The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918 Page: 28
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
shows that of a total revenue of $260,780 paid into the treasury,
customs contributed $133,649.88,194 or a little more than 51 per
cent. For the fiscal year ending September 30, 1839, the per-
centage was larger. Out of a total revenue for that year of
$187,791, customs contributed $122,573.35, or 65 per cent.195
The same ratio was maintained until 1842, when, beginning with
that date, the average was 83 per cent. The period when the
tariff yielded the greatest amount was from August 1, 1843, to
February 16, 1846, when the yield was $340,506.40. This was
also the period when the receipts from other sources were at a
minimum, the income from direct taxes being only $27,561, from
licenses $15,140, and from miscellaneous sources $1815, making
the receipts from customs 88.4 per cent of the total revenue.196
The cause for this excess of customs over other forms of revenue
is that in a primitive community they are about the only tax that
can be assessed and collected with any notable success. They are
easy of administration; being indirect taxes they are not felt as
arc direct taxes. After 1842 the payment of direct taxes became
negligible. The Lamar administration had substituted the direct
tax in a large measure for the tariff, but in 1842, the HIIouston
administration returned to a low direct tax, and this reduction,
together with the difficulty of collection, caused direct taxes to
yield only 12.8 per cent of the revenue of the government. 1
Another policy which was maintained throughout the period
was to tax necessaries lightly and luxuries at a heavier rate. The
only exception was during 1840 and 1841, when a uniform ad
valorem duty of 15 per cent and 45 per cent was levied on all
articles except wines and spirits, upon which a high specific duty
was laid. During this period the rate was so low that the tariff
was not a burden to anybody. There was an effort made in 1841
to, admit such necessaries as flour, sugar, salt, coffee, lard, pork,
bacon, iron and steel, free of duty, but on account of the need
104Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, in Telegraph and Texas
Register, November 17, 1838; Miller, A Financial History of Texas, 391;
Gouge, The Fiscal History of Texas, 270.
gReport of the Secretary of the Treasury, in Telegraph and Texas
Register, December 18, 1839; Miller, loc. cit.; Gouge, loc. cit.
10"Miller, op. cit., 391.
' Ibid., 50.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918, periodical, 1918; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101073/m1/34/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.