HC Deb 03 August 1831 vol 5 cc651-2
Lord Morpeth

presented a Petition from a number of Clergymen of the West Riding of the County of York, complaining of the bad effects of the opening of so many houses under the new Beer Act. They were the scenes of all kinds of immorality and gambling, were frequented by the worst characters, and in many cases had become nuisances to the neighbourhood in which they had been established. The petitioners were of opinion, that they had produced the worst effects on the morals of the lower classes.

Mr. Hunt

defended the Bill, and asked the noble Lord if he and the petitioners were anxious to drive the people to the pernicious practice of dram-drinking, which was infinitely worse than beer drinking: gin shops had already small glasses for boys and girls. If the consumption of beer was discouraged, the use of ardent spirits would be encouraged, and cheap beer was certainly better than cheap gin.

Mr. Strickland

professed his determination to oppose any sudden alteration of the law with respect to beer-shops, and observed, that at the Quarter Sessions, where the Letter from the Secretary of State was taken into consideration, the Magistrates, after hearing all that could be said against the beer-shops, decided, merely by a majority of one, to report against them.

Lord Morpeth

had no wish to put the retail beer trade down, but was of opinion that the houses might be better regulated.

Petition to be printed.