Wednesday, May 23, 2007


From Citizens by Simon Schama

Controller-General Silhouette, for example, in 1759, had proposed a tax on luxury items like gold and silver plate, jewelry, carriages- as well as on celibacy- and was drummed out of office for his temerity, amidst a chorus of execration.

And on tax avoidance

At the level of the urban bourgeois it meant accumulating enough money to buy one of the many thousands of petty municipal offices that would confer tax exemption. So that in every major town and especially in Paris, there were wardens of the oyster sellers' guild and gaugers of cheese and curds and inspectors of tripe who gloried in their small dignities and enjoyed their exemptions

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