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mention is made in Domesday book of fumage or smoke farthings, which were paid the king for every chimney in the house. Under Charles II, a revenue of two shillings was charged for every hearth. Under William and Mary, this unpopular tax was abolished. In lieu of it, a tax was imposed on all houses, except cottages, and also upon all windows. Under George II, a new duty was imposed on all dwelling houses inhabited.
VII. Male Servants. This was a duty of 218. per annum, for every male servant employed in certain specified capacities, except those employed in trade, manufactures or husbandry.
VIII. Hackney Coaches. This was a duty from licenses to chairs and hackney coaches in London and adjacent parts.
IX. Offices and Pensions. This is an annual payment out of all salaries, fees and perquisites of offices, and pensions payable by the crown, exceeding the value of 1001. per annum.
The National Debt of England. After the revolution of 1688, when our altered connections with Europe introduced a new system of foreign politics, the expenses of the nation in settling the new establishment, and in maintaining long wars on the continent, for the security of the Dutch barrier, reducing the French monarchy, settling the Spanish succession, supporting the house of Austria, maintaining the liberties of the Germanic body, and other purposes, increased to an unusual degree. It was deemed unadvisable to raise all the expenses of any one year by taxes levied within that year, lest the people should murmur. It was, therefore, the policy of the times to anticipate the revenues of their posterity, by borrowing immense sums for the current expenses of the state. These certificates of the public debt became a new and transferable species of property, a system which originated in Florence in 1344.
Effect of the Debt on the Nation. This debt of the nation may be termed perpetual, but yet is redeemable by the same authority that established it, which at any time has power to pay off the capital. By this means, nominally the quantity of property is increased, but in idea only. The money exists only in name, in paper, in public faith and in parliamentary security. The pledge pawned for the security of this debt is the land, the trade and the personal industry of the subject, from which the money arises to pay the taxes. The property of a creditor of the public consists in a certain portion of the national taxes. By how much, therefore, is he the richer, by so much the nation, which pays these taxes, is the poorer.
Is a National Debt a National Blessing? The only advantage to a nation from a public debt is the increase of circulation, by multiplying the cash of the nation, and creating a new species of currency, assignable at any time and in any quantity. A certain proportion of debt seems, therefore, highly useful to a trading people; yet the present magnitude of our national encumbrance very far exceeds all commercial benefit, and is productive of great inconvenience. The enormous taxes raised upon the necessaries of life for the payment of the interest on this debt are injurious both to trade and manufactures, by enhancing the price of the raw material as well as the price of the commodity itself. The very increase of paper circulation needed for the purposes of commerce, has a tendency to augment the price of everything. If part of the debt be owing to foreigners, either they draw annually out of the kingdom a quantity of specie to pay the interest, or else obtain unreasonable privileges to induce their residence here. If the whole be owing to subjects only, it is then charging the industrious subject, who pays his share of the taxes, to maintain the idle creditor, who receives them. It weakens the internal strength of a state, by anticipating those resources, which should be reserved to defend it in case of necessity. The interest we now pay on our debt is nearly sufficient to maintain any war, that any national exigencies could require.
Funded Debt. The respective products of the several taxes were originally separate and distinct funds, being securities for the sums advanced on each several tax. To avoid confusion, it was requisite to reduce these separate funds, by uniting them, superadding the faith of parliament for the general security of the whole. There are now three funds: the aggregate fund, the general fund and the South Sea fund.
Sinking Fund. The customs, excises and other taxes, which are to support these funds, depending upon contingencies, upon exports, imports and consumptions, must necessarily be of uncertain amount. The surplus of the three funds, over and above the interest charged upon them is carried into the sinking fund, because originally intended to sink and lower the national debt. The sinking fund is the last resource of the nation, the resource on which must chiefly depend all our hopes of ever discharging or moderating the encumbrance.
The Civil List. Before any part of the aggregate fund can be applied towards paying the principal of the national debt, it stands pledged by parliament to raise an annual sum for the maintenance of the king's household, and the civil list. The expenses defrayed by the civil list are those relating to the civil government, as the expenses of the royal household, salaries of officers of state and the king's servants, the appointments of foreign ambassadors, the maintenance of the king and royal family, the king's private expenses and the privy purse, secret service money, pensions and bounties. The civil list is properly the entire king's revenue in his own distinctive capacity, the rest being rather the revenue of the public or its creditors.
Restrictions of the Royal Power. Most of the laws for ascertaining, limiting and restraining the king's prerogative have been made since the middle of the seventeenth century, commencing with the petition of right under Charles I. The powers of the crown have been greatly curtailed and diminished since the reign of James I, particularly by the abolition of the star chamber and high commission courts in the time of Charles I, by the disclaiming of martial law and the power of levying taxes, and by the disuse of forest laws. Also by the many excellent provisions under Charles II, especially the abolition of military tenures, purveyance and pre-emption, the habeas corpus act, and the act to prevent the discontinuance of parliament for over three years, and since the revolution, by the emphatic words in which our liberties are asserted in the bill of right and act of settlement, by the act of septennial elections, by the exclusion of certain officers from the house of commons, by ordering the seats of the judges permanent, and their salaries liberal and independent, and by restraining the king's pardon from obstructing parliamentary impeachments. Besides in view of the impoverishment of the crown, in being stripped of all ancient revenues, it must greatly rely on the liberality of parliament for its support, which naturally detracts from its independence and power.
Gift of Offices. On the other hand, every prince, at the first session of parliament after his accession, has by long usage a royal addition to his hereditary revenue, settled upon him for life, and seldom need apply to parliament for supplies. In regard to power, an English monarch is now in no danger of being overborne by either the nobility or the people. The entire collection and management of so vast a revenue, being placed in the hands of the crown, have necessitated new officers, who are created and removable at the royal pleasure, which of course extends its influence. To this may be added the frequent opportunities of conferring particular obligations by preference in loans and other money transactions. So in regard to the officers in our large army, and the places which the army has created.
The Army Patronage. A newly acquired branch of power is the force of a disciplined army, paid by the crown, though ultimately by the people, raised by the crown, officered by the crown and commanded by the crown.
Surplus Money. Add to this the immense revenue, which is annually paid to the creditors of the public, or carried to the sinking fund. This is first deposited in the royal exchequer, and froin thence issued out to the respective offices of payment
Only Nominal Power Lost by the King. Whatever, therefore, may have become of the nominal, the real power of the crown has not been too far weakened by transactions in the last century. Much has been given up, but much has been acquired. The stern commands of the prerogative have yielded to the milder voice of influence.
CHAPTER IX.-SUBORDINATE MAGISTRATES.
Preamble. Having treated of the supreme legislative power or parliament, and the supreme executive power, the king, we now proceed to inquire into the rights and duties of subordinate magistrates.
Who They Are. By these we include officers, who have a general jurisdiction and authority dispersed throughout the kingdom. These are principally sheriffs, coroners, justices of the peace, constables, surveyors of highways and overseers of the poor. We shall speak of their antiquity and origin; of the manner of their appointment and removal, and of their rights and duties. I. SHERIFF.
Origin. The sheriff is an officer of very high antiquity, his name being derived from two Saxon words, meaning officer of the shire. In Latin, he was called vice-comes, deputy of the earl, to whom the custody of the shire was committed, on the first division of this kingdom into counties. But the earls in time, not being able to transact the business of the county, reserved to themselves the honor; but the labor was devolved upon the sheriff, who is now entirely independent of the earl, the king granting letters patent to the sheriff alone.
Election or Appointment. Sheriffs were formerly chosen by the inhabitants of the several counties. In some counties, however, sheriffs were hereditary, and were so in Scotland, until George II. This election was in all probability not vested in the commons, but required the royal approbation. In the Gothic constitution, the judges of the county courts were elected by the people, but confirmed by the king. In England, these elections, growing tumultuous, were put an end to by the statute of Edward II, which enacted, that the sheriffs should henceforth be assigned by the chancellor, treasurer and the judges. By later statutes, other officers were added to this appointing power. It is now done by all the judges, and the great officers and privy counsellors. Three persons are suggested, one of whom is to be appointed.
Duration of Office. Sheriffs, by virtue of old statutes, continue in their office but one year, and yet, it has been said, a sheriff may be appointed during the king's pleasure. No man, who has occupied the office one year, can be compelled to serve again within three years thereafter.
His Duties. These are either as a judge, as the keeper of the king's peace, as a ministerial officer of the superior courts of justice, or as the king's bailiff. In his judicial capacity, he determines all cases of forty shillings value and under in his county court, and he also has a judicial power in other civil
He is likewise to decide the election of knights of the shire, subject to the control of the house of commons, and also the election of coroners; to judge of the qualification of voters, and to declare who is elected.
His Criminal Jurisdiction. As the keeper of the king's peace, he is the first man in the county. He may apprehend and commit to prison all persons who break the peace or attempt to break it, and may exact bail to keep the peace. He