Jeremiah Vickars, and another, - Appellants; Attorney General of Ireland-Respondent

CourtHouse of Lords (Ireland)
Judgment Date12 Feb 1779

English Reports Citation: 2 E.R. 1220

House of Lords

Jeremiah Vickars, and another
The Attorney-General of Ireland-Respondent

[491] case '2.-jeremiah vickars, and another,-Appellants; The Attorney-General of ireland-Respondent [12th February 1*779]. J. and S. on the 28th of December 1771, imported certain quantities of tobacco in Ireland, which by the then subsisting statutes were liable to the payment of particular duties. Those duties being paid, the tobacco was accordingly delivered to them by the proper officer. On the 21st of that month heads of a bill were brought into the house of commons of that kingdom, for imposing an additional duty upon tobacco imported; but the bill did not receive the royal assent until the 1st of January 1772. On an information, filed to recover the amount of this additional duty, the defendants pleaded the former acts, and by their answer insisted, that they had paid all the duties thereby imposed. But it was held, that they were liable to the payment of the additional duty: for though the act imposing that duty had not in fact passed, yet the intention of the legislature to impose it was publickly and sufficiently known, by means of the printed votes of the house of commons, and therefore the importation was made, and the tobacco obtained, in fraud of the revenue. orders of the Irish Exchequer affirmed. Seei the note to the preceding It is now usual to- make revenue laws in some degree retrospective; to avoid that evasion, which if not chargeable as a fraud on the revenue, is certainly injurious to it. By an act of parliament, passed in Ireland, 14th and 15th of Charles the Second, intituled, " An act for settling the excise, or new impost, upon his majesty, his heirs and successors, according to the book of rates, therein inserted," it is (among other things) enacted, That, from and after the 25th day of December 1661, the several rates and charges therein mentioned, and no other, by the name of The Excise, or new Impost, shall be, and are thereby laid and imposed, to be levied, etc. in and throughout the realm of Ireland, upon all commodities, merchandizes, and manufactures, as well native as imported, or foreign, and particularly for all sorts of wine, tobacco, etc. specified and rated in the book of rates, thereby referred to, of the value of every twenty shillings, twelve pence, and so after that rate for a greater or lesser quantity. By the said book of rates, all tobacco, of English plantation, is rated at Is. 8d. per pound. And it is enacted, That every merchant, or importer, that is not a shopkeeper, retailer, or1 consumptioner, (that is to say, onp employing the commodities of his importation for his o wn use and consumption), after entry, and before he and they be permitted to have any warrant to receive his or their goods out of the ship, or from the waterside, shall enter into obligation to the king, singly, if known and responsible, or otherwise with sufficient security, in double the value, with condition not to deliver, or suffer to be delivered, any of the said goods to any buyers thereof, or to any shopkeeper, or retailer, before the duty of excise paid; and, on failure of giving such bond, to pay down the excise of his goods ; and if he shall not be able, or else refuse the doing [492] thereof, the goods, after due notice taken of the quantity and quality, shall be laid up in his majesty's or other fitting warehouse or warehouses, there to be kept until sufficient bond be given, or excise fully paid. And by the act of tonnage and poundage, passed in the said kingdom of Ireland, in the 14th and 15th years of the same reign, it is (amongst other things) enacted, That the rates mentioned and expressed in one book of rates, thereunto annexed, intituled, " The rates of merchandize," (that is to say), the subsidy of poundage, and the subsidy of tonnage, as they are rated and agreed upon by the parliament of Ireland, set down and expressed in the said book, to be paid to the use of his majesty, 1220 VICKARS V. A.-G. [1779] VI BROWN. his heirs and successors, for ever, shall be the rates according to which all goods and merchandizes, to be brought into or carried out of the said realm, of every twenty shillings of the same goods and merchandizes, as they are particularly and respectively rated and valued in thie forementioned book, shall pay twelve-pence English money. By the lastmentioned book of rates, all tobacco, of English plantation, is rated and valued at Is. 8d. per pound. By another act, passed in the said kingdom of Ireland, in the llth and 12th years of the reign of his present majesty, intituled, " An act for granting unto his majesty an additional duty on the several commodities, goods, and...

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