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tually and effectually answered; nor even should such savings accrue, will it compensate for the disadvantages above stated.
"That, admitting that, by the foregoing means, the expected surplus will arise upon the three quarters next ensuing; and that henceforward one million annually is to be applied to the reduction of the debt; it appears, that there will then be an interval of nearly four years before the commencement of that permanent peace establishment, which is to furnish, in the reduction of services, £900,000 of the expected million surplus.
That, in this period, it appears, from the vouchers annexed to the said report, and other papers before this house, that a sum, amounting to £4,010,000, besides £2,000,000 due to the Bankmaking together the sum of £6,010,000—will be deficient and wanting, over and above the stated annual income."
Mr. Sheridan rose again, at a subsequent period of the debate, and said, he would confine himself merely to explanation. He then made a reply to the several reasonings of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and of Mr. Dundas. He charged the Chancellor of the Exchequer with having misrepresented his arguments; and said, he wondered, after what had now come out, that the right honorable gentleman was not ashamed of resorting to such old and hacknied means of opposing fair arguments, as talking of violated charters, and his right honorable friend's India bill. Could the right honorable gentleman deny, that the Court of Directors, the East India proprietors, and even the company's servants in India, now publicly declared, what had been admitted by his right honorable friend at the time, and what had also been said by him when the other bill was in agitation,-that his bill was a bold, a manly, and an avowed resumption, of power which had been abused; and that the right honorable gentleman's bill filched authority; and did that in a
covert, sneaking, underhand way, which the other bill did undisguisedly. Mr. Sheridan justified his former argument respecting Mr. Pitt's assertion, that about £18,000 or £20,000 would be the amount of the advantage resulting to the public from the consolidation of the duties; and appealed to the house, whether an idea had been entertained by them, when they passed the bill, that they were taxing the people to the amount of between £60,000 and £80,000 a-year. He answered what had been said to Lord John Cavendish's taking off the high duties on muslins; and said, that the right honorable gentleman had been forced to confess it to be a good measure; as its extremely beneficial consequences undoubtedly could witness. He had not complained of the right honorable gentleman's following that example; but of his having laid down a principle, and afterwards not acted up to his own principle; a fact evinced by him, in respect to the loss of revenue, by the reduced duties on spirits and wine. Mr. Sheridan also took notice of what had fallen from Mr. Dundas; and said, he had addressed himself to a right honorable gentleman, (Mr. Grenville) and not to him, when he talked of moving for the last accounts from India; but that right honorable gentleman had chosen to avoid a reply. If his right honorable friend (Mr. Fox's) bill had passed, there would have been no necessity for a right honorable and learned gentleman (Mr. Dundas) to come to the house with his Indian budget; which he waited, as he had declared, to have properly shaped. They all understood what shaping East Indian accounts was; but that shaping would, as he had just declared, have been unnecessary, had his right honorable friend's bill passed; as one of its operations was, to have obliged the accounts of the company to be, from time to time, laid before the house. Mr. Sheridan again recurred to his proposition of a new, a fair, and an impartial committee,
to examine and report the real state of the revenue, and its expenditure.
Mr. Grenville replied. Mr. Burke exculpated the secret committee from the charge made upon them, by Mr. Grenville; and added, that so far from Mr. Sheridan being liable to it, he did assure the right honorable gentleman, that the committee had not been assisted by his honorable friend more than once, and then he had given them his company only for half an hour. Mr. Grenville admitted that Mr. Burke had fully cleared himself and the committee from the charge of having made an indiscreet use of their powers; instead, therefore, of Mr. Sheridan being liable to the suspicion that he had suggested of his speaking from too good information on the subject of the state of the company's affairs in India; it was evident he had spoken from no information at all.
Mr. Sheridan desired the right honorable gentleman, when he thought proper to argue upon the degree of information from which he (Mr. Sheridan) had spoken, to rest his arguments on what he admitted to be the information in his possession ; and not on what any other person stated it to be. He alone could be a judge of the information in his mind, and the sources from whence that information was derived. The quarter, from whence he had learnt what he hinted at, was an indisputable authority; and such as he should not be ashamed to state to the house.
The resolution was read a second time and agreed to.
TAX ON POST HORSES.
Mr. Rose brought up the bill for farming the tax on post horses.
Mr. SHERIDAN having observed, that it would not be necessary to do more than take up a short time of the house, stated several arguments against the bill; and particularly contended, that the house could not delegate the powers of the executive government to others, who were not amenable to that
house. With regard to the ridicule which the right honorable gentleman had been pleased to throw upon the suggestion of an honorable gentleman, who sat on the bench with the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Bastard) with respect to the mode of ascertaining what the produce of the post-horse tax ought to be-by getting at an account of the number of horses kept by the innkeepers throughout the kingdom-there was nothing nearly so ludicrous in that, as in some of the modes of regulating the collection, and carrying some of the right honorable gentleman's own taxes into effect, which he had at different times proposed to the house. He remembered among other most ridiculous ideas, which the right honorable gentleman had stated with respect to his horse tax-the obliging persons to put up the names, characters, and qualities, of the horses they kept, on the church-doors; and another, of stamping the accoutrements of the horses at the turnpike-gates, as they passed. The right honorable gentleman was so remarkable for disturbing, shifting, and changing the mode of collection of the taxes, that his desire to put the posthorse tax out to farm for a term of years, appeared to him as if the right honorable gentleman was so conscious of his own propensity to meddle with the collection of the taxes, that he knew he could not trust himself; and, therefore, he was determined to put it out of his power to touch the post-horse tax for three years to come. He could not otherwise account for his proposing a scheme so irreconcileable to the principles of the British constitution. What the right honorable gentleman had said respecting the excise, Mr. Sheridan admitted was perfectly just, when applied to the excise as a mode of collecting a part of the revenues, recognized by parliament, and established and existing in the country; but the case would have proved widely different, had there been no such thing as an existing excise. With respect to what had fallen
from an honorable gentleman, who had said that he would support the bill, because he did not think that there was any thing unconstitutional in its contents; but that he was a zealous friend to the constitution, and had resisted two bills, which he thought likely to affect the constitution in church and state; he presumed, he alluded to the good old cause of clamor, his right honorable friend's East India bill; and to the bill in favour of the dissenters, moved for by the honorable gentleman behind him (Mr. Beaufoy). If so, the honorable gentleman was welcome to his boast, and all the credit which belonged to it; but, undoubtedly, the bill then under consideration was a much more violent, as well as a more dangerous, attack on the constitution. Mr. Sheridan took notice of Sir Joseph Mawbey's declaration, that he had entertained sentiments of alarm and jealousy respecting the measure; but that he was now satisfied he might safely support it. The honorable baronet was the most easily satisfied of any man he ever heard of; for, what had fallen from the right honorable the Chancellor of the Exchequer ?-nothing more than a desire, that gentlemen would wait till the bill was printed, and till they knew its contents, before they made up their minds upon it.
The question was put, and the house divided; ayes 76; noeŝ 39. The bill was read a first time.
BILL FOR MORE EFFECTUALLY MANNING THE BRITISH NAVY.
Mr. SHERIDAN moved for leave to bring in a bill, respecting which, he said, he should have no occasion to trouble the house long; as the bill was, in some measure, the same with one which the house had entertained during the course of the last session, excepting that the obnoxious clauses were