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finance to require an important concession. The balance therefore as between land and personalty has been that the former has provided year by year in ordinary cases from 10 to 20 or even 30 per cent of gross revenue, and frequently the moiety of net revenue in the form of local taxation, and has paid 9d. in the pound to income-tax when 7d. only was fairly exigible. On the other hand, when a landed estate passes on death to lineal descendants, the important advantages already named as to amount and time of payment are enjoyed. It is a great outrage that these last should be abolished, while no redress is afforded in the matter of local taxation.
What, then, are the changes proposed by Sir William Harcourt's bill, and their effect?
1. If the privilege of payment by instalments is claimed, it is to be accompanied by 3 per cent interest from the date of death.
2. Heirs to landed estate are to pay on the whole capital value, even where they succeed to a liferent only under entail, and cannot make their interest absolute without the expensive process of disentailing and compensating the heirs. They are to pay on a capital sum greatly in excess of that which they enjoy.
3. The scale of duty paid on the corpus of the estate, under the name of estate duty, is to be placed at a progressive rate of great severity. For instance, an estate over £50,000 would pay 5 per cent, and over £100,000 6 per cent estate duty, besides succession duty varying from 1 per cent by lineals to 10 per cent by strangers in blood.
"The golden rule of all Chancellors of the Exchequer," said Mr Disraeli, "is that they should beware that no tax, whatever form
it may take, whether that of a customs duty, an excise duty, or a direct impost, should, in its nature, be excessive." The tax as proposed by Sir William Harcourt in the case of personal as well as real estate stands condemned by this axiom, for it is excessive. To give one moderate instance, brothers and sisters taking anything from an estate with a gross value in excess of £50,000, would have to pay 8 per cent, or more than three years' income. This is surely an excessive sum to pay out of personalty. But in the case of land it is more than excessive, it is ruinous and intolerable. A man with money invests and enjoys the fruits of every penny he possesses. The man with an estate will be charged his 6, 8, 10, or, in the most extreme case, it might be 18 per cent on the capital value of his pictures, his heirlooms, his trees, his model farm - steadings and labourers' cottages, on property of many kinds which brings in no effective revenue. Multitudes of obligations attach to the possession of land from which owners of Consols are exempt, and the brother succeeding to a landed estate of £50,000, and paying 8 per cent, would, unless his duty to his tenants, labourers, and neighbours were neglected, be disbursing, not three years', as in the case of personalty, but at least six years' free income. In the case of the largest proprietors, where agriculture has suffered least, where the houses are best, where the tenantry are most prosperous, the outlay on things for the general good has been much larger than this estimate would indicate, and the margin for personal expenditure smaller.
The Duke of Richmond told the
Royal Commission that on his Goodwood estates since 1873 he had spent upwards of £30,000 on
labourers' cottages, and as an investment his expenditure showed a loss. On his Scottish estates he has expended during the last fifteen years on buildings and improvements £198,000, besides granting abatements in rent of £286,000. The Duke of Devonshire has stated that on his vast family estates it has been the custom to expend 30, 50, 60, or 70 per cent on local purposes, unconnected with personal or family enjoyment. In these cases, the estates being very large, the graduated duty would be infinitely higher than that taken as an example, and would presumably amount to a charge of 11 per cent in the case of collateral succession. The conclusion, therefore, at which he arrives, that the new duties would be equivalent to six, ten, or even twelve years' income available for personal or family expenditure, appears well within the mark. The effect must be that landowners will be utterly unable to discharge in future the duty they have gladly held themselves to owe their tenantry and neighbours. They must retrench, and as they and their families must live, the general welfare of the countryside will be affected. The Exchequer will absorb a large share of the revenue of every estate which now forms the wage-fund of the district. Landowners will indeed suffer; but the result of Sir William Harcourt's Budget will be that tenants and labourers and agriculture will suffer first and in the hardest measure.
Night after night the Chancellor of the Exchequer revels in taunting landowners with a desire to escape taxation. We would ask, Are the facts with which we have been furnished from several of the best-managed estates in Scotland capable of disproof? Are the re
turns of burdens on land just presented to Parliament by the Secretary for Scotland fallacious? Are landowners and tenants only dreaming that they receive periodic visits from collectors of county rates, of school-rates, of poor-rates, and of income-tax, on incomes which they never make? If all these things are sad and sober realities, we submit that the new legislation, the Finance Bill with its new taxes, the Local Government Bill with its new rates, are impolitic, unjust, and oppressive. Every penny that landlord or tenant derives from land ought to pay a full and equal share with other wealth to the State, but not more. At the beginning of this reign the agricultural interests were fostered by protection, and the taxation levied for local purposes by Imperial Acts was trifling. Now, agriculture, weighed down with multiplied burdens, has to undersell the free produce of other countries. It is a farmers' question, for they cannot struggle on unless there be capital to put into the land; it is a labourers' question, for as their wage-fund goes into the coffers of the State they will gradually be discharged; it is a question for working men at large, for farmservants will drift into other callings and depress wages. treatment, neither more nor less, is wanted. Agriculturists honestly believe they now suffer from excessive taxation as compared with other classes; Sir William Harcourt thinks otherwise. The whole question should be examined by a competent Commission; and until this is done, the most strenuous opposition should be given at all stages and at every opportunity to those sections of the two bills which seek to lay fresh burdens on the produce of the land.
IN 'MAGA'S' LIBRARY.
THE loan collection of paintings in the first Manchester Exhibition came as a revelation of the rare treasures in our picture-galleries. We have almost ceased to be surprised at the seemingly inexhaustible stream which sets annually towards the exhibitions in Burlington House. Surely much the same may be said of the Letters and biographical Reminiscences with which we have been inundated for the last fifteen or twenty years. We must pick and choose among them as amongst the pictures: the portraits are not all masterpieces by a Titian or a Velasquez, nor are the sujets de genre invariably gems of bright ness from domestic interiors by a Van Ostade or a Gerard Dow. But it may be predicted that not a little of this exuberant personal literary work will live and be read or consulted for one reason or another. In this article, as it happens, we can bring together specimens in four characteristic styles, and each in its manner is excellent. There are the highly dramatic recollections of a distinguished soldier; there are the letters of a famous London wit and man of fashion; there is the bright and sparkling correspondence of a lady of wit, refinement, and moderate culture, the graceful and gracious hostess of salons at home and abroad; and, finally, there are the discreet revelations of a veteran diplomatist, full of valuable materials for the historian of the future.
worthy in the adventurous life of that dashing cavalry officer, Sir Hope Grant; but nothing perhaps has impressed us more than his habit of keeping regular and voluminous journals.1 In overcrowded transports, in pestilential Chinese swamps, in beleaguered cantonments in revolted India-he chronicled minutely the events of each day, as the clerk or the tradesman posts up his ledgers. He was by no means what Captain Costigan calls "a literary cyracter." But whatever the motive for the pains he took, his labours have borne fruit he could scarcely have foreseen, and we feel we have good reason to be grateful for them. We have no doubt that great part of the attractiveness of these volumes is due to the editing of Colonel Knollys, who has recast and rearranged selections from the mass of raw material, as with an able running commentary of his own he has filled in the missing links of the history. In any case, the whole of the thrilling narrative is instinct with spirit and colour, and incidents are described with all the graphic picturesqueness of the observer on whom they made a profound impression. No man can write history, and especially war history, like him who has played his part in the scenes. Necessarily he throws in those telling touches which escape the clever literary artist; nor does he overlook the by-play and even the suggestive trivialities which may seem beneath the dignity of the solemn There is much that was note- chronicler. In fact, in his man
1 Life of General Sir Hope Grant. With Selections from his Correspondence. Edited by Henry Knollys, Colonel (H.P.) R.A. Edinburgh and London: Wm. Blackwood & Sons.
VOL. CLVI.-NO. DCCCCXLV.
ner of narration Grant is what Macaulay would have been, had Macaulay enjoyed similar opportunities.
More than fifty years have elapsed since young Grant embarked for service in the East. We are taken back to other times and the ancient military memories, for he sailed as brigade-major to Lord Saltoun, distinguished Waterloo man, with a marked and rather eccentric individuality, of whom many good stories used to be told in the north. Grant owed his appointment to their common passion for music. Among the furniture of the young officer's cabin were a piano and a violoncello. The chief prided himself on his performances on the guitar, and the pair used to indulge in serenades, to the astonishment of the sailors. A military passenger by the present flying service of the P. and O. would scarcely dream of pianos as part of his outfit. But the Belleisle, 74, was to be Grant's home for the best part of a year. There was accommodation on board for about 800-half as many again of unfortunate souls were huddled together between decks; and yet those soldiers' wives had deemed themselves lucky who were permitted to follow their husbands' fortunes. When we think of the fare and the miserable quarters, we marvel that troops who had gone through such an ordeal should have disembarked in high condition and eager for hard fighting. But the seasoned soldier of those days was uncommonly tough, and nothing short of a Walcheren Expedition seems to have been too much for his stamina. Grant was even less of an orator than a writer. There is a telling anecdote of his failing to make himself intelligible when he tried to explain that he was really the winner in
a war-game at Aldershot, when the umpires had unanimously pronounced against him. But we cannot help thinking he had much of the artistic sensibility of his illustrious brother, the President of the Academy. For he seizes instinctively upon anything picturesque or characteristic, and dashes it in with a vigorous realism which profoundly impresses the imagination.
The first Chinese war was really an armed expedition of discovery. Then, for the first time, the detested foreigners fairly penetrated behind the veil which had shrouded from time immemorial the eccentricities of that mysterious empire. If we knew comparatively little of them, the Chinese people knew absolutely nothing of us. They would have looked with superstitious terror to the contact of their venerable civilisation with Western barbarism, had they not been reassured by the sublime confidence of the mandarins, who had hitherto disregarded treaties with impunity. The mandarins' faith in their natural defences was not surprising. There were no roads on which troops, if landed, could march, and the great river which led to the capital and the interior was unnavigable, or at least it was considered only practicable for small craft. Surprise following surprise was in store for them, and the unconventional fashion in which these Europeans made war was beyond the experiences of their listless temperaments leavened by Buddhist philosophy. The mighty Yang-tze-Kiang comes down in perennial flood, sweeping in a succession of swift currents among a labyrinth of sand-banks and shifting shoals. The wondering Celestials had the privilege of witnessing one of the most daring feats of seamanship
on record. Seventy-three British warships, from three-deckers downwards-by a strange coincidence precisely the same number conveyed the troops which Grant commanded in the second warwere seen stemming the stream under sail. We are not told whether the Admiral secured the assistance of native pilots. The Belleisle and another vessel grounded, but both were soon afloat again. The troops got ashore somehow, in spite of the strength of the currents: probably the Chinese were too much taken aback promptly to oppose the disembarkation. But then they prepared to attack in Tartar fashion, with a sonorous clashing of cymbals, with shouting, and an immense display of tawdry banners, The British walked up to them in blazing sunshine-"trussed up in a network of strangulation belts and thick leather stocks and in five minutes the position was abandoned, and the vociferous defenders were in full flight.
city of Chin-Kiang was next carried by assault. "The subsequent fate of the defenders was a cruel one. Those who escaped slaughter by our soldiers for the most part committed suicide." Nothing can be more strikingly illustrative of the strange Chinese idiosyncrasy. A few shot and shell had scared them out of a strongly defensible position, and yet when the fighting was over they deliberately sought death, in the fear that a worse fate might befall them. As for the miserable non-combatants, their terror was extreme. In their horror at what might happen to them at the hands of the foreign devils, many women were slaughtered by their own relations. After describing how a silken-clad mandarin was discovered swinging from a beam in his own stable, Sir
Hope, by way of relief, tells a pleasant story. The Admiral was strolling through the town in decidedly unconventional costume, when the master of one of the transports, mistaking him for a comrade, unceremoniously accosted him, "Well, old boy, you've come rather late. The white's all gone, but there is some brown left." In defiance of severe orders against plundering, they had been looting a storehouse filled with sugar.
Hong-Kong fifty years ago was a very different place from what it is now as the third seaport in the empire. "It was a recognised resort for pirates and landmarauders, and the incessant robberies were outrageous. I never went to bed without a loaded pistol under my pillow." But the Spaniards had similar troubles with their Malay subjects in Manila, and they adopted more summary methods of repression. A village revolted, and the governor sent out an expedition, which massacred one thousand souls, including women and children. One of the native regiments expressed disapprobation by mutinying, and forthwith one hundred of the mutineers were summarily passed under arms.
Then Sir Hope joined his regiment at Cawnpore, and the 9th Lancers were to the front in all the fighting that was going forward, from the first Sikh war to the stamping out of the Mutiny. At Cawnpore he had an opportunity of observing the methods of revenue administration in the kingdom of Oude, the monarch's territory coming down to the opposite bank of the Ganges. He was roused out of bed one morning by the report of cannon. "By-and-by a round-shot came bounding across, and lodged under our house, followed by two or