The importance of the use of fees immediately following the feudal regime has been indicated. It must not be inferred, however, that this was the first time they formed a part of fiscal systems. Early Greece and Rome furnish numerous examples of fee payments, the nature of which is remarkably modern. Various classes of court fees were used in both countries. Fees for the use of publicly maintained utilities, such as harbors, streets, and roads, were extensively used. Fees were frequently used in connection with religious privileges. The amount of revenue which could be secured was often the factor which determined the size of the fee.
Fees in England. - The modern fees in England are used for the purpose of regulation and for securing revenues. Practically from the beginning both of these motives have been present. The revenue aspect is seen in the fees which were charged for granting monopolies, or for the licenses to hunt and fish upon the public domain. The numerous fees which were used to regulate the crafts and guilds illustrate the other type. When institutions arose which called for state regulation, the regulation was at first undertaken without charge. Fees were soon invoked, however, for the granting of licenses, and the tendency has been to make them heavier. The best example of this type is the fee for granting liquor licenses. Important sources of revenue are the fees from harbors, bridges, roads, lighthouses, and markets. The court fees are also numerous and lucrative. The whole tendency has been to fix the fee at the place where the highest revenue would be secured.
Fees in France. - France has used fees, perhaps, even more extensively. The primary motive has usually been revenue, although there are some examples of where the fee charged is less than the cost of the service. The amount of many fees has been raised and lowered until the point which will yield the highest net return has been found, and here it remains. The use of fees has been a remarkably successful part of the fiscal system, owing largely to the highly efficient administrative machineiy. Examples of the more important fees which are used in France are those for the use of public utilities and educational institutions, for the granting of patents and hunting and liquor licenses, for permission to erect signs on public property, for registering legal papers, and the postal fees.