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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

42.—The Land Tex Act of 1962

page 193

42.—The Land Tex Act of 1962.

In 1692 Parliament again returned to the principle of the three statutes above specified, of the 1 W. & M., sess. 1 c. 20, sess. 2. c. 1, and sess. 2. c. 5. The statute 4 W. & M. c. 1 granted an aid of 4s. in the pound on the true yearly value of real property, and 24s. for every £100 personal property (except debts, stock upon land, and household stuff), or 4s. in the pound on £6, the legal interest of money at that time. The following words of this act, 4 W. & M. c. 1, show that the tax was intended to be a bonâ fide tax on the full yearly value at the time, "According to the full true yearly value thereof, without any respect had to the present rents reserved for the same, if such rents have been reserved upon such leases or estates made, for which any fine or income hath been paid or reserved, or have been lessened or abated upon consideration of money laid out or to be laid out in improvements, and without any respect had to any former rates or taxes thereupon imposed, or making any abatement in respect to reparations, taxes, parish dirties, or any other charges whatsoever" l; and the Commissioners who were appointed in every district by the act for the more effectual putting of the act in execution, were ordered to direct warrants to two of the most sufficient inhabitants of each parish, &c., requiring them to be assessors, and the said assessors were required to inform themselves by all lawful ways and means of the true and full yearly value of all real property lying within the limits of those places with which they should be charged; and being so thereof ascertained, they were to assess all the said real property "after the rate of 4s. for every 20s. of the full yearly value as the same were let for or worth to be let at the time of assessing thereof" m.

The act does not say "the full yearly value at the time of the pasting of this Act" but, "the full yearly value at the time of assessing thereof."

As far then as the words of their laws enable us to judge of their meaning and intention, the framers of no inconsiderable portion of that system of Government which is generally understood when we say the English Constitution, certainly intended that the tax which the land was to pay was to be a certain proportion of the "full true yearly value thereof at the time of assessing thereof," not a proportion of a nominal yearly value thereof.