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for every pound that foreigners hold of our debt, we hold ten or twenty of theirs.
But how absurdly has the sinking fund been concocted and conducted! How ridiculous to identify the professional saving without the fact with a real saving, and, thereby transacting a quantity of unreal business, on real commission, really reduce that property and prosperity they pretend to increase!
Will any reasonable man deliberately say that he could think it possible for either a collective body or an individual to employ an agent for the purpose of borrowing of one man to pay another, then borrowing of a third to pay the second, then of the first back again to pay the third, and paying the agent a commission for so doing, that he would not be minus that commission?
But to complete the altogether strange perversion of reasoning, they exhibit, as an argument in their favour, that it has kept up the price of stocks, which they wanted to buy. Why, there is not a chandler's-shopkeeper in the kingdom, whether man, woman, or child, but knows that it is his individual interest
to buy as cheap as he can. Was it less the interest of government to bring the purchase down as near as possible to the miserable standard at which they borrowed? Are they not herein altogether on the horns of a dilemma? Either they acted in defiance of common sense and honesty, or they thought nothing at all of the matter; for had they reflected, they must have known that the financial interest of the government lay in the cheapness of money when they wanted to borrow, and the cheapness of stock when they wanted to pay off again, by repurchasing their own debts; and further, that the only downright honest way was to admit as a debt the exact amount borrowed, to pay honest interest for that and not some other sum, and come what would, never to offer as payment either less or more than the precise amount of the debt understood to be thereby cancelled. Now had the simple plan of commission for real bona fide work performed been adopted, by paying the commissioners 2s. 6d. for every hundred pounds of the debt really redeemed, but never using borrowed money for the purpose either immediately or remotely, the result by this time would have been different, especially if preceded by an equitable arrangement, which if done fifteen "years ago, the debt would have been of a very different amount; and if now done, might be effected under these circumstances,—that no retrospect should be had for the usurious portion of interest already paid, but that all the terms of each specific stock should be collated,—that the sums actually lent should be adopted as the real debt, divided among the nominal amounts in the Bank books, in their true proportions, and that four per cent. . should be paid on the whole. The plan of alteration on alienation would be more acceptable to the present holders, but there is a great evil even in the legacy and probate duty in the case of small property wanted for the continued support of the widow and children, perhaps more than during the lifetime of the father. Is it probable that the widow and children should need the support less after the husband and father is removed? must his death be the signal for heaping fresh afflictions upon them ? Such cases would tend strongly against the alteration on alienation. But if all incomes above one hundred pounds were put on that footing, and those under were reduced in a smaller ratio, in proportion to the minimum of amount, coming down to thirty pounds for each person maintained out of it, and all under not to be reduced at all, such an arrangement would be a sound approach towards fairness; but as it now works, and hitherto has, the poor and destitute as well as all others never pay for any taxed article without being defrauded by the fundholder.
REVENUE, DUTIES, DRAWBACKS AND BOUNTIES.
Op home taxes some are beneficial to a state over and beyond the revenue they yield, as those which operate against drunkenness and other vices; some are in moderation favourable to justice, at least, in the estimation of those who feel all men as their brethren, yet they are in some sort an evil if they could be avoided, such as demands on those who possess more than present necessities and future prudent provision require, and articles of great luxury so far as they can be made tangible to taxation; some are more or less evil in proportion as they fall on the poor, and still more particularly where they militate against their employments. Some are more than doubly injurious, such as those which,