from a regard to the increase of his own revenue
is one of the principal advantages proposed 
by this species of land-tax. The term, 
therefore, allowed, for the indemnification of 
the landlord, ought not to be a great deal 
longer than what was necessary for that purpose
lest the remoteness of the interest should 
discourage too much this attention. It had 
better, however, be somewhat too long, than 
in any respect too short. No incitement to 
the attention of the sovereign can ever counterbalance 
the smallest discouragement to that 
of the landlord. The attention of the sovereign 
can be, at best, but a very general and 
vague consideration of what is likely to contribute 
to the better cultivation of the greater 
part of his dominions. The attention of the 
landlord is a particular and minute consideration 
of what is likely to be the most advantageous 
application of every inch of ground 
upon his estate. The principal attention of 
the sovereign ought to be, to encourage, by 
every means in his power, the attention both 
of the landlord and of the farmer, by allowing 
both to pursue their own interest in their 
own way, and according to their own judgment
by giving to both the most perfect security 
that they shall enjoy the full recompence 
of their own industry; and by procuring 
to both the most extensive market for 
every part of their produce, in consequence 
of establishing the easiest and safest communications
both by land and by water, through 
every part of his own dominions, as well as 
the most unbounded freedom of exportation 
to the dominions of all other princes
If, by such a system of administration, a 
tax of this kind could be so managed as to 
give, not only no discouragement, but, on the 
contrary, some encouragement to the improvement 
of land, it does not appear likely to occasion 
any other inconveniency to the landlord
except always the unavoidable one of 
being obliged to pay the tax
In all the variations of the state of the society
in the improvement and in the declension 
of agriculture; in all the variations in 
the value of silver, and in all those in the 
standard of the coin, a tax of this kind would, 
of its own accord, and without any attention 
of government, readily suit itself to the actual 
situation of things, and would be equally just 
and equitable in all those different changes. 
It would, therefore, be much more proper to 
be established as a perpetual and unalterable 
regulation, or as what is called a fundamental 
law of the commonwealth, than any tax which 
was always to be levied according to a certain 
Some states, instead of the simple and obvious 
expedient of a register of leases, have 
had recourse to the laborious and expensive 
one of an actual survey and valuation of all 
the lands in the country. They have suspected, 
probably, that the lessor and lessee, in order 
to defraud the public revenue, might combine 
to conceal the real terms of the lease
Doomsday-book seems to have been the result 
of a very accurate survey of this kind
In the ancient dominions of the king of 
Prussia, the land-tax is assessed according to an 
actual survey and valuation, which is reviewed 
and altered from time to time.[54] According 
to that valuation, the lay proprietors pay 
from twenty to twenty-five per cent. of their 
revenue; ecclesiastics from forty to forty-five 
per cent. The survey and valuation of Silesia 
was made by order of the present king, it 
is said, with great accuracy. According to 
that valuation, the lands belonging to the 
bishop of Breslaw are taxed at twenty-five 
per cent. of their rent. The other revenues 
of the ecclesiastics of both religions at fifty 
per cent. The commanderies of the Teutonic 
order, and of that of Malta, at forty per cent
Lands held by a noble tenure, at thirty-eight 
and one-third per cent. Lands held by a 
base tenure, at thirty-five and one-third per 
The survey and valuation of Bohemia is 
said to have been the work of more than a 
hundred years. It was not perfected till after 
the peace of 1748, by the orders of the present 
empress queen.[55] The survey of the duchy 
of Milan, which was begun in the time of 
Charles VI., was not perfected till after 1760. 
It is esteemed one of the most accurate that 
has ever been made. The survey of Savoy 
and Piedmont was executed under the orders 
of the late king of Sardinia.[56] 
In the dominions of the king of Prussia
the revenue of the church is taxed much higher 
than that of lay proprietors. The revenue of 
the church is, the greater part of it, a burden 
upon the rent of land. It seldom happens 
that any part of it is applied towards the improvement 
of land; or is so employed as to 
contribute, in any respect, towards increasing 
the revenue of the great body of the people
His Prussian majesty had probably, upon 
that account, thought it reasonable that it 
should contribute a good deal more towards 
relieving the exigencies of the state. In some 
countries, the lands of the church are exempted 
from all taxes. In others, they are taxed 
more lightly than other lands. In the duchy 
of Milan, the lands which the church possessed 
before 1575, are rated to the tax at a third 
only of their value. 
In Silesia, lands held by a noble tenure are 
taxed three per cent. higher than those held 
by a base tenure. The honours and privileges 
of different kinds annexed to the former, 
his Prussian majesty had probably imagined, 
would sufficiently compensate to the 
proprietor a small aggravation of the tax