Real and Personal

Paul Langford

in Public Life and the Propertied Englishman 1689–1798

Published in print August 1994 | ISBN: 9780198205340
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676574 | DOI:

Series: Ford Lectures

Real and Personal

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter focuses on the accommodations made by the gentry, in terms of the governing responsibility, tax liability, and distinctive economic interests of the landowning class. It also shows how traditional wisdom dictated the superiority of real property over personal property in Great Britain during the 18th century. The legislature and the Treasury turned to taxing middle-class incomes and property in their attempts to cope with the tide of wartime borrowing. At the time of the general election of 1768 transfers were condemned as being even worse than the bribery which was being conducted by the wealthy. A property qualification in land was one of the central principles of the Militia Act. In 1779, much effort was devoted to making the militia the focus of national pride. Probably the most important achievement was to separate the sensibilities of the landowner from party politics.

Keywords: taxation; middle-class incomes; land laws; borrowing; bribery

Chapter.  39066 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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