Page images

the redemption of a sum equal to the present debt in as short a period as that in which it would have been redeemed, if this new plan had not been brought forwards. Nor will the final redemption of any supple. mentary loans be postponed beyond the period of 45 years prescribed by the act of 1792 for the extinction of all future loans. While each of the annual war loans will be Buccessively redeemed in 14 years from the date of its creation, so long as war shall continue; and whenever peace shall come, will be redeemed always within a period far short of the 45 years required by the above-mentioned act. In the result therefore of the whole measure, there will not be imposed any new taxes for the first three years from this time. New taxes of less than £300,000, on an average of seven years from 1810 to 1816, both inclusive, are all that will be necessary, in order to pro. cure for the country the full benefit and advantages of the plan here described; which will continue for twenty years; during the last ten of which again no new taxes whatever will be required. It appears, therefore, that parliament will be enabled to provide for the prolong. ed expenditure of a necessary war, without violating any right or interest whatever, and without imposing further burthens on the country, except to a small and limited amount: and these purposes will be attained with benefit to the public creditor, and in strict conformity both to the wise principles on which the sinking fund was established, and to the several acts of parliament by which it has been regulated. It is admitted, that if the war should be prolonged, certain

portions of the war taxes, with the exception of the property tax, will be more or less pledged for periods, in no case exceeding fourteen years. low far some parts of those taxes are of a description to remain in force after the war; and what may be the provision to be made hereafter for a peace establishment, probably much larger than in former periods of peace; are consider. ations which at present need not be anticipated. It is reasonable to assume, that the means and resources which can now maintain the prolonged expenditure of an extensive war, will be invigorated and increased by the return of peace, and will then be found amply sufficient for the exigencies of the public service. Those exigencies must at all events be comparatively small, whatever may still be the troubled and precarious circumstances of Europe. Undoubtedly there prevails in the country a disposition to make any farther sacrifices that the safety, independence, and honour of the nation may require; but it would be an abuse of that disposition, to apply it to unnecessary and overstrained exertions. And it must not pass unobserved, that in the supposition of a continued war, if the loans for the annual expen diture should be raised according to the system hitherto pursued, permanent taxes must be imposed, amounting, in the period assumed, to 13 millions additional revenue. Such an addition would add heavily to the public burthens, and would be more felt after the return of peace than a temporary continu ance of the war taxes. In the mean time, and amidst the other evils of war, the country would be sub. jected to the accumulated pressure Rr 2


of all the old revenues, and of the war taxes, and of new permanent

taxes. The means of effectuating a plan of such immense im. portance, arise partly from the extent to which the system of the sinking fund has already been carried in pursuance of the intentions of its author; and partly from the great exertions made by parliament, during the war, to raise the war taxes to their present very large amount. It now appears that the strong measure adopted in the last session, by which all the war taxes, and particularly the property tax, were so much augmented, was a step taken not merely with a view to provide for present necessities, but in order to lay the foundation of a system which should be adequate to the full exigencies of this unexpected crisis, and should combine the two apparently irreconcileable objects, of relieving the public from all future pressure of taxation, and of exhibiting to the enemy resources by which we may defy his impla. cable hostility, to whatever period it may be prolonged.-To have done this is certainly a recompence for many sacrifices and privations. This is a consideration which will enable the country to submit with cheer. fulness to its present burthens, knowing that although they may be continued in part, for a limited time, they will be now no further increased.

Copy of a Letter from the Right Ho. nourable Lord Grenville, to the Secretary of the Society for promuting Christian Knowledge.

[blocks in formation]


TChristian Knowledge, of which

I am a member, has thought fit to publish, during a general election, a resolution declaratory of its opinion respecting a political measure recently submitted to parliament.

That measure, brought forward for purposes of peace, union, and public security, by men who yield to none of their fellow-subjects in loyalty to their sovereign, and attachment to the civil and religious constitution of their country, is there stigmatized as hostile to the established church and ecclesiastical constitution of the realm, and as subversive of those principles which placed his majesty's family on the British throne.

It is natural for those whose characters are thus aspersed, to in quire by what right any persons have taken upon themselves, in the name of such a society, to give countenance and currency to an injurious and groundless calumny, calculated for the watch-word of a party, and calculated only to excite and to uphold popular clamour ?

The society was instituted, as its annual publications declare, for the increase of the knowledge and practice of our holy religion, by the support of charity schools, and by the distribution of bibles, prayer. books, and religious tracts. Thoss who have directed the present proceeding, can best explain in what manner Christian knowledge, or Christian practice, will be increased, by promoting religious animosities and civil discord; by stirring up the blind prejudices and ungovern able passions of the ignorant; and by circulating amongst our fellow.


subjects, instead of the word of truth and charity, the libellous and inflammatory calumnies of electioneering contests, and party violence.

As a member of the society, solicitous for the promotion of its genuine objects, I desire to enter my dissent to a resolution pur, porting to express its unanimous opinion. I object to the propriety of its taking part at all in the po litical divisions of the country: I object to its labouring to extend and to prolong those divisions with respect to a measure publicly withdrawn, and of which there is consequently no longer any ques. tion: but, most of all, I object to the truth, and, may I not add, to the decency, of a censure, which, if it were founded either in justice or in reason, would apply to almost every description of public men, and would even implicate all those authorities which are the most entitled to our respect and reverence. If to permit the king's subjects of all persuasious to serve him in his army, be" an unconstitutional innovation," with whom, and when did it originate? It was first made the law in Ireland fourteen years ago, at the express recommendation of the crown, delivered from the throne by one of his majesty's present ministers, then lord. lieutenant of that kingdom.

If the adoption of a similar law in Great Britain would be "an act of hostility to the established church," to whom shall that hostility be ascribed ?-To those who now proposed, or to those who long ago engaged for that conces sion? To the framers of lord Howick's bill, or to those members and supporters of the present go.

[ocr errors]

vernment, who, in the year 1793, gave and authorized that promise to the catholics of Ireland ?

If the employment of catholic officers and catholic soldiers in the general service of the empire; if the permitting them to hold and exercise, at his majesty's discretion, all military commissions, the rank and station of a general not excepted; if the relieving them in this respect from all penalties and disabilities on account of their religious persuasion ;-if these things be matter of just alarm "to the ecclesiastical constitution of this country," when was the moment of alarm?-In the year 1804, all this, and more than this, was done in an act proposed by Mr. Pitt, with the concurrence of his colleagues, now in administration, passed by the British parliament, and sanctioned by his majesty's royal assent.That act legalized a long list of military commissions, antecedently granted by his majesty, with the advice of the same ministers; and it enabled his majesty prospectively to grant, at his discretion, all mili tary commissions whatever to catholics-not indeed to British or Irish catholics, but to foreign ca tholics-to men who owe his majesty no allegiance, and who are not even required to disclaim those tenets which all our fellowsubjects of that persuasion have solemnly abjured!

What ground of difference will then remain to justify those outrageous calumnies against the late proposal?-Is it that men were permitted to aspire to the rewards and honours of a profession, to the toils and dangers of which the le gislature of their country had long since invited them?-Is it that the



[ocr errors]

same indulgences which had been promised and granted to catholics by others, were not withheld by us from Protestant dissenters ?-Or is it, lastly, that we judged our own countrymen and fellow-subjects entitled, under his majesty's discretion, to the same confidence and favour which parliament had so recently extended to all foreigners of all nations and all descriptions?

And let me further ask, if these concessions, all or any of them, are subversive of the principles

which placed his majesty's illus trious house upon the throne," what is to be said of the far more extensive indulgences proposed in 1801, by that great minister, now no more, whose name I have al

ready mentioned ?-Were his prin.

also subversive of the established church, and of the civil constitution of the monarchy ? And if he too must be involved in this indiscriminating and injurious censure, what condemnation will not those men deserve, who, in the very moment of pretended danger, have advised his majesty to call to his present councils, the authors, the partisans, and the supporters of Mr. Pitt's plan ?—a plan including all that has been now proposed, and extending very far beyond our


On the expediency of these mea. sures, statesmen may differ. To stigmatize them as hostile to our establishments, or dangerous to our constitution, is to libel both the throne and the parliament-to ca. lumniate the existing laws-and to impute to the most considerable public characters of our age, both the living and the dead, principles and purposes disclaimed by themselves, and contradicted by the

whole tenor of their lives. It is for the society to consider whether such a conduct be consonant to the character which it befits them to maintain, or in any manner con ducive to the objects of a charitable and a religious institution.

I have the honour to be, &c. &c. GRENVILLE. The Rev. G. Gaskin, D. D. Secretary to the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.

An Address of several of his Majesty's Roman-Catholic Subjects to their Protestant Fellow-Subjects.

HIS majesty's Roman-catholic subjects themselves, that the declarations they had al ready made of the integrity of their religious and civil tenets-the oaths they had taken to his majesty's person, family, and government; the heroic exertions of a considerable proportion of them in his majesty's fleets and armies—the repeated instances in which they have come forward in their country's cause their irreproachable de. meanour in the general relations of life; and, above all, the several acts of parliament passed for their relief, avowedly in consequence of, and explicitly recognizing their me ritorious conduct, would have been a bond, to secure to them for ever the affection and confidence of all their fellow subjects, and to make any further declaration of their principles wholly unnecessary. But, with astonishment and concern, they observe, that this is not altogether the case. They are again publicly traduced, and attempts are

[ocr errors]

again made to prejudice the public mind against them.

We, therefore, English Romaneatholics, whose names are here. under written, beg leave again to solicit the attention of our coun. trymen, and to lay before them the following unanswered and unanswerable documents of the purity and integrity of the religious and civil principles of ALL his majesty's Roman-catholic subjects, in respect to their king and their country.

We entreat you to peruse them; and when you have perused them, to declare "Whether his majesty's Roman-catholic subjects maintain a single tenet, inconsistent with the purest loyalty; or interfering in the slightest degree, with any one duty which an Englishman owes his God, his king, or his country ?" 1.-The first Document we present to you is,-The oath and decla. ration prescribed by the British parliament of the 31st of his present majesty, and which is taken by all English catholics.

"I A. B. do hereby declare, that I do profess the Roman-catholic religion.

"I A. B. do sincerely promise and swear, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his majesty king George the Third, and him will defend to the utmost of my power against all conspiracies and attempts whatsoever that shall be made against his person, crown, or dignity; and I will do my utmost endeavour to disclose and make known to his majesty, his heirs and successors, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which may be formed against him or them; and I do faithfully promise to maintain, support, and defend, to the utmost of my power, the sue.

cession of the crown; which succession, by an act, intitled, An act for the further limita ion of the crown, and better securing the rights and liberties of the subject,' is, and stands limited to the prin cess Sophia, electress, and duchess dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants ; hereby utterly renouncing and abjuring any obedience or allegiance unto any other person claiming or pretending a right to the crown of these realms. And I do swear, that I do reject and detest as an unchristian and impious position, that it is lawful to murder or de stroy any person or persons what. soever, for, or under pretence of, their being heretics or infidels; and also that unchristian and impious principle, that faith is not to be kept with heretics or infidels; and I further declare, that it is not an article of my faith; and that I do renounce, reject, and abjure the opinion, that princes excommunicated by the pope and council, or any authority of the see of Rome, or by any authority whatsoever, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects, or any person whatsoever and I do promise, that I will not hold, maintain, or abet any such opinion, or any other opinions contrary to what is expressed in this declaration: and I do declare, that I do not believe that the pope of Rome, or any other foreign prince, prelate, state, or potentate, hath, or ought to have, any temporal or civil jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, directly or indirectly, within this realm; and I do solemnly, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, that I do make this declaration, and Rr 4 every


« EelmineJätka »