C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Taxation is the legitimate support of government.


Death and taxes are inevitable.


Kings ought to shear, not skin their sheep.


Millions for defence, but not a cent for tribute.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.

No laws, however liberal, will release us from our self-imposed taxes.

Abbott Lawrence.

  • Who nothing has to lose, the war bewails;
  • And he who nothing pays, at taxes rails.
  • Congreve.

    Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments.


    Men’s virtues I have commended as freely as I have taxed their crimes.


    Men who prefer any load of infamy, however great, to any pressure of taxation, however light.

    Sydney Smith.

    We have always considered taxes to be the sinews of the state.


    Over-taxation cost England her colonies of North America.


    The taxes of government are heavy enough, but not so heavy as the taxes we lay upon ourselves.


  • The law takes measure of us all for clothes,
  • Diets us all, and in the sight of all,
  • To keep us from all private leagues with wealth.
  • Crown.

    These exactions whereof my sovereign would have note, they are most pestilent to the hearing; and, to bear ’em, the back is sacrifice to the load.


    Taxes are a universal burden in moral as well as in civil life. There is not a pleasure, social or otherwise, which is not assessed by fate at its full value!

    Alfred de Musset.

    The repose of nations cannot be secure without arms, armies cannot be maintained without pay, nor can the pay be produced except by taxes.


  • By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,
  • And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
  • From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash,
  • By any indirection.
  • Shakespeare.

    The general rule always holds good. In constitutional states liberty is a compensation of the heaviness of taxation. In despotic states the equivalent for liberty is the lightness of taxation.


    Taxing is an easy business. Any projector can contrive new impositions, any bungler can add to the old; but to is altogether wise to have no other bounds to your impositions than the patience of those who are to bear them?


    We must not rend our subjects from our laws, and stick them in our will. Sixth part of each? A trembling contribution! Why, we take from every tree lop, bark, and part o’ the timber; and though we leave it with a root thus hacked, the air will drink the sap.


    That in which every man is interested, is every man’s duty to support; and any burden which falls equally on all men, and from which every man is to receive an equal benefit, is consistent with the most perfect ideas of liberty.

    Thomas Paine.

  • Why tribute? why should we pay tribute? if
  • Cæsar can hide the sun from us with a
  • Blanket, or put the moon in his pocket,
  • We will pay him tribute for light; else, sir,
  • No more tribute.
  • Shakespeare.

    There is one passage in the Scriptures to which all the potentates of Europe seem to have given their unanimous assent and approbation, and to have studied so thoroughly as to have it quite at their fingers’ ends: “There went out a decree in the days of Claudius Cæsar, that all the world should be taxed.”


    The taxes were indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an abatement.


  • What is ’t to us, if taxes rise or fall,
  • Thanks to our fortune, we pay none at all,
  • Let muckworms who in dirty acres deal,
  • Lament those hardships which we cannot feel,
  • His grace who smarts, may bellow if he please,
  • But must I bellow too, who sit at ease?
  • By custom safe, the poets’ numbers flow,
  • Free as the light and air some years ago.
  • No statesman e’er will find it worth his pains
  • To tax our labours, and excise our brains.
  • Burthens like these will earthly buildings bear,
  • No tributes laid on castles in the air.
  • Churchill.

    What a benefit would the American government, not yet relieved of its extreme need, render to itself, and to every city, village, and hamlet in the States, if it would tax whiskey and rum almost to the point of prohibition! Was it Bonaparte who said that he found vices very good patriots? “He got five millions from the love of brandy, and he should be glad to know which of the virtues would pay him as much.” Tobacco and opium have broad backs, and will cheerfully carry the load of armies, if you choose to make them pay high for such joy as they give and such harm as they do.