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of the Poor,
fifty per cent. above the average of the four pre is evident, that as a labourer with a family is in a ceding years ; thus, the average price of wheat much better condition, as far as his right to refor these four years, was 53s. ; and, in 1795, it lief from the poor-rates is concerned, than an was 81s. 6d. In consequence of this sudden rise, unmarried man, population must be increased at great distress was occasioned among the rural po a greater rate than it would otherwise be, and pulation; and to alleviate this distress, the ma the price of wages must be reduced, while the gistrates of Berkshire fell upon an expedient, poor-rates are increased by a redundant rural which was quickly adopted in other counties, and population. which has been attended with the most pernici.. But what is the cause of the great increase of ous results. They issued tables, showing the the poor-rates within the last half century? wages every labouring man ought, in their opi- Why, nothing else than the high price of food nion, to receive, varying with the price of bread, occasioned by the corn-laws, and the mismanand the number of his family. Thus, it was ge agement of the poor-rates by the landowners nerally assumed, that every labourer should have themselves. We have seen how the sudden rise a gallon-loaf of standard wheaten bread, each in the price of grain in 1795 gave an accelerated week, for every member of his family, and one movement to the increase of this burden. The over-that is, four loaves for three persons, five connexion between the price of grain and the for four, and so on. Suppose that the gallon. amount of poor-rates can be shown at all times; loaf costs Is. 6d., and that the average rate of but we shall take a period when the fluctuations wages is 8s. per week; then, an industrious in the price of grain were considerable. unmarried labourer will get 8s., and he is not
Expended for relief entitled to any parochial allowance: but another,
£. who has a wife and four children, is entitled to
1748-49-50 27 11 seven gallon- loaves, which cost 10s. 6d., and as
45 his wages are only 8s., he draws the difference,
0 1,530,800 2s. 6d. weekly, from the poor-rates.
64 8 A third
4,077,891 labourer has a wife and six children, and, conse
125 5 6,656,106 1813-14
108 quently, requires nine gallon-loaves, which cost
6,294,581 13s. 6d., so that he receives, weekly, 5s. 6d. from
73 11 5,418,846 the poor-rates. Neither is it of any consequence
64 4 5,724,839 whether he be an industrious man, who is, con
75 10 6,910,925 1817-18
94 sequently, in full employment, or an idle, disso
7,870,801 lute vagabond, whom no
84 1 7,516,704 Whether he work or be idle, he is sure of ob
7,330,254, taining 13s. 6d. a-week, as the number of his
54 5 family entitles him to the value of nine gallon
43 3 loaves. In this manner it is a matter of indif
51 9 ference to the labourer what is the rate of his
62 0 wages, and their amount is, consequently, re
66 6 duced much below what it would be, had the
5,928,505 poor-rates not existed ; and we are therefore jus We might bring the table down to the latest tified in concluding, that if the poor-rates had period, and we would find the same general rebeen lower, the wages of labour would have been sult shown ; that as the price of grain rises, poorhigher, and that great part of the sums now rates increase, and as the price of grain falls, expended in the support of the poor, would have they diminish. It could hardly have been supbeen consumed in the payment of higher wages posed, considering the number of disturbing to the agricultural labourers. But, further, the causes in operation, that this result could be so poor-rates act directly in keeping down wages. uniform as the above table proves it to be. To In the late Report of the Poor-Law Commis. say nothing of the prosperous or unprosperous sioners, there are numerous instances of wages state of our manufactures, there is a cause which being paid in part out of the poor-rates. Thus, is always powerfully operating to counteract the in the parish of Ewhurst in Essex, it is stated, general rule. When the price of grain is high, that the farmers turn off their men, or refuse to farmers are in good spirits, and they set about employ them at fair wages, thereby causing a actively improving their farms, by making surplus fraudulently; they then take the men roads, drains, new buildings, and numerous other from the parish at reduced rates, paid out of the operations. These operations give employment poor-rates. In the parish of North Melton, to many labourers who might otherwise be a burDevonshire, an agreement is mentioned as hav den on the poor-rates. When the price of grain ing been made between the farmers and the ves falls, improvements are put a stop to, and the try, to pay the paupers 7d. a-head, the rest of farmer confines his operations to the mere tilling their wages to be made up out of the rates. It of the soil, by his ordinary farm servants, and is added, that the farmers used to pay a larger thus the number of people employed by him are proportion of the wages.
quickly reduced one-third or one-half. The We take no notice of the effect the present connexion between the price of grain and the absurd administration of the poor-laws has in amount of the poor-rates, however, only holds giving a factitious stimulus to population; but it good when periods near each other are taken
into view, for the maladministration of the poor- / proprietors have acquired their estates under laws by the landowners continually tends to en that burden. To complain of being forced to courage immorality, idleness, and crime, and to pay tithes, is as ridiculous as for a land-propriethe spread of a vicious pauper population through- tor to complain that his neighbour's field is not out the land.
When he purchased the estate, he did Nor is it possible in the consideration of the not pay for the whole of it: he only paid for causes of the increase of pauperism, to overlook nine-tenths: and to give the landholder the another mode, in which the landowners augment | tithes, or, what is the same thing, to allow him the evil. We have only to mention the game to levy a tax on foreign grain, to compensate laws to express what we mean. It appears from him for the payment of them, is to give him an parliamentary returns, that from the year 1820 advantage at the expense of the community to to 1826, 12,000 individuals were committed to the which he has not the shadow of a claim. But it county jails of England and Wales, for offences is asserted that tithes have greatly increased against the game-laws. Last year there were up within the last half-century. This is perfectly wards of 3000. In November, 1831, there were no true ; but they have not increased more rapidly fewer than 598 persons in jail at one time in Eng-than rent. We have on this point an authority land alone for such offences. It is needless to ex which the landholders will not dispute. The patiate on the effect of such a system on the poor Board of Agriculture sent circulars throughout rates. From what other fund can the wives and England, for inquiring into the expense of raischildren of these thousands of men, imprisoned ing corn for three different periods, 1790, 1803, for joining in the sports of the landed aristocracy, and 1813 ; and the following is the result of the be supported ? How much must the county-rates averages of these returns, in as far as rent and be increased, by the apprehension, trial, and main tithes are concerned, as laid before the Committaining in prison, of such an army of poachers ! tee of Agriculture, in 1814, by Mr. Arthur The mere maintenance of a prisoner in the Eng- Young, then Secretary of the Board of Agricul. lish jails, costs L.40 per annum; and at the time ture. of the return, in November, 1831, some men had
1813 been in jail upwards of six years for poaching.
Rent, £88 6 3 £121 2 7 ... .£161 12 7 20 14 1
0 We trust, therefore, we have shown that, if Tithe, ·
38 17 3 the landowners are burdened with a large pro
These numbers are as nearly proportional as portion of the poor-rates, it is nothing but what could be expected in such an investigation ; and is just and reasonable. If they must have a high they show that the assertion, that tithes bear a price of grain, high rents, low wages, and the greater proportion to the rent now than former. game protected to enable them to enjoy the sports ly, is unfounded. of the field, they must give some equivalent for
THE LAND-TAX. these advantages and pleasures. That equiva
The third tax which is held out to be peculiar. lent is the poor-rates; and, instead of grumbling ly burdensome to the landholder, is the landthat they pay so much of them, the industrious tax. Many, no doubt, imagine that this tax is classes are entitled to complain that the whole is levied exclusively on the land ; a mistake which not laid upon their shoulders. By the corn-laws, the landholders seem very willing to allow to the people are at once starved and kept in idle- remain uncontradicted. But what is the fact ? ness, for they are thereby virtually prohibited
“ In England the land-tax is raised first on perfor working for the people of other nations, who
sonal estates, to the extent of 4s. in the pound, would not only give them high wages for their viz., 20s, for every L.100, in money, or in goods labour but cheap food for their subsistence. In
of that value. 2dly, On offices and pensions, to as much, therefore, as tithes are not a burden
the extent of 4s. for every 20s. of yearly income. on the landowners, but a separate property in 3dly, On real estates, including every species of the church or lay impropriator, the poor-rates property or income arising out of, or connected are the patrimony of the poor; and where is the
with land.” * In Scotland, the tax is levied “On aristocrat that will prevent them doing what money rent, victual rent, casualties paid by they like with their own? But, farther, poor- tenants, salmon fishings, and other fishings, rates are no new burden. No one can say he whereby there is a yearly profit.” In burghs, purchased his estate on the understanding that
the rule laid down is, “ That every person within it was not to be subjected to them. They have burgh, shall be taxed and stented according to been in full force in England, since the time of
the avail and quantity of his rent, living, goods, Queen Elizabeth at least, and great as their in- and gear, which he hath within burgh. By the crease has been, it is far from certain, that if first, is meant the rent of houses, by the second, we go back for a century or a century and a
the profit of trade, or of a calling, and the last half, that the increase of rents has not been still explains itself. Thus, within burgh the ingreater.
habitants pay land-tax according to their sup
posed personal property."-[Hutcheson.] The next burden which is said to press pecu
Now, with regard to the amount of this tax: liarly upon land is tithes, which, it is estimated, By the Ninth Article of the Treaty of Union, amount to three millions a-year. Now tithes it is provided, that, “ Whenever the sum of have been known and levied in England for at least a thousand years, and all the present land * Hutcheson's Justice of the Peace, Vol. III., p. 9.
L.1,997,763, 8s. 4.d, shall be raised by the land eth part of it. In speaking of this tax, Blacktax in England, that Scotland shall be charged, stone remarks, “ The other ancient levies, (hyby the same act, with a further sum of L.48,000, dages, scutages, and talliages,) were in the nafree of all charges, as the quota of Scotland to ture of a modern land-tax; for we may trace up such tax; and so proportionally for any greater the original of that charge as high as the introor less sum raised in England, by any tax on duction of our military tenures ; when every land, and other things usually charged together tenant of a knight's fee, was bound, if called on, with the land.” From the land-tax being partly to attend the King for forty days in every year. redeemed, the total amount collected for the But this personal attendance growing troubleyear ending 5th January, 1832, was only,-for some in many respects, the landowners found England, L.1,133,222,- for Scotland, L.33,944, means of compounding for it, by first sending -in all, L.1,167,167. The exact proportions others in their stead, and in process of time by paid by the land and by the towns, we have not making a pecuniary satisfaction to the Crown in at hand the means of determining, but we ob- | lieu of it. This pecuniary satisfaction at last serve that the cities of London and Westminster came to be levied by assessments, at so much (not including the county of Middlesex) pay for every knight's fee, under the name of scut. L.186,491, about a tenth of the whole amount, ages, which appear to have been levied for the while some extensive counties do not pay first time, in the fifth year of Henry the SeL.20,000. In Scotland the tax is collected ac cond, on account of his expedition to Toulouse." cording to the proportions fixed before the Union'; That is to say, that a tax of the nature of the and we observe, from one of the Scotch Acts, land-tax, has been levied in England from the 1690, c. 6, that, of a monthly assessment of year 1159. Of the same nature with scutages L.72,133 Scots, L.4,000 was imposed on the City upon knights' fees, were the assessments of hyof Edinburgh, and L.1,440 upon Glasgow,-pro-dages on all other lands; and it is equally reaportions which show the comparative wealth of sonable for the landowner to assert that the these cities at the end of the seventeenth cen quit-rents, or feu-duties payable to the Crown, tury. Inconsiderable as the City of Edinburgh or the rents received from the Crown lands, was at that time, it paid a greater proportion of are a tax upon agriculture, as that the land-tax the tax than the whole county, which was assessed
is. at L.3,183 Scots. To illustrate farther the in The truth is, that there is not a country in correctness of the assertion that the land-tax is Europe in which the land is so lightly taxed as paid exclusively by the landowners, we may take in Britain. In France, the land pays onethe case of property within the city and property fourth of the public revenue, or about ten milwithin the county of Edinburgh. Within the lions sterling. In Prussia, and in Poland, the city the tax is 2d. per pound, which is levied on land-tax absorbs twenty-five per cent. of the three-fourths of the real rental, with another rents; and it is the principal source of revenue halfpenny per pound for the expense of collec- in Austria, Bavaria, and most of the other contion; and it is only by the remarkable increase tinental States. Although, since the Union, the of the city that it has been so much reduced. rental of Great Britain has increased ten or fifThe amount of tax on each county or burgh con teen-fold, the land-tax has never been increased, tinues permanent,--and, therefore, as houses are and hence the burden is at present little more built the tax diminishes in proportion. At pre than nominal. If a land-tax, therefore, increases sent the rental of the city is L.406,484, but in the price of grain, the British landowner ought 1750 it was only L.25,786, and then the land tax to be able to undersell all Europe, because in no absorbed ten per cent of the rent. In the county country are the lands so lightly taxed. the rate is nearly 3s. per pound, but it is levied These remarks apply both to England and on the old valuation taken in the year 1619, which, Scotland ; though in the latter country poor-rates for the whole county, was L.191,054 Scots ; each are almost unknown in the rural parishes, and pound Scots being 1-12th part of a pound ster tithes have been nearly everywhere long ago ling, or 20d. What proportion that old valuation commuted for a small payment. But what is to bears to the real rental at present we may judge be said with regard to Ireland, whose members of from the fact, that it appears, from the pro were so eager in the late debate, in opposing the perty-tax returns, in the year 1811, the real ren removal of the restrictions on the importation of tal of the lands in the county, exclusive of the foreign food ? Ireland has neither poor-rates houses, was L.277,827,—so that the tax, as esti nor land-tax ; and if the English landowner is mated by the real rental, is in reality much entitled to a protecting duty as it is called, he smaller on the county than the city. Sir John ought to have such a duty imposed, not only on Sinclair estimates the tax over Scotland at 2d. importations from foreign countries, but on im. per pound on the rental, an estimate which it portations from Ireland. It may be very convewould be easy to show is above the truth.
nient for the Irish landowners to have secured to But where is the landowner who is entitled to them, as at present, the monopoly of the British complain of the land-tax? Where is the land market against foreigners; but if there be any owner whose ancestors acquired the land he now foundation in the statement, that the landown. possesses, free of it ? Taxes on land were for ers of England are burdened in a peculiar man. merly the chief part of the public revenue, ner, then justice will not be done, unless the whereas they do not at present form one thirti same duty is imposed on Irish as on foreign
grain, while at the same time the impoverished | formerly considered to be limited to our own do. population of Ireland are allowed to import grainminions: but not even the Great Wall can protect without restriction, and without duty, from every the Celestial Empire from our excisemen. We part of the world. We hope that before the tax the Russian for the tar, tallow, flax, and question again comes before Parliament, the hemp which he sends here ; and even the candle. Irish members will consider, whether they can duty was paid principally by him. In like manwith any decency reiterate some of the argu ner we tax the Frenchman for his wines, the ments they used at the last debate.
Italian for his silks, the American for his hides
and cotton. In short, there is not a nation the But we have not done with what the land- earth which does not contribute to our revenue ; owners enumerate among the peculiar burdens and, instead of being the heaviest-taxed people on land. Taking the hint from the West In in the world, we pay scarcely any taxes at all, dian planters, who used clamorously to assert the money which we imagine comes out of our that they contributed seven or eight millions to own pockets to support our navy, our army, our the revenue of Great Britain, because they sent pension-list, and the other gewgaws of royalty, sugar, rum, and coffee, to this country, on which being in reality the generous contribution of seven or eight millions of duty were paid by the foreigners. consumers, the landowners claim the malt-duty as a peculiar burden on them. They, it seems, We trust we have said enough regarding the are taxed nearly five millions annually on this “ peculiar burdens” on land ; let us now turn single item. If this statement be correct, they for an instant to the burdens imposed on the are still farther oppressed. If the malt-tax be a country for the protection of agriculture; by þurden, so are the duties levied on British spi which expression is, of course, always meant the rits; and this will add five millions more to the keeping up the rents of land. Our limits do not burdens of the already distressed agriculturist. permit us to go at any length into the subject, To these should be added the duty on starch, but we will just give a specimen :-Cattle, sheep, tiles, bricks, &c.; and then let us see how the lambs, swine, as well as beef, mutton, lamb, and account stands.
pork, are prohibited to be imported ; and bacon Malt-Duties,
and hams pay 28s. a cwt., or 3d. a lb. But this Duties on British Spirits,
enormous duty is not entirely prohibitory ; for Starch, &c. &c.,
from L.1500 to L.2000 a-year of revenue is derivLand-Tax,
ed from bacon and hams imported. Let us,
therefore assume, that the price of butcher meat Poor-Rates and County-Rates,
in this country is kept only three-halfpence a8,000,000
pound higher than it would be, were the impor.
tation of cattle, sheep, &c. and of butcher meat £23,500,000
free; then these three-halfpence a-pound are a Now, assuming, with a late writer in the Edin. tax levied for behoof of the landowners. Now, burgh Review, that the whole produce of grain it has been found, by careful observations and in Great Britain is 42 millions, it will require, to calculations, that in Paris the consumption of compensate the landowners for their “ peculiar meat for each individual is 86 lbs. annually; in burdens," an average duty on all kinds of grain, Brussels it is 89, and in London 107 : but let us not of 5s, a quarter, as he asserts, but at least take the consumption of the population of Great 12s. a quarter, that is to say 20s. on wheat, and Britain and Ireland, at only 80 lbs. each, then on other grain in proportion ; and the same the tax on each individual for the benefit of the amount of drawback, or rather bounty on expor landowner is 120d., or 10s., per annum; and for tation, for it is proposed to pay the drawback 24 millions the tax is L.12,000,000. About 24 not merely on foreign grain, on which duty has millions of gallons of British spirits are annubeen paid, being exported, but also on the export ally consumed in Great Britain and Ireland. of British grain.
The duty on spirits made in Scotland is at preBut let us examine a little more narrowly the sent 3s. 4d a gallon, while the import duty on bold assumption, that the malt-tax is a burden Geneva and brandy is 22s. 6d., and on rum 8s. 6d. on the land ; that is to say, that it is paid, not per gallon. We may therefore assume, without by those who consume the malt, but by those on exaggeration, that Is. 6d. per gallon is paid on whose lands the barley grows which is converted each gallon of British spirits consumed, more into the malt. This doctrine gives new and im than if the duties on foreign spirits were removportant views of finance, and of the sources of ed; hence, from this source we have another the national revenue. We always supposed that 1.1,875,000. About two and a-half millions of the public revenue of this country had been rais cwts, of tallow are annually consumed, of which ed from our own population, but it will be found one million is imported. The duty is 3s. 2d. per that the greater part of it is paid by foreigners. cwt., which, estimated on the home tallow conThus, the Chinese produce tea as our landowners sumed, is, in round numbers, another quarter of produce barley ; therefore the tea-duties, some a million. If we add, for butter, cheese, eggs, three and a half millions annually, are contri. rice, and innumerable smaller articles, on all of buted by the Chinese tea-growers to support our which high duties are levied, another quarter of national expenditure. Our fiscal exactions were a million, then THE ACCOUNT OF THE BURDENS
SKETCHES OF LIFE AND MANNERS: FROM THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY
OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM EATER.
THE IRISH REBELLION,
ONE story was still current, and very fre dreadful interval to the Bishop, who became senquently repeated, at the time of my own resi. sible of his own extreme imprudence the very modence upon the scene of these transactions. It ment after the words had escaped him. Howwould not be fair to mention it without saying, ever, the man contented himself with saying, at the same time, that the Bishop, whose discre after a pause,—"A poor man's cabin is to him tion was so much impeached by the affair, had as valuable as a palace.” It is probable that this rethe candour to blame himself most heavily, and tort was far from expressing the deep moral indigalways applauded the rebel for the lesson he had nation at his heart, though his readiness of mind given him ; but still it serves to show the con failed to furnish him with one more stinging. tagiousness of that blind spirit of aristocratic And in such cases all depends upon the first movehaughtiness which then animated the Royal party. ment of vindictive feeling being broken. The Bi. The case was this :-Day after day the Royal shop, however, did not forget the lesson he had forces had been accumulating upon military posts received, nor did he fail to blame himself most in the neighbourhood of Killala, and could be heavily,—not so much for his imprudence, as for descried from elevated stations in that town. his thoughtless adoption of a language expressing Stories travelled simultaneously to Killala, every an aristocratic hauteur, which did not belong to hour, of the atrocities which marked their advance; his real character.
There was indeed at that many, doubtless, being fictions either of blind moment no need that fresh fuel should be applied hatred, or of that ferocious policy which sought to the irritation of the rebels ; they had already to make the rebels desperate, by involving them declared their intention of plundering the town; in the last extremities of guilt and massacre ; and, as they added, “in spite of the French,” but, unhappily, too much countenanced as to whom they now regarded and openly denounced their general outline by excesses on the Royal as "abettors of the Protestants,” much more than part, already proved and undeniable. The fer as their own allies. ment and the agitation increased every hour Justice, however, must be done to the rebels amongst the rebel occupants of Killala. The as well as to their military associates. If they French had no power to protect, beyond the were disposed to plunder, they were found unimoral one of their influence as allies; and informly to shrink from bloodshed and cruelty ; the very crisis of this alarming sitnation, a rebel and yet from no want of energy or determinacame to the Bishop with the news that the Royaltion. “ The peasantry never appeared to want cavalry was at that moment advancing from animal courage,' says the Bishop, “ for they Sligo, and could be traced along the country by flocked together to meet danger whenever it the line of blazing houses which accompanied their was expected. Had it pleased Heaven to be as march. The Bishop, of course, doubted,-could liberal to them of brains as of hands, it is not not believe, and so forth. “ Come with me," said easy to say to what length of mischief they might. the rebel. It was a matter of policy to yield, and have proceeded ; but they were all along unprohis Lordship went. They ascended together the vided with leaders of any ability.” This is true ; Needle-tower-hill, from the summit of which the and yet it wonld be doing poor justice to the Bishop now discovered that the fierce rebel hadConnaught rebels, nor would it be drawing the spoken but too truly. A line of smoke and fire moral truly as respects this aspect of the rebelran over the country in the rear of a strong patrol lion, if their abstinence from mischief, in its detached from the King's forces. The moment worst form, were to be explained out of this dewas critical; the rebel's eye expressed the un fect in their leaders. Nor is it possible to supsettled state of his feelings; and, at that instant, pose this the Bishop's meaning, though his words the imprudent Bishop uttered a sentiment which seem to tend that way. For he himself elseto his dying day he could not forget. " They," where notices the absence of all wanton bloodsaid he, meaning the ruined houses, “they shed, as a feature of this Connaught rebellion, are only wretched cabins.” The rebel mused, most honourable in itself to the poor misguided and for a few moments seemed in self-conflict : a' rebels, and as distinguishing it very remarkably