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And our proportion of three quarters of a
million for the government of the country, in time of peace, will be
ninety-three thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds sterling; fifty
thousand of which will be for the government expenses of the state,
and forty-three thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds for continental
expenses at home and abroad.

The peace establishment then will, on an average, be five shillings
sterling per head. Whereas, was England now to stop, and the war cease,
her peace establishment would continue the same as it is now, viz. forty
shillings per head; therefore was our taxes necessary for carrying on
the war, as much per head as hers now is, and the difference to be
only whether we should, at the end of the war, pay at the rate of five
shillings per head, or forty shillings per head, the case needs no
thinking of. But as we can securely defend and keep the country for
one third less than what our burden would be if it was conquered, and
support the governments afterwards for one eighth of what Britain would
levy on us, and could I find a miser whose heart never felt the emotion
of a spark of principle, even that man, uninfluenced by every love but
the love of money, and capable of no attachment but to his interest,
would and must, from the frugality which governs him, contribute to the
defence of the country, or he ceases to be a miser and becomes an idiot.
But when we take in with it every thing that can ornament mankind; when
the line of our interest becomes the line of our happiness; when all
that can cheer and animate the heart, when a sense of honor, fame,
character, at home and abroad, are interwoven not only with the security
but the increase of property, there exists not a man in America, unless
he be an hired emissary, who does not see that his good is connected
with keeping up a sufficient defence.

I do not imagine that an instance can be produced in the world, of a
country putting herself to such an amazing charge to conquer and enslave
another, as Britain has done. The sum is too great for her to think of
with any tolerable degree of temper; and when we consider the burden
she sustains, as well as the disposition she has shown, it would be the
height of folly in us to suppose that she would not reimburse herself by
the most rapid means, had she America once more within her power. With
such an oppression of expense, what would an empty conquest be to her!
What relief under such circumstances could she derive from a victory
without a prize? It was money, it was revenue she first went to war for,
and nothing but that would satisfy her. It is not the nature of avarice
to be satisfied with any thing else. Every passion that acts upon
mankind has a peculiar mode of operation. Many of them are temporary
and fluctuating; they admit of cessation and variety. But avarice is a
fixed, uniform passion. It neither abates of its vigor nor changes its
object; and the reason why it does not, is founded in the nature of
things, for wealth has not a rival where avarice is a ruling passion.
One beauty may excel another, and extinguish from the mind of man the
pictured remembrance of a former one: but wealth is the phoenix of
avarice, and therefore it cannot seek a new object, because there is not
another in the world.

I now pass on to show the value of the present taxes, and compare them
with the annual expense; but this I shall preface with a few explanatory
remarks.

There are two distinct things which make the payment of taxes difficult;
the one is the large and real value of the sum to be paid, and the other
is the scarcity of the thing in which the payment is to be made; and
although these appear to be one and the same, they are in several
instances riot only different, but the difficulty springs from different
causes.

Suppose a tax to be laid equal to one half of what a man's yearly income
is, such a tax could not be paid, because the property could not be
spared; and on the other hand, suppose a very trifling tax was laid, to
be collected in pearls, such a tax likewise could not be paid, because
they could not be had. Now any person may see that these are distinct
cases, and the latter of them is a representation of our own.

That the difficulty cannot proceed from the former, that is, from the
real value or weight of the tax, is evident at the first view to any
person who will consider it.

The amount of the quota of taxes for this State for the year, 1780, (and
so in proportion for every other State,) is twenty millions of dollars,
which at seventy for one, is but sixty-four thousand two hundred and
eighty pounds three shillings sterling, and on an average, is no more
than three shillings and five pence sterling per head, per annum, per
man, woman and child, or threepence two-fifths per head per month. Now
here is a clear, positive fact, that cannot be contradicted, and which
proves that the difficulty cannot be in the weight of the tax, for in
itself it is a trifle, and far from being adequate to our quota of the
expense of the war. The quit-rents of one penny sterling per acre on
only one half of the state, come to upwards of fifty thousand pounds,
which is almost as much as all the taxes of the present year, and
as those quit-rents made no part of the taxes then paid, and are now
discontinued, the quantity of money drawn for public-service this year,
exclusive of the militia fines, which I shall take notice of in the
process of this work, is less than what was paid and payable in any year
preceding the revolution, and since the last war; what I mean is, that
the quit-rents and taxes taken together came to a larger sum then, than
the present taxes without the quit-rents do now.

My intention by these arguments and calculations is to place the
difficulty to the right cause, and show that it does not proceed from
the weight or worth of the tax, but from the scarcity of the medium in
which it is paid; and to illustrate this point still further, I shall
now show, that if the tax of twenty millions of dollars was of four
times the real value it now is, or nearly so, which would be about two
hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, and would be our full quota,
this sum would have been raised with more ease, and have been less felt,
than the present sum of only sixty-four thousand two hundred and eighty
pounds.

The convenience or inconvenience of paying a tax in money arises from
the quantity of money that can be spared out of trade.

When the emissions stopped, the continent was left in possession of
two hundred millions of dollars, perhaps as equally dispersed as it was
possible for trade to do it. And as no more was to be issued, the rise
or fall of prices could neither increase nor diminish the quantity. It
therefore remained the same through all the fluctuations of trade and
exchange.

Now had the exchange stood at twenty for one, which was the rate
Congress calculated upon when they arranged the quota of the several
states, the latter end of last year, trade would have been carried on
for nearly four times less money than it is now, and consequently the
twenty millions would have been spared with much greater ease, and when
collected would have been of almost four times the value that they now
are. And on the other hand, was the depreciation to be ninety or one
hundred for one, the quantity required for trade would be more than at
sixty or seventy for one, and though the value of them would be less,
the difficulty of sparing the money out of trade would be greater. And
on these facts and arguments I rest the matter, to prove that it is
not the want of property, but the scarcity of the medium by which the
proportion of property for taxation is to be measured out, that makes
the embarrassment which we lie under. There is not money enough, and,
what is equally as true, the people will not let there be money enough.

While I am on the subject of the currency, I shall offer one remark
which will appear true to everybody, and can be accounted for by nobody,
which is, that the better the times were, the worse the money grew;
and the worse the times were, the better the money stood. It never
depreciated by any advantage obtained by the enemy. The troubles of
1776, and the loss of Philadelphia in 1777, made no sensible impression
on it, and every one knows that the surrender of Charleston did not
produce the least alteration in the rate of exchange, which, for long
before, and for more than three months after, stood at sixty for one. It
seems as if the certainty of its being our own, made us careless of its
value, and that the most distant thoughts of losing it made us hug
it the closer, like something we were loth to part with; or that we
depreciate it for our pastime, which, when called to seriousness by the
enemy, we leave off to renew again at our leisure. In short, our good
luck seems to break us, and our bad makes us whole.

Passing on from this digression, I shall now endeavor to bring into one
view the several parts which I have already stated, and form thereon
some propositions, and conclude.

I have placed before the reader, the average tax per head, paid by the
people of England; which is forty shillings sterling.

And I have shown the rate on an average per head, which will defray
all the expenses of the war to us, and support the several governments
without running the country into debt, which is thirteen shillings and
four pence.

I have shown what the peace establishment may be conducted for, viz., an
eighth part of what it would be, if under the government of Britain.

And I have likewise shown what the average per head of the present
taxes is, namely, three shillings and fivepence sterling, or threepence
two-fifths per month; and that their whole yearly value, in sterling,
is only sixty-four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds. Whereas our
quota, to keep the payments equal with the expenses, is two hundred
and fifty thousand pounds. Consequently, there is a deficiency of one
hundred and eighty-five thousand seven hundred and twenty pounds, and
the same proportion of defect, according to the several quotas, happens
in every other state.



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