number would be perfectly free, and might 
be carried on to and from all parts of the 
world with every possible advantage. Among 
those commodities would be comprehended 
all the necessaries of life, and all the materials 
of manufacture. So far as the free importation 
of the necessaries of life reduced their 
average money price in the home market, it 
would reduce the money price of labour, but 
without reducing in any respect its real recompense. 
The value of money is in proportion 
to the quantity of the necessaries of life which 
it will purchase. That of the necessaries of 
life is altogether independent of the quantity 
of money which can be had for them. The 
reduction in the money price of labour would 
necessarily be attended with a proportionable 
one in that of all home manufactures, which 
would thereby gain some advantage in all 
foreign markets. The price of some manufactures 
would be reduced, in a still greater 
proportion, by the free importation of the raw 
materials. If raw silk could be imported 
from China and Indostan, duty-free, the silk 
manufacturers in England could greatly undersell 
those of both France and Italy. There 
would be no occasion to prohibit the importation 
of foreign silks and velvets. The cheapness 
of their goods would secure to our own 
workmen, not only the possession of a home
but a very great command of the foreign 
market. Even the trade in the commodities 
taxed, would be carried on with much more 
advantage than at present. If those commodities 
were delivered out of the public warehouse 
for foreign exportation, being in this 
case exempted from all taxes, the trade in them 
would be perfectly free. The carrying trade
in all sorts of goods, would, under this system
enjoy every possible advantage. If these 
commodities were delivered out for home consumption
the importer not being obliged to 
advance the tax till he had an opportunity of 
selling his goods, either to some dealer, or to 
some consumer, he could always afford to sell 
them cheaper than if he had been obliged to 
advance it at the moment of importation
Under the same taxes, the foreign trade of 
consumption, even in the taxed commodities
might in this manner be carried on with much 
more advantage than it is at present. 
It was the object of the famous excise 
scheme of Sir Robert Walpole, to establish, 
with regard to wine and tobacco, a system 
not very unlike that which is here proposed. 
But though the bill which was then brought 
into Parliament, comprehended those two 
commodities only, it was generally supposed 
to be meant as an introduction to a more extensive 
scheme of the same kind. Faction
combined with the interest of smuggling merchants
raised so violent, though so unjust a 
clamour, against that bill, that the minister 
thought proper to drop it; and, from a dread 
of exciting a clamour of the same kind, none 
of his successors have dared to resume the 
The duties upon foreign luxuries, imported 
for home consumption, though they sometimes 
fall upon the poor, fall principally upon 
people of middling or more than middling 
fortune. Such are, for example, the duties 
upon foreign wines, upon coffee, chocolate, 
tea, sugar, &c. 
The duties upon the cheaper luxuries of 
home produce, destined for home consumption
fall pretty equally upon people of all 
ranks, in proportion to their respective expense
The poor pay the duties upon malt, 
hops, beer, and ale, upon their own consumption
the rich, upon both their own consumption 
and that of their servants. 
The whole consumption of the inferior 
ranks of people, or of those below the middling 
rank, it must be observed, is, in every 
country, much greater, not only in quantity, 
but in value, than that of the middling, and 
of those above the middling rank. The whole 
expense of the inferior is much greater than 
that of the superior ranks. In the first place
almost the whole capital of every country is 
annually distributed among the inferior ranks 
of people, as the wages of productive labour
Secondly, a great part of the revenue, arising 
from both the rent of land and the profits of 
stock, is annually distributed among the same 
rank, in the wages and maintenance of menial 
servants, and other unproductive labourers
Thirdly, some part of the profits of stock belongs 
to the same rank, as a revenue arising 
from the employment of their small capitals
The amount of the profits annually made by 
small shopkeepers, tradesmen, and retailers 
of all kinds, is everywhere very considerable
and makes a very considerable portion of the 
annual produce. Fourthly and lastly, some 
part even of the rent of land belongs to the 
same rank; a considerable part to those who 
are somewhat below the middling rank, and a 
small part even to the lowest rank; common 
labourers sometimes possessing in property an 
acre or two of land. Though the expense of 
those inferior ranks of people, therefore, taking 
them individually, is very small, yet the 
whole mass of it, taking them collectively, 
amounts always to by much the largest portion 
of the whole expense of the society; what 
remains of the annual produce of the land and 
labour of the country, for the consumption of 
the superior ranks, being always much less, 
not only in quantity, but in value. The taxes 
upon expense, therefore, which fall chiefly upon 
that of the superior ranks of people, upon 
the smaller portion of the annual produce, are 
likely to be much less productive than either 
those which fall indifferently upon the expense 
of all ranks, or even those which fall 
chiefly upon that of the inferior ranks, than