Sims Reed Rare Books×

An Appeal to Caesar, On the Nature and Situation of Our Public Affairs. By An Englishman


London. Printed for W. Webb, near St. Paul's. 1746
A good copy of this scarce pamphlet arguing for economic and tax reform during the reign of George II.

Addressed to the King in rhetorical form, the author argues from the position that 'the great political maxim of a free state, is to avoid all possible occasions of taxation'. Written at the time of political upheaval and Jacobite rebellion at home, the War of the Spanish Succession in Europe and general economic uncertainty, the authorial tone is that of reason, logic and altruistic patriotism. The state of the nation is analysed from an economic perspective and arguments are raised against the window tax, the inequality of the land tax, the imposition of duty on various goods (among them leather and 'tea, malt, beer, soap, candles, salt, sugar, rum &c.'), smuggling and the loss of money abroad spent by English soldiers on campaign against the French. If the three evils of the 'Taxes, the Smugglers, and Rebels' can be 'cured' then the King would be 'the greatest prince on earth' and the King's 'subjects the happiest people'.

'The nature of our debts are such, that supposing we pay only the interest of fifteen millions to foreigners, it lessens, if not entirely carries off the whole balance of our trade; and if that should appear to be the case, it evidently follows, that we are in no better situation than those who trade not at all; and consequently can only defend ourselves, but not in any sense impede the progress of ambitious neighbours, without still increasing this debt, and with it all the fatal consequences, unless it shall appear that some general change in the system of our taxes is capable, by a quite new turn of affairs, to bring us an ample remedy.' (From the text).
pp. (i), (i), 51. 8vo. (226 x 148 mm). Half-title with printed text between printed rules, title with decorative woodcut vignette and text with heading 'To the King' and decorative woodcut four-line opening initial, final leaf with signature 'Your Majesty's / Most dutiful and affectionate / Subject and Servant / An Englishman' and blank verso. Stitched as issued on uncut sheets, central tear to final leaf not affecting text.

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