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Those to whom it is
due have advanced the money; and whether it was well or ill spent, or
pocketed, is not their crime. It is, however, easy to see, that as
the nation proceeds in contemplating the nature and principles of
government, and to understand taxes, and make comparisons between those
of America, France, and England, it will be next to impossible to keep
it in the same torpid state it has hitherto been. Some reform must,
from the necessity of the case, soon begin. It is not whether these
principles press with little or much force in the present moment. They
are out. They are abroad in the world, and no force can stop them. Like
a secret told, they are beyond recall; and he must be blind indeed that
does not see that a change is already beginning.

Nine millions of dead taxes is a serious thing; and this not only for
bad, but in a great measure for foreign government. By putting the power
of making war into the hands of the foreigners who came for what they
could get, little else was to be expected than what has happened.

Reasons are already advanced in this work, showing that whatever the
reforms in the taxes may be, they ought to be made in the current
expenses of government, and not in the part applied to the interest
of the national debt. By remitting the taxes of the poor, they will be
totally relieved, and all discontent will be taken away; and by striking
off such of the taxes as are already mentioned, the nation will more
than recover the whole expense of the mad American war.

There will then remain only the national debt as a subject of
discontent; and in order to remove, or rather to prevent this, it
would be good policy in the stockholders themselves to consider it as
property, subject like all other property, to bear some portion of the
taxes. It would give to it both popularity and security, and as a great
part of its present inconvenience is balanced by the capital which it
keeps alive, a measure of this kind would so far add to that balance as
to silence objections.

This may be done by such gradual means as to accomplish all that is
necessary with the greatest ease and convenience.

Instead of taxing the capital, the best method would be to tax the
interest by some progressive ratio, and to lessen the public taxes in
the same proportion as the interest diminished.

Suppose the interest was taxed one halfpenny in the pound the first
year, a penny more the second, and to proceed by a certain ratio to be
determined upon, always less than any other tax upon property. Such
a tax would be subtracted from the interest at the time of payment,
without any expense of collection.

One halfpenny in the pound would lessen the interest and consequently
the taxes, twenty thousand pounds. The tax on wagons amounts to this
sum, and this tax might be taken off the first year. The second year the
tax on female servants, or some other of the like amount might also be
taken off, and by proceeding in this manner, always applying the tax
raised from the property of the debt toward its extinction, and not
carry it to the current services, it would liberate itself.

The stockholders, notwithstanding this tax, would pay less taxes than
they do now. What they would save by the extinction of the poor-rates,
and the tax on houses and windows, and the commutation tax, would
be considerably greater than what this tax, slow, but certain in its
operation, amounts to.

It appears to me to be prudence to look out for measures that may apply
under any circumstances that may approach. There is, at this moment,
a crisis in the affairs of Europe that requires it. Preparation now
is wisdom. If taxation be once let loose, it will be difficult to
re-instate it; neither would the relief be so effectual, as if it
proceeded by some certain and gradual reduction.

The fraud, hypocrisy, and imposition of governments, are now beginning
to be too well understood to promise them any long career. The farce
of monarchy and aristocracy, in all countries, is following that of
chivalry, and Mr. Burke is dressing aristocracy, in all countries, is
following that of chivalry, and Mr. Burke is dressing for the funeral.
Let it then pass quietly to the tomb of all other follies, and the
mourners be comforted.

The time is not very distant when England will laugh at itself for
sending to Holland, Hanover, Zell, or Brunswick for men, at the expense
of a million a year, who understood neither her laws, her language, nor
her interest, and whose capacities would scarcely have fitted them for
the office of a parish constable. If government could be trusted to such
hands, it must be some easy and simple thing indeed, and materials fit
for all the purposes may be found in every town and village in England.

When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy;
neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are
empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the
taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I
am the friend of its happiness: when these things can be said, then may
that country boast its constitution and its government.

Within the space of a few years we have seen two revolutions, those
of America and France. In the former, the contest was long, and
the conflict severe; in the latter, the nation acted with such a
consolidated impulse, that having no foreign enemy to contend with, the
revolution was complete in power the moment it appeared. From both those
instances it is evident, that the greatest forces that can be brought
into the field of revolutions, are reason and common interest. Where
these can have the opportunity of acting, opposition dies with fear, or
crumbles away by conviction. It is a great standing which they have now
universally obtained; and we may hereafter hope to see revolutions, or
changes in governments, produced with the same quiet operation by which
any measure, determinable by reason and discussion, is accomplished.

When a nation changes its opinion and habits of thinking, it is no
longer to be governed as before; but it would not only be wrong, but
bad policy, to attempt by force what ought to be accomplished by reason.
Rebellion consists in forcibly opposing the general will of a nation,
whether by a party or by a government. There ought, therefore, to be in
every nation a method of occasionally ascertaining the state of public
opinion with respect to government. On this point the old government of
France was superior to the present government of England, because, on
extraordinary occasions, recourse could be had what was then called the
States General. But in England there are no such occasional bodies; and
as to those who are now called Representatives, a great part of them are
mere machines of the court, placemen, and dependants.

I presume, that though all the people of England pay taxes, not an
hundredth part of them are electors, and the members of one of the
houses of parliament represent nobody but themselves. There is,
therefore, no power but the voluntary will of the people that has a
right to act in any matter respecting a general reform; and by the same
right that two persons can confer on such a subject, a thousand may.
The object, in all such preliminary proceedings, is to find out what the
general sense of a nation is, and to be governed by it. If it prefer a
bad or defective government to a reform or choose to pay ten times more
taxes than there is any occasion for, it has a right so to do; and so
long as the majority do not impose conditions on the minority, different
from what they impose upon themselves, though there may be much error,
there is no injustice. Neither will the error continue long. Reason and
discussion will soon bring things right, however wrong they may begin.
By such a process no tumult is to be apprehended. The poor, in all
countries, are naturally both peaceable and grateful in all reforms in
which their interest and happiness is included. It is only by neglecting
and rejecting them that they become tumultuous.

The objects that now press on the public attention are, the French
revolution, and the prospect of a general revolution in governments.
Of all nations in Europe there is none so much interested in the French
revolution as England. Enemies for ages, and that at a vast expense,
and without any national object, the opportunity now presents itself of
amicably closing the scene, and joining their efforts to reform the rest
of Europe. By doing this they will not only prevent the further effusion
of blood, and increase of taxes, but be in a condition of getting rid
of a considerable part of their present burthens, as has been already
stated. Long experience however has shown, that reforms of this kind are
not those which old governments wish to promote, and therefore it is
to nations, and not to such governments, that these matters present
themselves.

In the preceding part of this work, I have spoken of an alliance between
England, France, and America, for purposes that were to be afterwards
mentioned. Though I have no direct authority on the part of America,
I have good reason to conclude, that she is disposed to enter into a
consideration of such a measure, provided, that the governments with
which she might ally, acted as national governments, and not as courts
enveloped in intrigue and mystery. That France as a nation, and a
national government, would prefer an alliance with England, is a matter
of certainty. Nations, like individuals, who have long been enemies,
without knowing each other, or knowing why, become the better friends
when they discover the errors and impositions under which they had
acted.

Admitting, therefore, the probability of such a connection, I will state
some matters by which such an alliance, together with that of Holland,
might render service, not only to the parties immediately concerned, but
to all Europe.

It is, I think, certain, that if the fleets of England, France, and
Holland were confederated, they could propose, with effect, a limitation
to, and a general dismantling of, all the navies in Europe, to a certain
proportion to be agreed upon.

First, That no new ship of war shall be built by any power in Europe,
themselves included.

Second, That all the navies now in existence shall be put back, suppose
to one-tenth of their present force.



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