A Proposal for a New Tax

Catalogue no: 1156
Dewey No: Subject(s): Archives
Author(s): Unknown
Total pages: 19 Illustrations: 0 Language(s): English Publication date: c.1795?
Editor: Publisher:
Dimensions: 185mm x 115mm Condition: Good
Related titles: English Dial Clocks; R.E.Rose Related library records:
Notes:
These 19 pages, handwritten in ink, would appear to be an outline proposal for the Act of Parliament, passed in 1797, which taxed the clocks and watches owned by individuals. The document, although unsigned and undated, was written by a person who had recently travelled extensively around England where he had been resident for nearly four years. He observes that the wearing of watches is universal, even among "all the lost boys, ostlers and waiters and even some carters and day labourers". The same could be said of clocks and the writer mentions the town of Sidmouth which, "had a clock in almost every house in the parish, though there was but four houses in it that paid the land tax". He also puts forward the bizarre suggestion that such a tax would be cheerfully paid, collected at small expense and with difficulty evaded." There are 15 clauses in this "rough sketch" of a new tax. If it is indeed the germ of the idea that led to the 1797 tax, its most likely recipient was the Prime Minister, William Pitt who expanded it so that the Act eventually included 37 clauses (reproduced in full in English Dial Clocks by R.E.Rose). This disastrous tax did irreperable damage to the UK horological trade and was repealed after nine months. This document, together with a transcription, was presented to the BHI Library by Geoffrey Munn of Wartski in 2008.
Room location: Library Extension Cabinet: B Shelf: 4
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