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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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sure similar to that of the expediency or inexpediency of
war taxes; and if the war was a season of large profits,
it was evidently politic to make it bear as large a portion as
possible of our burdens. It is in a consideration of this
nature, and not in the imaginary advantage of compound
interest, that we are to seek for a justification of the mea-
sure of providing a surplus revenue ; we mean for a coun-
terpoise to the sacrifice with which it may easily be shewn
to have been attended.

The nomiyial Sinking Fund. — Our sinking fund exhibit-
ed until the late change a surplus, which, for illustration,
we shall call 17,000,000/., and the revenue at the same
time a deficiency which we shall term 12,000,000/. It
M'as for some time a question whether the better plan was
to leave the 17,000,000/. to operate in weekly purchases
for the redemption of stock, and supply the revenue defi-
ciency by a loan, or to adopt the more simple course of
receiving from the sinking fund the 12,000,000/., and con-
fining the redemption purchases of the commissioners to
5,000,000/. This gave rise to considerable discussion
after 1815, the former plan being maintained by the con-
verts to the doctrine of compound interest, the believers
in the arithmetical wonders of Dr. Price. But in 1819
ministers consented to adopt the latter course, and found in
it (see Ricardo on the Funding System, in Napier's Supple-
ment to the Encyclopaedia Britannica,) a degree of advan-
tage which may be said to have given the first blow to the
complex plan of paying with one hand, while we borrowed
with the other.

The topic was again brought under discussion in the ses-
sion of 1822, in the debates on the plan for converting our
half-pay and pensions into long annuities. On that occa-
sion Mr. Vansittart, unwilling to part with the semblance
after he had relinquished the substance of the sinking fund,
urged for a time the expediency of making the requisite
loans from the public, but was at last persuaded to follow
the direct course, and to admit of the loans being made



App.] On Finance. [103]

from the portion of revenue at his clisj)osaI. This plan has
been confirmed by ISIr. Robinson ; so that tiie sinkinp; fand
is now divested of its complexity, and brouendix lo the volume, entitled

" All Classes productive."

" In a visit which I made to your country last year, I
confess I did not find such striking or brilliant results.
Travelling partly with a view to ascertain how far the doc-
trines, which I had deduced from the facts around me in
our island, as well as from information, agreed with the
facts found in so populous a state as France-, I scrutiui/cil
as narrowly as I could the circumstances of the j)opulation.
Considering the extension of buildings, and an improvement
in their style, which show the increase of ])opulation com-
bined with the concomitant increase of wealth, as the surest
symptoms of a thriving country, I paid particular attention
to your towns and villages in these points, and am sorry to
say, I saw no progress whatever. I have no recollection
of any strictly additional buildings : the only new buildings
which I perceived were in some villages that had been partly
destroyed in tiie conflicts with the invading armies. Jn
truth, though we alM) are sufllring from an unusual stag-
nation, I found, at my return, more new houses going on
in the petty suburb of London, Camden Town, and its
neighbourhood, than I had seen in the whole of my route
through France. Every town and every village -H-emcd
stationary. I own, however, I found nnich of what I ex-
pected, on my principles, from a state so long well peopled.
There was an appearance of wealth, though, in genernl, it
is true, but of little cajiital. ^'ollr soil is almoM univcr?ally
under cultivation, but, with some exception*, in a very in-
ferior style. Your people arc generally employed and busy,

[Hj



[106] On Finance. (Ai*P.

vet iiol very cncctively. Though the population of Frande
i)e to tliat of Eufrlnnd only as about 1.50 to 230 per square
niilo, France seems to be at a still more considerable rate
behind our island in capital, and the results of active capital.
In several statistical points we have got the start of a full
century before you."



THE LND.



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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 40 of 40)