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The state and condition of our taxes, considered; or, a proposal for a tax upon funds: showing the justice, usefulness, and necessity, of such a tax, in respect to our trading and landed interest, and especially if we engage in a new war. With some directions to the freeholders of Great Britain, concerning the choice of the next Parliament. By a Freeholder.
London: John Morphew. 1714. 8vo., in half sheets, 46pp., including the half-title, light waterstain in gutter of a few leaves, recently bound in cloth-backed marbled boards with gilt green morocco label on upper board. A very good copy. First edition. A curious essay by an unlikely author. William Wagstaffe (1683-1725), a physician and satirist, was really a medical man (Doctor of Medicine at Oxford in 1714; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, 1718; F.R.S. 1718; a reader in anatomy to the barber-surgeons from 1715 and, finally, from 1720 to be the elected physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital). A serious review of Britain's taxation regime and its effects on the county as a whole and merchants on the other, as this essay attempts, seems an unnatural excursion from Wagstaffe's usual areas of expertise. Nonetheless, the essay is not without merit. He talks intelligently, for example, about the 'decay of trade, and the ruin of the merchants' brought about, he suggests by their usual backers investing instead in the stock market. 'For it is natural to suppose', he writes, 'that any man would sooner employ his fortune, where he could make twenty or thirty per cent. of it with safety, than expose it to the dangers of the sea, or the vigilance of privateers. From hence it is we may date the ruine of our trade; for by these means our merchants left their correspondents by degrees to other nations, who took hold of the advantage, till at length we lost them entirely, and instead of the most flourishing trading nation in the world, our trade was in money; we were become inconsiderable abroad, and a nation of stock-jobbers at home'.
      [Bookseller: John Drury Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-07-18           Check availability:      Biblio    


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