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lead, beyond convulsion and revolution, in the monied world ? The Commissioners would purchase up 1000 millions of debt, and be in the receipt of thirty millions of taxes, which thirty millions might as well be expected to come from the moon, as from the purses of the community, unless a commensurate currency, in their stead, were gradually introduced and established. These thirty millions, as they are now paid into the Exchequer, and issued thence in the form of dividends, form that standard by which the value of land is estimated. Should the debt become extinguished, and the dividends cease to be issued, the land would diminish in value both as to fee and to rent. If the thirty millions of taxes were to be paid up to a given day, and on that day the whole funded debt were to be bought up by the Commissioners and extinguished, what would be the consequence ?, The State taxes would necessarily be withdrawn ;-and if they were, how would any man, having entered into a contract, either to pay money borrowed on mortgage, or otherwise, be enabled to fulfil his obligation ? Would it not be a complete revulsion of property, when the individual should not know whether he possessed one hundred pounds, or one hundred thousand ? In short, the idea of an ultimate beneficial operation of the Sinking Fund, is too extravagant to be entertained, when once exposed; for, if ultimately impossiblerits want of principle must be true in limine.
Of all political toys the Sinking Fund is the most engaging. It is a sort of accelerator ; for no sooner do the Members of Opposition attack a Minister, than he mounts his hobby-horse, and round the house he rides, with his budget at his back, assuring the green members, that, like the sun in the zodiac, he must pay his annual visit to the bull, and take a peep at the great bear, for the benefit of that world, which his influence is destined to govern. puf; ;
It may startle some persons when they first hear that the Government takes nearly the whole of the net revenue of the kingdom, or the clear produce of the soil, after paying the laborer. It is through the medium of Government that the principal part of the unproductive labor is supported, and it is taxation which re-acts upon capital and absorbs the funds. For example, the nobleman
pays his taxes from the dividends received at the Bank, or at any rate, in a considerable degree from that source; and, therefore, it is that we can look only to Government as a channel through which the current of real or nominal wealth is made to fow. 1 The, public revenue is no sooner received than the chief part is returned back to certain individuals, causing an action and re-action on property, which may be considered a principle, resem bling that of attraction
and repulsion among the planets, keeping up perpetual motion for the continuance of order in the system.
We are not, therefore, to consider Government as a principle of evil, constantly drawing the blood of the nation from the heart for the State, in fact, has little more to do with taxation, than to be the target at which every shaft of ignorance, vice, or malice, is levelled, and to suffer whatever odium may attach to the system ; while, in truth, and in fact, it is ourselves we pay, and from ourselves that we draw the means of support. : All that the Governmént takes of this immense mass of wealth, as it is called, is the support of 100 or 150 thousand men in arms, or unproductive laborers, exclusive of the civil list, and some minor charges upon the State. And here it may be necessary to inquire whether it were better to keep 150 thousand men in unproductive labor, with arms in their hands, ready to protect and defend the constitution, which, with all its grievances, real or imaginary, is unquestionably considered a blessing throughout the civilised part of the globe, or to return these 150 thousand persons back upon society, at a moment when it is difficult to supply with work those hands which are already out of employ.
The able historian of the Rise and Fall of the Roman empire, has estimated that a country, before the introduction of machinery, could constantly support in arms one, man in a hundred. If his calculations be correct, our present protective force or standing army cannot be considered excessive, taking into consideration the colonics, which the Empire is called on to protect, whence important advantages to the State are derived.
There exist four important political errors, on which it is necessary to remark, and to which the particular attention of the public should be called, viz. the protection afforded to the English creditor under the French Government--the free importation of corn-the currency, and the Sinking Fund. First, the Government preferring to relinquish payment from France for the French prisoners supported in this country during the war, which amounted to double the sum claimed by the English creditors on the French funds, was, doubtless, an impolitic measure ; not inasmuch as two pounds are better than one, for that is obvious to every man ; þut it tendered a pernicious temptation for persons to speculate in foreign loans, by holding out an assurance that the nation would become a sort of guarantee for the just fulfilment of French engagements, by making the stockholders objects of State consideration in any future negociation, provided their property should again be confiscated: Ultimately, perhaps, the investments made in the French funds may not be unfavorable to the English; as that nation which borrows at large interest, like a man who takes up money by granting annuities, is sure to experience the ultimate inconvenience, and, in like manner, a future benefit may probably result to the English creditor : but we want the capital at home, the privation of which has already been generally and sé. verely felt in the market. Secondly, the free importation of corn is not to be viewed as a party, or ministerial measure ; for the opposition supported the principle as strenuously as the ministry. Indeed the ministry seemed inclined to shut the ports, or to restrict the importation to higher prices than those at which they were fixed-yet wished to avoid being driven to coercion, to repress the misguided public opinion on a measure so much in its consequences to be deplored. Thirdly, the reduction of currency, and reverting to cash payments, are questions which have almost exclusively originated with opposition, the members of which are hourly clamorous with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for the adoption of measures to bring about what they esteem to be so desirable an object. The wonderful benefit to be derived if on the ensuing day the Bank were to pay in specie, does not so clearly appear;—but it is most certain that from an undue contraction of the circulating medium, great check has already been given to national industry, while much inconvenience has resulted to individuals from a reduced currency; and should the proposed plan of repaying the Bank a further portion of the debt due from Government, be carried into execution, (unless the like sum be reborrowed) it must cause great commercial embarrassment, if it do not involve the country in a general positive ruin. Fourthly, the fond hopes entertained of the ultimate effect of the Sinking Fund, with its incompetency to accomplish the object proposed, do not exclusively rest with ministers; for few can have forgotten the congratulations expressed by the leader of opposition to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he declared his intention of adhering to that wise and salutary measure, as he was pleased to term the Sinking Fund.
A noble Peer, Lord Grenville, in his seat in the Senate, on the 21st of May, when the opinions of the Bank Directors were presented and read, expressed himself to the following effect:
That he deeply deplored' his having at one period of his life countenanced the commencement of the Bank restriction. Or, in other words, he deeply deplored having introduced his countrymen into a labyrinth which he assisted in forming, whence his ingenuity now cannot extricate them.
The noble Lord deplores his want of foresight and acumen at an earlier period of his life, and to make the amende honorable in his declining age, mistakes reverse of wrong for right. Thus recalling to mind an anecdote of the great Earl of Chatham, who, retiring to his country seat, observed, that he had given instructions for a windmill on an adjoining hill, of which he commanded
a view, to be painted on the side facing his windows, and ordered his steward to his presence, threatening to discharge him for lecting to execute his orders. “ Did I not tell you,” said his Lordship, “ to paint that side of the mill which you have neglected ? therefore now you may quit my service !” “My Lord,” replies the steward, it was painted, but your Lordship's all-powerful and comprehensive mind has forgotten that the wind has changed, and consequently the mill has turned." Should the wind shift, my Lord, the mill may turn again.”