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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

British Landed Income

British Landed Income.

I chanced to light upon an extract in the London Journal of October 7, 1876, from "the second and concluding portion of the list of estates possessed by peers in the British Kingdom, with their acreage and annual value, just published." It shews that page 25 the landed possessions of six noblemen—the Duke of Portland, the Earls of Home, Loudoun, and Stair, and Lords Rendlesham and Oranmore and Browne, together consist of 438,754 acres, of which 88,428 are in Ayrshire; and that these estates yield in the aggregate an annual rental of £325,084, or at the average rate of 15s. per acre. Can it be conceived as possible that the whole income derived from private property in New Zealand, covering thirty times the area of these six noblemen's vast estates, only produces eight times in income the amount which they produce in rental? If this be the case, it proves conclusively how wastefully the public estate has been hitherto squandered on private individuals, how wretchedly little they have done towards rendering it productive, and how far they are from deserving special consideration in the shape of exemption from a fair share of the national taxation. The estates in the United Kingdom above enumerated, of course produce a large amount of income to a numerous tenantry, over and above the rentals received by the noble landlords. The fact that such information has been officially published with regard to the landed possessions of the whole British peerage, proves that the territorial aristocracy of the United Kingdom, no less than the monied aristocracy of the United States, cheerfully consent to have their income inquired into, and even published for general information. With this knowledge before them, the men who receive large incomes in or from New Zealand will surely not let us hear any more of the "inquisitorial" objection, or of the selfish protest that a tax on land would be most oppressive and unfair.