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lefs valuable, according to the rate he the apprehenfion that the landholders pays per pound; and having ever formed will not fubmit to greater taxes, either the fame opinion, they who are under- upon their receipts or expenditures, rated would really have caufe to com- except the public creditors agree to plain of any equal tax under four fhil- contribute. That upon fuch a plan as lings. But let us fuppofe government this, ftock may be as fecure as land, and requires a fum above four fhillings, that therefore they will fubfcribe into furely fuch tax may be equally affeffed, the new flock, and this upon the fame and this I would propofe upon the principle that a merchant infures his receipt for the tenant's net rent. I goods, and makes his mind eafy under would next tax money on mortgage, any apparent hazard, or fhifts his goods but would have the borrower relieved, from a bad fhip, into one that is found, fo that having paid the tax for the land, and fit for fea. he fhould have a right to demand a return of fo much in the pound from the mortgagee.. I fhall proceed no farther at prefent, than only to fhew how a fmall tax of this fort, fay 6d in the pound, may produce great and folid advantages even to the landed property itself. Having fixed 6d. in the pound upon the land as a permanent tax (unless in cafes where people would choose to purchafe exemption) I would then hold out terms whereupon people might be exempt, fay 20 years purchase, or fomething lefs than the prefent price of
All landholders who have money would, I think, immediately free themfelves; and fuch as have not would be induced to borrow for that purpofe, as they would themfelves be receivers of the tax upon the mortgagee. Let us fuppofe this tax would produce half a million per annum, and that a fourth part was redeemed within a year; the produce of this would be 2,500,000l. As foon as this fum is in government's hands, let a new kind of ftock be created, which ftock I would make liable to a tax, fuch as that upon land, and would make it a condition that no greater tax fhould ever be impofed upon it than what government might in future require from land, over and above the prefent four fhillings. Let us now confider how this would probably operate. People would fay, here is a fund, into which, if we fubfcribe, we make a common caufe with the landed property; and in cafe of any difafter that may affect the old flocks, we shall have the landholders on our fide. They may fay, that if a war happens, the old funds will fink in value, from
I fuppofe then, that with the money arifing from the redemption of the 6d in the pound upon land (and which I lay my account with fuppofing would all come to hand in four or five years) the whole two hundred millions national debt might be put under the regulation I have propofed. Government would then be able to pay any difference in the prices between the old ftock and the new; and men would generally fee that their property would be much more fecure; their apprehenfions would ceafe as to national bankruptcy, and they would, therefore, accept of the new funds upon receiving a moderate compenfation. For with feveral millions in government's hands, what would people do with their principal, fhould it be paid to them? Under fuch circumftances, intereft would of courfe fall, and then they who had at firft held off, would commute old stock for new, although the covenant I have fpoken of was annexed, viz. that money in the new funds should be obliged to pay in proportion (only) to all future taxes upon land which should be levied over and above the prefent four fillings in the pound; as they would fee, that were they to receive their principal, and to lay their money out either in land or upon mortgage, government had taken care to meet them with a tax proportionate.
Was fuch a plan to take place, as people's apprehenfions would be greatly allayed, how different would this country appear! Our refources indeed would then be boundlefs, as landholders, holders of mortgages, and public creditors, would become united for the fame good
* See the Potfcript.
purpofe, that of fupporting govern- by which much lofs o reafure is fument; whereas they now have diftinct ftained that might be avoided. interefts, and draw different ways.
The public creditor, at prefent, looks no farther than the inftant, contenting himself that the faith of parliament fecures his dividend: he is perfectly in the fituation of a paffenger in a fhip, or lodger in a houfe, who fhould confider the risk of fhipwreck and fire to belong to the landlord or owner. But when fuch danger approaches, would either of these be fo ftupid and infenfible, as to refufe affiftance to extinguish the one, or prevent the other? And this is all that is by my plan required of him. Finally, in the words of Sir John Barnard, conjuring him to confider, "that an enraged people have feldom any regard to publick faith or public credit."
Thus have I given my crude thoughts upon a subject of vaft importance; and however they may be received, I proffer them with a full conviction upon my own mind, and that arifing from what I have understood from feveral men of property, that a plan of this nature might be effected, and that, in its operation, it would give confidence to the whole body of the people; whereas there feems at prefent a general apprehenfion, that in cafe of a rupture with any great foreign power, government would be neceffitated to lay violent hands upon the fums appropriated to pay the intereft of the prefent debt. Under fuch circumstances none would be found to give any further credit, and the nation would be in danger of falling a prey to the ambition of fome daring invader, or be involved in anarchy and confufion. All this I fubmit to the public confideration; and alfo the policy there would be in lefening the taxes upon the neceffaries of life, which would undoubtedly lower the price of our commodities at foreign markets, and create an influx of wealth, that would fully compenfate to the landholders for every tax they might fubmit to; not to mention the effect it would have upon those who now refide abroad, and draw their incomes from hence, upon a principle of economy purely, and
G. P. T.
P. S. The immortal Locke has faid, "That a tax on land feems hard to the landholder, because it is visibly fo much out of his pocket, and, therefore, he is always forward to eafe himself, by laying it on commodities; but he buys his feeming eafe at a dear rate; for though he pays not the tax immediately, yet he will find a proportionate deficiency in his purse at the year's end, by the increased price of the commodities neceffary to life." Yet what this wife man faid was short of the truth, as numerous fmall taxes occafion a great number of receivers, who must be paid, and every petty dealer advances his prices much beyond the proportion of the new affeffments. The above obfervation, from such authority, fhould reconcile every landholder to fubmit to an additional tax, in preference to any others that may be propofed, with a view to putting the public creditors in the like fituation with themfelves, and which, by a proper ufe of even 6d in the pound, might be the cafe with the whole 200 millions of debt. Let them confider that it will only require half their income for the year to redeem their eftates from this tax; and that, ever after, a system would be established, which no national difafter could shake, nor even an invader deftroy, except indeed in the cafe of an entire conqueft of the country; for property would be equally liable to be called upon to anfwer national exigencies, however it may have changed hands; as it is yet, and may ever be, undiminished in the aggregate, and will always afford ample fupplies to repel the common enemy, while there is due care taken to encourage the genuine and true fource of riches, TRADE and NAVIGATION.
And let me further add, that the landholders fubmitting to an additional tax, for the purpofe above-mentioned, would in effect fuffer no new burthen, because they would have their pennyworth, in the tax that would fall on the new ftock; for as all the debt of the
nation is fecured upon the land, the rents of which are upheld by commerce, whatever tax could be taken off the neceffaries of life by means of the fubftitution of the tax upon ftock would very well anfwer for the reduction of their annual receipts. And with regard to the stockholders I fay, that it is the apprehenfions of bankruptcy, accompanying the reflection upon the probable occurrence of difaftrous events that may require an increafe of the prefent debt, that operates to the reduction
of the value of their property. It is, therefore, their bufinefs to come to a fettlement, during the prefent ftate of tranquillity; and what I propofe goes to the reducing the height of the public debt, by fuch abatement of intereft, and applying the materials to the widening the base of their fecurity, in such manner as that the edifice will be as durable as the ground it ftands upon, which can only be effected by combining the one with the other.
FOR THE LONDON MAGAZINE. ACCOUNT OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE WHITE HILL, OR MONT BLANC, IN THE ALPS,
BY MR. BOURRET, OF GENEVA, IN 1784.
MANY defcriptions have been unique in its kind; entrailed as it were
written of MONT BLANC, but its fummit has ever been deemed inacceffible. The Buet, though the highest mountain hitherto explored, is not more than 1578 fathoms; yet its top is covered with a plain of never melting ice. Mr. Bourret, after having difcovered the road that leads to it, and visited that place feven different times, turned all his thoughts to find out the means of afcending up the Mont Blanc. After various attempts for the space of fix years, he made an effort the latter end of last year (1784); but after having got very high, he was overtaken by a ftorm, which compelled him to retire, after a most uncomfortable night, fpent in the open air, on the rocks which ftood nearest to the heaps of ice and fnow.
Mr. Bourret, no ways difcouraged by this firft difappointment, furveyed the hill, and imagined that it was of an eafier accefs from the defile that leads to the paffage called Bon Homme, than from Chamouni. Having reached that part of the Alps, he took fome neceffary informations, and in company with two huntfmen, inhabitants of the hamlet called La Grue, two more from Chamouni, and another from Salenche, he entered the vale of Binnocuy, fituate at the foot of a great plain of
ice that comes down from Mont Blanc. The vale above-mentioned is truely
in the very bowels of the earth, its soil is well cultivated, and its fituation beautiful and pleafing in every refpect. The only way to it is through a craggy foot-path, bordered with moft dreadful precipices. They arrived at that place on Thursday the 16th (Sept. 1784) but continuing on their way they reached the last lactarium or dairy, where they were welcomed by the only inhabitant, a young girl, who made a fire, refreshed them with fome milk, after which our bold travellers laid themselves down on the dry grafs for a few hours. Between twelve and one o'clock, the next morning, they went on, preceded by a man bearing a light before them. This method of climb. ing up hills in the dead of night has its advantages in this-the eye of the traveller is not terrified by the fight of the precipices that ftand on each fide of him. Eefides, the road appears lefs tedious, as the eye cannot measure the length of the way. They went on in this manner, and after a fatiguing walk of four leagues and a half, keeping clofe to the icy plain on their right hand, ftunned by the tremendous noife of the torrents, and the rolling down of the ice, imitating in its fall the roaring of the loudeft thunder, they ftopped till day-light. They could not help admiring the purity of the fky, the quantity and brilliancy of the
ftars, but they observed, that as they went up, the air grew keener at every ftep, and the wind blew vehemently from the heights.
At day-break, they refumed their painful tafk; they climbed over huge rocks, which, however, as they were folid, proved no great obftacle to them; the greatest inconvenience they felt, was from the most piercing cold, which increased every inftant. Having reached the bottom of Mont Blanc, Mr. Bourret put on warmer clothes, and with his cramp irons prepared to crofs an immense plain of ice. Mean while, two of his companions attempted to afcend from the oppofite declivity, and were foon out of fight. Their fudden disappearance did not create much anxiety, because it often happens, that after feveral windings round rocks, standing at fmall diftances from each other, the parties at laft meet on the fame spot. This was not the cafe here; feveral hours elapfed before they were defcried again, ftanding at the extremity of the icy plain. The firft fight of two living creatures on that dreary and frightful fpot, as it raised the admiration of their fellow-travellers, excited in the latter a spirit of emulation to join them. They went on therefore with fresh courage, but their progress was foon ftopped by fuch penetrating cold, that they began to defpair of overcoming this new obftacle. The air was fo keen, that they felt as if the fkin on their face had been raised up by the pricking of a .needle. The inhabitant of Salenche could not fupport it any longer, and was left behind by his companions, in a fituation fimilar to thofe men who are abandoned in a defert and dreary ifland.
Although this might be confidered as an incumbrance our travellers had got rid of, yet they were not more lucky in their own fortunes. Mr. Bourret finding his ftrength fail him, they bethought themfelves of recruiting his fpirits with a glass of wine, but as fate would have it, the two men who had gone before had carried this their only cordial with them; meanwhile, the cold grew fo intenfe, that
the thermometer was down four degrees below o, fo that the only thing to be done, was to reach, if poffible, fuch fpots as were cherished by the rays of the fun. The determination was unanimous. They ranged along the Mont Blanc: all their thoughts now turned to their two fellow-travellers, whom they foon perceived climbing up the laft rocks that fupport the huge coloffus. They cried out to their companions, that they felt a piercing and almost insupportable cold, and that they experienced the greateit difficulties in afcending the rocks. All thofe, however, they overcame, and were at last discovered ftanding on that fnow-topped mountain, which had been hitherto impervious to mortal man, and purfuing their way under a fky of an azure fo lively and refplendent, that it dazzled the beholder. How wonderful and magnificent a fpectacle the afcending of those two men, fcaling as it were up to heaven, and difappearing from fight, must have proved for thofe who were witness of their efforts and fuccefs!
Mr. Bourret afterwards carried his fteps another way, towards the icy hill called Grias, which leads down to Chamouni. In order to reach its fummit, he was obliged to crofs two large plains of ice, interfected with wide gaping crevices. On the firft of these he felt a fhock fimilar to that of an earthquake, which was inftantly followed by a loud and general crack: this greatly terrified Mr. Bourret's companion, who was unused to fuch a phenomenon. Our traveller cheared him up, and taking him under the arm, led him to the brink of a crevice, or rather a frightful abyfs, above 100 feet deep. The fecond hill offered new objects of contemplation: this was covered with fnow and fharppointed pieces of ice. Having with great pain and fatigue reached the extremity of the icy hill, Mr. Bourret enjoyed the aftonishing profpect of the Great Needles, admired their ftupendous and giant-like form, and the numerous flakes of ice they fupport. Never had any thing fo entirely captivated his attention throughout his
frequent journeys. in the Alps. His wondering eye ranged about at immenfe diftances; the fields and plains below appeared to him as fo many wheel-ruts. The enchanting vale of Chamouni then under him, at the depth of 1500 fathoms, was a phenomenon amongst fo many beauteous and aweful horrors that furrounded him. Had not recollection brought to his mind that the fpots beneath him were inhabited by his fellow-creatures, he might have thought himself tranfported into a new-modelled world; every thing that ftruck his fight appearing in fo different a light from which he had been used to view thofe very objects. At that distance from the earth, the latter feems to be no more than a heap of mountains, of inacceffible heights, and ice-topped hills, nothing appearing to the eye but fummits of refplendent ice and fnow, white vales, and peaks, variegated into a thousand
Here it was that Mr. Bourret ftopped to take a little reft. He and his two companions fat themfelves down on the brink of a huge rock, their legs hanging down a precipice of a thoufand feet in depth. This fituation, the bare idea of which muft ftrike every one with horror, was by our travellers contemplated with indifference. They felt no anxiety for themselves, nor for Mr. Bourret's little dog, who ventured on the fmalleft juttings-out of the rocks, and fkipped from one to the other with all the deliberation and dexterity of the chamois or wild goat. They remained there for the space of an hour, in a climate, where at noon the thermometer fell below o; nor would they have thought about profecuting their journey for fome time, had not the inhabitant of Salenche, overpowered by fleep whilft in a ftanding pofture, fallen to the ground, and fo near the precipice, that a retreat from fo dangerous a spot was deemed prudent and neceffary; the more fo, that Mr. Bourret felt himfelf greatly indifpofed. His concern was for the two adventurers who had left him. A world of dangers furrounded them; he feared left they
fhould have met with obftacles too great for the power of man to overcome; nay, the very keenness of the air in thofe unknown regions was fufficient to deftroy them. All these melancholy reflections greatly contributed to increase the diforder of Mr. Bourret, who nevertheless, with great pain, and fupported by his companion, reached the vale of Bianocay about five P. M. and at laft the village of Bionnay, to reft himself awhile, take provifions, and return in fearch of the two miffing travellers. This fatigue, however, they were not at the trouble to undergo, as about eleven o'clock at night a voice was heard, vociferating "Here I am, fafely returned from the Mont Blanc." This was Francis Guidet, who gave the following account: "From the inftant we loft fight of you, Sir, and our companions, we journeyed for four hours over the fnow, and reached the dome or fummit of the Gouté, hanging over the white dale, fituate in the Vale D'Aoft, in Piedmont. From this height we commanded an immenfe profpect, with the Alps under us, and fo extenfive a country, that it was out of our power to eftimate it; befides the Lake of Geneva and others, all the hills and plains of ice, &c. Here, inftead of experiencing any cold, we felt as if placed in a warm oven. We never thought of coming down, till we obferved the fun a great way beneath us, and filling fo immenfe a space, as ftruck us with terror. In two hours time we had left the fnowy regions, having flid down by the help of our fticks with fuch velocity, as to lofe breath every inftant. We did not return over the rocks of the Goulé, but fteered towards the icy hill of Bianocay, where you justly deemed the afcent more practicable. In this you were not mistaken, as the rocks there gave us no trouble. Arrived at the foot of the Gouté, and miffing you there, we came to this place, where my companion Coulet left me, to go back to Chamouni. For my part, deeming it my duty, I ftopped here, to put an end to the anxiety you must have felt for our fafety."
Thus was the Mont Blanc difcover