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January 2001

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Alexander Hamilton: To Robert Morris, [30 April 1781]:

This calculation supposes the ability of these states for revenue to continue the same as they now are, which is a supposition both false and unfavorable. Speaking within moderate bounds our population will be doubled in thirty years; there will be a confluence of emigrants from all parts of the world; our commerce will have a proportionable progress, and of course our wealth and capacity for revenue.

It will be a matter of choice, if we are not out of debt in twenty years, without at all encumbering the people.

A national debt if it is not excessive will be to us a national blessing; it will be powerfull cement of our union. It will also create a necessity for keeping up taxation to a degree which without being oppressive, will be a spur to industry; remote as we are from Europe and shall be from danger, it were otherwise to be feared our popular maxims would incline us to too great parsimony and indulgence. We labour less now than any civilized nation of Europe, and a habit of labour in the people is as essential to the health and vigor of their minds and bodies as it is conducive to the welfare of the State. We ought not to Suffer our self-love to deceive us in a comparison, upon these points.

I have spun out this letter to a much greater length than I intended. To develop the whole connection of my ideas on the subject and place my plan in the clearest light I have indulged myself in many observations which might have been omitted.

I shall not longer intrude upon your patience than to assure you of the sincere sentiments of esteem with which I have the honor to be, Sir

Your most Obedient and humble servant

Alx Hamilton