or a tax of two shillings upon every hearth
In order to ascertain how many hearths were 
in the house, it was necessary that the tax-gatherer 
should enter every room in it. This 
odious visit rendered the tax odious. Soon 
after the Revolution, therefore, it was abolished 
as a badge of slavery
The next tax of this kind was a tax of two 
shillings upon every dwelling-house inhabited
A house with ten windows to pay four shillings 
more. A house with twenty windows 
and upwards to pay eight shillings. This tax 
was afterwards so far altered, that houses with 
twenty windows, and with less than thirty
were ordered to pay ten shillings, and those 
with thirty windows and upwards to pay twenty 
shillings. The number of windows can, in 
most cases, be counted from the outside, and, 
in all cases, without entering every room in 
the house. The visit of the tax-gatherer, therefore, 
was less offensive in this tax than in the 
This tax was afterwards repealed, and in 
the room of it was established the window-tax
which has undergone two several alterations 
and augmentations. The window tax, as it 
stands at present (January 1775), over and 
above the duty of three shillings upon every 
house in England, and of one shilling upon 
every house in Scotland, lays a duty upon 
every window, which in England augments 
gradually from twopence, the lowest rate upon 
houses with not more than seven windows, to 
two shillings, the highest rate upon houses 
with twenty-five windows and upwards
The principal objection to all such taxes is 
their inequality; an inequality of the worst 
kind, as they must frequently fall much heavier 
upon the poor than upon the rich. A 
house of ten pounds rent in a country town, 
may sometimes have more windows than a 
house of five hundred pounds rent in London
and though the inhabitant of the former 
in likely to be a much poorer man than that of 
the latter, yet, so far as his contribution is regulated 
by the window tax, he must contribute 
more to the support of the state. Such 
taxes are, therefore, directly contrary to the 
first of the four maxims above mentioned
They do not seem to offend much against any 
of the other three. 
The natural tendency of the window tax
and of all other taxes upon houses, is to lower 
rents. The more a man pays for the tax, the 
less, it is evident, he can afford to pay for the 
rent. Since the imposition of the window tax
however, the rents of houses have, upon the 
whole, risen more or less, in almost every 
town and village of Great Britain, with which 
I am acquainted. Such has been, almost 
everywhere, the increase of the demand for 
houses, that it has raised the rents more than 
the window tax could sink them; one of the 
many proofs of the great prosperity of the 
country, and of the increasing revenue of its 
inhabitants. Had it not been for the tax
rents would probably have risen still higher
ART. II.—Taxes upon Profit, or upon the Revenue 
arising from Stock
The revenue or profit arising from stock 
naturally divides itself into two parts; that 
which pays the interest, and which belongs to 
the owner of the stock; and that surplus part 
which is over and above what is necessary for 
paying the interest
This latter part of profit is evidently a subject 
not taxable directly. It is the compensation
and, in most cases, it is no more than a 
very moderate compensation for the risk and 
trouble of employing the stock. The employer 
must have this compensation, otherwise he cannot, 
consistently with his own interest, continue 
the employment. If he was taxed directly
therefore, in proportion to the whole 
profit, he would be obliged either to raise the 
rate of his profit, or to charge the tax upon 
the interest of money; that is, to pay less interest
If he raised the rate of his profit in 
proportion to the tax, the whole tax, though 
it might be advanced by him, would be finally 
paid by one or other of two different sets 
of people, according to the different ways in 
which he might employ the stock of which he 
had the management. If he employed it as 
a farming stock, in the cultivation of land
he could raise the rate of his profit only by retaining 
a greater portion, or, what comes to 
the same thing, the price of a greater portion
of the produce of the land; and as this could 
be done only by a reduction of rent, the final 
payment of the tax would fall upon the landlord
If he employed it as a mercantile or 
manufacturing stock, he could raise the rate 
of his profit only by raising the price of his 
goods; in which case, the final payment of 
the tax would fall altogether upon the consumers 
of those goods. If he did not raise 
the rate of his profit, he would be obliged to 
charge the whole tax upon that part of it 
which was allotted for the interest of money
He could afford less interest for whatever 
stock he borrowed, and the whole weight of 
the tax would, in this case, fall ultimately upon 
the interest of money. So far as he could 
not relieve himself from the tax in the one 
way, he would be obliged to relieve himself 
in the other. 
The interest of money seems, at first sight
a subject equally capable of being taxed directly 
as the rent of land. Like the rent of 
land, it is a neat produce, which remains, after 
completely compensating the whole risk and 
trouble of employing the stock. As a tax 
upon the rent of land cannot raise rents, because 
the neat produce which remains, after 
replacing the stock of the farmer, together 
with his reasonable profit, cannot be greater