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Monday: January 9, 2006

Tragic Anniversary

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:48 PM UTC

From today’s (I mean the 9th) entry in The Oxford Companion to the Year: An exploration of calendar customs and time-reckoning, by Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens:

On this day in 1799 an income tax of two shillings in the pound was first introduced in Great Britain to finance the war against Napoleon; modern readers may better understand the rate as 10 per cent. The tax was a wartime expedient, and became permanent only in the later nineteenth century; at that date one still spoke of ‘the income tax’, in contrast to the modern ‘income tax’, constructed without the article as if were a force of nature.