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The RIGHT CONSTITUTION of a COMMON
\Gontinncd from our la/I.]
The next year, 371 diflentions were renewed
with more acrimony than ever. Manlius, whole
Ipirit was not accultomed to humiliation, was ex
afperatedat his imprisonment, Coll'us having not
dared to proceed with the decision of Cincinna
tus against Melius, and even the jenate having
been compelled to give way to the discontent ot
the people, was animated to attempt a reforma
tion of the constitution. " How long," laid he
to the people, "will you be ignorant of your own
ltrengtb, of which nature has not thought fit that
bealls themselves Ihould be ignorant ? Count
your number, and that of your adversaries ; shew
the war, and you will have peace : Let them fee
that you are prepared, and they will immediately
grant what you alk ; determine to be bold in un
dertaking, orrelblveto fufFer theutmoltinjuries.
Howlong will you fix your eyes upon me ? Mull
I repeat the fate of Calfius and Melius ? I hope
the gods will avert such a misfortune from me :
But tliofe gods will not descend from heaven to
defend ine. You mull remove the danger from
me. Shall your resistance to the senate always
end in fubmillion to the yoke ? That disposition
is not natural to you ; it is the habit of fuffering
them to ride you, which they have made their
right and inheritance. Why are you so cou
rageous againlt your enemies abroad, and so loft
and timorous in defence of your liberty at home?
Yet you have hitherto always obtained what you
demanded. It is now time to undertake greater
things. You will find less difficulty in giving the
senators a malter, than it has colt you to defend
yourfeves againlt them, while they have had the
power and the will to lord it over you. Dela
tors and conjuls must be abolijhed, if you -would have
the people raise their heads. Unite with me ; prevent
debtors from the rigours of thole odious laws.
I declare myfelf the patron and protestor of the
people; if you art for exalting yonr chief by
any more splendid title, or illultrious dignity,
you will only augment his power for your sup
port, and to obtain your dehres.—Ego me patro
num pi ofiteor plebis : vos, li, quo inligni ma«is
imperii honorifve nomine veltrum appellabitis
ducem, eo utemini potentiore ad obtinenda ea
qua vultis."_ Liv. This is a manifelt intention
ol introducinga balance of three branches.
In this oration are all the principles of the En
glifli conititution. The authority and power of
the people to demolilh one form of government
and eretft another, according to their own judg
ment or will is clearly aliened. The neceflity
of abolilhing the dictators and consuls, and giv
ing to one chief magiftratethe power to controul
the lenate, and protect the people/is pointedout.
The senate is not proposed to be abolished, nor
the aflemblies of the people, nor their tribunes ;
but the abolition of cruel debtors laws, and re
dress of the people's grievances, is to be the con
sequence. The arriltocracy was at that time a
cruel tyranny ; the people felt it ; Manlius ac
knowledged it : Both saw the necelfity of new
modelling the constitution, and introducing the
three branches of Romulus and Lycurgus, 'with
better and clearer limitations; and both were
desirous of attempting it.
(To be continued.)
Jin ESSAY on FREE TRADE and FINANCES :
Written by a citizen of Philadelphia, in 1783.
[Continuedfrom our /«/?.]
• This mode of taxation, saves the whole sum
of the tax to the States, while at the fame time it
wends the habits and health of the people : For 'tis
plain, that if the consumption of such imported
goods is leflened by the tax, a less quantity will
be imported, and of course a less sum of money
need be lent abroad to pay the firft cost of these
goods ; and this excels of money which is thus
laved from going abroad, (from whence it would
nevei return,) is paid by t.ie tax into the public
treasury, from whence it ifi'ues on the public fer
■\ice, ana is directly thrown into circulation
again through the States, and of course becomes
a clear laving, or balance of increase of the cir
culating medium, and consequently of realized
wealth in the country ; whillt at the fame time
the peopie are better served and accommodated
by the reduced consumption, than they could
have been by the excellive one.
V. It appears from what has been just now ob
served, that this mode of taxation naturally increases
the circulating of the States, and every one knows
what a spring, what vigor this gives to every
kind of bulmefs in the country, whether of hus
bandry, mehcanic arts, or trade. There is no
comparison between the advantages of carrying
on any fort of business, in a country where ca/h
circulates freely, and in a country where cafli is
scarce. In the one cafe, every kind of business
will ftourrfh, and ihduftry has every fort of en
couragement and motive for exertion ; in the
other, all business must be sadly em ban ailed, and
of course make but a feeble and How progress.
We can scarce form a conception, what a dlife
rent face these two circuiultaiices will ghe
a country in a short time; iu the one cafe,
buildings rife, hulbandry improves, arts and
manufactures flouriih, the country is alive,
every part of it abounding with indultry,
profits and delight; the other can produce lit tle
more than languifhment, decay, dullness and
fruitlefs anxiety, disappointment and wretched
VI. The tax I propose, •will operate in a way oj
general equality, jup ice, and due proportion. A tax
on general consumptions, can not fail to bring
the burden in due proportion on individuals, be
cauie every one will pay in proportion to his
conl'umption ; and the presumption is, that the
man who ipends moll, is belt able to spend. If
this proportion admits of exceptions, they are
generally in favor of the econdmift, the careful
penurious man, and again It the prodigal, who
diflipates his estate, and will operate as a Itrong
check upon him if he is not past all considera
tions of interest. If this is the cafe with him, the
sooner his ellate is run through the better it is,
both for himfelf and the public, for when this
happens, he must either die or work for his living,
and of courf'e do some good in the world, or at
Icaftceafe doing hurt; he will then no longer be
able to let an example of idleness, extravagance
and diUolutenefs, and draw other gay spirits in
to his pernicious pratftifes, and if his constitution
shall happen to outlall his estate, he may by tem
perance enjoy some good degree of health, and
his adversities may perhaps bring on serious re
flections, sincere repentance and amendment of
life, and if his fortune is desperate in this world,
he may at least find Itrong inducements to pre
pare for the next ; so that he is in no sense inju
red by the tax, but may by prudence derive
great benefits from it : Besides, I am of opinion,
that government ought to leave every man mas
ter of his own eftate,and permit him to judge for
himfelf how fact and in what way he will spend
it; he knows well what tax he pays on every ex
penditure, and exery part of it is fubje<ft to his
own free choice, and if his career of dissipation
can not be restrained, it is as well for him, and
much better iovthe public, that he should give part
ol his wealth to the public treasury, than walte
the whole ofit in luxuries and pleasures ; lo that I
do notfee thathe has in this cafe the least ground
of complaint of injury or opprefiion ; belides 1
think that there is a kind of jultice in framing
the public institutions in such a manner, that a
man cannot spend a dollar in luxury and dillipa
tiori, which is hurtful to the public, but he must
at the fame time pay another dollar into the pub
lic treasury, to make thereby some coinpcnfation
for the injury which the public receives from his
And as to the niggard, the penurious man,
who does not spend his money in proportion to
his wealth, and of course does not pay his share
of tax ; it is observable that even his very penury
enures to the benefit of the community, for what
lie docs not spend he saves, and thereby enriches
himfelf. and of course adds to the wealth of the
community, for the wealth of the community is
always the aggregate of the wealth of every indi
vidual which composes it; this ought therefore
to be a favored cafe, as the community eventual
ly gains more by a /hilling saved, than it could
by a shilling consumed and loft, though the con
sumer should pay fix-pence into the public trea
sury. In fine, the tax on this principle is carved
out of the expenditures of the nation, not in
deed all expenditures indiscriminately, but is so
calculatcd as to fall lieavieft on those expendi
tures which are the most general indexes of
wealth, and are usually made by the rich who
are the belt able to bear them, and the few ex
ceptions which may be supposed to take place,
will generally operate in favor of virtue and oeco
nomy, and against vice and dissipation; and
where it falls heaviest, and becomes most bur
densome, 'tis designed, and does atftually tend,
to corretfl that very vicious taste and corrupt ha-
which is the true cause of the burden, and
tis always in the power o£*.the fufferer to
ease himfelf of, whenever he plcafes.
Point out any other mode of taxing, if you
can, that finds its way so surely to the wealth of
individuals, and apportions itfelf thereto so equi
tably, that no fubjeift can be burdened beyond
his due proportion, without having a full remedy
always in his ownpower ; yea, a sure, easy and excel
lent remedy, because a man may always avail him
felf of it, without the expence and trouble of a
law-l'uit, or being fubjedted to any body's deci
hons, opinions or caprices, but his own.
VII. This mode of taxing will make the quan
rity and time oj the tax depend on the free choice of the
man who payi it. If aman has a mind to drink a
bowl of punch or bottle of wine with his friend,
or buy a-(ilk gown for his daughter, he knows
■very well how much tax is incorporated with the
pui chafe, and adopts and pays it with cheerful,
nels and good humor ; a humor very different
from the irritated sensibility of a man, who fees
an awful collector enter upon him with his war
rant of plenary powers to deftrain his goods, or
arrelt his perfon,for a tax which perhaps he abhors
either from religious scruples, or an opinion that
he js rated beyond lus due proportion, or because
he is not at that time in condition to pay it— the
good humor of the subject is of great confluence
in any government. When people have their
own way and choice in a matter, they will bear
great burdens with little complaint; but when
matters are forced on thein contrary to their hu
mor, they will make great complaints on final!
occasions, and the public peace is often destroyed
much more by the manner of doing, than by the
thing done. (To be continued.)
Tnis Day is puilifkei, (Price r^/5)
And to be fold by BzkrV & Rogers, Hanover-Squart bv
Robert Hodci, Corner of King and Quecn-Streu. and'bv
the Ed ito r hereof;
TVVENT Y - S I X
L E J T E R S.
upon INTERESTING SUBJECTS,
respecting the REVOLUTION ot AMERICA.
Written in Holland in the Year ii,DCC,LXXX.
By his excellency JOHN ADAMS,
WHILE HE WAS SOLE MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY FRO^
THE UNITED STATES OP AMERICA,
FOR NECOCIATING A PEACE, AND A TREATY OP COMMERCt
WITH GRi AT-BRITAIN.
Never before publifked.
I' L A N
Of the GAZETTE of the UNITED STATES.
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