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. 14,600,000 Tax on succession to property
. 11,297,000 Property insured . .
918,000 Property sold at auction
284,000 Coaches and cabs.
471,608 Tonnage on shipping
- 25,433,259 TAXES ON A BTICLES OF CONSUMPTION. Food, Drink, and Tobacco :
. 1,616,671 Sugar.
2,957,403 Currants, raisins, pepper, and vinegar 541,589 Beer
222,026 Drink Licenses
1,900,772 Spirits . .
6,700,000 Tea . .
3,591,350 Coffee . .
276,700 Tobacco .
- 29,406,494 Raw Materials and Customs Duties : Coal and slate .
915,797 Timber. .
1,802,000 Cotton wool .
760,000 Raw and thrown silk
450,000 Barilla, indigo, potashes, bar iron, and furs 297,000 Hemp . . . .
285,000 Export duties .
364,417 Various import duties .
. . 1,188,000
- 6,062,214 Taxes on Manufactures : Leather
698,342 Soap .
747,759 Bricks and tiles
269,121 Glass .
424,787 Candles .
354,350 Paper, .
476,019 Printed goods
383,000 Advertisements .
125,000 Plate . .
4,080,721 STAMP DUTIES. Bills and notes
841,000 Receipts .
210,000 Other instruments . . .
of man. Taxes on the sauce which pampers man's appetite, and the drug which restores him to health ; on the ermine which decorates the judge, and the rope which hangs the criminal ; on the poor man's salt and the rich man's spice; on the brass nails of the coffin and the ribbons of the bride ; at bed or board, couchant or levant, we must pay. The schoolboy whips his taxed top, the beardless youth manages his taxed horse with a taxed bridle on a taxed road ; and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine, which has paid seven per cent., into a spoon that has paid fifteen per cent., flings himself back upon his chintz bed which has paid twenty-two per cent. and expires in the arms of an apothecary who has paid a licence of One hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him to death. His whole property is then immediately taxed from two to ten per cent. Besides the Probate large fees are demanded for burying him in the chancel. His virtues are handed down to posterity on taxed marble and he will then be gathered to his fathers to be taxed no more.
The manner by which British taxation was increased in the course of the Great War may be gauged by comparing the peace Budget of 1792 with that of 1815. The following figures give a summary comparison :
It will be noticed that the taxes on food, drink, tobacco, raw materials, imports, and on manufactures increased between 1792 and 1815 from three to four-fold, and that the stamp duties were raised at a similar ratio, while the direct taxes, that is, the taxes on the income and the property of the well-to-do, and on their establishments, increased
almost sevenfold. If we bear in mind that a century ago British foreign trade was carried on chiefly with the Continent of Europe and the United States, that during many years practically the whole Continent was closed by Napoleon to British trade, that from 1812 to 1815 Great Britain was at war with the United States, that the British Colonies were quite unimportant, that in 1800 Canada had 240,000 and Australia only 6500 inhabitants, that the only valuable British Colonies were the West Indies, that in consequence of the closing of the principal British markets business was extremely bad, that commercial failures were very numerous, that several harvests had failed, that bread was scarce and very dear, that gold had disappeared, that the forced paper currency had rapidly depreciated, so that a guinea at one time was worth twenty-seven shillings in paper, we can appreciate the economic sufferings of the British people and their determination and staying power, their civic heroism and their moral fibre. They paid during those hard times three and four times as much in taxes as they had done during the years preceding the war. As, therefore, a hundred years ago, and under far more difficult economic circumstances than those which obtain at present, the British people were able to bear a burden of taxation from three to four times as heavy as that to which they had been accustomed, the British people of to-day will also be able to pay far more in taxes than they have done hitherto, although there will, of course, be grumbling and suffering. Nations, and especially nations which live luxuriously and wastefully, have almost an infinite capacity of paying taxes. That is one of the lessons of the Great War with France.
Great Britain habitually makes war lavishly and wastefully. That lies in the national character. Out of the forty years from 1775 to 1815 nine years were spent in an enormous war with the American Colonies, France, Spain, and Holland, and twenty years n a still greater war with Republican and Napoleonic France, and her allies and vassals. During these forty years, as we may see by referring to the little table given in the beginning of this chapter, the National Debt and the yearly interest paid on it increased about sevenfold. Frederick the Great, Napoleon the First, and many other men of eminence, both in England and abroad, believed that the enormous British National Debt, and the ever-increasing burden of taxation, would impoverish and ruin England. Yet, at the end of the forty years' war period, England was undoubtedly far wealthier than she had been at its beginning.
After the conclusion of that terrible war period the expected collapse of the British industries and of British commerce did not take place. On the contrary, all the British industries and British commerce expanded in an unprecedented manner. It has so frequently been asserted by economic and general historians who write history in order to prove a case, or to establish a doctrine, who write party pamphlets in book form, that England's economic expansion was consequent upon, and due to, the introduction of Free Trade, that that fallacy has been very widely accepted as truth. The abolition of many of the innumerable taxes imposed during the Great War no doubt proved a powerful stimulus to certain industries. Still, Great Britain's most wonderful progress in trade and industry, in banking and shipping, in agriculture and mining, took place before Free Trade was introduced. It was effected during and shortly after the forty years of almost incessant warfare, and was, as I shall endeavour to show, chiefly due to these wars and to the burdens which they imposed upon the nation. Before endeavouring to prove this, it is necessary to show that the greatest economic advance of this country took place before 1846, the year when Free Trade was introduced. .
The supply of men, as Adam Smith wisely remarked, is regulated by the demand for men. In prosperous times, when work is plentiful, the people increase rapidly. Between 1801 and 1841 the British population almost doubled, growing from 10,942,646 to 18,720,394. Agriculture and
the manufacturing industries flourished. As in 1841, according to Porter's 'Progress of the Nation,' only about 3,000,000 British people lived on imported wheat, it obviously follows, as that distinguished statistician pointed out, that British agricultural production must have increased by 50 per cent. in the meantime. The expansion of British agriculture may be seen not only by the large increase of the population, which relied almost exclusively on homegrown food, but also by the increasing yield of agricultural rent, which, according to McCulloch’s ‘Statistical Account of the British Empire,' grew as follows:
Now let us look at the progress of the British manufacturing industries. The following tables are extracted from Porter's book, "The Progress of the Nation,' 1851. I would add that Mr. Porter was the chief of the Statistical Department of the Board of Trade, and the founder of the Statistical Society, and he was later on Secretary to the Board of Trade.
As the statistics relating to British industrial production during the first half of the last century are somewhat defective, the progress of the British manufacturing industries, as a whole, and of British trade, can best be gauged from the increase in the populations of the principal manufacturing and trading towns. These increased rapidly as is shown in a table on page 230.
It will be noticed that between 1801 and 1841 the population of Manchester, Liverpool, and indeed most of the towns given, grew threefold and more than threefold. These figures suffice to show that the British manufacturing industries and British trade expanded at an incredible rate of speed before 1846.