NEWS OF THE WEEK.
TILE published accounts of the revenue for the year and quarter just closed exhibit an unexpected improvement. According to Mr. 13raiso Rim's atatelaent, there is an increase on the quarter of 547,331/., and of 1,075,203/. on the year. The items which make up the increase are these—
Customs £328,445 Excise 69,776 Stamps 180,774 Post-Of8ce 7,257 Crown, Lands 170,000 Miscellaneous 16,011 Repayments of Advances ou Public Works, Lm- test and other monies 325,870 £1,098,133 Deduct decrease on the Assessed Taxes 22,930 £1,075,203
From this total two large deductions must at once be made : the rents of Crown Lands, now for the first time brought into the ac- count, and the repayments of loans, amounting together to 495,870/. —nearly half of the surplus. The large sum put down as the pro- duce of Crown Lands induced the suapicion that some of the pro- perty had been sold, and the proceeds carried to the account of in- come ; but the Tretisury journals asaert positively that the 170,0001. Is rent and nothing else. Perhaps some arrears of rent have been collected during the past year : on this point the said journals con- vey no information. It is also remarkable, that at a period when the demands for assistance from Government in the execution of public works are constant and pressing, there should be so large a surplus of repayments in 1838 over those of 1837. The additional grant of last session would scarcely seem to have been needed. But be this as it may, the mere accident of holding so much money at the pre- sent time, which will again be lent out in loans, does not entitle the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take credit for it as an improve- ment in the revenue.
Still there will remain upwards of half a million of increased receipts over those of the preceding year ; and for 328,445/. of this Mr. RICE is indebted to the Customs. As the importations of corn have been considerable, it was natural, in the absence of spe- cific information, to ascribe the favourable returns of the Customs department to duties paid on foreign wheat. But here again the Downing Street newspapers put forth a contradiction, coupled with an extraordinary statement. The corn-duties yielded less in 1838 than in 1837 by 405,0001.; the produce in 1838 being only 183,0001., whereas in 1837 it was 588,000/. That the smaller sum Should be the amount of receipts in the year just closed, is not in- credible ; but that nearly 600,000/. should have been paid for duties on corn in 1837 is astonishing. On referring to our own file at the undermentioned periods of the year 1:?37, we find the following average prices and duties—
March 25th average price 568. 5d.; duty 308. 8d. June 24th 56 4 ... 30 8 September 30th 57 8 ... 29 8
December 29th 53 5 ... 33 8 To have taken corn out of bond at any period of the year 1837, would have been ruinous ; and if the Globe's statement of the amount of duties received is not false, the suspicion arises, that, for the sake of obtaining a supply of money and swelling his receipts, the Chancellor of the Exchequer permitted a large quantity of corn to be released from the King's warehouses at a lower rate of duty than the law fixed. On this supposition, the shortness of the stocks on hand in 1838 would be partly accounted for. The matter requires explanation. If there is any mistake, or if we wrong Mr. SPRING RICE by suspecting him of the irregularity suggested, it is because the account furnished to the public is almost incomprehensible. The plan on which it is made out gives scope for tricks ; and the . very remarkable declaration of the Treasury journalist, coupled with the known state of the corn-market, and Mr. RICE'S reputa- tion for management, does, in the absence of official information, engender doubts, which ought to be promptly cleared up.
From income let us turn to expenditure. It is from a
notice issued by the Commissioners for the Reducti6a oi the Na- tional Debt, (who now enjoy as complete sinecures as the Stewards of the Chiltern Hundreds) that the surplus of expenditure over income for the year ending 10th October 1838, amounted to 795,8351. 19s. 61-d. ; so that there is no sum applicable to the dimi- nution of the Debt. But this three-quarters of a million is a mere trifle in comparison with the sums which Parliament will be asked for, to defray the expense of military and naval operations in Canada and elsewhere. Sir FRANCIS HEAD'S disbursements for various pur- poses will, we guess, surprise the country by their amount ; and the cost of the last outbreak will be reckoned by milions. It appears that the Chancellor of the Exchequer requires 5,680,000/. to pay the January Dividends' and that he must borrow it from the Bank. Before new taxes can be imposed and collected, there must be very large payments beyond the ordinary receipts, on account of Canada and the Eastern operations. The Government is sinking deeper into debt ; and an intelligible and honest exposi- tion of the financial condition and prospects of the country ought to be required from Ministers immediately on the assembling of Parliament. The Exchequer department requires the direction of a sound, vigorous, and honest administrator, in whom the public can place confidence.