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Revenue, and there is certainly no branch of it more completely at their mercy than that which depends on the Lottery. Conformably to our usual custom, before we show the influence and support Government de rives from the Lottery, we will give a short history of these establishments in this country.
The first English Loitery we find mentioned in history was drawn in the year 1569. It consisted of 40,000 lots at 10s. each lot: the prizes were plate ; and the profits were to go toward repairing the havens of the kingdom. It was drawn at the west door of St. Paul's Cathedral. The drawing began on the 11th January, and continued incessantly drawing, day and night, till the 6th of May following. In the year 1612 James I. granted permission also for a Lottery to be held at the west end of St. Paul's, of which one Sharply, a tailor of London, had the chief prize of 4000 crowns in fair plate : this Lottery was for the assistance of the Virginia Company, who were licensed to open Lottery-offices in any part of England, by which means they raised £29,000.
These Lotteries at length began to be considered public evils, and attracted the attention of Parliament: they were represented by the Commons as a grievance, and suppressed by an order in Council. In 1630, they were again revived by Charles I. who granted a special licence for a Lottery, to defray the expense of conveying water to London.
> It was not till the glorious Whig revolution of 1688, that Lotteries formed one of the standing resources of Government; and that they were introduced, along with the Stamp Duties and other vexatious and unconstitutional expedients, as the means of raising the annual supplies for the public service. Before then they had only been resorted to for the purpose of aiding some work of public utility or commercial speculation, and never to supply the exigencies of state. Uuder the protection of Government they spread rapidly, and such was the ardour for this species of gambling, that private Lotteries formed on the most delusive and fraudulent principles became so general, not only in London but in all the principal towns of the kingdom, that Parliament found it necessary in 1698 to pass an Act for suppressing them, by imposing a penalty of £500 on the proprietors of any such Lotteries, and £20 upon any adventurer in them. This law was ineffectual; the disposition to knavery on one hand, and adventure on another, continued to prevail, and small Lotteries were carried on under the denomination of sales for gloves, fans, cards, plate, &c. This was also attempted to be check
ed, but only gave rise to a new mode of gambling. Government lotteries not being 'affected by the new regulations, the adventure was made to depend upon the drawing of them; and the buying and selling of chances and parts of chances of tickets in the State Lotteries, became the general practice, till in 1716, when all undertakings resembling Lotteries, or dependent on the State Lottery, were prohibited under the penalty of
100 over and above all penalties incurred by former Acts of Parliament against private Lotteries.
During this period the principle of the State Lotteries was much less objectionable than at present. They were generally either for life or terminable annuities, to which both blanks and prizes were entitled at different rates. Thus in 1710, in Queen Ann's reign, the Lottery consisted of 150,000 tickets, valued at £10 each; every ticket being entitled to an annuity for 32 years, the blanks at 145. per annum, the prizes to greater annuities, from £5 to £ 1000 per annum.
According to the Lottery plans which prevailed from the administration of Sir Robert Walpole to that of the Duke of Grafton, the tickets were issued at £10 each, and occasionally the subscription was open to the public at large. The highest prize was generally £10,000 and the lowest £20. There were from four to six blanks to a prize, and the blanks entitled the bearers to from £5 to £6 stock in the '3 or 4 per cent. Bank Annuities: the value of the blanks and prizes being generally funded. The tickets, according to the advantage or disadvantage of the scheme, generally sold froin £11 to £12 before the drawing. When the tickets sold for £11, and the blanks were entitled to £6 in the 3 per cent. stock, as the blank might be sold for £5 8s. ready money, the adventurer only gambled at a risk of £5 12s.; and at the highest calculation, when the tickets were worth £13, he never staked more than £7 12s. before the drawing
About the commencement of the present reign, many pernicious alterations were introduced into the Lottery System. The chief prizes became as high as £20,000; the allowance to blanks was discontinued, which, while it rendered the adventure more hazardous, increased the number and value of the prizes. While Lord North was Chancellor of the Exchequer, some further alterations were made in the schemes ; such as paying the prizes in
money instead of stock, and making the first drawn ticket, for several successive days, a prize of £1000 or more.
These alterations were
highly advantageous to the Lottery-office Keepers, by enhancing the value of tickets, and tended greatly to increase the spirit of gaming, by inducing those who had drawn blanks to buy again.
During the profligate administration of Mr. Pitt, when "social order and the blessed comforts of religion” were the pretexts for wasting the public money, various expedients were adopted, by raising the price of tickets, and keeping up the price during the drawing, to render this unprincipled source of revenue more productive. The number and amount of the highest prizes were increased, some schemes containing four prizes of £20,000 each; others two prizes of £30,000; others with a prize, as high as £40,000: while for the purpose of disposing of a greater number of tickets, during the year, the Lottery was divided into two or three smaller ones drawn at different times.
In 1796 the vices of the Lottery system appear to have reached their utmost height. With the Lottery of that year, it is supposed, there were more than 10,000 individuals in London alone connected. Of, this number there were no fewer than 2000 agents and clerks, and nearly 7509 Morocco men, besides armed bludgeon men, whose office was to overawe the police. These men were paid by a general subscription of the proprietors of the little goes, or small Lotteries, which then swarmed in the metropolis. The Morocco men were so called from the colour of their book, which they carried about from different public houses to register the names of those wishful to insure.
In 1802 an attempt was made to put down the little goes, but no attempt was made
to restrain the great go of government. By the 42 Geo. III, c. 119, all Lotteries called little goes are declared to be public, nuisances; and if any one shall keep an office or place to exercise or expose to be played any such Lottery, or any. Lottery whatever not authorized by Parliament, or shall knowingly suffer it to be exercised at or played at in his house, he shall forfeit £500, and be deemed a rogue and vagabond. And if any person shall promise to pay any money or goods on any contingency relative to such Lottery, or publish any proposal respecting it, he shall forfeit £100 ; and, lastly, if any editor of a newspaper șhall advertise any illegal scheme of gaming in the Lottery, he is subject to a penalty of £50.
Such a mode of legislation was ridiculous enough. There is no attack upon the principle of the evil. The only object appears to have been to secure to Government a monopoly of the vice. Why tolerate a practice,
acknowledged to be productive of infinite mischief, in Government, and deny it to individuals ?' The great go of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not less a fraud upon the public than the little goes. More than a century ago Lotteries were declared a public nuisance, and subsequent Aets of Parliament have repeatedly designated individuals engaged in this species of gambling as " rogues and vagabonds.” Yet, branded as Mr. Vansittart is with these opprobrious epithets, and degraded as his calling is, he still persists in this wretched branch of finance, and is supported by Parliament in utter inconsistency with its former declarations.
In 1808 a committee was appointed to investigate the abuses of the Lottery. From the evidence then adduced, some idea may be formed of the gross fraud sustained by adventurers. Mr. Sherwell informed the committee, that the general advance put upon the tickets by the Contractor was about £3 per ticket, not varying much under or over. This is in consideration of
any Toss on such tickets as the Contractor is not able to sell, and the expense he is put to for the sale of his Lottery. The Lottery is supposed to sell well if four-fifths of the tickets are disposed of: at the time of this inquiry not more than 17,000 out of 25,000 tickets, of which the Lottery consisted, were sold. The tickets were sold for £17 and a fraction. According to the proportion betwixt blanks and prizes, the tickets were not worth more than £10 each. The Contractor sold the tickets to the licensed Lottery-office-keeper for £20: 19:0 per ticket, being £3 or £4 more than he gave for it. The Lottery-office-keeper puts on another profit, which in those numbers divided into eighths, sixteenths, &c. amountsto about £1 more; whence it is evident that the adventurer gambles at a disadvantage of £100 per cent. Of this sum Government receives £70 per cent. besides about 20 per cent. in stamp-duties.
Mr. Colquhoun also presented an estimate of the loss to the public and the gain to the Government in three Lotteries of 25,000 tickets each. In his Statement some of the items, especially the Contractor's prufit, appear too dow. His calculation is as follows: Suppose three annual Lotteries each of 25,000 tickets. Government receives
£600,000 Contractor's profit at £1 per ticket
75,000 Lottery-office-keepers' profit ...,
100,000 Insurers' profit 33} per cent ou 1,000,000
Tbe public are supposed to pay for 75,000 tickets, including the additional son advance on halves, quarters, &c.....
£1,275,000 The lower class who insure are supposed to pay
£2,275,000 Deduct prizes...
£750,000 Deduct prizes obtained by insurers
Loss to the public, to gain £600,000 to the revenue yearly
The following is an account of the price of tickets, and the immediate profit derived from them by Government, during six years, from 1802 to 1807 : Years. Tickets. Price.
Profit. 1802, .. 100,000 £14 11 0
£555,000 1809, 80,000 13 13 1
352,333 1804, 25,000 14 15 6
119,375 2 25,000
15 16 0) ...,
145,000 3 30,000
15 13 6
To these sums are to be added the advantages derived from postages,