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wages of a labourer in this neighbourhood, were from 15 to 18 shillings, and that now, when the average price of Wheat is about 60 shillings a quarter, the weekly wages of a labourer are from 10 to 12 shillings. The price of Brickwork, which was 50 shillings a Rod, or Perch, is now 40 shillings. The price of Smith's and Wheelwright's work is experiencing a proportionate fall; and the price of plough and cart-horses has fallen a full third.
But, there is another great head of expense, to which your Petitioner is particularly anxious humbly to solicit the attention of your Lordships, as it is intimately connected, not only with the comfort of the great mass of the people, but with their political, civil, and moral conduct ; namely, The Poor's Rates, which, in the Parish of Bishop's Waltham, where the land of your Petitioner principally lies, have been reduced in such a degree, that your Petitioner has had to pay, in the said parish, during the year just now expiring, one-fifth less than he had to pay during the last year,* with the pleasing prospect of a progressive diminution in this head of expense and in the vast numbers of those persons, who are now included under the degrading appellation of paupers; who, in entering the pale of pauperism have, in general, left behind them all those sentiments of independence, of patriotism, of love of liberty, of hatred of oppression, for which the very lowest classes of Englishmen were, in former times so highly distinguished, and have, along with the name and garb of paupers, assumed the tone and the manners of slaves.
For the practical, the undeniable proof, that high prices have an inmediate tendency towards the creating of paupers; your Petitioner humbly begs leave to refer your Lordships to the official documents amongst the records of your Right Honourable House, where it clearly appears, that pauperism kept in check for a long series of years by the native spirit of the people, was let loose like a torrent over the land by the enormous prices during the late wars, which, in depriving men of their food, deprived them, and even their children of that shame which had before kept them from the Poor-List; and, therefore, your Petitioner cannot but view with profound sorrow, that a legislative act should be in contemplation, having, bas he firmly believes, a tendency to prevent for ever the restoration of the labouring classes to their former state of comfort, of independence of mind, and of frankness and boldness of manners.
Your Petitioner is well aware, that, unless prices be raised and uphald, it will be impossible for the owners and the cultivators of the land to pay the taxes that will exist after the Property-Tax shall have ceased; he is well aware, that to ensure them a high price for their Corn is the only means of enabling them to pay tirese taxes ; but, then, he is clearly convinced, that a very large part of those taxes might be dispensed with ; that the army and navy, which swallow up so considerable a portion of them, might be reduced to the state in which they were previous to the late war, and that the whole of the public expenses (exclusive of those attendant on the National Debt) might be reduced to what they then were, namely, six millions a year; and thus without raising the price of Corn, the credit, the safety, the honour of the nation, might all be amply provided for and secured.
For these reasons your Petitioner humbly prays, that your Lordships will not pass any law in prohibit, or restrain the importation of Corn ;
* In the parish of BOTLEY a still greater reduction has taken place.
and, as the nation, once more, happily sees the days of peace, he also prays for the repeal of all the laws, laying new restrictions on the Press, passed during the late wars; and, further, he most humbly but most earnestly prays and implores your Lordships to take into your early consideration that subject, which, in point of real importance, swallows up all others : namely, the state of the Representation of the people in the Commons' House of Parliament.
Thus it appears to me that I have done everything which I had the power to do against this Bill, which, I am afraid, will, in spite of all our efforts, become a law. - It is proposed, I see, by the City of London to petition the Regent not to give his assent to the Bill. I hope that this will be done, and that the Regent will listen to the voice of so large a part of the nation as have expressed their abhorrence of the Bill. ---I shall be exceedingly happy to have to communicate to my readers, that the Royal Prerogative has, in this case, been exerted in behalf of the Petitioners.-- In the meanwhile, I hope, that it will be clearly understood, that the owners and cultivators of land would not be gainers by the Corn Bill. But if they have exposed themselves to public hatred by becoming the humble cat'spaw of those who want to keep up the taxes, I am not one of those who pity them.
I have often enough warned them against this ; and, if their short-sighted selfishness has blinded them and made them deaf, let them get their eyes and ears open as they can.-They have petitioned and voted to have their Corn made dear, when they should have made a stand for the reduction of the expenses and the taxes. But it would really seem, that they wish for a large standing army in time of profound peace; and, that they want high prices to enable them to pay the taxes, necessary to keep up this army.-Sir Gilbert Heathcote, Sir Francis BURDETT, Mr. Calcraft, and some others are exceptions; but, what but the senseless fanaticism of agricultural societies could have induced such men as Mr. Coke and Mr. Western to enlist themselves under the banners of Taration!
I have been much vexed at the sentiments in many of the Petitions against the Bill. The Petitioners, always upon a false scent, ascribe the Bill to the Landowners, though they see it brought in by the Ministers and supported by all the settled Ministerial Majorities, in exactly the same way that every place-bill or war-bill or grant-bill or tax bill is supported. Can they not see, that it is really a government measure? Why do they fly with such fury at the Landholders who, if the Bill pass, will only be enable by it to pay the Government the taxes which it wants to keep up its great establishments ? However, as the avarice of some Landholders, and the folly of others, have let them into the snare, let them get out of it as they can.
TO A CORRESPONDENT IN AMERICA,
THE EXPENSES, THE TAXES, &c., OF GREAT BRITAIN, COMPARED
WITH THOSE OF AMERICA.
(Political Register, November, 1814.)
Botley, England, Nov. 15, 1814. Dear Sir,
Your request would, long ago, have been attended to, if I had had more leisure for the task. For your valuable information, relative to your agriculture, your flocks and your manufactures, I am much obliged to you; and, if the two countries were at peace, you should receive from me all the useful information, which it is in my power to give you upon several heads, which I shall not touch upon in a letter passing through the press, but which, I hope, the restoration of harmony between our two countries, may, in a year or two, at most, make it convenient for me to communicate to you through the ordinary channel of the post.
You wish to know what is the amount of the annual expenses of our Government; what is the amount of the taxes paid to the Government; what is the amount of our poor-rates; what is the amount of our tithes ; and you wish me to show the comparison between these and the expenses and taxes in America. You also wish to have my account of the state of the people here; or, in plainer terms, you wish to know, how we stand as to mode of living, and as to crimes and punishments, compared with the people of your Republic.
To perform this task as it ought to be performed, is, I am afraid, beyond my power. I do, indeed, know more about these matters than many of my neighbours ; but I cannot hope to discharge the task to your satisfaction, who are so accurate in all your statements and calculations, and who, with all your indulgence in other respects, are not to be satisfied, unless you find others as accurate as yourself. Nevertheless, I will do all that I am able to do, in return for the very valuable information, which I owe solely to your attentive kindness, and which serves me as a guide through those numerous errors, with regard to your country, into which I see others of my countrymen continually falling.
I am happy that, you have not called upon me for opinions ; that you have not called upon me for conclusions, drawn from premises that l'am to state ; that you confine your request to an account of mere facts; that you have not wished to expose me to the mortification of seeing the effort of my facts destroyed, or perverted, by the superior talents of those, who might, with merciless hands, lay foul of my feeble attempts at an application of these facts to the sustaining of any political theory. It is, I perfectly agree with you, the best and fairest way, in such a case, to
Content myself with bare facts, leaving the reader, whether public or private, to draw his own conclusions ; because the points of controversy, if any arise can be at once decided ; and, because that reader, who is not competent to draw just conclusions from facts clearly stated, is not worth the attention of the writer, and is of little more consequence in society than a worm or a fly.
In speaking of the EXPENSES of our Government, I must confine myself to the annual expenses, and, in this case to the last year's expenses; that is to say, the year which ended on the 5th January, 1814. As, in the comparative part of my statement, I must speak of dollars on your side and of pounds sterling on our side, I will, for the sake of easier assimilation, take the dollar at five shillings, instead of four shillings and sirpence, which is its real sterling value. But the state of our paper currency will fullly justify this advance ; and indeed it would justify a further advance. This, however, is not material enough to induce us to enter into any laboured calculations on the subject; especially as it is contended here, by a great majority of the Government financiers, that our paper has undergone no depreciation at all.
To begin, then, with the expenses of our Government, in Great Britain only, for the year ending on the 5th of January, 1814, the total sum expended was 113,968,6101. 163. 10d. I speak from documents, laid before the House of Commons, and, therefore, I run no risk of error or of contradiction. This was the total sum, exclusive of the expenditure belonging to Jreland. To go into a detail as to the several particulars would fill five or six Numbers of my REGISTER ; but the great heads of the expenditure it may be worth your while to know. These were as follows :
Charge on account of the National Debt for the } £41,897,375 17 51
year Civil List
1,028,000 0 0 Courts of Justice, Mint, Salaries and Allow- 7
332,412 7 47
391,056 1 11.1
21,996,624 9 41 Ordnance
3,404,527 11 11 Army
29,469,520 10 3
15,994,832 14 1
Deduct Sums for Ireland, &c.
£118,872,813 15 15
4,904,202 18 3
Total Expenditure of Great Britain
£113,968,610 16 104
Now, as to the comparison between the expenditure of this Government and of cours, I must speak of the lateet period of which I have any knowledge of your expenditure ; and though you are in a state of war and of unprecedented expense, you must bear in mind that we are in a state of war also. I find an account of your expenditure in Mr. Madison's speech VOL, IV,
of the 20th of September, 1814, which speech, by-the-bye, many persons here think will be his last, except that which the Times newspaper supposes he will make at his exit from the world.
Mr. Madison speaks thus on the subject of your finances :—“The “ monies received into the Treasury, during the nine months ending the “ 13th of June last, amounted to 32 millions of dollars, of which 11 “millions were the proceeds of the public revenue, and the remainder "derived from louns. The disbursements for public expenditures " during the same period exceed 34 millions of dollars, and left in the " Treasury on the 1st of July near five millions of dollars."
Taking your expenditure without fractions, then, it would be for the last year, 47,550,000 dollars, while ours was 455,874,443 dollars. So that our expenditure, exclusive of poor-rates, tithes, and county and corporation government is more than nine times as great as yours. The population of the two countries, leaving out our paupers, is, as I shall show, by-and-bye, nearly equal, the greater population being, however, I believe, on your side. The paupers must be left out, as you will perceive, because it is impossible that they can contribute in any way whatever towards the means of meeting this expenditure.
But expenditure is of little importance when compared to receipts, or tares. Here it is that we touch closely upon men's pockets. The means of expending consists, in part, of loans. These loans may, or inay not, ever be paid off. You, may, perhaps, pay them off by lands; we may pay them off by some yet unknown means. What we have to look at, in the most attentive manner, therefore, is the amount of the TAXES ; because this is what the people really pay.
The amount of our taxes, paid into the Treasury, during the last year, was 74,027,5831. 17s. 8jd. We are very precise in the keeping of our accounts. According to Mr. Madison's statement, in his speech, the money paid into your Treasury during the last year, was 14,550,000 dollars.
In dollars our taxes amounted to 296,110,335; which is rather more than twenty times the amount of your year's taxes. But you must bear in mind that there is a considerable difference between the amount collected, and the amount paid into our Treasury. Amongst other deductions from this latter sum there was the sum of 3,504,9381. Ils. 5d. deducted from the gross receipt, or collection, for the purpose of paying the “charges of management;" that is to say, for the purpose of paying the persons employed in the assessing, the supervising, the surveying, the inspecting, the collecting, the receiving, the transmitting, &c. of money paid into the Treasury. Now, 3,504,9381. lls. 5d. is 14,019,754 dollars. So that that the bare expense of the getting together of our taxes amounts, you see, to very nearly as much as the whole of the taxes raised upon you ; that is to say, if Mr. Madison's statement be correct. And suppose each of these persons, one with the other, to receive 501. or 200 dollars, a year, here are wages for 70,098 men, constantly employed in the business of the taxes, while supposing you to pay your taxgatherers at the same rate, you have only 3,504 persons constantly employed in this way.
The POOR-RATES form another item of English taxation, in addition to the above ; and a very important item it is now become. If you do not know the nature of this tax and of its application, it may be necessary to state, that this is a tax levied upon all householders and landholders,