[Petition for James Cunningham of Auchinharvie, younger]

To his grace her majesty's high commissioner and the right honourable the estates of parliament,

The petition of James Cunningham, son to Robert Cunningham of Auchinharvie,

Humbly shows,

That your petitioner's father having to his considerable loss and expenses built a harbour in Saltcoats, which, to the conviction of all in that country, is a public good, evidently to the advantage of the nation, it occasioning the export of the product of the place and the daily bringing in of money; and the estates of parliament in the years 1686 and 1693 did not only grant to him 4d on the pint of all ale and beer brewed and vended in the parishes of Stevenson and Ardrossan, but, for his further encouragement in prosecuting what is so evidently of common benefit, and because he had raised the excise from £52 Scots in the quarter to £117, and that through neglect of the harbour the said £117 might not be lost to the prejudice of the public, did further grant to him a right of the excise of the said two parishes, he paying the £117 quarterly he had raised it to; and however the 4d on the pint was upon the two parishes, yet he was willing and did restrict the exacting thereof to the brewing, which was only the effect of his own industry. It is presumed that any person whatsoever that should offer upon his own proper expenses to occasion a trade of import and of bringing in several considerable sums of money, which could prejudice no other part of the kingdom, that the honourable estates of parliament could not but see it reasonable and in the interest of the nation to grant twice 4d on the pint of all brewing occasioned from his own industry, for, supposing the imposition to be what could discourage brewing, yet no brewer nor any whosoever could complain of their being worse off than if that person had not expended his money. Yet your petitioner, albeit his father nor he be in no way reimbursed of the expenses in building the said harbour, being unwilling to insist in this reasonable desire, and the heritors and others concerned as convinced that the maintaining and encouraging of this harbour is so much of common benefit, being resolved as law will allow that some small duty be uplifted upon brewing for doing thereof, but the brewers, being unable to pay this and her majesty's excise separately, it being the interest of the public that the £117 quarterly does not diminish,

May it therefore please your grace and honourable estates of parliament, for ease and encouragement of your petitioner, and that the excise to the advantage of the public may be kept at £117 quarterly as the same is at present, answerable to 3d of the pint, to grant to your petitioner the right to the excise for the space of 20 years, he paying the said £117 quarterly so long as the said 3d is the rule for uplifting her majesty's excise, it being declared that if the excise after this shall be augmented or diminished, that your petitioner shall be obliged accordingly to pay augmenting or diminishing the said £117 quarterly as the established excise shall be less or more than the 3d presently payable.

And your petitioner shall ever pray, etc.

Edinburgh, 25 March 1707

Her majesty's high commissioner and the estates of parliament, having heard the petition within, they recommend the case of the petitioner to her majesty's royal favour.

[James Ogilvy, earl of] Seafield, chancellor, in the presence of the lords of parliament

  1. NAS. PA6/35, 'March 25 1707'. Back
  2. Written on rear. Back