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Quote of the day: There was a story that Vespasian was ins
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIII Chapter 50: Revenue collectors[AD 58]
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That same year, repeated demands on the part of the people, who denounced the excessive greed of the revenue collectors, made Nero doubt whether he should not order the repeal of all indirect taxes, and so confer a most splendid boon on the human race. But this sudden impulse was checked by the senators, who, having first heartily praised the grandeur of his conception, pointed out "that the dissolution of the empire must ensue if the revenues which supported the State were to be diminished; for as soon as the customs were swept away, there would follow a demand for the abolition of the direct taxes. Many companies for the collection of the indirect taxes had been formed by consuls and tribunes, when the freedom of the Roman people was still in its vigour, and arrangements were subsequently made to insure an exact correspondence between the amount of income and the necessary disbursements. Certainly some restraint, they admitted, must be put on the cupidity of the revenue collectors, that they might not by new oppressions bring into odium what for so many years had been endured without a complaint." Eodem anno crebris populi flagitationibus, immodestiam publicanorum arguentis, dubitavit Nero, an cuncta vectigalia omitti iuberet idque pulcherrimum donum generi mortalium daret. sed impetum eius, multum prius laudata magnitudine animi, attinuere seniores, dissolutionem imperii docendo, si fructus, quibus res publica sustineretur, deminuerentur: quippe sublatis portoriis sequens, ut tributorum abolitio expostularetur. plerasque vectigalium societates a consulibus et tribunis plebis constitutas acri etiam tum populi Romani libertate; reliqua mox ita provisa, ut ratio quaestuum et necessitas erogationum inter se congruere[nt]. temperandas plane publicanorum cupidines, ne per tot annos sine querela tolerata novis acerbitatibus ad invidiam