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with the public income and expenditure to à committee, and that they were determined to cut down every unnecessary expense. We believe that Lord Goderich and his colleagues have the public interest too much at heart, to hesitate about giving the fullest effect to every practicable scheme of retrenchment. And they may be assured, that a determination to act in the spirit of Mr Canning's declaration, notwithstanding the opposition that may be expected from interested and powerful individuals, will entitle them to the lasting gratitude of the nation, and will be productive of the most advantageous consequences. At the
same time, however, we must say, that those who expect that any retrenchments, which it is in the power of the best intentioned and most powerful Ministers to adopt, will of themselves afford any material relief from the pressure of taxation, are a great deal more sanguine than we are. A diminution of the
public burdens is neither, indeed, the sole nor even the principal recommendation in favour of an unsparing system of retrenchment. The corrupt influence engendered by the multiplication of unnecessary functionaries, and by an excess in the emoluments received by them, is productive of the most pernicious results. It is not in any respect necessary to a government possessed of the public confidence; though it is of the last importance to one that is deprived of that legitimate support, and may even enable it to maintain itself in power, and to prosecute a course of measures hostile alike to the wishes and interests of the public. A patriotic and really enlightened administration cannot be otherwise than anxious to take away a source of influence, which, while it can do no good, may be thus easily perverted to the very worst purposes, at the same time that it is productive of a heavy expense. But the advantages of a political description that would result from the suppression of this illegitimate source of unnecessary and much abused power, though not the only, are, in our apprehension, certainly by far the most important, that can be expected from retrenchment. If we would really lessen the heavy pressure on the national resources, and by rendering industry more productive raise the rate of profit, we must go much deeper than this. It is not by amputating a few sinecures, by paying off some dozens of supernumerary clerks, nor even by disbanding a few superfluous regiments, that the real evils which afflict the country can be materially mitigated, much less removed.
According to the official accounts, printed by order of the House of Commons, the total public expenditure of the United Kingdom, for 1826, was as follows:
Public Expenditure of the United Kingdom, for the year ending 5th Janu ary 1827, after deducting Repayments, Allowances, Discounts, Drawbacks, &c. exclusive of the Sums applicable to the Reduction of the National Debt during the same period. (Finance Accounts for 1826, p. 19.)
59,272,925 17 5
Surplus of Income paid into Exchequer, over Expenditure issued thereout
£60,282,374 5 5
Now, it is obvious from this Account, that the field for retrenching from the direct public expenditure of the country, is much more limited than is generally supposed. About A HALF of the whole expenditure goes to the payment of the interest on the public debt, and is not, therefore, susceptible of the least diminution. With respect to the payments on account of the Civil List and Pensions, amounting together to about L.1,400,000, there can be no doubt that savings, important in a political point of view, may be effected in them; but it is visionary to imagine that they can have any perceptible effect on the financial condition of the country. If any considerable savings are to be made, they must be effected either in the collection of the revenue, or in the Army, Navy, Ordnance, and Miscellaneous departments. In these, certainly, there is much room for retrenchment; though even there it will, we apprehend, be found, that that room is not nearly so extensive as is commonly believed. It is extremely doubtful whether anything can be saved from the expense of collection, otherwise than by a reduction of some oppressive duties, and an improvement in the mode of imposing others. The salaries of the officers of Customs and Excise are anything but excessive. In some departments, perhaps, as in the Scotch Custom-house, a few thousand pounds might be saved by the dismissal of a number of superior officers who are wholly unnecessary; but that is all. The great bulk of the expenditure is incurred on account of the inferior officers; and if any change is to be made in their salaries, they must be augmented, not reduced.
A considerable diminution might certainly be effected in the cost of the army, amounting at present to upwards of eight millions a-year. But, we incline to think that this diminution ought rather to be effected by gradually withdrawing the troops from the colonies, some of which ought to be abandoned, than by disbanding any portion of those that now form the peace establishment of Great Britain and Ireland. It is held by many, to whose opinion on such subjects the greatest deference is due, to be very doubtful whether there are at present any considerable number of supernumerary soldiers in this country. And it is clear that, in the peculiar circumstances under which Great Britain is placed, with an immense manufacturing population congregated into large masses, liable to be suddenly thrown out of employment, and exposed to every sort of privation, a powerful military force is indispensable for preserving the peace of the country, and giving confidence to the owners of property. Had it not been for the activity with which troops were poured into Lancashire, on the breaking out of the riots there in the spring of VOL. XLVI. No. 92. 2 D
1826, it is impossible to say how much property might have been destroyed and should a suspicion ever get abroad, that the public force was inadequate effectually to guarantee the security of property, there would be an end of our manufacturing superiority, and the arts and wealth of Britain would speedily become the property of others. It has, we are aware, been said, that the place of the troops of the line might be as advantageously, for all purposes of security, and with infinitely greater cheapness, supplied by embodying a greater number of yeomen! But there are the strongest reasons for objecting to any such proposal. A well disciplined soldier is an incomparably better peace preserver than a yeoman. The former does what he is ordered, and he does no more; he is neither Whig, Tory, nor Radical; he has no political, party, or religious heresies to avenge-no partialities to gratify. A yeoman, on the contrary, is more than half a citizen; and as such, is influenced by all the feelings and prejudices common to the district and caste to which he belongs: When a corps of such persons is employed to suppress any disturbance, society is divided into distinct classes; and the revolting spectacle is exhibited of neighbour opposed to neighbour, and relation arrayed against relation. In consequence, the most irreconcilable antipathies are engendered; and instead of the public tranquillity being preserved by the employment of such a species of force, every sort of outrage is rendered more prevalent, and acquires a darker shade of atrocity. One of the first measures of Lord Cornwallis, after his assumption of the reins of government in Ireland during the rebellion, was to separate the yeomanry from the army, and to order them into quarters; and every one who knows anything of the history of that calamitous period, is ready to admit that the measure was productive of the best effects, and that it contributed more perhaps than any other to allay the public irritation, and to put a stop to the horrors of the most savage warfare of which modern history has preserved any account. Had regular troops only been employed at Manchester on the famous 16th of August 1819, it is most probable that the loss of lives that then took place would have been wholly avoided, and at any rate, the events that occurred would have been productive of infinitely less rancour and irritation. We do, therefore, enter our protest against any attempt to supply the place of regular troops, by embodying additional yeomen. It would, we are inclined to think, be sound policy, not only as it respects security, but also as it respects economy, to discharge the greater number of the existing yeomanry corps; but at all events, we trust that no open or underhand effort will
ever be made to increase their number at the expense of the troops of the line.
We have not information enough to say whether any considerable saving might be effected in any of the subordinate departments of the military service; though it is sufficiently clear that no deduction can be made from the pay either of the troops or the officers. But the country has a right to expect that every retrenchment which can be made, without impairing the efficiency of the army, should be unsparingly carried into effect.
With respect to the second great branch of the public expenditure susceptible of diminution, or that incurred on account of the Navy, we confess we have very great doubts whether it is not already reduced as low as it can safely be carried. The continuance of the odious and revolting practice of impressment, is at present the great defect in the naval policy of Britain. But it is worse than idle to declaim against the continuance of this practice, and at the same time object to the expense of keeping up a powerful naval force during peace. If such a number of seamen be not maintained in the king's ships in time of peace, as may suffice, when the ordinary number of landsmen and boys are taken on board, to man the fleet on the breaking out of a war, it is plain that impressment must be persevered in. It is continued, not because the Council of the High Admiral have any particular liking for crimping and man-stealing, but because John Bull, notwithstanding all his boasting about humanity, will rather tolerate such practices than part with his money. We have, however, been assured by those who have had good opportunities for forming an accurate opinion, that such retrenchments might be made, by discharging a considerable number of marines, by enforcing a greater degree of economy in the dock-yards, &c. as would enable 10,000 additional seamen to be kept afloat, without materially increasing the public expense; and such a force, added to that already in the pay of government, would probably be enough to enable us to meet any emergency that is likely to occur, without resorting to impress
With respect to the savings that might be effected in the Ordnance and Miscellaneous Departments, we do not profess to be able to form any opinion. That retrenchments may be made in them, is not, we believe, denied by any one; but we do not know whether they will be of any material importance.
On the whole, therefore, we are persuaded that if we estimate the entire amount of the savings that might be effected by such a retrenchment as should lop off every useless expense, without, however, in any degree impairing the power of government to