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barrack to Great Britain. Mr. Flood spoke a second time in the debate, which ended with Mr. Grattan's reply, who rose to speak once more on this subject, which had been so frequently before the house. The question is, said he, will you withdraw from the common cause, that quota of troops, which hitherto you have maintained ? Are the circunstances of the country such as you think demand it, and if you are crazy enough to think so, will his majesty assent to that opinion? There never was a time, when he could make reduction with a worse grace, because this country is now as eminently happy in trade, as Britain is the reverse.
In 1769 England possessed, almost unrivalled, the trade of all the world. She possessed America, and owed one hundred and fifty millions less than she owes at present. Ireland had no trade at all, and her constitution was denied; yet at that day it was thought wise to augment the army ; and shall we reduce it now, when we have obtained a free constitution, a free trade? When we have obtained a judge's bill, a limited mutiny bill, an Habeas Corpus bill ? When every thing that we have demanded, has been conceded ? Shall we in that moment withdraw our quota of troops? Before she obtained these advantages we said to Britain, that provided she would acknowledge our constitutional and commercial rights, we would stand or fall with her. And when they have been acknowledged to the full satisfaction of every man, it is proposed to withdraw the support of our army. Suppose, instead of saying we will stand or fall with Great Britain, we had said, “and when those things shall be “ done (when our rights shall be acknowledged and established),
we will then in return, withdraw from you the support of our “ army;" and yet in effect, this is the proposal at present made. I do not entirely agree in all that has been said of gratitude ; we owe no gratitude but for the plantation trade; but this we owe to England, and to our own honour, that we should not depart from an old covenant. The navy of England protects our trade, and we, as an equivalent, pay 70,000l. a year to maintain the troops destined to serve in the plantations. This is not a dear purchase for partaking that, which has cost England so many millions. Has success made us niggardly, and shall we become unkind to England, just at the moment she has shewn kindness to us? We have indeed held out the language of magnanimity to England, and shall we fail in the performance ? No; there are many other places to make retrenchment, we grant a pension list of 80,000l. a year, yet complain of 70,000l. paid to an army; paid for the protection of the British navy. We may indeed make very great reductions in the army extraordinaries. We may make great reductions in the revenue department, and in others. Those reductions will, I trust, far exceed the pay of our augmentation. These are retrenchments that ought to be made ; but the number of our forces ought not to be diminished.
On the question being put, there appeared a majority of 74 against the question; ayes 58, noes 132.
On the 10th of November Sir Henry Cavendish again brought forward his motion, that the condition of that kingdom required every practicable retrenchment consistent with the interest and safety thereof, and with the honour and dignity of his majesty's government. Mr. Mason seconded the motion, and Mr. Attorney General gave it his hearty concurrence, now that the national accounts had been examined. And as the speaker was about to put the question, Mr. Flood said, he had an amendment to propose; the motion as it stood at present, was giving too great a latitude to administration; it was leaving them to pursue any measure they thought proper, they had only to say, that it was for the interest of the nation, or for the dignity of his majesty's government. He therefore moved for the following amendment," and that the military establishment in particular “ will admit of a considerable retrenchment, inasmuch as 12,000
men are at present sufficient, not only to maintain the defence “ of this kingdom, but also to afford Great Britain, for her ser“ vice abroad, as many men as we granted to her by the aug“ mentation; and inasmuch as many important savings may be “ made in the expence of maintaining that number of 12,000 men;" he observed, that certainly ingratitude could not be objected to the motion, since they were not about to withdraw their aid from Great Britain, but to allow her as many men out of 12,000 men as they formerly did out of 15,000 men; and surely there was more generosity in giving three out of twelve, than three out of fifteen.
This amendment brought on a very long and warm debate, in which General Luttrell and Major Doyle and some other military gentlemen spoke strenuously in support of the army, which had been mentioned in a very invidious manner, and placed in an ungracious comparison with the volunteers. *On the division, 65 were for the amendment, and 143 against it. Then the original motion of Sir Henry Cavendish was put and unanimously carried. On the same day, when the attorney general put one of his official motions, namely, “ that the supply seconded the motion, as he had been instructed by his constituents to vote for no bill of supply for a longer term than sis months, until the great national measures then pending were decided : on this division 32 were for and 92 against the amend
to be granted to his majesty to commence the 25th of De
cember, 1783, continue for 15 months, that is, until the 25th “ of March, 1785," Sir Edward Newnham said, it was the general sense of the nation, that the money bills should not exceed the term of six months, and he accordingly moved, that the word six should be substituted for fifteen. Mr. Hartley
* 11 Com. Journ. p. 94.
Mr. Grattan having opposed the retrenchment in the military establishment, and having uniformly avowed his principles of econoiny, on the next day moved for a committee to enquire into the expence of collecting the revenue ; and said he was convinced it was an object of retrenchment, as though there were an increase in the revenue last year of 150,0001. it would have been much more, if the collection had not amounted to 162 per cent. and he was certain, that it could be collected at an expence of ten per cent.
Mr. Beresford assured the house, that the more minutely the accounts of the revenue department were inspected, the greater would be his satisfaction, and that of the gentlemen, with whom he had the honour to sit at the revenue board ; however, the amount of the collection, though much greater than he wished, was not so great as the Right Hon. gentleman had stated, for in it he had included the incidental expences of the customhouse, and great works then carrying on; were these deducted, the expence of collection would not amount to 14 per cent. though formerly it had been 18: besides, in comparing that country with England, gentlemen had fallen into a mistake. A single great distiller in England, paid more duty than a whole county there, though he required but one officer to watch him, and the country perhaps forty. He said, there were twentysix ports in Ireland, of which nineteen did not produce a revenue equal to the expence of guarding them; and the whole balance in the public favour, arose from seven ports, Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Belfast, Limerick, Derry, and Newry, though the necessity of watching the inferior ports must be obvious to every man.
It was said, that in England the revenue was collected at seven per cent. but of those seven ports, that had been mentioned, the revenue was collected at five and ninetenths per cent. The manner of estimating the expence of collecting in England, and comparing with Ireland, was unfair; England was a market for the whole world, goods imported there paid heavy duties, for the purpose of re-exportation: when those duties were drawn back, that increased her fictitious revenue, though it did not add one farthing to the real one, and that reduces the relative proportion of expence in the collecting
The revenue board of Ireland, which was originally constituted for revenue business only, had the business and expences of the whole state heaped upon it. The expence of passing bills, and sundry circumstances of the law business, had raised
that particular charge from 1800l. per annum to 48001. The revenue cruizers, which government employed for convoying troops, had in the last year stood in 32,000l. which was charged as a revenue expence. Nay, the very expresses, which government sent to different places on government affairs, were paid by the revenue board. Those things together made a prodi. gious sum, and it was all charged to the prodigality of the commissioners of revenue, who were blamed for expences, in which they had no manner of concern. The revenue incidents had many improper charges upon them; and salaries, which if they ought to appear any where, ought to appear upon the es. tablishment.
Mr. Grattan said, he thought the Right Hon. gentleman had very candidly explained to the house the condition of that department. As to the incidents, which increased the expence of collecting, not by industry but by idleness, they should be curtailed at present, and guarded from abuse in future, for if people who had salaries on that list, were placed on the pension list, parliament would see them, and strike them off. at present circumstanced, the revenue incidents might be called a concealed pension list.
Sir John Parnel admitted there were many abuses in the revenue department; that department was under a particular control, but he rejoiced that that control was under the control of parliament. He recommended to the country gentlemen to teach their tenants obedience to the revenue laws, as there was amongst all ranks of people a disposition to oppose them.
So unwearied was the present opposition in pressing military retrenchments upon the house, that they omitted no opportunity during the session of bringing it forward, but always with the like failure of success. Their party consisted of about one sixth of the house, and as usual, few or none were moved from their ranks by eloquence, argument or reason. When on the 13th of November Mr. Foster had reported the different resolutions from the cominittee of supply, which the house unanimously agreed to, Sir Edward Newnham again attempted to urge the granting of the supplies for six months, when Mr. Grattan observed, that the question had been already debated and decided, and nothing new was then offered ; on which Sir Edward Newnham remarked, that there was a time, when the Right Hon. gentleman and he coincided in opinion, and he was sorry to find, that they then differed so widely. Mr. Grattan replied, that their differences were less, than apprehended: let but parliamentary reform be tacked to the money bill, and he would agree to it.
When the protecting duties were brought before the house, they were not supported by government in the way, which the
half-starved unemployed manufacturers expected : they had been taught to consider them essentially necessary for the support of trade: they flocked round the parliament house in ansi. "ous expectation of the protecting duties being established in their favour. Government took great offence at the concourse of people crowding the avennes to the house, and considered that assemblage brought thither by opposition to intimidate. It was however observed from the opposition bench, that the people came thither as supplicants, not as rioters, and they ought to meet the protection of every man in that house: but apprehensions were conceived, that the disposition to postpone the business foreboded no good: if it went over the recess, it would be heard of no more. When Mr. Gardiner, on account of whose illness the committee of ways and means had been kept open for the purpose of receiving his proposition for the protecting duties, appear d in the house on the 20th of November, he observed, that he was convinced, that the business must gain ground by delay; for every enquiry would add strength to the Teasons for 'its expediency. He therefore requested his Right llon. friend (Mr. Foster) would adjourn the committee until Monday. In what he proposed he was far from having any jdea of prohibitory duties, he only wanted restrictive duties, and those only on such articles as could be manufactured in Ireland.
He took that occasion to advert to the conduct of people out of doors, who had filled the avenues of the house, as if to inti. midate its members: he had sent to them, and declared what he then did, that if such improper conduct were persisted in, he had done with the business; and he had the pleasure to find, that the master manufacturers had entered into very strong resoluitions for preventing a repetition of such unwarrantable beha, viour.
Mr. Hartley* informed the house, that a great number of weavers had waited on him, and assured him the violence com
• The popular spirit and wishes appear at this time to have been strongly with the opposition, as appears from the fate of a petition from the chambor of commerce respecting the importation of tobacco, presented by Mr. Hartley to the House of Commons on the 24th of November, 1783, when the government side of the house, and particularly Mr. Fitzgibbon, urged that the house could take no cognizance of the petition of a body of men, styling themselves, A Council of a Chamber of Commerce, a title utterly unknown to the house, either as a chartered or a corporate body. Most of the leaders of the opposition were for receiving the petition (2 P. D.p. 207, and 11 Com. Journ. p. 136.) At length Prime Serjeant Kelly rose and said, I feel myself extremely hurt
by some gentlemen making any distinction between one side of the house " and the other; I say place ought to make no difference, and I trust there " are honourable men on both sides. I am also hurt at hearing a minister's s majority mentioned; no man who has not the merits of the question with s him can have; a majority : I bope it will never be presumed, that a majority