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The System Of National Finance - Preface

1. Preface

2. I

3. Ia

4. II

5. IIa

6. III

7. IIIa

8. IIIb

9. IV

10. IVa

11. V

12. Va

13. VI

14. VIa

15. VIb

16. VII

17. VIII

18. VIIIa

19. VIIIb

20. IX

21. IXa

22. X

23. Xa

24. Xb

25. XI

26. XIa

27. XII


BITTER and unavailing are the regrets of a reader
who has read through a book, and wakes on the
last page to the discovery that it is all about some-
thing other than he supposed. To save an intend-
ing reader from that disappointment, it will be as
well to set down here what this book is not about.
It is not about public finance in the abstract ; that
ground is well covered by Professor Bastable's
" Public Finance," and other works on the same
subject. It is not a history of British public
finance in modern times. We are now fortunate
enough to have that story admirably told in
three books, Lord Iddesleigh's " Twenty Years
of Financial Policy" (1842-62), Lord Buxton's
"Finance and Politics" (1862-87), and Mr. Bernard
Mallet's "British Budgets" (1887-1913), which
taken together provide us with a detailed record of
the subject and a commentary upon its develop-
ments during the last seventy years. It is not a
history of taxation : for that we have Stephen
Dowell's big work. Nor does it seek to be a
compendious work of reference in which may be
found all the laws, rules, principles, authorities,
and precedents relating to the nation's financial
business. That has yet to be compiled.

Its ambition is to be a primer of the system on
which the financial business of the nation is con-
ducted at the present time. It is intended as a
first aid to those who need to understand some-
thing about the manner in which the nation gets
and spends its revenue, borrows money, and keeps
its accounts. With that end before it, it avoids
history, and does without figures as far as

Much that is not readily intelligible in our
financial system is made clear by a word of
explanation from those actually engaged in work-
ing it ; and for explanations of the sort most
kindly and helpfully given, I am in debt to many
creditors. My thanks are specially due to Mr.
F. D. Acland, M.P., formerly Financial Secretary
of the War Office, and now Parliamentary Under-
secretary of the Foreign Office ; Sir Charles
Harris, K.C.B., Assistant Financial Secretary of
the War Office; Mr. F. W. A. Clarke, Accountant
and Comptroller General of the Board of Customs
and Excise ; Mr. W. G. Turpin, Comptroller-
General of the National Debt Office; Mr. C. L.
Davies, Assistant Paymaster General ; Mr. V.
W. Baddeley, C.B., Assistant Secretary to the
Admiralty for Financial Duties ; Mr. H. V. Reade,
C.B., Principal of the Statistical Office at the Board
of Customs and Excise ; and Mr. F. W. Bartlett,
Principal Clerk in the Pay Office. To the Officials
of the Bank of England I owe a debt in this
respect that grows daily.

What I have learnt from these is as much as it
is good for a taxpayer to know and no more ; and
the explanations which I have received, given with
the unfailing courtesy of the Civil Service, would,
no doubt, have been equally at the disposal of any-
body else who was concerned to inquire into these
matters. But that does not affect the warmth of
my gratitude. Needless to say, none of those to
whom I here render my thanks is in any way
responsible for any statement of fact made in this
book, still less for any expression of opinion.

E. H. Y.


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