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Gin Act

Gin Act, 1751. Repeated attempts during George II's reign to curb the growing consumption of cheap gin proved fruitless. In January 1751 Henry Fielding in his Inquiry into the Late Increase of Robbers called for further legislation against this ‘diabolical liquor’ and his appeal was reinforced by Hogarth's print comparing the pleasures of Beer Street with the miseries of Gin Lane. The Act 24 Geo. II c. 40 curtailed the ‘immoderate drinking of distilled spirituous liquor by persons of the meanest and lowest sort’ by forbidding distillers to retail directly, restricting sales to taverns worth £10 p.a., and declaring debts of less than 20 shillings to be irrecoverable.

J. A. Cannon

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