QUERY XXII 

                             The public income and expences?      

Revenue The nominal amount of these varying constantly and rapidly, with the constant and rapid depreciation of our paper-money, it   becomes impracticable to say what they are.  We find ourselves   cheated in every essay by the depreciation intervening between the   declaration of the tax and its actual receipt.  It will therefore be   more satisfactory to consider what our income may be when we shall   find means of collecting what the people may spare.  I should   estimate the whole taxable property of this state at an hundred   millions of dollars, or thirty millions of pounds our money.  One per   cent on this, compared with any thing we ever yet paid, would be   deemed a very heavy tax.  Yet I think that those who manage well, and   use reasonable ;oeconomy, could pay one and a half per cent, and   maintain their houshould comfortably in the mean time, without   aliening any part of their principal, and that the people would   submit to this willingly for the purpose of supporting their present   contest.  We may say then, that we could raise, and ought to raise,   from one million to one million and a half of dollars annually, that   is from three hundred to four hundred and fifty thousand pounds,   Virginia money. 

              Of our expences it is equally difficult to give an exact state,   and for the same reason.  They are mostly stated in paper money,   which varying continually, the legislature endeavours at every   session, by new corrections, to adapt the nominal sums to the value   it is wished they should bear.  I will state them therefore in real   coin, at the point at which they endeavour to keep them. 
 

or 53,571 guineas.  This estimate is exclusive of the   military expence.  That varies with the force actually employed, and   in time of peace will probably be little or nothing.  It is exclusive   also of the public debts, which are growing while I am writing, and   cannot therefore be now fixed.  So it is of the maintenance of the   poor, which being merely a matter of charity, cannot be deemed   expended in the administration of government.  And if we strike out   the 25,000 dollars for the services of the clergy, which neither   makes part of that administration, more than what is paid to   physicians or lawyers, and being voluntary, is either much or nothing   as every one pleases, it leaves 225,000 dollars, equal to 48,208   guineas, the real cost of the apparatus of government with us.  This,   divided among the actual inhabitants of our country, comes to about   two-fifths of a dollar, 21d sterling, or 42 sols, the price which   each pays annually for the protection of the residue of his property,   that of his person, and the other advantages of a free government.   The public revenues of Great Britain divided in like manner on its   inhabitants would be sixteen times greater.  Deducting even the   double of the expences of government, as before estimated, from the   million and a half of dollars which we before supposed might be   annually paid without distress, we may conclude that this state can   contribute one million of dollars annually towards supporting the   federal army, paying the federal debt, building a federal navy, or   opening roads, clearing rivers, forming safe ports, and other useful   works. 

                To this estimate of our abilities, let me add a word as to the   application of them, if, when cleared of the present contest, and of   the debts with which that will charge us, we come to measure force   hereafter with any European power.  Such events are devoutly to be   deprecated.  Young as we are, and with such a country before us to   fill with people and with happiness, we should point in that   direction the whole generative force of nature, wasting none of it in   efforts of mutual destruction.  It should be our endeavour to   cultivate the peace and friendship of every nation, even of that   which has injured us most, when we shall have carried our point   against her.  Our interest will be to throw open the doors of   commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, giving perfect freedom   to all persons for the vent of whatever they may chuse to bring into   our ports, and asking the same in theirs.  Never was so much false   arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed   to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war.  Were the   money which it has cost to gain, at the close of a long war, a little   town, or a little territory, the right to cut wood here, or to catch   fish there, expended in improving what they already possess, in   making roads, opening rivers, building ports, improving the arts, and   finding employment for their idle poor, it would render them much   stronger, much wealthier and happier.  This I hope will be our   wisdom.  And, perhaps, to remove as much as possible the occasions of   making war, it might be better for us to abandon the ocean   altogether, that being the element whereon we shall be principally   exposed to jostle with other nations: to leave to others to bring   what we shall want, and to carry what we can spare.  This would make   us invulnerable to Europe, by offering none of our property to their   prize, and would turn all our citizens to the cultivation of the   earth; and, I repeat it again, cultivators of the earth are the most   virtuous and independant citizens.  It might be time enough to seek   employment for them at sea, when the land no longer offers it.  But   the actual habits of our countrymen attach them to commerce.  They   will exercise it for themselves.  Wars then must sometimes be our   lot; and all the wise can do, will be to avoid that half of them   which would be produced by our own follies, and our own acts of   injustice; and to make for the other half the best preparations we   can.  Of what nature should these be?  A land army would be useless   for offence, and not the best nor safest instrument of defence.  For   either of these purposes, the sea is the field on which we should   meet an European enemy.  On that element it is necessary we should   possess some power.  To aim at such a navy as the greater nations of   Europe possess, would be a foolish and wicked waste of the energies   of our countrymen.  It would be to pull on our own heads that load of   military expence, which makes the European labourer go supperless to   bed, and moistens his bread with the sweat of his brows.  It will be   enough if we enable ourselves to prevent insults from those nations   of Europe which are weak on the sea, because circumstances exist,   which render even the stronger ones weak as to us.  Providence has   placed their richest and most defenceless possessions at our door;   has obliged their most precious commerce to pass as it were in review   before us.  To protect this, or to assail us, a small part only of   their naval force will ever be risqued across the Atlantic.  The   dangers to which the elements expose them here are too well known,   and the greater dangers to which they would be exposed at home, were   any general calamity to involve their whole fleet.  They can attack   us by detachment only; and it will suffice to make ourselves equal to   what they may detach.  Even a smaller force than they may detach will   be rendered equal or superior by the quickness with which any check   may be repaired with us, while losses with them will be irreparable   till too late.  A small naval force then is sufficient for us, and a   small one is necessary.  What this should be, I will not undertake to   say.  I will only say, it should by no means be so great as we are   able to make it.  Suppose the million of dollars, or 300,000 pounds,   which Virginia could annually spare without distress, to be applied   to the creating a navy.  A single year's contribution would build,   equip, man, and send to sea a force which should carry 300 guns.  The   rest of the confederacy, exerting themselves in the same proportion,   would equip in the same time 1500 guns more.  So that one year's   contributions would set up a navy of 1800 guns.  The British ships of   the line average 76 guns; their frigates 38.  1800 guns then would   form a fleet of 30 ships, 18 of which might be of the line, and 12   frigates.  Allowing 8 men, the British average, for every gun, their   annual expence, including subsistence, cloathing, pay, and ordinary   repairs, would be about 1280 dollars for every gun, or 2,304,000   dollars for the whole.  I state this only as one year's possible   exertion, without deciding whether more or less than a year's   exertion should be thus applied. 

                The value of our lands and slaves, taken conjunctly, doubles in   about twenty years.  This arises from the multiplication of our   slaves, from the extension of culture, and increased demand for   lands.  The amount of what may be raised will of course rise in the   same proportion. 
 

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