Hostname: page-component-6b989bf9dc-zrclq Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-13T10:56:17.665Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

POLITICAL ARITHMETIC AND THE ENGLISH LAND TAX IN THE REIGN OF WILLIAM III*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2013

PHILIP LOFT*
Affiliation:
University College London
*
Department of History, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BTp.loft@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

This article explores the role of the method of political arithmetic and political arithmeticians in the changing methods of raising finance during the Nine Years War. It discusses the actions of parliament-men in committees and their interaction with reports containing data, and the influence of projectors on the decision to introduce, and later abandon, the pound rate. Throughout this period, political arithmeticians were active participants, providing data, advice, and schemes to the treasury and parliament, and when they were not, ‘country’ MPs, in particular, were active in calling for data and leading its cross-examination. This article suggests that debates on public finance did not occur along party lines, with ‘county communities’ given fresh presence by the quantification of the inequality of the land tax burden. Political arithmetic is shown to have played an important role in the processes and negotiations that occurred over the setting of taxation policy in the ‘long eighteenth century’.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

*

I thank Julian Hoppit for his generous encouragement and comments on this article. Thanks also to Clare Jackson, Andrew Preston and the anonymous reviewers. Publication of pre-1800 works is London unless otherwise stated.

References

1 Hoppit, J., ‘Political arithmetic in eighteenth-century England’, Economic History Review, 3 (1996), pp. 516–40, at pp. 516, 519, 525Google Scholar.

2 Downie, J., ‘The commission of public accounts and the formation of the country party’, English Historical Review, 91 (1976) pp. 3351Google Scholar; Innes, J., ‘Legislation and public participation, 1760–1830’, in Lemmings, D., ed., The British and their laws in the eighteenth century (Woodbridge, 2005), pp. 102–32Google Scholar; Hayton, D., ed., The House of Commons, 1690–1715 5 vols., (Cambridge, 2002), i, pp. 374–8Google Scholar, 395–406.

3 Pincus, S., 1688: the first modern revolution (London, 2009), ch. 12Google Scholar.

4 Beckett, J. V., ‘Land tax or excise: the levying of taxation in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England’, English Historical Review, 100 (1985), pp. 285308, at p. 285CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ward, W., The English land tax in the eighteenth-century (Oxford, 1953)Google Scholar, p. 21.

5 Innes, J., ‘Parliament and the shaping of eighteenth-century English social policy’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th ser., 40 (1990), pp. 6393, at pp. 87, 89CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Beckett, ‘Land tax or excise’, pp. 285–9; Ward, The English land tax, pp. 2–3.

7 Petty, W., Political arithmetic (1690), p. viiGoogle Scholar.

8 Davenant, C., Discourses on the publick revenues, and on the trade of England (2 vols., 1698), i, p. 2Google Scholar; Hull, C. H., ed., The economic writings of Sir William Petty (2 vols., London, 1899), ii, p. 397Google Scholar; Landsdowne, H. W. E. ed., The Petty–Southwell correspondence, 1676–1687 (London, 1928), pp. 230–1Google Scholar, 252, 282.

9 Slack, P., ‘Government and information in seventeenth-century England’, Past and Present, 184 (2004), pp. 3368, at pp. 48–51Google Scholar; Petty, W., Verbum sapienti (1691), pp. 12Google Scholar; Hull, Economic writings of Sir William Petty, i, pp. 239–40, 301–2; Graunt, J., Natural and political observation upon the bills of mortality (1662), p. 42Google Scholar; King, G., ‘The LCC Burns journal’, in Laslett, P., ed., The earliest classics (London, 1973), p. 264Google Scholar; Houghton, J., ‘An account of the acres and houses, with the proportional tax &c of each county inEnglandand Wales’, in Cobbett, W., Parliamentary history of England (36 vols., London, 1806–20), v, Appendix, pp. civcviGoogle Scholar; idem, Collection for the improvement of husbandry and trade, 24 (1693); Davenant, C., An essay on the ways and means of supplying the war (1695), p. 109Google Scholar; idem, Discourses on the publick revenues, i, pp. 239–43.

10 Poovey, M., The history of the modern fact: problems of knowledge in the science of wealth and society (Chicago, IL, 1998) p. 147Google Scholar.

11 Hoppit, J., ed., Failed legislation, 1660–1800, extracted from the Commons and Lords Journals (London, 1997), p. 11Google Scholar.

12 Sunderland to Portland, 13 July 1694, Nottingham University Library (NU), Portland MSS, PwA 1238.

13 Luttrell, N., A brief historical relation of state affairs from September 1678 to April 1714 (6 vols., Oxford, 1857), iv, p. 136Google Scholar.

14 Raithby, J., ed., Statues of the realm (London, 1819) (SR), xi, pp. 142, 149–51, 180–218Google Scholar.

15 Luttrell, A brief historical relation, iv, p. 14.

16 SR, xii, pp. 166–89, part xcviii.

17 Foxcroft, H., ed., Life and letters of Sir George Savile, first marquis of Halifax (2 vols., London, 1898), ii, p. 137Google Scholar; Cobbett, Parliamentary history of England, v, p. 657.

18 For example, in the Commons between 1690 and 1693, Journals of the House of Commons (CJ), x, pp. 432, 570, 700, xi, pp. 26–7. For the Lords, between 2 Dec. 1691 and 16 Jan. 1692, Journals of the House of Lords (LJ), xiv, pp. 668, 677, 688, 693–4, 697, 699, xv, pp. 7–8, 14, 25, 31, 34. This article is based primarily on these printed sources, reflecting its focus on the use of political arithmetic in parliament.

19 Shaw, W., ed., Calendar of treasury books (London, 1931–9) (CTB), ix, p. 1926Google Scholar.

20 SR, xi, pp. 259–301, part xxxv.

21 CTB, x, p. 557; CJ, x, pp. 665, 682, xiv, pp. 117–38, xvi, p. 226.

22 Davenant, An essay on the ways and means, p. 109; idem, Discourses on the publick revenues, i, pp. 239–43.

23 CJ, xi, p. 604, xii, pp. 30–1, 136–8.

24 CTB, ix, p. 1926, xi, pp. 317–22.

25 Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC), House of Lords MSS, 1690–1691 (London, 1892), pp. 356401Google Scholar; HMC, House of Lords MSS, 1693–1695 (London, 1900), pp. 20, 60–96Google Scholar.

26 CJ, xi, pp. 51–2.

27 H. Horwitz, ed., The parliamentary diary of Narcissus Luttrell, 1691–1693 (Oxford, 1972) (Luttrell, Diary), p. 112Google Scholar.

28 Cobbett, Parliamentary history, v, pp. 553, 566.

29 Grey, A., Debates of the House of Commons from the year 1667 to the year 1694 (10 vols., London, 1769), x, p. 358Google Scholar.

30 Ibid., ix, p. 403. ‘Mr Godolphin’ may refer to Charles or Sidney Godolphin, both serving MPs.

31 Williams, O. C., ed., The minute book of James Courthope (Camden Miscellany 20, 3rd ser., 133, London, 1953), p. 2Google Scholar.

32 Winnington, S., Notes on debates and proceedings in the House of Commons, ed. Hayton, D. W. (Camden 4th ser., 34, London, 1987), p. 395Google Scholar.

33 Hardy, W., ed., Calendar of state papers, domestic series of the reign of William and Mary (London, 1895) (CSPD), 1698, p. 43Google Scholar.

34 Cowper, W., Notes taken in the money-chair, ed. Hayton, D. W. (Camden 4th ser., 34, London, 1987), p. 363Google Scholar.

35 Reports to the treasury were limited to the details of the deficiencies of first, third and fourth four shilling aids, and which were received every twenty-eight days between July 1698 and November 1701. See CTB, xii–xvii.

36 James, G. P. R., ed., Letters illustrative of the reign of William III from 1696 to 1708 addressed to the duke of Shrewsbury, by James Vernon (3 vols., London, 1841)Google Scholar (Vernon correspondence), ii, p. 3.

37 CJ, xii, p. 93; HMC, Le Fleming MSS (London, 1890), pp. 349, 350Google Scholar.

38 Proceedings in the House of Commons, 9–11 Feb. 1698, The National Archives (TNA), State Papers 32/9, fo. 178.

39 CJ, xii, pp. 5–6, 424.

40 Ibid., xi, pp. 214, 360–1. The books for the commission for public accounts were only made available in abstract. Cf. CJ, x, p. 619. Here three revenue papers were presented and sent to committee, reflecting the specialization in interpreting reports and the time required to examine them.

41 HMC, House of Lords MSS, 1693–1695, p. 60.

42 CJ, xii, pp. 30–2.

43 The minute book of James Courthope, ed. Williams, p. 2; newsletter to Sir Joseph Williamson, 21 Jan. 1698, TNA, State Papers 32/9, fos. 86–7.

44 LJ, xiv, pp. 677, 686, xv, pp. 7–8.

45 HMC, House of Lords MSS, 1693–1695, pp. ii, xix, 204, 497, 510–11.

46 TNA, State Papers 32/9, fo. 317. For the ‘county community’, see in particular Everitt, A., ‘The county community’, in Ives, E. W., ed., The English Revolution, 1600–1660 (London, 1971)Google Scholar, and Holmes, C., ‘The county community in Stuart histiography’, British Studies, 19 (1980), pp. 5473Google Scholar.

47 HMC, Le Fleming MSS, p. 350.

48 Proceedings in parliament, 9–11 Mar. 1698, TNA, State Papers 32/9, fo. 317.

49 HMC, Le Fleming MSS, pp. 349–50.

50 Hayton, D., ed., The parliamentary diary of Sir Richard Cocks, 1698–1702 (Oxford, 1996), pp. 20–1Google Scholar, 106–7.

51 CTB, xi, pp. 113, 142.

52 King, ‘Burns journal’, pp. 41–6, 141.

53 Ward, The English land tax, p. 21.

54 Beckett, ‘Land tax or excise’, p. 307.

55 Lambert, S., ed., House of Commons sessional papers of the eighteenth century, 1715–1800 (145 vols., Winnington, DE, 1975)Google Scholar, i, index. For reports, pp. 39, 42.

56 Smith, D. K., ‘Land tax returns as a source for studying the English economy in the eighteenth century’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 54 (1981), pp. 5461, at pp. 57, 107Google Scholar.

57 HMC, House of Lords MSS, 1690–1691, p. 406.

58 Beckett, J. V., ‘Local custom and “new taxation” in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: the example of Cumberland’, Northern History, 12 (1976), pp. 105–26, at pp. 113–14Google Scholar.

59 CTB, xvi, p. 389.

60 HMC, Le Fleming MSS, p. 348.

61 TNA, State Papers 32/9, fo. 178.

62 SR, vii, pp. 218–38, part xlii.

63 Brewer, J., The sinews of power: war, money and the English state, 1688–1783 (London, 1989), p. 150Google Scholar.

64 Pincus, 1688, pp. 368–9.

65 Grey, Debates, x, pp. 37–8.

66 Hampden, J., Some considerations about the most proper way of raising money in the present conjuncture (1691), p. 34Google Scholar.

67 Temple, W., An essay upon taxes calculated for the present juncture of affairs in England (1693), pp. 5, 8, 22Google Scholar.

68 R. Logworth to Roger Kenyon, 7 Oct. 1690, Lancashire Record Office, Kenyon of Peel, DDKE Acc. 7840 HMC, 748.

69 Lord Brooks to Andrew Archer, 22 Oct. 1692 (?), Shakespeare Centre Archive, Archer of Tanworth, DR 37/2/88/71.

70 Pincus, 1688, pp. 384–5.

71 Sunderland to Portland, 3 May 1693, NU Portland MSS, PwA 1212/2.

72 Hatsell, J., Precedents of proceedings in the House of Commons (4 vols., London, 1818), iii, p. 242Google Scholar.

73 CJ, x, pp. 744–5.

74 Luttrell, Diary, pp. 61–2.

75 Hayton, ed., The House of Commons, 1690–1715, iv, p. 417.

76 Qu. Luttrell, Diary, p. 114. Clarges offered a similar definition in Cobbett, Parliamentary history, v, p. 656.

77 Vernon correspondence, ii, p. 428, for the decision of 8 Feb. 1700.

78 Luttrell, Diary, pp. 112–14.

79 Sir Robert Howard to the king, 31 Jan. 1691, TNA, State Papers 8/9, fos. 210–11.

80 CTB, ix, pp. cli–clxxiv.

81 Downie, ‘The commission of public accounts’, p. 51.

82 Hayton, ed., The House of Commons, 1690–1715, iii, p. 1058.

83 Graunt, Natural and political observations, p. ii.

84 Luttrell, Diary, p. 403.

85 Henry Guy to first earl of Portland, 15 July 1695, NU Portland MSS, PwA 506.

86 Vernon correspondence, ii, pp. 3, 422; CSPD, 1698, pp. 77–8.

87 Thirsk, J. and Cooper, J., eds., Seventeenth-century economic documents (Oxford, 1972), p. 677Google Scholar.

88 HMC, Le Fleming MSS, pp. 31, 142, 350.

89 Luttrell, Diary, pp. 61–2, 311–13. They all spoke for a pound rate; HMC, Le Fleming MSS, pp. 31, 142.

90 Luttrell, Diary, p. 114.

91 Notes of proceedings in the House of Commons, 9–12 Apr. 1698, TNA, State Papers 32/10, fo. 104.

92 Hayton, ed., The House of Commons, 1690–1715, iv, p. 971; Luttrell, Diary, p. 114.

93 Hayton, ed., The House of Commons, 1690–1715, iv, p. 966.

94 Houghton, ‘An account of the acres and houses’; King, ‘Burns journal’, p. 11.

95 For Petty's attempt, see ‘A table containing the whole number of acres etc’, in Slack, P., ‘Measuring the national wealth in seventeenth-century England’, Economic History Review, 57 (2004), pp. 607–35Google Scholar, at pp. 630–2.

96 HMC, Le Fleming MSS, p. 345.

97 Pincus, 1688, p. 598 nn. 40–1.

98 A role parliament was fulfilling in the 1620s, see Kyle, C., Theater of state: parliament and political culture in early Stuart England (Stanford, CA, 2012), pp. 119–45Google Scholar.

99 Davenant, An essay on the ways and means, pp. 75–91; Houghton, ‘An account of the acres and houses’.

100 King, ‘Burns journal’, p. 250; Lansdowne, H. W. E., ed., The Petty papers (2 vols., London, 1928), ii, pp. 711Google Scholar.

101 Luttrell, Diary, p. 337; Houghton, ‘An account of the acres and houses’; idem, Collection for the improvement of husbandry and trade, 25 (1693).

102 Houghton, Collection for the improvement of husbandry and trade, 16 (1692).

103 CSPD, 1693, p. 441; ‘An account of the acres and houses, with the proportional tax of each county in England and Wales’, TNA, State Papers 32/5, fo. 63.

104 Davenant, C., Postscript to a discourse of credit (1701), p. 8Google Scholar; Waddell, D., ‘The writings of Charles Davenant (1656–1714)’, Library, 11 (1956), p. 207Google Scholar; Ward, The English land tax, p. 18.

105 Charles Davenant to Williamson, Jan. 1678, TNA, State Papers 29/400, fo. 244, and Charles Davenant to Williamson, 22 Aug. 1678, State Papers 29/406, fo. 43.

106 King, G., ‘Natural and political observations and conclusions upon the state and condition of England, 1696’, in Chalmers, G., ed., An estimate of the comparative strength of Great Britain; and of the losses of her trade, from every war since the Revolution (London, 1804), pp. 55–6, 62Google Scholar.

107 King, ‘Burns journal’, pp. 152–4, 159, 241.

108 Thirsk and Cooper, eds., Seventeenth-century economic documents, pp. 790–8; and Nares, R. et al. , A catalogue of the Harleian manuscripts, in the British Museum (4 vols., London, 1908–12)Google Scholar, ii, p. 317, iii, pp. 421, 426.

109 Houghton, Collection for the improvement of husbandry and trade, 25 and 32 (1693).

110 Ibid., 29 and 30 (1693).

111 Glaisyer, N., ‘Readers, correspondents and communities’, in Shepard, A. and Withington, P., eds., Communities in early modern England: networks, places, rhetoric (Manchester, 2000), pp. 235–52Google Scholar, Houghton, ‘An account of the acres and houses’.

112 Houghton, Collection for the improvement of husbandry and trade, 25 (1693).

113 Treadwell, M., ‘London trade publishers, 1675–1750’, Library, 4 (1982), p. 124Google Scholar.

114 King, ‘Burns journal’, p. 264; Whitworth, C., ed., The political and commercial works … of Charles D'Avenant (5 vols., 1771), iv, pp. 145–6Google Scholar; The minute book of James Courthope, ed. Williams, p. 60; Brooks, C., ‘Projecting, political arithmetic and the act of 1695’, English Historical Review, 97 (1982), pp. 3153, at p. 42Google Scholar. For lobbying, see Kyle, C. and Peacey, J., ‘Under much coming and going’, in their Parliament at work: parliamentary committees, political power and public access in early modern England (London, 2002), pp. 123Google Scholar.

115 Holmes, G., ‘Gregory King and the social structure of pre-industrial England’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 27 (1977), pp. 4168, at p. 46Google Scholarn. 23.

116 Davenant, Discourses on the publick revenues, ii, pp. 240–1.

117 Hatsell, Precedents of proceedings, iii, pp. 234–5.

118 CJ, xii, pp. 601–2.

119 Innes, J., Inferior politics: social problems and social policies in eighteenth-century Britain (Oxford, 2009), pp. 144–5Google Scholar.

120 Davenant, An essay on the ways and means, p. 79.

121 King, ‘Burns journal’, pp. 152–4.

122 Graunt, Natural and political observations, p. 74.

123 Ibid., pp. i, 12, 59.

124 Lansdowne, Petty–Southwell correspondence, pp. 230–1, 252, 282.

125 Davenant, Discourses on the publick revenues, i, p. 14.

126 Brooks, C., ‘Public finance and political stability: the administration of the land tax, 1688–1720’, Historical Journal, 17 (1974), pp. 281300, at p. 282CrossRefGoogle Scholar.