§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Sir Colman O'Loghlen).
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he hoped that the hon. Member would not proceed with the Bill, considering how few Members were present.
said, he saw no reason for postponing the measure. It had been well considered by a Select Committee, and he believed it was approved by the press itself.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he believed the measure would be most injurious to the press, and also to all classes of the community. It had never been properly considered by the House, and the present was not the time to discuss it. He had always exerted himself to develop the press of the country. None had worked harder than he to remove the Paper Duty and other burdens weighing on the press, so that his opposition to the Bill was in no wise owing to an objection to newspapers. He opposed the measure on the ground that it was of the nature of exceptional legislation. Much had been said about the press being the guarantee of the liberty of the country, but as a matter of fact the press was not a guarantee of liberty. It was the servant of the people and not the master, and accordingly, where liberty was found, there the press flourished, and where liberty was not the press was strangled. He believed the great safety of the press lay in its being subjected to the ordinary operation of the law of the land. They might depend upon it that if special legislation were resorted to in favour of the press that would soon be followed by special restrictions laid upon the press.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,
§ House adjourned at a quarter after Nino o'clock, till Thursday.