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The Fifth Report Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites Ireland

18/03/1807

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The Fifth Report Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites Ireland

Date of Article: 18/03/1807
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94 io8 ( Ireland.) — FIFTH REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS [ Appx. No. 45. The Examination of VERNEY DARBY, Efquire ; taken on Oath, the 17th and 18th Days of September 1806. This Examinant faith, That he is Colleftor of the Diftrift of Cavan. There is not at prefent any licenfed Diftillery in his Diftrict, nor is there, as he believes, any licenfed Still from Dublin to the moft remote Part of the North- weft of Ireland. There are very many private Stills not only in his Diftrift, but throughout the whole of the North, more efpecially in the Counties of Tyrone, Donegal and Derry. He was employed by the fpecial Orders of the Board, for the Purpofe of fuppreffing private Stills, from the 5th of February, till the 29th Day of Auguft laft, during which Time he feized Eleven hundred Stills, Eight hundred Heads, and Seven hundred Worms. He believes almoft every Second Houfe in the lower Part of the Barony of In- nifhowen has a private Diftillery or Malt- houfe ; the general Size of the Stills is from Sixty to Eighty Gallons, and of fome as high as One hundred. They are now making them rather fmaller, for the Purpofe of more eafily concealing or removing them, l ie has fometimes found in a private Diftillery 1,500 or 2,000 Gallons of Pot Ale.^ The private Diftillers in general have Watches let upon the R evenue Officers and Military, and upon the Approach of any Party immediate Notice is given; in moft Cafes, before the Revenue Officers can arrive, the Stills and frequently the Utenfils are removed. The Stills are generally thrown into Bogs or buried in the Earth with Sods to covtr the Place. The Practice of private Diftillation is encouraged in the Country, becaufe it affords a good Market for the Sale of the Grain, and furnifhes a wholefome Spirit at a cheap Rate to the Confumer. Formerly the Townlands were fubjeft to a Penalty of Twenty Pounds, for any Still found in them; and by a late Ad of Parliament, any Parifh in which a Still was found, or proved to have been ufed, was made fubjcdt to a Penalty of i ifty Pounds. At the laft Spring Affizes feveral Informations were brought, and Convi& ions had upon this latter Statute ; a great Number of Informations were alfo brought forward upon that Act at the laft Affizes, but from fome Defefts in the Aft, and other Difficulties which occurred, very few Convi& ions were obtained. One principal DefeCl in the AO: was, that no Provifion had been made for Cafes v here the Parifh fhould happen to be fituated in Two Counties. He thinks, that if the Pro- fecutions had been carried on as fuccefsfully at the laft, as at the preceding Affizes, private Diftillation would have been very much checked, and by a Continuance of the fame Exertions on the Part of the Revenue might be entirely put down. He is of Opinion, that if refident local Solicitors were employed, it would very much tend to facilitate the obtaining of Convictions. He is of Opinion, that nothing would tend more to the Prevention of private Diftillation, than the Eftablifhn. ent of licenfed Stills in thofe Diftri& s where if now prevails, as the public Stills would afford a rtady Sale for the Corn of the Country, and take away ail Inducements to encourage pri- vate Diftillation. Before the Infpe& or General went down to the North, Examinant underftands, that the Price of private Spirits was Five Shillings per Gallon ; but that after he had detected feveral private Diftilleries, and checked the private Diftil'ation, the Price rofe from 5s. to 7s. and 10s. per Gallon. The Price of Corn fell in Pro- portion as that of Spirits rofe. He underftood, that in confequence of the Failure of the Informations againft the Parifhes at the laft Affizes, Barley rofe 4d. per Stone; this proceeded, in his Opinion, from the Preparations of the private Diftillers to go to work again. He is of Opinion, that in thofe Towns on the Sea- coaft, where there is Capital fufficient, and where Coal is eafily to be had, Stills of a leffer Size than is now allowed by Law need not be licenfed ; but that in the interior Part of the Country, from the want of Fuel and Capital, it would be advifable to licenfe Stills as low as < 200 or 250 Gallons. From the 20th February, at which Time he took up the Duty in place of the Infpe& or G eneral, till the 10th of July following, there came of per- mitted Spirits into the City of Londonderry, and into the Town of Strabane, Omagh, and Fintona, above 52,600 Gallons: A Quantity far exceeding what had been brought into thofe Places during the Space of feveral Years before. Verney Darby. J. S. Rochfort. Fredk Geale. Robt Alexander. Chas Sax ton.
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