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No. 3285 June 22, 1907.
CONTENTS. 1. The Control of the Public Purse. By Michael Mac Donagh .
MONTHLY REVIEW 707 II. The Arab in Architecture. By L. March Phillips
CONTEMPORARY REVIEW 719 III. The Enemy's Camp. Chapter XIX. MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE (To be Continued) ..
728 IV. Positivism By C. F. Keary . . . ALBANY REVIEW 734
v. Idle Reading. By Herbert Paul NINETEENTH CENTURY AND AFTER 740 VI. The Bridge-Warden. By Owen Oliver CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL 744 VII. Aesculapius in Ireland. By Sheila Desmond
MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE 762 VIII. The Nemesis of Imperialism. . . . . . NATION 759 IX. The Art of Being Poor.
. . . . . SPECTATOR 762 X. The Mystery of the Cuckoo. . . . . . OUTLOOK 764
A PAGE OF VERSE XI. A Memory. By Gwendolen Lally .. PALL MALL MAGAZINE 706 XII, The Fellowship of the Foil : A Toast. By James Knight-Adkins
SPECTATOR 706 XIII. A Song of the Road. By Fred G. Bowles . . . . .
BOOKS AND AUTHORS . . . . . . . . . 767
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THE CONTROL OF THE PUBLIC PURSE.
Legislation is but one of the functions non-tax sources, such as the Post Ofwhich Parliament discharges. Per tice and Telegraph services. haps more important still is its control The revenue of the country is lodged of the collection and expenditure of the by the departments charged with its National revenue. It was around ques. collection in the Bank of England to tions of taxation that in the past the the account of "His Majesty's Exbattle of securities for good government chequer," and forms what is called and the liberty of the subject was "The Consolidated Fund.” The chief fought and won. In the new field of exception to this procedure is that paypolitical and social thought and action ments out of revenue amounting to that has opened in this country, into £10,000,000, assigned by Acts of Parliawhich the Legislature is entering ment in aid of local taxation, are inswayed by fresh impulses, taxation oc- tercepted and sent direct to the local cupies a position of even greater mag authorities. As the stream of revenue nitude. It is the chief bone of conten- flows from all directions into this Fund, tion between parties. Still more does so out of it comes the money to meet it promise to be the engine by which every item of Imperial expenditure. great changes and revolutions will be Payments from the National Exchequer effected, or at least attempted, in the are of two kinds-namely "Consolidated future.
Fund Services" and "Supply SerThe resources which our statesmen vices." have to play with are indeed stupen- The first services consist of regularly dous. Before a select Committee of the recurring annual charges, that have House of Commons which sat last year been authorized and made permanent on the income tax the property of by Acts of Parliament, and are, therethe United Kingdom was estimated at fore, issued to the Treasury without £11,500,000,000 by Mr. Chiozza Money, coming every year under the superM.P., an able financier and author of vision of the House of Commons. "Riches and Poverty," and Sir Henry These charges amount to over £30,000,Primrose, Chairman of the Board of In. 000. As much as twenty-eight millions land Revenue, calculated that the an- of this sum go to pay interest on our nual income of the country was some National Debt (which amounted last where between £1,600,000,000 and £1,- year to £788,990,187), and to create a 800,000,000. On this national property sinking fund for its redemption. Over and income the State in the financial half a million goes to the King and year which ended on March 31, 1907, Queen and other members of the Royal placed the charge of £142,835,000 to Family; balf a million is spent on the defray the cost of the administration salaries and pensions of judges and and defence of the Empire. The vast magistrates; about £339,000 on annuibulk of this enormous public revenue ties and pensions for naval and military comes from the pockets of the people services (including perpetual annuidirectly or indirectly. Of the total ties to the heirs of Nelson and Rodney), amount £118,010,000 was contributed and for diplomatic, political and civil by Customs and Inland Revenue, from services; about £82,000 on existing saltaxes, direct or indirect, levied by Par- aries and allowances to high State funcliament, and £24,825,000 obtained from tionariesas, for instance, the £20,000 to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and mated that such was the parsimonious £5000 to the Speaker of the House of character of the control exercised by Commons. The effect of placing these the Treasury over the spending departcharges on the Consolidated Fund is to ments that it led to delay in action, and remove them entirely beyond the criti. consequently tended to weaken the cism of the House of Commons, it be power of the Empire in a crisis. The ing agreed that the services they are position was certainly curious. Here intended to meet ought not to be liable was a Prime Minister, strong-willed every year to discussion, and perhaps personally, with a harmonious Cabinet heated and undignified criticism, in the and a united Party supreme in the representative Chamber.
House of Commons, and yet on his Over the “Supply Services," or the own confession he was unable to assert second class of charges on the Na- his supremacy over "the system"-as tional Exchequer, the Commons exer- he called it-of the Treasury. It cise an annual supervision, for they seemed to indicate that the Treasury is must be voted by the House every year. independent of the Government, vested They amounted last year to £111,076,- with a statutory or constitutional con000; and are divided into three classes trol over the public purse which en-Army, Navy, and Civil Service. The ables it absolutely to disallow any item Army estimates last year came to close of departmental expense which may not on thirty millions sterling, the Navy meet with its approval, though the poestimates to over thirty-one millions, litical chief of the department, and and the Civil Service estimates to close even the Cabinet as a whole, declare on fifty millions,
the expenditure to be essential to the In November and December the per- national welfare. But it is impossible manent officials of the various depart- seriously to accept this presentation ments are busy calculating their ex- of the Treasury as a power beyond the penditure for the coming year. The control of the Ministry. The Treasury estimates thus prepared have to be ap- officially rejoices in the high-sounding proved in each case by the political title of “The Board of Commissioners chief or Minister, whose duty it will be for executing the office of Treasurer of to get the Cabinet to assent to them the Exchequer of Great Britain, and and afterwards to expound and justify the Lord High Treasurer of Ireland"; them in the House of Commons. But and its ukases to the spending departbefore the estimates are submitted even ments are issued in the awe-inspiring to the Cabinet they come under the name of "My Lords of the Treasury." scrutiny of the Treasury, a department But as the power behind the Board of which is vested with control of the Trade is the President, a member of other departments in the expenditure the Government, so the Board of Treasof public money. The Treasury, by ury is really the Chancellor of the all accounts, keeps a tight hold, in the Exchequer-one of the chief henchmen interest of the taxpayer, on the strings of the Prime Minister-in the sense at of the public purse. I remember hear- least that he is the final arbiter in all ing a remarkable attack on the depart things concerned with the national ment by Lord Salisbury in the House finance. of Lords during the South African We may be sure that whatever auWar. The Prime Minister did not go so thority is exercised by the Treasury in far as to transfer the blame for the the way of criticizing, revising, and deficiency in guns and stores from the curtailing the Estimates, is inspired by War Office to the Treasury, but he inti. the Chancellor of the Exchequer. "The Budget" is one of the most familiar of Chancellor of the Exchequer lives, our Parliamentary terms. It is the moves and has his being in an atmoscomprehensive statement of the Chan- phere of figures. He has to make himcellor of the Exchequer to the House self acquainted with the financial conof Commons usually at the end of April, ditions of the country, and the state of dealing with the income and expendi- affairs in the wide domain of comture of the Kingdom for the ensuing merce. He has to consider how the twelve months. The balance-sheet of money required to carry out the policy the Chancellor of the Exchequer is of the Administration, and to meet the based as regards revenue upon the working expenses of the departments, returns of the past financial year, end- can best be provided with the least ining March 31, and as regards expendi- convenience to the taxpayer, and withture upon the Estimates of the depart. out detriment to trade and industry. ments. His object is to present a popu. He is in receipt of bagfulls of unsolar Budget, which means a Budget that licited advice through the post. Here, proposes a decrease rather than an in- for instance, is an extract from the crease in taxation. With that end in Budget speech of Sir Michael Hicksview the Treasury endeavors to check Beach in 1899: any tendency on the part of the depart.
I have been the victim for the last ments to indulge in what it conceives to
few weeks of an extraordinary number be unnecessary expenditure. But where
of persons who all seem to think that the expenditure at issue involves a
the object of taxation is not to raise question of policy to which the Party revenue, but to penalize their pet averin office is pledged, the Treasury's crav. sions. (Laughter.) Dogs and cats, men ing for economy must remain unsatis
servants and maid servants, advertisefied. It is impossible to think of the
ments and grinding organs, the bicy
cles which are so dear to my right hon. Treasury arrogating to itself a general
friend the First Lord of the Treasury-control over the policy of the Govern
(laughter)--the perambulators of which ment; or that such a preposterous claim
more domesticated persons know the would for one moment stand unchal value-(loud laughter)-have all bitter lenged by the Ministry.
enemies in this country. One gentleDisraeli was prouder, it is said, of man wants me to tax soap and artificial being Chancellor of the Exchequer than ngnt;
light; another suggests that if I would of being Prime Minister of England.
put a small duty on aerated waters I
might make a man of the teetotalerThat, however is doubtful. He showed
(laughter)— by whom I suppose he imunexpected capacity as Finance Min
agines that those beverages are princi. ister, but his bizarre and romantic tem- pally consumed. (Renewed laughter.) perament found its completest expres Another gentleman tells me I might sion in the dignity, power and influ- raise an enormous revenue if I would ence of the Premiership. The one
put a tax of £100 a head on every pau
per alien landing in this country; and statesman to whom the post of (han
lastly, a very enticing person assures cellor of the Exchequer had an irre.
me that there must be at least 1500 insistible charm was Gladstone. He dividuals, gentlemen, men of birth, edtold Sir Henry Taylor in 1864 that for ucation, position, respected of their nine or ten months of the year he was countrymen--not, of course, members always willing to go out of office. of the House of Commons-every one of "But," said he, "in the two or three
whom would gladly give £10,000 for a
baronetcy-(laughter)---if I would only that precede the Budget I begin to feel
give them the chance. And then, on an itch to have the handling of it."
the other hand, there are those comDuring these two or three months the forting prophets, all of whom have