HC Deb 24 April 1811 vol 19 c760

A Petition of several brewers of the cities of Dublin, Cork, and Waterford, was presented and read; setting forth, "That the petitioners are engaged in a manufacture, the prosperity of which is universally allowed to be intimately connected with the health and morals of the people; and that the petitioners had, for many years previous to the late session of parliament, witnessed a desire on the part of the legislature to encourage the use of malt liquor in Ireland, manifested not only by repeated declarations of parliament to that effect, but by a progressive encrease to the duties on spirituous liquors; and that, under the encouragement so held out to the petitioners, and the growing demand for malt liquor resulting therefrom, they were led to entertain a confidence that the brewing trade was considered as an object of national importance, and would consequently continue to experience the kind protection of the legislature; and that, influenced by these motives, they have been induced to expend large sums in extending and improving their works, and in making every ether necessary preparation for supplying the extending demand; and that they were naturally led to hope, that the legislature would have been greatly strengthened in its opinion of the high importance of the Irish brewery, not only as connected with public health and public morals, but as an object of revenue through the medium of the duties on malt, from two facts, which occurred during the temporary suspension of distillation from grain in Ireland, commencing in June 1808 and ending in March 1810, namely, that habits of sobriety and good order, with their happy effects, became conspicuously disseminated amongst the lower classes of the people; and that, within the same short period, the consumption for malt liquor in Ireland had proportionably increased, in so much that the malt duties paid by the brewery alone in the year ending the 29th September 1809 (in which year distillation from grain was suspended) amounted to the sum of 411,646l which sum exceeded the malt duties paid by both brewery and distillery together in the preceding year in the sum of 79,268l., although the preceding was by far the most productive year, in point of distillery revenue, that ever was known in Ireland; and that during the last session of parliament, at the same time that the Irish distilleries were permitted to recommence distillation from grain, the duty on Irish made spirits was reduced to the extremely low rate of 2s 6d. per gallon, whilst the malt duty, which principally affects the brewery, remained undiminished; and that, in consequence of this measure, the price of spirituous liquors has become so extremely cheap, that the lower classes of the people have returned with unexampled avidity to the excessive use of those liquors, and the consumption of malt liquor has declined to such a degree, as to cause great alarm to the petitioners, whose establishments are so extensive, as to bear with insupportable weight upon a declining trade; and praying the House to take the petitioners case into consideration, and to extend to their declining trade such relief as to them shall seem meet."

Ordered, That the said Petition do lie upon the table.

The Report of the Committee of Way" and Means was brought up, and the Resolutions read and agreed to.

Sir John Newport

observed, that there were only three ports in Portugal to which the exports of Ireland, such as woollen, cotton, and leather, could be sent. He wished, therefore, to now, whether any greater facilities would be afforded to the manufacturers and merchants of Ireland to dispose of their commodities? He also wished to know whether any steps were taking respecting the engrossing of brandies by the Oporto merchants?

Mr. Rose

replied, that there were no complaints of the want of places to dispose of the commodities alluded to, though he ports were so few; for the merchants found customers enough. With respect to the second question, he was not prepared to answer it.