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Thursday, April 1, 2021

The French and Indian War .. .. .. 'Revenue Stamps' and more !!

In School, we read about Battle of Plassey, Battle(s) of Panipat and more . .. .. ever heard of “The French and Indian War” – it was not fought by India nor in India, but named so !! ~ the location was North America.

March ending .. .. people are worried about targets – some also have additional worry of tax savings, submitting documents including rent receipt – might have seen in offices – ‘signed rent-receipts with Revenue stamps’.  .. .. these stamps might suddenly become sought after. Revenue Stamps are used for cash payments   more than Rs. 5000. It would be  used as a proof that the payment has been made to the person whose signature appears in the  cash voucher.

Section 2(2 3) of the Indian Stamp Act 1899 makes it mandatory for affixing of stamp on any receipt as defined therein above Rs 5000.  The Act further defines Receipt as : "Receipt" includes any note, memorandum or writing-:

(a) whereby any money, or any bill of exchange, cheque or promissory note is acknowledged to have been received, or

(b) whereby any other movable property is acknowledged to have been received in satisfaction of a debt, or

(c) whereby any debt or demand, or any part of a debt or demand, is acknowledged to have been satisfied or discharged, or

(d) which signifies or imports any such acknowledgment;

and whether the same is or is not signed with the name of any person "


It is common myth to think that if there is a revenue stamp on any paper, then it is genuine. Actually this is not the case.  Revenue stamp is not affixed for the purpose of authentication, but is used to generate revenue. It was first implemented by the British during for the East India company. Stamp duty was first introduced during the year 1797. In the beginning, it was limited to only a few areas like Bengal, Banaras, Bihar & Orissa. Revenue Stamps are used to collect fees or revenue for maintaining courts. There is a  law called  Indian Stamp Act 1899.

In British America, wars were often named after the sitting British monarch, such as King William's War or Queen Anne's War. There had already been a King George's War in the 1740s during the reign of King George II, so British colonists named this conflict after their opponents, and it became known as the French and Indian War.  This continues as the standard name for the war in the United States, although Indians fought on both sides of the conflict.  

The French and Indian War (1754–1763) pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by military units from the parent country and by Native American allies. At the start of the war, the French colonies had a population of roughly 60,000 settlers, compared with 2 million in the British colonies. The outnumbered French particularly depended on the natives. The European nations declared a wider war upon one another overseas in 1756, two years into the French and Indian War, and many view the French and Indian War as being merely the American theater of the worldwide Seven Years' War of 1756–63; however, the French and Indian War is viewed in the United States as a singular conflict which was not associated with any European war.

The British colonial government fell in the region of Nova Scotia after several disastrous campaigns in 1757, including a failed expedition against Louisbourg and the Siege of Fort William Henry; this last was followed by the Natives torturing and massacring their colonial victims.   The British victory in the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), known in America as the French and Indian War, had been won only at a great financial cost. During the war, the British national debt nearly doubled.  Post-war expenses were expected to remain high because the Bute ministry decided in early 1763 to keep ten thousand British regulars in the American colonies, which would cost about £225,000 per year, equal to £33 million today.  The primary reason for retaining such a large force was that demobilizing the army would put 1,500 officers out of work, many of whom were well-connected in Parliament.  This made it politically prudent to retain a large peacetime establishment, but Britons were averse to maintaining a standing army at home so it was necessary to garrison most of the troops elsewhere

George Grenville became prime minister in April 1763 after the failure of the short-lived Bute Ministry, and he had to find a way to pay for this large peacetime army. Raising taxes in Britain was out of the question, since there had been virulent protests in England against the Bute ministry's 1763 cider tax, with Bute being hanged in effigy. The Grenville ministry, therefore, decided that Parliament would raise this revenue by taxing the American colonists without their consent. This was something new; Parliament had previously passed measures to regulate trade in the colonies, but it had never before directly taxed the colonies to raise revenue. 

The Stamp Act of 1765  was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which imposed a direct tax on the British colonies in America and required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp. Printed materials included legal documents, magazines, playing cards, newspapers, and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies, and it had to be paid in British currency, not in colonial paper money.  The purpose of the tax was to pay for British military troops stationed in the American colonies after the French and Indian War, but the colonists had never feared a French invasion to begin with, and they contended that they had already paid their share of the war expenses.  They suggested that it was actually a matter of British patronage to surplus British officers and career soldiers who should be paid by London.

The Stamp Act was very unpopular among colonists. A majority considered it a violation of their rights as Englishmen to be taxed without their consent—consent that only the colonial legislatures could grant. Their slogan was "No taxation without representation".  Opposition to the Stamp Act was not limited to the colonies. British merchants and manufacturers pressured Parliament because their exports to the colonies were threatened by boycotts. The Act was repealed on 18 March 1766 as a matter of expedience, but Parliament affirmed its power to legislate for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever" by also passing the Declaratory Act.  

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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