[Appendix D(26) 1792 Report of Commissioners of Inquiry]

N° 26.



[Received from the Duke of Atholl, October 8th, 1791

HAVING alledged, that notwithstanding the laws now in force for the prevention of illicit practices in the Isle of Man such practices do sill exist, I shall briefly state such information as I have received on that subject.

By the present existing laws, neither Brandy or Geneva can be imported into the Isle of Man. The common use of these two species of spirits prove clearly their being smuggled.

After the Revesting Act, the importation of spirits into the Isle of Man was limited to 80,000 gallons ; 40,000 of which is British spirits importable from England alone, which on trial proved so indifferent that no importation of them has taken place for many years. The inhabitants would cheerfully pay such a duty on Brandy and Geneva as would probably prevent clandestine proceedings, and at the same time augment the insular revenue ; and if that importation were restricted to 25,000 gallons of Brandy, and 10,000 gallons of Geneva, the allowance would not exceed what was thought reasonable many years ago ; only be changed to 40,000 gallons of Foreign spirits, instead of the same quantity of British.

Another article of smuggling is Tobacco. This one would imagine scarcely to be worth the risque, the insular duty being only three-pence per pound. But in fact, the mode which is pursued of persons unconnected with the Isle of Man, getting, under fictious names, licences for the quantity importable, and then sending the resuse of the marker, and putting an extravagant price on. that,occasion this article to be both extremely indifferent and dear in this island, exclusive of the injury the revenue of the isle of Man sustains by the smuggling of Brandy, Geneva, and Tobacco : the loss sustained by the British and Irish revenues from these articles being snuggled from the Isle of Man into Great Britain and Ireland, is, as I am informed, considerable. .

Smuggling of Salt from the Isle of Man into England and Scotland is a practice which now prevails, and is certainly injurious to the revenues of those countries.

Next, what is the best mode of preventing these practices in future ? In my humble opinion, a fair importation, on a fair duty, should be allowed of Brandy and Geneva. if that duty is lower than the British duties, the importation ought to be limited, in justice to the British revenues ; and indeed so ought every article on which a smaller duty exists in the Isle of Man, than is paid in Great Britain. But if that limited importation, or more properly speaking, the consumption of the island, was given to the island freely as far as it went, on paying the insular duties, instead of the consumption of the Isle of Man being monopolized, either by particular towns or particular persons in Great Britain, a great temptation for the present smuggling would be taken away by these articles being to be had at reasonable rates. With respect to the smuggling of Salt, that might easily be obviated by warehousing it in such different parts of the island as would be most convenient for the herring fishery, and for the inhabitants at large.



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