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Anno 9. Geo. II. By the Report, Sir, of his Majesty's Justices of the 1736.
Peace at Hick's-hall in the Month of January laft, we find, there were then within Westminster, Holborn, the Tower, and Finsbury Division (exclusive of London and Southwark) 7044 Houses and Shops, wherein Geneva and other Spirituous Liquors were publickly sold by Retail, of which they had got an Account, and that they believed it was very far short of the true Number : From hence, Sir, if we include London, Southwark, and the other Places within the Bills of Mortality, I may modeitly compute there are 20,000 Houses and Shops within the Bills of Mortality, where Geneva and other Spirituous Liquors are sold by Retail ; and tho' the People within the Bills of Mortality are computed to be but a fifth, or a fixth Part of the People of England, yet I hall reckon but 20,000 Houses and Shops in all the other Parts of England, where Spirituous Liquors are sold by Retail, the Whole being 40,000. Now to each of these Houses I shall allow but ten Customers, who are excessive Drinkers of Gin, such I call those who may drink about half a Pint a Day, one Day with another ; and ten Customers who are moderate Drinkers of that Liquor, such I call those who do not drink above half
a Quartern a Day, one Day with another. This makes in England 400,000 excessive Drinkers, and 400,000 moderate Drinkers of Spirituous Liquors; and considering how universally the Cuftom of drinking such Liquors has got in among the common People, Men, Women and Children, I believe this Number will not be reckon'd too large.
• Let us next suppose, Sir, that if the Retail of fuch Liquors were entirely prohibited, and these Drinkers of Gin should return to the Use of Malt Liquors, that each of the excessive Drinkers of Gin would for the future drink a Pint of Strong Beer a Day, one Day with another ; and that each of the moderate Drinkers of Gin would for the future drink half a Pint of Strong Beer a Day, one with another, more than they drink at present ; we may from thence fee how greatly the Consumption of Beer and Ale would be hereby increased ; for 400,000 Pints, and 400,000 half Pints, makes 600,000 Pints, or 75,000 Gallons a Day, which makes 27,375,000 Gallons, or 805,147 Barrels in a Year : The Excise at 4 s. 6 d. per Barrel upon this increase in the Consumption, would produce an Increase in the Excise upon Beer and Ale of 181,1581. yearly, one half of which being 90,5791. would belong to the Civil Lift ; fo that according to all the ways of Computation, the Civil Lift will get more by the Increase in the Excise upon Beer and Ale, than it can be supposed to lose, according to the highest Competation, by taking from it the Duties on Spirituous Liquors;
and that my Computation of Gin-drinkers is within Bounds, Anno 9. Geo. II.
1736. appears from hence ; that the supposed 400,000 excessive Drinkers at half a Pint a Day, and the 400,000 moderate Drinkers at half a Quartern a Day, according to this Computation, consume but 31,250 Gallons a Day, which is 11,406,250 Gallons in a Year, the Duties upon which, at 3 d. a Gallon, amount to but 142,578 1. per Annum ; whereas the Duties upon these Liquors for this last Year, amounted to 154,094 I. and we cannot suppose but that there are fome Frauds, with respect to the collecting of these Duties, as well as in most others.
• I have chosen this new Method of Calculation, Sir, not because I think the other false or deceitful, but to fhew, that whatever Method we choose, and from the most modest Calculations we can make, this general Truth will always appear, That by prohibiting the Retail of Spirituous Liquors, the Civil Lift will get more by the Increase of the Excise on Beer and Ale, than it can lose by the Decrease of the Duties upon such Liquors: And now with respect to the Observations made upon the other Method, I must say, that the Gentlemen of the other Side treat us, as Free-thinkers are treated by some of their Antagonists : They ftate a weak or a false Argument for us, answer it, and then triumph in the Vi&ory they have obtained. I have never heard it faid, Sir, in this House, nor in any any other Place, that as the Duties upon Spirituous Liquors decrease or increase, the Excise upon Beer and Ale must always increase or decrease in an exact Proportion : That if the Duties upon the former decrease or increase one fifth, one fixth, or one tenth, the other must increase or decrease exactly one fifth, one fixth, or one tenth, and neither more nor less. No, Sir, there are many other Accidents may contribute to the Increase or Decrease of the Excise on Beer and Ale, and therefore this Proportion cannot be exact : Yet I cannot allow, that the Accident mentioned by the honourable Gentleman, could have any great Influence upon the Excife in 1729 ; for the Price of Malt was not, so far as I remember, so high that Year, as to put our Brewers out of the common Way of Brewing ; and besides, we know that the Strong Drink brewed for common Draught, from whence the greatest Part of the Excise is raised, is never designed to be kept a great many Years ; so that in such Sort of Drink the Brewers never think of laying up a great Stock to provide for a Year of Scarcity : But I shall mention one Accident, which, I will take upon me to say, has greatly contributed to keep up the Excise these last two Years, and yet has contributed nothing towards raising the Produce of the Duties, at least, on Home-made Spirits ; I mean, Sir, the late general Election
Anno 9. Geo. II. for this Parliament, and the many very extraordinary dir. 1736.
puted Elections that have been fince ; for it is certain that these Elections and Disputes have added greatly to the Consumption of Beer and Ale, tho' I have never yet heard of a Candidate, who treated his Voters or Witnesses with Gin.
• And lastly, Sir, with respect to the Proposition this Day made to us, I am surprised to hear the honourable Gentleman say, that it alters the Nature of the present Establishment of the Civil Lift ; for upon the contrary, it pursues exactly the Nature of that Establishment: With respect to the present Civil List, so far as the Parliament stands obliged to make it good, his Majesty is accountable ; for he cannot make any Demand upon the Parliament, till he has laid an Account of the Civil List Revenues before them, in order to shew them the Deficiency : By the Proposition now before us, we are to enlarge that Establishment, we are to oblige ourselves to make a future Sum yearly good to his Majesty ; and I hope the honourable Gentleman would not have us lay ourselves under such an Obligation, and at the same Time put it in the Power of any future Minister to come and tell us, whenever he pleases, that there was a Deficiency as to that further Sum; and that therefore he infifted upon our making it good, without laying any Account before us from whence that Deficiency might appear.
• To conclude, Sir, from the whole that has been said upon this Subject, it appears evident to me, that if the Surplus of the Civil List should be diminshed by what we are now about, we are not obliged to make it good : That if we were obliged to make the Loss good, it ought not to be computed at 70,000 l. per Annum : That if it should be computed at 70,000 l. per Annum, it is apparent that it will be made good by the Increase of the Excise : That if this were not apparent, the Proposition now made to us will ful. ly answer that Uncertainty : That the Propofition now made to us is exa&tly conformable to the Nature of the presens Establishment of the Civil List ; and that if it were not, it is become necessary, by the Demand now made upon us in favour of the Civil List; so that in no Case can I find any Reason for taking such a Sum as 70,000 l. a Year from the Sinking Fund, and therefore I cannot agree that this Claule,
in the present Form, should stand Part of the Bill.' The House resolve The Question being then put, to agree with the Committo agice with the tee in the Amendments made to this Clause, it was, upon
of 792001.a Division, carried in the Affirmative, by 183 to uo. Ciril List.
April 6. The House resumed the Confideration of the Re port from the Committee on the bill for preventing the Retail of Spirituous Liquors, when the following Clause was offer'd for excepting Punch ; viz. : Provided always, that
& nothing in this Act contained fhall extend, or be construed anno 9. Geo. II.
1736. to extend, to charge with any of the Duties directed to • be paid, levied, or collected, by this Ad, any Spirits of A Cause offerd
Strong Waters, to be made into the Liquor commonly for excepting. • called Punch, to be retailed and consumed in the House, B Il relating to
Spirituous Liquors, or Houses, of any Person, or Persons; keeping à publick
Inn, Coffee-house, Vićtualling-house, or Ale-house, who • shall have been first licensed to sell Wine, Beer, Ale, or • other Liquors, or to subject the Makers, or Retailers of • the said Liquor called Punch, to take out Licences from • the Commissioners of Excise, as herein before directed for • Retailers of Spirituous Liquors, or Strong Waters. Pro' vided the said Liquor called Punch, so to be retailed and • consumed as aforesaid, be made or mixed with two third • Parts Water at the least, in the Presence of the Buyer, ' and that the Spirit with which the said Liquor is to be • made, be not sold, or retailed, in a less Quantity than 'one • Pint, or at a less Price than after the Rate of 5 s. per • Gallon ; and all and every Person, or Persons, acting con
trary hereto, shall forfeit the Sum of 5 1. for every Offence, one Moiety thereof to the Informer, or Prosecutor,
that shall inform or prosecute for the same, the other • Moiety to his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors : And the • Proof that the same was so mixed and sold at such Price i as aforesaid, shall lye on the Vender or Seller thereof, " and not on the Informer or Prosecutor.'
The Arguments in Favour of the said Clause were as fol. Arguments in fa lows:
Sir, • As the Complaint, which occafioned the bringing in of this Bill was chiefly aim'd against the excessive Use of Homemade Spirits among the common People, which proceeded entirely from the low Price, and from the Liberty many Persons took to retail them without a Licence, I have always been of Opinion; that the Evil complained of might have been cured, without laying on such heavy Duties as will amount to a Prohibition of the Retail of all distilled Spirituous Liquors : However, as the Consumption of Rum, when made into Punch, has never occasioned the least Complaint, and as that Comfumption is of very great Consequence to this Nation, I must beg Leave to offer a few Words in favour of the Clause propos’d.
I believe, sir, no Gentleman in this House is ignorant of the present declining State of our Sugar Colonies : Their Circumitances have been of late fo fully laid before Parliament, and every Man who has a Regard for his Fellow Subject, or for the Good of his Country, must be sensibly touched with their jult Complaints. Their Rivals in the SugarVol. IV. Dd
vour of that Clatie, 1736.
Anno 9. Geo. 11. Trade enjoy a new, rich, and fertile Soil, which produces
plentifully without great Labour or Expence. Their Rivals live almost quite free from Taxes, and without being at the Expence of making any Presents to their Governors, or even of maintaining and repairing their own Forts and Gar. risons; while They are heavily loaded with Taxes upon Exports as well as Imports, and obliged to pay large Salaries to their Governors, and to maintain and repair their own Fortifications: Their Rivals have a Liberty of exporting their Sugars directly to any Market in Europe, while They remain under a Neceflity of landing every Ounce in Britain, and are thereby obliged to pay double Freight, double Commillion, and a great many other unnecessary Charges. These Disadvantages have already, I am afraid, made us lofe che Benefit of lupplying any Foreign Market with Sugars; and in such Circumstances can it be expected, that the Parliamen: of Great Britain will, without any Necessity, make a Regulation for taking from our Sugar-Colonies the only Market they have left?
• I must confess, Sir, I little expected to have seen, in this Session of Parliament, any new Discouragement given to our Sugar Colonies ; on the contrary, I expected to have feen the most vigorous, and the best concerted Measures taken for relieving them from all the Disadvantages they at present labour under ; and for putting them, at least, upon an equal Footing with their Rivals in the Sugar-Trade : Such Meafures might have perhaps enabled us to regain the Benefic we have lost, of supplying Foreign Markets with that Commodity; but if we diminish the Sale of their Sugars or their Rum in Great Britain, without enabling them to send it to Foreign Markets, by removing the Difadvantages they are now fubjected to, their Rivals may be fo thoroughly established in the Trade, that it will be impossible for us to regain it ; nay, the very Islands where our Sugars are now produced may be abandoned ; and then instead of supplying Foreigners, it will be impoflible for us to supply ourselves, either with Sugars or Rum, which must of course be attended with an infinite Loss to the Nation.
· Let us confider, Sir, what valt Quantities of Manufactures of all kinds are yearly sent from Great Britain to our several Sugar-Illands, and from thence we must see how greatly the Value of our Exports must be diminished. This of itself would be an infinite Loss to the Nation ; but then, if we could have no Sugars or Rum from those Ilands for Supplying our Home-Consumption, our Loss would be redoubled; for that Consumption would then be supplied from the French Iands : So that the Value of our Imports from Foreign Countries would be considerably increased, at the