Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

1735-36.

own Defence, and a great Part of the Money laid out in Anno g. Geo. II. that Provifion had been brought to this Kingdom : That as that Affair was then upon the Anvil, it could not at this Time be fully explained, but a Time would come when it might; and when that Time did come, the Houfe might then, if they thought fit, inquire into it; upon which Occasion the Neceflity, the Justice, and the Wisdom of our present Conduct would, they believed, be eafily explained to the Satisfaction of almost every Gentleman, who might then have the Honour of being a Member of that House.'

Then the Question being put for agreeing to the Motion, it was carried in the Affirmative without a Divifion.

March 2. The House having re-affum'd the Hearing of Earther Debate the Petitions relating to an undue Election for the County of tion. York, the Counsel for the Petitioners examin'd Joshua Wilfon, in order to disqualify the above-mentioned John Maken, as having had no Freehold, at the Time of the said Election, in the place where he then swore that his Freehold did lie; and the said Wilson beginning to give Evidence of that Difqualification, by relating the Confeffion of the said John Maken, he was interrupted by the Counsel for the fitting Member, who said, That as the House would not admit of a Man's Confeffion, even before them, as an Evidence against what he had fwore at the Time of an Ele&tion, they would got farely admit of a Man's private Confession to a Neighbour in the Country, as an Evidence against what he had fwore at the Time of an Election. Upon this the Counsel of both Sides were heard, and several Journals read, particularly the Resolution of that House of the 12th of Feb. then laft, in the Case of the Election of the Borough of Southwark, against admitting the Petitioner's Counsel to examine Thomas Gaman, in Contradiction to his Oath at that Election : And then the following Question was proposed, viz. - That the Counfel for the Petitioners be admitted to give Evidence, as to what a Voter confessed of his having no Freehold, who at the Time of the Election swore he had.' Upon this Motion there was also a Debate ; but upon the Question's being put, it was carried in the Affirmative by 181 to 132.

After this the Counsel for the Petitioners proceeded to examine the faid Wilson and several other Witnesses, in order to disqualify several other Persons, who voted for the said fitting Member at the said Election ; and having begun to examine a Witness, in order to disqualify one of those Perfans, to whom the Petitioners, in the Lifts by them deliver'd, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 16th of January laft, had objected, that he was not affefied, nor had

Anno 9. Geo. Il. a Freehold of 40 s. per Ann. in the Place, where, at the 1735-36.

Time of the said Election, he swore that his Freehold dia lie ; and it appearing that the Evidence, which the Witness gave, tended to prove that such Person had no Freehold at all there, he was interrupted in his Evidence by the Counsel for the fitting Member, who said, That by the said Order, Petitioners were obliged to deliver to the fitting Members Lists of the Persons intended by the Petitioners to be objected to, who voted for the fitting Members, giving in the said Lists the several Heads of Objection, and distinguishing the same against the Names of the Voters excepted to : That as the Petitioners had not objected to this person that he had no Freehold at all, but only that he had not a Freehold of 40 s. a Year, where, at the Time of the said Election, he swore that his Freehold did lie ; therefore no Evidence was to be admitted for proving that he had no Freehold at all. The Counsel of both Sides being heard upon this Objection, after some Debate, the Question was put, and carried, That the Counsel for the Petitioners be admitted to give Evidence as to a Person's having no Freehold at all, to whom the Petitioners had objected, in their Lift of Objections, that such Person had not a Freehold of 40 s. per Annum. Then the farther Hearing of this Affair was adjourned to the 4th In

ftant. A Petition of the The fame Day a Petition of the Quakers was presented Quakers for Relief, relating to Tithes; to the House, and read, setting forth, • That notwithstand

ing the several Acts of Parliament made for the more easy Recovery of Tithes, Church-Rates, Oblations, and other Ecclefiaftical Dues, in a summary Way, by Warrant from Justices of the Peace ; yet as the said People conscientiously refused the Payment thereof, they were not only liable to, but many of them had undergone grievous Sufferings by Prosecution in the Exchequer, Ecclesiastical, and other Courts, to the Imprisonment of their Persons, and the Impoverishing and Ruin of them and their families, for such small Sums as were recoverable by those Acts ; and therefore praying, that the House would be pleased to take the Premises

into Consideration, and afford them such Relief therein, as A Bill order'd in to the House should seem meet. Hereupon it was order'd, accordingly. that Leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend, and render

more effectual the Laws then in being, for the more easy Recovery of Tithes, Church-Rates, Oblations, and other Ecclesiastical Dues from the People called Quakers, and that Mr. Glanville, Sir William Yonge, Mr Henry Archer, and Mr Hampden, should prepare and bring in the fame.

Marco * A Commisioner of the Revenue in Ireland. Secretary at War.

Motion

March 8. The House being in a Grand Committee on Anno g. Ceo. II.

1715-35. the Supply, Sir Joseph Jekyll mov'd to resolve, That for all Spirituous Liquors, which any Retailer thereof should, from sir J, Jekyll's Mos and after the 24th Day of June, 1736, be possessed of, there on for them the should be granted to his Majesty a Duty of twenty Shillings belaidique Spirt,

tuous Liquors. per Gallon : But this was oppos'd by several Members, who thought the laying on so high a Duty was in some Measure a Prohibition : And upon this Occasion Mr William Pulteney itood up, and spoke as follows:

Sir, • I believe it will be admitted by every Gentleman, that the Mr Pulteney's constant and excessive Use of spirituous Liquors among the

Speech against the inferior Rank of our People, is a Practice which has of late Years grown to a monst'rous Height, and it will be as generally and as readily admitted, that this Practice is dangerous and mischievous to the Health, Strength, Peace, and Morals of the People, and that it tends greatly to diminishing the Labour and Industry of his Majesty's Subjects; therefore I believe we shall all agree in this, that some Method ought to be taken for putting a Stop to this Practice ; but whether it be necessary for this End, to lay a total Prohibition upon the Retail of such Liquors, is a Question that will, in my Opinion, admit of some Doubt, and deserves our most serious Consideration, because of the many bad Consequences with which such a Prohibition must certainly be attended.

• Let us consider, Sir, that the Distilling Trade is a Business which has been carried on by Royal Authority for about an hundred Years, and that it has been not only highly approved, but very much encouraged by several Acts of Parliament passed since the Revolution. Under such publick, such great, and such solemn Sanctions, what Person in the Kingdom could imagine that the Trade was in itself pernicious, or that it was inconsistent with the Health and Welfare of the People ; no Man could : And accordingly great Numbers of his Majesty's Subjects, especially within these last forty Years, have betaken themselves to this Bus siness, and have employed all the Money they were Masters of in providing Materials proper for the Business

. And far ther, Sir, as the distilling of such Spirits has met with great Encouragement from the Legislature for many years palt, so likewise the Retail of them hath been so much encouraged, or at least connived at, and there is not now an Inn, an Alehouse, of a Coffeehouse in the Kingdom, but what owes a great Part of its Profits to the Retail of such Liquors : By which Means there are now such Multitudes of Families in the Kingdom who owe their chief, if not their only Support to the diftillingor to the retailing VOL. IV,

U

such

AMO 9. Geo. 11. such Liquors, that they very well deserve the Care and the 17:5•36.

Confideration of a British House of Commons. The only Complaint now before us, Sir, is against the constant and excessive Use of spirituous Liquors among Persons of inferior Rank: There is ño Complaint against the Liquors themselves, nor was it ever said that a moderate Use of any sort of such Liquors was hurtful ; nay, it will be granted, I believe, that the moderate Use of them is upon many Occasions convenient, if not necessary; fo that by a total Prohibition of such Liquors by Retail we seem to be carrying the Remedy much farther than the Disease, even with respect to our home-made Spirits. But with respect to Rum, I am sure there never was any Complaint against the constant and excessive Use of that Liquor among Persons of inferior Rank ; therefore I can see no Reason for putting a Stop to the Retail of that Liquor ; and when we consider the present low and distressed Condition of our Sugar-Colonies, and that they are now chiefly supported by the Sale of their Rum, I think we ought not to put almost an incire Stop to the Consumption of that Liquor, without some very strong and very urgent Reasons for so doing.

• From what I have faid, Sir, I hope no Gentleman will suppose or imagirre, that I am arguing against our taking fome Method for putting a Stop to the constant and excessive Use of such Liquors amongst Persons of inferior Rank. No, Sir, I shall readily and willingly agree to any proper Method for that Purpose ; but I must declare that my Concern is so great for the Multitudes of Families both in this Inand and in the Weit-Indies, who now owe their chief Support to the making and vending of such Liquors, that I cannot give my Consent to any Regulation which will turn them entirely, and at once, out of the Business to which they at present owe their chief Support ; especially, as I am convinced the Disease we have under our Consideration does not any Ways stand in need of such a desperate Cure: And I have likewise so great a Regard for his Majesty and his illustrious Family, and for the Peace and Quiet of this Kingdom, that I cannot give my Consent to a Regulation which I foresee will raise great Disaffection to the preient Government, and may produce such Riots and Tumults, as may endanger our present Eftablishment, or at leaft such as cannot be quelled without spilling the Blood of many of his Majesty's once faithful Subjects, and putting an End to the Liberties of the People. It is a dangerous, it is, Sir, a terrible Thing, to reduce many thousands of Fainilies at once to a State of Despair, which will be the cer. tin Consequence of laying such high Duties upon the Retail of spirituous Liquors as will amount to a total Prohi- Anno 2 Cign. I. bition.

1735-36. · The constant and excessive Use of spirituous Liquors, amongst the inferior Rank of our People, is the only Complaint now properly before us, and as it is evident that this Grievance proceeds entirely from the low Price of our homemade spirituous Liquors, it is certain that a Duty upon all fuch, perhaps less than that which was imposed by the late Act against Geneva, would prevent the constant and exceffive Use of such Liquors amongst the inferior Rank of our People: This, Sir, I think is evident from the Effect of those high Duties which are laid upon Brandy and Rum ; for it is certain that Brandy and Rum are more coveted by the Vulgar, and may easily be made more palatable than any sort of home-made Spirit ; yet we have never heard of great Complaints made againit the constant and excessive Use of Brandy or Rum among Persons of inferior Rank ; the Reason of which certainly is, because the Duties upon these Liquors have raised the Price so high, that the lower fort of People cannot afford to make a constant and excessive Use of them, and therefore it is plain, that ifthe Price of all home-made Spirits were, by a Duty to be laid upon them, made as high as the price of Rum is at present, it would prevent the constant and excessive Use of them among the Vulgar.

• It cannot be faid, Şir, that nothing but a total Prohibition can be an effectual Remedy against the Evil complained of, because we all know that the late. A&t against Geneva was effectual so far as it went: It was made, we know, to extend only to Compound Spirits, and with respect to them it was an effectual Remedy, for it put an entire Stop to the constant and excessive Use of such Spirits amongst those of inferior Rank ; but fome of the Distillers immediately began to make a sort of plain Spirit, which, I believe, in Derision of the Act, they called Parliament Brandy, and this the Common People made as constant and as excelfive an Use of, as they had before done of Compound Spirits ; This was the Case of that Act, and if it had been amended, and made to extend to all home-made Spirits, inftead of being repealed, there would never have been Occafion for any such Complaint as that we have now before us: How it comes to be repealed, I shall not now take upor me to explain ; but upon recollecting what was the Effect of that A&, I think we need not give ourselves any great Trouble in searching after a Remedy for the Disease now complained of : Let us but revive that Act, extend it to all home-made Spirits, and add some Clauses for preventing any

U 2

Person's

« AnteriorContinua »