Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/142

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to conceal the rough one. Their reign will assuredly be the jubilee of the tax-payers.

"It is superfluities, not necessaries," they say, "which ought to be taxed."

Truly, it will be a good time when the exchequer, for the sake of loading us with benefits, will content itself with curtailing our superfluities!

This is not all. The Montagnards intend that "taxation shall lose its oppressive character, and be only an act of fraternity." Good heavens! I know it is the fashion to thrust fraternity in everywhere, but I did not imagine it would ever be put into the hands of the tax-gatherer.

To come to the details:—Those who sign the programme say, "We desire the immediate abolition of those taxes which affect the absolute necessaries of life, as salt, liquors, &c, &c.

"The reform of the tax on landed property, customs, and patents.

"Gratuitous justice—that is, the simplification of its forms, and reduction of its expenses." (This, no doubt, has reference to stamps.)

Thus, the tax on landed property, customs, patents, stamps, salt, liquors, postage, all are included. These gentlemen have found out the secret of giving an excessive activity to the gentle hand of Government, while they entirely paralyse its rough hand.

Well, I ask the impartial reader, is it not childishness, and more than that, dangerous childishness? Is it not inevitable that we shall have revolution after revolution, if there is a determination never