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substance, is an intolerable grievance, and a great engine of oppreffion ; if the farmer exert any activity in meliorating his land, he is sure to be doubly taxed. Hamburgh affords the only instance of a tax on trade and riches, that is willingly paid, and that consequently is levied without oppression. Every merchant puts privately into the public chest the sum that, in his own opinion, he ought to contribute ;. a fingular example of integrity in a great trading town, for there is no suspicion of wrong in that tacit contribution. But this state is not yet corrupted by luxury.
Because many vices that poison a na. tion, arise from inequality of fortune, I propose it as a fourth rule, to remedy that inequality as much as possible, by relieving the poor, and burdening the rich. Heavy taxes are lightly born by men of overgrown estates. Those proprietors especially, who wound the public by converting much land from profit to pleasure, cught not to be spared. Would it not contribute greatly to the public good, that a tax of L. 50 should be laid on every house that has 50 windows ; L. 150 on houses of 100 windows; and L. 400 on houses of
200 windows ; By the same principle, every deer-park of 200 acres ought to pay L. 50 ; of 500 acres L. 200; and of 1000 acres L. 600. Fifty acres of pleasureground to pay L. 30 ; 100 such acres L. 80 ; 150 acres L. 200; and 200 acres L. 300. Such a tax would have a collateral good effect : it would probably move high-minded men to leave out more ground for maintaining the poor, than they are commonly inclined to do.
A fifth rule of capital importance, as it regards the interest of the state in general, is, That every tax which tends to impoverilh the nation ought to be rejected with indignation. Such taxes contradict the very nature of government, which is to protect, not to oppress. And, supposing the interest of the governing power to be only regarded, a state is not measured by the extent of its territory, but by what the subjects are able to pay annually without end. A sovereign, however regardless of his duty as a father of his people, will regard that rule for his own fake : a nation impoverished by oppressive taxes will reduce the sovereign at last to the same poverty ; for he cannot levy what they cannot pay.
Whether taxes imposed on common necessaries, which fall heavy upon the labouring poor, be of the kind now mentioned, deserves the most serious delibera. tion. Where they tend to promote industry, they are highly falutary : where they deprive us of foreign markets, by raising the price of labour and of manufactures, they are highly noxious. In some cases, industry may be promoted by taxes, without railing the price of labour and of manufactures. Tobolski in Siberia is a populous town, the price of provisions is extremely low, and the people on that account are extremely idle. While they are masters of a farthing, they work none : when they are pinched with hunger, they gain in a day what maintains them a week: they never think of to-morrow, nor of providing against want. A tax there upon necessaries would probably excite some degree of industry. Such a tax, renewed from time to time, and augmented gradually, would promote industry more and more, so as to squeeze out of that lazy people three, four, or even five days labour weekly, without raising their wages, or the price of their work. But beware of a
general general rule. The effect would be very different in Britain, where moderate labour without much relaxation is requisite for lic ving comfortably : in every such case, a permanent tax upon necessaries fails not in time to raise the price of labour. It is true, that, in a single year of scarcity, there is commonly more labour than in plentiful years. But, suppose scarcity to continue many years successively, or suppose a permanent tax on necessaries, wages must rise till the labourer find comfortable living ; if the employer obstinately stand out, the labourer will in despair abandon the work altogether, and commence beggar; or will retire to a country less burdened with taxes. Hence a salutary doctrine, That, where expence of living equals, or nearly equals, what is gained by bodily labour, moderate taxes renewed from time to time after considerable intervals, will promote industry, without raising the price of labour ; but that permanent taxes will unavoidably raise the price of labour, and of manufactures. In Holland, the high price of provisions and of labour, occafioned by permanent taxes, have excluded from the foreign market every one of their manufactures that can be supplied
by other nations. Heavy, taxes have annihilated their once flourishing manufactures of wool, of filk, of gold and silver, and many others. The prices of labour and of manufactures have in England been immoderately raifed by the same means.
To prevent a total downfall of our manufactures, feveral political writers hold, that the labouring poor ought to be disburdened of all taxes. The royal tithe proposed for France, instead of all other taxes, published in the name of Mareschal Vaubhan, or such a tax laid upon land in England, early imposed, might have produced wonders. But the expedient would now come too late, at least in England : such profligacy have the poor-rates produced among the lower ranks, that to relieve them from taxes, would probably make them work less, but assuredly would not make them work cheaper. It is vain therefore to think of a remedy against idleness and high wages, while the poor-rates subsist in their present form. Davenant pronounces, that the English poor-rates will in time be the bane of their manufactures. He computes, that the persons receiving alms in England amounted to one million and two hundred thousand ; the half of