Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1.: Where Tribute to the Mother Country is the Benefit she proposes. - Colony
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1.: Where Tribute to the Mother Country is the Benefit she proposes. - James Mill, Colony 
Supplement to the Encyclopedia Britannica (London: J. Innes, 1825).
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Where Tribute to the Mother Country is the Benefit she proposes.
This will not require many words, as few persons are much in error on the subject. In regard to the West Indies, no such idea as that of a tribute has ever been entertained. Even in regard to those taxes, which a vain and unprofitable attempt was made to impose upon the formerly existing colonies in North America, they were never dreamt of as a tribute, and never spoken of but in a sense contrary to the very idea of a tribute, that of reimbursing to the mother country a part, and no more than a part, of that which they cost her in governing and defending them.
With regard to the East Indies, we believe, there exists more or less of prejudice. Under the ignorance in which Englishmen have remained of East India affairs, it floats in the minds of a great many persons, that, some how or other, a tribute, or what is equivalent to a tribute, does come from the East Indies. Never did an opinion exist, more completely without evidence, contrary to evidence, evidence notorious, and well-known to the persons themselves, by whom the belief is entertained. India, instead of yielding a tribute to England, has never yielded enough for the expence of its own government. What is the proof? That its government has always been in debt; and has been under the necessity of continually augmenting its debt, till it has arrived at a magnitude which it has often itself described as alarming.
So far is India from yielding a tribute to Great Britain, that, in loans and aids, and the expence of fleets and armies, it has cost this country enormous sums. It is no doubt true, that some acts of Parliament have assumed the existence of a tribute from India, or what has been called a surplus revenue, for the use of the nation. But Parliament, we have pretty good experience, cannot make things by affirming them. Things are a little more stubborn than the credulity of Englishmen. That, in general, is obedient enough to the affirmations of those who lead the Parliament, and who have sometimes an interest in leading it wrong. Facts take their own course, without regard to the affirmations of Parliament, or the plastic faith of those who follow them.
A general proposition on this subject, may be safely advanced. We may affirm it, as a deduction from the experienced laws of human society, that there is, if not an absolute, at least, a moral impossibility, that a colony should ever benefit the mother country, by yielding it a permanent tribute.
Let any body but consider what is included in the word government; and when he has done that, let him then tell himself, that the colonies must be governed. If he has the sufficient degree of knowledge and reflection, no further proof will be necessary.
No proposition in regard to government is more universal, more free from all exception than this, that a government always spends as much as it finds it possible or safe to extract from the people. It would not suit the limits of the present design, to run over the different governments of the world, for the experimental proof of this proposition. We must invite every reader to do it for himself. Of one thing we are perfectly sure, that the more profoundly he is read in history, the more thoroughly will he be convinced of the universality of the fact.
Now, then, consider whether this universal fact be not inconsistent with the idea of a tribute from a colony. The government of the mother country itself cannot keep its expences within bounds. It takes from the people all it can possibly take, and is still going beyond its resources. But if such is the course of government at home, things must be worse in the colonies. The farther servants are removed from the eye of the master, the worse, generally speaking, their conduct will be. The government of the colonies, managed by delegates from home, is sure to be worse, in all respects, than the government at home; and, as expence is one of the shapes in which the badness of government is most prone to manifest itself, it is sure, above all things, to be in proportion to its resources more expensive. Whatever springs operate at home to restrain the badness of government, cannot fail to operate with diminished force, at the distance of a colony. The conclusion is irresistible. If the government of the mother country is sure to spend up to the resources of the country; and if a still stronger necessity operates upon the government of the colony to produce this effect, how can it possibly afford any tribute?
If it be objected to this conclusion, that this propensity of governments to spend may be corrected, we answer, that this is not the present question. Take governments as, with hardly any exception, they have always been, (this is a pretty wide experience;) and the effect is certain. There is one way, to be sure, of preventing the great evil, and preventing it thoroughly. But there is only one. In the constitution of the government, make the interest of the many to have the ascendency over the interest of the few, and the expence of government will not be large. The services expected from government may, generally speaking, be all rendered in the best possible manner, at very little expense. Whenever the interests of the many are made, in the framing of governments, to have the ascendency over the interests of the few, the services of government will always be rendered at the smallest possible expence. So long as the interests of the few are made to have the ascendency over the interests of the many, the services of government are all sure to be rendered at the greatest possible expence. In almost all governments that ever yet existed, the interest of the few has had an ascendency over the interests of the many. In all, the expence of government has, accordingly, been always as great, as, in existing circumstances, the people could be made, or could be made with safety, to give the means of making it.
One other supposition may be urged in favour of the tribute. The expence, it may be said, of governing the colony by a deputation from the mother country, may be escaped, by allowing the colony to govern itself. In that case, the colony will not choose to pay a tribute. If the tribute rests upon the ground of friendship, it will not be lasting. If the mother country extorts it by force, the colony is, in fact, governed by the mother country; and all the expence of that mode of government is ensured. If it be urged that the colony may continue to pay a tribute to the mother country, and that voluntarily, because the mother country may be of use to it; that, we may answer, is a bargain, not a tribute. The mother country, for example, may yield a certain portion of defence. But the colony is saved from the expense of providing for itself that defence which it receives from the mother country, and makes a good bargain if it gets it from the mother country cheaper than it could be provided by itself. In this case, too, the expence incurred by the mother country is apt to be a very full equivalent for the tribute received. It is evident, that this sort of bargain may subsist between any two states whose circumstances it may suit, and is not confined to a mother and daughter country. It is, therefore, no part of the question relating to colonies.