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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36

Powers of Excise Boards

Powers of Excise Boards.

Section 4, act of 1870, amended by the act of May, 1873, enacts as follows:

"The Board of Excise in cities, towns, and villages shall have power to grant license to any person of good moral character who shall be approved by them, permitting him to sell at any one place in such city, town, or village strong and spirituous liquors, wines, ale, and beer, in quantities less than five gallons at a time, upon receiving a license lee, to be fixed, in their discretion, at not less than $30 nor more than $150 in any town or village, and not less than $30 nor more than $250 in any city. Such licenses shall only be granted on written application to the board, signed by the applicant, specifying the place for which license is asked, and the names of every person interested or to be interested in the business to authorize which such license shall be used. And the license shall be kept posted in a conspicuous position in the room where sales are made, and shall be exhibited at all times by the person so licensed. If certificate of license be not displayed and exhibited, it shall be presumptive evidence that the person is not licensed.

"Persons not licensed may sell strong and spirituous liquors, not to be drunk on their premises, in quantities not less than five gallons."

The powers of Excise boards are enlarged in the amended act just passed, thus: "Any board, upon complaint by a resident, may at any time summon before them a licensed person; and if they shall become satisfied that he has violated any of the provisions of this act, or of the acts hereby amended, they shall revoke, cancel, and annul the license of such person, which they are hereby empowered to do, and, when necessary, to enter upon the premises and take possession of and cancel such license."

This is a very important alteration of former statutes.

Note 1. The courts have ruled that this phrase, spirituous liquors,' page 3 includes ale, porter, and strong beer; while the legal intent as to Olager-been is left to juries to- be determined as a question of fact, by the evidence as to its intoxicating character, in each particular case. "Any liquor is within the statute, whether fermented or distilled, of which the human stomach can contain enough to produce intoxication," 21 N. Y. Reports, Court of Appeals, p. 173.

Note 2. The act of 1857 forbade licenses for retailing liquors, to be drunk on the premises, to any but inn or hotel keepers, who had accommodation for travellers, with three spare bods, stabling, and a sign. The same act also forbade license, except the application was accompanied by a petition of twenty respectable freeholders of the town, neither of whom had signed any other application for license. This requirement is not repealed by the statute of 1870. Three kinds of licenses maybe granted: (1) the innkeeper's license provided for by act of 1857, under which liquors sold may be drunk on the premises; (2) a license to such as are within the requirements of act of 1870-1873, but which does not permit selling liquors to be drunk on the premises; (3) a "beer license" to sell ale and beer to be drunk anywhere. This matter has been recently decided and settled by our courts.