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Expenditure. € 95
54 10 ,5 10 Importers' & dealers' profit, ten per cent.
In the preceding statement, it will be seen, that the certain remission in duties and taxes, will amount to thirty pounds, which is already five pounds gain over the assessments proposed. We have assumed a diipinution of one-third in the parochial and local taxes, and calculating the amount of taxes acting indirectly upon the remaining items of expenditure, to be twelve and a half per cent. we have assumed a reduction of one-third of this indirect taxation to be a consequence of the proposed remission of seventeen millions and a half in duties and taxes : this fixes the amount of immediate relief upon an income of five hundred pounds, at 48l., from which deducting the amount of assessment, twenty-five pounds, the immediate gain to the individual will be 231. or nearly five per cent. upon his income. This relief too will be progressive every year, and in the course of fifteen or twenty years will amount to ten per cent, upon income, beyond the amount of assessment.
Taking then, a mere mercantile view of the measure proposed, and estimating its merits by the simple rule of profit and loss, we shall perceive that the gain to the country and to every individual would be great. But a more enlarged mind will prefer the consideration of its vast importance, as affecting the political situation of the British Empire; giving health and vigor to our finances ; security and steadiness to property; and by cutting off innumerable temptations to fraud and perjury, improving the morals and adding to the happiness of the people.
It would be folly to expect, that a plan so vast and embracing so many interests, can be brought into operation without numerous objections and some real difficulties. Some perhaps will say, that too little is done, and others, too much. The intention of the writer has been, to steer a middle course : to do less would make the relief inadequate; to do more, would cause a too sudden revulsion of property from one channel to another. The Scheme proposed, though attended by such momentous results, will cause no sudden change in the money market, since the payments to Government, and subsequent liquidation of the public debt, will probably never much exceed ten millions in one year:
Financial men may object, that it will cost the country an inmense sun to pay off the remaining three hundred and seventyfive millions of five per cent. stock, and that a considerable sum will be lost every year, by payments in redemption of the assessment on property; there will, however, be no loss of any moment, until the lapse of fifteen or twenty years ; and though from one to two millions per annum, may then be lost by redemptions of assessment, such loss will be more than replaced by the increased produce of the remaining duties and taxes, joined to the prevention of frauds and smuggling; and it must also be observed, that a surplus revenue of five millions is set
apart for the
of meeting such eventual losses, and for the further gradual reduction of public debt.
The debt, however, being virtually reduced to two hundred and seventy-five millions, bearing an annual charge of fourteen millions only, ihe necessity of any further rapid reduction will be done away; and sound policy may then require, that not more than two or three inillions should be annually applied to that object; it is needless, therefore, to bestow any more time in reply to difficulties of this nature.
Real difficulties will undoubtedly present themselves in the valuation of property, fixed and unfixed, of income, and net profits; but similar if not greater difficulties, were encountered and overcome during the late war. As a permanent or ordinary source of revenue, a tax on property or income is highly exceptionable, being of a nature so inquisitorial and repugnant to the general principles of freedom; but as a relief from pressing evils, or as a mighty resource during war, it may be submitted to by a free people, not only without degradation, but as a proof of the highest patriotism, and most honorable support of national faith.
Many minor obstacles may no doubt occur, when the whole Scheme is brought into practical application ; but I trust there are none which reflection and perseverance may not remove; and it may be confidently expected, that no difficulties will arise, half so formidable in their nature, as those which must result from a continuation of the present system.
In conclusion then, we may appeal not only to the patriotism and good sense, but also to the selfinterest of every class of subjects in the United Kingdom, and call upon them to join in the active promotion and adoption of such a plan of finance as is here offered to the public.
A general hope was indulged by the country during the last and previous sessions of Parliament, that bis Majesty's ministers would bring forward some measure calculated to relieve the country from the evils of accumulating debt and taxation; but, whether unwilling to risk their credit in the attempt, or waiting to be impelled by the public voice; the sum of their deliberations has been, lo recommend “time and patience," as sovereign remedies for a nation's woes. Unfortunately for our hopes, they have fixed no period to this patient endurance; six years have passed without any real diminution to our difficulties.
Trade, indeed, has revived a little, and the commercial laborer being in the receipt of moderate wages, and finding provisions cheap, bas no reason to complain. But not so the landholder, the farmer, and the agricultural laborer, " time and patience” have
done nothing, can do nothing for them; and the impolitic return to cash paymeuts, before effecting an adequate reduction of debt and taxation, will bear down with accumulating force upon these classes of the conimunity. What then, one may ask, ought to be the objects of the landed interest under such circumstances ? Surely not the miserable repeal of a few taxes, which seem to bear more particularly upon agriculture. Can this great body of the state, possessing the power to rescue their country from impending ruin, contentedly sit down, session after session, in the enjoyment of so poor a triumph, seemingly unconscious that their own power and wealth are crumbling beneath the effects of a system which spreads a desolating blight over the noblest kingdom of the globe.
Let us hope, that the aristocracy of this realm, descendants of a long line of patriots, will arouse from a lethargy so fatal to their country, and interpose their powerful veto to the continuance for another year, of the same destructive system of finance. That which is now proposed in its place, is not given with the presumptuous idea, that something still better may not be substituted, but it is offered as a basis, on which legislative wisdom may erect a noble superstructure, and secure for ages the wealth and power of the British Empire.