This section of the book is from the "Introduction To Public Finance" book, by Carl Copping Plehn.
Another point of similarity between different nations must be studied historically ; that is the feature of compulsion. This feature is old and universal. It is, perhaps, older than any one of the nations and began in that feudal system from which they emerged. The citizen had to be compelled to render his service to the State, whenever the special benefit to him was not clear. That feature the most advanced constitutional governments have retained. There have, to be sure, been instances where States, and especially cities, have had recourse to voluntary contributions to meet the expenses giving a special benefit. But these soon passed into compulsory. A fine example of the development of a voluntary contribution into a tax is found in the English poor-rate. In the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Henry VIII., 1536, collections were made for the impotent poor (voluntary). In the first Edward VI., 1547, bishops were authorised to prosecute all who refused to contribute for this purpose (compulsion enters). In the fifth Elizabeth, 1563, the Justices of the Peace were made judges of what constituted a reasonable contribution (compulsion as to the amount). And from the fourteenth Elizabeth, 1572, regular compulsory contributions were levied. So they have continued.