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the landed intereft; for it enabled him to reduce the land tax to one fhilling in the pound. But it may be asked, in the words of an author who has given us an account of these transactions*:"Can we fuppofe that any man who is a friend to the fishery, or the naval power of this nation, will ever vote for the continuing fo pernicious a burden ?"
When the falt tax was revived, fome very useful regulations were propofed, to prevent its proving fo pernicious as it had formerly been. In particular, it was fuggefted that all falt employed in victualling ships, in manuring land, in dreffing and curing leather, and in making glafs, and glass bottles, fhould be exempted from duty. But fuch propofals were rejected: fome favour was fhewn to the fisheries; but fuch is the trouble with which receiving drawbacks and bounties is attended, that nothing but a total abolition of the duty once more, or, at least, a commutation of it, in fo far as refpects Scotland, can eftablish that molt effential branch of commerce, to the extent to which it might be carried, to the great advantage of this nation †.'
Among the various taxes that have been adopted in modern times, no one feems to be attended with more pernicious confequences than that on falt, in this country; yet no minifter, fince the period above named, has been found, who would venture even fo much as to propofe its abolition; though, it is believed, that no man who seriously reflects on the fubject, and who weighs the arguments that have been frequently urged on that head, can entertain a doubt with regard to it. The prefent patriotic author feems to be fully fenfible of the vaft importance of this article; and he returns to it, with great force of argument, in a fucceeding part of his work, which we are forry our limits forbid us to infert at length:-we perfectly acquiefce in his conclufion, that it cannot well be accounted an exaggerated calculation, that it occafions the introduction of commodities into this country which would not otherwife be neceffary, and prevents the creation of wealth which might otherwife be acquired, to the amount of at least THREE MILLIONS per annum, which are thus facrificed for the fake of the income derived from this branch of our finances.
In the course of the first chapter of this hiftory, the curious reader will meet with a very full and fatisfactory account of the nature of the feveral taxes that have been adopted fince the Revolution, and the gradual increase of the revenue fince that time to the clofe of the year 1788. The author concludes with the following abftract of the fupplies fince the Revolu
豪6 Hiftory of our National Debts, part iv. pp. 50-58. 64.' † Page 28.
Supplies during the reign of King William,
George III. from his acceffion to Michaelmas 1788, 450,041,321
Grand total, £. 1,000,644,154
Having thus (fays he) accumulated, with as much accuracy as circumstances would admit of, the various fums that have paffed into the exchequer of this country for this century past, I fhall now proceed to explain in what manner this nation has contrived, in the comparatively fhort period of one hundred years, to expend above a thousand millions of English money, equal to about twenty-four thoufand millions of French livres *.'
The fecond chapter treats accordingly, Of the Progrefs of the Public EXPENCES fince the Revolution.'
In the course of this chapter, as in the former, the author confiders the expences of each reign feparately, and paffes in review the civil lift, the army, the navy, the ordnance, mifcellaneous expences, fortifications, colonies, &c. making many pertinent obfervations on each, for which we must refer to the work. The chapter concludes with a fevere reprehenfion of the warlike fyftem that has prevailed during that period between Great Britain and the neighbouring ftates; and with a reprefentation of the benefits that might accrue from a more pacific fyftem of politics, founded on more liberal and beneficent principles than have hitherto been adopted.-A friendly commercial treaty with France is ftrongly recommended †, and a general fyftem of colonial emancipation is warmly advised. On this fubject, we cannot deny ourfelves the pleasure of tranfcribing the following fpirited remarks on the conduct of Spain, with regard to her colonies; more especially as they have fuch an immediate reference to fome recent events, which could not have been in the author's view when they were written:
With regard to Spain, it is much to be wondered at, that the indignation and refentment of Europe has not, long ere now, burt forth against that imperious country. The feelings of mankind must be callous, indeed, to have fuffered the most fertile and valuable provinces in the world to be fo long fubjected to her ftern and deteftable domination. With what indignation ought not every nation to be filled, by the arrogant claims of a fingle monarchy pretending to engrofs fuch an extent of empire, and to prohibit every other nation in Europe from approaching its fhores! Had it not been for its oppreffions and mifgovernment, what myriads of new inhabitants might not have been flourishing at this
* Page 33.
+ This was written, we are told, in the year 1786, before the treaty of commerce with France was begun.
time in those diftant regions; and how much would not the enjoy ments of Europe have been increafed by an intercourfe with them! It is full time, therefore, that this tyrannical fyftem of oppreffion should be abolished, and that its colonies fhould at laft tafte fome fhare of liberty and good fortune!'
The third chapter is appropriated to the investigation Of the prefent State of the Public Revenue, and of the different Branches of which it confifts. Here the ingenious author takes a particular furvey of the various fources of revenue in Great Britain; and inveftigates, with precifion, the fums of money produced by each, and the natural tendency that each particular mode of levying money has on the body politic.
He arranges our taxes under two general heads: ft, Temporary taxes; and, 2d, perpetual taxes.
Of temporary taxes, he first examines the land tax. produce of this tax, he fays, when the rate is at 4s. in the pound, fhould be, for England, 1,989,6731 75. 10ld. and for Scotland, 47,9541. Is. 2d. making in all 2,037,6271. 95. old. Yet this is uniformly deficient to the average amount of 235,7461. 14s. 9d. Whence this deficiency arifes, and the means of obviating it, are fubjects of important confideration, here fully inveftigated. Here also the author confiders the queftion concerning the propriety of raifing all the fupplies by a land tax, fo warmly contended for by the French philofophers; and he concludes that their arguments are fallacious.
The malt tax is the next fubject of inveftigation. This, we are told, was at first estimated at 750,000l. per ann. and it alsọ appears that, on an average, from 1716 to 1724, both inclufive, it actually did amount to 755,0141. per annum. Here, again, we find a deficiency, of late years, to the amount of 208,9741. per annum. This deficiency the author attributes, in a great meafure, to the additional duties that have been laid on malt, and with reafon.
28. Perpetual taxes. The first tax belonging to this clafs, (which, by the bye, the author confiders as not altogether contitutional,) is the customs. His obfervations on the duties drawn for goods exported, difcover a liberal mind, and an enlightened understanding. Under the head of Customs on Goods carried Craftways, the following remarks are fo judicious and important, that we cannot refift inferting them:
Bat of all the custom-houfe duties exacted in Great Britain, there is none fo truly exceptionable as that upon coal carried coatways; the tax being equally injurious to the navigation and maritime ftrength, to the manufactures, the agriculture, and the fisheries of this country.
The coal trade, it is well known, is the best nursery for British feamen. Sailors bred up in that trade can hardly be equalled for
Kill, fpirit, and hardinefs in their profeffion. By taking off the duties upon coals carried coaftways, an invaluable treasure of perhaps 10,000 feamen, would be added to the maritime force of the country. Nor would the number of fhipwrights, neceffary for building the veffels, in confequence of fuch an additional demand for fhipping, be an unimportant circumftance.
It is commonly remarked, that manufactures flourish beft wherever coals are the cheapest and most abundant. In fo cold a country as Great Britain, fuel is a real neceffary of life, and is required in fabricating almost all our manufactures. Whilt this tax continues, the various manufacturing advantages refulting from the cheapnefs of that article are confined to particular diaricts. Whereas, by abolishing that duty, all places would be more nearly on a footing; and hence induftry and commerce would spread over the face of the whole country.
Nor is the duty upon coals lefs pernicious to agriculture. It renders it neceffary, in many parts of the kingdom, to devote confiderable quantities of improvable ground to rear wood for the purpose of firing. And in thofe parts of the ifland, particularly in the remote parts of Scotland, where peat and turf can be had, the fummer is not fpent by the farmer in procuring manure, in fallowing his fields, or in raifing crops to enrich and fertilize the foil, but is principally wafted in collecting firing for the winter season.
If any let of men are entitled to public encouragement, furely thofe who maintain themfelves by fifhing only, who procure a fub fiftence in a manner fo truly precarious, who run fuch perpetual hazard of being loft in the little boats in which they trust themfelves, and who form a fpecies of naval militia whofe fervices the public can at any time command, have by far the best founded pretensions; and of all the encouragements that could be given to them, that of enabling them to fupply themfelves with firing at an easy rate, would perhaps be the molt acceptable. Their whole labour might then be devoted to their own profeffion; nor would the milerable neceffity of procuring a fcanty fupply of fuel, tempt them to wafte fo confiderable a portion of their time in any other occupa
It is hoped that thefe confiderations,' (with many others of great weight, we fhall beg leave to obferve, that might be urged,) will, fome time or other, occafion a commutation of this duty, fince there is hardly any other tax that could prove equally detrimental; and as, without fome fubititute, fo important a branch of the revenue, producing above half a million per annum, cannot be difpenfed with *.'
Our limits forbid us to follow the author fo closely through his further remarks on the cuftoms-on the excife-stamp duties-house and window tax-commutation tax-tax upon ferv
When theie obfervations are confidered, it will hardly be credited, that in 1784 a tax upon the inland confumption of coals, of 35. per chaldron, was propofed to parliament. The plan was fortunately refilled, and given up.'
ants-horfe tax-royal domains-shop tax, &c. &c. nor we ftop to fpecify the number of officers employed in collecting the revenue of Great Britain, here particularly enumerated the proportional expence of collecting the different branches of revenue-the poor's rates,-which, however, we may briefly ftate, amounted, anno 1785, to 2,359,297 1.-nor other fums levied from the people: we can only in general obferve, that by a particular account*, the whole money annually paid by the people of Great Britain, for public purpofes, amounts at prefent to 23,725,349 1.-an immenfe fum!
Sir J. Sinclair, however, as our readers may remember, from what we have remarked of his former writings, is not one of thofe gloomy politicians, who are conftantly predicting ruin. He thinks that though we have not hitherto done what we ought to have done in the financial walk, and that we have thus been brought into difficulties that might eafily have been avoided, ftill our cafe is by no means defperate; that we yet poflefs many refources; and that, by a prudent management, a revenue confiderably greater than they have yet yielded, may be drawn from the people of this country, without diftreffing them; and the fourth chapter, which treats Of the National Refources, is appropriated to a developement of the author's ideas on the means by which this might be effected. The details here are too long to admit of our particular notice.-On the whole, though fome of the projects may be accounted fanciful and impracticable, and though many important particulars in this department are entirely overlooked, yet a great many ingenious hints are fuggefted, which will, we hope, lay the foundation of future improvements, of no little confequence to this country. Thefe propofed improvements, the particulars of which we muft omit, are comprehended under the four following general heads: viz.
1. Economical arrangements,
2. Improvements in the existing revenue,
3. New and additional taxes,
4. Lucrative financial projects,
700,000 5,529,600 6,530,000
Chapter 5. is intitled, An Analysis of the prefent National Debt, with fome Obfervations on the Nature and real Amount of the Burden, and the Means of difcharging it; together with a State of the Income and Expenditure, compared to that of France.'