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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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9153. WINES, Tax on.—
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9153. WINES, Tax on.—

I rejoice, as a
moralist, at the prospect of a reduction of the


Page 948
duties on wine, by our national Legislature.
It is an error to view a tax on that liquor as
merely a tax on the rich. It is a prohibition of
its use to the middling class of our citizens, and
a condemnation of them to the poison of
whisky, which is desolating their houses. No
nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and
none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes
ardent spirits as the common beverage.
It is, in truth, the only antidote to the bane of
whisky. Fix but the duty at the rate of other
merchandise, and we can drink wine here as
cheap as we do grog; and who will not prefer
it? Its extended use will carry health and
comfort to a much enlarged circle. Every one
in easy circumstances (as the bulk of our citizens
are) will prefer it to the poison to which
they are now driven by their government.
And the treasury itself will find that a penny
apiece from a dozen, is more than a groat from
a single one. This reformation, however, will
require time.—
To M. de Neuville. Washington ed. vii, 110.
(M. 1818)