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previous year. The estimate arrived at was $85,000,000, but the actual receipts were only $37,000,000.

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Now, no doubt, this might have happened under a Parliamentary Government. But, then, many members of Parliament, the entire opposition in Parliament, would have been active to unravel the matter. All the principles of finance would have been worked and propounded. The light would have come from above, not from below-it would have come from Parliament to the nation instead of from the nation to Parliament. But exactly the reverse happened in America. Mr. Wells goes on to

say :

"The people of the loyal States were, however, more determined and in earnest in respect to this matter of taxation than were their rulers; and before long the popular discontent at the existing state of things was openly manifest. Everywhere the opinion was expressed that taxation in all possible forms should immediately, and to the largest extent, be made effective and imperative; and Congress spurred up, and rightfully relying on public sentiment to sustain their action, at last took up the matter resolutely and in earnest, and devised and inaugurated a system of internal and direct taxation, which for its universality and peculiarities has probably no parallel in anything which has heretofore been recorded in civil history, or is likely to be experienced hereafter.

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The one necessity of the situation was revenue, and to obtain it speedily and in large amounts through taxation the only principle recognised-if it can be called a principle-was akin to that recommended to the traditionary Irishman on his visit to Donnybrook Fair, 'Wherever you see a head hit it.' Wherever you find an article, a product, a trade, a profession, or a source of income, tax it! And so an edict went forth to this effect, and the people cheerfully submitted. Incomes under $5,000 were taxed 5 per cent., with an exemption of $600 and house rent actually paid; these exemptions being allowed on this ground, that they represented an amount sufficient at the time to enable a small family to procure the bare necessaries of life, and thus take out from the operation of the law all those who were dependent upon each day's earnings to supply each day's needs. Incomes in excess of $5,000 and not in excess of $10,000 were taxed 2 per cent. in addition; and incomes over $10,000 5 per cent. additional, without any abeyance or exemptions whatever.

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Now this is all contrary to and worse than what would have happened under a Parliamentary Government. The delay to tax would not have occurred under it: the movement by the country to get taxation would never have been necessary under it. The excessive taxation accordingly

imposed would not have been permitted under it. The last point I think I need not labour at length. The

evils of a bad tax are quite sure to be pressed upon the ears of Parliament in season and out of season: the few persons who have to pay it are thoroughly certain to make themselves heard. The sort of taxation tried in America, that of taxing everything, and seeing what everything would yield, could not have been tried under a Government delicately and quickly sensitive to public opinion.

I do not apologise for dwelling at length upon these points, for the subject is one of transcendent importance. The practical choice of first-rate nations is between the Presidential Government and the Parliamentary; no State can be first-rate which has not a Government by discussion, and those are the only two existing species of that Government. It is between them that a nation which has to choose its Government must choose. And nothing therefore can be more important than to compare the two, and to decide upon the testimony of experience, and by facts, which of them is the better.


June 20, 1872.



No. I.


"ON all great subjects," says Mr. Mill," much remains to be said," and of none is this more true than of the English Constitution. The literature which has accumulated upon it is huge. But an observer who looks at the living reality will wonder at the contrast to the paper description. He will see in the life much which is not in the books; and he will not find in the rough practice many refinements of the literary theory.

It was natural-perhaps inevitable-that such an undergrowth of irrelevant ideas should gather round the British Constitution. Language is the tradition of nations; each generation describes what it sees, but it uses words transmitted from the past. When a great entity like the British Constitution has continued in connected outward sameness, but hidden inner change, for many ages, every generation inherits a series of inapt words-of maxims


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