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aid of the emperor, is a question upon which there exists but little doubt. We have seen long ago that the uniform object of the enemy's policy has been to disunite us from our ally. This 'design has manifested itself in the course of several negociations and discussions, and we have seen a similar policy too successfully practised with other powers who were formerly leagued with us against France, and who have been seduced, some into a neutrality, others into open hostility against us. She has publicly and repeatedly declared her wish to make a separate peace with Austria, that she might be enabled to dictate terms to us, or to carry on the war against this country with greater effect. It is but very lately that we have heard that France has, a short time ago, made distinct overtures of peace to the emperor to the exclusion of this country, and that he, with his accustomed honour and good faith, instead of accepting of them, communicated them to the court of St. James's, and renewed his declaration to the enemy, that he would not conclude a peace except in conjunction with Great Britain, justly persuaded that no peace can be concluded on a permanent foundation, but one founded upon a due regard to the individual claims, and the common interests of the different powers of Europe.
Putting apart, therefore, the obligations of gratitude and honour, it must be obvious to every one whose views are not confined within the narrowest and most contracted limits, that the best mode of attaining the desirable object of peace is, to pere severe in making a common cause with the emperor, and aiding him with those means which his own dominions do not furnish, but with which the resources of this country enable us to supply him. It is for this house to determine whether they will give success to the intrigues of the enemy, which have hitherto been frustrated by the fidelity and magnanimity of our ally, or whether they will persevere in those measures, which are most likely to bring the contest to a safe and honourable issue. To their judg. ment and their spirit I leave the decision, convinced that they will act in a manner becoming the representatives of a great and powerful nation, On these grounds I think there is no use in
countenancing the present measure, and as it does not commit the house to give any opinion upon the subject, I shall give it my negative.
The order of the day was read, and the House resolved itself into a committee of Ways and Means, Mr. Sylvester Douglas in the chair ;the report of the select committee of finance having been previously referred to the said committee.
In the great and extensive prosecution of the business whicle it is my duty this day to submit to the consideration of the committee, it is impossible for me not to feel the weight and importance of the burthens which our exigencies have occasicned, and still less is it impossible for me not to feel considerable regret, and great personal disappointment in being compelled, however reluctantly, to propose an addition to the ample and large pro. vision already made, towards defraying the expenses of the country in a wide and calamitous war, and increase the present burthens which are borne with unexampled patience by all ranks of the community. I am conscious the sensations of every gentleman in the committee will be hurt on this occasion, and I trust, whatever may be their feelings upon this subject, they will give me credit for my sensations being not less alive. But it is not. my duty to dwell on those sensations.-Much as I regret the causes of the war, and the calamities with which it has been ata tended; much as I regret the manner in which the hope of a speedy termination has been obstructed, and additional expenses thereby incurred; much as I regret increasing expenses,
where expenses have already been so much and almost so insuf. ferably increased ; and whatever may be my own personal mortification and regret in being obliged to conie forward at such a distressful period with new burdens; I feel it, notwithstanding, to be my first great duty, as I hope and trust the house and country will feel with me, with a firm and manly spirit, to convince the enemy that however great may be our pressure, however embarrassed our circumstances, we are determined to contend with them as long as we are able, rather than submit to baughty and dishonourable terms. Though we may not be suc. cessful enough to accomplish the means by which we can terminate the fatal contest in which we are engaged, consistently with the honour, security, and permanent and essential interests of the nation, let us yet convince our enemies, that our spirit does not desert us in our trials, but that, in spite of every difficulty, we will still be just both to ourselves and to our country. In this sentiment I hope to meet the sense of the house and the people at large, whose patriotism, justice, and magnanimity, as they never have failed in the most arducus conflicts, will not, I trust, fail now, but will manifest, on the contrary, that whatever may be the event, they have but one duty to pursue, viz. to secure and preserve the safety, honour, and happiness of the kingdom. Without hesitation, though certainly not without anxiety and regret, I shall now proceed to submit to the committee what I have to propose.
In doing this, it is with pleasure I declare, that I shall not only derive great advantage, but that my labour is materially diminished also by the very able and impartial statements of the first report of the select committee of finance, which has been printed and this day laid before you. However, in particular parts, I may be justified in differing from these statements, however favourable those statements may be to the general wishes of the house and of the country (and I am ready to confess they are more favourable than what I have to propose), I shall guide myself by their direction, and render that report the basis of the plan of my proposal. Į shall follow the usual mode of proceeding upon subjects of this nature, and first take a view of the transactions which have caused the expenses for which we are now called on to provide, and state what sums remain to be provided for: I shall then compare these provisional demands with what have been already provided for in the course of the present year, and submit the plans which I propose for a further provi. sion ; and in this process I shall be as short and explicit as I can. For this purpose, therefore, and according to the usual practice, I shall first call the attention of the house to the whole amount of services for the present year, with the amount of the sums already voted for defraying them, and the amount of the sums remaining to be voted; and after that I shall detail the ways and means by which these services have already been defrayed, and by which the remainder may be defrayed; and finally I shall state the specific measures which I mean to ground upon those statements towards the provision for the accumulated interest and charges. For the sake of being clear and intelligible, I shall proceed article by article, under various heads; and, to pursue the customary mode, I shall of course begin with the navy.
The committee will recollect, that for the naval service of the current year, there has been already voted the sum of 7,661,0001. . in addition to which the committee of supply has voted 5,000,0001.
Gentlemen will recollect, that although I estimated the expenses of the naval department at 7,661,000l. I then stated my intention to propose the provision of a further sum of 2,500,000l. in order to remedy an inconvenience which heretofore had arisen, and thereby have 10,161,000l. in cash towards defraying any excess of navy debt. Such, however, have been the extraordinary exertions and expenses of the war, that there yet remained an unfunded debt of the navy unprovided for, to the amount of four millions. In the statements of the select committee, a comparison has been given between this outstanding navy debt and the outstanding navy debt in 1783, and the committee has made an allowance for 3,000,0001. In the reports of the select committee it appears - by the best estimates, that, as far as they can be ascertained, the expenses for the navy service would amount to 12,900,0001, which is short of what I have stated them to be, but exceeding what I formerly considered them. By way of reducing this amount, I ought further to state that a sum of 800,0001. went in aid of the navy services of 1796, and consequently left the provision for the services of 1797 deficient in that sum, for, however, careful we may be, a part of the expenses will be carried on in navy bills, though certainly to less extent than formerly. In the provision of 12,000,0001, four shillings per month would be carried to the ordinary expenses of the navy, whereby about 110,000l. would be taken away from the unfunded debt. I suppose there will then be a million, or a million and a half of navy debt afloat. Such was my former statement, and compared with the statement of the committee, there is this difference, that it supposes 1,500,000l. of floating navy debt, instead of 3,000,000l. as the select committee of finance has calculated. I do not know whether I have expressed myself clearly upon this point; but if not, I shall be happy to give any gentleman a further explanation.
The next head of service is the army, upon which there has been already voted the sum of 10,913,0001. The accounts for foreign corps are not yet made out, but they soon will be, and I have reason to hope their expenses will be less than were calculated in my original statement, and less than they appeared to the select committee. I have reason to think this diminution will amount to one half, and that the sum of 370,000l. will be sufficient ; 6,000,000l. was the total amount estimated for the army establishment, independent of the extraordinaries, which is less by 297,000l. than the estimates for the ensuing year by the select committee. In 1796 there were some extraordinary expenses of the army incurred, which at present remain unprovided for, to the amount of 3,287,0001.; and in the interval of the 8th of December and the 1st of January, there was another outstanding demand made evident of 100,0001. which, in consequence of not being paid, is to be added to the other, and makes a sum of 3,387,0001, out-standing army debt to be provided for.