The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D. - Volume 07 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 345 pages of information about The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D..
including the amount of fines for possible renewals of leases, and, at the same time, pay off the national debt with the money that remains.  With an air of strict seriousness he solemnly computes the exact sums obtainable, and impartially divides the amounts with accurate care.  Then, with a dig at the strangers England was continually sending to Irish preferments, among whom he counts himself, he concludes by saying that although the interests of such cannot be expected to be those of the country to which they have been translated, yet he, as one of them, is quite willing, and indeed feels himself in duty bound “to consult the interest of people among whom I have been so well received.  And if I can be any way instrumental toward contributing to reduce this excellent proposal into a law ... my sincere endeavours to serve this Church and kingdom will be rewarded.”

* * * * *

     The text of this pamphlet is based on that given at the end of the
     volume containing the first edition of “Considerations upon two
     Bills,” etc., published in 1732.

     [T.  S.]

A PROPOSAL FOR AN ACT OF PARLIAMENT, TO PAY OFF THE DEBT OF THE NATION, WITHOUT TAXING THE SUBJECT.

The debts contracted some years past for the service and safety of the nation, are grown so great, that under our present distressed condition by the want of trade, the great remittances to pay absentees, regiments serving abroad, and many other drains of money, well enough known and felt; the kingdom seems altogether unable to discharge them by the common methods of payment:  And either a poll or land tax would be too odious to think of, especially the latter, because the lands, which have been let for these ten or dozen years past, were raised so high, that the owners can, at present, hardly receive any rent at all.  For, it is the usual practice of an Irish tenant, rather than want land, to offer more for a farm than he knows he can be ever able to pay, and in that case he grows desperate, and pays nothing at all.  So that a land-tax upon a racked estate would be a burthen wholly insupportable.

The question will then be, how these national debts can be paid, and how I can make good the several particulars of my proposal, which I shall now lay open to the public.

The revenues of their Graces and Lordships the Archbishops and Bishops of this kingdom (excluding the fines) do amount by a moderate computation to 36,800l. per ann. I mean the rents which the bishops receive from their tenants.  But the real value of those lands at a full rent, taking the several sees one with another, is reckoned to be at least three-fourths more, so that multiplying 36,800l. by four, the full rent of all the bishops’ lands will amount to 147,200l. per ann. from which subtracting the present rent received by their lordships, that is 36,800l. the profits of the lands received by the first and second tenants (who both have great bargains) will rise to the sum of 110,400l. per ann. which lands, if they were to be sold at twenty-two years’ purchase, would raise a sum of 2,428,800l. reserving to the Bishops their present rents, only excluding fines.[171]

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