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On June 23d, the order of the day for the first reading of the bill for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus being read in the House of Commons, Lord Castlereagh rose, and began by protesting against the inference which had been drawn, that a bill of this kind was a libel on the whole country, and preferring a bill of indictment against the people of England. The adoption of such a measure might alarm those who know themselves to be guilty of treasonable designs; but he believed the loyal and peaceable part of the community would be grateful for the passing of the bill, which they would regard as a measure of protection. He then argued in opposition to those who were of opinion, that supposing treasonable designs to exist, those by whom they were entertained were too insignificant to merit the serious attention of parliament. Not only had additional conspiracies been discovered, but, in the late inquiry, the former conspiracies had been confirmed. This circumstance led him to consider at some length the case of Oliver, who was supposed to be the moving cause of all; and he endeavoured to shew that his exertions had materially contributed to prevent the intended explosion of June 9th. He said, in fine, that the measure now proposed to be renewed had already rendered considerable service. In the judgement of nearly all the magistrates it had checked insurrection, and had been more effective than any of the other measures adopted by parliament.

Among the speakers on the op

posite side of the question, perhaps the most forcible was Sir Samuel Romilly. He said, that this was a measure of much greater importance even than that which the House had before adopted. They were then called upon to suspend the Habeas Corpus only for four months, while parliament was sitting, and might watch in what manner the extraordinary powers given to government were exercised; now they were required, just before they separated, to com mit this arbitrary power into the hands of ministers for an indefinite period of time, the duration of which was to depend entirely upon the pleasure of the crown. The noble lord had talked of circumstances of augmented danger; if such were the case, what did it prove, except that not only was the suspension bill inefficient, but that it had increased the evil it was intended to prevent. There was another evil no less grievous. It was now for the first time avowed that spies were in the regular pay of ministers-spies who were the promoters and the instigators of the crimes which they afterwards de nounced. Surely here was enough to excite discontent and disgust through the House and the nation. Speaking afterwards of the dan gerous power entrusted to ministers in the confidence that they would not abuse it, he said, I care not in whose hands that power may be placed. It is one of the melancholy signs of the times, that while, day after day, encroachments are making on public liberty, the answer to every complaint is, that the power which was given would be placed in gentle

hands

: hands. Was there ever any despotic government which did not claim the same right of exercising power on this ground? I cannot (said he) reconcile myself to so light a way of speaking of the Constitution, as to make the suspension of its most valuable privileges a matter of indifference, because certain persons, of whom a favourable opinion is entertained, are to be invested with the arbitrary authority which must be the consequence of that suspension.

On a division of the House, the numbers for the first reading were, Ayes 276, Noes 111; Majority

165.

June 24th, the numbers were so much reduced by defections on both sides, that the motion for the second reading of the bill was carried by 80 against 30.

The order of the day for the committal of the bill being read on June 26th, Sir J. Newport rose to propose a clause, "that it be an injunction to the committee to limit the duration of the bill till the 1st of December next." Lord Castlereagh said that the motion was altogether unnecessary, because it was competent to the committee to fix the duration of the bill at any period it thought proper. But, waving the point of form, he should object to the motion upon principle; for if the state of the country should be such as to require the further continuance of the act at the period stated in the motion, he did not know but that the calling together gentlemen to attend Parliament from the districts in which their

influence would be so usefully exerted, might be a greater evil than the cessation of the act itself.

The amendment was negatived, and the House went into the committee. Sir J. Newport then moved, that the duration of the bill should be limited to the 1st of the ensuing December. The committee then divided, when there appeared, For the amendment 45; Against it 78.

Mr. Douglas objected to the extension of the bill to Scotland, and moved the omission of the clause by which that country was included in its operation. The House dividing on the question, it was determined that it should be continued, by 129 to 48.

June 27th was the day appointed for the third reading of the bill. Several speakers on both parties took a share in the debate, but scarcely any thing remained except recapitulation of the several events which had taken place in the former part of the year. On the division, the reading was carried by 195 to 65. An amendment was afterwards proposed by Mr. S. Wortley, with the approbation of Lord Castlereagh, to leave out the words "six weeks after the meeting of parliament," and insert as the term of the bill the 1st of March 1818. On this a further amendment was proposed by Mr. Wynne to substitute the 25th of December, 1817. The House divided on the question, "that the 1st of March do stand part of the bill," which was decided by Ayes 152, Noes 50. The bill was then passed.

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CHAPTER VII.

The Budget.

ON June 20th, the House hav- committee in a more convenient

committee, the Chancellor of the Exchequer rose, and said that it would not be necessary for him to trouble the committee at any very great length. He was of this opinion because, in the first place, he had reason to hope that the measures which he should recommend were not such as were likely to call forth much opposition; and, in the next place, the House came to the subject with more information respecting it than they usually possessed previously to the opening of the budget. In consequence of the recommendation made to them in the speech from the throne at the commencement of the session, one of the earliest proceedings of the House had been to appoint a committee to inquire into the revenue and expenditure of the country; the reports made by which would enable him to spare those whom he had the honour to address, the trouble of listening to many dry statements of accounts. The consolidation of the English and Irish exchequers had added the concerns of Ireland to those on which he had been accustomed to address them; and a very considerable portion of labour had been directed to incorporate the accounts of the two nations. The arrangements which had been made would bring them under the consideration of the

and uniform manner than that in which they had ever before been submitted to them. On this point he alluded to the directions given by act of parliament for the discharging of all balances between the English and Irish exchequers to the 5th of January last, and for cancelling all grants on the consolidated fund which had not been realized on that day, and were not likely to be realized within any moderate period The consequence was, that from the 5th of January a new account was opened for the consolidated treasuries, and the technical distinctions which had hitherto subsisted between them were no more.

The committee appointed by that House to inquire into the expenditure and income of the country had not encumbered their report with a statement of the various distinctions of consolidated fund, war taxes, and other details of parliamentary appropriation; but had on the one side set down the whole amount of the finances of the country, and on the other the sum total of its expenditure. He regretted to state, that it appeared from the report, that the deficiency of the revenue for England, compared to that of the year preceding, amounted to ten per cent. and for Ireland to twenty per cent.; but at the termination of a war like that which

was

was just concluded, it could not be wondered at that part of the population should be reduced to great distress.

Notwithstanding the unpleasant circumstances to which he had just referred, the means by which he proposed to meet the supplies of the year, were, he thought, of a nature perfectly unobjectionable, and amply sufficient. In the usual form, he should first go through the supplies required in the present year, and then state the ways and means to meet them.

Army (including 1,500,000l. for extraordinaries, and exclusive of troops in France,) 9,080,000l.

For 1816, it would be remembered the total sum granted on account of the army, amounted to 10,809,7371.

The grant last year on account of the navy (exclusive of the grant for the reduction of the navy debt) amounted nearly to 10,000,000l. (It was more exactly stated

9,964,1951.)

In the present year the grant required for the navy was 6,000,000l. exclusive of a grant of 1,660,000l. for the reduction of navy debt.

To the grant of last year a very considerable sum might also be added, as in 1816 there had been paid off 2,000,000l. of the navy debt. The sum appropriated to this purpose had been taken from the unapplied money remaining in the exchequer from the grants of 1815. The whole sum, therefore, which had been applied to the service of the navy in the last year, amounted to nearly 12,000,000l. The ordnance created in the present year a charge of 1,213,000l.

Last year, under the same head, there had been required the sum of 1,613,142. Here a reduction had been effected of about 400,000l., being about one fourth of the whole. The miscellaneous services would call for a supply of 1,700,000l. including the sums already voted in the present session. Last year, the same services had required 2,500,000l. In this instance, therefore, a reduction had been made of 800,000l. The total supply, therefore, that was called for in the present year, exclusive of the interest of the funded debt, for the expense of the several establishments for twelve months (not on the peace establishment, for he was far from thinking we had yet arrived at what might properly be so called,) would amount to 18,001,000l., or what, speaking in round numbers, he would call 18,000,000l. It would be remembered, that at the opening of the present session, his noble friend had estimated the expenditure of the year for the services he had enumerated at 18,300,000l. The actual supply called for came below the estimated sum by almost 300,000l. Last year, the grants for the same services amounted to 24,887,000l. The reduction effected in the present year, it would therefore be seen, fell little short of 7,000 000l., being considerably more than onefourth, and amounting to very near one-third of the whole. In addition to the 18,000,000 required for the proper service of the year, a further provision would be necessary on account of the unfunded debt. In the first instance

there was a charge of 1,900,000!. for the interest on exchequer bills

the

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the principal of which would be discharged in the course of the present year. This item, though large, the committee would look upon with satisfaction, when they considered how much the improved state of public credit lessened the charge thus incurred in providing for the ways and means of the year. A proper idea of this might be formed, when it was considered, that what cost the country almost 2,200,000l. for the service of 1816, would in the present year create but a charge of 1,900,000l. upon an amount of principal considerably increased; and when it was further borne in mind, that a few years ago the same operation would have occasioned an expense of 2,500,000l. The sinking fund on the money thus kept floating as unfunded debt would amount to 330,000l. making a total charge on amount

of exchequer bills of 2,230,000l. On winding up the accounts between the English and Irish exchequers an advance had been found necessary in order to clear up all demands on the consolidated fund of Ireland to the 5th of January last, from which period they had started on a new account. This had caused a grant to be called for (in order to make good the permanent charges of Ireland up to that time), of 246,5081. Towards the reduction of the navy and transport debt, a supply was demanded of 1,660,000l. There was thus, it would be seen, a new total of 4,136,5081. to provide for the charges of unfunded debt, or to make good previously existing deficiencies, which formed no part of the supply necessary for the service of the year. The different items and the grand total were as follows:

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