Abbildungen der Seite

prowess; or, in the politer dialect of the vulgar tongue, for "the fancy"-the fancied fame.

Hard drinkers of Gin, before they are worked down in their rapid progress from health to the workhouse and the grave, can drink two pints, some three pints of Gin in the day; and one public character of great celebrity, Sir Jeffery Dunstan, Mayor of Garratt, could, and did drink four pints in the day, whenever he could get it; and he never from choice did drink more than four pints of spirits in the day; but he fell a martyr to a cruel experiment which was made upon him, on the day which closed his life :-some persons, some gentlemen I had almost said, called him into a publichouse, and gave him a pint of brandy after he had previously taken three pints of gin in the former part of the day: he drank the brandy, and remaining in the room informed the persons who had treated him, on his rising to depart, that, if they pleased, he would take a pint of Gin: the Gin was called for; he drank it, probably to cool the heat of the stronger spirit he had previously taken; and, walking out, he said, boastingly, to the people of the house, "those gentlemen thought to make a fool of me; but I think I have made fools of them."

He walked out, but did not reach his family; he was found a corpse in the street, the next morning, with his head resting on the step of a door; but whether he had placed himself there, when unable to walk further, or what is more probable, that being recognized by persons who knew him, he had been placed there with humane care to sleep off his intemperance in that easy posture, was never discovered.

I was informed, at the Queen's Head in Whitechapel, that the surgeons agreed with his widow, for the purchase of his body for dissection; but that his daughter resisted the bargain; and that he was interred in a very deep grave

under the window of the watch-house, in Whitechapel Church-yard, attended by an immense concourse of spectators, the expense of his funeral being defrayed by Gentlemen extensively engaged in the business of distillers.

It is computed that six Winchester quarters of barley made into malt, are required to produce fifteen barrels of good beer, furnishing six pots of beer in the day for a year to a hard-working man; and that one half that quantity of barley, malted and unmalted, produces fifty-two gallons of corn-spirits, one to ten over hydrometer proof, and upwards of seventy gallons of Gin, as retailed by the publicans, 20 per cent. under proof, furnishing more than five quarts of raw spirits of that strength in the week for a year to the dram drinker, which speedily renders him incapable of any hard labour.

It cannot, therefore, be a matter of surprise, that the Barley-Growers feel all the severity of bad markets after an abundant crop, from a system not merely of unwise, but of ruinous policy; and it appears to be not only expedient but necessary, to give immediate protection and encouragement to the Brewery, by such increase of the duties on Gin, as may at the same time protect the Revenue from the frauds committed by mixing British spirits with British Plantation rum, subject to higher duties. The increase of revenue, by the equalization of the duties on spirits, distilled by British Subjects, who justly claim equal rights, whether resident in England, or in the Colonial Dominions of the United Kingdom, will, it is believed, exceed half a million sterling considerably ;-a sum which would tend to alleviate the burdens of other taxes that press more severely on the Agriculturists and on the Country at large, than such increase of the duties on British spirits can do dn the persons engaged in the Distillery, in compounding and in retailing of raw and rectified spirits.














MARCH 7, 1816.



In pursuance of the notice I gave some time ago, I now rise to move, That this House do resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration the Distressed State of the Agriculture of the United Kingdom. It has been the practice of this House so to do for the purpose of more convenient deliberation and inquiry in times of peculiar danger and difficulty; and I cannot help feeling thoroughly convinced, that it will be admitted, that none were ever more critical than the present.

I cannot indeed anticipate any objection to this Motion, unless it should by some Honorable Members be apprehended that we should excite additional alarm throughout the country; and, perhaps, create expectations which it would be impossible to realize. Neither of these objections have, however, in my opinion, much weight in respect to the first of them, I can only say, that the alarm actually existing can hardly by any possibility be increased; and as to the second, however we might lament our inability to fulfil expectations, it is no sufficient reason for our refusing to investigate the causes and extent of our present unexampled distress. I am ready to admit, that the Legislature does by no means possess that power on such occasions as the present, which the public are too apt to imagine: we cannot by an Act of Parliament in an instant alleviate evils, the result of a concurrence of an infinite variety of circumstances. Their sanguine hopes therefore may not be realized; but that is no reason whatever for turning our backs upon the subject. The Public must not be kept in the dark either as to the extent or limits of our power. We must give our most `patient and attentive consideration as well in regard to extent as to

« ZurückWeiter »