Excerpt from The Tax Upon Paper: The Case Stated for Its Immediate Repeal
The producers of an article are not always desirous to have it exempted from taxation. Those whose brawny shoulders are fitted to bear a heavy burden, are often unwilling to have it lessened lest rivals should grow up who may attain to their position. The Calico Printers petitioned for the continuance of the duty on printed calico. Advertisers were found who supported the advertisement duty, and Paper Makers of eminence exist who are weak enough to fear the competition of their poorer rivals.
On the other hand, a party avowedly interested in the repeal of a tax, must always be heard with caution, though judged with candour. The Press assumes to decide on all uestions which come before it. On the question of the Repeal of the Paper Duty, the position of an advocate more befits it than that of a judge; but if we assume on this occasion no higher ground - if we call upon the public to scrutinise at once our facts and our arguments as those of interested parties, we do so with the full conviction not only that the interests of our readers, as such, are the same as our own, but that the Repeal of the Paper Duty is imperatively demanded by the material interests of the community - that this duty is not only a tax on knowledge, but a tax on industry; and that its effects are at least as prejudicial to every other interest as they are to our own. It is only because it was imposed for the purpose of putting on the press a restraint beyond the law that it has been associated exclusively with the press in the minds of men, and had it not been accompanied by the newspaper stamp and the advertisement duty, it would long since have been numbered with its kindred abominations, the excise on glass, leather, candles, and bricks. Before pointing out the particular modes in which the tax Operates injuriously, we propose to give a short narrative of its existence from its first imposition to the present time.
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