colony in which it was to be consumed. Besides 
the duty of one penny a-gallon imposed 
by the British parliament upon the importation 
of molasses into America, there is a provincial 
tax of this kind upon their importation 
into Massachusetts Bay, in ships belonging 
to any other colony, of eightpence the hogshead; 
and another upon their importation 
from the northern colonies into South Carolina
of fivepence the gallon. Or, if neither 
of these methods was found convenient, each 
family might compound for its consumption 
of this liquor, either according to the number 
of persons of which it consisted, in the same 
manner as private families compound for the 
malt tax in England; or according to the 
different ages and sexes of those persons, in 
the same manner as several different taxes are 
levied in Holland; or, nearly as Sir Matthew 
Decker proposes, that all taxes upon consumable 
commodities should be levied in England. 
This mode of taxation, it has already 
been observed, when applied to objects of a 
speedy consumption, is not a very convenient 
one. It might be adopted, however, in cases 
where no better could be done. 
Sugar, rum, and tobacco, are commodities 
which are nowhere necessaries of life, which 
are become objects of almost universal consumption
and which are, therefore, extremely 
proper subjects of taxation. If a union with 
the colonies were to take place, those commodities 
might be taxed, either before they 
go out of the hands of the manufacturer or 
grower; or, if this mode of taxation did not 
suit the circumstances of those persons, they 
might be deposited in public warehouses, both 
at the place of manufacture, and at all the 
different ports of the empire, to which they 
might afterwards be transported, to remain 
there, under the joint custody of the owner 
and the revenue officer, till such time as they 
should be delivered out, either to the consumer
to the merchant-retailer for home consumption
or to the merchant-exporter; the 
tax not to be advanced till such delivery. 
When delivered out for exportation, to go 
duty-free, upon proper security being given, 
that they should really be exported out of the 
empire. These are, perhaps, the principal 
commodities, with regard to which the union 
with the colonies might require some considerable 
change in the present system of British 
What might be the amount of the revenue 
which this system of taxation, extended to all 
the different provinces of the empire, might 
produce, it must, no doubt, be altogether impossible 
to ascertain with tolerable exactness
By means of this system, there is annually 
levied in Great Britain, upon less than eight 
millions of people, more than ten millions of 
revenue. Ireland contains more than two 
millions of people, and, according to the accounts 
laid before the congress, the twelve 
associated provinces of America contain more 
than three. Those accounts, however, may 
have been exaggerated, in order, perhaps, either 
to encourage their own people, or to intimidate 
those of this country; and we shall 
suppose, therefore, that our North American 
and West Indian colonies, taken together, contain 
no more than three millions; or that the 
whole British empire, in Europe and America
contains no more than thirteen millions 
of inhabitants. If, upon less than eight millions 
of inhabitants, this system of taxation 
raises a revenue of more than ten millions 
sterling; it ought, upon thirteen millions of 
inhabitants, to raise a revenue of more than 
sixteen millions two hundred and fifty thousand 
pounds sterling. From this revenue
supposing that this system could produce it, 
must be deducted the revenue usually raised 
in Ireland and the plantations, for defraying 
the expense of the respective civil governments
The expense of the civil and 
military establishment of Ireland, together 
with the interest of the public debt, amounts
at a medium of the two years which ended 
March 1775, to something less than seven 
hundred and fifty thousand pounds a-year
By a very exact account of the revenue 
of the principal colonies of America and 
the West Indies, it amounted, before the 
commencement of the present disturbances
to a hundred and forty-one thousand eight 
hundred pounds. In this account, however, 
the revenue of Maryland, of North Carolina
and of all our late acquisitions, both upon 
the continent, and in the islands, is omitted; 
which may, perhaps, make a difference 
of thirty or forty thousand pounds. For the 
sake of even numbers, therefore, let us suppose 
that the revenue necessary for supporting 
the civil government of Ireland and the 
plantations may amount to a million. There 
would remain, consequently, a revenue of fifteen 
millions two hundred and fifty thousand 
pounds, to be applied towards defraying the 
general expense of the empire, and towards 
paying the public debt. But if, from the present 
revenue of Great Britain, a million could, 
in peaceable times, be spared towards the payment 
of that debt, six millions two hundred 
and fifty thousand pounds could very well be 
spared from this improved revenue. This great 
sinking fund, too, might be augmented every 
year by the interest of the debt which had 
been discharged the year before; and might, 
in this manner, increase so very rapidly, as to 
be sufficient in a few years to discharge the 
whole debt, and thus to restore completely 
the at-present debilitated and languishing vigour 
of the empire. In the mean time, the 
people might be relieved from some of the 
most burdensome taxes; from those which 
are imposed either upon the necessaries of life
or upon the materials of manufacture. The 
labouring poor would thus be enabled to live