February 1645: Ordinance to prevent fraudulent Entries of exciseable Commodities, and authorizing the Commissioners of Excise to punish Offenders against the Ordinance for an Excise on Spirits, Wine, &c.

Pages 626-627

Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.

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February, 1644/5

[19 February, 1644/5.]

Whereas, by the Thirteenth Article in the Ordinance of the 11th of September, 1643, the Merchants, Importers, Brewers of Beer and Ale, and Distillers of Aqua Vitæ and Strong Waters, and others chargeable by the said Ordinance with the Excise for any the Commodities in the Schedule of the said Ordinance mentioned, in case of not making due Entry according to that and the precedent Article, are liable to the Penalties therein expressed; and whereas the Buyers of divers exciseable Commodities, as well in Cases of Bills of Sufferance as in other cases being not made expressly liable to the said Penalties, have took Encouragement not only to return short Entries, but less than the full Value of the Goods for which Sufferance hath been granted; and divers Merchants and others have rummaged, removed, and disposed of, Wines, Tobaccos, and sundry other exciseable Commodities, without Ticket, pretending them not to be sold, and that the Rummage, Removal, or Disposal, renders them not forfeitable; and whereas, it is a constant Practice of divers Merchants, Importers, and others, to remove from the Ships, and other Vessels, wherein such Goods are first imported, into other Ships, Hoys, Barques, Lighters, or other Vessels, all Sorts of exciseable Goods, Merchandizes, Wares, and Commodities whatsoever, carrying them beyond the Seas, to the Coasts, Port Towns, Creeks, or other Bye-places whatsoever, without making Entry thereof at the Excise-office, thereby endeavouring to frustrate the State of the Duty of Excise, upon Pretence that, so long as Goods are Water-borne, they are not liable to Seizure or Forfeiture; as also, upon Tickets, granted from the Office, fraudulently to use One Merchant's Name, of whom they pretend the Goods to be bought, instead of the Importer or true Owner thereof, under whose Hand they bring no true Note or Certificate to signify the Truth; which several Frauds, though apparently practised, yet are so cunningly carried on, that they cannot in all Cases be proved by Two Witnesses: Now the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, taking Notice how People of all Degress and Qualities are apt to dispute and elude the said Ordinance, which doth much prejudice and interrupt that necessary Service; for Prevention of these and the like fraudulent and indirect Practices hereafter, the said Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled do hereby Ordain and Declare, That the Commissioners of Excise, and their Deputies, had, by the true Intent and Meaning of the said Ordinance of the 11th of September, 1643, and hereby shall have, absolute Power and Authority to punish all such and other Offenders and Offences against the said Ordinance, or any other Ordinances touching the Excise (not otherwise in them or any of them provided for), in the same Manner, by the same Penalties, and with the same Forfeitures, as is in the said Thirteenth Article expressed: And it is further Ordained and Established, by Authority aforesaid, That, from and after the last of March next, the Rummage, Removal, or Disposal, of Wines, Tobaccos, or other exciseable Foreign Commodities, whereof the Excise hath not been formerly paid, from or to any Celler, Vault, Warehouse, Storehouse, or other Place whatsoever, or the Landing of any such Goods out of any Ship or Vessel (except withing his or their own House or Houses) without Warrant, Ticket, or Officer, in that Behalf first procured, is Cause of the same Forfeiture as in the Case of Sale, and for Delivery from the Merchant or Importer upon Sale; and that, for a short Payment, or short Entry of Number, Price, or Value, of any exciseable Commodities, by the Buyer, Consumptioner, Planter, Maker, or other Trader or Dealer of or in any of the Commodities that now are, or hereafter shall be, exciseable, all and every such Buyer and other Persons shall be liable to the same Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures, as by the said Thirteenth Article are imposed upon the Merchant or Persons therein mentioned, upon Proof of One or more Witnesses, or the Party upon Oath, or Confession, and in the same Manner to be levied, recovered, and disposed of, except the same be otherwise particularly provided for: And it is hereby further Ordained, That as well the Commissioners of Excise, their Deputies and Officers, as all and every other Person and Persons which shall do any Thing in Execution or Performance of this present Ordinance, shall be therein from Time to Time protected and saved harmless, by the Power and Authority of both Houses of Parliament.