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Ireland's Financial Burthen.

JUSSIVE TAXATION.

(BY M.J-S.) ~ me the laefc fortnight wa were 0f C»k' e * thiil question was arousing in apprise" fcQ all c i aB B6B the deepest IrelW^ BDJ o"^' coU ntrv hitherto notorious i"wre' fc i ,«ncour this a remarkable and forP"1'" 08 Zcle What, alter yeura of yHiB aie^"' h«' broo K ht thi. l»iW«» by«Biu>on »d«eMiby, shared in ,boot? * v ..classes and the masses." alike by ".'', Relations Commission (a The *inß.' t o f both Houses to enquire foinb coono »™ • _ fieaucial relations U tha ftSSd »d Ireland, has bet* flßn, it ? labour*, and issued its conclodea * fflelßber a adopted the wise rep"6- , D t6io g forth ii> a joint report course o' »• tf bicb fchey were in agreet'lß P, ,iou it W individual members to menu. le*Tl,!j r gpecial views or particular r enre'fl nt. Commission in separate branches m _ waß s jg nod Dy men iotto' j ivaibv Lord Farrar and others likß -m he expected to favour the eido *h° « »Hgh Treasury. The signatories °" Ih»t Ireland is grievously overdeclara *nB r op i n i O n. one in 20 should taxed. iQ DrO p O rtional payment of WP^f* con ,pared with Great Britain, Ireland w*- r^ ratia of taxation is in V henai »•» BOme tbing less than onepropoftion vi eleventh. fc ü ß i te d Kingdom are Th° • «I* ninaty mil Home, and Ire•P^SSrtion is b«.b u,HHo M . The landl- PLnCi »rer that Ireland1 * contria total of ninety milliona b uatlM hi about four and a-half million, !b° L B in the opinion of the Comtniathe" m n who at the outset of the ?"""•« »ara biased, Ireland is now being g3S«yrf'*oMda-hmlllßilltani "'rtu'-illary and voluminous report), li hv Mr Thomas Sexton and signed riilf the Hon. B. Blake and Mr iLSTcUr-an of the National Bank, .7™',l'| u rid light on the question in its Se£ and" present day pha.es To y comprehend the Id utice it «, I, Latv to go back to the days of Put Ltnra ol the Act of Union Under STC F"lia m ent, 1782 and during h« next ten years. Ireland a taxation L sot exceed o»e million per annum, her ™Lii. debt vra> about two railliena. In the CofL^'"lßoo^! I'^'6B^l1 '^'68^1 "Underthe Act of Union, when passed, Ireland would continue to contribute in its iecaitomed proportion » The Irieh Socre- :,.. LordGastlereaßb, in the Irish Heuse Kons cm February 6th,1800 said, " If any nacrifico be made, it will not bo on thenittOf Ireland,.but upon the part of « rl) atßritain." The first 16years of Union .dministracion raised Ireland's taxation from t«o 8^ a" hftlf m'll'ollß t0 over 6lx Billions, and the average annual taxation for the period waa uearly four and a-half million*. Mr Pi« guaranteed Ireland aesimt "a load of debt, yet in that 16 Yearß 113 millions wero added to her burthen. The rate per head of taxation which had been 4a to 5s t Wf ntyyears before,.and lO.> at the Union, WBflinlßl6. At this early juncture oF Union financing Ireland was dragged down to io low a position that not only was she onable to provide from her more than doubled revenue any part of rive millions a par, the average charge upon ker joint expenditure, but money had to be borrowed to make up the amount of her separate charge for debt which her inflated rovenua hud now become inadequate to defray. By the amalgamation ot the English and liiih exchequers in 1817 the proportional ijatem of contribution was abolished. The annual average expenditure of the United Kingdom previous to thin, owing to the war with France, was 130 millions, ud at the close of the war the united •iponditore foil rapidly to 50 million*. Tho average British revenue from 1801 t,o 1817 was 68 millions. From 1818 to 1333 itfelltoanavwageof 51 millions, bub the Irish average of flg millions in the former period »as still further forced up bo over 5 Billions in the latter, although the expenditars to be dsfrayod waa so greatly diminished.

Tho next 16 years (1834-1849) was one of the idddesb perioda in Ireland's sad history,. Its close witnessed the poople dying and others fleeing from the country to eicapa the dreadful famine. Tho population rraa then 8)j millions ; it is now bat i\ millions and still decreasing. Through the Corn L'uv Uopeul Act the British market for Irish cemlb was lost. This Josa was irreparable to a country like Ireland, depending alrnosb wholly upon her tgricultare for a bare eabaintence. Although the expenditure of the TJniied Kingdom had from the previous period decreased, and with it tho British burthen decreased to 48 millions, yet Ireland's burthen now stood (according to Treasury computations) at i' 5,200,000 from 1834-1849, "within which period," to quote the report, "Ireland puising through the sovoresb erdeal recorded in modern history was BeverbselflHobUgerl to submit to increasing proieure of t»i»tioD." In the nexb ftertn of 16 year« (1860-1865) Ireland, recovering slowly from the effects 01 th« famina, lo« oae third of the population, and had a difficult struggle with the wangea conditiftua of industry resulting p c. «PBal 0{ corn laws, whilst "Wat Britain rapidly progressed in population »nd wealth. During this period Mr Wadstoae subjected Ireland to an income wynd her epirib duty was quadrupled. ,. 0 lrßland 8 already overburthening taxa"on theiu added another two millions por r n n""m' Tils. united expenditure increased Ea H RedotJ t0 ~l° millions. Great) »nwa» feviMpa revenue increased to 59 *'T 8 ' . in the samo prophon »o £6,4D0;00O s the former was Cft 11""1 ib lmd bceh a"«*•» °p°ath V dentur* (|fl fche P°riod of the .7/5 bot «ie *veia K e revenuo of Si ' bn Sliofb of five million*. *aa tZol't '? by oDßtliird, and this heavier ■ ZrZ- t0 bo bor"o by a diminished X s°?i °nJ, 0{ "rrewiii means. Sir bil.2 llam l llto". »T leß ,u r y official, in hit ffi* 8 Uo!' ( », «Pd. p. 191) showed ill taxes in comZ I Sm !a,' llnUfl»t Britain between 1820 X, ft 0 1 ™ 8« 7d to £1 11. 7d, but Mart™* i° S 7d" " 'Ihe wealthier aore /ad TJ mf *°ttnwy wa9 buraened 8 : Bf h owtviDcreased-" Doriod, thfl I; ,tthe next Bixteen-yoar Wddtt,!«• M^d"Of6 of the United mZ Z m t0 h*b ™a 70 and 84 »v« f4 « a x,f,! roßl ®to 68 millions, and tho 7i millionV <vt mb frOm £6,^100,000 to »8 towwio (W l' to eil ual» ty of P'-eseure, continued »hii ° , Bfitßi" a»d Ireland, Si[ Eiwardtt U^ ther t0 increase, for, fis P« head in Or !i att 6llows»the srOBS rato lßß°Wlfrom A?«ibaltlb6bw66n 1860 and Ireland te O ih i to £2 > wllilefc tuat of Bciti«h rate n v Uhch»ri(?ed ; and the tion («U horn ll nV 1 baxe» 0D cooßumpl^tof I,,| to H J U.™ t0 £1 3s 7d, whilst •Itftrta. Dd ret»e.ined substantially anPmont Htt g Per'Od, ffom 1882 to the ■ n? d °to hw i MP»WUureof tho United to'lHon ß , ~T , n«6»a«d froaj 8 4 to 100 sftttbly««te2>ktat more . f '^Illt, fj?;*» «»•* no fixed proportion I"?I **»ftdVSJl^w* t^ Bta^nant 2M^2 f««rpl US of Ireland, A iBO "«ori t^l qualifying provision ftond, .^ » certain annual sum '■^Wrioffi 6^1"0118 bQ exacted." "v« WBra« Brhi«h re»eni>B

increased from 68 millions to 81 millions ; the average Irish revenue from 7£ to 7f millions.

Summarising the foregoing (1801 —1894), the report eaye :—" The framere and promoters of the Treaty and the Acts of Union, Mr Pitb and Lord Uaablereagh, took credit for their proposal as one of eelfsacrifice on the part of Great Britain, and of great and certain advantage to Ireland. It was truarantoed to infuse much wealth into Ireland, but the poverty of Ireland has undoubtedly increased. The want) of industry and capital wan to be supplied by the Union ; but under the Union capital has diminished, and industrial acivity has calamitously declined. Ireland was to eava a million a year in war, and half & million a year in peace. But during the time of war (the lirst 16 years of the century), her taxation was doubled, her expenditure was more than doubled, and in the 80 years thab have since elapsed, a period of almost uninterrupted peace, the Bcale of her taxation hat) never been diminished, but on the contrary, has been increased continually, clown to the present day, and, in the latest period, has reached the highest point. The Union was warranted at least as nil absolute assurance against increase or debt and augmentation of taxes, bub in 16 years it multiplied the Irish debt flveiold, and in 96 years ib has pressed up the pre-Union mnxim of two and a-half millions, which Lord Cuarjlereagh considered the reasonable limit, bo nearly seven millions a year, the pressure continuing without cessation in peace as well aa in war, in famine as in plonty, whether expenditure roae or fell, and whilst population diminished even more than in the time when it increased. Ireland, under the Uuion, was only to be taxed in its accustomed proportion. The British taxpayer in ISOO paid £3 par head, the Irish taxpayer 10s. The rate per head of the British taxpayer is now only £2 4s lOd, nearly one-third leea than at the date of the Union, thoughts the wealth of Britain ia ab least fire times as great, and the rate per head of the Irish taxpayer is now £1 8s lOd, nearly treble the former amount, though Irish resources never expanded after the Union, and in the last half century have certainly materially declined." The 1 mperial taxation of Ireland amounts to £7,500,000, local taxeß to £6,500,000, and the economic drain by reason of mortgages held abroad, absenteeism, and such causes is set down at £6,250,000, ranking a total of £17,250,000 against an available fund of £16,000,000. The one and a-quarter million deficit has to be met out of the poverty of an already impoverished people. An item in the Imperial account amounting to £2,000,009 for tho maintenance in Ireland of 29,000 soldiers (as much as fcha whole of Ireland's taxation a century ago) is decidedly extortion. After paying our quota to tho Australasian squadron, what would Maorilanders cay if, when the ships wero stationed in New Zealand waters, they were likewise forced to absolutely maintain them ? Following the economic principles of Bentham and Mill, the report concludes that fche only just basis upon which the calculation of Ireland's taxable capacity can proceed ie, Ist, to take the gross income of the United Kingdom,subtract from that sum the necessary amounb for the bare maintenance of the people, and then comparo i>he residue of Great Britain upon the one hand and Ireland on the other for tho purpose of ascertaining what should be the relative contribution of each towards the gross »urn required to bo raised by tnxes. If this were done the reporb contends that Ireland's ' contribution to the Imperial oxchequer should nob be in the ratio of one to eleven aa ab present, or even one to twenty, as recommended by tho joint report, bub oaly one in thirty-six. Other phases of tho question—the increase of wealth in various specific forma, capital, wages, etc., in Great Britain, and a corresponding decrease in Ireland, are dealt with very extensively, bub I trust that sufficient has been placed before your readtra to further interest them in no momentous a question now crying out for settlemenb ab tho seat 1 of bhe empire.

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Bibliographic details

Ireland's Financial Burthen., Auckland Star, Volume XXVIII, Issue 8, 11 January 1897

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1,907

Ireland's Financial Burthen. Auckland Star, Volume XXVIII, Issue 8, 11 January 1897

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