XIII.10 That the amount of tributes depends on the nature of the government

Tributes should be very light under a des­po­tic govern­ment. Otherwise, who would take the trou­ble to culti­vate the land ? And fur­ther­more, how could anyone pay large tri­bu­tes under a govern­ment that adds nothing to what the sub­ject has given ?

In the sur­pri­sing power of the prince and the strange weak­ness of the peo­ple, there should be no room for ambi­gui­ties about any­thing. The tri­bu­tes should be so easy to col­lect, and so clearly esta­bli­shed, that they can be nei­ther rai­sed nor lowe­red by those who col­lect them : a por­tion of the fruits of the earth, a capi­ta­tion, or a tri­bute of a cer­tain per­cen­tage on mer­chan­dise are the only pro­per ones.

It is good in the des­po­tic govern­ment for mer­chants to have a per­so­nal exemp­tion, and for prac­tice to make them res­pec­ted ; other­wise they would be too weak in the nego­tia­tions they might have with the prince’s offi­cers.