Imágenes de páginas

ol. III, No. 25. Saturday, December 19, 1907. Price 10d.'

. . .


465 .

FINANCE. Receipt to satisfy the Poor; relieve the middle Ranks; secure the Property of the Rich; surprize and disappoint our Enemies ; make Great Britain happy; and pay of the national Debt. handienone COPY OF MR. PITT'S ORIGINAL RECEIPT.. Propor - Propor- 1

ProporAnnual tion to bel Annual ltion to be Annual tion to be Annual tion to be Amount paid. Amount. paid. Amount. paid. ' Amount. paid...?


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

185 1

[ocr errors]


Part. f. foi | Part. ..


Part. rom 0 11 120th 95 | 1302

165 U 45th


· 99 $1

104 |

139 Í




179 SI

· 145 1



154 1



32d 124 30th


"and up- 10th

| wards Here Mr. Pitt's increasing ratio of taxation stopped. But, if such progressively inasing ratio be a good one, why stop there, at 1-1 oth? why not continue it, ad infium ? or why not, at least, until the part, paid to government, be equal to the part served by the proprietor? But a scale calculated upon an infinitely increasing series uld probably be the wisest of all. But here follow two examples of a limited

[ocr errors]

155 | 159 100,

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

This looks very well upon paper, but it is perhaps rather too theoretical for exect. tion.-The next scheme will be less liable to that objection : particularly if we choose

to insert a series on the same principle, between Annual Proportion to be each subsequent 10,000, consisting of ten places, Amount. paid. with a common difference. But I have not taken

the trouble to calculate these, though soon done, 10,000,&c. 1-10

because I only purposed to suggest the principle of 20,000,- 1-10+1-90 continuing Mr. Pitt's original idea, that the more a 30,000, --1-107-8.90 man has, in the higher proportion he should pay for 40,000, -1-10+12-90 protectioli.---I am well aware how this would affect 50,000, -1-10+10-90 the great capitalists, and perhaps crarup the genius 60,000, -1-10+20-99 of spirit and enterprise. But, if a merchant had ex70,000,-- 1-10+24-90 tended his trace, and accumulated his wealth so 80,000, -1-10+28-30 greatly, that it might appear to him not to be worth 90,000, 1-10+32-90 his while to acquire more money, because govern100,000, 1:107:30-90=ment would take so large a proportion of it---still

the avenues open to him, and not pursued by him, would be open to other adventurers, who are sull satisfied with their gains, and their deductions. But an infinite series, converging infinitely slow to the half, would certaiply be a practicable, and, in my opinion, a wise node and scale of taxation. I think the general objection to the stoppage of the series is unanswerable :---let it increase as slowly as you please; but let it increase. However small the common difference, the satisfaction it will give to the lower and middle ranks will be cheaply purchased.--Why is the progression stopped in the taxation of windows, houses, servants, cartiages, &c. &c. ---If a progression be proper in the lower numbers, why not in the higher?---I do not contend for the same progression throughout---let it be varied, by any scale, but let it be continued.

The above project, I leave to the judgment of my readers; and I shall here offer very few words upon the subject. I agree with my correspondent," A payer of Taxes," whose second letter on the expediency of taxing the country bankers wilt be found in this day's review, that a new systein of taxation is not so much wanted, as the means of making the present one more productive. But I apprehend that the above plan is strictly within this line; for it does not propose any novelty in principle, but merely to enlarge a principle already received, or, in the more appropriate expression of my correspondent, to give a greater extension to an established tax. Perhaps he concluded, from my having announced the scheme, as a ineasure which would " simplify the mode of taxation and of collection, that I meant to suggest a plan which should repeal that now in use. The words are certainly susceptible of this construction; but I did not intend to convey such a meaning, without considerable limitations. We have taxes which, from their nature and mode of collection, do not yield the products at which they were calculated ; and there are several which can be easily eluded. The morál guilt which every one incurs who strives to cheat the revenue, is a subject upon which I shall expatiaie hereafter ; at present, it will suffice to observe, that he who acts upon such a principle, commiis a greater crime against the security and happiness of his country than the highway robber. If, therefore, a fraud upon the public rere. pue be a matter of such consequence; surely, it is no less so, the public should be çatisfied that there is a just proportion between the resources and the taxes imposed upon each individual. This is the precise object of the progressive series now submitted to the public. It operates upon one description of persons only, namely, those who possess incomes liable to the public contributions; and, as the income-tax has been found, especially this year, to be a most abundant national resource, I cannot see any objection to an increase of the ratio of taxation, in proportion to the extent of property. Where property is continually accumulating, the principle is, I think, unanswerable. In fact, the extension of the income-tax, in a progressive series, would exactly fall within the limit prescribed by my correspondent, inasmuch as it would not be attended with a sixpence additional expense in the collection, while its products would be fourfold what it now yields. According to the present mode of collecting the taxes (the income tax excepted) we are at a loss to know precisely how to make


vår domestic current expenses conform with them. We can tell what we have paid at the end of the year, but it is extremely difficult for us to decypher how we pay. Now, a tax upon income, in a progressive series, might be imposed with such effect as to exonerate us from the frequent calls of the collector for trivial payments, and from that confusion which now prevails in the inode of collection, while these trivial payments, if it should be judged requisite to continue them, might be thrown into a disa tinct account, and made payable at stated tinies. In many instances, our contributions are called for with such irregularity, that they appear more in the shape of recent pa

rish rates, levied at discretion, ihan of the demands of the public revenue. Notwith• standing the difficulties of the times, the people are ready to contribute, with cheerful

ness, to whatever may be demanded from them, but their satisfaction would be complete, if they knew that there was a proportion observed in the public imposts. Nor could any loyal and patriotic proprietor object to an increase of tax proportioned to the extent of his property, when he considered that this, proportion would be the infallible means of securing the whole. Under existing circumstances, the nation should display itself in the fulness of its vigour; it should put forth a strength and an appearance calculated to inspire terror among our avowed enemies, and admiration among our secret friends. Nothing is so likely to produce these effects, as a cheerful contribu. tion of all orders, particularly the wealthier orders of the community, toward the means which will assuredly occasion them; for, even under impressions of economy, the temporary surrender of a part of our income for the preservation of the whole of our capital, must be regarded as a judicious employment of money.

But, it may be urged, that after the series has reached a certain point, its severity will press upon the great capitalists, without an adequate necessity; and that the taxation, in a political view, will carry the balance to the opposite side, and render the proportion undue and excessive upon the wealthy. Is it necessary that I should answer such an allegation in England ? I am aware that this proportion would con. strain the rich to relinquish a few, but certainly not many of their luxuries. But is it not better and safer for them and their country, that they should relinquish some of their indulgences, rather than that the other orders of society should be wholly deprived of their comforts? When we hear a knot of scoundrels preaching and writing that a national bankrupicy will be attended with so little inconvenience, that it is bea come a desirable object; when we hear them congratulating their countrymen upon the approaching downfall of that credit which has sustained the honour and reputation of our country, in an æra of the most profligate frauds, and disregard of public faith; surely, it is not too much for us to athirm, that they who would grumble at, a reduca tion of income, which would case the public burdens, deserve to lose not only the portion of interest which would be thous usefully employed, but also their whole capiial The dogmas of these republican incendiaries have been weighed, and pass current upon the continent; and I have no doubt whatever, that they have contributed to the doctrine promulgated by Buonaparte, that our national credit is a mere piece of imposture, vulnerable at every point, and brittle as glass. It is admitted, that the plan here suggested, may abridge the number of equipages, routes, gambling-houses, private concerts for the benefit of foreign pipers, and even shut up the opera itself. But, if it should produce these effects, the state itself will be a great gainer thereby. If the number of equipages be reduced, the number of laced coxcombs, living in habitual idleness, will be diminished, and these useless members of society will be rendered serviceable to their country; the habits of frugality, which invariably beget a respect for morals, will restore the charms of social life, now lost in frivolous dissipations, calculated to vițiate the heart, and to unbrace the manly nerves of our youth; and the shutting up of the opera, will prevent the arrival of those cargoes of foreign inercenaries, who are annually imported into this country in order to increase the disposition to effeminacy among the people, and to debauch their taste. Perhaps too, a longer residence of families of fashion at their country seats, would lead, imperceptibly, to the revival of the old English hospitality, to a greater attention to their domestic duties, to a more general decorum of manners, and a stricter observance of religious obligations. I do not affirm that all these desirable consequences would result. immediately from the trifling restraints which a limitacion of income would occasion:

but I think they would be attained in time and g?adually. The deeper we ergraft our political system upon religion and morals, the more secure we shall render our national establishments; for the history of the world does not exhibit a single example of the tranquil existence, for any period of time, of a political edifice dėstitute of these solid pillars of support.Apart, therefore, from the obvious expediency of resorting to such a measure, for the issurance of our national safety and independence, the probable good which would flow froin it, considered in a moral light, forcibly recommends the propriety of making the experiment; and, fortunately, in this case, the experiment is of that description that it cadono injury to the state in its operation, and may, at any time, be laid aside when found to be inconvenient.'

The complaints, therefore, of the rich, if any be made, must, frora this reasoning, be devoid of foundation : vor can it be urged, that the plan here proposed will create any dininution of those principles of subordination, arising from the distinction of Tanks in society. All our potions of wealth, with the influence it creates, are relative; and therefore, when we speak of it as conferring superiority, we mean according to the state of general opulence which prevails in a country. The respect paid to wealth is not on account of any boundary line drawn between the rich and the poor, which is impassable by the latter, or on account of its possessor enjoying a certain specific property: nature has nothing to do with such distinctions; they art wholly the fruits of political society, and the degree of conscquence which they give, are regulated by the actual condition of that society. For instance, a gentleman with five hundred a year income, passed for a rich man an hundred years ago, and had as many scrapes and bows as the possessor of two thousand pounds a year at this time; but now he is nothing. You may see the proprietor even of land property, pass uninoticed beyond the circle of his county, and the trader, who can make a greater appearance, because he possesses more money, received every where with idolatrous homage. Why so? because our notions of wealth being relative, those notions must alter with the relations of things. Lord Bacon observed that knowledge is power; this is true, but it is no less true, that wealth is power. And when you hear thecountry people, who were formerly accustomed to respect the land-holder, compare him with the upstart manufacturer bloated with wealth, and say with a sneer of contempt, that the latter can buy the squire " out and out," you cannot feel the least surprize at this great alteration in their seutiments of reverence. Wealth, gerierally speaking, is the product of industry, or good fortune, and they who are the representatives of either of those divinities, must attract the adıniration of the vulgar. Hence, the rule of respect, if such a terni be admissible, is founded not upon the proportion of wealth which any individual enjoys beyond the sphere of necessity or of labour, but upon the proportion which he enjoys beyond the reach of that part of the community who are likewise above the sphere of necessity or of labour. This is, to a certain extent, a political evil, inasmuch as it has made a visible inroad into the principles of true subordination, and weakened the importance of the land-gentrythe most valuable part of our political society. For where the people perceive land property to be in a constant state of fluctuation, their attachments will be removed from the person to the property, and, in due time, the land proprietor will be considered as embarked in the same lottery of fortune as the commercial speculator. It is thus that a new and forinidable order of men have grown up, and made their way into the old circles of respectability, whose manners they have contaminatexi, while they professed to imitate them ; whose consequence they have depressed by the blaze of their fortunes; whose property they have dilapidated by the pernicious exanıple of their profusions, and of wliom they are, at length, on the eve of taking precedence in civil life. It is not even now too late to counteract the further growth of this noxious political evil; and the surest mode of effecting it is by this progressive series of taxation according to the proportion of income. The proper distinctions of rauk in society will not be in the least affected by it; for if we take éven 2001, per annum as the point of departure, and examine the proportions, we shall find that every one to whom it may apply will retain his former ground, though it may sink an inch. Thus A, has 30001, B, 2006). C, 1000l. and I), 500l. per ann. They will all descend one step; but in such proportions, that de relations of wealth and consequence which existed between them, will rema a as before. A, will be to P, as B, to C, and C, to D; and A, with his reduced income will be exactly in his former relation to D, whose income will be also reduced. The disproportion, I admit, becomes greater after the series has reached a certain point; but then it should be observed, that there is a point after which great accumulations of wealth do not enter into the contemplation of the respectful. Wher we know that a man is worth five thousand pounds a year, who but a jew, or a solicitor preparing a marriage settlement, troubles himself to inquire whether he may not possess 7000l. per ann? We associate the idea of great wealth and perfect independence with the possession of 50001. a year; after that, we say, a man may do any thing, and therefore it is the excess of income beyond the verge of the rule of respect, which will be taxed. The distinction of ranks will be equally maintaine:l. i • In short, my recipe will act with the same efficacy and certainty as the new drop,

If a tall man and a little man are about to swing, the moment Jack Ketch has pulled cips, shook hands, paid the usual complimients, and wished ilem a pleasant journey, down they drop, and liang alike, without the least difficulty in proportioning the drop to their respective sizes. The result of my recipe would be a little different, to be sure; for my drop would bring every man's feet to the ground; or rather it would be like a stair-case, dropping at once with a man upon each step, and the common people upon the basement below. The drop voul:l bring each man a step lower indeed; but the commonalty would stand tirm, immoveable, full of joy and contentment, and new life would be given to all.

HISTORICAL DIGEST. For a few weeks longer, I shall be allowed to present the reader with an occasional digest of the principal transactions of Europe ; after the expiration of which there will not remin any diversified interests to describe, as every state will have taken its allotted station; ner will any government, excepting the government of Francè, be in a condition to exercise a wil of its own), distinct from that of the superior authority. The whole continent having become subservient to the views of Buonaparte, the interests of these different communities must become insensibly blended with those of France; consequently, whenerer we may have an opportunity of narrating the events which occur in Europe, we onghito consider them as calculated to promote the welfare or injury either of France and her vice-royalties, or of Great Britain and her dependencies. This will shorily prove to be the real political division of the European world; by a due comprehension of which, we shall render ourselves capable of estimating the relative powers and prospects of the two great belligerents. In our last digest, we contemplated the mi cable lot of the northern vice-royalties; this number we shall devote to the condition of the western ones.

VICE-ROYALTY OF HOLLAND. Louis Boonaparte, the vice roy of this province, met bis legislative body on the ' 23:1 ult. at Utretcht, when a scene of mutual condolence took place, altogether Unique and surprising, since the overthrow of that once-renowned commonwealth. By referring to all the preceding addresses of the Dutch legislatire body, since Holland has been under the torture of the Coisican yoke, it will be seen, that, in the present instance, the pressure of distress has silencei the voice of flattery, and that adversity has recalled even the wretched instruments of their country's servitude, to a sense of their foriner sobriety and lost happiness. The contents of their address convey the sererest refections pon that anti-social andi fyrannical system which the French ruler has enforced in every part of Europe, in order to accomplish the ruin of Great Britain. It was only a few weeks ago, that the Moniteur fulminated a terrible denunciation against that country which should presume to contravene the general rescript for the rigorous exclusion of our intercourse with the continent; and though this denunciation was not pointed expressly against the Dutch, it was very evident, that it was intended for them'; because, in the same passage, it is asserted, that if the order had been faithfully obeyed in Holland, the English would long ago have sued for peace. Now, we know that, for some time fast, there has been scarcely any intercourse between this country and Holland; wh.refore, the njournful complaint of the

« AnteriorContinuar »