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protestant country, hitherto presenting so noble a front of honour, to follow in the train of too many other states by its inability to pay even the interest of its debt without increasing the principal? But however much we might dread a national bankruptcy, the chief sufferers after the first rush of distress would probably be the fundholder and privileged classes; for after all, this country is more substantially rich and powerful than any other, and though our character would be sullied, and great distress would prevail among individuals, yet our prosperity would not probably be suspended many months.
The privileged classes, and more particularly the clergy, would do well to reflect, that if we come to a stand now that the bulk of the nation are educated, and so can, in a few weeks, be mutually acquainted with each other's sentiments, while the very medium and circumstances that produce that facility also enable and excite them to inquiries into their reasonable claims, and so feel their power a little, which before they were comparatively unconscious of, they will look to the
privileges as a really available mode of relief, and doubtless they would be effectual if thus appropriated; for if the tithes, and such of the receipts as arise out of privileges of corporate and other bodies, were sold, they would go far to redeem the debt, or at least the equitable part of it, and the remainder would not press heavily. The non-residents too had better be made to contribute a little to the taxes of the country, it might materially assist virtuous and rational parents in inducing them to revert to the more solid education of their own country, when economy no longer presented so powerful a plea in the cause of French manners and education; and being no longer able to wriggle from their share of the burthens of their country if their property remained in it, many of them might be induced to return.
Several years ago the proposal to tax the income yet derived from this country by nonresidents, so as to discontinue allowing them any longer to wriggle altogether from their share of taxation, was answered very triumphantly by a leading operator in the fund
market, who warned the House that if they taxed these people, they would withdraw their capital from this country. How nice a thing it would have been for us who remain if they had done so. If they had knocked down the price of Stocks to one-half in forcing fifty millions into the market, and the nation had bought them, there would have been five desiderati realized : one, that these people would then have just about paid up their old scores; another, that after all, this half being probably as much as the nation really owes for so much of the money borrowed, it would have cleared off so much of its debt, without being cheated of the same amount as double payment; another, that we should have got rid of the dividends, to the tune of a million a-year; in the next, that the original saving, and the annual saving at compound interest, would have reduced the national debt one hundred millions in forty years, and in the case of a determined sale of houses or lands, would have afforded good opportunity for those who stayed at home and paid their taxes, to have got some
good bargains out of those who shuffled from theirs. But how ridiculous of the loanmonger to talk in such a manner; they could only sell what others chose to buy of them. If, indeed, they could send from Boulogne and Geneva, some bailiffs to arrest us, there might have been some sense in it. But they would persuade us that they would hold us in a cleft stick, by threatening to take their property with them; why, if there were any dilemma in the case, they, not we, would be placed on its horns; for either they must sell their property for what they could get for it, or submit to pay their share of taxes on such property, from which we have suffered them so meanly to shuffle.
Although the cause of humanity derives strength from the heavy debt discountenancing warlike dispositions in our government, yet if honesty would be greatly promoted by an equitable arrangement, and the debt rapidly diminished thereby, it does not necessarily follow that our finances should quickly assume an appearance to invite such licentiousness, for we have a reasonable if not an imperative
prospect that very soon we shall have to spend some millions a - year in emigration and subsequent provision. And further, has not poverty, or apparent inability to repel aggression, often tempted hostilities? So that the advocates of poverty for sake of peace have not the argument all their own way; and surely it would be better to be and appear strong, yet just, and be respected, and in some degree loved, and to keep at peace, than submit to a series of impositions to keep peace because we are poor. And further, the country must, in most respects, be stronger than ever she was, for we have more than ever we had of the precious metals, of cattle, of machinery, of agricultural and horticultural cultivation and produce, of buildings, of education, of population, of money due to us from the governments and individuals of other nations, of shipping, of manufactures, of commerce, more square leagues of colony, more colonial population than ever we had; and if we have an enormous, and, to a considerable extent, unjust public debt, we owe it to one another, and