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ON the 13th of March, the chancellor of the Exchequer opened the budget. Not confining himself to the mere statement of the ways and means of the year— of the money to be expended, and the modes in which it should be raised—he took a large review of the whole financial system, particularly of the reductions which, during several successive years, had been made in taxation, and of the effect of these reductions on the productiveness of the revenue. The reduction of taxes had begun in 1816 with the repeal of the property tax. Government unquestionably had been anxious that, in the circumstances of the country, that source of revenue should have been retained for two years longer ,• the House had thought otherwise; and, whether government had been wrong or parliament right, the people gained all the advantage of the repeal of this tax, the amount of which was no less than £.1 4,320,000 In the same year (1816) there were repealed:—

The War Malt Duty 2,790,000

The War Customs, Tonnage,

&c 828,000

Hearths and Windows, Ireland 35,000

Malt and Spirits 315,000

Making a total of Taxes repealed in 1816 .£18,288,000

In 1817 there were repealed or diminished taxes in England,

which might be estimated at 280,000/. In 1818 there were remitted various assessed taxes for Ireland to the amount of 236,000/. In 1819 the policy pursued by parliament was of a different character. A very considerable increase of taxation, amounting to more than 3,000,000/. was that year made. In 1820 no change in the amount of our taxation took place. In 1821 the agricultural horse tax was remitted to the amount of 480,000/. In 1822 the following duties were taken off:—

Malt £.1,400,000

Hides 300,000

Salt 1,295,000

Tonnage duty 160,000

Hearths and Windows, Ireland 200,000

Total, repealed in 1822... .£.3,355,000

In 1823, there were repealed Various Assessed Taxes in

England £.2,250,000

Ireland, the whole 100,000

Spirits, Ireland and Scotland 800,000 Customs, Reduction in

several minor Branches.. 50,000

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In the year 1825 the following Duties were repealed:— |

Remainder of the Salt,

about ,£200,000

Hemp 100,000

Coflee.&c 150,600

Wine 900,000

British Spirits and Rum .. 1,250,000

Cyder.?. 20,000

Assessed Taxes 276,000

Customs on various minor

branches of Commerce,

amounting in all to .... 250,000

Total repealed in 1825 .... 3,146,000

So that the total of taxes repealed from 1816 to 1825, amounts to the sum of .£.30,712,000

From which must be deducted the amount of Taxes imposed in 1819 .. 3,190,000

Leaving therefore a total remission of Taxes since the year 1816 of .£.27,522,000

While twenty-seven millions of taxes had thus been reduced, that reduction, so far from affecting the revenue of the country, and diminishing the productiveness of its various branches, had, in fact, given to them new energy, and justified every anticipation. He had been accused, he said, of uttering promises of prosperity which had not been fulfilled, and holding out prospects of increasing resources which had ended in disappointment; but the results of the last three years, 1823, 1824, and 1825, would sufficiently shew, that he had erred neither in his calculations, -nor in the facts and principles on which they were made. A reference to the finance accounts would prove, that, in respect of each of them, not only were the expectations which had been held out to the House in 1823 completely realized by the event, but that they were absolutely exceeded in a degree which the most sanguine

man in the kingdom could never have had the confidence to anticipate. In 1823, upon an estimate founded on the basis of the revenue of the preceding year, he had assumed that the customs, the excise, the stamp duties, <the post office, the assessed taxes, for England and Ireland, and sundry miscellaneous items, taken together, would produce an income of about 52,200,00$. The taxes repealed in the course of that session amounted to about 3,200,OQO/. During the period of the same session, he had calculated that there would be a loss to the revenue &f 1,500,0007. arising from various causes; so that, in point 'of faet> the calculation would have been entirely verified, if the receipts for 1823 had been 1,500,0007. less than 52,200,0007. Now the actual receipts of the year were 52,018,000/., being less than the sum at which he had estimated them previously, and less, let it be observed, notwithstanding the amount of taxes repealed in that year, by the sum of 182,000/. only. In regard to the year 1823, therefore, no expectations had been held out, which were not amply fulfilled. In the following year, the revenue which he had anticipated upon the same items, was 51,265,000/. He had proposed the repeal of taxes during that twelvemonth to a very con* siderable amount, and calculated that the amount of loss, which the revenue would sustain that year, would be 530,000/. But the actual produce of the year's receipts, notwithstanding such a reduction of taxes, was positively more than the original estimate; for, the estimate being 51,265,0007., the actual produce was 53,562,000/; so that * the actual produce of 1824 yielded very nearly 1,300,0007, above the


estimate which he had formed, although a considerable reduction of taxes had taken place. Again, as to the year 1825;—the estimated revenue was 51,975,000/. On account of the taxes remitted, and other causes, he had expected that the loss upon the year's income would be somewhere about 650,000/.; and yet the actual receipt, notwithstanding the losses occasioned by the commercial difficulties that began to be felt at the latter end of 1825, was upwards of 52,250,000/., being very considerably more than the original estimate founded upon the assumption that there would be no reduction of taxes at all. The result of all these statements was, that, .

The estimated amount of revenue for the last three years taken together, was 155,440,500

The actual receipts for the same period 156,S38,500

Exceeding the Estimate therefore by 1,398,000

And yet, during these three years, taxes to the amount of no less than eight millions had been repealed. Thus, even more than what had been promised, had been performed; and it had been distinctly proved that the reduction of duties on articles of consumption had raised the produce of such duties by increasing that consumption, and had thus kept up the revenue, while it added largely to the comforts of the people. The increase of consumption in different articles in 1825, as compared with 1816, was various, but it was uniform. Some of them were as follows:

On the consumption of per cent.

Beer, the increase in 1825 was ... 16$

Candies 36

Paper «*.W

Tea 20

Leather p .^.,........ 29

Malt 50

British Spirits 53

Sugar ,. 19

Coffee 43.

Tobacco 13

Wine 8S

Wool 44

In the expense, too, of collecting the revenue, a large saving had been effected. In 1818 that expense had amounted to 4^353,000/.; in 1825 it had been reduced to 3,832,000/., being a diminution of more than half a million.

While taxation, and the cost of collecting, had been thus diminished, both the principal, and the yearly charge, of the debt had likewise been reduced. On the 5th of January, 1823, the funded debt amounted to 796,53.0,000/.; on the 5th of January, 1826, the funded debt was reduced to 778,128,000/., being a reduction, in the three years, of 18,401,000/.; or at the rate, in each year, of 6,133,000/. On the 5th of Jan. 1823, the unfunded debt was 36,281,000/.; on the 5th of Jan. 1826, it was only 31,703,000/.; being a reduction of 4,577,000/. The reduction in the total charge of the debt, is the true way of estimating the real reduction effected in the burdens of the country, rather than by looking only at the reduction in the capital of the debt. Now on the 5th of Jan. 1823, the charge on the funded debt was 28,123,000/.: on the 5th of Jan. 1826, it was only 27,117,000/.; being a reduction of 1,107,000/. On the 5th January, 1823, the interest on Exchequer • bills was l,100,000i.; on 5th Jan. 1826, it was 800,000/.; being a reduction of 300,000/. Taking both together, the charge on the funded *nd unfunded debt was on.


the:5th. Jan. 1823, 29,286,000/.; and on the 5th January, 1826, 27,946,000/. being a reduction in the annual charge of the whole debt of 1,339,000/., in three years. It was of no consequence in what manner this reduction of charge was effected, whether by the operation of the sinking fund, or by some other means; the fact of the reduction was certain; and it was by the reduction of the charge that we ought to estimate, if we wished to estimate it correctly, the reduction of the burden of the debt. "If, therefore," said the right hon. gentleman, "while the people of this country have had their burdens thus diminished, every thing has been done by government and the legislature, which the honour, the security, and the advantage of the country required ; if we have been enabled extensively to increase the means of religious worship; if we have added to the roads, the bridges, the harbours, of the kingdom; if we have spared something to the promotion of science and the arts ; and if, during the last three years, we have reduced the taxation of the country eight millions, and have diminished the expense of the debt above a million, we have at least done something, and may boldly face our constituents in whatever part of the country, and at whatever time we may be called upon to appeal to them."

With resources thus increasing under diminished taxation, and a reduced rate of expenditure, he stated, as follows, the proposed expenditure of the present year, and the funds by which it was to be met. Under the first head were many expenses of a permanent nature, which the House had already sanctioned by its vote, as follows:—

Interest and Management of

the Funded Debt .....£.27,117,186 Interest of Exchequer Deficiency Bills 50,000

Civil List, &c 2,065,000

Half-pay Annuity 2,800,000

Sinking Fund 5,585,235

Permanent Charge ..£\37,6l7,42l The Annual Votes this year in the Committee of Supply were as follows:—

Army ,£.7,747,000

Navy 6,135,000

Ordnance 1,754,000

Miscellaneous 2,225,000

Interest of Exchequer Bills 850,000

Annual Votes .18,711,000

Add the Permanent

Charge 37,617,421

The whole Expenses of — '•

the Year £.56,328,421

The Revenue calculated on for the purpose of meeting this expenditure was composed of the following items:—

First, a small item of a surplus of 1825, in the Sinking Fund now available .. ,£.167,000 The Customs and Excise .. 37,446,000

Stamps 7,400,000

Taxes 4,800,000

Post Office 1,550,000

Miscellaneous 1,360,000

£.52,723,000 Add the payments to the Trustees of Half-pay and Pensions 4,320.000

,£.57,043,000 Deduct the Expenditure .. 56,328,421 Surplus for Parliament to deal with as they mav" think fit £.714,579

The estimate of the revenue for the current year, considering the unfortunate state in which manufactures and commerce had been placed, might be considered as too high, but it was taken upon the following grounds:—The Customs and Excise yielded, in 1825, 37,546,000/.; but in that year their amount had been diminished by different causes, which, during the present year, would not be iu operation. Thus, in 1825, no less a sum than 1,050,0.00/. /of duties, had been refunded to dealers in winie upon the stock in their possession. In consequence, likewise, of the alterations in the system of bounties whjch, had Tjeen effected during tne preceding session, there would, this year be a reduction of SiQ.OOOi, 'Another, and an unforeseen , diminution of the revenue had arisen from an oversight in the new acts for simplifying the whole, system of the customs. It had been intended that the duty on tobacco should continue to be four shillings, the rate at which it stood in the beginning of the year; but by some mischance, scarcely avoidable where such a mass of scattered I and minute regulations were to be dealt with, the unintentional but practical effect of the new acts had been, that one shilling of the duty had lapsed; and the duty having thus been, for the latter half of the year, only three shillings, instead of four shillings, that branch of the revenue fell 450,000/. short of what it would otherwise have yielded. These deductions from the revenue of 1825 exceeded a million and a half; yet, as they could have no place during the present year, they ought to be added to the 37,546,000/. received independently of them in the preceding year; and the customs and excise would present, for 1826, a revenue of 39,096,000/. But as, in the present state of the country, still labouring under the pressure which it had felt for so many months, it would be unwise and improvident to calculate on a 'revenue equally large with that of 1825, all the items had been taken

below their proceeds in the last year, and due allowance made for other unavoidable deficiencies. There would be a deficiency of 350,000/. arising from the reduction of taxes in 1825, and a deficiency of about 1,300,000/., in the excise, produced by diminished consumption. Allowance for all this had been made in the estimates; and the stamps, the postoffice, and the assessed taxes, had all been taken at lower rates than they had yielded last year, the stamps being estimated at 48,000/., the post office at 46,000/., and the assessed taxes at 190,000/., less than had been received from them in 1825. On the other hand the miscellaneous items had increased. A sum of 100,000/. was due from Holland, under a treaty with that government, and ought to have been paid in 1825. It had not been paid; but, having been now remitted, it would go to the service of the current year. About 108,000/. would be received from lotteries; for, although the last lottery had been contracted for two or three years ago, its existence was protracted, in consequence of the usual course of conducting lotteries, for two or three years after they had been contracted for. In consequence of an arrangement with the East-India company, that corporation had become bound to pay 60,000/. in consideration of an increase of our naval force for- the security of their possessions. The new silver coinage for Ireland had cost the country last year 500,000/.: in the present year the old coin would come back, and be available for the public service, to the amount it was calculated, of about 400,000/. With these additions to the usual revenue, making every allowance for the probable depres

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