HC Deb 12 August 1839 vol 50 cc214-5

On the further consideration of the report on the Excise Licenses (Sale of Spirits) Bill,

Dr. Lushington

objected to the principle of the first clause of the bill, the object of which was to enable wholesale dealers to sell any quantity of foreign spirits or liqueurs exceeding one bottle in quantity, on taking out a license, which should cost them five guineas. The law which now existed was, that no less a quantity than two gallons should be sold at once; and licensed victuallers complained that the effect of the proposed provision would be to take away from them what they considered to be the most respectable part of their trade. They declared also, that that attention to which the respectability of their body entitled them bad not been paid to their interests, and that they had not been consulted, and had not been heard in opposition to or in support of the measure. It was impossible to compare the retail dealer with the licensed victualler. If the former were possessed of his cellar, and those means only which were requisite to enable him to carry on his trade, he was in a condition to support his business, while the latter was placed under number-less restrictions. He must have public rooms for the accommodation of his customers, and beds must also be prepared for the reception of his guests. The mischief would be more particularly felt in the seaport towns, for there the retail trade was carried on to an extent much greater than in those inland, and he conceived that this bill, should it pass into a law, would introduce a petty innovation in the existing condition of the licensed victuallers, important, however, to them, as depriving them of their most respectable, as well as their most profitable business. He could see no reason why the clause should be made applicable to foreign spirits only, and he should therefore move the omission of the words "foreign spirits" in the first clause of the bill, and on that he should take the sense of the House.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

admitted, that the observations of the right hon. Gentleman were entitled to great weight at the hands of the House; but he thought that the effect of the proposed bill would only be to legalise that which was illegal at this moment, but which, in spite of its illegality, was done every day in the case of most wholesale dealers, and in the establishment of nearly every hon. Member of that House; and he was sure that if he were to look over the monthly bills of any hon. Member, it would be found that small quantities, of whatever foreign spirits or liqueurs were required, were purchased from the wholesale dealer.

Mr. H. Hinde

thought if this bill was passed, the wine dealers ought to be subjected to the same liability as the publicans, such as having soldiers quartered upon them. The bill would, also, in his opinion, operate as a great hardship on the licensed victuallers.

Captain Pechell

felt in great difficulty as to this bill, as his constituents were divided in opinion upon it. Had not the Chancellor of the Exchequer better postpone it to next Session?

Mr. Grimsditch

was for a general revision of the law relating to the sale of spirits and wines, and opposed the bill as a partial measure.

The House divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out, stand part of the clause:—Ayes 28; Noes 19: Majority 9.

List of the Ayes.
Aglionby, H. A. Paiker, J.
Briscoe, J. I. Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Praed, W. T.
Donkin, Sir R. S. Price, Sir R.
East, J. B. Rice, rt. hn. T. S.
Ewart, W. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Finch, F. Rutherford, rt. hon. A.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J Salwey, Colonel
Hobhouse. T. B. Thornely, T.
Hoskins, K. Vigors, N. A.
Howard, P. H. Warburton, H.
Hume, J. Yates, J. A.
Hutton, R.
Lushington, C. TELLERS.
Morpeth, Lord Vise. Baring, F. T.
Palmer, C. F. Steuart, R.
List of the NOES.
Attwooa, T. Brotherton, J,
Cochrane, Sir T. J. Philips, M.
Dick, Q. Polhill, F.
Duncombe,T. Pryme, G.
Freshfield, J. W. Scholefield, I.
Grimsditch, T. Talfourd, Sergeant
Hawes, B. Williams, W.
Hinde, J. H. Wood, G. W.
Hindley, C. TELLERS
Hodges, T. L. Lushington, Dr.
Langdale, hon. C. Clay, W.

Clause agreed to. Bill to be read a third time.