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title:“An Act to Prohibit the Distillation of Spirits”
authors:George Mason
date written:1778-12-15

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Mason, George. "Letter to Prohibit the Distillation of Spirits." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 1. Ed. Bernard Bailyn and James Morton Smith. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 458. Print.

An Act to Prohibit the Distillation of Spirits (December 15, 1778)

An Act "to prohibit the Distillation of Spirits from Corn, Wheat, Rye, and other grain, for a limited time."
[15 December 1778]
WHEREAS the great quantity of grain consumed in the distilleries will increase the present alarming scarcity, Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no kind of spirituous liquors shall be distilled from Indian corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley, buck wheat, meal, or flour, within this commonwealth, between the fifteenth day of February next and the fifteenth day of October next, on pain of forfeiting .the liquor so distilled, or the worth thereof, if sold before seizure, together with the still in which the same was distilled, to be recovered in any court of record within this commonwealth, by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information, by any person who shall sue for the same, one half thereof to the informer, and the other half to the use of the commonwealth; and upon the recovery of any still or stills sued for under this act, the court by whom judgment is given shall order the sheriff to sell the same for ready money to the highest bidder, and pay one half of the money arising from such sale into the publick treasury.
Provided, That the penalties of this act shall not be extended to any person distilling wheat or rye unless he shall have refused to sell the same to some publick agent or contractor offering to purchase at the following prices, to wit, the wheat at fifteen shillings per bushel, and the rye at fifteen shillings per bushel. And wherever any dispute shall arise from what species of grain any liquor bath been distilled contrary to this act, the onus probandi shall lie upon the distiller.

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