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The Irish Excise.


We said that the Excise of Beer and Ale is shrunk at Dublin 16 of the whole, or 947l. in the Midsummer Quarter of this Year 1687, and more in other Places. Now whereas it is commonly said, That the Cause thereof is, That the Army are all almost Irish[1], and that the Irish drink little Exciseable Drink, contenting themselves with Milk, Whey, &c.

To this I answer, that the 16 of Excise upon Ale and Beer And Ale Licenses is near 15000l. per Annum; that the Pay of the whole Army is about 204000l. per Annum. That the Soldiers (many of whom have Families) cannot spend 110 of their Pay in Drink, and find themselves with other Necessaries of Meat, Cloths, horses, Arms, &c. out of the rest. That is to say they cannot afford above 20000l. for drink[2] the Excise whereof is about 18 of the same or 2500l., or which is but 16 of 15000l., which was 16 of the Whole. We may say That if all the Irish of the Army drink onely Water, the King's Revenue of Excise would scarce fall 110[3] for that Reason, nor above 160 Part of the Whole 90000l. as aforesaid.

Another Argument for the Impoverishment of the Inhabitants of Dublin, at least for the Lessening their Expence, is the Consumption of Coals their General and Uniform Fuel, which may therefore be a Measure of all other Expence. Now it appears that in the Years 1683 and 1684, that Expence was near alike, but in the Year 1685 (when Fear first seizd the said Inhabitants, who, as appears by the Registred Baptisms, were most Protestants) it shrunk 110 Part; and in the Year 1686 another 110 Part; in all 15. Which answers[4] the Shrinking of the Customs 14 and of the Excise 16.

The Expence of Coals or Fuel at Dublin[5].

A° 1683 42727 Tons
1684 42996 42862
1685 39565
1686 35472
  1. As a result of Tyrconnel's reorganization. Clarendon, Correspondence, i. 500, 506, ii. 30–31.
  2. 'for drink' inserted by Petty.
  3. I.e. one tenth of the actual decline of £15000.
  4. 'answers' inserted by Petty in a blank left by the copyist.
  5. Among the items at the De Clifford sale was a letter from Petty to Southwell (date not given) on the coals burnt in Dublin, together with two papers on the