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nious temper; and in proportion as this temper has been fostered by the class of financial reformers to whom we have referred, are we justified in saying, that the sticklers for cheap government" are—unconsciously perhaps, and unintentionally—the supporters of mal-administration ;-that matters have reached a point at which Reform or Retrenchment no longer go hand in hand, but are pitted against one another; that, in a word, those who would save the money of the people, and those who would spend it well, are no longer identical, but distinct, at issue, and antagonistic. Economy in the public expenditure is a great object and a sacred duty; but there are aims yet worthier and nobler, and obligations yet holier and more imperative. The education of our brutal and neglected masses is one of these. The promotion of those sanitary reforms, on which health, life, decency, and morality, so essentially depend, is one of these. The amendment of our judicial system, till it becomes in fact what it claims to be in theory, is another. The reform of our prisons, of the provision for juvenile criminals, of our whole arrangements for secondary punishments, is again an obligation of paramount magnitude, and clamorous for immediate initiation. The maintenance of those colonial interests which bind our distant dependencies to the mother country, on which hangs the future spread and permanence of our special and highly valued form of civilisation, is another of those mighty objects with which no mere considerations of immediate parsimony can be allowed to come into competition. And, finally, a prior and more sacred claim than any pecuniary saving, is the unimpaired preservation of those effective elements and external manifestations of national strength and vigour, which will not only secure Great Britain from personal danger, but will enable her to speak with decision and with influence, when she speaks at all ; which will render her in future, as in the past, the protectress of the weak and the refuge of the oppressed; which will enable her, when civilisation is endangered, when humanity is outraged, when morality is trampled under foot, to remonstrate in that language of disgust and indignation which could not be rashly disregarded; which, in a word—when one sovereign tramples out the guaranteed and consolidated freedom of his subjects, as in the case of Hesse; when another summons in the savage succour of a barbarous power to aid bim in crushing the liberties of a generous and long-descended people, as in the case of Hungary; when a third violates every promise, ravishes every right, sanctions every cruelty, sets at nought every decency, as in the case of Naples; or when the uncontrolled citizens of a powerful State do not scruple to turn pirates, and invade an unoffending neighbour, simply because they covet her possessions, as in the case of Cuba—will empower her, when such iniquities are perpetrated, to step forward, fearless of the conse
quences, and bold in her conscious capacity to meet them, and say, “ These things shall not be !"
These considerations appear to us so important at the present juncture, and in the actual state of the public mind, that we are glad to fortify ourselves by the opinions of a writer whose deep popular sympathies it is impossible to doubt, and whose deliberate and searching wisdom has won him the first place among social philosophers, we mean Mr. J. S. Mill. The intense dissatisfaction which would arise were our whole revenue “of fifty millions raised by direct taxes, would, he conceives, be productive of more harm than good.. Of the fifty millions in question nearly thirty are pledged, under the most binding obligations, to those whose capital has been borrowed and spent by the State; and while this debt remains unredeemed, a greatly increased impatience of taxation would involve no little danger of a breach of faith similar to that which, in the defaulting States of America, has been produced, and in some of them still continues, from the same cause. That part, indeed, of the public expenditure which is devoted to the maintenance of civil and military establishments, is still in many cases unnecessarily profuse; but though many of the items will bear great reduction, others certainly require increase. There is hardly any public reform or improvement of the first rank, proposed of late years, and still remaining to be effected, which would not probably require, at least for a time, an increased instead of a diminished appropriation of public money. Whether the object be popular education, emigration and colonization, a more efficient and accessible administration of justice, a more judicious treatment of criminals, improvement in the condition of soldiers and sailors, a more effective police, reforms of any kind which, like slave emancipation, require compensation to individual interests; or, finally, what is as important as any of these, the entertainment of a sufficient staff of able and highly educated public servants, to conduct, in a better than the present awkward manner, the business of legislation and administration ; every one of these things implies considerable expense, and many of them have again and again been prevented by the reluctance which exists to apply to Parliament for an increased grant of public money, though the cost would be repaid, often a hundred-fold, in mere pecuniary arlvantage to the community generally. I fear that we should have to wait long for most of these things if taxation were as odious as it probably would be if it were exclusively direct."*
It is time to sum up, and bring this long paper to a close. We have seen that there is no tax to which valid objections do
* Principles of Political Economy, vol. ii. p. 418.
Summary, and Suggestions.
not apply,—no tax which is not, more or less, inequitable in its pressure, injurious in its operation, and annoying in its collection. This objection, though from its universality not decisive against any particular tax, is decisive against making it the only one. It is in a variety of imposts that we are to look for the solution of the great problem of the Finance Minister-how to make taxation equitable and endurable. We have seen that the apparent merits of direct taxation are apparent only. We have seen that it does not fulfil all the requirements of Adam Srnith's “ good tax” better than the indirect system, and that it scarcely fulfils any of them better. It is at least as unequal in its incidence, as unfair in its severity, as prolific in stimulants to fraud,
—and immeasurably more irritating and vexatious. It is even questionable whether it is more economical in the collection. It is the first, the easiest, the coarsest mode which suggests itself to rude and uncivilized financiers. The paramount duty of a government in fiscal matters, is to levy the revenue fairly : This takes precedence over all other considerations. But next to this, if its first duty is to levy taxes so as to cause least injury, its second unquestionably is to levy them so as to cause least irritation. We have seen, finally, that taxation, whether direct or indirect, cannot be, and ought not to be, confined to the few ;that to approach this verges upon confiscation, that to recommend it is to preach Jacquerie and spoliation.
At the risk of exposing ourselves to the sarcasms with which the actual Chancellor of the Exchequer loves to reward those “ amateurs” who offer him useful suggestions, or hint that there is a Science in his Art which he has not fathomed, and principles in fiscal policy which he either has not mastered or habitually sets at nought,--we shall venture to enumerate those sources of revenue on which-following out the views above developed — we think it would be safe, just, and prudent to rely. The first of these is a house-tax, which, taking a pivot of 20 per cent., should vary from 15 to 25 per cent., according to the exigencies of the Exchequer. This should be levied on all the 4,500,000 houses in the kingdom, without exemption. Of these it is estimated that about 500,000 are above £20 a year rent, and the rest under.* The former we may fairly take at an average rent of £45, which, at 20 per cent., would yield £4,500,000:—the latter, at an average rent of £5, would yield above £4,000,000 more. The Legacy Duty, on personal property only, now yields £1,400,000 if levied at the same rate on all property, it would bring, it is calculated, £3,000,000 into the Exchequer. The Land and Assessed Taxes in Great Britain, leaving out the Window-tax, reach £2,835,000:-If Ire
* The data of the above calculation are as follows. The total inhabited houses in Great Britain are (in 1851) 3,647,611, to which we may add for Ireland
land were included we might take them at £3,000,000. So much for direct taxes. The tax on tea should be reduced certainly to 1s. a lb., perhaps still lower, but would probably, according to all analogy, yield at that rate as large a revenue as at present. The tax on spirits and tobacco, there can be no reason for reducing below the point at which smuggling and illicit distillation could be prevented. Probably this might entail some loss on the article of tobacco. Our budget would then stand thus—taking the receipts of 1849 as our standard:DIRECT TAXES—
House Tax, . . . . £8,500,000
- £14,500,000 INDIRECT Taxes
British Spirits, . . . £6,000,000
4,400,000 Wine and Foreign Spirits, 4,600,000
5,500,000 Sugar, .
4,000,000 Coffee, .
500,000 Miscellaneous articles of luxury, 1,000,000 Post Office, · · ·
£46,500,000, out of the £50,000,000 needed, is thus provided for. The remainder might be raised by a continuance of the present modified Stamp Duties, till the augmented consumption of the above articles, which would ensue as our population increased and improved, rendered them superfluous ;-or, as Mr. Mill suggests, by raising £10,000,000 instead of £8,500,000 from the House-tax, and by a higher Legacy Duty.
852,389. Now, till 1824, we had a House-tax in Great Britain levied on all houses (except farm-houses) above £5 a year rent. In that year there were
Houses. Rent. Average Rent. Above £5 and under £10, 171,522 £1,161,667 £6 15 0 £10 and upwards,
375,410 10,516,550 28 0 0 In the same year there were
under £20, . . . 361,513 3,537,742 9 150
above £20, . . . 185,419 8,140,475 43 15 0
£10 were exempted.
of the tax, the case stood thus-
£20 and upwards, 3. 214,438 9,606,388 44 15 0
Art. III.-1. Kugler's Fland-Book of Puinting— The Schools of
Painting in Italy. Translated from the German of KUGLER, by a LADY. Edited, with Notes, by Sir CHARLES L. EASTLAKE, P.R.A., F.R.S. Second Edition, thoroughly revised, with much additional matter. London, 1851. 2. Handbuch der Kunstgeschichte. Von DR. FRANZ KUGLER,
Professor an der Königlichen Akademie der Künste zu Berlin. Zweite Auflage, mit Zusätzen. Von Dr. TaE BURCKHARDT.
Berlin, 1848. 3. Ancient Art and its Remains; or a Manual of the Archæology
of Art. By C.O. MÜLLER. New Edition, by F. G. WILCKER. Translated from the German by John LEITCH. London, 1850.
For many years past the condition of the Fine Arts in Edinburgh has been to us a subject of the gravest concern, and the period, if we mistake not, has at last arrived when, with some hope of synıpathy, we may impart our solicitude to the more serious portion of our fellow-townsmen.
We have now for a quarter of a century had an annual exhibition of the works of living artists, and what we have fondly called a school has been formed under the auspices of those who, on behalf of the public, have judged and purchased the works which there appeared.
To the school thus created one merit above all the schools that ever existed must be conceded. It has had the glory of testing, by a prolonged and careful experiment, the applicability of one of the favourite doctrines of modern political science to the production of works of art. The laissez-faire system has been tried in the most favourable circumstances. With the influential to countenance it, the wealthy to patronize it, the fair to commend it, and the general public eager, by every means within their reach, to express their interest and sympathy, the art of our country has been left unfettered by one single regulation, untrammelled by one single law either of nature or tradition. No compulsory course of uniform training has checked the vigour of its native growth, no tyrant master has set limits to its freedom, or stamped on its productions the impress of his too dominant thought. On the contrary, every new freak which it imagined, every fresh vagary which it perpetrated, has been hailed as a manifestation of originality and a pledge of progress. It has been romantic, sentimental, pathetic, devotional, genteel, and vulgar; and in each of these phases it has not only been left in undisturbed possession of its self-complacency, but it has been con