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town TALK:.


The Backside Murders.

Visit of the Emperor of the…

Meeting of German Sovereigns.

Gladstonian Wines versus Humble…


Gladstonian Wines versus Humble Folk's Beer. No man knows better how to work upon his audience —no man is more capable of enveloping his subject in a cloud of words and a canopy of images than Mr. Gladstone, and when he has once determined upon the course to be taken, no man is more resolutely bent upon supporting his case by every possible means, drawn from every conceivable source. We may, after this lapse of time, pass by, almost without comment, Mr. Gladstone's laboured but ineffectual attempt to support the now notorious "per centage" theory of the President of the Board of Trade. It is simply im- possible that so shrewd a calculator as Mr. Gladstone should not have been fully aware that in estimating' the per centage of the malt-tax upon beer instead of upon barley, he was evading the real point at issue; whilst his implied defence of the tax on the ground that it was only a farthing" in the cost of a pot of porter was neither more nor lesa than one of the old stock argnmoutiB of bim in the days of the Corn-law agitation. We were wieu cola inau the repeal of the Corn Laws would be inoperative in affecting the price of bread, or that it would make a difference of only a farthing in the quartern loaf. In those days, however, the Corn-law repealers showed the fallacy of all such calculations, and based their advocacy of the removal of restrictions upon the admission of corn into this country not upon the fact whether the loaf of bread would be sold at a farthing more or less in price, but upon the broader ground that the trade in corn would be set free. No man living is more thoroughly cognisant than Mr. Gladstone that a mere question of a fractional differ- ence in the selling price of an article forms no consideration in a measure directed to setting free the trade in any given commodity. The grand point—indeed the point-is to remove impediments and clear away restrictions. The cost and the selling price are matters rightly left to find their own level, and no statesman now-a-days can be so utterly lost to the lessons of the last twenty years as to attempt to measure the operation of a tax or estimate the mischief it entails, by a reference to its fractional incidence in retail transactions. If the malt-tax is to be repealed, the consideration of the subject must be approached from a very different point of view, than the mere infinitesimal saving to be effected in a pint of beer. And this Mr. Gladstone knows full well. The right honourable gentleman, however, when bringing forward his budget, was desirous of marshalling in serried'array all the argu- ments he could adduce to deprecate the proposal for dealing with the malt-tax, and question of reduction in price to the consumers of beer was by no means the only fallacy to which he oondeRlJAnded with a view to attain his objeat;Anti.Malt-ax Circular.


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