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fiscal chain, under our financial system, with respect to which any stronger reasons for a change could be given," it becomes a question for deliberate consideration on the part of the government, strengthened by the recollection that such a decision should be final, in order that no uncertainty and apprehension may break in upon the fair working of the traffic under another adaptation to improved fiscal purposes, and to the extension of our manufactures as combined objects. *
After the triumph of our liberal commercial policy, it is satisfactory to discover, that in place of reiterating to weariness those irrefutable principles which have just prostrated all worthy opposition,' we have little more left to do than apply ourselves to the removal of incumbrances, and amongst them such as these overloaded duties. The curious may examine whether the advocates of the old system piled their arms through an honest sense of the hopelessness of their cause, or whether their submission to reason was not the result of a conviction effected by the seductive charms of political power. These are abstract questions which may be legitimately subjected to ethical examination by those whose inclination tends to the amusing rather than the useful. The more earnest and active minds will be directed to the consolidation of the measures which, in the new state of things, are so obviously calculated to augment the national prosperity.
The committee on the wine duties, in the course of its labours, disclosed many circumstances, independently of the main question, which show that there is great room for improvement in our mode of conducting our fiscal business. A revision here seems necessary. Some regulations are inert and unmeaning under a new system of things, with our foreign and domestic relations so much more comprehensive than before. Others elog the wheels of our vast and rapidly advancing commerce. In revising and remodelling, the old modes of investigating and judging must be discarded ; amendment must no longer be resisted be cause it is innovation. Reason and fact must guide us in place of policy supported by inexperience.
The security of the revenue was not the sole object of the legislature in days gone by. It took upon itself officiously the guardianship of the merchant, and prescribed rules for the conduct of his business, of which it practically understood nothing. The excise, for example, arrested the
* The minister's or politician's objection to reducing the duties is met by the fact that lessening price increases consumption, and that the heavy duties have cansed the following astounding results. Population of England and Ireland, 1801—15,342,646; in 1851—27,435,325. We consumed, 1801-6,876,710 gallons of wine; in 1851-6,280,653 gallons only! We had augmented our population 12,192,679 ! and we consume, by one account, annually, 725,657 gallons, by another, 596,057 gallons less than we consumed fifty years ago. All other articles have increased in the same period ; tobacco, from 16,904,752 lbs. to 27,553,158 lbs. ; malt, from 19,643,345 bushels to 38,935,460 bushels; soap, from 52,947,037 lbs. to 197,632,280 lbs.; tea, from 20,237,753 lbs. to 50,021,576 lbs.; paper, from 31,699,537 lbs. to 132,132,657 lbs.; spirits, home made, from 9,338,036 gallons to 22,962,012 gallons. Rum and brandy have also largely increased, as well as all other articles but wine, proving that the duties are inimical to the consumption.-[From the returns of the « Committee for the Reduction of the Wine Duties," which has met weekly since August, 1852, at the Royal Exchange Buildings: T. C. Anstey, Esq., chairman. See also the cheap Abstract of the Evidence published under the authority of this committee by Skipper and East.]
progress of improvement in arts and manufactures. It followed goods that had passed the custom-house into the private sanctuary of the merchant's dwelling. Its duties were not confined to the workshops of domestic manufactures, but to levy taxes upon goods that had already undergone the vigilant scrutiny of the customs, to which department they are now wisely confided, and to which establishment alone they pay duty. The necessity of ripening wine before it was fit for the market suggested the idea of re-taxing the duty-paid stock additionally upon any change of impost through excise agency. The minister who so greedily planned this injustice upon trade should have known how futile all attempts are, even in matters of revenue, that are based upon injustice, for it greatly enhanced the price to the public. If he levied the new duties upon the merchant's home and duty-paid stock when he raised the duty generally upon importation, he was bound to refund when he lowered the duty. The balance upon the payments and repayments was thus so trifling, if the expenses attending the system were included, that it seemed rather a useless vexation than an advantage to the revenue. This principle has been changed, but it left difficulties in the way of future ministers who may seek to establish sound principles. The excise is become more correctly an inland revenue. Its supervision has been wisely narrowed from its incompatibility with free action in those with whom it is connected. Let us have the wine duties reduced to render our proceedings consistent. We must no longer tolerate those who support a dying system-a system for a hundred and fifty years past resembling, in the praise of its restrictions upon the free exchange of manufactures for foreign productions, the turnkey's commendation of his irons in the play: “Do but examine them, sir-never better work, sir-how genteely they are made! Sit as easy as a glove, and the nicest man in England need not be ashamed of them.”
BY W. BRAILSFORD, ESQ.
Out of the record to proclaim our grief,
As if the human heart conld find relief
To hapless anguish, past all men's belief.
This is the worst of sorrow, and the chief
Our sufferings meekly, even as we know
When cruel hands have wrought the overthrow
THE PAIR WHO LOST THEIR WAY, OR, THE DAY OF THE
' DUKES FUNERAL.' I L.) 12 603 *;"10,1"
A SKETCH. !. Mort's Br Charles MITCHELL CHABLES, 1, votulinis
AUTHOR OF 1“ HAVION AND CATAR" AND "CLAVERSTON.” - Ar four o'clock in the morning of Thursday, November 18, 1852, "James French was violently aroused from his sleep. He had gone to bed early in order to be able to rise at that unaccustomed hour, but sad and irritating thoughts had kept him awake till long past midnight, and he had only fallen into a kind of preliminary, restless, unrefreshing sleep, when he was thus awoke. "
“ What sort of a morning is it, William ?" he said, sitting up in his bed, but making no'motion to leave it.
“ Horrid, sir," was the answer. “ Raining like mad a very high wind, and raw cold." - “ It's very dark I think," he said, drowsily. ? “Yes, sit—very. Better turn out, please,” said the old servant, lighting his young master's candle."
James did not reply; in fact, he leaned back among the pillows to reflect a little. William looked round. He was asleep again.
The man was provoked. He felt disposed to leave the young gentleman to sleep on. But his orders over-night had been strict. He must try again. He did so, and by dint of vigorous shaking expelled sleep once more from the weary frame.
"I must open the window if you don't wake, sir," he exclaimed, desperately. “Mr. James ! Mr. James, I say!” Then, in a totally different tone of voice-" Mr. James! it's time to get up." .
“Eh?” said James French. I 16 Do throw them clothes off. You'll get up quite easy if you will, sir,” said the elderly man.
“ Yes, yes ; all right,” answered James, spasmodically. And he did so.
He got up, but did not at once dress. Care returned, now that he was thoronghly awake. Why, after all, should he go to this sight? He did not want to see it - with such weather it would be a failure; but even if it went off well, what had he to do with it? Had not he lost his hopes of happiness? And though Eliza was to be of the party, would not Phillips be there too? He would not go.
He sat down on the side of his bed. Would he let her know then that he took her coldness so much to heart that he was careless about seeing this grand funeral pageant? Let her know? She might attribute his absence to a hundred other causes. Well, then, would he shrink from facing his rival ? Ah! perhaps Frank Phillips would not be there -why, he might have her to himself in that case---perhaps her coldness had been assumed after all. He might conquer his rival-might defeat Phillips! So he might! He would not give her up yet! He would go! And he began to dress.
He heard William in the next room arguing with, and trying to talk, his sleepy brothers into wakefulness—with very little apparent success. And he determined to be out of the house, before they were down. They were not in the party of which he was one. They were to take his sisters to a good place in Fleet-street. His party had hired a room in the Strand.
r132A But he could not evade his eldest sister. She was anxious about him, and he found her in the dining-room, 'when he descended, making tea.
“ Is it raining still ?" she said, after some brief chat, silt'in " I'll see,” he said. “Not so fast as it did,” he reported, returning ; but it is very dark."," ; It must be near day, then," she said. "The proverbial dark hour
which precedes the dawn."! ! ..." Precedes the dawn ?" he echoed, despondingly; for his heart had sunk again. “Ah, Maria! this is a dark time to me, but it seems to follow, not precede day; for I did hope
rait la tele. “My dear James, that's nonsense,” said his common-sense sister. “Darkness does not come after dawn, till the death of day, at nightfall; and you're not dead yet. You're disappointed, and see things through coloured glasses. But nature is unchanged. Take off the spectacles, and put yourself into sympathy with reality, by using your natural eyes, and you'll soon recover. Do now, throw away your glasses.",ins,
What do you mean?” he said. i. " Why, look at Eliza as if she were no more to you than Miss O'Leary, the old fruit-woman. Criticise her as your friend would criticise a book by a new author for the Atheneum. Don't let your heart interfere. You know my opinion of her." 14 Yes,” he said, hotlý. But you're wrong; you'll own that one day.”
“If I am wrong, I will,” she answered." "I tell you what you will see if you will look-a hollow heart, a vain,"flirting — ".
“ Enough, enough!” he exclaimed. “Don't torture me. I will try to criticise her as you say; but love is above reason. If I were even to despise her and everybody is despicable in some respect-I cannot help it. I should love her still.”
" Well, look now, fairly and judicially, without your spectacles,” said his sister.
He kissed her, and soon after started.
It was a dreary morning. Much rain had fallen during the night; it drizzled still. There was a high wind, too, driving the small drops against the face; and, above all, the darkness was as yet unbroken by the faintest indication of dawn.
The gas-lamps burned dimly; to his eyes they seemed weary of their night-watching. But a strange sentiment of life was prevalent in every house. Lights shone upon the blinds of the upper windows in them all.
“What various reasons these people must have for turning out of their beds at this uncommonly early hour,” said James French to himself, yawning. “Do many of them care about the dead warrior? Do any of them? I don't suppose that that man (and he looked up at a window where the shadow of a head being violently brushed was thrown upon the blind) would have paid the money which he has given for a seat in a shop front, to a subscription, if such a thing had been set on foot and could be paid, for the purpose of bribing Death to spare the veteran. He is thinking more of the line of procession than of the lines of Torres
Vedras; more of himself, and how he will see and hear, and, above all, be seen, than of paying respect to the Great Duke. Well, why not? What do I care about the business? I want to see the soldiers, and hear the · Dead March, and the drums; but more than all, to see if I can yet win Eliza-to hear her ringing voice again.”
As he turned into the high road an omnibus came up. It was greatly overcrowded, inside and out, but this was not a morning to be particular, The conductor hailed him, and, as there were four horses, he did not hesitate--the only animals ill-treated were the riders. He tried to get upon the roof, but it was covered with humanity as close as they could be stowed. Men on the knifeboard-men on the edge, their legs dangling over the wheels-men between their backs and the knifeboard, lying on the roof. He had therefore to stand by the conductor.
Everyone seemed in the highest spirits ; many of them aggressively musical. One youngster was pre-eminent. He would sing.“ Look always on the sunny side, 'tis wise, and better far," he shouted, as the vehicle moved on. It was as dark as ever. Another requested his fellow-passengers to behold how brightly breaks the morning the rain running off his oilskin cap the while. At last, as several joined in a glee of which the town has had quite too much—" Oh, who will o'er the downs so free?"-the driver, a gruff and surly man, turned round and spoke to them.
“ You don't seem to know as you're going to a funeral, gentlemen," he said.
“ We're not going to be mutes to it," was the answer, and the glee recommenced.
It would be untrue to say that our despondent friend sympathised with all this, but it drew his attention from himself. “ Surely all these people must have had cares and disappointments in life,” he thought—" no one escapes that fate; and yet here they are as jovial and, under cover of the darkness, as noisy as if their lives had been one long schoolboy's holiday. Why should I, who have succeeded in almost everything to which I have put my hand, plunge into misanthropy and despondency at the prospect of a single failure?
At last they were on the stones. The omnibus professed to go to the Bank, viâ Holborn ; but in deference to the wishes of the passengers, it made for the Strand. The streets were already crowded with vehicles and pedestrians. A belief that there would be no room anywhere seemed to possess everybody. All was excitement and hurry—strange enough at any time, but more so in the darkness.
When they reached Wellington-street the omnibus stopped, and its living cargo was discharged. James hastened to find the house where his party had a room, and pushed his way through the crowds which blocked up the great thoroughfare as quickly as he could. The belief seemed to have taken possession of him, too, that he would be too late. At last he reached it. Some of the party had come. He ran up the narrow stairs.
He entered the room. It was of some size--a table in the centre, on which were some bonnets, and cloaks, and shawls. His heart beat as he scanned the faces assembled.
It was hard to recognise them. One sad candle on the table drooped