« ZurückWeiter »
effectually done; instead of commerce and manufactures, bankruptcy will become the general trade: as, if something be not done in regard to the Poor, paupers will have possession of the land. Property, which is the golden chain that holds the State together, will be confounded or destroyed : and, out of our present peace and plenty, will spring tumult and confusion.
VII. There are other ways and means, which the minister, who. is a good financier and strict economist, might put in use, to relieve the public burdens in time of peace. A considerable army must be kept on foot to be ready for all occasions, whether within the nation or without, and that army would not be the worse for being kept in some employment. If the Tolls of the principal roads throughout the two islands were taken into the hands of government, and the military employed upon them, divided into small parties, under the superintendance of the sergeants and the surveyance of the subalterns; to work a certain number of hours every day, and to be well paid, one half out of the tolls and the other from the treasury; with the privilege of two months in the year-one in the hay-harvest-and one in the corn-harvest, to earn money for themselves: a considerable sum would redound to the treasury every year. The troops would be properly dispersed through the nation; and thus a sort of standing army, well disciplined and exercised, if we must have a standing army, would be kept at small expense.
VIII. The Inclosure of all the Forests and other Crown-lands in the United Kingdom, with a reservation of proper inclosures well preserved for navy-timber where the soil and climate are friendly to the oak, would be a great and important work for the employment of the legislature in time of peace; which would both benefit the nation by converting much useless land into useful cultivation, and enrich the crown. And, at the end of a war, it would find profitable labor for innumerable hands that will want employment. As currency becomes more plentiful, the land may be sold by auction in convenient parcels, and all the money invested in the National Bank; where, the Capital being kept inviolable, and its full share of the profits divided, they would increase the annual income of the Crown, to which they should be sacredly appropriated, to a great amount, increasing and to be increased.
Time, it may be thought, will of itself remedy the whole difficulty; as it did at the end of the American war. There is a great difference between 180 millions of Debt, which had been accumulating many years, and 1200, more than one half of which has accumulated within a contracted period. Time will move too slow in bringing its relief, without the help of other expedients; but, working together with them, it will soon produce a speedy remedy, and a lasting cure.
Money, whatever may be the nature of its worth, is become a most important engine in every State. It was the Want of Money, which was the proximate cause of the Revolution in France, which has been the cause of the present Want of Money in Great Britain-an evil which should be remedied without loss of Time, to prevent all evil consequences.
In boasting of our National Revenue, we should confine that boast at present to the Resources, from which it is to be raised for the time to come; which are, indeed, abundant: but, if we have not Money by which they can be brought up to their full price and value, the Revenue they will return into the treasury will prove deficient. However the treasury may have been supplied in time past, or however things may be wound up for the present year; this will be found to be the case for the time to come, unless some new measures are applied to remedy the defect; notwithstanding the adoption of systems of economy and retrenchment. For there must be a standing proportion between the Currency and the Taxes to be raised.
Systems of economy and retrenchment, after all its privations, and under all its burdens, the community has a right to expect, without taking them from the minister as a boon. But systems of economy and retrenchment, though much talked of, and held out as great things to amuse the Public, will, in the end, contribute in a small degree to its relief. However necessary, and however commendable, they should not engross too much of the attention of Parliament through the whole session, which is intended to be short; to the exclusion of greater things. Here lies the danger, if not the design; both of which should be avoided. At the end of such a war, instead of a short session, it ought to be of double length.
From these Observations, it will, I hope, be sufficiently apparent, that Money, both in Coin and a proportionable share of Paper founded upon good credit, cannot well be too abundant. The present Difficulty, it is manifest, does not arise from a deficiency in the resources, or from a scarcity of commodities from which Taxes are to be raised; but from a scarcity of Money by which they are to be raised. And it will, I hope, be sufficiently evident, that the minister, whoever he may be, cannot render more useful and acceptable service to his country, at the present time in particular, and, under the circumstances of its Debt, at all times in general; than by putting such measures and expedients in execution, as will increase the Currency of the nation, which at this time is its only want.
The whole nation is become as a Farm to the Bank: and it de
pends upon the Plenty or Scarcity of Money, with which the ministry is directly concerned, as having been under the necessity of sending a great proportion of the Currency out of the country, and who should use every exertion to supply it to the country again; whether it shall pay thirty shillings for a pound or fifteen. Through the Scarcity of Money it is now thirty, which it cannot bear; whereas, by a plentiful supply of money, it would be fifteen : and then the nation would pay the rent, and florish under the load.
The great objection that may be brought against this Increase of Money is, That it may become so abundant and of course so cheap in this country, that our manufactures, from the expense in working, cannot be afforded in the public market so cheap as those of other nations. If that day should ever come, the evil could be easily corrected, only by increasing the stamps upon the paper, which, by checking that part of the currency, which is by far the greatest, would bring the whole to its proper level: and the stamps might be reduced again as occasion may require. By this expedient springing out of the Change in the Banking system and Paper-mints, which forms the fourth article of these Observations, a Rule may at all times be found and applied as a general regulator of the Currency-a thing of great national and commercial importance.
Why do men talk so much, and do so little?
At the end of such a war, when every thing is wound up, a new era should be opened, in which to commence the renovated strength and prosperity of the nation. Never was there a time when a great minister was so much required, who is an able financier not one, who is a calculator of pounds, shillings, and pence, with petty taxes in his hand; but one, who understands the effect of money in circulation, with comprehensive measures in his head. By a great minister, great things may be easily done: by a little minister, little things will be done with difficulty. Now a great minister may make the nation rich: and now a little minister will make it bankrupt. In the hands of a great minister, the country may enjoy the peace it has so dearly won, in the midst of plenty: in the hands of a little minister, it will be more distressed than it was in war; for Commerce will be dead, and the neglect of Agriculture alone, for want of money to support it, may create a famine, when we shall have no money to send to foreign markets.
Thus, the Difficulty arising from the various Drains which have caused the Scarcity of Money, and from the vast Increase of the National Debt, may, it is presumed, be effectually overcome by the Expedients proposed: and after the Difficulty be overcome, they will continue to operate to the future opulence and prosperity of the Public. The Debt, however nominally great, they will virtually diminish, and gradually reduce: though its total extinction is neither to be expected nor desired.
PROVIDENT OR PARISH BANKS;
SECURITY AND IMPROVEMENT
TRADESMEN, ARTIFICERS, SERVANTS, &c.
UNTIL REQUIRED FOR THEIR
ADVANCEMENT IN LIFE.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SEVERAL SCHEMES FOR THE ABOVE PURPOSE; AND DEVELOPING THE CAUSES WHICH HAVE
PROMOTED OR PREVENTED THEIR SUCCESS.
BY BARBER BEAUMONT, ESQ. F.A.S.
Managing Director of the Provident Institution and County Fire Office, and one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for Middlesex.