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to oliver wolcott - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 10 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 10.
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to oliver wolcott
June 8, 1797.
I have received your two letters of the 6th and 7th. The last announced to me no more than I feared. Nor do I believe any sufficient external impulse can be given to save us from disgrace. This, however, will be thought of.
I regret that you appear remote from the idea of a house tax simply, without combining the land. I do not differ from your general principle. The truth is a solid one that the sound state of political economy depends, in a great degree, on a general repartition of taxes on taxable property, by some equal rule. But it is very important to relax in theory, so as to accomplish as much as may be practicable. I despair of a general land tax without actual war. I fear the idea of it; it keeps men from the augmentation of revenue by other means which they might be willing to adopt. The idea of a house tax alone is not so formidable. If placed upon a footing which would evince practicability and moderation in the sum, I think it might succeed. Now, one million of dollars, computing the number of houses at six hundred thousand, would be an average of about a dollar and a half. The tax would be very low on the worst houses, and could not be high on the best. This idea would smooth a great deal.
As to the circumstance of the habitations of the Southern negroes, I see no insuperable difficulty in applying ratios to them which would tend to individual equity. As between the States, the quota principle would make this point unimportant.
As to the inequality in certain States, I believe, on the plan suggested, there could be no general tax which in fact would operate more equally. The idea of equalization by embracing lands does not much engage my confidence. Besides that, this may be an after-object, and we are to gain points successively.
As to the productiveness of the stamp tax, with the items I suggest, it is difficult, in the first instance, to judge. But I am persuaded it would go far towards the point aimed at. There cannot be much fewer than three millions of hats consumed in a year in this country. At an average of eight cents per hat, this would be two hundred and forty thousand dollars, a large proportion of the five hundred thousand dollars. If law proceedings can be included, directly or indirectly, the produce will be very considerable. I think you mistake when you say these taxes in England are inconsiderable in proportion. According to my recollection, the reverse is the truth.