and in the greater part of the states of 
In France, the greater part of the actual 
revenue of the crown is derived from eight 
different sources; the taille, the capitation
the two vingtiemes, the gabelles, the aides
the traites, the domaine, and the farm of tobacco
The five last are, in the greater part 
of the provinces, under farm. The three first 
are everywhere levied by an administration, 
under the immediate inspection and direction 
of government; and it is universally acknowledged
that in proportion to what they take 
out of the pockets of the people, they bring 
more into the treasury of the prince than the 
other five, of which the administration is much 
more wasteful and expensive
The finances of France seem, in their present 
state, to admit of three very obvious reformations
First, by abolishing the taille and 
the capitation, and by increasing the number of 
the vingtiemes, so as to produce an additional 
revenue equal to the amount of those other 
taxes, the revenue of the crown might be preserved; 
the expense of collection might be 
much diminished; the vexation of the inferior 
ranks of people, which the taille and capitation 
occasion, might be entirely prevented
and the superior ranks might not be more 
burdened than the greater part of them are at 
present. The vingtieme, I have already observed, 
is a tax very nearly of the same kind 
with what is called the land tax of England
The burden of the taille, it is acknowledged
falls finally upon the proprietors of land; and 
as the greater part of the capitation is assessed 
upon those who are subject to the taille, at so 
much a-pound of that other tax, the final 
payment of the greater part of it must likewise 
fall upon the same order of people
Though the number of the vingtiemes, therefore, 
was increased, so as to produce an additional 
revenue equal to the amount of both 
those taxes, the superior ranks of people might 
not be more burdened than they are at present
many individuals, no doubt, would, on 
account of the great inequalities with which 
the taille is commonly assessed upon the estates 
and tenants of different individuals. The 
interest and opposition of such favoured subjects
are the obstacles most likely to prevent 
this, or any other reformation of the same 
kind. Secondly, by rendering the gabelle
the aides, the traites, the taxes upon tobacco
all the different customs and excises, uniform 
in all the different parts of the kingdom, those 
taxes might be levied at much less expense, 
and the interior commerce of the kingdom 
might be rendered as free as that of England
Thirdly, and lastly, by subjecting all those 
taxes to an administration under the immediate 
inspection and direction of government
the exorbitant profits of the farmers-general 
might be added to the revenue of the state
The opposition arising from the private interest 
of individuals, is likely to be as effectual 
for preventing the two last as the first-mentioned 
scheme of reformation. 
The French system of taxation seems, in 
every respect, inferior to the British. In 
Great Britain, ten millions sterling are annually 
levied upon less than eight millions of 
people, without its being possible to say that 
any particular order is oppressed. From the 
Collections of the AbbĂ© Expilly, and the observations 
of the author of the Essay upon 
the Legislation and Commerce of Corn, it 
appears probable that France, including the 
provinces of Lorraine and Bar, contains about 
twenty-three or twenty-four millions of people
three times the number, perhaps, contained 
in Great Britain. The soil and climate 
of France are better than those of Great Britain
The country has been much longer in a 
state of improvement and cultivation, and is, 
upon that account, better stocked with all those 
things which it requires a long time to raise 
up and accumulate; such as great towns, and 
convenient and well-built houses, both in town 
and country. With these advantages, it might 
be expected, that in France a revenue of thirty 
millions might be levied for the support of 
the state, with as little inconvenience as a revenue 
of ten millions is in Great Britain. In 
1765 and 1766, the whole revenue paid into 
the treasury of France, according to the best, 
though, I acknowledge, very imperfect accounts 
which I could get of it, usually run 
between 308 and 325 millions of livres; that 
is, it did not amount to fifteen millions sterling
not the half of what might have been 
expected, had the people contributed in the 
same proportion to their numbers as the people 
of Great Britain. The people of France
however, it is generally acknowledged, are 
much more oppressed by taxes than the people 
of Great Britain. France, however, is certainly 
the great empire in Europe, which, after that 
of Great Britain, enjoys the mildest and most 
indulgent government
In Holland, the heavy taxes upon the necessaries 
of life have ruined, it is said, their 
principal manufacturers, and are likely to discourage
gradually, even their fisheries and 
their trade in ship-building. The taxes upon 
the necessaries of life are inconsiderable in 
Great Britain, and no manufacture has hitherto 
been ruined by them. The British taxes 
which bear hardest on manufactures, are some 
duties upon the importation of raw materials, 
particularly upon that of raw silk. The revenue 
of the States-General and of the different 
cities, however, is said to amount to more 
than five millions two hundred and fifty thousand 
pounds sterling; and as the inhabitants 
of the United Provinces cannot well be supposed 
to amount to more than a third part 
of those of Great Britain, they must, in proportion 
to their number, be much more heavily