Gentlemen?The duties of a government, as enumerated by
Adam Smith, are four in number:? 1st?To guard against foreign aggression.
2nd?To secure against internal fraud or violence.
3rd?To maintain public institutions which private individuals
cannot support with profit.
4th?To make all the subjects of the state contribute their fair
share towards the necessary expenses of government, by the payment
Now, in this paper, I propose to direct your attention to the
last duty, or in other words, to explain the general principles of
taxation. There are few branches of political economy more interesting
in themselves, or of more importance at the present time,
than the subject of taxation, and yet there is scarcely any on
which greater errors are prevalent.
I shall, in the first instance, direct your attention to some of
those errors, involving general principles, which, in fact, arise from
a wrong way of looking at the subject, and which are, consequently,
sources of an infinite num...