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Parliamentary Debates

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Parliamentary Debates Dáil Éirann extracts.
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Parliamentary Papers


Treasury Chambers, 13th September, 1833.

I am commanded by the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury to transmit here with a memorial from the licensed maltsters of the town and county of Carlow, complaining of the injury they suffer through the evasion of the malt duties by persons engaged in malting privately, and praying that the restrictive provisions existing in Ireland for the security of the malt duty may be re-established, with the report of the Commissioners of Excise thereon.

I am, Gentlemen, your obedient servant,


Commissioners of Excise Inquiry.

To the Right Honourable and Honourable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury,

The Memorial of the undersigned Licensed Maltsters of the Town and County of Carlow and Neighbourhood, —

Humbly Sheweth,

That your memorialists, as a body, have for a series of years paid in large sums of money for malt duty, as will appear by reference to the Excise books ; that the district in which they carry on trade is one of the largest malting districts of Ireland, and has hitherto been one of the principal sources from whence the distillers and brewers of Dublin have drawn their supplies ; that, up to the year 1828, your memorialists have had a fair, and in many instances a prosperous trade, which not only enabled your memorialists to support their families and establishments with respectability, but at the same time to pay with ease and safety the full legal charges of the Excise.

That about the year 1828 a new enactment came into operation, which completely changed the whole system of carrying on the trade, which first went to do away with the system of permit, and substituted in its stead a new regulation for the mode of charging the duties, and the removal of malt by the trader, and which, although it may have been found to answer in England, is nevertheless, in the humble judgment of your memorialists, totally unadapted to this country, and eminently calculated to introduce into the trade persons without either character or capital, who enter into no sureties to the Excise, pay neither licence or duty ; and yet, from the facilities afforded them in lonely and remote districts in the country, far removed from the residence of any Excise officer, they are enabled to carry on, and do carry on, extensive operations ; and with the produce (which they cannot find a market for at their own door from the illicit, distiller) the residue is sent to Dublin in open day, without any permit, Memorial of the certificate, or Excise check, there to meet in competition with the article manufactured by of" Carlow, your memorialists, on which a duty of 10s. 4d, per barrel has been either paid or secured to the revenue.

That in proof hereof, your memorialists need only refer your Lordships to the average price of malting barley in the Dublin prices current for the past year, and on your Lordships comparing which with the average price of malt in same, it will at once exhibit an actual los of at least 5s. per barrel against the fair trader ; and thereby giving a bonus of just so much to the trader who pays neither licence or duty of any kind or description. That in addition to the change of the mode of survey and charge, as well as the abolition of the permit system, your memorialists are of opinion that the present ruinous state of the trade may be traced to the system of allowing traders to remove their malt from stock, without previous payment of duty; the consequence of which has been, the introduction into the trade (as licensed maltsters) of persons little better than paupers, who may be said to carry on their operations on the capital thus afforded by the Government: for instance, if they hare by them a few steeps of grain, they can within twelve, or fourteen days convert it into malt, send it to Dublin for sale, and then come into the barley market with the produce (duty included).

That it is the opinion of your memorialists, that another reason which has caused the ruin their decided conviction that if the duty were reduced to Is. 3d. per bushel, more revenue would be paid on the article, and all inducement taken away from such as might be now disposed to evade the laws of Excise.

Your memorialists therefore humbly pray your Lordships, that in order to save your memorialists, their establishments, and families, but above all this important branch of the Excise revenue of Ireland from inevitable ruin, your Lordships may cause such Act to be passed before the new season, as will restore to the licensed maltsters of Ireland the protection of (he permit, the payment of duty before removal, the system of gauge on dry stock, as well as such reduction in the malt duty as can be conceded with safety to the revenue; or otherwise, that your Lordships may be pleased to grant to your memorialists such other relief in this behalf, as in the judgment of your Lordships will remedy the grievance of which they so justly complain. And your memorialists will ever pray.

JOHN ALEXANDER, Milford.    JAMES KAIN, Carlow. 
MICHAEL ROCHK, Graigue.    JAMES SMYTH, Carlow. 
JAMES P. NOLAN, Carlow.    HENRY WATSON, Leighlin  Bridge. 
JOHN COFFEY, JUN., Carlow.    WILLIAM TRACY, Leighlin  Bridge. 
MARTIN MORGAN, Carlow.    JOHN M'GEE, Leighlin  Bridge. 
MICHAEL KAVANAGH, Graigue.    JOHN M-WEY, Carlow. 
MILES FITZ SIMONS, Carlow.                JOHN WARREN, Carlow


To the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury.

Excise Office, London, 28th August, 1833.

Your Lordships

Having been pleased to refer to us the annexed memorial of Thomas Haughton and Co. and other licensed maltsters of the town and county of Carlow and neighbourhood, complaining of the injury they suffer through the evasion, of the malt duties by persons engaged in malting privately, and by others who enter into the trade as licensed maltsters, with no other capital than the 'amount of duty they are allowed by law to retain for a certain term on credit; and praying that the restrictive provisions existing in Ireland for the security of the malt duty may be re-established, and that the rate of duty now payable may be reduced;

We report, that previously to the year 1828, a distinct set of statutory provisions, applicable to Ireland only, was in force in that country for securing the duties on malt, which not only regulated the mode of charge in the different stages of the malting process, but required payment of the duty before any quantity of malt, could be removed; and that on every such removal the malt should be accompanied by a permit, specifying the quantity removed, so that the number of bushels sent out being thus ascertained, the stock of dry malt was kept account of in the officer's books as a further check against fraudulent increases or removals.

Some time after the passing of the Act 4 Geo. 4, c. 94, by which, among other things, the intercourse between Ireland and Scotland in British spirits was established, complaints were made by the Irish distillers" that the malt duty in Scotland being collected under a less effective system of survey than existed in Ireland, the Scotch distillers, working from malt only, possessed an undue advantage over those of Ireland in the sale of their spirits in the Irish market.

To obviate these complaints, and to assimilate the regulations for the collection of the malt duty throughout the United Kingdom, the Act 7 and 8 Geo. 4, c. 52, was passed; and among other provisions, which were new in England and Scotland, it was enacted that no malt in any quantity exceeding four bushels at one time, or if to a brewer of beer for sale in any quantity whatsoever, should be sold, sent out, or delivered by any maltster without a certificate signed by the maltster, or some person on his behalf ; and that a stock account should be kept by the officer.

Very shortly after the new Act came into operation, loud and general complaints against its provisions, as injuriously interfering with and impeding their operations, were raised by, the maltsters in Great Britain; and the provisions complained of were repealed, and other regulations in lieu thereof were established by the Act of 11 Geo. 4, c. 17. As some compensation to the revenue for these concessions, the allowance previously made to the maltster for the swell of the grain was reduced 2 ½ per cent., which was equal to an increase of the duty to the same extent.

The certificate or permit system, together with the credit and stock account, having been thus abandoned as to the whole United Kingdom, after much consideration, we apprehend that those regulations could not again, as a general measure, be proposed for adoption; and were it even deemed expedient to re-enact them, as far as related to Ireland, in compliance with the memorialists' suggestion, we entertain no doubt but that it would produce general complaints throughout that country.

With respect to the memorialists' proposal that, the duty on malt should be paid on its removal, and no credit allowed as at present, we have to observe that security is given for payment of the duty when the maltster avails himself of the full period of credit, permitted by law; and were this privilege taken away, the effect might probably be to drive persons of small capital out of the legal trade, and induce them to resort to private malting. The suggestion of the memorialists, as to the reduction of the malt duty, is exclusively for your Lordships' consideration.

We are your Lordships' most obedient and most humble servants,


Extract from a Letter of John Alexander. Esq., dated Milford, Carlow, 13th April, 1835.

My opinion of the late law for the regulation of the malt trade is, that it has been and. continues quite ineffectual, and that not more than one-half of the duty has been paid; that smuggling has not decreased between the 1st October, 1834, and 1st April, 1835.

All the revenue police and officers, as long as the present law exists, will not be able to put down illicit malting, which is carried on in the barns and outhouses of persons in the mountain districts of this (county of Carlow), the Queen's county, and Wexford, and conveyed in a mottled state to the kilns of the licensed maltster in small quantities ; and as long as there exists no stock or permit, the great premium held out of saving the duty will prevent any diminution; nothing can effectually put it down but the re-enactment of the old Irish malt law, or a reduction of one-half of the malt duty, and laying on a countervailing duty on the export. No fair trader can carry on the trade of a maltster with any chance of profit, but a certainty of loss, and I would not now be in the trade, and my houses that cost so much money would be idle, but that the respectable house of Messrs. Guinness have given me a commission to work the houses for them, they paying all the duty, in order to get a prime article for their great porter manufacture for export.

Letter from Messrs. Thomas Haughton and Co., Carlow.


Carlow, 4th December, 1833.

We have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your circular, dated Glasgow, 22d ultimo, with regard to the memorial of the maltsters of this neighbourhood, transmitted to the Lords of the Treasury in August last; in which circular you are pleased to say that you would receive from us any suggestions we might have to offer on the subject of the important inquiry in which you are engaged.

We have since consulted with Mr. John Alexander, of Milford, and some of the most extensive and oldest maltsters of this neighbourhood, and we have been authorized to state it as their unanimous opinion that the ruin of the trade may be dated from the period when first the permits, and subsequently the certificates, had been done away with; at the same time allowing maltsters to enter into bond and to remove their malt without previous payment of duty.

From the operation of these causes the trade immediately became inundated with a class of persons with little character or capital, who, availing themselves of the advantages of being No. 16. allowed to trade on the capital of the Government, succeeded in carrying on operations for a few years, until at length they were obliged to become defaulters for the payment of their duties; the consequence has been that frauds to a large amount have been committed in this district and elsewhere, while those who were disposed to carry on business honestly, have been compelled either to remain idle spectators of these shameful transactions, or otherwise to carry on trade at a certain loss of their capital.

The remedy we propose to counteract, the evils of which we complain is the following, viz.:— First. To repeal that part of the statute which permits traders (on entering into bond) to sell- and deliver their malt without previous payment of duty ; and in lieu thereof we propose that all malt, after being ' dried off,' shall be deposited in an adjoining store, there to be bonded under the King's lock, to remain as long as the owner shall think proper (same as spirits) ; but that previous to its removal the owner shall pay the duty thereon, and that a certificate from the Excise shall accompany it to its destination.

Secondly. We propose that all factors selling malt shall be obliged to take out licence, and be subject to survey of dry stock, similar to maltsters.

Lastly. We propose that in order to do away with the great inducement to evade the laws of Excise, and at the same time ensure the manufacture of a good article, that the duty on malt be reduced to Is. 3d. per bushel, which in our humble judgments would produce as much (if not more) revenue than the nominal duly now chargeable ; one-half of which is not now collected on the article called malt, which overloads the markets of Dublin and elsewhere, in consequence of the loose system of survey and charge under the existing laws. In most respectfully submitting the foregoing, as the opinions of the parties aforesaid, we have the honour to subscribe ourselves, honourable Sirs,

Your very obedient humble servants,


To the Commissioners of Excise Inquiry.

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