Middlesex Sessions:
Sessions Papers - Justices' Working Documents

October 1721

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In the Act of the 7th. of King George For Quartering Soldiers & Punishing
Mutiny & Desertion feb 175: There is A Clause

That it shall & may be lawfull to & for the Constable Etc to Quarter or Billet the Officers
Soldiers in his Majesty's Service, in [..] Livery Stales, Ale houses Victualli [..]
houses & all houses of Persons Selling Brandy Strong Waters Cyder or Motheglin by
Retaile to be drunk in Houses other than & except the House or Houses of any
Distillers , who keep Houses or Places of Distilling Brandy or Strong Waters, and the
House of any Shop keeper, whose principall Dealings Shall be more in other
Goods & Merchandizes than in Brandy & Strong Waters who do not Permitt
or Suffer Tipling in their Houses.

Itt is too apparent, what ill Use has been made of the Exception in this Clause.


Itt has put all Sorts of Inferior Trades on Selling Strong Waters, being by this
Exception Freed from Quartering Soldiers, under pretence of dealing more
in other Goods.


Most of those, who deal in Strong Waters only, & get their whole Livelihood by Selling
them by Retail Set up little Stills, where they distill Small Quantities only,
& yet insist they are thereby Distillers within this Exeception, and as such to be
excempted from Quartering Soldiers, & taking Licences, the Two greatest
Inconveniencies, which attend those, who keep any Kind of Publick houses.


By those Means, the Ale house keepers & Victuallers have been in many Places over
bur then'd with Soldiers, to the Ruin of Several, & impoverishment of many
more, especially Since the Vintners have been also excused.

These Brandy Shops Seem to deserve ye least Incouragement or Previledge of any Publick
houses as they are found by experience, to be the Cause of more Mischief & Inconveniences
to this Town, than all other Publick houses Joyned together, and as wee are Inform'd
by Several Physitians are most likely to prepare & dispose the bodies of those
who usually drink Such Liquors, by weaking & over heating them, to receive
any Infection, which may be brought in among us, from other places or Causes,

Under the Cover of this Exception, almost all that Sell Brandy or Geneva, Shelter themselves
from Quartering of Soldiers contrary to ye. Intention of ye. Parliamt. as is conceived, & on
all Occasions threaten the Justices & Constables with Actions, if they Quarter upon them
wherein they pretend to be supported by those reall Distillers, of whom they buy the
Waters they Sell. By which means the Constables are afraid to do their
Duty, & execute the Justices Warrants for leavying the Penalties on them being
exposed thereby to the Charge & Hazard of Actions, where in it lies on the Justices
& Constables to prove, Either that they Suffer Tipling or deal more in Strong
Waters than in other Goods, which Points are Scarse ever to be Proved,
but by their Customers or Servants, & they are generally unwilling Witnesses,
& not easily prevailed on to informe or give Evidence against them.

Another difficulty in the Execution of this Act arises from the General words of the
Exception and how they are to be Construed, with respect to the following


What Persons shall bee deemed to be Distillers or to keep Houses or Places of
Distilling Strong Waters within this Exception.

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