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tonnage and poundage

tonnage and poundage were customs duties which Parliament granted to Tudor monarchs for life. However, the crown's resort to impositions led the first Parliament of Charles I to refrain from making the customary lifetime grant. The king reacted by ordering the collection of the duties on an ad hoc basis until such time as Parliament granted them. Parliament refused to do so, however, and the 1629 session concluded in uproar with the passing of a resolution against the collection of tonnage and poundage, framed by Sir John Eliot. Only in 1641 did the Long Parliament at last grant the duties, but for a limited period, declaring that the earlier prerogative levies were illegal.

Roger Lockyer

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