Imágenes de páginas
PDF

many of tliem were made ont for small sum*, as low as 10/. and 52. each; and though they bare no interest when first issued, upon being re-issued after having been paid into the Exchequer upon any of the taxes, they carried interest at bd. a day per cent, equal to 71. its. id. per cent per annum. These bills being regularly discharged, other sums were soon raised on similar securities, and their credit becoming established, they have ever since been used for anticipating the produce of particular taxes, and have almost constantly formed the principal article of that part of the public debt called the unfunded debt. Of late years the total amount of outstanding Exchequer bills (exclusive of those charged on specific branches of the revenue) has usually been about twelve millions. The interest payable on them has been at various rates according to the current rate of interest at the lime they were issued; those at present (1B08) in circulation bear interest at the rate of 3Jd. a day per cent. They are frequently made out for 100{. each, but those issued of late' years have been chiefly for 1000/. each, and they have sometimes been made for much larger sums: they are numbered arithmetically, and registered accordingly, for the purpose of paying them off in regular course, the time of which is notified by puhlic advertisment.

The daily transactions between the Bank and the Exchequer are chiefly carried on by these bills, which are deposited by the Bank in the Exchequer to the amount of the sums received by them on account of government; the bank note9 and cash thus received by the Bank being retained by them, as the detail part of the money concerns of government is all transacted at the Bank. The instalments on loans are paid into the receipt of the Exchequer in Exchequer bills, which are received again by the Bank as cash, either for the amount of dividends due, or in repayment of advances. When these hills sell at a considerable discount, or any other circumstance indicates that the quantity of them in circulation is too great, the usual expedient is to fund a part of them, that is, to convert them into a permanent debt by offering the holders of them stock in lien of their bills; tlits was done in October 1796, in November 1801, and again in March 1808. The total amount of Exchequer bills outstanding on the 6th of January 1807, including

5,000,0001. held by the Bank, pursuant to an agieement for the renewal of their charter, was 27,207,1001.

Exchequer, black book of the, a book containing a description of the court of England in 1175, and its officers, with their ranks, wages, privileges, perquisites, &c. also the revenues of the crown, both in money and cattle.

EXCISE duties, inland taxes on commodities of general consumption. This mode of taxation having been always found very productive, has been adopted by all the European governments, and by some of them has been extended even to the necessaries of life; but, in general, the ai tides subjected to it liavc been such as are rot absolutely essential to subsistence. Salt appears to have been the object of an excise duty at a very early period; in later times oil, wine, tobacco, and various other consumable articles have been burthened with duties of this description.

Excise duties were first established in England in 1643, when the long parliament laid a tax on beer and ale in all the counties within their power; and the king's parliament, then sitting at Oxford, imposed the like taxes on all within their power, by which means these new duties called excise became general. Jt is supposed that the plan was originally adopted in consequence of its success in the neighbouring commonwealth of Holland. It was' at first laid upon liquors only; and it was solemnly declared that, at the end of the war, all excises should be abolished; but the contest continuing longer than was expected, this obnoxious mode of levying money was extended to bread, meat, salt, and many other articles. The excise on bread aud meat was afterwards repealed.

In the year 1660, two duties were imposed on English ale, amounting to is. 6d. pfer barrel of strong, and 6d. per barrel of small beer; a duty of 2d. per gallon was also imposed on home-made spirits. These duties were farmed till the year 1684, when they were put under the management of commissioners. For a considerable time they yielded a revenue that was gradually increasing, and which amounted, in the year ending Midsummer 1G88, to 786,9151. 12*. 7d. Soon after the revolution several temporary duties were imposed on beer and ale; and in 1G94, the established duties were is. «rf. per barrel on strong, and Is. 3d. per barrel on small beer: the augmentation of the

r

revenue was not, however, proportionate to tbe increase of the duties, which was attribute il by Dr. Davenant to improper management, but probably arose, in part at least, from the increased temptation to evade the duties.

Various additions to the original duties were made at subsequent periods, and the excise being extended to candles, soap, starch, hides, and other articles, it became one of the most productive branches of the public revenue; the gross produce, in the year 1732, being 2,964,6171. -About this time Sir Robert Walpole, who was of opinion that taxes on consumable commodities, to which every citizen contributes in proportion to his consumption, and which + being included in the price of the commodity are insensibly paid, constituted the most eligible mode of raising the revenue necessary for the public service ; formed a project for the gradual abolition not only of the taxes' on land, houses, and. windows, but likewise the customs, by the substitution of productive excise duties. He was influenced in the formation of this scheme by a knowledge of the gross and shameless frauds then daily practised in the collection of the customs; and which, from the very nature of those frauds, and the extreme facility of committing them, he had no hope to remedy: he thought, therefore, that to convert the greater part of tbe customs into duties of excise, would be equally advantageous to government and to the fair trader; and that the excise laws might be so ameliorated that, notwithstanding the odium generally attached to them as oppressive and arbitrary, no just ground of complaint should remain. With a view, therefore, to the execution of this plan, he obtained a revival of the salt duties, which had been repealed some years before; but upon proposing, in the following year, to transfer the duties on wine and tobacco to the excise, so much clamour was raised against the measure that the minister, after some perseverance, thought it prudent to relinquish this favorite project The defeat of this scheme was celebrated by general rejoicings, as a deliverance from the greatest political danger: had it succeeded, between

four and five millions a year would have been raised under the excise system, in addition to the excise duties then subsisting: by the various duties which at different times have been since imposed, upwards of fifteen millions a year is now raised under the excise, in addition to the amount of this branch of the revenue at the above period.

The several commodities now subject to excise duties are ale and beer, cyder, perry, mead, British and foreign spirits, wine, vinegar, verjuiee, malt, hops, salt, soap, starch, candles, coffee, tea, tobacco and snuff, bricks and tiles, glass, bides and skins, paper, printed goods, and wire. The various rates of duty which had been imposed at different times were consolidated in the year 1787, when other regulations were also adopted, by which the produce of the revenue was augmented, and the expense of collecting it materially reduced, as appears from the rate per cent, which the expenses of management amounted to in the following years:

Years. Gross Receipt. Rate per cent.

£. £. >. d.

1789 8,418,611 5 10 0

1790 9,054,850 5 11 0

1791 9,808,908 5 0 4

1792 10,113,867. 4 19 10

1793 9,412,487 5 5 T

1794 9,964,293 5 0 4

1795.........10,866,170 4 13 11

1796 ^0,960,425 4 12 1

The additional duties which the progress of the public expenditure has. rendered it necessary to impose, have greatly increased the produce, of the excise, and rendered it the most important branch of the public revenue. The duties which it comprehends are divided into the permanent consolidated duties, the temporary war taxes, and the annual duties; the latter consist of the old annual malt duty, and of an additional malt duty, which with some duties on tobacco and snuff, and some custom duties, have, since the project for selling the land tax, been granted annually in lieu thereof.

[ocr errors]

The balance of cash at the commence- several commodities, annual payments to

nent of the year being 27,790*. 3«. Sjd. the officers of the late wine licence office

added to the above sum, makes the total and of the old salt duties, and pensions

to be accounted for 23,442,586/. 9«. Ltd. granted by patent out of the excise while it

This amount is subject to various deduc- formed part of the hereditary revenue of

tions, consisting principally of the expenses the crown. The amount of these payments

of management, drawbacks of duty on in the year ending the 5th of January, 1807,

goods exported, allowances and bounties on was as follows:

£.

Charges of Management 569,341

Taxes repaid to officers.. 30,513

Exports 920,718

Allowances 69,242

Bounties 20,304

Overcharges, overpayments, repayments per trea-? 2g 7Q1

sury warrant, 4cc J'

Payments to officers of late wine license office ) .n . 0<J

and salt duties $ 1oss'

Pensions to the Duke of Grafton and others 14,000

Payments into the Exchequer 21,739,067

Balance of cash remaining the 5th of January, 1807,?' ....„

carried to the next year's account J '''

Total £ 23,442,586

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The total gross produce of the excise duties in Scotland, in the above year, was 1,824,3941. Os. 6JW.; of which the sum of 1,445,000*. was paid into the exchequer during the year. The total gross produce of the excise duties in Ireland, for the same year, was 1,453,500J. N. ed.

The excise duties of England are under the management of nine commissioners, with salaries of 1200J. per annum each; and they are sworn to take no fee or reward but from the king only. From these commissioners there lies an appeal to five others, called commissioners of appeals. The commissioners of excise in Scotland are five in number, and have salaries of 600/. per annum each. The number of officers employed in collecting this branch of the revenue is 'very great. Besides the commissioners and their subordinate officers, as secretary, comptrollers, auditor, accomptants, registers, inspectors, and a great number of clerks in the different departments; there are 24 country examiners, 284 supervisors, 2750 gangers, or excisemen, &ec. Previous to the appointment of any person to the office of danger, he must procure a certificate of his age, which must be between 21 and 30; he must understand the four first rules of arithmetic; be of the communion of the Church of England; and, if married, not have more than two children; he must nominate two persons to be his securities: and the certificate containing these particulars, and written by himself, must be signed by the supervisor of the district where he lives, and accompanied with an affidavit that he has used no bribes for obtaining the office.

Excise, in law, is an inland imposition,

sometimes paid upon the consumption of the commodity, or frequently upon the retail sale, which is the last stage previous to the consumption. For more easily levying the revenue of the excise, the kingdom of England and Wales is divided into about fifty collections, some of which are called by the names of particular counties, others by the names of great towns; where one county is divided into several collections, or where a collection comprehends the contiguous parts of several counties, every such collection is subdivided into several districts, within which there is a supervisor; and each district is again subdivided into out-rides and foot-walks, within each of which there is a gauger or surveying officer.

The officers of excise are to be appointed, and may be dismissed, replaced, or altered, . by the commissioners under their hands and seals; their salaries are allowed and established by the Treasury; and by 1 William and Mary, c. 24, s. 15, if it be proved by two witnesses, that any officer has demanded or taken any money, or other reward whatever, except of the King, such offender shall forfeit his office. By several statutes, no process can be sued out against any officer of excise, for any act done in the execution of his office, until one month after notice given, specifying the cause of action, and the name and abode of the person who is to begin, and the attorney who is to conduct the action; and within one month after such notice, the officer may tender amends, and plead such tender in bar; and having tendered insufficient or no amends, he may, with leave of the court, before issue joined, pay money into court.

Officers of excise are empowered to search at all times of the day, enter warehouses, or places for tea, coffee, &c. But private houses can only be searched upon oath of the suspicion before a commissioner or justice of peace, who can by their warrant authorise a search. The office of excise has also several excellent regulations for procuring the due attention and good conduct of their officers.

EXCITATION of electricity. When a non-conductor of electricity is brought into an electrified state by any other means than that of direct communication with some other electrified body, it is said to be excited; and this term is also applied to denote the like production of an electric state, even in bodies which conduct. The processes by which excitation is performed are very imperfectly understood. It is probable that they will all be hereafter found to consist in the same act; and that this will principally be governed by changes in the combination, and perhaps the temperature of bodies.

1. The electric state is produced in various bodies by heating or cooling, particularly in the tourmalin. Sulphur, chocolate, and various other substances become electrified upon congealing or becoming solid after fusion; and it is probable that this phenomenon would be found to be universal, if proper means were adopted for ascertaining the electric states. Calomel, when it fixes by sublimation against the upper surface of a glass vessel, frequently breaks through by an electric explosion. The glacial phosphoric acid was observed by Chaptal to emit strong electric sparks, while congealing. Water and other fluids become electric by evaporation. And the chemical changes of bodies have been ■hewn in numerous galvanic experiments, to be attended with corresponding changes of electricity. Sec Galvanism.

2. The mechanical action of bodies upon each other produce electrical effects. If two metals or other conductors be brought into contact, and separated, or if they be pressed or rubbed together, electric signs are produced; and the same consequences follow, if one or both the bodies be nonconductors: but the electricity is more manifest where the nonconducting property prevails. When non-conductors are, broken or torn asunder, the surfaces which were before in contact are found to be in opposite electric states ; and this difference is so considerable in Muscovy talc, that bright sparks pass between them. From these facts, there is ground to suspect, that the op

posite electric states prevail amongst the parts of bodies, and may perhaps be in some manner concerned in the general attraction they exert upon each other.

3. The electricity in our common machines is produced by the friction of a conducting body against a non-conductor. See Machine, electric.

The non-conductor may be a tube, a globe, a cylinder, or a plate of glass, and the conducting rubber is usually a cushion upon which a mixture of the amalgam of zinc, with a little tallow has been smeared. It is found to be a condition, that atmospheric air should be present; and if the electricity be taken off from the surface of the cylinder while it revolves, the cushion will not restore or supply the electric state, unless it be admitted to communicate with the earth. So that if an insulated conductor be placed near the cylinder, it will receive electricity for a time, though the rubber be also insulated; but the rubber itself, after assuming the negative state, will soon cease to give any more electricity to the cylinder, than the little it may obtain from the imperfect nature of its insulation. But if a communicating branch from the positive conductor be brought within a short distance of the negative cushion, the positive sparks will fly through the interval, and supply the cushion; and in this manner the circulation of electricity may, as far as yet has been determined by experiment, be kept up for an unlimited time. It seems, therefore, as if a chemical process requiring atmospheric air, and therefore of the nature of combustion, were carried on at the face of the cushion, and that a peculiar substance on which the electric state depends, becomes deposited or disposed in a different manner from that which it possessed before ; aud that the relative motion of the non-conducting body carried it off to a situation where it tends to its former state, and consequently advances in a current towards such parts as allow of the restoration of that state. It seems reasonable to conclude, that the disturbances of the electric state or equilibrium, and the currents by which they are restored, are in most natural operations performed through very short and good conductors ; so that though in all probability they may contribute to very important results, the immediate changes elude our observation, except in a few instances, such as that of lightning and luminous meteors. And it seems from the facts to be nearly decided, that we should never have

« AnteriorContinuar »