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Cumberland: Gents Mag 1766 Land Tax
evidence:-   old text:- Gents Mag
item:-  taxLand Tax
source data:-   Magazine, The Gentleman's Magazine or Monthly Intelligencer or Historical Chronicle, published by Edward Cave under the pseudonym Sylvanus Urban, and by other publishers, London, monthly from 1731 to 1922.
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Gentleman's Magazine 1766 p.581  "The Land-Tax explained and considered."
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"THE Land-Tax seems by some to be a subject very little understood. When the parliamentary settlement was made (upon the faith and credit of which, nine tenths of the land in England has since been bought) certain poor counties were to pay a certain sum, when the lad (sic) tax was at 4s. in the pound; which land in those counties was rated at a certain purvey, to provide the said certain sum; so that a purchaser, from the purvey of the land he was contracting for, could ascertain how much he must pay when the land tax is at 4s., in the pound (for every purvey in the county raises 100l.) therefore, for instance say, as the purvey of the estate in question is to 100l. one general purvey, so is the proportion he is to pay, to the sum to be raised by the county when the land tax is 4s. in the pound; in other words, the purchaser must pay so many crowns as the county rasies hundred pounds."
"We will call this an exemption from the land-tax (perhaps not 6d. in the pound upon the value) I say the purchaser paid for this exemption, and bought it on the faith of Parliament, as stockholders bought their stock, upon the faith that they would not be taxed, altho' they are as liable to it, as these lands; and the usual price of these lands, if freehold, is forty years purchase."
"Again, he that bought lands in the counties that pay land-tax, bought them lower in proportion, from 25 to 35 years purchase upon the gross rent, the neat (sic) income being what a purchase considers, and the lands bought 25 year purchase, produce no more nett, than those bought at 40 years purchase per cent, on the purchase-money; this is well known to Gentlemen in the House, who have lands of both sorts."
"Hence it is plain, that if a law should pass, for the whole nation to pay a tax of 2s. in the pound, exempted lands would immediately sink 10 per cent. in value, and the 4s. land that is eased of 2s. would rise 10 per cent. in value, just as a tax of 2s. in the pound on the stock dividends, would sink the value of stock 10 per cent., and an act passed to grant them 2s. in the pound more than the dividends, would raise the value of the stock 10 per cent. and thence I infer, that 2s. in the pound, levied upon all the land in England, would not be an equitable tax."
"My property lies in Cumberland (let every man speak for his own county) I now proceed to shew you, that besides the impropriety of taking (call it an exemption) from a man, which he has bought and paid for, the said county really cannot pay 2s. in the pound ;and tax, because the landholders do not lay up 2s. in the pound of their rents, in three years, so cannot pay such a sum every year."
"There is a ridge of mountains, that goes from the Irish Sea to the German Sea, on the North of which this county lies, by which situation we are deprived of much benefit of the sun which you enjoy; the middle of February is the middle of our winter, &the farmers must have one half of their straw and two thirds of their hay at that time, or their stock perishes. We cannot turn out horses and cows to grass till the beginning of June, at which time the grass begins to fit: add to this, that the winds and incessant rains, the latter end of the year, from Michaelmas, caused by the situation of those mountains, make it very unfavourable for goods to be exposed."
"As soon as you pass these mountains, and get into Cumberland, you perceive the air changed to a light, thin, cold air, very unfavourable to vegetation; hence the land is kept so cold and spungy, that we cannot sow oats before April, bigg (the substitute for barley) before June, and the wet and frost in winter is very unfavourable for wheat, so that our lands, with the vast quantity of manure we must employ, more than is necessary south of the mountains, costs one third at least more to till them than yours do, and does not produce half the crops yours produces; this makes our crops come so dear, that I may venture to say, of all the many thousand pounds paid for bounty of corn, I never heard of a single guinea being paid bounty"
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Gentleman's Magazine 1766 p.582  "for corn exported out of Cumberland; on the contrary, we import from the counties favoured by providence in their situation, and which are therefore taxed, many ship loads of corn every year, and it comes much cheaper than we can grow it."
"We also pay the same duty for malting our bigg, you do for barley, and your malt is one third stronger than ours, and therefore we find it cheapest to bring our malt from Southampton, it being near a shilling a bushel cheaper than ours, the goodness considered, notwithstanding the great charge of bringing it. I might add ale, and other things wherein we pay the same duty for a worse commodity than you have.In a country like this, you may be sure there is a great deal of land let for little money, because the cost of fencing and working it is so great, the markets few and far off, the corn neccessary to feed the horses procured at great expence of labour and manure, the hay short and late got, and very often bad weather to get both corn and hay when cut."
"There are about 30 lords and gentlemen, who perhaps may own a fourth of the county (most of the money remitted to them is spent at London;) some of these are lords of the manors of the greatest part of the other three-fourths of the county, fine arbitrary, which keeps the tenants poor to a proverb; the rest, to the number of about ten thousand, are land-owners, from ten to a hundred pounds a-year; there are not 40 farms in the county of 100l. a year each, mostly from 10l. to 50l. a year. These petty land owners work like slaves, they cannot afford to keep a man servant, but husband, wife, sons and daughters, all turn out to work in the fields; they wear wooden shoes, shod like a horse's foot with iron, sackcloth shirts, yarn stockings, home-spun linsey, and cloth that comes about 2s. a yard, felt hats, their diet is whey, potatoes, turnips, oatmeal bread, and oatmeal and water; theye very seldom taste meat, or wheat bread; and work very hard upon this diet; they breed many children, and this coarse fare, expanding the stomach, by the great quantity they eat to supply the nourishment necessary to the constitution, makes them grow large in bulk, and (as you may suppose) when they grow up, they post away to happier climes, and make you very good servants."
"Now, Sir, since notwithstanding this miserable way of living, they save nothing, you will easily see they must either starve or go naked, if they pay the tax, for they cannot either feed or dress meaner; else they must leave off breeding, for they have no trade; and as this breeding county seems necessary to the state, I hope their condition will supply the place of a better advocate, for an industrious, frugal, virtuous, and loyal people."
"Yours, &c."

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