the payment of the duties, at the same time that they charged them to their customers. In proof of this, he said that 20 or 30 ton of wine were, in one day, taken openly from the quays of Dublin, without, paying any duty. Great losses were also sustained in the custom duties, by the frauds committed in the importation of deals, bark, and various other articles. The article of wrought iron would require the greatest vigilance and attention. In the last year, the duties amounted only to 53,800l. which was 38,000l. less than what should be expected from the returns of the quantity exported to Ireland from G. Britain only; so that the mistake or fraud must have occurred either in the Customs of G. Britain or Ireland. He then referred to the new taxes proposed this evening, many of which he thought would not prove very productive. One of these was the additional duty of three shillings a cwt. on sugar. That article had been lately subjected to a high duty, which brought 130,000l. more than the sum at which it was estimated; but, as the country was now overstocked with it, unless it should rise in price, the tax would not produce a farthing. The estimate made, that the new duty on tea, under 2s. 6d which had a great consumption in Ireland, would produce only 2000l. he thought must be a mistake, as the duty on the same article, last year, produced no less a sum than 453,000l. and on the same scale, this additional tax ought to yield 70,00l. As to the tax upon printing presses, he did not well understand what it meant. There was no licence required for any other presses but those paper-stainers; which had no relation to any other sort of printing. As to the balances in the hands of the different Collectors, which were reduced front 445,000l. to 200,000l he had only to say, that no pains were taken to enforce the recovery of balances from the dismissed and deceased collectors; and he thought the rt. hon. baronet would find himself deceived if he relied on the recovery of their balances as a very productive fund. He then stated the nature of the improvements he intended to propose had he remained in office. The first was to relieve the Woollen Trade from the difficulties under which it laboured. In the second place, if the two countries were to be put in all other respects upon the footing of equality it should extend to the interest of money, which in England was at 51. and in Ireland at 61. per cent. and this must be an eternal obstacle to their possessing an equality of trade. His next object would be to equalize the currency of both countries, and give to Irish Merchants the same advantages of warehousing and bonding their goods, in the same manner as was dune in England; with these and some other regulations, he should hope the country would prosper, if it were not kept back by a yearly increase of the Public Debt.

Mr. Corry

said, the rt. hon. gent. seemed to have two distinct objects in his speech; first, to criticise on the proposals of the rt. hon. baronet; and secondly, to give himself a sort of posthumous Budget of what he meant to propose, had he remained in office. If he thought there should be an assimilation of the currency of both countries, why did he not bring it forward while he remained in an official situation? Why had he not done the same with regard to the equalization of interest? The fact was, that he knew it to be impossible, though perhaps he might have made some experiment of the kind, if he had not been checked and controuled by the luminous genius of that great man (Mr. Pitt) whose loss he, in common with the majority of the country, must for ever deplore. It was very desirable that the house should not be led into any delusion on these subjects. It was not the preferable security, but the greater interest to be obtained in Ireland, which conveyed to it a considerable portion of the capital of this country: and a bill to equalize the interest, in which the rt. hon. gent. (Mr. Foster) was very active, had some years ago been rejected, for these reasons, by the parliament of Ireland. The rt. hon. gent. also recommended to raise a great part of the Supplies within the year; but he had made the experiment himself, and the produce of his own taxes gave no encouragement to such a proceeding. If he thought it did, why did he not do so himself in the last year? He had also said, that it was an unprecedented thing to leave the Treasury Board of Ireland without one shilling of unfunded debt, any Exchequer bills, or any salaries unpaid. This was rather strange, as, when he succeeded him (Mr. Corry) in office, he found the Treasury in exactly the same situation; and one of his first measures was to revive 800,000l. of Exchequer bills which he (Mr. Corry) had paid off. The rt. hon. gent complained of too much circulation of paper, but his Bill of last year had inundated Ireland with paper currency. It made very little difference whether the Loan was made in England or Ireland, as the stock must come to the Irish market at any rate, and the stockholder in England receive his interest from Ireland. It was also an error to say, that the Collectors' balances were 200,000l. when in fact, they were no more than 41,000l. He then said, that he was willing to confine himself to these statements for the present, but should enter more at large into the subject if he should ever hear Mr. Foster repeat any similar expressions.

Mr. Foster

replied, that he did not, when in office, propose to equalise the coin or the interest of money, because the circumstances of the moment rendered it impracticable, there being very little gold or silver in the country.

Mr. Parnell

said that both the rt. hon. gent. who had spoken last having introduced the question of the propriety of providing so great a proportion of the supplies of the year by loan, he would take this opportunity of stating his decided objections to that system. He did not by any means intend to complain of the plan which had been proposed for this year by the rt. hon. bart. because he considered his appointment to office at so recent a period did not afford him an opportunity to depart from this system, even if he felt similar objections to it, as he did, or that it would be prudent in him to depart hastily from a system that had so long been acted upon. He said the objections he entertain- ed arose from finding that in 1792, the expenditure of Ireland was only 1,735,000l. and in 1805, 8,713,000l.—that in 1792, the debt of Ireland was 2,422,000l. and in 1805, 58,344,000l.—The revenue of Ireland in the year 1792, was 1,103,000l. and in 1805, 3,364,000l. He said that this disparity between the revenue and expenditure was truly alarming; that we were expending at the rate of 9 millions per ann. with a revenue of 3 millions; the whole of which, a few thousand pounds only excepted, was mortgaged for the payment of the interest on the debt. But this was not the only evil, because this great disparity existed notwithstanding new taxes had been annually imposed. The revenue of the last year exceeded the revenue of 1802 by only 50,000l. notwithstanding new taxes were imposed in 1803, estimated to produce 380,000l. per ann. other taxes in 1804, estimated to produce 1,253,000l., and further taxes in 1805, estimated to produce 255,000l. That is, new taxes had been proposed since 1802, estimated to produce an additional revenue of near 1,888,000l. instead of which the revenue had been increased only by 50,000l. The committee, he said, would easily perceive that this defalcation must be owing either to a deficiency in the resources of Ireland to meet these additional taxes, or to great mismanagement in the collection of them. He would attempt to shew that the resources of the country were fully adequate to bear them, and therefore that the evil wholly originated in the mismanagement of the collection. In 1783, the official value of the imports and exports were 5,000,000l. in 1802, 11,000,000l.—and the real value of them 18 millions, eight of which were the value of the imports.—On an average of seven years, to 5th Jan. 1803, the increase in the imports of tea was one million lbs.; of tobacco, 3 million pounds: of woollen cloth, 100,000 yards; of sugar near 100,000 cwts. If he wished to avail himself of the argument of a favourable balance of trade he could in this instance do so; but he thought this argument very inapplicable to Ireland because of the great amount of remittances that must take place from Ireland wholly distinct from the ordinary remittances of trade. He thought the increase of the imports the best proof of the increased wealth of Ireland, because they are the consequences of wealth, and cannot take place without the previous existence and operation of it. But besides the proof of the increased wealth of Ireland which was to be collected from the state of its trade, there were other strong indications of its prosperity. These were the advance of rents, the number of buildings erecting throughout the country, and the diminution in the export of the materials of manufactures, and of provisions. He thought the committee would agree with him, taking into one view the concurring circumstances of an advance in rents and a diminution in the export of food, that they are certain demonstrations of the improved power of the country to consume that food, which whilst the country was in a state of poverty, was sent abroad to find a market. If then it was true that the wealth of Ireland had increased, that its trade, the advance in rents, its buildings, and the diminution of the export of raw materials and provisions proved this fact, it must also be true that the rt. hon. gent. who proposed the additional taxes and estimated their produce at 1,800,000l. were authorized to do so, so far as the resources of the country were in question. But what, then, must be the conclusion? That the failure of them to produce must be wholly owing to mismanagement in the collection of the revenue of Ireland. With such proof before the committee of this fact, with the evidence contained in the report of the Commissioners of Enquiry, and with that also of the rt. hon. gent. opposite (Mr. Foster) of the great frauds and abuses that have taken place, he hoped, that the attention of government, and of all those boards entrusted with the management of the revenue would be immediately exerted to produce reform. He said that the continuance of the system must lead to the bankruptcy of Ireland, and to make the expences of Ireland a charge upon the English exchequer. That if they went on borrowing for 15 years to come, that is, to the period when Ireland by the Union will be liable to pay equal taxes with England, at the same rate that has taken place in the five years since the Union; the debt in five years more will be 90 millions; in ten, 120; and in 15, 150 millions: the interest of which it will be quite impossible for the people of Ireland to pay. He did not however, mean, that a change in the system should be rashly and hastily adopted, for it would be to no purpose to impose new taxes unless the collection of those at present existing was made effective. It would be with the house to decide, whether it would take care in time of the revenues in Ireland, which may here after be of advantage fo England, or by neg- lecting them, to make the expences of Ireland a new burthen on the people of England.

Mr. Rose

said, that the failures in Ireland had been considerable, and he heard with pleasure of the means embraced for preventing their recurrence. The policy of raising the supplies for the public service within the year for which they were applicable, he thought most salutary and sound, but the right hon. baronet had not proposed to raise more than 6 or 700,000l. more than the interest of the debt, and therefore the civil list of Ireland, as well as the navy and army, remained unprovided for. The equalization of the currency between this country and Ireland was a very desirable measure, and one which was not now first agitated; but it had been found that many preliminary steps were necessary to its accomplishment.

Mr. Lee

thought, that, considering the great debt, and the extent of the taxation, the specie of Ireland was not sufficient for all the purposes of that country. There was no solid ground for taking off the restriction on the Bank of Ireland so long as it continued in England. If, whilst the exchange continued at 11 against Ireland, the restriction were to be removed, there would not, in a short time, be a guinea left in that country; and, as long as it continued, he thought the small paper currency a necessary succedaneum for the common purposes of life, in the markets, and he did not see how it could be said to raise the course of exchange against Ireland. Some time ago the exchange was at 17; but now the issue of paper had very much increased, it was only 11. The English and Irish guinea and shilling were of the same value; it was in half-pence that there was a deficiency; and by sending over a larger copper coin, the object of equalizing the currency would be answered.—To lower the interest of money in Ireland would be a most desirable thing; and the great difficulty alledged to exist in effecting it, might be removed, by providing, that all bargains to be made should be only at an interest of 5 per cent. whilst those existing previous to the passing of an act, might be legalised, until the stipulated period of their expiration. The hon. member thought that the barriers against raising the supplies in Ireland within the year were insurmountable, as the money was so necessary to the trades and manufactures; and thought that, considering the loan of four millions, the taxes proposed by the rt. hon. baronet were more mild and moderate than could have been expected.

Sir J. Newport

said, that heavy taxes could not be imposed upon Ireland at the time a supply was necessary, consistently with any wise or efficient principle. This had been strictly exemplified in the last additional tax upon wine, which had operated so as to occasion a defalcation in the last year of 74,000l. from a revenue of about 320,000l. which it had yielded the year before. This would strongly prove how delicate and careful the legislature ought to be not to push the taxation to an extent which would induce the consumer to relinquish the use of the article entirely. Not only the reduced consumption of wine, but the increased number of absentees from Ireland, were attributed to excess of taxation. At present, he was happy to state, that it was not necessary to resort to any great increase of imposts on that country, as at the end of the last year there remained 800,000l. due to Ireland, not drawn over from England, and which would more than cover the outstanding treasury bills; and although he meant now to give the house a power of calling for 500,000l. he had reason to believe that not more than half would be wanted.

Mr. Grattan

could not entertain the idea of making Ireland find all her resources in the year for which they were to be applied. Two years ago this principle had been extended to the infliction of an additional 120,000l. a-year; and if, every second year, the minister were to come to Parliament with a new system of taxation, it would alarm the people of Ireland, and the measures would, in all probability, fail of their object. However the prosperity of the country might have increased, its wealth was not such as to encourage new taxes.—The increased wealth arose in part from the issue of paper; but every miller was a banker, and he feared it was a false capital: the aggregate opulence of the country was, however, considerably increasing.—The rt. hon. bart. was certainly right not to precipitate Ireland into the system suggested; but it was a discussion not called for now, and he (Mr. G.) considered it wrong to introduce any question on Irish affairs extraneous to that before the house; he would, therefore, at once give his assent to the motion.

Mr. Foster

strongly objected to the proposed tax upon iron imported into Ireland, as going directly to contravene a principle of the union, by imposing a tax upon a raw material of Irish manufacture, without the possibility of any countervailing, duty, either by drawback upon the export of manufactured iron, because it would be impossible to discriminate between the taxed and untaxed iron in that case, or without increasing the protecting duty of ten per cent. on British manufactured iron imported, in favour of Irish, to 15 per cent. which would be equally objectionable.—In this argument he was supported by Mr. Rose and lord Castlereagh, and answered by lord H. Petty, sir J. Newport, and Mr. Vansittart. At length the several resolutions were carried in the affirmative, and ordered to be reported the the next day.

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