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Mr John Pitt,
Sir W. Yonge.
several Powers of Europe, to make such farther Reduction Anno 9. Geo. 11.
1935-36. of his Forces, as might be confiftent with the Security and Dignity of his Majesty's Royal Person and Government, and with our present happy Constitution ; not doubting, but that, from his Fatherly Compassion to his People, he would be graciously pleased to direct, that whatever Land-Force should thereafter be thought necessary, should be established in such a Manner, as should make the Saving more sensible, and the future Burthen less grievous to the Nation.
This Motion was fupported by Mr John Pitt, Lord Pol. Lord Polwarek. warth, Mr Pulteney, Mr Gybbon, Sir John Barnard, Mr Mr Gybbon?
. Sandys, and Mr Walter Plumer ; and was oppos’d by Mr Sir John Barnard. Winnington, Col. Bladen, Sir William Yonge, and Mr Mr W. Plumer. Conduit. But the Question being at laft put, in was carried or Winnington. in the Negative without a Division.
February 2. The House having ordered, that the proper Officer should lay before them an Account of all the publick Debts, at the Receipt of his Majesty's Exchequer, due or ftanding out at Christmas, 1735, with the annual Interest paid for the same ; Mr Sandys stood up, and spoke as follows.
Sir, • Every Man is now, I believe, convinced that the great Mr Sandys's moDebt we groan under, is a most heavy Clog upon all pub- within the Year, lick Measures, and will certainly, while it continues, pre- the Supplies nevent its being in our Power to act upon any Occafion with current Service. that Vigour we ought, either in Vindication of the Honour and Interest of this Nation, or in Defence of our Allies. This of itself is a moft terrible Misfortune, but what fill adds to it is, that these our unlucky Circumstances are well Imown to all our Neighbours, which is, I believe, the principal Cause of our having so little Influence on the Councils of other Nations; and while this Load continues we may expect to be insulted by them, as often as they can find the leat Pretence for fo doing. In such Circumstances therefore it is the most pernicious Thing we can do, to run the Nation any farther in Debt by creating new Funds, or to prevent that Fund, which was long fince appropriated, from being religiously applied to the extinguishing yearly a Part of that Debt contracted before the Year 1716 ; for if we do fo in Time of Peace, it will convince our Neighbours, that it would be impossible for us to support an expensive War, which will of course render us contemptible in the Eyes of all foreign Nations. And with respect to our Domestick Affairs, the Consequences of pursuing any foch Measure are full as pernicious; for every new Mortgage we make, becomes a sort of Prop for supporting the Interest payable upon the former ; whereas we ought to
Anno g. Geo. II. use all possible Means to reduce that Interest, not only for 1135-36.
the Encouragement of Trade among us, but to encrease the Sinking Fund, which would enable us to pay off all our old Debts much fooner, than it will otherwise be possible for us to do: Nay, I am almoft certain, that if no new Debts had been contracted since the Year 1716, nor any Part of the Sinking Fund converted to other Uses than it was originally designed for, the Interest upon all our Funds would have been long since reduced to 31, per Cent. and a much greater Part of our old Debt would have been paid, by which we should have been enabled to have taken off some of those heavy Taxes, under which the poor Labourers and Manufacturers have groaned for so many Years. The loading Pofterity with new Debts, in order to give a little Ease to the present Generation, may be a good temporary Expedient for a Minifter; and may prevent the People's making too particular an Inquiry into that Expence, which his Measures have brought upon thein : But it is a most pernicious Expedient both for the Royal Family, and for the Na. tion in general. For when any Sum of Money is raised for the Service of the ensuing Year, by contracting a new Debt, and creating a new Fund for the Payment of that Debt, it is subjecting the Nation to pay at least double that Sum in the End; because in every such case, the Nation is obliged to pay Interest for the Money raised, and the Expences of collecting for many Years, besides paying the Principal at last; this thews the Loss the Nation sustains by the contracting of any such Debt for the current Service. By a long Continuation of such Measures the People may come to be so loaded with Taxes, and those Taxes so much engaged for the Payment of former Mortgages, that it may be impossible for his Majesty, or some of his Succeffors, to vindicate the Rights of the Nation, without loading them with heavier Taxes than they are able to bear, which may very probably raise a general Disaffection against our present happy Establishment; and may be of the moft dangesous Consequence even to the Creditors themselves ; for if ever we should be reduced to such circumstances, that either the Nation must be ruined, or the publick Creditors left unpaid, it is easy to see which Side of the Dilemma would be chosen. The proper Method to prevent our running into Debt is to diminish our yearly Expence; but as the Number of our Forces for the Service of the ensuing Year has already been agreed to ; I cannot now propose any Diminution of our Expence for this Year. We have already granted a great Part of the Supplies necessary for the Service, and we are to go this Day into a Committee of Ways and Means for raising thote Supplies. What Methods may then be pro
posed for that Purpose I do not know ; but as I am of O. Anno g. Geo. II.
1735-36. • pinion, that no Consideration ought to prevail with us to contract any new Debt, or to prevent that Fund which ftands appropriated for the Payment of the old, I shall take che Liberty to make a Motion which I hope the House will agree to. For if our usual Funds cannot answer the Service we have already agreed to, I think it will be better to lay fome new Taxes upon the Luxuries of Life, than to create new Funds ; otherwise we run the Hazard of reducing our Pofterity to the Want even of the Neceffaries of Life, that we ourselves may live in Afuence ; for this Reason, before we go into the Committee of Ways and Means, I shall take the Liberty to move to resolve, • That this House will raise within the Year the Supplies necessary for the current Ser- Sir John Barnard. vice. Mr Sandys being seconded by Sir John Barnard and Mr Wilimot. Mr Willimot, the same was opposed by Sir William Yonge, Mr Winnington. Mr Winnington, Mr Heathcote, and Sir Robert Walpole as Sir R. Walpole. follows :
Sir, • If the Question, now before us, depended folely upon the Influence this Nation has at present in the Councils of all the Powers of Europe, or upon the Regard our Neighbours have thewn to this Nation in all their . Measures, a few Words would be sufficient to thew, that we ought not to come to any such Resolution as has been proposed; for it is certain that we never had a greater Influence than we have at present in every Court of Europe, and that Influence is founded upon the strongest Realon ; because our Neighbours all know very well, that we have now two Funds sufficient for supporting any War we may be engaged in, and which we can upon ary such Occasion make use of, without overloading the Subject, or raising Discontent in the Nation ; and these Funds are the Land-Tax and the Sinking-Fúnd. Tho' our landed Gentlemen would think it hard to pay 4 s. in the Pound Land-Tax, during a Time of Peace, yet they would not certainly grudge that Tax, if they saw the Nation necessarily involved in a War; and tho' the SinkingFund is to be applied in the most religious Manner to the Payment of our old Debts, yet, in Case of a War, I believe no Gentleman will say, but that it would be proper to sufpend fuch Payments (especially as none of the publick Creditors are desirous of having their Money) and to apply that Fund towards supporting the War ; so that our Neighbours know extremely well that we have a Revenue of above two Millions, besides our usual Supplies, which we may raise towards supporting a War without laying any new Tax upon our People.
· I shal
Anno 9. Geo. II. " I shall admit, Sir, that the Sinking Fund would be a 1735-36.
Gainer, by the Reduction of the Interest payable upon the old Funds, and that it would be an Advantage to the Nation to have the Sinking Fund increased ; but I very much question if it would be possible to reduce the Interest payable upon our old Funds lower than it is at present, even tho we hould never hereafter contract one Shilling new Debt. I have indeed heard of a great many Projects for that Purpofe ; and some of them have appeared well in Theory, but when they came to be examined, it has always been found that they would not do in Practice, and therefore they have been laid aside : Besides, Sir, it would be an Experiment of the most dangerous Consequence, to reduce the Intereft payable upon our old Funds lower than it is at present, because it would probably induce Foreigners to draw their Money all at once out of our Funds, which would of course bring our publick Credit ihto great Distress, and would drain us of all the ready Specie now circulating in the Nation ; and if the publick Credit of the Nation fhould be once brought into any great Distress, most of our own People would take the Alarm, which would run it so low, that the Restoring of it would be impracticable.
• Another Consideration, Sir, of great Weight with me, is, That we cannot well reduce the Intereft upon our publick Funds any lower than it is at present, without reducing at the same time the Interest of Money in general ; and I am persuaded the reducing the Interest of Money in general, co a lower Rate than what it is at present, would bring great Difficulties upon all Ranks of Men in the Kingdom. With respect to the publick Creditors the Difficulties are apparent ; for a third Part of their yearly Income has been taken from them by the Reduction already made ; and if a farther Reduction of one per Cent. should be made, they would then have but one half of that Revenue, which they supposed chey were to have when they first lent their Money to the Pablick.
" Then with respect to the Landed Gentlemen, the reducing Intereft so low would be a great Hardship, for they would be obliged to give each of their younger Children át least 5 or 6000 l. whereas when Interest is at 5 or 6 per Cent. one half of that Sum will enable them to live in a genteel Manner ; so that the reducing of Intereft so low would lay all oar Landed Gentlemen under a Neceflity of raining their Eftates, or at least of mortgaging them very deeply, to provide for their younger Children. And ladie, Sir, with respect to the Trading Part of the Nation, it is very well known, that every Branch of Trade in the Kingdom is already fo overstocked, that it is almost imposible
for one half of our Tradesmen to live by their Business ; Anno 9. Geo. 11. and a farcher Reduction of Intereit would drive so many
1535-36. into Trade, that no Man could live by any Trade he could engage in. Even our Borrowers of Money, Sir, or Gentle men who owe any Money at Interest, would be reduced to great Difficulties ; for the Profit to be got by lending Money, or by leaving Money in any Man's Hand at Interest, would be so small, that no Man would think of employing it in that Way ; this would of course bring a general Demand upon all those in the Kingdom who owe any Money at Interest, and at the same Time would render it impossible for them to find any Money for answering that Demand. From all which I think it inconsistent with the publick Good of the Nation, and with that of every particular Man, to reduce the Interest payable upon our publick Funds lower than it is at present. Whatever may be the Consequence with respect to Ministers, I am very certain, Sir, it would be an Expedient of very bad Consequence with respect to his present Majesty, to load his People with Taxes which they may think unnecessary; for the People will always pay voluntarily and freely lush Taxes as they think are absolutely necessary for the Support of the Nation, but it will always raise Disaffection to the King upon the Throne, to load the People with Taxes which they think unnecessary at the Time they are laid on. It is for this Reason that in Time of War, a Government may venture to subject the People to Taxes, which would raise terrible Complaints, if they fhould be raised in Time of Peace ; and for the fame Reason I am of Opinion, that we ought rather to convert a Part of the Sinking Fund to the current Service of the Year, than to increase any of our old Taxes, or load the People with any new ; for as there is at present no Demand for paying off any of our old Debts, and as none of the publick Creditors desire to have their Money, I am convinced the Generality of the People would think it unnecessary to load them with any new Tax, when they know we have such a Fund, to which we may have Recourse for making good the Current Service of the Year ; and therefore we may presame, that the loading of them at present with any new Tax vould raise a general Disaffection to his present Majesty's Person and Government, and consequently be a most pernicious Expedient.
• It has been said, that by contracting a new Debt, and creating a new Fund for the current Service of the Year, the Nation comes at last to be loaded with double the Sum la raised, by Means of the Interest and Expences of Management, which they are obliged to pay yearly till the PrinciFall be paid off : But I cannot admit of the Justness of this