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similarly situated to Dartmoor, is the difficulty of sheltering them from the chilling breezes, and thus ameliorating their climate ihereby. The soil is ameliorated by this species of shelter as much as it is by the draining of it, rendering it more capable of imbibing and retaining heat. Shelter could be speediest and probably most effectually afforded on such an exposed site as Dartmoor, by running high dry-stone fences across it facing the northeast, similar to the Galloway dikes, with cross-walls of a lower construction to connect them; thus laying the whole off into regular square fields, and further warming the soil by draining previous to bringing it into cultivation. The air will be rendered in a manner stagnant in these inclosures (in the same way as we see water rendered stagnant in a dish sunk in a running stream), and the gun thus acting more powerfully on it in this quiescent state, the fields will receive the full genial warmth dispensed by its rays in spite of the cold breezes skimming over the tops of the walls which surround them. By draining a field and sheltering it thus from the chilling breezes, you confer a benefit on its climate, and consequently, too, on its soil, equal to a removal of several degrees of latitude farther south.

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FOR IMPROVING THE REVENUE OF THE COUNTRY,

WITHOUT

ADDING TO THE BURDENS OF THE PEOPLE;

IN A LETTER

ADDRESSED TO THE

RIGHT HON. GEORGE CANNING,

FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY, &c. &c.

By Capt. FORMAN, R.N.

ORIGINAL.

LONDON:-1827.

Sir, ADAM SMITH, in his Treatise on the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, has laid down four propositions, which ought to be duly considered by the government in taxing the community. They are as follows:

1. The subjects ought to contribute towards the support of the state, as near as possible in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under its protection.

2. Every tax ought to be so contrived, as to take out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the state.

3. The tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain, and not arbitrary. The time of payment, the manner of payment, and the quantity to be paid, ought to be clear and plain to the contributor, and to every other person. Where it is otherwise, every person subject to the tax is put more or less in the power of the tax-gatherer, who can aggravate the tax on every obnoxious contributor, or extort, by the terror of such aggravation, some present or perquisite to himself.

4. Every tax ought to be levied at the time, or in the manner, which is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay it.

The plan, Sir, which I am going to propose, without violating the last article, more than, I believe, the present system of taxa

tioni necessarily does, is perfectly agreeable to the three first. It is the fairest and most equal that can possibly be conceived: it is more simple in its operation and certain in its effect than any other and will add more than three millions to the revenue of the country, without increasing the burdens of the people. ''

I am sensible, Sir, that what I am going to propose will, at the first view, appear so wild and extravagant, that I am under some apprehension that you will consider me a visionary system-nonger, and shut the book without proceeding further in the perusal of it; but a plan which proposes so great a saving in the expenses of collecting the revenue, deserves at least to be impartially examined; and I am convinced that, if you will take the trouble to read it through, you will be constrained to acknowlege that, bold as it appears, it rests on the basis of sound reason; and if it should not be thought advisable to put it in execution, it will not be because it would not be advantageous to the community at large, but because it is opposed to the private interests of powerful individuals.

In one word, Sir, I propose to take off the customs, excise, and assessed taxes altogether, together with all other taxes that are attended with considerable expense in collecting them, and replace their amount by an income tax; taking the sum produced by this tax the most unfavorable year as an average, and multiplying the per centage by the same proportion that it falls short of the sum required.

It appears by the newspapers, that the net revenue derived from the customs and excise duties for the year ending July 5, 1827, was in round numbers as follows:

Customs 16,000,000
Excise 17,000,000

Total 33,000,000 I have no means of ascertaining precisely what the expense of levying this sum amounts to, but Adam Smiih informs us that, in the year 1775, the expense on the gross sum in the excise amounted to five and a half per cent, and in the customs to more than ten per cent.

« But the perquisites of custom-house officers,” he observes, “ are every where greater than their salaries ; at some places more than double or triple their salaries. If the salaries and other incidents therefore,” he adds, “ amount to more than ten per cent, the whole expense of levying that revenue may amount to more than twenty or thirty per cent.”

Supposing the expense of collecting the revenue to be the same now, ten per cent on the gross sum in the customs, and five and a half on the excise, would amount 10 2,800,0001.; to which, if we

add the expense of collecting the assessed taxes, of maintaining a naval force for the express purpose of preventing smuggling, together with perquisites of office, and frauds in the revenue by evading the duties, the whole sum lost to the country by this mode of collecting the revenue will amount to at least 3,500,0001., and in all probability to more than 4,000,0001. per annum.

If the gross sum taken out of the pockets of the people, by the present mode of collecting the revenue, amounted to 40,000,0001., very little more than 36,000,0001. would go into the public treasury; whereas the same sum, collected by a tax on property, would bring into the public treasury 39,600,0001., or 3,000,0001., at least, more than it does at present. One per cent on 40,000,0001. would amount to 400,0001.; and three hundred collectors distributed over the country would be quite sufficient to collect the income tas. Taking the average, 10001, a year, for himself and two clerks, to each collector, would be very handsome pay for the work done, and then we should have 100,0001, per annum to pay the expenses of a superior board, supervisors, law proceedings, &c.

In order to lighten the labors of these collectors as much as possible, notice might be given, by publie advertisement, that every person liable to this tax is to give information in writing, sealed up, either to the board in London, or to the collector in his district, of the amount of his property, and his place of residence ; and any one neglecting to do this, will be made to pay up the whole of bis arrears, with interest, for all the time that he evades paying the tax. The collectors, of course, will be empowered to enforce the payment of this tax where occasion is necessary, and to inspect the accounts of individuals whenever they have cause to suspect that these individuals wish to defraud the government of its dues; while their own conduct will be overlooked by travelling supervisors, and their accounts regularly examined by the board in London. As soon as they have furnished themselves with correct lists of the names of those persons in their districts who are liable to the tax, and the amount of their property, one month every quarter will be quite sufficient to collect it; and as their own salaries will be a per centage on the whole amount, they will have a powerful motive to induce them to do all in their power to detect any attempt to evade paying either the wbole, or any part of this tax. To prevent any improper collusion on the part of the tax-gatherer, bribes ought not to be permitted either in the shape of presents or perquisites; and every one detected in receiving a bribe for the purpose of conniving at a fraud, should be made responsible for the payment of the deficiency, and rendered-incapable of holding any office under government for ever afterwards.

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