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|Letter 11Carriages..and the lack of them
Written by JulieW
(9/2/2005 8:29 a.m.)
George Austen had bought a carraige ,for the use of his wife and daughter,in 1784.
He bought a chariot, and ,as Le Faye describes it in A Family Record, it was small, pulled by two horses and was able to carry three passengers.
Carriages were expensive items to buy and maintain.
This one might have been refurbished: again an expensive undertaking:
At the time of Mr Henry Austens's marraige with his first wife[Eliza de Feiullde] his Father set up a carriage which , not unnaturally, bore on its pannels the family crest: namely a Stag on a Crown Mural. The latter circumstance was accounted for , in his own way ,by a neighbouring Squire who reported that "Mr Austen has put a coronet on his carriage because of his son's being married to a French Countess"
Anna Lefroy quoted in A Family Record , p 106.
In letter 11 JA notes:
There is to be a ball at Basingstoke next Thursday. Our assemblies have very kindly declined ever since we laid down the carriage, so that dis-convenience and dis-inclination to go have kept pace together.
Le Faye speculates that the carraige was put away( instore) becasue of the taxes imposed on the carraige , which would have made it prohibitively expensive to keep it up. Taxes during the 18th century were imposed upon many "luxury" items; horses, farm horses, hair powder.
Look at this from A Treatise on Carriages by William Fenton(Coachmaker)(1794) Note : a chariot was a four wheeled vehicle:
Every person who keeps a carraige with four wheels,by whatsoever name it is called,pays for the first £8,16 shillings .For the second £9.18 shillings and if three or more are kept, pays for each after the first £11, whiich makes adter the rate of £8 16 shillings for the first, 39.18 shillings for the second and £12 for the third as the advance of £11 is on the second if a third is kept; whihcis the reason many keep only two carriages that would otherwise keep three
This must have been a blow, don't you think?
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