landlord, however, ceases to do his part, it is 
altogether impossible that the tenant should 
continue to do his. As the distress of the landlord 
increases, the agriculture of the country 
must necessarily decline
When, by different taxes upon the necessaries 
and conveniencies of life, the owners 
and employers of capital stock find, that whatever 
revenue they derive from it, will not, in a 
particular country, purchase the same quantity 
of those necessaries and conveniencies 
which an equal revenue would in almost any 
other, they will be disposed to remove to some 
other. And when, in order to raise those 
taxes, all or the greater part of merchants and 
manufacturers, that is, all or the greater part 
of the employers of great capitals, come to 
be continually exposed to the mortifying and 
vexatious visits of the tax-gatherers, this disposition 
to remove will soon be changed into an 
actual removing. The industry of the country 
will necessarily fall with the removal of 
the capital which supported it, and the ruin of 
trade and manufactures will follow the declension 
of agriculture
To transfer from the owners of those two 
great sources of revenue, land, and capital 
stock, from the persons immediately interested 
in the good condition of every particular 
portion of land, and in the good management 
of every particular portion of capital stock, to 
another set of persons (the creditors of the 
public, who have no such particular interest), the 
greater part of the revenue arising from either, 
must, in the long-run, occasion both the neglect 
of land, and the waste or removal of 
capital stock. A creditor of the public has, 
no doubt, a general interest in the prosperity 
of the agriculture, manufactures, and commerce 
of the country; and consequently in the good 
condition of its land, and in the good management 
of its capital stock. Should there 
be any general failure or declension in any of 
these things, the produce of the different taxes 
might no longer be sufficient to pay him the 
annuity or interest which is due to him. But 
a creditor of the public, considered merely 
as such, has no interest in the good condition 
of any particular portion of land, or in 
the good management of any particular portion 
of capital stock. As a creditor of the 
public, he has no knowledge of any such particular 
portion. He has no inspection of it. 
He can have no care about it. Its ruin may 
in some cases be unknown to him, and cannot 
directly affect him. 
The practice of funding has gradually enfeebled 
every state which has adopted it. The 
Italian republics seem to have begun it. Genoa 
and Venice, the only two remaining which 
can pretend to an independent existence, have 
both been enfeebled by it. Spain seems to 
have learned the practice from the Italian republics, 
and (its taxes being probably less 
judicious than theirs) it has, in proportion to 
its natural strength, been still more enfeebled
The debts of Spain are of very old standing. 
It was deeply in debt before the end of the 
sixteenth century, about a hundred years before 
England owed a shilling. France, notwithstanding 
all its natural resources, languishes 
under an oppressive load of the same 
kind. The republic of the United Provinces 
is as much enfeebled by its debts as either 
Genoa or Venice. Is it likely that, in Great 
Britain alone, a practice, which has brought 
either weakness or dissolution into every other 
country, should prove altogether innocent
The system of taxation established in those 
different countries, it may be said, is inferior 
to that of England. I believe it is so. But it 
ought to be remembered, that when the wisest 
government has exhausted all the proper subjects 
of taxation, it must, in cases of urgent 
necessity, have recourse to improper ones. 
The wise republic of Holland has, upon some 
occasions, been obliged to have recourse to taxes 
as inconvenient as the greater part of those of 
Spain. Another war, begun before any considerable 
liberation of the public revenue had 
been brought about, and growing in its progress 
as expensive as the last war, may, from 
irresistible necessity, render the British system 
of taxation as oppressive as that of Holland, 
or even as that of Spain. To the 
honour of our present system of taxation, indeed, 
it has hitherto given so little embarrassment 
to industry, that, during the course even 
of the most expensive wars, the frugality and 
good conduct of individuals seem to have 
been able, by saving and accumulation, to repair 
all the breaches which the waste and extravagance 
of government had made in the general 
capital of the society. At the conclusion 
of the late war, the most expensive that Great 
Britain ever waged, her agriculture was as 
flourishing, her manufacturers as numerous 
and as fully employed, and her commerce as 
extensive, as they had ever been before. The 
capital, therefore, which supported all those 
different branches of industry, must have been 
equal to what it had ever been before. Since 
the peace, agriculture has been still further 
improved; the rents of houses have risen in 
every town and village of the country, a proof 
of the increasing wealth and revenue of the 
people; and the annual amount of the greater 
part of the old taxes, of the principal branches 
of the excise and customs, in particular, has 
been continually increasing, an equally clear 
proof of an increasing consumption, and consequently 
of an increasing produce, which 
could alone support that consumption. Great 
Britain seems to support with ease, a burden 
which, half a century ago, nobody believed her 
capable of supporting. Let us not, however, 
upon this account, rashly conclude that she is 
capable of supporting any burden; not even