A Proposed 18th Century Tax Bill Targets 27-Year-Old Spinsters…And Their Cats!

Author Mimi Matthews astounds us once again today, not only with her encyclopedic knowledge of history, but with this delightful piece about a proposition to tax old maids of twenty-seven! I know you’ll enjoy.

Now, here’s Mimi Matthews:

The 1777 edition of the London Magazine includes an interesting letter to the editor in which a gentleman—who signs himself as ‘A Friend to the Community’—has appended a proposed bill to levy a tax of ‘6d. in the pound’ on old maids. He claims that this tax will generate revenues of nearly £300,000 per annum, a sum which could then be used to help fund the British war against the American colonies. The proposed bill begins by stating:

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‘That all maids, intitled to a clear yearly income of 100, or 1000l. in the whole, and so in proportion to any fortune above that sum, do at the age of 27 years (being the time limited for the commencement of their old maidship) register themselves in the books of the lord lieutenant of the county they live in, and then and there give in a true and particular inventory or schedule of all their real and personal estate…’

The bill goes on to state that any old maids of twenty-seven years or older who failed to register with the lord lieutenant of their county and give an inventory of their property would be penalized by having ‘a fourth of their fortune forfeited for the first offence’ and ‘double that sum for … Continue reading by clicking HERE

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