§ Mr. Hume,
in rising to submit to the notice of the House a question so important and so complicated as the present state of the country, claimed a very large share of their indulgence. On former occasions the subject had been introduced by individuals whose talents and consequence entitled them to attention; but, as he possessed no such claim, he would crave the favour of their patient indulgence while he laid before them those statements of which he had given notice more than two months ago. On other occasions the object of such motions had been, to remove, by the consequences of the votes of the House, those ministers whose conduct was impugned in the Resolutions they were called upon to adopt. He 842 disclaimed, however, any such intention. The resolutions were worded in the manner he thought fittest to convey the full sense of his view of the subjects they embraced; but, as far as his majesty's present ministers were concerned, although he regretted they did not go to the full extent of what he considered necessary with regard to the expenditure of the country, yet he had no desire to procure their removal from office. On the contrary, he gave them credit for the liberal course of policy which had lately distinguished their administration; and had, he believed, on every occasion, save and except those connected with the public expenditure, given them, this session, his earnest support. He had, however, for a considerable time, taken a view of the country very different from that which seemed to guide their policy, and which induced them to continue imposing a rate of taxation much greater than our resources enabled us to bear. His desire now was, to remove from their minds the erroneous impressions they had taken up on that subject, and to show clearly to them, and to the House, that the course which they were pursuing would, if not checked, bring ruin and misery upon every class in the kingdom.
By the courtesy of the Treasury, he had been enabled to gain access to the documents which were necessary to illustrate his argument; and, the result of his inquiries being printed, could be had at the Vote Office, by any individual who felt himself interested in the subject. It was his purpose to go into an inquiry on every thing contained in these statements, except that part relating to the Sinking Fund, which he considered so important, and so intricate, that he proposed to leave it for future investigation, when it could be taken without being mixed up with any extraneous matter. His object would be, to show what would convince the House that the rate of taxation was attended with such injurious consequences, and produced laws so unequal, as regarded commerce and agriculture, that it was impossible those engaged in them could enjoy prosperity, or go on flourishing together. There was, in fact, something wrong in the system; and, although some said they owed their misfortunes to the regulations upon the currency; some to the state of the Corn-laws; and some to the measures adopted with respect to commerce, he hoped, without denying 843 that there might be some truth in these assertions, to satisfy the House, that their distresses proceeded from errors in all these subjects taken together.
For the first part, the currency—he could say boldly, that ministers had done very great mischief in their late measures with respect to the system of banking. They had, in all their regulations, confounded the principles of currency with the principles of banking, and been led by that mistake to do infinite mischief. In order to show the course which, in his opinion, ought to be adopted, he would begin by pointing out what was the cause of the evils; and they would then better understand the remedy. He should, at the same time, he hoped, remove the impression which prevailed upon the subject of the taxation under which they now suffered, and which was greater than had ever been borne by this or any other nation, at any period of history.
He would begin by taking, for the illustration of his subject, the period from the 1st of January, 1817, to the present time; although the chancellor of the Exchequer had, for what good reason he knew not, drawn his comparisons first from January, 1816, to 1823; and at another time, from 1819 to the present period. He could not, he repeated, understand why this was; but he proposed to take his comparisons from the 1st of January, 1817, because that was the period when the Exchequer accounts were freed from that obscurity which had been so long a disgrace to the country; for, when the accounts of England and Ireland were balanced together, there could be no question that it was utterly impossible for the most practised accountant to understand them. Up to the appointment of the present chancellor of the Exchequer, it seemed, indeed, as if obscurity was considered a virtue in the Exchequer; and he had no doubt that, in many cases, it was thought meritorious. He would take, therefore, as the commencement of his statements, that period at which a new and a more intelligible system was said to be introduced—the period of 1817; from which period it was said that a system of finance was to be adopted which would hold a prospect of relief to the country—a system to be understood by every person with ease, and one that would at once materially diminish the burthens which the country, through the long struggle which had gone before, had sustained, and which 844 would enable it to bear those burthens, should any great emergency require it.
The first resolution which he would submit to the House, was one negativing the assertions of the chancellor of the Exchequer on the 23rd of March, 1823, that there had been effected a reduction of 24,766,250l. in the capital of the funded debt, from the end of the war to January, 1823; and, again, that there was a further reduction of the public debt of 18,401,000l. between January, 1823, and January, 1826; making together a total reduction of 43,157,520l. in the capital of the debt since the war. After noticing a mistake which had crept into the accounts of 1816, where the amount of the interest of debt is made 31 instead of 29 millions, he proceeded to call the attention of the House to the manner in which it had been attempted to be made appear that there was a reduction of 40,000,000l. in the capital. Taking this period of nine years, he was prepared to show, from reference to documents, which would show the real state of the question, and on which he would put no construction, either favourable or unfavourable, to the particular views which he might entertain, that these documents only showed a decrease to the nominal amount of 27,327,780l. This would appear from the following statement:—In 1817, the public debt of the united kingdom, funded and unfunded, was 846,565,078l.; this total was made up of the funded debt; the amount of which was 796,200,191l., and the unfunded debt, of which the total was 50,564,787l. The total capital of the funded debt on the 5th of January, 1826, was 778,128,268l., and the total unfunded debt 41,309,030l., thereby making the total funded and unfunded debt 819,437,298l. The result would then be:
Having stated the amount of the decrease in the capital, he would next proceed to an important consideration—the reduction which had taken place in the charge of the debt. The charge of the funded debt, as it stood in 1817, was in round numbers, 27,870,000l.; and in 1826, it was 27,679,000l., and the charge of 50,564,787l. of unfunded debt, on the 5th January, 1817, estimating the English bills at 4 and the Irish bills at 5 per cent per annum, was 2,051,242l. On the 5th 845 of January, 1826, the charge on the reduced unfunded debt was 1,256,482l., making the total reduction of annual charge for funded and unfunded debt, of 2,985,757l. Of the aggregate amount of the capital of the public debt, there had been effected a reduction in the proportion of 18,072,023l. in the funded debt, and a diminution of the unfunded debt, of 9,255,757l.; and further, that of the IS million of funded debt reduced in the nine years, the capitals cancelled amounted to 694,285l. which left only 11 millions of funded, and 9 millions of unfunded debt, which left an aggregate reduction of only 20,393,495l. This appeared from the capitals cancelled, which, without reference to loans, were cancelled for life annuities; 5,730,212l. for land-tax redeemed 805,992l.; unclaimed, and purchased with unclaimed dividends, 185,452l.; 5 per cents paid off 82,840l., and by transfer of capital from England to Ireland, 129,789l., which gave the amount he had stated at 6,934,285l. The hon. member then went through an elaborate calculation, showing that by the imperial annuities, which had expired, by conversion of 5 per cents into 4 per cents, and for dividends on capitals cancelled on 3,807,113l. of 4 per cents, dissentients discharged from the unfunded, and added to the funded debt, the total reduction of the charge on the unfunded debt was only 2,242,716l. After all that had been stated respecting the great reduction which had taken place in the annual receipt of taxes, it appeared from the public account, of the nine years which he had taken as the period of his calculations, there was very little variation in the receipts of these years, as would appear from the returns of the following years:—In 1817, 57,650,589l. In 1818, 59,667,911l. In 1819, 58,680,252l. In 1820, 59,769,680l. In 1821, 60,675,075l. And so on in nearly proportionate amount to 1826, when the annual receipt of taxes amounted to 58,369,801l., making a total of 531,266,535l. The hon. member proceeded in a detail of all the expenses of these years; of the debt funded and unfunded, total expenditure of the excess of taxes, or real sinking fund, and of the nominal sinking fund, charged by the Treasury to purchase debts, pay annuities, &c. He particularly called the attention of the gentlemen connected with the landed interest, to the excess of taxation; and he could not forbear from censuring that body, and from thinking that they 846 merited to be visited with some pressure, for not having laboured more assiduously than they had done, to procure a reduction of taxes. In this excessive taxation more than in any other cause, would be found the real source of the distress of the country.
Total Debt, 5th January, 1817 £846,767,078 Do. 5th January, 1826 819,437,298 Decrease £27,327,780
The hon. member proceeded in a detailed statement of the amount of revenue derived from taxation—the amount of expenditure in the last nine years—the amount paid for civil and military establishments—the surplus of revenue applicable in each year, applicable to the reduction of the national debt, &c, the substance of which is embodied in the subjoined resolutions.
It was now acknowledged generally, that Mr. Pitt's ideas of a sinking fund were erroneous and delusive, and that it was utterly impossible for the country to derive any benefit from a sinking fund founded upon the principles of that statesman. The term sinking fund was a fine sounding word; and Dr. Price had computed, that the interest accruing upon the principle of Mr. Pitt's sinking fund, would sweep away the whole of the national debt; but those who attempted to comprehend his delusive statements would find themselves bewildered in a maze of erroneous, or at least of impracticable, principles. Mr. Pitt understood the degree of knowledge, as well as the spirit of compliance, possessed by the House of Commons, and he had talked to the House upon the sinking fund, as if he had discovered a mine of wealth, which was to relieve the country from that debt, which would otherwise overwhelm it. In 1825, he had expressed an opinion on the subject, which he now wished to support. The summary of that opinion was, that no nation could, in the nature of things, derive any pecuniary benefit by its inhabitants trading solely amongst themselves. This he laid down as a primary principle, and the necessary deduction from that principle was, that the sinking fund being a system established solely between the people of this country, and having no relation whatever to their transactions with foreigners, all ideas of the people benefit-ting by the system were fallacious and delusive. If two persons of this country exchanged their commodities—wheat for barley, for instance, it appeared obvious to him, that benefit from such a transaction could arise only to one of the parties. One individual must lose what the other 847 gained; both could not gain; and therefore the country could not derive any benefit from the transaction; it was merely a transfer of advantage from A to B, and no creation of any benefit. In this point of view, the sinking fund could not be of any benefit to the country at large. A small state, like Genoa, might buy up the securities of another country, and receive upon them larger than the market rate of interest. In this case, the state effecting the purchase would be the gainer; but, as long as the securities of a state were confined only to the market of that state, all transactions in such securities could only effect a transposition of benefits between individuals. The community, on the aggregate, could neither gain nor lose. But the charge of management upon the sinking fund was by no means trifling. He would show, that from the years 1794 to 1817, the loss to the nation by this charge, was no less than 35,000,000l. He meant to say, that the country had, within that period, sustained the heavy loss of 35,000,000l., by the public dealing with their own securities. Some gentlemen had maintained that the sinking fund tended to the support of public credit; but he would most positively deny the position. He would maintain, both upon abstract principles and upon the obvious transactions of finance, or of business in general, that public credit could be maintained solely by a surplus of money in the market. The system which had been pursued by government, from the year 1793 upwards, was, to borrow not only what was wanted, but double what was wanted, in order to buy part of the loan back again. Through the whole twenty-four years, from 1793 to 1817, it was proved, by the resolutions upon the table, that the government had borrowed, on an average rate of five per cent interest, and the whole of the money so borrowed they had redeemed at the rate of four per cent; or, in other terms, there had been an average loss for twenty-four years of one per cent on the sum of 200,000,000l. This system ought to be put an end to; not only on the ground of the loss which he had just pointed out, but in order to check the spirit of speculation, which it had engendered, and carried to the highest degree. The complicated system of this sham sinking fund had given rise to all the speculations; and the government having originated the evil, ought to be the first to suppress it.
848 In the year 1822, he had opposed the bill brought into the House, to establish what was now called the dead weight. The term was very appropriate; for never had any country a weight to sustain so disproportioned to the object for which it had been opposed. It was the disgrace of every individual who had sanctioned it; and the terms of reprobation in which it was held by all parties, reflected the highest disgrace upon its father and proposer, Mr. Vansittart. This scheme was to borrow 5,000,000l. a-year, to establish a fund, for the country to repurchase their own debt. This was the plan of the predecessor of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had, so inconsistently with this scheme, struck oft', at one blow, 20,000,000l. of the sinking fund, because he had found it a sham instead of a real sinking fund. This dead weight scheme had sunk all the superfluous revenue of the country. It was obvious that nothing but a superfluous revenue, or an excess of revenue over expenditure, could effect any real purchase of the public debt. Every penny added to the sinking fund must increase the amount of some other debt upon the country; and no relief could be given to public credit by the present system. In the year 1819, the chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuing his old confused and fallacious practice, had required a loan of 24,000,000l. The gentlemen composing the monied interest, who intended to prepare their lists according to the usual custom, made their arrangements upon the datum of this large loan. According to the common practice upon these occasions, they had prepared their money the day before, and which, of necessity, had the effect of depressing the price of the government securities in the market. Every man was obliged to sell a certain portion of such securities, in order to make his purchase, and three or four competitors had sold such immense sums, that the price of the funds was very materially diminished. It must be recollected, that the price of stock, the day before the offers are made by the contractors, forms the datum, or rate, upon which the bargain is calculated. Now, an hon. friend of his had said to the chancellor of the Exchequer in the interim, "Don't borrow this immense sum of 24,000,000l., but take part of it from your sinking fund; the result will be the same, for your sinking fund system is nothing but mere delusion, it is all 849 moon-shine." The chancellor of the Exchequer adopted the suggestion, which threw dust in the eyes of the contractors. The three lists had made the offers at about 65, but as soon as the chancellor of the Exchequer said that he no longer wanted 24,000,000l., but that 12,000,000l. would suffice, the same individuals raised their biddings to 68. Three and a half per cent was saved to the country by Mr. Vansittart's giving up his absurd and visionary scheme, and adopting the hint of his hon. friend. It made a difference to the public of no less than 3,300,000l. He need not say, that whether the chancellor of the Exchequer had proposed one or the other of these two schemes, he would equally have had the support of the House; although the one scheme was sensible, and the other was the very depth of folly. Every pound raised by loan to add to the sinking fund would have a similar effect on the finances of the country. The sinking fund, up to the year 1817, had added no less than 2,000,000l. to the debt.
He hoped he had stated enough to induce the House to give him a hearing upon a future occasion, when he should demonstrate the necessity of abolishing the sinking fund. The country could not expect to see any reduction of the debt, until it was relieved from this sinking fund. It was not until lately, and even at present, no man could make up an account from the finance returns, without essential differences and errors. He regretted the manner in which the public accounts were kept, or rather mistified. He and his hon. friend, the member for Abingdon, had sat in the committee upon this subject, and they had recommended a better mode of keeping the accounts of receipts and expenditure. France, and every other country that published its accounts to the nation, always did it in a plain, intelligible manner, England was the only exception. The chancellor of the Exchequer had resisted the recommendation of the committee; saying, that he would, ere long, have an improved plan of his own. But no such plan, had yet been brought forward. The usual doctrine was, that the system worked well, as long as nobody complained; but, on this point, complaints were numerous and reiterated, and had even proceeded from a committee of the House. Why should the government object to making up the public accounts in an intelligible form?
850 The next resolution stated that, in nine years, there was a disposable surplus revenue of 45,000,000l. exclusive of the annuities. By this calculation, he had only 20,000,000l. He asked what had become of this surplus of 23,000,000l. for he found no such deduction in the accounts, either under the head of capital or charge This remained to be explained. The product of the sinking fund was 141,000,000l. and the system had occasioned a loss of 6,000,000l. He particularly begged the attention of the House to what he was about to state. By the finance account [appendix G. No. 23 it would be found that the neat charge for the debt, funded and unfunded, 011 January 1st., 1817, was 32,000,000l. In 1817, there was no surplus revenue, and there could be no deduction of debt. But in that year 11,710,400l. Exchequer-bills had been funded, creating an additional funded capital of 15,000,000l., and an additional annual charge of 449,000l. The previous annual charge had been 468,000l.: the reduction made this difference of 19,000l. per annum. In 1819, there had been an excess of revenue of 1,173,000l., in 1818 an excess of 1,764,000l. making in both 2,937,000l.; but there being a deficiency of revenue in 1817, of 948,000l. leaving, in the balance of the three years, a surplus of 1,989,000l. equal to 2,763,000l. three per cents, the funds being at 72. The charge was, therefore, reduced to 31,504,000l. The charge on 1st January, 1826, had been only 28,596,000l. Thus, from 1816 to 1819, the result of all the operations of finance was only a deduction of charge upon the debt of 2,908,000l. By the operation of the dead-weight fund, the country had lost upwards of 2,000,000l. This had been prognosticated by a right hon. member (Mr. Tierney) at the time of its adoption. In order to give an example of the delusion of this dead-weight fund, he would only state the balance of income and expenditure. The military and naval pensions amounted to 4,507,000l. per annum, and 2,800,000l. was paid by the Treasury, to this account. At least, so the account was fabricated; but, in point of fact, the Treasury had paid to the Bank only 580,000l. So absurdly were' our accounts made up, that, year after year, the gross sums were put down, when, in fact, the country paid nothing but the balances. Thus, in the government accounts it would happen, that not 851 a single sum that they contained in the debtor and creditor sides had ever passed between debtor and creditor. This was an instance of the shameful complication which existed in the public accounts. This mode of keeping the dead-weight account had been introduced by the then chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Vansittart; and, shameful as it was, the Speaker of the House of Commons and the present chancellor of the Exchequer were the trustees. There was no account kept of the officers or pensioners; the whole was a scheme put forward by the late chancellor of the Exchequer under the pretence of its being an army and navy pension scheme, when, in fact, it was nothing more than a modification of the old system of the sinking fund. The stocks were now at about the price at which they had been when Mr. Vansittart had brought forward this now reprobated plan; and the present was a favourable opportunity for the chancellor of the Exchequer to put an end to the imposition. The Bank ought to be as anxious large rid of this disgraceful delusion as the government. So disgraceful was the whole transaction, that between the 5th April, 1823 (when the scheme commenced), and the 1st of June, 1826, there had been paid on this account, by the government, only 6,600,000l. whilst the sum set down as paid in the accounts was 20,000,000l. In 1821 he had proved to the House, that from 1792 to 1817, the nett revenue of Great Britain, exclusive of loans, amounted to 1,126,000,000l. whilst the total expenditure, within the same period, had been 1,533,000,000l. No wonder that our debt had increased. The nett balance of expenditure over receipt was 393,000,000l. Instead of borrowing the sum of 393,000,000l. to cover this deficiency, the government had borrowed 619,000,000l. The difference had been raised upon the principle of the sinking fund, and the effect had been to raise the price of the funds at the period when the government had to purchase them. Adverting to the appropriation of public money, he maintained, that all the surplus revenues of the country ought to be employed in the purchase of long annuities, and that no balances should be allowed to remain in the hands of ministers. He hoped he had succeeded in showing the House that the whole of our sinking fund system was erroneous and injurious. This country was 852 now in such a situation, that our commercial, manufacturing, and agricultural relations, required the utmost attention. Here a strange anomaly took place: while the quantity of our exports increased annually, their real value was annually decreasing; and while the price of every sort of labour was growing less, in reference to the people's means of subsistence, our national expenses were not decreasing in the same proportion. This might be seen by reference to the returns before the House; care being taken that hon. gentlemen were not misled by the mode in-which the accounts were stated. There were two columns referring to value in the returns of exports; one showing what was called the "official value, which was deduced from the quantity of goods, and the other the "declared value," which contained the amount (with reference to price) actually set upon them. Now, of thirteen of our chief articles of export, the average "official value "for the years 1814, 1815, 1816, was 36,562,367l." and the "declared value," 44,476,519l.; for the years 1823, 1824, and 1825, the average "official value" showed an increase, being 45,880,927l.; but the "declared value" what was that? Only 36,782,938l., being a diminution exceeding 25 per cent., after allowing for the difference in the value of money at the two periods. Here the hon. member went into an explanation of the difference between the declared and official value, the latter of which was a more arbitrary value. He also called the attention of the hon. member for Grampound (Mr. Robertson) to a table of the value of imports and exports, drawn up by Mr. Moreau; for that hon. member thought that the great quantity of our exports was the cause of our late embarrassments. By this table, the value of our imports from all parts of the world, except Ireland, in a certain period, was 51,000,000l. while our exports in the same time amounted to 79,000,000l. This left a difference of twenty millions; and the country was so much the richer, for so much was reproduced to it.
He would now come to his twenty-ninth proposition. The Finance committee of 1817 recommended as near an approximation as possible to the establishments of 1792; yet our taxes, in 1825, exceeded fifty-eight millions, which was treble the amount of 1792; and our civil list, naval and military establishments, 853 with the civil government expenses (exclusive of the charge for the debt) exceeded twenty-six millions, which was fourfold the expense of the same establishments in the year 1792. That due regard was not paid to the recommendations of that committee, would be made appear, by reference to the increase of pensioners, sinecurists, and country gentlemen. He considered country gentlemen not worth one farthing, in the scale of production. All those receiving pay and pensions were unproductive. He regarded only the man who guided the plough, the man who delved at the spade, him who wielded the hammer, him who threw the shuttle—these were the productive classes, and not the country gentlemen. The country was now saddled with three pensioners for the one we had in 1792. We had now three sinecurists, three idlers, for the one of 1792, while our working and productive people were scarcely able to live. This was a subject for the House to consider. This was a subject for the chancellor of the Exchequer. He would come, by and by, to that right hon. gentleman. He begged the House to attend to the recommendation of the Finance committee. He only asked to go back to the year 1792. The right hon. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the other night, in reference to the office of treasurer of the Navy, asked the House to go back to 1780. Now, he would not take them so far back. He begged their serious attention; for he was now coming to the important part. What he had hitherto addressed to the House was a necessary preamble to what he had to say. A reference to the great amount of the civil list, to the number of pensioners, sinecurists, and highly-paid placemen, to the unnecessary number and expense of the army, navy, ordnance and civil establishments, would sufficiently prove, that a due regard was not paid to the recommendations of the Finance committee of 1817. The hon. member read the names of the members of that committee, and said it was imperative on the House to demand an immediate reduction of taxes, in conformity with their recommendation; and, as the best means of relieving the country from its embarrassments. He had often before taken pains to impress this recommendation on the House; but he was met with the assertion, that a reduction of taxation had taken place to the amount of 27,000,000l. since the termi- 854 nation of the war. These assertions were delusive and fallacious; and he would prove them to be so. He would extend his computation over 1813, 1814, 1815. The money amount of taxation raised in those three years, which showed the largest receipt of any years during the war—the average amount of taxation raised in each of those years was 69,000,000l. By the reduction of the property-tax in 1816, there was a loss of 14,000,000l., and that, with other deductions, made 18,000,000l. entirely. The chancellor of the Exchequer of the period took credit for a reduction of taxation to the amount of 23,000,000l. in 1819. Now, that was a complete delusion; for the same sum of money was taken out of the pockets of the people then, but he allowed, in a better way, and he gave government credit for spreading the burthen more equally. He contended, then, that, although nominally the amount of taxes was less since the war, yet, by the change of currency, the actual amount was the same or more than in that period. Thus, in the years 1823, 1824, and 1825, there was more real money paid in taxes than in 1816, 1817, and 1818. The nett amount for the first three years was 51,000,000l., for the last 52,000,000l. taking into account the difference in the prices of gold. He had moved for returns of all monies paid to the public account by taxes or import and export duties in the year 1820. Had this paper been produced, it would have demonstrated whether or not there had been any real reduction in the burthens of the people in that year, as compared with any other during the war. It was assumed by the chancellor of the Exchequer, that a reduction of 3,000.000l. had taken place. But was this so? The highest amount of taxes paid in the years 1813–15, on the average of three years, was 69,010,227l. nominally, or in paper convertible into gold at an average of 5l. per oz., very much above the standard value of that metal, and amounting really to 53,741,714l. (gold 77s. 10½d. per oz.), whilst that of the last three years, from 1823 to 1825, was 52,430,765l. (gold 77s. 10½d. per oz.), it would appear that the real diminution of taxation was only 1,310,949l. Let these monies be tried in another way by the price of wheat, which by some had been called (though he did not agree with them) the true standard of value. On an average of the 855 years 1813–15, the annual taxes would buy in wheat 15,853,926 quarters at 80s. 9d., the average price of that period; whilst the money amount of taxes, on an average of three years, 1823–25, was equal to 17,434,546 quarters at 60s. 2d., the average price of that period. Taking, therefore, any standard, either the price of gold, the value of commodities exported abroad, or the products of industry, it would appear that in every year since 1817, this country had been paying 24 per cent more than in those years of the greatest possible taxation. He would ask, then, whether the House could be any longer at a loss to account for the present distressed condition of the community? Was it not sufficiently explained by facts which he had stated, and to which this House and the country seemed so long to have closed their eyes? Instead of 24,000,000l. of relief, said, by the minister, to have been given during that period, not only was no relief given, but an addition made to the burthens of the people. These burthens had increased one fifth, or twenty per cent more than in the highest periods of the war. This was an important and an alarming discovery. Gentlemen might now see what hopes they had of the period when the debt of this country was to be paid off; and every man in this House ought to be convinced that, instead of permitting the overgrown establishments to exist, the pruning knife should be extensively applied to them. If the House would preserve public credit, or keep their word with the public creditor, the system must of necessity be altered.
He now called attention to resolution 39, in which it was demonstrated, that the continual taxation had increased the distresses of the labouring classes, by contracting the consumption of the articles of luxury. It was of importance that the House should understand the real object ^f this resolution. A noble lord in another place, and the chancellor of the Exchequer here, had asked the continuance of taxes on the ground of the great increase which had taken place in the consumption of exciseable articles. He was unwilling to misrepresent these right hon. gentlemen, and he would therefore let the chancellor of the Exchequer speak for himself. He should premise, that he approved of the striking of averages; for he lid not wish to draw conclusions from solated facts. He was now about to 856 read, from a printed report of the chancellor of the Exchequer's speeches. In, opening his budget of 1823, the right hon. gentleman said, he held in his hand returns of the consumption of exciseable articles for the last three years, enumerating candles, soap, tobacco, &c, of all of which the consumption had greatly increased. He then asked, "is this increase no symptom of the flourishing state of the country?" &c. Be it observed, that the three years immediately preceding those taken by the right hon. gentleman were years of great depression. The next year, the right hon. gentleman, at the conclusion of his speech, invited parliament to contemplate the flourishing state of public affairs, when content and prosperity went hand in hand, and ended with an eulogium upon "blessings dispersed from the ancient portals of a constitutional monarchy." Thus was the country deluded from year to year by false statements. In 1825, the right hon. gentleman vaunted in the same way the increase of the revenue, and expressed his gratification, that the people were so easy under their burthens, inferring from the increase of the revenue the increase of the comforts of the people. But he did not then let the opportunity pass of reminding the right hon. gentleman, that his conclusions were drawn from wrong data, and that, if the people really were in the condition he described them, the grinding taxation would soon reduce them to penury and distress—a prophecy which had unhappily been but too well verified in the result. By the influence of that taxation, the labourers and their employers were now in a worse condition than ever. But, were things more desperate now than in March last, when the chancellor of the Exchequer urged the consumption of exciseable articles as a ground for increasing the taxes?—Certainly not. The right hon. gentleman then produced a list of thirty or forty exciseable articles, in all of which he asserted the consumption had increased. Now for these articles, imprimis malt. This article was said to be capable of bearing the existing duties, because, as compared with the duties of 1816, there was this year a diminution of fifty per cent. This conclusion could not be supported by facts. We complain of the addition to taxation—the chancellor of the Exchequer replies, "the consumption of the article increases—ergo, our prosperity in- 857 creases; and this is the best answer." Now, had malt increased? In appendix he had made a calculation of the consumption, by which, so far from the consumption increasing, there had been a decline in the Excise duties of forty per cent upon this article. These calculations applied only to England and Wales; for the returns as to Scotland were incomplete. On an average of ten years, the average annual consumption of malt, from 1785 to 1804 was 25,751,775; from 1805 to 1825 was 25,246,940; making an annual decrease of 504,835 bushels; or forty per cent, instead of an increase of fifty per cent, as the right hon. gentleman would make the House believe. In fact, the right hon. gentleman's calculation was made in the most unfair and uncandid way. In taking his averages, he took for one sum the year of the greatest depression, 1816, and compared it with 1S25, a year of the greatest excitement, and when a stimulus was given to public measures by the creation of artificial capital. He (Mr. H.) had formed his statements in a fairer spirit.
The next consideration was, the rates of duties in the same two periods; for his argument was, that in the ratio that you increase duties, so do you diminish consumption. He should show that, from the operation of the high duties in diminishing consumption, the aggregate amount was not so productive as a reasonable duty would have been. He had no doubt, but that if the country gentlemen could be prevailed upon to vote with him in reducing the establishments, and bringing back the duty on malt to what it was in 1784, instead of an annual consumption of 25,000,000 of bushels, it would be 40,000,000, and that the comfort and ease of all classes would be increased. But, if a comparison of the consumption of malt in 1825 (a year of great excitement) be made with some other single years during the last forty years, a greater consumption would appear in the years 1792, 1797, 1799, 1803, and 1821, than in 1825, as might be proved by this table:
This proved that there had been a decrease in the consumption of 40 per cent; 858 whereas if the consumption had kept pace with the increase of population, the annual consumption should have been 35,000,000 of bushels.
1792 28,661,374 1797 30,923,414 1799 31,751,645 1803 30,479,202 1821 28,697,057 1825 28,553,399
The next article was distilled spirits. His resolutions declared, that although it was generally believed that the stationary consumption of fermented or malt liquor arose from an increased consumption of distilled spirits, yet it appeared, that the average consumption in Great Britain, of all kinds of spirits, British and Foreign, in the five years, 1806 to 1810, was 13,059,522, gallons; and in the five years from 1820 to 1824, 12,110,281 gallons, showing an actual decrease in the eighteen years, of 949,241 gallons per annum, notwithstanding an increase in the population of that period of about 30 per cent. This would dissipate the common delusion, that the consumption of wholesome liquors had been impaired by the use of spirits. This was, indeed, shifting the disgrace from one pair of shoulders to another; but he would show, that instead of the consumption of spirits having increased, it had declined. The right hon. gentleman had assumed an increase in the consumption of this article of 53 percent: He had shown above how the right hon. gentleman was deceived. Appendix (K) contained the details of several years; and he asserted that the consumption from 1793 to 1795 was greater than the last three years, even taking into account the spirits imported from Ireland and Scotland to England. He asked, then, was this diminution in the consumption of spirits a symptom of the increase of ease and comfort among the people? The use of ardent spirits had been reprobated; and he certainly was one of those who thought that its abuse, by taking it to excess, was exceedingly pernicious; but on the other hand he was persuaded that in a cold climate, the moderate use of spirits was rather beneficial. Without, however, discussing it as it regarded the health of the people, it was enough for him that this article was generally considered an indulgence; and any limitation of that could not be regarded as a sign that the ease and comfort of the people were on the increase.
The next article in the right hon. gentleman's list to which he called attention, was that comprehending generally the luxuries of the rich. Resolution 40 was the first upon this subject. Taking the annual average consumption of foreign 859 wines for two periods of three years each, the number stood thus:
or about 30 per cent, notwithstanding the increased number of consumers in that period, and that there was also, at least 10 per cent of Cape wines, of very inferior quality, charged with duty in the aggregate quantity, in the last period. Thus was the amount of duty lessened 30 per cent, and the consumption diminished in the same ratio. How much easier would it be, he maintained, to return to the old scale of duties, which would produce a greater return to the revenue, and add so much to the comforts of the people of this country. As to the amount of duties, the annual average duty in the three years:—
Gallons. From 1801 to 1803 7,661,270 From 1819 to 1822 5,223,326 Diminution 2,437,944
In sugar, an article of primary necessity, in consequence of the high duties, the increase in the consumption had been only 7½ per cent, whilst in the same period the population had increased at the rate of 17 per cent. Thus in the nine years—
1801, 1802, 1803 £1,895,657 1819, 1820, 1821, 1822 1,724,616 Annual decrease, or 30 per cent. 171,041
In tea, also, without stating the gross figures, the increase of consumption had been scarcely 12 per cent, whilst the number of consumers had increased in that time about 35 per cent. In tobacco also, although there had been some increase in the consumption, yet it bore no proportion to the increase of population. Thus the annual consumption, from 1800 to 1804 was 11,855,351 lbs. From 1820, to 1824 13,022,851 lbs. being an increase of 10 per cent, whilst population had increased 17 per cent. This small increase proved, that the lower orders were not able to buy this article, and the amount of duty decreased accordingly. He had proposed to reduce the duty to 17s. or 15s. as it was before the war, by which the country and the revenue would be greatly benefitted; and he could not help 860 now saying, that the continuing a war duty in time of peace was as little to the advantage of the revenue as it was oppressive to the consumers of the article. For these reasons, he complained of the right hon. gentleman for representing that an increase of consumption of tobacco, to the amount of 40 per cent had occurred, when he (Mr. H.) had proved by returns that no such increase had taken place. The next article in the right hon. gentleman's list was soap. In this, he said, an increase of 49 per cent had occurred; but no such increase had taken place. By calculations which he had drawn from papers laid before the House, the increase was only 40 per cent; and this increase, be it remarked, took place in trade, and had no reference whatever to the condition of the country. In leather the right hon. gentleman stated the increase of consumption at 41 per cent. He could only find it to be 26. And he denied that the country had derived any benefit whatever from the alteration of the duties upon wool; for the importation of last year was ruinous to the consumers, and every body who interfered. Besides, the right hon. gentleman had taken as one of his years 1816, which was that in which the least consumption had taken place for fifteen years preceding, the consumption being only 7,500,000 lbs. and contrasted that with a year in which 40,000,000 lbs. had been consumed. This calculation, indeed, if correct, would give an increase of 443 per cent. If he had made a fairer statement, the result would have been different. Thus, in 1818 there were 24,000,000, imported, and with respect to that year, the average of increase would have been only 166 instead of 443 per cent. Upon British spirits an increase of 152 per cent had been assumed; but he had made calculations by which he could demonstrate, that upon an average of ten years, instead of an increase, there had been a decrease of 40 per cent. In tallow candles, it was stated by the right hon. gentleman, that an increase of consumption in the ratio of 36 per cent had taken place. He was glad the subject had been noticed, because it appeared to him that an increased consumption of tallow candles, instead of proving the bettered condition of the people, only demonstrated the greater difficulty which (he poor had to earn their bread. Formerly the artizan, the weaver, and shoemaker, were able to retire at the close of day, but now their 861 labour, bestowed through the better part of the night, scarcely sufficed to procure them subsistence. Instead, therefore, of this increase of 10 per cent being evidence of the ease of the people, it evinced their distress. Indeed, it was a perversion of terms to apply it otherwise. Upon the articles of bricks and tiles, he would not dispute with the right hon. gentleman, whether they had increased or not. The little encouragement there was to invest capital otherwise might have been a temptation to speculate in building houses. Yet, pauperism and crime kept pace with the increase of population in these houses.
Cwts. From 1808 to 1816 (deducting 1,600,000 cwts used in distillation), the annual consumption was 2,406,809 From 1817 to 1825 2,593,540 Increase 196,731
He would now proceed to consider the extravagance of government, with reference to what was the feeling of the House in the year 1821, on the single point of the civil establishment. The actual expenditure of the civil establishments, and the annual charge for the army, navy, and ordnance, had increased every year, and were still increasing. In 1822, the year after the address of the House, the actual payments from the Exchequer were 13,900,000l.; in the next year, they were 14,329,000l.; in 1824, they had increased to 15,100,000l.; in the last year, they were 14,090,000l.; and in the present year, 15,536,000l. The hon. member then proceeded to detail the numbers of the men voted for the army since 1817, showing the increase, especially within the last few years, from 81,000 to 87,000 men, exclusive of the numbers voted for the navy, &c. The general abstract stood thus:—
Such an increase was proof of any thing but an attention to the recommendation of the Finance committee of 1817. It was lamentable, in the present situation of the country, to reflect on the manner in which it was loaded for half-pay. Looking at the half-pay and full pay of the army, it would be found, that the number in the present year exceeded the number in 1822 by several hundreds; so that no part of the promised reduction had been 862 realised. The precise comparative number were these:—In 1822, there were 13,721 officers from the rank of colonel downwards to the hospital establishments, and this year there were 13,839, shewing an increase of 118 officers, instead of the diminution that might have been most reasonably expected by the absorption of half-pay and deaths. Was it not quite clear from this plain statement, that patronage only could be the object, to reward particular interests, and to support people in idleness? So long as such a system was continued, it would be impossible to prevent the recurrence of distress. Instead of promoting retrenchment, there was an expensive increase of the establishments. He was sorry that he had not all the papers he had moved for, especially a paper he moved for about six weeks ago, respecting the number of officers promoted from half-pay to full pay. He should have been better satisfied to quote the official return, but from other documents previously presented, he ascertained that there were 6,173 officers on the half-pay list. What reason was there for continuing such a number, except for the purpose of patronage? The ministers thus continued, under the sanction of the Crown, and by a power which the House ought never to have given, pensions to an enormous amount. The ministers thus had the power of bribing every family in the country, where it was worth their while to bribe; and if those who were connected with branches of the army could speak out, they would say as much. He ought to state it as a very baneful fact, that a large portion of the higher orders were so biassed by means of this kind of patronage, that they acted in a very different way than they would if left to themselves. Members might conceal it from their consciences if they could, but the fact unquestionably was, that expectations of this kind influenced many votes in the House; and, on some accounts, the underhand system was worse than open corruption. The Secretary for Foreign Affairs had said, on a late occasion, we must have young noblemen and fine gentlemen in the navy;" but he (Mr. Hume) saw no such necessity. There was a time when the cadets and junior branches of distinguished families went into foreign services, and thus provided for themselves; but now they were made pensioners of their own state, and were to be provided for in the army and navy 863 Members of that House, and of another, looked to ministers for this purpose; and this was the secret of all the late promotions and appointments.
1817 number voted 92,282 1818 90,285 1819 80,479 1820 92,224 1821 81,100 1822 68,802 1823 69,144 1824 73,041 1825 86,438 1826 87,764
The hon. gentleman then entered into 8 comparative statement of the number of officers, of various ranks, employed in the naval service of the country at different periods. In 1793, there were 2,062 officers; in 1826 there were 5,528: but of that number there were only 828 officers afloat; so that here we had officers for seven such fleets as that maintained afloat now by this county. Could all this be necessary? The course of pro- motions also illustrated the nature of the system. In 1816 there were 142 promotions, in 1S18 there were 103 promotions, and last year the number was 294. In ten years, there were 1,588 promotions in the navy, besides introducing 5,000 officers. Could any member of that House put his hand on his heart, and say that such numbers of officers were wanted? No; they could not: but existence for life was wanted for such individuals, and so they were fastened upon the country, by having commissions given to them. The system was kept up for the sake of the patronage. If such a state of things was not a reproach to the Admiralty, the state of the marines was. The number was 9,000. If one branch of the service was to be made efficient by the appointment of young noblemen and fine gentlemen, why was another branch to be neglected? The fact, however, was, that to the marines no sons of members of either house of parliament belonged, and they were not ambitious of being attached to that corps, In that corps the number of promotions from the year 1820 to 1825, as compared to the 1584 of the other branch of the War department, was very small. In the year 1820, the promotions were only 4; in 1821, but 24; in 1822, but 9; in 1823, but 10; and so on, making the gross amount of promotions in the marines only equal to 76, in the whole of that period. If these facts did not afford sufficient proof that the promotions in the other departments were the result of influence alone, he thought there could be no evidence of the matter at all; for, in his mind, the statements he had made were conclusive. The same system of increasing expense, where influence and patronage were to be gratified, was preserved thoughout all the departments of the government. In the Ordnance, in the Barrack, in the Com- 864 missariat departments, the establishments were increased instead of being diminished. From all the premises which he had laid down, he came to this conclusion, that when there was such a demand, such a drain on the industry of the community, poverty and wretchedness must be the inevitable consequence. It was quite evident, if this state of things continued, that the whole population, except those who lived by the taxes, must, ere long, be plunged in a state of deep distress. The effect of the system which had been so long pursued, was, he thought, correctly described in the 45th resolution. It was there stated, "That, in addition to the progressively increasing privations amongst the great body of the people, as manifested by the preceding resolutions, pauperism and crime have progressively increased to an alarming extent; and, notwithstanding the progressive diminution in the scale of allowance to paupers, the aggregate amount of the parochial assessments expended for their relief, since 1785, has trebled; and, although the money amount has decreased in the three years ending Easter 1824, compared with the three years 1812–14, and the three years 1817–19, yet pauperism, whether considered in relation to its degrading and demoralizing effects, or in relation to the pressure of the assessments, estimated either by the amount in money (if the difference in the value of the currency at the respective periods be taken into account) or the products of labour, has considerably increased, since 1812 or 1817, the years of the largest money expenditure." But since he had come down to the House, a paper had been laid on the table, which showed that pauperism prevailed to a greater extent than he had adverted to in his resolution. He spoke of the increase of pauperism with reference to the "money account," but the paper which had been recently laid on the table adverted to the "numerical" extension of pauperism, and placed the picture in a more appalling light. This proved that the comfort and happiness of the people had not increased, and was in direct contradiction to the statements which the right hon. gentleman had, year after year, made to that House. That crime had latterly increased in a most alarming degree, no man could doubt who took the trouble of looking at what passed around him. The statement contained in number 46, put that melancholy fact out of the question; 865 It there appeared that "there were4,692 persons committed to gaols in England and Wales for trial, charged with criminal offences, on the annual average of the five years 1805–9, whilst the numbers committed on the average of the years 1820–4 were 13,000, shewing an increase at the rate of 178 per cent; and if 14,437, the number committed in 1825, was compared with 4,605, the number committed in 1805, the increase would exceed 200 per cent in 21 years, exclusive of 22,106 committed under summary process in 1823." Here it would appear that the commission of crime had increased, in a nearly quadruple degree, between the 3'ears 1805 and 1825. Now, it had always been held, that crime was the child of poverty and distress; and if that maxim were true, he had a right to assume, that they, the legislature, who laid on the people greater burthens than they were capable of bearing, were the cause of this lamentable increase of crime, as their measures had created the existing poverty. The proceedings recommended by ministers, and adopted by that House had deranged all the social relations of society. While the country was in a state of starvation, pensioners were allowed to not on the industry of the people. When such was the real state of the case, it was in vain to suppose that those who abetted such proceedings were not doing mischief—it was in vain to hope that pauperism would not go on increasing. They had, therefore, much to answer for; and they ought, without delay, to set about relieving the country from its burthens. Poverty and crime stalked round the land, and threatened the most serious evils. At the last Old Bailey sessions there were no less than 450 individuals set down for trial, many of them for petty thefts, arising purely from distress. It was perfectly evident, from a just view and consideration of the question, that pauperism and crime were produced by the laws which that House sanctioned. They demanded from the people, in the way of taxation, an extraordinary and unnatural portion of the produce of their labour. Therefore, taxation was a primary cause of the sufferings of the country; which sufferings were further aggravated by the operation of the Corn-laws. Some things had, he knew, been done, which might assist the country in recovering from its difficulties; but, unless they did a great deal more—unless they put their shoulders to the 866 wheel—nothing could prevent the country from sinking under its accumulated calamities. If they would but act prudently and consistently,—if they would retrench the national expenses,—they still had it in their power to save themselves and their country. But it was monstrous, after eleven years of peace, to keep up such enormous military establishments. And if war should happen to occur again, they would look back with regret on the opportunity which had been given them to husband the resources of the country—an opportunity of which they had failed to avail themselves. He, for one, must acquit himself of having been negligent at that crisis. He had done every thing in his power to prevent the evils which now pressed around them; and he hoped that the delusive statement of the chancellor of the Exchequer would no longer blind the public to that which was the real fact. He could read extracts from letters which he had then in his pocket, the statements contained in which would harrow up the feelings of the most insensible. The distress which they described was truly appalling. The present was not a partial distress, against which no foresight could guard. It was a case of great and general privation, and it could not be accounted for, except by a great and general cause. That great, that general, that pervading cause, was the keeping up of large, useless, and most extravagant establishments in this country. Under all the circumstances, he would no longer call upon his majesty's ministers to interfere. He entertained no hone that any real relief would originate with them. He would, therefore—and he hoped the House would agree in the necessity of supporting the proposition—request his majesty to adopt such measures as were calculated to rescue the country from its present perilous situation. He believed that all which he had stated in the course of his speech was correct. He had no sinister object in view in submitting this proposition to the House. He had never indulged in any gloomy forebodings or gloomy anticipations. All he had ever said was, that things were going on badly, but that they had it in their power, by altering the system, to retrieve past errors, and make all well again. England had capabilities and resources, and strength, which no other country possessed. Let them be fairly exerted, and the country would soon he extricated from its present diffi- 867 culties. But he called on them not to do injustice to one part of the community, for the purpose of serving another. If the principle of free trade, which had occupied their attention so much of late, were a good principle, let it be a general one. He was not afraid of the debt; but he objected to any measure which tended to increase that debt, unless such increase was absolutely called for by the exigencies of the time, and was rendered necessary, in order to place on a secure footing the safety of the country. While he was ready to grant every thing that was called for to support the true greatness and real credit of the country, he would say, "Do not let the present distress and suffering proceed further—retrace your steps before you plunge into that gulf which is yawning before you—attend in time to the misery of the people: if nothing else will move you, let humanity impel you to consider their interests, which you will find in the end are inseparably connected with your own." The hon. member concluded by moving,
"That an humble address be presented to his majesty, praying that he will be graciously pleased to take into consideration the present state of the nation; and to direct immediate inquiry to be made into the causes that have produced such widely spread distress; and that he will be pleased to direct such measures to be adopted as shall as speedily as possible terminate the existing embarrassments."
§ The following is a copy of Mr. Hume's proposed Resolutions:—
§ No. 1. That the assertions made to this House by the chancellor of the Exchequer, on the 3rd March, 1823, that a reduction of 24,766,520l, in the capital of the public debt bad been effected by the operation of the sinking fund, from the termination of the war up to the 5th January, 1823; and again, on the 13th March, 1826, that a further reduction of the public debt, of 18,401,000l., had been effected between 5th January, 1823, and the 5th January, 1826, making together a reduction of 43,167,520l. in the capital of the public debt since the termination of the war, are not consistent with the accounts before the House, as appears by the facts contained in the following Resolution.
§ PUBLIC DEBT.
§ No. 2. That it appears by the annual finance accounts, the public debt of the United Kingdom, funded and unfunded, 868 on the 5th January, 1817 (after the anion of the English and Irish Exchequers), was 846,765,078l.; and that, on the 5th January, 1826, the amount of funded and unfunded debt of the United Kingdom was 819,437,298l.; showing a decrease, in the nominal amount of capital, of 27,327,780l.
§ No. 3. That the diminution of 27,327,780l. in the aggregate amount of the capital of the public debt has been effected by a reduction of 18,072,023l. in the funded debt, and in a diminution of the unfunded debt of 9,255,757l.
§ No. 4. That of the 18,072,023l. of capitals of funded debt reduced in the nine years, 1817–25, there have been cancelled capitals, to the amount of 6,934,285l. leaving only 11,137,738l. of funded, and 9,255,757l. of unfunded debt, or, an aggregate reduction of capital in the nine years, of only 20,393,495l.
§ No. 5. That the charge of the funded debt, as it stood on 5th of January, 1817, was:—
|For Permanent Annuities||£27,709,505|
|Life Ditto, per 48 G. 3||225,255|
§ And on 5th January, 1826:—
|For Permanent Annuities||25,507,102|
|Life Ditto, per 48 G. 3.||562,669|
|Shewing a decrease in the nine years of annual charge on the Funded Debt, of||2,190,997|
|And that the charge of 50,564,787l. of Unfunded Debt on 5th Jan. 1817, estimating the English Bills at 4, and the Irish Bills at 5 per cent, per annum was||2,051,242|
|And on the 5th Jan. 1826, on 41,309,030l. at 2d. per cent, per day, or 3l. 0s. 10d. per cent per annum||1,256,482|
|Showing a reduction of charge for Unfunded debt of||794,760|
|And total reduction of annul charge for Funded and Unfunded Debt of||2,985,757|
§ No. 6. That out of the 2,985,757l. the total reduction of annul charge as shewn by the preceding Resolution, the following reduction to surplus revenue, or proceeds of loans, viz.:—
|In 1819, Imperial Annuities expired||£230,000|
|Exchequer do. do.||18,750|
|Long Annuities cancelled for Life Annuities||17,490|
|In 1822, by conversion of 5 per cents into 4 pre cents||1,207,137|
|1824, Do. of 4 do. 3½ do||381,035|
|Charges of Management decreased||8,495|
|And dividends on capitals, cancelled as pre Resolution 4||227,529|
|And for ditto in 3,807,113l. of 4 per cents dissentients, discharged from the Funded and added to the Unfunded||152,280|
|Total Reduction of charge on the Funded Debt||2,242,716|
§ No. 7 That the total amount of the revenue of the United Kingdom, received in the nine years, 1817–1825 (and exclusive of all sums received for loans or dead weight), was 531,266,535l., and the total amount of expenditure, including every charge for interest of debt, and civil and military establishments, in the same period (exclusive only of payments to the commissioners of the sinking fund), was 508,309,614l., showing a clear surplus of revenue of 22,956,922l., which, with the sums paid by Austria and the East India company, make an amount of money of 25,965,539l., disposable for the redemption of debt, exclusive of 6,917,569l., received from the Bank of England in the three years 1822–25, in part payment of an annuity of 585,740l. for 45 years.
|No. 8. That the balance of all monies in the Exchequer on the 5th of January 1817, amounted to||£13,113,040|
|And, on the 5th of January, 1826, amounted to||5,305,638|
|Showing a decrease of||7,807,402|
§ No. 9. That although there has been in these nine years an excess of revenue of 25,965,539l., there has been charged, during the same period, in the annual finance accounts, the sum of no less than 124,779,340l., purporting to have been applied to the reduction of the debt.
§ No. 10. That during the nine years, 1817–25, loans have been raised and Exchequer bills funded to the amount of 98,761,920l., for which there have been capitals created of various denominations, to the amount of 126,536,037l., and an annual charge of 4,074,022l.; in addition to which there has been added, 7,122,964l. of capital, by the conversion of 149,449,290l. of five per cents into 870 156,921,713l. of four per cents; also 2,365,655l. of three per cents, by compromise of a disputed account with the East India company, at an annual charge of 70,970l.; and 322,961l., by conversion of 968,885l. of five per cents of 1797 and 1802 into 1,291,847l. of three per cents, and 47,767l. of four per cent dissentients since assented to, making an aggregate increase of capital in the nine years of 136,395,381l., and an aggregate increase of charge of £.4,146,664
§ To which add life annuities by
|48 G. 3. increased||323,114|
§ No. 11. That out of the 124,779,340l., charged in the annual finance accounts, as applied to the reduction of the national debt, the commissioners of the sinking fund acknowledge to have received the sum of only 116,022,142l., which they have applied as follows, viz:—
|For purchase of Stock in Great Britain||£101,783,712|
|Do. do. in Ireland||4.511,045|
|Do. do. East India Company||839,243|
|Paid for Life Annuities (48 G. III).||3,650,693|
|For payment of the Dissentients, five per cents||2,736,800|
|Do. do. 4 per Cents||2,390,000|
|Interest on do||95,446|
|Total Sum accounted for by Commissioners||116,006,939|
§ No. 12. That with the sums applied to the purchase of stock, there have been cancelled in Great Britain various capitals to the amount of 144,480,680l. The dividends on the same being 4,465,073l. and in addition to the above, there have also been cancelled of four per cent dissentientsby Exchequer bills. £3,807,013 and various capitals amounting to 6,934,285 Making a total of 10,741,298 of capital cancelled; the dividends on which capitals amount to 379,809l., shewing an aggregate diminution of capital of 155,221,978l. and an aggregate diminution of charge of 4,844,882l.
§ No. 13. That in addition to the sum of 4,844,822l. of annual charge of debt reduced as per the preceding Resolution, there has been a further reduction in the nine years of 1,862,907l. as per Resolution No. 6, making a total diminution in the annual charge of 6,707,789l.
§ No. 14. That if the increase of annual charge of 4,146,664l. as per 10th Resolution, and 323,114l. the increase of life annuities, be deducted from 6,707,789l. the decrease as specified in the preceding 871 Resolution, it leaves a nett diminution of annual charge of 2,238,011l. on the funded debt, instead of 2,190,997l. as exhibited in the 5th Resolution, shewing a difference of 47,014l. per annum to be accounted for.
§ No. 15. That, although by Resolution No. 7, there appears to have been in the nine years, 1817–25, a disposable surplus revenue of 25,965,539l. (exclusive of 6,917,569l. received from the Bank for annuity in the three years 1822–5) there has only been a reduction in the capital of the funded and unfunded debt, during the same period, of 20,393,495l.; whilst the finance accounts, as per Resolution 5, do not show any decrease of annual charge, that would not have been effected by annuities fallen in, cancels, conversions, and diminution of interest in unfunded debt, as per Resolution 6, without reference to the surplus revenue.
§ No. 16. That the increase of life annuities, over and above the amount of perpetual annuities cancelled, will account for about 130,000l. of annual charge; but there is an obvious loss of 186,703l. of annual charge, by redeeming stock on less advantageous terms than creating it; as for example, 4,074,022l. of annual charge was created for 126,536,037l. of capital, whilst the proportion of annual charge redeemed by the same amount of capital, was only 3,887,319l.
§ No. 17. That the loss arising from the complicated system of the sinking fund and the public accounts is further proved by the statement, appendixes (G.) and (H.) which exhibits the result that would have taken place if the surplus revenue, and other resources (exclusive of loans), had been applied, year by year, to the purchase of stock, at the average rates of the respective years; and if further proof is wanting of the ruinous system of finance, so fatally persisted in, of supporting a sinking fund by loans, the following result of the last loan from the Bank in 1823, avowedly for that purpose, will furnish the most indisputable evidence.
§ No. 18. That there has been paid into the Exchequer by the trustees of naval and military pensions, between the 5th of April, 1823, and the 1st of January, 1826, the sum of 6,917,569l. part payment of a loan from the Bank of England, for which an annuity was granted for 45 years, equivalent to an annuity in perpetuity, at the rate of interest of 4l. 2s. 1d. per cent per annum or 73l. money for every 100l. of 872 3 per cent stock; whilst the commissioners of the sinking fund, during the same period, have expended a corresponding sum in the purchase of 3 per cent stock, at an average of 88l. for every 100l. of such stock, being at the rate of interest of only 3l. 8s. 2d. per cent.
§ No. 19. That by the said loan the public debt was increased in 1823, equivalent to the amount of 9,476,110l. of 3 per cent stock, and the annual charge of 284,283l. in perpetuity; whilst the commissioners of the sinking fund applied a corresponding sum to the purchase of 7,858,188l. of 3 per cent stock, at the rate of 88l. of money for 100l. stock, cancelling an annuity in perpetuity of 225,745l. by which transaction there has been an actual loss, or addition to the debt of the country, of 1,617,922l. of 3 per cent capital, and 58,539l. of annuity in perpetuity.
§ No. 20. That although the complexity of the finance accounts, and the loss to the nation by such a system, are clearly manifest by the preceding resolutions, yet the magnitude of the evil inflicted on the country by the ruinous and absurd sinking-fund-system, still persevered in by his majesty's ministers, can only be known by an attentive examination of the series of finance resolutions submitted to the consideration of the House in 1822, and by the following short summary of these transactions.
§ No. 21. That by a return made to this House, the total nett revenue of Great Britain (exclusive of loans) for 24 years, between the 10th day of October, 1792, and the 5th day of January 1817, appears to have amounted to 1,126,640,417l. and the total expenditure (exclusive of all sums paid to the commissioners for the reduction of the national debt) during the same period appears to have amounted to 1,533,628, 631l. being an excess of expenditure over a revenue of 406,988,214l. but as three quarters of a year, from the 5th day of January to the 10th day of October, 1799, appears to have been stated twice; three fourths of the excess of expenditure in 1799, require to be deducted, making the actual deficiency of revenue to be about 393 millions.
§ No. 22. That although the actual revenue during the 24 years, from 1793 to 1816, inclusive, fell short of the expenditure only about 393 millions, it appears, by a series of resolutions submitted to the consideration of this House, on the 873 25th of July, 1822, that an amount of no less than 618,163,857l. of money was raised by loans and Exchequer bills, during the said period of 24 years (viz., from 1793 to 1816, inclusive).
§ No. 22.* That by the sixth of the before-mentioned series of resolutions, it appears, that whilst 618,163,857l. of money was raised by loans and Exchequer bills, between the 10th day of October, 1792, and the 5th day of January, 1817, that 188,522,348l. only was paid to the commissioners for the reduction of the national debt, leaving the enormous sum of 36,641,517l. totally unaccounted for.
§ No. 23. That by another account presented to this House in 1822, it appears, that in the year 1815, annuities of different denominations, all in perpetuity, were created to the amount of 3,083,621l., equal to 102,787,334l. of 3 per cent stock, for which only 53,819,786l. money, was received, being at the rate of 100l. of 3 per cent capital, created for every 52l. 7s. 2d. of money received.
§ No. 24. That by another account, presented to this House in 1825, it appears that between the 5th January, 1824, and 5th of January, 1825, the commissioners of the sinking fond have purchased 3,627,225l. of 3 per cent stock, for which they have paid 3,416,031l. being at the rate of 94l. 3s. 5d. for every 100l. of such stock, at a loss of 41l. 16s. 3d. of money, for every 100l. stock repurchased, as compared with 1815.
§ No. 25. That no nation, or body corporate, in their collective capacity, can derive pecuniary benefit or advantage of any kind, by merely trading with themselves, and therefore, the sinking fund system of Great Britain, established solely for the purpose of the nation trading in its own obligations was founded in fallacy, and has been maintained by delusion.
§ No. 26. That the sinking fund system is not only useless for any beneficial purpose to the State, but highly objectionable from the loss it occasions, and for its direct tendency to promote a system of speculation and gambling, altogether inconsistent with the well-being of the country, and therefore ought to be forthwith abolished.
§ No. 27. That the state of our manufacturing, commercial and agricultural relations, demands the most serious attention, as the evidence before the House proves a progressive diminution in the 874 remuneration for labour in many of the staple articles of manufacture, as well as for agricultural labour, in reference either to the means of subsistence at the present time, or in comparison with the remuneration for labour at former periods; and that, although the quantity of the products of British labour annually exported progressively increases, yet their value is progressively decreasing.
§ No. 28. That the annual average official value of the quantity of products of British labour exported in the three years 1814–16, was 36,562,367l. and their declared value "44,476,519l." whilst in the three years 1823–5 the annual average official value of the quantity exported was 45,880,927l. and their declared value only 36,782,938l.; shewing a depreciation in value, after allowing for the difference in the value of the money, at the two periods, exceeding 25 per cent, and consequently shewing an increased pressure of taxation in 1823–5 to that extent, if estimated in the production of British labour.
§ No. 29. That although the finance committee of 1817 called the notice of the House to the low establishments of the year 1792, and recommended that as near an approximation as possible should be made to the scale of establishment and expense of that year; yet the taxes raised in the United Kingdom in 1825 exceeded 58 millions, or treble the amount of 1792, and the expenses of the civil list, the naval and military establishments, and civil government, exceeded 26 millions (exclusive of the charge for the debt), being four times the amount of the expenditure of 1792!!
§ No. 30. That a reference to the great amount of the civil list, to the number of pensioners, sinecurists, and highly paid placemen, to the unnecessary number and expense of the army, navy, ordnance, and civil establishments, will sufficiently prove that due regard has not been paid to the recommendations of that committee; it is, therefore, imperative on this House to demand an immediate reduction of taxation, in conformity with that recommendation, as the best means of relieving the country from its present embarrassments.
§ No. 31. That the repeated assertions made in this House, that there has been a diminution of taxation to the extent of 27 millions, since the termination of the war, are delusive and fallacious, whether 875 as applied to the amount of money actually collected from the people, or the value of the currency, in which the taxes were collected, as will appear by the facts stated in the following resolutions.
§ No. 32. That the money amount of taxes raised in Great Britain on the average of the three years, 1813–15, the largest receipt of any period during the war, was 69,010,227l. per annum; but as that amount was in paper money of nominal value, and not exchangeable into gold, on an average of the three years, at a less rate than 5l. per oz. (the maximum having been 5l. 11s. per oz.) the average annual taxation, if valued in gold, the established standard of value, was equal only to 13,802,045 ozs. of gold, or to 53,741,714l. of money, exchangeable into gold 77s. 10½. per oz.; whilst the annual average amount of taxation in the last three years, 1823–5, was, 52,430,765l. convertible into gold at 77s. 10½. per oz. shewing a diminution of only 1,310,949l. per annum, of money of standard value, instead of 27 millions.
§ No. 33. And if a comparison be made of the amounts of taxation at these two periods in labour, or the products of labour, the pressure in 1823–5 will prove to be considerably greater than in 1813–15, as the annual money amount of taxes, on an average of the three years 1813–15 was only equal to 15,853,926 quarters of wheat, at 80s. 9d. per quarter, the average price of that period; whilst the money amount of taxes, on an average of the three years 1823–5, was equal to 17,434,546 quarters of wheat, at 60s. 2d. per quarter, the average price of that period.
§ No. 34. That if the money amount of taxation, on an average of the three last years, 1823–5, be compared with that of the three years 1817–19, the money amount is greater in 1823–5 by 668,426l. per annum; and, if valued in gold or the products of labour, the pressure of taxation on the country, in the years 1823–5, will very considerably exceed the pressure either in 1813–15, or in 1817–19.
§ No. 35. That the continued pressure of taxation has greatly increased the privations and distress of the productive, industrious, and labouring classes of the community, as is manifest from the stationary, if not diminished, consumption of the following taxable articles of primary necessity, and the decreasing consumption of many taxable articles of enjoyment and luxury, notwithstanding a great increase in the number of consumers.876
§ No. 36. That in taking a review of the annual consumption of malt, for the last forty years, in England and Wales, it appears that the quantity annually consumed has actually decreased, notwithstanding an increase in the number of consumers, of about 40 per cent.
§ No. 37. That, on the average of the ten years, 1785–1794, the number of bushels of malt annually consumed was 25,751,775; and on the average of the ten years, 1815–1824, the annual consumption was only 25,246,940 bushels, shewing an actual decrease exceeding 500,000 bushels per annum; whilst, if the consumption of malt had increased in proportion to the increase of population, the consumption would have exceeded 35,000,000 of bushels per annum.
§ No. 38. That if a comparison of the consumption of malt in the year 1825 (a year of great excitement) is made with some other single years, during the last 40 years, a greater consumption appears in the years 1792–7 and 9, 1803 and 1821, than in 1825; but a fair comparison can only be made on an average of several years.
§ No. 39. That, although it is generally believed that the stationary consumption of fermented or malt liquor, arises from an increased consumption of distilled spirits, yet it appears that the average consumption in Great Britain, of all kinds of spirits, British and foreign, in the five years, 1806–1810, was 13,059,522 gallons; and in the five years 1820–4, was 12,110,281 gallons, showing an actual decrease in the eighteen years, of 949,241 gallons per annum, notwithstanding an increase in the population, during that period, of about 30 per cent.
§ No. 40. That the quantity of foreign wines annually charged with Excise duty in Great Britain, on the average of the three years 1801–3, was 7,661,270 gallons, and the average annual quantity charged in the four years 1819–1822, was5,223,326 gallons, showing an actual diminution of consumption of 2,437,944 gallons yearly, or about 30 per cent, notwithstanding the increased number of consumers during that period; and that there was also at least ten per cent of Cape wines, of very inferior quality, charged with duty in the aggregate quantity in the last period.
§ No. 41. That whilst the rates of duty levied on foreign wines were, in the years 1819–22, 30 percent higher than in the years 1801–3, there was, in the same 877 period, a reduction in the quantity that paid the Excise duties, of about 30 per cent; and the amount of revenue received was less in the period of high duties.
§ No. 42. That the quantity of sugar consumed in Great Britain, on an annual average of the nine years 1808–16, was (after deducting 1,600,000 cwts. used in distillation in the six years 1809–14) 2,406,809 cwts.; and in the last 9 years 1817–25, on an annual average, 2,593,540 cwts., showing an annual increase of only 196,731 cwts., being about 7½ per cent, whilst the population has increased, during that period, at the rate of 17 per cent.
§ No. 43. That the quantity of tea consumed in Great Britain, on an annual average of the four years, 1800–3, was 21,023,155 pounds; and the quantity, on an annual average of the four years, 1821–4, was 23,443,479 pounds; shewing an increase in consumption of scarcely 12 per cent, whilst the number of consumers have increased in that time about 35 per cent.
§ No. 44. That the annual average consumption of tobacco in Great Britain, in the five years 1800–4, was ll,855,3511bs., and in the five years 1820–4, was 13,022,851lbs., shewing an annual increase of consumption at the rate of ten per cent in the latter period; but, if the annual average consumption of 14,155,1661lbs. in the five years 1810–14 is taken, it will appear that since that period there has been an actual decrease of consumption, at the rate of eight per cent per annum, notwithstanding an increase of population of 17 per cent.
§ No. 45. That, in addition to the progressively increasing privations amongst the great body of the people, as manifested by the preceding resolutions, pauperism and crime have progressively increased to an alarming extent; and, notwithstanding the progressive diminution in the scale of allowance to paupers, the aggregate amount of the parochial assessments expended for their relief, since 1785, has trebled; and although the money amount has decreased in the three years ending Easter 1824, compared with the three years 1812–14, and the three years 1817–19; yet pauperism, whether considered in relation to its degrading and demoralising effects, or in relation to the pressure of the assessments, estimated either by the amount in money (if the 878 difference in the value of the currency at the respective periods be taken into account) or the products of labour, has considerably increased since 1812 or 1817, the years of the largest money expenditure.
§ No. 46. That the progressive increase of crime is even more alarming than the increase of pauperism, as there were 4,692 persons committed to gaols in England and Wales for trial, charged with criminal offences, on the annual average of the five years 1805–9, whilst the numbers committed on the average of the years 1820–4 were 13,005, showing an increase at the rate of 178 per cent; and, if 14,437, the number committed in 1825, be compared with 4,605, the number committed in 1805, the increase will exceed 200 per cent in 21 years, exclusive of 22,106 committed under summary process in 1823.
§ No. 47. That whether the state of the nation be regarded in reference to the unparalleled extent of taxation—its application—the delusive and ruinous consequences of the sinking fund—the extension and complication of the accounts—the present situation of our manufacturing and commercial relations, or the degraded and wretched condition of the great body of the people, all evince the urgent necessity of an immediate investigation of the causes which have produced those existing evils, and the adoption of comprehensive and decisive measures, to avert the calamitous consequences that must otherwise ensue.
§ The motion for an address having been read,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
rose. He said, it was not until 11 o'clock that morning, that he was put in possession of the series of resolutions to which the hon. gentleman had just called the attention of the House; and when he stated, that those resolutions were no less than forty-seven in number, and occupied twenty-six printed pages, embracing the intricate question of the finance of the country in all its minute details, the funded debt, the unfunded debt, the sinking fund, the general state of the revenue,—divided as it was into a great variety of branches, to many of which these resolutions referred,—when he stated, that the proposition of the hon. gentleman comprised almost every topic that could be introduced into a discussion on the great interests of the country, he thought the House would not be surprised 879 when he said, that it was absolutely beyond the mental and physical powers of any man to deliver his opinions at so very short a notice on the complicated, extensive, and important subjects which the hon. gentleman had submitted to the House. He must, therefore, take the liberty of asking pardon of the House, if, on the far greater part of what had fallen from the hon. gentleman, he found it impossible for him to enter into any satisfactory, or even intelligible statement. He certainly had no conception, when he that morning received the hon. gentleman's long series of resolutions, that the hon. gentleman's motion would have been that which he had thought proper to propose; namely, an address to the Crown, praying his majesty to take into consideration the various embarrassments of the present period, and to adopt measures for their relief, the principal of which measures appeared to be the reduction of taxation. This seemed to him to be the most extraordinary result from the propositions which the hon. gentleman had stated, that could be conceived—and one to which, he thought, the House could not accede, if they meant to act on the resolutions which the hon. gentleman had read in the course of his speech. When, however, he received those resolutions, he felt that, formidable as they might be in extent, it was his duty to make himself acquainted with the points to which they adverted, and to examine how far it would be in his power either to admit or to deny their accuracy. In the very first resolution, he found that the hon. gentleman charged him with making false statements to the House. This was done, he knew, in indirect terms; but of what consequence was that, if, in substance, the resolution went to inculpate him? The substance of the resolution did, in effect, charge him with having, either from gross ignorance, or wilful delusion, or fraudulent design, stated to the House that which was not consistent with the fact. Now, he would take the liberty to deny that assertion; and further, he would take the liberty to say, that there was, in that very accusatory resolution, a statement of the kind which the hon. gentleman had imputed to him. He would presently point out what that statement was. But, he must, in the first instance, observe, that it was a most unprecedented thing to charge a member of that House with a deliberate falsehood, the accusa- 880 tion being founded, not on an accurate knowledge of what that gentleman said at the time referred to, but on some unauthorized report of his speech. In the hon. gentleman's first resolution he had referred to what was stated to have been said by him on the 3rd of March, 1823. Now he must observe, that he was not answerable for what had been published as his speech; he had never seen it, until it was published; he had never revised it, and, he must say, that, looking to the common principle of justice, the hon. gentleman had no right, on such authority, to charge him with deliberate falsehood. [Mr. Hume intimated that he had not done so]. He could not qualify the expression; for, if that resolution were true, then he was guilty of fraud—he was not fit to sit in that House—he was unworthy of holding any situation in his majesty's government. But he would contend, that it was the resolution which contained that which was not true. The resolution ran in these terms:—"That the assertions made to this House by the chancellor of the Exchequer, on the 3rd of March, 1823, that a reduction of 24,166,520l. in the capital of the public debt had been effected by the operation of the sinking fund, from the termination of the war up to the 5th of January, 1823; and again, on the 13th of March, 1826, that a further reduction of the public debt, of 18,401,000l. had been effected between the 5th of January, 1823, and the 5th of January 1826, making together a reduction of 43,167,520l. in the capital of the public debt since the termination of the war, are not consistent with the accounts before the House, as appears by the facts contained in the following resolution." If the statement which he had really made, were not consistent with the documents before the House, then, of course, he was answerable, because those papers were furnished by those who were in connexion with his office, and he, of course, must be acquainted with them. But he never had said that the reduction of the public debt between the termination of the war and the 5th of January 1823, was effected by the operation of the sinking fund. On the contrary, he took special care to say that it had not been so reduced. And when the hon. gentleman thought fit to accuse him, let him refer to the passage as it really occurred, and then see whether his accusation was or was not well founded. On 881 the day alluded to, he had proposed to the House a certain resolution for the purpose of simplifying the operation of the sinking fund. Before he submitted this resolution to the House, he felt it to be his duty to declare what the actual state of the debt was. Now, the hon. gentleman would find, that the words "sinking fund" were not used in the speech to which he had referred; and it was utterly impossible that he could ever have said, or inferred, that 24,000,000l. of the public debt had been reduced by the operation of the sinking fund. He again begged leave to state, that he was not bound by a single word that appeared in the publication to which the hon. gentleman had had recourse.
§ Mr. Hume
said, he did not rely on the words stated in any publication to have been uttered by the right hon. gentleman. He relied on the statements made by that right hon. gentleman himself; statements of which he had a perfect recollection; for, when the discussion was ended he had gone over to the bench on which the right hon. gentleman sat, and had pointed out to him the errors of his statement.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
continued—What he stated was, that, comparing the debt as it stood on the 5th of January, 1816, with its amount on the 5th of January 1823, there was, in point of fact, an actual reduction; which reduction could not be accounted for, except by reference to the application, in some way or other, of a surplus revenue. On the 5th of January 1816, the amount of the funded debt was 816,311,446l. The amount of the unfunded debt was 48,511,000l. The state of the same account, on the 5th of January 1823, was funded debt,796,530,000l.—unfunded debt including deficiency bills, 43,526,000l.; being a reduction of 23 millions. If they looked to the 5th of January 1816, and the 5th of January 1823, they would find, in that period, that 19,902,400l. of funded debt, and 4,864,120l. of unfunded debt had been reduced, being a diminution of upwards of 24,766,000l. The total, as contained in the resolution, was correct; but it was utterly impossible that he could have stated that the sinking-fund had caused this reduction of the debt. He had, on the contrary, absolutely divided the reduction from the sinking-fund. He had not introduced the sinking-fund as the instrument which had effected that diminution.—And why? Because he knew that other circumstances had con- 882 tributed to the reduction of the debt, independent of the sinking-fund. He had abstained from speaking of the sinking-fund as the cause of that reduction, because he would not practise any delusion on the House; and therefore the hon. gentleman was not authorized in accusing him in this way, by introducing a resolution (for he understood that the hon. gentleman had intended the proposition as a resolution) of a criminatory nature. What was the proposition put forward by the hon. gentleman? Why, that the chancellor of the Exchequer had made a certain statement which was not consistent with the documents before the House, as was proved by "the following resolution." So that the first step would be to condemn him and then to examine the resolution which was to afford ground for that condemnation. Now, they might chance to reject that resolution; and what, then, would become of the first proposition? He believed that no attempt had ever before been made to condemn a man in so clumsy and bungling a manner. First he was to be condemned by a formal resolution, and then the grounds of that resolution were to be discussed. But so enamoured was the hon. gentleman of this new, this singularly logical mode of reasoning and coming to a conclusion, that he adopted it elsewhere. Let the House look to the 31st resolution, where the hon. gentleman again adverted to certain assertions attributed to him. The resolution set forth—"That the repeated assertions made in this House, that there has been a diminution of taxation to the extent of 27,000,000l. since the termination of the war, are delusive and fallacious, whether as applied to the amount of money actually collected from the people, or the value of the currency in which the taxes was collected, as will appear by the facts stated in the following resolutions." Here again he was attacked by the hon. gentleman. Now certainly the hon. gentleman might accuse him of false reasoning, if he pleased; but it was going a little too far to assert that he was guilty of deliberate falsehood. In this instance, too, the proofs were to follow the condemnation. They were first of all to pronounce a verdict of guilty, and they were then to look to the succeeding resolutions for the purpose of seeing whether that guilt was or was not well-founded. He conceived it to be utterly impossible that, pursuing such a mode, the 883 hon. gentleman could induce the House to adopt a series of propositions such as he had submitted to their consideration. He found it difficult—nay, almost impossible—to follow the hon. gentleman in that excursive course which he had taken. He had wandered backwards and forwards, from resolution to resolution, until he (the chancellor of the Exchequer) could not help thinking that "chaos was come again." He would beg leave to refer to the second resolution, and he could adduce facts to prove the correctness of that which the resolution was intended to point out as fallacious. The resolution set forth—"That it appears, by the annual finance accounts, the public debt of the United Kingdom, funded and unfunded, on the 5th of January 1817 (after the union of the English and Irish Exchequers), was 846,765,078l.; and that on the 5th of January 1826, the amount of funded and unfunded debt of the United Kingdom was 819,437,298l.; showing a decrease in the nominal amount of capital, of 27,327,780l." Now, the fact was, that on the 5th of January 1816, the period at which the funded debt of this country had reached its maximum, it amounted to 816,311,446l., and on the 5th of January 1823, that debt was reduced to796,530,000l. This was a correct statement; but the hon. gentleman in his resolution excluded entirely the year 1816. He dated his account from the 5th of January 1817. If he (the chancellor of the Exchequer) had founded his calculation on the 5th of January 1817, and if he had deduced the same conclusion as he had come to, having commenced with the 5th of January 1816, he would have stated that which was not true; but having taken 1816, he had only stated that which was literally the fact: and if the hon. gentleman looked at the paper from which he (the chancellor of the Exchequer) drew his inference, he would find the full refutation of his own charge. But, what had the hon. gentleman done? He had referred to papers that were never ordered by the House. He had referred to his own resolutions of 1822, which were never carried; and which were proposed before he (the chancellor of the Exchequer) had any thing to do with these matters. He (the chancellor of the Exchequer) had founded his calculations on other papers, and between them and his statements there would be found no inconsistency. If the hon. gentleman would examine the 884 accounts which referred to the 5tb of January 1816, he would perceive, that those accounts tallied precisely with his (the chancellor of the Exchequer's) statements. Now, as the first part of the charge was wrong, and he thought he had proved that it was wrong, the whole of what the hon. gentleman had built on must fall to the ground. The hon. gentleman had pursued so extraordinary a course, that he feared he should tire the House in attempting to follow him. After speaking for two hours on the subject of the sinking-fund, to which the whole of his first resolution referred, he very coolly turned round, and said, "I don't mean to call the attention of the House to this question now, but I will take some other opportunity to bring it forward." He knew not how the House could give credence to either the facts or inferences of the hon. gentleman, because these resolutions referred to ten thousand other papers, and it was quite impossible to make the matter intelligible to the House. The hon. gentleman took up and laid down different subjects just at his pleasure. He was ready to justify his own conduct whenever he could guess what charge the hon. gentleman had to allege against him, but he really did not think that he was called on to justify the conduct of ministers for the last forty years. The hon. gentleman had attacked the sinking-fund, and Mr. Pitt, and all others who approved of that right hon. gentleman's system. This, however, did not apply to him. What he had to do with the sinking-fund was, to put it on a more intelligible footing; and all that the hon. gentleman had said of purchasing with the one hand and selling with the other, did not affect him in the slightest degree, although he was obliged to bear the head and front of the hon. gentleman's battery. He therefore thought that he was not treating the subject unfairly, if he did not enter into the mode of administering the sinking-fund during so many years of war. He knew that there was a strong difference of opinion on this subject; but it should be observed, that he had never operated with the sinking-fund; and, as he had not come to the House to raise a loan on that security, he did think that the hon. gentleman was not justified in introducing such a violent tirade. The hon. gentleman had accused government of wishing to mystify the public accounts. Now he could conceive nothing more 885 foolish, absurd, or useless in a government than an attempt at mystification. He detested such a system, and he was sure he could not get through it. He wished to simplify the public accounts, but when they considered the greatness and extent of those accounts, it would not be surprising that they appeared somewhat complicated. He did not know how they could make their financial system intelligible to any person who merely took up documents of that nature for an hour, and expected them to be as perfectly clear and plain as an ordinary balance-sheet. He despaired of effecting this object; but if the hon. gentleman or any other person—he cared not a farthing who—could make the accounts more plain, and thus enable the hon. member to bring forward his attacks more clearly than he had done that night, he should be exceedingly pleased with the circumstance. In opposition to what the hon. gentleman had stated, he thought that every year he had come down to the House he had been particularly fortunate. He had blessed his stars that he had been enabled to reduce taxation to the amount of 8,500,000l. But the hon. gentleman said, this did no good at all, because the amount of taxation levied on the people was just the same as before these reductions. This, however, was not the case. Why had he reduced the duty on wine? He had done so, because he found, in point of fact, that the tax had diminished the sale of the article. He therefore brought it back to the rate at which it 6tood in 1801 and 1802. And what was the result? Why, the immediate result was, that the consumption increased in a greater proportion than he had ventured to anticipate. He had calculated the loss that would be produced by the reduction at 230,000l. It was, however, considerably under that sum, and for this plain reason—that more wine was drank now than before the duty had been lowered. If this was the case, it could not be contended that the people did not profit by the reduction. If a man who could not previously indulge in that luxury was now enabled, by the reduction of the duty, to purchase even a single bottle of wine, that reduction was manifestly an advantage to the individual.—With respect to the hon. member's charge of the falling off in the consumption of spirits, and that that falling off was to be attributed to the high duty at which it had been rated, 886 what did he (the chancellor of the Exchequer, do? He took the first step to remedy the evil by reducing the duty; and what was the consequence of that reduction? Why, the consequence was, an increased demand for the article. But the country had not as yet had time to derive benefit from the reduction. It had only come into operation on the 5th of January last; and consequently the measure of reduction had not come fairly into play. The hon. gentleman was therefore not justified in censuring him for a decrease in the article of spirits, as he had endeavoured to remedy that decrease by the only possible means that could be adopted; namely, a reduction in the duty.—The hon. gentleman found fault with him for having, on a former occasion, stated to the House, that the country was in a prosperous state—that there was an increased consumption, and, consequently, an increased revenue. The hon. gentleman said, that this prosperity was a mere delusion; nay, he went further, for he seemed to imply, that he (the chancellor of the Exchequer) was aware that it was all a delusion, and took satisfaction from the circumstance of having thus imposed upon the country. Such was the effect of the hon. gentleman's insinuation, but he disregarded this attempt to lower him in the opinion of the country; and however the hon. gentleman might reconcile it to his feelings, to cast such unworthy reflections, they would fail of their intended object, and recoil upon him with whom they had originated. What was the fact? It was true he had congratulated the House on increased consumption, and on the prosperous appearance which the country at that time wore; and he had given a practical proof of the improved condition of the country, by showing that where distress had existed, it was found no longer. Where was the disaffection, the discontent, the bloodshed, and the tumult which had so lately existed? It had all vanished, and left scarcely a trace behind; yet, although such was the fact at the period when he made the statement, the hon. gentleman had called it "flourish and flummery." It was true he had congratulated the House and the country on the increasing comfort of the people; and he put it to any reasonable man in that House if he was not warranted in doing so. The hon. gentleman had commented in severe terms on the statement which (he the chancellor of 887 the Exchequer) had made at the commencement of the present session, and he seemed to think that because he had quoted the year 1816, it was to serve a purpose that he did so. His only object, however, was to show to the House what course government had adopted to reduce the taxation of the country; and he believed he had succeeded in showing, at least to every impartial and candid man who heard him, that the reduction of the taxes had been accompanied by an increased prosperity to the country. The hon. gentleman had said, that he (the chancellor of the Exchequer) had held out delusive prospects to the traders in wool, and that persons engaged in that particular branch of merchandise had suffered severely by that delusion. All that he should say in reply to the charge was, that it was unfounded. No delusion, by word or deed, had ever been practised by him, in order to force an importation of that article. Another, and certainly a very grave charge of the hon. gentleman's was, that he imputed to government impure and unworthy motives, with respect to promotions in the army and navy. It could hardly be expected that he (the chancellor of the Exchequer) should go into all the minute details connected with that subject. This much, however, in justice to his colleagues and himself, he might be permitted to say—that government had a difficult and invidious duty to perform, in apportioning promotions which must necessarily cause a new expenditure, or at least must keep up the old. The hon. gentleman could not be aware of the awful responsibility imposed on his majesty's ministers in coming to a decision in such cases. It was easy to impute motives, but government would abandon its duty if it did not, in dispensing promotions both in the army and navy, endeavour to place those establishments on the least expensive and most economical footing. Was it just of the hon. member to say, that the only object which government had in view in keeping up a large army in time of peace was the patronage which it threw into their hands? It might be the duty of the hon. member to make those charges. The hon. member seemed on all occasions most eager in such a pursuit, and he no doubt considered himself justified in doing so. But he should not infer, because he might consider himself right, that those whom he accused were neces- 888 sarily in the wrong. The committee of Finance of 1817 had recommended that government should endeavour to approximate the finances of the country as nearly as might be to the year 1793, and his majesty's ministers had endeavoured to follow that suggestion. The hon. member charged the present government with not reducing the army and navy establishments of the country. The question of a reduction in those establishments was one of serious import, and involved considerations of the greatest consequence. The hon. gentleman stated, with reference to a part of our colonies, that an undue proportion of troops had been sent most unnecessarily there. In reply to which he should merely observe, that government had not proposed any military establishment for the defence of those colonies that was not absolutely essential to their defence. Yet this was one of the topics upon which the hon. gentleman thought fit to propose an address to the Crown; although the whole details of this matter had now been gone over, year after year, for sometime. There really was considerable difficulty in meeting the charges of the hon. member in debate. They were so often refuted, and yet so often repeated, and contained in them so much matter of personal crimination to which no reasoning would apply, and which admitted of no answer beyond the mere denial of the individual accused, that it was both painful and difficult to have to deal with them. It was truly extraordinary to observe the hon. gentleman's course in this respect. He always resolved every man's conduct into some miserable, pitiful, left-handed object. This was so habitual with that hon. gentleman, that he (the chancellor of the Exchequer) had become quite callous to it, as far as he was concerned. But it really was too much to bear—it was really galling to see unworthy motives ascribed to hon. gentlemen, because some of those who were generally opposed to ministers, happened upon some measures to coincide with them; as if it was utterly impossible for men ever to act an honest, disinterested, part. What were they to suppose the mind of the hon. gentleman himself to be made of, when they saw that he never could by any accident talk of men's actions in that House, without betraying a watchful suspicion, and imputing motives of that kind which could attach to no honest man? For his own 889 part, he would not trouble himself to answer them. With regard to others he would not presume to answer for them; but he did hope that every one whom the hon. gentleman should think fit to attack would treat the attack with as much indifference as he did. As he could not undertake to talk for three hours and a half upon the subject matter of forty-seven resolutions, he would not pretend to go further into the details of the hon. member's speech. This much he would take leave to say—that he was quite sure no roan could, with any regard for truth, vote for the first resolution: and also, if he had any regard for reasoning, he would not vote for any of the others, as they were all, independently of their own particular defects in that respect, more or less founded upon the first resolution, which was false in fact. He thought, therefore, that the House would not be disposed to join the hon. gentleman in his motion for an address to the Crown. Not that he meant to say, that it was not the duty of government, and of the parliament, to represent to the Crown in the fullest manner the distressed and difficult situation in which the country was placed. But he denied that the hon. gentleman had any right, from any thing that his majesty's ministers had done or said, to charge them, as he had done, with a want of common humanity; the whole meaning of the charge being neither more nor less, than that they had not adopted all his motions with reference to the scale of the military and civil establishments of the country. Although, therefore, he objected to the motion proposed by the hon member, it was not to be inferred that it proceeded from any indifference, or from any thing approaching to indifference, for the sufferings with which some part of the country was assailed. He, indeed, who did not feel, and feel acutely in a case of this kind, must be something more or less than man.
§ Mr. Brougham
thought, that the right hon. gentleman had misconceived his hon. friend, in supposing that he wished to take the right hon. gentleman by surprise, with respect to the present motion. The right hon. gentleman said, that he had no notice of these resolutions until eleven o'clock that day, when they were forwarded to him. Now, if that were a ground of complaint, he (Mr. Brougham) had still greater cause to complain than 890 the right hon. gentleman; for it was half-past seven o'clock that evening when the resolutions had been put into his hand. So that he was in the same predicament as the right hon. gentleman; and as it might naturally be supposed that, if there had been a preference, he should have had it, he really could not see that the right hon. gentleman had, after all, any very serious ground of complaint. But, seriously, he should like to know—and he begged the House to attend to this—whether, upon any former occasion in which such a motion as the present had been brought forward, the right hon. gentleman had been better treated. Was not the notice of this motion regularly entered among the notices? If his hon. friend had not shown a great deal of courtesy on the occasion, he would not have sent his statement to the right hon. gentleman at all; but would have reserved it, in order to embody it in a speech. Was it to be objected that his hon. friend, after giving due notice to the House, and forwarding on the morning of the day when he brought it forward, the mass of valuable but minute detail embodied in those resolutions—was it to be objected against his hon. friend, that he had taken the right hon. gentleman by surprise, and had not given him due notice? Had he acted as others would have done, he would not have given the right hon. gentleman one tittle of his statement. Had the right hon. gentleman any just grounds of complaint with regard to the present motion, when, on common occasions, the courtesy which he had now experienced would have been denied him? The right hon. gentleman seemed very anxious to convict his hon. friend of error. The only mistake which he conceived his hon. friend had fallen into, was that of concluding the proposed resolutions with an address to the Crown, instead of proposing them in the House for the purpose of obtaining its decision upon them. With respect to the first resolution, could it be said that his hon. friend intended to charge the right hon. gentleman with improper conduct? He was sure his hon. friend meant no such charge; but as a mis-statement had been made in the accounts to which that resolution referred, his hon. friend was desirous to know the truth, but without any intention of imputing wilful misconduct to the right hon. gentleman. With respect to the words attributed to the right hon. gentleman, 891 he said that they were taken from a speech that never had his sanction; but his hon. friend, in contradiction to that, had said that he had taken a note of the exact words at the time they were uttered, and could not have misconceived them, and that moreover he went round to where the right hon. gentleman was sitting at the time, and said to him "Your calculation is so and so, and this is different."—With respect to the sinking-fund, his hon. friend had said distinctly, that he exonerated the chancellor of the Exchequer from any portion of blame resulting from that measure. He deprecated the system, but did not impute blame to the right hon. gentleman. With respect to that system, he deprecated it as much as his hon. friend. There was a direct arithmetical blunder in the statement to which the first resolution referred; and his hon. friend was surely not to blame because he had the sagacity to discover it. He rejoiced to hear from the chancellor of the Exchequer himself, that men who formerly supported the sinking-fund, were now as eager to censure it. His hon. friend had deprecated the system of keeping the public accounts; and the right hon. gentleman said in reply, that those accounts were kept as regularly as any private balance-sheet in the best regulated establishment; but the instance of mis-statement to which reference had been made, furnished a bad example in support of this. Now, he could not see why there should not be as much precision and accuracy in dealing with millions as with thousands, nor why a balance-sheet should not be the same in both cases. He must beg pardon of the House if he was obliged to enter a little into detail. With respect to the taxation, he begged leave to concur in what had fallen from the chancellor of the Exchequer, and to differ from his hon. friend; that was to say, he differed from his hon. friend in what he said on the subject in his speech, although he concurred in his resolution respecting it. He felt convinced, that although there might be a nominal reduction of 27,000,000l. since the termination of the war, out of a taxation of 69,000,000l., that, in point of fact, although 52,000,000l. was the present amount of taxation, there was only an actual diminution of 1,500,000l. instead of 27,000,000l. So far he agreed with his hon. friend, and he could not, therefore, understand how it was that the right hon. gentleman could make the reduction 892 appear greater. With respect to the argument of the right hon. gentleman on the subject of wine, he confessed that he did not exactly perceive the point which he meant to establish. It was quite clear, that the diminution in the consumption of wine was at least 30 per cent yearly, notwithstanding the increased number of consumers. It was certainly true, however, that a man had no right to complain, if he could now drink two bottles of wine instead of one. The consumer and the dealer were now on more equal terms; and the revenue on this particular article was raised with much less burthen to the country. So far he disagreed with his hon. friend's speech, although he agreed with the statement contained in his resolution. Take, now, the article of malt. From the year 1785 to the year 1794, the number of bushels of malt annually consumed was 25,750,000, and the average of ten years from 1815 to 1824, the annual consumption was only 25,500,000, showing an actual decrease of 500,000 bushels per annum; whilst, if the increase of malt had been in proportion to the increased population, the consumption would have exceeded 35,000,000 of bushels per annum. Nor was this decrease confined to the article of malt alone, for not only malt but other spirits had decreased. It appeared that the average consumption in Great Britain of all kinds of spirits, British and foreign, in the five years from 1806 to 1810 was 13,059,522 gallons; while the average of the last five years, 1820–4, was 12,110,281 gallons, showing an actual decrease in the last eighteen years of 94–9,241 gallons per annum. Nor was this decreased consumption confined to those articles which he had quoted. In the article of sugar, on an average of the nine years from 1808 to 1816, it appeared that there were 2,406,809 cwt., and in the last nine years, from 1817 to 1825, on an annual average, there appeared 2,593,540 cwts., showing an annual increase of only 196,731cwt., being about 7½ per cent; whilst the population had increased during that period at the rate of 17 per cent. This article of sugar, however, it should be observed, had not decreased so much as others. It appeared, then, that while the numbers increased, there was also a great increase in the expenditure of the country, but at the same time a decrease of the comforts of the people to an amazing extent. There was one part of the argument of 893 his hon. friend in which he did not concur. It was that which referred to the increase of pauperism, and, as his hon. friend stated, an increase of crime. His hon. friend had said, that, not withstanding the improvement which had been made in the criminal code, the amount of crime had continued steadily to increase. He apprehended that his hon. friend did not take a correct average of the time in which this increase was visible. His hon. friend drew the line of comparison a little too early. He spoke first of the average amount of commitments between 1805 and 1809, and from the latter year to the year 1824; but he did not take into his calculation the time in which there was a transition from war to peace; for, though we had that peace in 1814 and 1815, we should look to the gradual disembodying of the army after that period, which was not fully accomplished before 1818. On examination, it would be found that the increase of crime was greatest immediately after those troops were disembodied. If, then, the line of comparison was drawn between the years before this period and the years after, the difference would be very great. If the seven years before 1817 were taken, the average number of commitments would be found about 6,700; but the average of the next two years (when the greatest number of troops were disbanded) would be found somewhere about 13,000. Looking to these facts, they could not disconnect the increase from the transition from war to peace, and the disbanding of large bodies of the army. From the year 1815 to 1816, the commitments for crime were 7,800; from 1817 to 1818, they increased to 9,000; and in the next year, they were about 13,000 and upwards; and this last was the period when the greatest number was disbanded. Comparing the commitments in those periods, with what they were in 1821, the result would afford no ground for denying that an improvement, the result of an improved education, had taken place in the morals of the people. He felt it necessary to make these remarks on this part of his hon. friend's speech, in order to guard against conclusions from it which the circumstances did not warrant. He was glad of the opportunity thus given by his hon. friend, of entering upon the important questions which he had introduced. He had laid before the House a mass of accounts connected with its revenue in every important 894 branch, the collection and arrangement of which would have staggered the most persevering—would have deterred any but the hon. member himself from entering upon the task. These, with some few exceptions, were surprisingly correct. The last of the propositions contained in his hon. friend's statement was the most important of all, and one which deserved mature consideration. The result of the whole was, that the revenue and expenditure of the country ought to undergo the most complete investigation—that they ought not to expend millions, or thousands, nor even shillings, more than the strictest economy required, and that the sooner they gave relief to a suffering people in this respect, the better they would discharge their duty in this closing session, and the better they would be able to meet their constituents at the approaching election.
said, that the debt had not been reduced by the sum mentioned by the chancellor of the Exchequer, nor by any sum at all; and so it would have appeared if the accounts had been kept as they ought to have been. But the custom was, to keep them in a most intricate state; so that the fallacies could not be detected without the utmost attention. It turned out, however, that the nominal capital of the debt was 100 millions more than it was in 1819. "But," said the gentlemen opposite, "look at the charge of the debt." He was ready to meet them there too; and would refer to a paper drawn up by as good an accountant as any of these gentlemen. The statement given was by Mr. Higbam, and the result was, that in January, 1819, the debt was 832 millions; in 1826, the amount was 893 millions, being an increase of 61 millions. And then as to the charge of the debt, in 1819 it was 29,045,000l.; in 1826 it was 29,176,000l., being 131,000l. more in the latter period than in the former. The object of his hon. friend was, to shew, that owing to this sinking-fund, the country was much more in debt than it would have been without it; and that proposition he had clearly made out. And then a capital of thirteen millions was added by the dead weight, which, he believed, would hang as long as a dead weight about the neck of the Bank; and, perhaps, lead them to require another Bank restriction. So intricately had the public accounts been kept, that he had for years called in vain for a balance 895 sheet, which he had obtained at last with great difficulty. He had heard with satisfaction, however, from the chancellor of the Exchequer, that he proposed to enter into a thorough examination of the state of the public accounts; and assured the right hon. gentleman, that what assistance the hon. member for Montrose and himself could render him, would be much at his service. That would be a most beneficial act of duty towards the public; and his hon. friend, the member for Montrose, would, even in producing that result, have done much for the advantage of his country, by bringing forward these resolutions.
expressed his regret, that this motion should have been brought forward and supported by the other side of the House, on the ground that there ought to be now given a relief from taxation. Such a proposition was only holding out delusive hopes to the country; for there was no prospect, in the present state of our revenue, of any relief from that source. Our revenue was 52,000,000l., of which upwards of 30,000,000l. went to pay the interest of the debt, and the remainder to meet the expenses of our army and navy, and our civil establishments. An expectation of relief from taxation under such circumstances was illusive; unless it was intended that faith should be broken with the public creditor. If hon. members chose to advocate such a measure, taxation might be reduced; but where, then, would be the credit of the country? Our exports were more than our imports, and that had been a main cause of our distress. He should move that the House do adjourn.
§ Mr. Hume
proceeded to reply, observing that he would trouble the House with only a very few words more. He regretted that the chancellor of the Exchequer should have imagined that he intended to say any thing personal against him. He had never intended to do so, although the right hon. gentleman seemed to have imagined that he did. He could assure the right hon. gentleman that when he had made the statement alluded to, he went over to the right hon. gentleman and mentioned, that he was surprised that he could have made such a statement. He had afterwards seen the right hon. gentleman, and showed him clearly, 896 that not one shilling could be saved to the country by the sinking fund, but that the effect of it was directly the reverse. The right hon. gentleman at that time appeared to him to defend the sinking-fund. With respect to the motion, he had only to say, that not one fact had been produced to contradict what he (Mr. Hume) had stated.
§ Mr. Hume
resumed his reply. The right hon. gentleman had stated, that as his first resolution was erroneous, the whole of the rest depending upon it were gone. But the truth was, no answer had been given to his resolutions. He had put it to the House in the strongest language, that it was necessary to diminish the expenditure, but so as not to touch the public creditor. It was most extraordinary, therefore, that he should have been charged by the hon. member for Grampound with any view to prevent our keeping faith with the public creditor. The plan which he suggested was, to save five millions, by putting an end to the sinking-fund—five millions by so far diminishing the ordinary expenditure. By this means ten millions annually would be saved to the nation. In 1792, the whole of the expenditure for the military, and other ordinary purposes of government, was five and a half millions. In the present year, the expenditure for the same purposes was 26 millions. Now, if the expenditure in 1792 was only from five to six millions, why might not the same purposes be answered now by an expenditure of twelve or thirteen millions? But then, when the expenses of foreign embassies were so extraordinary, and when an ambassador was permitted to expend 30,000l. in one year—when such and similar extravagancies were allowed—it would be impossible to make the reduction which he had stated. He trusted that whoever really believed that this reduction of ten millions could be made, would vote for his motion; and that it might be made might well be believed, when they considered what reductions had been made in 1821, in consequence 897 of his suggestions; even after all the estimates of the year had been regularly voted. Ministers had shewn no disposition to economy, and therefore it became the duty of the House to address the Crown for the purpose of enforcing it.
§ Strangers were then ordered to withdraw. While they were leaving the gallery,
Mr. Alderman Heygate
said, that as it appeared by the rules of the House, that in consequence of having seconded the amendment, he was precluded from speaking on the main question, he would only observe, that he had done so to prevent the premature conclusion of the debate on a subject the most interesting in the present state of the country. This was the only reason why he had seconded the amendment.
§ The House divided on Mr. Hume's motion: Ayes 51; Noes 152. Majority against the motion 101.
|List of the Minority.|
|Allan, J. H.||Lloyd, sir E. P.|
|Althorp, viscount||Maberly, John|
|Barret, S. M.||Maberly, W. L.|
|Bernal, Ralph||Marjoribanks, S.|
|Bright, H.||Milbank, Mark|
|Brougham, H.||Monck, J. B.|
|Burdett, sir F.||Palmer, C.|
|Byng, Geo.||Palmer, C. F.|
|Calcraft, John||Powlett, hon. W.|
|Calvert, Chas.||Ramsden, J. C.|
|Cradock, Sheldon||Rickford, W.|
|Creevey, T.||Robarts, A. W.|
|Davies, T.||Robinson, sir G.|
|Denman, T.||Russell, lord J.|
|Dundas, hon. T.||Scarlett, James|
|Ellice, E.||Smith, hon. R.|
|Fergusson, sir R.||Taylor, M. A.|
|Glenorchy, visct.||Tierney, right hon. G.|
|Heygate, ald.||Webbe, E.|
|Hobhouse, J. C.||Wharton, John|
|Howard, hon. W.||Whitbread, S. C.|
|Howard, H.||Williams, John|
|Hurst, Robt.||Wilson, sir R.|
|Ingleby, sir W.||Wood, M.|
|Knight, R.||Hume, J.|
|Leader, Wm.||Duncannon, lord|