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indulge in them. But a closer examination will show that this view is entirely fallacious, and that the subjects actually taxed, though really luxuries to urban, are necessary aids to rural life. For example, a carriage, a ridinghorse, a coachman, a groom, are really luxuries in town, and their use may be considered as a fair test of affluent, or at least easy circumstances. But in the country they are absolute necessaries. They are indispensable to business, to health, to mutual communication, to society, to existence. What similarity is there between the situation of a merchant with £1000 a-year, living in a comfortable town house, with an omnibus driving past his door every five minutes, a stand of cabs within call, and dining three days in the week at a club where he needs no servants of his own ; and a landholder enjoying the same income, living in a country situation, with no neighbour within five miles, and having six miles to ride or drive to the nearest town or railway station where his business is to be transacted, or where a public conveyance can be reached?

Gardeners, park-keepers, foresters, and the like, are generally not the ministers of luxury in the country; they are a necessary part of an establishment which is to turn the land to a profitable use. You might as well tax operatives in mills, or miners in collieries, or mechanics in manufactories, as such servants. Yet they are all swept into the assessed taxes, upon the rude and unfounded presumption that they are, equally with a large establishment of men-servants in towns, an indication of affluent circumstances. The window tax is incomparably more oppressive in country houses than in town ones, from their greater size in general, and being, for the most part, constructed at a period when, before the tax was laid on, no attention was paid to the number of windows. Taking all these circumstances into view, it is not going too far to assert that, on equal fortunes, the assessed taxes are twice as heavy in the country as in towns; and that of £3,312,000 which they produce annually, after deducting the land tax, about £2,500,000 is paid by landowners either in town or country. It is inconceivable—no one a priori could credit it-how few householders in town,

or any

not being landowners, pay any assessed taxes at all-

of such amount as to be really a burden. The total number of houses charged to the window tax in Great Britain is 447,000, and the duty levied on them is £1,613,774, or, at an average, about £3, 10s. a house, while the number of inhabited houses was, in 1841, 3,464,000, or above seven times the number. The total number of persons charged with one man-servant is only 49,320, and of those keeping men-servants at all, 110,849* -facts indicating how extremely partial is the operation of these taxes, and how severely they fall on the classes most heavily burdened in other respects, and therefore least able to bear them.

The HIGHWAY RATES are another burden exclusively affecting land, although the whole community derive benefit from their use. This burden, exclusive of the sum levied at turnpike gates, in England amounted to £1,169,891 a-year. This charge, heavy as it is, is felt as the more vexatious, that the rate-payers are not at liberty either to limit the use of the road, for which they pay, to themselves, or to allow it to fall into disrepair. An indictment of the road lies at common law, if it becomes unfit for traffic, even at the instance of any party using the road though he does not pay any part of the rate. In other words, the neighbouring landholders are compelled to keep up the roads for the benefit of the public generally, who contribute nothing towards their maintenance. This matter becomes the more serious that, in consequence of the general adoption and immense spread of railways, the traffic on the principal lines of road in England has either in a great degree disappeared, or become inadequate to contributing anything material to the support even of the turnpikes hitherto entirely maintained by them. It is not difficult to foresee that the time is not far distant when nearly the whole of the great roads of England will fall as a burden on the rate-payers ; for these roads cannot be abandoned, or the country off the railway lines would have no communication at all. And the sums paid by railway companies, how large soever, to landholders, afford no general compensation; for they benefit a few in the close vicinity of the railways only, while the highway rate affects all.

* Porter's Parl. Tables, xii. 37, 42; and xi. 275.

+ Lords' Report on Burdens on Real Property, 1846, p. 6. VOL. III.

2 Q

The Church Rate is another burden exclusively affecting land, though all classes benefit by it in the comfort and convenience of churches. It amounted in 1839, the last year for which a return was made, to £506,512.* Nothing can be clearer than that this is a burden truly affecting real estates. It is entirely different from tithes, which are not, correctly speaking, a burden on land, but a separate estate apart from that of the landlord, which never was his, for which he has given no valuable consideration. But on what principle of justice is the burden of upholding churches exclusively laid on the land, when all classes sit in churches, and enjoy the benefit of their accommodation ? The thing is evidently and palpably unjust, and won't bear an argument.

The POLICE, LUNATIC ASYLUM, and BRIDGE RATES constitute another burden on real property to which no other property is subject, which, though not universally introduced, are very oppressive in those counties where their establishment has been found necessary. Mr Blamire, a very competent witness, estimates these incidental and partial charges at 2s. 1d. an acre. The land is still liable also to a heavy disbursement on account of the militia, if that national force should be again called out. There has been no return yet laid before parliament of these partial burdens on land, but they cannot be estimated at less than the church rate, or £500,000 a-year.

The STAMP DUTIES, from deeds and instruments, which produce annually £1,646,000 a-year, fall, for the most part, as a burden on real property. This must be evident to every person who considers that real estates in land or houses are the great security on which money is advanced in every part of the country, and the extremely heavy burdens, in the shape of a direct payment to government for the requisite stamps for deeds, is imposed on the transmission and burdening of such property. It is particularly severe, in proportion to the value of the subjects burdened, in the mortgaging or alienating of small freeholds or heritable subjects. It is stated in the Lords' Report on the burdens affecting real property, “The stamp on a convey. ance of a certain length, on a sale of real subjects of the value of £50, would cost 124 per cent, or £6, 10s. ; on a £100 sale, 5 per cent ; on a £200 sale, 21 per cent ; * Lords' Report on Burdens on Real Property, 1846, p. 6. + Ibid., p. 7.

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on a £500 sale, to £1, 14s. 3d. per cent; and above that sum, to one per cent." The weight on the establishment of mortgages, especially on small sums, is not less remarkable. The same report adds, “A mortgage for £50 costs, in stamps and law expenses, 30 per cent; a mortgage for £100, 20 per cent; one for £450, 7 per cent ; for £1500 3 per cent ; for £12,500 1 per cent ; for £25,000, 15s. per cent; and for £100,000 12s. per cent.”* These burdens on the sale or mortgaging of real property are felt as the more oppressive, when it is recollected that movable property to the greatest amount, as in the public funds, or the like, may be alienated or burdened in the most valid and effectual manner for the cost of a power of attorney, which is a guinea, and half-a-crown per cent to the broker who executes the transaction. Materials do not exist for separating exactly the deed-stamps falling as a burden on land transmissions and mortgages, from those affecting personal estates; but it is certainly within the mark to say, that they are three-fourths of the whole stamp-duties on deeds and instruments, or £1,200,000 a-year.

Thus it appears that, setting aside the tithe, as not the landowner's property, and therefore a separate estate, and not, properly speaking, a burden on land ; and saying nothing of the malt-tax, which produces annually £4,500,000 a-year, on the supposition that, at present at least, that falls as a burden on the consumer ; and saying nothing of the income-tax, which, as will immediately appear, falls as a much severer burden on land-rents than commercial incomes, --these distinct, clear, and indisputable burdens laid on land, from which property of other sorts in England are exempt, stand thus I. Poor-rate in 1845, a very prosperous year,

£6,847,205 II. Land-tax,

1,164,042 III. Highway Rates,

1,169,891 V. Police, Lunatic, and Bridge rates, estimated,

500,000 VI. Excess of assessed taxes falling on land above personal estates, estimated,

1,500,000 VII. Stamp-duties peculiar to land,


£12,887,95 The rental of real property in England, rated to the poorrates, is £62,540,030 ; † but the real rental, as ascertained

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IV. Church Rates,


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"Lords' Report on Burdens on Real Property, 1847, p. 8.

+ Ibid. p. 7.

by the more rigid and accurate returns for the income-tax, is £85,802,735. On the first of these sums, the taxes exclusively falling on land amount to a tax of twenty-five, on the last of eighteen per cent annually. This is an addition to the income-tax, and all the indirect taxes which the owners of land and houses pay in common with all the rest of the community, and which by it are complained of as so oppressive.

Enough, it is thought, has now been said to prove the extreme inequality and injustice with which direct public burdens are levied in this country, and the necessity for a thorough and searching revision of our system of taxation in this respect; especially since, from the way in which the tide sets, it has become so evident that direct will progressively be more extensively substituted for indirect taxation. But, in addition to these, there are several other circumstances which aggravate fourfold the burdens thus exclusively laid on real property.

I. In the first place, the alterations in the monetary system of the country, by the resumption of cash payments in 1819, followed up in Scotland and Ireland, as well as England, by the stringent Bankers' Act of 1844, has added fully forty per cent to the weight of all taxes and other burdens, public or private, affecting landed property ; because it has increased to that extent the value of money, and diminished the price of the articles of rural produce from which the landholders' means of paying them are derived. If the prices of wheat and of all other kinds of agricultural produce, for ten years before 1819, and ten years before 1845, be compared, * it will at once appear that the difference

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* Prices of wheat, average, per Winchester quarter, in the years after mentioned, viz:8. d.

8. d.
78 11


46 2
. 103 3


39 4
92 5


38 6
122 8


56 10
106 6


64 7
72 1


70 8
63 8

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66 4
76 2


94 0


64 6
83 8


54 4
72 3


51 3

Average 87 3

Average 56 5 Tooke on Prices, ii. 389, and Lords' Report on Burdens on Real Property, App. No. 26.

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