Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XIII.: Of several smaller wayes of levying Money. - The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 1
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CHAP. XIII.: Of several smaller wayes of levying Money. - Sir William Petty, The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 1 
The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, together with The Observations upon Bills of Mortality, more probably by Captain John Graunt, ed. Charles Henry Hull (Cambridge University Press, 1899), 2 vols.
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Of several smaller wayes of levying Money.
WHen the people are weary of any one sort of Tax, presently some Projector propounds another, and gets himself audience, by affirming he can propound a way how all the publick charge may be born without the way that is. As for example, if a Land-tax be the present distasted way, and the people weary of it, then he offers to do the business without such a Land-tax, and propound either a Poll-money, Excize, or the institution of some new Office or Monopoly; ‖ and hereby draws some or other to hearken to him; which is readily enough done by those who are not in the places of profit relating to the way of Levies in use, but hope to make themselves Offices in the new Institution.
2. I shall enumerate a few of the smaller wayes which I have observed in several places of Europe, viz.
First, in some places the State is common Cashier for all or most moneys, as where Banks are, thereby gaining the interest of as much money as is deposited in their hands.
Secondly, Sometimes the State is the common Usurer; as where Loan Banks, and montes pietatis are in use, and might be more copiously and effectually where Registers of Lands are kept.
Thirdly, Sometimes the State is or may be Common Ensurer, either upon the danger onely of Enemies at sea, according to the supposed primitive end of our Customs in England, or else of the casualties of the Enemy, Weather, Sea, and Vessel taken together.
Fourthly, Sometimes the State hath the whole sale and benefit of certain Commodities, as of Amber in the Duke of Brandenburghs Countrey1 , Tobacco formerly in Ireland, Salt in France, &c.
Fifthly, Sometimes the State is common Beggar, as ‘tis almost in Holland, where particular Charity seems only to serve for the relief of concealed wants, and to save these wanting from the shame of discovering their poverty, and not so much to relieve any wants that are declared, and already publickly known.
Sixthly, In some places the State is the sole Guardian of Minors, Lunaticks, and Idiots.
Seventhly, In some other Countreys the State sets up and maintains Play-houses, and publick Entertainments, giving Sallaries to the Actors, but receiving the bulk of the profit to themselves.
Eightly, In some places, Houses are ensured from fire by the State at a small Rent per annum upon each.
Ninthly, In some places Tolls are taken upon passage over ‖ Bridges, Causeys, and Ferries built and maintained at the Publick Charge.
Tenthly, In some places men that dye are obliged to leave a certain pittance to the publick, the same is practised in other places upon Marriages, and may be in others upon Births.
Eleventhly, In some places strangers especially Jews, are particularly taxed; which may be good in over-peopled Countreys, though bad in the contrary case.
3. As for Jews, they may well bear somewhat extraordinary, because they seldom eat and drink with Christians, hold it no disparagement to live frugally, and even sordidly among themselves, by which way alone they become able to under-sell any other Traders, to elude the Excize, which bears but according to mens1 expences; as also other Duties, by dealing so much in Bills of Exchange, Jewels, and Money, and by practising of-several frauds with more impunity then others; for2 by their being at home every where, and yet no where they become responsible almost for nothing.
4. Twelfthly, There have been in our times, wayes of levying an aliquot part of mens Estates, as a Fifth, and Twentieth, viz. of their Estates real and personal, yea of their Offices, Faculties, and imaginary Estates also, in an about which way may be so much fraud, collusion, oppression, and trouble, some purposely getting themselves taxed to gain more trust; Others bribing to be taxed low, and it being impossible to check or examine, or trace these Collections by the print of any foot-steps they leave (such as the Harths of Chimneys are) that I have not patience to speak more against it; daring rather conclude without more ado, in the words of our Comick to be naught, yea exceeding naught, very abominable, and not good. ‖
On the history of the Prussian Amber monopoly, cf. Gewinnung und Verarbeitung des Bernsteins in Preussen von der Ordenzeit bis sur Gegenwart; von W. Tesdorpf. Jena, 1887, pp. 6–22.