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what excess taxation might have extended had not the French revolution
contributed to break up the system, and put an end to pretences, is
impossible to say. Viewed, as that revolution ought to be, as the
fortunate means of lessening the load of taxes of both countries, it is
of as much importance to England as to France; and, if properly improved
to all the advantages of which it is capable, and to which it leads,
deserves as much celebration in one country as the other.

In pursuing this subject, I shall begin with the matter that first
presents itself, that of lessening the burthen of taxes; and shall then
add such matter and propositions, respecting the three countries of
England, France, and America, as the present prospect of things appears
to justify: I mean, an alliance of the three, for the purposes that will
be mentioned in their proper place.

What has happened may happen again. By the statement before shown of
the progress of taxation, it is seen that taxes have been lessened to
a fourth part of what they had formerly been. Though the present
circumstances do not admit of the same reduction, yet they admit of such
a beginning, as may accomplish that end in less time than in the former
case.

The amount of taxes for the year ending at Michaelmas 1788, was as
follows:

Land-tax L 1,950,000
Customs 3,789,274
Excise (including old and new malt) 6,751,727
Stamps 1,278,214
Miscellaneous taxes and incidents 1,803,755
-----------
L15,572,755

Since the year 1788, upwards of one million new taxes have been laid on,
besides the produce of the lotteries; and as the taxes have in general
been more productive since than before, the amount may be taken, in
round numbers, at L17,000,000. (The expense of collection and the
drawbacks, which together amount to nearly two millions, are paid out of
the gross amount; and the above is the net sum paid into the exchequer).
This sum of seventeen millions is applied to two different purposes; the
one to pay the interest of the National Debt, the other to the current
expenses of each year. About nine millions are appropriated to the
former; and the remainder, being nearly eight millions, to the latter.
As to the million, said to be applied to the reduction of the debt, it
is so much like paying with one hand and taking out with the other, as
not to merit much notice. It happened, fortunately for France, that
she possessed national domains for paying off her debt, and thereby
lessening her taxes; but as this is not the case with England, her
reduction of taxes can only take place by reducing the current expenses,
which may now be done to the amount of four or five millions annually,
as will hereafter appear. When this is accomplished it will more than
counter-balance the enormous charge of the American war; and the saving
will be from the same source from whence the evil arose. As to the
national debt, however heavy the interest may be in taxes, yet, as it
serves to keep alive a capital useful to commerce, it balances by its
effects a considerable part of its own weight; and as the quantity
of gold and silver is, by some means or other, short of its proper
proportion, being not more than twenty millions, whereas it should be
sixty (foreign intrigue, foreign wars, foreign dominions, will in
a great measure account for the deficiency), it would, besides the
injustice, be bad policy to extinguish a capital that serves to supply
that defect. But with respect to the current expense, whatever is saved
therefrom is gain. The excess may serve to keep corruption alive, but it
has no re-action on credit and commerce, like the interest of the debt.

It is now very probable that the English Government (I do not mean
the nation) is unfriendly to the French Revolution. Whatever serves to
expose the intrigue and lessen the influence of courts, by lessening
taxation, will be unwelcome to those who feed upon the spoil. Whilst the
clamour of French intrigue, arbitrary power, popery, and wooden shoes
could be kept up, the nation was easily allured and alarmed into taxes.
Those days are now past: deception, it is to be hoped, has reaped its
last harvest, and better times are in prospect for both countries, and
for the world.

Taking it for granted that an alliance may be formed between England,
France, and America for the purposes hereafter to be mentioned, the
national expenses of France and England may consequently be lessened.
The same fleets and armies will no longer be necessary to either, and
the reduction can be made ship for ship on each side. But to accomplish
these objects the governments must necessarily be fitted to a common
and correspondent principle. Confidence can never take place while an
hostile disposition remains in either, or where mystery and secrecy on
one side is opposed to candour and openness on the other.

These matters admitted, the national expenses might be put back, for the
sake of a precedent, to what they were at some period when France and
England were not enemies. This, consequently, must be prior to the
Hanover succession, and also to the Revolution of 1688.*[32] The first
instance that presents itself, antecedent to those dates, is in the
very wasteful and profligate times of Charles the Second; at which time
England and France acted as allies. If I have chosen a period of great
extravagance, it will serve to show modern extravagance in a still worse
light; especially as the pay of the navy, the army, and the revenue
officers has not increased since that time.

The peace establishment was then as follows (see Sir John Sinclair's
History of the Revenue):

Navy L 300,000
Army 212,000
Ordnance 40,000
Civil List 462,115
-------
L1,014,115

The parliament, however, settled the whole annual peace establishment
at $1,200,000.*[33] If we go back to the time of Elizabeth the amount of
all the taxes was but half a million, yet the nation sees nothing during
that period that reproaches it with want of consequence.

All circumstances, then, taken together, arising from the French
revolution, from the approaching harmony and reciprocal interest of the
two nations, the abolition of the court intrigue on both sides, and
the progress of knowledge in the science of government, the annual
expenditure might be put back to one million and a half, viz.:

Navy L 500,000
Army 500,000
Expenses of Government 500,000
----------
L1,500,000

Even this sum is six times greater than the expenses of government are
in America, yet the civil internal government in England (I mean that
administered by means of quarter sessions, juries and assize, and which,
in fact, is nearly the whole, and performed by the nation), is
less expense upon the revenue, than the same species and portion of
government is in America.

It is time that nations should be rational, and not be governed like
animals, for the pleasure of their riders. To read the history of kings,
a man would be almost inclined to suppose that government consisted in
stag-hunting, and that every nation paid a million a-year to a huntsman.
Man ought to have pride, or shame enough to blush at being thus imposed
upon, and when he feels his proper character he will. Upon all subjects
of this nature, there is often passing in the mind, a train of ideas he
has not yet accustomed himself to encourage and communicate. Restrained
by something that puts on the character of prudence, he acts the
hypocrite upon himself as well as to others. It is, however, curious
to observe how soon this spell can be dissolved. A single expression,
boldly conceived and uttered, will sometimes put a whole company into
their proper feelings: and whole nations are acted on in the same
manner.

As to the offices of which any civil government may be composed, it
matters but little by what names they are described. In the routine of
business, as before observed, whether a man be styled a president, a
king, an emperor, a senator, or anything else, it is impossible that any
service he can perform, can merit from a nation more than ten thousand
pounds a year; and as no man should be paid beyond his services, so
every man of a proper heart will not accept more. Public money ought to
be touched with the most scrupulous consciousness of honour. It is
not the produce of riches only, but of the hard earnings of labour and
poverty. It is drawn even from the bitterness of want and misery. Not
a beggar passes, or perishes in the streets, whose mite is not in that
mass.

Were it possible that the Congress of America could be so lost to their
duty, and to the interest of their constituents, as to offer General
Washington, as president of America, a million a year, he would not, and
he could not, accept it. His sense of honour is of another kind. It
has cost England almost seventy millions sterling, to maintain a family
imported from abroad, of very inferior capacity to thousands in the
nation; and scarcely a year has passed that has not produced some new
mercenary application. Even the physicians' bills have been sent to
the public to be paid. No wonder that jails are crowded, and taxes and
poor-rates increased. Under such systems, nothing is to be looked for
but what has already happened; and as to reformation, whenever it come,
it must be from the nation, and not from the government.

To show that the sum of five hundred thousand pounds is more than
sufficient to defray all the expenses of the government, exclusive of
navies and armies, the following estimate is added, for any country, of
the same extent as England.

In the first place, three hundred representatives fairly elected, are
sufficient for all the purposes to which legislation can apply, and
preferable to a larger number.



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