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Hon. David A. Wells on Taxation.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Hon. David A. Wells lectured in Sever 11 last evening on "The place of Taxation in Literature and History." There is not one treatise exclusively on taxation in the English language that is at the same time comprehensive and reliable. This is probably because of the lack of agreement among writers on the subject. Knowledge of economic literature is, however, necessary to a full comprehension of most of the insurrections and revolutions of history; and since sin came into the world there has been no more prolific source of popular discontent than abusive taxation, The systems of taxation in China are extremely lenient and simple and this state of things is probably the foundation of the internal peace and content that has so long reigned in that country. The complicated and grinding tax system sowed the seeds of decay in ancient Rome, a fact upon which few historians have laid much stress. In modern times, to us the most famous rebellion resulting from an abusive system of taxation is of course our colonial revolution, and in France the unendurable taxes from the time of Louis the fourteenth to the year 1789 forced the people to such a pitch of frenzy that the heroes they committed seem almost justified. Six thousand nobles and gentry fell by the guillotine, and yet when one considers the multitudes that these nobles had been starving to death by taxation for a thousand years, the clemency that the masses showed in their hour of triumph and vengeance seems almost wonderful.

The complicated tax system now existing in Mexico is much like that of mediaeval times, and men are so reluctant to enter business there and incur all the petty taxmen connected with it that trade is becoming restricted, and unless a radical change is made in the system the country may have to pass through another and more terrible revolution than any of the preceding ones.

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