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William III, 1698: An Act to prohibit the excessive distilling of Spirits and Low Wines from Corne and against the Exporting of Beer and Ale and to prevent Frauds in Distillers. [Chapter IV. Rot. Parl. 10 Gul. III. p.1. n.4]

Pages 456-460

Statutes of the Realm: Volume 7, 1695-1701. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1820.

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Citation:

In this section

Reasons for passing this Act;

Unduly making Aqua Vitæ, &c; Penalty;; and Stills, &c. forfeited; How Penalties divided and recovered. Servants, &c. aiding,; Imprisonment.

Whereas it is found by Experience that the drawing distilling and makeing of Brandies or Spiritts from Malt is one Cause of the present dearnesse of Corne especially of Barley in this Realme and by reason of the great Scarcity of Corne in Forreigne Parts and the Restraints which are or may be made there of distilling Spiritts from Corne great Demands are and may be made of Spiritts drawne from malted Corne in this Kingdom to supply the occasions of those Forreigne Parts which must needs tend to a further enhanceing of the Price of Corne here and prove a great Grievance to many His Majesties good Subjects if a speedy Remedy be not provided be it therefore enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That no Person or Persons whatsoever from and after the last Day of January in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety eight and before the First Day of February which shall be in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety nine shall directly or indirectly draw distill or make or cause or procure to be drawne distilled or made within the Kingdom of England Dominion of Wales and Towne of Berwick upon Tweed any Brandy Aqua Vitæ Spiritts or Low Wines whatsoever other than such Quantities as are allowed by this Act and under such Restrictions and in such Manner and Forme as are herein prescribed from any Malt Corne or Graine or from any Wash or Liquors produced or to be produced from any Malt Corne or Graine whatsoever under the Penalties and Forfeitures herein after mentioned (that is to say) That all the Brandy Aqua Vitæ Spiritts and Low Wines soe made or drawne shall be forfeited and that every Offender and Offenders therein shall forfeite and pay the Sum of Ten Shillings for every Gallon of Brandy Aqua Vitæ Spiritts or Low Wines which shall be drawne distilled or made contrary to this Act and moreover that all the Stills Backs Casks and other Utensills and Vessells imployed in the distilling drawing makeing or keeping the same or any part thereof shall be forfeited the moiety of all which Penalties and Forfeitures shall be to the Kings Majesty His Heires and Successors and the other moiety to him or them that shall discover informe or sue for the same and the said Penalties and Forfeitures shall and may be recovered in the same Manner and by the same Meanes as any Penalties and Forfeitures by any of the Laws and Statutes for the Excise now in force for any Offence or Offences against the same are or may be recovered and that all Servants and others who shall be wittingly or willingly aiding or assisting in the makeing of the said Spiritts or Low Wines contrary to this Act and being thereof duely convicted in any of His Majesties Courts of Record at Westminster or at the Generall Quarter Sessions of the County City Rideing or Place where such Offence shall be committed or where such Person or Persons shall be apprehended or arrested for such Offence shall suffer Imprisonment by the space of Six Months without Bail or Mainprize.

II. Proviso for using Yeast in certain Distillations.

Provided alwaies That it shall and may be lawful for any Person or Persons drawing Spiritts Brandy or Low Wines from any Forreigne Materialls or any English Materialls other than such as are prohibited by this Act to make use of a reasonable Quantity of Yeast for the Fermentation of their Wash in order to the distilling of the same Any thing in this or any other Act to the contrary ( (fn. 1) ) notwithstanding

III. Recital of Inconveniences arising from the Use of Private Stills, &c.

Distillers keeping private Conveyances, before 28th Feb. 1698, to take up and demolish the same, &c; Distiller, after 28th Feb. 1698, keeping private Conveyance,; Penalty £ 100.

And whereas it is found by experience That His Majesty hath been very much defrauded of His Duties upon Low Wines and Spiritts by many Distillers and other Persons who keepe or sett up private and concealed Warehouses Storehouses Cellars or other Places or private or concealed Stills Backs or other Vessells for the makeing preparing or keeping Wash Low Wines Spiritts or other Materialls fitt for Distillation and by Private Pipes and Stopcocks and other Private Conveyances have Communication betweene their Private and Publick Backs and other Vessells by which they doe privately convey their Wash or other Liquors fitt for Distillation from one Back or other Vessell to another by meanes whereof the Officers cannot take and keepe a true and distinct Account of such Wash and other Liquors fitt for Distillation nor of the Low Wines and Spiritts made or drawne from the same And whereas the Gaugers and Officers of Excise are not sufficiently impowered by Law upon Suspicion or Knowledge of such Frauds to enter the Houses or Places where the same are practised without Consent of the Possessors thereof or upon Entry and Discovery of such Frauds cannot find out or discover the Person or Persons concerned therein by reason that the true Owner or Owners of such Warehouses Storehouses Cellars or other Places Stills Backs or other Vessells Spiritts Low Wines Wash or other Materialls fitt for Distillation will not appeare or Claime any Interest therein but frequently disowne the same Be it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid That every Distiller having and keeping any Private Pipe or Stopcock or other Private Conveyance by which any Wash or other Liquors fitt for Distillation may be conveyed from one Back or Vessell to another or from any such Back or other Vessell to their Still or Stills or into any other Place shall before the Eight and twentieth day of February One thousand six hundred ninety eight take up or demolish every such Pipe Stopcock or other Private Conveyance and shall alsoe stop up every Hole in every such Back or Washbatch by which any Wash or other Liquors fitt for Distillation may be conveyed into or out of such Back or Washbatch or any of them and that no Distiller from and after the said Eight and twentieth Day of February shall have or keepe any Private Pipe Stopcock or other Private Conveyance by which any Wash or other Liquors fitt for Distillation may be conveyed from one Back or other Vessell to another or from any such Back or other Vessell to his or her Still or Stills or into any other Place nor shall have or keepe any Hole in any such Back or Washbatch by which any Wash or any other Liquors fitt for Distillation may be conveyed into or out of such Back or Washbatch or any of them on Paine to forfeite for every such Pipe Stopcock Conveyance and Hole the Sum of One hundred [Pounds (fn. 2) ]

IV. Officer, in the Day-time, and with Constable, may search for private Pipes, &c. and may break up Ground, &c. of any House, &c. into which the same may lead, &c.

And for the better discovering of all such Pipes Stopcocks and other Private Conveyances aforesaid Be it further enacted That from and after the said Eight and twentieth Day of February it shall and may be lawfull to and for the Gaugers and Officers of Excise or any of them in the Day time and in the Presence of a Constable or other lawfull Officer for the Peace (who are hereby required to be aiding and assisting therein) on Request first made and Cause declared to breake up the Ground in any Distilling House or the Ground near adjoyning or any Wall Partition or other Place to search for any such Pipe Stopcock or any other private Conveyance and upon finding such Pipe or other Conveyance to breake up the Ground House Wall or other Partition or Place through or into which any such Pipe or other Conveyance shall lead and to breake up or cutt any such Pipe or other Conveyance and to turne any Cock or Cocks to try and examine whether such Pipe or other Conveyance may or can convey any Wash or other Liquors fitt for Distillation out of one Back or Vessell into another or from any such Back or Vessell into any Still or Stills or into any other Place.

V. If no Pipe, &c. found, Officer to make good the Ground, or make Satisfaction to Owner, to be adjudged by Two Justices, or Party may bring his Action; Damages paid out of Excise Revenue Opposing Officer, Penalty £ 100

Provided alwaies That in case upon such Search no such Pipe or other Private Conveyance shall be found such Gaugers and Officers of Excise shall make good the Ground Wall House or other Place soe broken up as aforesaid or make reasonable Satisfaction to the Owner or Owners thereof to be adjudged by Two of the next Justices of the Peace whereof one to be of the Quorum or the Party injured shall be at liberty to bring his Action for the Damages by him sustained and what shall be adjudged by the said Justices or recovered upon such Action shall be paid out of His Majesties Revenue of Excise by the Commissioners thereof for the time being and if any Distiller or any other Person or Persons whatsoever shall oppose obstruct or hinder any such Gauger or Officer in the due Execution of the Powers hereby given and granted every such Distiller and other Person shall forfeite and loose for every such Offence the Sum of One hundred Pounds

VI. Distiller may use Pipe, &c. above Ground.

Provided neverthelesse and it is hereby declared That it shall and may be lawfull to and for any Distiller to keepe and make use of any Pipe Stopcock or other Conveyance above Ground which are Publick and in open View from one End thereof to the other for the letting his Wash out of his Publick Coolers into his Publick Backs or Washbatches and for conveying his Wash or Worts out of such Publick Back or Washbatch into his Publick Stills Any thing in this Act or any other Law or Statute to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding

VII. Officer suspecting concealed Stills, &c. on Affidavit thereof,

may in the Day-time, and with Constable, &c. break open Doors and search;; and seize such Stills, &c; And if the same not claimed within 20 Days, then forfeited, and may be sold; How Proceeds of Sale disposed of; If such Stills, &c. claimed, then Claimant to pay Penalty of £200.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That in case the Gaugers or Officers of Excise or any of them shall know or have cause to suspect any such Private or concealed Still Back or other Vessell Spiritts Low Wines Wash or other Materialls preparing for Distillation to be sett up or kept in any House or Place and shall make Affidavit before one or more Justice or Justices of the Peace for the County or Place where he shall soe know or suspect such Private or concealed Still Back or other Vessell Spiritts Low Wines or Materialls preparing for Distillation are or shall be soe sett up or kept and shall in such Affidavit declare the Grounds of such his Knowledge or Suspition then and in such case it shall and may be lawfull for such Officer or Officers in the Day time and in the Presence of a Constable or other lawfull Officer of the Peace (who are hereby required to be aiding and assisting therein) by Warrant from such Justice or Justices of the Peace before whom such Affidavit shall be made to be directed to such Officer or Officers of Excise (which Warrant the said Justice or Justices of the Peace are hereby authorized and required to grant) to breake open the Door or any Part of such House or Place where he or they shall soe know or suspect such Private or concealed Still Back or Vessell Spiritts Low Wines or Materialls for Distillation are soe sett up or kept and to enter into such House or Place and to seize all such Stills Backs or other Vessells and also all such Spiritts Low Wines Wash or other Materialls for Distillation that shall be found therein and to detaine and keepe the same in such House or other Place where he or they shall find the same soe kept private or concealed and in case the same shall not within Twenty Daies next after such Seizure be claimed by the true and lawfull Owner thereof then the said Stills Backs and other Vessells Spiritts Low Wines and Materialls for Distillation shall be absolutely forfeited and shall and may be sold at the next generall Day of Sale to be appointed by the Commissioners of Excise or their Officer or Officers respectively after the said Twenty Daies are expired one Moiety of the Proceed thereof (all necessary Charges being first deducted out of the whole) to be paid to the Use of His Majesty His Heires and Successors and the other Moiety to the Party or Parties who shall soe discover and seize the same and in case such Stills Backs and other Vessells Spiritts Low Wines and Materialls for Distillations shall within the said Twenty Daies be claimed by any Person or Persons whatsoever the Person or Persons soe claiming the same shall forfeite and loose for every such Warehouse Storehouse or other Place in which any such Still Back or other Vessell shall be found and alsoe for every such Still Back and other Vessell found therein the Sum of Two hundred Pounds.

VIII. If no Still, &c. found, then Officer to make good Place broken up, or make Satisfaction to Owner, to be adjudged by Two Justices, or Party may bring his Action; Damages paid out of Revenue of Excise; Opposing Officer; Penalty £ 200.

Provided alwaies That in case upon such breaking open any such Door or House no such Private or concealed Back Still or other Vessell Spiritts Low Wines Wash or other Materialls for Distillation shall be found such Gauger and Officers of Excize shall make good the House or Place soe broken up as aforesaid or make reasonable Satisfaction to the Owner or Owners thereof to be adjudged by Two of the next Justices of the Peace whereof one to be of the Quorum or the Party injured shall be at liberty to bring his Action for the Damages by him sustained and what shall be adjudged by the said Justices or recovered upon such Action shall be paid out of His Majesties Revenue of Excise by the Commissioners thereof for the time being and if any Distiller or any other Person or Persons whatsoever shall oppose obstruct or hinder any such Gauger or Officer soe authorized as aforesaid in the due execution of the Powers hereby given and granted every such Distiller or other Person shall forfeite and loose the Sum of Two hundred Pounds all which said Penalties shall be recovered and levied by the same Meanes and Methods as any Fine or Penalty imposed by any Law of Excise now in force is recoverable One Moiety of which said Forfeitures shall be to His Majesty His Heires and Successors and the other Moiety to him or them that will discover informe or sue for the same as aforesaid

IX. How Spirits made from Mixture of Spirits with Wash, &c. except with Water, chargeable.

And whereas many Distillers on pretence of rectifying of Spiritts doe mix Spiritts with Wash and other Liquors and afterwards distill the same whereby His Majesties Duties on Low Wines are avoided and not duely answered and paid as by the former Acts is directed and appointed for Prevention whereof be it enacted and declared by the Authority aforesaid That all Spiritts made or drawne by any Distiller from any Mixture of Spiritts with any kind of Wash or other Liquor (except common Water) shall be deemed and taken to be Low Wines and shall be chargeable with the Duties already sett and imposed on Low Wines drawne from Forreigne Materialls.

X. The Owners of Houses, &c. used as open Distilleries, as herein described, may, between 31 Jan. 1698 and 1st Feb. 1699, distil Spirits or Low Wines, as herein mentioned,; so as the Whole does not exceed the Quantity herein mentioned

Controversy respecting the Quantity to be determined by Accounts and Vouchers returned into the Head-Office of Excise of the Year already ended; Access gratis to such Accounts.

Provided alwaies and be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That in such House and Houses and other Edifices which were used as publick or open Distilleries for the drawing or distilling of Spiritts or Low Wines from Wort or Drink brewed from malted Corne during the Yeare ended on the Thirtieth Day of September One thousand six hundred ninety and eight or during any part thereof (and in no other House or Place whatsoever) it shall and may be lawfull to and for the Owners and Occupiers of the said Houses and Distilleries respectively at any time or times betweene the last Day of January One thousand six hundred ninety and eight and the First Day of February One thousand six hundred ninety and nine to draw distill and make or cause to be drawne distilled and made any Spiritts or Low Wines from Drink or Wort brewed from malted Corne soe as the whole Quantity of Low Wines or Spiritts of the first Extraction which betweene the said last Day of January One thousand six hundred ninety and eight and the said First Day of February One thousand six hundred ninety and nine shall be drawne distilled or made in every such Distillery respectively from any Malt Corne or Graine or from the Produce thereof doe not in the whole exceede halfe the Quantity of Low Wines or Spiritts of the first Extraction which in the Yeare already ended as aforesaid were drawne distilled or made within the same House or Distillery respectively from Drink or Wort brewed with malted Corne and soe as the Quantity of Low Wines or Spiritts of the first Extraction which in the First Second Third and every other Kalendary Month of the Yeare reckoned from the said last Day of January One thousand six hundred ninety and eight shall be drawne distilled or made in every such Distillery respectively from Malt Corne or Graine or from the Produce thereof doe not exceed halfe the Quantity of Low Wines or Spiritts of the first Extractions which in the like First Second Third and every other Calendary Month of the Yeare ended as aforesaid were drawne distilled or made within the same House or Distillery respectively from Drink or Wort brewed with Malted Corne And in Case any Doubt or Controversy shall arise concerning the Quantity of Spiritts or Low Wines which were drawne or distilled in any House or Distillery within or during the said Yeare ended on the said Thirtieth Day of September One thousand six hundred ninety and eight or any Month of the same from Drink or Worts brewed from malted Corne or concerning the exceeding of halfe that Quantity or Proportion in the Yeare to be reckoned from the said last Day of January One thousand six hundred ninety and eight or in any Month thereof then the same shall be determined by the Accounts or Vouchers returned into the Head Office of the Excise containing the Quantities of such Low Wines or Spiritts of the first Extraction made in every such House or Distillery within or during the Yeare already ended as aforesaid whereby His Majesties Duties were charged or chargeable or by the Entries of the same to which all Persons concerned (upon reasonable Request) shall have free accesse without Fee or Charge Any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

XI. Commissioners of Excise to give to Owners a true Account in Writing of Quantities charged in such Vouchers, ending 30th Sept. 1698.

And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That the Commissioners of the Excise or any Three or more of them upon Request to them made shall make forth and deliver in Writing under their Hands gratis to the Owners or Occupiers aforesaid or such as they shall appoint a true Account of the Quantities of Low Wines or Spiritts of the first Extraction charged in the said Vouchers as were made in every respective Distillery in each respective Month of the Yeare ended at the Thirtieth Day of September One thousand six hundred ninety and eight as aforesaid from Drink or Worts brewed with malted Corne.

XII. Exporting or Lading for Exportation Beer, Ale, Wash, &c.;

Penalty.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That no Person or Persons whatsoever from and after the last Day of February in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety [and (fn. 3) ] eight and before the First Day of February which shall be in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety and nine shall directly or indirectly export transport carry out convey or cause or procure to be exported or transported carried or conveyed out of or from the said Kingdome of England Dominion of Wales and Towne of Berwick upon Tweed or any of them or load or lay on board or cause or procure to be loaden or laid on board in any Ship Vessell or Boat in order to be exported or carried out of the Kingdom Dominion or Towne aforesaid for any Forreigne Parts any Beere Ale or any Wash or Worts drawne from Corne or any Ale or Beere from which Spiritts may be extracted under the Pains and Forfeitures herein after mentioned that is to say For every Barrell of Beere Ale Wash or Worts soe exported the Sum of Five Pounds and soe in proportion for any greater or lesser Quantity One Moiety thereof to His Majesty and the other Moiety to the Informer to be recovered as other Penalties by this Act are directed to be recovered

XIII. Proviso for Exportation of Beer and Ale for Ships' Crews and Passengers, &c.

Provided alwaies That this Act or any thing therein contained shall not extend to prohibite the Exportation or carrying out of such Beere or Ale as shall be necessary to be carried in any Ship or other Vessell or Vessells from this Kingdom or the Dominion aforesaid or in their Returne to the same only for the Sustenance or Drink of the Commanders Masters Marriners Passengers or others in the same Ships and not to be sold in Forreigne Parts or for the Supply of any of His Majesties Ships in Forreigne Parts Any thing in this Act to the contrary notwithstanding.

XIV. And to Colonies, Forts, &c. in America, Persia, and East Indies, for their Sustentation, &c.; on Security by Exporter for the due Landing thereof.

Such Security to be taken without Fee..

Provided alsoe That nothing in this Act contained shall extend to any Beere or Ale which shall be exported or shipt to be exported out or from any of the Ports of this Kingdom or Dominion of Wales unto such of His Majesties Colonies in America Persia or the East-Indies that have been usually supplyed with such Liquors from this Kingdom or from the Dominion of Wales aforesaid or for the Sustentation of the said Islands and Colonies Forts Castles or Factories therein only soe as the Exporters before the shipping or laying on board the same for the Islands or Colonies for which the said Liquor is designed doe give sufficient Security in Treble the Value to the Commissioners or Officers of His Majesties Customs respectively who have hereby Power to take such Security in His Majesties Name and to His Majesties Use that such Liquors shall not be landed in any Parts whatsoever other than the Islands and Colonies for which the same shall be soe declared for takeing which Security no Fee or Reward shall be demanded or received And the said Bond or Bonds or other Securities if not prosecuted within Three Years shall be void

XV. Proviso in favour of Charles Bennett.

( (fn. 4) ) Provided alwaies That nothing in this Act contained shall extend to prevent or hinder Charles Bennett Distiller from drawing or distilling Spiritts or Low Wines from Worts or Drink brewed from malted Corne from the last Day of January One thousand six hundred ninety eight to the First Day of February One thousand six hundred ninety nine alwaies soe as the whole Quantity of Low Wines or Spiritts of the first Extraction which betweene the said last Day of January One thousand six hundred ninety eight and the said First Day of February One thousand six hundred ninety nine shall be drawne distilled or made in his now Distillary from any Malt Corne or Graine or from the Produce thereof doe not in the whole exceed halfe the Quantity of Low Wines or Spiritts of the first Extraction by him drawne and extracted in the Yeare already ended on the Thirtieth of September One thousand six hundred ninety eight and soe as the said Charles Bennett doth observe and performe in all things else as all other Distillers are by this Act obliged to observe and performe.

Footnotes

  • 1. to O.
  • 2. interlined on the Roll.
  • 3. interlined on the Roll.
  • 4. annexed to the Original Act in a separate Schedule.