Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/393

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neither partial to Mulgrave nor zealous for the privileges of the aristocracy. The orator, however, though he charmed his hearers, did not succeed in convincing them. Most of them shrank from a conflict in which they would have had against them the Commons united as one man, and the King, who, in case of necessity, would undoubtedly have created fifty peers rather than have suffered the land tax bill to be lost. Two strong protests, however, signed, the first by twenty-seven, the second by twenty-one dissentients, show how obstinately many nobles were prepared to contend at all hazards for the dignity of their caste. Another conference was held; and Rochester announced that the Lords, for the sake of the public interest, waived what they must nevertheless assert to be their clear right, and would not insist on their amendment.[366] The bill passed, and was followed by bills for laying additional duties on imports, and for taxing the dividends of joint stock companies.

Still, however, the estimated revenue was not equal to the estimated expenditure. The year 1692 had bequeathed a large deficit to the year 1693; and it seemed probable that the charge for 1693 would exceed by about five hundred thousand pounds the charge for 1692. More than two millions had been voted for the army and ordnance, near two millions for the navy.[367] Only eight years before fourteen hundred thousand pounds had defrayed the whole annual charge of government. More than four times that sum was now required. Taxation, both direct and indirect, had been carried to an unprecedented point; yet the income of the state still fell short of the outlay by about a million. It was necessary to devise something. Something was devised, something of which the effects are felt to this day in every part of the globe.

There was indeed nothing strange or mysterious in the expedient