Thoughts on the Present Scheme of Extensive Taxation.
£875.00 [First Edition]
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TAXATION TO FUND WAR
First Edition. 8vo ( x. mm). 24 pp., without the four final advertisement leaves; inscribed 'From the Author' to the head of title page, inscription very slightly shaved. Recent calf-backed marbled boards, spine with four single raised bands outlined in gilt, lettered in gilt on red morocco label. London: Printed for John Stockdale, Piccadilly.
Goldsmiths, 14937; Kress, B.2219. Rare. ESTC lists only six copies, two in the UK (BL & Senate House), and four in North America (Columbia, Harvard, Huntington, and State University of New York at Stony Brook). RareBook Hub and ABPC list no copies at auction.
A rare anonymous defence of a four year tax scheme introduced by the British government to levy funds for armament in anticipation of the French Revolutionary Wars.
The pamphlet offers a stark warning against the dangers of national debt and what the author describes as the "pernicious system of perpetual funding", with particular reference to the French Revolution: "... we may read an awful and destructive lesson ... that it is not the rigours of despotism in the government of France, so much as to the disorder of her finances, that her fall is to be attributed" (pp. 14-15).
A contemporary review in The Analytical Review summarised the main arguments of the pamphlet: "These thoughts are intended to reconcile the people of this country to the scheme of paying off the expenses of the late armament in four years. The present situation of France, to which she was reduced by the system of perpetually funding her debts, affords the principal argument to this writer, who contends that a similar defalcation of resources must inevitably follow a perseverance in the same practice, the consequence of which must be the death of the constitution. Hence he exhorts his countrymen to contribute cheerfully to the proposed scheme as the best means of giving an effectual check to the 'pernicious system of perpetual funding, that the accumulation of debt may not overlay our resources when we least expect it.'"
Stock Code: 240659