« ElőzőTovább »
Gaul, and learned many things and saw many wonders. The story is admirable fooling, and entirely to the taste of those excellent children who perceive that mythology and history are as good as fairy stories. E. P. Dutton & Co.
Decidedly one of the most brilliant novels of the season is John Galsworthy's "The Country House." Ꭺ story of the present day, the scene shifts from the country house, where the opening chapters find a party gathered for the week-end, to the races, and to London; the plot follows the infatuation of the Squire's oldest son for the wife of one of his neighbors; current conditions of divorce furnish the "problem"; the satire is serious and sharp, often painful, and the portraiture is remarkably well done, not only in the case of robust types like the Rector and the Squire, "whose essential likeness was as though a single spirit seeking for a body had met with those two shapes, and becoming confused, decided to inhabit both," but equally with Mrs. Pendyce herself, "that timid, and like a rose, but a lady every hinch, the love," as the old nurse describes her. G. P. Putnam's Sons.
Signore Fogazzaro's "The Woman" is neither political nor religious, but almost purely fantastic, although one suspects the author of malicious designs upon the self-complacency of those women who regard themselves as mystics when they are really nothing more intellectual than victims of hysteria. The heroine of "The Woman” having read more French pseudo science than her brain can bear, fancies herself the reincarnation of a woman who has loved unhappily and after astonishing and puzzling everybody about her, murders a man whom she chooses to fancy is the reincarnation of her former
lover. There are many humorous figures among the minor personages of the story, and they are surprisingly like the minor persons of English fiction, chatterboxes, queerly dressed old ladies, and a recluse count, absolute governor of his castle and its domain, but the woman rules them all. In feeling and treatment, the book alternately suggests Mrs. Radcliffe and the theosophists, but its prolonged conversations would be impossible among Englishspeaking persons. J. B. Lippincott Co.
It was intimated, when the first volumes of Everyman's Library made their appearance, that, sooner or later, the complete works of several of the authors represented in the first instalment would be reprinted in the series. The agreeable promise has already been made good as regards the Waverley novels. Twenty-five of the charming scarlet-covered books, with their clear open page and decorative titles, contain Scott's prose writings complete. At a time when ephemeral and trashy fiction constitutes so large a portion of the output of the publishers' presses, it is an occasion for gratification that the stories of the prince of romancers can be bought in so attractive and enduring a form at the low price of fifty cents a volume. It is a happy circumstance also that they are not sold only by sets, as is the case with most editions of Scott, but may be bought one at a time, the purchaser being thus enabled either to select his favorites, or to watch the row gradually lengthen until it is complete. Jane Austen also is already complete in this edition, and lovers of Thackeray, Trollope, Dickens, George Eliot and other of the Victorian novelists look forward with pleasant anticipations to the appearance of volume after volume of their favorite authors.
No. 3285 June 22, 1907.
1. The Control of the Public Purse. By Michael MacDonagh
II. The Arab in Architecture.
The Enemy's Camp.
By C. F. Keary
VIII. The Nemesis of Imperialism.
By L. March Phillips
A Memory. By Gwendolen Lally
MONTHLY REVIEW 707
CONTEMPORARY REVIEW 719
A PAGE OF VERSE
A Song of the Road. By Fred G. Bowles
PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY BY
THE LIVING AGE COMPANY,
6 BEACON STREET, BOSTON.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.
FOR SIX DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, THE LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage, to any part of the United States. To Canada the postage is 50 cents
Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office or express money order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, express and money orders should be made payable to the order of THE LIVING AGE CO.
Single Copies of THE LIVING AGE, 15 cents.
THE CONTROL OF THE PUBLIC PURSE.
Legislation is but one of the functions which Parliament discharges. Perhaps more important still is its control of the collection and expenditure of the National revenue. It was around questions of taxation that in the past the battle of securities for good government and the liberty of the subject was fought and won. In the new field of political and social thought and action that has opened in this country, into which the Legislature is entering swayed by fresh impulses, taxation occupies a position of even greater magnitude. It is the chief bone of contention between parties. Still more does it promise to be the engine by which great changes and revolutions will be effected, or at least attempted, in the future.
The resources which our statesmen have to play with are indeed stupendous. Before a select Committee of the House of Commons which sat last year on the income tax the property of the United Kingdom was estimated at £11,500,000,000 by Mr. Chiozza Money. M.P., an able financier and author of "Riches and Poverty," and Sir Henry Primrose, Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, calculated that the annual income of the country was somewhere between £1,600,000,000 and £1,800,000,000. On this national property and income the State in the financial year which ended on March 31, 1907, placed the charge of £142,835,000 to defray the cost of the administration and defence of the Empire. The vast bulk of this enormous public revenue comes from the pockets of the people directly or indirectly. Of the total amount £118,010,000 was contributed by Customs and Inland Revenue, from taxes, direct or indirect, levied by Parliament, and £24,825,000 obtained from
non-tax sources, such as the Post Office and Telegraph services.
The revenue of the country is lodged by the departments charged with its collection in the Bank of England to the account of "His Majesty's Exchequer," and forms what is called "The Consolidated Fund." The chief exception to this procedure is that payments out of revenue amounting to £10,000,000, assigned by Acts of Parliament in aid of local taxation, are intercepted and sent direct to the local authorities. As the stream of revenue flows from all directions into this Fund, so out of it comes the money to meet every item of Imperial expenditure. Payments from the National Exchequer are of two kinds-namely "Consolidated Fund Services" and "Supply Services."
The first services consist of regularly recurring annual charges, that have been authorized and made permanent by Acts of Parliament, and are, therefore, issued to the Treasury without coming every year under the supervision of the House of Commons. These charges amount to over £30,000,000. As much as twenty-eight millions of this sum go to pay interest on our National Debt (which amounted last year to £788,990,187), and to create a sinking fund for its redemption. Over half a million goes to the King and Queen and other members of the Royal Family; half a million is spent on the salaries and pensions of judges and magistrates; about £339,000 on annuities and pensions for naval and military services (including perpetual annuities to the heirs of Nelson and Rodney), and for diplomatic, political and civil services; about £82,000 on existing salaries and allowances to high State functionaries-as, for instance, the £20,000
to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and £5000 to the Speaker of the House of Commons. The effect of placing these charges on the Consolidated Fund is to remove them entirely beyond the criticism of the House of Commons, it being agreed that the services they are intended to meet ought not to be liable every year to discussion, and perhaps heated and undignified criticism, in the representative Chamber.
Over the "Supply Services," or the second class of charges on the National Exchequer, the Commons exercise an annual supervision, for they must be voted by the House every year. They amounted last year to £111,076,000; and are divided into three classes -Army, Navy, and Civil Service. The Army estimates last year came to close on thirty millions sterling, the Navy estimates to over thirty-one millions, and the Civil Service estimates to close on fifty millions.
In November and December the permanent officials of the various departments are busy calculating their expenditure for the coming year. The estimates thus prepared have to be approved in each case by the political chief or Minister, whose duty it will be to get the Cabinet to assent to them and afterwards to expound and justify them in the House of Commons. But before the estimates are submitted even to the Cabinet they come under the scrutiny of the Treasury, a department which is vested with control of the other departments in the expenditure of public money. The Treasury, by all accounts, keeps a tight hold, in the interest of the taxpayer, on the strings of the public purse. I remember hearing a remarkable attack on the department by Lord Salisbury in the House of Lords during the South African War. The Prime Minister did not go so far as to transfer the blame for the deficiency in guns and stores from the War Office to the Treasury, but he inti
mated that such was the parsimonious character of the control exercised by the Treasury over the spending departments that it led to delay in action, and consequently tended to weaken the power of the Empire in a crisis. The position was certainly curious. Here was a Prime Minister, strong-willed personally, with a harmonious Cabinet and a united Party supreme in the House of Commons, and yet on his own confession he was unable to assert his supremacy over "the system"-as he
called it-of the Treasury. It seemed to indicate that the Treasury is independent of the Government, vested with a statutory or constitutional control over the public purse which enables it absolutely to disallow any item of departmental expense which may not. meet with its approval, though the political chief of the department, and even the Cabinet as a whole, declare the expenditure to be essential to the national welfare. But it is impossible seriously to accept this presentation of the Treasury as a power beyond the control of the Ministry. The Treasury officially rejoices in the high-sounding title of "The Board of Commissioners for executing the office of Treasurer of the Exchequer of Great Britain, and the Lord High Treasurer of Ireland"; and its ukases to the spending departments are issued in the awe-inspiring name of "My Lords of the Treasury." But as the power behind the Board of Trade is the President, a member of the Government, so the Board of Treasury is really the Chancellor of the Exchequer one of the chief henchmen of the Prime Minister-in the sense at least that he is the final arbiter in all things concerned with the national finance.
We may be sure that whatever authority is exercised by the Treasury in the way of criticizing, revising, and curtailing the Estimates, is inspired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. "The