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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/649

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APPLETONS’

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

MARCH, 1896.



PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION.
By DAVID A. WELLS, LL.D., D. C. L.,

CORRESPONDANT DE L'INSTITUT DE FRANCE, ETC.

II.—THE PLACE OF TAXATION IN LITERATURE AND HISTORY.
PART II.

TAXATION IN Ancient Greece.—In Athens, according to Boeckh, the revenues of the state were derived from receipts from the public domains, including mines, partly from taxes analogous to our "customs" and "excise," and some taxes upon industry and persons which only extended to aliens and slaves; from fines and justice fees, from the proceeds of confiscated property, and from tribute from allied or subject states. All exports and imports into Athens, at one period, were subject to a small duty of two per cent; and in addition to this, foreign ships lying in the harbor paid a small fee, as did also aliens for the privilege of selling commodities, arriving by sea, in certain designated market places. "A special tax was also levied upon the proprietors or occupants of houses, the doors or windows of which opened outward on the public footway. And, as throwing further light on the social system of ancient Greece, we have the statement on good authority that the Greeks, having no pockets, used to leave valuable articles in sealed packets, trusting to the laws which punished the violation of a seal. Direct taxes," according to Boeckh, "imposed upon the soil, upon industry, or upon persons, excepting in cases of emergency, were looked upon in Greece as despotic and arbitrary; it being considered as a necessary element of freedom that the property of a citizen, as well as his occupation, should be exempt from all taxation, except when a free community taxed itself, which, however, is obviously an essential part of lib-