Act for ... Duties upon Malt, Mum, Cyder, and Perry

AMERICAN REVOLUTION   |   GEORGE III

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Item#: 103545 price:$1,250.00

"THE STRESS OF THE AMERICAN WARS": RARE FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING OF THE 1765 PARLIAMENTARY ACT IMPOSING "DUTIES … UPON MALT, MUM, CYDER, AND PERRY," PASSED ONLY MONTHS BEFORE THE SAME YEAR'S STAMP ACT THAT SPARKED REVOLUTION

(AMERICAN REVOLUTION) (PARLIAMENT) GEORGE III. Anno Regni Georgii III… CAP. II. An Act for Continuing and granting to His Majesty certain Duties upon Malt, Mum, Cyder, and Perry, for the Service of the Year One thousand seven hundred and sixty five. London: Printed by Mark Baskett, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty, 1765. Folio, period-style three quarter tan calf, red morocco spine label, raised bands, marbled boards; pp. (2), 11-46. $1250.

First printing of the 1765 parliamentary act imposing duties on “Malt, Mum, Cyder, and Perry,” passed only months before the same year’s Stamp Act that sparked the Boston Tea Party and the Revolution, this act targeting Scotland with duties on malt and other goods, taxation key to fueling Britain’s finances “in the stress of the American wars,” one of only 1100 copies.

This rare 1765 act was passed the same year as the incendiary Stamp Act that triggered the Revolution. It speaks to mounting debts incurred by the Seven Years War (aka French and Indian War) and the cost of maintaining troops outside of England. While this is directed at duties imposed on Scotland, it argues England's concern over those debts and an eroding control of trade, in the colonies and elsewhere, for "even when the violators were brought into court, it was difficult to secure convictions" (Lippincott, 97). Prominent in this 1765 Act are duties on malt, which was used by distillers and "played a central role in the financial buttressing of national expansion." Duties on malt had been imposed on England and Wales in 1697 and "after a hard-fought delaying action the burden was imposed on Scotland seven years after the Union… In February 1760 the malt duty went up… further rises in malt duty took place in the stress of the American wars." The yield of taxes on malt and beer were "one of the pillars upon which the public finances of the country rested" (Mathais, 355-56). Americans would have paid close attention passage of this Act mere months before the Stamp Act, for they both document how British debts and economic policies sparked the Revolution. First edition, first printing, issued in combined gothic and roman type, of which only 1100 copies were printed: from the Sessional Volumes of Parliament, preceding all American printings (see Report of the Committee for the Promulgation of the Statutes, 1796).

A fine copy.

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