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supplies to be raised. The sum of 12,539,0001. is all that enters into the account of the supplies under this branch for the ensuing year.
The expense for the army, excepting only barracks and extraordinaries, has likewise been voted. What the amount of the extraordinaries will be, it is impossible to ascertain ; but so far as can be collected from the bills already drawn, this article may be taken at four millions besides the vote of credit, making am excess of about 1,300,0001. at the end of the year.
In judging of the probable amount of the demands of this branch of service for the year 1798, it will be seen that there is no prospect of increase at home; that the situation of the war abroad promises to adnvit of a diminution ; and that from the general state of affairs, many of the causes, which contributed to swell the extraordinaries of the army, cease to operate. The amount of the extraordinaries, then, may be taken at 2,500,0001. The charge on the head of barracks may be estimated at 400,0001. The expense of guards and garrisons, and the general articles included under this head, has already been voted, amounting to 10,112,0001. The ordnance may be taken at 1,300,0001.; and the various articles of miscellaneous service may be rated at 673,0001. There remain only two articles to be noticed, the sum of 200,0001. appropriated for the reduction of the national debt, and about 680,0001. arising from deficiencies of grants. From the whole, then, the committee will see, that the sum now to be provided for amounts to about twenty-five millions and a half. Supposing the statements under the head of the army and navy to be correct, the expense on these branches will be reduced to the extent of two millions and a half; and, including the reduction on the head of extraordinaries, the saving upon the whole will amount to the sum of 6,700,000..
Notwithstanding this diminution, however, there still remains the sum of twenty-five millions and a half to be provided for, as the supplies of the ensuing year. Before I proceed to explain the general plan proposed for covering this expense, I shall state the usual articles which compose part of the annual ways and means.
These are the growing produce of the consolidated fund, and the land and malt. The former I shall take, along with the profit on the lottery, at so very small a sum as 700,0001., making with the land and malt the sum of three millions and a half. There still remains, however, the sum of twenty-two millions to be supplied by some other means. The mode by which this sum is to be raised, forms the great object of consideration. The reduction upon the head of naval and military establishment does, indeed, amount to a very considerable saving. The committee will see with satisfaction that their expenses admit of a diminution below what was necessary in some former periods of the war. Pleasing as this circumstance certainly is, I will not disguise, however, that after the sums which have already been added to the national debt, after the burdens which have already been imposed, to raise so large a sum as twenty-two millions is no light matter. But the difficulty is to be examined with a firm determination to exert every effort which the magnitude of the occasion demands, with a firm determination to produce the means by which the struggle is to be supported with vigour and with effect, so long as these continue to be the only course by which we can maintain our national honour, and secure our national safety. After this decided resolution, to render these supplies effective, the next point to be considered is the mode by which the expense is to be defrayed, without danger to the sources of our prosperity, and without inconvenience to those
be called upon to contribute. Before I enter into the statement of that plan by which it is proposed to meet a considerable part of this expense in a manner rather new in our more recent financial operations, I shall mention one of the intended supplies which, under the restriction with which it will be guarded, I am disposed to think will be viewed as altogether unexceptionable. After what I have heard from some gentlemen on former discussions, I cannot expect
that the measure to which I allude will encounter po opposition; but I am pretty confident that though not universal, the approbation which it will receive will be very general. This measure, however, is considerably different from that which some gentlemen conceive. I propose that towards the supplies the bank shall make an advance to government. The sum which it is in contemplation thus to raise is neither very large in itself, nor will it be made in such a shape as to deprive the bank of the certainty of repayment within a short period, if it shall be considered expedient to take off the restriction on payment in cash. That under all the circumstances of our present situation that restriction is necessary, I cannot entertain a doubt. I confess, that, while the war continues in its present shape, it is my decided opinion that it would be unwise to discontinue that restriction. If, however, any unforeseen events of the war, or if the return of peace should supersede that necessity, the advances, which it is proposed should be made by the bank, are to be upon sucia conditions as shall render them available for the payment of their debt. If such a measure should meet with the approbation of parliament, the bank will consent to make the advance. If it is clear, then, that in the present situation of affairs the restriction is prudent; if, under the conditions intended to be stipulated with regard to the manner of repayment, this advance will be attended with advantage to the public service without any detriment to the bank, I am at a loss to discover why we should decline an accommodation which, in the present circumstances of the country, would prove so material a relief. The sum of three millions, then, the bank will agree to advance on exchequer bills, to be repaid at a short period, capable of being prolonged if nothing occur to render that extension inexpedient, but still claimable by the bank if any change in their affairs shall render it necessary.
There now remains to be supplied the sum of nineteen millions. According to the received system of our financial opera. tions, the natural and ordinary mode of providing this sum would be by a loan. I know that, notwithstanding the magnitude of
the debt already accumulated, resources are still left for supplying the public service by this means. I admit the funding system, which has been so long the established mode of supplying the public wants, though I cannot but regret the extent to which it has been carried, is not yet exhausted. If we look, however, at the general diffusion of wealth, and the great accumulation of capital ; above all, if we consider the hopes which the enemy have conceived of wearying us out by the embarrassments of the funding system, we shall find that the true mode of preparing ourselves to maintain the contest with effect and success, is to reduce the advantages which the funding system is calculated to afford within due limits, and to prevent the depreciation of our national securities. We ought to consider how far the efforts we shall exert to preserve the blessings we enjoy, will enable us to transmit the inheritance to posterity unencumbered with those burdens which would cripple their vigour, which would prevent tirem from asserting that rank in the scale of nations which their ancestors so long and so gloriously maintained. It is in this point of view that the subject ought to be considered. Whatever ebjections might have been fairly urged against the funding system in its origin, no man can suppose that, after the form and shape which it has given to our financial affairs, after the heavy burdens which it has left behind it, we can now recur to the notion of raising in one year the whole of the supplies which a scale of expense, so extensive as ours, must require. If such a plan is evidently impracticable, some medium, however, may be found to draw as much advantage from the funding system, as it is fit, consistently with a due regard for posterity, to employ, and at the same time to obviate the evils with which its excess would be attended. We still may devise some expedient by which we may contribute to the defence of our own cause, and to the supply of our own exigencies, by which we may reduce within equitable limits the accommodation of the funding system, and lay the foundation of that quick redemption which will prevent the dangerous consequences of an overgrown accum. lation of our public debt.
Such are the advantages which the plan I am about to propose endeavours to combine. To guard against the accumulation of the funded debt, and to contribute that share to the support of the struggle in which we are engaged, which our ability will permit without inconvenience to those who are called upon to contribute, appears essentially necessary. The great object of such a practical scheme must be to allot fairly and equally to every class that portion which each ought to bear. As I have already stated then, it is my intention to propose, not for your immediate decision, but for your mature deliberation, the plan of raising, by a general tax within the year, the sum of seven millions. I am aware that this sum does far exceed any thing which has been raised at any former period at one time, but I trust I have stated sufficient reasons to show that it is a wise and necessary measure. I am sure that whatever temporary sacrifices it may be necessary to make, the committee will feel that they can best provide for the ultimate success of the struggle, by showing that they are determined to be guided by no personal considerations; that, while they defend the present blessings they enjoy, they are not regardless of posterity. If the sacrifices required be considered in this view; if they be taken in reference to the objects for which we contend, and the evils which we are labouring to avert, great as they may be compared with former exertions, they must appear very light in the balance.
It will be observed, that there will be twelve millions out of the eighteen still to be provided for in the way of loan. At present I state this circumstance merely in the cursory review I have taken of the whole supplies. In what manner it will be done must depend upon the views which the progress of affairs may afterwards suggest. Certain parts of this sum would probably be raised on different terms. Whatever part of it might be covered by the produce of the sinking fund may be borrowed as permanent debt, providing for its redemption on the same terms with the other permanent debt; other parts again may be hor. rowed upon a much earlier scheme of redemption. But to pro