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the Atlantic, and be at home in the “Great Valley,” in less than five years.
The interest of both farmers and mechanics will be far more effectively promoted by duties on imports than by any bounties upon the home product. In this way, our cotton and sugar have long been protected. Whether the new tariff bill (passed September, 1842,) will adequately defend and sustain the growth and manufacture of silk, time must determine. In any event, the State Bounty Act ought to be repealed, or be allowed to expire by its own limitations.
17. Taxation may be necessary, proper, beneficial and yet may be so unwisely levied and collected, as to occasion more harm than good. The system is evil, when it tempts or prompts to concealment, fraud, falsehood, intemperance, idleness, ignorance, profligacy, wastefulness, crime. Thus England, until lately, taxed knowledge 100 per cent., and suffered gin to
The history of the license system is curious and instructive. We find traces of it for some two hundred
In reference to the sale of intoxicating liquors, the aim was doubtless to check or prevent their excessive use, as well as to obtain revenue. The result has been, a great increase of intemperance. And so also, in the case of licensed gaming establishments. Persons duly authorized by law to keep drinking and gambling houses, are regarded as privileged parties, who deserve the patronage and encouragement of the public. And they seldom fail to exert the kind of influence which is most favourable to their interests.
A land-tax is always objectionable, when its amount depends on, or is apportioned according to, the increased value created by human industry, enterprise, and the outlay of capital for its improvement. If taxed at all, it should be at a fixed invariable rate, from a valuation of the land in its virgin or unimproved condition-So that the proprietor might enjoy all the fruits of his labours and expenditures, without fear of additional taxes for his pains. Upon this plan, he would be stimulated and urged by the strongest motives, to augment the value of his estate as rapidly as possible. In this respect, the land-tax of Tennessee is injudicious if not the worst that could be devised. Under the old constitution the system was excellent. It was a determinate sum upon each 100 acres-irrespective of quality or value. Of course, all prices and sales of land were adjusted in accordance with this well known and established law or custom. . Poor land would sell for less, rich land for more, proportionally, in consequence of both being subjected to the same annual tax or charge. At present, under our new constitution, every dollar's value added to the soil, from year to year, by the sweat of the farmer's brow, must be taxed! Unless a very accommodating conscience should dispose him to conceal or dený the truth. Thus you tax industry, and tempt to fraud, at the same time.
In England, the usage is different. “In the year 1692, à general valuation was made of the income of all the land in the country; and, upon that valuation, the landtax continues to be levied to this day; so that the tax of four shillings in the pound, upon the rents of land, is a fifth of its rent, in 1692, and not of the actual rent at the present day.” (Say, Polit. Econ., vol. ii. p. 228.)
This is probably the true cause of the agricultural prosperity of England: and not her oppressive corn-laws, as many seem to imagine.*
* I omit the topics, Internal Improvements, Education, etc. What a government can and ought to do in regard to roads, canals, and all other means of transportation and travelling-what for the diffusion of knowledge and universal education, etc., I have not space to inquire. Besides, I have elsewhere and on other occasions discussed these themes.pretty. thoroughly.
The third head of discourse or principal division of our subject remains to be treated of or discussed, viz. :
What can the people do for themselves, independently of the government?*
1. They should endeavour, by all means, to acquire a perfect mastery of their own proper business. Very few farmers or mechanics do themselves justice in this respect. They ought to aim at and strive for the highest eminence in agriculture and the mechanic arts. They should do their work well—try to do it better—be willing to learn—make experiments with a view to improved machinery and modes of operation, etc.
2. Persevering industry and rigid economy indispensable from the outset.-As also, sobriety, honesty, order, regularity, punctuality, system.
3. Independence of mind or spirit. Self-reliance. Disregard of popular prejudices about negro labour. False pride on this subject. Slavery, a prolific source of idleness, extravagance and profligacy. Men who cannot afford to keep slaves, must work themselves or be worse off than slaves. They can never rise above their present humble position otherwise. They will remain poor, degraded, despised—if too proud to labour. Work as freemen in order to be free. Negroes, a great hindrance to white labour.
* Upon this branch of the subject—the most important perhaps of the three-I shall here record only a few general hints for extemporaneous enlargement, as occasion may serve or require.
4. Knowledge to be sought and acquired in all practicable ways--and from every available source. Educate yourselves. Show how this may be done.
5. Morality—Religion.-Demonstrate their importance even to worldly thrift and prosperity.
6. Refinement of manners. Labourers need not be rude, vulgar, rough, boorish, repulsive, coarse, rustic or uncivil. A gracious demeanour-a courteous address a quiet, self-possessed, gentle, urbane habit of buying and selling—to be studiously cultivated. Illustrate the value of such accomplishments to the parties addressed.
7. Popular education as a common cause, and with reference to the general welfare of the people. Show how the entire mass of the labouring people may be benefited and elevated by a higher standard and system of education.
8. Individuals distinguished by genius and learning among farmers and mechanics, do not elevate or dignify the class or body to which they at first belong. They rise above it-leave it—and appear as stars in a different sphere. They become physicians, lawyers, preachers, statesmen, politicians, inventors, authors, journalists. They cease to be artisans and labourers. They do not therefore illustrate their primitive humble rank or calling. The mechanical trades or crafts continue as before.