individuals, the confirmed prejudices of 
great bodies of people, seem, indeed, at present, 
to oppose to so great a change, such obstacles 
as it may be very difficult, perhaps altogether 
impossible, to surmount. Without, 
however, pretending to determine whether 
such a union be practicable or impracticable
it may not, perhaps, be improper, in a speculative 
work of this kind, to consider how far 
the British system of taxation might be applicable 
to all the different provinces of the empire
what revenue might be expected from 
it, if so applied; and in what manner a general 
union of this kind might be likely to affect 
the happiness and prosperity of the different 
provinces comprehended within it. Such 
a speculation, can, at worst, be regarded but 
as a new Utopia, less amusing, certainly, but 
no more useless and chimerical than the old 
The land tax, the stamp duties, and the 
different duties of customs and excise, constitute 
the four principal branches of the British 
Ireland is certainly as able, and our American 
and West India plantations more able, 
to pay a land tax, than Great Britain. Where 
the landlord is subject neither to tythe nor 
poor's rate, he must certainly be more able to 
pay such a tax, than where he is subject to 
both those other burdens. The tythe, where 
there is no modus, and where it is levied in 
kind, diminishes more what would otherwise 
be the rent of the landlord, than a land tax 
which really amounted to five shillings in the 
pound. Such a tythe will be found, in most 
cases, to amount to more than a fourth part 
of the real rent of the land, or of what remains 
after replacing completely the capital of the 
farmer, together with his reasonable profit. If 
all moduses and all impropriations were taken 
away, the complete church tythe of Great Britain 
and Ireland could not well be estimated 
at less than six or seven millions. If there 
was no tythe either in Great Britain or Ireland
the landlords could afford to pay six or 
seven millions additional land tax, without 
being more burdened than a very great part 
of them are at present. America pays no 
tythe, and could, therefore, very well afford 
to pay a land tax. The lands in America 
and the West Indies, indeed, are, in general, 
not tenanted nor leased out to farmers. They 
could not, therefore, be assessed according to 
any rent roll. But neither were the lands of 
Great Britain, in the 4th of William and 
Mary, assessed according to any rent roll, but 
according to a very loose and inaccurate estimation
The lands in America might be assessed 
either in the same manner, or in according 
to an equitable valuation, in consequence 
of an accurate survey, like that which was 
lately made in the Milanese, and in the dominions 
of Austria, Prussia, and Sardinia
Stamp duties, it is evident, might be levied 
without any variation, in all countries where 
the forms of law process, and the deeds by 
which property, both real and personal, is 
transferred, are the same, or nearly the same. 
The extension of the custom-house laws of 
Great Britain to Ireland and the plantations
provided it was accompanied, as in justice it 
ought to be, with an extension of the freedom 
of trade, would be in the highest degree 
advantageous to both. All the invidious restraints 
which at present oppress the trade of 
Ireland, the distinction between the enumerated 
and non-enumerated commodities of America
would be entirely at an end. The 
countries north of Cape Finisterre would be 
as open to every part of the produce of America
as those south of that cape are to some 
parts of that produce at present. The trade 
between all the different parts of the British 
empire would, in consequence of this uniformity 
in the customs-house laws, be as free as 
the coasting trade of Great Britain is at present
The British empire would thus afford
within itself, an immense internal market for 
every part of the produce of all its different 
provinces. So great an extension of market 
would soon compensate, both to Ireland and 
the plantations, all that they could suffer from 
the increase of the duties of customs
The excise is the only part of the British 
system of taxation, which would require to 
be varied in any respect, according as it was 
applied to the different provinces of the empire
It might be applied to Ireland without 
any variation; the produce and consumption 
of that kingdom being exactly of the 
same nature with those of Great Britain. In 
its application to America and the West Indies, 
of which the produce and consumption 
are so very different from those of Great Britain
some modification might be necessary, 
in the same manner as in its application to 
the cyder and beer counties of England
A fermented liquor, for example, which is 
called beer, but which, as it is made of molasses
bears very little resemblance to our 
beer, makes a considerable part of the common 
drink of the people in America. This 
liquor, as it can be kept only for a few days, 
cannot, like our beer, be prepared and stored 
up for sale in great breweries, but every private 
family must brew it for their own use, 
in the same manner as they cook their victuals. 
But to subject every private family to 
the odious visits and examination of the tax-gatherers, 
in the same manner as we subject 
the keepers of alehouses and the brewers for 
public sale, would be altogether inconsistent 
with liberty. If, for the sake of equality, it 
was thought necessary to lay a tax upon this 
liquor, it might be taxed by taxing the material 
of which it is made, either at the place of 
manufacture, or, if the circumstances of the 
trade rendered such an excise improper, by 
laying a duty upon its importation into the