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Anno 9. Geo. II. Money, and they generally could not admit of any Delay; 1736.
therefore the publick Safety made it often necessary to pass such Bills with the utmost Dispatch, and for that Reason the House had laid it down as a Rule not to admit Petitioners to be heard against them ; but even in such Cases the Rule was not without Exception, as appeared from the first of the above Journals, viz. June 1. in the roth of King William, relating to several Petitions of the Bailiffs, Wardens, and Commonality of the Occupation, Art, and Mystery of Weavers, within the City of London, and of the Wardens and Affiftants of the Company of Worsted Weavers in the City of Norwich, and to the several Orders of the House thereupon ; and to the Order of the House for referring the Confideration of the Petition of the East-India Company to the Committee of the whole House, to whom the Bill for raising a Sam not exceeding two Millions, for settling a perpetual Fund or Payment of certain Annuities after the Rate of 81. per Cent. per Annun for every 1001. and for farther Advantage therein mentioned, redeemable by Parliament, was committed, and for hearing the said Company by their Counsel upon the said Bill before the said Committee; where the Petitioners were admitted to be heard against that Bill, notwithstanding the great Sum that was thereby to be raised, and notwithstanding the greatest Part of that Sum was defigned, and was absolutely necessary for the Support of our Civil Government, and of our Land and Sea-Services, as appeared by the Clause of Appropriation contained in that Act; and considering the precarious Situation the Affairs of Europe were then in, it could not be denied but that the Demands for those Services were then as pressing, and required as much Dispatch as could almost at any one Time be supposed
* That with respect to the Bill then before them, it could not properly be called a Money-Bill : There were, 'twas true, some Taxes to be imposed by the Bill, but those Taxes were not designed as Supplies for anfwering the current Service of the Year ; they were designed only for putting an End to an Abuse which had lately crept in among our People, and therefore the Rule for not admitting Petitioners to be heard against a Money-Bill, could in no Minner of Way be applied to the Bill then before them.
That with respect to any Trade in which the Subjects of this Nation had no Rival, the Legislature might pretty freely make such Regulations as they had a Mind, but with wespect to any Trade in which our Subjects were rivalled by Foreign Powers, we ought to be extremely cautious in making any new Regulation ; because in such a Case the smallelt Discouragement might give Foreigners such an Ad.
vantage over us, as might enable them to turn us entirely Anno 9. Geo. II.
1736. out of the Trade ; which might very probably be the Cale with respect to the Sugar-Trade ; for in that Trade it was well known we had a moft powerful and a most dangerous Rival ; and for us to make a new Regulation which might affect that Trade, without so much as hearing what our own Subjects, who were engaged in the Trade, had to say against such Regulation, was thewing such a Disregard to the Subjects, and to the Trade and Commerce of Great Britain, as they hoped would never in any Case be shewn by that House.'
To this it was answered by the Courtiers, " That every Bill by which any Tax was levied upon the Subject was a Money-Bill, and had always been understood as such by that House; and therefore the Bill then before them was as much a Money-Bill as any other. That with respect to the Rule of not hearing Petitioners against such Bills, it must be supposed to have had a Beginning, as all such Rules have ; and therefore before that Rule came to be fully established as a Rule for directing the future Proceedings of that House, many Precedents might be quoted against the observing of that Rule, because it was from those very Precedents that the Rule took its Rise : It had been observed, that as soon as any Bill was brought in for laying a Tax or Duty upon any Sort of Goods, the Dealers in such Goods always petitioned, and desired to be heard by themselves or their Counfel against the Bill, and always under a Pretence, that the passing of such a Bill would injure the Trade of the Nation ; yet upon hearing what they had to say, it was generally found, that all their Arguments proceeded from private Views, or that they had nothing to offer but what had been before under the Consideration of the House; so that it almost always appeared, that the Hearing of such Petitioners by themselves or their Counsel, was taking up a great deal of the Time of the House to no Purpose : For this Reason che House came at last to establish it as a Rule not to be departed from, not to admit Petitioners to be heard by themselves or their Counsel against any such Bill ; which Rule had then been inviolably observed for many Years, and the Reason for observing it was as strong with respect to the Bill then before them, as with respect to any other.
• That they ought, without Doubt, to be extremely cautious in making any Regulation which might discourage our Sugar-Trade, or our Sugar-Colonies, but neither that Trade nor any of those Colonies could be of any Weight, when put in the Ballance against the Health and the Happiness of The People of Great Britain ; and if, for the Preservation of he Health and the Morals of the People of Great Britain, VOL. IV.
anno 9. Geo. 11. they found themselves under a Necesity of making a Regu
lation which might leffen the Consumption of Sugar among the People of this Iand, they muft fall upon some way of giving an Encouragement to that Trade with respect to Foreign Markets, which would be a greater Advantage to the Nation, and would prevent the Ruin of our own People. But that for this purpose they had no Occafion for hearing the Petitioners by themselves or their Counsel ; because as every one of them had a Representative in that House, they might communicate their Thoughts upon that Subject to their several Representatives, [See Vol. II. p. 309.) by which Means the House would be as fully informed of what they had to say, as if they were to be heard by themselves or their Counsel at the Bar ; and therefore, as the granting them any such Hearing would be taking up the Time of the House to no Purpofe, they could not but be against it.'
The Question was then put upon the Motion, and carried in the Negative without a Division : Whereupon the Petition was ordered to lie upon the Table.
Immediately after this a Petition of the Master, Wardens,
Alistants, and Commonalty of the Society of Merchants Ad. apaint the Bill re- venturers within the City of Bristol, under their common Lints. Spisituous Seal, was presented to the House and read ; setting forth,
that the Bill then depending before the House, to lay a Duty of 20 s. a Gallon on all Spirituous Liquors sold by Retail, and a Sum of sol. yearly to be paid by every Retailer of the fame, would, if enacted, be destructive to the Petitioners, and many Thousands more of his Majetty's Subjects, as well in the Sugar-Colonies, as in the adjacent Parts of the said City; and therefore imploring the House to consider the great Loss, which mult immediately thereafter ensue to the Revenue, Navigation, Traders, and others concerned in Sugar and Rum, and what Advantage Foreigners might make thereof; and to afford such Relief therein, as to the House should seem meet ; for that in their humble Opinion, a proper Relief might be granted to them, without preventing the Evil complained of in the Bill from being effectually suppressed.
This Petition was likewise ordered to lie upon the Table.
April 8. A Petition of the Merchants and Owners of And from the Le Ships trading from the Port of Leverpoole in the County ve i pole verslina's Palatine of Lancaster, to and from the Britifh Sugar-Colonies to pole.
in America, was presented to the House, and read; setting forth, that the greatest and principal Branch of their Trade confifted in the Exportation of Manufactures, the Produce of Great Britain, to our Colonies in America, and bringing Muscovado Sugars in Return for the same, three fourth Parts of which Sugar, could not be consumed without being first
refined, and two fifth Parts when refined were drawn into Anzo 9. Geo, JI.
1736. Molosses, whereof near two thirds were distilled into Spirits ; and that if the Bill brought in upon several Resolutions of the House, in order to lay a Duty of 20 s. a Gallon upon all kinds of Spirituous Liquors retailed within this Kingdom, Rum from his Majesty's Plantations not excepted, should pass into a Law, the greatest Consumption of refined Sugars would be entirely loft, and Rúm which is near a fourth Part in Value of the Produce of our Sugar-Colonies, would also be rendered of little or no Value, and two thirds of the Molofies produced from refined Sugars, muft become useless, to the inevitable Ruin of our Sugar Plantations, and Destruction of the two most valuable Branches of our foreign Trade, to the British Colonies and the Coast of Africa ; and therefore expressing their Hope, that the Legislature would not hazard lo beneficial a Trade, to cure an Evil, that never would have happened from Rum, or any other Liquor of that Value, but would be able to find Means effectually to suppress the same, without extending such Means to any of the Liquors that were distilled from the Produce of our own Plantations; and praying, that the House would be pleased to take their Case înto Consideration, and give such Relief therein, as the House Tould find most meet.
This Petition was likewise ordered to lie upon the Table.
April 9. The Order of the House being read, for the Difillers enabled House to resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, Sort of Business in to consider farther of the said Bill, it was ordered, That it any Corporation in should be an Instruction to the said Committee to have Power to receive a Clause for enabling such Persons as had exercised the Business of Distillation for a Time to be limited, or had served, or were then bound as Apprentices to such Business, to follow any other Trade or Business in any City, Town, or Place, in England.
After this the House resolved itself into the faid Committee, but when they came to that Clause by, which it was enacted, • That the Duties and Revenues which should arise • by Licences for vending Brandy or Spirits, as also the pre- Parther Debate con< sent Duties on Low Wines, Strong Waters, Brandy, Rum, cation of the Reve.
Arrack, and all other Spirits, whether Foreign or British, pues areng og brukes • and such Duties as should arise by retailing the same, tuous Liquors. • should from and after the 29th of September 1736, be • united to, and made Part of the general or Aggregate • Fund established by the Act of the first Year of the Reign
of his late Majelty King George I. and should be iflued • and applied to the Uses to which the said Fund was, • should be made applicable.'
The fame was opposed by several Members, as being unnecessary, because, tho' the Produce of those Duties was ap
what Sum should be granted to the
should happen in the Civil List by
Anno 9. Geo. II. propriated to the Payment of several Annuities and other 1736.
particular Ufes, and tho' that Produce might perhaps be less in Time to come than it had been for some Years paft, yet they did not believe that by the Regulation made by that Bill, the Produce of those Duties would be so much reduced, as to be under what it was when those Appropriations were made ; and if that should be the Case, any small Deficiency that might happen, might be provided for by next Seffion of Parliament, when the Amount of that Deficiency would be ascertained : But it being insisted on, That the future Produce of those Duties could not near answer the Ends to which it was appropriated, and that it was absolutely necessary for the Sake of publick Credit, to grant a new Fund to the Creditors of the Publick, by the same Bill by which they took away or diminished their old, the Clause was agreed to without a Division.
Then the next Clause was read, as follows, “And whereDebate concerning as the said Duties upon Low Wines, Strong Waters, Bran
• dy, Rum, Arrack, and all other Spirits whether Foreign King for supplying fuck Deficiency as or British, are amongst other Duties and Revenues charged
' with, and liable to pay several Sums of Money, as well altcring the Dutics for the Support of his Majesty's Houshold and Family,
and the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, as for Pay
ment of Annuities and other Payments to several Corpo' rations, and to other Persons intitled thereunto; and it . may so happen, that by making the Alterations aforesaid
in the said Duties, the Funds charged with the Payments • aforesaid may prove deficient : And whereas by a Medium r of eight years, computed from the Time of his Majesty's • happy Accession to the Throne to Midsummer last part, • the Sum of
is taken to be the Medium of " the annual Produce of what has been applied of the Du• ties aforesaid to the Service of his Majesty's Houshold and
Family: To the End therefore, that neither his Majesty, • nor any other Person or Persons, Bodies Politick or Corpo• rate, who is or are intitled to any Part, Share, or Interest, ' in the Money arising by the said Duties, may be Losers, ' or receive any Prejudice by the Alterations aforesaid, be it " enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That from and after
the said 29th Day of September, 1736, there shall be * paid to his Majesty during his natural Life, (which God • long preserve) out of the Monies of the said general or Aggregate Fund, the Sum of
per Annum, being the aforesaid Medium of what has been annually ap
plied of the Duties aforesaid, towards the Service of his • Majesty's Houfhold and Family, and other his Expences
and Occasions, from his happy Accellion to the Throne, co Midiummer last palt.'