§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, his object in rising was to request permission from the House to bring now precisely the same Bill which he introduced at the close of last Session. He must therefore move that the House resolve itself into Committee in point of form, as this Bill related to the affairs of the Exchequer. He sought by this Bill to extend the provisions of an Act, passed some years before, with the addition of some new provisions regarding the police, and other matters. The Bill upon the whole was founded on the Report of a Committee of the other House of Parliament, which sat upon the subject in 1849 and 1850, and the evidence taken by that Committee would afford abundant proof, if any were required, of the very serious evils which had arisen in all parts of the country out of the present state of the law with regard to the sale of beer. Complaints on the subject had been so generally and so loudly expressed, both out of doors and by petitions to that House, 377 that although there might be some differ once of opinion as to the provisions of the measure, he was disposed to hope that little or no difference of opinion would exist as to the necessity of some legislation on the subject.
§ MR. SCHOLEFIELD
was sorry that the Bill was the same as last year, because he believed that the provisions of that Bill would have been exceedingly injurious in certain parts of the country, and particularly in his own district. If the measure had applied only to the agricultural districts, he would have offered no opposition, because it might be that abuses existed there; but he believed that with regard to large towns, the provisions of the Bill were not necessary, while he had every reason to believe they were likely to inflict serious injury. He hoped, therefore, the hon. Gentleman would give ample time for the consideration of the measure.
§ MR. EWART
feared that the morality of the people was not to be promoted by Acts of Parliament. He knew that the beersellers of the metropolis, who were a most respectable set of men, had a strong-feeling on the subject, and he hoped, therefore, the hon. Gentleman would not press his measure without giving all parties an opportunity to be heard.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
agreed with the hon. Member who had last spoken that laws could not make people moral, but yet they might alter those laws which had a tendency to promote immorality. For his own part, however, be should have been better pleased if the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Pakington) had turned his attention to secure a good system of rural police, rather than reverting to the old system of magisterial licences.
§ MR. MITCHELL
was not very well acquainted with the provisions of the hon. Baronet's measure, but if it were intended to place beershops on the same footing as public-houses, he would give it his most strenuous opposition, because he believed the effect of that system was to give the large brewers a practical monopoly that enabled them to make great fortunes at the expense of the people.
§ MR. SLANEY
said, he must express a hope that his hon. Friend (Sir J. Pakington) would endeavour to apply such a remedy to the evils of which he complained as would not raise the price of the article of life in question. The Gentlemen who spoke so frequently of the immorality occasioned by beershops would do a great 378 deal to diminish the mischief which they deplored, if they would afford some opportunities of amusement to the labouring population. He only mentioned this he-cause he had seen the great advantages which resulted from such opportunities. He had great faith in his hon. Friend with respect to this matter, and therefore he should be ready to give him all the assistance which he could.
§ "Resolved—That this House will immediately resolve itself into a Committee to consider the Laws relating to the sale of Beer."
§ House in Committee; Mr. Cornewall Lewis in the chair.
§ "Resolved—That the Chairman be directed to move the House for leave to bring in a Bill to alter and amend the Laws relating to the Sale of Beer."
§ House resumed.
§ Resolution reported.
§ MR. KERSHAW
hoped that the hon. Member for Droitwich would state what was the principle of the Bill which he was about to introduce.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, that the Bill was the same as that brought in last Session, and as the hon. Gentleman would find it in the library, he did not think he should be justified in taking up the time of the House by further reference to it. He might, however, be permitted to say, with regard to the observation made by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Scholefield), that the Bill was prospective only, and he might add that some of the loudest complaints came from the most populous towns.
§ Leave given.
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir John Pakington, Mr. Deedes, Mr. Brotherton, and Mr. Headlam.