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Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association / Transactions of the Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association, including a full report of the industrial convention held at Neenah, Wisconsin, February, 1886. Together with proceedings of the Association for 1884, to January 1, '86
Vol. XI (1886)

Bright, C. M.
Taxation,   pp. 273-306 PDF (6.8 MB)


Page 300


300   TRANSACTIONS OF THE NORTHERN WISCONSIN
them? When I came to Wisconsin I footed it from Mil-
waukee to Fond du Lac in two days. It was good bye to
railroads at Buffalo.
Mr. Mott- I would like to say a few words. The paper
that was read by Mr. Bright alluding to this land question,
and discussing it in some measure, very inadequately pre-
sented it. It is a question too large and too profound to be
discussed thoroughly and understandingly within the limits
of the time that this meeting can afford to devote to it. The
idea which he wished to get at was one that was elaborated
by Henry George, and the suggestions which have been
thrown out by Mr. Roe and others that we would lose our
property are not just. The idea is that the government
should have the fee simple of all the land in the country,
and that whoever occupied any land should pay ground
rent upon it, and that his title should be perpetual to him
and his assignees forever so long as he chose to pay the rent
and put the land to use. No man should be limited to the
amount of land, but he should occupy just as much as he
was willing to pay rent on. The result of that would be
that he would occupy no more land than he could occupy
with a profit to himself, so that when I or any other poor
man wanted a portion of this land, we could get it. If he
could afford to occupy it remuneratively he would allow me
to take my little section of it for the support of myself and
family. That is the idea upon which that great theory of
land is based. I am not standing up to advocate or con
demn it. The idea that this system would increase the num-
ber of tax gatherers is fallacious. It would take no more
tax gatherers to collect the tax on each city lot in the city of
Neenah than it does under the present system. The only
question which arises is, could the land titles be affected
without affecting the public at large. Mr. Roe alluded to
the fact that there was great pauperism and distress in the
old countries, and he seemed to convey the idea that that
arose partly out of the free trade system. I apprehend that
free trade had nothing to do with it. I apprehend that the
landlord system of Great Britain and Ireland has more to
do with it than free trade, and the prodigality and profligacy


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