Imatges de pÓgina

teed or ourselves lent various large sums in aid of other countries; there is the Sardinian loan of 2,000,000l., and the Turkish of 5,000,000l., on neither of which, however, have we been called on for any contribution. For the Greek loan, however, England has paid since 1843 the sum of 1,177,000l.

I now come to the case of Ireland. Here it might, to judge from the invectives of Home Rulers, be feared that it would be difficult to make out a good case. On the contrary, however, it is not difficult, I think, to show that Ireland has been and is treated most liberally. She is represented in the House of Commons by over a hundred members; and, as regards laws, certainly Ireland has nothing to complain of. Where her laws differ from ours, those differences have arisen from endeavours, whether wise or unwise, certainly honest, to adapt them to the peculiar requirements, conditions, and wishes of the country. As regards religious equality, there can be no doubt that Ireland possesses it perhaps even more completely than either England or Scotland. As regards land, Parliament has given Irish farmers certain facilities to enable them to purchase lands, which neither England nor Scotland enjoys. As regards Government patronage, the Irish also have more than their numerical proportion of Government offices. Lastly, I come to finance. As long ago as 1822 Ireland was already very much dependent on the potato; and in that year a failure of the crop created great distress. On the 22nd of May a great meeting was held in London; no less than 260,000l. was subscribed, in addition to which 44,000l. was subscribed in Ireland, and 300,000l. voted by Parliament.

In 1845-7 the crop again failed, and this time the results were much more disastrous. The distress in Ireland was dreadful. In this country the deepest sympathy was felt. Meetings were held, committees organised, and, in the words of the Edinburgh Review, in an interesting article on the famine, from the Queen on her throne to the convict in the hulks, expenses were curtailed and privations endured in order to swell the Irish subscription.' Altogether 434,784. was raised in this manner, and sent, five-sixths to Ireland, and onesixth to Scotland.



In addition to this, Government took powers to lend no less than 9,500,000l. in mitigation of Irish distress; and 3,000,000 persons received daily rations from the officials entrusted with the task. This enterprise, says the Edinburgh Review, was in truth the grandest attempt ever made to grapple with famine over a whole country. Organised armies amounting to hundreds and thousands have been rationed before; but neither ancient nor modern history can furnish a parallel to the fact that upwards of 3,000,000 persons were fed every day, in the neighbourhood of their own houses, by administrative arrangements emanating from and controlled by one central office."

It was originally intended that this sum voted by Parliament should be only a loan to Ireland; but the distress continued, and in the year 1853 no less than 4,500,000l. was absolutely remitted, being a present to Ireland of public money to that extent. This sum, however, large as it is, by no means represents all that has been done for Ireland. There is a system by which, through certain Loan Commissioners, national money is to a certain extent advanced for local works. Now from this point of view also Ireland has been most liberally dealt with: the amount advanced to England and Scotland together has been 31,123,000l.; to Ireland no less than 32,727,000l. But more than this. In some cases, where the localities are unable to repay the money so advanced, the claim has been remitted; and the amounts so remitted are as follows: for England, 249,000l.; for Scotland, 196,000l.; for Ireland, 3,950,000l.; making, with the 4,500,000l. already mentioned, no less than 8,497,000l. of national money which has been, so to say, given to Ireland, against 445,000, to England and Scotland together.

So much for the past. I now come to the present. The taxation of Ireland differs in several ways from that of Great Britain; but there is no one single tax which is heavier in Ireland than in Great Britain. On the other hand, Ireland is exempted altogether from certain taxes which in Great Britain produce about 4,500,000l. a year.

They are as follows:

Inhabited House Duty

Land Tax

Excise Licenses

Dog Licenses

Armorial Bearings
Patent Medicines









Ireland also enjoys an exemption from legacy duty, in favour of charitable bequests, which does not extend to English charities, and Irish farmers pay a lower rate of income-tax than those in England.

I now pass to the sums given out of the Imperial Treasury in aid of local expenditure. On this subject I will take my illustrations entirely from an Irish source-from an admirable address recently delivered by Lord Emly before the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland. The contribution of Great Britain to the national revenues is almost exactly ten times as large as that of Ireland; or, if we consider the two countries from the point of view of their population, that of Ireland is very nearly one-sixth of that of Great Britain. The sums spent on police, education, and poor relief in the two countries are not in a very different ratio, being, in round

numbers, 15,000,000l. in Great Britain and 2,000,000l. in Ireland. But, if we now consider the mode in which these sums are raised, what a contrast do we find! In Great Britain the police costs 2,813,000l., of which 2,205,000l. is derived from local sources, and only 608,000l. from the Imperial Exchequer. In Ireland the police costs 986,000l.; but, having no wish to overstate the case, I will take only half of this, regarding the other half as a part of our military forces. Let us then take it at 493,000l., of which no less than 411,000l. is paid by government, and only 80,000l. from local sources. The case of education is even more striking. In Great Britain more than half the expense-namely, 1,948,000l.-is obtained from local sources, while in Ireland, out of a total of 616,000l., only 69,000l. is provided from local sources; the rest-547,000l.—falling on the Imperial Exchequer.

Again, the separate civil establishments (other than Police, Education, and Poor Relief) are much heavier in proportion in Ireland than in Great Britain, being 1,542,000l., against 4,219,000l.

Now let us consider what effect this has on the rates. We have seen that the taxation raised in Ireland is just one-tenth of that raised in Great Britain: now, if Ireland received in aid of rates and for her civil establishments only in proportion to her population, as compared with that of Great Britain, she would have had to raise 698,000l. more from local sources, and her rates would have been raised from 38. 6d. to 5s. 2d., or nearly 28. in the pound; while, if her receipts from the Imperial Exchequer had been in proportion to her contributions-namely, one-tenth-she would have had to raise an additional sum of no less than 1,120,000l., and her rates would have been raised to 68. 3d.; in fact, they would have been very nearly doubled.

The last question to which I should like to direct attention is the effort-it may now almost be said the successful effort-which this country has made to put down the slave trade. In ancient times slavery was sanctioned by the highest authority. Slavery is allowed in the Old Testament. Xenophon proposed, in order to raise the revenues of Athens, that the State should purchase a large number of slaves, and work the silver mines. Cicero, in one of his letters to Atticus, while taking it as a matter of course that he will have slaves, presumes that he would not care to have any from

* Lord Emly takes the amounts for the year 1873, and as I wish to take these facts from an Irish source, and especially from one of such high authority, I shall follow him in this. I must add, however, that at present the Central Government bears more of the cost of police than was then the case; so that, as regards Great Britain, the amount contributed in relief of rates is, under this head, now about 600,000%. more than in 1873. On the other hand, the charge for Irish police has, in the meantime, risen from 820,000l., to 1,210,000l.-showing an increase of no less than 400,000l. The argument, therefore, remains practically unaffected.

Britain, because the Britons are so uncultivated that they are not worthy to form part of an Athenian household.

Aristotle, in the Ethics, observes that a family, to be complete, must consist of freemen and slaves.' He admits, indeed, that some have objected to slavery; but, after an elaborate dissertation on the subject, in which he maintains that it is in entire conformity with the general scheme of nature, he finally comes to the conclusion that 'slavery is founded both on utility and justice.' Gradually, however, and especially in modern times, more enlightened ideas prevailed. For many years England has taken the lead in the endeavours to put down slavery-endeavours with which the names of Wilberforce, Clarkson, and Buxton will long be honourably associated.

As long ago as 1788, on the motion of the then Prime Minister, the House of Commons passed a resolution on the subject, and as soon as the great war with Napoleon was concluded, we made treaties with the principal slave-owning countries on the subject, and even `paid considerable sums of money to effect this object. At that time the number of slaves transported across the Atlantic amounted to more than 100,000 annually, and is even said to have risen in some years to over 130,000.9 More than fifty years ago, therefore, we determined to keep a fleet of from twenty to thirty vessels on the West Coast of Africa, in order, as far as possible, to prevent this horrible traffic. France at first agreed to join us, and to keep the same number of vessels, but afterwards changed her mind, and the whole burden fell on us. There are no accounts which show the expense of this West African squadron. Mr. Gladstone, speaking in 1850, estimated it at more than 700,000l. a year. It was estimated by several competent authorities at 1,000,000l., while others, considering that we should, under any circumstances, keep a fleet on the West Coast of Africa, placed the extra expense of the slave-trade squadron at no more than 300,000l. a year. In addition, however, to the pecuniary outlay, it involved a considerable sacrifice of life in consequence of the deadly climate. On various occasions the policy of continuing this blockade of a continent was questioned in the House of Commons; but it is remarkable that, though the expense was naturally referred to as an item of the discussion, the question never turned upon the cost, but only on the efficacy of the proceeding. No one would have objected to pay the money, if only the slaves could be saved. In fact, by this and other means, this detestable traffic has been almost entirely put an end to, and from a return obtained by Colonel Sykes in 1869, it appears that in the four preceding years only twenty slaves were captured.

Nor were our efforts confined to the trade in slaves. Our West Indian colonists, like others in tropical countries, were large slaveowners, and the mode of emancipating these slaves was a matter

• Hansard, cli. p. 1302.

Bk. I. ch. iv.

of much anxious consideration. The subject was one of great difficulty, and the interests involved were enormous. The number of slaves at that time in the West Indies was 800,000,10 and it was admitted on all hands that the emancipation of the slaves would involve a great pecuniary loss to their masters. Under these circumstances, Lord Stanley, on the 14th of May, 1833, brought in, on behalf of the Government, the celebrated resolutions under which slavery was happily abolished in the British dominions. The Government at first contemplated a loan to the West India proprietors; but eventually, on the 11th of June, the Government proposed, not a loan, but a free gift, of no less than 20,000,000l. Mr. Briscoe moved to substitute 15,000,000l.; but so strong was the desire to do justice to the West Indies, that the larger sum was voted by 304 to 56, and the country, I may add, submitted without a murmur to this great sacrifice.

The actual resolutions were as follows:

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I. That it is the opinion of this Committee that immediate and effectual measures be taken for the entire abolition of slavery throughout the colonies, under such provisions for regulating the condition of the negroes as may combine their welfare with the interests of the proprietors.

II. That it is expedient that all children born after the passing of any Act, or who shall be under the age of six years at the time of passing any Act of Parliament for this purpose, be declared free; subject nevertheless to such temporary restrictions as may be deemed necessary for their support and maintenance.

III. That all persons now slaves shall be registered as apprenticed labourers, and acquire thereby all rights and privileges of freemen, subject to the restriction of labouring, under conditions and for a time to be fixed by Parliament, for their present owners.

IV. That towards the compensation of the proprietors his Majesty be enabled to grant to them a sum not exceeding 20,000,000l. sterling, to be appropriated as Parliament shall direct.

V. That his Majesty be enabled to defray any such expense as he may incur in establishing an efficient stipendiary magistracy in the colonies, and in aiding the local legislatures in providing, upon liberal and comprehensive principles, for the religious and moral education of the negro population to be emancipated.11

On the whole, then, it seems to me clear that the policy of Great Britain has been characterised by justice and even generosity; that as regards the colonies we have exercised our authority, not for our own profit, but for their advantage; that the mother-country has not only on various occasions made great sacrifices, but has also borne heavy and continuous charges for their benefit.

Indeed, when we look back on the whole history of the past, it is not, I think, too much to say that our country has exercised its great trust in a wise and liberal spirit, and governed the Empire in a manner scarcely less glorious than the victories by which that Empire was won.


10 Hansard, xviii., June 3.

"Papers relating to the Abolition of Slavery. Part I. Jamaica, 1833–35. VOL. I.-No. 1.


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