Front Page Titles (by Subject) WAYS AND MEANS222 February 1822 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 5 Speeches and Evidence
WAYS AND MEANS222 February 1822 - 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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WAYS AND MEANS
22 February 1822
Col. Davies called the attention of the House to certain discrepancies between the finance accounts for the year and the statement of income and expenditure of the country up to 5 Jan.1821. Mr. Hume moved that ‘the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be requested to reconcile the two accounts’.
Mr. Ricardo thought it necessary that some explanation should be given; and he begged leave to call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to a question which he (Mr. Ricardo) had put to him last year, when he had brought forward his Budget. The sum which had actually been devoted to the repayment of Exchequer Bills up to January 15, 1821, had been only 950,000l., while the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said it would be 1,700,000l., it appearing that 700,000l. had been expended in the payment of interest on Exchequer Bills. Next year the Chancellor of the Exchequer had promised that the surplus would be 4,000,000l. But when it came to be ascertained, it had turned out to be only 2,600,000l. How was the Right Honourable Gentleman to reconcile these differences. The interest on Exchequer Bills had amounted to 1,380,000l. and this, with some other matters not well explained, made a total of 1,700,000l. If the accounts were to be kept in this way, it was impossible that the Members of that House could come to any knowledge of the real state of the country. They had been told of large surpluses, which, from year to year, were to be available to purposes of economy, but when they came to count those sums, they found that the greater part had vanished. If they were told that 1,700,000l. would be available in one year, and instead of that had only 950,000l.; if they were told that in the subsequent year there would be four millions, and it had turned out that there were only two millions, what security was there that next year they might not have only two millions instead of the five millions, of which the Right Honourable Gentleman had boasted? The whole of the boasted surplus might thus, it was evident, be absorbed in a quarter of which the House had no knowledge. It had been said that the expences were to be but 18,210,000l. but upon casting up the four items of which they were composed, the amount proved to be eighteen millions five hundred and fifty thousand pounds. If the expenditure of the year was to exceed the estimate by half a million; if they were to be told of a surplus of four millions, and then in place of that to have a surplus only of 2,600,000l. Then what security had they that there would be a surplus of five millions next year? He thought that the matter stood in much need of explanation.