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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

49.—A Question needing Reply

49.—A Question needing Reply.

It appears that the Bight Honorable and Honorable Members of the Select Committee on agricultural distress in 1836 considered the landed interest to have been somewhat hardly dwelt with; though how that came to pass, nobody, not even the Chairman of the Board of Stamps and Taxes, nor the Registrar of the Land Tax, seems to have Any accurate knowledge whatever.

This again is very strange; and we are naturally led to ask the question, what reason was there for framing a law in such a state that it appeared to be one thing and was in fact another ? The acts which I have cited above, viz., the 1 W. & M. sess. 1 c. 20, the 1 W. & M. sess. 2 c. 1, the 1 W. & M. sess. 2 c. 5, the 4 W. & M. c. 1, the 5 W. & M. c. 1, the 6 and 7 W. & M. c. 3, the 7 and 8 W. III. c. 5, the 8 and 9 W. III. c. 6 and c. 24, imposed a bonâ fide, an actual, a substantial tax on real property, a real not a nominal land tax, at the rate of 4s. in the pound, to be raised in each of these six years on the full and true annual rental at the time of assessing thereof of all the real property in the kingdom. But as we have seen by statute 9 Wm. III. c. 10, and all the subsequent statutes called "Land Tax Acts" down to the 38 Geo. III. c. 5, the frame of the law was totally changed; a certain specified sum was then to be raised by a certain specified rate imposed on the personal property of the kingdom " according to the true yearly value thereof" l. Now a rate of 4s. in the pound on all the personal property of the kingdom, even at the time of the last annual Land Tax Act (the 38 Geo. the Third c. 5), much more at the present time, would amount surely to much more than the whole sum specified by the act: therefore there would be no residue or deficiency to be made up from the pound rate ordered to be levied upon the lands, tenements, &c., of the kingdom with so much "equality and indifference."