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released to Vermont. It declared that many improper persons had set up Inns and Taverns there, which encouraged gaming, drunken. ness and idleness, to the scandal of religion and the impoverishment of many of the inhabitants. The Court of General Sessions was authorized to restrict licenses to such persons and places as they thought proper. But they could not demand a greater fee therefor than three shillings. The clerk of the court could demand a fee for entering the license of record of not exceeding two shill. ings more, making the outside cost of a license there sixty-two and a half cents in the New York currency then in use, or if English money was used, one dollar.

1773. In this year the act last mentioned was extended to the county of Gloucester, which comprised the rest of the territory east of the mountains, now in the State of Vermont.

By another act of the same year the accommodations required of tavern keepers were extended in the counties of Albany, Tryon, Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, Westchester, Richmond, Kings and Queens, to “ three good spare beds, two of which shall be feather beds, with good and sufficient sheeting and covering for such beds and good and sufficient stableing and provender of hay for horses or other cattle, for the accommodation of travellers, their horses and cattle.”


TAKE OUT LICENSES. Until the ordinance of January 23, 1657, which required them to do so under a heavy penalty, there was no express provision which required tavern keepers to take out a license and pay the excise tax, and many preferred to take the risk of a prosecution.

By the ordinance of November 28, 1658, boarding-house keepers were required to pay half the license fee and excise tax of tavernkeepers.

EXCISE MONEY FOR CHARITY. 1772, March 24. This act “for the better support of the hospital to be erected in the city of New York for sick and indigent persons,” was the pioneer in appropriating the excise tax to charity. It re. cited that the petition of the society gave “the most explicit assurance that the benefits thereof shall not be denied to any poor, diseased person, and should be conferred without civil or religious distinctions of any kind,” and it appropriated to the use of the hospital eight hundred pounds annually for twenty years,chargeable upon the duty of excise laid or to be laid on strong liquors retailed in the city of New York.

NO LIQUORS AT AUCTIONS. The act of December, 1768, declared that the providing of great quantities of spirituous liquors at vendues has distressed poor families and been productive of many bad consequences by intoxicating the bidders. Therefore, the giving or sale of such liquors was prohibited at any vendue or auction sale, under a penalty. This act was afterwards extended to other counties than Orange, and the prohibition was extended to one mile from such sale.


THE MANNER OF ITS COLLECTION. In the half century preceding the American Revolution there were twenty-six different acts granting an excise tax to the King upon wine, beer and distilled liquors for the support of the Colonial government, and no less than forty acts regulating the manner of its collection. The repeated passing of these same acts was due to the fear of Royal encroachment on colonial privileges. In substance they are repetitions with changes in dates and amounts, and yet these slight changes have been found so numerous that it is impossible to give a complete history of the legislation without reprinting them.



HIS OWN OATH. The difficulty of proving sales to the Indians seems to have origin. ated the practice of confining intoxicated persons until they became sober and disclosed the seller's name. The testimony of an

Indian was incompetent in a civil action, but was accepted as prima facie evidence of a violation of the excise laws. But if there was no confirmatory proof and the accused denied his guilt, upon oath, he went free. Act of June 30, 1716.

Another rule of evidence was observed which would scarcely be tolerated at the present time. If a person was suspected of a violation, a justice of the peace or any court having jurisdiction could summon him and tender him an oath, the form of which was given, denying his guilt. If he declined to take it he was promptly adjudged guilty and punished for the suspected offense.

The imprisonment of the intoxicated person until disclosure seems to have been first authorized by the act of August 28, 1654. The purgation of the accused was provided for in the act of May 24, 1709. Both provisions occur in later acts.

The provision for the purgation was extended by the act of December 16, 1737, which prohibited the pawning of clothing and other property by servants and apprentices for liquor. This act permitted the owner of the property to subject the suspected pawnee to the test oath. If he declined to take it, he was adjudged guilty and to pay for the property. The harshness of this practice was palliated by compelling the accuser to pay the costs if the accused took the oath.


The penalty for intoxication scarcely seemed to make the pun. ishment fit the crime in the earlier ordinances. The schouts and magistrates on November 18, 1673, ordered “ That whosoever shall be overtak with strong antoxicating drink whereby to deprive themself of common sense and reason, he shall pay for the first. default two shillings and sixe pence, and all those who shall en. couragebly persist in this vice shall for to comen time pay a ffine or penalty of ffive shillings, and accordingly for every time there. after."

An unfair discrimination was made against the Indians who were found drunk on Sunday. They were required by a later. ordinance of the same year to pay one pound Flemish.

By the act of November 3, 1685, directed expressly against the “ loathesome and Odious Sinne of Drunkenness,” the fine was doubled for the first offense, and if the five shillings was not paid the offender was committed to the stocks for six hours.


The Dutch colonists correctly attributed a majority of the evils of the traffic to the sale and drinking of liquors on the Sabbath. The second ordinance on the subject was that of 1641 against the tapping of beer during Divine service. That of May 31, 1647,“ to prevent the curse instead of the blessing of God falling upon us,” commanded that none of the brewers or tapsters“ shall on the Rest Day of the Lord, before two of the clock when there is no sermon or otherwise before 4 of the clock in the afternoon, set before, tap or give any people any wine beer or strong liquors, under any pretext * * * travellers and daly boarders alone excepted.” The ordinance of March 10, 1648, which renews and extends the prohibition until after divine service is finished, states that the profits of the traffic have led so many to engage in it that nearly one-fourth of the city of New Amsterdam consists of brandy shops or beer houses and it also presents a very strong picture of the evil consequences of the traffic. A later ordinance of April 29,1648, declared that in order to avert the wrath and chastisement of God, with the pre-advice of the minister of the gospel, Governor Stuyvesant and his council had deemed it expedient that a sermon shall be preached from the Sacred Scriptures, and the usual prayers be offered in the afternoon as well as in the forenoon. Wherefore, the tapping of beer and liquors was again prohibited under increased penalties, extending to “arbitrary correction."

The Act of October 22, 1695, which covered nearly the whole subject of Sunday observance, but did not include the offense of getting drunk on the Lord's Day, excepted from the prohibition against Sunday traveling “persons employed on His Majesties service, a person employed to bring a Physician or Midwife," and provided that the law “shall in no ways extend to any Native or free indian not professing the Christian Religion."

AN OFFICIAL GAUGER APPOINTED. The Act of November 24, 1750, declared that great abuses were committed in gauging of casks of rum and other spirituous liquors, and molasses, and provided that all casks containing rum, brandy or other spirituous liquors or molasses, sold in the city of New York by the gallon in casks, should be gauged by the “ Slyding Gunter,” by John Kip, Gauger of liquors, who should receive four pence a cask for his services. To sell without gauging was declared to be an offence punishable by fine. This Act provided that the Pipe should contain not less than one hundred twenty, hogsheads not less than sixty, quarter casks not less than thirty gallons. The provisions of this act were extended by the Acts of 1752 and 1757.



To prevent frequent miscarriages caused by the arrest of sailors. for liquor debts when their ship was ready to sail, the “Duke's Lawes” of March 1, 1665, prohibited the arrest of any sailor for such a debt unless the master or owner of such ship "have given under his hand to discharge the same.”

The Act of Nov. 2, 1700, forbids the tavern-keeper or victualler to give credit to or to sue any sailor whose ship was in port for any greater sum than six shillings, and declared that if they gave credit to any seaman out of service for more than twelve pence per day while unemployed “they shall loose the same.” Any clerk of court who should issue process contrary to the intent of the Act should forfeit five pounds.

These provisions were re-enacted with amendments by the act of July 5, 1715, which also permitted an examination of the creditor by the court, and if he refused to explain the facts of his claim, judgment was to be rendered against him.

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