better, to work cheaper, and to send their 
goods cheaper to market. The cheapness of 
their goods would increase the demand for 
them, and consequently for the labour of those 
who produced them. This increase in the 
demand for labour would both increase the 
numbers, and improve the circumstances of 
the labouring poor. Their consumption would 
increase, and, together with it, the revenue 
arising from all those articles of their consumption 
upon which the taxes might be allowed 
to remain
The revenue arising from this system of 
taxation, however, might not immediately increase 
in proportion to the number of people 
who were subjected to it. Great indulgence 
would for some time be due to those provinces 
of the empire which were thus subjected 
to burdens to which they had not before 
been accustomed; and even when the 
same taxes came to be levied everywhere as 
exactly as possible, they would not everywhere 
produce a revenue proportioned to the 
numbers of the people. In a poor country, 
the consumption of the principal commodities 
subject to the duties of customs and excise, is 
very small; and in a thinly inhabited country, 
the opportunities of smuggling are very 
great. The consumption of malt liquors among 
the inferior ranks of people in Scotland 
is very small; and the excise upon malt, beer
and ale, produces less there than in England
in proportion to the numbers of the people 
and the rate of the duties, which upon malt 
is different, on account of a supposed difference 
of quality. In these particular branches 
of the excise, there is not, I apprehend, much 
more smuggling in the one country than in 
the other. The duties upon the distillery, and 
the greater part of the duties of customs, in 
proportion to the numbers of people in the 
respective countries, produce less in Scotland 
than in England, not only on account of the 
smaller consumption of the taxed commodities
but of the much greater facility of smuggling
In Ireland, the inferior ranks of people 
are still poorer than in Scotland, and 
many parts of the country are almost as thinly 
inhabited. In Ireland, therefore, the consumption 
of the taxed commodities might, in 
proportion to the number of the people, be 
still less than in Scotland, and the facility of 
smuggling nearly the same. In America and 
the West Indies, the white people, even of the 
lowest rank, are in much better circumstances 
than those of the same rank in England; and 
their consumption of all the luxuries in which 
they usually indulge themselves, is probably 
much greater. The blacks, indeed, who make 
the greater part of the inhabitants, both of the 
southern colonies upon the continent and of 
the West India islands, as they are in a state 
of slavery, are, no doubt, in a worse condition 
than the poorest people either in Scotland 
or Ireland. We must not, however, upon 
that account, imagine that they are worse 
fed, or that their consumption of articles which 
might be subjected to moderate duties, is less 
than that even of the lower ranks of people 
in England. In order that they may work 
well, it is the interest of their master that 
they should be fed well, and kept in good 
heart, in the same manner as it is his interest 
that his working cattle should be so. The 
blacks, accordingly, have almost everywhere 
their allowance of rum, and of molasses or 
spruce-beer, in the same manner as the white 
servants; and this allowance would not probably 
be withdrawn, though those articles 
should be subjected to moderate duties. The 
consumption of the taxed commodities, therefore, 
in proportion to the number of inhabitants, 
would probably be as great in America 
and the West Indies as in any part of the British 
empire. The opportunities of smuggling
indeed, would be much greater; America, in 
proportion to the extent of the country, being 
much more thinly inhabited than either 
Scotland or Ireland. If the revenue, however, 
which is at present raised by the different 
duties upon malt and malt liquors, were 
to be levied by a single duty upon malt, the 
opportunity of smuggling in the most important 
branch of the excise would be almost 
entirely taken away; and if the duties of customs
instead of being imposed upon almost 
all the different articles of importation, were 
confined to a few of the most general use and 
consumption, and if the levying of those duties 
were subjected to the excise laws, the 
opportunity of smuggling, though not so entirely 
taken away, would be very much diminished
In consequence of those two apparently 
very simple and easy alterations, the 
duties of customs and excise might probably 
produce a revenue as great, in proportion to 
the consumption of the most thinly inhabited 
province, as they do at present, in proportion 
to that of the most populous. 
The Americans, it has been said, indeed, 
have no gold or silver money, the interior 
commerce of the country being carried on by 
a paper currency; and the gold and silver
which occasionally come among them, being 
all sent to Great Britain, in return for the 
commodities which they receive from us. But 
without gold and silver, it is added, there is 
no possibility of paying taxes. We already 
get all the gold and silver which they have. 
How is it possible to draw from them what 
they have not? 
The present scarcity of gold and silver money 
in America, is not the effect of the poverty 
of that country, or of the inability of the people 
there to purchase those metals. In a 
country where the wages of labour are so much 
higher, and the price of provisions so much 
lower than in England, the greater part of 
the people must surely have wherewithal to 
purchase a greater quantity, if it were either