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Joseph Lowe.

The present state of England in regard to agriculture, trade and finance; with a comparison of the prospects of England and France online

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taxation.

Case of Ireland. — This is strikingly exemplified in the
sister island, where the taxed expenditure, limited as it is
to the disburse of the gentry, the merchants, professional
men, and the comparatively small portion of the lower
classes residing in towns, cannot with confidence be com-
puted at more than 25,000,000/. But a population of
7,000,000, supposing their average rate of subsistence not
to exceed that of the English cottagers, as calculated by Sir
F. Eden, (between 6 and 7/. a head,) could not exist with-
out an annual produce of nearly 50,000,0000/. ; and if
in forming a calculation for Ireland, we make allowance
for the better circumstances of her town population, and
for the comparative comfort of her linen manufacturers,
we may, perhaps without exaggeration, carry the total
property created in that island to 70,000,000/. a year, which
is in the proportion of nearly 3 to 1 to the sum we have
assumed as representing her taxable income.

That the supposed amount of the latter cannot be much
above 25,000,000/- is unfortunately too clear from the
state of the revenue, the amount of which, before making
any deduction for collection, hardly exceeds 5,000,000/.,



App.j lettsoeen Production ayid Cwistmptimi. [79]

or 20 per cent, on 25,000,000/., although levied of late
years on nearly the same stale of duties as in England,
where taxation, distinct from j)oor rate, exceeds 20 per
cent, of the national income. How, it may be asked, does
it happen that the two countries differ so greatly in the
proportion of their taxed ami untaxed consumption ? Be-
cause thre?:-fourths of the population of Ireland are cot-
tagers, whose consumption eludes the visit of the tax-
gatherer, their clothing being of home manufacture, their
food the patatoes of the neighbouring field, their fuel the
turf of the common bog. One generation thus succeeds
to the poverty of another; and in the eye of the political
arithmetician, Ireland is rich only in recruits.

France. — This country bears a considerable resem-
blance to Ireland in the density as in the poverty of her
agriculturists; their total consujnption (exclusive of the food
of horses and cattle) is not over- rated at 180,000,000/.,
but as in the rural districts of France the excise duties are
very light, taxation in these districts is in a manner confined
to the 45,000,000/. of rent and farmer's income returned
as subject io Jbncicr. The assessment under that head,
heavy as it is, would not, if calculated on the produce of
agriculture, exceed 5 or 6 per cent.; yet to increase the
amount of this tax is a matter of great difficulty, and the
contribution of French agriculturists to their govcrmnent
takes i)lace much more in men than in money. Thus in
1793, when the cause of the revolution was highly j)opular,
and the greatest efforts weie necessary to repel invasion, the
demand of the government was directed not to pecmiiary
aid, but to levies. And after the discredit of the .issi^^udts,
the finances of France owed, in a ^reat measure, their sup-
port to the resources of the Netherlands.

Such is the state of taxation in regard to agriculturists;
the next question respects the situation of manufacturers.
Among them the projiortion of exjienditure subject to tax-
ation may at first appear large, the majority of the work-
men residing in towns ; however, a great j^art of them arc

indiiient, and thourjh the wajjes of the unmarried are ex-

I • 1 II

pended in a great measure on taxecf articles, such as beer,

spirits, and tobacco, those of women, children, or tiie
fathers of families, are more strictly confined to the pur-
chase of the necessaries of life.

Lastly, in rcnard to the cxjieiuiiture of merchants, pro-
fessional men and traders, foreign commerce, transacted as
it is in sea-ports, and by persons in the command of capital.



[80] Natio7ial lievenuc and (Japilal: C'onesj)0?i(lenre [App.

creates, lor tlic limited luunber employed hy it, a f^reat
consiiinptioi) of taxed articles. Of prolessioiuil income
tile iippropriation, from tlie respectable station of the indi-
viduals, is similar, but inland traffic comprises many per-
sons of a very bumble rank, mechanics, labourers, and
others, of wliose consumption a considerable part is but
sli^i^htly productive to the exchequer. ^

It would, we believe, answer no useful purpose to enter
on a more minute distinction of the expenditure of parti-
cular classes. Speaking generally, we may assume that
about 25 per cent, of our national exjienditure seems ex-
empt from taxation, and that if the wliole be computed at
350,000,000/., the taxable part may, agreeably to the
table in the text, be put down at somewhat more than
260,000,000/.

We may perhaps throw some light on this intricate topic
by adding a few sentences containing the amount of national
income in several of our great departments, with some re-
marks on its appropriation.

Income from the Produce of the Soil, 120,000,000/. — Of
this very large sura, the portion constituting the income of
the landlord and of the higher class of farmers, is evidently
expended in articles subject to taxation ; in regard to the
smaller farmers or labourers the case is otherwise, their
principal consmnption of taxed articles being confined to
malt liquor.

Produce of the Mines, 10,000,000/. — Here similar re-
marks apply in regard to the rent of the proprietor, the
salary of the superintendant, or the wages of the workmen.
As to the raw material, a considerable duty is raised from
coal, but this charge is avoided on all that is not carried
coastways, or in a particular direction by canal.

Maimfactnres for home Consumption, 70,000,000/. — The
expenditure on taxed articles in this case arises from the
income of master manufacturers, the salaries of clerks,
and the wages of the less indigent workmen. The same
may be said to apply to the expenditure (computed at
30,000,000/.) on buildings, furniture, and agricultural im-
provements.

Income from Trade, Professions, and all other Sources,
100,000,000/. — Under this very comprehensive head, the
expenditure more particularly subject to taxation consists



A pp.] Estimate of National Capital. [8 1 ]

of the profit of merchants ami bankers ; of the income of
professional men; salaries ofclerks; income of shop-keep-
ers ; wages of ship-builders, seamen, &c.

National Capital. — Calculations of national capital are
not, perhaj)s, of great imporUuice in a direct sense, since
taxation has seldom been imposed with reference to the
amount of capital. A table of this nature is, however, of
interest when viewed in connexion with a return of our
national income, and rendered subservient to establishing
the accuracy of the latter ; this will, we believe, be the
effect of the subjoined sketch.

The fall of prices attendant on a state of peace is, from
causes which shall be explained presently, productive of
much less diminution in regard to our capital than our in-
come ; and Mr. Colquhoun's calculation having been made
on an estimate extremely moderate for a state of war, the
difi'erence between the present year and the year 181 '2, as
calculated by him, is not considerable. Our table for the
present year is consequently little more than a re-statement
of i)is results, with a few modifications.



[F]



[82]



J'jSli/iiate oj Nutional (!u})ilut.



[Apr.



Calculation of National Property.



Great Biitaiii and Ireland.



Lantl under cultivation, whether in
]jasture, tillage, or gardens

Farming capital, whether vested in
implements of husbandry and
farming stock, or in corn and
other produce - - - -

Dwelling houses, warehouses, and
manufactories - -

Manufactured goods in progress or
ready for sale, whether in manu-
factories, warehouses, or shops :
also foreign merchandize on
hand . - _ . .

British shipping of every descrip-
tion - - -

Here it seems fit to make an ad-
dition to Mr. Colquhoun's state-
ments on account of

Mercantile and manufacturing ca-
pital not specified by him, viz.
money in hand; advances to cor-
respondents abroad ; manufactur-
ing machinery ; tools and imple-
ments of mechanics - - -

This carries to nearly500,000,000/.
our mercantile and manufacturing
capital employed in current business,
and exclusive of whatever capital
our merchants may have in fixed
property, such as the funds, land or
houses.

Such arc the great heads of our
national property ; the lesser as
given by Mr. Colquhoun, are
Mines and minerals - . .
Canals, tolls, and timber

Total



Com|)utation for
1812, nearly in
the form adopted
by Mr. Colqu-
lioun.



A similar com-
putation for
1823.



£1,280,000,000

228,000,000
400,000,000

160,000,000
27,000,000



75,000,000
50,000,000



£1,200,000,000

200,000,000

4 00,000,000

140,000,000
20,000,000



1 30,000,000 1 30,000,000



65,000,000
45,000,000



I £2,350,000,000 £2,200,000,000



This table is to be understood as representing private
property, and exclusive of

1. All public property, such as militiiry stores, churches,
hospitals ; also of



App.] Estimate of National Capital. [83]

2. Such private property as is unproductive ; viz. waste
lands, furniture, or wearing apparel; and, finally, of

3. Whatever is exjiressive of a debt from one part of
the community to another, such as the stocks, mortgages,
or mercantile accej)tances.

How, it may waw be asked, does it happen that the
decrease of our national property since the i)eace is so much
less than is commonly supposed ? 'Ihe reasons are —

Land, as a property, is vv'orth in peace from thirty -two
to thirty-five years' purchase ; in war, only twenty-seven or
twenty-eight years' j^urchase ; so that though on our rental
we reckon a fall of fully 30 per cent., the principal has not
sunk above 1.5 or 20 jier cent.

Farming capital experiences at present a depression
of value far beyond the reduction iu our table; but its
amount in 1812 was, we believe, under-rated by Mr. Col-
quhoun, while, in point of cjuantity, whether of imi)lements,
cattle, or corn on hand, it has increased probably 20 per
cent, since that year.

As to buildings, whether warehouses, manufactories, or
dwellings, the suqirising increase in the number appears
fully to have balanced the decrease of rent, particularly as
such decrease appears to have been much smaller in this
kind of property than in land.

In our niamdactured and foreign goods on hand the fall
of price, great as it has been, is nearly equalleil by the in-
crease of (juantity. In our shipping the case is otherwise,
and we have accordingly made a large deduction.

Such is the conijiarative amount of our niuional projjcrty
in 1812 and 1822, when represented in money of the re-
spective years. But were the calculation for both made in
money of equal value, the balance would be in liivour ot
the present year ; we mean, that the valuations for the pre-
sent year, if made in the money of 1812, would not be sliort
of 2,500,000,000/.

Were we to take a retrospective view of the value ot -
/hirds of the present amount.



[F] 2



[84] Estimate of National Capital. [Api*.

Public Burdenaiii. the present Year{\H2^). — Particulars
of the 64,000,000/. assumed in the text, p. 269.

Taxes, gross amount, including both the
charge of collecting and the repayments
in the form of drawbacks, discounts, and
allowances ^£^58,000,000

Deduct, not the charge of collection, but the
repayments, which form in fact no part of
our burdens 4,000,000

Remain - - 54,000,000

This is after a full deduction for the dimi-
nution in the duties on malt, salt, leather;
also in the assessed taxes.

Add for tithe, including Ireland * - - 5,000,000
Poor-rate, after deducting such portion as be-
longs properly to wages (see text, p. 201 .) 5,000,000

In all - jf 64,000,000



This amount, reduced to money of 1792 in
the proportion of nearly 130/. to 100/.,
gives the sum expressed in the text, viz. ^50,000,000
Or, compared to our national income,
a proportion of 25 to 100.

* TiTHB, All our tables include the tithe paid to lay impropriators.



[85]



APPENDIX



CHAPTER X.



On Flucfiuiiiati of Prices.

^From Mr. Arthur Young's Inquiry into the Value of
Money, 1812.)

Abstract of part of Sir G. ShiickburgVs Table.
The Prices of the Year 1550 are taken for the Integer; viz. 100.



Years.


Wheat.


1550


100


1600





1650





1675


246


1700





1720





1740


197


1760


203


1780





1790


~—


1795


426


1800






Twelve
Miscellaneous
Articles, viz.
an Ox, Cow,
Poultry, &c.

100

239



434
492



752



Ihitchcr
IMeat.


Day
Labour.


100


1(K)


\m


118


266


250


400


275


511


\'M\









Mean of all.



KM)
U4
188
210

257
2S7
312
1-27
11(6
53 1
■AVI



This table presents a very great rise in j-irices, but the
grounds of calculation are liir from aiciuato. Butcher
meat is put on a par with wheat, although with the niast. of

[Fj 3



[8G]



fltictuatioii in Ihc Value of Muncij.



[Aim'.



the population it docs not form a fifth j);irt of the con-
snni]>tion. Kach of the twelve miscellaneous articles,
whether poultry or cattle, are considered of equal import-
ance, and manufactures of every sort are omitted. There
are, besides, a number of inaccuracies in the authorities
from which the table is compiled.

Com'parhon of the 11 Ik and iSth Centuries. — Bishop
Fleetwood, whose inquiries, in regard to the particular
period to which he confined them, were very accurate ; and
Dr. Heni'y, the author of the History of Englantl, both
exhibit results very different from Sir George Shuckburgh.
From these Mi'. Young attempted an estimate on tlie fol-
lowing plan.







ITth


18th




Rise per




C


entiiry.


Centu


■y-


Cent.




£


s. d.


S^ s.


d.




Wheat


1


18 2


1 18


7


Par.


Barley and oats -


1


y 5h


2


Oh


33


Butcher meat, butter,












cheese, or whatever












is the produce of grass












land _ - -





1 9


2


3


28^


Labour - - -





10?


1


3


461:


Wool


1


9 li


17


8^


39A fall.


Iron - - -'


u





11


16l rise.


Coals - - -1


5 lOi


1 13





39 \



Repeating wheat five times, on account of its import-
ance, bai-ley and oats twice, the produce of grass land four
times, labour five times, and reckoning wool, coals, and
iron, each but once, while iron is considered the repre-
sentative of all manufactures, the rise from the prices of ojie
century to those of the other will amount to no more than
'22^ per cent. ; or only th.e tenth part of the rise stated by
Sir George Shuckburgh.

Manufactures. — Under the impoi-tant head of metals,
and particularly of iron, Mr. Y. found that the rise for
several centuries had been inconsiderable, the improve-
ments in the process of preparing them sufficing, in a great
measure, to counterbalance the enhancement of labour.
But the great argument against Sir G. Shuckburgh's alle-



A pp.]



Fluctuation in the Valxic of Mmieij.



[87]



gation ol" general depreciation is to be found in the pric«! of
manufactures, in the production ol" which, far more than
in agriculture, free scope is given to the application of all
the auxiliaries called forth by the progress of society ; we
mean increase of capital, division of labour, and aid from
machinery. The following siiort list is tiiken irom the
books of Greenwich IIos[)ilai.



Average of the Years from


Shoes.


Stockings.


Ilau.


I'roportions
in twenty,
when taki'M
i-olki'iivtly.


1729 to 176.3
1770 to 17S5 -
1770 to ISOO -
1790tolS(X) -
1805 to 1810 -


s. d. s. d.
3 11 i 1 7
3 10 ' 1 S\
\ 7il 1 h\
4. 6ri 1 6
5 5 2 2


s. d.
2 2i
2 3*
2 4-

2 4.

3


Hi

1+ ■

1.34
20



These are articles of subordinate importance; but the
fact i.^, that in almost all manufactured connnodities,"we are
supplied cheaper than our ancestors, and that u lisc, when
it has taken place, is to be ascribed cithtr to a tax on the
raw commodity, or to some cause whicii may be termed
particular or incidental. In regard to the qiuiiitij of our
manuiacture.s, we nmst speak with more hesitation, and can
hardly decide whetiier the balance be in favour of ihc pre-
sent, or of a former age; for if our i'abrics are now much
more neat alid convenient, they are in a considerable de-
gree less durable.

Horses and Cattle. — In these the improvement in point
of quality admits of no doubt. In comparing the present
jirice of sheep and oxen with those of a century :igo, a great
part of the diflerence is to be ascribed to the inferior .si/u ol'
the animal, at a time when the art of gra/ing was not under-
stood ; the same will be found to hold in ngaril to horses,
and at a later date than is connnonly imagined. The only
quarter aflbrding authentic information in regard to the
price of horses is the War Olfice, from the record^ of uhu h
Mr. Young extracted the following averages.



[i-J I



[88]



Mucliiatio7i in the Value ofMona).



[Arp.



Years.


Price.




£ s. d.


1766 and 1767


21


From 1768 to 1792, both inclusive


23 2


1793 to 1802 - - -


26 .5


1803 to 1812 -


26 5



The rise of price in this period of forty-six years was
much less than might have been supposed from the rate
paid by individuals. But the War Office, looking chiefly
to strength and the power of standing fatigue, bought,
throughout the whole period, horses of nearly equal value.
Private purchasers were not so easily satisfied ; and of the
higher prices so generally paid by them, a considerable
part is to be ascribed to a size and beauty in the animal
which half a century before was comparatively rare.

Sketch of the progressive Rise of Prices since the Thirteenth
Century^ taking 20 for the Integer or highest Sum^ and
exhibiting the other Parts by their proj^m-tion to it. [Ab-
stractedfrom a Table of Arthur Young.)







Beef and




Manufac-




Trade,


Periods.


Wheat.


Poik, from
the Books

of the
Victualling


Labour.


tures at
Green-
wich
Hospital.


Popula-
tion.


calcu-

laied

from

our Ex-






Office.






jions.


13th Century


5\




3^


_


__


_


14th ditto -


6i





44











15th ditto -


5





5}











IGth ditto -


6





5^











17th ditto -


9t





8


, —








18th ditto -


H





12^











66 years from 1701














to 1766 -


H


H


10


14^


11


5^


25 ditto from 1767














to 1789 -


11


11


12i


14


13^.


H


54 ditto from 1767














to 1800 - -


12


12^


14


15J


15J


11


14 ditto from 1790














to 1803 -


15


17


16|


15*


184


15^


7 ditto from 1804














to 1810 -


20


20


£0


20


20


20



App.] Fluctuation in the Value of Moncij. [89]

Annual Coyisumption of Gold and Sili'e?' Jbr Plate, orna-
mental Ma7iufacture, and Furniture. — Calculations of tliiv
nature have hitherto been founded on rtturns i'vom towns
which, like Geneva, were remarkable Ibr the manufacture
of watches, or like Paris and Hirmin



Online LibraryJoseph LoweThe present state of England in regard to agriculture, trade and finance; with a comparison of the prospects of England and France → online text (page 38 of 40)