HC Deb 03 June 1830 vol 24 cc1333-5

The House went into a Committee on this Bill.

Mr. Monck

proposed a clause as an Amendment, requiring every householder who takes out a license to be assessed at 15l. within the districts of the chief officers of Excise, and at 20l. in the other parts of the country. The hon. Member explained, that his object in proposing this Amendment was, to prevent every labourer turning his cottage into a public-house.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, he had considered a proposition of that kind before; but he found it would press so unequally in large towns, that he was compelled to abandon it. He had no objection to consent, that the seller of Beer should be a person rated to the Poor and Assessed taxes; but if he consented to fix a limit of amount, it would destroy the principle of the Bill.

After a conversation of some length between the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Hume, Sir Thomas Freemantle, Mr. Heathcote, Mr. Benett, and others, respecting the propriety of postponing the discussion at that late hour of the morning,

Sir R. Vyvyan moved, that the Chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again.

On this question the Committee divided—For the Motion 59; Against it 101.—Majority 42,

The clause proposed by Mr. Monck was negatived without a division.

The other clauses of the Bill were then proceeded with.

Sir R. Vyvyan

objected to any license being required at all, and complained that the Bill transferred the authority of the county magistrates to the Commissioners of Excise.

Mr. Slaney

proposed, that all persons applying for a license should be required to produce testimonials as to character, from persons resident on the spot where the license was to be used.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that plan had been already tried, and found unavailing. The securities provided by the Bill would, he believed, be more efficacious than certificates of good behaviour.

Mr. Slaney

declined to press his Motion.

Mr. Hume

objected to the clause requiring publicans to close their houses at ten o'clock. The Bill was called a Bill for the Free Sale of Beer; and every clause was a restriction on those who might desire to engage in the trade.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, the object was only to give the greatest possible freedom to the sale of Beer that was consistent with good order. The restrictions of which the hon. Member complained were only necessary precautions.

Mr. Robert Gordon

said, that the present mode of taking off the taxes was the most ungracious that could have been devised. The Bill gave universal dissatisfaction, except to a few great brewers.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

would regret if his efforts to give relief were as unpopular as the hon. Member represented them. He knew, however, that in many parts of the country the Bill gave great satisfaction.

Sir R. Wilson

said, that the hon. member for Cricklade had given a very incorrect representation of the feelings of the people. It was a great boon to them to reduce the price of Beer by 1½d. per pot, and so they would regard it.

Mr. W. Duncombe

said, that the Bill was objectionable, both as injuring the morals and the comfort of the people. The trifling advantage of lowering the price of Beer would be compensated by a host of evils, and if it were not too late, he would join his voice to that of other hon. Members, and request the Chancellor of the Exchequer to repeal the Malt instead of the Beer duties. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that the feelings of almost all the magistrates, clergymen, and respectable people of Yorkshire were against the Bill. There domestic brewing was so generally practised, that this Bill would be of no service whatever to the people. He implored the right hon. Gentleman to re-consider the subject and take off the Malt-duties.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, he was extremely unfortunate, for he could not please Gentlemen when he laid on a tax, nor could he please them when he removed a tax.

Mr. Fowell Buxton

said, that hitherto the poor man had paid 50s. for the beer, for which the rich man paid only 20s. It seemed to him, therefore, an absurdity to say that the poor would not be benefited by a law which placed them on the same footing as the rich.

Mr. Sadler

said, that he too had received several communications from Yorkshire, condemning the Bill in strong terms.

Clause agreed to, and the House resumed.