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Dogs

Page history last edited by jade.morais-gomes@... 2 years, 10 months ago

The Dog Tax of 1796

 

 

 

The dog tax passed in 1796 but was actually thought of throughout the eighteenth-century, especially in order to contain the terrible and regular contagions of rabies, mostly carried out by dogs, that devastated the urban areas of the United Kingdom for centuries.

 

The origins of the idea of the tax:

Numerous outbreaks of the disease were recorded during the eighteenth-century especially since the 1730s. Depending on the place where the outbreak happened, the city or county could decided to clear the streets of all the dogs for a period of time of a month or two to avoid a contamination. This was what happened in Edinburgh in 1738, it was one of the earliest attempt recorded of containment of the rabid dogs. The Magistrates of the city decided to release a proclamation that obliged every owner of dogs bitten by another one, under suspicion of rabies, to kill their dog, and every other to remove their dogs from the city for at least a month. If they did not comply they would have to pay five shilling per dog and face up to twelve months of imprisonment. In the same time they  allowed the officers of the law -- City-guard and Town-Officers-- to kill all the dogs they saw in the streets and being rewarded with one shilling for each kill they made. Rapidly the situation had degenerated and even the dogs “that leads the blind about the streets” fell victims of the proclamation and ladies were attacked while they were walking their lapdog (see lapdogs).

 

 Figure 1: Extract of an article issued in the Gentleman's Magazine in April 1738 pages 217-219, testifying of the violences that followed the proclamation of 1738 about dogs in Edinburgh.  

 

These actions were really criticized, even more considering that the bounty on the dogs was believed to have lured greedy men to the job of dog killer, considered as people who were ready to murder the man’s best friend for a shilling. But there were more pragmatic reasons to limit the hunt and killing to only stray dogs. Indeed the owner of a dog killed could prosecute a dog killer. One of the most impressive case occured in 1763, when a gentleman had to pay £190 for a spaniel (see spaniels) that one of his game keeper had killed on his land, which made the dog one of the most expensive of its time. 
In response to those kind of cases some municipalities tried to shield the dog killers from legal repercussions, like in London in 1760, but the results of this was some assaults on humans and their properties. Considering that the results of such actions were at best, mixed, some people started to turn to think of another way to regulate and control the stray  and, or dangerous dogs, a dog tax.

 

The firsts attempts of a dog tax: 

 

       Figure 2 a. b. c.: Extracts of a letter published in The Gentleman's Magazine  written by R. Hermitt in December 1750 page 38, where the author explain having petitioned in favour of a dog tax.

 

One of the first occurence to a dog tax in the eighteenth century was in an article published in 1750 who pushes to tax several animals considered as useless in a town or a city. It explained that it would be mostly useful for the poor, because when an outbreak of rabies occurs they were the less able to deal with it. In 1755 a first attempt to promulgate a dog tax failed, in spite of the demand from the public mainly through petitions, because of the lack of members of the committee, in charge of writing the bill, present to the meeting they had to cancel it, and the dog tax disappeared from the Parliament agenda.

In 1776 a motion was put in the House of Commons to discuss a dog tax, it entered in committee but disappeared again until 1796 for unclear reasons.

 

This year a severe outbreak of rabies burst, and several petitions arrived in the Parliament demanding a control of the dog population through a dog tax, such as one from Leicester. In April of that year a bill had been drawn up. One of the reason for this was the multiplicity of case of hydrophobia -- the human disease which follow the bite of a mad dog. But due to this project of tax a great debate followed, between those who wanted the tax in order to reduce the number of potentially dangerous dogs, either because of the disease either because they were stray dogs, and between the ones that did not want the tax.

 

The Debate about the dog tax:

 

The bill stated that “The number of dogs that wander about in this country had been long complained as a public nuisance.”, from issues with food, to damages caused by dogs, passing by the improper use of them or what they called their “madness”, so about the rabies the dogs could have. They considered that the revenue earned through the dog taxation would be about £62 000 per year, so about 0,45% of the annual budget, which was of £13796874 per year at the time.

 

Figure 3 a.b.: Extract of the public revenu of 1790 when the dog tax was considered under "New and Additional taxes" and the total of the revenue of the Crown at the time written by John Sinclair in The history of the public revenue of the British empire

 

But also that every owner that did not comply could have his dog killed and could be fined of five shilling per dog but also imprisoned up to twelve months, just as what had happened in Edinburgh in 1738. They also state that the money raised by the dog tax should be used for general county purpose.

When the bill was still in discussion a lot of people gave their opinion about what kind of tax it should be, or to whom the tax should be addressed. For example several people discussed the fact that the dogs in the rural areas where often used for work, such as the sheep dogs, or that the poorest people could not afford to pay a tax on their dogs and that they were their only companion, because even then the dogs were considered as the man’s best friend, and at some extend sometimes, the only companion of the poor people and they played an important role of moral support to those people.

 

The arguments in favour of the tax:

 

Figure 4: A mad dog in a Coffee House by Thomas Rowlandson (around 1800)

 

 

People in favour of the dog tax had several arguments, one of the main one was the fact that the cases hydrophobia were rising all around the country according to the Parliamentary History of England between 1795 and 1797:
"Hydrophobia had lately increased to a shocking degree. In one week, in the course of last year, no fewer than 33 persons infected with this distemper had applied to the Manchester Infirmary and in Southampton between 200-300 people were bit by mad dogs."

But also that the bill was considered after several petitions from the people which gave them a leverage that they were supported: it was a public request, and a need from the people lived amongst the dogs and the threat of the next rabies burst.

Some people also underlined that it would actually be a way to reduce the poor rate of the country, and to help them because they cannot protect, or at least deal with a rabies crisis as well as the middle and upper class.

Some other considers that the higher the tax would be, the saffer it would be, because people would not get dogs if they cannot afford it, and the ones who do would be extra careful with their dogs, so the streets would be safer with very few stray dogs and more money from the tax.

But the fact that the tax should be paid by every owner of dogs is also debated  amongst the people who are for a dog tax even though some would highlight the fact that if not everyone paid the dog tax, it would lead to a tax evasion since it would be easy for a owner to give the guard of his dog to someone excepted of paying taxes so he would not have to pay the tax for his own dog.

 

The arguments against the tax:

 

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  19 April 1796.  Hand-coloured etching

Figure 5: Isaac Cruikshank, Effects of the Dog Tax (1796) 

 

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1796  Hand-coloured etching

Figure 6: James Gillray, The Dog Tax  (1796)

 

 The people who were against the dog tax argued on the contrary that there was not that many case of hydrophobia and questioned the statistics given by the other side and sometimes even insinuated that the numbers were inflated by some kind of fashion to put every symptoms on a dog bite.
They also felt that they better be taxing something else than dogs, like brothels, because dogs were considered more acceptable than prostitutes (see Prostitution).
They also wondered why only the dogs should be taxed and not other animals, just like horses (see Horses) that came often together before that, but they underlined that since the horses were considered more “nobles” than dogs they would not be taxed, even though they could also be victims of the rabies, and that their owners were often more rich than the dog owners.

Others argue that the relationship between a dog and its master was to special for being taxed because, as argue John D. Blaisdell in The Rise of Man's Best Friend: The Popularity of Dogs as Companion Animals in Late Eighteenth Century London as Reflected by the Dog Tax of 1796, people started to considered the dogs as the man’s best friend as they are not only used for the work anymore but also kept as “useless animal companions” so as pet, they also thought that the dogs might be the only joy a poor person could have, or the only moral support throughout life and the fact that the government could put a tax on it would stripe this joy from those people.

 

Those debates mostly happened through the newspapers where people sent their article or letter to in order to be published and have their voice heard in the public debate. However some people decided to write poems about how they felt towards the dog tax. They often exchanged the place of the dogs with the figure of the politicians that were decided of the fate of the dogs, humanizing the dogs and satirizing the people in power at the same time, like the dog tax:

Figure 7: The Dog tax, [1796?]. The Making of the Modern World

 

Or even with the use of the it narrative in order to give the dogs a voice so  they can use to make people feels guilty about their fate through the emphasis of the relationship between a dog and its owner, just as in The lamentation of a dog, on the tax, and its consequences. Addressed to the Right Hon. William Pitt. With notes by Scriblerus Secundus published in 1796 by an unknown author.

"May trust their darkness to our guiding eye; Together we may droop, together die."l.68.

 

Figure 8: Extract of The lamentation of a dog, on the tax, and its consequences. Addressed to the Right Hon. William Pitt. With notes by Scriblerus Secundus ll.61-66

 

Even earlier the use of the it narrative was a mean to convey the idea that the dog tax would not be good for the dogs, such as The dogs plea, or, Reasons most humbly submitted by the barking fraternity of Great Britain, to the men their masters: shewing why dogs ought to be exempted from taxes written by Brindle in 1753.

“But because we dogs, are inferior creatures, by the way of all come and make it must be trampled upon, oppressed taxed. [...] There's reason enough I believe for taxing brothels, gaming houses, gardens, theatres, lotteries, cocking, races and such like favourite employments of the human species because, from what I have observed for men you will not sacrifice them at any rate. But the case is different with regard to us poor dogs”

“That I fear in a few years a dog will be as great a shew as a wolf: for a general massacre will be the consequences of that fatal edict.”

 

Indeed they are helping their arguments by putting human emotions and feeling on a dog so that people could put themself in the dogs' place and tend to be in disagreement with the dog tax. This is a really good way of manipulation through emotion, especially with a political aim.

The effect at the time would be to consider the dogs as sentient being and not only as a possession or a property.

People also felt that the member of parliament would try to turn the tax to their advantage, so they would not have to pay it, by excluding their own dog breed for example, just as the satirical cartoon shows:

Political satire; two rows of eight men with dogs that typically suit their type call for an exemption from the tax for their particular breed because of its various merits, for example, a lawyer in gown and collar, holding a paper and with a pointer on a lead, says "I stand up in defence of my Client, the English Pointer; he is the finest Dog in the world for scent, and very useful to Gentlemen in the Law.".  April 1796  Hand-coloured etching

Figure 9: Clauses to be added to the Dog Tax on the next reading! Anonymous (1796)

The opponents of the tax would feel like the member of parliament are punishing people for having dogs, but not themselves because their dogs would be specials somehow. 

In spite of the debate about this tax, the bill passed nonetheless when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the time William Pitt the Younger, decided that a dog could be taxed just as any other possession, and he asks for the bill to pass. After the assent of King George III the bill became a law on the 29th of May 1796. At this point the bill divided the dogs in differents categories: the first one was the sporting dogs, such as  a Pointer, Hound, Tarrier (Terrier) and Spaniel, whose owners should pay five shillings per dog, the second one was the non sporting dogs, whose owners should pay three shillings per dogs, and the last one was the pack of dogs, whose owner should pay £20 for every pack, but the dogs under six months were exempted, since it was a topic of concern for people, but if an owner did not comply to pay the tax, his dog could be killed.

Figure 10: Isaac Cruikshank, Dog Tax gatherers in search of puppies. (1796)

 

Figure 11: "The Dog Tax." Morning Post, (23 April 1796)

 

However, the dog tax survived only two years, and was replaced by a tax property in 1798.

 

Link to other wiki:
Horses

Lapdogs

Spaniels  

 

Bibliography:

Primary Sources: 

 

Brindle. The dogs plea: or Reasons most humbly submitted by the barking fraternity of Great Birtain, to the men their masters. Shewing why dogs ought to be exempted from taxes. Printed for R. Griffiths, 1753. The Making of the Modern World. 11 Jan. 2019.

          _Illustrate the link between a owner and its dog, and the argument against the dog tax.

 

 

 

Cave, Edward (éd.).The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, Jan. 1736-Dec. 1833; London Vol. 8,  (Apr 1738): 217-219. (https://search.proquest.com/britishperiodicals/docview/8297197/E7A1CF70CC02477FPQ/3?accountid=14888) 14 Feb. 2019.

          _ Article that illustrate what happened before the dog tax and the violence that followed.

 

 

HERMITT, RO.The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, Jan. 1736-Dec. 1833; London Vol. 20,  (Dec 1750): 38-539. 14 Feb. 2019

          _ Proves that the dog tax was from the will of the people.

 

"News." Oracle, 12 May 1796. 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection. 12 Jan. 2019

 

"News." Whitehall Evening Post [1770], April 14, 1796 - April 16, 1796. 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection, 1 March 2019.

 

 

Sinclair, John. The history of the public revenue of the British empire. 2nd ed., vol. 2, Printed by A. Strahan, for T. Cadell, 1790. The Making of the Modern World, 22 Feb. 2019

          _ Really interesting to illustrate the economic point of view.

 

 

The Dog Tax." Morning Post, 23 Apr. 1796. Issue 7534. 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection. 14 Feb. 2019

 

The Dog Tax. 1796. The Making of the Modern World. 11 Feb. 2019

<http://0-gdc.galegroup.com.pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/gdc/artemis/MonographsDetailsPage/MonographsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=DVI-Monographs&docIndex=1&source=&prodId=BBCN%3AGDSC%3AAHSI%3ABNCN%3AECON%3AFTHA%3AINDA%3AMOME%3APLEX%3ASTHA%3ATTDA%3ATLSH%3AUSDD&mode=view&limiter=DA+117000101+-+118001231&display-query=OQE+dog+tax&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&windowstate=normal&currPage=1&dviSelectedPage=&scanId=&query=OQE+dog+tax&search_within_results=&p=GDCS&catId=&u=warwick&displayGroups=&documentId=GALE%7CU0102583078&activityType=BasicSearch&failOverType=&commentary= >

 

(Unknown),The lamentation of a dog, on the tax, and its consequences. Addressed to the Right Hon. William Pitt. With notes by Scriblerus Secundus.Bury. London 1796. 1 Mar. 2019

 

 

(Unknown), The Parliamentary History of England. vol. 32, 1795-97, London, 1818, 1004. (hereafter Parliamentry. Hist.). 22 Feb. 2019.

 

Figures:

 

Figure 1: Cave, Edward (éd.).The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, Jan. 1736-Dec. 1833; London Vol. 8,  (Apr 1738): 217-219. (https://search.proquest.com/britishperiodicals/docview/8297197/E7A1CF70CC02477FPQ/3?accountid=14888) 14 Feb. 2019.

 

Figures 2: HERMITT, RO.The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, Jan. 1736-Dec. 1833; London Vol. 20,  (Dec 1750): 38-539. 14 Feb. 2019

 

Figures 3: Sinclair, John. The history of the public revenue of the British empire. 2nd ed., vol. 2, Printed by A. Strahan, for T. Cadell, 1790. The Making of the Modern World, 22 Feb. 2019

 

Figure 4: Thomas Rowlandson - A Mad Dog in a Coffee House (around 1800).Drawings and watercolors. Web. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_Rowlandson_-_A_Mad_Dog_in_a_Coffee_House.png>

26 Jan. 2019

 

Figure 5: Isaac Cruikshank Effects of the Dog Tax. (1796). Hand-coloured etching. British Museum. Web.

<https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=161139001&objectId=1648910&partId=1> 2 Feb. 2019

 

Figure 6: James Gillray. The dog tax. (1796). Hand-coloured etching. British Museum. Web.

<https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=140888001&objectId=1633367&partId=1> 3 Mar. 2019

 

Figure 7: The Dog Tax. 1796. The Making of the Modern World. 11 Feb. 2019

<http://0-gdc.galegroup.com.pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/gdc/artemis/MonographsDetailsPage/MonographsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=DVI-Monographs&docIndex=1&source=&prodId=BBCN%3AGDSC%3AAHSI%3ABNCN%3AECON%3AFTHA%3AINDA%3AMOME%3APLEX%3ASTHA%3ATTDA%3ATLSH%3AUSDD&mode=view&limiter=DA+117000101+-+118001231&display-query=OQE+dog+tax&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&windowstate=normal&currPage=1&dviSelectedPage=&scanId=&query=OQE+dog+tax&search_within_results=&p=GDCS&catId=&u=warwick&displayGroups=&documentId=GALE%7CU0102583078&activityType=BasicSearch&failOverType=&commentary= >

 

Figure 8: (Unknown),The lamentation of a dog, on the tax, and its consequences. Addressed to the Right Hon. William Pitt. With notes by Scriblerus Secundus.Bury. London 1796. 1 Mar. 2019

 

Figure 9: Anonymous, Clauses to be added to the Dog Tax on the next reading! (1796). hand-coloured etching. British Museum. Web.

<https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=69552001&objectId=1539455&partId=1#more-views> 11 Jan. 2019

 

Figure 10: Isaac Cruikshank, Dog Tax gatherers in search of puppies. (1796). hand-coloured etching. British Museum. Web.

<https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=324192001&objectId=3057368&partId=1> 5 Jan. 2019

Figure 11: "The Dog Tax." Morning Post, 23 Apr. 1796. Issue 7534. 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection. 14 Feb. 2019

 

 

 

 

Secondary Sources:

 

Blaisdell, John D. The Rise of Man's Best Friend: The Popularity of Dogs as Companion Animals in Late Eighteenth-Century London as Reflected by the Dog Tax of 1796, (1999) Anthrozoös, 12:2, 76-87. 12 Mar. 2017

          _Very interesting and sum up the subject very well, used for new leads, and sources.

 

 

Blaisdell, John D. “Mad Dog in the Street. The London Rabies Epidemic of 1760.” Veterinary History <https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=12040&context=rtd>. 2 Feb. 2019

 

Hay, Douglas . “Poaching and the Game Laws on Cannock Chase.” In Albion’s Fatal Tree. Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England. New York: Pantheon Books, 1975, 215-16. 3 March 2019

 

The dogs plea, or, Reasons most humbly submitted by the barking fraternity of Great Britain, to the men their masters [electronic resource] : shewing why dogs ought to be exempted from taxes 

The Dog Tax of 1796

 

The dog tax passed in 1796 but was actually thought of throughout the eighteenth-century, especially in order to contain the terrible and regular contagions of rabies, mostly carried out by dogs, that devastated the urban areas of the United Kingdom for centuries.

 

The origins of the idea of the tax:

 

Numerous outbreaks of the disease were recorded during the eighteenth-century especially since the 1730s. Depending on the place where the outbreak happened, the city or county could decided to clear the streets of all the dogs for a period of time of a month or two to avoid a contamination. This was what happened in Edinburgh in 1738, it was one of the earliest attempt recorded of containment of the rabid dogs. The Magistrates of the city decided to release a proclamation that obliged every owner of dogs bitten by another one, under suspicion of rabies, to kill their dog, and every other to remove their dogs from the city for at least a month. If they did not comply they would have to pay five shilling per dog and face up to twelve months of imprisonment. In the same time they  allowed the officers of the law -- City-guard and Town-Officers-- to kill all the dogs they saw in the streets and being rewarded with one shilling for each kill they made. Rapidly the situation had degenerated and even the dogs “that leads the blind about the streets” fell victims of the proclamation and ladies were attacked while they were walking their lapdog (see lapdogs).

 

Figure 1: Extract of an article issued in the Gentleman's Magazine in April 1738 pages 217-219, testifying of the violences that followed the proclamation of 1738 about dogs in Edinburgh.  

 

These actions were really criticized, even more considering that the bounty on the dogs was believed to have lured greedy men to the job of dog killer, considered as people who were ready to murder the man’s best friend for a shilling. But there were more pragmatic reasons to limit the hunt and killing to only stray dogs. Indeed the owner of a dog killed could prosecute a dog killer. One of the most impressive case occurred in 1763, when a gentleman had to pay £190 for a spaniel (see spaniels) that one of his game keeper had killed on his land, which made the dog one of the most expensive of its time.

In response to those kind of cases some municipalities tried to shield the dog killers from legal repercussions, like in London in 1760, but the results of this was some assaults on humans and their properties. Considering that the results of such actions were at best, mixed, some people started to turn to think of another way to regulate and control the stray  and, or dangerous dogs, a dog tax.

 

The firsts attempts of a dog tax:

 

    

Figure 2 a. b. c.: Extracts of a letter published in The Gentleman's Magazine  written by R. Hermitt in December 1750 page 38, where the author explain having petitioned in favour of a dog tax.

 

One of the first occurence to a dog tax in the eighteenth century was in an article published in 1750 who pushes to tax several animals considered as useless in a town or a city. It explained that it would be mostly useful for the poor, because when an outbreak of rabies occurs they were the less able to deal with it. In 1755 a first attempt to promulgate a dog tax failed, in spite of the demand from the public mainly through petitions, because of the lack of members of the committee, in charge of writing the bill, present to the meeting they had to cancel it, and the dog tax disappeared from the Parliament agenda.

In 1776 a motion was put in the House of Commons to discuss a dog tax, it entered in committee but disappeared again until 1796 for unclear reasons.

 

This year a severe outbreak of rabies burst, and several petitions arrived in the Parliament demanding a control of the dog population through a dog tax, such as one from Leicester. In April of that year a bill had been drawn up. One of the reason for this was the multiplicity of case of hydrophobia -- the human disease which follow the bite of a mad dog. But due to this project of tax a great debate followed, between those who wanted the tax in order to reduce the number of potentially dangerous dogs, either because of the disease either because they were stray dogs, and between the ones that did not want the tax.

 

The Debate about the dog tax:

 

The bill stated that “The number of dogs that wander about in this country had been long complained as a public nuisance.”, from issues with food, to damages caused by dogs, passing by the improper use of them or what they called their “madness”, so about the rabies the dogs could have. They considered that the revenue earned through the dog taxation would be about £62 000 per year, so about 0,45% of the annual budget, which was of £13796874 per year at the time.

 

Figure 3 a.b.: Extract of the public revenu of 1790 when the dog tax was considered under "New and Additional taxes" and the total of the revenue of the Crown at the time written by John Sinclair in The history of the public revenue of the British empire

 

But also that every owner that did not comply could have his dog killed and could be fined of five shilling per dog but also imprisoned up to twelve months, just as what had happened in Edinburgh in 1738. They also state that the money raised by the dog tax should be used for general county purpose.

When the bill was still in discussion a lot of people gave their opinion about what kind of tax it should be, or to whom the tax should be addressed. For example several people discussed the fact that the dogs in the rural areas where often used for work, such as the sheep dogs, or that the poorest people could not afford to pay a tax on their dogs and that they were their only companion, because even then the dogs were considered as the man’s best friend, and at some extend sometimes, the only companion of the poor people and they played an important role of moral support to those people.

 

The arguments in favour of the tax:

 

Figure 4: A mad dog in a Coffee House by Thomas Rowlandson (around 1800)

 

 

People in favour of the dog tax had several arguments, one of the main one was the fact that the cases hydrophobia were rising all around the country according to the Parliamentary History of England between 1795 and 1797:

"Hydrophobia had lately increased to a shocking degree. In one week, in the course of last year, no fewer than 33 persons infected with this distemper had applied to the Manchester Infirmary and in Southampton between 200-300 people were bit by mad dogs."

But also that the bill was considered after several petitions from the people which gave them a leverage that they were supported: it was a public request, and a need from the people lived amongst the dogs and the threat of the next rabies burst.

Some people also underlined that it would actually be a way to reduce the poor rate of the country, and to help them because they cannot protect, or at least deal with a rabies crisis as well as the middle and upper class.

Some other considers that the higher the tax would be, the saffer it would be, because people would not get dogs if they cannot afford it, and the ones who do would be extra careful with their dogs, so the streets would be safer with very few stray dogs and more money from the tax.

But the fact that the tax should be paid by every owner of dogs is also debated  amongst the people who are for a dog tax even though some would highlight the fact that if not everyone paid the dog tax, it would lead to a tax evasion since it would be easy for a owner to give the guard of his dog to someone excepted of paying taxes so he would not have to pay the tax for his own dog.

 

The arguments against the tax:

 

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  19 April 1796.  Hand-coloured etching

Figure 5: Isaac Cruikshank, Effects of the Dog Tax (1796)

 

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1796  Hand-coloured etching

Figure 6: James Gillray, The Dog Tax  (1796)

 

The people who were against the dog tax argued on the contrary that there was not that many case of hydrophobia and questioned the statistic given by the other side and sometimes even insinuated that the numbers were inflated by some kind of fashion to put every symptoms on a dog bite.

They also felt that they better be taxing something else than dogs, like brothels, because dogs were considered more acceptable than prostitutes (see Prostitution).

They also wondered why only the dogs should be taxed and not other animals, just like horses (see Horses) that came often together before that, but they underlined that since the horses were considered more “nobles” than dogs they would not be taxed, even though they could also be victims of the rabies, and that their owners were often more rich than the dog owners.

Others argue that the relationship between a dog and its master was to special for being taxed because, as argue John D. Blaisdell in The Rise of Man's Best Friend: The Popularity of Dogs as Companion Animals in Late Eighteenth Century London as Reflected by the Dog Tax of 1796, people started to considered the dogs as the man’s best friend as they are not only used for the work anymore but also kept as “useless animal companions” so as pet, they also thought that the dogs might be the only joy a poor person could have, or the only moral support throughout life and the fact that the government could put a tax on it would stripe this joy from those people.

 

Those debates mostly happened through the newspapers where people sent their article or letter to in order to be published and have their voice heard in the public debate. However some people decided to write poems about how they felt towards the dog tax. They often exchanged the place of the dogs with the figure of the politicians that were decided of the fate of the dogs, humanizing the dogs and satirizing the people in power at the same time, like the dog tax:

 

Figure 7: The Dog tax, [1796?]. The Making of the Modern World,

 

Or even with the use of the it narrative in order to give the dogs a voice so  they can use to make people feels guilty about their fate through the emphasis of the relationship between a dog and its owner, just as in The lamentation of a dog, on the tax, and its consequences. Addressed to the Right Hon. William Pitt. With notes by Scriblerus Secundus published in 1796 by an unknown author.

"May trust their darkness to our guiding eye; Together we may droop, together die."l.68.

 

Figure 8: Extract of The lamentation of a dog, on the tax, and its consequences. Addressed to the Right Hon. William Pitt. With notes by Scriblerus Secundus ll.61-66

 

Even earlier the use of the it narrative was a mean to convey the idea that the dog tax would not be good for the dogs, such as The dogs plea, or, Reasons most humbly submitted by the barking fraternity of Great Britain, to the men their masters: shewing why dogs ought to be exempted from taxes written by Brindle in 1753.

“But because we dogs, are inferior creatures, by the way of all come and make it must be trampled upon, oppressed taxed. [...] There's reason enough I believe for taxing brothels, gaming houses, gardens, theatres, lotteries, cocking, races and such like favourite employments of the human species because, from what I have observed for men you will not sacrifice them at any rate. But the case is different with regard to us poor dogs”

“That I fear in a few years a dog will be as great a shew as a wolf: for a general massacre will be the consequences of that fatal edict.”

 

Indeed they are helping their arguments by putting human emotions and feeling on a dog so that people could put themself in the dogs' place and tend to be in disagreement with the dog tax. This is a really good way of manipulation through emotion, especially with a political aim.

The effect at the time would be to consider the dogs as sentient being and not only as a possession or a property.

People also felt that the member of parliament would try to turn the tax to their advantage, so they would not have to pay it, by excluding their own dog breed for example, just as the satirical cartoon shows:

Political satire; two rows of eight men with dogs that typically suit their type call for an exemption from the tax for their particular breed because of its various merits, for example, a lawyer in gown and collar, holding a paper and with a pointer on a lead, says "I stand up in defence of my Client, the English Pointer; he is the finest Dog in the world for scent, and very useful to Gentlemen in the Law.".  April 1796  Hand-coloured etching

Figure 9: Clauses to be added to the Dog Tax on the next reading! Anonymous (1796)

The opponents of the tax would feel like the member of parliament are punishing people for having dogs, but not themselves because their dogs would be specials somehow.

In spite of the debate about this tax, the bill passed nonetheless when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the time William Pitt the Younger, decided that a dog could be taxed just as any other possession, and he asks for the bill to pass. After the assent of King George III the bill became a law on the 29th of May 1796. At this point the bill divided the dogs in differents categories: the first one was the sporting dogs, such as  a Pointer, Hound, Tarrier (Terrier) and Spaniel, whose owners should pay five shillings per dog, the second one was the non sporting dogs, whose owners should pay three shillings per dogs, and the last one was the pack of dogs, whose owner should pay £20 for every pack, but the dogs under six months were exempted, since it was a topic of concern for people, but if an owner did not comply to pay the tax, his dog could be killed.

Figure 10: Isaac Cruikshank, Dog Tax gatherers in search of puppies. (1796)

 

Figure 11: "The Dog Tax." Morning Post, (23 April 1796)

 

However, the dog tax survived only two years, and was replaced by a tax property in 1798.

 

Link to other wiki:

Horses

Lapdogs

Spaniels  

 

Bibliography:

Primary Sources:

 

Brindle. The dogs plea: or Reasons most humbly submitted by the barking fraternity of Great Britain, to the men their masters. Shewing why dogs ought to be exempted from taxes. Printed for R. Griffiths, 1753. The Making of the Modern World. 11 Jan. 2019.

         _Illustrate the link between a owner and its dog, and the argument against the dog tax.

 

 

 

Cave, Edward (éd.).The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, Jan. 1736-Dec. 1833; London Vol. 8,  (Apr 1738): 217-219. (https://search.proquest.com/britishperiodicals/docview/8297197/E7A1CF70CC02477FPQ/3?accountid=14888) 14 Feb. 2019.

         _ Article that illustrate what happened before the dog tax and the violence that followed.

 

 

HERMITT, RO.The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, Jan. 1736-Dec. 1833; London Vol. 20,  (Dec 1750): 38-539. 14 Feb. 2019

         _ Proves that the dog tax was from the will of the people.

 

"News." Oracle, 12 May 1796. 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection. 12 Jan. 2019

 

"News." Whitehall Evening Post [1770], April 14, 1796 - April 16, 1796. 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection, 1 March 2019.

 

 

Sinclair, John. The history of the public revenue of the British empire. 2nd ed., vol. 2, Printed by A. Strahan, for T. Cadell, 1790. The Making of the Modern World, 22 Feb. 2019

         _ Really interesting to illustrate the economic point of view.

 

 

The Dog Tax." Morning Post, 23 Apr. 1796. Issue 7534. 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection. 14 Feb. 2019

 

The Dog Tax. 1796. The Making of the Modern World. 11 Feb. 2019

<http://0-gdc.galegroup.com.pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/gdc/artemis/MonographsDetailsPage/MonographsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=DVI-Monographs&docIndex=1&source=&prodId=BBCN%3AGDSC%3AAHSI%3ABNCN%3AECON%3AFTHA%3AINDA%3AMOME%3APLEX%3ASTHA%3ATTDA%3ATLSH%3AUSDD&mode=view&limiter=DA+117000101+-+118001231&display-query=OQE+dog+tax&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&windowstate=normal&currPage=1&dviSelectedPage=&scanId=&query=OQE+dog+tax&search_within_results=&p=GDCS&catId=&u=warwick&displayGroups=&documentId=GALE%7CU0102583078&activityType=BasicSearch&failOverType=&commentary=>

 

(Unknown),The lamentation of a dog, on the tax, and its consequences. Addressed to the Right Hon. William Pitt. With notes by Scriblerus Secundus.Bury. London 1796. 1 Mar. 2019

 

 

(Unknown), The Parliamentary History of England. vol. 32, 1795-97, London, 1818, 1004. (hereafter Parliamentary. Hist.). 22 Feb. 2019.

 

Figures:

 

Figure 1: Cave, Edward (éd.).The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, Jan. 1736-Dec. 1833; London Vol. 8,  (Apr 1738): 217-219. (https://search.proquest.com/britishperiodicals/docview/8297197/E7A1CF70CC02477FPQ/3?accountid=14888) 14 Feb. 2019.

 

Figures 2: HERMITT, RO.The Gentleman's Magazine: and historical chronicle, Jan. 1736-Dec. 1833; London Vol. 20,  (Dec 1750): 38-539. 14 Feb. 2019

 

Figures 3: Sinclair, John. The history of the public revenue of the British empire. 2nd ed., vol. 2, Printed by A. Strahan, for T. Cadell, 1790. The Making of the Modern World, 22 Feb. 2019

 

Figure 4: Thomas Rowlandson - A Mad Dog in a Coffee House (around 1800).Drawings and watercolors. Web. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_Rowlandson_-_A_Mad_Dog_in_a_Coffee_House.png>

26 Jan. 2019

 

Figure 5: Isaac Cruikshank Effects of the Dog Tax. (1796). Hand-coloured etching. British Museum. Web.

<https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=161139001&objectId=1648910&partId=1> 2 Feb. 2019

 

Figure 6: James Gillray. The dog tax. (1796). Hand-coloured etching. British Museum. Web.

<https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=140888001&objectId=1633367&partId=1> 3 Mar. 2019

 

Figure 7: The Dog Tax. 1796. The Making of the Modern World. 11 Feb. 2019

<http://0-gdc.galegroup.com.pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/gdc/artemis/MonographsDetailsPage/MonographsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=DVI-Monographs&docIndex=1&source=&prodId=BBCN%3AGDSC%3AAHSI%3ABNCN%3AECON%3AFTHA%3AINDA%3AMOME%3APLEX%3ASTHA%3ATTDA%3ATLSH%3AUSDD&mode=view&limiter=DA+117000101+-+118001231&display-query=OQE+dog+tax&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&windowstate=normal&currPage=1&dviSelectedPage=&scanId=&query=OQE+dog+tax&search_within_results=&p=GDCS&catId=&u=warwick&displayGroups=&documentId=GALE%7CU0102583078&activityType=BasicSearch&failOverType=&commentary=>

 

Figure 8: (Unknown),The lamentation of a dog, on the tax, and its consequences. Addressed to the Right Hon. William Pitt. With notes by Scriblerus Secundus.Bury. London 1796. 1 Mar. 2019

 

Figure 9: Anonymous, Clauses to be added to the Dog Tax on the next reading! (1796). hand-coloured etching. British Museum. Web.

<https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=69552001&objectId=1539455&partId=1#more-views> 11 Jan. 2019

 

Figure 10: Isaac Cruikshank, Dog Tax gatherers in search of puppies. (1796). hand-coloured etching. British Museum. Web.

<https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=324192001&objectId=3057368&partId=1> 5 Jan. 2019

Figure 11: "The Dog Tax." Morning Post, 23 Apr. 1796. Issue 7534. 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection. 14 Feb. 2019

 

 

 

 

Secondary Sources:

 

Blaisdell, John D. The Rise of Man's Best Friend: The Popularity of Dogs as Companion Animals in Late Eighteenth-Century London as Reflected by the Dog Tax of 1796, (1999) Anthrozoös, 12:2, 76-87. 12 Mar. 2017

         _Very interesting and sum up the subject very well, used for new leads, and sources.

 

 

Blaisdell, John D. “Mad Dog in the Street. The London Rabies Epidemic of 1760.” Veterinary History <https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=12040&context=rtd>. 2 Feb. 2019

 

Hay, Douglas . “Poaching and the Game Laws on Cannock Chase.” In Albion’s Fatal Tree. Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England. New York: Pantheon Books, 1975, 215-16. 3 March 2019

 

 

 

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