HC Deb 27 June 1815 vol 31 cc1007-9

The Report of the Select Committee on the Public Income and Expenditure of Ireland having been entered as read,

Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald

said, that as he did not apprehend the motion he should have the honour of submitting to the House would meet with any opposition, it would not be necessary for him to enter into any detailed observations upon the subject. The House was aware that a committee had been appointed this session, similar to that which had been appointed on a former session, to inquire into the state of the finances of Ireland; that committee, after very mature deliberation, made a Report, which, in consequence of the very voluminous Appendix which was subjoined to it, could not be printed and delivered to the members before this day; he should therefore deem it unfair to enter into any discussion upon the subject now, even if he did not intend to submit the motion with which he should have the honour of concluding. After examining into the state of the finances of Ireland, the committee came to a resolution, which they considered themselves competent to do, under the Act of Union, of recommending a consolidation of the Exchequers of the two countries. He was aware that there prevailed in the committee a difference of opinion upon the construction of the 7th article of the Union, and if the question were now to be discussed, be should feel it necessary to justify the principles upon which the committee had proceeded; but as that was not the case, he should abstain from offering any arguments upon the subject; at the same time the House would feel that it was right to mark its sense of the importance of the subject, by coming to a resolution to take the Report into consideration early in the next session. There were many reasons, even if he were speaking at an earlier period of the session, why the House should postpone the consideration to the next session. The object of the proposition was to alter the whole financial state of Ireland, and it was therefore highly necessary that the public of that country should be fully apprized of the extent of the measure, and of the manner in which it would affect them, before it was definitively adopted. He, should therefore not trouble the House any longer, except to read the last paragraph of the Report, which recommended the consolidation of the two Exchequers. Mr. Fitzgerald having read the paragraph, concluded with moving, "That this House will, at an early period in the next session of parliament, take into consideration the said Report,"

Mr. Bankes

said, he should follow the example of moderation which the right hon. gentleman had set to him, and abstain from entering into the discussion at present. In all that he had said of the importance and magnitude of the subject he fully concurred: he concurred, too, in the propriety of deferring the consideration until the next session. He was one of those who differed from the right hon. gentleman and from the majority of the committee, in opinion respecting the constitution of the 7th Article of the Act of Union. He thought they had taken an erroneous view of the whole question. He did not deny, however, that many good results might follow from the adoption of the recommendation of the committee, and from the proposed union of the two exchequers. He could not avoid taking this opportunity of doing justice to the abilities of the right hon. gentleman. Whatever course might be taken, be should regret any measure which should deprive the country of the right hon. gentleman's services; he had often differed from him, but he had at all times been sensible of the great talents and knowledge which he possessed, of the candour which he had upon all occasions shown, and of the zeal, the fidelity, and distinguished ability with which he had discharged all his public duties. He had adopted the financial system which he found acted on by others; if in his (Mr. Bankes) opinion he had followed it too long, he had, on the other hand, showed energy and great ability in his efforts to ameliorate the financial state of Ireland. If these were faults, they were the faults of those who had preceded the right hon. gentleman; the merits of improvement were all his own.

The Resolution was agreed to.