What is a gabelle?

What is a gabelle? Here are some definitions.

Noun
  1. A tax; especially, the tax on salt levied in pre-Revolutionary France.
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Examples
He was the syndic of the lessees of the royal salt marshes of Peccais, an integral part of the gabelle.
Lay hands on this stranger if he seeks to lodge in your village to-night, and be sure that his business is honest, Gabelle.
He granted several privileges to Brittany, such as exemption from the gabelle, a tax on salt which was very unpopular in France.
By means of a draft on the receiver of taxes and the gabelle officer of the town, two hundred golden saluts were paid for it.
These imposts and that of the gabelle were henceforth permanent.
From this figure, we subtracted the total of what the king received from the gabelle and the total costs of collecting this sum in Languedoc.

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