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of the government must, in effect, be borne by the productive classes.
And the expense of the maintenance of the aged, sick and orphan poor, produces a similar chain of cause and effect.
These are expenses, however, which produce an undefinable reciprocation of good in the office of priest, of king, and in the proper exercise of the sympathetic affections, and if an increased money price of the several productions of the national industry, in the foreign, as well as in the domestic market, ensue ; all civilised states are subject to similar expenses, varying only in degree, and must advance the price of the productions of their skill and industry accordingly: much relative inequality in price will, therefore, not arise from these causes.
But if two new classes be added, namely, the public annuitant and the supernumerary poor, or poor, who, being employed, are not adequately paid, new and undefinable claims of the most anxious and dangerous description arise.
These classes must also be supported by the productive classes, and the consequent imposition of duties and taxes or other charge, leads to new and similar efforts for the advance of money prices. Corn and goods, again, produce still more money, so far as the advance of the money prices can be effected, and similar increase in the currency and the like retrocession in the effective value of the pound sterling ensue. But the power to advance the money prices finds a check in the money prices of neighboring countries. Laws regulating the importation of foreign produce, called protecting laws; in effect, laws to force up the money prices, follow : successive imposts require the extension of these protecting laws, and if not enacted to sufficient extent to enable the cultivator, manufacturer, or dealer, to incorporate in a money price, the amount of the imposts which may be exacted from him, he must not only suffer the partial, but the entire loss of the proportion of the impost not so incorporated in a money price.'
The successive charges, in respect of the public annuitant and capable poor, have at length affected the land in far more than the ordinary relative proportion. The maintenance of the clergy is derived, chiefly, direct from the land ; the maintenance of the poor is derived, chiefly, direct from the land; and the land contributes freely to the public revenue.
The whole of these aggregated charges is evidently not now incorporated in a money price, and the proportion not so incorporated is not only partial, but entire loss to the cultivator.?
See Appendix (C.)
Until the latter accumulations of the public debt, the increase of the class of public annuitants was followed by an advance in the money prices. The successive advances in money prices have had even the semblance of prosperity; a rising market, rising in money price, although falling in effective value to the cultivator,' has been favorable to speculation; markets have been brisk ;” each successive year, the farmer in his returns has counted more money, and if working upon a lease has really, at the expense of the proprietor of the farm, derived a benefit. These are circumstances which have perplexed and misled the country; but it is in the nature of evil to work its own exposure, and it is not now possible to mistake the character of a public debt.
The incapacity of the cultivator to advance the money prices of agricultural produce, or to maintain sufficient prices to effect the equal distribution of the latter imposition of annuities and the rates for the maintenance of the poor, has for some time past been apparent. Legislative measures have, in consequence, been resorted to at a heavy sacrifice of the principles of public economy, without adequate effect. Further measures, similar in kind, and at a fresh expense of principle, are called for. On either hand distress presents itself: to comply is to sacrifice the land in the injury to manufacturing industry ; to refuse is to leave the landed proprietor without hope. The crisis displays the effect of artificial contrivances, and of resilience from principle, in the most distinct and effective point of view. If it had been possible to have succeeded in finally eluding or counteracting the effects of a departure from first principles, the industry, the enterprise, the constancy, the ingenuity, the skill and the energy of the inhabitants of the British Isles, would have been equal to the purpose.
Religious and political government are indispensably necessary to the social condition, and the protection of the incapable poor is a duty of strict obligation. The charges incident to a system constituted for such purposes, do not, necessarily, involve any dangerous or inconvenient consequences, and ought to be defrayed with cheerfulness, as the price of incalculable benefits.
The supply of income to the capitalist who may prefer the security of all the lands, chattels, and productive power of the country, for the principal and interest of money; and the maintenance of the capable poor, who either will not or cannot find employment, on the contrary, so far from conducing to the harmony and power of the social body, must be contemplated, each in its kind, as involving the elements of destruction : and it is obvious, at the present moment, that these combined causes have involved this nation of unexampled energy and power, in distress and embarrassment, which exhibit her as the prey and victim of her own mighty exertions.
landlord and tenant are to be understood. In a national view, the interest is one; the division or distribution of profit or loss, between themselves, does not vary the general question.
Falling in effective value to the cultivator, because the increase of the class of annuitants and of the poor, to be supported by the productive classes, of which the landed is the chief class, necessarily leaves less for the support and maintenance of the productive classes. The alteration of money prices may lead to miscalculation, but cannot prevent that final effect. See p. 7, and following pages.
The extent to which the principle objected to, of raising money for the public service by public annuities, has been carried,' and again partially counteracted in its tendency and effect by the industry, exertion and spirit of the country, is the admiration of the present, as it will be of future ages : but the force of the objectionable principle evidently now predominates, and the very principle ought to be eradicated ; not by violence, not suddenly, but by measures of a clear and decisive character, to be first fully understood and cordially approved throughout the kingdom. The industry and exertion which have, hitherto, sustained the nation, would have produced a glowing state of prosperity and a high and healthy state of action and of effective power and authority, if not checked, repelled and prostrated" by the more powerful influence of the public debt.
The effect of the repeal of twenty-nine millions of duties and taxes, and eventually of fourteen millions more, cannot be estimated, as respects duties, by considering the amount, simply, of the gross produce of the duties to be repealed.
The duty payable in money on most articles of general consumption, before delivery, renders a vast increase of capital necessary to the merchant and manufacturer. A gallon of British spirits is sold at fifteen shillings and sixpence; the duty is eleven shillings, leaving four shillings and sixpence to cover the cost of the materials, expense of the process of manufacture, and gross profit. It may be computed that the capital required by the distiller, in respect of the revenue, approaches to three parts in four of the whole capital employed.
· It is not questioned, that the vindication and protection of principles of a higher nature have been proposed and intended, by means of the departure from first principles, in the levy of money for the public use. The positive consequences, however, of such departure from principle, are not, less properly, the subject of enquiry and exposition.
A gallon of foreign spirits is sold for twenty-four shillings; the duty included in that price is eighteen shillings and tenpencehalfpenny.
The importation price of a pound of tobacco varies between fourpence and elevenpence; the duty on a pound of tobacco is four shillings.'
The importer or first holder of any article whereon duty may be paid, in regulating the price to the dealer who buys of him, must calculate loss in quantity, and the interest of money and risk of debt, on the whole of the capital which he confides on credit ; and it appears that the risk of debt has increased, not only in the proportion of the greater sum to the lesser, but that the number of insolvents has greatly increased with the increase of duties and tax. es, as well as the amount of debt in respect of any specific quantity of goods. The hazards of business are so greatly increased by the effect of the progressive, general increase of duties and taxes, that it is become difficult to assign any rate of advance on goods delivered on credit, equal to the risk of debt. In consequence, large apparent profits are found unequal to the protection of the property of capitalists, who, to a deplorable extent, have, of late, sunk their capitals. The state of trade has baffled the calculations of the most sagacious merchants, and retreat from business has alone presented to great numbers any hope of safety.
If then the effect of calling a sum of twenty shillings into hazardous activity by means of a duty, be traced from the importer or first holder, through a chain of dealers, to the consumer, and particularly to the poor consumer, who purchases in small quantities, and the temptation to lower and adulterate the quality, acting upon the lower description of dealers, be considered it is not too much to assume, that consumers pay from twenty-five to thirty shillings in respect of every twenty shillings collected by the government on articles of leading consumption. Revenue which is raised by means of articles of consumption, is therefore onerous in an excessive degree. The consumer pays, on the average, at least twenty-five shillings for every twenty shillings paid to the crown on articles consumed by him, and yet, merchants, manufacturers and dealers, with few exceptions, are depressed.
These particulars are instanced, for the purpose of showing the opera tion and effect of duties paid to the crown. The argument applies generally; but especially to beer, salt, leather, tea, pepper, and other articles of general consumption, as well as to the articles above-mentioned. See Appendix (D.) The consideration of duties, by way of regulation, is a question quite distinct. Under that view, a duty on all spirits may be desirable.
The attempt to raise revenue through the poor, or non-proprietor, is delusive. What can the non-proprietor pay, unless he be capacitated by the proprietor ? and what is the effect of the attempt so to raise revenue? Either the proprietor, directly or indirectly, capacitates the non-proprietor to pay the duties and taxes, or, he is called upon to contribute to his support under a parish rate. The artificer and laborer must be sustained, and can only satisfy demand by means of what they severally receive. Twenty shillings paid by the proprietor direct to the crown are equal, in effective revenue, to at least twenty-five shillings paid in respect of duties, through the medium of articles of consumption; and this expensive mode of supply, if even the impost be paid by the hand of the lower class of consumers, is, in effect, paid in the highest degree of aggravation by the proprietor.
It will indeed be said, that the difference between the s'im received by the crown, and the sum paid by the consumer, consists in the profits of trade or the profits of stock: but such is not the fact. Articles of consumption of the descriptions which are subject to the laws of customs and excise, do not, for the most part, reach the consumer, until passed through a chain consisting of not less than three or four links ; namely,
Shopkeeper or huckster. These several parties have to seek an indemnity in respect of the advance of money, and the great increase of risk of loss by the insolvency of the parties to whom they respectively deliver goods on credit, and they will endeavour to combine some additional profit on sales, something to keep pace with the higher prices, which, in consequence of the revenue system, they are required to pay
for the articles which they have occasion to purchase for their own use and consumption. It will not be assumed, that no part of the advance upon the duties can be resolved into profit to the merchant or dealer ; but the state and condition of the merchant and dealer are evidence, that the additional profit is not equal to the increased expenses of living ; since a mass of insolvency constantly presses upon the attention of most persons engaged in trade or business. In truth, great part of the several and successive advance upon the original amount of duties, made by the respective parties through whose hands the goods pass, from the first to the last in the chain