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La Fitte says,
proportion of the oppression; yet I wish at least a fourth of the fraud removed at the first alienation of each portion, and a second fourth at the second alienation of each portion.
England has given the model of the finest financial institutions;" to which it may be replied, with truth and honesty, that nearly every large sum it has borrowed, if done by private individuals, would, by the laws of that same “ England,”. absolve the debtor on the payment of the first dividend, and render the creditor liable to pay, as a debt, double the amount he had advanced as a loan; also that such conduct as loan-mongers exhibit towards needy governments, would in the affairs of private life fix on their characters an odium which the riches of a Crosus, or the talents of a Bacon, would in vain attempt to wipe off. Some of the readers of these pages may have read or heard of an odious character of the name of Chartres, one of the most execrated perhaps in English legend, if not English annal. The habitual offence for which his name has been more particularly abhorred was, that he exacted more than lawful fees from the poor and others that came in contact with the magisterial jurisdiction, to whose court he was a servant; thus he oppressed them and enriched himself by taking unlawful fees ; what less does the loan-monger? and, though innocent of the turpitude of the transgression, the fundholder ? indeed, in some sense, the loan-monger was worse than Chartres, for many of his victims might have kept out of his clutches by avoiding crime, but the tax-payer is (as such) an honourable member of society, however poor; so that neither has any crime of his caused his oppression, nor could any prudence on his part have averted it. But the nation is considered by too many fair game, yet is the nation the real tangible debtor? What is meant by the nation in this case but the population, and who pay
the bulk of the taxes ? The
and labouring classes, and the middle classes, particularly the parents of large families. Yet, because the nation is so rich and powerful, burthens are laid on by one side too often without mercy or judgment; and evaded by the other as though there were no dishonour or dishonesty in cheating the government or deceiving its agents. From these and other causes we see, and the spectacle is lamentable, the most conscientious and interesting government on earth (unless its own child in America can vie with it), the most morally powerful, and the most physically powerful, yet struggling with its finances twice a-year, like an insolvent tradesman, or a young spendthrift, beyond the last shred of his own proper resources. But if it were resolved in that quarter which can give a tangible and operative existence to such a resolution, that our finances should no longer be smothered in sophistry, or made the vehicles of fraud, deception, and oppression, some practicable means of improvement might be readily proposed. For has there existed any period of England's annals more favourable in her external relations, or internal and colonial state, for economy, than the present peace throughout its period hitherto has ? Yet the debt appears to remain nearly the
would be very surprising with our increased drunkenness, theft, recklessness of character, and other too obvious and wide-spreading evils ; either of those would probably place our finances in disorganization from the unnatural, and then, probably, insupportable burthens of the debt, borne chiefly by those on whose labour, and by those on whose direction the productive powers of the nation depend. In the last few years of the war the debt was doubled, and was expended in hurling millions of our brethren unbidden into the presence of Him whom to contemplate, even with hope and joy, sometimes fills one with unspeakable awe; the millions of widows and children also, and their sufferings, too full for imagination to grasp, and too extensive for calculation to estimate, must needs make any feeling heart sorrowful to think of. May no such horrors be repeated! Yet other and great expenses may fall on the country from the need of emigration and other causes; it is, however, consolatory to observe that the taste for war is dying rapidly away. Now if an equitable arrangement could be proposed
and carried, would it not then become unworthy the general candour and honour of our government to go on thus paying more than they owe as interest, with considerable probability that at no very distant period the debt may become altogether too heavy to carry; that those who have hitherto been supported by it must get away as well as they can, some succeeding and others crushed, while the unwieldly mass lies a disgrace on our history, and a warning not to trust the most honourable race of kings that ever swayed a sceptre ? Although if things go on smoothly with us for CENTURIES, we might, had we not to provide for the removal of the excess of an overwhelming population, gradually get rid of the bulk of the debt; yet if the past may be taken in the least degree as a sample of the future, there seems, without an equitable arrangement, no reasonable hope but that the debt will burst some time or other, and occasion very great distress in many ways, particularly with those aged, infirm, and young, whose chief, and whose sole support, is vested in them; and is this