8 AUGUST 1885, Page 15


r TO THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR:1 Sin,—The letter of " Ratepayer " on the above subject in your issue of July 25th escaped my attention until it was too late to reply to it last week. I am fully aware of the difficulty, if not impossibility, of assessing incomes derived from invested funds for local rates, and I had no intention of proposing any scheme for this purpose. What I endeavoured to show was, that real property in houses, lands, &e., was already so heavily taxed by local as well as Imperial demands, that it was unjust to lay any further burdens on them, without endeavouring in some shape to make the rest of the community pay its share. And this, I conceive, would and could only be done by indirect taxation, as proposed by Mr. Childers's Budget. Beer, spirits, and tobacco, being in every sense luxuries and not necessaries, should assuredly be taxed for this purpose ; and I do not see any objection to tea being included. It appears to me further that for the same reason there is some justice in the distinction hitherto made in the imposition of Legacy-duty, between real property and money or invested funds.

I may here observe that I now think I have discovered the meaning of your correspondent, "C. A.'s," allusion to what happened two hundred years ago. I presume he means the imposition about that time (1692) of a temporary duty of 48. in the pound on the annual value of all lands ; but this duty was at the same time levied on goods, wares, and all other personal estate whatever, as well as on salaries derived from employments and offices. The subject is well and clearly handled. in a letter in the Times of the 31st ult., headed "The Land- tax," signed "A. D."—I am, Sir, Arc.,