Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XVIII.: Of an Exemption from Taxes. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XVIII.: Of an Exemption from Taxes. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 1.
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Of an Exemption from Taxes.
THE maxim of the great eastern empires of exempting such provinces, as have very much suffered, from taxes, ought to be extended to monarchical states. There are some indeed where this practice is established; yet the country is more oppressed than if no such rule took place; because, as the prince levies still neither more nor less, the state becomes bound for the whole. In order to ease a village that pays badly, they load another that pays better; the former is not relieved, and the latter is ruined. The people grow desperate between the necessity of paying, for fear of exactions, and the danger of paying, for fear of new burdens.
A well-regulated government ought to set aside, for the first article of its expence, a determinate sum to answer contingent cases. It is with the public as with individuals, who are ruined when they live up exactly to their income.
With regard to an obligation for the whole, amongst the inhabitants of the same village, some pretend* , that it is but reasonable, because there is a possibility of a fraudulent combination on their side: but was it ever heard that upon mere supposition we are to establish a thing in itself unjust and ruinous to the state?
[* ]See A Treatise on the Roman Finances, chap. ii. printed at Paris by Briasson, 1740.