Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Male Servant

From Regina Jeffers:
Even a modest staff was costly. Characteristically, a land owner maintained 40-50 servants. A large number of male servants was an indication of a man’s wealth. Employing males, instead of females, created a greater expense because a tax on male servants was introduced by Lord North in 1777. The tax was to be used for the cost of fighting the Americans and the war with the French. It cost a landowner £7 for each male servant if there were eleven or more in the household. Although it was gradually reduced over the years, the tax continued until 1937. Compounding the issue of keeping powdered footmen increased by the duty placed on the hair powder. That tax remained in place from 1786 to 1869. Is it any wonder that some landowners forced their servants to use ordinary house flour to save on expenses? A smart footman might use the household flour and then claim the reimbursement for the expense of the duty. (Read more.)

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