23 JUNE 1894, Page 15


[To TEN EDITOR or THE "SPECTATOR."] your article on the "Additional Tax on Liquor," in the Spectator of June 9th, you overlook the main argument against an increase of the duty on spirits,—viz., the premium it holds out to the publican to sell new and inferior spirits, instead of well-matured articles. When Mr. Goschen im- posed an additional 6d. four years ago, the publican who had been paying 5s. a gallon in bond for his whisky came to his -spirit merchant, and said, "I am not going to lose this 6d.; you must send me a whisky at 4s. 6d." So at the present moment he argues in the same way, and will give but 4s., and any future increases will only bring down the qualities still further.

Another element in the question you also ignore. I allude to the fact that the Irishman and Scotchman have always had a grievance in the spirit-duties, as spirits pay proportionately more in duty than beer, the Englishman's drink ; and although the beer-duty is to be raised 6d. a barrel, that is not propor- tionate to the 6d. a gallon on spirits. The fairest way to obtain the money would have been to put is. a barrel on beer, and to leave the spirit-duties alone. The profits on beer are • enormous, and is. a barrel extra duty could well be borne. If the Nationalist Members were to vote according to their -convictions on this question, the additional taxes on liquor mould not be voted.—I am, Sir, &C, SPIRIT MERCHANT.