Imágenes de páginas

strengthened. "Regere imperio " was the motto of the Indian Civil Service from its birth to 1857. Now, education, a growing press, greater facilities of visiting Europe, the admission of natives into the Civil Service, the opening given by the Indian bar, closer intimacy with men and minds in England, have made that motto less rigorously appropriate. Is it not the peculiar business of the civilian of the present hour to weave for himself a fresh device? It must be one in which the gradual changes that are occurring are recognised-one in which government, not indeed by, but with, the people, rather than the mere ruling of the people, rather than mere dominium, will be indicated as the goal to be attained. He must turn from the old administrative roads, not because in their day they were other than safe guides, but because they are superseded by later highways, and are commencing to be so crossed and recrossed by a network of independent paths that they no longer point to progress. The success of the competition men in accomplishing this, and in keeping such aims steadily in view, will be the measure of their achievement—it may be, the condition to them of life. There are many to-day, and there will be more to-morrow, who would gladly welcome the destruction of the Indian Civil servant. A popular Government, based on general suffrage, can regard with but little confidence a great system of centralised officialdom. The men in women's garments, the women in men's garments, the philosopher

who loves mankind in general and hates his neighbour in particular, the average ass, the man with a fad, the demagogue with a following, the creature of sentiment, the enthusiast, who would rig out his coloured brothers with a pair of breeches each and a ballot-box,-all these the Indian civilian may count as his enemies. Their name is legion. Between this many-headed adversary and its aims he alone, and he so long only as he commands regard, interposes. He will fail to command regard if he fails to do as much justice to the liberal system under which he enters the service as did the Haileybury man to his close nomination. He cannot do justice to that liberal system till he has recognised, and has accepted as the groundwork of his new design the recognition, that, like India herself in 1857, he must part company with whatever is no longer appropriate or possible; that he must devote his efforts more and more unreservedly as the years pass to teaching the people to take an active and intelligent part in the conduct of their own affairs, and must in the same degree relax the attitude of sole authoritative rule. If he clings blindly to the administrative scheme of the old service, when the conditions no longer exist in which that scheme could operate, without doubt he will perish miserably. He will not be shrivelled by Burke; Mangal Pándé will not murder him; he will be done to death by the elector of Finsbury.



Two bills are now before Parliament involving the most serious dangers to the landed interest. By the Finance Bill the duties payable to the imperial Exchequer on death are multiplied manyfold; and by the Local Government Bill for Scotland new duties, involving new charges on land, are created, and old duties are placed in new hands under conditions which make increased expenditure inevitable. It is supposed that these measures may raise little popular opposition because they directly attack landowners, a class possessing but slender power at the polls, and traditionally detested by the dominant political faction. It is forgotten that the landed interest includes much more than landowners, that tenants and labourers are affected in an equal or even superior degree, and that the proposals of the Government are not only unjust in themselves, but destructive of the prosperity of every family living by or on the land. Our purpose is to examine, with the utmost brevity, the existing burdens, imperial and

local, upon land, to show how and when they were first imposed, and to sum up the effect which the two bills now under discussion would have if passed in their present form.

The clearest method by which we can state and prove our point is to give details of the taxation actually paid in a given year at the commencement of the present reign, and contrast it with the last year available-1893. We have received, by the courtesy of those responsible for their management, information in regard to estates situated all over Scotland, and shall make use of many of the details given a few pages lower.

In the first instance we give a comparative table of the outgoings on an estate situated in the northeast of Scotland, where the management has been on a large, not to say a princely scale. In the last 40 years the total expenditure on improvements to land and houses has been £710,000. The estate is now practically the same as in the


of contrast-1839; but what little difference there is, is in the direction of contraction of area.

COMPARISON of PUBLIC and PAROCHIAL BURDENS for the years 1839 and 1893. Class I.-Imperial Taxes.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The property and income tax was imposed in its present form by Sir Robert Peel in 1842. As a tax on incomes of all kinds, whether derived from land or from personalty, there is no need to enter into detail. The Exchequer wanted money, and it placed a tax on wealth, and landowners had no ground for complaint, except in so far as the tax on lands is levied on gross income, and that on personalty on net income. Thus the payment on account of income tax on the estate above mentioned in 1893 was £1870, being levied on the gross rental, after deducting land tax and owner's rates-a very much larger sum than the landlord ever received as income. Sir William Harcourt now proposes to remedy in part this injustice. He says:

"It is obviously just that if real property is to be assimilated in burden to personalty under the death duties, it has a claim which cannot be neglected to be relieved from the exceptional charge which, in most cases, it bears under its assessment to the income tax. The fact that real estate is, as a general rule in Great Britain, assessed upon its gross and not upon its net income has long been a ground of complaint."

Proceeding on these lines, the Chancellor of the Exchequer provides for a reduction of 10 per cent from the gross rental. This will reduce but not remove the present injustice.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Very little need be said about the land tax. It originated at a very early period, and was made permanent-subject to redemption -in 1798. As its name implies, it is exclusively a tax upon land, and is therefore an element in any comparison between the taxation of land and money; but in a comparison between the years about 1840 and the present day no change has, to be noted. Ministers' stipends, though appearing in every estate account, are not, strictly speaking, a burden on the rental, because teind is really a separate property in the soil of the parish. This, and the item for maintenance of churches and manses, are ancient heritable obligations on the proprietor, and require only the most casual notice, since they are not in any true sense taxes.

Schoolmasters' salaries amounted to no more than £540 in 1839, and this sum had increased to £2625 in 1893 in the shape of education rates, of which half was paid by the landlord and half by the tenant, but the whole out of the produce of the land. The obligation on the heritors to provide school buildings and to pay schoolmaster's salary originated in very early times. In 1616 the bishop, with consent of the heritors and commissioners, was authorised to impose a tax for the school on every plough of land.

In 1646 an Act was passed providing for the foundation of a school in every parish at the expense of the heritors, but the principal Education Act before the Union was that of 1696. This Act requires the heritors to "provide a commodious house for a school, and settle and modify a salary to a schoolmaster which shall not be under one hundred merks nor above two hundred." The cost was to be provided by a stent laid on each heritor according to his valued rent, and onehalf the outlay could be recovered by him from the tenants.

So things went on till 1872, when Parliament determined, on grounds of public policy, that school attendance should be compulsory; that there should be a school board in every parish; and that the ultimate source from which the necessary money was to come to supplement school fees and grants was a rate upon the land. This rate has varied with the circumstances of each parish. In some it is trivial; in others it is crushing in its severity; and in a few it has grown so intolerable that parochial bankruptcy ensued, and the Education Department was obliged to step in in order to prevent the schools being closed wholesale. In 1893 there are many parishes where this burden, this new rate on land produce, exceeds ls. in the pound; while in an appreciable number,-such as Glenbucket, in Aberdeenshire; Harris, Glenelg, and North Uist, in Inverness-shire; and several Shetland parishes,—2s. and over is levied. The rates to meet the expense of education grew to the enormous total of more than 5s. in the pound in at least one parish

the duties of distressed school boards. In the estate which has been taken as an example, the burden amounts, in some parishes more, in some less, but over the whole to more than 8d. in the pound.

We now come to the most serious of all the charges that have been cast upon the land during the last half-century the poor assessment as levied under the Act of 1845. Before the passing of the Poor Law Act of that year, the primary source of maintenance for the poor was church collections. Compulsory power of assessment was indeed given by an old Act of the Scottish Parliament passed in 1579; but no instance of advantage having been taken of this power can be found before the year 1693. Gradually the large urban parishes began to find assessment necessary, and in 1820, out of the 885 parishes in Scotland, 192 were subjected to assessment, and in 1839 this number had risen to 238. Still it is in the main true that as an effective principle compulsory assessment was not in force in the rural and agricultural districts of Scotland until after 1845. The Report of the Poor Law Commission in 1844 says—

"Throughout the Northern and Western Highlands, and nearly the whole of the parishes comprised in the Synods of Shetland, Orkney, Sutherland, and Caithness, Ross, Glenelg, Argyll, and Moray-embracing in territorial extent almost

one-half of Scotland-the church

collections, with such small sums as may accrue to the kirk-session from fees, fines, &c., aided in a few instances by occasional donations from heritors or casual visitors, form the only public fund to which the poor

can look for relief."

before the Scotch Education Department came to the rescue and Landlords and tenants, therefore took over both the burdens and in other words, the agricultural


were not practically called upon to contribute a rate for the relief of the poor. The present rates, whatever they are, are thus the product of Victorian legislation. The return [No. 104] presented to Parliament by the Secretary for Scotland on the 4th May shows what is the effect of this new burden. The variation is enormous,-far more considerable than is the case with education rates. Fifty years ago the charge on every parish in the Highlands, and on the vast majority of rural parishes throughout Scotland, was nil; now it varies from as little as 3d. to as much as 7s. Parliament sought to obtain a national good, and the result has been that in some cases the burden is scarcely felt, while in others it is absolutely ruinous.

There are fifty-nine parishes in Scotland where the poor rate stands at 2s. in the pound or over; and while the great majority lie in the Highland counties, instances can also be adduced in such counties as Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, and Linlithgow. The extreme cases in 1893 were as follows:

Argyllshire, Kilbrandon,
Inverness-shire, Kilmuir,
Ross-shire, Barvas,
Zetland, Walls,

s. d.

[ocr errors]

4 1

4 9

[ocr errors]

7 4 7

Out of the twelve parishes in Zetland there are only two where the poor rate is less than 4s. in the pound. Instances such as these are rare; but even in the case of the estate selected for illustration, the average rate in all the parishes concerned is 1s. 2d. in the pound, being a new burden within the last half-century of close on 6 per cent of the gross nominal rental.

The county rates, consisting of rogue-money and assessments for certain roads, amounted, in 1839, to £586. By legislation within the last fifty years the burden has increased sevenfold, and now amounts to £3783. Rogue-money was first authorised by an Act passed in the eleventh year of George I. for "the more effectual disarming the Highlands in that part of Great Britain called Scotland." Notwithstanding the limitations in the title of the Act, general power was given to the freeholders to assess themselves in order to provide funds for the apprehension of criminals generally throughout North Britain. Up to fifty years ago no general addition to county burdens took place, but since 1840 the following statutes, which have imposed successive burdens upon land, have been enacted:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

19 d., Orkney.

6. Other Rates, including Sheriff ( 23 & 24 Vict. c. 79 Court-houses and Militia,

7. Contagious Diseases (Animals),

8. Roads Rate,

9. Public Health,


17 & 18 Vict. c. 106

41 & 42 Vict. c. 74

30 & 31 Vict. c. 101

4d., Linlithgow


« AnteriorContinuar »