the fiftieth part of its actual value. In some 
towns, the whole land tax is assessed upon 
houses; as in Westminster, where stock and 
trade are free. It is otherwise in London
In all countries, a severe inquisition into 
the circumstances of private persons has been 
carefully avoided. 
At Hamburg,[60] every inhabitant is obliged 
to pay to the state one fourth per cent. of all 
that he possesses; and as the wealth of the 
people of Hamburg consists principally in 
stock, this tax may be considered as a tax 
upon stock. Every man assesses himself, 
and, in the presence of the magistrate, puts 
annually into the public coffer a certain sum 
of money, which he declares upon oath, to be 
one fourth per cent. of all that he possesses, 
but without declaring what it amounts to, or 
being liable to any examination upon that 
subject. This tax is generally supposed to 
be paid with great fidelity. In a small republic, 
where the people have entire confidence 
in their magistrates, are convinced of 
the necessity of the tax for the support of the 
state, and believe that it will be faithfully applied 
to that purpose, such conscientious and 
voluntary payment may sometimes be expected
It is not peculiar to the people of Hamburg
The canton of Underwald, in Switzerland, 
is frequently ravaged by storms and inundations, 
and it is thereby exposed to extraordinary 
expenses. Upon such occasions the 
people assemble, and every one is said to 
declare with the greatest frankness what he is 
worth, in order to be taxed accordingly. At 
Zurich, the law orders, that in cases of necessity, 
every one should be taxed in proportion 
to his revenue; the amount of which he is 
obliged to declare upon oath. They have no 
suspicion, it is said, that any of their fellow-citizens 
will deceive them. At Basil, the 
principal revenue of the state arises from a 
small custom upon goods exported. All the 
citizens make oath, that they will pay every 
three months all the taxes imposed by law. 
All merchants, and even all inn-keepers, are 
trusted with keeping themselves the account 
of the goods which they sell, either within or 
without the territory. At the end of every 
three months, they send this account to the 
treasurer, with the amount of the tax computed 
at the bottom of it. It is not suspected 
that the revenue suffers by this confidence.[61] 
To oblige every citizen to declare publicly 
upon oath, the amount of his fortune, must 
not, it seems, in those Swiss cantons, be reckoned 
a hardship. At Hamburg it would 
be reckoned the greatest. Merchants engaged 
in the hazardous projects of trade, all 
tremble at the thoughts of being obliged, at 
all times, to expose the real state of their circumstances
The ruin of their credit, and 
the miscarriage of their projects, they foresee
would too often be the consequence
A sober and parsimonious people, who are 
strangers to all such projects, do not feel that 
they have occasion for any such concealment. 
In Holland, soon after the exaltation of 
the late prince of Orange to the stadtholdership
a tax of two per cent. or the fiftieth 
penny, as it was called, was imposed upon the 
whole substance of every citizen. Every citizen 
assessed himself, and paid his tax, in the 
same manner as at Hamburg, and it was in 
general supposed to have been paid with 
great fidelity. The people had at that time 
the greatest affection for their new government
which they had just established by a general 
insurrection. The tax was to be paid but 
once, in order to relieve the state in a particular 
exigency. It was, indeed, too heavy 
to be permanent. In a country where the 
market rate of interest seldom exceeds three 
per cent., a tax of two per cent. amounts to 
thirteen shillings and four pence in the 
pound, upon the highest neat revenue which 
is commonly drawn from stock. It is a tax 
which very few people could pay, without 
encroaching more or less upon their capitals. 
In a particular exigency, the people may, 
from great public zeal, make a great effort, 
and give up even a part of their capital, in 
order to relieve the state. But it is impossible 
that they should continue to do so for any 
considerable time; and if they did, the tax 
would soon ruin them so completely, as to 
render them altogether incapable of supporting 
the state. 
The tax upon stock, imposed by the land 
tax bill in England, though it is proportioned 
to the capital, is not intended to diminish or 
take away any part of that capital. It is 
meant only to be a tax upon the interest of 
money, proportioned to that upon the rent of 
land; so that when the latter is at four shillings 
in the pound, the former may be at four 
shillings in the pound too. The tax at Hamburg
and the still more moderate taxes of 
Underwald and Zurich, are meant, in the 
same manner, to be taxes, not upon the capital, 
but upon the interest or neat revenue of 
stock. That of Holland was meant to be a 
tax upon the capital. 
Taxes upon the Profit of particular Employments. 
In some countries, extraordinary taxes are 
imposed upon the profits of stock; sometimes 
when employed in particular branches of 
trade, and sometimes when employed in agriculture
Of the former kind, are in England, the