HC Deb 01 September 1848 vol 101 cc754-5

said, that some time ago he had put a question to the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department as to the illegal "sweeps" advertisements; and as to the intention of the Government to prosecute the parties who offended in that respect. The answer he received was, that the matter would be referred to the proper authorities; and he now asked the hon. and learned Attorney General, whether any decision had been come to on the subject? He asked the question in the interest of certain newspapers, which had hitherto refused to insert such advertisements.


believed that there had been a misconception of the intention of the Act of Parliament introduced by the noble Lord opposite with respect to the authority or duty of the Attorney General to prosecute in cases of this sort. He believed that that duty of the Attorney General existed only in respect to racing. He, however, admitted that the evil referred to was so extensive, and tended so much to the demoralisation of the people engaged in it; and that at the same time the permission of it was not right or fair towards those newspapers which, in obedience to the law, abstained from inserting advertisements of the nature referred to—that he felt he should be compelled to take proceedings, if the practice of publishing those advertisements were continued. He thought it right to give this public notice on the subject, in order that parties might not afterwards excuse themselves on the plea that they had offended innocently and in ignorance of the law.


said, an answer precisely similar to the one which the House had just heard had boon given to a question put by him three months ago.


said that he had stated, on the occasion alluded to by the hon. Baronet, that he had referred the matter to the Attorney General. Since that period the offence had gone on increasing.


trusted that there would not be one law for the rich, and another for the poor. If these "sweeps," which were the lotteries in which the middle classes took part, were to be put down, it was to be hoped that all lotteries of every description at the clubs and among the higher classes would be treated in the same way.


understood the question of the hon. Member for Youghal to refer to the advertisements in certain newspapers respecting different "sweeps." He was not at all anxious to take any steps in the matter, as such proceedings were always painful; but the subject had been so much pressed on his attention, that he felt bound to exercise the power vested in him.