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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Burns's Excise Commission

Burns's Excise Commission, first printed by Snyder, was seen by him in the possession of its then owner, Mr John Gribbel. Snyder comments:

'The signatures of the three Commissioners appear in the left-hand margin; each was originally accompanied by a seal. These seals, and the great seal, Which appeared in the upper left-hand corner, have been removed. The date is of interest — 14th July 1788, an indication that the machinery of the Board moved slowly, for Burns had qualified for the commission some time before.'

The text is as follows:

'TO ALL WHOM these Presents shall come, Greeting. Know Ye, That we, whose Hands and Seals are hereunto set, being the major part of the chief Commissioners and Governors for the Management of the Receipt of the Excise; that is to say, the Duties upon making and importing Beer, Ale, Spirits, and other Excisable Liquors, in that Part of Great Britain called Scotland, and in all and every of the Islands and Territories thereunto belonging; and of the Duties upon making Candles, and of the Duties upon Hops growing, and to grow, within the Limits aforesaid: And we also, being the major Part of the Commissioners and Governors for the Receipt and Management of the several and respective Duties hereinafter mentioned within the Limits aforesaid; that is to say, of the several and respective Duties upon making of Soap, Paper, Pasteboard, Millboard and Scaleboard, respectively; and upon printing, painting or staining of Paper; and upon printing, painting, staining, or dying of Silks, Calicoes, Linens, and Stuffs respectively; and upon the making of Starch and of Gilt and Silver Wire respectively; and upon tanning, tawing or dressing of Hides and Skins, and Pieces of Hides and Skins; and upon the making of Vellum and Parchment respectively; and of the Inland Duties upon Coffee, Tea and Chocolate respectively; and upon making Malt, and making and importing Mum, Cyder and Perry respectively; and of the Duties upon Glass, and all the Materials or metal, or other Preparations made use of in the making of Glass; and upon every Coach, Berlin, Landau, Chariot, Calash, Chaise-marine, Chaise, Chair and Caravan, or by what Name soever such Wheel Carriages now are or hereafter may be called or known, that shall be kept by or for any Person for his or her own Use, or to be let out to hire respectively; and of the Duties payable by all persons and Bodies Politick or Corporate, owning, using, having or keeping, certain Quantities of Silverplate, arisen or accrued, or to arise or acrrue in SCOTLAND aforesaid, and in all and every of the Islands and Territories thereunto belonging, reposing especial Trust and Confidence in the Knowledge, Skill, Industry, Integrity, Fidelity, and Circumspection of Robert Burns Gentleman [written] HAVE (pursuant to the several and respective Powers to us given and granted, in and by the several and respective Statues relating to the said several and respective Duties, and in and by our several and respective Commissions, Constitutions and Appointments) nominated, constituted, and appointed, and, for His Majesty's Service, DO nominate, constitute, and appoint him, the said Robert Burns [written] to be One of the Surveyors, Messengers, Gaugers, and Officers, of and for the said several and respective Duties before mentioned, all and every one of them respectively; and of all other Duties that shall or may be put under the Management of us the said present Commissioners, or of the like Commissioners for the Time being; and of the measuring and attending Malt that shall be shipped for Exportation and for the seizing of all Brandy, Arrack, Rum, Spirits, Strong Waters, Coffee, Teas, Chocolate and Cocoa Nuts, which shall be unlawfully imported or carried within the Limits aforesaid: AND do hereby impower and require him, the said Robert Burns [written] that, pursuant to the Powers and Authorities in and by the said several and respective Statutes relating to the said several and respective Duties, he shall and do, from Time to Time buy gauging, weighing, Measuring and otherwise take, and also do enter into a Book and Books, to be from Time to Time delivered to him for that Purpose, full and true Accounts of the Quantities, Qualities, Natures and Kinds, of all and every the several and respective Goods, Commodities and Manufacturers respectively, chargeable with, and liable to, the said several and respective Duties, which he, from Time to Time, shall or may find out or discover; and thereof respectively shall and do, from Time to Time, make and deliver to us the present Commissioners, and to the Commissioners for the said Duties for the Time Being, or to the major Part of us or them respectively, or to such as we, or the Major part of us, have appointed, or as we, or the Commissioners for the said Duties for the Time being, or to be the major Part of us or them respectively shall nominate and appoint for such purpose, full and true Returns, Reports, Registers, Vouchers and Accounts in Writing, of the full and true Quantities, Qualities, Natures and Kinds of all and every the said several and respective Goods, Commodities, and Manufacturers before mentioned, chargeable with or liable to the said several and respective Duties, by him from Time to Time found out or discovered; and that he shall and do exercise, execute and perform, all and every the Powers and Authorities in and by the several and respective Statutes given and granted, or enacted to be done, exercised, executed and performed by such Surveyor, Messenger, Gauger, or Officer according to the true Intent and Meaning of such Statutes respectively; TO HOLD, exercise, execute, and perform, the said Office of such Surveyor, or Messenger, Gauger, and Officer as aforesaid, during the Pleasure of us the said present Commissioners, and during the like Pleasure of the Commissioners for the said Duties for the Time being, or of the major Part of us or them respectively. AND all Sheriffs, Bailies, Justices of the Peace, Magistrates of Burghs, Constables, and other Officers of the Peace, and all and every other Person and Persons whatsoever, is and are hereby prayed and required to be aiding and assisting unto him the said Robt. Burns [written] in the due Execution hereof, as he or they will answer the Contrary at his or their utmost Peril. GIVEN under our Hands and Seals at the Chief Office of Excise, and for the said Duties, in EDINBURGH this Fourteenth [written] Day of July [written] in the Twenty eighth [written] Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third [written] by the Grace of GOD of Great Britain, France and Ireland, KING, Defender of the Faith, and so forth, and in the Year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and Eighty eight [written].'

(Signatures)

J. WHARTON

GEO. BROWN,

JAS. STODDARD.

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