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2nience. (They must necessarily give very great encouragement to smuggling, though perhaps not more than it enjoys at present. But the principal objection would be, that as many foreign articles en>ter in different proportions into our manufactures for exportation, Sit would be exceedingly difficult so to regulate the drawbacks on exportation of these manufactures, as to compensate, and no more than compensate, the duties paid on importation of the component parts. This objection, however, would be more specious than real; because, as the money price of the articles of home produce, would by these duties be raised in exact proportion to that of those imported from abroad, so they would both regain their natural level with regard to each other, which hitherto has been very much deranged by the partiality of our duties; and it therefore appears that no drawbacks could be at all necessary, unless to encourage some manufacture which might be peculiarly conducive to the defence of the country, although not naturally adapted to it.

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As our duties have heretofore been regulated, so as to give undue encouragement to manufactures above agricultural industry, the restoring them to their natural level could not fail greatly to angment the rent of land, and thereby to enable it to bear a heavy tax, without altering the situation of the proprietors in society: and as they either bought or inherited these lands when the then existing regulations had depressed their natural value, so if their real value were augmented by a new system of fiscal government, the state, and not the proprietors of land, would be fairly intitled to the benefit of such improvement.

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2d. A heavy tax on the rent of land and houses, and on the interest of money, whether lent to individuals or to the public, could not fail to be beneficial, as it would greatly affect the unproductive classes, by whom it must almost exclusively be paid. One bad effect, indeed, attending such a tax would be, that it might induce some persons to withdraw their capitals from Britain, in order to lend them in other countries; but the inconveniences attending the investment of capital in a foreign country are so great, that hardly any difference of interest will induce the generality of mankind to encounter them. We have seen that in the florishing settlement of Bengal, while the legal and customary interest of money was twelve per cent. per annum, and where failures were almost unknown, still few British subjects, who were resident in the mother country, judged it prudent to lend their mouey there, but rather contented themselves with four, four and a half, or at most five per cent. interest, where their property might be more immediately under their eye and management. It does not, therefore, appear that there would be any great hazard of much capital being removed on account of such a tax; and as it has been avowedlys in support of the security of property that most of NO. XXII. VOL. XI. 2 F

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the public debt has been incurred, who are so able, or can so properly be taxed for its payment, as the proprietors of land, houses, or other wealth?

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9d. As almost all the appendages of magnificence are not only unproductive to the state, but most of them equally injurious to the prosperity and morality of the people, it is probable that the assessed taxes might still be beneficially augmented, in commutation of those on leather, soap, candles, and salt; which are at present principally paid by the laboring poor; and are therefore very injurious, whether ultimately borne by this class or not: because, if ultimately borne by the laborer, they must prove a great discouragement to industry, and a great impediment to the increase of population; and if the laborer can shift the burthen of them from himself to his employer, they must necessarily take much more out of the pocket of the subject, in proportion to what they yield to the state, than other taxes which are laid more directly on the parties by whom they are finally paid for, as each person who advances the tax must have a profit on the stock which he employs in making such advance, so it follows, that the greater number of persons who in their turns are required to advance this tax, before it be finally paid by those who are to bear it, the more it must take out of the pocket of the subject in proportion to what it yields to the state. The assessed taxes can also be levied at a much less expense than the excise on these articles, and give no opportunity to smuggling, which the excise encourages in a very eminent degree.

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The greatest objection against an increase of the assessed taxes is, that it might induce many persons to go abroad; but if there were taxes on the rent of land and houses, and on the interest of money, whether lent to the state or to individuals, these taxes might be so augmented on absentees, as amply to compensate any saving which they might make by evasion of the assessed taxes.

An objection has also been made to increasing the assessed taxes, on the plea that it would discourage the use of the articles, and thereby render them less productive. But it seems probable that no mode of taxation will greatly diminish the proportion of their revenue which people usually expend; and it is hardly possible to imagine any mode of spending money on personal enjoyment which may not be reached by assessed taxes. But the assessed taxes have generally been increased at periods when other taxes were also augmented; and it is quite clear that the more a person pays in taxes, the less he can enjoy. Every additional tax, of what nature soever, must have a tendency to diminish the produce of the assessed taxes. When the last augmentation of the assessed taxes took place, many persons laid down their carriages, and dismissed a part of their male servants, but it has never been alleged

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that what they thus saveds in these articles, was not spent on other luxuries, and it would be difficult to find any on which it could be laid out free from taxation.

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4th. The reduction of the standard of the current coin is a measure which has been resorted to by most countries in periods of distress, and is one of the most efficient, but generally one of the most unjust measures which can be adopted. Perhaps the only period recorded in our history when it could have been adopted without injustice to individuals, and at the same time with the greatest public benefit, was that in which the arms of Russia gave a prospect of speedy peace to Europe. At that period the precious metals, (except a small quantity of worn-out and degraded silver coin,) were banished from our circulation and their market price exceeded by about an half that of their value in the mint. Had the standard of the coin been then reduced to a level with the market price, and the Bank required to pay their notes in specie, no person would truly have suffered injustice by such a measure. The public debt would have been at this moment in reality only two-thirds of its present amount; and, in all human probability, the present distresses of the country would have been unknown. By a contrary conduct, the public is now obliged to pay interest on its debt in a medium one-half more valuable than that which it received in contracting the greater part of its debt and should any part of the principal be discharged during peace, (without which public bankruptcy must inevitably ultimately ensue) such part must not only be paid at the advanced rate of the stock, but also in a medium one-half more valuable than that which was borrowed. The industrious part of the community, (which in every country must necessarily compose the principal part of the borrowers,) are also placed in exactly the same situation as the public with regard to their creditors; they must now pay them in a medium greatly more valuable than that which they borrowed.

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The period is, however, now past when the standard of the current coin could have been reduced without injustice to individuals. The paper currency has for some time been so greatly reduced, that the market price of bullion has fallen as low as that of the mint and if the standard were now diminished, it would in many cases enable the debtor to pay off his creditor with a smaller real sum than that which he borrowed.

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5th. As the interest of the public debt is now supposed to exceed somewhat the clear amount of the land rent of the whole territory of the kingdom, and as the far greater part of that debt has been contracted in the short space of twenty years, it seems altogether chimerical to expect, that either by means of economy or of increased taxation, such a proportion of it can be paid off, during any probable period of peace, as may compensate its augmentation

by another war. A debt that is due from one class of individuals in the community to another, cannot in itself impoverish the nation; but on the appropriation of the wealth of the community to the support of productive labor, or to unproductive consumption, depends (as I have already endeavoured to show) the prosperous, stationary, or declining state of the nation; and if this view be correct, it should be the paramount object of the legislature to restore to industry all possible encouragement connitent with a due consideration of the rights of individuals.

In the present situation of Britain this object is perhaps most attainable by the annual purchase, on the part of government, of a large sum of stock, to be paid for by paper issued by government, under the sanction of the legislature, and made a legal tender in all payments whatever. As this paper would necessarily suffer a depreciation in proportion to the quantity put into circulation, so it would be requisite that during the operation of the reduction of the debt, the vigilance of Parliament should be exerted, so to regulate the different taxes, that no class of individuals might reap undue advantages from such depreciation. And this would probably be found no very difficult matter in practice, as it might be dispensed with in all others, except the excise and assessed taxes, the rest being capable of regulation by a per centage on their value, which would fluctuate with the value of the currency. This measure, however, would be far from being free from numerous and weighty objections.

1st. It would be considered by many as defrauding the public creditor of that remuneration which was justly due to him for the assistance he had afforded to the state in times of exigency. It has been the fashion to consider the public creditor as a person to whom the State is peculiarly indebted by the ties of gratitude, and who should be subjected to none of the inconveniences arising to his fellow subjects, either from the necessary, or even from the profuse expenses, to which he has ministered. He is certainly, in common with his fellow citizens, intitled to justice, but it will be difficult to show on what grounds he is intitled to the peculiar favor claimed for him, or why he should enjoy a freedom from taxation, under which all others are bowed down. By the present plan the debt due to him would be bought up at such a price as he was willing to sell it at, and paid for in the currency in which all other demands were payable. In the depreciation of that currency he would only contribute his proportion towards the discharge of the public debt.

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2d. It would be objected, that such a measure would be an insurmountable barrier to again borrowing in the event of renewed warfare. But if this system were once adopted, it might preclude the necessity of borrowing altogether; for by an additional

issue of paper the necessary funds might be procured to prosecute any war, and to as great extent as they can ever be borrowed at home; which in no case can exceed the quantity of stock which can be withdrawn from the employment of productive, to be vested. in that of unproductive labor. 31.8 1916 276d 1 ) abraqub conquis

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3d. It may be objected, that by this measure the merchant, ma+ nufacturer, and farmer, will escape without payment of their due proportion of the public burthens. The capital of these persons, being employed in the support of productive labor, highly benefi cial to the state, ought in no instance to be taxed. The taxes which they ought to pay are on their expenditure, and on that alone. In the acquisition of wealth, the public, in the increased encouragement of industry, reaps the whole advantage; the individual derives none from it, unless by expending a part, and on such part of it as he thus expends, or enjoys the benefit of, it can alone be either just or expedient to levy a tax. The more the individual accumue lates wealth, the greater benefit he is of to the State: it is therefore most impolitic to discourage such accumulation. 1937 Je

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4th. It may be objected, that a measure of this nature is calculated prodigiously to increase the rent of land. That it would... have this effect there can be little doubt, but surely Parliament. might, by a proportional increase of land-tax, counterbalance every evil which could arise from such a cause. What are called the landed and monied interests are the most legitimate subjects of taxation in every country, because their expenditure is injurious to the State; and the more it can be limited, without discouraging too much the efforts necessary to the acquisition of wealth, the better for the State.. P

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5th. And lastly, the most powerful objection to the issue of government paper, seems to be in the facility which it might afford to Ministers to raise the supplies necessary to a frequent recurrence of warfare, and to the most profuse internal expense of government. The same objection, however, will equally militate against every other plan of public improvement; if Parliament cannot be trusted to control Ministers, it will be difficult to find any other safeguard, either for the person or the property of the subject. Man has at all periods sought power over his fellow man, and rarely has he succeeded in acquiring it, without exerting it in acts of oppression and injustice. But few things have conduced more strongly to the power of the few over the many, than a great load of public debt, accompanied by its necessary attendants, a host of tax-gatherers. Whatever shall, therefore, tend to relieve us from our public debt, will probably be found equally conducive to public liberty, to the promotion of industry, and to general prosperity,

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