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question, so far as it would go, and upon the principles of the Act referred to, it might undoubtedly be so applied without impropriety; but he thought it peculiarly desirable to avoid encroaching, so soon after the cessation of hostilities, on so important a resource, and one which might become so necessary for enabling us to meet any unforeseen and sudden emergency. It would be recollected, that in proposing the Act of 1813 he had urged the importance of reserving in the hands of the commissioners, a sum sufficient to meet the expenses of a renewal of war, if it should become unavoidable, and this reserved sum he had stated at 100 millions of stock: and he now thought it desirable to complete this provision before any further aid was derived from the sinking fund towards the exigencies of the state. By allowing the sinking fund to increase at compound interest for four years, without any reduction whatever, a fund would be accumulated in the hands of the commissioners of above 150 millions; and the annual amount of the sinking fund would exceed 15 millions, and would be sufficient, by an application at simple interest only, to redeem the whole funded debt at par (should it be thought advisable) within 45 years, which was the period prescribed by Mr. Pitt's Act of 1792. He thought the public would then be fairly entitled to expect some relief from the sinking fand; but in what manner, it would be for the wisdom of parliament, upon a view of all the circumstances of the case, to determine. In the mean time, he should propose to provide for the charges of the loans which might be raised by the new taxes he had brought forward. The greatest political advantages might be derived from this precaution. The ferment into which Europe had been thrown was scarcely calmed ; the military ardour which had been so prevalent was scarcely abated. In this point of view, the lapse of a little time might be of the greatest importance. Every
year, every month of the continuance of Peace strengthened the probability of its further duration. At the expiration of four years, having prudently reserved to ourselves during that period the power of answering any unexpected but imperious demand, we should then, in greater security, have an opportunity to consider of the best mode of avail. ing ourselves of all the resources which we possessed for lightening the burthens of the country. The committee and the country must be well aware, that the best security for peace was to show that we were perfectly prepared for war. By a discontinuance of the property tax, and by an abstinence from the sinking fund, we should every year strengthen our hands; and as on the one hand he trusted we should exhibit a moderation equal to our power, so on the other we should lay a foundation for the attainment of a force that was best calculated to preserve us in undisturbed tranquillity. In the event of a renewal of hostilities, the possession of a fund which in four years would amount to above 150 millions, and the power of reviving the property tax, would afford to the country the means, under the protection of Providence, of commanding success in a just and necessary war, and he trusted that no war would ever be undertaken by this country which was not strictly just and necessary: while in the happier and more probable alternative of the continuance of peace, we might look from
year to year to a material improvement of our situation. That very night would deliver the country from an annual taxation of nine millions; and not only would the relief be directly advantageous to those by whom it would be felt, but in the expenditure of the money thus saved by the people, a large portion of it would circuitously, but certainly, find its way into the public treasury, and thus contribute to the strength of the state. The gradual but steady increase of the revenue was also a subject of gratify. ing contemplation. On the 5th of April 1814, the total amount of the revenue for the year, (exclusive of the property tax) was 48,436,000l. In the preceding year the revenue (with the same exclusion) amounted only to 47,000,000l. ; so that in that year there was an increase of about 1,500,000. At Christmas last the revenue for the year (exclusive of the property tax) was 51,211,000l. ; being an increase of near 3,000,0001. without the imposition of any new tax.' This progress of the public revenue would tend materially to relieve the public burthens. And here he could not refrain from congratulating the committee and the country on having achieved the great object of the arduous struggle in which they had been engaged, while the resources of the country still remained in a state of such strength and hope. He never had entertained any apprehension of the sufficiency of the financial resources of this country, except so far as danger might arise from a feverish impatience in the mass of the people for a premature relief from burthens which in sound policy it might be necessary to bear; much less could he entertain such
apprehensions at present, when we had already made so great a progress towards overcoming the difficulties of our situation.
He hoped he might be excused for mentioning a trivial anecdote, on account of the sentiment it conveyed. At the first dinner which Mr. Pitt gave to the Duke of Portland and his friends after their junction with his administration at the commencement of the contest, Mr. Burke filled a glass of wine, and drank “ Success to this long war!” The company in general were not prepared for the expression "long,' conceiving that the war would soon be terminated; and some of them having expressed their surprise, Mr.
See Accounts annexed to the Budget Speech, in the subsequent article.
Burke continued," I say this long and sanguinary war ; for such it must be.
• Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.' Let durate' be your motto. The perseverance which that great man recommended had been uniformly supported by Parliament and the Country throughout the arduous struggle which continued for twenty years after Mr. Burke's advice; and never had the efforts of any state been crowned with more complete triumph.
The Right Hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his first resolution.