Spirit Duties, etc. Act 1741

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The Spirit Duties, etc. Act 1741 (15 Geo. II, c.25) was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of Great Britain passed in 1742, in force from 29 September 1742, and formally repealed in 1867. It allowed rum brought from the colonies to be stored on shore before the excise duty was paid.


The Act aimed to simplify the importation of spirits. Previously, it was required to pay the excise duties on the entire shipment before it could be landed and sold. This meant that any delay in organising payment would require the ship carrying the spirits to remain in port until the cargo was cleared, both straining the capacity of the harbour and leaving the merchant with the additional costs of chartering the ship longer than anticipated. In order to avoid this, it was enacted that the cargo could be offloaded into specified secure warehouses on shore, at the importers' expense, if they gave their bond or security for the value of the duties. Duties would then be collected by the excise officers on the cargo as it was sold from the warehouses; if any remained unsold after six months from landing, the remaining duty was payable on it as a lump sum on that date.


The remainder of the Act laid down the various conditions for the operations of these warehouses. Any spirits landed without warrant from the customs officials were to be forfeited, with half to the Crown and half to the informer. All spirits held were to be fully documented, and not sold in quantities under a twenty-gallon cask.

Period of operation[edit]

The Act was in force from 29 September 1742 to 29 September 1749, when it was continued by the Continuance of Acts Act 1749. It was formally repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1867.

Section 11[edit]

Section 11 of the Act was not concerned with the importation of spirits, but instead served to discharge the liability on one Ralph Barrow of Northwich for the duties payable on seventeen tons of rock salt which had been lost to flooding in Cheshire in December 1740.


  • The statutes at large from the 15th to the 20th year of King George III [vol. XVIII]; Charles Bathurst, London. 1765.
  • Chronological table of the statutes; HMSO, London. 1993. ISBN 0-11-840331-1