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who was distinguished from the others by a crown; and seemed nothing less a favorite with the presiding Authority, than they were.

I cannot say how much farther my fancy might have carried me, if I had not been startled by what seemed a cry of the dome is on fire!"! when, raising my head, I found that my hair, as I nodded, had caught fire at a candle; and my servant (though a Frenchman) was extinguishing the flame.

* This paper was written not very long after the Dome of the Parliament House had taken fire.

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ON THE

PRACTICABILITY AND EXPEDIENCY

OF

LIQUIDATING

THE

PUBLIC DE BT

OF THE

UNITED KINGDOM;

WITH

REFERENCE, PARTICULARLY, TO THE LANDED PROPRIETOR:

INCLUDING

SOME CONSIDERATIONS

ON

POPULATION AND THE POOR.

SECOND EDITION.

BY RICHARD HEATHFIELD, Gent.

AUTHOR OF ELEMENTS OF A PLAN FOR THE LIQUIDATION

OF THE PUBLIC DEBT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM."

LONDON:

VOL. XVI.

Pam.

NO. XXXII.

2 H

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It is stated in the « Elements of a Plan for the Liquidation of the Public Debt of the United Kingdom," that an assessment of fifteen per cent. on all private property in the United Kingdom, including the consideration of the public debt, would be the means of effecting the immediate, or early relief of the nation from the demand of forty millions per annum, and might be rendered the key-stone of measures, by which the further eventual relief would be obtained, of fourteen millions per annum : constituting the remission of demand on the nation, of an annual sum of fiftyfour millions.

That statement was made with reference to the public accounts ending the 5th of January, 1819, and without regard to the subsequent measures of finance, by which twelve millions were diverted to the public service, from the sinking fund, and three millions of duties were imposed, in order that the sinking fund might not decline in efficiency below five millions. In order, therefore, to comprehend the subject, for the purpose of showing the extent of the relief to be proposed, one million must be added to the sum of fifty-four millions above-mentioned.” 1 7th Edition.

The interest of the sinking fund has been taken at sixteen millions or thereabouts. Elements of a Plan for the Liquidation of the Public Debt, Pp. 14. 43. 6th Edition. One million must, therefore, be added, to admit of a remainder of five millions, after the appropriation of twel»e millions to the public service: the sinking fund, under this determination of the legislature, must be taken at 17 millions, and not at 16 millions, as stated in the Elements of a Plan, &c., which increases 54 to 55 millions.

Part of the effect of this total sum of relief of fifty-five millions would be experienced in the cessation of demand for an annual loan, or of assistance from the sinking fund, and part in relief from duties and taxes : the proportion to be assigned to each head cannot be accurately stated for the current year, until the annual account be made up, and the amount, if ascertained for the current year, would be an imperfect guide for future years.

If the amount of loan or assistance from the sinking fund be supposed to be twelve millions ;

The sum of forty-three millions would remain, to be remitted in duties and taxes.

Of which,

Twenty-nine millions would cease, upon and in immediate or early consequence of the legislative enactment of an assessment on property of fifteen per cent.

And

Fourteen millions more would cease, upon the final liquidation of the debt.

Under the conviction that this representation cannot be materially disturbed or varied, unfavorably to the object proposed, some observations are now submitted, with a view to show that a measure which would produce consequences so important would proceed upon an effective system of relief, without involving the risk of consequent distress or inconvenience to the landed proprie

tor.

It is proposed, that private property now within the United Kingdom, including the claims of the public creditor, be assessed to the amount of five hundred millions.'

The proposition is calculated, by its magnitude, to check the exercise of the judgment; but if examined, it will be seen that in respect of the landed proprietor, the sum to be demanded would not necessarily equal the sum of immediate or early relief. Of the sum of

500 millions, the public creditor, by remission of claim, would contribute

about 125\millions,

leaving 375 millions to be contributed by the other classes of proprietors.

Adopting the table of Dr. Colquhouns as a basis, for the ad

· Elements of a Plan for the Liquidation of the Public Debt, p. 16. 2 Ibid. Table, p. 26. 3 Colquhoun on the Wealth, Power and Resources of the British Empire,

p. 55.

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