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It is horrid that any man, more
especially at the price coals now are, should live on the distresses of
a community; and any government permitting such an abuse, deserves to
be dismissed. This fund is said to be about twenty thousand pounds per
annum.

I shall now conclude this plan with enumerating the several particulars,
and then proceed to other matters.

The enumeration is as follows:--

First, Abolition of two millions poor-rates.

Secondly, Provision for two hundred and fifty thousand poor families.

Thirdly, Education for one million and thirty thousand children.

Fourthly, Comfortable provision for one hundred and forty thousand aged
persons.

Fifthly, Donation of twenty shillings each for fifty thousand births.

Sixthly, Donation of twenty shillings each for twenty thousand
marriages.

Seventhly, Allowance of twenty thousand pounds for the funeral expenses
of persons travelling for work, and dying at a distance from their
friends.

Eighthly, Employment, at all times, for the casual poor in the cities of
London and Westminster.

By the operation of this plan, the poor laws, those instruments of civil
torture, will be superseded, and the wasteful expense of litigation
prevented. The hearts of the humane will not be shocked by ragged and
hungry children, and persons of seventy and eighty years of age, begging
for bread. The dying poor will not be dragged from place to place to
breathe their last, as a reprisal of parish upon parish. Widows will
have a maintenance for their children, and not be carted away, on the
death of their husbands, like culprits and criminals; and children will
no longer be considered as increasing the distresses of their parents.
The haunts of the wretched will be known, because it will be to their
advantage; and the number of petty crimes, the offspring of distress and
poverty, will be lessened. The poor, as well as the rich, will then be
interested in the support of government, and the cause and apprehension
of riots and tumults will cease.--Ye who sit in ease, and solace
yourselves in plenty, and such there are in Turkey and Russia, as well
as in England, and who say to yourselves, "Are we not well off?" have ye
thought of these things? When ye do, ye will cease to speak and feel for
yourselves alone.

The plan is easy in practice. It does not embarrass trade by a sudden
interruption in the order of taxes, but effects the relief by changing
the application of them; and the money necessary for the purpose can be
drawn from the excise collections, which are made eight times a year in
every market town in England.

Having now arranged and concluded this subject, I proceed to the next.

Taking the present current expenses at seven millions and an half, which
is the least amount they are now at, there will remain (after the sum of
one million and an half be taken for the new current expenses and four
millions for the before-mentioned service) the sum of two millions; part
of which to be applied as follows:

Though fleets and armies, by an alliance with France, will, in a great
measure, become useless, yet the persons who have devoted themselves to
those services, and have thereby unfitted themselves for other lines of
life, are not to be sufferers by the means that make others happy. They
are a different description of men from those who form or hang about a
court.

A part of the army will remain, at least for some years, and also of the
navy, for which a provision is already made in the former part of this
plan of one million, which is almost half a million more than the peace
establishment of the army and navy in the prodigal times of Charles the
Second.

Suppose, then, fifteen thousand soldiers to be disbanded, and that an
allowance be made to each of three shillings a week during life, clear
of all deductions, to be paid in the same manner as the Chelsea College
pensioners are paid, and for them to return to their trades and their
friends; and also that an addition of fifteen thousand sixpences per
week be made to the pay of the soldiers who shall remain; the annual
expenses will be:

To the pay of fifteen thousand disbanded soldiers
at three shillings per week L117,000
Additional pay to the remaining soldiers 19,500
Suppose that the pay to the officers of the
disbanded corps be the same amount as sum allowed
to the men 117,000
-------- L253,500

To prevent bulky estimations, admit the same sum
to the disbanded navy as to the army,
and the same increase of pay 253,500
--------
Total L507,000

Every year some part of this sum of half a million (I omit the odd seven
thousand pounds for the purpose of keeping the account unembarrassed)
will fall in, and the whole of it in time, as it is on the ground of
life annuities, except the increased pay of twenty-nine thousand
pounds. As it falls in, part of the taxes may be taken off; and as, for
instance, when thirty thousand pounds fall in, the duty on hops may be
wholly taken off; and as other parts fall in, the duties on candles and
soap may be lessened, till at last they will totally cease. There now
remains at least one million and a half of surplus taxes.

The tax on houses and windows is one of those direct taxes, which, like
the poor-rates, is not confounded with trade; and, when taken off, the
relief will be instantly felt. This tax falls heavy on the middle class
of people. The amount of this tax, by the returns of 1788, was:

Houses and windows: L s. d.
By the act of 1766 385,459 11 7
By the act be 1779 130,739 14 5 1/2
----------------------
Total 516,199 6 0 1/2

If this tax be struck off, there will then remain about one million of
surplus taxes; and as it is always proper to keep a sum in reserve, for
incidental matters, it may be best not to extend reductions further in
the first instance, but to consider what may be accomplished by other
modes of reform.

Among the taxes most heavily felt is the commutation tax. I shall
therefore offer a plan for its abolition, by substituting another in its
place, which will effect three objects at once: 1, that of removing
the burthen to where it can best be borne; 2, restoring justice among
families by a distribution of property; 3, extirpating the overgrown
influence arising from the unnatural law of primogeniture, which is
one of the principal sources of corruption at elections. The amount of
commutation tax by the returns of 1788, was L771,657.

When taxes are proposed, the country is amused by the plausible language
of taxing luxuries. One thing is called a luxury at one time, and
something else at another; but the real luxury does not consist in the
article, but in the means of procuring it, and this is always kept out
of sight.

I know not why any plant or herb of the field should be a greater luxury
in one country than another; but an overgrown estate in either is a
luxury at all times, and, as such, is the proper object of taxation. It
is, therefore, right to take those kind tax-making gentlemen up on their
own word, and argue on the principle themselves have laid down, that of
taxing luxuries. If they or their champion, Mr. Burke, who, I fear, is
growing out of date, like the man in armour, can prove that an estate of
twenty, thirty, or forty thousand pounds a year is not a luxury, I will
give up the argument.

Admitting that any annual sum, say, for instance, one thousand pounds,
is necessary or sufficient for the support of a family, consequently the
second thousand is of the nature of a luxury, the third still more so,
and by proceeding on, we shall at last arrive at a sum that may not
improperly be called a prohibitable luxury. It would be impolitic to set
bounds to property acquired by industry, and therefore it is right to
place the prohibition beyond the probable acquisition to which
industry can extend; but there ought to be a limit to property or the
accumulation of it by bequest. It should pass in some other line. The
richest in every nation have poor relations, and those often very near
in consanguinity.

The following table of progressive taxation is constructed on the above
principles, and as a substitute for the commutation tax. It will reach
the point of prohibition by a regular operation, and thereby supersede
the aristocratical law of primogeniture.

TABLE I
A tax on all estates of the clear yearly value of L50,
after deducting the land tax, and up

To L500 0s 3d per pound
From L500 to L1,000 0 6
On the second thousand 0 9
On the third " 1 0
On the fourth " 1 6
On the fifth " 2 0
On the sixth " 3 0
On the seventh " 4 0
On the eighth " 5 0
On the ninth " 6s 0d per pound
On the tenth " 7 0
On the eleventh " 8 0
On the twelfth " 9 0
On the thirteenth " 10 0
On the fourteenth " 11 0
On the fifteenth " 12 0
On the sixteenth " 13 0
On the seventeenth " 14 0
On the eighteenth " 15 0
On the nineteenth " 16 0
On the twentieth " 17 0
On the twenty-first " 18 0
On the twenty-second " 19 0
On the twenty-third " 20 0

The foregoing table shows the progression per pound on every progressive
thousand.



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