Montesquieu

We shall men­tion in pas­sing a tax ins­ti­tu­ted in seve­ral sta­tes on the various arti­cles of civil contracts. Holding off the tax col­lec­tor requi­res consi­de­ra­ble know­ledge, these things being sub­ject to subtle dis­cus­sions. Then the tax col­lec­tor, the inter­pre­ter of the prince’s sta­tu­tes, exerts an arbi­trary power over for­tu­nes. Experience has shown that a tax on the paper on which the contract must be writ­ten would be far pre­fe­ra­ble.