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an repair, allowg undertakins were most suffering poem alms.
when so fully exposed to the privateers from the opposite coast. In fact, it would most likely be found advisable for vessels from ports north of London during war-time to sail up the Thames, and down the canal when bound homewards, and return again in the same way. Deepening of the Forth and Clyde canal, and continuing it to an Ayrshire port, would also be of incalculable ser. vice to navigation. All these works ought to be done by goveriiment, and the toll exacted should be merely such as would defray all the ordinary expenses of paying salaries and keeping the canals in repair, allowing the country to reap the fullest benefits from these enriching undertakings. It was justly observed by Mr. Canning, that public works were most requisite during periods of national distress; enabling thus the suffering poor to maintain themselves by honest labor, instead of issuing to them alms-money to keep them in idleness, and minister to their moral degradation by exhibiting them in the light of paupers. But then this public money ought always, as far as possible, to be expended in works of utility, instead of works of ornament ; such indeed as will tend to enrich the country, and pay back in this way in probably a tenfold degree the capital originally sunk. There cannot be a better proof of the folly of high duties than the effects we see produced by them in the Caledonian canal, deterring as they do the greater portion of vessels from proceeding through it. The navigation ought in fact to have been free for a couple of years at least to encourage ships to pass through it, and prove the greater safety and expedition of this route, keeping the duties afterwards also so moderate, that not a vessel would deem it advisable for economy's sake to pursue another track. A million per annum could not be better expended than in works of this nature; and the country at large would experience the benefits of such a sum expended in this way in a thousand-fold greater degree than in the repeal of taxes to that amount.
Thirdly; Annulling the leather, soap, candle, and hop taxes; reducing those on malt, spirits, and tobacco; admitting tobacco to be grown at home free of duty, and imposing a property-tax equivalent to the amounts derived from the taxes repealed, while encouraging the growth of silk in the south of Ireland, and other articles to which our own soil and climate are adapted. Internal taxes are often more oppressive from their vexatious nature, and the restraints they impose on trade, than from the amount derived from them; and on this account the above taxes should be re pealed, while a property-tax, being cheaply and readily collected without much annoyance to the individual who pays it, would be the best substitute in their stead: by which means you would reach too the pockets of the absentees, who spend their hund
dreds of thousands annually out of the country, and induce, probably, some of them to make a home of the land of their birth, instead of dissipating the incomes derived from it among foreigners.
Fourthly; Opening up new sources of wealth to the enterprise of the country, and unshackling commerce from every restraint that may tend to check its extension. India will no doubt prove an immense mart for our manufactures when the India charter is expired, and the vexations to which the speculative spirit of the public is now exposed there are done away. Africa, too, is a promising field, and will doubtless prove a great emporium if navigable communications should be discovered with its populous interior; but it is towards a long-neglected mart, situated at our very doors, and constituting a portion of our own body politic, that we ought more especially to direct our attention-I mean Ireland ! By reference to a parliamentary return lately made, it appears that for every pound of sugar made use of per head in Ireland, there are twenty-four pounds made use of in England; and as the Irish are remarked to be particularly partial to tea, we may therefore conclude, that their poverty only precludes them from indulging to the same extent as their English friends : judging, therefore, the consumption of all other articles from this data, we have but too plainly impressed on us the immense annual loss that England now suffers through the long-continued misgovernment of Ireland; for it is to the wisdom of the government in an immensely comparative degree, more than to soil and climate, that a country is indebted for its prosperity. When the folks in Manchester and other of our manufacturing counties consider, that had Ireland been all along as equitably ruled as England, and consequently her prosperity been kept at equal pace, that twenty-four times the quantity of their manufactures would have been taken off by Ireland to what is done now, they will curse the folly of keeping up a system calculated to raise a fraction of the population to wealth and power through the degradation of the general body, and begin to see the propriety of withdrawing the greater portion of the troops employed there, to enable her domineering aristocracy to trample on her peasantry, and squeeze the utmost farthing out of them for the purpose of squandering on foreign shores, in order that Rock may resume his reign again, and by the shooting and ear-cropping of a few of the most obnoxious, bring the rest to act with something like a sense of humanity and justice towards their now degraded dependants. The evil of absenteeism is this—that the produce of Ireland exported in absentee rent is squandered out of it without any return whatever being made, instead of being bartered for commodiVOL. XXVIII. Рат.
NO, LV. L
ties of foreign growth, to supply the internal wants of the country. It is like the case of a debauched Norfolk farmer who takes up his residence in Smithfield, and has all his stock sent up piecemeal to be disposed of there, the proceeds of which he spends in the afehouses in the vicinity. In this case the Smithfield alehouses receive the sole benefit from the expenditure of his stock proceeds; but had he simply sold them in Smithfield, and spent the proceeds among the Norfolk alehouses, these again would have been the gainers. So it is with the Irish absentees resident in England; they have their rents transmitted to them either in produce or gold, the whole of which is squandered in England without a possibility of a return; but if resident on their estates, their rents would be transmitted still in produce to England, but instead of being squander. ed there, have the value returned in English commodities to be spent in Ireland ; both England and Ireland thus benefiting in the latter case, but England only in the former.
Fifthly; By the establishment of a sound system of banking. The errors of the English system of banking hitherto pursued consisted in the fewness of the partners, so that the public never could place the same confidence in them as if the number in the firm had been extensive: while people cared less about making a run on a bank consisting of some two or three partners, from the cnemies they made by it being but few, than they would have done had it consisted of several hundred, where the formidable array here encountered would make them pause before they provoked their hostility. In Scotland, where banking is established on an extensive system of partners, no runs are ever made on banks of this description, from the confidence such a number of wealthy and influential partners inspires, and the dread people naturally have of raising up a host of powerful enemies against them. The Scotch banks, in fact, always assist each other in difficulties; because they know that if the credit of a single bank; ing concern, founded on such principles, should be impaired, the credit of all the rest would be, in some measure, impaired also: but on the contrary, the banks with an extended number of partners almost invariably put down the banks having but a few, knowing from the insecurity of such that they will one time or another fail, and banking in consequence be brought into general discredit. Now if banks were established in every county throughout England, with a minimum of two or three hundred partners possessing property or engaged in trade, then what could possibly affect their credit, seeing that so many in the county would be
interested one way or another in upholding their establishment, - either as relations, personal friends, customers, or dependants
while what individuals resident in the county would dare, to
andve of raisiaiks, in ei
provoke such a numerous body by making a hostile run on the concern, or circulating reports of its instability. These banks might circulate all descriptions of notes as low as one pound with perfect security to the public, and with great benefit too, making them payable in gold or silver, or in Bank of England notes. The Bank of England, although deprived of issuing one pound notes, would have thus an equivalent in the more extensive circulation of its large ones; while being compelled by legislative means to have branches in all the principal sea-ports to exchange their notes for bullion when required for exportation, the purposes of commerce would be thus answered, while a paper-money circulation, equally secure as a gold one, and incapable of being suddenly reduced by exportation, would thus be secured to the country. In cases where counties were thinly peopled, and poor, two or more counties might join in a joint-stock bank; and the same feelings of confidence and of mutual interest would make all these provincial banks cling together like the Scotch ones, while they would even inspire the public in the county with greater confidence than the Scotch ones, inasmuch as the whole of the partners were known as residents in it, while the Scotch bank partners reside every where. The list of partners should, however, be published annually, as well as an exposition of its affairs, to satisfy the public; and when notes were thus ultimately convertible into bullion, I can see no necessity for imposing any checks on the issue of them, because while their value as compared to bullion would be kept pretty much on a par, their issues would never be greater than the wants of the public demanded. In fact, by an issue of papermoney secured on the property of the issuers, and kept within due bounds by legislative means, notes inconvertible into bullion might with perfect safety be established in circulation, because people would always take them as a medium of exchange, in preference to having recourse to direct barter. What strangely different articles have been used as exchanges in the different ages and places of the world ; bits of stamped leather being for long the St. Domingo coin after the Spaniards had possession of that fine island. • Bank notes being unexportable, the money circulation would never be liable to those convulsions arising from a sudden diminution of the currency, in consequence of the exportation of the gold and silver for mercantile purposes, while all the petty bankers being swept away, and wealthy companies established in their place, bank notes would come to be as fully confided in as coin : money, too, would be more equally distributed over the country by means of these local banks, whereas it centres now principally in London, while by the banks agreeing to take each other's notes
in payment, and expressing the same on them, country local bank nutes might thus be made to have a most extensive circulation.
Sixthly; By economising the means of the country, reducing gradually all expensive establishments, useless places, and overgrown salaries both at home and in the colonies; because by freeing the latter from the burdens which weigh their energies down, a re-action of prosperity would take place equally beneficial to them and the mother country. Indeed, by allowing the colonies a judicious and popular form of government, and to appoint generally their own officers, the mother country might be entirely freed from the burden she has now to bear of paying annually immense sums in support of them. India has been long promised as a place from whence a considerable revenue was to be derived for the benefit of the mother country; and by considering the immense improvement that took place in the revenue there, during the able government of Lord Moira, and the progressive advancement in wealth that must take place there, as well as every where else, when property is rendered secure, I have little doubt that by an able and judicious administration of our Indian affairs, a surplus of ten millions would, ere the lapse of as many years, be available to the wants of the mother country; by means of which, and economy at home, fifteen millions at least of the National Debt might be annually paid off, and the energies of the country be thus eventually freed from an incubus which hangs as a millstone round the neck of her prosperity, besides unnerving her against any future contest with powers who might trample on her rights, or insult her, from the inability to engage in war in the like without an almost certain prospect of speedy ruin following it, in consequence of the additional debt which would be inevitably contracted.
High taxation has been defended on the ground that it calls forth greater proportional exertions on the part of those who have to pay, and consequently causes no actual loss to the payer, while the sumş levied being all actually spent in the country, there can be no positive loss to it thereby, but on the contrary. a positive benefit, by reason of the sums thus forced into circulation. There is a considerable degree of truth in this, and if the whole world was proportionally taxed, there would probably be little reason to find fault; but otherwise, the country which pays the proportionally highest taxes, and has consequently most unproductive individuals to maintain, will never be able to compete in foreign markets with the country paying proportionally less in taxation, and the amount of whose productive population is consequent greater: for the principal amount of taxation beyond what