Nominees of the first British
tontine of 1693
In the fourth year of the reign of King William and Queen Mary (1692) an act, commonly called the Million Act, was passed with the aim to raise one million pounds for the government. For every hundred pounds paid in, the contributor, or their nominees, would receive a tax-free dividend for the life of the nominee. This dividend appeared to be 10 per cent for the first seven years and 7 percent per annum from then on until there were only seven nominees living. This percentage would be based on the total amount originally contributed by all and distributed among those surviving. This type of scheme was devised by an Italian called Leonardo Tontini and was called a "Tontine" and is seen as a start of today's life insurance. The fund was undersubscribed by the closing date of 1st May 1693 and only one hundred and eight thousand one hundred pounds was advanced to the Million Fund, far short of the one million pounds expected.
Those contributing came from all over Britain and continental Europe, and there were 1012 individual nominees to receive dividends as, while most contributors paid an amount of one hundred pounds, fifty or so paid a multiple of one hundred pounds - up to five hundred pounds. Most of those nominated to benefit were young children, the youngest one day old, with the potential to get the maximum benefit from the investment. By the 24th December 1693, three of the nominees had died and their share of the dividend for the first half year, fifteen pounds, was distributed to the remaining nominees giving them each an extra 3 and a quarter pennies.
By 1749 there were still 269 nominees surviving.
The scheme was not regarded as a success as it did not raise the revenue expected and would be followed by other money-raising schemes, such as lotteries, and the creation of the Bank of England in 1694, other State Tontines would be held in 1766 and 1789.
The nominee lists give names and ages, in 1693, adresses and a description which usually includes the name of the father, his address, and rank, profession or occupation.
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