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and to create general confusion in the Country. Mr. Pitó appears to us to have proposed a Plan which, to the surprise and mortification of the French Directory, will obviate all these difficulties. He has recommended to Parliament to raise only a part of the Supply by Loan, and to provide for the Payment of this Loan in a little more than two years. This can scarcely fail to have the effect of raising the value of the Funds; but he proposes, in addition to this, to adopt a measure which must infallibly prove to France, and to all Europe, that we do not depend solely on the Funded System, but that we have the means of raising, within the year, a considerable part of the necessary Supply, without any increase of our Debt. If there is vigour and spirit enough in the Country to give effect to this measure (and can it be doubted ?) it will be manifest to France, that by submitting to a few temporary sacrifices, we shall have the means of continuing the War as long as her extravagant pretensions shall render it necessary, without injury to our Credit, and without imposing any burdens on the lower orders of the People. France may have occasion to rue this discovery ; her insolence could alone have taught us the full extent of our own powers.
We have to acknowledge several valuable Communications from Correspondents.-The admirable Latin Verses written immediately after the Revolution of the 4th of September—the Englishman's Choice; and the Sonnet, signed D. have been received, and will be given to the Public the earliest opportunity,
NoV.-MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1797.
Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo.
REVIEW OF THE PROPOSED PLAN OF FINANCE.
THE Plan for providing for the Supplies of the next
1 year has now been opened in detail, and fully discussed in the House of Commons. We congratulate the Country on its favourable reception, because we are confirmed in thinking that it is the most prudent and vigorous effort which could be made at this crisis, for the Public Safety, and has the happiest tendency to secure a successful termination of the present arduous Contest.
The few objections which have been made to it, appear to us in themselves unfounded, and some of them directly contradictory. One Gentleman only, in Parlia. ment, has gone so far as to deny the necessity of any great effort, on the ground that Peace is attainable. We believe his example will have few followers without doors, at least among those who can read and understand the contents of His Majesty's Declaration, the Papers con. taining the account of the Negotiation at Lisle, or (which is of itself sufficient to satisfy every Man who has the feelings of an Englishman) the late Proclamation of the French Directory. On a point so clear in itself, and so 2
generally generally acknowledged, as the unavoidable necessity of prosecuting the present Contest, we forbear to dwell.
The next objection is from those, not much more numerous than the former, who are of opinion that it would be wiser to borrow the whole sum wanted by Loans in the ordinary method, instead of raising a considerable part, as is now proposed, by an Extraordinary Contribution within the year. We shall not enter into the discussion, whether the adoption of the Funding System was originally advantageous and expedient. It may pero haps be true, that the long and expensive Wars in which the Country was necessarily engaged, at a period when it was much less advanced in Wealth and Prosperity, could not have been supported in those times without such a resource - But the question for our consideration now, is not, whether the Plan of Borrowing, carried to a certain amount, may have been advantageous or necessary; nor whether, even now, it should be wholly relinquished; but whether there may not be certain limits, beyond which it is not, under the present circumstances, safe (or at least prudent) now to extend it.There is no doubt, from the extent of our Trade, the productiveness of our Revenue, and the general progress of Improvement of every description throughout the Country, that notwithstanding the pressure of War, our disposeable Capital is abundant and increasing. But great as this Capital is for general purposes, the price of the Stocks is, as we see, much reduced, while every other species of Property maintains in general its value. In proportion to the extent of further Loans on the old System, a further depreciation must naturally ensue. The direct loss to which this would expose the existing mass of Stockholders, is of itself a serious consideration.
The impression, with a view to our Public Credit at present, is perhaps still more important. Its general effect also on the rate of Interest, might ultimately have an influence on all Commercial and Landed Property, and on pecuniary transactions of every description. Besides this, it is obvious, that in proportion as the price of the Funds sinks, every objection which before existed to the system of borrowing increases. It must at all times be ultimately a more expensive mode to the Public of procuring Money, than that of raising it by a Contribution within a short period; but the proportion in which it is so, grows heavier as the Rule of Interest, and the amount of Capital to be created, is greater. The Interest, and the One per Cent. Sinking Fund to redeem the Capital, cannot now together amount to less than Eight and a Half per Cent. Granting even that, for the sake of present convenience, it might be wise to create a greater permanent burden, to the extent necessary for borrowing at an annual charge of Four or Five per Cent.; it is a very different question now, that the annual and permanent charge is increased in the proportion we have stated, and when each successive Loan on the old Plan would be likely to increase it still farther.
It has been shewn by calculations which cannot be disputed, that the ultimate loss to the Public by borrowing Fifteen Millions in the old mode, would, in the course of the next forty years, amount to no less a sum than near Thirty-five Millions. These circumstances would press more severely in each successive year of War, if the am, bition and obstinacy of the enemy should prolong ito They are, in fact, what that enemy avowedly looks to as its chief grounds for hoping to wear us out in the Contest; and it is not a little remarkable, that all those who are the VOL. 1.
PartiPartizans of France here, who have for years been decrying our Resources of every description, and particularly predicting the failure of the Funded System, now, for the first time, affect to dwell on the sufficiency of our Resources, particularly if applied in that very mode of funding which they have so long been attacking. This is a striking proof of the sincerity and zeal with which English Jacobins, on every turn, are willing to serve the French Cause. It shews us at once what the great difficulty on our part is, on which our Enemies build their hopes, and that their abettors here have no other object in view, in recommending a conduct directly contradictory to all their former pretended opinions, but that such hopes may be realized. These considerations alone might be enough to determine us to disappoint such a project by a new and spirited exertion, which shall provide for our present Security, and save the Country from future and pera manent embarrassments.
If, during a few years to come, we have the determination and vigour to provide for the Public Exigencies, without allowing the Capital of our Debt to gain upon us too rapidly, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the quick progress of the Established Sinking Fund will soon have brought it to such an amount, that we may hope to provide for the expence of all future Wars, without creating a greater Debt in any one year, than we shall be in the course of discharging in the same period. Such a system, cffectually followed up, would indeed render this Country INVINCIBLE. Surely no present sacrifice could be too great to secure such an object; but it is still less possible to hesitate, if the system by which it may be accomplished, appears (as we think we have proved) to be at the same time the best, if not the only effectual mode, of providing for our present security.