HC Deb 10 August 1877 vol 236 cc781-4

(Mr. Isaac, Mr. Ashbury, Mr. Herschell.)


Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Mr. Isaac.)


complained that the Bill had been kept back to the end of the Session, so that hon. Members had not time to consider its provisions, its object being to favour the publicans, and give them an exceptional advantage over all other tradesmen, by excepting them from the provisions of the original Act. He did not expect he could prevent the Bill becoming law; but he would move that the Order for the Third Reading be discharged, and that the Bill be re-committed, in order that the following Proviso might be added to Clause 1:— Provided always, That where such spirits, not being gin, have been so reduced below an alcoholic strength of twenty-five degrees under proof, this Act shall not apply.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the words "Bill be" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "re-committed in respect of Clause 1,"—(Mr. Meldon,) — instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he should have no objection to the Amendment, provided the clause proposed would not imperil the passing of the Bill that Session. The Bill was not intended to in any way alter the original Act, but was merely an amending Bill, explaining that the reduction of the strength of spirits by the admixture of water only did not come within the definition of adulteration.


moved the Adjournment of the Debate, because it was most preposterous to attempt at that period of the Session to alter the law in such a manner without proper explanation and discussion. The Bill had been introduced in an irregular manner, and, instead of being a gloss upon the original Act, it was really a direct violation of its principle.

Motion made, and Question proposed, " That the Debate be now adjourned."— (Dr. Cameron.)


said, he must object to the Bill being re-committed. It was not a new piece of legislation, but an attempt to remove difficulties, as to the interpretation of a clause in the Adulteration Act. It having been suggested to him that in consequence of the varying decisions of magistrates some legislation upon the subject was necessary to supplement that Act, he could not undertake himself to introduce a Bill, and the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Isaac) thereupon brought forward this measure, which he considered to be in the nature of an expansion of or gloss upon the original Act, and which he therefore would not oppose. While assenting to the principle of the proposed clause, he could be no party to the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for Kildare, as to the proposed limitation of 25 per cent. He did not say it was not a fair proposal; but before it was accepted, he thought it should be subjected to some further inquiry by Select Committee or otherwise.


said, the Bill introduced a most material alteration in the principle of the law as it stood. If the principle were adopted, that when a publican was charged with mixing water with spirits the element of the price at which the article was sold should be considered, the vendor of milk might equally claim that the same principle should be applied in his case.


described the discussion as a tempest in a teapot.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,


proceeded to say that the question was not one of adulteration, but the addition of water to alcoholic spirits, and he should have supposed that the hon. Members for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) and Kildare (Mr. Meldon) would have given their warmest support to such an addition. There was no reason in such an objection, and he hoped the hon. Member for Nottingham would persevere in his intention. He should give his support to the Bill.


, as one of its introducers, could not admit that the Bill introduced any new principle, but that it was a mere exposition of what he considered must have been the intention of the original Act, and it had become necessary in the case of spirits, by reason of the varying and, as he thought, erroneous views which different magistrates took of the matter. He contended that if magistrates would put a true interpretation upon the section as it stood that would entirely meet the case. It had never been the practice in the case of spirits to sell them absolutely pure; and it would be probably as mischievous a thing as could be done with regard to the health and well-being of the community to induce vendors of spirits to sell them without any admixture of water. He hoped that the Bill would be allowed to pass.


said, he thought his Amendment would have been accepted. The direct operation of the Bill in Ireland would be that they would have bad spirit full of fusel oil, and mixed with water instead of good spirit. He complained of the way in which the Bill was being hurried through the House. He should certainly oppose the measure, and he appealed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to go on with it, but to have it fully discussed next Session.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 20; Noes 42; Majority 22.—(Division List, No. 314.)

Question again proposed, " That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


moved the Adjournment of the House.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."— (Mr. Blake.)


rose to address the House, when—

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,


went on to contend that the purchaser should be protected quite as much in the article of gin as of sugar or milk. He believed that if this Bill were carried it would lead to a further adulteration of gin with fusel oil, and its subsequent toning down.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,

House adjourned at Eleven o'clock.