HC Deb 27 June 1822 vol 7 cc1397-9

Mr. Bennet moved, "That the bill be now, read a third time."

Lord Cranborne

said, there were several clauses in the bill which he objected to. He therefore wished that the hon. member would consent to postpone it till next session. But as he did not expect the hon. member would consent to this, he should move, that the bill be read a third time this day three months.

Alderman C. Smith

thought the bill objectionable in many parts, and that it pressed too heavily on the publicans.

Mr. Monck

would support any measure calculated to check the monopoly of the brewers, the effects of which fell entirely upon the poor, who were often obliged to drink a deteriorated and unwholesome beverage, and that, too, at a dear rate.

Mr. Calcraft

objected to the clause which gave an appeal to the quarter sessions, in case of licences, from the decision of the petty sessions. Unless this clause was withdrawn, be would oppose the bill.

Mr. Peel

said, there were several useful regulations in the bill, and therefore he hoped it would pass; but he wished the hon. mover would consent to withdraw or modify the clause which, took the discretionary power from the magistrates.

Mr. Bernal

said, it was using the bon, mover rather hardly to say that this bill was not in favour of the publicans, seeing it was founded on the petitions of many of that numerous body, and the committee was attended by their solicitor. He thought the clause restricting the discretionary power of the magistrates most salutary.

Mr. Alderman Wood

complained of the wanton acts of authority, which, under the present licensing system, often deprived men who had committed no offence, of the means of livelihood; and said, that such an act as a man's not taking off his hat to the parson of the parish, might cause him to lose his licence. They could not, therefore, too soon put under proper control this arbitrary power of the magistrates.

Mr. Bennet

vindicated the principle of his bill, which, he said, went to destroy the monopoly of the brewers, to break down corrupt influence, to prevent the arbitrary destruction of property, and take away from magistrates the power of doing that in dose chambers, which they dare not do in open court. These principles remained in the bill as at first, and were not affected by the alterations which he had been induced to adopt. It was, therefore, rather hard that members who at first supported the bill, should now oppose it; and even turn their backs on petitions which they had presented in its favour. He would not, however, on that account withdraw the bill; for he felt too anxious that an immediate remedy should be applied to the evils complained of. He wished particularly to destroy that frightful abuse of the licensing system, which made it an engine of electioneering influence. He spoke not of Whigs or Tories, but of the abuse, as he knew it to be generally practised. He would adopt the suggestion of gentlemen on the other side, and would leave out the words counties and ridings," and insert in their place the words "cities and boroughs," because it was there that the evil was in most active operation; for the magistrates in those places were mostly brewers and distillers, and had a direct interest in the continuance of the abuses which he was anxious to rectify.

The House divided: For the third reading, 38; For the Amendment, 21. The bill was then read a third time and passed.

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