PART III. A VOYAGE TO LAPUTA, BALNIBARBI, LUGGNAGG, GLUBBDUBDRIB, AND JAPAN.
6. CHAPTER VI.
I heard a very warm debate between two professors, about the most
commodious and effectual ways and means of raising money, without
grieving the subject. The first affirmed, "the justest method
would be, to lay a certain tax upon vices and folly; and the sum
fixed upon every man to be rated, after the fairest manner, by a
jury of his neighbours." The second was of an opinion directly
contrary; "to tax those qualities of body and mind, for which men
chiefly value themselves; the rate to be more or less, according to
the degrees of excelling; the decision whereof should be left
entirely to their own breast." The highest tax was upon men who
are the greatest favourites of the other sex, and the assessments,
according to the number and nature of the favours they have
received; for which, they are allowed to be their own vouchers.
Wit, valour, and politeness, were likewise proposed to be largely
taxed, and collected in the same manner, by every person's giving
his own word for the quantum of what he possessed. But as to
honour, justice, wisdom, and learning, they should not be taxed at
all; because they are qualifications of so singular a kind, that no
man will either allow them in his neighbour or value them in
The women were proposed to be taxed according to their beauty and
skill in dressing, wherein they had the same privilege with the
men, to be determined by their own judgment. But constancy,
chastity, good sense, and good nature, were not rated, because they
would not bear the charge of collecting.
To keep senators in the interest of the crown, it was proposed that
the members should raffle for employment; every man first taking an
oath, and giving security, that he would vote for the court,
whether he won or not; after which, the losers had, in their turn,
the liberty of raffling upon the next vacancy. Thus, hope and
expectation would be kept alive; none would complain of broken
promises, but impute their disappointments wholly to fortune, whose
shoulders are broader and stronger than those of a ministry.