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Anno 9. Geo. n. Person's selling (pirituous Liquors without a Licence, and I 1735-36.
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 some Regard to the many poor Families that are now supported by the distilling and vending of spirituous Liquors : Do not let us, for God's Sake, turn them all at once out of their Livelyhood : Let us consider how difficult it is for a Man who has been bred up to, and long exercised one sort of Business, to turn himself all at once to another, by which he may support his Family : Let us consider what a Loss he must fultain by the Sale of those Utenfils he had occasion for in his former Way of Business ; The Difficulty must upon all Occasions be great, the Loss must be considerable ; but by turning such Multitudes adrift at once, we shall make the Difficulty insurmountable, and the Lofs irreparable ; for there will be such Numbers brought at once to look out for new Employments, that it will make it impossible for any one of them to succeed ; and there will be such a large Quantity of a certain Sort of Materials brought at once to the Market, that none of them will bear any Price. In short, Sir, the Difficulties and Distresses which many poor Families must be drove to, raise in me the most melancholy Reflections, and they must raise in the Breast of every Man that hears me, the moft compassionate Concern; therefore, if it be thought absolutely necellary to lay on such Duties as will amount to a Prohibition, I hope they will not be laid on all at once : We may now lay on a small Duty upon all sorts of Spirits sold by Retail, and a small Duty upon Licences for lelling by Retail ; we may increase those Duties the next Session, and we may go on increasing yearly, till they be at last brought up so 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 less hurtful to every particular Man, and the more easy for him to fix himself in Tome new Way of Business, by which he may be able to fupport bis 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 Persons of inferior Rank ; but I never yet heard of a Sumptuary Law, by which any Sort of Vicjuals or Drink were forbid to be made use of by Persons of a low Degree ; yet this is, as it appears to me, what seems to be now intended : We are absolutely to forbid the Use of Spirituous Liquors to all those, who are not able to purchase a certain Number of Gallons at a Time : A poor Journeyman or Labourer hall not have a Dram, fall not have a Glass of Punch, unless he can spare to lay out eight or ten Shillings at
a Time, which I am sure two Thirds of our People cannot anno 9. Geo. 11. well spare to do: Whereas, if a Man is rich enough to lay
1735-36. 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 excessive Drinking of Spirits, Mall put no Restraint upon any such Man : If Spirituous Liquors, even when taken in the most moderate Way, are of such a pernicious Nature, that they ought never to be tasted without the Advice and Prescription of a Physician, 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 such Advice and Prescription ; but if the moderate Use of such Liquors be no way härtful, I can see no Reason for our making any invidious Diftinction between the Poor and the Rich ; let us leave the moderate Use of such Liquors to all, and take all proper Methods for preventing their being immoderately used by any. This, I think, Sir, may be done by a much lower Duty than that now proposed, and therefore, tho' I have as great a Regard for the Health and the Morals of the People, as any Gentleman in this House; yet I cannot but be against the Motion now made to you, because of the terrible Consequences with which it must necessarily be attended.'
In answer to the above Speech of Mr Pulteney's it was Arguments in de urg'd, * That no sort of distilled Spirituous Liquor was ab- tion. solutely necessary for the Support of Nature ; that such Liquors were at first used only by Physicians, in some dangerous Distempers, and were never dispensed but in small Quantities ; but when such 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, because a small Quantity deprived them of their Reason, and the Companions they usually met with at such Places, encouraged them to drink to Excess: That it was impossible to prevent this Excess, without diminishing the Number of Retailers of such Liquors, and raising the Price so 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 such Liquor ; for that very few of the better Sort had ever been found to commit frequent Debauches in such Liquors ; and even with respect to them, by putting it out of their Power to meet with such Liquors at a cheap Rate in any Place of publick Resort, the Temptations which might arise from promiscuous Company, would be entirely taken away, and
Ando g. Geo. 11. very few Persons were fo ridiculously abandoned as to get 1735-23.
drunk by themselves.
* That they were very sensible of the Difficulties to which great Numbers of his Majesty's Subjects would be reduc'd by the Duties to be laid upon the Retail of such Liquors; but the Interest of every particular Man must give way to the general Intereft ; and where the Preservation of the society was so effentially concerned, the Prejudice of fome few particular Persons was not to be regarded. However, that all poslible 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 some other way of supporting their Families ; and as every one would be convinced that their being turned out of their present Way of supporting them, was necessary for the publiek Good, it was to be presumed that every Man would willingly submit to such a Regulation ; so that it could not raise any Disaffection to his Majesty's Government.
· That with respect to Rum and Brandy, it was very certain that they likewise 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 land, than upon Rum and Brandy, especially the latter ; and that if our Sugar-Islands Should suffer a little by our lessening the Conlumption of Rum, they could not complain, when they confidered that it was for the Sake of prelerving their MotherCountry, the general Interest of which was always to be preferred to the particular Interest of any Colony ; for if any sort of Spirit should be exempted from the Duties then to be imposed, the Retailers would sell all Sorts of Spirits under that Denomination, and the Distillers would compound them in such a Manner, that it would be imposible to difcover the Fallacy.
• That they would willingly agree to the Method proposed by the honourable Gentleman, of laying on but a Imall Duty at once, and raising that Duty by Degrees ; but they were very sure the laying on a small Duty would not be an effectual Remedy for the Evil so loudly complained of : And if the Resentment, then in the Nation againit all Sorts of dillilled Spirituous Liquors, should be allowed to fubside, they were afraid they would never be able to get a new Act passed for raising that Duty, because of the Multitudes of People that would always be engaged, by their own private Intereit, to oppose the passing of any such Law; therefore they thought it was abiolutely necessary to take
The Motion for
Advantage of present Conjuncture, to put an effectual Stop Anno 9. Geo. 17. to a Practice so long, and so juftly complained of ; and for
1735 6. that Reason they were for agreeing with the Motion.'
The Question being then put upon Sir Joseph Jekyll's laying a Duty of Motion, the fame was agreed to without any farther Debate ; on all Spirituous as was likewise the following, viz. That from and after the to in the Grand 24th Day of June, 1736, the Sum of 501. yearly should committce, who be paid to his Majesty, for a Licence, to be taken out yearly al Retailers thereby every Person keeping a publick Brandy-Shop, a publick yearly for a LiViatualling-House, Coffee House, or Ale-House, or being an Innholder, who shall vend, barter, or utter, any such Spirituous Liquors.
The Chairman of the Committee being about to make a Sir Robert WalReport of the two foregoing Resolutions to the House, the Committee Sir Robert Walpole stood up and mov’d, “That-che Com- might fit again, mittee might fit again before any Report was made to the what DeficienHouse, because as the Duties proposed to be laid upon Spi- in the Civil Lift, rituous Liquors would certainly very much diminish the Con- by the above Refumption of such Spirits, it was not to be expected that the is agreed to. Duties upon such Spirits would produce fo much yearly as they had formerly done ; and as the former Produce stood appropriated for answering certain Annuities and Payments, particularly to the Civil Lift, it would be necessary to conlider of Ways and Means to make good the Deficiencies, that might happen by the two Resolutions they had then agreed to : Hereupon the Committee agreed to fit again upon that Affair before making any Report.
March 9. The House proceeded farther on the contested The House proElection for the County of York, and the Counfel for Sir the contexted Elec. Rowland Winn having proposed to disqualify William Shire, and refolve, Stothard, who voted in Right of a Freehold at Acomb in That Frecholders the Wapontake of Aynsty, within the County of the City of have a right to York, and having examind a Witness concernir.g the Usage of the shire of voting for Freeholds lying in the said Hundred at Elections for the County of York, the Counsel for Sir Miles Stapylton, Atting Member, were heard in Answer to the Evidence of that Disqualification. 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 Aynsty, and granting to them and their Succeffors that the Sud Handred or Wapontake, with the Appurtenances, mould be annexed and united to the County of the said City, as Parcel thereof, excepting the Castle of York and its District ; and saving to the Archbishop, Dean and Chapter ; and all Other Persons, all kind of Franchises, Privileges, &c. to them of right belonging : Hereupon it was resolved, That Pations whole Freeholds lie within that Part of the County
A Petition of the
Anno 9. Geo. Il. of the City of York, which is commonly call’d the Aynfty, 1735-36.
have a Right to Vote for Knight of the Shire for the County of York.
March 10. A Petition of the Druggists, and other Dealcomplaining of ers in Tea; was presented to the House, and read ; setting the unequal Du. ties npon Tea,
forth, · That the Petitioners were induced to hope, that the and the peri.icious Interest of the fair Trader in Tea would have been effectu
actice of Smag. gling.
ally secured by an Act passed in the roth Year of his late Majesty, by which an Inland Duty of 4 s. per Pound was laid on all Tea, without Distinction of Quality ; but notwithstanding the Regulations made by that Áæt, and the many Penalties che Smugglers of Tea and their Accomplices were liable to by Law, the Petitioners had fatally experienced, the clandestiné Importation of that Commodity was so far from being prevented, that it was carried on to such a Degree, that the Petitioners had the strongest Realon to believe, near one half of the Tea consumed in this Kingdom paid no Duty; and that the very high Duty of 4 s. per Pound, as well as the Inequality of its being laid, were the principal Foundations of the pernicious Practice of Smuggling, the coarser Sort bearing much too great à Proportion of the said Duty, and by the Smugglers bought Abroad at one third of the Price it would stand the fair Trader in at Home ; and that unless fome Remedy should 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 reason 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 A&; and that the Petitioners conceived the most effectual Means of putting a Stop to the clandestine 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 should sell for at the East-India Company's Sale ; by which Alteration, the Petitioners apprehended, the Amount of the Duty to the Publick would be equivalent, considering the Quantity, before that Time fraudulently imported, would be then added to the Revenue ; and therefore, for the Preservation of chat Trade to the Petitioners, by putting an End to the Practice of Smuggling, and for securing 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 sent to neighbouring Countries for the Purchase of Tea to be clandeftinely imported and consumed in this Kingdom, praying the House to take the Premises into Consideration, and give the Petitioners such Relief, as to the House should seem meet.' Hereupon it was resolved, Nem. Con. That that House would,