Chap 3d: Tax Payments

Tax Payment in Kind

79 It has been said that the Americans have no gold or silver money.

  • Their interior commerce is done by a paper currency.
  • Its gold and silver are all sent to Great Britain for the commodities they receive from us.
  • Without gold and silver it is impossible to pay taxes.
  • We already get all the gold and silver which they have.
  • How can we draw from them what they do not have?


80 The current scarcity of gold and silver money in America is not the effect of the inability of the Americans to buy those metals.

  • Wages in America are much higher than in England.
    • The price of provisions is much lower.
  • Most of the people must surely have the means to buy more of what they need.
    • Therefore, the scarcity of those metals must be from choice, not necessity.


81 Gold and silver money is necessary or convenient for transacting domestic or foreign business.


82 Book 2 has shown that the domestic business of every country may be transacted through paper currency as conveniently as by gold and silver money, at least in peacetime.

  • It is convenient for the Americans to save as much as possible the cost of using gold and silver for currency.
    • They can always profitably employ more stock in their land improvements, than they can easily get.
    • They would rather employ their surplus produce for buying the tools, raw materials, furniture, and ironworks needed for building and extending their settlements and plantations, instead of using their surplus to buy gold and silver.
      • In this way, they buy active and productive stock, not dead stock.
  • The colony governments find it for their interest to supply the people paper money more than sufficient for transacting their domestic business.
    • Some of those governments, particularly that of Pennsylvania, derive a revenue from lending this paper money to their subjects at an interest.
    • Others, like that of Massachusetts Bay, advance this kind of paper money on extraordinary emergencies for defraying the public expence.
      • Afterwards, it redeems this money at a depreciated value, when it suits the colony’s convenience.
      • In this way in 1747, Massachusetts Bay paid most of its public debts with 10% of the metal money for which its paper bills were granted.
  • It is convenient:
    • for the planters to save the cost of using metal money in their domestic transactions.
    • for the colony governments to supply them with a medium which enables them to save that cost, though with some very big disadvantages.
  • The redundancy of paper money banishes gold and silver from the colonies’ domestic transactions, for the same reason that it banished those metals from most of Scottish domestic transactions.
    • In both countries, this redundancy of paper money was created by the people’s enterprising and projecting spirit, not their poverty.
      • It is their desire of employing all the stock they can get, as active and productive stock.
      • In their exterior commerce with Great Britain, gold and silver are used exactly as they are needed.
        • Where those metals are not necessary, they seldom appear.
        • Where they are necessary, they are generally found.


83 In the commerce between Great Britain and the tobacco colonies, the British goods are generally advanced to the colonists at a pretty long credit.

  • They are afterwards paid for in tobacco, rated at a certain price.
  • It is more convenient for the colonists to pay in tobacco than in gold and silver.
  • It would be more convenient for any merchant to pay for his suppliers’ goods with some of his other goods than in money.
    • Such a merchant would then have no stock unemployed.
      • He would not need ready money for answering occasional demands.
      • He could have more goods in his shop or warehouse at all times.
      • He could deal to a greater extent.
  • But it is seldom convenient for all the merchant’s suppliers to receive payment for the goods they sell to him, with other kinds of his goods.
    • The British merchants who trade to Virginia and Maryland are suppliers who find it more convenient to receive payment in tobacco than gold and silver.
      • They expect to make a profit by selling the tobacco.
      • They could make no profit by selling gold and silver.
  • Gold and silver very seldom appear in the commerce between Great Britain and the tobacco colonies.
  • Maryland and Virginia have as little need for those metals in their foreign and domestic commerce.
    • Accordingly, they are said to have less gold and silver money than any other American colony.
    • They are as thriving and rich as their neighbours.


84 In the northern colonies, the value of their own exports to Great Britain is more than the value of their imports.

  • A balance must be paid to Great Britain in gold and silver.
  • They generally find this balance.
  • The northern colonies are:
    • Pennsylvania
    • New York
    • New Jersey
    • the four governments of New England, etc.


85 In the sugar colonies, the value of exports to Great Britain is much greater than the value of all the goods imported.

  • If the sugar and rum sent to Great Britain were paid for in those colonies:
    • Great Britain would be obliged to send out a very large balance in money every year.
    • Certain politicians would consider the trade to the West Indies as extremely disadvantageous.
  • But many of the principal sugar plantation proprietors reside in Great Britain.
    • Their rents are remitted to them in sugar and rum, the produce of their estates.
    • The sugar and rum which the West India merchants purchase in those colonies have a higher value than the goods they sell there.
      • A balance must be paid to the proprietors in gold and silver.
      • This balance is also generally found.


86 The difficulty and irregularity of payment from the colonies to Great Britain have not been proportional to the balances due from them.

  • Generally, payments were more regular from the northern colonies than from the tobacco colonies.
    • The northern colonies have generally paid a pretty large balance in money.
      • While the tobacco colonies have paid no balance or a much smaller one.
  • The difficulty of getting payment from our sugar colonies has been proportional more to their uncultivated land, and not so much to the extent of the balances due from them.
    • It is in proportion to the temptation of the planters in overtrading, or of settling and planting in more waste land than what suited their capitals.
  • The big island of Jamaica still has much uncultivated land.
    • The smaller islands of Barbados, Antigua, and Saint Kitts have been completely cultivated.
      • In general, the returns from Jamaica have been more irregular and uncertain than those from those smaller islands.
        • Those small islands have afforded less field for the planter’s speculations.
  • The new acquisitions of Grenada, Tobago, St. Vincents, and Dominica have opened a new field for such speculations.
    • The returns from those islands have been recently as irregular and uncertain as those from Jamaica.

87 It is not the poverty of the colonies which creates the present scarcity of gold and silver money.

  • Their great demand for active and productive stock makes it convenient for them to have as little dead stock as possible.
    • It disposes them to content themselves with a cheaper though less commodious instrument of commerce than gold and silver.
  • They are thereby enabled to convert the value of that gold and silver into:
    • the instruments of trade
    • clothing materials
    • household furniture
    • ironworks for building and extending their settlements and plantations
  • In businesses which can only be transacted with gold and silver money, they can always find the needed quantity of those metals.
    • If they do not find it, their failure is generally the effect of their unnecessary and excessive enterprise, not of their necessary poverty.
    • It is not because they are poor that their payments are irregular and uncertain, but because they are too eager to become excessively rich.
  • If all the proceeds of the colony taxes, exceeding what was needed to pay their own civil and military establishments, were remitted to Great Britain in gold and silver, the colonies would have all the means to buy those needed metals.
    • In this case, they would be obliged to buy dead stock with their surplus produce instead of active and productive stock.
    • In transacting their domestic business, they would be obliged to employ a costly instead of a cheap instrument of commerce.
      • The expence of buying this costly instrument might somewhat dampen the vivacity and ardour of their excessive enterprise in land improvement.
  • It might be unnecessary to remit any part of the American revenue in gold and silver.
    • It might be remitted in bills drawn on and accepted by particular merchants or companies in Great Britain to whom some of America’s surplus produce was consigned.
    • Those merchants and companies would pay into the treasury the American revenue in money after receiving the value of those goods.
    • The whole business might frequently be transacted without exporting a single ounce of gold or silver from America.


88 It is just fair that Ireland and America contribute towards discharging Great Britain’s public debt.

  • That debt was incurred to support the government established by the Revolution.
    • The Protestants of Ireland owe to that government their whole authority in their own country and every security in their liberty, property, and religion.
    • Several American colonies owe to that government their present charters and consequently their present constitution.
      • All American colonies owe their liberty, security, and property to that constitution.
  • That public debt was incurred to defend Great Britain and all the empire’s provinces.
    • America’s defence created:
      • the immense debt from the recent American Revolutionary War
      • most of the debt from the Seven Years’ War.


89 By a union with Great Britain, Ireland would gain the freedom of trade and other much more important advantages.

  • These advantages would much more than compensate any tax increases that might accompany that union.
  • By the union with England, the Scottish middle and lower classes were completely freed from the power of an aristocracy which always oppressed them.
  • By a union with Great Britain, most Irish would gain an equally complete freedom from a much more oppressive aristocracy.
    • Unlike Scotland’s aristocracy, Irish aristocracy is not founded in the natural and respectable distinctions of birth and fortune.
    • It is founded on religious and political prejudices, the most odious of all distinctions.
      • These prejudices:
        • animate most:
          • the oppressors’ insolence and
          • the hatred of the oppressed
        • commonly render its own people more hostile to one another than to foreigners
    • Without a union with Great Britain, the Irish will not likely consider themselves as one people for many ages.


90 No oppressive aristocracy has ever prevailed in the colonies.

  • Even they would gain considerably by a union with Great Britain.
    • It would at least deliver them from those rancorous and virulent factions which are inseparable from small democracies.
    • Those factions have so frequently divided their people and disturbed the peace of their democratic governments.
  • If they were totally separated from Great Britain, those factions would be 10 times more virulent than ever.
    • Before the start of the present disturbances, Great Britain’s coercive power was always able to restrain those factions.
      • If that coercive power were entirely taken away, they would probably soon break out into open violence and bloodshed.
  • In all great countries united under one uniform government, the spirit of party commonly prevails less in the remote provinces than in the centre of the empire.
    • The capital is the principal seat of the great scramble of faction and ambition.
    • The distance of those provinces from the capital renders them:
      • more indifferent to the contending parties
      • impartial spectators of the conduct of all
  • The spirit of party prevails less in Scotland than in England.
    • In the case of a union. it would probably prevail less in Ireland than in Scotland.
  • The colonies would probably enjoy a degree of concord and unanimity unknown in the British empire.
    • Both Ireland and the colonies would be subjected to heavier taxes.
  • More of those taxes might not last long if the public revenue would be diligently and faithfully applied towards discharging the national debt.
    • Great Britain’s public revenue might be reduced to what was necessary for maintaining peace.


91 The East India Company’s territorial acquisitions is the right of the British people.

  • It might be a source of revenue more abundant than all those mentioned.
  • Those countries are more fertile and extensive.
  • They are much richer and more populous than Great Britain, relative to their extent.
  • It would probably be unnecessary to introduce any new tax system to draw a great revenue from them.
    • Those countries are already sufficiently taxed.
    • It might be more proper to lighten the burden of those unfortunate countries by preventing the embezzlement and misapplication of their taxes.


92 If it is impractical for Great Britain to increase its revenue from the resources mentioned, her only remaining resource is to reduce her expence.

  • Great Britain is at least as economical as her neighbours in collecting and spending the public revenue.
    • There is still room for improvement for both collecting and spending.
  • Her military is more moderate than any European state of equal status.
  • None of those articles seem to admit of any considerable reduction of expence.
  • Before the present disturbances, the peace-keeping costs in the colonies was very big.
    • It should be all saved if no revenue can be drawn from the colonies.
  • This constant expence in peacetime was very great, but is insignificant compared to wartime.
    • The Seven Years’ War was undertaken for the colonies.
      • It cost Great Britain more than £90 million.
    • The Spanish War of Jenkins’ Ear of 1739 was principally undertaken for the colonies.
    • The French War of the Austrian Succession was the consequence of that Spanish war.
      • That French war cost Great Britain more than £40 million.
      • Most of it should be charged to the colonies.
      • In those two wars, the colonies cost Great Britain more than twice the national debt before the Spanish war started.
      • Without those wars, Great Britain’s debt might have been completely paid by this time.
      • Had it not been for the colonies, those two wars certainly would not have been undertaken.
        • They were undertaken because the colonies were supposed to be provinces of the British empire.
        • “But countries which contribute neither revenue nor military force towards the support of the empire cannot be considered as provinces.”
        • They may be considered as appendages, as showy equipage of the empire.
        • But if the empire can no longer keep up this equipage, it should be laid down.
        • If it cannot raise its revenue in proportion to its expence, it should at least match its expence to its revenue.
  • The colonies refuse to submit to British taxes.
    • If they are still to be considered as British provinces, their defence in a future war might cost Great Britain a very big expence.
  • For more than a century, Great Britain’s rulers have amused the people with the imagination that they had a great empire in North America.
    • This empire has existed in imagination only.
    • It has been the project of an empire and not an empire.
    • It was the project of a gold mine, not a gold mine.
      • It was a project which has cost and will likely cost immense expence, without bringing any profit.
        • To the people, the monopoly of the colony trade was a mere loss instead of profit.
        • Our rulers and the people should realize this golden dream which they have been indulging themselves in.
          • Our rulers should awake themselves and the people from it.
      • If the project cannot be completed, it should be given up.
  • If any of the British empire’s provinces cannot be made to contribute to support the whole empire, Great Britain should free herself from the cost of:
    • defending those provinces, and
    • supporting their civil or military establishments.
  • She should make future plans according to the real mediocrity of her circumstances.

Words: 2,640

For comments or corrections, please email

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s