This section is from the "The Science Of Wealth" book, by Amasa Walker.
There is still another mode of supplying the treasury; viz., by the sale of stamps. This is an important branch of the public revenue in all highly taxed communities. Stamps are required upon all letters, newspapers, and other matter carried through the mails; upon all bills of merchandise and bills of lading; upon legal instruments of every name and nature; upon patent medicines, &c.
This is cheap and efficient, and as desirable as any form of indirect taxation. Of course it bears unequally upon different classes, and is more or less vexatious, particularly when first introduced; but habit will, after a while, reconcile the people to it, and it is as little likely to be resisted or evaded as any other form of exaction. It is also collected with very little expense, as no functionaries are necessary. It should therefore be carried out, as far as practicable. The British government raises a large sum in this way: eight millions sterling are received for stamps. The United-States treasury received, for the year ending June 30, 1865, the sum of $11,162,392.
These are granted by both national and State authority, for a great variety of purposes. It is a more economical and convenient mode of raising a revenue than by excise on manufactures, &c, requiring only annual renewal. There is also less opportunity for fraud and evasion. It is therefore a very desirable form of taxation; and the United-States government has already availed itself of this mode of raising revenue, to the extent of $12,613,478 for the financial year 1865; and this sum may doubtless be greatly increased in the future.