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is called a sinecure place; that is, a place bearing a name that carries with it a supposition of substantive duties to be executed, for which a salary is awarded, whereas, in fact, there are no such duties. The government and parliament have, therefore, taken a sound and judicious course, in abolishing for the future the maintenance of such anomalies;—yet when analysed, they are neither more nor less than pensions. Now that unnecessary pensions ought to be discontinued, whenever circumstances admit of such discontinuance without personal injury to the party, and breach of public faith, is strictly a truism; but to suppose that a great state, like this of Great Britain, can be carried on without the principle of pension and retiring allowance, after a series of irreproachable public services, is to dream of an Utopian state of things, which no man of common sense and honesty will maintain to be practicable.

With respect to the national debt, although it is scandalous to assure the people that it is not in the debt, but in the sinecurists that they may find the cause of whatever public pressure arises from taxation, yet he must be a bold man, and of very perverse and oblique morality, who would counsel any reduction of the interest of that debt, for which the nation is as much pledged as private debtors are for their own personal debts;-a reduction which, should it ever take place, would be contemporaneous with the annulment of private, as well as of public, credit, and involve in its consequences the dissolution of all national honour and greatness.

The effect, after all, of the national debt on the general internal circumstances of the country, and on the intercourse between man and man involved in all the transactions of business, is not, perhaps, as correctly understood as might be expected, in a country where a national debt has so long existed.— If an individual has a rental of 5,000l. per annum, and pays, in direct or indirect taxes, 1,000l. per annum, which he would not pay but for the existence of the national debt, he is, in point of fact, not the possessor of 5,000l. per annum, but of 4,000l. If a servant receives twenty pounds wages, and pays, in direct or indirect taxation, twenty per cent., in point of fact his real wages are only sixteen pounds instead of twenty. If this illustration were pursued, it would be found that every person, the payer of direct or indirect taxes, must be so much the poorer in consequence of this national debt; but nevertheless that-admitting, for the sake of argument, that the debt could be so adjusted, that every man should only pay a certain amount, which should be exactly twenty per cent.,-all parties would remain in the same relative positions towards each other, as if no debt existed. Now, let the case be supposed-that, in a country where no taxes exist,

a proprietor of land has a rental of 5,000l. a-year, and a mortgage of 20,000l. at five per cent. upon his property-he would be precisely in the same situation as an English landlord, whose real income would be 4,000l. and not 5,000l. per annum. The effect, therefore, of the national debt, if it could be duly adjusted, would be to make every member of the community nominally poorer, as to real income, but yet to keep all of them equally rich with respect to each other; and this most important condition must be remembered, that the debt would exclusively fall on those parties who paid taxes, directly or indirectly. If population were not redundant,-if the demand for the services of the labouring classes were proportioned to the supply of labour-those classes would suffer the least from the operation of the national debt, because they would secure themselves by an adequate rate of wages from any burden of the debt, which could fall on them beyond their fair share, as direct or indirect payers of taxes. But when population is redundant, they have no compensating remedy of this sort.

The main inconvenience arising from the national debt consists in the utter impossibility, with any ingenuity of legislation, of adjusting the different proportions of that debt, which particular classes should in equity contribute, so permanently, as not to admit of occasional dislocations of such contributions; for, of course, when from such dislocation, in itself unavoidable, any one class is called upon to pay more, in point of fact, of the general debt than its own fair share, the distress and injury of all who belong to it must be the result. It is perfectly well known that every human being sustains a weight of air of great magnitude, but that, from the equality of the pressure on every part of his body, he moves about as if the pressure did not exist. The moment, however, that that uniform and balanced pressure is removed from any one part, then it is that the weight of the atmosphere is felt, and, as every person conversant with the elements of natural philosophy knows, would, if suffered long, injure, if not destroy the human frame. This analogy would be applicable at all points to the national debt, if that debt were not in its essence an evil; for if the debt could be adjusted to every person with that mathematical accuracy with which nature has adjusted the pressure of the air, it is not a paradox to say that much of the inconvenience of the debt would cease to be felt. But the main and the essential evil lies behind; it is this: that under a system of national debt, a thousand circumstances require to be directed by legislation, which would find their own level without legislation, but for the existence of this universal mortgage; and nothing is more to be regretted than




that the speculative remedies suggested by ingenious men for thè annihilation of the debt, by a concurrent sacrifice on the part of all classes of the community, involve measures infinitely more complicated, even than those which are necessary for adjusting the practical inconveniences inseparable from its existence.

The people are told that the true secret is, to reduce establishments to the level of 1792. Will any of these reasoners give a satisfactory answer to a very simple question Why is the period of 1792 to be especially selected? If Mr. A. or Mr. B. contend in favour of 1792, may not Mr. C. or Mr. D. equally contend that, to maintain the period of 1792, is to justify a period of extravagant expenditure-that either he or his ancestor protested in the strongest terms, at that period, against the enormous and lavish prodigality which characterized that establishment and assure the people that 1765 is the period which should be taken as the standard? But behold-Mr. E. or Mr. F. rises upon him, inveighs with equal violence against the enormity of his proposition, and takes us back to the standard of the Peace of Utrecht. It is pitiable that any class of the people of this country should be the dupes of such sophistry. Let us take the establishment of one of the principal banking-houses in London, which in the year 1792 had only five clerks, and which has now more than forty. Introduce a modern clamourer for retrenchment into this most respectable house, let him address the firm, and tell them that they must immediately make a reduction of twenty or thirty clerks, which will produce a current saving of 3,000l. or 4,000l. per annum. He would be told that it is undoubtedly true that a saving of salaries would be produced, but that the business of the house would be so contracted under such a reduction, that a very considerable loss of profits must be incident to the experiment. Would the prying economist persevere in his recommendation? No; but he will persevere in a proposition precisely similar with respect to the public expenditure, because he knows that here he has the passions of the populace on his side, and that in proportion as he can succeed in juggling and deceiving them, he has the chance to carry, through the means of passion and prejudice, measures which sober reason would not permit him to maintain for an instant. Let us compare the ratio between the clerks of the banking-house in 1792 and in 1826. What is the reason of that increase? The expansion of public wealth of capital of commerce of communication; in other words, the multiplication of general riches: and is it to be supposed that those circumstances which influence private commerce, do not necessarily affect public expenditure, and the extent of public business?

business? Will a modern economist accept the analogy between the increase of private commercial establishments and of government establishments in departments? If he does, he will find that the former have increased in an infinitely greater ratio than the latter. And what is the consequence? The duties of office wear men down, and destroy their physical and mental strength, in the hopeless endeavour to meet the extended range of public service with the means which are now supplied them of executing the public purpose.


To return to our scale-Column No. 18 represents the taxes repealed since the battle of Waterloo: this is No. 4 of the Appendix to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer-and the whole sum is 27,522,000l. This shows the extent of reduction of establishments which the government have accomplished since the termination of the war: for the taxation remitted had been employed in the maintenance of establishments either temporary or permanent. That in some instances those reductions have been carried into effect beyond the extent which the true policy of the country required, we do not entertain the slightest doubt; and that increase of establishments has been withholden which the public service also required, we are equally satisfied can be proved to be the case; but we are entirely prepared to admit that, under the difficulties to which the government have been exposed in the House of Commons, they had no other alternative than that of effecting the reductions in question. But having reduced establishments to the very lowest minimum, which the interests of the country will in any shape allow, would they now be justified in infringing on that minimum? We answer, unquestionably not; and we are willing to hope that-when the total fallacy of those arguments has been exposed, in which the people are told that further encroachments on establishments are to produce an effectual relief from the inconvenience to which a dislocated state of trade and commerce, combined with a redundant labouring population, has given rise-the good sense of parliament will protect the public interest from the incalculable injury which might otherwise await it.

We are of opinion that the government would best consult its own dignity and the interests of the country, by invariably receiving in silence, and moving the previous question upon, propositions for a reduction of taxation made by their opponents in parliament, which did not at the same time point out specifically those reductions in the establishments of the country which would render such a remission of taxes practicable. The theory which now seems to prevail is, that the duty of the House of Com

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mons is to reduce taxation, and to leave to the government the task of selecting such discontinuance of establishments as may make the financial expenditure of the country square with the proposed reduction of the revenue. Those persons who are conversant with the details of parliamentary proceedings, will confirm the statement, that it frequently happens that members of parliament, who have supported the government in their votes for establishments, have subsequently joined in a vote proposing a reduction of taxation which must involve one or other of these two alternatives either a reduction of those very establishments which they themselves had voted, or a reduction of the interest paid to the public creditor. Who would dare to imply that reductions of establishments are not to be proposed? Let them be proposed -but let the onus of supplying the details of the manner in which the reductions are to be made to effect a certain saving safely, fall on those who propose them.

For example, above the Number 13, in our scale, will be seen the proportionate effect of reducing ten regiments. If the consequence of that reduction were distinctly understood to be that of withdrawing the military from a manufacturing district, where the starving and irritated weavers were contemplating from day to day opportunities for destroying machinery a very different effect would be produced on the minds of members interested in that district, from what we find to take place under the case of a general vote for a repeal of taxes, where the result is supposed to extend to any particular district, in an indirect and unimportant manner only.

Another mode of deceiving the public on the subject of taxation, is to collect together certain items, such as pensions or salaries of public servants, and to represent their amount as levied on a small local district. Thus, for example, it is shown that a certain district pays taxes, direct or indirect, to the amount of 1,000l. per annum; and some individual pension of 1,000l. is taken as if it were chargeable on that particular district. If it were possible to remit taxation altogether with respect to any particular district, there might be some speciousness in this. Let us suppose a district of one equable level to be overflowed, and the water upon it to be estimated at sixty millions of hogsheads; let it also be supposed that the effect of this inundation raises the water ten inches over the whole level.-Now, if any detached part of the level could be covered with a caisson, from which the water might be pumped out, undoubtedly, by the removal of one or two millions of hogsheads, a part of the district might be left dry. But if that were impossible, what would be the effect of subtracting


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