Death and taxes is a common reference to the famous quotation:
Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
However, Franklin’s letter is not the origin of the phrase, which appeared earlier in Daniel Defoe’s The Political History of the Devil.
Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believ’d.
’Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes
- Sparks, Jared (1856). The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. X (1789-1790). Boston: Macmillan. p. 410.
- DeFoe, Daniel (1726). The Political History of the Devil, As Well Ancient as Modern: In Two Parts. London: Black Boy in Pater-noster Row. p. 269.
- Christopher Bullock. The Cobler of Preston, a farce. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Lincoln's-Inn-Field, Fifth Edition. Bladon, London, 1767. p. 21.
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