« ZurückWeiter »
respective order, so that each of the sinking frnd. It should not them should be redeemed within 45 therefore be suffered to accumulate years from its being raised.”. for too long a period ; while, on
Mr. Vansittart therefore had his the other hand, it should not be too choice of these two plans, or ra- much diminished by extinguishing ther of these two principles, upon at once too large a portion of the which to construct his financial public debt.” This second mode, arrangements; but the first ap: therefore, seemed preferable to the peared to him to have fewer advan. first, on all these accounts; and tages than the second. By the first, it was still further recommended the whole charge of interest and by the circumstance, that throughsinking fund would be appro- out nearly the whole period of its priated, without any relief to the operation, a much smaller portion public, until the whole of one of of the national resources would be the loans should be completely re-occupied in paying off the national deemed by the exclusive operation debt. But it was yet to be determined, of the one per cent. originally at- whether the present period was fa. tached to it: of course, as this could vourable or adverse to the adoption not happen in less than forty years, of this mode. That it was extremethe public would be unbenefited by ly and peculiarly favourable, Mr. this measure during that time. Vansittart contended, was evident Whereas, by the second mode, se. from the circumstance already veral of the loans which were first stated, viz. that the amount of the contracted, even on the supposition national debt, as it stood when Mr. of a war of great duration, would Pitt first proposed the sinking fund, be redeemed previously to the con- had actually been redeemed by that clusion of it, and thus would fur- fund. nish the means of providing for a Such were the principles upon fresh charge. Another advantage which the chancellor of the exchefrom this mode would be, that this quer proposed his plan for a gradual resource would be continually in- and equable reduction of debt, crea sing in proportion to the du- with great immediate advantage to ration of the war. But a still the public. The first step towards more important advantage would carrying this plan into effect, was result from this second mode; for to enact that the debt first contracted by it the redemption of the debt should be deemed first paid off; being more gradually diffused over whether purchased by its own the whole period, would necessarily sinking fund, or by any other. As produce less alteration in the state a sum equal to the whole debt as it of property. This advantage is stood in 1786, was already purthus further illustrated and enforced chased, the execution of this plan by Mr. Vansictart :-“ Successive only required, with respect either redemption is indeed a point of no to this sum so redeemed, or to any small importance to the regulation hereafter redeemed, that a certificate of the money market, as the rate of its redemption should be pubof interest, and the value of money, lished in the Gazette ; and that this might be very inconveniently af- stock should afterwards be at the fected by the too rapid increase, or disposal of parliament; and “ lithe too sudden reduction, of the able to be cancelled in such prosums brought into circulation by portions and at such times as parlia
ment may direct; but that the whole the debt consolidated in 1802 sinking fund, created by the act would, at that rate of interest, be of 1786, shall be continued and redeemed, if the wat lasted so long, applied, until the total redemption taxes would be required to the aof any debt now existing, or which mount of upwards of 31,000,000). ; may be created during the war. whereas, by Mr. Vansittart's plan, it Thus only the sinking fund appro- would require no new taxes for four priated to each loan would be years, except about 1,100,000/. for touched, and not till it had effected the year 1813, in order to make some its purchase, by redeeming the necessary immediate additions to amount of its loan, while the grand the sinking fund ; and the whole sinking fund would remain in its amount of taxes, till the year 1830, original state and full operation.” would, by the same plan, not ex" In order, however, effectually to ceed 18,000,000l. By the old plan, secure the means of redeeming all the whole amount of the debt, as future loans within 45 years, and to it stood in the spring of 1813, preserve a proper proportion between would be paid off' about the year the sinking fund and the unre- 1945; whereas by Mr. Vansittart's deemed debt,” Mr. Vansittart fur- plan it would be paid off about 1837. ther proposed, that whenever the The next thing to be considered sum borrowed in any year should is, whether by the old plan, or that exceed the sum to be paid off, a of Mr. Vansittart, the sinking fund sinking fund should be provided would be most affected. Till the for the excess of loan, equal to one year 1830, it would be much half of its interest ; and that for the greater, according to the former ; remainder of the loan, the provision but after that period the amount of a sinking fund of one per cent. will be nearly equal. In one re. should be made as usual, conform- spect, however, Mr. Vansittart's ably to the act of 1792. There plan, as has been already hinted, were also some inferior and less has the advantage: its operation important arrangements, which it on the sinking fund will be more is not necessary to detail : but we equable and uniform. shall proceed to point out the ad This comparative view of the vantages of this system, as com two plans has proceeded on the pared with the former system ; idea, that for a considerable num. after which we shall notice some of ber of years the annual loan will the principal objections which were not exceed 28,000,0001. If it urged against it.
should, however, be necessary to By the old system, it is taken raise a larger sum, Mr. Vansittart for granted, that the loans for a acknowledges that the advantages great number of years will be of his plan would be somewhat di. equal to the loan which was raised in minished; but, on the other hand, 1812; the amount of this, include the redemption of the existing debt ing the exchequer bills funded, was would be accelerated, and the sink28,000,0001. By the same system, ing fund would increase more ra. it would require to fund this sum pidly. The effects of the two plans at five per cent. for four years, new would, of course, be opposite, if taxes to the amount of nearly the sums borrowed were diminish7,500,0002.; and in the whole, lilled, or if they were obtained at a the year 1830, about which time rate of interest below 5 per cent,
would, when created, present a no- 1792. If, therefore, it is made to vel and gratifying spectacle ; as it answer this purpose more quickly would be the first instance of an or more certainly, or at a period immense accumulation of public when the nation particularly reproduct, “ formed without the im- quires not to be pressed with addis poverishment of any individual, or ţional taxes; in any or all of these any embarrassment of the general cases, any modification of it must circulation.''
be agreeable to its original princiIt may, however, be objected to ples and purposes, instead of a this plan, that it interferes with the deviation from them; and it would very principle of the sinking fund; be abşurd to object to such a benebut this objection, when closely ex- ficial modification, thus consonant amined, will be found to be irre- to the original principles and purlevant; in fact, this plan inter- poses of the smking fund, because feres with the sinking fund less it might interfere with some of the than any other modification of that collateral advantages of that fund, fund, and is less liable to be abused which were not contemplated when as a precedent for encroaching upon it was created, and which, in every it: for these reasons in the first point of view, are, when compared place, it arises out of the principles with i:s grand object, of infinitely of the sinking fund itself; and in small consequence. « Now, as it the second place, it depends en cannot be less important to prevent tirely on the application of the the immediate increase of taxes, stock purchased by the commis. than to provide for their future sioners. Now the object for which possible reduction, that would seem the stock is purchased, is un to be the best arrangement of a doubtedly that it should be can- sinking fund, which, while it procelled, sooner or later. This must vide for the ultimate discharge take place in any possible arrange of debt, within a certain moderate ment of the sinking fund; and period, afforded the earliest relief under these circumstances, the only to the public, and limited the maxquestion that can arise, or produce imum of total charge within the a difference of opinion, must respect narrowest compass.' the time and mode of cancelling it.
We have thus given the principal Some people, who entertain in- statements and illustrations which distinct notions of the sinking fund, prove the expediency of Mr. Vanseem to mistake its very nature sittart's plan of finance. We have ad purpose ; and feel violently been induced to go so much into, and unaccountably prejudiced a. detail
, from the conviction that it gainst any scheme which should is a plan of great political wisdom, have a tendency to modify its ope- which, if steadily and judiciously sations : but the great and ulti- persevered in, must afford great mate object of it undoubtedly is, relief to the public. That it was, to relieve the nation from the bur. suggested, or rather rendered neden of taxes which would be en- cessary, by the peculiar circumfailed upon it by the indefinite stances of the times, ought not to extension of the public debt. With be brought forward as an argument this view it was originally created ; against it, if its tendency is to lessen and to answer this parpose, govern- the public burdens, at a period ment have aided it by the act of when they could not be safely in