SIR FREDERICK POLLOCK (1845-1937), born on Dec. io, 1845, was educated at Eton and Trinity college, Cambridge. He was called to the bar in 1871, and was Corpus professor of Juris prudence at Oxford from 1883-1903. He was made a Privy Coun cillor in 1911 and in 1914 became judge of the admiralty court of Cinque ports. In 1920 he was made a King's Counsel. His legal textbooks are standard ; he wrote certain legal articles for the Ency clopaedia Britannica. He edited the Law Quarterly Review from 1885 to 1919 and was Editor of the Law Reports, His works include Principles of Contract (1876, 9th ed. 1921) ; Digest of the Law of Partnership (1877, 12th ed. 193o) ; The Law of Torts (1887, 13th ed. 1929) ; Possession in the Common Law (with Sir R. S. Wright, 1888) ; History of English Law (with Prof. F. W. Maitland, 1895, 2nd ed. 1898) ; Selden's Table Talk (for Selden Society, 1927) ; Spinoza, his Life and Philosophy (188o, 2nd ed. reissued with additions, 1912) ; etc., etc.
A tax levied on the individual, and not on property or on articles of merchandise, so-called from the old English poll, a head. Raised thus per capita, it is sometimes called a capitation tax. The most famous poll-tax in English his tory is the one levied in 1380, which led to the revolt of the peas ants under Wat Tyler in 1381, but the first instance of the kind was in 1377, when a tax of a groat a head was voted by both clergy and laity. In 1379 the tax was again levied, but on a graduated scale. John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, paid ten marks, and the scale descended from him to the peasants, who paid one groat each, every person over 16 years of age being liable. In 1380 the tax was also graduated, but less steeply. For some years after
the rising of 1381 money was only raised in this way from aliens, but in 1513 a general poll-tax was imposed. This, however, only produced about £5o,000, instead of L16o,000 as was expected, but a poll-tax levied in 1641 resulted in a revenue of about £400,600. During the reign of Charles II., money was obtained in this way on several occasions. For some years after 1688 poll-taxes were a favourite means of raising money for the prosecution of the war with France.
In the United States the term "poll-tax" is generally understood as one which must be paid before the individual can vote. It was introduced into America by the British in the 17th century and was one of the grievances that led to the Mecklenburg Declara tion of Independence in 1775. The tax disappeared for the most part after the American Revolution but was revived by southern States after adoption of the 15th amendment to the Constitution in 1870 which declared that the suffrage should be extended to all citizens regardless of "race, colour, or previous condition of servitude." Eight States in 1939 imposed a poll-tax ranging from $1 to $2, as follows: Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Florida repealed its poll-tax law in 1937, but a similar proposal in Arkansas was defeated by a large majority in 1938.
See S. Dowell, History of Taxation and Taxes in England (1888), vol. iii., and W. Stubbs, Constitutional History (1896), vol. ii. (For Am. Tax see C. B. Fullebrown, Taxation, 1914; E. R. Seligman, Essays in Taxation, 1925.)