§ Order for Second Reading read.
Sir, in asking the House to read this Bill a second time, I wish to disabuse the minds of hon. Members of any idea that it is an heroic measure proposing to deal with the great national curse of intemperance, or that it proposes to carry out its objects by means of institutions of a costly nature, supported out of the national funds, or that it infringes on the precarious tenure of liberty which the habitual drunkard at present enjoys. On the contrary, it proposes to deal only with those chronic and inveterate drinkers in whom the habit, as I shall show, is associated with a diseased condition of the nervous and digestive systems, a condition which experience shows to be susceptible of cure in a large percentage of cases, if properly treated. It proposes to utilize for its purposes a class of institutions of which a number at present exist throughout the United Kingdom, and it proposes 689 to do so entirely without expense to the nation. Lastly, so far from jeopardizing the habitual drunkard's tenure of liberty, its object is to guarantee that liberty by every means consistent with his proper treatment, and to rescue him from what I shall show to be his frequent fate, under the present law—from illegal and indefinite detention in a lunatic asylum. I need hardly remind the House that the honour of bringing this subject before the country, and before Parliament, is due entirely to Mr. Donald Dalrymple, the late Member for Bath, who was so deeply impressed with its importance, that he devoted all his abilities and energies to the advancement of the question, and whose premature death was accelerated by fever contracted during his travels in America in search of information on the subject. Eight years ago, Mr. Dalrymple first brought the subject before this House in the form of a Resolution, and in 1871, he introduced the first Bill dealing with the habitual drunkard. Government so far countenanced his proposal as to refer the whole question to a Select Committee, which sat in 1872, and took evidence at very great length on the subject. That Committee wound up by framing a Report in which it warmly supported Mr. Dalrymple's views. In 878, Mr. Dalrymple drew up a Bill, in which he embodied the views of the Committee; but, unfortunately, he never had an opportunity of bringing that Bill before the House for discussion, and before another year he had ceased to be numbered among the living. Under ordinary circumstances, his death would have shelved the matter; but it was one in which such widespread interest was felt, that it could not be allowed to drop. An Association was formed for the purpose of promoting legislation on the subject, and in the list of office-bearers of that Association are to be found the names of some of the most distinguished men of the day. In 1875, a deputation waited on the Home Secretary, for the purpose of urging on the Government the propriety of dealing with this measure themselves; but the right hon. Gentleman refused to entertain the proposal, and the result was, that either some private Member must take up the question, or that all the information which had been collected with regard to the subject by the Select Committee 690 must be wasted, and its labours lost. Under those circumstances, I consented to take charge of the Bill, and it is thus that it is now found in my hands. The Report of the Committee which sat on the subject dealt with two separate questions. There was, first, the question of the propriety of intrusting to the managers of private inebriate institutions—institutions kept up by private enterprize or charity—that control over their patients which was necessary to enable them to detain them for such time as might be essential for their recovery. The second question was that of establishing inebriate reformatories at the public expense, to which might be consigned the habitual drunkards of our police courts and prisons. I consider the proposal of the Select Committee for the establishment of these inebriate reformatories to be a very valuable one, and I believe, in the long run, it would prove economical. I believe, in the end, the State would save much money by treating drunkards in these institutions, where they would be compelled to work for their own maintenance, as compared to what it now spends on their maintenance in prisons, in workhouses, and in lunatic asylums. But the fact remains obvious that these institutions could not, in the first place, be erected or maintained without subvention from the public funds; and there is also this equally obvious fact—that in this House there are a number of Gentlemen who are very jealous—and rightly so—of any proposal which tends to increase the public rates. Therefore, it appears to me to be hopeless to try to get a Bill passed embodying such a proposal without evoking a number of arguments on what is really a side-issue as to expense, &c.; and doubtless, also, that side-issue would raise such an amount of hostility as would prove fatal to the Bill. Under these circumstances, I have deemed it advisable in the meantime to throw over the proposals of the Committee on that particular point, and to restrict the Bill simply to that class of institutions which may be maintained without any expense to the public funds. I do this the more readily, because the experiment of dealing with the habitual drunkard of the police court, prison, and workhouse in State institutions has never been tried on such an extended scale as to justify its being forced, 691 without further inquiry, upon this country. In the statistics of American experience on the matter which came before the Committee, I find that out of nearly 6,000 cases, only 214 were those of persons sent into inebriate asylums at the instance of the State. Having thrown overboard, then, this provision of the Bill, I am relieved from the necessity of troubling the House with any statistics with regard to the general drunkenness of the country, or the present cost of maintaining those habitual drunkards who gravitate between the public-house, the police court, and the gutter. The Bill only deals with them in so far as it offers them a hope of rescue which they do not now possess, through the instrumentality of those charitable organizations which might pay for the maintenance of such habitual drunkards as chose to put themselves under restraint. The institutions with which I propose to deal under this Bill are institutions to be supported solely by private enterprize or charity. They are no phantoms to be called into existence by the passing of this Bill. I have here, in Mr. Alford's pamphlet on dipsomania, a list of some 10 which exist in different parts of the country. I have, besides, received another list, which contains, in addition to those 10, several more; and I understand these lists are by no means exhaustive. In fact, at the present moment, such institutions can be established by any person anywhere. They are subject to no restrictions and no control; they have no licences, and are not inspected. But, on the other hand, they have no power given them of controlling their patients. The consequence is, that they work at a very great disadvantage; that in some cases of habitual drunkards the law is actually violated, and in other cases the restraint necessary for their reclamation is found impossible. Now, all that I consider essential in this Bill—all that I ask the House to affirm by assenting to its second reading is, on the one hand, that these retreats should be licensed and inspected and placed under such control as will prevent any violation of the law; and, on the other hand, that power shall be given, under every safeguard against abuse, for the detention of their patients, for such time as may be requisite for the restoration of what I may call their organic health. 692 The Select Committee on the subject, after taking a vast amount of evidence, summed up the information laid before them in their Report, from which I shall read a few extracts. They found—That confirmed habitual drunkenness soon passes into the condition of a disease uncontrollable by the individual, unless under some restraining influence; that self-control is suspended or annihilated, moral obligations disregarded, and the individual obeys only an overwhelming craving for the stimulant, to which everything is sacrificed.In support of the proposition that habitual drunkenness passes into a condition of disease, they found that that disease, if treated on this theory, was susceptible of cure. They say—The average number of cures is stated to be from 33 to 40 per cent of the admissions; this percentage being based on subsequent inquiry, from which the cures appear to be as complete and permanent as in any other form of disease, mental or physical.They go on to say that—The fact that the proportion of cures is not greater is to be ascribed to the want of power to induce, or compel, a patient to submit to treatment for a proper period.And they state—That that power is asked for by everyone who has had, and who still has, charge of these institutions, and, without such power, it appears that the results must be imperfect, disappointing, and inadequate to the efforts made.They, therefore, proceed to recommend that institutions—Sanataria or reformatories, should be established—first, for those who are able, out of their own resources, or those of their relations, to pay for their cost of residence; and, secondly, for those who are unable to contribute to their maintenance—or who can contribute only partially—institutions which must be established in the first case, at all events, at the cost of the State.Having decided to throw over the latter proposition of the Committee, I need not enter on the question of reformatories provided by the State; but, so far as the self-supporting institutions are concerned, the Bill now before the House follows closely the lines laid down in that Report. There are two classes of persons who are to be dealt with in such retreats. First, there are voluntary patients, and then there are those patients proposed to be committed to them at the instance of their friends. Now, a very important fact should be noted by the House in connection with these voluntary patients. 693 Experience has shown that they constitute the great mass of the habitual drunkards with whom we should be called upon to deal. Of the 6,000 American cases, the results of which were laid before the Committee, 94 per cent were voluntary. It must not be forgotten that voluntary patients are themselves of two classes. There are those who go into these institutions of their own free will—those who would go anywhere, and do anything to get themselves reclaimed, and who are only too anxious to be restrained from that which has brought about their ruin. But there is besides a very large and important class, the existence of which we must not forget. There is the dependent class of habitual drunkards, a class on whom their relations and friends can exert a very strong and perfectly legitimate pressure. A father, for example, may say to his son, who is an habitual drunkard—"Unless you choose to go into one of these retreats and really make an effort for your own reclamation, you may starve; I will have nothing more to do with you." The fact that a large number of such dependent cases exists, no doubt, has some influence on the very large percentage of voluntary cases presented in the experience which we have hitherto had of the treatment of habitual drunkards. In the American experience they constituted, as I have said, 94 per cent of the entire number of cases dealt with, and they constitute the entire number of the persons dealt with in our British institutions. Well, Sir, what the Bill proposes to do in the cases of voluntary patients is this—that the habitual drunkard shall go before a magistrate and sign an undertaking to remain in an inebriate asylum for a definite period. The magistrate, after satisfying himself that the drunkard understands the effect of the undertaking, countersigns the document; and the effect of this proceeding is that the man is no longer a free agent, but is legally liable to the restraint to which he has voluntarily submitted. The second class of cases is that of persons placed under restraint by their friends. The friend or relative of the drunkard goes to the magistrate and asks for a summons. The magistrate grants a summons, which requires the drunkard to appear before the Court of Petty Session. If the person chooses, he can have his case heard by 694 that court, and in that case he has a right of appeal; but he can also have his case heard before a jury; and, in either case, if he desires it, or if the magistrates think it desirable, the evidence can be heard in private. We are anxious that every safeguard should be provided against the abuse of the power, which we propose should be given under this provision. Well, in the first place, if the case seems an improper one, the proprietor of the retreat is empowered to grant liberation with the concurrence of two justices of the peace; and it must be remembered that under the Bill, the proprietor will be dependent for the renewal of his licence on the approbation of the magistracy. Again, a patient may appeal to a Judge of the High Court of Justice, or to the Judge of the County Court of the district in which the institution in question exists, and these Judges may order an inquiry to be made, and a report presented, and upon that report, if they think fit, may order the man to be set at liberty. Again, the patient may appeal to an Inspector provided under the Bill, and that officer may make representations to the Secretary of State, who may order the liberation of any patient. I believe that under these provisions there would not be the smallest danger to the liberty of the subject; indeed, as I shall show, there would be much less danger than at present exists. But, at any rate, I do not personally attach any very great importance to them. The proportion of cases admitted to the American institutions, where a similar provision exists, has been very small, only some 2 per cent of the 6,000 cases having been committed at the instance of friends. I should not care to retain the power at all, were it not that besides dealing with a class of cases which the other provisions of the Bill are powerless to meet, the knowledge that such powers existed would, in many instances, turn the scale in favour of voluntary submission in the case of dipsomaniacs who could not quite make up their minds to enter a retreat. I have, however, no wish to conceal the fact that the clauses authorizing committals at the instance of friends are those which are open to most question. I may, therefore, at once explain that I do not consider them an essential to the Bill; and if Government would grant the powers we ask for in the case of volun- 695 tary patients, would willingly compound with them by leaving the involuntary ones to be dealt with when our experience has been ripened. The evidence laid before the Select Committee showed that there was a very close analogy between habitual drunkenness and various forms of mental disease. I do not mean to say that ordinary drunkenness bears any relation, psychologically speaking, to insanity. All I contend for is, that after an habitual excessive indulgence in stimulants—longer in one case, shorter in another—certain structural changes occur in the tissues of the brain and nervous system, as well as in those of other organs. These structural changes are the direct result of the prolonged circulation of contaminated blood through the system, and they are quite as appreciable as those to be found in many cases of mental unsoundness. The result is two-fold—a state of vital depression, manifesting itself in an urgent craving for stimulants; and, secondly, a weakened will and perverted intellect, that render the unhappy victim totally unable to resist the craving by which, he is beset. Now, what I maintain upon this point is not any abstruse theory unintelligible to all but the physician and the psychologist. It is a doctrine of the simplest nature, the bearings of which anyone can understand. The vitiation of the blood resulting from habitual drunkenness is so great, that it produces in some organs—the kidneys and liver, for example—changes of so gross and palpable a nature, that the veriest tyro can recognize them. Such being the case, is it demanding too much to ask the House to admit that the delicate tissues of the brain and nervous system, drawing their nutrition from such a polluted source, cannot escape structural degradation and disease? Why, Dr. Forbes Winslow, in his evidence before the Committee, said—You can actually distil alcohol from the brain of a chronic drunkard, and, in some cases, on examination after death, if you apply a light to the fluid in the ventricles of the brain, it ignites into a flame.Dr. Forbes Winslow admitted that he had never met with a case of that sort in his own experience; but he quoted some German medical writer as his authority. I must, however, confess that I regarded the assertion with considerable incredu- 696 lity, until I found a much more startling story recorded on the authority of Sir William Gull, in a case he had himself witnessed. In his evidence before the Lords' Committee on Intemperance, Sir William Gull said—I can mention what I saw myself in the case of one of Messrs. Barclay and Perkins's draymen. A man was admitted into the hospital suffering from heart disease (brought on by hard drinking). He soon died, and the day after his death he was so distended with gas in all directions that he was quite a curious sight. A number of punctures were made in his skin, and on the gas being tested, it was found to be carburetted hydrogen, upon which a light was applied, and the consequence was that 15 or 16 jets of gas were set burning all over his body till the gas was exhausted.Well, it is clear that in treating habitual drunkards on this theory, you must not only allow a man to get sober, but you must allow him time to recover from the structural changes which his previous habits have wrought upon the tissues of his brain and other organs. The evidence given by experts before the Committee entirely bore out the statement made in their Report, as to the connection between habitual drunkenness and a diseased condition of the system, and that evidence was in perfect accord with the general medical opinion on the subject. I hold a Memorial in my hand, which I have already alluded to as having been presented to the Home Secretary, in which it is stated—That habitual drunkenness is a disease closely approximated in a great number of cases to insanity, and susceptible of successful treatment.And this Memorial is signed by such men as Sir George Burrows, Sir Thomas Watson, Sir William Fergusson, Sir Henry Thompson, Sir William Gull, Dr. Acland, Dr. Quain, Mr., Spencer Wells, Sir Robert Christison, and many other names of the greatest eminence in the Medical Profession; while the British Medical Association, which comprises the majority of the medical practitioners in this country, have over and over again passed resolutions in which the same doctrine is affirmed. I do not mean to go elaborately into the question as to whether dipsomania is a disease or a vice. To do so would require one to discuss the relations of vice and disease, and the re-actions of the one upon the other in a manner far too technical for this occasion. I may, however, mention 697 a few points as illustrating the connection between habitual drunkenness and insanity. In the first place, the Committee sum up the evidence given before them on this point by stating that it showed that 20 per cent of the cases of English lunacy and 14per cent of the cases of American lunacy were due to habitual drunkenness; and this statement is borne out by what we find in the last Report of the Lunacy Commission, to the effect that drunkenness is the most prolific cause of insanity, and directly responsible for 15 per cent of the entire number of lunatics in the asylums of England and Wales. The next most frequent cause of lunacy is hereditary tendency, and many cases were given before the Committee in which, in families where there was an hereditary tendency to lunacy, habitual drunkenness had also been hereditary. Another fact, which bears out the theory that structural change in the nervous system may cause inveterate drunkenness, is this—that a man, who has hitherto been sober and steady, may suddenly become drunken after receiving a blow or a wound on the head, or a sun stroke. Another curious fact is the monomaniacal character of the offences committed by some of these habitual drunkards when in their cups. Upon this point, Dr. Peddie, of Edinburgh, gave some curious evidence with which he had been furnished by Sheriff Barclay, of Perth. For instance—From the year 1844 to the year 1865, one woman was committed to prison 137 times for being drunk, and when drunk her invariable practice was to smash windows. That woman drowned herself, when intoxicated, in 1865. Then, again, there was a curious instance of a man who when drunk stole nothing but bibles; he was an old soldier, wounded in the head. When drunk, the objects of theft were always bibles, and he was transported for the seventh act of bible stealing. Then, another man stole nothing but spades, a woman stole nothing but shoes, another nothing but shawls; and there was a curious case, where a man named Grubb was transported for the seventh act of stealing a tub. There was nothing in his line of life, and nothing in his prospects, no motive to make him especially desire tubs; but so it was, that when he stole, it was always—excepting on one occasion—a tub.Another very noteworthy fact is, that many cases of what is at present recognized as undoubted lunacy are associated with habitual drunkenness. In these cases, what takes place is this—A man who goes mad from drink is committed as a lunatic; being deprived of the 698 drink he speedily recovers; once at liberty, he takes to drink again, and is again committed when out of his senses. He thus alternates between freedom and liberty and madness and sanity, until those who are connected with the case refuse any longer to consider him as cured when he is merely freed from delusions, and he is subjected to prolonged detention in a lunatic asylum. This, I believe, is illegal; but it shows that those who take care of these cases look for their cure in the same direction as we do who support this Bill. Officials, also, who are above theories, regard habitual drunkenness in the same light. When the Criminal Lunatics Amendment Bill was before Parliament, the Scotch Commissioners of Lunacy proposed to introduce in it a clause empowering the Sheriff in cases where insanity had been the result of drink to order the detention of a person for 12 months after his apparent recovery. That seems to me to show in the most conclusive manner that they believed the lunacy depended on the diseased condition of the system, and that it required a prolonged season of abstinence from drink to subdue the morbid craving, and restore the body to its normal tone. All I ask is for this House to grant the power to apply a rational remedy to a diseased condition of the system, which is as distinct as that resulting from lead poisoning, ergotism, or poisoning by phosphorus, a condition of which the President of the Midland Branch of the British Medical Association said a few years ago that its treatment, symptoms, and diagnosis were as clearly marked and as well understood as those of pneumonia. You will be told that what is proposed in this Bill is very novel and very startling, but it is neither the one nor the other. The system of inebriate asylums is one quite well known in Great Britain. There are numerous institutions of the kind in existence. Queensberry House of Refuge, in Edinburgh, has existed since 1832; Queensberry Lodge there, since 1866. Several similar institutions exist in London, and a number more throughout the country. What we propose, therefore, is not to introduce any new institutions into the country, but to regulate and utilize a class of institutions which at present exist, and the number of which would certainly largely increase if the Bill now before the House became 699 law. For the point in which these institutions break down is their want of power compulsorily to detain their inmates. The consequence is, that although an habitual drunkard, in deference to the persuasions or compulsion of his friends, may enter one of these retreats, at the moment when he has most need of restraint—at the moment when restraint, by tiding him over a critical period of his progress towards health, is most required—he finds that it is wanting, the craving seizes him, and he goes out. To show the want which is experienced for institutions of this kind, I may quote two statements made before the Intemperance Committee of the House of Lords. The Rev. Mr. Grier, who was connected with an establishment at Kennington, stated that there been had 410 applications for admission into that establishment in 10 months. The Rev. Canon Ellison informed the Committee that he was connected with an inebriates' asylum for females on the other side of the water, and that, during the first nine months during which that institution was opened, there were no fewer than 547 applications for admission. I say that there are a number of these institutions at present in existence, but they have never had a fair trial. The point when they are most necessary is when the patient feels the craving for drink coming upon him. That is precisely the point when it is most requisite that he should be restrained. But he at present finds that no restraint can be put upon him, he walks off, and everything that has been done up to that point is undone. Precisely the same thing has occurred in connection with the American institutions. Although many of the States of the Union have passed laws which enable patients to be detained in these institutions for a given time, it has been held that those State laws are unconstitutional—that they are contrary to the tenour of the Constitution of the United States themselves, and, in consequence, they have never been put in force. Notwithstanding this, a large number of permanent cures have resulted even from this imperfect treatment, the proportion averaging, as we have seen, from 33 to 40 per cent. The only statistics that I am aware of that were laid before the Committee on this point relating to this country were those of Queens-berry Lodge, Edinburgh. In that in- 700 stitution 111 cases had been treated, and there the number of cures reported were 37, or 33 per cent. There is one very important fact in connection with these cures which ought not to be lost sight of. A man is said to be cured of insanity when he has got rid of his delusions, and is sufficiently recovered to be dismissed; but in these statistics of cures of habitual drunkards, that system has not been adopted. The greatest possible care has been taken to eliminate from them those cases in which the cure has been only temporary. I shall be told, I have no doubt, that the evidence which was laid before the Committee on this point was false and illusory, and that the American institutions had turned out a failure. Assertions of this character have been made on the authority of Dr. Bucknill, a gentleman who is, I believe, one of the Lord Chancellor's Visitors in Lunacy. That gentleman visited America in 1875, and when he came back, he wrote several papers, the object of which was to deprecate any special legislation for the habitual drunkards. Luckily, the style of his writings showed that he was intensely prejudiced upon the subject. In an article on the subject in The Contemporary Review for February, 1877, for example, he expresses himself as out of patience with the maudlin sentiment which has been written about the habitual drunkard. I do not think that I can be accused of indulging in any maudlin sentiment on his behalf. Well, Dr. Bucknill goes on to say that the best thing that can happen to the habitual drunkard is that he should ruin himself, so that his property should pass into worthier hands, and that he should kill himself and cease to be a nuisance to the world. He expresses his regret that alcohol is not the deadly poison that the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) represents it to be, because, if it were, it would the sooner enable the world to be free of that pest. He congratulates France upon the invention of absinthe, and America upon the vileness of its whisky, which enables them to get rid of their drunkards so much the quicker than our milder English drinks. I mention these expressions simply for the purpose of showing the prejudiced vein in which Dr. Bucknill approached the subject. Coming, however, to matters of fact, Dr. Bucknill says— 701The State Inebriate Asylum at Media has been suppressed because it was said to be a failure. The New York Inebriate Asylum in Ward's Island had been ordered to be suppressed for the same reason. At Binghampton Dr. Dodge had left, and Dr. Congdon was carrying on his work with no better success;and, further on, he says the only institution in which he did find good, honest, earnest work being done was the Inebriate Reformatory at Philadelphia. He continues—Elsewhere I saw and heard nothing to show that any earnest effort was being made to change the habits of the inmates; or that the so-called institutions were anything more or better than boarding-houses, within the walls of which the open consumption of strong drink was discountenanced; 'capital places to pick up in after a debauch,' as more than one inmate told me, 'but good for nothing else.'But when these statements went out to America, they met with the most emphatic refutation. Dr. Parish published a letter in reply, in which he, in the first place, shows that his asylum, mentioned by Dr. Bucknill, never was a State asylum, and next, that it was not unsuccessful, because it had cured 33 per cent of the inmates. But the institution was established in the expectation of obtaining a subsidy from the State, and that subsidy not being forthcoming, its directors determined on closing it. But to show that the Medical Profession in America, at the time of Dr. Bucknill's visit there, still entertained their old views regarding these asylums, he quotes a resolution passed in 1876 by the American Medical Association, actually recommending each commonwealth to establish and maintain public institutions for the reclamatian of inebriates. Again, Dr. Day, of the Inebriate Washingtonian Home, Boston, writes—All Dr. Bucknill's statements in regard to inebriate asylums in this country are founded on the most shallow and limited information; it seems that he visited only those asylums that have failed, and I claim that none that have failed have been properly conducted.He continues—Why did he not visit some of those asylums that have succeeded, such as the one over which I preside, which has been in operation nearly 20 years? I would have shown him scores of reformed drunkards who have been perfectly sober from five to 20 years. Why did he not visit the Washingtonian Home in Chicago (a child of ours), an institution highly successful?I may say that Dr. Bucknill only visited 702 six asylums in America. I have several other replies to his assertions here, with which I will not trouble the House; but there is one that I must read from Dr. Crother, of the Binghampton Asylum, of which Dr. Bucknill speaks so disparagingly. Dr. J. D. Crother, of that asylum, states that—Our asylum has more than fulfilled the wildest dreams of its most enthusiastic supporters.They had more applications for admission than it could accommodate; and he goes on to say—Last year a careful examination was instituted into the history of patients who had been here for treatment over five years ago. Letters were addressed to their friends inquiring into their present condition, and the answers returned revealed the startling fact that over 60 per cent who were under treatment here for four or five months were sober and continued reformed men. In many cases the cure has been of much longer duration.Dr. Bucknill states that a change of public opinion had taken place on the subject. To refute this, the Rev. J. Willett, in a letter written in December, 1876, replies—The New York State Legislature is constantly enlarging the power of inebriate asylums, even as late as June, 1875 (when Dr. Bucknill was in America), giving a grant of 12 per cent on the excise money for licences, and the grant was passed without any serious opposition by the Reform and Taxpayers' Association.I think, therefore, that we may take it as having been very satisfactorily established that no change has come over opinion on the subject so far as America is concerned, and that ample refutation has been given to Dr. Bucknill's statements regarding it. The chief objections to this Bill have been raised to those clauses which propose to allow habitual drunkards to be committed to inebriate retreats at the instance of their friends. This would, it is said, be worked for the purpose of enabling any husband or wife who is troubled with a tippling partner to get rid of him or her by consignment to an inebriate asylum. Such an objection could only be raised by a person who has never read the Bill; but, as I am afraid that the majority of Members in this House who vote upon Bills do not take the trouble to read them, I may as well explain that under the Bill such a danger is out of the question. In the first place, the 703 Bill does not propose to deal with mere tipplers or occasional drunkards. It proposes to deal only with habitual drunkards; an habitual drunkard being, as defined by the Bill—A person who by reason of habitual intemperate drinking of intoxicating liquor is dangerous to himself or to others, or incapable of managing himself and his affairs.A justice of the peace may, upon the application of the husband, wife, relation, or friend of such a person, order him to appear before the Court of Petty Sessions to show cause why he should not be placed in a retreat under the Act. The accused is allowed a jury if he chooses to demand one. Contrast that with a case of a committal by a lunacy certificate, which may be accomplished in a back room by two medical practitioners; and can any man in his senses maintain that if a husband wished to get rid of a tippling wife, or a wife wished to get rid of an objectionable husband, they would try this Bill when the method which I have just referred to was still available? But suppose they do. A man is committed, and writes to his friends, who will see into the matter. If a man is put into an asylum as a lunatic upon the certificates of two medical men, he also writes to his friends, but his friends do not believe him; they think he is raving. He is in a far worse position than the habitual drunkard would be. It is, sometimes, the most difficult thing in the world to get a lunatic out of a lunatic asylum. I have seen a man myself detained for three or four months in a lunatic asylum, after everyone connected with him, medical officers of the asylum included, was anxious for his liberation. I say, therefore, that to object to the compulsory clauses of the Bill so long as one acquiesces in the present Lunacy Laws, is to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. This Bill, however, is simply a tentative measure, and as I wish for something to be done, I am quite prepared to sacrifice the compulsory clauses altogether. I have already occupied a considerable time, or I might show that a large number of habitual drunkards are at present confined in lunatic asylums. I have evidence upon this point; but I will only quote one witness, and he is a witness whom the House will listen to with very great 704 respect, and to whose opinion the hon. Gentlemen, whom I see on the Treasury Bench, will pay particular attention—I refer to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department. That right hon. Gentleman, as I said before, received a deputation on the subject in 1875, and in replying to that deputation, the right hon. Gentleman said—As an old visitor myself of lunatic asylums, I have seen many of these cases treated as cases of lunacy with very beneficial results.The Home Secretary then went on to tell of a case in which one poor man stayed in a lunatic asylum for years, by the advice of his friends; because, if he had been released, he would have relapsed into his former habits. I have spoken at such length that I hardly like to touch upon a subject of some importance, and that is, the evil influence which the presence of these habitual drunkards exercises upon the proper inmates of lunatic asylums. There was evidence given before the Select Committee to show the very great evil which they constitute in lunatic asylums, and from the letter of Dr. Parish, to which I have referred, I find that a resolution was recently passed by the American Association of Superintendents of Lunatic Asylums affirming the same thing. There is, therefore, good ground for objecting to the admission of habitual drunkards into lunatic asylums, and under the present law it is illegal. Well, all that I want is that power should be given to do, openly and above board, after proper evidence, on the motion of a competent court, with the maximum of benefit to the patient and the minimum amount of annoyance to other people, what at the present moment is done under the Lunacy Laws illegally, with the minimum amount of benefit to the patient, and with the maximum amount of annoyance to everyone brought into contact with him. I have the high authority of Dr. Forbes Winslow for stating that if these inebriate institutions were properly worked they would have the effect of very much diminishing the amount of drunken insanity which is to be found in Lunatic Asylums at present. I confess to have been somewhat astonished that, even after I had expressed my willingness to drop the 705 compulsory clauses in this Bill, I have had the bugbear of the liberty of the subject thrown at my head. I have been told that it is a breach of the liberty of the subject to allow a man to contract to undergo any detention—that it is a breach of the liberty of the subject to recognize any such contract. I deny that. I say that we have analogous cases which point to exactly an opposite conclusion. Take, for instance, the case of a surgical operation. Hon. Members are probably aware that in the eye of the law a surgical operation is neither more nor less than an assault. Yet if a man chooses to submit to a surgical operation, or his friends give consent on his behalf when he is not in a condition to give his own consent, there is not a judge in the land who would hold that that man had a right to bring an action for an assault. If there was anything wrong in the operation, he may bring an action for malpractice; but it would be preposterous to assert that he could bring an action for an assault. Well, there is a legal doggerel, which was once quoted by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary in this House, which lays down what is the law in ordinary cases of assault—A man a beating underwent,With his own sanction and consent;Court held, and so 'tis understood,The sanction void, the beating good.In other words, the law will not recognize any contract on the part of a man who, for a mere whim, submits to an assault; but the law does recognize the right of a man, for the sake of saving his life, or for the benefit of his health, to submit to an operation which is neither more nor less than an assault. Again, a very similar provision of the law is actually on the Statute Book in the case of the Contagious Diseases Act, under which, in "protected districts," females who enter a Lock Hospital may be detained there until cured. As I have said, I believe that many habitual drunkards are illegally detained in lunatic asylums. I shall show now that in existing inebriate institutions the liberty of the subject is already violated. Evidence upon this point was given before the Committee. Mr. Mould, for example, the superintendent of an asylum in Cheshire, said that he had had considerable ex- 706 perience in dealing with inebriate patients. During the course of 10 years he had had no less than 120 voluntary cases through his hands. His plan was this—He exacted from the patients and their friends bonds of indemnity for any steps that he might think proper to take in connection with their treatment. If they proved refractory, "he locked them up, just the same as an ordinary patient, and put them in seclusion." Passing by several other cases, let us take that of a most deserving institution, under the direct patronage of the municipal authorities of Edinburgh—Queensberry House of Refuge, to which I have already alluded. At that institution they had 250 inebriate boarders, and of these 100 were the wives and daughters of tradesmen, whose friends had sent them there. Mr. Nelson, the superintendent of that institution, gave evidence before the Committee, and explained that the inmates were allowed out at stated intervals. Being asked how they were managed, Mr. Nelson told the Committee that the friends were in the majority of cases coarse, practical men; and that if, when they were allowed out, they went home, their husbands or fathers would kick them down stairs. If when allowed out they returned the worse for drink, they were punished by being deprived of liberty for a month; and if they fell into the hands of the police, or were guilty of scandalous conduct, they were deprived of liberty for two months. There is just one other fact in connection with the Queensberry Institution which I deem worthy of mention, and that is that the patients are sent there by the magistrates illegally, though I do not imagine that the people know that the act is illegal. In his evidence before the Committee which sat in 1872, Mr. Nelson, the superintendent and manager of the Queensberry Institution, said—In cases where drunken women were demoralizing their families, keeping them all in wretchedness, pawning their clothes, keeping their husbands from sleep, having no food ready for them, and everything abused, I advise these parties to commit the wife to the police, to make the case known to the superintendent of police, in order that it might be laid before the magistrates next day. They, on hearing it, did not wish to bring scandal upon the family by sending the mother to prison; but they gave her the option of going to prison or of coming to us. These persons invariably choose to come to us, and when sent by a magistrate in that way (be- 707 cause they were brought to me by a constable) they were perfectly resigned and calm the whole time of their incarceration.I think that shows the truth of what I asserted at the outset, that if you give us the voluntary provisions you will enable us by means of these retreats or local institutions to deal even with the habitual drunkards of the police court. I regard this question as an eminently practical question. I have given no statistics with respect to intemperance; because, as I have said before, I do not propose to cure intemperance by this Bill. I have not tried to work upon the sympathies of the House, because I do not wish to dip my hands into the pockets of the nation; but I have received amongst numerous letters on the subject one so touching that I shall conclude what I have to say by reading an extract from it to the House. The writer is a man in humble life. For 27 years he had been in a Scottish regiment, and left it as a non-commissioned officer, with a pension of 1s. 8d a-day, a medal, and a gratuity. In 1866 he married, and in order that he might bring up his family more respectably, he became a tee to taller. He says—Unfortunately for me and my children, my wife seems to have begun drinking from that date, and has gone on from month to month, and from year to year, gradually becoming worse, until she has almost killed herself, ruined me, and become an object of disgust to her own children. I have done all that lay in my power to cure her, but of no avail. I have knelt at her bedside with the children, and begged and prayed her to leave off taking the cursed stuff that was killing both body and soul. I have made her swear over the dead bodies of our children in succession (for we have lost five out of the nine) to abstain from taking that deadly poison, and at each death she has promised me to leave it alone; but the first opportunity she begins again. Several times she has had narrow escapes of killing herself by falling into the fire or downstairs. It is very hard, and a sad thing for me, to be forced to bear this life, for the law can do nothing for me. My firm belief, Sir, is that if there were places to put unfortunates like my wife in confinement, where it would be impossible for them to get liquor, and where they could reflect on the sin of the life they had been leading, thousands of starving families might be saved from utter destruction. I do not say that all the unfortunate beings could be cured of their dreadful habit, but a great many would; and I firmly believe that my wife would be one of the saved. She has struggled hard, I know, to overcome the evil; but it has got the mastery of her, and nothing short of confinement will ever cure her. It has gone so far that she heats her children when I am not there if they will not go for drink. She 708 has taken the clothes off their backs and the shoes off their feet to take to the pawnshop for money to obtain drink with. She has forced the locks of the drawers and boxes, and taken all we had to pawn for drink. For eight long weary years this has been going on, and for my children's sake I've hid it from the world. I have written often to her people, and explained her conduct to them. They tell me to put her away from me; but where am I to put her? But I must do something, for I begin to be frightened for myself. I fear that my passion may get beyond my control, and injure her. Such was the case last night, when I came home and found she had been beating the youngest child, because the little thing (six years old) would not go for beer for her. I have desired the children never to go for it, and they are very glad, for they all belong to the Band of Hope School. And what will be their future, with the terrible example their mother sets before them daily? She is now lying drunk in bed, while her poor children clean the house. Is not this enough to make me commit a crime such as we read of in the newspapers? I am not an educated man. I have not said all I should have liked; but I could not bring my pride to ask someone more competent. I pray fervently that you will get your Bill passed.If I were to speak for another hour I could add nothing to the touching pathos of that letter; so, without further words, Mr. Speaker, I beg to move the second reading of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Dr. Cameron.)
§ MR. PEASE
desired to commence a few remarks in support of the Bill by recognizing the efforts in this direction that were made by the late Mr. Dalrymple, whom he had the honour of assisting in bringing in a similar measure. The proposition was new to this country, and the principal question seemed to be whether, in passing this as a tentative measure, they should remain satisfied for the present with the voluntary clauses. For himself, he should not have the slightest hesitation in supporting the compulsory clauses; but it might be expedient at first to make some concession to natural jealousy for the liberty of the subject, and he therefore thought the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) had done wisely for the present, to rely upon the voluntary principle which the Bill contained. The medical evidence was strongly in favour of the proposal, and the Bill as brought in might well go to Committee, 709 whether the compulsory clauses were agreed to or not. The necessity for some such measure was unquestionable, and he trusted that Her Majesty's Government would assent to its second reading as a tentative measure, and refer it to Committee, where due precautions would be taken for the liberty of the subject. He hoped there would be an anxious desire to try the experiment, so that benefits might be conferred on many persons who now suffered from the inebriety of the head of the house. The evils resulting from drink could only be dealt with now by the sufferers being probably placed in gaols or lunatic asylums, and it would be a great improvement in the law if such institutions as those proposed by the Bill could be established.
§ EARL PERCY
thought the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) had exercised a wise discretion in eliminating from the Bill a great deal of what former measures which had been brought before Parliament contained. For himself, he was unable to support Mr. Dalrymple's Bill in the last Parliament on that account, and he regretted last year to find that the hon. Member for Glasgow introduced his Bill with similar provisions. It was as yet far too early to ask local bodies to take charge of institutions of the character which it was proposed to establish. The measure was a tentative one, and one that was extremely desirable; but they must prove, in the first instance, that the principles which they believed would effect so much good for the unfortunate persons whom it was proposed to deal with were really sound in themselves. The main object he had in supporting a Bill of this description was to obtain power to confine an habitual drunkard with his own consent for a period not exceeding a year, and he believed—and the statement that 94 per cent of the persons confined in American asylums went there voluntarily confirmed him in his belief—that they would effect far greater good in that way than might be expected from so small a measure. He was glad that the hon. Member for Glasgow was prepared to strike out the compulsory clauses of the Bill. He was so certain that the other portion which he had just mentioned was so important, that he should be willing to give up almost anything to gain this one point. He 710 spoke on this subject with some knowledge, as he and some friends had joined together in attempting to institute a retreat of this kind, and he was sure that success would follow some measure of this description. He was afraid, however, that it would not touch sufficiently people without means. It was impossible, in many cases it was hopeless, where strong personal influence could not be brought to bear, without some legislation, to effect any good commensurate with the large expense which institutions for the treatment of these cases required. The blot in the Bill, to his mind, was that it did not meet the case of the habitual drunkards in the lower classes of life, who were not able to pay, and the one difficulty in the matter was that of the expense. He would suggest that the hon. Member should go a step further in this direction, and insert a clause by which the expenses of inspection might be met partly out of the Exchequer and partly out of the fees paid for the licences of these retreats. By that means he thought all the opposition to the Bill would be removed on the score of the expense of the inspection of these institutions being paid by the country. There would then be a good prospect of not only passing the Bill into Committee, but passing it into law during the present Session.
§ MR. EVELYN ASHLEY
gave his support to the Bill. The great difficulty to be encountered was, of course, in the coercive part of the Bill; but as the consensus of medical opinion was that physical coercion was necessary, he thought the bugbear of personal liberty should not be allowed to stand in the way. They already had the principle of coercion admitted by the Contagious Diseases Acts, and there ought to be no hesitation in extending it in the case of this disease. At the same time, he thought the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) had acted wisely in abandoning the compulsory clauses, which might have met with some opposition. Three months ago he visited one of these institutions, and he asked how could the managers of the place tell when people were cured? The answer was that the condition of the tissues of the hand showed whether the persons were for the time cured or not. The inordinate desire for drink was undoubtedly a disease which was distinct from crime. It was an ire- 711 sistible impulse arising from the state of the body. Such a person, however, was a nuisance to the neighbourhood in which he lived, destructive to his family, and dangerous to himself, and, as they had heard, might be provocative of crime. If that was the case—and he had no doubt that it was—then he saw no objection in going to the extreme and using coercion by way of remedy. Legal power should be given to detain habitual drunkards so long as it was necessary for the purposes of cure, and that time must depend upon the circumstances of each case. The experiment in this direction in the United States showed that more than three-fourths of such people came into the retreats voluntarily. With regard to those who could not pay the expense, if the scheme worked well there would be plenty of voluntary contributions to be obtained. He would point out to the noble Earl (Earl Percy) that these institutions could be made self-supporting, and he knew of one case in which the work of the inmates, who were females, went a long way towards paying the cost. As to men, drunkards were often the best workmen in their sober moments. He believed that there was a strong feeling abroad that something should be done in this matter, and he therefore welcomed the Bill.
§ MR. GRANTHAM
said, that the House seemed generally in favour of some such Bill as that now before it; but the great difficulty which seemed to prejudice the Government against it was the question of expense. It seemed to him that could easily be met by charging a higher licence fee. The only fee mentioned in the Bill was one of 10s. for the licence, to be paid to the clerk of the peace for his trouble in making it out. At present, private lunatic asylums paid a capitation fee of 10s. per head for each patient received by them, and the same thing might be done with respect to the proposed homes, and then sufficient would be raised out of the licence fees to pay all cost of inspection. He was aware of the difficulty of dealing with the poorer classes; but he would remind the House that in the case of reformatories the parents or friends of children who were placed under some restraint, although they had not actually committed any crime, paid a certain sum of money for their support in those institutions, and establish- 712 ments of a somewhat similar character might be started with reference to inebriation in the poorer classes. He thought it would be a great pity not to admit those classes to the benefit of such institutions, though he thought the middle classes and the class of trades people were those who required the special provisions proposed by this Bill more than the lower classes. Everything appeared to him to be dependent on the interpretation clause as to who habitual drunkards were. According to the Bill they were persons who were not criminals, but who were subject to habitual drunkenness. The Bill did not affect mere drunkenness, but it dealt with people who had passed the stage of mere occasional drunkenness. He was quite prepared to support the Bill in the full length to which it would go, and he hoped the experiment, when tried, would work so successfully as to justify the enactment of compulsory measures. In that case, he should be prepared to support them also.
SIR UGHTRED KAY-SHUTTLE-WORTH
said, that as to the expense, of which several hon. Members had spoken, his own impression was, that if the Bill passed, there would be considerable saving of expense to the State. It must be remembered that there were large numbers of persons in lunatic asylums who really were habitual drunkards. Such persons would not fill lunatic asylums if they could be housed in the retreats contemplated in this Bill. There were also the habitual drunkards who were repeatedly convicted by magistrates, who laid a heavy burden on the community. In his evidence before the Lords' Committee on Intemperance, Mr. Fenwick, Chief Constable of Chester, instanced the case of a man there who had been charged with drunkenness 63 times, and 30 times with assaults, &c., mainly arising from drunkenness in 20 years; had spent 10½ out of those years in prison, chiefly for drunkenness, and had cost the city between £300 and £400. This was not an exceptional case; it was a type too well known, at least in the North of England. It was very important to take cases of habitual drunkenness in time. As the drunkard became hardened in the habit, his reclamation became a longer and more difficult process. He (Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth) would suggest one 713 or two provisions which might, he thought, be added to the legislation on the subject. He wished to call attention to the evidence given by Mr. Cole, a licensed victualler, and chairman of both the London and Home Counties Licensed Victuallers' Associations, who strongly urged on the Lords' Committee the need of a power on the part of licensed victuallers to exclude and refuse drink to habitual drunkards and disorderly persons. This he urged from a publican's point of view, explaining how a man who was sober must be served even though he had been drunk the night before, and was a known habitual drunkard, and might entangle the publican in the meshes of the law. But from the point of view of the public interest, even more than that of justice to the licensed victualler, such an alteration of the law was surely desirable. The Chief Constable of Chester went farther—perhaps farther than Parliament would be ready to go—in proposing that magistrates and the police should warn holders of licences as to known habitual drunkards, and forbid serving them with liquor under a penalty. He was at least convinced that some other treatment of habitual drunkards by magistrates than the everlasting "5s. and costs" was needed. In some places—Sheffield, Swansea, Chester, &c.—the system of sureties had been tried with advantage; the habitual drunkard, after repeated fines, was called on to find two sureties in £10, with 12 months' imprisonment in default, as a common disturber or breaker of the peace. This was done under the common law; but the Select Committee on Habitual Drunkards, in 1872, recommended that it would be well to sanction the practice by a new enactment, and added—There is good reason for believing that such a measure would not only have much restrictive influence on the drunkard, but would bring the efforts of relatives and friends, and especially of the surety into active exercise.He thought that in support of this Bill, the statistics laid before the Lords' Committee on Intemperance last year should be quoted. Professor Leone Levi stated that the number of habitual drunkards charged with offences had increased from 13,000 males in 1858, to 34,000 in 1875, and from 4,000 to 13,000 females—an increase of 30,000 in all, or of 70 per cent, taking the increase of population 714 into account. He could not but agree with the suggestions contained in the evidence of Sir William Gull before that Committee, which he hoped hon. Members would read, that a bettor knowledge should be diffused among all classes of the people as to the real uses and widely-prevailing abuses of alcoholic drinks. Sir William Gull's opinion evidently was, that fallacies and prejudices are too common amongst them as to the necessity of alcohol as an article of food. Except after a certain age, or in certain cases, alcoholic stimulant was really not necessary for supporting a man either in mental or bodily labour. As a general rule, a young man was much better without it. He hoped they would not leave the spreading of sounder views on this subject only to teetotallers and supporters of the Bill of the hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson). Many were unable to join in any movement for prohibiting the sale of liquor, but all ought to endeavour to promote a better knowledge of the real physiological effects of alcohol on the system, and to remove fallacies and prejudices as to its use or necessity. Many might be saved from becoming habitual drunkards by learning to abstain from an unnecessary daily consumption of liquor. This instruction might even be begun in schools. By these means, a great deal of good might be done. He congratulated his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) on the persuasive and interesting speech in which he had moved the second reading, and should heartily support his Bill, whether he restricted its scope as he proposed, or enlarged it by such additions as he (Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth) had ventured to suggest.
§ MR. CLARE READ
said, he was very much obliged to those advanced Liberals who, by inserting his name on the back of the Bill, had allowed him to be associated with so good a cause. Although his was the only Conservative name on the back of the Bill, yet he could assure hon. Members opposite that those who sat on the Ministerial side of the House were as desirous as themselves were to promote temperance. The feeling was by no means confined to one, or that, side of the House; and the only difference about it was that the opinions of hon. Gentlemen varied as to the means available for remedying 715 the evil. They had the Permissive Bill, and the hon. and gallant Member for Waterford (Major O'Gorman) contended that it was an Englishman's birthright to carry away as much liquor as he could. He (Mr. Clare Read) was no tee to taller himself; he liked a drop of beer, and he should be very sorry to deprive anybody of a moderate use of spirituous liquors of any sort. He did not believe in the tyranny of a Permissive Bill, or that Sunday closing should be extended to England; nor did he believe that drunkenness prevailed to the extent complained of. A great number of men who had not been very well fed before did, no doubt, eat and drink too much when they were placed in circumstances of comparative luxury, and some allowance ought to be made for the sudden increase of wages. It was not so long ago that the three-bottle man was looked upon as being respectable, and he knew very well that 40 or 50 years ago a great number of farmers returned from market certainly not the better, but rather the worse, for what they had taken. That was all changed, not by restrictive or permissive measures, but simply because people were becoming more enlightened. There were many means by which the House could look for the promotion of temperance before they resorted to the restrictive measures which some hon. Gentlemen would desire the House to adopt. He would have spoken when he rose to second the Bill, had he not been told to wait until some opposition was offered to the Bill which he might have an opportunity of answering; but scarcely any opposition had been offered. What he would say would, therefore, be very brief. He was anxious to prevent drunkenness, and to cure the worst habitual drunkard. He was also glad his hon. Friend had made this an experimental measure. If a measure of the sort had been adopted some years ago by the late Mr. Dalrymple, the supporters of it might have had some experience of its operation, and might have asked Parliament to enlarge its operation. He was glad this was a less ambitious measure than his hon. Friend proposed last year. Although his (Mr. Clare Read's) name was associated with the Bill of last year, he would have been obliged to protest against that portion of it which proposed to maintain these institutions out of 716 rates, as they were hardly in a position to go to the country and ask it to contribute public money or rates for them. If this measure were argued properly, there would be plenty of justification for making it compulsory; but he was in favour of moderate demands. He had always found that half-a-loaf was a great deal better than no bread. After the measure had been shown to work satisfactorily, then the House could be asked for further power. This Bill would give the retreats that definite standing and authority which it was his wish to see them possess. If, in a sober interval, a man would go voluntarily into one of these retreats, where, when the morbid and insatiable craving for intoxicating drink came upon him, he could be kept for 12 months, or probably a shorter period, there was a great chance that he would be reformed. It might be said that if a man went into one of these retreats, he would lose all self-respect; but a man who was a slave of drink could not have any great amount of self-respect; he was more degraded and helpless every day of his life. He (Mr. Clare Read) hoped the House would give a second reading to the Bill. If the suggestion that all these houses should be licensed, which would contribute to the payment of £300 or £400 a-year for an Inspector, were adopted, he saw no reason to doubt that the Government would in its wisdom support this measure, which, he believed, would confer great benefit on the unfortunate people for whom it was intended.
§ MR. O'SULLIVAN
said, he felt great pleasure in having the opportunity of supporting the Bill of his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron); who, he thought, deserved not only the support of the House, but the thanks of the public, also, for having brought it forward. He (Mr. O'Sullivan) believed it was a step in the right direction, and, if the Bill was adopted, it would tend largely to prevent intemperance. They had heard a great deal in that House about the Sunday Closing Bill—the strongest remedy ever proposed for drunkenness—but the effect produced upon the habits of habitual drunkards by the Sunday Closing Bill would be very slight. But the hon. Member for Glasgow had taken a step in the right direction, because he aimed at reforming 717 the habitual drunkard himself. They all knew that a drunkard was a curse to himself, a curse to his family, and a disgrace to the neighbourhood in which he lived, and he thought it was the duty of Parliament to try and put a stop to the habitual drunkard in every way they possibly could. He had seen a man cry bitterly when he was sober at the thought of his addiction to intemperance; but, notwithstanding that man's feelings on the subject, he saw him 24 hours afterwards in a state of intemperance. There should be retreats to where such men could go for the purpose of being reformed. Habitual drunkenness was a disease, and it should be treated accordingly. Some men had not the strength to withstand temptation. The Bill was a very moderate one, if the compulsory clauses were withdrawn; but it was one of great importance. Indeed, he thought it was too important a question to be left in the hands of a private Member, and therefore he hoped the Government would take up the measure and give it a fair trial. If the Government did so, he maintained that it would do more than any Bill which had been brought before the House in the interests of society for the last five years. He believed it was a Bill that would do great service, and make happy many homes that were miserable at present. He hoped that the Government would not only support the principle of this measure by voting to-day for the second reading, but would take it up next Session, and give to it that force which the Government could give to a Bill, and pass it into law. By so doing, the Government would do a great service to society, for a greater injury or a greater disgrace to society than the habitual drunkard there could not be. He had very great pleasure in supporting the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. BOWEN
said, that during the short period he had had a seat in the House he had consistently voted against every liquor scheme; but if the compulsory clauses of this Bill were withdrawn, he thought it should be passed. He would have been better pleased if they had been retained, but, as it was, he should support the measure.
§ SIR HARCOURT JOHNSTONE
did not believe it would be possible to pass the compulsory clauses through the House now, though a few years hence 718 they might be found necessary. But in the interests of those people who were willing to submit themselves voluntarily to restraint, and in the interests of their friends and of society, it was desirable the Bill should pass, provided its compulsory clauses were withdrawn.
§ MR. A. GATHORNE-HARDY
thought the measure, as now restricted, was calculated to do great good. With the compulsory clauses withdrawn, he regarded it as a Permissive Bill in the best sense of the word; and he, for one, had no objection to the passing of a Bill which would enable persons to restrict the liberty of others for their own good if they voluntarily surrendered their liberty for that purpose. He hoped that in Committee a clause would be introduced to place the expense of the inspection of these institutions upon the holders of licences. The measure was a permissive one, and the expenses should be thrown upon the persons who might submit themselves to its operation, or upon their relatives; at any rate, not upon ratepayers. The only reason that could be assigned for throwing the expenses upon local rates or the Imperial fund would be a carrying out of the compulsory clauses. If the expenses were not thrown on the ratepayers, he would not oppose the Bill.
§ MR. M'LAREN
stated, that he had received a Petition from Edinburgh in favour of the Bill. The President of the Royal College of Physicians said the Petition was only a few weeks available for getting signatures. If a longer time had been allowed, it would have been signed by every medical practitioner in the city of Edinburgh, so unanimous was the opinion in its favour. The Petition was also signed by several Professors in the University, by several advocates, and by other distinguished men, including the Principal of the University. In short, the Petitioners generally were of the class he had mentioned, showing that in the higher walks of life the opinion in favour of this measure was growing very rapidly. He himself gave it his most hearty support.
§ MR. SAMPSON LLOYD,
while he objected to the coercion of really sober persons as proposed by the Permissive Bill, was willing to support the one before the House, which was well drawn and free from many objections. He hoped the Bill would be carried unanimously, and 719 go into Committee. They all knew cases in which persons of great gifts and power suffered from this terrible malady, for, no doubt, it was a malady. As to expense, habitual drunkards cost the country more than the institutions proposed by this Bill would, and the middle classes required these places as much as the lower classes. Though it might be a matter of policy not to press the compulsory clauses, he believed it would have been possible to pass them, the liberty of the subject being sufficiently protected on the whole by those classes.
§ MR. COLMAN
said, the clauses of the Bill would affect more particularly those who did not belong to the working classes; but, as these men had ruined themselves and their families for want of legislation of this kind, he trusted that in a short time the Bill would be passed.
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA
hoped that the friends of the Bill would not adhere to the compulsory clauses, for if they did they would run the risk of endangering the passing of the Bill as an experiment. He also hoped the Secretary of State for the Home Department would consent to accept the Bill without them. On a future occasion, when the Bill had been shown to work successfully, he hoped a measure with compulsory clauses would be carried.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
regretted that he was not present during the whole of this debate; but he thought he had heard enough of the speech of the hon. Member who introduced this Bill (Dr. Cameron) to enable him to deal with it on the part of the Office which he had the honour to represent in that House. Ever since the subject was introduced to the House, he had felt that if a practical scheme could be drawn up, it would be a matter of satisfaction to the country; and he confessed that, in looking at some of the clauses of the Bill, he thought, as a tentative scheme, it might in all probability be successful in dealing with the question. He had opposed the measure of the hon. Member for Bath (the late Mr. Dalrymple) on the ground that it would have dealt compulsorily with this question, and with the compulsory clauses in the present Bill he must express his dissent. But if the Bill were limited to dealing as a tentative measure with that class of people who voluntarily placed 720 themselves in such institutions, he would give their managers power to detain them till cured. He believed the Bill, if restricted to this, would do a great amount of good. The question which really concerned the Office which he held was the question of the expenses contemplated by the Bill. One of the clauses contemplated payment to the local authorities of all licences and fees which were obtained under it, and another clause placed on the public funds any expenditure which might be incurred under the Bill. On the part of the Treasury, he was not prepared to say that if the House thought the Bill was necessary, the cost of inspection might not fairly be borne by the public funds; but when the proposal went beyond that, and looking to the fact that any profits to be derived from the Bill were to go to the local authorities, he thought any further expenses ought to fall on the localities benefited by the operation of this measure, and not upon the public fund. These points, however, did not bear on the question of the principle, and to that he had no objection, and privately he had been long in favour of it. He had seen much to corroborate the statements made to the House by the hon. Member for Glasgow, and no one would hail more heartily than he any successful scheme of dealing with the difficulty. Individually, he offered no opposition to the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
thought the House had come to a proper understanding that it would be more prudent, at the present stage, to accept the proposal of the hon. Member for Glasgow, and omit the compulsory clauses in the Bill. To a certain extent, the question was still in its experimental stage. While many experiments had been made which had resulted in success, others had been made which had resulted in failures, and until the best mode of dealing with the matter had been discovered, it was desirable that it should be left in the hands of those who were willing to undertake it voluntarily, and who might discover a basis for a satisfactory measure in the future. It was said the Bill would only meet the case of the rich habitual drunkards who could afford to pay. But that was not so. There were many wealthy persons who would be ready to establish institutions to aid the poor 721 habitual drunkard who would come under its care. Under the present law there were exceedingly severe cases that could not be met, though the persons concerned were willing to submit themselves to restraint. In travelling in America, he had found a rich Englishman who had gone over there to find an asylum, because he could not get one at home where he could put himself under restraint. In cases of the kind, where men willing to reform were unable to do so under the present law, a permissive Bill of this kind was calculated to do the greatest good. He was glad to hear the testimony that had been borne to the philanthropic labours of the late Mr. Dalyrmple. It must be exceedingly gratifying to all his friends to hear the honourable remembrance in which his labours were held in that House.
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
said, the Bill had met that day with a reception seldom accorded to any measure introduced into that House. He understood that it was the intention of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) to withdraw the compulsory clauses of the Bill, and in the case of that being done, the Government had no objection to make to the principle of the Bill, believing that it might have some good effect. At all events, the experiment was worth trying, and it seemed reasonable to expect, from the feeling of the House being so unanimous upon it, that, even in the present Session of Parliament, the Bill might become the law of the land. At the same time, however, he was not quite so sanguine as to the results which would flow from the measure as some hon. Members were. There was, to say the least of it, some doubt as to the measure of success which had attended the experiment in America, and there was not sufficient evidence at the present moment that the voluntary establishments in England for the reclamation of habitual drunkards had been successful. Understanding, as he did, that the bulk of the evidence submitted to the Committee which had sat to consider this subject pointed as the cause of failure to the want of compulsory power to keep persons in these places of retreat until the critical time had passed, he thought that some power should be given to the managers of these institutions to meet that difficulty. One danger to be guarded 722 against would arise out of the granting of licences to persons to leave these places of retreat after a certain time. A man might contract himself into a retreat for 12 months, but he might become anxious after a time to obtain a licence to leave it. If the Inspector who had the power of granting or refusing these licences were to grant them too easily, there might soon grow up a want of proper discipline in these institutions; whereas, if he were to refuse them too rigidly, there was much danger that the establisments would become unpopular, and therefore less effective. At the same time, he felt that the object of the Bill was very properly to throw difficulties in the way of those who had consented to enter these retreats getting out again until their cure had been effected. If, during the interval between the notification of the person detained that he wished to leave and the granting the licence by the Inspector, the desire of the person to leave were to pass away, as it was to be hoped it would, much good might result from this Bill. The objections to the measure on the score of expense which had been entertained were entirely removed by the withdrawal of the compulsory clauses, and by the understanding that no charge should be cast by this Bill upon the rates or the public funds. The expense of the Government Inspectorship should be defrayed out of the cost of the licences to leave, and out of other fees of that character. He did not think that much could be expected from the insertion of clauses to prevent publicans from serving habitual drunkards with alcoholic liquors; because, in common with insane people, habitual drunkards were very cunning, and they might easily deceive the publicans in the matter. The suggestion which had been made by the hon. Baronet the Member for Hastings (Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth) with reference to requiring an habitual drunkard convicted of any offence to find sureties for his good behaviour, was already the law of the land; although he believed that that course might with advantage be more generally adopted in all large centres of population, and he trusted that the publicity which would be given to the remarks of the hon. Baronet would have a good effect in that direction. In conclusion, he had to say that the Government had 723 no opposition to offer to the second reading of the Bill, though they thought that some valuable Amendments might be made in it in Committee.
§ MR. WALTER
regretted that he had not had the advantage of hearing the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) in moving the second reading of the Bill, because he thought it was not improbable that some of the remarks he was about to make upon the subject had been anticipated and already answered. While entirely concurring with the hon. Member in the object he had at heart, he wished to make one or two suggestions in the way of cautions which occurred to him on points which had not been referred to either by hon. Members, or by the Government. It was obvious to everyone that the Bill as it stood merely dealt with the question in the abstract, whereas its success must largely depend upon the way in which it dealt with the matter in the concrete. He wished to point out that this Bill contained nothing definite with regard to the character either of the buildings or of those who were to conduct them. He thought that these institutions should be situated in the country, rather than in towns. He believed that the chief element of success in dealing with cases of confirmed drunkenness was to give those who suffered from that affliction plenty of fresh country air and of outdoor occupation. The Government, therefore, should take care that these retreats were established in some healthy part of the country. He also hoped that, in the first instance, at all events, these institutions would be established upon as cheap and moderate a scale as possible. In this country, whenever a project like this was set on foot, a multitude of societies sprung up each vying with the other in the magnitude of its establishment. When he went to America some two years ago, the first thing he noticed on entering the harbour of New York was a vast red brick and stone building, which, he was informed, was the Home for Inebriates. On asking whether the institution had succeeded, he was informed, to his regret and disappointment, that it had proved an entire failure. In these circumstances, therefore, he trusted that no attempt would be made to herd a multitude of these unfortunate persons together, and that not more than 20 or 724 30 would be detained in the same establishment, that they would be located in a healthy part of the country, and that the control of them would be confided to men of great prudence and experience.
observed, that the observations which had fallen from the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter) were most appropriate to the occasion. If plenty of fresh air and exercise were not afforded to the inmates, these institutions would be more like prisons than retreats. He would have voted for the compulsory clauses of the Bill if they had not been withdrawn; for in his experience as a magistrate, he had known excellent results follow from the detention in gaol for two or three months of habitual drunkards. He would recommend the adoption of the system existing in Sweden, under which all the food and drink of habitual drunkards who were detained in these establishments was flavoured with the spirit they were accustomed to drink, and the result was that the persons whose cure was to be effected became so disgusted with that particular spirit, that they would never drink it again.
thanked Her Majesty's Government for the reception they had given to his Bill. He considered the suggestions of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury as to the expenses to be very reasonable, and would be prepared to accept them and others of a like nature.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.