The general legislature will be empowered to lay any tax they chuse, to annex any penalties they please to the breach of their revenue laws; and to appoint as many officers as they may think proper to collect the taxes.
How far the power to lay and collect duties and excises may operate to dissolve the state governments, and oppress the people, it is impossible to say. …
…[T]he power to lay and collect duties and excises, would invest the Congress with authority to impose a duty and excise on every necessary and convenience of life.
This power, exercised without limitation, will introduce itself into every corner of the city, and country–It will wait upon the ladies at their toilett, and will not leave them in any of their domestic concerns; it will accompany them to the ball, the play, and the assembly; it will go with them when they visit, and will, on all occasions, sit beside them in their carriages, nor will it desert them even at church; it will enter the house of every gentleman, watch over his cellar, wait upon his cook in the kitchen, follow the servants into the parlour, preside over the table, and note down all he eats or drinks; it will attend him to his bed-chamber, and watch him while he sleeps; it will take cognizance of the professional man in his office, or his study; it will watch the merchant in the counting-house, or in his store; it will follow the mechanic to his shop, and in his work, and will haunt him in his family, and in his bed; it will be a constant companion of the industrious farmer in all his labour, it will be with him in the house, and in the field, observe the toil of his hands, and the sweat of his brow; it will penetrate into the most obscure cottage; and finally it will light upon the head of every person in the United States. To all these different classes of people, and in all
these circumstances, in which it will attend them, the language in which it will address them, will be GIVE! GIVE!
Brutus (probably Robert Yates)
The New-York Journal
December 27, 1787