§ MR. HUNT
said, he wished to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If his attention has been called to the inconvenience resulting from the Provisons in the Customs and Inland Revenue Act of this Session with respect to occasional Licences in the case of Public Dinners and Assemblies; and if he intends to propose any relaxation of the Law with regard to the hours within which the sale of liquors in such cases may be allowed?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
in reply said, that the Customs and Inland Revenue Act of this Session had created no new offence, and no new disability. Previous to the Passing of that Act the sale of liquors in the cases referred to was not permitted at any hours or under any circumstances whatever on unlicensed premises; and the effect of the Act was to permit it at certain times and under certain circumstances, and the consequence was a great relief. It might be expedient, perhaps, to extend that relief, for possibly at present it did not go far enough; but as far as the Act had gone, it had worked very well. Some time ago he saw a letter complaining that at a dinner which had taken place near Bristol there had been a great deal of drunkenness in consequence of the licence which had been granted. He had caused inquiries to be made by the Revenue officials, and he was informed that, so far from that being the case, the gathering, which was a Volunteer Rifle meeting, had been distinguished for order and decorum. He did not think any alteration could be made in the Act during the present Session, for some time ought to be given for full consideration. In the former state of the Law the officers of the Inland Revenue never deemed it their duty to prosecute for violations of the law in such cases as the hon. Gentleman referred to, because they knew that the law afforded no means of escape to the persons who laboured under the disability, nor would any prosecution be now instituted if the persons concerned should do all that the law enabled them to do to put themselves in the way of complying with its requirements.