§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. O'REILLY
, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said, it was precisely the same as the Bill of last year. He was willing to have it referred to a Select Committee and to make whatever amendments in its provisions might be deemed requisite.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. O'Reilly.)
§ MR. MURPHY
said, it had been his intention to move that this Bill be read a second time that day six months, but as the hon. and gallant Gentleman said he would refer it to a Select Committee, he (Mr. Murphy) would not now adopt that course. He, however, felt it to be his duty to show what the objects of the Bill were. The Bill proposed to prevent intemperance, an object which he (Mr. Murphy) believed to be impossible, so long as human nature remained as it was. But the objects professedly sought to be attained by the promoters of this movement so far from being carried out by the Bill before the House are absolutely inconsistent with its provisions. If the hon. and gallant Member proposed that there should be a total cessation of the sale of liquors on Sunday, then indeed it might be likely to receive support from those who approved of such an idea; but all it proposed was to stop the consumption of liquors on the premises where they were sold, and thus to get rid of police supervision and control. The consequences would be that a number of men might club together, purchase liquor, and take it to some low, obscure house where the constabulary had no power to enter. He (Mr. Murphy) believed that the great proportion of the licensed vintners were most willing and anxious to co-operate with all who are desirous to prevent abuses, but their interests should not be sacrificed for a measure, which, like that now before the House, could not alone do any good, but would rather tend to aggravate any abuses which may exist. If the Bill were referred to a Select Committee, he hoped that Committee would have power to consider the whole subject of licensing.
THE EARL OF MAYO
said, it was the wish of the Government that the inquiry before the Select Committee should be as wide as possible; for unless some alterations were made in the general system of licensing with regard to the wholesale dealer, such a Bill as that before the House would not work, at least in large towns. Very important questions must arise in the consideration of the subject, and he was of opinion that there was nothing either in the Orders or practice of the House which would prevent the inquiry from being carried into all those matters 1146 to which his hon. Friend had referred. Whether the sale of liquors on the Sunday should be restricted or not it would be premature to say; but it would be necessary to investigate the whole of the law with respect to restrictions, and it would be impossible to exclude from the inquiry the licensing system as it prevailed in Ireland. He had very little doubt that before the Session had far advanced the Committee would be in possession of sufficient information to enable the House to legislate in a satisfactory manner, if legislation at all was necessary.
§ Motion agreed to.
Bill read a second time, and committed to a Select Committee.
And, on March 16, Select Committee nominated as follows:—Mr. O'REILLY, The Earl of MAYO, Lord CLAUD HAMILTON, Sir GRAHAM MONTGOMERY, Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE, Mr. STACPOOLE, Mr. MURPHY, Major GAVIN, Mr. POLLARD-URQUHART, Mr. LEADER, Mr. PIM, Mr. MONSELL, Mr. DAWSON, Mr. O'NEILL, and Mr. CUBITT;—Power to send for persons, papers, and records; Five to be the quorum.