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others. In 1863 he republished the Report, with the errors corrected, and all available details on the subject brought down to a recent date. Mr. Coode's approval of the duty is so decided that it would almost appear as if he had felt bound in honour to defend the impost which his employers had bidden him to investigate. He endeavours to meet on various grounds the arguments of those who advocate a removal, if not a lessening, of the duty. Many of these advocates have rather incautiously, it must be admitted-argued against this tax as if it were always 3s. on a 1s. 6d. premium, or 200 per cent. ; but Mr. Coode urges that the duty of 3s. is only 60 per cent., not 200 per cent., on the average premiums; because the familiar 1s. 6d. premium on London dwellinghouses is not a fair average of the whole of the premiums charged, that average being as much as 5s. But, he says, even if it were 200 per cent., it would not necessarily be a bad tax. "A duty is not a good one simply because it is a low one, either absolutely or relatively, or bad simply because it is a high one." Mr. Coode proposes the six following questions, as tests whether a tax be a good or a bad one :—“ Is it, on account of its excess, unequal in its incidence, and thereby unjust to those who contribute ?”—“ Is it, on account of its excess, disproportionate to the means or ability of the contributors ?" Does it, on account of its excess, discourage or prohibit any production, industry, or useful practice, that would but for such excess be more freely or successfully exercised?"—" Does it, by means of its excess, offer a temptation or inducement to evasion, and so give rise to the immoral incidents and concomitants of evasion ?"—" Does it, on account of its excess, become vexatious to the contributors in its assessment or enforcement ?”—“Is it, by its excess, more difficult or costly in assessment, collection, receipt, custody, or control?" Mr. Coode, leaving to each person to decide for himself whether the insurance duty shall be called "high" or not, answers his own questions somewhat in the following way :-That the amount of duty (now 1,600,000l.) steadily increases annually; showing that the system of insuring must increase at least in an equal ratio. That the average cost of collection (4 to 5 per cent.) is rarely exceeded; and that the collection is made without loss or evasion, and without occasion for appeal. That the duty, falling entirely on realized property, never rises to more than ths of a penny on each pound sterling of value, and rarely adds more than one 8,000th part to the cost of articles in general consumption. That as duty-paid insurances have increased 73 per cent. every average year since 1833, while duty-free agricultural insurances have increased only 27 per cent. annually, this rather negatives the supposition that insuring would increase in any notable degree by the lessening or even the removal of the duty. And that, until the Exchequer can afford to give up this million and a half annually, there is no substitute tax likely to be so little burdensome to industry and property, and so little annoying in assessment or collection. In Mr. Coode's mode of stating the case, the payment for insuring stock in trade, liable to frequent change and removal, certainly comes out as a very small fraction indeed, and the duty as a still smaller fraction:-"The insurance for a year is spread over and protects all the stock in hand during that year. One hundred pounds
insured would cover above 15,000l. of a butcher's or a poulterer's stock in a year; 30,000l. of a fishmonger's stock; 1,200l. of any trader changing his stock twelve times a year. In these cases the duty of 3s. per hundred pounds operates as a tax of 100,050th part of the value of the stock of the butcher and poulterer, or the 5th part of a penny upon every twenty shillings' worth of his commodities; of a 200,100th part of the value of those of a fishmonger, orth part of a penny upon every twenty shillings' worth; of any trader turning over his stock on an average once a month, an 8,000th part of the value of his goods, or 3th part of a penny upon twenty shillings' worth of his wares. If it thus requires almost microscopic power to discover our taxation, perhaps we ought to be grateful at being taxed at all.
Irrespective of the effect of an insurance-tax on the assured, its effect on the national revenue deserves notice. If the percentage of duty were reduced, would the amount of revenue received continue nearly the same as it now is? The advocates for a reduction of duty answer in the affirmative. They say that the reduction of heavy duties has very commonly been followed by so great an increase in the consumption of the commodities taxed as to replace the revenue produced by the higher duty; especially in the postage of letters, where the lessening from 6d. to 1d. has brought back the revenue nearly to its original amount, by increasing manifold the number of letters written and posted. Mr. Coode admits the facts, but disputes the analogy in fire insurance. All the duties, he says, which have sensibly diminished the production or cousumption of any commodities have borne a considerable proportion to the whole value of those commodities. A duty of 200 per cent., for instance, that trebled the total price of a pound of tea or sugar would manifestly make the pound of tea or sugar less possible of attainment; and so likewise a duty that trebled the whole price of timber, brick, tile, window-glass, &c., would make a house at least three times as difficult of production and acquisition, and reduce the quality and quantity of house-room occupied by all classes. In these and other illustrative cases, the remission of heavy duties will generally facilitate the consumption of commodities, and a reduced duty may possibly bring as much revenue in the end. But Mr. Coode denies that the value of property insured would be doubled if the duty were lessened one-half, or trebled if it were lessened by two-thirds; because there are just as many houses insurable, just as much property insurable, when the duty is high as when low. A very heavy tax on tea, sugar, or building materials might positively lessen very considerably the production and purchase of tea, sugar, or houses; but no one would think of building a house more or less, or buying more or less of furniture, merely because sixpence or a shilling per cent. insurance duty had been added or taken off. A reduction would not affect the quantity of insurable property; it would only affect the inclination of the owners to
It would occupy too much space to notice the searching criticism applied to Mr. Coode's reasonings and calculations, in the pages of theStatistical Journal' and the 'Assurance Magazine,' and in the
House of Commons. Mr. Samuel Brown disputes much of the calculation, and still more of the reasonings. "There can be little doubt," he said," that the tax is generally felt to be oppressive and in excess; that it discourages to a very serious extent the prudent practice of insurance, and consequently leaves a very large amount of property unprotected; and that the reduction of the duty, even to 1s. 6d. per cent., would in a very short time so augment the proceeds as to show no material difference in the revenue.' Mr. Gladstone, as successor to Sir George Cornewall Lewis at the Exchequer, has made use of Mr. Coode's arguments to assist him in resisting the demand for a reform in this tax; but very little acquiescence indeed has been expressed in any other quarter. In 1862, Mr. Sheridan moved for leave to bring in a Bill to lessen the Fire Insurance Duty. Mr. Gladstone resisted it, and availed himself of Mr. Coode's Report to strengthen some of his arguments: at the same time admitting, however, that a reduction of the duty would increase the tendency to insure the main thing contended for. The Bill was not proceeded with; but on the 14th of July, 1863, the subject was brought forward in another form. Mr. Sheridan moved a Resolution-"That in the opinion of this House, the duty now chargeable upon Fire Insurances is excessive in amount; that it prevents insurance; and should be reduced at the earliest opportunity." This Resolution did not bind the House to any particular plan, but was only expressive of a particular opinion. Mr. Sheridan himself advocated a reduction from 3s. to 2s. per cent. for five years, and then to 1s. He analysed some of Mr. Coode's statistics, and insisted that the duty is the means of deterring a large number of persons from insuring. Mr. Hubbard asserted that a fallacy lurks in Mr. Coode's figures concerning agricultural stock, now exempt from insurance duty. Mr. Gladstone, in his reply, diverged into a pleasantry concerning the opinion that the tax is a check to industry and production, by asking "whether a high duty on mustard would lessen the consumption of beef?" and in other ways he rested-though not in a very confident or certain manner-on Mr. Coode's expositions; but his chief point was, to entreat the House not to pass a Resolution pledging itself to meddle with a particular duty at some future time. He said that such a Resolution, once passed, can rarely be disregarded by the House; and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whoever he may be, might find a million and a half of revenue placed in imminent peril. The proceedings some short time before, relating to the Paper Duty, were in Mr. Gladstone's thoughts; seeing that a Resolution relating to the abolition of that duty had tied the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in a manner not altogether satisfactory to a Minister intrusted with the management of the national finances. The House, however, refused to share Mr. Gladstone's fears: it passed the Resolution by a majority of 103 to 67; and we have now to see whether the Session of 1864 will take cognizance of the Duty on Fire Insurance, with a view to its abolition or reduction. GEORGE DODD.
VI.—THE WAR OF SECESSION IN AMERICA: ITS
SLAVE-LABOUR, originally introduced by Great Britain into her American colonies, has at length become the chief cause of the present civil war in the American States. Other causes have contributed to produce this disastrous result, but this is certainly the most important.
In 1790 the number of slaves in the United States was 697,897, out of a population of 3,927,872. At that date, Massachusetts and Maine had no slaves, Vermont had only 17, and New Hampshire only 158. All the other States possessed slaves in large numbers. From circumstances of climate, soil, and locality, the Northern States became manufacturing and commercial, and the Southern agricultural. The negro was found to be of small value for manufacturing purposes, but peculiarly suited for field-labour in a warm climate. Hence the number of slaves gradually diminished in the North, and increased in the South.
The cotton-plant was introduced into Georgia in 1786, but made slow progress till about 1793, when the invention of the cotton-gin for separating the fibre from the seed, and other improvements in preparing the raw material for the manufacturers, caused so rapid an increase in the demand, that the production, which in 1791 was only 5,000 bales, had risen in 1831 to 960,000 bales, and in 1860 had reached the enormous amount of 4,600,000 bales. The supply kept pace with the demand. The manufacturers of Great Britain, France, the Northern States of America, and other countries, purchased the slave-cultivated cotton in continually increasing quantities, spun it, wove it, and the public bought it. Slave-owners, merchants, manufacturers, and traders, all accumulated riches, and the world was supplied cheaply and abundantly with cotton fabrics of every description. But the extinction of slavery in the British West India colonies, combined with the agitating discussions which had preceded it, directed the attention of the public, and of the religious classes particularly, to the evils of slave-labour. A large and gradually increasing party of Abolitionists grew up in the Northern States of America, seconded by Emancipationists in Great Britain, who objected vehemently to the continuance of slavery in the States, denounced the slave-owners as criminals of the darkest dye, and used every means in their power to induce and assist the slaves to escape from their bondage. The slave-owners, on the contrary, clung to their 'domestic institution' as a necessity of their existence
"You take my house when you do take the prop
They were irritated excessively by the vituperation poured out upon them by the Abolitionists of the North; and many of them, in their passionate self-vindication, contended that this abominable social system was sanctioned by Scripture, and was a benefit, if not a blessing, to the African race.
But slavery in the United States was not merely a 'domestic institution.' It was also a political institution, coeval with the establishment of the Federal Union, and recognized and guaranteed by the Constitution, which, by the Fourth Article, provided, that a slave who might "escape from one State into another" should be "delivered up upon claim to the party to whom his service or labour may be due." This provision having been evaded by several of the States, the Congress, in 1850, passed a Fugitive Slave Law to enforce it, but this law again was rendered ineffective in nearly all the Free States by the passing of Personal Liberty Laws, which either nullified the Act of Congress, or rendered useless any attempt to enforce it. These proceedings of the Northern States were held by the Southern to be so material a breach of the original compact on which the Union was formed as (irrespective of other causes of discontent) to justify them in withdrawing from the Federation. They contended that the Union was a combination of independent States for the accomplishment of defined purposes; and that the conditions of the Union having been violated, they were justified in withdrawing from the partnership.
Though the great struggle for independence and the obvious advantages of a federal government had originally combined the Northern and Southern States in a political union, there was, from the very origin of the settlements, a discordancy of character in the inhabitants of the two sections which threatened separation at no distant period. The Puritans of Massachusetts and the Royalist refugees of Virginia regarded each other with a feeling of mutual dislike. The animosities of the Roundheads and Cavaliers were transferred from England to America; and the masses of German and Irish emigrants who have since poured into the Northern States have increased the feeling of animosity in the Southern States to a degree of intensity which cannot be conceived by those who have not witnessed it.
But besides this personal feeling of ill-will and the great quarrel on the question of slavery, the Southern States had long been dissatisfied with the commercial policy of the North, which was directly opposed to their material interests. They were agricultural; they produced cotton, tobacco, sugar, rice; and they wanted a free trade to exchange their raw materials for the manufactures of Europe. The Northern States, on the contrary, with a view to encourage their manufactures, imposed highly protective duties, which prevented foreign imports from entering into competition with American goods in the markets of the South, and in some articles had the effect of prohibiting importation altogether. These restrictions pressed heavily on the South, and occasioned universal discontent. Other causes of dissatisfaction were, that the Northern States drew large sums from the common treasury for the construction of navy-yards, docks, arsenals, forts, lighthouses, on their own coasts, whilst similar establishments on the much longer line of the Southern coasts were few and incomplete; that, in fact, they were unfairly treated, and that one moiety of the Union was taxed to promote the power and prosperity of the other.