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Even the physicians' bills have been sent to
the public to be paid. No wonder that jails are crowded, and taxes and
poor-rates increased. Under such systems, nothing is to be looked for
but what has already happened; and as to reformation, whenever it come,
it must be from the nation, and not from the government.

To show that the sum of five hundred thousand pounds is more than
sufficient to defray all the expenses of the government, exclusive of
navies and armies, the following estimate is added, for any country, of
the same extent as England.

In the first place, three hundred representatives fairly elected, are
sufficient for all the purposes to which legislation can apply, and
preferable to a larger number. They may be divided into two or three
houses, or meet in one, as in France, or in any manner a constitution
shall direct.

As representation is always considered, in free countries, as the most
honourable of all stations, the allowance made to it is merely to defray
the expense which the representatives incur by that service, and not to
it as an office.

If an allowance, at the rate of five hundred pounds per
annum, be made to every representative, deducting for
non-attendance, the expense, if the whole number
attended for six months, each year, would be L 75,00

The official departments cannot reasonably exceed the
following number, with the salaries annexed:

Three offices at ten thousand pounds each L 30,000
Ten ditto, at five thousand pounds each 50,000
Twenty ditto, at two thousand pounds each 40,000
Forty ditto, at one thousand pounds each 40,000
Two hundred ditto, at five hundred pounds each 100,000
Three hundred ditto, at two hundred pounds each 60,000
Five hundred ditto, at one hundred pounds each 50,000
Seven hundred ditto, at seventy-five pounds each 52,500
--------
L497,500

If a nation choose, it can deduct four per cent. from all offices, and
make one of twenty thousand per annum.

All revenue officers are paid out of the monies they collect, and
therefore, are not in this estimation.

The foregoing is not offered as an exact detail of offices, but to show
the number of rate of salaries which five hundred thousand pounds will
support; and it will, on experience, be found impracticable to find
business sufficient to justify even this expense. As to the manner in
which office business is now performed, the Chiefs, in several offices,
such as the post-office, and certain offices in the exchequer, etc., do
little more than sign their names three or four times a year; and the
whole duty is performed by under-clerks.

Taking, therefore, one million and a half as a sufficient peace
establishment for all the honest purposes of government, which is
three hundred thousand pounds more than the peace establishment in the
profligate and prodigal times of Charles the Second (notwithstanding, as
has been already observed, the pay and salaries of the army, navy,
and revenue officers, continue the same as at that period), there will
remain a surplus of upwards of six millions out of the present current
expenses. The question then will be, how to dispose of this surplus.

Whoever has observed the manner in which trade and taxes twist
themselves together, must be sensible of the impossibility of separating
them suddenly.

First. Because the articles now on hand are already charged with the
duty, and the reduction cannot take place on the present stock.

Secondly. Because, on all those articles on which the duty is charged
in the gross, such as per barrel, hogshead, hundred weight, or ton, the
abolition of the duty does not admit of being divided down so as fully
to relieve the consumer, who purchases by the pint, or the pound. The
last duty laid on strong beer and ale was three shillings per barrel,
which, if taken off, would lessen the purchase only half a farthing per
pint, and consequently, would not reach to practical relief.

This being the condition of a great part of the taxes, it will be
necessary to look for such others as are free from this embarrassment
and where the relief will be direct and visible, and capable of
immediate operation.

In the first place, then, the poor-rates are a direct tax which every
house-keeper feels, and who knows also, to a farthing, the sum which
he pays. The national amount of the whole of the poor-rates is not
positively known, but can be procured. Sir John Sinclair, in his History
of the Revenue has stated it at L2,100,587. A considerable part of
which is expended in litigations, in which the poor, instead of being
relieved, are tormented. The expense, however, is the same to the parish
from whatever cause it arises.

In Birmingham, the amount of poor-rates is fourteen thousand pounds
a year. This, though a large sum, is moderate, compared with the
population. Birmingham is said to contain seventy thousand souls, and on
a proportion of seventy thousand to fourteen thousand pounds poor-rates,
the national amount of poor-rates, taking the population of England as
seven millions, would be but one million four hundred thousand pounds.
It is, therefore, most probable, that the population of Birmingham
is over-rated. Fourteen thousand pounds is the proportion upon fifty
thousand souls, taking two millions of poor-rates, as the national
amount.

Be it, however, what it may, it is no other than the consequence of
excessive burthen of taxes, for, at the time when the taxes were very
low, the poor were able to maintain themselves; and there were no
poor-rates.*[34] In the present state of things a labouring man, with a
wife or two or three children, does not pay less than between seven and
eight pounds a year in taxes. He is not sensible of this, because it is
disguised to him in the articles which he buys, and he thinks only of
their dearness; but as the taxes take from him, at least, a fourth part
of his yearly earnings, he is consequently disabled from providing for
a family, especially, if himself, or any of them, are afflicted with
sickness.

The first step, therefore, of practical relief, would be to abolish the
poor-rates entirely, and in lieu thereof, to make a remission of taxes
to the poor of double the amount of the present poor-rates, viz., four
millions annually out of the surplus taxes. By this measure, the poor
would be benefited two millions, and the house-keepers two millions.
This alone would be equal to a reduction of one hundred and twenty
millions of the National Debt, and consequently equal to the whole
expense of the American War.

It will then remain to be considered, which is the most effectual mode
of distributing this remission of four millions.

It is easily seen, that the poor are generally composed of large
families of children, and old people past their labour. If these two
classes are provided for, the remedy will so far reach to the full
extent of the case, that what remains will be incidental, and, in a
great measure, fall within the compass of benefit clubs, which, though
of humble invention, merit to be ranked among the best of modern
institutions.

Admitting England to contain seven millions of souls; if one-fifth
thereof are of that class of poor which need support, the number will be
one million four hundred thousand. Of this number, one hundred and forty
thousand will be aged poor, as will be hereafter shown, and for which a
distinct provision will be proposed.

There will then remain one million two hundred and sixty thousand
which, at five souls to each family, amount to two hundred and fifty-two
thousand families, rendered poor from the expense of children and the
weight of taxes.

The number of children under fourteen years of age, in each of those
families, will be found to be about five to every two families; some
having two, and others three; some one, and others four: some none,
and others five; but it rarely happens that more than five are under
fourteen years of age, and after this age they are capable of service or
of being apprenticed.

Allowing five children (under fourteen years) to every two families,

The number of children will be 630,000

The number of parents, were they all living, would be 504,000

It is certain, that if the children are provided for, the parents are
relieved of consequence, because it is from the expense of bringing up
children that their poverty arises.

Having thus ascertained the greatest number that can be supposed to need
support on account of young families, I proceed to the mode of relief or
distribution, which is,

To pay as a remission of taxes to every poor family, out of the surplus
taxes, and in room of poor-rates, four pounds a year for every child
under fourteen years of age; enjoining the parents of such children to
send them to school, to learn reading, writing, and common arithmetic;
the ministers of every parish, of every denomination to certify jointly
to an office, for that purpose, that this duty is performed. The amount
of this expense will be,

For six hundred and thirty thousand children
at four pounds per annum each L2,520,000

By adopting this method, not only the poverty of the parents will be
relieved, but ignorance will be banished from the rising generation, and
the number of poor will hereafter become less, because their abilities,
by the aid of education, will be greater. Many a youth, with good
natural genius, who is apprenticed to a mechanical trade, such as
a carpenter, joiner, millwright, shipwright, blacksmith, etc., is
prevented getting forward the whole of his life from the want of a
little common education when a boy.

I now proceed to the case of the aged.

I divide age into two classes. First, the approach of age, beginning at
fifty. Secondly, old age commencing at sixty.

At fifty, though the mental faculties of man are in full vigour, and
his judgment better than at any preceding date, the bodily powers for
laborious life are on the decline.



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