Page:Federalist, Dawson edition, 1863.djvu/368

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224
The Fœderalist.

garb to admit even of an accurate inspection of its real shape or tendency.

There is another objection of a somewhat more precise nature, that claims our attention. It has been asserted that a power of internal taxation in the National Legislature could never be exercised with advantage, as well from the want of a sufficient knowledge of local circumstances, as from an interference between the revenue laws of the Union and of the particular States. The supposition of a want of proper knowledge, seems to be entirely destitute of foundation. If any question is depending in a State Legislature, respecting one of the Counties, which demands a knowledge of local details, how is it acquired? No doubt from the information of the members of the County. Cannot the like knowledge be obtained in the National Legislature, from the representatives of each State? And is it not to be presumed, that the men who will generally be sent there, will be possessed of the necessary degree of intelligence to be able to communicate that information? Is the knowledge of local circumstances, as applied to taxation, a minute topographical acquaintance with all the mountains, rivers, streams, highways, and by-paths in each State; or is it a general acquaintance with its situation and resources — with the state of its agriculture, commerce, manufactures — with the nature of its products and consumptions — with the different degrees and kinds of its wealth, property, and industry?

Nations in general, even under Governments of the more popular kind, usually commit the administration of their finances to single men, or to Boards composed of a few individuals, who digest and prepare, in the first instance, the plans of taxation, which are afterwards passed into laws by the authority of the sovereign or Legislature.

Inquisitive and enlightened statesmen are deemed