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from excessive taxation, of economising the use of manual labour in every possible way, the expense of which, in this country, would have driven us from foreign markets, if the cost of production had not been considerably cheapened by the substitution of machinery, as ingenious as it has been efficacious in enabling us to compete with the countries around us, in which the prices of the necessaries of life are so much below that of our own.
Admitting, however, for the sake of argument, that if we had maintained the system of finance which our author advocates, and with the continuance of low prices, and such improvements in machinery as might intermediately have taken place, our commerce had extended itself to the point which it has now attained, and that we could have avoided many of the expensive contests in which we have been involved, or disengaged ourselves from them with credit the moment they became burdensome; it does not follow as a consequence from this reasoning, now that our taxes have attained to an amount which our author cuntends could never have been the case under a system of direct taxation, that the adoption of such a system, under such circumstances, in the manner and to the extent recommended by him, would be safe or expedient. So far from this, we have great doubts whether the discontent which it would engender among the influential classes, upon whom the burden would principally fall, would not lead to the adoption of measures for the violent extinction of the national debt, in view to their relief, which our author would deprecate as well as ourselves, and the country thus become involved in the horrors of a revolution, which it is the object of his measure to avoid. There is this essential difference between direct and indirect taxation; the payment under the latter system is, to the individual, apparently voluntary, and he is scarcely sensible of the extent of his contribution, in the several purchases he makes; while the payer of direct taxes is sensibly and inconveniently reminded of the extent of what he has to pay every time the collector applies to him for it.
Our author may style this a selfish feeling on the part of the upper classes, but it is inseparable from human nature; and, if an indirect taxation has attained to an amount which direct taxation could never on this account have reached, it might be a hazardous experiment to impose suddenly an extent of direct taxation, which probably could not have been realized, however gradually and cautiously
the attempt under a different state of circumstances might have been made.
Even allowing that such an amount of direct taxation as is recommended could now be imposed without the hazard of serious discontent, we are convinced in our own minds that so sudden and important a change could not be made without serious inconvenience to individuals, and a derangement of the trade and commerce of the country, from the effects of which it might be difficult to recover it. The most serious of the evils which the labouring classes of this country have to endure at present, is the want of employment, arising from an excessive population, encouraged as it has been by an allowance to the labourer in proportion to the number of children which he has to maintain, from the poor rates, for which his wages should and would probably have provided, if so fatal an expedient had not been resorted to. As far as the labouring classes could be employed on their present scale of wages, under the altered system, the change for them would undoubtedly prove most beneficial; for it would bestow upon them many comforts to which they have hitherto been strangers. But it is clear, that with the abstraction of so large a sum from the pockets of the rich, there would be a failure in the demand from that quarter for many articles, which give employment and provide sustenance for many families of the labouring classes, who would either be thrown out of employ, or by their competition effect such a reduction in the amount of wages, as would materially reduce the benefit the labouring classes would otherwise have derived from a diminution of the indirect taxation on articles of necessary consumption. During this transition, in view to an adjustment of prices consequent to the change of system, much individual distress, if not serious discontent, would ensue, until the wages of labour had reached the level appropriate to the new order of things; which, if the population were not excessive, would ultimately stop at an amount that would prove advantageous to the receiver; but with the competition of those who would in the first instance probably be thrown out of employ, and of those who under the present system are seeking it, there is some reason to doubt, whether, with our present amount of population, the change would in the end be so beneficial to the working classes as might otherwise be supposed.
These considerations lead us to think that a change of so important a character should, if introduced at all, be made
gradually; and that the taxes to be remitted, and the rates of impost to be substituted, should not, in the first instance, and for some time, at least, exceed a half, or even a fourth of what our author has proposed; and if the partial adoption of the scheme were attended with success, a further portion of the indirect taxation could be removed, and of the direct impost substituted, to as great an extent as might then be found to be practicable.
We should conceive that this, upon the whole, would be a preferable course to that which our author has proposed, for it would be attended with less hazard, and enable the government to stop short at the point at which, from the experience gained, a further change might not be deemed beneficial. At the same time, we must say, with all the admissions which we have made in favour of the scheme, we entertain serious doubts of its practicability, and are not satistied whether its ultimate effect might not be to discourage the accumulation of capital in this country, and lead to its transfer and employment in other countries, where it would not be so heavily taxed, and might be more beneficially employed. The payment, for instance, of a sum of 2,5001. in direct taxation, out of a capital yielding a profit of 10,0001. annually, and of 60001. a year out of a capital yielding a profit of 20,0001., would be regarded by the owners as a serious hardship, and might in the end lead to some such consequences as our fears lead us to anticipate.
We however think so well of the pamphlet as to recommend it to the serious perusal of our readers, and especially to the attentive consideration of such whose experience may enable them to trace the probable consequences of the scheme, to which we have no pretensions. We should think also, that it would be well for our author himself to consider his scheme in the point of view in which it is here presented to him; some of the difficulties in the way of its execution, at which we have hinted, not being glanced at in the statement into which he has entered in support of his views.
The following monthly magazines in the Welsh language have come under our notice during the last quarter.
Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd. Wesleyan printing-office, Llanidloes. This publication is, as far as we can learn, the oldest Welsh periodical in the Principality. It was commenced in the year 1808, and has now reached its twenty-fifth annual volume.
Gwyliedydd. Sanderson, Bala. This publication is exclusively conducted by members of the established church.
Seren Gomer. Evans, Carmarthen. The “Seren' was originally established by Harris of Swansea, as a weekly newspaper; and for a considerable time met with a very extensive circulation; but, at the termination of the war, political excitement and curiosity having subsided, it was discontinued as a newspaper, and, in 1818, resumed under its present form. It is now in its sixteenth volume, and is one of the most popular periodicals in the Welsh language. Its monthly issue exceeds two thousand copies. Gwladgarwr. Seacome, Chester. Dysgic dydd Crefyddol. Pugh, Dolgelly. Greal y Bedyddwyr. Jenkins, Cardiff.
Efangylydd. Rees, Llandovery. For excellence of typographical execution, this work does honour to the Principality, and may compete with any periodical in the kingdom. Messrs. Rees have, with the most exemplary public spirit, set up in their native place a printing establishment, such as few provincial towns can boast of, and which is chiefly employed in the promoting of Cambrian literature.
Drysorfa. Parry, Chester.
A Penny Magazine for Children, commenced in 1825 at Llanfaircaereinion.
CONTENTS OF THE LAST NUMBERS OF THE FOLLOWING WELSH
Gwladgarwr. Divinity, Astronomy, Natural History, Biography, Logic, Poetry, Varieties, &c.
Seren Gomer. Lander's Tour to Africa, Treatise on the Effects of Practice, &c.
Efangylydd. History of Athanasius, Bible Society, Ancient Biography, Education, Biography-Rev. Rowland Hill, Religion in America, Good Memory, Biography-Dafydd Morris, History of the Lioness.
Gwyliedydd. Memoirs of the late Rev. Griffith Jones, Llandovror; Letter from America ; Ancient History; Natural History
of Birds ; History of the Parish of Llanferras, Denbighshire; Sayings of the late Robert Hall; the Last Hours of Dr. Johnson; Agriculture; Slave Trade; Contents of the Red Book of Hengist; Oxford on Happiness ; The Land beneath the Sea.
Pregethau y Parch. C. Evans. Evans, Carmarthen. Sermons by the Rev. C. Evans, to be completed in two hundred numbers. The author has for many years been a popular preacher among the Baptists in Wales, and, as his ministry has been conducted chiefly in the Welsh language, we may conclude that these discourses exhibit a fair specimen of his style, which, we understand, is highly impressive.
Pregethau ar wahanol achosion, fc. A Welsh Translation of Wesley's Sermons, by E. Jones, Llanidloes. This work, which professes to be a literal translation of the original, is given in a plain and perspicuous, and at the same time not inelegant style. It will be completed in twenty-three numbers.
Drych y Cymunwr. Jones, Caernarvon. A Treatise on the Holy Communion, by Hugh Pugh, Llandrillo, Edeyrnion. Printed by the Cymmrodorion Society.
Cofiant byr am rai o'r dynion enwocaf a aned yn Nghymru. Hughes, London. Printed by the Cymmrodorion.
A Biographicul Sketch of Eminent Men born in Wales subsequent to the Reformation. By Robert Williams, Esq.
Cyfarch difrifol Gweinidog o'r Eglwys Sefydledig at ei blwyfolion. An earnest Address of a Minister of the Established Church to his Parishioners. Gee, Denbigh.
Rhai o ragoriaethau Eglwy Loegr. Saunderson, Bala. A Sermon, by the Rev. J. W. Cunningham, translated into Welsh by the Rev. George Phillips, Holywell.
Traethodau, fc. Tracts on Church Discipline, by the late Rev. J. P. Davies, Tredegar.
The Rev. John Jones (Tegid,) Christ church, Oxford, is busily engaged in transcribing the Poems of Lewis Glyn Cothi, which the Cymmrodorion Society of London intend to publish. The same society have a competent person employed investigating the collections in the British Museum, and preparing a catalogue of all the Welsh documents preserved in that grand depositary, which they also intend to publish.
Messrs. Rees have it in contemplation to publish an edition of Canwyll y Cumry.
CALEDONIAN PRESS. Donald Gregory, Esq. Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, has been for some years engaged in preparing A History of the Western Highlands, and the Hebrides during the 16th and 17th Centuries.
Mr. L. Mac Lean, of Glasgow, hon. member of the Ossianic Club, has published a History of the interesting Island of lona.