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subject to continual fluctuation, dependent on every demand of government for money, every article of intelligence received or expected. This uncertainty presenting to some the oppor, tunity of gaining advantage, by the imprudences into which hope or fear immoderately entertained will lead others, has generated a traffic carried on daily to an incredible extent, called Stock Fobbing. It were useless to describe the rise and progress of this species of gambling, or to recite the many refections which the ruin of numerous individuals and families has occasioned: the legislature has done its part towards sups pressing it, by a statute 7 Geo. II. c, 8. intitled, “ An act to preyent the infamous practice of stock jobbing;” but when personal interest and an opinion of superior penetration combine to favour any species of adventure, and when the most opulent and respectable members of the community are known to embark in it with avidity, the restraints of law are interposed in vain ; no disgrace attends those who are known to be in the daily habit of infringing this statute ; but a man who avails himself of its provisoes to cancel a debt which he has incurred in the alley, is generally detested and despised. Some terms are used in describing the different classes of adventurers in the alley, which it may be proper here to explain. He who buys any portion of government securities in the way of speculation, and without any intention to pay for it, but only to pay or receive the difference of price, at a certain fixed time called
the settling day, or he who holds a larger portion of scrip than · he can retain, is called a Bull. He who, on the contrary, has agreed to sell a large portion of stock which he does not pofsess, at a certain day and price, is called a Bear. Both these persons deal for many thousand pounds in stock, beyond any capital they are supposed to possess, because the terms of their bargains always are such that the difference between the market price on the settling day, and the price at which they have agreed to buy or sell, being paid, the other party to the contract has all the benefit he can expect. A bull is always anxious to hear and propagate such news as will keep up the spirits of the nation, and cause the funds to produce a high price : while the bear derives his best hope from public disaster, and would be completely enriched by events which should occasion national despondency. Those who through dishonesty will not, or through poverty cannot, make good the engagements they have formed in the alley, are stigmatized by the name of Lame Ducks, and, by a recent regulation, their names are exhibited on a black board as a perpetual caution to others to aygid all transactions with them,
Taxes. The taxes by which money is raised to pay the interest of the national debt already mentioned, and to supply the exigencies of the state, are divided into two general classes; temporary and permanent.
TEMPORARY. The temporary taxes are those on land and malt : the former indeed, since the act for its redemption, may with greater propriety be considered as permanent; but as it still is, in respect to public offices, and pensions, temporary, it is continued in its old situation.
LAND Tax. The land tax originated in those monthly assessments, which were imposed in the time of the coma. monwealth, and were occasionally levied in the reign of Charles II. ; it has been assessed without intermission, since the reign of William III. It was at first intended as a rate on every species of income or property, and in that sense was originally, and still continues to be laid, on the profits of public offices and on pensions. The assessment was framed in the year 1692, when a new valuation of estates was made throughout the kingdom : which, though by no means a perfect one, had this effect, that a supply of rather less than 500,00ol. was equal to one shilling in the pound, of the value of the estates given in. This tax, though annually voted, was never afterward entirely remitted; it was sometimes moderated to three shillings; sometimes to two; and in 1732 and 1733, to one shilling in the pound; but by the statute 38 Geo. III. it was, for the sake of being redeemed, rendered perpetual, and still adhering to the valuation formerly made, estimated at 3,037,6271. gs., of which 47,954). 15. 2d. is the portion raised in Scotland.
COMMISSIONERS. 'The method of levying this tax, is by charging a particular sum on each county, according to the valuation made in 1692: and this sum is assessed and raised on individuals (their personal estates, as well as real, being liable) by commissioners, who are annually renewed, and who cannot execute the office in any county, except those in Wales, under a penalty of sol., unless they love some estate or interest in land within the county, of the clear yearly value of tool., and which was taxed for that sum at leaft a year before. This restraint does not extend to commissioners being inhabitants of cities, boroughs, towns corporate, or cinque ports, or the Inns of Court or Chancery. The commissioners are obliged to hold their meetings at the accustomed place in each county, where they subdivide themselves, appointing three for each division, and nominating clerks, affeffors, collectors and other subor. dinate officers; they also sign the assessment and warrant to collect it; parties considering themselves aggrieved may
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appeal, but to the commiffioners alone, and their decision is final. From this rule there is one exception, as it relates to the voting for knights of the thire. In order to exercise this franchise, it is necessary that the party shall be affered to the land tax in his own name, or that of his tenant. If the afleflor has neglected to assess him, he may prefer his claim to the commisfioners, and if dissatisfied with their decision, he may, on giving ten days notice, appeal to the justices at the next feffions.
OFFICERS. A Receiver General for each county is appointed by the king, and due notice given to the commissioners; and he, giving the like notice, may appoint a deputy: he is paid from the treasury, a falary not exceeding two-pence in the pound on the monies collected.
Afifors are appointed by precept, under the hands of two or more commissioners, at their first meeting, directed to such inhabitants, constables, or other officers as they think fit; and at their second meeting, they deliver to each affeflor a printed form of afletlment, together with a charge, how and in what manner they ought to proceed in the execution of their duty; and the persons ilominated in the precepts to be assesfors, not appearing when summoned, or refusing to act, forfeit to the king, a sum not exceeding 5l., nor less than forty shillings.
ColleElors are appointed by warrants, under the hands of the commiffioners ; they have power to demand the sums afTefled, of the parties on the premises, or at their lait place of abode ; they may levy a distress on refusal to pay, without any further warrant than that of their appointment, and may break open doors, in the day time, and cheits wherein any goods or effects are fccreted. The collector pays the money as it comes to his hands, to the receiver general, deducting from his last payment, three-pence in the pound as a compensation for his trouble. For the faithful performance of their duty, the commissioners may oblige the collectors to give fecurity to the full amount of the rate, in their respective districts; and they, and all other officers, neglecting their duty, are liable to a fine of forty pounds, to be imposed by the commissioners, and not remitted, but by the majority of those who inflicted it.
Clerks are also appointed by the comnilioners in every divifion, who receive a compensation not exceeding three-halfpence in the pound.
DEDUCTIONS. The expence of all these oslicers for England, is 53,5741.; the portion of Scotland is paid into the Exchequer free of all charges. There is also a deduction of about 12001. from the receivers in Wales, who complain of great difficulty in remitting the money to London. Before the
land tax is paid into the Exchequer, a further defalcation is made for the expence of the militia, the apprehending of deserters from the army, and the bounties granted by statute 21 Geo. III. c. 58, for encouraging the growth of hemp and flax; these together are calculated at 130,000l.
REDEMPTION OF THE LAND Tax. It has already been said that the act for redeeming this assessment, occasioned its being changed from a temporary to a permanent imposition. The plan was first recommended to government, as it is said, in an anonymous pamphlet; and at a period of the French revolutionary war, when the stocks were exceedingly depressed, the minister brought forward a plan for enabling perfons by paying certain sums of money, to be laid out in stock, for the be. nefit of the public, to discharge their eftates from all assessments then imposed. As the necessity of laying an annual land tax was considered one of the great securities for frequent meetings of parliament, the new duties on malt, sugar, tobacco and snuff, which before were perpetual, and which greatly exceeded the amount of the land tax, were rendered temporary. The minister hoped to relieve the nation from the burthen of stock to the amount of 66,666,666l., but in five years after the palling of his first act, which was very voluminous, and explained or amended by eight additional acts, no more than 19,180,5871. had been redeemed, and some are of opinion that there is no prospect of any great addition.
Malt Tax. The revolution had taken place some time, and the public had experienced the greatest difficulties in railing the supplies, before parliament could be prevailed on to impose a duty on malt, together with a proportionable rate on cyder, perry, and other liquors, the use of which might diminish the consumption of that article. It was first granted in 1697, and it was always supposed would be only a temporary impost. By the treaty of union with Scotland, it was agreed, that during the continuance of the duty on malt, which then existed in England, (but which expired on the 4th June 1707) Scotland should not be charged with it. Irdced that country was not included in the malt aci, until the year 1713, and even then it was thought advisable for government to atsume a sort of dispensing power, and to give directions that it should not be levied. Nay, the Scots were so impressed with an idea, that they were in a manner for ever exempted from such a duty, by the treaty of. union, that in 1725, when the tax was first enforced in that country, it occafioned confiderable riots which were with difficulty suppressed.
The income of this tax for England alone, exclusively of Scotland, at the rate of fixpence per bushel, was originally calculated
at 750,000l. a year, a sum which was far from being exagge. rated; for on the average of eight years, ending Midsummer 1724, it produced at the rate of 755,000l. per annum. It fell off, however, during the American war; and its amount during the year, ending 5th January, 1893, deducting the expences of management and collection, was only 702,8931. .
PERPETUAL TAXES. For some years after the revolution, duties were only granted till the money borrowed on the faith of them should be paid off; but about the year 1710, they began to be imposed in perpetuity; to defray the interest of debts and the surplus to be at the disposal of parliament, These permanent taxes are divided into customs, excise, stamps, and miscellaneous
CUSTOMS. The customs are the duties, toll, tribute, or tariff, payable on merchandizes, exported and imported. The original grounds of this imposition were; the licence which the king gave the subject to depart the realm, and carry his goods with him; and the obligation which, of common right, rested on the king, to maintain and keep up the ports and havens, and protect the merchants from pirates; to these is added a third cause, the permission given to foreign merchants to trade in the king's dominions. The customs on imported goods are very extensive, including a vast variety of articles, from the most precious to the most minute which can be an object of commerce. To these there can be no reasonable objection in general; the modification most to be desired is that which should exempt, or but flightly affect raw materials, while certain manufactured articles, and the luxuries drawn from the states or colonies of foreigners, should, unless protected by a commercial treaty affording reciprocal advantages, be assessed so highly as to become almost prohibited. The duties on exports must be regulated by the wants, or the liberality of foreign purchasers, and the probability of rivals in their markets. If the goods to be exported, will, after all expences paid, produce to the seller a certain advance, there is no reason why the government should not share, and largely too, in the profit which arises from the industry and enterprize of its own subjects. If materials are exported raw, the duties are still higher, and justly too, since from them the subjects of a foreign state are to derive support and an exercise for their industry. On this account raw articles, as lead, tin, and alum, or such as are incapable of being manufactured, as coals, are loaded with heavy duties, and the exportation of wool is prohibited altogether. But, as in certain manufactured articles, the probability of rivalship, or the impossibility of obtaining more than a stated price, would render the sale difficult in foreign countries, if the duties imposed on home consumption