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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Memorandum from Thomas Burke to the North Carolina General Assembly concerning tax collection
Burke, Thomas, ca. 1747-1783
June 29, 1781
Volume 15, Pages 497-498


June 29th, 1781.

The numberless hands at present employed in the Collecting of the public revenue exhaust much of the product and create perplexities and difficulties without end in the public accounts. The Collectors have neglected to settle with the County Courts and thus the first neglect entirely prevents every Measure for clearing the public Accounts and compelling the due Collection of the Revenue.

Commerce on which so much of the prosperity of Agriculture and of all sorts of Industries in every modern Nation and lands depends

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would soon regain a flourishing State if the merchants of all denominations were protected in their property and assured of punctual payments, as no Country can be supplied with foreign Commodities, or find markets for the abundance arising from Industry, but by the Intervention of Commerce, so it is evidently necessary for exciting Industry and furnishing the Necessaries and Conveniences of life that Enterprise which is inseparable from it will always most flourish if it finds Protection, this is all it requires. Regular Taxes and Imports are not even unfavorable to its growth if they be not laid very injudiciously or levied oppressively. I cannot help declaring my wishes that this delicate Subject were put on a footlng that might secure it from Violence and leave it in every thing else to the Energy of private Enterprise, and the natural operations of its own Principles. The mistakes which I have observed in our own and other Governments and their bad effects have induced me to touch on this Subject.

I find myself obliged to trespass a little further on the patience of the Assembly to request their attention to the peculiar distress arising from that internal war which is raging with intemperate fury in some parts of the State between the well affected and the ill affected Citizens and which has produced enormities dangerous in their example to all good Government, and cruelly fatal to Individuals. Perhaps the most humane as well as the most prudent Counsel would be to reclaim all that are reclaimable of our ill advised and deluded Citizens and expel the incorrigible by force of arms.