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Gazette of the United-States. [volume] (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, January 09, 1790, Image 4

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THE OBSERVER.
No. XII.
On Excise, or Duties on inland Trade and Business.
TO balance tlie several branches of a nation
al revenue, in such manner, that no order
of citizens may be opprefled, and lie kind of ufe
ful business discouraged, is the molt difficult du
ty of a financier. Any man who is cloathed with
power, and determined on the obtainmcnt of a
revenue, may find ways and means to take it
from the people ; but it is only a great and pru
dent man, who can combine public and private
interests, by enriching the national treasury, in
such ways as stimulate general industry, and
overburden no order of people. A genius, na
tively adapted for such calculations, may fix on
leading principles, and conjecture with "farprif
ing success ; {till it is experience which mull per
fect the fyftein. That rapid growth of empire
which we may expect, with such frefli resources
as always appear in a new country ; under the
guidance of a masterly hand, and matured by a
few years experience, will establish American
credit in the opinion of all mankind. But to
make ;; fuccefsful beginning, the public must
ftxercile patience, and give time for the several
parts of a system, to be brought forward in or
derly fucceflion ; and when the whole is produc
ed, there will be a fit time to judge, how near
the firft attempt hath approached to such per
fection as we may expecft, and wherein altera
tions may be expedient. No man, who hath
abilities tt> provide otherwise for himfelf, will
long serve a factious people ; and wlitn jealousy
begins to arise, between the great denominations
of citizens, who pursue different employments,
it threatens a retirement of those characters,
who are most fit to guide. The importing mer
chants have set a noble example of patriotifin,
in aiding an iinpoft by their influence; if the
retailing merehants and planters discover equal
magnanimity, we may defy the predictions of
our enemies, that America will be always faith
lefs.
linpoft and excise are among the names by
which taxes on commerce and business have been
called. In the American sense of tliefe words,
impost is a tax on merchandise, payable at the
port of entry, by the importing merchant; and
excise is a tax on certain kinds of business, or a
duty on merchandise paid by the retailer after
a sale of his goods. Though the fame article be
charged with both duties, there is an obvious
reason for separating the times of imposition and
payment. The nature of importation, requires
it to be made in larger quantities of the fame
article, than will command an immediate sale *
and an impost must be paid before the merchant
can receive any returns by his business. If too
high an impost be charged, it in effect prohibits
importation, by requiring from the importer a
stun greater than he can pay; for though he re
charges it to the purchaser, there must be a pre
vious advance of the duty, which is beyond his
power. This remark will be found true in all
mercantile states ; but especially ir» America,
from the prevalent custom of giving a long cre
dit to the retailing trader. Were an impost to
he imposed, of four times the present sum, it
would amount to a prohibition 011 three fifths of
our importing merchants ; and throw business
into the hands of a few who have great wealth
This would be deftrucftive to many worthy mer
chants, and operate as a monoply to raise prices
unreasonably on the consumer. There are many
articles of luxury which ought to contribute a
large fharc to the national revenue ; among these
are wines, and ardent spirits of every kind
The man who will indulge his vanity and appe
tite, in ways which have a corrupting influence
on republican virtue, is a fit subject for such
kinds of taxation, as he may avoid or voluntari
ly take on himfelf. So great a tax 011 these ar
ticles, at the port of entry or at the diltillery,
as they ought to pay, would prohibit importa
tion for the reason abovementioned ; but divide
the tax, let one part be paid on importation, and
the other by the retailer, after an actual con-
Atmption of the article and the evil is prevented.
I care not by what name this last tax is called,
for names are arbitrarily imposed, and have
such a meaning as the legislature is pleased to
give them. Impost and excise do not mean the
fame thing in any two states on earth. In Eng
land, an excise means taxes 011 various kinds of
manufacture and internal business, and is wholly
different from those excises used by several states
in the union, which are duties on the retail sale
of imported articles. In other European coun
tries, impost and excise have meanings as diffe
rent as the several languages of the people ; and
by means of our general descent from that coun
try,and a community oflanguage,excife is an un
popular word in America ; "for which reason per
haps this name ought not to enter a revenue
system in the United States—though our duties
011 inland trade and business, fliould be eftabliih
ed 011 equitable principles, and with a most fa
cred regard to the rights of men and citizens,
the idea aflociated with that word, will not be
removed for half a century.
To accomodate m yfelf to the reader's under
(landing, 1 have used the word excise in my past
eflays, for all duties on inland trade and oncer
tain lucrative branches of business ; and I be
lieve it is the sense of the people, that such du
ties ought to constitute one great branch of the
national revenue.
Every principle of national policy requires,
that the use of certain foreign articles should be
discouraged, by a higher tax, than can be im
posed at the port of entry ; without forming a
virtual monoply, in favor of a few overgrown
iinporrers, or great foreign companies ; who
would pay any tax, if they might be richly re
paid, by a subsequent sale in the country.
Every principle of virtue requires, that the
superabundant use of certain articles, which are
deliruAive to the morals, health and industry
of the people, should be checked by taxation.—
If the intemperate, who disturb our neighbou
hood, and corrupt our youth, will not benefit
the public by their indullry and thrift, they
should be made subservient to the national good,
by contributing largely to its income—So fniall
a quantity of ardent spirits, is neceilary for me
dicine, and the real comfort of life, that a high
tax will injure no one, but thole who use them
to excess ; and such have no right to complain of
an evil, voluntarily brought on themselves.
Sumptuary laws, or lawsagainft excess in dress
and living, have been found neceilary in many
states, and they are needed in this country. An
absolute prince, may prohibit luxury and extra
vagance in dreis, by his positive injunctions ;
but the experiment will not succeed with a peo
ple, who have such ideas of liberty, as prevail
in the United States—a more fafe method is
to discourage foreign fuperfluities, and encour
age our own manufactures by duties judiciously
imposed. It is better to enrich our revenue at
the expence of prodigality, than of industry—
The prodigal are felf devoted to ruin, and as the
event cannot be prevented, for the contagion of
their example let them make the only pollible
atonement, a contribution to the neceflities of
the country which hath protected them. Wrought
silks of foreign manufacture, ought to be consi
dered as fuperfluities in the United States ; and
a duty on all these would encourage the home
cultivation and manufacture, for which the mid
dle and southern states are well adapted. To
select all the articles, which ought on these ge
neral principles to be dutied, is equally beyond
my present design, my information and capaci
ty. Certain branches of business within the
country, which are productive to the managers,
and firmly established, might contribute a share
to the national revenue. Our empire extends
through a greater variety of climes than any
other on earth ; in some part of the whole, al
most every production of nature may be found,
and every work of art will soon be fabricated.
Policy leads to a preference of home productions
and manufactures, and a mercantile intercourse
between the northern, middle, and southern
ftates—Uni.il this takes place we are not an in
dependent people, in so high a sense as we might
be ; and the encouragement of such intercourse,
depends on the regulation of revenue. To take
up these general principles and form a fyrteni of
duties on inland trade and business, of general
benefit, must be a work of time—the talk is diffi
cult—the scope is broad, but I firmly believe, the
gentlemen, in your treasury department, have
an eye of discernment which can measure it.
While on this subject, 1 cannot refrain men
tioning the impolicy and injustice of tliofe par
tial systems, which have obtained in a number
of states, under the name of excise. That poli
ticians of a little territory, prefled for expe
dients, should patronize them before the forma
tion of a general government, is not so strange ;
but thatany should prefevere at the present crisis
is unfortunate—Every thing of this kind is inits
nature anti-national, and leads to jealousy and
contention between the ftates—lt is' contrary to
the spirit of our constitution, which wifely pro
vides that commerce, with all its interests shall
be under the controul of one nurturing parent
and it will give rife to counteracting schemes of
revenue, which will for a time oppress the peo
ple, and in the end defeat the whole. It ought
further to be observed, that the manner of col
lecting state excises, has been and will be such,
that the rich who purcliafe in large quantities,
escape payment, and the poor who buy of a re
tailer, in small proportions, arefubjected to the
duty. Certainly this is not good policy or justice.
P. S. Sincewritingthe above, the Obferverhas
heard of a little Treatise, which he would recom
mend to the perusal of the people of Connecticut.
It is entitled, " An enquiry into the Excise Laius of
Connecticut - and is fuppoled to be written by a
gentleman of known literary merit—in which he
hath clearly proved, the impolicy and injustice
of all state excises, and local systems of revenue,
by commerce, and their inconsistency with the
rights of a general government.
THE GtffST.— No. XII.
With equal eye each tender 'tildfntju
And point their opening beauties to the 4< l v;
Jiut if'perchance, feme weaker than the rejU
Recline their heads, by nature's lur.ddtprej,
Let double diligence thy hours employ, t
To make them objecis too, offuture joy
'l HI ERE is a weakness that many parent! djfcCver in th<r ; r
JL coridu6l towards their children, wliicfi is invariably attend
•ed with unhappy effefts—aud that is, p.<cr.«ihty in their deport-'
.merit towards thole who inlenlibly bccorne the obje&s ot peculiar
tendemeffr, while the r<*ftofthe famra:e treated with negleti,
' But the ideas on this subject 1 would wilh 10 itupretl on the minds
of my readers, are contained in the following quotation from thai
excellent production, the " Worcelter Speculator" in these ou
fervations, viz.
Parents are the truflees or Heaven ; infant fouls are loaned to
them to form for lifrfiilricfs here and happmefs hereafter ; in the
discharge of this all important trust, the nice ft attention thould be
paid to the forming ot their minds, and they ought carefully to
avoid adifcovery of any partiality, as it has a tendency to JYritate
and four the temper and difpontion, and will indelibly (lamp the
chara&er through life. To adminiller favours with equal liberali
ty, ought to be the leading principle in the magna charta of every
domestic republic ; yet so strangely have parents, from the fir/t
formation of families, mistaken the elements of domeftick police,
that we have too often found them, in the mod inhuman manner,
detaching favourites from among their branches, on whom they
lavish every attention, unnaturally indulging the freaks of their
own fancy, and fuffering the fcaleof favour to preponderate with
the moil unreserved caprice.—lnhuman gratification ! ill grounded
partiality ! If it be bottomed on any superiority of talents, that
fuperionty must arise from nature or from education; if from
nature, parents, as the inftrumcnts of nature, ought to be the laftto
aggravate these misfortunes ; if from education, as the guardians
and inftru&ors ot their offspring, they but rebuke their own de
linquency.—Unnatural and unjuftifiable is the conduit of such
parents—unhappy and fatal have been the consequences which ever
: did and invariably will result from such treatment; yet how bitter,
how agonizing is the refle&ion to every philanthropic foul, that
the baneful influence of this pau~tiality is not confined to, nor does
it all evaporate in the small fphcre of domeftick conv. ' us—
" 3 u fl as * wl '& tnc's inclin'd."—
The early impreflions of infancy will indelibly (lain our mind?
tor life.—When children aie forced, by a parent's unequal hand,
into a consciousness of their inferiority, it enlarges on them with
their acquaintance with mankind.
PRICE CURRENT —.—NK W- YORK.
JANUARY 9. Dollars at Bs.
JAMAICA Spirits, 5/3.8 5/6 '
Antigua Rum, 4/9. a (J.
St. Croix, do. 4/4. a 4JB.
Country, do. 2JIO. a 3/.
Molafles, 2/4. a rfs.
Brandy, $/q. a 6/
Geneva, 5/
Do. in cases, a 20/
Muscovado Sugar, Bo_/. a 72/
Loaf, do. I^3.
Lump, do. i/tj.
PfPP". 3/3
Pimento, if. a
Coffee, IJB. a
Indigo, (Carolina) 3f. a6A
Do. French, 18/7
Rice, 22/.
Superfine Flour, 49 f.
Common do. 42J. a 44 f.
Rye do. 2sf a 26/!
Indian Meal, 18f.
R y e < 4./9- P r - W-
Corn, (Southern) 4f.
Do. (Northern,) 4/3. a
Beef, firfl quality, 45f a tfij
Pork, fii II quality, 70s. a 75/
Oats, 1/7.
Flax-feed, 5/6 a 5/9.
Ship bread per cwt. 21/
Country refined ) ,
bar-iron, J aß >- " 3°>-
Do. bloomery, 251. a 261.
Swedes do. 451.
Ruflia do. 301.
Pig-iron, 81 10/: 39).
German steel, per lb. gi/.
Nails American, by calk. ) ,
per. lb. 4 d. 7 I > id -
Do. do. do. 6d. 12. J.
Do. do. do. Bd.
Do. rlo. do. jod.
Do. do. do- lad.f ~
Do. do. do. zod.r da H d -
Do. do. do, 24d.)
Potafti, per ton, 391. a 401.
Pearl alb, 481 a 501.
Becs-wax per lb. 2/2. a 2/3.
Mackaiel per barr. 26f. a 30/
Herrings, 18\f.
Mahogany, Jamaica, ) .
per foot, I 10d -
Dominico, do. qj.
Honduras, do. yd.
Logwood unchipped, >
per ton. J •
Do. chipped. 141.
2 inch white oak ) , ,
plank, perm. f ">l. 10/
1 inch do. 51.
2 inch white pine plank, 81.
lj inch do. 61. 10f.
1 inch do. 31. tof.
2 inch pitch pine ao. 101.
inch do. 61. 1 of.
1 inch do. 41.
Pitch pine scantling, 31. if
Cyprus 2 feet (bingles, jl. ao/
Do. 22 inch do. 11. Bf.
Cedar 2 inch do. il. lof
ADVERTISEMENT.
THE Gazette of the United States circulates in every part of
the Union—being honored by fuhjcribers in Georgia, South ana North
Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New-Jerjcy+
New-York, Connecticut, Rhode-lfland, Majjachufetts, Ncw-Hampjhire,
and DiJlritt of Maine, Canada, Europe, and the Wejl Indies. This ex
tenjive circulation renders it a proper vehicle for Advertisements
oj a general, commercial and governmental import:—the particular
dejyre and advice, therefore, of a number of its patrons, paper
will be open for the reception of advertisements of the above defer ipt ion ;
oMj'cA Mry will convey intelligence of aninterejling nature, Me
insertion will meet the approbation of his friends in
| general. Should the number at any time amount to more than a page in
I Gazette, they will be given in a Supplement. JOHN FEN NO.
PubHfhed by JOHN FENNO, No. 9, Maiden-
Lank, ncarthe Ofwego-Mgrkct) New-York.—[3dol. pr. an.~\
Do. 22 inch do. 11. 6/.
Do. 18. inch do. 18f
Butt white oak dates, 3tS.
Pipe do. do. 91.
Hbgihead do. do. 61. xof.
Do. do. heading, 81.
Irifti barrel do. (laves, 31. frf.
Hoglhead red oak do. 51.
Do. French do. $1.
HogQiead hoops, 4!.
Wbiteoak square timber ) ,
per square foot, y
Red wood, per ton, 281.
Fuftiek, 101.
Beaver, per lb. 12f. a iSf.
Otter per skin, gf. 32J1
Grey fox, 4/7.
Martin, 4/10.
Racoon, 3/607/6.
Mufkrat, tod. a \^d.
Beaver hats, 64/
Castor do. 48If.
Chocolate, 14 d.
Cocoa, 7 of. a 80s
Cotton, ljg.
Tar, pr. bar. \\J.a\if.
Pitch, lGf.
Turpentine, 18/. a zof.
Tobacco, James River,
Do. York, 4d. a 3\d.
Do. Rappahanock, id a 3Jd.
Do. Maryland, coloured, 5%d.
Do. Weftern-ftiore, 2d a 3\d.
Lead in pigs, pr cwt. 60/T
Do. bars, 68f.
Do. Shot, 68f.
Red lead, 6^
White do. dry, 9sf.
While do. in oil, 5/. 12f
Salt-petre hams, 7\d.
Spermaceti candles,
Mould do. nd. a If.
Tallow dipt, 9tyi.
Soap, s</. a Bd.
Cafltile soap, 9 d. a \od.
English cheese, pr. lb. isd.
Country do. sd.
Butter, 1/
Hyson tea, \\f. a is\f.
Sequin do. 6[6.
Bohea do. 2f§.
Cinfcng, 3/ a 4/6.
Staich Poland, yd.
Snuff, 2J3.
Allum fait, water mea- )
sure, pr. bufli. 5 &
Liverpool do. 2J.
Madeira wfet, > , ,
pr. pipe, J r
Port, 46/.
Lifoon, pr. gal. d~.
Tcneriff, 4r
F y a ". 3/3-
Dutch gun-powder,pr. cwt. 8/.
Nail rods, pr. ton, 36/.
Lintfeed oil, pr. gal. s r
Whale do. pr. barrel, t£/. a§6f.
Spermaceti do, 6/. '
Shake-down hhds. rj*

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