Quaker Charles H. Fox Refuses to Pay His Income Tax

Here’s a note about an English Quaker war tax resister from :

The conscientious protest of one English Friend is producing a far-reaching impression. Says the London Friend, “We have not often read more hearty words than those appearing in a leading article of the Shields Daily Gazette of , commenting on the action of Charles H. Fox, of Gloucester, in refusing to pay his income tax . The Gazette said:”

Some of the greatest events of the world have been brought about by the firmness of one man in resisting what he believed to be oppression or national wrong. Some of our greatest modern conflicts have been marked by the refusal of members of the Society of Friends to be identified either actually or ethically with them. Mr. Bright’s protests against the Crimean war stand out as the most memorable, and the earliest stand made against popular passion within the period of extended franchises. No doubt a gradually growing humanity has been infusing itself into the minds of people all over the world. The passion of war is less intense and more short-lived than it was. There is a larger element of opposition to war among the more advanced peoples of the world than ever has been before. For this progress the world is largely indebted to men of the type of Mr. Fox and to acts such as his. They concentrate attention on great problems. There is no teacher so eloquent as the man who teaches at some risk, and makes protests that cost him dear.…

The strength of the “one man power” [reminds me of Ammon Hennacy’s “one man revolution” — ♇] for the truth, is not the strength of the man, but the strength of his cause; and his influence is not his, but that of the Spirit of Truth opening its way for the principle of which one stands as herald and sacrifice.…

I haven’t found the original Gazette article, or the source where the Gazette learned of Fox’s actions. The only other information on this that I’ve located is a back-and-forth in the letters column of The British Friend the following year:

The War and the Income Tax

Dear Friend,

I have read with interest the article written by Charles Fox on the Income Tax [which I have been unable to locate — ♇], which he seems to have felt it his duty not to pay. I have been Assessor and Collector of Taxes for three parishes for over twelve years, and have never had anyone refuse to pay them.

The Income Tax is not, strictly speaking, a war tax, but that it, along with many other duties, has risen through war expenses, I do not deny. The highest authority I have for the payment of taxes is our Saviour Himself, who asked for a penny to be shown Him, and then uttered the memorable words, “Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

May I ask if Charles Fox denies himself the enjoyment or use of many things which indirectly help to pay war expenses? I cannot see why the collector and auctioneer should have felt any shame in doing their duty.

I am, yours truly,
John Dixon.
Southbrook, Great Ayton, R.S.O.,
.

Dear Friend,

It is to be hoped that Charles Fox’s letter will help us to a clearer apprehension of the payment of War Taxes. His action in so vigorously opposing the impost is much to be admired; but many of us cannot draw the line at the “Income Tax.” The demand-note includes Schedules A, B, D and E, and House Duty and Land Tax. Are all these specifically War Taxes, or are we to single out Schedule D? The Sugar Tax is a War Tax; can we refuse to pay Income Tax and consistently continue to use sugar?

I am, sincerely,
R.B.
.

And then finally we get to hear from Fox himself:

The War and the Income Tax.

Dear Friend,

Two correspondents referred to my action in refusing to pay income tax, and before finally leaving the matter to the consciences of individual Friends permit me another brief reply.

There must be some point at which every thoughtful man would refuse tribute to Cæsar. We have only to imagine such an extreme case as Nero imposing a tax to cover the cost of burning Christians, or the public supply of lions for the arena. Can John Dixon imagine a follower of Christ under those circumstances paying such a tax voluntarily, or picture himself acting as henchman to Cæsar in collecting the impost? Might he not at least, like our local officials, be ashamed to continue such a duty? My point of resistance arises when the modern Cæsar asks for a contribution, admittedly required and used for the killing and wounding of my fellow-men. That a part of the tax is due for past enterprises of the same nature, or that it is judiciously associated with civil charges, does not relieve us of responsibility for a share in evil doing.

The answer the biographer of Christ reports concerning tribute, must be read with its context, viz.: the penniless condition of the Master, and his absolute aloofness from affairs involving the use of worldly power and wealth. It may be that our standard ought to exclude the position of an income-tax payer; but meanwhile I do not hold that my money is Cæsar’s, but held in trust for God. To Him must I render account, and both reason and conscience forbid an entry for military purposes as an item in the reckoning.

It has been a satisfaction lately to abstain from tea, coffee, and cocoa, and to reduce the use of sugar to a minimum, besides omitting alcohol and tobacco from my bill of fare. The physical advantage has been ample repayment, and the little experience in eliminating these personal luxuries from my personal use has shown how easily many things may be dropped and the enjoyment of life be enhanced. I do grudge every penny given to the Government, seeing that three-fourths of our national expenditure is for past, present or future war.

Yours sincerely,
Charles Fox.
Upton St. Leonards, Gloucester,


Around , white residents of Louisiana, angered by the continuing rule of the black/carpetbagger state government that had been suppressing white supremacist rule since the end of the American Civil War, met to organize a tax strike.

These documents, though they seem to have been collected from multiple sources, come from Louisiana Affairs, the report of a House of Representatives select committee on “the condition of The South.”

The Mass-Meeting for Resistance to Tax-Collections, 1872.

The meeting, called by a large number of citizens, to resist the collection of local taxes, filled Odd-Fellow’s Hall last night to its utmost capacity, and the reporter is assured by those who were near the entrance that thousands were unable to obtain admission. The meeting contained representatives from every respectable class — industrial, commercial, and professional — but was composed chiefly of those who, being the owners of property, are the immediate tax-payers.

It was nearly eight o’clock when the meeting proceeded to business, and it was full eleven when it adjourned. The assemblage was called to order by Mr. Benjamin F. Florence, who briefly stated the object of the demonstration, and the following officers were chosen:

The officers listed included Dr. Daniel Warren Brickell, president, Edward Booth, secretary, and dozens of “vice-presidents.”

Dr. Brickell, upon taking the chair, after some prefatory remarks, in the course of which he observed that he had been twenty-four years in New Orleans, working for a livelihood, as he presumed most of his hearers had, and paying his dues to the government, as no doubt all his audience had done, and now he was selected for the chairmanship of the association, because he was opposed to the payment of any taxes whatever. [Applause.] In taking this responsible position, he wished it to be clearly known that he did it with the understanding that those he was addressing would stand by him in refusing to pay taxes, and would refuse to the bitter end. [Applause.]

They were told by the veteran office-holder who fills the post of administrator of finance for the city, that the man who refused to pay taxes was not a good citizen. The Times said they were dogs if they paid taxes, and they were fools if they didn’t. While they saw public officers growing rich in a very short time, and the people becoming poor as the officers grew rich, was it not time to put a stop to such a system of government? They had a newspaper that was everything to-day, another thing to-morrow — another thing to-day and everything to-morrow — a newspaper, the man who owns which, whatever his hired writers may be, “is not one of us, has no sympathies with us, is against us, for the burdens that afflict us do not bear upon him.” This newspaper told the people that it was a costly experiment to resist tax-paying — that an effort of the kind which failed had cost $67,000. Dr. Brickell, for his part, would pay his share of a million of dollars to get rid of the carpet-baggers and villains who were consuming the substance of the people, and he would consider it very cheap if the thing would be thoroughly done at that price. The Times said wait until the fall, honest men would be elected to the legislature, and then all would be right. Dr. Brickell commenting upon this, said he would prefer to keep his money until honest men were elected rather than put it in that fiscal agency on Camp street. [Great applause.]

Mr. Booth, chairman of the committee on resolutions, consisting of, besides himself, Messrs. Benj. Florence, E. Conery, L. Schneider, Hugh McCloskey, Archibald Mitchell, John G. Fleming, W.C. Black, A. Carriere, and W. Freret, submitted the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted and enthusiastically applauded from time to time as they were being read. The meeting was addressed successively by Messrs. Booth and Wm. M. Randolph, Judge J.B. Cotton, and Julien Michel, and J.Q.A. Fellows. The meeting adjourned at so late an hour that the abstracts of the speeches of these gentlemen, which we had prepared, cannot be printed before the paper goes to press, and are, therefore, laid over.

Besides the resolutions appended one was adopted requesting the people of the rural parishes to join in the movement against tax-paying.

Preamble and Resolutions.

Whereas, as citizens of a free country, assembled in our primary capacity, irrespective of party, and exercising our inalienable right of remonstrance against the oppression of excessive taxation, and the imposition upon us of grievous and unnecessary burdens, destroying our peace of mind, sapping the foundations of our prosperity, and depriving us of the advantages necessary to sustain the active competition of our sister cities and States; and further, stanchly disavowing for ourselves, and those who think with us, all those charges or suggestions which would attribute to us a desire to avoid, hinder, or delay the just, reasonable, or necessary operations of a representative government, by refusing or resisting the prompt payment of lawful taxes; and further, claiming to be acting the part of good citizens by resisting to the last the payment of such taxes as are equally unnecessary and unlawful, imposed without authority from us by persons whom we refuse to recognize as having the right to levy taxes, in that said parties were never elected by the people as representatives, and therefore by their affecting to levy taxes they violate the first principles of American liberty, baptized in blood in , and hallowed by the memories of ages, which teach us that taxation, to be legal, must be accompanied by representation, without which it is robbery, and should be resisted by good citizens under the motto of “millions for defense, but not a cent for tribute;” and further, noticing with no longer concealed indignation that the taxes paid in are not disbursed in the general interests, with economy, or a view to their diminution, but seem to be considered as a species of plunder to be managed in the interests of the distributors, as against the contributors; this being especially the case in the instances of the large sum annually wasted upon the military body known as the metropolitan police force, as well as the immense amounts thrown away upon persons, pretending to hold offices as park commissioners, police commissioners, levee commissioners, drainage commissioners, assessors, tax-collectors, inspectors, registrars, or permanent committee men, with numerous sinecurists, pluralists, and “handy men” generally — expensive, useless and dangerous vampires, corrupted and corrupting;

And whereas, further, we feel that we can no longer sustain the taxation which has taken the form of a speedy confiscation of our property, for the support of officials, contractors, and partisans; who under the alleged forms of law turn the results of public industry to their private emoulment, and grow rich, insolent, and threatening, while the hard-working citizen grows poor and is admonished to be humble and good;

And further, that not only a pretended legislature, very many of whose members were the creatures of the most corrupt practices of ballot-box stuffing, quadrupled registration and voting by “repeaters,” and false counting of votes, have imposed upon us their conception of taxes, but they have passed the tax-levies and appropriation-bills through their body by notorious bribery, thus vitiating, as we believe, all powers they might have ever had to pass the tax-bills or make money-requisitions upon, or bargains binding the people, and earning for themselves the infamous notoriety of being, according to the language of the governor, who ought to know them, the most disgraceful legislature ever assembled in Louisiana;

And further, seeing that such a pretended legislature, on its own motion, and affecting to empower an appointed non-representative body calling itself the city administration, have together, through assessors who have an unlawful private interest in exaggerating and multiplying assessments, and who have done so beyond all reasonable or former bounds, sought to extort from an impoverished people an annual taxation upon these stimulated assessments of nearly five per cent., the exact figures being 2⅔ per cent., for the city and 21-⅟20 per cent. [sic] for the State;

And further, existing impositions, large as they are, do not form our only anxiety. They have for the past few years increased with such unexampled rapidity as to startle the most stolid and apathetic mind, and to rouse to positive resistance the most worthy and law abiding citizens, for it is well known that still greater burdens are being prepared for us. “Bad goes before, but worse remains behind.”

We are informed by James Graham, auditor, that the legislative appropriations for will demand an increase of eight mills on the dollar in addition to the enormous amount now wrung from the tax-payers of the State, being 2.05 per cent. net on an assessment of $250,000,000, reaching the incredible sum of nearly $6,000,000, gone for nothing, which additional percentage on a pretended assessment, which it is endeavored to raise to $300,000,000, will make next year’s confiscations amount on State account alone to over $7,000,000;

And whereas, further, our duty seems plain, whatever may be the final result of our movement, and if we decline, neglect, or refuse to do our duty, without fear or favor, as free citizens of a free country; if apathy, irresolution, a want of public spirit, or a selfish indifference to the misfortunes of others, should induce us to be laggards in this struggle for our homes and properties, then we shall have only ourselves to blame; but if, taking counsel from honor and courage, we nerve ourselves to the encounter, we unite our resistance under such forms and delays as laws yet afford us, until we can from an honest legislature and a representative municipality obtain some relief, then we shall have the proud satisfaction of knowing that “we, who would be free ourselves, have struck the blow:” Therefore, be it

  1. Resolved, That we who are here assembled, and as many others who shall hereafter associate themselves with us, form ourselves into an association whose object shall be to resist by legal means the present exorbitant, illegal, and unconstitutional taxes now attempted to be extorted from us as citizens of the State and city.
  2. Resolved, That the style of the association shall be “The People’s Association to Resist Unconstitutional Taxation.”
  3. Resolved, That the president of this mass meeting is requested to act as president of this association, and at his prudent convenience to summon to his aid counsel from the general membership, a vice-president from each district of the city, and a board of directors, consisting of one from each ward of the city, who together shall constitute the first board of directors, who shall be charged with the organization of the association in its necessary details, and the board may report progress through the press, or otherwise, as they may deem best for the interest of the members of the association.
  4. Resolved, That we pledge ourselves to give a cordial and prompt support to the association, to patronize its assemblies, and procure and encourage as many of our fellow-citizens as possible to join its membership.
  5. Resolved, That while we recognize cheerfully the right of every citizen to resist on his own account any illegal tax, we cannot see the force of the argument which would forbid us to combine together for the accomplishment of the same end.
  6. Resolved, That we cordially and earnestly invite the co-operation of every citizen, inasmuch as none are too high and none too low to feel the pressure of this practical confiscation. Every mechanic, merchant, drayman, banker, storekeeper, butcher, shoemaker, produce-dealer, commission-merchant, press-owner, insurance-agent, shipping-agent, property-owner, clerk, laborer, founderyman, carpenter, or whatever else, are all deeply interested in this movement for the legal resistance to unconstitutional taxation, and therefore will be warmly welcomed to the roll of the association whether they have already paid the whole or part of their taxes or not.
  7. Resolved, That in the mean time we will pay no more taxes to State or city, being supported in this view by the opinion of able counsel learned in law; but will, through our association, invoke the protection of the courts of the State and of the United States to test our right of resistance to exorbitant and confiscating taxation imposed by a pretended legislature, self-nominated, corruptly bought and sold by written contract, and sitting in defiance and contravention of the constitution of , which declares that a representative basis shall be established, and the representation distributed in accordance therewith, as well as our right to resist exorbitant taxation imposed by an appointed non-representative body of persons styling themselves the mayor and administrators of the city of New Orleans.
  8. Resolved, That when this meeting adjourns, it will be so to meet again at the call of the president of the association.

Non-Payment of Taxes

Rooms Democratic Parish Executive Committee of Orleans, .

This committee, composed of representatives of the democratic party of the city and parish of Orleans, although partisan in its character, is not insensible to the fact that parties exist but for the public good, and are only intended to promote the public welfare to which all partisanship should be subordinate. Influenced by these considerations, a committee was appointed from this body to take into consideration the subject of taxes, now become so excessive as to be really confiscation, as they exceed the revenue of property. This subcommittee reports to us in the following language, which we adopt as our own, and address to the public at large, so that all persona and parties may profit by our labors:

To pay taxes legally imposed by a legislature elected by the people is a duty which every good citizen owes, even though the taxes are somewhat onerous and excessive; but when the taxes are so cruelly excessive as to leave the citizen in the position of a mere tenant of the lands and buildings which may belong to him, and when the taxes are illegally imposed by so-called representatives of the people, who had been fraudulently foisted upon them for the avowed purpose of enriching an unprincipled executive and a corrupt ring of legislators and other public plunderers, the people should rise in their might and refuse to place money in the hands of the spoiler to complete their ruin and degradation.

Believing that this government is revolutionary, and as such has no legal claim upon the people for support; that the sham legislature was not elected by the people, but virtually appointed by the executive, and that no taxation can be lawful unless imposed by the legally-chosen representative of the tax-payer, we consulted eminent counsel upon this subject, the majority of whom confirmed our views, viz., that all taxes imposed by and under the revolutionary government are clearly illegal, and can be contested as such.

The members of the bar, so far as we have consulted them, were unanimous in opinion that the following city taxes were manifestly illegal: The school-tax, the park-tax, and the metropolitan-police tax. A number of gentlemen, whose names are subjoined [but omitted here], signed the following engagement. Such is the public spirit of the legal profession and the conviction of the illegality of the above taxes, that it is our opinion that almost every member of the bar would have attached his signature had he been approached by us for that purpose.

We spread these facts before the people, and earnestly counsel and advise them to unite and take every lawful means to resist the payment of all taxes.

I[saac] W. Patton, Chairman.
W. Woelper, Secretary.

Patton would become mayor of New Orleans after the United States dropped its support for the reconstruction government.

The statement, signed by several attorneys, read that they “engage themselves, without compensation, and as a matter of public service, to defend professionally all citizens, residents, or property-holders in this city, who shall desire their assistance in resisting the collection by municipal authorities of the taxes known as the ‘school-tax,’ the ‘park-tax,’ and the ‘metropolitan-police tax,’ and other taxes the collection of which may be lawfully resisted.”

Determined Meeting of Citizens — All Further Payments of State and City Taxes to be Resisted — Armed Organizations in Progress Throughout the City — The Voice of the People — Indignation and Enthusiasm

Pursuant to the call of two hundred and fifty citizens of the Second ward, for the meeting in favor of armed organization and to resist the further collection of taxes, a large body of determined men filled the hall of the Iron House, on Tchoupitoulas street, last evening, and there gave emphatic evidence that no longer would the people submit to the remorseless and unprincipled rule of a few adventurers, who by their acts thus compelled peaceful citizens to rise in their might, to protest, refuse, and, if need be, resist by force of arms, all further encroachments upon their rights.

The meeting was called to order at half past 7 o’clock, by Col. S.J.N. Smith, who moved that Mr. Archibald Mitchell be elected chairman pro tempore.

On taking the chair, Mr. Mitchell addressed those present in the following words:

Gentlemen: Before stating the purpose of this meeting, I will premise that we are not assembled here in the interest of any political party. Whatever may be our predilections as individuals, we are as an organized body neither democrats, reformers, nor republicans, but merely citizens endeavoring to secure our inherent and constitutional rights, and to preserve the remnant of property left to us by the tax-collector. We are not opposed to the present State government because it is nominally republican, but because it is organized and administered for no purpose whatever.

Our intention is to inaugurate a movement, which we hope will become general, having for its object the non-payment of all taxes until we have a government which legally represents the people and is administered to promote their material welfare. Our principal and primary object is to take measures to secure to all citizens, of all colors and conditions, the right of the elective franchise, by which all abuses may be corrected.

We justify our right to refuse to pay taxes on the following grounds:

They are greatly in excess of the legitimate expense of the government. They are in excess of the natural increase of property, and as such should be resisted, being actual confiscation. These taxes were not levied by the legally-elected representatives of the people, and they are not applied to promote the public interests. Besides, the whole State government is anti-republican and revolutionary, and as such has no legal claim on the citizens for sapport. In these views the ablest legal minds in this State concur.

The past history of this State leaves us in no doubt as to the course he will pursue in the coming election. Governor Warmoth has never failed in any instance to use force and fraud to accomplish his ends.

Therefore, having a positive moral assurance we will only be permitted to have the forms of an election, unless we forcibly maintain our rights, we propose to form ourselves into a military organization for that purpose, but we do not contemplate the employment of force, even in defense of our well-recognized rights, until all other means shall have failed.

Our object in meeting to-night is to discuss the expediency of the foregoing measures and the best mode of carrying them into effect.

Col. Eugene Waggaman, having been called upon to address the meeting, depicted in eloquent terms the present and the past history of this State. The alarming condition of political degradation under which the people are now and have been suffering for the past four years was described in all its corrupting and evil effects.

There was a necessity — a life and death necessity — of organizing a military association to meet force with force and protect what yet remained to the people of this degraded State. “Warmoth and his minions must be put down in their schemes of robbery and plunder. The means were in the hands of the people; stop the supplies; refuse to pay the taxes. There were other ways of defeating an army than by a conquering in battle. A general that cuts off the enemy’s supplies, and forces a surrender, is more to be honored than one who slaughters thousands.”

After the conclusion of Colonel Waggaman’s remarks, the following document was read and adopted, as expressing the views of those present:

To pay taxes legally imposed by a legislature elected by the people is a duty which every good citizen owes, even though the taxes are somewhat onerous and excessive: but when the taxes are so cruelly excessive as to leave the citizen in the position of a mere tenant of the lands and buildings which may belong to him, and when the taxes are illegally imposed by so-called representatives of the people, who have been fraudulently foisted upon them for the avowed purpose of enriching an unprincipled executive and a corrupt ring of legislators and other public plunderers, the people should rise in their might and refuse to place money in the hands of the spoiler, to complete their ruin and degradation.

In our present situation, with taxes so enormous, the payment of which will in a very, very few years bankrupt the citizens and force them either to revolution or exile, with an executive who openly boasts that his official patronage exceeds that of the President of the United States.

The document then inquired whether the people are willing to continue to pay taxes for the purpose of continuing the present corrupt rulers in power, “which has so long disgraced Louisiana and impoverished her people.”

It then goes on to state that the best legal talent of the State has been consulted relative to the constitutionality or the unconstitutionally of the present outrageous and obnoxious tax-laws, and “the almost unanimous opinion was that a great portion if not all of these laws are unconstitutional.”

The people were therefore advised no longer to pay the taxes to the State or city authorities until the question of the legality of the imposition is settled by the courts of the State and of the United States.

The members of the bar were then appealed to for the purpose of trying the cases where such taxes were brought in the conns free of charge.

The bar nobly responded to the appeal by from forty to fifty signatures of the leading lawyers of this city and State, and gave as their opinion (which was unanimous) that the school, metropolitan, and park taxes were unconstitutional, and could be successfully resisted before the courts. The majority also agreed in the opinion that many other taxes other than those mentioned above were also unconstitutional.

On motion, the sentiments and expressions embodied in the above were adopted as the objects of the meeting, and the thanks of those present tendered the legal gentlemen who had so generously offered their services to the people free of charge, to represent them in the courts as the protectors of their just rights.

The following resolutions were then read and adopted:

Some boring organizational ones, and then:

Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to draw up a plan by which the citizens may co-operate, to employ counsel and mutually assist each other in their refusal to pay taxes.

“Archibald Mitchell was then elected permanent president, and Hugh McClosky vicepresident of the association by acclamation. ¶ The latter gentleman accepted the honor conferred upon him, although he was not a resident of the ward. Mr. McClosky said that if he had to resist the further payment of taxes singly and alone, he had determined upon doing so. [Cheers.]”

There is also some testimony given in the same volume about terrorists from the White League, or perhaps some allied groups, intimidating tax collectors into resigning their posts, or interfering with tax auctions. In one case:

There was a mob of fifty or sixty armed men came to prevent the deputy tax-collector effecting a sale, armed with revolvers nearly all. Mr. Fournet came and threatened the deputy and tax-collector. The deputy and tax-collector ran into their offices. I came down and called upon the citizens to clear the court-house, but could not succeed. I then called upon the military, but they had no orders at that time to give me assistance to carry out the law.

Another person said, of (I think) the same incident:

…Mr. [Valsin A.?] Fournet came with eight or ten. When the deputy tax-collector attempted to make a sale Mr. Fournet raised his hand and struck him. The deputy then shoved him down. As soon as this was done forty, fifty, or sixty men came with their revolvers in hand.

…very few people attended tax-sales [typically], because the white people were organized to prevent tax-collection, and pledged themselves not to buy any property at tax-sales, and the property was generally bought by the State.

The government reprisals against tax resisters included the following, according to one account:

Every delinquent tax-payer, however small the amount, was compelled to pay $2 auditor’s fee, $1.50 advertising fee, $1.50 recorder’s fee, and $5 surveyor’s fee, for useless paper survey, and 25 cents for notice; all of which went into the pockets of officials, and in no respect increased the revenue of the State. In addition to this, the legislature orgnized under Governor Kellogg passed a law rendering any delinquent incompetent as a witness in any civil suit, and preventing him from bringing any suit. No injunction, it is believed, could be taken against the action of the tax-collector, however much he might deviate from law.

Some of that was later ruled to be unconstitutional.

Tax resistance was only one part of a campaign that included terrorism, the establishment of parallel government structures, and a variety of other techniques. It was eventually successful at ending Union control of the heart of formerly Confederate territory, and allowing the white supremacists to return to power, though never as the independent nation they’d aimed at.


And here’s a news dispatch from :

Tax Resisted.

Irritated Stokers.

A Steamer Held Up.

The objection of five stokers to pay income tax has prevented the La France, the largest French Transatlantic liner, leaving Havre. When the men refused payment the Revenue authorities garnisheed their wages to the extent of 34 francs apiece. The stokers referred the matter to their trade union, and as the whole engine-room staff made common cause with the stokers the passengers were disembarked and sent to Paris.

A cable from that was printed in New York Times said that the strike was resolved when the company said it would pay the stokers’ taxes on their behalf. At first the union had rejected this idea. The Times report included these paragraphs:

The strike of the stokers, who were joined in sympathy by the rest of the crew, raises the question of the manner in which tax collectors can collect Finance Minister de Lasteyrie’s new income taxes. The stokers refused to pay. The tax collector thereupon attached their wages, obliging the company under French law to subtract the arrears of the uncollected tax.

A principle is therefore involved, because if in order to assure normal communications the Government urges that satisfaction be given the men there seems no reason, it is pointed out, why other categories of French citizens should not also begin a fiscal strike when dissatisfied with high taxation.

One point, however, is stressed, namely, that if the men’s wages alone were reckoned these would not be sufficiently high to bring them within the taxable category at all. In order to make up the necessary total the tax collector added certain allowances and the fact that the men are fed at the company’s cost. It is this to which the men object and it is possible that the Finance Ministry will finally decide in their favor.

browse«»