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In France, in 1881, the number of males aged 21 years and
7.5 per cent. of those eligible. Only about 7,000,000
It is fair to conclude from this that the number
PRECEDENT FOR PROPORTIONATE VOTING. Votes are already given in Ireland for Municipal Elections on the following cumulative scale.* When the valuation of the property, or the net amount received, does not amount to £20, one vote; £20 and not to £50, two votes ; £50 and not to £100, three votes ; £150 and not to £200, five votes; £200 and upwards, six votes. This cumulative scale applies to both occupiers and owners of property, and if we take 2s. 6d. in the pound as the average rate throughout Ireland, it will be seen that it fixes the minimum unit of value as represented by contributions to rates and taxes at £2. 10s. There can be little question, however, that a mere property qualification as a basis for a cumulative scale of voting is bad and inadmissable. The tendency of taxation in the present day is to take the incidence from indirect sources, and to place it more and more upon direct taxation and rates. Formerly, the prosperity of the nation meant a great increase to the revenue, because the consumption of articles upon which the indirect taxes were levied, and the receipts by revenue from this source increased in proportion to the prosperity of the population. The movement in favour of the free breakfast table, and its effects upon legislation, have during the last forty years altered this state of affairs, with the result that the direct taxation paid by individuals has increased to a remarkable extent. An article on “ Imperial and Local Taxation," in Volume IV. of BURDETT'S OFFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (Spottiswoode & Co.) forcibly illustrates these contentions.
During the same period the national expenditure has also increased considerably, and it has necessitated a proportionate increase in the amount of the direct taxes and rates levied on real property through. out the United Kingdom, and especially in England and Wales. It is
ue that assessable value and population have both increased greatly during the period under consideration, but, notwithstanding this, the growth of direct taxation is felt by the people to be increasingly burdensome, and this feeling, as well as the taxation which in it is calculated to develop as years roll by.
In these circumstances, it would seem to be ess' means should be adopted to popularise, to some exte. direct taxes on real property by the people. The c scale, giving each such taxpayer a voice in the go. country, and in the expenditure of the revenue, propo sum which he contributes to the national revenue, woui. to be, in every way, reasonable, politic, just, and workable. Hence the contention that whereas, for special reasons, it may be desirable to introduce this system into Ireland, accompanied by manhood suffrage, it is also a statesmanlike proposal because its introduction there will, if successful, be calculated to result, ultimately, in the adoption of the same system throughout the United Kingdom. It
* Parliamentary Paper, C. 1965, 1878, pp. 7 and 8.
is calculated to encourage thrift, and to stimulate a desire on the part of the individual citizen to develop his resources, in order that he may obtain the largest voice in the government of his country, which his industry and capacity entitle him to receive. This cumulative scale of voting is not favoured by one political party more than another, but seems to have been accepted by all as presenting many points of advantage. Thus, in the Report of the Select Committee on Local Government and Taxation of Towns (Ireland) (being Parliamentary Paper No. 262 of 1878), of which Sir Michael Hicks-Beach was the Chairn the reasons in favour of the application of the cumulative systems, or plural vote, to Municipal Elections, are set forth at length on pages XV. and XVI. The special reasons for extending the plural vote to Parliamentary Elections in Ireland must be apparent to every statesman who has devoted close attention to the circumstances which have to be dealt with in that branch of the Empire. (See page 16.)
FREE TRADE. It has been urged that the granting of Home Rule would imperil the Free Trade policy of the country, because an Irish Parliament would be sure to insist upon Protection. It will be observed that any danger of this kind is obviated by the scheme here propounded. It will be seen on reference to Parliamentary Papers Nos. 92 and 93 of 1881, that if the Imperial Government continue to collect the indirect taxes, as they may properly claim to do, the revenue derived from Excise and Customs will be more than sufficient to defray the charge for the National Debt, together with the expenses of maintaining the Military, Naval, and Police forces in Ireland. Such an arrangement would not only obviate the Free Trade difficulty, but would, at the same time, avoid much disputation and ill-feeling, begot of any attempt to determine the proportion of the National Debt which ought properly to be debited to Ireland under any scheme of Home Rule whatever.
PURCHASE OF LAND BY THE GOVERNMENT.
other from the error of £3,000,000 in the annual value
a by Mr. Giffen in his proposals for the purchase of erial Government, economists, who have any regard
ir country, cannot fail to see other and insuperable, proposals. In the first place, it would, in no sense,
ms of the loyal, as opposed to the disloyal, because
oportion of the loyalists in Ireland, who are residents in that country, do not belong to the land-owning class at all. Thus, to buy out the landowners would simply be to leave the loyal population, who are resident in Ireland, and who belong to the professional and trading classes, in a still worse position than they are now. Such a result would, in no sense, remove the strong feeling which Englishmen have against any proposal which seems to tend in the
direction of leaving the loyal at the mercy of the disloyal. Secondly, the purchase of the land from the present landowners in Ireland would be, presumably, a foolish act, because such purchase must only mean the transfer of the land from one landlord to another (i.e from the present owners to the English taxpayer), unless, indeed, it be the intention to put English tenants (i.e. reserve men and pensioners from both the services) into occupation. Thirdly, Mr. Giffen's proposals appear impracticable, because the amounts at present disbursed for Ireland from the Exchequer which would be available to meet the annual charge involved in the purchase of the land under his scheine do not exceed in the whole £2,750,000 (23 millions), per annum (Parliamentary Return 92-93, 1884). This sum would, no doubt, be increased by at least 1 millions (£1,500,000) if the Irish Constabulary charge was remitted to Ireland, but such a proposal cannot be entertained immediately, for all parties appear to be agreed that the Irish Constabulary must be continued for a term of years, whatever changes may take place in the Government, and assuming Home Rule be granted. There is, therefore, not more at the outside than £2,750,000* of the annual charge available for the land scheme, or probably not more than a third of what would be required for the purpose.
Again, what will happen if it suits the purpose of the Home Rulers or the National League to prevent the payment of rent to the local authorities as they have prevented its payment to the landlords, and what solid ground is there to suppose that the granting of Home Rule will make either the occupiers or the agitators willing to pay or to allow the payment of rent at all ? If no rent was received after the purchase of the land, funds would have to be supplied from somewhere, and that somewhere would no doubt be the Imperial Exchequer.
Is it reasonable to suppose that the English people will consent to increase the National Debt by two hundred millions sterling (L200,000,000) in order to enable so speculative an experiment as this to be made in Irish land ?
IRISH RAILWAYS. The total nominal capital invested in Rail £35,751,000 at the end of 1884, divided as follo:
Ordinary . . . . . .
* According to the above-mentioned Return the amounts disbursed in Ireland from the Imperial Exchequer in 1882–3 were :-(1) Education, 2702, 202 ; (2) Contributions to local rates, £90,140; (3) Salaries, &c., £557,199; (4) Luw and Justice, £1,028,285 ; (5) Erection and maintenance of public buildings, £243,366; (6) Contributions to art and science, £38,928 ; (7) Contributions to public charities, £23,177 ; (Total, £2,742,297). (8) Irish Constabulary, £1,530,144 ; (9) Viceregal honsehold, £30,501; (10) Naval forces, £223,056; (11) Dockyards and defences, £46,825; (12) Military forces, £1,854,446 ; (13) Pensions, L555,148; (14) Miscellaneous, L29,015 ; (Total, £7,011,432). The first seven items are the ones obviously available for “Economist's ” scheme.
, Only 14 of the 38 Companies paid any dividend on their Ordinary Stock, and in only one case did the dividend exceed 5 per cent. '
15 The Gross Receipts were . . . . £2,828,241 ... "And the Working Expenses. . 1,576,117
Leaving Net Receipts , £1,252,124
which is equal to about 35 per cent. on the whole capital. The Railway Act of 1844 authorised the purchase of Railways after the end of 21 years from the 1st January, 1845, on payment of a sum equal to 25 years' purchase of the annual divisible profits, estimated on the average of the three next preceding years. Twenty-five years' purchase of the net receipts of 1884 would equal about £31,000,000.
The amount actually paid for Debenture Interest and for Dividend on Preference Capital cannot be isolated, so that the sum representing 25 years' purchase of the annual divisible profits cannot be stated, but, roughly, £30,000,000 ought to buy the Irish Railways.]
GENERALLY. - What, in fact, Ireland wants is (a) the Encouragement of Emigration (6) the Development of Trade, (c) Fair but Firm Rule, (d) the Purchase of the Railways by the English Government, (e) the Extinguishment of the Agitators, and (f) the quiet Replacement, with the assistance of the Pope, of the present Priesthood, by the introduction of more educated priests, for whose adequate payment some certain provision should be made. These changes, coupled with the abolition of the official ring known as “Dublin Castle," the reform of the legislature, and the division of Ireland into, at least, two provinces or divisions, would tend to develop all that is best and most loyal in the Irish character, and would, there is reason to hope, in the course of half a century, render Ireland a contented portion of the United Kingdom. These desirable changes would be immeasurably developed and assisted by the making of a Submarine Tunnel between the V Cantire or the coast somewhere near Port Patrick
eland; or from the English Coast, in two sections, . Such a tunnel, although difficult to construct, fuperable engineering difficulties, and its cost
exceed a sum of £25,000,000, providing the selected.
HENRY C. BURDETT.
Colonel Royal Marine Artillery,