HC Deb 06 May 1830 vol 24 cc446-8
Colonel Wilson

said, he rose to present a Petition from the Brewers and Proprietors of Public-houses in York, in reference to the Sale of Beer Bill. The petitioners stated, that they had no objection to a free trade in Beer, in order to enable the poor man to drink it on equal terms with the rich, who had hitherto paid no duty on that article, when brewed by themselves: what they wanted was, a restriction in order to prevent if being drunk on the premises where it was sold, except in the old licensed houses, under the jurisdiction of the magistrates. If the trade were thrown open without control, tippling-houses he thought would be set up in every quarter, to the great annoyance of every respectable inhabitant in every town and village throughout the country, and which would tend only to form a rendezvous for the most idle and immoral part of the community. In fact, if the bill passed into a law without some restriction, it would convert the whole country into a mere grog-shop, to the great injury of the community at large. He hoped, therefore, that his Majesty's Government would pause, and consider of some clause of restriction to prevent this mischief, and encourage the poor man by every means to drink his beer at his own house. This was a subject which ought to be considered by his Majesty's Government, as well as by every Member of the House. He should be unworthy of a seat in it if he did not state the real facts which had come under his own knowledge, in his magisterial capacity. With respect to the old licensed houses, he considered them as vested rights, and that they ought not in justice to be interfered with, unless a fair recompense was given for the loss which would be occasioned; otherwise, he should be one of the first to reduce, rather than increase houses of that description. He did not oppose the bill on any other account than for the well-being of the lower orders; and it was the duty of his Majesty's Government, as well as of every hon. Member of the House, whenever an opportunity offered, to encourage by every means the poor man to drink his beer in the bosom of his own family, and put a slop, as much as possible, to his having an opportunity of spending his money abroad, to the injury of his family. He begged leave to state to the House what had come within his experience as a magistrate. The houses already existing were by far too many, in his opinion, without being increased; for he had too often witnessed a tradesman on a Saturday evening, enticed by the sign of the Jolly Sailor or the Flowing Cup, enter one of those houses, utterly forget-ing that he had a wife and starving family at home. He was encouraged to remain until he had spent every sixpence of his week's earnings; and on Sunday evening, when all was gone, he was turned out, and might be seen wandering towards his home to his starving family, and frequently the Monday morning brought him out of a prison ashamed and ruined. He trusted, therefore, that the House would give the subject in question that consideration it so justly merited, and that his Majesty's Government would introduce a clause into the bill to remedy this great evil. If they did not introduce such a clause, it would be his duty to oppose the bill inch by inch.

Petition read, and to be printed.

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