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SUBSIDIES, AND FIFTEENTHS.
THE Taxes, which are raised upon the Subject, according to Judge BLACKSTONE, are either annual or perpetual. The usual annual Taxes are those upon Land and Malt.
The Land Tax, in it's modern shape, has superseded all the former methods of rating either property or persons in respect of their property, whether by Tenths or Fifteenths, Subsidies on Land, Hydages, Scutages, or Talliages,-a short explication of which will, however, greatly assist us in understanding our antient Laws and History.
Tenths, and Fifteenths, were temporary aids issựing out of personal property, and granted to the King by Parliament. They were formerly the real Tenth or Fifteenth part of all the moveables belonging to the Subject; when such moveables, or per
* Commentaries, edited by Archbold, vol. i. p. 308.
sonal estates, were a very different and a much less considerable thing than what they usually are at this day. Tenths are said to have been first granted under HENRY the Second, who took advantage of the fashionable zeal for Croisades to introduce this new taxation, in order to defray the expense of a pious expedition to Palestine, which he really or seemingly had projected against SALADINE, Emperor of the Saracens. But, afterwards, Fifteenths were more usually granted than Tenths. Originally the amount of these Taxes was uncertain, being levied by Assessments new made at every fresh grant of the Commons, a Commission for which is preserved by MATTHEW Paris : but it was at length reduced to a certainty in the eighth year of EDWARD the Third, when, by virtue of the King's Commission, new Taxations were made of every Township, Borough, and City in the Kingdom, and recorded in the Exchequer; which Rate was, at the time, the Fifteenth part of the value of every Township, the whole amounting to about 29,0001., and therefore it still kept up the name of a Fifteenth, when, by the alteration of the value of money and the increase of personal property, things came to be in a very
different situation. So that when, of later years, the Commons granted the King a Fifteenth, every parish in England immediately knew their proportion of it ; that is, the same identical sum which was assessed by the same Aid in the eighth of EDWARD the Third,—and then raised it by a rate among themselves, and returned it into the Royal Exchequer.
These duties, however, must always be referred to the necessities of the times when extraordinary exactions were required, -and under pretences of this nature a tenth or a fifteenth part of the goods of Merchants was occasionally taken for the purposes of the State.2
But the method of rating Subsidies was so loose, and it became at last so unequal
· Frost's Notices relative to the early History of Hull,
and uncertain, that the Parliament, in 1663, was obliged to change it into a Land Tax.
In 1491, JOHN HILL granted an estate in Burford, upon trust, that the rents should be paid to The Chamberlains, for the benefit of the town, when Taxes or Fifteenths of the King (HENRY the Seventh) should be imposed, or to the discharge of any other burdens, if they should be demanded.
In 1547, RICHARD HUMFREY bequeathed to the Parish of Boughton, in the County of Northampton, certain lands, to the intent that the rents thereof should be yearly bestowed for amending the Highways thereabout, or towards the payment of a Fifteenth, or to any other needful causes of that town, or to the relief of the poor of the same. 4
In 1562, ROGER MUNDIE, a Grantee in trust for Sir Martin Bowes, by his Will, dated the 12th of August of that year, after reciting a Deed of Conveyance from · Rep. VIII. p.
Rep. XIII. p. 43.
Sir MARTIN Bowes to him, to the effect hereafter mentioned, gave to The Wardens and Commonalty of The Mystery of Goldsmiths, all that his great Messuage or tenement, with all the stables, courts, gardens and hereditaments thereto belonging, situate in the parish of St. Botolph without Billingsgate, in London, and also 22 gardens and a small tenement and garden, all situate in the same Parish, and which great Messuage, gardens and premises were then of the yearly rent of 131. 6s. 8d. And after reciting that the Ward of Langbourn, in London, in which Sir MARTIN Bowes then inhabited, was charged for every Fifteenth, granted by Act of Parliament to the King, the sum of 201. 10s., which was a great burden to the poor within the said Ward, the Will of Sir MARTIN Bowes, and also of him the testator ROGER MUNDIE, was, that whensoever any Fifteenth after the decease of Sir MARTIN BOWES should be granted by Act of Parliament, the said Wardens and Commonalty should, with