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THE NEWS BUDGET.

THE MALT-TAX QUEBTIONo

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THE MALT-TAX QUEBTIONo The anti-malt-tax-advocates continue their-efforts- with increased ability. The following pertinent re- marks are from a prise essay by Mr. S. A. May, a teraant farmer near Tamworth Mr. Cobdea says, as regard-A the labourer," Inde- pendently of regarding the question merely as. a con- sumer's question, it would, I maintain, be a great relief to the poorest class of the community if the malt-taa were abolished. I say the poorest, because I think the consumption of beer belongs to the very poorest of oar labourers. I am of this oninion, be- cause all who are acquainted with rural life must know that the agricultural labourers of this country would, if they could, all esjoy the beverage of beer; while, with their limited wages and general habits, most of thflm being- married men, a very small pro- portion of them would, I think, carry the indulgence too far." '•But independently of all this, it would-tend very much to produce contentment among them as a class, and to make them less dissatisfied when comparing their lot with othars, as well as to solace them if, in- stead of being compelled to resort to the brook or spring, they could every day enjoy some part of the produce of the lamd- on which they toil in the shape of a pot of beer." I should like to lay this down as a rule in dealing with this question and all others, that we do not sit here to legislate with a view to the passing of sump- tuary laws, whather with respect to meat, drink, or clothing." We do not pretend by our fiscal regulations to make men moral. Adam Smith, in adverting to- a repeal of the mal-t duty, says,.in a sentence worthy of considera- tion, That it does not follow that because intoxicat- ing liquors are cheap tha people in the country in which they are cheap should therefore be intemperatea.n°- he mentior.s the fact, that in thos&countries where wine ( is cheap the population is generally the most sober. Who are the sober people among ourselves ? Are they not those who possess in abun&anoetfce means of in- toxication ? It has been truly said, that it is not the quantity so much as the quality that inebriates. The report of Mr. Philips, principal of the Inland Revenue Dextarfcment, shows how fearfully ale is adulterated in the Midland Counties. During the last financial year, 26 samples of beer and of material found in the possession of licensed brewers, were analysed, and of these twenty were found to be illicit, the prohibited ingredients being in fourteen cases grains of paradise, one of these samples containing in addition tobacco, and in two others coceulus-indicus was present, in large and dangerous quantities; two samples contained capsicum, and the remaining two proto-sulphate of iron- Barley Bree," writing to the Times from Queen's- square, Bloomsbury, says, That he is not at all sur- prised at Mr. Philips airclogilres, and he invites that gentleman to pay a visit to the publics in his neigh- bourhood. What with doctoring, adulterating with drugs, and with liquoring, reducing by water, the beer sent out for home consumption in his quarter, is the most abominable wash that ever went down thirsty gullets; and yet the publican receives a profit of 33 per cent. more than the family brewers. "Notwithstanding this, he had sent everywhere round his house, to the utmost limits of convenience, but always with the same result, bad, nauseous, un- dnnkable liquor." Bad beer and adulterated beer are the natural con- sequences of high duty and class monopoly. I do not wish it to be inferred that the brewers as a class are dishonest, far from it. I have no doubt that pure wholesome liquor may be bought from all respect- able houses, but their retail houses are often let to a low class of people, who, to keep a roof over head, and to be able to pay for one lot of beer when the next comes in, do not scruple to poison their thirsty customers. As the Chanoellor said of the wine trade, it would bo a great shook, by repealing the tax, to open up the monopoly, but it would be of great advantage to the public. I sum up the advantages at malt-tax repeal as follows:- More land would (as it ought) be sown with barley. and less with wheat, and thus a fairer chance be given to the farmer to compete with the foreigner. More meat would be made, and the price would probably be lower. Ale and beer would be cheaper and better. Trade would be benefited by the working man having more money to spend in the other necessaries of life. That not only in an agricultural but in a social and sanitary point of view great good would result.

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