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Abstract of the Net Produce of the Revenue in the Years ending 5th January 1816, and 5th January 1817; and also the Total Produce of the Customs and Excise.
Total Produce of Excise
Total Net Revenue
The Irish and Portuguese Payments for the Interest on their respective Debts payable in England are excluded from this Statement, and the War Taxes appropriated to the Interest of Loans charged on them are included under the head of War Taxes, to the Quarter ending the 5th July 1816, inclusive, from which period the War Duties of Customs (being made perpetua! by Act 56, Geo. III. cap. 29.) are included under the head of Consolidated
An Account of the Income of, and Charge upon, the Consolidated Fund in the Quarters ended the 5th Jan. 1816 and 1817, together with the Amount of War Taxes and the Annual Duties, &c. to the same periods.
4,526,139, 0, 0
1,520,340" 2" 0
£.1,317,383,18,11 4,132,724 0" 0 1,461,325
articles have appeared in the public papers, which treat the project as altogether ruinous and illusory. We can with truth profess ourselves to have no personal interest or concern in the measure. We regret most particularly, that we have no funds to embark in such an undertaking, with a view, either to our own benefit, or that of the public. In considering the question, we are animated solely by the interest we have always felt in the prosperity of that part of the united kingdom to which our labours are peculiarly addressed. We shall therefore state very frankly the opinion we have formed on the subject; in which, if it appears to any of our readers that we speak unwisely, we shall very readily give place to any thing that they may have to say against us on the subject.
The first argument is, that the Union Canal will never yield any revenue approaching to the estimate, or which can reimburse the subscribers. The main argument on which the writer here rests, is the analogy of the Forth and Clyde Canal. He observes, that, since that Canal was opened, its average annual revenue amounts only to £.17,237; and the expence of management being £.10,000, the clear annual revenue does not exceed £.7237, little more than a seventh of what is expected from the Union. This argument, we apprehend, is completely fallacious. The average is taken for the last 42 years; being from the first time when dues began to be collected on that canal. But it is well known that this great undertaking remained long in a completely unfinished state, and totally incapable of answering the purposes for which it was intended. To take its produce in that state as a criterion of what the Union Canal will produce, when finished, is altogether unfair.The improvement of the country with in the last twenty or thirty years, is also to be considered. The criterion
1. Observations on the Prospectus of the Proposed Union Canal. 8vo.
THE subject of this pamphlet has,
for some years past, excited a peculiar interest. Its importance in deed is too obvious to require any comment. We can only wonder, that, during so active an age of improvement, measures should not earlier have been taken to establish a complete water communication between two great cities placed so near to each other as Glasgow and Edinburgh. A channel was also wanted, by which the latter may draw from the interior of a fertile country, a supply of provisions and necessaries. Two plans, having these objects in view, have contended for the public patronage. One, called the Level Canal, is led by a comparatively level line from Edinburgh to the immediate neighbourhood of Glasgow, whence it can be locked down upon the Clyde; the other is carried from Edinburgh to join, near Falkirk, the Forth and Clyde Canal, which would then afford a channel by which vessels might proceed to the neighbourhood of Glasgow. The latter plan, after being fully matured, and brought before Parliament in the course of last session, was thrown out, chiefly through the influence of the Town Council of Edinburgh. Of late, however, it came to be understood, that subsequent deliberation had removed the objections in that respectable quarter, and that there was every reason to believe that the application to the same effect, which was to be made in the ensuing session, would be attended with success. Suddenly, however, a very vehement opposition has arisen; the merchants of Leith, whose opinion on such a subject certainly deserves the highest attention, have openly declared their hostility to the plan; and be sides the present pamphlet, several
must then be drawn from the produce of the Forth and Clyde Canal in its finished state, and at the present time. This, according to the report of Mr Hopkirk, quoted in another part of this very pamphlet, was, in 1814, not less than £.48,000. We cannot indeed help thinking it bold in the Union projectors to estimate the produce of their canal as equal to that of the Forth and Clyde, which is both longer, and receives vessels of greater burden. If, however, we suppose the Union to be two-thirds, or £.32,000, this sum, deducting £.7700 for management, would leave £.24,300, or not much less than 10 cent. on the original expenditure.
The writer does not conceive that merchant goods to any extent will go by the canal. We are ready to admit indeed, that the more bulky articles are still likely to go by Grange mouth; but all those which, for regularity of arrival and delivery, are now sent by land, would certainly, we conceive, find their way much cheaper by the canal. This part of the estimate however is probably exaggerated at £11,000.
charge chiefly upon the omission of the interest which the projectors, it seems, have undertaken to pay to the contributors, from the time of their first advance. This is a measure which we do not mean to applaud. It is attempting to reap the harvest when they should be only sowing the seed. It will be poor economy, if they thus render the funds inadequate, by which the work is to be completed. But we do not see that this interest can be considered as an addition to the capi tal embarked in the undertaking. It is merely a premature replacement of some part of the original capital; the amount of which is thereby diminish. ed. It is said, there must also be a compensation of £.30,000 to the town of Edinburgh for the loss of shore dues at Leith. But, according to the doctrine of the pamphlet, which we incline to concur in, most of the merchandize which now goes by Grange mouth will continue to take that di rection; in which case there will be no claim for any compensation; or if the contrary takes place, the canal dues on the merchandize will easily pay the compensation.
It is next added, in order to lower the sanguine hopes of profit held out, that parliament uniformly stipulates, that the revenue shall not exceed 10 per cent. on the expenditure; but that, in such case, a corresponding reduction of rates shall take place. It is certainly fair that there should be some limit; but we think this limit is rather narrow, in the present state of the money market. Ten per cent., according to the recent state of the mercantile world, has scarcely been the ordinary profits of trade, and therefore not, perhaps, quite an adequaté compensation for the risk and long outlay incurred in such an adventure. As we incline, however, so far tò concur in the pamphleteer's estimates, as not to think it very probable that the revenue will soon, or greatly exceed 10 per cent., the clause in ques
We cannot see upon what principle the writer asserts, that the Union Canal will never produce half the revenue from coal that the Forth and Clyde produces; while, at the same time, he admits that Glasgow is not supplied with coal by the latter channel. Doubtless, Edinburgh will not be exclusively supplied by the Union, but in part still by the collieries to the south, who will lower their rate, in order to meet the competition of the canal. By this reduction, however, the poorer, and more distant, will be thrown out, and a great part of the supply will come by the Union.
It is next attempted to be proved, chiefly by a writer in the Caledonian Mercury, that the estimates of expence are much under-rated. The writer supposes the details of the estimate may be correct, but rests his
tion becomes of less practical import
The circumstance which most strongly weighs with us, is, that we do not see the smallest prospect of any canal being executed, unless it be the Union canal. In order to carry such an undertaking into effect, it is perhaps necessary, that there should be some peculiar local interest, inducing a numerous and opulent body of men to support it, independent of the direct profit arising from it. In the present case, we have the proprietors of the Forth and Clyde canal, who, with the view of raising or keeping up the value of that concern, are giving their eager support to the Union. Much obloquy is here thrown upon these proprietors, for their support of this line, in opposition to that of the Level Canal; but, we think, very unjustly. These proprietors embarked, in this great national concern, a large capital, for which, during a long series of years, they never received any com pensation. It really seems scarcely just, that, the moment they begin to reap some return, a parallel canal should be drawn from Edinburgh to Glasgow, with the view of supplanting theirs. But the circumstance which we here mean to dwell upon is, that in these proprietors we have most of the men who, from opulence, enter prize, and knowledge of the subject, would be likely to embark in such an undertaking, and who, from the cause already noticed, would be ready to contribute largely to the Union canal, with the prospect of less than the ordinary profits of trade. They are seconded by a class of wealthy pro.prietors, situated upon the fertile track between Edinburgh and Falkirk. A powerful body is thus formed, which, when joined to voluntary adventurers, bids very fair to raise the comparatively moderate sum required for the Union Canal. But to raise the much larger one required for the Level Canal, there does not
exist any similar impulse. The Forth and Clyde proprietors oppose the measure, and the track being barren, does not afford local proprietors to give it any adequate support. any adequate support. Accordingly, when a subscription was actually opened, it was not supported by any merchants either in Edinburgh or Leith, or by any landed proprietors on the line, or by persons of any description, except a few individuals, certainly highly respectable, but connected with the Town Council, and who, in that capacity, had committed, and indeed pledged themselves on the subject. For this reason, we do not see the remotest chance of the Level Canal being executed, at least for a long series of years; so that it is from the Union alone that we can hope the benefits of present employment to the poor, as well as those which would flow to commerce and agriculture from an improved water communication. For this reason, as well-wishers to our country, we cannot help viewing the execution of that canal as extremely desirable.