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Brought forward 312 0 6 The window duties are levied on other classes; but
the taxes on a house with 180 windows are 46 11 3
Total assessed taxes 358 11 9 The house duty was so shamefully evaded by the possessors of princely mansions, through means of low valuation of rental, that it was given up.* In summing up the burdens of the possessor of £100,000 a year, we have Land tax - - - £1,500 0 0
Taxes on consumption - - 1,000 0 0
Direct taxes on articles of luxury and
splendour - 358 11 7
Total amount on £100,000 a year, equal to
£2 16s. per cent - - 2,858 11 7
The income tax of 1842, of £2 18s. 4d. per cent is
charged at the same rate on the industrious man, who,
perhaps, without twenty pounds of property, gains his
income of £151 by anxiety of mind, and labour of hands.
The foregoing statement will exhibit the balance of taxation between the hardworking man at £28 a year, and the noble duke at £100,000—namely, the difference between £3 per cent and 50 per cent. Such as it his, let the landowner have credit for the £2,858 lis. 7d. as his annual contribution to the support of the government established, be it observed, chiefly for the protection of property. But there is another view to be taken of the subject
It has been demonstrated beyond a doubt, and is even
• " A fact has come to our knowledge, which is so monstrous, that it will scarcely be credited, but for the truth of which we can nevertheless vouch; namely, that whilst the houses of persons in business in Bury, are assessed upon the rack-rent value of forty, fifty, sixty, and up to one hundred pounds a year, Rushbrooke Hall, the fine old Elizabethan mansion of the county member, is assessed at twenty pounds P—Extracted from the Bury Post newspaper, into the Morning Chronicle of the 4th of Feb. 1843.,
from in favour of an aristocratic body, as the crowning pinnacle on the heads of the labouring millions at eleven shillings a week.*
But, as respects the substantial comfort and happiness of the classes within reach of the expenditure, wheu issued by a hundred families instead of one, the following statement will illustrate the case. A hundred families at £1,000 a year each, will not afford the spectacle of one carriage with four horses—two postilions—an outrider— two footmen and two ladies'-maids on the outside—ready to obey the commands of an elegant family within: but they will present a hundred quiet homes, containing several hundred individuals in comfortable circumstances. In place of fifty servants crowded in one spot, they will have three hundred domestics, (three to a family, on an average), under the direct inspection of their masters and mistresses, and deriving benefit from the example of regular domestic society. And in fine weather, perhaps, a hundred snug one-horse chaises will go out on an afternoon's drive, affording health and enjoyment to family groups of children, delighted with everything they see.
* I find that the supposed case in the text is nearly one of reality for Lord Stanley, the present Secretary for the Colonies, is reported to have spoken to his constituents in 1841— "That it was necessary to keep up prices and rents, for the sake of the farmers, the landlords, but, above all, the humbler classes, who would be the first, and greatest sufferers, if the gentlemen of England were compelled to reduce their establishments, to curtail their pleasure-grounds, to limit the number of their gardeners, or to turn off one or two grooms which the corn- laws enabled them to keep.". . "It is for the labouring classes of this country to consider, whether that which diminishes the income of the landlord, and the profit of the farmer, is likely to be productive of advantage to society or to them."— From Mr. Ward's Speech in the House of Commons, 14th March, 1843.
It is evident from this strain of argument, that my Lord Stanley is either very deficient of the knowledge of common arithmetical analysis, or that he entertained a contempt for the understanding of the people whom he addressed ; and as the speech of a Secretary of State at a public meeting is recorded as historical evidence, the insult to his audience was extended to the country at large. It is the business and duty of a man to make the roost of the case he takes up; and in reference to this subject, I may refer to the Globe newspaper, of the 7th September, 1842, for the information that Earl Derby, the father of Lord Stanley, discharged from his joint establishment twenty-five servants, to enable him to meet the income tax. This fact can easily be verified, and it will help to illustrate the speech of Lord Stanley, quoted above.
This argument in favour of large incomes giving employment to many servants and tradespeople, is therefore completely done away with, for we find, that for fifty menials in the establishment of one very wealthy family, we have three hundred servants, domiciled in a hundred families, enjoying the blessings of a sufficiency. By subdividing the £100,000 into 200 parts at £500 each, we shall have 200 families, with two servants each—thus giving employment to eight times the number employed by one family. In carrying on this sort of calculation, we shall find, in every branch, the same gain or advantage to the community by a subdivision of property.
One of the most dangerous tendencies of the modern school of economists, is, that of throwing large masses into few hands—depopulating whole districts of a country, in order to throw many farms into one—granting in colonies immense tracts of waste-lands to companies or individuals, and, by economic laws, bringing together into the possession of a few hundred persons, the wealth that ought to be spread among millions. The utmost liberty ought to be given to individuals, to accumulate whatever amount of property they are enabled to do, within their lifetime. But society has claims which are superior to the wishes and intentions of the dead.
a year spent in provisions, will measure a gross income of about £l,000—so that the £50 to £60 of tax to the landed interest, amount to 5 to 6 per cent on that sum. As the income diminishes, the ratio of the taxation increases.
It has been shown that a man with £500 a year, spends in provisions £166; a man with £250, spends £105; so that the first contributes 6^ to 8 per cent., and the second contributes. 8^ to 10-J- per cent, to enable my Lord Daehly to speculate in horses, run his carriages, sport with his ladies, hire his French cooks or Swiss valets, and to pay the interest on money borrowed of usurers, assurance companies, and other wealthy parties, or to indulge the rural tastes of Lord Landly, gracefully exhibited in the extension of his '' pleasure grounds," in the addition to his gardeners, or in the increase of his grooms.
Now, there is a very steady- going, respectable portion of the middle classes, for whom a great degree of sympathy is always excited, and for whose special benefit it is professed, in and out of the legislature, that these most interesting and romantic corn-laws were first enacted, and are still maintained. Now, Dear Farmers, we have become quite affectionate towards you, aud sincerely wish you health, prosperity, and happiness. As a proof, that you are well taken care of, you pay your income tax charged according to the amount of the rent that you give for your farms; and all of you, whose rents are under £300 a year, are exempted from that most obnoxious impost By returning on your rents, you are saved the annoyance of exposing your private affairs. We are no farmers, and must confess our ignorance of agricultural matters, but we know that you are consumers like the rest of your countrymen, and it is to your character as consumers that we are applying these remarks. In all those discussions on provision
laws, rents of land, and so forth, your position as citizens, living at rates from £250 to £500 and £1,000 a year, has been, as far as we have noticed, almost entirely overlooked. We presume that a farmer occupying a farm at the rent of £3?0 a year may be considered as worth, or living at, that rate, and consequently, according to the foregoing computation, he contributes to the landlord interest, not tlie landed interest, £25 to £30 a year, in the increased prices of the provisions for his own family. In another part of this work it has been demonstrated that, in consequence of these corn-laws, he pays 8s. 8d. an acre more than he would do, were these laws abolished; and on a farm of 200 acres, this will amount to £86 a year. The farmer knows best whether he gets, one year with another, an advance in the price of his corn, to replace the extra rent to his landlord—but, at all events, he recovers nothing to make good the tax on his own consumption, and on the consumption of corn and forage for his horses and cattle! Oh, these cornlaws ! the most spiteful delusion that ever was practised on man and beast!
Lord Stanley, who, as a secretary to the government, ought to know what he is about, said at a public meeting, "that it was necessary to keep up prices and rents, for the sake of the farmers, the landlords, but above all, the humbler classes, who would be the first, and the greatest sufferers, if the gentlemen of England,"—and so on.*
• The attention of the author of this work was first decidedly engaged in the consideration of our fiscal arrangements, during the study of our colonial system in the Australian colonies. He early detected the operation of the needy or insolvent part of the aristocratic order, in the schemes of colonization; and, in a letter that he addressed to Sir Robert Peel on these subjects, under date of May 1, 1841, he thus expressed himself, "There are two classes of persons in this country, who favour the idea, that our distresses arise from a positive excess of numbers. The first is,