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was, lest her husband should for- | he thought it would be a most nafeit his character and respecta- terial benefit conferred upon the bility by betraying his friends. He people of Ireland, to extend the actually retracted, in consequence jurisdiction of the assistant barof the persuasions of his wife, and rister from cases of 201. to 501.: he was accordingly executed. certainly should be happy to co
operate in any measure for that MR. PLUNKET.
purpose. From the highest authority it had been stated, that within the
MR. GRATTAN. last fifty years the commerce of With regard to the financial Ireland had doubled, her agricul. distress of Ireland, it was undeniatural produce had increased four- ble that it was almost beyond confold, and her population had tre-ception. Her expenditure had outbled. Thus it appeared that she shot her means, for she had a debt was capable of becoming the of one hundred and fifty millions, dangerous rival, or the powerful burthened with an interest of seven friend of England: a gigantic form millions, while her revenue did was rising at the side of Great not exceed six millions; so that for Britain, and the question now was, the maintenance of her establishwhether it should be converted in- ments she had absolutely nothing. to a friend or al e'lemy.
Difficult as this situation was, he
did not despair of its being reMr. VESEY FITZGERALD. lieved. He would suggest, thereThere was one circumstance fore, such a financial arrangement which had frequently struck him between the two countries as as a grievance pressing upon the would enable both to contribute to lower classes of the farmers in their mutual relief. Thirdly, with Ireland, and that was the difficulty regard to the commercial distresses which they experienced in recover- of Ireland, he acknowledged they ing the debts due to them. By an were great, but he considered act passed in 1796, a power was them as resulting from the sud. given to the assistant barristers to den and violent change from war try by civil bill, cases of debt to to peace. On that head, therefore, the amount of 201. Great advan. he was not inclined to despond. As tages had resulted from it.-No- the most effectual means of relier. thing fell more severely upon the ing those distresses, Ireland should lower orders of farmers than the receive a constant preference over difficulty of thus obtaining justice, foreigners in the British market. the expenses of which before the Thus it appeared to him that all superior tribunals, were beyond the three branches of difficulty their reach. There could not be a which he had spoken of might in stronger proof of this, than that time be removed. With respect the number of actions brought to the agitation which existed in amounted to above 30,000, and Ireland, by a good administration that the number tried did not ex of the government it might unceed 800: the great expense de questionably be cured. It was of a terred people from prosecuting temporary not of a permanent nathem. The expense of prosecuting ture. It was disgraceful, but it was a suit before the assistant barrister an eruption of the skin, and did did not exceed a few shillings, and not proceed from the blood. It
ought to be put down by the law; / great part of the disorganization and although in a free country an of the people was occasioned by effervescence of that nature could the immoderate use of spirits. At not be so speedily subdued as in a | least one fifth of the country was despotic country, it would be more excited to tumult and disorder effectually so in the end.
from this cause; and he would
then ask the house, whether they LORD CASTLEREAGH. would consent to surrender up the He was fully persuaded that the other four-fifths to drunkenness, by people of Ireland might be made reducing the price of spirits. The
well-informed and moral people. petitioners complained of illicit Even at present their minds were distillation, but not in the district much better cultivated than those of Dublin. In those parts of the who did not know them appeared country where the use of beer predisposed to admit; for it was most vailed instead of spirits, the mo. untrue that the Irish were in such rals, habits, and health of the peoa state of utter ignorance as that ple had been most materially imin which they had been frequently proved. It had been shown to the represented to be. He concurred house, by several medical reports with the right honourable gentle from the most eminent practitionman opposite in thinking those ers, that since the use of beer had were wrong who considered the become more general, the morpeople of Ireland to be generally tality in those great districts had uneducated. It was not true that decreased in a degree that was althey were remarkably deficient in most incredible. The remedy for intellectual knowledge. He could illicit distillation was not to be take upon himself to say, this was sought by these means, but by by no means a correct character calling on the nobility and gentry of them. So far as his experience to aid the legislature in giving efwent, they were rather the re fect to the established laws. At verse of this. He spoke principally present they found that they could of the north of Ireland, where the not collect of their tenants the population, far from being such as large rents which they imposed on had been supposed, was such, that them, unless they assisted those he knew no country in which the persons in evading the laws: this, inhabitants were more intelligent and this only, was the character of The knowledge which he spoke of their opposition to the existing was not confined to the higher laws of the country. He must acor midding ranks of society, but knowledge, however, that the absolutely pervaded all classes; house had in a great degree to extending even to the lowest. thank themselves for the progress
of illicit distillation in Ireland.
Some counties had transgressed to
an enormous extent; because they
made that a plea for remitting the Sir John NEWPORT. penalties, the house had yielded to The right honourable gentleman their petitions, and hereby enopposite, (Mr. Peel) had formerly couraged hopes that, by transdrawn a very faithful picture of gressing again, they would prothe state of Ireland; but there cure a remission of the penalties. could be no doubt whatever that a It was impossible to expect good
order, sobriety, or obedience to the | The evil was supported even by laws, so long as the people were the government. Lords-Lieutenant, kept in a state of intoxication. particularly one nobleman, whom
it was not necessary for him to GENERAL MATHEW. name, preferred this putteen, as General Mathew said, as he every other man of honour did, to knew very little about the north of the common whiskey. During the Ireland, he could not assert that last summer, the Lord Chancellor the gentlemen in that quarter en- of Ireland, Lord Manners, would couraged illicit distillation: but he drink nothing but putteen; and the was very sure, that those in the Marquis of Abercorn pursued the south, with which he was well ac same course. He did not blame quainted, gave that system every them for making use of good spiassistance. There was not a gen- rits, instead of bad. The Irish tleman residing on the banks of the chancellor, he understood, refused Shannon who did not encourage every other spirit, except putteen, it, by purchasing what was called, for these reasons--he found it es. in that country, putteen. That was tremely useful !o his constitution, whiskey made in a little iron pot, and the finest diuretic in the world. the Irish for which was putteen, (A laugh.) Neither the lord chanand thence the liquor derived its cellor of Ireland, nor the secretary name. The gentlemen purchased for Ireland, could deny that this this spirit-they placed it regular-illicit spirit was thus generally ly in their cellars—and there was used. He believed that almost not one of them who did not re every man in the county of Li. gularly ask his guests, " Will you merick supported illicit distillahave the putteen, or the legal spí. tion. There was but one way to rit?” As he (General Mathew) destroy this evil; and that was preferred good claret to bad port, by revising the magistracy of Irehe always answered, on such occa land, which was at present intoler sions, “ give me the putteen in- able. The magistrates of the south stead of the inferior whiskey." (4 were intolerable. They connived laugh.) It was almost impossible at this infraction of the law; they for them to discover those who took money as a bribe to suffer it were engaged in this trade. They to go on. (No, no!) He could prove could easily conceal the iron pot it. The guager took a guinea from which was used in distillation. And this person, and guinea from that what was the consequence? Why, person, that he might overlook the persons who were sent to de those town-lands which had instroy this trade, assisted in support curred penalties, and place them ing it: for they could get nothing on those on which no offence had but putteen to drink. Besides, been committed. The gallant gethose who infringed the law, were neral then contended, that the onprotected by their landlords. He ly effectual remedy for this mondid not mean to say that it was so strous evil, was a purification of in the north; but such was the the magistracy of Ireland, which case in the south, and such was the government did not seem the case in the west. The chancel- anxious to commence. The Irish lor of the exchequer for Ireland chancellor was not singular in his knew full well that the practice taste. Other noble lords had shown existed in the county of Clare. an equal love for putteen. No man
extender ever liked it better than the Duke been in force only twelve or thir. posle of Rutland. The gallant general teen years, and yet not less than e concluded by again pointing out 6000 persons had been prosecuted,
the necessity of revising the ma so that the prisons were absolutegistracy of Ireland.
ly crowded. It often happened
that the person guilty could not MR. WINDHAM Quin. pay above ten shillings, and the
Under the present system of collector went to those in the more high duties, this evil of illicit dis- townships who could best bear the
tillation had greatly increased. He fine. He would ask whether any would give one instance: in Li. man, conscious of his innocence, anerick, not more than two years could bear to be thus unjustly
ago, there were one still of 1500 stripped of his property? It was 1 gallons, and two of 500; there was utterly in vain that government
ut one of 500, the others made grants for the encouragehad ceased. The increase of fines ment of religion in Ireland, when for illicit distillation had gone to the people were brought up to such an extent, that in the town systematic perjury, in order to lands they were so great, that it save the stills and their produce. was impossible to levy them. No Thus the expense of prosecutions persons would take land in those was enormous: in 1802 it had been districts, lest they should be liable 4021. 128. 5d.; in 1807, 3001.; but to those imposts, and the houses in 1814 there was disbursed for most notorious for the sale of this boards of council, 14,0501., while liquor were those in which disor- | 'the expenses of the local solicitor. ders of every kind had grown to a general were 53,8001., and those of great extent.
the second solicitor 30,5051. The
bill of costs for the prosecution of MR. W. Smith.
the 6000 individuals he had menIn England the great distilleries tioned was 30,8071., and the exhad decreased from ten to four. In penses of one province in fines Scotland a similar reduction was amounted to 105,0571. How could found. The fact was, that be the people be patient who had these liquor wholesome
enormous sums drawn from them cheaper it was, the greater was its for crimes of which they were not consumption, and the more in- guilty? subordination generally followed the facility of getting it in society.
SCOTCH DISTILLERIES. Any body who had seen Hogarth's picture of Gin Alley, had seen The Chancellor of the Exchethis growth of vice admirably de-quer said, that illicit distillation picted.
had, of late years, been carried to
a most mischievous extent, and that MR. FRENCH.
this was very much to be attriHe complained that, under the buted to the bad quality of the present system, the innocent as spirit produced from the regular well as the guilty were punished distilleries. The plan which he inby the levying of fines: 93,0001. tended to submit to the committee had been levied in one year of consisted of regulation and reducwhich half went to the guager, tion of duty. For this purpose he and half to the crown. The act had intended to cacourage the use of VOL. II.
small stills of 40 gallons. By this consent to a similar measure in means, especially in the High- Ireland. The duty was reduced to lands, where illicit distillation 28. 6d. a gallon for the purpose si chicfly prevailed, a palatable spirit suppressing illicit distillation; Fe might be produced in the legal it was proved that the practice way, and illicit distillation effectue never prevailed so extensively s ally prevented. The duty on spirit at the very time the duty was se was at present 88. 4d. per gallon, lowered. and this he should propose lo re. duce to 68. 4d. per gallon, namely
MR. P. GRANT. 8d. per gallon on the wash, and 9d. Mr. P. Grant said, that spirits on the spirit.
were selling for 68. per gallon in
Scotland, being somewhat less than MR. C. GRANT.
the duty proposed to be levied Mr. C. Grant, sen. stated the How then was it possible to de. universal prevalence of illicit dis crease the consumption of illicit tillation, and its lamentable effects spirits, when it was now sold at a on the morals of the people, who, price less than the duty which the by living in opposition to law, right honourable gentleman prolearned to despise it. The legal | posed? The morals of the people distiller ought to be encouraged of Scotland were ruined by the in order to check this evil, and that intemperate use of spirits. At one could only be done by lowering meeting of magistrates no less the duty. The gentlemen of Scoto than 1300 persons were brought land wished to put down this sys- up to be fined for carrying on tem, but were persuaded the only illicit distillation. means-was to lower the duty.
BRITISH HOUSE OF COM. MR. W. Dundas.
MONS & CONSTITUTION. Mr. W. Dundas argued in favour of a reduction of the duty to SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH. 58. per gallon. He drew a lamenta. It is obvious, on the coolest re. ble picture of the deteriorated flection, that the exclusive power state of morals in the Highlands, of the House of Commons over the arising from the use of ardent spi. public purse is the bulwark of this rits, and contrasted it with the constitution, and that nothing can morality, and good order which, be regarded as small or inconsiprior to the introduction of illicit derable which touches it, which in distillation, had prevailed there. the slightest degree or by the
most remote analogy can enMR. V. FITZGERALD. danger, or contract, er bring into Let it not be too sanguinely ex- question the fundamental principected, however, that low duties ple. It is fit that, in the courts of alone would be sufficient. He was law, the most subtile distinctions not paradoxical enough to assert should be respected, and that the that they would increase the evil; authority of precedent should be but this he recollected, that in Ire- maintained, because it is thus only land they had been tried, and had that the administration of justice is not diminished it. A right ho. subjected to certain rules, and that nourable friend
friend of his, (Mr. the power of judges is prevented Foster) had been persuaded to from becoming arbitrary. But this