« PrejšnjaNaprej »
his apparent income, and yet no de. the two, to be taxed on the same scale duction is allowed on this account. with England; but we cannot, and He must pay for burdens not his own, must not, be silent sufferers under this and for ministerial folly in which he crowning act of oppression, Ireland was no participator, an amount equal must not be permitted any longer to to that which is levied from the fund benefit by our patience and our thrift. holder or the man of acres, in the full On this part of the subject, Lord John knowledge that, when he dies, his capi- Russell is peculiarly weak. He feels, tal is buried with him, whilst that of and by implication admits, the improthe other class remains tangible and priety of the Irish exemption ; and he available by inheritance. This is took refuge from the derisive cheering another ground upon which we deci- of the House in some general, but dedly object to the continuance and useless axioms, to the effect that the augmentation of the income-tax. prosperity of Ireland involved the
But the worst and most intolerable prosperity of the United Kingdom. feature of the whole remains behind. All we can say upon that topic is, Unjustly apportioned as this tax un- that if the well-being of Britain dedoubtedly is among ourselves, the total pends upon the exertions and tranexemption of Ireland from its opera- quillity of Ireland, our existence as tion is a matter which cannot fail to a great empire at the present day may excite throughout Great Britain a be counted as the most stupendous of feeling of universal and bitter indig- modern miracles. But this, even in the nation. Ireland, as we all know, is most favourable point of view, affords already exempted from several of our no argument at all. We presume it heaviest burdens : she is by far the is admitted, that the prosperity of greatest pensioner of the public purse; Scotland has something to do with and the charities and bounties which the welfare of the United Kingdom; have been so indiscriminately lavished but are we on that account entitled upon her, are beyond all bounds dispro- to demand that the people of England portionate either to her wants or her shall bear at least one halfof our proper gratitude. But when it is seriously fiscal burdens ? The pretext is so proposed to make this tax-which is a flimsy, that we wonder how any prime class one-permanent, and to exempt minister could find courage to state from its operation all persons of pro- it in his place. This is avowedly not perty and income in Ireland, it is full a tax which is to affect the working time that we should speak out boldly, or pauper population: it does not and declare, that at all hazards we wring the pence from the hands of the shall not submit to so gross and fla- peasant. It spares all incomes under grant an injustice. This is no time £150; and are we now to be delibefor puerile remonstrance. We have rately told, when this impost is sought already borne and suffered more than to be made permanent, that the lawwe are able to endure; and we must yers, physicians, and tradesmen of not permit ourselves to be sacrificed, Dublin are to be exempted from an in order that Lord John Russell may assessment, occasioned by a general command the Irish votes ; we must defalcation of the revenue, to the not be impoverished, in order to give gross injury of their professional a new impetus to the cause of turbu- brethren who have the misfortune to lence and sedition. In particular, let reside in Edinburgh ? But we go a us impress upon our representatives, great deal further than this. We say, that this is a matter in which Scot- that if exemption is to be given to the land is vitally concerned. We have Irish landlords, a stronger case for the submitted very tamely and quietly to same immunity may be preferred in much neglect, and to a good deal of behalf of the landowners throughout palpable injustice; we have abstained the greater part of Scotland. The from making that outcry which the cruel suppression of the kelp manunotorious neglect, by each succeeding facture has long ago reduced a vast government, of our institutions and portion of the population located in foundations rendered almost a na- the Western Highlands and Islands tional duty. We have allowed our- to a state of pauperism. Poor-rates selves, though the poorer country of have been enormously increased ; and
VOL. LXIII,--NO. CCCLXXXIX.
the failure of the potato-crop was felt equally on all classes ; but when they in those districts at least as severely came to raise an income-tax of five as in Ireland. Very scanty indeed per cent, and made it part of the was the relief doled out by govern- permanent system of taxation, he ment here, at the time when large thought they were bound to make it a supplies were forced into the turbu- more equable and fair tax than it lent island; the burden of maintaining was at present. He alluded to the the poor was thrown upon our pro- different manner in which the tax prietors; and their reward is to be an pressed upon incomes derived from augmented income-tax of five per property, and from those which decent, whilst the Irish, as usual, are to pended on the exertions of individuals. go free! Really, when we consider He did not think this tax, as it was this matter in its broad and open at present imposed, could long stand bearing, the injustice appears so enor- the test of fair reasoning:" It may mous, that we can hardly bring our- be very well for the premier to state, selves to believe that it is seriously with Whig glibness, that “we prointended to perpetrate it. At all pose, therefore, to take the tax exactly events our course is clear. There can as it has been imposed in late years, be no party distinctions in such a on the same principles on which it matter as this. Whatever difference was proposed and defended by Mr of opinion may exist as to the policy Pitt, on the principles on which it was of continuing the income-tax, there increased by Lord Grenville and Lord can be none as to the propriety of its Lansdowne." He is utterly wrong, just and equal distribution throughout both in his history and in his inference. the empire. The voice of Scotland The present tax is, in its most impormust be heard upon this point, and tant features, defencible upon no loudly too, else our fragmentary repre- principle that ever was enunciated sentation is nothing more than a sha- before ; and he is mistaken if he supdow and a dream. We trust that poses that the British nation will both the counties and the towns will consider a permanent impost in the bestir themselves to oppose this medi- same light as one which was merely tated act of spoliation; and by a ready temporary. We maintain that the and uited resistance, compel the measure, as a whole, is in the highest ministry to remember that higher and degree dangerous and unconstitutional; weightier considerations than the com- but if we are compelled to submit to mand of some Irish votes are involved it as the product of wild and reckless in a question so momentous and so experiment, it is absolutely necessary vital to the whole community.
that it should be reconstructed in Indeed, if the income-tax is really accordance to the dictates of justice. to become permanent, it must be The late act was neither so framed placed upon an entirely different nor administered. Upon what prinbasis, and undergo a thorough re- ciple, we should like to know, is the vision. It cannot be suffered to pass English landed proprietor assessed in that light and easy manner which upon a rental from which all parochial Lord John Russell seems to contem- and other burdens are deducted, plate. His former colleague, Mr whilst in Scotland the landlord is Baring, feels this, and does not hesi- charged upon the gross amount ! The tate to say it. We quote from his Englishman is entitled to deduction of remarks upon the subject :-“It might poor, county, highway, church, and be very well in times of great diffi- police rates; whilst the Scotchman is culty, or in time of war, to do that very coolly handed over to the tender under the pressing necessity of the mercies of the cominissioners under circumstances, which they were pre- schedule A, and assessed to the utterpared to justify solely on the grounds most farthing! This is but one of such necessity, but which would instance of the inequality which pernot be justifiable without it. When, vades the act of 1812; and although then, they proposed for two or three it might have been passed over withyears to lay on an income-tax in out much notice in a scheme of taxatime of war, they might not be very tion which was only to last for a nice in seeing that the tax pressed limited time, it must not be suffered
to remain unaltered when a perma- to make this income-tax permanent ? nent burden is to be laid upon our —why do they ask for five years as aching shoulders. This country, far the shortest nominal term ? " Give more than Ireland, stands in need of us a fair time for the experiment !" a national association to watch over shouts the free-trader whenever he is and protect its interests.
reminded of the utter failure of his We shall not venture to anticipate scheme. But what is to be consithe reception of this most deplorable dered as a fair time? Are we to be financial statement when it is fully taxed directly, and exorbitantly, for brought before parliament. We five years, in the hope that when these fully agree
with Mr Osborne, are over some ray of our former sunwho said that, “bad there been a shine may revisit us ? or are we to regularly organised Opposition, such wait in patience, with a revenue a statement would never have been yearly dwindling, until reciprocity made. In such a case, the fact of a shall arrive for the benefit of a future minister under present circumstances generation ? The effects of the potato calling for an increase in taxation, failure are now over, railway speculawould have signed the death war- tion has subsided, nothing stands in rant of his cabinet. The present the way of free-trade to prevent us ministry, he believed, would be the from participating in all its blessings. most unpopular and the most un- If the ministry have confidence in it, fortunate who had ever sat within as they have over and over again these walls." Hard language this professed to have, why do they seek certainly, when addressed to the pro- more than the prolongation of the phets of unbounded prosperity followe present tax for another year? They ing in the wake of free-trade, but not know why. In their hearts they are more hard than true. Commercial thoroughly aware, that they have distress, unexampled bankruptcy, been led astray by a phantom; or money at a minimum rate of eight rather, that they have fostered a gross per cent, ruined colonies, and a war- delusion for the mean purpose of obtax made permanent and augmented, taining power, and the tone which have been the first-fruits of that they are now compelled to assume glorious measure which was absolutely sufficiently proves it. There is no to swamp us with an inundation of un- vaunting this time — no gay and exampled riches ! How much fur golden prophecy. All is black and ther, we may ask, is it proposed to dreary before them; and they are carry the experiment? Are the navi- trembling at the account which they gation laws to be repealed by a min- will be forced to render to the counistry which acknowledges the neces- try. Weak in purpose, they have not sity of increasing our armaments ? the courage to confess their former Which interest is next to suffer ? folly ; to own that they have been
misled by the dangerous example of “ Who else must be let blood—who else is their predecessor; and that, by derank?"
serting the older financial system What other reductions are to be made which regulated the affairs of this -what further filching from the cus- country, they are plunging the nation toms effected, in order that, in another into unheard-of difficulties, and preyear or two, a fresh direct demand paring for themselves an early, and may be made upon an isolated class certainly an inglorious fall. of the community? We have read Unhappy indeed is their position, over every part of Lord John Rus- for even the most discreditable section sell's financial statement with the ut- of their allies is upon the eve of desermost attention ; and, fully satisfied tion. Mr Cobden of course is frantic
are that the deficiency in at the idea of the smallest addition to the balance must be made good, we our armaments. He wants the counhave arrived at the conclusion that try party to join with him in a crusade the proposed measures are upon no against the army and navy, and is account whatever justifiable. Are kind enough to propose a coalition. the Whigs sincere in their belief that There is very small chance of the the free-trade experiment will pros- gentlemen of England being found in per? If they are, why do they seek any such dubious company. Betrayer