HC Deb 01 June 1842 vol 63 cc1087-104

House in Committee on the Public Houses Bill.

On the 5th clause which prevents the sale of beer, spirits, and wine on board of steam-boats, between twelve o'clock on the Saturday night, and one o'clock on Sunday morning, being read.

Captain Pechell

said, he had strong objection to this clause. It first related to the granting of licences; but what had that to do with steam-boats on the river? He must object to that part of the clause which imposed a fine of 5l. or three month's imprisonment, on the steward or stewardess of a steam-vessel, if they sold spirits or wine on the Sunday morning. Suppose a boat arrived early in the morning, or was about to sail early in the morning for Calais, Hamburg, or other foreign ports, in which boat most probably there would be ladies as passengers, perhaps some of them sea-sick; for persons often were as sick on the commencement of a short voyage as at the end. Were they to say was the House of Commons to say, that in such cases a drop of brandy or a glass of grog should not be supplied without the party supplying it rendering himself liable to a fine. The gallant Officer opposite (Captain Rous) said, that this clause only extended to the banks of the Thames. Would it not affect steam-vessels and ships laying at anchor in the middle of the river, or those about to start on a voyage, and who probably might have some one on board unwell? He considered this clause most objectionable, obnoxious and vexatious, and had nothing to do with the general principle of the bill. He should have thought the gallant Officer the last man to propose dealing with steam-boats in such a manner. He should oppose the clause. He did not think it necessary to the bill. Some parts of the measure he had no objection to. He wished to aid widows in easily obtaining a transfer of licences held by their deceased husbands; but he must contend there was no occasion to interfere with steam-boats ships about to sail. With respect to vessels lying in wharfs the case might perhaps be somewhat different, and he trusted the gallant Officer would make some arrangement on the subject, or otherwise he must oppose the clause.

Captain Rous

said, the clause could not by possibility be so construed as to effect steam-boat passengers. There was no such intention. The fact was this; to the disgrace of the City of London it was the custom of a number of persons to go on board steam-vessels and ships, smoke their pipes, and drink their grog at a time when the regular licensed public-houses were closed. Such a custom was a scandal to the city, and ought to be put a stop to. He thought it was not right that the steward of a vessel should have this privilege, when it was denied to Licensed Victuallers, whose expenses were much greater in every respect than those of a steward or stewardess of steam-vessels. He had no doubt the clause would be beneficial and promote morality. It was necessary for the protection of the Licensed Victuallers, for it was now well known that wine and spirits might be obtained on board vessels lying in the river, during divine service, and at times when public houses were obliged to be closed.

Captain Pechell

Parliament had legislated on this subject for eight years, and he believed it was now decided as to what were the proper hours for closing public-houses. In some districts the hours were not the same as in others. At all events he thought the clause ought to be confined to vessels lying close to the shore.

Mr. Hume

suggested that if the clause was altered so as to exclude vessels lately arrived or about to start on their voyage the object would be obtained.

Mr. B. Wood

hoped the hon. Member for Brighton would withdraw his objection altogether.

Mr. Wakley

thought the gallant Captain not pressing this clause had reference to a serious and growing evil. Public-houses were now closed at twelve o'clock on Saturday nights, and not opened until one o'clock on Sunday, and thousands, tens of thousands of families now got a comfortable dinner on the Sunday, and the father was at home sober. Did the House wish to have floating public-houses open during divine service on the Sunday? The Licensed Victuallers said, and said justly, that if such a system was allowed to continue, it would be unfair to them. They were not allowed to sell, but parties had only to go on board, and they might obtain what they wished for to drink. He trusted the clause would be agreed to by the House without alteration or modification in any shape. He was convinced it would do good. With respect to the insertion of the words proposed, of "vessels about to sail," that would be useless and inoperative, as who could tell for a few hours when a ship would sail.

Amendment negatived.

Clause again put.

Captain Pechell

objected to the clause altogether. The terms "Metropolitan District" would affect steam-boats from Falmouth and from the West Indies; and, in his opinion, such partial legislation would have the effect of materially interfering with the steam navigation of the country, which ought to receive the the greatest encouragement. He should like to know whether the penalties inflicted on licensed victuallers of the metropolitan districts were payable to the Police Receiver, or to the parish in which the offence was committed. [An Hon. Member: They are paid to the police funds."] He was not before aware of that, and he thought it exceedingly objectionable to place funds of this description in their hands.

Clause with amendments agreed to.

Mr. B. Wood

proposed a clause defining the usual hours of divine service to be from eleven o'clock in the forenoon to one o'clock in the afternoon, and from three o'clock in the afternoon until half past four o'clock in the afternoon The hon. Member said, that the present system was one of the most anomalous that could possibly be conceived— public-houses being allowed to keep open on one side of the street, as was the case in many places in the Borough, which he had the honour to represent (Southwark), whilst on the other, they were compelled to keep shut, and therefore he was anxious for the sake of public morals, as well as of every other consideration, that the law as regarded divine service should be properly defined.

Clause read a first time.

On the motion that it be read a second time,

Captain Rous

said, he entirely agreed with the hon. Member for Southwark, in the clause which he had brought up, and he had himself proposed a similar clause in the original bill. He had given way on that occasion to his right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, rather than sacrifice the interests of those for whom he was interested. With respect to opening public-houses during divine service in fashionable parts of the town, divine service did not begin until half-past eleven, and in the neighbourhood of Oxford-street not until half-past twelve o'clock, and thus, alternately houses were continually open and shut. They made one law for themselves, and another for the lower orders. The rich had their club-houses to go to, whilst the poor were not to be allowed to go into a public-house; and his idea was, that the best way to act was, for the clergy to take as much care as they could of their religious education, for the improvement of the poorer classes would much more depend on that than on any legislative restrictions which they might impose with regard to public-houses. There were thousands of people in Westminster who had no churches whatever to go to; and yet, within a hundred yards of where they now sat, they had a magnificent Abbey, with nine churches, which only afforded accommodation to about 200 I poor persons; and yet this establishment I was maintained at a cost of about 25,000l. per annum. Now it was, perhaps, presumptuous for him to say what he would do if he were connected in any way with the management of the Abbey; but if he were, he would endeavour to procure religious instruction for twenty or thirty thousand people, and instead of making these restrictive enactments and tying down people to particular hours, he would appeal to their good feelings and self-respect, which he was sure would have a better effect than by the adoption of any other means; for if a man chose to make a beast of himself, no act of Parliament could prevent him. He had, therefore, great pleasure in seconding the proposition of the hon. Member for Southwark.

Mr. Manners Sutton

said, if the case was as had been described by the hon. Member for Southwark, the public had no cause to complain, as they could get accommodated at every hour of the afternoon by merely passing over the way. The restriction went only to maintain decorum during divine service in each particular parish.

Mr. T. Duncombe

was quite of opinion that his hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for Westminster, would become a most popular representative of that city, if all his political views on other subjects were as sound as those which he had expressed with regard to Church reform. For his own part, he never heard better opinions in his life, even from the greatest Radical, with regard to the enormous salaries and small duties of the dean and chapter of Westminster Abbey. The question, now, however, was not as regarded this subject; but whether they should encroach still farther on the rights of that important class of her Majesty's subjects, the licensed victuallers. With regard to shutting up from Saturday night until one o'clock on Sunday, that appeared to have been done by a sort of consent, and he thought it was the best sort of compromise that could have been entered into; but with regard to the present proposition, he thought it would be a still further encroachment on the rights of the licensed victuallers, and the wants of those who frequented their houses. The hon. Member for Sheffield said, that he would have objected to it if it had been proposed to extend it to Sheffield, but he considered, that that was unfair, for it he objected to it as regarded Sheffield, why not object to it in the present instance? For his own part he should oppose it in every stage.

Mr. Hawes

warned the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster against persisting in the present clause, for if he did it might endanger the bill in another place. Besides, he did not understand how it was reconcileable with the General Licensing Act, 9th of Geo. 4th.

Mr. Hume

recommended his hon. Friend the Member for Southwark, to withdraw his motion, for he thought the bill was sufficiently complex without it.

Mr. B. Wood

said, the present system was as full of complexity as could well be imagined. If the committee adopted his clause the public-houses throughout the metropolis would be shut from three o'clock to half-past four on Sundays.

Mr. Darby

said, the hon. Member was right in supposing the law for closing public-houses in the morning of Sunday was clearly defined, but in the afternoon it varied in different districts. With respect to the observations made by the gallant Officer on Westminster Abbey, a reform had already taken place, by which the Church duty was increased.

Mr. Aglionby

thought there was an uncertainty as to how many hours a man had to keep his house open on a Sunday afternoon. Whether it was right to keep keep public-houses shut from three o'clock to half past four on Sundays, he was not prepared to say, but his opinion was that they ought to be closed during divine service.

Mr. Muntz

could not avoid a strong impression that there was one law for the rich and another for the poor. He never knew that truism more amply exemplified. They were always calling aloud in that House, Church! Church! Church! He should like to know how the poor man who worked fourteen hours a-day during six days, were to rest from labour and enjoy themselves on Sunday, if they were forced to go to church? How did hon. Members in that House enjoy themselves? They went to clubs and rode out in carriages, but the poor working men had no such advantages. The knowledge of this made them feel disgust at the humbug, when, under the mask of morality, without allowing them time to bolt their food, they drove them to church. Was that treating them like human beings? It was not the way to acquire the good opinion, of the people.

Mr. Aglionby

admitted, that the object of legislation should always be the comfort I and happiness of the people; but he certainly agreed with the gallant Officer who had said, if they could rely solely on the good sense and morals of the people, there would be no necessity for restriction at all.

Mr. M. Sutton

did not wish for a general restriction on licensed victuallers on Sunday, but was astonished to hear the representations made on this subject in behalf of licensed victuallers.

Mr. Wakley

supported the amendment. The proposed regulation of keeping public-houses closed from three o'clock to half-past four would define the time and add to the convenience of the publican.

Mr. Duncombe

said, he wished to set his hon. Colleague right with respect to the wishes of the licensed victuallers. The object of the licensed victuallers was, that their houses should remain open after one o'clock on the Sunday; but his hon. and gallant Friend had said, that if the houses of publicans were opened from one o'clock, the Government would oppose the clause. He should say, in considering the merits of a class of tradesmen, the licensed victuallers, they had nothing to do with the controlling power of her Majesty's Government. "Let the public-houses remain open after one o'clock. That is what I want, and I do not mean to give up my opinion for any Government. "If hon. Members wished to consult the wishes of licensed victuallers, they should leave the houses open after one o'clock. The licensed victuallers were a numerous and respectable body of tradesmen, and they would not suffer their interests to be frittered away. They were a great and powerful body, and they would not allow their rights to be defeated.

Mr. C. Buller

said, this was not a case in which they were to act according to the wishes of licensed victuallers. The question was, whether they could make the law more simple and specific? It appeared they had times for opening their houses on Sundays of a vague description. They were to open at one hour in one place, and at another in other districts.

Mr. Ferrand's

objection to the other clause was, that whilst it purported to keep the working classes from one class of houses on the Sunday, it did not keep them out of another class. If these public-houses were closed against them on the Sunday, they would go into the country to what was termed the Whist-houses, and indulge in excesses.

Mr. Alderman Humphery

said, when the Beer Bill was under discussion some time ago, it was contended, that public-houses should be shut up from twelve o'clock on Saturday night to one o'clock on Sunday, and after that hour they were to be free. He could not understand how they wished to make the publicans shut up their houses in the middle of the day. He never heard in the City of any information against houses kept open after one o'clock. The publicans should have freedom to keep open their houses after one o'clock. It was said, they might not be open before the evening. More persons went to church in the evening than in the morning, and that circumstance proved the inconsistency of their legislation.

The committee then divided on the question, that the clause be read a second time:—Ayes 23; Noes 59; Majority 36.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Allix,J. P Ogle, S. C. H.
Bowring, Dr. Philips, M.
Broadwood, H. Redington, T. N.
Buller, C. Roebuck, J. A.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Rushbrooke, Col.
Christie, W. D. Thornely, T.
Duncombe, hon. O. Wakley, T.
Flower, Sir J. Ward, H. G.
Forster, M. Wawn, J. T.
Granger, T. C. TELLERS.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Wood, B.
Manners, Lord J. Rous, hon. Capt.
List of the NOES.
Bankes, G. Hodgson, R.
Bannerman, A. Howard, hon. H.
Barnard, E. G. Hume, J.
Beresford, Major Humphery, Mr. Aid.
Browne, hon. W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Chetwode, Sir J. Knatchbull, rt. hon.
Clayton, R,R. Sir E.
Clerk, Sir G. Lockhart, W.
Cochrane, A. Mackenzie, W. F.
Colvile, C. R. Maher, V.
Cripps, W. Marsham, Visct.
Darby, G. Marsland, H.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Martin, J.
Evans. W. Martin, C. W.
Fielden, J. Master, T. W. C.
Ferrand, W. B. Mitcalfe, H.
Goring, C. Mitchell, T. A.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Morris, D.
Guest, Sir J. Muntz, G. F.
Hardy, J. O'Brien, A. S.
Hawes, B. O'Connell, M. J.
Henley, J. W. Pakington, J, S,
Hervey, Lord A. Parker, J.
Pechell, Capt. Somerset, Lord J.
Plum ridge, Capt. Stanton, W. H.
Plumptre, J. P. Turner, E.
Pollington, Visct. Wall, C. B.
Reade, W. M. Wynn,rt. hn.C.W.W.
Hound, C. G.
Scholefield, J. TELLERS.
Seymour, Lord Sutton, lion. I. H.T.
Smythe, hon. G. Duncombe, T.
Mr. Pakington

rose to move the adoption of the amendment which he was desirous of adding to the bill, namely, to make all public-houses throughout the country, remain closed from twelve o'clock on Saturday night to one o'clock on Sunday. The hon. Member observed, that he was in no way opposed to the licensed victuallers. He was one of those who would be the last to deal harshly with that body; but morality overruled everything. He wished the clause he had to propose might be the law of the land. It had been introduced in a private bill applicable to Liverpool. In the bill of which he was speaking, a clause, making the regulation he proposed was agreed to without opposition. He thought it ought to be extended over the country. He had received many representations from various parts of England on the subject. One stated, that it would prevent men in the country from spending the wages they ought to carry home to their families. A letter from an old licensed victualler at Bath, and one from a person of the same trade in Plymouth, begged he would persevere in his endeavour to make his proposal the law of the land. The hon. Member concluded by moving the following clause:— And be it enacted, that any licensed victualler or other person who shall open his house for the sale of wine, spirits, beer, or other fermented liquors, or shall permit the same to be sold therein on Sundays, Christmas-day, or Good Friday, before the hour of one in the afternoon, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding five pounds, to be recovered within three calendar months after the commission of such offence, before any two justices acting in petty sessions for the county, city, or jurisdiction, within which such offence shall have been committed; any portion of such penalty, not exceeding one-half, to be awarded, at the discretion of such justices, to the informer, and the remainder to be paid to the treasurer of the county, city, or jurisdiction within which such offence shall have been committed, to be by him applied towards defraying the expenses of such county, city, or jurisdiction; and if such penalty, so adjudged, shall not be forthwith paid, it shall be lawful for such jus- tices to commit the offender to any gaol or house of correction within their jurisdiction, for any term not exceeding one calendar month, such imprisonment to cease if such penalty shall be sooner paid; provided always that nothing herein contained shall extend to prevent refreshment to travellers.

Clause read a first time.

On the motion that it be read a second time.

Mr. Roebuck

said, that he was not one of those who were disposed to loosen the bonds of the law in this country in favour of drunkenness. He would not, however, support the motion of the hon. Member. He did not see how the hon. Member could obtain the object which he had in view. It might be a good thing to promote sobriety amongst the poor, but the object might be attempted by means the most mischievous. They were about to create a great number of crimes. They were about to extend the liability to the imputation of crime for three calendar months, and to admit informations as to the commission of that crime to be received during all that period. He perceived that an hon. Member opposite intimated his dissent as to the fact of the creation of a great quantity of crime; but would not the House, if it assented to the motion of the hon. Member, make crimes by law? Making things crimes by law would not, however, prevent the occurrence of those crimes, but it might create much evil. When it was proposed to make things crimes which were not at present crimes by law, it was necessary to prove that some great good would result from such legislation. The hon. Member must know something about the worshipful justices of the peace. He confessed, that he knew, as far as his knowledge went, no class of men more unfit to administer the law than these worshipful justices. Hon. Members must know that the law, as administered before these men, was nothing more than a matter of battledore arid shuttlecock. Every one knew, that there was nothing like certainty in the administration of the law before the justices. In fact they did not pretend to know the law. Then again, there would be nothing like publicity in the proceedings before them, as related to the present matter. In the private parlour of the magistrate the information would be taken, and those informations might be given and decided upon three months after the time when the offence might be alleged to have taken place. Suppose that, at a period of three months past, a licensed victualler might have opened his door to give a cup of coffee, and an information had been laid against him, the licensed victualler would, after that period of time, be called on to prove that he had merely given coffee. And what would be the consequence if he was unable to meet the charge after that period? He would be confined for one calendar month in the county gaol. Such was the clause moved by the hon. Member. He had always been taught that he ought to bless God because he lived in a country where he could not forfeit his liberty without a trial by his fellows. Yet this extraordinary power was to be given to any two justices sitting in their private parlour. He wished the House and the hon. Member to recollect, that he was not opposed to the object which he sought to attain. He believed sobriety was a good thing, but at the same time he believed, that more evil than good would be attained by the success of the hon. Member's clause. It might be well to introduce a stringent system of police with regard to the large populations of London and Liverpool, but he objected to their establishing the stringency of their police regulations amongst the green fields of the country. He believed, that if they left the prohibition of crime more dependent on public opinion if they separated it less from the incarnation of man they would have a more loyal and better organised population than if they gave to every pelting petty officer the power of vexatious interference.

Captain Rous

would also oppose the clause. He knew that sailors frequently landed on Saturday evenings. When the steamers arrived the hotels were open to the cabin passengers, while the men, who had borne all the severity of the weather, would be prevented by the clause of the hon. Member from regaling themselves in their own holes. He thought there was no sense or justice in that. It was known that the Liverpool Watch Committee had applied to the Secretary of State to know whether the regulations which were established in London in this respect would be extended to Liverpool, and an answer was received in the negative. The late Government were not so absurd as to adopt such a course as was now proposed, and he hoped the present Government would avoid it. What had been the consequence of their legislation in London? It was notorious, that in the neighbourhood of Drury-lane there were houses where, after twelve o'clock on a Saturday night, not only drunkenness but vice of other kinds was encouraged where there was, in fact, a perfect saturnalia. If men were disposed to be drunk and vicious they would be so, notwithstanding all their legislation. By the bill which applied to the metropolis on this subject, they had devolved the duty of complaint against licensed victuallers on the police; but the proposed clause would establish a set of informers through the country. He should oppose the clause.

Mr. Mark Philips

thought, that it would be unfair to the working classes to close the public-houses until one o'clock on the Sunday morning.

Sir Robert Inglis

said, that an hon. and gallant officer had opposed the clause because sailors arriving in port would by it be prevented from obtaining admittance to public-houses. That hon. Member should recollect, that at present there were two principal ports to which the regulation of closing public-houses until one o'clock on Sundays, already applied he meant the ports of Liverpool and London. It was not considered so great a grievance that it should apply to those ports. He was surprised to hear the hon. and learned Member for Bath vituperate the county magistracy. That hon. Member, when appointing a committee to investigate the subject of bribery at certain elections, had nominated country gentlemen, of which class the magistracy was principally composed. The hon. and learned Member had said, that those magistrates would decide in their parlours. That was not the case. The magistrates would decide in petty session, but not in their parlours. His hon. Friend only endeavoured to apply to the country districts of England a principle which was found to work well in the metropolitan districts. The hon. and learned Member for Bath ought, if he were consistent, to move for a repeal of the law which applied, on this subject, to London and Liverpool. He would support the clause.

Mr. Roebuck

did not wish to vituperate any class of men, and had not vituperated the country magistrates. He had only said, that they were not learned in the law. He did not think also that it fol- lowed, because he was obliged to ask certain hon. Members of that House to investigate, as a committee, certain matters of fact, the magistrates of the country should, therefore be qualified to decide on questions of law. However high an opinion might be entertained of the judgment of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for the Home Department, it did not follow that he would make an excellent Lord Chancellor.

Sir James Graham

believed, that the magistrates of the country discharged a most important duty with the utmost fidelity. He was not about to discuss the question of the composition of the committee which the hon. Member had obtained. With respect to the question before the House he had voted on the last occasion against the motion of the hon. Member for Southwark. He had a strong desire to leave the law for the present undisturbed. He thought, that in the metropolitan districts the law had worked well. He did not, however, feel disposed to extend its provisions to the rural districts. He believed his hon. Friend was wrong in stating, that the metropolitan regulations respecting public-houses extended also to Liverpool. There was a clause in a bill before the House to that effect; but it had not yet become the law. He thought, that three months was too long a period during which to leave the licensed victualler liable to the prosecution, and he was also convinced that the penalty provided by the proposed clause was too heavy a penalty for the offence. He objected not only to the machinery of the clause, but also to the extension of the principle embodied in it to the rural districts. It was said, that the working classes would be prevented by this clause from resorting to the public-house for the purpose of obtaining tea or coffee, as was the habit in the country. For his part, he saw no objection to their regaling themselves with bread and cheese and a glass of ale. He understood that it was generally the habit of the working classes to breakfast, in the country, in the public-houses. He knew of no objection, in like manner, to their having the innocent gratification of reading the newspaper in those houses. He was sorry to oppose the clause of the hon. Member, but he could consistently pursue no other course.

Mr. Hardy

said, that in their present legislation they were dealing with a most respectable body of men. Those men were already under a peculiar restriction, that the magistrates at the end of the year might refuse their licences if they misconducted themselves. He would ask, why should the House confine the prohibition to have their houses open to one o'clock on the Sunday, and not extend it to the whole day? He thought the present proposition was a riduculous one. He thought that the licensed victualler might well be left to the opinion of his neighbours, who, if his house was not properly regulated, might call on the magistrates to refuse his license.

Mr. Muntz

said, that the-country, he was sure, would be grateful to the hon. Member for Dorchester for the liberal sentiments he had expressed. It was not alone the agricultural population which were interested in the present question, but he knew that it was the habit of the manufacturing population to walk out in the country on a Sunday morning, when, no doubt, it would be a gratification to them to have an opportunity of taking a glass of ale. He thought the House would take materially from their comforts if it acceded to the present motion; whilst it would not, at the same time, improve their religion. It would also unnecessarily throw a great slur on a respectable body of men.

Mr. T. Duncombe

said, that the same arguments which the right hon. Member for Dorchester had used had been used in that House with regard to the Metropolitan Police Bill with, he regretted to say, less effect than was likely to attend them on the present occasion. Admitting for a moment that the clause were to become the law of the land, he wished to remind the House that a different class of persons were to administer it in the country from those who administer it in London. In London the law was administered by the stipendiary magistrate, who knew the law; and he fully agreed with the observations of the hon. and learned Member for Bath respecting the ignorance of the law of the country magistracy. In the country the law would be administered by gentlemen having local interests and prejudices. He, for his part, wished that there were only stipendiary magistrates throughout the country. He believed that on this subject there was one law for the rich and another for the poor. He protested against the law on this subject, as it related to the metropolitan districts. He did not think that it worked well. They only drove the working men from the public-houses to worse places. What did the working men do at present? Knowing that the public houses would be closed until one o'clock on the Sunday, they brought home a stock of gin, which they consumed either in parties in their own houses, or in worse places. If the licensed victualler were ill-behaved, his license might be refused. He now asked the country gentlemen how they liked the application of this principle to the rural districts? He would not return evil for evil, and would, therefore, oppose the clause.

Mr. Ferrand

said, that the hon. Member for Droitwich forgot that in the rural districts the church was generally in the centre of the parish, and those who attended the church generally had a considerable distance to walk in the morning, and required their breakfast, or some slight refreshment, in the public-house, before the time for divine worship arrived. He would vote against the clause.

Mr. Parker

said, that he had been entrusted with a petition against the proposed clause, and he should oppose it.

Viscount Sandon

at first had been disposed to listen favourably to the proposition of the hon. Member for Droitwich, but the statements he had since heard on the subject induced him to change his opinion. There was one suggestion which had been thrown out, and which he thought it might be well to adopt; he referred to the suggestion that public-houses in the country ought to shut at ten instead of as at present at eleven, as that would give an hour longer to prepare for church.

Mr. Pakington

congratulated the hon. Member for Bath and the hon. Member for Finsbury on the opportunity which his motion had afforded them of heaping their abuse on the county magistrates. The hon. Member for Bath seemed to be very much disappointed that justice could be administered by gentlemen who were not lawyers. With regard to the machinery of the measure, he was willing to make several modifications in it. The liability to imprisonment for a month was, perhaps, too severe a penalty. With regard to the fine of 5l., the House ought to recollect that that was the highest amount allowed, while it was left to the discretion of the justices to make it as much lower as they might think fit. He was also willing that instead of the fine being forthwith paid, it should be left to the discretion of the justices to fix the time for its payment. But while he was ready to admit that the machinery of the measure would admit of modification, he had heard nothing that evening that would induce him to withdraw his motion.

Mr. Jervis

said, that no modification which the committee could make would render it possible to carry out the hon. Member's views, He thought the best way would be to withdraw his motion, and re-introduce his clause in an amended form on the bringing up of the report. The hon. Gentlemen's clause made no provision for an appeal against the decision of the justices at quarter sessions. He and the hon. Member must see that there must be some court of appeal. He was favourable to the principle of the clause, though opposed to the clause itself; and, therefore, it was that he was anxious to see the clause withdrawn, and re-introduced in an amended form.

The committee divided on the question that the clause be read a second time: Ayes 7; Noes 110-.— Majority 103.

List of the AYES.
Chetwode, Sir J. Reade, W. M.
Duncombe, hon. O. Round, C. G.
M'Geachy, F.A. TELLERS.
Pechell. Capt. Pakington, J. S-
Plumptre, J. P. Inglis, Sic R. H.
List of the NOES.
Acton, Col. Clerk, Sir G.
Aglionby, H. A. Cochrane, A.
Aldam, W. Craig, W. G.
Allix, J.P. Cripps, W.
Baillie, II. J. Darby, G.
Bankes, G. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Bannerman, A. Duncombe, T. S.
Barclay, D. Ebrington, Visct.
Baring, hon. W. B. Egerton, Lord F.
Beresford, Major Escott, B.
Blackstone, W. S. Evans, W.
Bodkin, W. H. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bowring, Dr. Fielden, J.
Brotherton, J. Ferrand, W. B.
Browne, hon. W. Flower, Sir J.
Buller, C. Gill, T.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Gore, hon. R.
Busfeild, W. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Carew, hon. R. S. Granger, T. C.
Charteris, hon. F. Grogan, E.
Chelsea, Visct. Hardy, J.
Christie, W. D. Hastie, A.
Clayton, R. R. Hawes, B.
Henley, J, W. Newry, Visct.
Hervey, Lord A. Northland, Visct.
Hill, Lord M. O'Brien, A. 8.
Hindley, C. O'Conor, Don
Hodgson, R. Ogle, S. C. H.
Howard, P. H. Parker, J.
Howard, hon. H. Philips, M.
Hume, J. Pollington, Visct.
Humphery, Mr. Ald. Redington, T. N.
Hussey, T. Repton, G. W. J.
Hutt, W. Richards, R.
James, W. Rous, hon. Capt.
Knatchbull, rt.hn.SirE. Rushbrooke, Col.
Layard, Capt. Sandon, Visct.
Lincoln, Earl of Scholefield, J.
Lindsay, H. H Scott, hon. F.
Lockhart, W. Seymour, Lord
Lowther, hon. Col. Smythe, hon. G.
Maher, V. Somerset, Lord G.
Manners, Lord J. Stanton, W. H.
Marsham, Visct. Thornely, T.
Marsland, H. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Martin, J. Tufnell, H.
Martin, C. W. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Master, T. W. C. Ward, H. G.
Masterman, J. Wawn, J. T.
Mitcalfe, H. Westenra, hon. J.
Mitchell, T. A. Wood, B.
Morgan, O. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Morgan, C. Wynn, rt.hn. C.W.W.
Morris, D.
Muntz, G. F, TELLERS.
Murray, A. Roebuck, J. A.
Napier, Sir C. Sutton, hon. J. H. M.
Mr. Alderman Thompson

moved a clause to the effect, that, that all public-houses within the metropolitan district should be kept open on Sunday, Good-Friday, and Christmas-day, during divine service, after one o'clock in the afternoon.

On the question, that the clause be read a second time,

Sir James Graham

thought, that the existing law regulating the opening and shutting up of public-houses on Sundays, ought not to be disturbed for some time. It was quite clear, that the act now in operation intended that public-houses should be closed on Sunday afternoons during the hours of divine service, as well as in the mornings.

Mr. Hume

had hoped from the liberal sentiments he had that evening heard from the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) that he would not have opposed this clause. The restriction would produce no good. The rule observed was different in the city and other parts of the metropolis.

Mr. T. Duncombe

objected to the clause shutting up public-houses in the afternoons of Sundays when it was originally proposed; and it was only agreed to because the late Government wished that it should be so. The object of the clause by his hon. Friend (Mr. Alderman Humphery) was to destroy the anomaly which at present existed; for, in two parishes, the parishes of Chelsea and Kensington, public-houses were shut and opened at different hours, divine service being at different periods of the afternoon. In the one parish the houses shut at three o'clock, while houses across the road, in the other parish, did not shut till four o'clock. AH that was asked by the clause before the House was, that there should be an equality on this point. If the question was one of morality, why were not all the public-houses closed on Sundays? If not a question of morality, why were they not all open on that day?

Mr. Stuart Wortley

said, that no reason had been advanced why the clause should be adopted. His acquaintance with licensed victuallers in the provinces led him to believe that they were quite satisfied with the law as it now stands.

Captain Rous

most particularly wished that the licensed victuallers of the metropolis should have the liberty of keeping their houses open the whole of Sunday after one o'clock. In point of morality, the shutting-up of public-houses on Sundays was the grossest humbug. He did not understand the course which was pursued on this subject. They (the friends of the licensed victuallers) had all the argument on their side. The licensed victuallers ought to be allowed to open their houses at one o'clock, and then shut them when they pleased. If you treat men like men they will behave themselves like men. If you treat men like children, you either drive them stark staring mad, or make them become like children.

Mr. Alderman Humphrey

said, there was a great inconsistency in the law as it now stood; for in some parts of London you had only to cross the road to get one public-house open if you found another closed. You cannot make men go to church by act of Parliament. If you wish to make people moral and religious, you must first become moral and religious yourselves. Steam-boats sold spirits at all hours on Sunday; it was therefore strange that Government should uphold the law as it present stood.

The committee divided: — Ayes 27; Noes 69:—Majority 42.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H, A. Bannerman, A.
Bowring, Dr. Napier, Sir C
Browne, hon. W. O'Connell, M. J.
Christie, W. D. O'Conor, Don
Fielden, J. Pechell, Capt.
Gill, T. Philips, M.
Hill, Lord M. Redington, T. N.
Hume, J. Roebuck, J. A.
James, W. Rous, hon. Capt.
Layard, Capt. Scholefield, J.
Martin, J. Seymour, Lord
Mitcalfe, H. Tufnell, H.
Mitchell, T. A. TELLERS.
Muntz, G. F. Humphery, Mr. Ald.
Murphy, F. S. Duncombe, T. S.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D, Inglis, Sir R. H.
Acton, Col. Jermyn, Earl
Allix, J. P. Knatchbull,rt.hn.SirE
Bagge, W. Lincoln, Earl of
Bankes, G. Lindsay, H. H.
Baring, hon. W. B. Lockhart, W.
Blackstone, W. S. M'Geachy, F. A.
Bodkin, W. H. Manners, Lord J.
Brotherton, J. Marsham, Visct.
Buller, C. Martin, C. W.
Busfield, W. Master, T. W. C.
Charteris, hon. F. Masterman, J.
Chelsea, Visct. Miles, W.
Clayton, R. R. Morgan, O.
Clerk, Sir G. Morgan, C.
Cochrane, A. Morris, D.
Cripps, W. Murray, A.
Darby, G. Neville, R.
Dickinson, F. H. Newry, Visct.
Douglas, Sir C. E. O'Brien, A. S.
Duncombe, hon. O. Pakington, J. S.
Escott, B. Parker, J.
Evans, W. Plumptre, J.P
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Pollington, Visct.
Ferrand, W. B. Round, C. G.
Flower, Sir J. Rushbrooke, Col.
Graham, rt. hn. sir J. Sandon, Visct.
Granger, T. C. Scott, hon. F.
Grogan, E. Smythe, hon. G.
Hardy, J. Stuart, H.
Hastie, A. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Hawes, B. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Henley, J. W. Wynne, rt.hn.C.W.W.
Hervey, Lord A.
Hodgson, R. TELLERS.
Howard, P. H. Sutton, hon. M.
Hutt, W. Wortley, hon. S. J.

The House resumed. Report to be received.