lers, and increasing the national revenue by levying a duty on the productions of their establishments, with a protecting duty, at the same time, on all spirits and malt liquors imported from foreign countries.
The first Act of Parliament which constitutes the Excise system was passed 12th Char. II., c. 23. By this act, thirty-six gallons was declared to be the measure of a barrel of beer, and thirty-two gallons that of a barrel of ale. The duty on beer and ale was enacted to be Is. 3d. on each barrel above the value of 6s. per barrel, and 3d. per barrel if valued at 6s., and under that sum. A duty on malt and hops was not exacted until the reign of Queen Anne, forty years afterwards. By the above act, a duty was charged of Id. for every gallon of strong water or aqua vitse, made and sold; and 4d. per gallon of strong water or brandy imported. By another act, 12th Char. II., c. 25, these duties were doubled; and up to the accession of George I., the duties altogether on strong beer and ale were raised to 5s. per barrel, and small beer Is. 4d. per barrel.
The Malt Act was passed 12th Anne, 1713, which levied a duty of 6d. per bushel on all malt made in England and Scotland, and prohibited brewers " from brewing beer and ale with sugar, honey, foreign grains, Guinea pepper, or with a late invented liquor or syrup made from malt and water, boiled up to the consistency of molasses, and very much re-sembling the same, and commonly called Essentia Bine, or with other unwholesome materials."
By 9th Anne, c. 12, the first duty on hops was levied, being Id. per lb. on hops, the growth of Great Britain, and 3d. per lb. on hops imported.
The liquor called essentia bine, described in 12th Anne, leads to the conclusion, that this was the period when porter was first made, in any great quantity, by the brewers of London. The species of malt liquors before this time was denominated beer and ale. The latter was made from pale malt, with the finest quality of hops; and the beer from amber-coloured or high-dried, malt, and with hops of a stronger bitter, or coarser quality than those used for ales, and in a larger proportion. It is familiar to those acquainted with brewing ales by the quiek method of fermentation, that, during the heats of summer, the vinous speedily gives way to the acetous fermentation; and when this occurs, brewers are accustomed to check it by putting down the ale with raw hops; and publicans very often do this of their own accord. This hopped ale, when mixed half and half with fresh mild ale, forms a very agreeable beverage, which is much used during the summer months in England. There cannot be a doubt that it was the increased popularity of this mixture of beer that first gave rise to the brewing of porter, in the begin? ning of the eighteenth century. The brewers would soon find out a method of brewing their beer entire, to supply the demand of their customers; fljid by using the essentia bine described in the Act, and storing the fresh beer in vats, mixed with a propor tion of old ale, well hopped, they could produce at once to their customers an article high-coloured, and .of that peculiar bitter taste and flavour which was so much relished by the public. The name of Half-and-half would be given to this species of beer at first; but after it began to be regularly consumed by those accustomed to hard work, it would receive the name of Porter, which it has retained. It is not, however, recognised by this name in any Act of Parliament.
The revolution of 1688 gave a powerful impulse to the commercial enterprise of England. The consumption of malt, and the annual amount of beer manufactured, increased to such a degree, that, by the end of the reign of Queen Anne, the quantity of malt charged with duty averaged 24,000,000 of bushels, while 3,500,000 barrels of strong beer were annually produced.
Before the Union of Scotland and England, the national drink of the former was strong ale, beer, and a species of ale called Twopenny, from being sold at 2d. per pint, equal to two quarts English measure. By the 7th Article of the Union, this sort of ale is valued at 9s. 6d. per barrel of twelve gallons Scots measure, equal to thirty-four gallons English, on which a duty of 2s. per barrel was in future to be paid; and by 8th Anne, cap. 7, an additional duty of ljd. In the year 1760 the duty was raised to 3s. 4 Jd., in consequence of which, and the increasing consumpt of whisky, the brewing of twopenny gra dually diminished, and was finally discontinued altogether before the end of the century. The particular time when whisky was first distilled in Scotland, and publicly sold as an article of consumpt, is involved in some obscurity. The name of whisky is derived from the Gaelic uisge beatha, pronounced uiske bea, or water of life, which identifies it with the aqua vitae of the English distillers. Corn-brandy was made in England in the reign of Charles the First from pure malt, and received the name aqua vitae from French brandy. Spirits from raw grain were also extracted by the English distillers of that period. It was compounded and rectified into strong waters or gin, and consumed to considerable extent, when the excise was first partially levied during the Civil War. The duties on these spirits were consolidated by the permanent laws of excise at the restoration of Charles II. At the Union, the spirits aqua vitae, strong water, and rectified compounds of the English, had not found their way to Scotland. But it is more than probable that the art of distilling had been introduced by the soldiers of General Monck's army, stationed, during the rule of Cromwell in the north of Scotland; that it had gradually extended through the Highlands; and that the production during the early part of last century had been brought down from these districts and sold to the Lowlanders, as uiske bea, from which the Scottish term of whisky is derived.
By the Articles of th$ Union, the English excise-laws were extended to Scotland, and henceforward the two countries were to bear alike all taxation for public exigencies. In a few years the malt and hop taxes were imposed, and the country was regularly placed under surveyance of the officers of excise. The unpopularity of these taxes, and the vexatious prosecutions which soen involved all who brewed their own ale and infringed on the fiscal regulations by which they were bound, soon put a stop to brewing on a small scale, which was gradually given up, as whisky and beer came into general use. The brewing of strong ale was thus thrown into the hands of common brewers ; and private families, as well as the inns and public houses, obtaining supplie^ from these sources, of ales of an excellent description, the making of home-brewed ale has never been renewed to any^xtent.
Of the progress of malting, brewing, and distillation in Ireland, no satisfactory account has ever been published, by which anything like authentic information can be obtained previous to the extension of the excise-laws to that part of the empire. The duty on malt was first imposed in England in 1697 ; in Scotland, in 1713 ; and in Ireland, in 1785. The quantities of malt made in Ireland, of spirits from malt and grain, and of ale and strong beer, have varied so much, according as the rates of duty have been occasionally increased or diminished, that it is difficult to form a correct estimate of the annual average production and consumpt. From 1790 to 1794, when the duty on malt was 7d. per bushel, the average
quantity annually made may be stated at 4,500,000 bushels; when the duty was increased successively during the war to 4s. 5d., the quantity of malt diminished to 2,000,000; and, although the duty was reduced to 2s. 7d., the average is now under 1,500,000 bushels. The repeal of the corn-laws, however, must have a decided influence on the future distillery operations in Ireland; and it may be confidently expected, that a large increase in the manufacture of raw grain-spirit for exportation will take place.
The high and low duties on spirits extracted from barley and malt, when made for home consumption, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, has either encouraged or suppressed the consumpt, in these different parts of the United Kingdom» so as to have had a decided influence on the habits and manners of the people, and in forming their tastes and desires for the drinks within their reach. In England, the high duties on home-made spirits, and the prohibitory duties on brandy and Geneva have kept the mass of the people to the consumption of beer and ale; while, in Scotland and Ireland, the alternate low and high duties on spirits, and the war duties on malt, have encouraged the consumption of whisky and small-beer in preference to malted liquors. The quantity of malt which has paid duty annually for the last three years, exceeds 40,000,000 of bushels for the United Kingdom; and when tpthis is added 6,400,000 bushels of raw grain used in distillation, and the prospective increase which most inevitably follow from the extension of commerce and manufactures, when the repeal of the corn-laws and the principles of free trade get room to work, the malt and corn that in all probability will be used in brewing and distillation will* amount to 6,000,000 of quarters, which are equivalent to the manufacture of 25,000,000 gallons of spirits, 1 to 10 over hydrometer proof, 12,000,000 barrels of strong beer and ale, and 3,000,000 barrels of small beer.
The consumpt of the United Kingdom, therefore, may be estimated, on an average, as follows :—
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