THE BUDGET 9 June 1819 - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 5 Speeches and Evidence 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 5 Speeches and Evidence 1815-1823.
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First published by Cambridge University Press in 1951. Copyright 1951, 1952, 1955, 1973 by the Royal Economic Society. This edition of The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., under license from the Royal Economic Society.
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9 June 1819
The Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced the Budget and announced that a loan of 12 millions had been contracted that morning by competition on very advantageous terms and that, besides, 12 millions would be borrowed from the sinking fund for the service of the year; he also proposed that 3 millions should be raised by additional duties on malt, tobacco, tea, etc., and applied to meet the charges of the new loans. Mr. Grenfell, who opened the debate for the opposition, devoted most of his speech to an attack upon the Bank. Mr. Mellish (a Bank director) replied defending the Bank and concluded: ‘The hon. member for Portarlington (Mr. Ricardo), found fault with the Bank directors for not having attended sufficiently to the interests of the proprietors; the hon. member for Marlow (Mr. Grenfell), on the contrary, said, that the Bank had too many bonusses, and that the public ought to share in the profits. How were the directors to act so as to meet the wishes of both gentlemen?’
Mr. Ricardo said, he had already opposed the grant of 3 millions towards a sinking fund, because he did not wish to place such a fund at the mercy of ministers, who would take it whenever they thought that urgent necessity required it. He did not mean to say that it would be better with one set of ministers than another; for he looked upon it that all ministers would be anxious, on cases of what they conceived emergency, to appropriate it to the public use. He thought the whole thing a delusion upon the public, and on that account he would never support a tax to maintain it. He would admit that some means should be resorted to for liquidating the public debt, and in this he agreed with the hon. member for Leicester that a great sacrifice should be made; but he could not go with him in thinking, that that ought to be a property tax. That would be attended with the same bad effects as the other plan. He would, however, be satisfied to make a sacrifice; the sacrifice would be a temporary one, and with that view he would be willing to give up as large a share of his property as any other individual. [Hear.] By such means ought the evil of the national debt to be met. It was an evil which almost any sacrifice would not be too great to get rid of. It destroyed the equilibrium of prices, occasioned many persons to emigrate to other countries, in order to avoid the burthen of taxation which it entailed, and hung like a mill-stone round the exertion and industry of the country. He therefore never would give a vote in support of any tax which went to continue a sinking fund; for if that fund were to amount to 8 millions, ministers would on any emergency give the same account of it as they did at present. The delusion of it had been seen long ago by all those who were acquainted with the subject; and it would have been but fair and sound policy to have exposed it. On the subject of the loan he had nothing to object. He gave credit to and thanked the chancellor of the exchequer, for his good management within the last two or three days. [a laugh]. It was, he conceived creditable to him to have effected the loan on such good terms, when it was considered that only a few days back the funds were at 65. But though he gave credit to the right hon. gentleman for his plan in one respect, it was but fair to his hon. friend (Mr. Grenfell) near him, to say that this was the advice which he had given long ago. An hon. Bank director had said that he (Mr. R.) was inconsistent with his hon. friend. He was not bound to agree in every opinion which his hon. friend might hold; but he did not think he was so inconsistent as was said. He would admit, that he had complained of the Bank not having divided their profits. The Bank had made profits no doubt. It was the duty of the directors to do the best for the proprietors; and it was also the duty of government to make as good a bargain for the country as they could. He could not approve of the Bank making presents to government, though he could not blame those to whom they were given, for making the most of their contracts with them.
After further debate,
Mr. Ricardo wished to ask, whether it was to be understood that in the next year, as there would be 11 millions to be raised for the service of the year, and five millions to be paid to the Bank, there would be taken, as in the present year, 12 millions from the sinking fund, leaving the rest to be raised by way of loan?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer declined to pledge himself.