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experience, that a church supported by political power, and dependent on that support, is the best antidote to the active influence of religion, which they choose to regard as a dangerous and disturbing element in society; and in paying their homage and lending their protection to a state-religion, whether it be that of Jupiter, or that of the Anglican Church, they are actuated partly by this view, and partly by the belief that the clergy are useful as a police. The kingdom of the Author of Christianity, after all, is not a kingdom of this world ; nor can the kingdoms of this world be made those of the Author of Christianity by the process of political legislation, though they may, and as we believe, will be in the end, by a process of religious conversion.
FINANCIAL REFORM AND FINANCIAL PRODIGALITY.
A SPEECH DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 1861.
W. E. GLADSTONE. WHEN I think of those extensive changes in taxation, that have been accomplished in the last three years, and at other recent periods, perhaps I may be permitted, by way of relieving a monotonous discussion, and for the purpose of illustrating a yet more important subject, to quote an author whose very name gives life and animation to every topic on which he wrote ; I mean Sydney Smith ; one who, in a rare, perhaps in an almost unequalled degree, seasoned his wisdom with wit, and exalted his wit with wisdom. He placed on record, forty-two years ago, a passage that enables us in some degree to judge of the immense transition we have effected, with regard to our fiscal and commercial system.
In 1820, Sydney Smith wrote an article in the Edinburgh Review, since published in his collected works. In that article he warned our American brethren of what would happen to them, if, for the sake of glory, they should be induced to rush into costly and protracted war. And certainly when we compare his warning, to the very letter, with what is now passing in this year of 1862—when we look to the very items and clauses of that tax-bill which is now under the consideration of the American Congress, a more remarkable prediction can hardly be conceived. I must not quote the whole passage, for it is too long; but the general spirit and
FINANCIAL REFORM AND FINANCIAL PRODIGALITY. 339 purport of it is this, that he warns America, by pointing to the then state of England. He says :
66 We can inform brother Jonathan what are the inevitable consequences of being too fond of glory,_taxes upon every article which enters into the mouth, or covers the back, or is placed under the foot,-taxes upon everything which it is pleasant to see, hear feel, smell, or taste,-taxes upon warmth, ligh, and locomotion,taxes on everything on the earth, and the waters under the earthon everything that comes from abroad, or is grown at home,_taxes on the raw material,—taxes on every fresh value that is added to it by the industry of man,taxes on the sauce that pampers
man's appetite, and the drug that restores him to health—on the ermine which decorates the judge, and the rope that hangs the criminal
on the poor man’s salt, and the rich man's spice-on the brass nails of the coffin, and the ribbons of the bride.”
I believe that that passage, which told the literal truth as to England at that moment, is, if what we now read be true, about to be verified in a country hitherto almost, if not wholly, exempt from any internal tax for the purposes of its general government. Let us now see how far that passage, so just, so vivid, and so accurate at the time when it was written, applies to our present state. There were then written on our statute-book, taxes on the the raw material ; now there are, as I may say, no taxes on raw material. There were taxes on every fresh value added to it by the industry of man; now there are no taxes on the fresh value added to it, in any branch of production, by the industry of
There were taxes on the sauce which pampers man's appetite ; now there is no tax on sauce, and man may pamper his appetite as he pleases. There were taxes on the drug that restored him health ; now there is no tax on drugs, and he may get well as quickly as he can. There were taxes on the ermine which decorates the judge ; now that ermine is free. There were taxes on the
rope which hangs the criminal ; now that rope is free. There were taxes on the poor man's salt ; now that salt is free. There were taxes on the rich man's spice ; now that spice is free. There were taxes on the brass nails of the coffin ; now those brass nails are free. There were taxes on the ribbons of the bride, and let her wind up the procession ; her ribbons, also, now are free. Such have been the changes effected in our indirect and protective taxation ; changes which, in setting free our industry, have left
our revenue from Customs and Excise, actually larger than it was at the time when we began the process of abolition and reduction.
Now, sir, it is impossible for me to conclude a financial survey of the affairs of the country, without some reflections upon its general condition. And in referring to that general survey, I must in the first place tender the expression of my gratitude, for the kindness and patience with which the committee have followed me, through what I may almost call a wilderness of figures.
Sir, as respects the connection between the general condition of the country and its financial state, I must say the reflections which this picture before us suggests are satisfactory. But, sir, after all our reductions, we have seen this country, during the last few years, under a burden of taxation such as, out of a European war, it was never before called upon to bear ; we have also seen it recently under the pressure of a season of blight, such as but few living men can recollect. Yet, looking abroad over the face of England, no one is sensible of any signs of decay. Least of all can such an apprehension be felt with regard to those attributes, which perhaps are the highest of all, and on which, most of all, depends our national existence, the spirit and courage of the country. It is almost needless to say that neither the sovereign on the throne, nor the nobles and the gentry that fill the place of the gallant chieftains of the Middle Ages, nor the citizens who represent the invincible soldiery of Cromwell, nor the artizans or peasantry, who are the children of those sturdy archers that drew the cross-bows of England on the fields of France,—that none of these betray either inclination or tendency to depart from the tradition of their forefathers. If there be any one danger which has recently in an especial manner beset us, I confess that that danger has seemed to me to lie, during recent years, chiefly in an increased susceptibility to excitement, in our proneness to constant and apparently almost boundless augmentations of expenditure, and in the consequences that are associated with them. For my own part, I am deeply convinced that all excess in the public expenditure beyond the legitimate wants of the country, is not only a pecuniary waste, but a great political, and, above all, a great moral evil. It is a characteristic, sir, of the mischiefs which arise from financial prodigality, that they creep onwards with a noiseless and a stealthy step ; that they commonly remain unseen and unfelt, until they
have reached a magnitude absolutely overwhelming ; and then at length we see them, such and so great as they now appear to exist in the case of one at least among the great European states,I mean the empire of Austria ; so fearful and menacing in their aspect, and so large in their dimensions, that they seem to threaten the very
foundations of national existence. Sir, I do trust that the day has come when a check is beginning, among ourselves, to be put to the movement in this direction. The spirit of our people is excellent. There never was a nation in the whole history of the world more willing to bear the heavy burdens under which it lies,—more generously disposed to overlook the errors of those who have the direction of its affairs. And, for my own part, I hold that if this country can steadily and constantly remain as wise in the use of her treasure, as she is unrivalled in its production, and as moderate in the exercise of her strength, as she rich in its possession, then we may well cherish the hope that there is yet reserved for England a great work to do on her own part, and on the part of others, and that for many a generation yet to come, she will continue to hold a foremost place among the nations of the world.
THE POLITICS OF CHRISTIANITY.
EDWARD MIALL. UNDERNEATH the surface of Christianity-altogether out of the sight of those whose search has not been pushed beneath the letter-not to be got at without laborious and well-directed thought, there lie, in richest abundance, veins of practical wisdom applicable to all the serious purposes of life, and capable of being turned to account in all the departments of human conduct. Great is the mistake of those who fancy that revealed truth casts light upon man, upon his powers, his rights, his relationships, and his duties, only in that aspect of his being which looks towards eternity. That, no doubt, is the main object for which it was given ; but, in accomplishing its chief end, it could hardly, in the nature of things, fail of securing many that are secondary only, and incidental. Tell us the grand secret of the Divine administration as it affects our race, and you tell us, by implication, all the lesser secrets which have relation to its government. Show us what man is, what position he holds, and what he is meant to be-show us this upon authority which cannot be impeached, and you put us in possession of materials which, fairly applied, will lead to the discovery of every principle by which he may most successfully be managed. Hence, reason would teach us to look into Christianity for the germ of every human right, the primitive elements of every human obligation. That field, so glorious to look upon, overlies many a hidden treasure ; and, until our philosophy has learned to dig into its bowels for the ore of truth, not a little of the substantial worth of Christianity will remain neglected, because unknown.
There are men, we know, and those, we fear, not a few, who regard religion and politics, much as Englishmen, in days happily gone by, were taught to look upon their neighbours across the straits, as "natural enemies.”
A temporary and hollow truce between them is the largest extent of agreement they can tolerate. Christian principles carried into the domain of civil government by Christian men, they treat as a blunder closely bordering upon crime—a rash and unwarranted adventure at best, which, in most cases, is meetly punished by a loss of spirituality and a shipwreck of character. “ Touch not, taste not, handle not,” is the pith of their advice in reference to all political movements. And worldly statesmen, wise in their generation, have heartily echoed back the cry. The maxims by which they are governed, the devices to which they resort, the ends they propose, must needs, in order to pass muster, be referred to any standard rather than that furnished by revelation. No doctrine could more exactly suit their purposes than that which releases them from the necessity of harmonising their proceedings with the claims of divine truth.
Strip this notion of the cant and conventionalism in which it is commonly dressed, and you have before you one of the ugliest absurdities to which intelligent minds have at any time done homage. What is it but this ? That the love of God and man which Christianity begets in the heart, shall exert no moral influence over the course of civil government—that true religion which exalts and helps and cleanses human conduct in every other sphere, which sweetens all social relationships and regulates all earthly responsibilities, must leave the department of magistracy untouched-that the citizen must lay by his piety in order to the