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coase to bark, after having breathed a while in our atmosphere.* Facts have too long supportod these arrogant pretensions of the Puropean : It belongs to us to vindicate the honour of the human race, and to teach that assuming brother moderation. Union will enable us to do it. Disunion will add another victim to his triumphs. Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness! Let the Thirteen States, bound together in a strict and indissoluble union, concur in erecting one great American system, superior to the control of all transatlantic force or influence, and able to dictate the terms of the connection between the old and the new world !
* Recherches philosophiques sur les Américains
NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 28, 1787.
THE UTILITY OF THE UNION IN RESPECT TO REVENUE.
The effects of union, upon the commercial prosperity of the states, have been sufficiently delineated. Its tendency to promote the interests of revenue, will be the subject of our present inquiry.
A prosperous commerce is now perceived and acknowledged, by all enlightened statesmen, to be the most useful, as well as the most productive, source of national wealth; and has accordingly become a primary object of their political cares. By multiplying the means of gratification, by promoting the introduction and circulation of the precious metals, those darling objects of human avarice and enterprise, it serves to vivify and invigorate all the channels of industry, and to make them flow with greator activity and copiousness. The assiduous morchant, tho laborious husbandman, the active mechanic, and the industrious manufacturer-all orders of men, look forward with eager ex. pectation, and growing alacrity, to this pleasing reward of their toils. The often-agitated question between agriculture and commerce, has, from indubitable experience, received a decision, which has silenced the rivalships that once subsisted between them, and has proved, to the entire satisfaction of their friends, thut their interests are intimately blended and interwoven. It
has been found, in various countries, that in proportion as commerce has flourished, land bas risen in value. And how could it have happened otherwise ? Could that which procures a freer vent for the products of the earth; which furnishes new incitements to the cultivators of land; which is the most powerful instrument in increasing the quantity of money in a statecould that, in fine, which is the faithful handmaid of labour and industry, in every shape, fail to augment the value of that article, which is the prolific parent of far the greatest part of the objects, upon which they are exerted ? It is astonishing, that so simple a truth should ever have had an adversary; and it is one, among a multitude of proofs, how apt a spirit of ill informed jealousy, or of too great abstraction and refinement, is to lead men astray from the plainest paths of reason and conviction.
The ability of a country to pay taxes, must always be pro. portioned, in a great degree, to the quantity of money in circu. lation, and to the celerity with which it circulates. Commerce, contributing to both these objects, must of necessity render the payment of taxes oasier, and facilitato the roquisito supplies to the treasury. The hereditary dominions of the emperor of Germany, contain a great extent of fertile, cultivated, and populous territory, a large proportion of which is situated in mild and luxuriant climates. In some parts of this territory are to bo found, the best gold and silver mines in Europe. And yet, from the want of the fostering influence of commerce, that monarch can boast but slender revenues. He has several times been compelled to owe obligations to the pecuniary succours of other nations, for the preservation of his essential interests; and is unable, upon the strength of his own resources, to sustain a long or continued war.
But it is not in this aspect of the subject alono, that union will be seen to conduce to the purposes of revenue. There are other points of viow, in which its influence will appear moro immediato and decisive. It is evident from the state of the country, from the habits of the people, from the experience wo
have bad on the point itself, that it is impracticable to raise any very considerable sums by direct taxation. Tax laws have in vain been multiplied; new methods to enforce the collection have in vain been tried; the public expectation has been uniformly disappointed, and the treasuries of the states have remained empty. The popular system of administration, inherent in the nature of popular government, coinciding with the real scarcity of money, incident to a languid and mutilated state of trado, has hitherto defeated every experiment for extensive collections, and has at length taught the different legislatures the folly of attempting them.
No person, acquainted with what happens in other countries, will be surprised at this circumstance. In so opulent a nation as that of Britain, where direct taxes, from superior wealth, must be much more tolerable, and, from the vigour of the government, much more practicable, than in America, far the greatest part of the national revenue is derived from taxes of the indirect kind; from imposts, and from excises. Duties on imported articles, form a large branch of this latter description.
In America, it is evident, that we must a long time depend for the means of revenue, chiefly on such duties. In most parts of it, excises must be confined within a narrow compass. The genius of the people will illy brook the inquisitive and peremptory spirit of excise laws. The pockets of the farmers, on the other hand, will reluctantly yield but scanty supplios, in the unwelcome shape of impositions on their houses and lands; and personal property is too precarious and invisible a fund to be laid hold of in any other way, than by the imperceptible agency of taxes on consumption.
If these remarks have any foundation, that state of thinge whicb will best enable us to improve and extond so valuable a resource, must be the best adapted to our political welfare. And it cannot admit of a serious doubt, that this state of things must rest on the basis of a general union. As far as this would be conducive to the interosts of commerce, so far it must tend to tbe extension of the revenue to be drawn from that source. As
far as it would contribute to render regulations for the collection of the duties more simple and efficacious, so far it must serve to answer the purposes of making the same rate of duties more productive, and of putting it into the power of the government to increase the rate, without prejudice to trade.
The relative situation of these states; the number of rivers with which they are intersected, and of bays that wash their shores; the facility of communication in every direction; the affinity of language and manners; the familiar habits of intercourse; all these are circumstances that would conspire to render an illicit trade between them a matter of little difficulty; and would ensure frequent evasions of the commercial regulations of each other. The separate states, or confederacies, would be driven by mutual jealousy to avoid the temptations to that kind of trade, by the lowness of their duties. The temper of our governments, for a long time to come, would not permit those rigorous precautions, by which the European nations guard the avenues into their respective countries, as well by land as by water, and which, even there, are found insufficient obstacles to the adventurous stratagems of avarice.
In France, there is an army of patrols (as they are called) constantly employed to secure her fiscal regulations against the inroads of the dealers in contraband. Mr. Neckar computes the number of these patrols at upwards of twenty thousand. This proves the immense difficulty in preventing that species of traffic, where there is an inland communication, and shows, in a strong light, the disadvantages, with which the collection of duties in this country would be incumbered, if by disunion the states should be placed in a situation with respect to each other, resembling that of France with respect to her neighbours. The arbitrary and vexatious powers with which the patrols are necessarily armed, would be intolerable in a free country.
If, on the contrary, there be but one government, pervading all the states, there will be, as to the principal part of our coinmerce, but one side to guard, the AtlantiO 00Asr. Vessels arriving directly from foreign countries, laden with valuable car.