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TAILLE (from Fr. tailler, to cut or d...

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 360 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TAILLE (from Fr. tailler, to cut or divide; late Lat. taliare, said to come from talia, talea), the equivalent of the English tallage (q.v.), was in France the typical direct tax of the middle ages, just as the word tonlieu was the generic term for an indirect tax. Other words used in certain districts in the same sense as taille were queste (questa, quista), fouage (foragium), cote. The essence of the tax denoted by these names was that the amount was fixed en bloc for a whole group of persons, and afterwards divided among them in various ways. In ancient French law we find three forms of taille: the taille servile, taille seigneuriale, and taille royale. The taille servile can scarcely be termed a tax; it was rather a tax which had degenerated into a source of profit for certain individuals. Every lord who possessed serfs could levy the taille on them, and originally this was done arbitrarily (a volonte) both as to frequency and amount. It always remained a characteristic feature of serfdom, but was limited and fixed, either by contracts or con-cessions from the lord (taille abonnee), or by the customs. The taille seigneuriale was a true tax, levied by a lord on all his subjects who were neither nobles nor ecclesiastics. But, in our opinion, when feudalism was established, the right of levying it did not belong to every lord, but only to the lord having the haute justice. But he levied it by right, without the necessity for any contract between him and those who paid it. He fixed the sum to be paid by each group of inhabitants, who then had to see that it was assessed, collected, and paid to the lord, electing commissaries (preud hommes) from among themselves for this purpose. This was reducing the administration of taxation to its simplest form. Custom, however, or an order of the lord generally fixed the principle upon which the division was made. It was often a " hearth tax " (fouage), when each fire, i.e. each head of a family, paid the same sum, arrived at by dividing the local contingent of the taille. by the number of fires. But this equality, which took no account of wealth or poverty, was felt to be unjust, and the assessment began to be made according to the resources of each family, " the strong bearing the weak, and the weak relieving the strong." The seigniorial taille, like the servile, had the character of a personal tax (taille personelle), a rudimentary tax on income, every man being taxed according to his wages or other income. The king originally had only the right of levying the taille in places where he had retained the exercise of the haute justice. At that time there was no royal taille, strictly speaking; it was only the seigniorial taille transferred to the crown, but it was one of the first taxes his right to levy which upon all the inhabitants of the domain of the crown, whether serfs or roturiers, was recognized. In the course of the 13th century the idea began to prevail that it was fair for the king, in time of war, to levy a taille upon the subjects of the lords having the haute justice in various parts of the royal domain. Moreover, tailles were often granted him by the provincial estates or the states-general. Thus the general taille, raised for the benefit of the king, became more and more frequent, and naturally tended to become permanent. This transformation was confirmed, rather than effected, by the ordonnance of 1439. Its immediate object was, not the regulation of the taille, but the organization of the corn pagnies d'ordonnance, i.e. the heavy cavalry which the king from that time on maintained on a permanent footing. Military expenses thus becoming permanent, it was natural that the taille, the tax which had long been devoted to meeting the expenses of the royal wars, should also become permanent. This was contained implicitly in the ordonnance of 1439, which at the same time suppressed the seigniorial taille, as competing too closely with the royal taille by imposing a double burden on the taxpayer. A kind of seigniorial taille continued to exist besides the servile taille, but this kind presupposed a title, a contract between the taxable roturier and the lord, or else immemorial possession, which amounted to a title. The royal taille naturally retained the distinctive characteristics of the seigniorial, as can be seen from an examination of the way in which it was assessed and collected ; the chief characteristic being that ecclesiastics and nobles, who were exempt from the seigniorial taille, were also exempt from the royal. The royal taille, though levied by the king by right, did not fall upon the whole kingdom. The pays d'elections were subject to it, the pays d'etats were not (see FRANCE: Law and Institutions). Throughout the pays d'elections the taille was almost universally personal (taille personnelle), i.e. a tax on the whole income of the taxpayer, whatever its source. It was also a distributory tax I TAILLEFER, the surname of a bard and warrior of the (impot de repartition) ; every year the king in his council fixed the 11th century, whose exact name and place of birth are unknown. total sum which the taille was to produce in the following year; he drew up and signed the brevet de la faille (warrant), and the con- He accompanied the Norman army to England in 1066, and tribution of the individual taxpayer was arrived at in the last obtained permission from William to strike the first blow at analysis by a series of subdivisions. the battle of Hastings. He fought with spirit and determina- The conseil du roi first divided the total sum among the various tion, and was killed in the battle. Mention of Taillefer is made generalites (the higher financial divisions), again dividing the amount by Guido, bishop of Amiens, in his Carmen de bello Hastingensi, due from each generalite among the elections of which it was com- posed. y P Then the this in each election divided the contribution V. 931–44 (in Mon. Hist. Brit., 1848) and by Henry of Huntingdon due from it among the parishes. The final division took place in his Historia Anglorum (in Rer. Brit. med. aevi script., p. 763, in the parish or community, among the inhabitants subject to ed. Arnold, London, 1879); and his prowess is depicted on the the tax. So far the system remained the same as that of the old Bayeux tapestry. The statement of Wace in the Roman de seigniorial faille. The assessment and collection of it were the business of the community; the crown, in principle, had nothing Rau, 3rd part, v. 8035–62, ed. Andresen (Heilbronn, 1879), that to do with them and did not bear the cost of a local administration Taillefer went before the Norman army singing of Charlemagne for the purpose. The community had to produce its contingent and of Roland and the vassals who died at Roncevaux, has of the taille. In principle it was even held to be the debtor for the been considered important in demonstrating the existence of amount; hence the inhabitants were jointly responsible, a state of affairs which was not suppressed till the time of Turgot, and even a comparatively early tradition and song of Roland. then not completely. See W. Spatz, Die Schlacht von Hastings (Berlin, 1896) ; Freeman, The inhabitants subject to the taille, summoned to a general History of the Norman Conquest. assembly by the syndic, elected commissaries for the assessment (asseeurs) and collection (coliecteurs) of the tax from among them- selves. (Fr. t¢illeur, from tallier, to cut, Lat. tale¢, a thin selves. Originally two series were elected, both assessors and rod, a cutting for planting), one who cuts out and makes clothes. collectors. But from 1600 onwards the same persons fulfilled both Formerly the tailor, or cissor, made apparel for both men and functions, the object being, by giving the assessors the duty of women, and not merely outer garments, but also articles of linen collecting the tax, to lead to a juster and more conscientious assess- and the padding and lining of armour—whence the style " Taylors meat. The system appeared to be admirable, forming in this respect a kind of self-government, but in practice it was frequently and Linen Armourers " applied to the Merchant Taylors Corn-oppressive for the taxpayers. The assessors estimated the indivi- pany of the City of London in their earliest charters. But the dual incomes arbitrarily, village quarrels and rivalries leading them word is now generally limited to those who make the outer to over-charge some and under-charge others, and complaints were (cloth) garments for men, and less frequently for women, though numberless on this point. Control should no doubt have been exer- cised „ by the elus, but they do not seem to have taken this part a phrase such as shirt-tailor is occasionally met with. In of their duties very seriously. Payment was rigorously enforced, modern usage, too, it commonly has the implication that the and thus for a variety of reasons the taille was a burdensome and garments are made to the order, and to the measure, of the hated tax. It had still further vices: not only were nobles and individual purchaser, as opposed to ready-made clothing, which ecclesiastics exempt from it, but many other privileges had been introduced by law, total or partial exemption extending to a large means articles of apparel manufactured in' large quantities in a number of civil and military officials and employes of the crown series of stock or standard sizes, such that any purchaser may on the ferme generale. The towns in general were not subject to it, expect to find among them one that will fit him with more or at least directly; some had been exempt from time immemorial, less accuracy. The clothing trade was originally confined to others (redimees) had purchased exemption for a sum of money, yet others (abonnees) had compounded for the tax, i.e. instead of goods of the poorest grades, but it has come, especially in paying the taille they paid into the royal treasury a sum fixed by America, to include articles of good, though not of the first, contract, which they generally raised by octrois, or entrance dues. quality. It probably first came into existence at seaport towns, Such was the administration of the taille until about the middle where, to meet the convenience of sailors returning from long of the 17th century, after which time, although the broad lines remained the same, important reforms were introduced. They voyages and requiring their wardrobes to be replenished at came principally from the provincial intendants, or from the tours short notice, the " outfitters " kept stocks of ready-made des aides, which were animated by a liberal spirit. The intendants, garments on sale; but it made no considerable progress until by an exercise of their general or special powers, took the place of after the middle of the 19th century, when the introduction of the elus, and delegated commissaires aux tailles (commissaries of the faille) for the assessment of the parishes, who guided and super- the sewing-machine brought about the possibility of manuvised the elected collectors—for the most part ignorant and partial facturing in large quantities. Its development was attended peasants. They also endeavoured to distinguish between different with gradually increasing subdivision of labour and, to a large kinds of income, in order to arrive at a more just estimate of the extent, with the disappearance of the tailor as a skilled craftsman. total income, and fixed by tariff the proportion in which each kind of income was to contribute. They sometimes settled officially The first step was for a garment, such as a coat, to be corn-and of their own authority the share of certain taxpayers, and, pleted by the joint efforts of a family. Then followed the " task though this was sometimes done as a favour, it was often a measure system,” which in America was the result of the influx of of justice. They also tried to limit the scope of privileges. These Russian Jews that began about 1875. Under it a team of three efforts were inspired by a series of scientific studies and criticisms, with a " " and a to sew on the buttons, divided chief among which were Vauban's Dime royale, and the Taille men, w tarifee presser girl of the Abbe de St. Pierre. the work between them. Payment was made by the " task," In certain districts the taille was real (faille reelle) i.e. a tax on i.e. a specified number of garments, the money being divided real property. It was not an equal tax falling on all landowners, between the members of the team in certain proportions. Often but the question as to whether a certain estate was to be taxed or several teams would be run by a contractor, who naturally not was decided according to the quality of the property, and not selected the cheapest workshops he could find and them that of the owner. The biens nobles (fiefs) and the biens ecclesiastiques Ps packed were exempt; tenures roturieres, however, by whomsoever held, were as full of workers as possible; and when through stress of corn-taxed. A small part of the pays d'elections was also pays de taille petition he had to accept lower prices the plan he adopted was rcele. But it was the chief form of tax in the pays d'etats, and even to increase the number of garments to a task; leaving the pay there an attempt had generally been made to check the exemption unaltered. The result was the introduction of many of the of nobles' property. It has been shown that in these districts the y faille had originally been personal, having become real by a curious worst features of the " sweating system," the workers having to evolution. In these districts there were cadastres, or compoix- work excessively long hours in order to finish the task, which +iers (land registers), which allowed of a non-arbitrary assessment; in some cases meant as many as twenty coats a day. In the fd at the end of the ancien regime merely needed revision. In certain provinces where the royal taille was levied there were factory " or "Boston " system the subdivision is still more neither elections nor generalites, and the whole administration of minute, and as many as one hundred persons. may be concerned the tax was in the hands of the intendants. These were the provinces in the production of one coat. The amount of tailoring skill of the east and north, which were united to the crown at a period required in a worker is even further reduced, but the premises when the power of the intendants was already fully developed; come under the regulation of the factory laws. The factory they were sometimes known as pays d'imposition' system has also cheapened production in a legitimate way, See FRANCE: and Institutions; Henri See, Les Classes because it has enabled mechanical power for driving sewinB rurales et le e regime domanial en France an Mayen Age (Paris, 1901); and Auger, Code des tailles (Paris, 1788). (J. P. E.) machines, and also expensive labour-saving machinery, to be 36o introduced to an extent not economically possible in small shops.
End of Article: TAILLE (from Fr. tailler, to cut or divide; late Lat. taliare, said to come from talia, talea)
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