[Excerpted from a letter to Robert Morris, 25
The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the
Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions
of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to
take, as they call it, the People's Money out of their Pockets, tho'
only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They
seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their
Creditors' Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they
withold it, should be compell'd to pay by some Law.
All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow,
his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for
his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention.
Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other
Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the
Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the
Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is
his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all
Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick,
who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other
Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand
such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms,
let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the
benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of