Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 6, 1648-1651. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Die Martis, 12 Martii, 1649.
Ordered, That the several Acts of Parliament; the one intituled, An Act for selling the Fee-farm Rents belonging to the Commonwealth of England, formerly payable to the Crown of England, Duchy of Lancaster, and Duchy of Cornwall; and the other Act, intituled, An Act for the better Packing of Butter, and redress of Abuses therein; be proclaimed in every Market Town in the several Counties of this Commonwealth.
"That, although we are Witnesses of the unwearied Pains which your Honours have now above a Twelvemonth, almost every Day, taken, to put the Excise in such Order, as might at once both render it easy and acceptable to the People, and serviceable to the State, according as might be reasonably expected from such a Revenue, so equally distributed, and almost made insensible; all which we have also endeavoured, on our Parts, to improve to the uttermost, that, at length, the State might reap the Fruits thereof, and the Way be made clear to that intended Benefit of the People, in easing them, as far as the Public could bear, in other Taxes: Yet now finding, by Experience, that all is like to become fruitless, especially as to the Country, whose Excise consists most in Beer and Ale (far the greatest Part of the whole Revenues), upon which the State can rely for any considerable Supply, we have found it our Duties to certify to this honourable Committee, the true State of this Receipt, as to Beer and Ale; which, we humbly trust, will be both favourably interpreted by your Honours, and some speedy and effectual Remedy and Settlement found out, and resolved on, that the People, from the Delay, and several Alterations in this Receipt, may no longer take occasion to hope, that this Payment is deserted by the Parliament; which Belief is almost settled in them by such, who, throughout the Land, are disaffected to this Commonwealth, and are ready, on all Hands, to omit no Opportunity to work the Vulgar to an Impatience of any thing which proceeds from the Wisdom and Authority of Parliament: And we the rather find ourselves necessitated to give this Account, because we foresee, that the Parliament, as well as your Honours, may, perhaps, expect some Return at this Half Year's Account, the Twenty-fifth present, what Effects the late Act, passed in August last, may have produced in the Country: We have already, and almost weekly, as they came to our Hands, acquainted your Honours, what Issue the Course, appointed by the said Act for Assessors of private Families for their Consumption in Beer and Ale, returnable to the Justices of the Peace in every Division, hath had; by which, if there were nothing else, it is so evident, what the Country would do, and contribute to the State, if they were left to themselves; and what Patronage this Receipt, and the Collectors thereof, are like to have: This is apparent, as to the Matter of the Receipt, That whereas, with good Reason, it was expected, that, when the Country should be their own Assessors, and Collectors, and Witnesses, how all they paid came clear to the State's Cash, they would have, by an equal and just Assessment, at least doubled, if not trebled, that which before, with much Charge, and through the Country's Averseness to the Excise, could be collected by the Officers of the Excise: Their Roll of private Families brewing their own Beer, doth not reach to a Third of what was collected in the Course pursued according to former Ordinances; nay, in some Counties, they have rendered it not worth the Collecting: And, since this honourable Committee hath been upon reducing this Receipt to the former Course, something rectified: and that our Sub Commissioners have, upon Intimation from us, sought to improve the Receipt, as well as they could, without relation to the Rolls returned, the Country will by no means comply; and so, on all Hands, especially in the remoter Counties, Sub Commissioners are at a Stand: All which we humbly pray may be considered, and remain before your Honours, that we may not be found to have neglected our Duties. And this further we could not omit to add, That great Arrears are ready for Collection in the Country: There wants only, that the Parliament declare the Manner, and require an exact Conformity of all Men to their Acts and Ordinances."
Ale and Beer.
The Question being put, That these Words; viz. "or not exceeding the Number of Ten Persons to be computed for the Consumption and spending a Barrel of Ale or Beer by the Week, in private Families, that brew their own Ale and Beer, and do not sell or retale the same;" and these Words, "after the Proportion of Ten Persons to be computed for the Consumption and spending a Barrel of Ale or Beer by the Week;" do stand in the Bill;
High Court of Justice.
He likewise reports from the said Council, That, for the effectual Carrying on of the Service of Ireland, they find, that it will be necessary, that some considerable Sum of Money may be speedily provided for that purpose; and, having considered by what Way it may be done, to the most Advantage of that Service, they are of Opinion, That it be offered unto the House, that the Estates of those Delinquents which were, by an Ordinance of Parliament, formerly committed to some Feoffees, in Trust for the Raising of Money for the Irish Service, may be now declared to be sold outright; and the Monies, which shall be raised upon such Sale, to be employed only to the carrying on of the Service of Ireland.
Resolved, That it be referred to the Council of State, to confer with the Committee at Goldsmiths Hall; and thereupon, that such of the Members of that Council, as are Members of this House, do bring in a Bill for the Sale of the Estates of all Delinquents, or such of them as shall be fit to be presently sold.