Alexander Hamilton Papers

New York Assembly. Remarks on an Act for Raising Certain Yearly Taxes Within This State, [9 March 1787]

New York Assembly. Remarks on an
Act for Raising Certain Yearly Taxes Within This State1

[New York, March 9, 1787]

Col. Hamilton said that much time had been already spent in the discussion of this bill.2 He perceived there now was objections, why were they not made before. The bill be believed was perfectly understood by the committee, he wished therefore that a serious question might be taken, if it was to be rejected. he wished it to be done at once, the session was far advanced, and if this system was rejected, some other must be adopted. He wished that gentleman3 who did not like the bill would offer a better one to the committee. He declared if that part of the bill was rejected, he should move to reject the whole. If this was done, the committee must then go to the old way of quotaing the counties. The committee he was convinced would not agree to reject part of the law affecting the country, and not that part which respects the cities—they could never agree to commit so great an act of injustice.

Col. Hamilton said4 that he calculated the bill to produce £80,000. but as some articles had been rated lower than he expected, he supposed it would produce, in its present form,5 about £70,000 per annum.6

Col. Hamilton said this subject had been so fully discussed, that he did not think it was proper to follow the gentleman, (Mr. Purdy) in his objections. He was convinced that he was mistaken with respect to any disproportion between the cities and the counties. He asked if the citizens did not pay as much for every thing as any in the country.

He asked on whom7 did the tax on carriages, on servants, on marble chimney pieces, stucko, and papered rooms, fall; where were the houses that in general would pay for six rooms. Did not the merchant pay a duty on his ships, and many other things of which people in the country pay nothing. In regard to what had been said of the old mode of quotaing; he would only remark one singular instance of its inequality. The last year there was a tax of £10,000. laid on the city of New-York, of which he was assessed to pay £13. The present year a tax of 13,000 he was assessed only £7.8

The [New York] Daily Advertiser, March 13 and 15, 1787.

2On March 9, a section of the proposed “Act for Raising Certain Yearly Taxes” was read in a committee of the whole. Ebenezer Purdy, a representative from Westchester County, made a motion that the part of the bill imposing a tax on lands and buildings be rejected. H’s remarks were made during the debate which followed the introduction of Purdy’s motion (The Daily Advertiser, March 13, 1787).

3Ebenezer Purdy.

4These remarks by H were made in answer to a question, asked by Zephaniah Batchelor of Montgomery County, on the amount the tax bill could be expected to produce.

5In MS, “farm.”

6Following these remarks by H, Purdy argued that the proposed mode of taxation was unjust. It would, he said, produce a great inequality between the city and county of New York and the other counties of the state, for it favored the merchants at the expense of the farmers.

7In original, “whome.”

8On this date Samuel Jones made a motion that the Assembly reject the proposed tax system. His motion was carried in the affirmative, and the bill was recommitted (The Daily Advertiser, March 15, 1787).

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