On the abdication of Napoleon Ill's government, the new National Assembly had elected Thiers its chief executive. In August 1871, he became the first president of the Third Republic. A redoubtable liberal, Thiers had declared that he would never be responsible for introducing income tax in France. The Times correspondent had suggested that French objections to the necessary inquisition involved were such that false returns would inevitably have been made. Ruskin was greatly in favour of income tax.