HC Deb 27 March 1822 vol 6 cc1309-10
Sir R. Wilson,

seeing the secretary of the Treasury in his place, wished to call his attention to a circumstance of considerable importance. He had received a letter from a person who was now detained in prison for nonpayment of a fine which had been imposed upon him for selling Roasted Wheat, not with an intent to defraud the revenue, but bonâ fide as a breakfast beverage. The circumstances of this individual's case were those of considerable hardship. He had been sentenced to an imprisonment of nine months for a political offence. During the time be was in confinement, he was informed that he was to be proceeded against for selling roasted wheat, but was told that if he would plead guilty to the offence, be would not be required to pay the penalty. He accordingly did plead guilty; but, to his astonishment, when the period of his imprisonment had expired, he was prevented from leaving the prison by a detainer on the part of the Crown for 60l., the amount of the fine which had been imposed for selling the roasted grain. He wished to know whether it was the intention of government to propose a repeal or modification of the act of the 41st of George the 3rd, under which the convictions for selling roasted wheat had been imposed, and whether it was intended to remit the fines which had been imposed upon such convictions?

Mr. Lushington

said, that the consideration of the general question with respect to the selling of roasted wheat had been referred to the board of excise, who had not yet come to any decision upon the subject.

Mr. Abercromby

was of opinion that the act required amendment. As it at pre, sent stood, it went the monstrous length of declaring that if any person should discover a substitute for coffee, no matter how wholesome or economical, he should not be allowed to sell it.