to no other inconveniency, besides always 
the unavoidable one of paying the tax
In France, the stamp duties are not much 
complained of. Those of registration, which 
they call the Controle, are. They give occasion
it is pretended, to much extortion in 
the officers of the farmers-general who collect 
the tax, which is in a great measure arbitrary 
and uncertain. In the greater part of the 
libels which have been written against the 
present system of finances in France, the 
abuses of the controle make a principal article. 
Uncertainty, however, does not seem to 
be necessarily inherent in the nature of such 
taxes. If the popular complaints are well 
founded, the abuse must arise, not so much 
from the nature of the tax as from the want 
of precision and distinctness in the words of 
the edicts or laws which impose it. 
The registration of mortgages, and in general 
of all rights upon immoveable property
as it gives great security both to creditors and 
purchasers, is extremely advantageous to the 
public. That of the greater part of deeds of 
other kinds, is frequently inconvenient and 
even dangerous to individuals, without any 
advantage to the public. All registers which, 
it is acknowledged, ought to be kept secret
ought certainly never to exist. The credit 
of individuals ought certainly never to depend 
upon so very slender a security, as the probity 
and religion of the inferior officers of 
revenue. But where the fees of registration 
have been made a source of revenue to the 
sovereign, register-offices have commonly 
been multiplied without end, both for the 
deeds which ought to be registered, and for 
those which ought not. In France there are 
several different sorts of secret registers
This abuse, though not perhaps a necessary, 
it must be acknowledged, is a very natural 
effect of such taxes
Such stamp duties as those in England 
upon cards and dice, upon newspapers and 
periodical pamphlets, &c. are properly taxes 
upon consumption; the final payment falls 
upon the persons who use or consume such 
commodities. Such stamp duties as those 
upon licences to retail ale, wine, and spiritous 
liquors, though intended, perhaps, to fall upon 
the profits of the retailers, are likewise 
finally paid by the consumers of those liquors. 
Such taxes, though called by the same name, 
and levied by the same officers, and in the 
same manner with the stamp duties above 
mentioned upon the transference of property
are, however, of a quite different nature, and 
fall upon quite different funds
ART. III.—Taxes upon the Wages of Labour
The wages of the inferior classes of workmen
I have endeavoured to show in the first 
book are everywhere necessarily regulated by 
two different circumstances; the demand for 
labour, and the ordinary or average price 
of provisions. The demand for labour, according 
as it happens to be either increasing
stationary or declining; or to require an increasing
stationary, or declining population; 
regulates the subsistence of the labourer, and 
determines in what degree it shall be either 
liberal, moderate, or scanty. The ordinary 
average price of provisions determines the 
quantity of money which must be paid to the 
workman, in order to enable him, one year 
with another, to purchase this liberal, moderate
or scanty subsistence. While the demand 
for the labour and the price of provisions
therefore, remain the same, a direct tax upon 
the wages of labour can have no other effect
than to raise them somewhat higher than the 
tax. Let us suppose, for example, that, in 
particular place, the demand for labour and 
the price of provisions were such as to render 
ten shillings a-week the ordinary wages of labour
and that a tax of one-fifth, or four shillings 
in the pound, was imposed upon wages
If the demand for labour and the price of 
provisions remained the same, it would still 
be necessary that the labourer should, in that 
place, earn such a subsistence as could be 
bought only for ten shillings a-week; or 
that, after paying the tax, he should have ten 
shillings a-week free wages. But, in order 
to leave him such free wages, after paying 
such a tax, the price of labour must, in that 
place, soon rise, not to twelve shillings a-week 
only, but to twelve and sixpence; that 
is, in order to enable him to pay a tax of one-fifth, 
his wages must necessarily soon rise
not one-fifth part only, but one-fourth. 
Whatever was the proportion of the tax, the 
wages of labour must, in all cases rise, not 
only in that proportion, but in a higher proportion
If the tax for example, was one-tenth, 
the wages of labour must necessarily 
soon rise, not one-tenth part only, but one-eighth. 
A direct tax upon the wages of labour
therefore, though the labourer might, perhaps, 
pay it out of his hand, could not properly be 
said to be even advanced by him; at least if 
the demand for labour and the average price 
of provisions remained the same after the tax 
as before it. In all such cases, not only the 
tax, but something more than the tax, would 
in reality be advanced by the person who immediately 
employed him. The final payment 
would, in different cases, fall upon different 
persons. The rise which such a tax might 
occasion in the wages of manufacturing labour 
would be advanced by the master manufacturer, 
who would both be entitled and 
obliged to charge it, with a profit, upon the 
price of his goods. The final payment of this 
rise of wages, therefore, together with the additional 
profit of the master manufacturer, 
would fall upon the consumer. The rise which