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A LOSS TO

WHO

INTRODUCED

THE

NATION

ALLY PAWNING ITSELF.

that they cannot serve as general ex- with justice ? is, in other words, to amples. The French have translations of quire, whether this measure be adapted all the claffical poets in prose : but I pre- to promote the present and future wel. fume no judicious Frenchman would fare of fociety? That cases may occur, think that he could judge of their ex. in which it will be both equitable and cellence, as poems, from fuch displays of prudent to raise a fund on future extheir subject and sentiments.

pectation, will be eahly admitted. It Aug. 8, 1796. Philo.RHYTHMUS. will not be questioned, for example,

that canals, roads, and other great public works, by which posterity will cer

inTHE ENQUIRER. No. VII.

tinly be benefitted, may, without

justice, be executed, by means of loans, QUESTION -I: sbe Funding Syftem con

at the joint expence of the present and fiftent with Justice and found Policy?

the future time. This plea for encum

bering the next age with a share of the POSTERITY WILL BE AT

debts incurred by the operations of the CONCEIVE WHAT KIND OF SPIRIT present, cannot, however, be urged in COULD POSSESS THEIR ANCESTORS, defence of the application of the fund

UNEX- ing system to the support of wars, AMPLED POLITICS OF A

which are seldom neceffary, and which MAINTAINING A WAR, BY ANNU- are scarcely ever, to either party, pro

ductive of real benefit. Dean Swift.

The question might be satisfactorily IN defiance of the demonftrative logic folved in the negative, from the abstract of

" posterity can do no- consideration of the absurd principle on thing for me ; why ihould I do any thing which the system in question is founded : for pofterity"- Philanthropy will com- for what can be more absurd, than the prehend within his fyftem of morals, notion, that present strength may be not only the whole existing race of men, wisely procured by future weakness, but even generations yet unborn. Every and present wealth by, furure poverty? good man must wish, tefore he leaves The statesman, who acts upon this printhe world, to do something, for which ciple, is a political spendthrift, who, by future ages may bless his memory. anticipation, exhausts in the prodigality Every honest man will esteem himfelf of a single year, the resources of á ftrictly bound, as far as concerns his own whole life. But the ruinous tendency conduct, not to leave the world in a of the practice of funding will be best worfe condition than he found it.

seen from an appeal to facts. In making What is found morality for an indivi. this appeal, it is, wholly unnecessary to dual, is also found morality for a State. advert to the political imbelicity, which The measures of government. any this practice has .produced in the Refupposed geriod, will necessarily affect publics of Venice and Genoa, where it the condition of focie:y in the subfe- took its rise ;-in Spain, where, for upquent age; and, if the ideas of national wards of two centuries, in concurrence duty be wot altogether visionary, it muft with other causes, it has been underbe the duty of every civil community to mining the pillars of the stare ;---in constitute its laws, and conduct its pro- France, where it has actually produced ceedings, with an honest attention to a convulsion which has terrified all Euthe rights and interests of posterity. In rope ;-—or in the German empire, and wisely providing for the safety and prof- other foreign states, which it has brought perity of the present race, to lay a solid almost to the last stage of political paralyfis : foundation for the happiness of ihe next, a brief review of the operation of the is to reach the highert point of political British funds will furnith us with proofs, merit. Not to obstruct the future pro- abundantly sufficient, of the injustice gress of society by injudicious restrictions, and impolicy of the funding system. and not to load future generations with When the plan of borrowing money unnecessary incumbrances, are rules of to facilitate the operailons of war, was justice, which cannot be violated without first introduced by the English governincurring national criminality.

ment, it was, probably, considered merely To enquire, whether the introducton as a temporary expedient to relieve a of THE FUNDING SYSTEM, by which pressing exigency, without any, apprethe proper burdens of the present race hension of injury or inconvenience to are thrown upon pofterity, be confiftent posterity. For several years, no other

method

at

1796.]

The Enquirer. No. VII. .

535

ments.

was

to

method was thought of, than that of hè, by means of this instrument, gains anticipation ; and parliamentary provision as much in time as he gains in power; for the speedy liquidation of the debts why should he be deterred from employwas made by means of annuities of va- ing this compound advantage, hy the aprious kinds, or by mcans of taxes appro- prehension of cenfure in the next genepriated to particular debts, and calculated rarion, when it may pooflibiy be discoto produce both the interest and a furplus vered, that he has made more hafte towards the discharge of the principal.. th in good fpeed !" But it is very surHad this plan been strictly and effe&uilly prling, that the public, who, except pursued, there would have been littie when duft is thrown in their eyes, may ground of complaint. It would, in truth, be expected to look farther, and, perhave been nothing more than a conrriv- haps, to lee clearer, than a minifter, ance, to affitt government in the prompt should not have been earlier aware of the and vigorous exertion of its paval and tendency of these forced exertions to military strength, and to indulge the weaken the national strength, and should public with the liberty of discharging have encouraged one administration after the expences of a war by easy iöital- another 10 conduct the wars of the

But, in the reign of Gen. I. country upon this ruin us plan, till the the taxes appropriated under the two debt, which, in 1701,

was in round preceding reigns to the several debts, numbers, only 16 milions ; at the bewere found inadequate ; other loans ginning of ihe wir in 1740, was inwere become necessary; and it created to nearly 48 millions; at the thought safer to transfer the public debt peace of Aix-la-chapelle, in 1743, 2to pofterity, and provide only for the mounted to 79 millions ; at the peace payment of the interest, than, at that in 1763, was risen to 134 millions; at time, to irritate the public mind by in- the termination of the American war, creating the taxes for the discharge of reached, in 'funded accounts, the vast the principal. This policy gave rise to fum of 211 millions; and, in 1795, was, the acts passed in the years :715, 1716, in funded and unfunded arrears, Iweiled 117, by which the several taxes appro. the enormous magnitude of 322 priated to the discharge of the debts of millions. goveroment were consolidated into four

During the rapid progress of this funds: the Aggregate, the South-Sea, overwhelming debi, the British public the General, and the Sinking-fund; the has had ample experience of the millatter of which was formed from the chievous operation of the funding-fyftem. furplus of the three forner, and was Its most immediate and prominent effect destined to the purpose of sinking or has been, a grievous accumulation of reducing the national debt. This was taxes, by which a great part of the pubproperly the commencement of the lic stock of industry and ingenuity has finding-fvjiem. In 1520, the govern- been gradually alienated from its proper ment gave fi cíh proof of its attachment víc, the production of individual comfort 19 this new plan, by expending three and happiness. The oppressed husbandmillions in converting inost of the annui- man and mechanic have had great reason ties which remained, into redeemable to deplore the prodigality which has perperuities; hereby increasing the subjected them to the hard neceiity of debi, in order to diminish the present contributing a large portion of their demand for the payment of intereft. daily labour towards the payment of the

1: is not surprising, that ministers interest of debts contracted by the nahave been eager to embrace a system of tion before they were born. The burfinance, which has enabled then to pro- dens which have immediately fallen duce the greatest pollible present exer. upon the landlord, the merchant, and tion, with the least poisible present press the manufacturer, have been, in part, fure upon the people. With the vast transferred to the lower classes, in the weight of

care 'which crushes the scantiness of their wages, fo cruelly dilshoulders of a minister in a time of war, proporcioned to the advanced price of 11 would surely be unreasonable to expect, provisions and other necessaries. Hence, that he should lift up his head to look the quantity of labour which, in foriner forward to distant consequences: “ fuf- times, would have procured the labourer a ficient unto the day is the evil thereof." decent and comfortable maintenance, has, For the moment he is enabled to mule of late years, scarcely afforded him fubfifttiply his political force twenty-fold; ence; and almost the only want he has been and, contrary to the law of mechanics, able to supply, has been literally that of daily bread. By the middle classes, too, tious projects, which promise gain to the the load has been feverely felt; and few at the expence of the many. Happy many conveniences, and many enjoy- had it been for this country, had her ments, which formerly repaid their in- military exertions been only called forth dustry, and cheered their hours of lei. on necessary occasions, and been confined sure, are now beyond their reach. These within the moderate limits of her natural growing hardships it will not be thought strength; we thould then have escaped unfair to impute, in a great degree, to some humiliating disappointments, and the national debt, when it is recollected, much waste of blood and treasure. The that the intereft, which now amounts to vast enterprises which the system has about twelve millions annually, is more enabled us to undertake, have too much than equivalent to the whole expence diverted our national spirit out of the of the present government, in time of commercial into the military channel, peace.

and have facrificed, on the altar of naThe injurious operation of the fund- tional pride, innumerable honest peaing-system upon agriculture and com- sants and mechanics, who might othermerce, is

very apparent. The nume- wise, with infinite comfort to themselves, rous taxes which it creates, encumber and advantage to the public, have reboth the landlord and the tenant with mained at the loom or the plow. While burdens, which discourage their respec- the finews of the national strength have tive exertions for the improvement of been thus strained, even to the hazard of estates. Proprietors of land are enticed, bursting, its political spirit has been en. by the prospect of making great profits feebled by plentiful draughts from the in the funds, to hazard their superfluous poifonous cup of corrruption. The fundmoney in speculations of this kind, ra- ing-System has not only created a numether than to employ it in agricultural rous train of immediate dependants on improvements, or render it productive ministerial influence and favour, but has of public benefit in commercial concerns. established a connection of pecuniary inThe same flattering inducement operates terest between government and its crediupon the merchant, and the manufac

tors, by no means favourable to the exturer, to divert a considerable portion of ercise of public virtue. “ Eumenes, one his capital out of its natural channel into of Alexander's captains, who set up for that of the stocks. On the contrary, to himself, after the death of his master, those monied men, who possess no spirit persuaded his principal officers to lend of adventure, and are more desirous of him great sums, after which they were securing than increasing their property, forced to follow him for their own the funds have offered an easy method security.” * of making a moderate advantage of their To the present burdens and mischiefs, wealth, while it is entrusted in the hands arising from the funding - fyftem, must of government. Thus, the funding. be added, the gloomy prospect which it system deprives voung adventurers in opens in future times. Whilst the plan trade of those aids which they might of “a nation maintaining its war by otherwise naturaliy expect from their annually pawning itself,” was yet in its wealthy friends; and, at the same time, infancy, before the perpetual funds were encourage idleness, by tempting many established, Dean Swift called it a depersons, who, without this resource,' testable project, and said of the projecwould have employed their capital in tor, who is supposed to have been Binop trade, to content themselves with the oc- Burnet, “ he lived to see some of its fatal cupation of receiving, as stated intervals, consequences, whereof his children will their annual income. It must be added not see the end.” Even at that period, that he transaction of the business of prior to the peace of Utretch, the stocks gives frequent occasion to people looked back with horror on the fraudulent and iniquitous practices, and heavy loads of debt they had contracted, is, at belt, a kind of unproductive la- universally condemning those pernieious bour, which, however beneficial it may counsels which had occasioned themt." prove to certain individuals, is of no Mr. Hume faid, about fify years ago, real benefit to the public.

while the debt was not yet eighty millions, Of ftill greater magnitude are the po. " Either the nation must destroy pub. litical evils attendant upon this fyftem. lic credit, or public credit will 'destroy The facility with which it enables a minister to multiply his resources for a

* Examiner, No. XIII. war, is a great encouragement to ambis Swift's Conduct of the Allies. Effay IX.

the

o the

1796.]
The Enquirr. No. VỚI.

537 the nation." If there was, thus early, same mischievous policy was, in fubfe. room for such apprehensions, what must quent periods, still pursued; so that from we think after the experience of another the first alienation of this fund, in 1733, half-certury, during which the debe has to the year 1775, it only discharged increased to upwards of 300 millions ; a ergbt millions and a balf of the national sum u hich requires more than half the debt. Better things might reasonably annual rental of the kingdom to dis- be expected from the late act for the charge its interest ? The predicted ruin approbriation of one million per annum to is, happily, not yet arrived ; but, when the redemption of loans, could the pub. the cloud rapidly blackens, what can be lic be assured that this plan would be expected, but that the itorin should speedo suffered to operate without interruption, ily burst over our heads ? Dr. Price was and without the counter-action of new mistaken, when he fixed the limit of burdens from new wars. But while the public credit at 200 millions. Resources, debt is suffered to increase twenty times far beyond all previous calculation, have faster than it is discharged, a sinking arisen from the wonderful ingenuity of fund, or an act for redemption, is a for. our manufacturers, from the enterprising lorn hupe, Spirit of our merchants, and from the A system thus pregnant with present extraordinary commercial exigencics of mischief and future hazard, might with. foreign states : but it requires little skill out hefitation be pronounced unjust and in political arithmetic to lee, that, if the impolitic, had not several very ingenious present system of finance be continued, the gentlemen lately instructed the public dreaded catastrophe cannot be long poft. that a national debt is a national benefit. poned. It is neither necessary to adopt According to one writer, the circulation Mr. Paine's caculation of an arithmctical of the annual interest of the debt is the progression in the expences of or wars, great spur to industry, and support of nor to enter into the more minute and ac. manufactures and commerce : according curate computations of Mr. Morgan, to to another, who modekly admits that discover that a nation which has encum. the nation is somewhat embarrassed by the bered itself, in less than half a century, debt, it is probable, that the industrious with more than 200 millions of debt, can- classes derive some advantage from the not adhere to the same plan through ano- active motion which the funds give ta ther half-century without imminent ha- the circulating value of all things : ace. Zard. The pedlar, who, day after day, cording to a third, who abandons altoadded another and another pound to his gether the romantic project of gradually ass's load, at Taft broke his back.

diminishing the debt, the fuods are the “ But the finking fund," says Mr.Chal. great wheel of that circulation which is mers, " is the true anodyne of the fund. the efficient cause of our opulence the ing syftem.” That it has operated as an general fountain of national prosperity, anudyne to the nation will be admitted. dispensing its golden streams through a It will be granted, too-for Dr. Price, thousand channels. that accurate calculator, has asserted The common argument of all these thar, had the finking fund been inva. writers, in support of the utility of the riably applied to the purpose for which national debt, is, fimply its operation it instituted, there would, in the in facilitating and increasing circulation. year 1975, have been in the revenue a That the circulation of property is facia lurplus of more than five millions, in. litated and increased by means of public Itead of a debt of 137 millions. But, if banks will not be disputed : but to im. we are to judge of the future from the puce the facility of circulation to those paft, little confidence is to be placed in effects which belong to the money circua this remedy. The Goking fund, which lared, or rather to that property, pero was etablished in 1726, was, in oppofi. fonal, or real, which money represents, tion to an express act of parliament, is manifeft fophiftry. It is to ascribe the foon charged with the payment of the effcet produced by a machine, not to the interest of new loans. In 1733, Sir R. ingenuity of the artist, or the industry of Walpole applied half a million of this the workmen, but to the oiling of the fund to the current expenditure ; a mean wheets. A great advantage in trade is, sure which Sir J. Barnard, at that time, doubtless, derived from free circulation wisely predicted would bring upon its but this advantage may be nearly as well adviser the curses of poftcrity," The obtained by private as by public banks, MONTHLY MAG. N . VII,

That

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ever,

That the national funds are, on the contribute my mite towards so desirable an whole, favourable to commerce, may be object, confidently denied, for the reasons şi- The evils complained of, may, I think, ready suggested. Were there no public be traced to two scurces : the ignorance, funds, the country gen:leman would lend and the poverty of practisers. That more freely to the trader, ard the trader these may exist wholly unconneĉicd with would more constantly apply the surpius each other, no one will deny: we freof his gains, not employed in his current quently fee men of splendid talents opexpenditure, to the enlargement of his prefied with pecuniary

misfortunes

; trading capital. In short, every advan- and who, if those misfortunes were retage, real or imaginary, which is ascribed moved, would prove ornaments to their to the funding system, will vanish, when country. Of these, it might be said, brought in:o fair comparison with the they mould confine themselves, to the mischiefs and infelicities which it has more humble waks of life; but let us produced, and fill threatens to produce, remember that had all such done so, we and which fully authorise us to pronounce should not see so many thining characit unjust and impolitic.

ters as we do. On the other hand, we By, what means those Rates which may observe, that wealth is not always have involved themselves in the grievous accompanied either by shining talents or embarrassment of this system, may be probity. Any regulation, therefore, in extricated from their difficulties, and respect to the members of the profeffion, escape impending ruin, is a question which fhall embrace only one description which may perplex the wiseft ftatesman of them, will lose half the desired effect. or philosopher. One thing, however, is When the present Chief Justice came to evident ; that an unjust and impo.itic, the Berch, we heard much of “ cleansing system ought to be abandoned. He who

tbe Angeun Stable : his Lordship, howis loft in a labyrinth, should proceed no must have , observed, that vice farther, till fome kind Ariadne present would frequently be able to elude the him with a clue to guide his course. To purtuit of justice ; and that only the the man who stands upon the edge of a bold and daring villains, a description precipice, another step may be deftruc. always comparatively few, would feel tion.

the lash of punishment. The evil was,

therefore, to be prevented by cutting off To the Edisor of the Montbly Magazine.

the source of it; and then we have the

Attornies' Clerks' Tax.” This, as being SIR,

a tax on a particular set of men, already I

BEG permiffion to correct an error of heavily taxed, was an invidious measure:

your Correspondent A, in his account but, besides this, it was not adequate to of Drouet, page 401, of your Magazine the evil ; for, although it may prevent for June. He is stated to have been de- the admillion of neceflitous persons into livered over to the Austrians by Dumou- the profession, yet if a man is of ability to rier, with Camus and others; but Drouet pay the zool. however ignorant or diswas commissioner at Maubeuge, and honest he may be, he is equally eligible during its blockade, he attempted to pass as before : whilfi a Pratt, a Murray, or, from thence to Phillipville, under an ef- perhaps, even a K--, if the 100l. could cort of about fixty troopers, when falling not be conveniently spared, must berake in with a detachment of Blankenstein's himfelf to some mechanical employment, huzzars, himself, with fifteen of his escort, ill-suited to his genius; and where his were made prisoners; the rest escaped, as

talents would be of little service to his would Drouet, if his horse had not fallen. country.

F.C. I admit that there are many evils

which arise from the poverty of attornies:

men who must live, and, from their To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. situation, are compelled to support a SIR,

genteel appearance; and who, when THE HE endeavours of your Correspon- prelfed by necellity, are apt to fomeni

dents, J. W. and J. W. F. to expose discord to gain employment ; verifying the mal-practices of some professors of the the proverb, Bon avocar, mauvais law, and apply a remedy for the evils re- voisin." But, I must say, and I believe sulting therefrom, are certainly laudable experience justifies the assertion, that md deserving attention. Allow me to evils, by far more numerous, and of much

greater

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