Gin Act (189 words)

Historical Context Note

  • Editors


Act 24. Geo. II c. 40 was a response to a long-standing campaign to curb the dreadful consequences of cheap gin. Henry Fielding inveighed against the “diabolical liquour” in his Inquiry into the Late Increase in Robbers (January 1751) and William Hogarth gave graphic representation to its effects in his engravings Beer Street andGin Lane (February 1751). The Act made it unlawful for distillers to sell directly, restricting gin sales to taverns worth £10 per annum.

Gin distilling had in fact been encouraged by official government policy and its paid journalists since the 1710s since it increased the demand for corn, and therefore contributed to the revenues of large landowners who produced for the …

Editors. "Gin Act". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 February 2007
[, accessed 25 October 2016.]