Imatges de pÓgina

fequently, every annuity, for the payment of which any of those nine branches are appropriated.

"The confolidation of annuities disturbs the appropriation equally with the confolidation of duties; for, though a distinct account is kept of the duties applicable to the payment of each annuity, yet a purchafer of a confolidated ftock does not know whether he becomes proprietor of the old or the ingrafted ftock, and, confequently cannot tell out of which of the appropriated duties his annuity is pay


"That the effect of thefe confiderations might the more clearly appear, we procured from the auditor of the receipt of the exchequer, an account of the feveral duties out of which the bank confolidated three per cent. annuities are paid. This fund, confifting at its first creation, in the year 1752, of 8,200,000l. only, is now fwelled to upwards of 107,000,000l. The annuity, attending near fifty-eight of them, is paid our of the finking fund: the reft, out of duties kept feparate and distinct.

"The act of the 25th of George the Second, chapter the 27th, is the original of this fund. It converted the bank three per cent. annuities into a joint ftock, and carried to the finking fund all the duties ap propriated to answer the annuities payable upon that capital, and charged the confolidated annuity upon that fund. This meafure was effected with the confent of the pro prietors. Trustees, both public and private were empowered to fub fcribe, and indemnified in fubfcrib ing, their affent to this confolida


"The act of the 28th of George the Second, made additions to this joint capital, and charged the annuities at tending then upon the finking fund,

without increasing it by any new duties.

"The acts of the 32d and 33d of George the Second, added feveral. millions, raised by former acts, to this ftock, with the consent of the proprietors of the ingrafted millions, implied from their not fubfcribing their diffent, but without the confent of the proprietors of the old capital. The duties charged with the payment of the annuities attending the ingrafted capital, were carried to the finking fund, and those annuities charged upon it.

"The acts of the 1ft, 6th, and other fubfequent years of his prefent majefty, blend with this joint stock, at the time of their creation, the annuities granted by thofe acts; but, within thefe late years, the funds appropriated for the payment of them have been kept feparate and diftinct, and not, like the former duties, thrown into the finking fund.

"But the act the most material to our purpose, is that of the 9th of George the Second, chapter the 23d. The legislature, upon a principle of public convenience, from an attention to the morals and health of the fubject, checks the ufe of fpirituous liquors, and changing the application of the duties to which fpirits were then liable, unites them to, and appropriates them to the ufes of, the aggregate fund; and, forefeeing that the funds, of which thefe duties made a part, being charged with payments to the civil lift, and of annuities to corporations and others, might, by this alteration, prove deficient, they fubitituted and apportioned to the civil lift a certain annual payment, computed upon a medium of the fum that had been applied out of produce of thefe duties for eight years, to that fervice, and charged

(K 4)


all the deficiencies, that might happen in the funds to which thefe duties had been applied, upon the aggregate fund.

One of the confequences of this act was, a confolidation of certain branches of duties, both in the cuftoms and exchequer. Five of the duries, to which French cordial waters are fubject, are, the old, the new, the one third, the two thirds fubfidies, and the fecond twenty-five per cent. on French goods; and, it imported by aliens, the petty customs likewife. Thefe five duries, in order to obtain the amount of them, are still raifed and collected in the customs under their diftinct heads; but when collected, they are blended into one fum, under the head of fubfidy on fpirits," and accounted for and paid as one fum, under that fingle head, into the exchequer, and there carried to the aggregate fund.

The acts we have thus referred to, evince that the legiflature have from time to time, in every reign fince the Revolution, upon principles of public convenience, either varied, blended, diminished, or repealed, with or without a fubftitution, duties appropriated to the payment of annuities to public creditors of all defcriptions, without their confent. The confequence is, that the appropriation of the twenty-two remaining branches of the customs to the payment of annuities, is no impediment to the blending them with the reft; and then all the branches of the customs may be united together, and be formed into one head of duties only, under the title of customs," in the office of the exchequer, as well as in that of the customs.

"There is another circumftance affecting thefe duties, which occurs in the exchequer, and requires con

fideration :-many of the branches of the cultoms are connected, in the exchequer, with branches of the excife, and other duties of different denominations, and form together compound funds, appropriated in fome inftances to one, in others to various fervices.

"In the account of the duties out of which the annuities are paid to the companies, it appears, that among the duties appropriated to the payment of the annuities to the bank of England, there is one branch of the customs. Among thofe to the South Sea company, there are twelve. Of the reit, we have feen that fix are carried to the general fund, fourteen to the ag gregate, and eleven to the finking fund. All these are charged, in common with other duties, with the payment of various fervices.

"Suppofe the one entire fum of customs to be carried, when paid, into the exccquer, to the finking fund-the effect will be, each of thefe compound funds will be diminifhed by the amount of the cuf tom duties fubtracted from it; and, fhould this diminution occafion a deficiency in any of the funds to anfwer the charges upon it, the actof the 9th of George the Second, above alluded to, furnishes the remedy: every fuch deficiency may be fup. plied, as moft of the deficiencies are at prefent, from the finking fund; and that fund will likewife become chargeable with the payment of thofe annuities to which the twenty. two branches are now feparately appropriated.

This confolidation of the du ties will not prevent any diftinction in the receipt, which may be thought neceffary to be preferved in the office of collection. The annual produce of the imports, the exports, the coaftwife duties, in


London and at each out port, or any other account, may be kept feparate, the knowledge of which may contribute to the regulation or improvement of this revenue.

"We have above fuggefted, that, before this reduction can be completed, a book of rates must be form ed, afcertaining the amount of the Duties to be paid upon every article, under every circumstance of importation or exportation which varies the duty. The amount of the drawback to be allowed on each article, upon exportation, must be fettled likewife.If the reduction can be formed, and carried by degrees into execution, the plan may be entered and proceeded upon im mediately, without delaying it until the book of rates is completed.

"The act of the 9th of George the Second feems to point out the means. That act felects all the articles, included under the deno. mination of fpirits, from other articles liable to the fame duties, and lays the ground for a confolidation of five of the duties to which fpirits were at that time fubject. These five are a poundage upon the rate, There are now fix branches remaining, kept diftinct. Suppofe the rate to be the adopted meafure of computing the duties upon the remaining branches, the amount of the duty will be nearly 7s. 1d. for every gallon of French cordial waters imported in four glass bottles.

"The officer will by thefe means, be relieved from all computation up on this article; and his entries will be rendered fimple. One fum may be paid into the exchequer, under the fame head of fubfidy on fpirits, and the whole carried, as the produce of five of the branches is now, to the aggregate fund; and the deficiencies that may arife from thence, in the funds of which thefe fix last


duties now form a part, may be charged upon the aggregate fund, juft in the faine manner as the deficiencies in the funds to which the five first were applicable, now stand charged by the fame act.

No reafon occurs to us, why the fame fteps may not be taken with regard to wine, tea, fugar, tobacco, linen, falt, coals, and any other extenfive and productive fubjects of the custom duties. The proper rule of computation may be eftablished; the aggregate of the duties obtained; the fum paid into the exchequer, under the head of the duties upon that particular article, and carried to the finking fund; and that fund to be made liable to fuch deficiencies as may be occafioned by this alteration. The office of the cuftoms will find imme diare benefit from fuch a regulation and the plan will be continually ap proaching nearer to its completion.

"If the principles on which we have endeavoured to establil this confolidation of the custom duties be well founded, they lead to a fill more important and extenfive regulation.

We cannot prefume to pronounce, without a previous examination, that they can be applied to fuch other offices of the revenue as are perplexed with a multiplciity of distinct accounts; but it is highly probable, that diftinction, in every office, is, for the most part, rendered neceffary, upon the fame ground of appropriation; and, if fo, it may upon the fame principles be abolished. This will open the way to a great measure of financial regulation-to the introduction of the moft fimple of all modes of account into the depofitory of the public treafure the formation of one fund, into which fhall flow every stream of the public revenue, and from whence

whence fhall iffue the fupply for every public fervice.

"The public creditor may fafely rely upon this fund for the payment of his annuity: the excefs of it will be the fame as the excefs of the finking fund would be, were that fund to continue in its prefent state.

How far the produce of the finking fund has exceeded the charges upon it, appears from the account of the furpluffes for thefe laft ten years. The fum therein stated as the furplus of the last year is incomplete: It amounted to above 1,600,000l, more; which fum has been iffued to fupply the deficiencies of the taxes for five quarters, occafioned in part from the interest of the loans often taking place long before the taxes raised for the payment of the annuities commenced, and ftill longer before any part of them were received-and in part from the unproductiveness of other duties. The ufage has been, to replace thefe deficiencies to the finking fund from the fupplies of the


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"Thus, one great fund of revenue, compofed of the annual in come of the state, will be the ample fecurity to every public creditor for the payment of his annuity; and the collateral fecurity to that fund, the property of the nation.

"This plan is confiftent with every distinction of account in the exchequer, that may be neceffary to preferve the knowledge of the produce of each of the feveral leading branches of revenue, and the quantum and circumftances of the iffue for any particular fervice. There is no danger of confounding the re

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"What remains, and will be the next object of our examination, is the diminution of the produce of thefe duties by the charges of management; which, though a branch of the fame fubject, is capable of a diftinct and feparate confideration. The objects it involves are numerous, and of moment to the public: the investigation must, from the nature of them, require much time and attention. Had we waited until that investigation could have been completed, our report, already fufficiently voluminous, must have been delayed to a diftant period: and fhould the materials we have thus collected, be deemed a fufficient ground for the exertion of the wifdom of parliament, the public might have been deprived of the early benefit of regulation effential to the fecurity and good management of their revenue, and to the facility and accuracy of their accounts, in two of their most important offices.

(L. S.)



"Office of Accounts,

Surry Strect, 18th March, 1785,"


SUPPLIES granted by Parliament for the Year 1787.


FEB. 5.

FOR 18,000 men, including 3860 marines at 41.

per man per

For the ordinary of the navy, including half pay
For the extraordinaries


FEB. 12.

For 17,638 men, as guards and garrifons

For forces in the plantations

For difference between the charge of British and
Irish establishments

For general and general staff-officers

For full pay to reduced officers

For forces in the East Indies

For allowance to the paymaster general, &c.


For the reduced officers of the land forces and marines
For the reduced horfeguards

For the reduced officers of the British American forces
For the officers late in the fervice of Holland

For the Chelsea penfioners

For the pentions to officers widows

For difference between the British and Irish establish


For extraordinaries, from 1785 to 1786


FEB. 12.

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Land fervice for 1787


FEB. 6.

To difcharge exchequer bills

To the British Museum


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