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which builds a house, cultivates a farm, or navigates a ship. There is no good reason, beyond convenience, in collecting the revenue, why the whole load of federal taxation should fall upon that comparatively small portion of American industry, which happens to pass through the custom-house, while the whole immense residue is exempted. On the contrary, the gross inequality of taxation, both individual and sectional, it necessarily engenders, is an objection that ought to be fatal to the whole system, in a country of equal benefits, and equal burdens.
The canons of taxation by impost, as laid down by Sir Henry Parnell, are the following:
1. All foreign articles, which consist of materials for the operations of industry, to be free.
2. All foreign articles, which are necessaries of life, to be free.
3. None but those foreign articles which are luxuries, to be made subject to duty.
To these details there are strong objections. They embody a departure from his own principles. In them is recognized the right of government to intermeddle with the interests, and occupations of its citizens, and the moment the principle of protection, and the prerogative to regulate are conceded, monopolies, restrictions, and unwise legislation will rapidly pour in. There should be no manner of discrimination. If the government must support itself by this system of taxation, let it be by a tariff of ten per cent. ad valorem duties upon every thing brought into the country, regardless of what it consists, where it was made, or to what use it is destined. The idea of taxing luxuries especially should be wholly exploded. It is but a remnant of that scheme of sumptuary laws always found so impracticable, and now so universally abandoned. Besides the difficulty of discriminating between luxuries and necessaries, and the other objections to such a tax stated by Adam Smith, in the United States the abolition of the law of primogeniture, and the quick subdivision and rotation of property, make luxuries in the ancient, or European sense of the term, almost unknown. The inhabitant, whether rich or poor, of a free country, has a right to spend his money as he pleases, either unproductively, or reproductively; either on necessaries, or luxuries; and government should leave the matter for morality and religion alone to regulate.
With these qualifications we agree, that the tariffs proposed
to the commission to be established between England and France are, in the words of the writer of the “ Observations," “exactly the kind of tariff that all nations at all times would have had, if their commercial legislation had been founded on the established principles of political economy."
Undoubtedly “every change in the public economy of a great nation, ought to be cautiously and gradually effected," and “ with the smallest amount of inconvenience and loss to the individuals who have vested their capital on the faith of legislative protection.” Without mooting the point whether vested rights can accrue under a nudum pactum; or urging the argument that the manufacturers were parties to, if not sole actors in, that legislation, and can take no advantage of their own wrong; or dwelling on the consideration that, if they do suffer, the intermediate cause being low prices, the public at large will be the gainers, let it be admitted that the duties must be gradually reduced, and then the inquiry arises how is this to be effected? The answer is furnished by the paper under review.
“In order that no capitalist who is now engaged in manufactures may be injured by the change, it should be provided that the duties should continue as they now are for three years, and be reduced one third in each of the three following years. Such an arrangement would afford ample time for every one, who is at all interested in any existing enterprise, to prepare for the altered state of circumstances, and to avoid loss."
One of the greatest abuses prevalent in this country is, the misapplication of public money. Our legislators, whether federal, state, or municipal, seem to forget that the funds at their disposal are raised by taxation, and that taxes are no blessing; nor do they even pause to inquire for what purposes the taxes were paid by the people. Their situation is exactly that of a private agent. They are the trustees of the people, and have their power of attorney, and letter of instructions and yet, were an individual to misapply money entrusted to him for specified objects, half so grossly as do the public servants, he would be broken by his employer, and branded by the community for dishonesty and faithlessness. It is in vain to rely upon written directions, or the merit of public agents without responsibility constantly enforced by the vigilance of the principal. That vigilance can only be kept up in the people by making them feel the taxes, and understand distinctly for what uses they are enacted. By direct taxation this may
be accomplished, and economy and honesty secured in the administration of public money. In this connexion we quote the following passage, from perhaps the best writer in America, (Dr. Channing) upon a subject becoming daily of greater and more pressing importance.
“We should rejoice,” says the Christian Examiner for May, 1829, “if by some great improvement in finance, every custom-house could be shut from Maine to Louisiana. The interest of human nature requires, that every fetter should be broken from the intercourse of nations, and that the most distant countries should exchange all their products, whether of manual, or intellectual labor, as freely as members of the same community. An unrestricted commerce we regard as the most important means of diffusing through the world, knowledge, arts, comforts, civilization, religion, and liberty; and to this great cause we would have our country devoted. We vill add, that we attach no importance to what is deemed the chief benefit of tariffs, that they save the necessity of direct taxation, and draw from the people a large revenue without their knowledge. In the first place we say that a free people ought to know what they have to pay for freedom, and pay it joyfully; and that they should as truly scorn to be cheated into the support of their government, as into the support of their children. In the next place, a large revenue is no blessing. An overflowing treasury will always be corrupting to the governors, and the governed. A revenụe rigorously proportioned to the wants of a people, is as much as can safely be trusted to men in power. The only valid argument against substituting direct for indirect taxation, is the difficulty of ascertaining with precision the property of the citizen. Happy would it be for us if tariffs could be done away!—for with them would be abolished fruitful causes of national jealousies, of war, of perjury, of wranglings, of innumerable frauds and crimes, and of harassing restraints on that commerce which should be as free as the wind!”
In the great financial reform about to take place in our federal system, it should be kept in mind that our general government, properly administered, requires an annual income of but ten millions of dollars. The public debt being paid off, what is to be done with the public.lands? The only remaining use for them is that to which they were dedicated by the original grant from the old states—the support of the governmentalready they yield three millions and a half annually, and with
better husbandry may be sold, or farmed out, so as to furnish as much federal revenue as is needed. There are then, as we conceive, three modes, in either of which alone the expenses of the general government ought to be defrayed:
First, from the proceeds of the public lands. Secondly, by a system of direct taxation, bearing equally on all the products of industry throughout the country.
And lastly, by a tariff of ten per cent. ad valorem duties, laid upon all imports without discrimination.
THE ARCTIC LOVER TO HIS MISTRESS.
[BY WILLIAM C. BRYANT. ]
Gone is the long long winter night,
Look, my beloved one!
Rolls the majestic sun.
The summer is begun!
Aye, 'tis the long bright summer day:
Hark, to that mighty crash!
The smitten waters flash.
The foamy torrents dash.
See, love, my boat is moored for thee,
By ocean's weedy floor-
More swiftly than my oar.
Beside the pebbly shore.
Or, bide thee where the poppy blows,
With wind-flowers frail and fair,
Seek and defy the bear.
And drag him from his lair.
When crimson sky and flamy cloud
Bespeak the summer fled,
The vallies white and dead,
And floor with skins bespread.
The white fox by thy couch shall play;
And, from the frozen skies,
Shall flash upon thine eyes.
Till that long midnight flies.
Maxim makers are great thieves-e. g. take Lacon. “ There are some persons,” says he, “whom you might strip naked and throw off London bridge, and you would meet them next day in Bond-street, well dressed, with swords by their sides, and money in their pockets.” He has taken this from Beaumont and Fletcher, who have said it better in “ Wit without Money:"
Upon my conscience, bury him stark naked,
He who enters into a discussion with a prejudice, is like him who went into a shower bath with an umbrella-what good could it do him?
The mind derives its strength from solitude, and its suppleness from society.