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cessary that the provision for their exemption should take place previous to the ensuing Easter recels, or might be deferred until afterwards : upon which subject it was his intention to propose to bring in a bill to remove doubts upon the subject, for the purpose of exempting them from penalties, to which by the way he believed they were not liable ; but, as doubts were entertained, it would be well to remove them. In case any proceeding should be had for the purpose of recovering any of these penalties, the House in its justice would interpose and stop such proceedings. As to the second point, he was a little surprised at the question of the hon. Gentleman; he must know from his connections, that at the request of some persons immediately interested in the loyalty loan, an application was made to him for the purpose of ascer. taining what was the construction put upon the terms and ·conditions specified in that act of Parliament; and he referred the point to the Attorney and Solicitor General. The opinion of those learned Gentlemen was communicated to Go-, vernment, and a distinct comniunication was made to the Bank, and to that he begged leaye to refer the hon. Gentle. man.
Mr. Deni observed, that there was a positive promise on the subject of bankers' liability for receiving dividends, &c. under the property tax, that a provision should be made immediately after the Christmas recess. He must again repeat his apprehension of the danger of deferring it till after the 5th of April, when the four quarters will be due on the property tax. He observed, that when the bankers had waited on the right hon. Genileman upon this subject, they declared he had created them with great candour, by which he had been led to dismiis all doubt that the right hon. Gentleman would fulfil his promise immediately after the Christmas recess.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, that a fortnight ago he told the hon. Genueman distindly his intention to bring forward a proposition, and of his confidence in the difpofition of the House to grant it, for the purpose of proteaing the persons, to whom he had alluded, from the penalties under the property bill; and if it would be any great satisfaction to them, as by the manner in which the hon. Gentleman pressed it in their behalf he apprehended it would, the mea. sure might yer be proposed before the Easter recess. He did not affect to distrust the hon. Gentleman, but if he had a few hours for the purpose of ascertaining whether it was really
and bona fide the wish of the bankers that a measure should be brought forward before the recers, he thould be glad to hold a conversation upon that subject.
The Speaker fuggelted the propriety of limiting the indul. gence of ihe House to this irregular conversation.
Mr. Pitt said, he had no defire io prolongihe conversation, but he must observe, that as it was stated that thefe penaliies had been incurred, and as it was a general opinion that the parties who had incurred them ought to be indemnified in This case, they ought to be relieved from ihe penalties without delay, left a further difficulty might arise by orher persons instituting suits for the recovery of the penalties under the act of Parliament. On the subject of the loyalıy loan, he observed, that it had been apprehended the act of Parliament had somehow by mistake been drawn up in a manner which was not strictly conformable to the resolutions upon the terms of which the loyalty loan was contracted for ; this was a mistake for which he himself was in some degree answerable, and therefore he was the more bound to take notice of it, and to do all he could to rectify the error, for it happened when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. The resolutions of the Commiitee were the foundation of the bargain and contract for that loan, and if the act of ParJiainent happened by mistake afterwards to be drawn up in a manner that was not conformable to those resolutions, it ought to be altered, or some relief should be given to the contractors for that loan, otherwise Parliament would be guilty of a breach of faith towards these persons.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he could assure the right hon. Genileman that greai pains had been taken to ascertain what were really the terms of the loyaliy loan, and the opinion of the Attorney, and Solicitor General had been had on it; however it was not possible for these learned Gentlemen to give an opinion upon any thing but the act of Parliament itself, nor was it possible for Government with. out further direction from Parliament, to accede to any construction upon the loan, but such as the law warranted.
Mr. Pirt said, he never stated ihat the right hon. Genile. man, or the Lords of the Treasury, could do otherwise than comply strictly wish the act of Parliament; but what he said was, that if the act of Parliameni had by mistake been drawn up in a manner not conformable to the re!olutions on which, and on which only the loyalty loun was founded, Thai act ough to be altered, and made contormable to the refolutions from which it emanated ; and if it were not made fo conformable, Parliament would be guilty of a breach of faith towards the subscribers; and in this respect he took some blame to himself for the inadvertency.
Mr. Vanfittart, after having made every inquiry, never understood that any very serious complaints were entertained,
The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of ways and means for railing a , fupply granted to his Majesiy.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that if Gentlemen would have the goodness to turn to the third page of the disposition paper, they would perceive that the toial of grants for the naval service of lan year was 9,951,378), and the debt for the naval service was 8,174,7111 therefore the grants exceeded ihe debe by 1,776,6671. This being the case, he Thould have to propose that the amount of this surplus Thould be sued and supplied, were it not for circumstances he was about to state. In the cith page of the disposition paper, several payments were stated and made by authority of an act of Parliament, out of the ways and means of the year, that amounied 10 579,7061, and that reduced the surplus he had abuve stared, and therefore the Committee would not consider that ihere was really a saving to the amount of 1,776,667l. that was to say, that the public had expended less by that amount in the navy than the grants amounted to, for that in fact the navy debe had increased 931,6591. last year. Gentlemen might ask how this could be? but they would be aware, that in many instances it was wholly unavoidable, on account of what might be paid to feamen on foreign service, and which it was impossible to calculate the ainuunt of beforehand, and that sometimes accumulated some time before it could be ascertained. Having stated several sums on this head, the sum he proposed to be voted now upon this occafion was 1,370,6741.--and therefore he moved, that it is the opinion of this Committee, that there be issued and applied to the service of the year, &c. the sum of 1,370,664l. 25. 8d. from the surplus of the grants of the year 1803. ..
Lad Folkestone contended that there was a fallacy in the account, as in fact there was no surplus, but on the contrary, a deficiency. No notice was taken of the furplus of the consolidated fund. The war taxes had been estimated to produce by the sth of January last, 4,500,oool. and had fallen thort 2,600,cool. this therefore reduced the surplus appearing on
the face of the accouut to a deficiency of 1,300,000l. He also objected to the mode of making up the account, as it could not be understood from it upon what it was the saving had arisen. It had been stated by a noble Lord on a former occasion, that the land forces amounted to 96,000; the number in the account was only 66,000, he wished to know therefore out of what fund the remaining number 'were paid. He saw likewise an item of 1,500,000l. to enable his Majesty to take such steps as the exigency of affairs might require, but there was no account how that money was expended.
Mr. Vanfittart said, the account had been made out in a similar manner from year to year, the pra&ice being to appropriate the excess of the ways and means over the fupply in aid of the supply of the ensuing year, notwithstanding there might be outftanding demands. With re. spect to the surplus of the consolidated fund, about 900,oool. remained to be made good. As to the war taxes, they were estimated not to the 5th of January, but to the 5th of April, at a produce of 4,500,oool. out of that however, there had been up to last week paid into the Exchequer 3,130,000l.
There therefore only remained a deficiency of 1,370,000l. which it was probable might be paid in before the 5th of April, or at least reduced to a small fum. The items in the account were aranged in the usual way. As to the army, the number of forces stated on a former occasion, included various descriptions of force which could not come within this account. Of the surplus Itated on the face of the account, 900,oool. actually remained in the Exchequer unapplied.
Mr. Johnstone begged leave to ask the right hon. Gentle man whether the saving that had been alluded to arose from the stridt economy of the noble Lord at the head of the Admiraliy, or from any deficiency in the navy establishment?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, that the saving arose no doubt in some measure from the system of economy that had been adopted, and so happily pursued in every department of the service ; but that it was to be attributed parricularly to the deficiency of seamen that had been voted at an early period, and whom it was impossible immediately to collect. The fact was, had the number been raised immedi. ately as Parliament had wished, he was persuaded there would have been no saving. But the preparation had been so great that it must be a considerable saiisfaction to the House that there was such a faving as appeared on the face
they itated, to thored. Supps means,
of the accounts; the preparation, indeed, had been so great, That in regard to seamen the number now in the service was only 1500 less than that voted by the House. In any point of view he would venture to conipare the present ftate of the navy with its attitude at any period during last war, when the idea of saving had never been entertained, at least when economy did not appear to be made such an object. With what accuracy the accounts had been made out, he had only to mention as a proof, that one of the first financiers in Eu. rope (alluding to Mr. Pirt, who was then gone) had heard them stated without offering any objedion.
Mr. Tierney found no difficulty in accounting for the sums that had been saved; they were owing in a great measure, as his right hon. Friend had stated, to the seamen not having been all raised at the time when voted. Suppofe 1000 men should be the deciency occasioned by this means, reckoning each man 71. a month, a round sum would soon be accumulated. What appeared to him extraordinary was, that the estimateshad been so well drawn, that no one branch of the service rquired aid from another. In former cases that he had witnessed, whatever was faved in one department had been generally wanted by another. He was glad, however, to see the noble Lord (Lord Folkestone) pursue that line of inquiry, and it was desirable that people of his rank should pay attention to the expenditure of the country.
Lord Folkestone insisted that what was represented as a sav. ing was a mere fallacy..
Mr. Vanfittart stated that the war taxes amounted to above three millions; and in answer to a question put by Mr. Fela lowes, mentioned that above two hundred thousand pounds had been Teceived from the property tax during last week.
Mr. Fellowes expressed his fatisfaction that the discussion had taken place, as it gave him the highest pleasure to dile cover the ability, the integrity and economy of his Majesty's Ministers.
The House having resumed, the report was ordered to be received the next day.
The Secretary at War moved the order of the day for a Committee of the whole House on the innkeepers’ allowance bill. .
The House having resumed, she report was ordered to be received the next day.
The Committee of Supply was postponed till Friday, Adjourned.
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