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officer has expressed the opinion that no writ of error or appeal should be taken in these cases to the United States Supreme Court, and that this Department should acquiesce in the decision of the court. The United States attorney of your district is also of the same opinion.
Under these circumstances the Department acquiesces in the decision of the court so rendered, and therefore directs, upon said judgments being duly satisfied on the records of the court, that a certified statement be prepared and forwarded to the Department for the payment thereof.
The Department also directs that the same course be taken with refer ence to three other cases, involving the same question, which the United States attorney reports to be still pending undecided at your port, provided the plaintiffs duly enter a discontinuance of such suits upon the terms usually granted by the Department. I am, very respectfully,
B. H. BRISTOW,
Secretary. COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS,
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE.
November 8, 1875. SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith certain tabular statements, made up from the accounts of this Office, to enable you, as required by law, to lay the same before Congress, to wit:
Table A, showing the receipts from each specific source of revenue, and the amounts refunded in each collection-district, State, and Territory of tbe United States, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1875.
Table B, showing the number and value of internal-revenue stamps ordered monthly by the Commissioner, the receipts from the sale of stamps, and the commissions allowed thereon ; also, the number and value of stamps for special taxes, tobacco, cigars, snuff, distilled spirits, and fermented liquors, issued monthly to collectors, during the fiscal Fear ended June 30, 1875.
Table C, showing the territorial distribution of internal revenue from Farious sources in the United States for the fiscal years ended June 30, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, and 1875. Table D, showing the aggregate receipts from each collection-district, State, and Territory, for the fiscal years ender June 30, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, and 1875. Table E, showing the total collections from each specific source of rerende for the fiscal years ended June 30, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, and 1875.
Table F, showing the ratio of receipts from specific sources to the aggregate of all collections for the fiscal years ended June 30, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, and 1875. Table G, showing the receipts from special taxes under act of June 6, 1872, in each collection-district, State, and Territory, for the special.tax Fear ended April 30, 1875.
Table H, an abstract of reports of district attorneys, concerning suits and prosecutions under the internal revenue laws during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1875. Table I, an abstract of seizures of property for violation of internalTetenne laws during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1875.
OUR INTERNAL-REVENUE SYSTEM.
The two principal sources of income to the United States are customsduties and internal-revenue taxes. The former are levied upon articles the growth or manufacture of foreign countries imported into the United States; the latter are laid, at the present time, principally upon certain commodities manufactured in this country enteriug largely into cor
sumption, though not to be classed among the necessaries of life, such as distilled spirits, fermented liquors, tobacco, snuft, cigars, &c.
These latter taxes, so far as they are confined to consumable articles, constitute strictly excise duties, a term which is sometimes, though not with strict accuracy, applied to our entire internal-revenue system.
Au excise is properly that branch of the public revenue arising from duties paid upon the manufacture or sale of certain commodities made or sold within the country where this system of taxation prevails. It applies solely to consumable commodities made or produced at home, in contradistinction both to customs, which are duties payable on commodities imported from abroad, and to those duties imposed upon the use of certain commodities not immediately consumable, such as taxes upon carriages, gold and silver plate, pianos, watches, &c.
Our system of interval-revenue taxes is broader, therefore, than the excise system, and bas embraced, since its origin in 1862, taxation upon occupations and trades; upon sales, gross receipts, and dividends; upon incomes of individuals, firms, and corporations; taxes upon specific articles not consumed in the use; stamp duties, taxes upon various classes of manufactures, as well as taxation upon legacies, distributive shares, and successions.
Excise duties are not of modern origin by any means. They existed upon the continent of Europe before their introduction into England in 1643, during the sitting of the Long Parliament, in the reign of Charles the First. At first they were imposed with great caution and moderation, and chiefly upon commodities where the burden would be least felt, such as beer and ale, cider, perry, and the like.
With this explanation the terms “excise duties” and “internal-rer. enue taxes” will be used indiscriminately, as our present system is but an enlargement of the excise law.
A better and more general classification of all taxation (under national authority) would be "external” and “internal” taxes; the one derived wholly from merchandise imported from abroad, the other wholly from taxes laid upon home manufactures, occupations, incomes, licenses, &c.
Direct taxes on lands and excise taxes have followed the three principal wars of the United States: the revolutionary war, that of 1812, and the war of the rebellion.
These forms of taxation have never met with popular favor, and with the exception of the present revenue law have never maintained their footing upon the statute-book for any considerable time. The taxgatherer from earliest history has been an onwelcome presence, and his business an ungracions one. His office is inquisitorial in its very nature, leading to inquiries into people's affairs, the condition of their business, their losses and gains, matters which most people prefer keeping secret from the public. The process of assessment and collection is summary, involving, in case of delinquency, penalties and sacrifice of property. The tax is a palpable thing to be paid, or some cherished possession is to be sold to meet it. No circumstances of poverty, misfortune, sickness, or death stay the distraint. Injustice in the assessment itself is relievable only by a circuitous process, involving first an application for abatement, next an application for a refund after the tax is paid or collected, and, these being overruled, an appeal to the courts against the collector. Here at last the claimant, who has insisted that he either owed no tax at all, or a tax less than that demanded, collects from the Governinent what he has compulsorily paid, but frequently at the expense of ruinous delay and sacrifice.
Such a law could not well be popular, and has never been allowed in