1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Rate

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[ 915 ]

RATE, a general term for proportion, standard, allowance, tax (Med. Lat. rata, from pro rata parte, ratus being the participle of reri, to think, judge). In England the term is specially applied to the levying of public money contributions for local purposes, as distinguished from the “taxes” raised for what are treated as general state purposes. The money required for local administration in England is raised (when the ordinary revenues are insufficient) by assessments on lands and buildings based on their annual rental value. The financial authority estimates what additional amount beyond revenue is required for the expenses of administration, and levies a rate to meet it. The earliest rate levied in England was that for poor relief, and of the great variety of rates now existing, the majority are based on the poor rate and levied with it, under the term of precept rates. Next to the poor rate came that for highways, and other special rates have been authorized from time to time, as for police, education, public lighting, cemeteries, libraries, sanitary purposes, &c. To distinguish the rate the name of the precepting authority is frequently added or the purpose for which it is levied specified, as county rate, watch rate, &c. The valuation list of a parish is the basis on which the poor rate is levied. This valuation list contains the gross estimated rental and rateable value of all rateable property in the parish. The gross estimated rental is the rent at which a property might reasonably be expected to let from year to year, the tenant paying tithes, rates and taxes. From this is deducted the average annual cost of repairs, insurance and renewals, the balance constituting the rateable value. The rateable value of the parish being known, so much on each pound of the rateable value as will equal the amount required to be raised is levied, and is known as the “rate.” See further England, Local Government; Taxation.

Rating, in maritime vocabulary, is the classification of men according to rank, and was formerly employed to class ships of a navy according to strength. A sailor is said to be “rated A.B.,” or in the navy “rated petty officer,” “seaman,” “gunner,” and so on. The rating of ships began in the 17th century, and was at first done roughly by size and number of crew. Later the rating was by guns. Thus in 1741 in the British navy there were six rates: 1st. 100 guns; 2nd, 90; 3rd, 70 to 80; 4th, 50 to 60; 5th, 40; and 6th, 20. Sloops, fireships, bomb-vessels and royal yachts were said to be not rated. The classification of ships into six rates, and into rated and non-rated ships, continued during the existence of the old sailing fleets, with modifications in detail. The practice of other navies was similar to the British.