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Anno 9. Geo. 11. Perfon's felling fpirituous Liquors without a Licence, and I am convinced the Remedy will be found to be effectual.
But admitting that nothing but a total Prohibition will do; yet, for God's Sake, Sir, let us have fome Regard to the many poor Families that are now fupported by the diftilling and vending of fpirituous Liquors: Do not let us, for God's Sake, turn them all at once out of their Livelyhood: Let us confider how difficult it is for a Man who has been bred up to, and long exercised one fort of Bufinefs, to turn himself all at once to another, by which he may fupport his Family Let us confider what a Lofs he muft fuftain by the Sale of thofe Utenfils he had occafion for in his former Way of Bufinefs; The Difficulty muft upon all Occafions be great, the Lofs must be confiderable; but by turning fuch Multitudes adrift at once, we fhall make the Difficulty infurmountable, and the Lofs irreparable; for there will be fuch Numbers brought at once to look out for new Employments, that it will make it impoffible for any one of them to fucceed; and there will be fuch a large Quantity of a certain Sort of Materials brought at once to the Market, that none of them will bear any Price. In fhort, Sir, the Difficulties and Diftreffes which many poor Families must be drove to, raife in me the most melancholy Reflections, and they muft raise in the Breaft of every Man that hears me, the most compaffionate Concern; therefore, if it be thought abfolutely neceffary to lay on fuch Duties as will amount to a Prohibition, I hope they will not be laid on all at once: We may now lay on a fmall Duty upon all forts of Spirits fold by Retail, and a small Duty upon Licences for telling by Retail; we may increase those Duties the next Seffion, and we may go on increafing yearly, till they be at last brought up fo high as to amount to a Prohibition: By this Method People will have time to look about them, and will get out of the Trade by Degrees; which will make it the lefs hurtful to every particular Man, and the more eafy for him to fix himself in fome new Way of Bufinefs, by which he may be able to fupport his Family.
I have often heard, Sir, of Sumptuary Laws, by which certain Sorts of Apparel, or rather Decorations, have been forbid to be worn by Perfons of inferior Rank; but I never yet heard of a Sumptuary Law, by which any Sort of Victuals or Drink were forbid to be made ufe of by Perfons of a low Degree; yet this is, as it appears to me, what feems to be now intended: We are abfolutely to forbid the Ufe of Spirituous Liquors to all thofe, who are not able to purchase a certain Number of Gallons at a Time: A poor Journeyman or Labourer shall not have a Dram, fhall not have a Glafs of Punch, unless he can fpare to lay out eight or ten Shillings at a Time,
a Time, which I am fure two Thirds of our People cannot Anno 9. Geo. II. well spare to do: Whereas, if a Man is rich enough to lay out eight or ten Shillings at a Time, or profligate enough to pawn his Coat, in order to raise the Money, he may drink as much, he may commit as many Debauches in that Liquor as he pleases; the Law, contrived by the Wisdom of the British Legislature against the exceffive Drinking of Spirits, shall put no Restraint upon any fuch Man: If Spirituous Liquors, even when taken in the most moderate Way, are of fuch a pernicious Nature, that they ought never to be tasted without the Advice and Prefcription of a Phyfician, we ought to take Care of the Rich as well as of the Poor, by putting it out of the Power of the former, as well as of the latter, to taste the bewitching Cup without fuch Advice and Prefcription; but if the moderate Ufe of fuch Liquors be no way hurtful, I can fee no Reason for our making any invidious Diftinction between the Poor and the Rich; let us leave the moderate Ufe of fuch Liquors to all, and take all proper Methods for preventing their being immoderately ufed by any. This, I think, Sir, may be done by a much lower Duty than that now propofed, and therefore, tho' I have as great a Regard for the Health and the Morals of the People, as any Gentleman in this Houfe; yet I cannot but be against the Motion now made to you, because of the terrible Confequences with which it muft neceffarily be attended.'
In answer to the above Speech of Mr Pulteney's it was Arguments in Be urg'd, That no fort of diftilled Spirituous Liquor was ab- tion. folutely neceffary for the Support of Nature; that fuch Liquors were at firft ufed only by Phyficians, in fome dangerous Diftempers, and were never difpenfed but in fmall Quantities; but when fuch Liquors were to be met with at every Corner, and People left at Liberty to take as much of them as they pleased, few could keep themselves within any Bounds, becaufe a fmall Quantity deprived them of their Reason, and the Companions they ufually met with at fuch Places, encouraged them to drink to Excefs: That it was impoffible to prevent this Excefs, without diminishing the Number of Retailers of fuch Liquors, and raising the Price fo high, as to put them out of the Reach of Perfons of inferior Rank, who were the only Sort of People apt to make a Custom of getting drunk with fuch Liquor; for that very few of the better Sort had ever been found to commit frequent Debauches in fuch Liquors; and even with refpect to them, by putting it out of their Power to meet with fuch Liquors at a cheap Rate in any Place of publick Refort, the Temptations which might arife from promifcuous Company, would be entirely taken away, and
Anno g. Geo. 11. very few Perfons were fo ridiculously abandoned as to get drunk by themselves.
That they were very fenfible of the Difficulties to which great Numbers of his Majefty's Subjects would be reduc'd by the Duties to be laid upon the Retail of fuch Liquors; but the Intereft of every particular Man must give way to the general Intereft; and where the Prefervation of the Society was fo effentially concerned, the Prejudice of fome few particular Perfons was not to be regarded. However, that all poffible Care would be taken of those that might suffer by the Duties to be laid upon the Retail of Spirituous Liquors, in order that they might be enabled to fall upon fome other Way of fupporting their Families; and as every one would be convinced that their being turned out of their present Way of supporting them, was neceffary for the publiek Good, it was to be prefumed that every Man would willingly submit to fuch a Regulation; fo that it could not raife any Difaffection to his Majefty's Government.
That with refpect to Rum and Brandy, it was very certain that they likewife had been often drank to great Excess, notwithstanding the high Duties laid upon them, and were as pernicious, both to the Health and the Morals of the People, as any home-made Spirit; That it would be ridiculous to lay a higher Duty upon home-made Spirits, which were the Manufacture of the Subjects of this Ifland, than upon Rum and Brandy, efpecially the latter; and that if our Sugar-Ilands fhould fuffer a little by our leffening the Confumption of Rum, they could not complain, when they confidered that it was for the Sake of preferving their Mother Country, the general Intereft of which was always to be preferred to the particular Intereft of any Colony; for if any fort of Spirit fhould be exempted from the Duties then to be impofed, the Retailers would fell all Sorts of Spirits under that Denomination, and the Distillers would compound them in fuch a Manner, that it would be impoffible to dif cover the Fallacy.
That they would willingly agree to the Method propofed by the honourable Gentleman, of laying on but a Imall Duty at once, and raifing that Duty by Degrees; but they were very fure the laying on a fmall Duty would not be an effectual Remedy for the Evil fo loudly complained of: And if the Refentment, then in the Nation against all Sorts of diflilled Spirituous Liquors, fhould be allowed to fubfide, they were afraid they would never be able to get a new Act paffed for raifing that Duty, because of the Multitudes of People that would always be engaged, by their own private Intere, to oppofe the paffing of any fuch Law: therefore they thought it was abfolutely neceffary to take
Advantage of prefent Conjuncture, to put an effectual Stop Anno 9. Geo. 11. to a Practice fo long, and fo juftly complained of; and for that Reason they were for agreeing with the Motion.'
The Motion for
refolve alfo, That
The Queftion being then put upon Sir Jofeph Jekyll's laying a Duty of Motion, the fame was agreed to without any farther Debate; on all Spirituous as was likewife the following, viz. That from and after the to in the Grand 24th Day of June, 1736, the Sum of 501. yearly fhould be paid to his Majefty, for a Licence, to be taken out yearly by every Perfon keeping a publick Brandy-Shop, a publick Victualling-Houfe, Coffee-Houfe, or Ale-Houfe, or being an. Innholder, who fhall vend, barter, or utter, any fuch Spirituous Liquors.
Committee, who all Retailers thereyearly for a Li
of pay sol.
Sir Robert Walpole moves, That
the Committee might fit again, what Deficien
cies might happen
The Chairman of the Committee being about to make a Report of the two foregoing Refolutions to the Houfe, Sir Robert Walpole ftood up and mov'd, That the Committee might fit again before any Report was made to the Houfe, because as the Duties propofed to be laid upon Spi- in the Civil Lift, rituous Liquors would certainly very much diminish the Con- by the above Refumption of fuch Spirits, it was not to be expected that the agreed to. Duties upon fuch Spirits would produce fo much yearly as they had formerly done; and as the former Produce flood appropriated for answering certain Annuities and Payments, particularly to the Civil Lift, it would be neceffary to confider of Ways and Means to make good the Deficiencies, that might happen by the two Refolutions they had then agreed to Hereupon the Committee agreed to fit again upon that Affair before making any Report.
March 9. The Houfe proceeded farther on the contefted Election for the County of York, and the Counfel for Sir Rowland Winn having propofed to difqualify William Stothard, who voted in Right of a Freehold at Acomb in the Wapontake of Aynfty, within the County of the City of York, and having examin'd a Witnefs concerning the Ufage of voting for Freeholds lying in the faid Hundred at Elections for the County of York, the Counfel for Sir Miles Stapylton, fitting Member, were heard in Answer to the Evidence of that Difqualification. And a Copy of the Record of the Letters Patent granted by King Henry VI. to the Mayor and Citizens of York was read, reciting that the Mayor and Citizens were Bailiffs of and in the Hundred of Aynfty, and granting to them and their Succeffors that the faid Hundred or Wapontake, with the Appurtenances, fhould be annexed and united to the County of the faid City, as Parcel thereof, excepting the Caftle of York and its District; and faving to the Archbishop, Dean and Chapter; and all other Perfons, all kind of Franchifes, Privileges, &c. to them of right belonging: Hereupon it was refolved, That Perions whofe Freeholds lie within that Part of the County
The House pro
ceed farther on
tion for York
the contested Elechire, and refolve, That Freeholders
in the Aynity
have a Right to the Shire."
vote for Knights
Anno 9. Geo. II. of the City of York, which is commonly call'd the Aynfty, have a Right to Vote for Knight of the Shire for the County of York.
A Petition of the Druggifts, &c. complaining of
ties upon Tea, and the pericious Practice of Smaggling.
March 10. A Petition of the Druggifts, and other Dealers in Tea, was prefented to the Houfe, and read; fetting the unequal Du forth, That the Petitioners were induced to hope, that the Intereft of the fair Trader in Tea would have been effectually fecured by an Act paffed in the 10th Year of his late Majefty, by which an Inland Duty of 4 s. per Pound was laid on all Tea, without Diftinction of Quality; but notwithstanding the Regulations made by that Act, and the many Penalties the Smugglers of Tea and their Accomplices were liable to by Law, the Petitioners had fatally experienced, the clandeftine Importation of that Commodity was fo far from being prevented, that it was carried on to fuch a Degree, that the Petitioners had the strongest Reason to believe, near one half of the Tea confumed in this Kingdom paid no Duty; and that the very high Duty of 4s. per Pound, as well as the Inequality of its being laid, were the principal Foundations of the pernicious Practice of Smuggling, the coarfer Sort bearing much too great a Proportion of the faid Duty, and by the Smugglers bought Abroad at one third of the Price it would ftand the fair Trader in at Home; and that unlefs fome Remedy fhould be applied effectually to prevent that known Evil, the Petitioners and all fair Traders would be under extreme Difficulties in carrying on their Trade, by reafon of the Disadvantages they were under, from the Practices of Smuggling, as well as from the Hardships they endured, and the Trouble they were put to, by the Execution of the said Act; and that the Petitioners conceived the most effectual Means of putting a Stop to the clandeftine Importation of Tea would be, to alter the Duty of 4 s. per Pound to a certain Rate ad Valorem, according to the Prices Tea fhould fell for at the Eaft-India Company's Sale; by which Alteration, the Petitioners apprehended, the Amount of the Duty to the Publick would be equivalent, confidering the Quantity, before that Time fraudulently imported, would be then added to the Revenue; and therefore, for the Preservation of that Trade to the Petitioners, by putting an End to the Practice of Smuggling, and for fecuring a Revenue to the Publick, by the Importation of that Commodity in British Ships from China and other Parts of India, and for preventing any Money being fent to neighbouring Countries for the Purchase of Tea to be clandeftinely imported and confumed in this Kingdom, praying the House to take the Premifes into Confideration, and give the Petitioners fuch Relief, as to the House should feem meet.' Hereupon it was refolved, Nem. Con. That that House would,