Reasons humbly propounded against dissolving the Antient Revenue arising by Wine-Licences, and imposing thirty shillings, or any other sum, upon a Tun of Wine, in lieu thereof to be paid by the Merchant.

1. THe Wine-Merchants Trade up to the heighth of their (greatly impaired) Stocks and Credit, and although the addition of 30 s. up­on a Tun of Wine may seem small, yet it will substract no less then 27000 l. per annum out of the Merchants Stocks, which they must pay in lieu of about 12 or 13000 l. per annum, which the Retailers paid for their Wine Licenses for that Revenue, as we are credibly informed never in the highest year yielded more; the payment of which 27000 l. will enforce them for want thereof to trade for about 100000 l. per annum less then now they do, which will not only be their loss, and a further step to their ruine, but the King also will suffer in his Customs.

2. The Customs upon Wines are already so exceeding high (even above the first cost of their Wine) that Forreign Princes have taken notice and complained thereof; and we doubt not, but verily believe and expect, that an additional payment upon the Importer of Wine, will occasion and induce those Princes to encrease their Customs upon our Commodities and Manufactures imported into their Kingdoms, and so the Merchant will not only suffer a double mischief and ruine, and Trade thereby lessened, but also the whole Kingdom will sustain great damage in vending their Commodities and Manufactures.

3. The Customs upon Wines are already so high, that the Merchants after all their great courage, hazards, perils and losses in forreign parts by Sea; and after arrival, are forc'd to sell their choicest Wines at the Retailers Prizes for money to pay the Customs, which Wine they compound and mix with mean decaying Wines, and other Ingredients, to their great advantage: the addition of 27000 l. per annum will prove an exceeding pressure upon the Merchants, and no less difficult for them to raise and multiply their necessities, and farther enable Retailers of VVine to prey upon them, and to encrease their said evil compositions.

4. That a Grant of Tonnage upon Merchants Importation of Wine, or any other Commodities, was never given to any in England but to the King, as Soveraign Lord, for protecting them in their Traffique at Sea and Land; nor is it granted to any other person in any part or place in the World where we have been or traded, but to the Soveraign, upon this general equity of protecting them in their Commerce: And we humbly hope this Honorable House will not be prevailed with to make a President herein.

5. If the Revenue of Wine-Licenses be dissolved, the number of Vintners will be excessive.—In Anno 1636. when England abounded most in wealth, there were not above 2500 Taverns, and Wines were bought cheap beyond Sea, and not for ready money, but in Barter for other Com­modities. During the Disorders, all who would sold Wine without License; and though the wars had exhausted the Kingdom, yet about Anno 1660. the number of Vintners was encreased unto about 4200. (besides many untold, which were less observable) which produced greater im­portations of Wine bought at enhaunced prizes, and not in Barter, but mostly for ready money, to the Merchants damage, which Wines were bought up and vended, through the multitude of Vintners, at excessive prizes, which we must say is one of the great Leaks through which much of our wealth for this last 25 years hath issued.

6. The Revenue of Wine-Licenses proceedeth not out of the sober use of Wine in the houses of the Nobility and Gentry, who usually have their Wines at the first hand, but upon the more extravagant expence thereof in Taverns; and there also nothing is imposed, but every man doth limit his own expence and payments; but if this Revenue be dissolved, and double the value thereof be charged upon the Merchant, it will reach all persons and uses without distinction.

7. The Retailers of Wine were become so numerous and skilful in that hurtful Art of vitiating Wine, that the Act of 12 Caroli 2. investing the Crown with this Revenue of Wine-Licenses, doth not only restrain the number, by appointing them to pay for Licenses, but also doth somewhat chastise them for their said unlawful practises: but if this Revenue of Wine-Licenses be dissolved, then the number will encrease, to the debauch­ing and consuming of the Subject, and the said Castigation will be removed.

8. The psofits arising by VVine-Licenses is an antient Revenue belonging to the Crown, and though (till of late) imposed only by Prerogative; yet it appeared so manifestly equal and necessary, that it was admitted without the least opposition in the most stormy and adverse times, therefore it is hoped the Retailers of Wine shall not be discharged from paying this their antient duty, which hath endured all weathers, and an imposition laid upon the depressed Merchants.

9. The Revenue of Wine-Licenses ariseth out of the vast gains of Retailers of Wine, whose beginnings, though very mean, yet in short time they arrive to great Estates, and are observed within these last 25 years (wherein all other Traders have decayed) to have made more purchases then any other Traders in England, yet by their earnest applications have brought an additional duty upon the Merchant, and now design to encrease the same, to free themselves from paying for Licenses.

10. The Merchants Estates are usually either in forreign parts, or in Retailers hands, or else floating on the Seas, and exposed unto amazing hazards, and themselves possest of little else then empty Warehouses, and cannot procure money as Retailers of Wine may, who not only take much ready money, but also having their Cellars full of Wine, can value themselves thereon at pleasure: If the Merchant (though under this disadvantage) must find money to pay vast Customs, yet it is hoped the same shall not be encreased to free Retailers of Wine from paying their antient duty.

11. The Revenue of Wine-Licenses, as now placed, is to be paid by about 3000 persons, who are Retailers of Wine, which can hardly be felt amongst so many; but if in lieu thereof an Imposition be upon the Merchant, the same will be paid out of the Purses of a very few, who are al­ready very much burthened, and will be unto them an exceeding addition to their present payments and sufferings, and but small for the Retail­ers to pay, and no more then what they paid antiently.

12. If the Revenue arising by Wine-Licenses be dissolved, it will infringe the antient Liberties and Priviledges of all the Corporations in Eng­land, who have power by the Act 7 Edwardi 6. to grant Licenses unto Retailers to sell Wine to be drank and spent out of their houses: As also deprive very many Pattentees (who have paid great sums for their Patents, and (as we are informed) have now some good allowance in the Rent of their Licenses, in consideration thereof) for they who have Patents, and they who have none, will be equally free to retail Wine, to the pre­judice of the wealth and welfare of the Kingdome.

Object, We know it will be objected, That when Trade is free and open it comes most profitable both to King and Subject.

Answ. This holds true in Merchandize, generally use full and necessary; but where the Merchandize is a costly and luxurious superfluity, the more free the trade is, the more it consumeth and destroyeth the Subject, who had better give the King treble the value of what he may have by opening such a trade, then to have so much Wealth consumed in so great a superfluity; and if it be necessary by Licences to restrain the number of Traders in Ale and Beer, a Native necessary and cheap Commodity, and less apt to produce excess, then sure it is much more ne­cessary by Licences to restrain the number of Vintners, who deal in a costly luxurious forraign Commodity, which tendeth much more to excess.

2. It may be objected, that it will be a great burthen for Retaylers of Wine at the same time to pay the new Imposition, and also for Wine-Lycences. To which we answer.

That the payment for Wine Licences is out of their great gain arising upon the Sale of Wine, at the present Prizes, so it is no burthen upon them and the Honourable House of Commons have allowed them 4 d. upon the quart of French Wine, and 6 d. upon the quart of Spanish-wine to defray the new imposition, which will fully do the same, and time being given for payment thereof, wherein then are they burthened? and how can they then be loosers? If necessary we could present a Clue which would lead unto and discover their gains, th [...] [...]ughts whereof, and that hereby, shall farther increase the Merchants necessity that they may prey upon them is not a little pleasing, which w [...] [...]bly trust and hope the Honourable House will not consent unto.

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