Window Taxes & Highway Robbery
At the start of the 1700s the Government was taking £4.3million a year in taxes. By the end of the century it was nearly £32million. National Debt was rising. In 1700 it was about £14million by the end of George III's first decade, it was £129million. By the end of the century it would be £456million. The interest alone was £9million a year and taxation had doubled.
Highway robbery was widespread. A police force was desperately required though debated with suspicion. Henry Fielding, a magistrate working from Bow Street, organized freelance thief takers. These became known as Bow Street Runners and are the forerunners of the police force which was not formed until the early part of the 19th Century. Up until 1750 if the law needed enforcing soldiers had to be called.
HENRY FIELDING (1707-1754)
- Magistrate, dramatist and novelist and popularly remembered as the author of The History Of Tom Jones, A Foundling and The Adventures Of Joseph Andrews And His Friend
- A prolific writer of comedies and farces with a political edge
- Helped provoke Walpole's Government into passing the 1737 licensing act
- Produced his masterpiece Tom Jones in 1749
- Political connections led to his appointment as a Westminster magistrate in 1748
- Became chairman in 1749 and, with his brother John, helped set up the Bow Street Runners
The Bow Street Runners investigated crimes and arrested offenders under Henry Fielding's direction. They were eventually integrated into the Metropolitan Police.
- For and upon every dwelling house inhabited which now is, or hereafter shall be erected within that part of Great Britain called England, the yearly sum of two shillings.
- And for every window or light, in every dwelling house within and throughout the whole kingdom of Great Britain, which shall contain ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, or fourteen windows or lights, the yearly sum of six pence for every window or light in such house.
- And for every window or light, in every dwelling house as aforesaid, which shall contain fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, or nineteen windows or lights, the yearly sum of nine pence for each window or light in such house.
- And for every window or light, in every such dwelling house as aforesaid, which shall contain twenty windows or lights and upwards, the yearly sum of one shilling for each window or light in such house as aforesaid.
- The said rates and duties shall be paid quarterly, at the four most usual feasts or days of payment in the year; that is to say, the feasts of nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Michael the Archangel, the birth of our Lord Christ, the annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary, by even and equal portions.
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|1756 ||Pitt the Elder becomes Secretary at War|
Seven Years' War starts
Black Hole of Calcutta
|1760 ||George II dies|
George III becomes king
Wolfe dies at Quebec
|1761||Pitt the Elder falls from power|
Bute becomes Prime Minister
|1763 ||Bute resigns|
Grenville becomes Prime Minister
|1765 ||Rockingham becomes Prime Minister|
Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny
|1766||Grafton becomes nominal Prime Minister|
|1768 ||Royal Academy of Arts founded|
|1769 ||Captain Cook lands at Tahiti|
|1770 ||Lord North becomes Prime Minister|