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This remaining portion amounted last year to £18,878,689, and it is to this sum that the discretion of Parliament is practically limited. Certain retrenchments may, no doubt, be made in some of the branches of expenditure charged upon the Consolidated Fund; but when the financial reformer promises great reductions in the national expenditure, it is on this sum of about £19,000,000 that he must operate.
The sum in question was, in the year 1851, composed of the following charges :Army. Navy. Ordnance.
Kaffir war. Total. £6,485,498 £5,849,916 £2,238,442 £4,004,831 £300,000 £18,878,689
The sums expended under the three heads of “ Army, Navy, and Ordnance,” in 1851, amounted together to £14,573,856. This sum agrees nearly with the expenditure uuder the same heads of charge in the years 1840–3.
The charge under the head of “Civil Services,” voted in committee of supply, which amounted in last year to £4,004,831, has increased of late years. In 1836 it was about £2,500,000; in 1844 it was about £3,000,000. This increase has been partly apparent, partly real. It has partly consisted in transfers of expenditure from the Consolidated Fund to votes in supply; partly in tranfers from charges on the local taxes to charges on the general taxes, (such as the payments transferred from the county and poor rates in 1846;) and partly in expenditure incurred for new objects, such as the grants for English and Irish education, the building of the new houses of Parliament, harbors of refuge, &c. It will be observed that this sum of £4,000,000 includes the whole expense of our civil government, both at home and in the colonies, ordinary and extraordinary, which is not charged on the Consolidated Fund. Those who object to armaments, even for purposes of defense, and who look with disfavor on the £14,000,000 spent for naval and military purposes, will doubtless consider this sum of £4,000,000, together with the other expenses of police and judicial establishments, as the most useful part of the expenditure of the government.
Having thus gone through the principal items of the national expenditure for 1851, we turn to the other side of the account, the several sources of the revenue by which these expenses have been defrayed. The following tabular statement exhibits the receipts under the several heads of taxation and income, for the six years from 1846 to 1851 inclusive :
1846. 1847. 1848. 1849. 1850. 1851.
£ 20,568,908 20,024,431 20,999,132 20,636,921 20,442,170 20,615,337 Excise
13,988,310 12,883,677 14,154,054 13,985,363 14,316,083 11,442,081 Land tax, as
& prop'ty tax 9,667,800 9,785,361 9,662,069 9,712,009 9,743,215 8,868,885 Stamps.. 7,505,179 7,527,543 6,643,772 6,867,548 6,558,332 6,385,082 Postage..
845,000 923,000 815,000 832,000 820,000 1,069,000 Duties upon offices & pens's
4,437 4,720 4,559 4,561 4,762 4,424 Land revenue . 120,000 77,000 81,000 160,000 160,000 150,000 Small branches of hereditary
24,047 8,187 9,202 42,342 16,330 25,826 Fees of regula
ted offices... 226,518 106,880 53,548 70,022 116,246 108,916
Total......... 52,950,202 61,340,801 52,422,338 52,310,768 52,177,141 61,669,553 Extr'y reso’rces. 839,936 205,462 966,878 640,980 633,539 063,453
Grand total.. 63,790,138 61,546,264 53,388,717 52,951,748 52,810,680 62,233,006
On examining this table, the most remarkable results which present them. selves are, the steadiness of the customs and the increase of the excise revenue, notwithstanding the remissions and reductions of taxation which have taken place under these heads since 1846. The losses of revenue, estimated as likely to be caused by the changes of taxation in those years, are stated as follows :
TAXES REPEALED OR REDUCED.
Oil and sperm,
1846-Butter and cheese.... £205,437 | 1849-Sugar and molasses ... £365,257 Silk Manufactures. 162,985
29,327 Spirits ....
482,286 1850—Sugar and molasses... 331,078 Tallow... 101,966 Stamps .
520,000 Other customs duties.... 199,116 Bricks
456,000 1847—Woods from for. countries 243,085 1861–Sugar and molasses... 300,000 Sugar and molasses... 53,152
176,000 Rum.... 46,974 Timber
286,000 1848-Copper ore. 35,745 House-tax.
1,136,000 Rum, British Possessions. 69,363 Sugar and molasses.. 258,854
£5,663,638 Foreign wood ...... 215,028 In 1846, the customs and excise duties together produced £34,557,218. Since that year, reductions of those duties have been made by amounts estimated altogether at more than £4,000,000 per annum; and yet, in the year 1851, the joint produce of the customs and excise was no than less £35,057,418* This fact, which experience alone could have rendered credible, speaks for itself. It
proves incontestably a large increase in the importation and consumption of articles subject respectively to customs and excise duties; it likewise proves that the fiscal changes since 1846 have been favorable to the well-being of the people, as well as to the interests of the exchequer.
With respect to the third item, including the land tax, assessed taxes, and property tax, there is little to be said. It remained nearly stationary during the five years 1846-50. In 1851 its amount fell by nearly a million sterling—that is to say, it fell from £9,743,215 in 1850, to £8,868,885 in 1851. This reduction was owing to the commutation of the window tax into a house tax, which was effected in the session of 1851. The sacrifice of revenue estimated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer from this commutation was £1,136,000. The actual loss in 1851 has, however, exceeded the proper proportion of this estimate, owing to the delay in making the new assessments for the house tax: so that in the last quarter of 1851 the old tax ceased, and the new tax was not collected.
The revenue of stamps has undergone a reduction of nearly £1,200,000 since 1846. In 1846 the stamps produced £7,505,179; in 1851 they produced only £6,385,082. This reduction has been owing partly to the transfer in 1847-8 of the tax on stage-carriages, railways, and hackney carriages to the excise, producing about £400,000 a-year; and partly to reductions of the stamp duties in 1850-51, by which above £500,000 was given up.
The net revenue of the Post-Office has increased from £845,000 in 1846, to £1,069,000 in 1851. A part of this revenue, however, is nominal, as it consists of payments made, by way of account, in respect of government letters. The surplus revenue of the inland post covers the expenses of the maritime post, which now amount to nearly £900,000 a-year; and therefore the Post-Office establishment is a self-supporting institution, but produces no revenue for the general purposes of the government. The steadily progressive increase in the number of inland letters under the present low rates of postage, even of late years, appears in the following statement:
Allowauce must also be made for the stage-coach, &c., duty, transferred from the stamps to the excise in 1847-8, as mentioned below.
A COMPARATIVE STATEMENT OF THE NUMBER OF LETTERS DELIVERED IN THE UNITED
KINGDOM IN THE WEEKS ENDED 20TH DECEMBER, 1840, 19TH DECEMBER, 1841, 25TH DECEMBER, 1842, AND 21st DECEMBER, 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1847, 1848, 1849, 1850, AND 1851.
Gross inland, London England
Total Conntry foreign & district and Total Total United Weeks ended offices. ship.
Wales. Ireland, Scotland. Kingdom. Dec. 20, 1840 .... 1,782,579 491,264 405,153 2,678,996 381,306 375,024 3,435,326 Dec. 19, 1841....
2,062,129 554,990 458,459 3,075,578 425,681 437,496 3,939,755 Dec. 25, 1842 2,205,521 576.367 496,360 3,278,248 446 534 435,407 4,160,189 Dec. 21, 1843 .... 2,369,404 622,673 519,889 3,511,966 487,844 468,868 4,468,678 Dec. 21, 1844 .... 2,557,038 663,445 542,129 3,762,612 536,914 670,549 4,970,075 Dec. 21, 1845 3,047,358 739,909 633,296 4,420,563 601,279 685,536 5,607,378 Dec. 21, 1846 3,202,815 792,723 664,936 4,660,472 656,140 609,113 5,925,725 Dec. 21, 1847 3,447,379 879,923 696,694 5,023,996 683,531 660,484 6,368,011 Dec. 21, 1848 3,560,507 909,749 661.539 5,181,795 702,972 661,828 6,496,595 Dec. 21, 1849 3,652,748 859,831 712,943 5,225,522 700,285 677,722 6,603,529 Dec. 21, 1850 3,768,091 890,346 802,745 5,461,182 704,614 696,262 6,862,058 Dec. 21, 1851 3,928,346 981,923 764,308 5,674,577 730,925 721,492 7,126,994
The other branches of receipt are not of sufficient importance to require a separate notice.
There is, however, one other important point to be noticed, namely, that the several heads of revenue yielded in 1851 a sum which considerably exceeded the expenditure during the same time. Income ...
49,506,610 Excess of income over expenditure.....
£2,726,396 Having thus explained the state of our national income and expenditure, we proceed io describe the state of our foreign trade, so far as it can be represented in figures ; and with this view, we will insert some particulars respecting articles of general consumption.
In 1842, the customs duty chargeable on British plantation sugar was at the rate of 25s. 24d. per cwt., while sugar of foreign production was effectually excluded froin use in this country by means of the prohibitory duty with which it was burdened. Under these circumstances the entire consumption of this article within the United Kingdom, added to molasses when reduced to its equivalent in crystalized sugar, was 4,068,331 cwt. The duty upon British plantation sugar has, by progressive reductions, been now brought down to 10s. per cwt.; while foreign sugar, although still burdened with a protective duty of 4s. per cwt., (to disappear in 1854,) finds its way, in large and increasing quantities, into use; so that the whole quantity of sugar, and of its equivalent in the form of molasses, which paid consumption duties in 1851, reached 6,884,189 cwt., showing an increase, in nine years, of 2,815,858 cwt., or more than 69 per cent. These figures, striking as they are, do not display the whole value to the community of the change in our fiscal policy as applied to this article so generally desired. There is a proportion of our population who are in circumstances which have always enabled them to consume in their families as much sugar as they desire, whatever may be its price, and to whom it is a matter of very small importance in their yearly expenditure whether they pay sixpence or a shilling for every pound they buy. This proportion, it has been assumed with probability, comprehends one-fourth of our numbers; and it has been computed, after careful inquiries, that these persons consume in the year 40 lbs. of sugar per head. If, then, we allow this consumption to the one-fourth of our families, we shall find that there was left in 1812, for the consumption per head of the remaining three-fourths, to whom price is an object, no more than 9 lbs, in the course of the year. In 1850, when, as we have seen, the whole consumption of sugar was 6,884,189 cwt., if we still allow 40 lbs. as the individual consump
tion of the easy classes, we shall find that the remaining three-fourths have been able to buy and to use 23 lbs. per head during the year.
There are few tests of the general prosperity of a country, which are ordinarily more conclusive than that afforded by its timber trade. It is only when its various interests are in a state of buoyancy that building is extensively carried on. In 1845 and 1846 this remark would not have so well applied, because of the great demand for wood which was then caused by the extensive construction of railways; but this source of consumption has now probably subsided to its ordinary level; and if we find that timber is extensively demanded in the absence of that or any other unusual application of it, we may feel confident that such demand can only arise from the generally prosperous condition of the people, which leads them to seek for greater comfort in their dwellings than necesbarily contented them in more ordinary times.
In 1843 the quantity used of timber and deals, expressed in loads of 50 cubic feet, was 1,317,645 loads; in 1844 it was 1,485,357 loads; in 1845 and 1846, the years of railway exaggeration, we used 1,957,814 and 2,024,939 loads. The quantities since have been, in loads, 1847. 1848. 1849. 1850.
1851. 1,895,151 1,806,448 1,667,515 1,731,967
2,037,077 It thus appears that the quantity used in the year which has just closed, exceeds that of the year of greatest railway construction, and is, in fact, the largest ever experienced in this kingdom. Messrs. Churchill and Sim, extensive and well-informed wood brokers, remark upon this fact, in their yearly circular ad. dressed to their customers, in these words :
“The year 1851 will be remarkably prominent in the records of the wood trade, when it is seen that the largest known amount of importation has been supported by consumption in an equal degree; not only manifest by an extension of the trade in London, but including in the same very pleasing result the trade of the United Kingdom."
It might have been imagined that through the progressive reductions in the rates of duty upon foreign wood, from 55s. to 7s. 6d. per load, the demand for such would have been so great as to have displaced in part the importations from our own colonies: while on the other hand, it would have raised the cost in foreign countries so as to deprive the consumer in this kingdom of a proportion, at least, of the advantage intended for him by Parliament in reducing the duty. Neither of these consequences has been realized. It is remarked, in the circular already quoted
“After the opening of the navigation laws, and the recent reduction of the discriminating import duty, it was not easy to foresee the operation of these almost simultaneous changes, and doubt hung over the future. Whether the wood of the North of Europe would displace the colonial or a large portion of the present supply! Whether our consumption, which had remained at a reduced average since 1847, would now increase ? And, if so, as the supply had diminished in rather a larger ratio than the consumption, whether supplies could be increased without a rise in price sufficient of itself to check consumption Cheapness has solved all doubt and dispelled the cloud of uncertainty; the North of Europe has yielded such abundance, that the English consumer gains in a broad sense more than the difference of reduced duty and cheaper transit ; British America continues to have her large export in wood, still retaining the better half of Great Britain's wood trade; while home interests have prospered through all these changes in obtaining the unrestricted supply of cheap woods.”
Similar inquiries made in respect of other articles of consumption would lead us to the like result; but it cannot be necessary thus to pursue the subject, since it must be evident that there cannot be one law which governs the circumstances of the sugar and timber trades, and another law which affects differently the circumstances of other trades which are necessarily placed in the same conditions.
The following figures, showing the quantities imporied for consumption of various articles used by all classes of the community in the years 1842, 1850,
and 1851 respectively, (so far as the accounts are made up,) will show how increasingly those necessaries and comforts of life have been brought within the means of the working classes, among whom, for the reason already explained in regard to sugar, nearly the whole of the additional quantities have been
1851. Bacon and hams..
5,448 350,675 Beef and pork.
7,087 315,977 Butter
180,282 319,854 844,186 Cheese.
178,959 339,314 836,160 Rice.
244,266 401,018 396,170 Tea.
lbs. 37,855,911 51,178,215 53,965,112 Tobacco.
22,013,146 27,387,960 28,062,978 Pepper
2,679,848 3,317,883 3,303,402 Coffee
28,519,646 31,226,840 32,564,164 Scarcely of less importance, as showing what has been the progress and condition of the industrious classes, are the quantities of raw materials which have passed through the hands of our manufacturers, providing wages and consequently the means of comfortable subsistence to the people :1842. 1850.
1842. 1850. Cotton...... lbs. 486,498,778 562,2.5,920 Silk, raw...... lbs. 3,856,867 4,385,107 Flax
1,130,312 1,821,578 Silk, thrown.... 363,524 394,336 Hemp
593,392 1,048,635 Silk, waste..cwts. 12,716 15,484 Hides..
523,728 591,920 | Wool, &c...... lbs. 44,022,141 59,938,104 The quantities and value of some of the principal British manufactures, which have been exported in the same years, were
1861. Coals ......
..tons 1,866,211 3,347,607 3,477,060 Cotton goods
.yards 918,640,205 1,358,238,837 1,537,904,162
lbs. 140,321,176 131,433,168 143,958,501 Hardware and Cutlery ....cwts. 343,664 Iron and steel..
920,749 Linen goods..
-yards. 84,172,585 122,397,457 128,780,862 Machinery. Silk goods. Woolen goods.
pieces 2,740,197 2,778,724 2,637,290 Woolen goode..
15,432,990 63,731,053 69,253,594
£690,424 £1,280,341 £1,302,025 Cotton goods
15,168,464 20,528,150 22,040,489 Cotton yarn..
7,193,971 6,380,948 6,631,796 Hardware and Cutlery.
1,745,519 2,639,728 2,826,132 Iron and steel..
2,590,833 5,346,795 6,830,169 Linen goods.
2,615,566 3,594,944 3,827,443 Machinery
713,474 1,043,764 1,164,938 Silk goods
1,050,645 1,134,931 Woolen goods..
5,480,762 5,383,062 5,246,198 Woolen goods.
1,047,721 2,876,848 2,824,202 The total value of the results of British industry exported in each year
from 1842 to 1850 has been as follows: 1842..... £47,381,023 | 1845...... £60,1!1,081 | 1848
£52,849,445 1843.... 52,278,449 1846..
57,786,875 | 1849
63,596,025 58,584,292 | 1847. 58,842,377 | 1850
71,359,184 Showing an increase of 50 per cent in nine years. With respect to the trade in corn, and the effect of the total repeal of the im