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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

33.—The Convention Parliament votes an Excise

33.—The Convention Parliament votes an Excise.

In the opinion, then, of three of the most eminent lawyers that have ever appeared in England, and in the opinion of 149 members of the Convention Parliament, being only fewer by two than those who were of a contrary opinion, the proper and equitable equivalent for these feudal services was an annual rent-charge, bearing a fixed proportion to the true yearly value thereof, a minimum rate to be levied in time of peace, and a maximum rate in time of war, or according to the exigence of the state, as had been the custom from the foundation of the monarchy. But 151 members of the Convention Parliament, which met on the 25th April, 1660, were of a different opinion, for they voted that instead of a rent-charge upon their lands the people of England should pay a tax of 15d. per barrel upon all their boor and ale, and a proportionable sum upon other liquors sold (and as a large proportion of the beer and ale consumed by those who voted would be home-brewed, the tax would not touch them) in the kingdom k. It was calculated that this tax, together with the profits of wine licenses, would produce from £200,000 to £300,000 a year, which was considered to be an ample compensation l.