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did I imagine that the Establishment of ftanding Armies and a general Excife would ever find any Advocates in this Nation, under the prefent Government.

But Experience hath proved the contrary, and convinced us of the Truth of an old Obfervation, that when Men are embark'd in the Defence of a bad Caufe, They must not ftick at any Meafures, or Topicks, to fupport it. One Thing naturally draws on another, and They are obliged to proceed from Step to Step, till They are driven at laft to the Fountain-Head, and the Conftitution itself becomes the Point in Debate.

The Doctrines, which I have juft mention'd, have certainly this Tendency, and affect the fundamental Principles of our Government. That fuch Doctrines have been advanced and defended, is too notorious and melancholy a Truth; which makes it the Duty of every Englishman to prevent the Propagation and Eftablishment of them, as far as it lies in his Power.

The Subject of Corruption and Court-Dependence hath been pretty fully explain'd already, in the Courfe of thefe Papers; and will, perhaps, be refumed at a proper Juncture.

The Dangers of standing Armies and Excifes have likewise been inculcated in general Terms; but they are Subjects of fo much Importance to all that is dear and valuable to us, as a great, free and flourishing People, that they deserve and require a particular Examination.

I mention these two Points together, becaufe I think them, in a great Measure, dependent on each other; for as a large Army cannot be fupported, under our prefent Circumftances of Debts and Expences, without burthenfome Taxes and Impofitions, fo it is evident from Hiftory that a general Excife can never be eitablish'd, without a standing Army to fupport it; and in these two Points confitt the most terrible Ideas, which We can poffibly form to our felves of arbitrary Government.

I fhall

I fhall begin with the Subject of Excifes, and will endeavour to explain it in a Manner and Style adapted to the Capacities of all my Readers.

I chufe to enter upon this Subject at prefent, that it may be fully difcui'd before the Parliament meets. In this Point, at leaft, I fhall conform myself to a Rule laid down by one of my Adverjaries, who was formerly pleafed to obferve that the Examination of fuch national Points ought always to precede the Seffion of Parliament; and that every Englishman hath a Right, at thofe Times, to offer his Thoughts upon fuch Matters as may poffibly come before that Affembly. I hope therefore that They will not revoke this Conceffion, but allow me to exercise a Privilege without putting any bad Constructions upon it, which They have acknowledged to be the Right of every Englishman.

I will not pretend to affert that any Minifter hath actually refolved to propofe fuch a Scheme as I am going to examine, or prepared the neceffary Materials and Calculations for it; but as it may be too late to oppofe it without Doors, when it is brought into the Houfe, I think it proper to give my Reasons against it in Time, whilft I am not precluded by Authority; and promife to confider every Thing of Weight, that fhall be urged on the other Side.

But though I do not aver that any Minister hath yet embraced fuch a Scheme, I will not diffemble my Apprehenfion that fome Projector may have it in his Thoughts; and I will very frankly explain my Reasons for it, as a farther Juftification of this Enquiry. About a Year and an half ago We took Notice of a Rumour, that a certain Gentleman had projected a Scheme for fubftituting a general Excife in the Room of the Land-Tax; upon which Occafion We thought proper to give our Readers fome Extracts from the Writings of Mr. Hampien upon that Subject. This Apprehenfion was treated with great Contempt by Mr. Walfingham, who endeavour'd to ridicule it as a

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falfe Alarm, a meer Bugbear of our own raifing, in order to keep up the Spirit of Difcontent; becaufe the Supplies for that Year were already granted, and the Seffion was then drawing to an End. This deserved no Reply at that Time; for We only faid that fuch a Scheme was on Foot, without defigning to infinuate that it would be put in Execution that Year; yet the very next Seffion We faw it partly executed by reviving the Excise upon Salt, to make Way for the Reduction of one Shilling in the Pound on Land. When this Project came under the Confideration and Debate of Parlia ment, a certain Gentleman was plealed to promile the Houfe that the other Shilling on Land fhould be likewife taken off, if They would confent to fome Alterations in the Collection of the Revenue. By This He was generally underflood to mean the Converfion of fome aber Taxes into Excifes; and foon after, this Hint was explain'd to us more at large in a Pamphlet, intitled, a Letter to a Freekalder on the Reduction of the Land-Tax. As this Treatife was difperfed through the Kingdom by minifterial Authority, and muft be fuppofed to contain the Sentiments of Thofe, in whole Service it was known to be written, I will transcribe a Faffage or two from it, relating to the Subject now before us.

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To fcatter Terrors on this Occafion, fays He, much Declamation hath been made Ufe of againft a general Excile; as if the neceffary Funds, to be provided in Eafe of the Land-Tax, muft introduce "a general Excife. This the Craftsman hath raved. at in Print, and his Patrons have not blufh'd to do it in Places, where fuch Fallacies were not altoge"ther fo becomingly introduced. Every one knows "that thoje Taxes, which publick Neceffity hath laid

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upon the Importation of Commodities, have been the "moft grievous Burthen on the British Commerce. All "Home-Confumption ought to be tax'd; but the Pro"duce of our Colonies, brought hither, hath a vast "Diladvan

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"Difadvantage in paying Duty upon being landed "and receiving Drawbacks on being exported. All "Goods imported are more or lefs fubject to this "Grievance; and all Duties paid the Government on Importation coft the Government 10 per Cent. for "prompt Payment. In many, if the Commodity be "enter'd for Re-exportation within a certain Time, "the Factor claims a Drawback of the intire Duty, "and thus the Præmium, which was allow'd Him "on prompt Payment, is abfolutely and intirely loft to "the Publick; by which the Nation, as the Customs now ftand, actually lofes 10 per Cent. on divers “ Branches of our Commerce. Befides, the Charges of Commiffion, &c. to the Planters and Merchants of our "Colonies, which They must allow their Factors here "for the Tranfaction of their Bufinefs at the Customhoufe, are a great Load upon their Trade.

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"Other Inconveniencies arife from the Duties being paid on Importation, and Drawbacks allow'd on ex"porting them again. Numberless Frauds are com"mitted. The clandeftine Running of Goods is greatly encouraged by this Method; which if changed, the People might be confiderably eased, as well at home as in our Colonies abroad. Who then will be the Sufferer, or who will have Caufe to complain against rea"fonable Methods for improving the Revenue and eafing "the People, by turning the most burthenfome of the Customs on Importation into Excifes on Home-Con"fumption? Our Liberties can be in no Danger from "fuch Excifes. They may be as fafe in this Kingdom

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as in the Republick of Holland, under the fame Re"gulations; and none will be affected by this Altera "tion but thofe little, mercenary Factors, who from the "Luft of Lucre would have thefe Customs continued ss against the Intereft of Trade, against the Eafe of the "People, meerly that They may have the private Ad"vantage of Præmiums on prompt Payment, and Commiffions for tranfacting Bufinefs at the Custom-boufe. 366 But

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"But This, I am per uaded, will have fo little Weight "with the People of England, against their general Ad"vantage, that I rather believe They will defpife the "Clamours and reject the Perfons of Thofe, who oppofe a common Good, from any fuch fordid Motives; efpecially where there is not the leaft Thought of any general Excife, nor any Tendency to it, nor any Increase of Officers propofed, that may endanger the "Liberties of the People.

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I have cited thefe Paffages at large, and in their full Strength, that the Author may have no Pretence to complain of Mifreprefentation, or a partial State of his Arguments. There is no Occafion to wreft his Words; for He fpeaks out very plainly, and avows Himself an Advocate for Excifes, though He is pleased to difclaim the Defign of a general Excije; but it will foon appear, in the Course of this Enquiry, whether the Practice of turning one Duty after another into Excifes hath no Tendency to a general Excife; and whether this Method of Taxation can be long carry'd on, without any Increase of Officers, or any Danger to the Liberties of the People.

The Gentleman, who anfwer'd this Pamphlet, made fome curfory Obfervations on the Scheme of Excifes, as it is laid down in the Paffages before cited; but deferr'd the particular Examination of it to a more feifonable Juncture; yet even the few Remarks, which He dropt on this Subject, rouzed up the fage Mr. Of borne; who told us, with his ufual Solemnity, that Excifes are fo far from being Badges of Slavery, that they are the moft equitable Methods of raifing Taxes; and that though the Words general Excife, have by foolish Custom a frightful Idea annex'd to them, yet a general Excife is the most reasonable Thing in the World.

He

*The Cafe of the Revival of the SALT DUTY fully flated and confider'd, &c.

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