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The Budget, English and Irish.
March 31, being in a com- bill in progress through the House, mittee of Ways and Means, the provided it passed into a law. It, Chancellor of the Exchequer rose, on the other hand, parliament and said, that he should first men- should not think it advisable to tion to the committee a transaction give the bill their sanction, at least which had taken place that morn- he would not be liable to reproach ing. Government had made the for having neglected to provide proposal to a considerable body of supplies which might be applicable merchants and bankers of funding to defray the charge and sinking twelve millions of outstanding ex- fund of exchequer bills outstandchequer bills in the same stock in ing. Reverting to the financial which they had lately been uni- occurrences of 1802, he observed, formly funded, namely, the five that although the noble lord then per cent navy annuities; for every at the head of the Treasury (lord 100l. so funded, the subscriber to Sidmouth) did not provide a sinkreceive 1151. 10s. of those annui- ing fund for the sum funded in that ties. The rate of interest to be year, yet the taxes imposed to depaid by the public on this sum fray the interest and charges of that would be 5l. 15s. 6d. which, added sum had exceeded the estimate by to the sinking fund upon it, would four or five millions. This excess amount to 6l. 18s. 7d. In addition of produce, which went to the to this proposal, it had been thought consolidated fund, he (the chanadvisable to give an option to cellor of the exchequer) might such of the holders of exchequer have been justified in applying to bills as might think fit to subscribe the services of the current year; an additional 50 per cent in money, but it was so important to maintain for which they should receive de- the consolidated fund, that it apbentures. On these debentures he peared to him to be very inexpeproposed an addition of one per dient to take such a step, and to cent, as a sinking fund for their re- be far better, however inconvedemption. After the right hon. nient in other respects, to add to gentleman had made various ex. the existing taxation. In addition planatory observations on this to the 870,0001. which in the descheme, he said, he would now velopement of his financial plan, proceed, in conformity to his notice, he had shown to be necessary to io submit to the consideration of supply the drain on the sinking the committee the taxes which fund, the committee would recolwould be necessary, in order to lect, that in providing the supplies. make that provision for the sink. for the last year, there was one
proposition--the auction duty-country this would be comparawhich he had calculated at tively little felt.
For the country 100,0001. and which having aban- had, until -recently, been so much doned, it became necessary for him excluded from foreign trade, that, to supply the consequent deficiency until lately, all foreign articles had in the consolidated fund. The come to our markets, 'what with total sum, therefore, that it became the difficulty of transmission, the requisite to raise by permanent charge of freights, &c. under an taxes, was nearly a million of augmentation of expense, greatly money, viz. 870,0001. to be applied exceeding the proposed rate of to the sinking fund; and 100,0001. duty. Many circumstances had, the deficiency occasioned by the re. however, recently combined to linquishment last year of the auc- render those articles at the present tion duty. For the purpose of pro- moment cheaper to the consumer, viding the last-mentioned sum, it even with the increased tax, than was his intention to propose to the they were last year without it. committee an additional duty on He would estimate the amount of tobacco equal to that imposed on the increase of the custom duties, it last year, which duty he would at from 850 to 900,0001. In ad. estimate at 100,000l. although pro- dition to this, however, he meant bably it would produce more. He to propose a slight augmentation of was not aware that this new tax the excise in a particular branch of would occasion any inconvenience; ii. He proposed that this should or at least he was persuaded that take place on French wines, an it would cause as little as any that article of mere luxury, entirely could be devised. With regard to the confined to the higher orders, and greater sum of 870,0001, the prin. if checked in the importation, or cipal tax that he meant to propose wholly shut out, he should conto meet it, was an increase of the sider it to be a national advantage. custom duties. He thought this On French wines, he proposed to would be infinitely preferable to lay an additional excise duty of any augmentation of the assessed 13d. a bottle, which would be taxes, or of the stamp duties, which about 18d. to the consumer ; a tax had lately been so much increased. that could not be considered very As the most convenient mode, he burthensome to the country. proposed to raise the sum of 8 or The produce he estimated at 900,0001. by a general increase of 30,0001. no very important sum, those duties, with certain excep- and one indeed which it would tions. These exceptions were the hardly be worth while so to raise, duties on tea, sugar, wine, raw were not the subject itself one so silk, and cotton wool. On the
proper for taxation, that even were other articles which paid custom it likely to produce less, or were duties he proposed an increase of the consumption to be so diminish25 per cent. No such general ed as to impair the existing pro. augmentation bad occurred since duce of the duty upon it, he should 1804, and only one partial and still feel it to be incumbent upon small increase in 1805. Under him to make his present proposithe existing circumstances of the tion. The estimated produce,
therefore, of the permanent taxes but it was obvious that circumwould be 850,0001. from the gene- stances might render it politic to ral increase in the consolidated renew them; and we had an unduties of customs, 100,0001. from doubted right to retaliate on the the duty on tobacco, and 30,000l. enemy all the oppression in which from the duty on French wines, he had persevered against our commaking in the whole a sum some
He proposed to double what short of a million, to answer the war duty on such articles. two objects—the support of the Those war duties were at present sinking fund, and to make good equal to one-third of the consolithe defalcation caused by the aban- dated duties. He proposed to add donment last year of the auction to them the amount of the other duty. And here he would observe, two-thirds, thus making the whole that although he had thought of the duties in war double the proper thus to propose a substitute duties in peace on French goods. for the auction duty, he had by no It was exiremely difficult to estimeans lost sight of it. He did not mate the probable produce of this think it would be satisfactory to increase. It would vary with the take it for the purpose of contribute state of our intercourse with France. ing to the immediate supply; but If he took the average of the last he reserved to himself the liberty three years, he would say that it of proposing means to prevent might amount to 200,0001. Some fraud, and to regulate the duty, if articles were wholly prohibited; of he should thereafter find it neces- others, the difficulty of importation sary so to do. Those which he was great ; but by taking the had mentioned were permanent various articles, and allowing one taxes. He should next propose to as it were to insure the other, he lay some further taxes under the was confident the produce would head of war taxes, for the general not fall short of that which he had purpose of assisting the supplies for just stated. With respect to the the year, and for the particular exports, the trade about to open, object of providing for the one per would, in all probability, be so cent sinking fund on exchequer great, that no material inconvebills outstanding on the 5th of nience could, in his opinion, arise January of each year, to be granted from adding a half per cent to the to the commissioners for the reduc- present export duties. In peace, tion of the national debt. These such a proposition would be imwar taxes he wished to class under politic — not so at the present the heads of imports and exports. moment. He calculated that it The first that he should propose might produce about 150,0001.; would be a general increase of duty and on this branch of increased on the importation of all goods and revenue he thought he might conmerchandize, the manufacture of fidently rely. Mr. Baring here the French empire, and of all adverting to the increased import countries dependent on France. It duties, asked the right hon. gentlewas true that trade licences to man to what countries they were to France and her dependencies were be applicable?] Certainly the innot now granted by government, creased import duties would be on
goods coming from all countries by the American cotton, he would dependent on France. It would be in a state of little. promise give him great pleasure to see those and great uncertainty. Unfortuduties lessened by the diminution nately such an occurrence had of the number of those countries. Jately taken place : - when the
- They were not to attach to the American government imposed the. exports of any country in amity embargo on their ports, which occawith his majesty ; and the declara- sioned a temporary stoppage of the tion of that amity would imme- exportation of cotton wool from diately cause the cessation of those the United States, encouragement duties. The only other additional was given by government (in order duty on exports which he meant to to prevent injury to the British propose was, a duty of a penny a manufactures) to the importation pound on the exportation of foreign of large quantities from our own hides, which would operate very colonies. ' But unluckily it came advantageously on our leather too late - the Americans had manufactures in foreign markets, taken off their embargo; and, unand it would have been proper protected by such a countervailperhaps that ere now this measure ing duty as that which he was should have been adopted, as hides about to propose, the British mermight be considered as in some chant sustained very considerable measure a military store. The loss. It was to prevent the occur. only remaining article of proposed rence of similar events that he was taxation' was one which he was in induced to make the proposition to duced to adopt on political as well the committee. The committee were as on financial principles—it was a aware that the Sea Island cotton duty on the importation of Ameri- was the finest imported from Amecan cotton wool. The American rica. The object which he had in government had declared their view was, to procure the fine principal ports to be in a state of article from the East Indies, by blockade, extending from Rhode affording a sufficient encourage. island southward ; thus endeavour- ment to the importers. There was ing to deprive our manufacturers at present a sufficient quantity on of that important material. He hand of every kind, except the had every reason to believe, that, Sea Island, and it was a necessary if proper encouragement were given ground of his measure, intended to the importation of cotton wool to promote the importation of the from our own colonies, this stop- finer kind, to prevent the ruin
part of the Americans which would fall on the importer would be wholly innoxious to this by any sudden competition. With country. It was obvious, however, this view, he proposed to lay a that to create this encouragement protecting duty of three half-pence it would be necessary to secure the per pound on all American cotton merchant, bringing cotton wool imported in British ships, and a from such a distance, against losing duty of sixpence per pound on all by his speculation. If the merchant such cotton imported in foreign incurred the danger of having his bottoms. The whole consumption eotton intercepted in our market of cotton in our own manufactures
page on the
was 80 millions of pounds, of to do. The right hon. gentleman which 30 millions 3-8ths came then concluded by saying, that he from America. The deficiency, hoped he had provided the charges even if none were now imported required by the public service in the from America, would be made least objectionable manner. It was up by that imported from the difficult in these cases to calculate West Indies and Brazil. There exactly, but he thought he had was only one objection to this here made ample provision for all measure, which was, that it would reverses, as the taxes in question raise the price of the raw material would, in the ordinary state of on the manufacturers in the first trade produce (he should suppose) instance, and eventually on the three times as much. Any surplus consumer. With respect to the in the present case would go into home consumer, he thought, how. the war taxes, in aid of the other ever, that it could be hardly felt, resources of the country. He proand with regard to the export ceeded to move his first resolution, trade, he was of opinion there was for providing for the outstanding no reason to apprehend any rivalry exchequer bills. on the continent of Europe, and Mr. Baring made a variety of America was at present out of the objections to the proposed tax upon question. He apprehended that American cotton : in which he was no fear could be entertained of any followed by several members from competition in France, when the the manufacturing counties. As duty on cotton now existing was no one spoke in favour of it, the five shillings per pound, whereas Chancellor of the Exchequer dethe duty in contemplation here clined pressing the question upon it, would only amount to nine-pence and referred it to a future discussion. entirely, which threw at present a This tax was afterwards the subject sort of monopoly of this article of several petitions, and was finally into our hands. As to the other given up by the minister, nations of the continent, some of On May 3rd, the Chancellor of whose territories were the seat of the Exchequer submitted to the war, and whose general internal committee his promised resolutions insecurity was adverse to commer- respecting exchequer bills and decial enterprize, but little could be ap- bentures. He said that not only prehended from their competition. the 12 millions of exchequer bills He conceived, at the same time, had been subscribed in one day, that it would be desirable that but a great surplus subscription had goveroment should have the means been tendered which could not be of varying this measure according to accepted, and the stocks had recircumstances; and with this view mained steady under this operation. he had in contemplation to propose It was now therefore desirable to that a power should be given to extend the funding of exchequer his majesty in council to suspend bills ; and although there had been or reduce any of those war duties, a failure in the subscription for according to any circumstances debentures, he would recommend which might arise at this import- a repetition of the experiment. He ant crisis to make it expedient so therefore proposed to raise three