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force is that shall be had recourse to, they | is the injustice of imposing this tax so long should be under martial law while under after the 5th of April, from which day the arms. The clauses of the act may secure annual assessment is calculated, as relating attendance; and the moment the word to those persons, who may lare been in“ attention” is pronounced, let martial law duced to enlarge their establishments since cominence.-ARTHUR YOUNG.- Bradjield, that day, in the persuasion that the assessed March, 1806.
taxes would not be increased (the Chancellor
of the Exchequer having turned a deaf ear ASSESSED TAXES.
to hints on this subject), such a tax must S18-Though I differ from you (as now, 2s to these persons, operate as an er honest men must sometimes do), upon some post facto law, unless there should be either points, I admire your talents, respect your 22 special exemption in their favour, or a principles, and trust that your country may
permission to draw in their horns again. long continue to enjoy the benefit of your
But I object also to the policy of augmentexertions, which I verily believe to be as dis-ing this class of taxes, which already bears interested and patriotic as they ceriainly are unconscionably hard upon---the best descripable and impartial. You hare offered your- tion of people--the middle class of moderate self a candidate for the borough of Honiton, fortunes in the country, whether occupying and addressed the electors in language so their own estates, or as resident clergy, in explicitly and unreservedly pure (and there
both which cases the establishment of one fore so uncommon), that I sincerely hope | carriage, servant, and horses to draw it octhey may “ sanction the great principle casionally, but much more frequently to be upon which you stand, and by which the employed about the farm, cannot be consicountry must stand or fall.” I sincerely hope dered, and ought not to be taxed as a mere that your exertions in the senate may be
This tends to drive such people even more powerful and iinpressive than into towns, to narrow the sphere of hospiyour exertions in the press, but I should be tality, and to break down the distinctions besorry to risk the loss, or even relaxation of tween ranks, which in the mixed and cothe latter, for the chance of any benefit tlat nical form of our constitution, ought to be can reasonably be expected from the former, most anxiously preserved ; the practical ty. under “existing cireumstances." Mr.Paull ranny now exercised in France is the lineal can attest how vain it is to " kick against the descendant of theoretic equality. : Allow me pricks," and of low litue avail are the bent to illustrate my view of the impolicy of intentions, even with ability to back them, stretching the assessed taxes (which are ununless there be also a competent knowledge questionably sumptuary laws, and surely of parliamentary usage, which it is almost suniptuary laws are little suitable to a mathe labour of a man's life to learn, yet which nufacturing, commercial, monarchical counevery member is peculiarly required to ob- try), beyond their staple, by instancing the serve. Have
you duly reflected how far the case of a man of (what I should conceive to spirit of your Political Register, if written ly be a medium) 1,000l. per annum occupya member, and discussing pretty freely, posing his own estate, valued at 2001. per anlitical measures and men, out of parliament, num, and his house rated at 50l., with the will be deemed compatible with its privi- ordinary establishment of such persons. His leges ? This is a point on which the public direct taxes are: are as deeply interested as yourself ; I am Property tax on 7501. per annum but one of a great many, who, neither income, at 10 per cent. - £75 00 hoping nor wishing for a seat in parliament, Ditto on 2001, landlord and teare yet desirous sometimes of unburdening nant's tax
35 00 themselves through the medium of your Re- Ditto on 501., house tax
3 15 0 gister. There are, at this moment, several
Land tax, suppose
OO subjects on which I should wish to make a House tax on 501., at 25. Gd. 6 50 few desultory observations, and particularly Window tax on 40 window's 25 15 0 on that inexhaustible, and (perhaps our new Armorial bearings
2 20 financier inight admit) unfathomotle subject One four-wheeled carriage
00 of taxation, upon which he has, already more Three men servants, viz. footmın; thau once, got ont of his depth, and in coachman, who a to holds plough truth (if I have not also got out of mine), and drives teams; gudener, his latest, though possibly rot his last, re- who milhs, suckles, mous, &c. source of 10 per cent. on the Assessed Taxes &c.
9 is very little less exceptionable than either Four horses, one for going to post of the o:her two, in place of which this is and market; one to carry master. offered as a substitute. My first objection over his parish or round his
farm; two to put out dung and
rich. The Property Tax is capable of being make out the team
18 4 0 made inost produtive and unexception.able; Hair powder
1 1 0 but calling it by this name is a palpable soA watch dog and a spaniel
1 0 0 licism, while under its peent provisions no Two farming horses
1 '50) distinction is made between the different Game licence
3 3 O curations of ihat properly; between a fee Poor, church, and highway rates,
simple estate worth riity to thirty-fore years at 8s. per pound, on 2501. 100 00 peix base, an: lite interest not worth one. Tythe, on suppose 200 acres, at 55.
The widow ordertyman with one foot in 50 00 the grave, ana helpless family around
them innst. oui f the last years income of £351 10 0 2001., c. ntrib tee? much as the young beir
to a feesimzic estaic of the same rental, and Thus, you see, that more than one-third of on the eve of a rew letting the insurance ofthe income of the persous I have described fices know how to calculate the different is swallowed up in direct taxes; but it is values of those interests; but it should seem further to be considered, that the taxes upon
the minister dues not! As further resources, every article used or consumed by such per- pray why not sell the Crown Lands (as a sons fall indirectly, and therefore the more correspondent of yours suggests), making heavily upon them. These latter, however, ample compensation, and encouraging the I admit to fall in common and more lighty acriculture of the country, which a general upon them than upon theʼresidents in touns, Bill of Inclosure would still further prowho are, to a great degree, exempted from mote ? Why not employ the men and most of the other taxes, and are also less ac- horses of the waggon train in posting, which cessible to be checqued if indisposed to con- would be both exercise and drili io them tribute fairly. But, Sir, independent of the and an emolument to the conntry? Why injustice and impolicy of thus orerloading not impose a tax on man milliners, and all the overloaded, surely he must be a feeble that description of males so shamefully emfinancier who cannot find
excep- ployed in difierent branches which females tionable resources. Why not impose a tax are perfectly competeni, and who are thus upon musical instruments, which are cer- driven to prostitution, less from vicious protainly a luxury? why not upo: the guack pensity than from vicious proscription It medicines for the mind, such as novels and is but the other day the laudable attempt to romances, and those vitiated and vitiating employ women raised “ the devil among exhibitions we now see upon the siage, 511- the taylors” in London. But, above all, perseding the best productions of our best why not upon every agreement for the sale dramatic poets? Nothing will go down of stock, whether for money or time, impose now-a-days but the travestred translations of a tax (which there could be no difficulty in German Immoralists; the ephemeral Gez- collecting), of 25. d. for each 1001., equal sanur of our own would-be-authors, or the to the brokerage now paid? If I sell my tinsel spectacle of a toy-shop! wliile the house, my land, my borse, by anction or opera exhibits no:hing but demi-rude attitu- appraiseemnt; nay, if I give them away by dinarians, and squalling signors and signoras, deed in my life-time, or if I devise or be“ sliding their smooth semi-breves and gar- queath them after my decease in the collabling glibdivisions in their outlandish teral line, in none of those shapes can they throats!!!" and at what an expense, too, be transferred without being subject to a both of morals and of money !-Yet, truly tas. But though every thing deserving the we are told, that if these foreigners should name of property is thus subject to taxation invest their London profits in the British upon the transfer, that thing called “ stock" funds, and exhibit their persons, when they stil i rms the single exception, and may be would not trust their purses, before the transferred, either between natives or foHouse of Napoleon the Great, when they reigners, to any indiefinite amount, and got tired of a London audience, this proper- through 10c0 hands within as many hours, ty so acquired in England, and so invested without producing to the exigencies of the in our funds, from an idea of its being more state, on the credit of which it lives and secure, is to contribute nothing towards moves, anti has its being, one single siva ! that security!! You have touched deli- pence! My opinion most decidedly is, cately upon the King's funds being exempt-, inat the thing which is morally wrong, ed from the Property Tax; if his Majesty can never te politically right onder any were to lay up po treasure but in the herris circumstances :
Honesty is the best poe of his people, I should hope he would for licy” amongst nations as well as indiviever le, and deserve to be inexhatistibly | Juals; thereiore I wish for the abolition of
the slave trade ; and therefore also I wish | expenditure of the public money induced me tor the annihilation of the funds (without
come forward, and endeavour which it is nonesense to talk of the Bank re- through your Regi-ter to press upon the atsuming cash payments, indeed, not much tention of the public and the ministers less than nonsense to talk of the physical the absolute necessity of altering the nethod energies of the country, which this vapour of keeping and stating the public a counts, must continue to paralize); but the shape in order that any good result may now from in which I foresee “ that consummation so the measures proposed to parliament for predevoudly to be wished" is, by the simple, venting the accumulation of arrears of un. gradual, cancerous operation of the tax eat- audited accounts.in fliture.--I believe, Sir, it ing up the whole of the interest, and then may be stated with great safety, that ile let - Nature's fools" look for the principal true cause of the failure of the late inethid wherever they can fiud it. Though I have of auditing the public accounts arose entire. suggested some sources of taxation, I am ly out of the difficulties that occurred in thoroughly convinced that a proper economy consequence of the variety of methods, that in erpenditure will supersede the necessity the variety of accoulantanis fuilowed, of resorting to them, But I much fear in keeping accounts of their receipts and paythat
nients. That these accounts irşte.e of b. “ Æronomy is young anıbitious laddler,
ing produced before the imp? COBS!! Whereto the cinire up tards turns his face
sioners ready for examination, wer bro gt “ Unu he has attained the topmost round,
before them in suc, forins, as to inakeilui" Anil then loc carns bis back.
terly impossible that any ex-mi a on con ! Our present ministry were prodigal in pro- had of them, until they were put in our mises, but the best of the remain yet to
forms, either by the piltjes themselves, or be perforined. I shall be slow to ceisure,
by the clerks belongs to the impre-t well knowing that the successors to Mr. Fitt Office. I believe, Sir, ilat no map will dery, could not have any thing like “ a bed of that, if Mr. Pitt, when he esasli ke the
to repo-e 01 ; he had planted there boud of commissioner for anditing pul c but too my thorns, erer, I fear, to be accounts, hai procured an act of Parliament, plaked it, but they have not hitherto for making every public accountant of eve.y gained ground in the good opinion of --- de cription keep a debtor and veditor acPROBUS. -oth June, 1900 --P.S. That coint of all receipts and paymenis 2007 g the propisin made for the collaterai binnches to the mercantile systems of book-keeping of the Nelson tanily is excessiže, many peo- and enacting that ecch principal account ut ple think, but.pray, sir. bus any provision (un
should, on the last day of every yea", bet 1.e less by their ligh Vizhtinesses of Lloyd's)
his books, and return to the commissioners a been made for the widows and families of balance sheet, and that each suco accountalet ihe two Captains, Duff and Cooke, who tell
should do the same to his principal. i say, at Trafalgar ?
Şir, that I believe no man will deny that
such a measure would have presenteit such ON THE REFORM OF FINANCIAL. ABUSES. an occurrence, as that of 450 millions of he LETTER XI.
public money being at this momeni unacSir;-In your Register of the 17th ult. you counted for. And if so, will it not be next have been ple:sed to refer your readers to a to dowmigit madness to multiply the nuniseries of letters written by me on the subject ber of bourds of commissioners, and 10 opit of the public expenditure (Vol. 7. Index p. the removal of the cause of this failure of 1006. and Vol 3. Index. p. 1083.2 and to the last bard. It certainly will be so, and give it as your opinion, that if the inode I therefore I feel particularly anxious to her have pointed out of keeping and stating the that Lord liry Pufy ili immedialy propublic accounts was adopted, it would be ceed to carry into effect that part of his plan perfectly easy for a very few public spirited which goes to provide for the introduction members of Parliament to bring to light of the mercantile system of stating the proevery material abuse. A reference and ani cecdings of public accountants. I must conopinion of this kind coming from your dis- fess, lowerer, I have my apprehensions that criminating judgment, connected with a this will not be the case. I do not think very anxious' wishi on iny part to contribute his Lorcship has dwelt so much upon this towards an efficient reform in the present part of his reforın, as lie would have abused and ruinous system of conducting the done bad lie been tuuly aware of the great
Supplement 10 0. 25, Vol. IX.-Price 104
mportance of it. I cannot find in any of “ and regulations established in small states, the reports of his speech, that his plan went are in general wiser, and better calculated farther than to oblige all public accountants “ to obtain tie ends in view, than those of an to return their balances to the imprest com- “ extensive empire; and, as one proof among missioners, This will fall
far short of many others which might be adduced to what ought to be done ; for how can these support the justness of that observation, it balances be correctly returned, and their “ may be remarked, that the system adopted *correctness quickly ascertained, unless the “ in Ireland, prior to the union, for passing previous necessity is established, and impos- “ the public accounts, seems to be infinitely ed upon every accountant of keeping his preferable to the one which took place in books literatim et verbatim as the mer- “ihe British parliament. In the latter case, cantile system of book-keeping directs. The “ a supply was voted, without any previous superiority of this system does not merely inquiry regarding the necessity thereof, and consist in the rules it lays down, that ba- “anumber of accounts were called for, which lances shall be periodically struck; but in this, “ were detailed by the Chancellor of the that when a balance is struck, it may be as- “ Exchequer, in what was called his budget ; certained instantly and by bare inspection “ whereas, in Ireland, the following more without any calculation, whether it is, or is regular system was pursued.—In the first not, correct; that is, the system is such that “place, certain accounts, properly arranged, it exposes all incorrectness, as it were me- of the expenses of government, and the chanically, and without any faculty of me. produce of every branch of the revenue, mory or calculation being wanted to assist it. “'were annually laid before the house of I
say then that to control the public accoun- commons. As soon as these were protants effectually, they must be compelled by “ duced, a committee was appointed to act of Parliament to keep their books of ac- inspect them, and to report their opinion counts in a regular prescribed form; namely, " thereon, with power to appoint sub-comthat in use with merchants and tradesmen ; nittees, that the accounts, if necessary, and in order that Parliament may control them might be more minutely examined. When who are to control the accountants, that is, “ the report of the conimittee, accompanied the imprest commissioners, the act should “ with the accounts therein referred to, was provide that the public accounts should be presented, it was ordered to lie upon tbe stated annually in the same form, and so " table for the perusal of the members, soon as to be printed and prepared fit for the use of " after it was referred to the committee of the members of the House of Commons, supply; and then the house resolved, before the Chancellor of the Exchequer “after evidence of the necessity thereof, sliould bring in his Budget. If such pro- "" that a supply be granted to his Majesty." visions are enacted by law, one committe of "--This plan is certainly preferable to the the House of Commons will be fully ade- “one adopted in the British parliament, quate to make a report in a few days, in each “ which has been already explained. Its session, upon the state of the funds of the
superiority appeared so evident to the public; they will be competent to detect all “ Irish house of commons, that it became a abuses; and the practice of a few years in ex- standing order of the house, “that no amining the public expenditure, will afford "" money bill be read until the report from to those who may serve on these committees, "" thecommittee of accounts be first made." so great a facility of ascertaining the correct “ This previous examination was a great ness or incorrectness of the staiements laid “check upon improvident expenses, and before Parliament, that the trouble of ex- or with such authentic documents to refçr amining them would be so very triling, and " to, the members could reason with more the certainty of all abuses being detected advantage on the financial circumstances of would be so well established, and so generally " the nation, than could be done from loose known, that as niuch system would be found " and undigested documents, or the harangue to prevail on the part of the public accoun- “ of any minister however drtinctly stated.tants to do iheir duty correctly, as prevails “ This excellent plan was first adopted in even amongst then in robbing the public up- “ 1092, when the ordinary revenue of the on any transaction wherein public honey is “ crown being found inadequate to the to be paid or received.--I shall conclude this public expenditure, a supply was necesJetter with an extract from Sir John Sinclair's " sarily applied for. It was then resolved, work on the Public Revenue, as contai..ng "6" that ihe state of the revenue of the much valuable information, and highly credi- -66-66 nation, and also the establislnients tabletothelate House of Communs of Ireland. "civil and military, should be laid before » It has ofico ban remarked, that the laws “ “ the house, in order that it may the better
be known, what supplies were necessary officers (under whatever name) let us take å « « to be giren.”
" The system has ever lesson from experience. Do we not know, “ since been observed, with hardly any that long, long ago, there were officers ap"omission, even in the earliest stages of pointed for this very purpose ? Men, high
its progress; and latterly it has been ad. ! iu reputation, and distinguished for rank? " hered to with the strictest possible atten- For the vast benefits which the nation has
tion.”-I have the honour to be &c. VERAX, derived from their disinterested and honist June 1, 1800.
exertions, it is only necessary to refer to the
awful disclosure lately made; a disclosure COMMISSIONERS
which (in whaterer motives it may have oriSIR; The following remarks were ginated, concerning which a considerable written for insertion in your Register, im- degree of speculation may without improinediately upon the official disclosure of the
priety be entertained) will be felt in its efstate of irregularities in the Public Accounts. fects in this country, as long as it exists as an From the hurry of business they were thrown independent nation, or a trace remains of its by, till your own observations appeared; original constitution. It requires nothing which might seem to supersede the neces- more than inquiry into the mode of appointsity of the following. The writer could not ing these otticers in the civil, military, and have received a more convincing proof of aaral departments, and to consider what the correctness of his ideas. On one point, they must be, and aciually are to be conhowever, he had gone one step farther ; vinced that the appointment is, and always viz. in the proposing the only possible etiec- must be totally nugatory, as to the ends of tual mode of preventing such dreadtul paulic justice that it is and always must be abuses in future, and of rescuing the public not only useless, but prejudicial to the intefrom the hands of depredators. He hopes, rests of ihe nation. That they truly may be tlierefore, they will still be inserted, as soon denominated a Committee of Secrecy, inasas it can be done. They come from one to- much as they would keep back that which it tally unconnected with any public party or might be thought inexpedient for the public Set of men whatever.
eye to see; and which you and I, Sir, as “ Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" contributing to the public purse our mite Sir;It is an observation to trite al- (almost our last, bive a right to look into. most for repetition, (were it not that like That this prediction will be verified, and almost all trite and common maxims it is also that shortly too, I will venture to assert.strictly true), that there are few men of such The members of the House of Commons disinterested dispositions, and such inflexible are styled the guardians of the public purse. integrity, that they can withstand te npta- How the public purse has hitherto been tions to private emolument, when uare- guaried, let the foregoing remarks ; let the strained by fear, and uncontroled by the conviction of every one; let the exhausted Scrutinizing eye of inquiry. That there have
finances of the country; let the exhausted occurred in public stations in this country, pockets of the individual testify. What the many and lamentable proofs of the truth of prospect is, which we now have before us, this maxiin, is now a fact well known, and unless the public purse is in future guarded much observed upony, by all who have eyes against depredation, it is most awful to conto read, or ears to hear. The amount to sider. It becomes necessary, therefore, to which frauds and irregularities have attained inquire by what mode these guardians may is so enormous, as to have astonished even be induced ; nay, rather, may be obliged to those who were before not ignorant of the do their duty, by attending to the interests existence of grievous abuses, and who were of the nation. Let us revert to the short not unused to scenes of fraud and pecula- sentence which I have chosen for my inotto. tion. It is also, now, not only allowed, but “ Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"As proclaimed, that they who under whatever I hope and trust many read this Register name, have hitherto been appointed to exa- who, perhaps, may not read Latin, I shall inmine into accounts, and to correct abuses, sert a translation, viz. rBut who shall watch have failed in that, for which alone they " those Guardians of the Public Purse?" To were appointed by parliament.-- In considera this I answer, that unless the nation itself ing what checks, may with a probability of have, the necessary control over them, no success be applied to this alarming evil, of other power or mode can be devised. If peculation and mismanagement, the idea of instead of being nominally they were really commissioners has been suggested. But, the representatives of the nation, we should before we flatter ourselves with the hopes tind that contruling power in full force; to or redress from the appointinent of such prevent abuse, i. e, lo redress itsell. Is it