« AnteriorContinuar »
now give the plan alluded to, in his own words, from the present publication :
• It is proposed to transfer the public debt to the great body of proprietors of the known and viâble income of Great Britain, meaning thereby that particular income which arises from houses, land, and public funds; the amount of which being stated at 60,000,cool, and the debt at 240,000,000 l. it is obvious that the debt is equal to four years income.
. This debt transferred, it is farther proposed to make it bear an interest of 41. per cent, and that those persons who are the oftensible proprietors of such income, shall likewise be the ostensible pay. masters of such interest; but it is not proposed that they shall take upon themselves the whole exclusive burthen of this public debt. The great body of proprietors will indeed be made responsible for the whole interest of the debt, and each in full proportion to his nominal share of income; but no person will have to pay out of his own pocket thar full proportion of interest which belongs to his share of income, except the nominal income which he holds is also to him a clear income ; for in such proportion as any man's share of income falls short of a clear income, in like proportion will the amount of his pavment of interest fall short of that full payment for which it is proposed he should be made accountable. Let us put a case :--Suppose a man who is in poffeffion of 500l. per annum to be indebted in such a fum, as that the interest of it shall amount to 100 l. per annum , in this case, the creditor or creditors will have to pay one fitch, and the proprietor four fifths of that lot of public interest which falls to the share of such proprietor ; that is to say, the proprietor will have to contribute as his quota 641. and the creditors as their quota 161. making together 801. per annum, which is the in terest at sl. per cent. of 2000l. or four years income of 500l. per annum. But the creditors are required to make their particular pay. ment to the proprietor himself, and to no one else ; and in order to fecure such payment to the proprietor, who is made accountable not only for his own, but his creditor's share, ic is proposed that he fhould be armed with a power to detain that full proportion of pay. ment, which by this plan is due from others who hold securities un. der him. Seeing then that no third person either has or can have any concern with this part of the transaction, or need be made privy to it, the fact is surely proved, that for any thing which this plan has to do with such discovery, the secret of every man's situation must continue in his own keeping.'
This is Sir Francis Blake's plan for paying off the national debt; but the propriety of paying it off, being the point now under con. fideration, he thus decides it:
• To speak my mind freely, I do not conceive that it would really be of any advantage to this country, but quite the contrary, to disturb the present circulation of money, by paying to the state creditors the several principal sums of which the debt is composed. It is enough for them, and is all they require, to have good security for what they have lent,- to have the interest of it well and punctually paid, and that there should be no more difficulty than there is at present in the sale or transfer of what belongs to them. Now all these ends will'
be fully answered by the plan before us. On the other hand cona fidered, it would certainly be detrimental, it would weaken us to a very great and alarming degree to have so much of that, which may well be called the vital fluid, drawn off from the veins of this country, through which it circulates in health and strength to the political body. But except we can furnith fresh securities to detain the money in circulation amongst us, after payment is made, it must necessarily happen, that it will find its way, to our great and irre. parable loss, into other states. From which it follows, that any attempt to liquidate the debe by actual payment of the principal sum, even supposing that it could be effected by means of any one of the plans which have been produced, or any other, would be clearly to act upon a wrong principle of policy, just as much as it would be wrong in physic to bleed a patient, who stands in need of no such eva. cuation, till death ensues, under prelence of saving his life.
• 'All that is wanting to the full improvement of our situation, is not, as has been thought, to get rid of the debt, but in such sort to dispose of it as to do away the ill effects which it has at present upon trade and manufactures.Now these effects are most completely done away by the plan which is here recommended, inasmuch as the debt transferred will operate no more to their disadvantage than a mort. gage or quit rcat does, which has no such operation at all belonging to it.
• What I mean to express is this:--That it is sufficient for our purpose that the debe has no longer any kind of existence as a na. tional incumbrance ; it is not necessary that it should be pursued to absolute annihilation, for it is not hurtful in the abstract, but only in the management; it is wealth in the abstract, and wealth in ftrength; it is therefore in itself beneficial to us.
• It is my idea that the debe has been a means of introducing much wealth, of which the stream would not otherwise have flowed into these parts. It is also my idea, that it is now the means of de. taining wealth, of which we cannot retain the use in any other way.When it is viewed in this light, any diminution of its bulk will be seen and felt as a diminution of strength; and so, by parity of reafoning, its total extinction will not only be injurious, but may prove fatal to this country,
In a Postscript, the Author very properly warns us of the gradual extension of the excise laws; but the foregoing extracts will, we trust, acquit us, as well with the Author, as with the Public. N. Art: 17. The Debate upon the Efiablishing a Fund for the Dif
charge of the National Debt, March 2gih, 1786. To which is added, the Report from the Select Committee, relating to the
* It is proposed to have the interest collected, and deposited in the Bank of England half-yearly, where dividends, as usual, will be paid, and where property of this kind may be bought, sold, or trans. ferred, as is now the practice; only with this difference, that it will not be subject to the present fluctuations, but will then be of a fixt value, and always at par. As to security, none can surpass it,Landed security guaranteed by government.
Public Income and Expenditure, March 2ift. 8vo. 15. 6d. Stockdale,
N. Art. 18. Report from the Sele Et Committee, to whom it was referred
to examine and fate the leveral Accounts and oiber Popers, presented 10 tbe House this Sefion of Parliament, relating to the Public Inci me and Expenditure : and also to repori to the House, what may be expected to be the annual Amount of the said Income and Expenditure in future (March 21st, 1786). 8vo. 35. Debrett. .
Neither of these publications come before us as literary composia tions ; debates are given in all forms, as articles of intelligence. The Report is an official paper, concerning which we have only to remark, that the latter publication contains the several accounts and papers referred to, in an Appendix, which are omitted in the former.
N. Art. 19. An Efay on the population of Ireland. By the Rev. J.
Howlett, Vicar of Great Dunmow, Effex. 8vo. Is. Richardfon. 1786.
Dr. Price and Mr. Howlett furnih a pointed illustration of the old proverb, that two of a trade seldom agree; and we may, perhaps, as juftly add, so much the better for the market! They are both political calculators, but can never audit each other's accounts : and, after having varied so considerably in their respective statements of the popularion of England, there is less cause for surprise at their being obstructed by some awkward intervening blunder, when they venture upon Irish ground. Dr. Price does not allow that the prefent hearth tax in Ireland affords sufficient documents from which to form a tolerably correct judgment of the population of that island; though he determines that of England, from a comparison between the returns of the obsolete hearth tax here, which was dropped at the Revolution, compared with the present returns for the window tax. Mr. Howlett objects to the lacter data, as vague, and too diflimilar for comparison ; but from respectable informacion *, deems the former as sufficient for the purpose, as any thing of that kind can well be: so that what one calls black, the other pronounces white! Haying, however, no better materials than the hearth tax furnithes, Dr. Price thence computes the inhabitants of Ireland to be about two millions in number; while Mr. Howlett, from the same data, allows at least half a million more.
Such are the outlines of a tract, that will be found of an interefta ing nature to students in political arithmetic.
N. POLICE. Art. 20. Proposals for establishing, at Sea, a Marine School, or
Seminary for Seamen : as a Mears of improving the Plan of the Marine Society, and also of clearing the Streets of the Metropolis from vagabond Youths. 8vo. 1$. Dilly. 1785. Mr. Hanway having proposed, to the Marine Society, that å school should be opened for instructing and employing the children under their care, this writer + suggeits, as an improvement on that gentleman's plan, that a school Tould be formed, on board a fhip,
* The Right Hon. Mr. Beresford, First Commillioner of the Irish Revenues.
+ Mr. Edward King. Rev. Aug. 1736.
cruizing in the Channel, and keeping out at sea, and conducted by proper masters, from among half-pay officers, and experienced sailors. The scheme appears to merit attention ; how far it may be practicable, or desirable to adopt it, the Society is best qualified to judge. EAST INDIE S.
E. Art. 21. A Speech in the House of Commons, March 7th, 1786.
By Philip Francis, Esq. 8vo. 2s. Debrett. An amendment, or rather a repeal, of Mr. Pitt's famous India Bill, was the object of Mr. Francis's motion and speech, at the time above mentioned. The'oration is animated, nervous, and fraught with useful information on the subject.
&. . Ary, 22. The Resolutions of the Madras Committee, held at Fort St. George, September 19th, 1785. Also their Petition to the
Parliament of Great Britain. 8vo. Is. Stockdale. 1786. - The complaints against the late Act for regulating the affairs of the East India Company, usually known by the distinction of Mr. Pite's Bill, have been made sufficiently public; and are principally the hardship imposed on every servant of the Company returning from India, of disclosing his private circumstances upon oath ; and the instituting a new court of judicature for the trial of offences committed in India, instead of trial by jury. There, with other griev. ances, are well itated, and strongly represented by the gentlemen of Madras, in a petition to the King, and in another to each House of Parliament. Art. 23. Mr. Dundas's India Bill, for the further Regulation of
the Trial of Persons accused of certain Offences committed in the East Indies ; for repealing so much of an Act made in the twenty. fourth year of the Reign of his present Majesty, intitled, &c. as requires the Servants of the East India Company to deliver Inven. tories of their Estates and Effects ; for rendering the Laws more efectual against Persons unlawfully resorting to the East Indies, &c. Svo. Is. Stockdale.
A qualifier of Mr. Pitt's Bill, to render it more palatable to the objects of it; for which we must now refer to the statute book, where it will be found with its final corrections.
N COMMUTATION Act, Art. 24. Observations on the Commutation Project. By Thomas
Bates Rous, Esq. With a Supplement. 8vo. Is. Debrett. 1786.
M. Rous, who thinks the smuggler might have been crushed, and the revenue indemnified, by a reduction of the duties on tea ; considers the transfer of these duties to another object, as being pregnant with the most pernicious consequences to this country. He observes, that the natural bad taste, and great adulteration of the low priced teas, had brought the article into discredit among the common people; but when the full effect of the present system has taken place, fine hyson tea, a most delicious liquor, may be drank at the unadulterated price of the former; and he dreads the consequences of the extension of the consumption.
• In short,' adds he, to sum up all the evils arising from this project in one view, a partial, oppreflive tax, has unnecessarily been
laid on property, in a multitude of instances utterly destructive of it; which tax, by reasoning on the principle on which the duties on tea should be lowered, we must think cannot be permanently productive, but which, if now withdrawn, may leave a great deficiency in the old revenue from windows. To atone for the sufferings by this tax, the greateft national objects have been facrificed ; a vaft revenue on a luxury has been thrown away, which might have been even improved to near, or perhaps quite a million sterling per ann. and the smuggler equally defeated. In consequence of giving up this revenue, fo enormous a consumption of this foreign luxury, and of the forts in the original cost most expensive, has been induced in this country, that Great Britain will have a much larger fum to pay for it than has ever yet been paid by the Company in China, and through the medium of smugglers in Europe. It is likewise well worthy of ferious confideration, what effect the prodigious increase in the use of tea (which chiefly lies among the lower and middling classes of the people) may have on the produce of our own foil, malt. The one certainly must, in a great degree, be a substitute for the other.' . Whether there may be a latitude of probable consumption remaining, beyond what the smuggler fupplied, sufficient to justify the Author's apprehensions, we may perhaps doubt, but will not under.. take to deny.
N Art. 25. The Commutation AEt candidly considered in its Principles and Operations. Being an Answer to, and Confutation of, a Pamphlet intitled, The Principles of the Commutation Act elam blished by Facts, by Francis Baring, Esq. By a NorthumberJand Gentleman. 8vo. Is. 6d. Newcastle printed ; and sold by Robinsons, London. 1786.
This candid confideration is expressed in the dogmatical strain of common-place politics, that often paffes current in public companies; and, probably, the Author is the oracle of his club. As one specimen of che ease with which he takes up his facts, it may be observed, that Mr. Baring having declared, with respect to the return of houses charged to the window tax, that he had “ very little doubt that the houses and cottages exempted on account of poverty, amount to 600,000 ;” an exemption which some persons might account for from the number of windows in them not rising to taxation; this Author, however, with more penetration, traces the cause to the American war! He shall speak for himself: ' May it please your Majesty, you, ye Lords and Commons, attentively to look upon the work of a few short years, and seriously to consider the effects of the late moft unnatural war, which [effetts] have not yet spent their full force ; but which have already obliged you to exempe fix hundred thousand (nearly balf) of the householders of England and Wales from paying the commutacion-tax on account of poverty. We infer from this pathetic representation, that the houses exempted from payment of this commutacion tax, were nevertheless rated to the former daty on windows ; but owe their prefent exemption to the American war! Be it fo; we shall leave the Author in full poffeffion of his argument. The pamphlet is dedicated in a sarcastic style to the late Duke of Northumberland, under the fignature of