HC Deb 30 July 1878 vol 242 cc775-7

Order for Committee read.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


moved the following new Clause:—

(Determination of offence in the case of reduced spirits.)

"In determining whether an offence has been committed under section six of the said Act by selling to the prejudice of the purchaser spirits reduced by the admixture with water, regard shall be had not only to the extent of such admixture, hut also to the price at which the spirits so reduced are sold."

Clause brought up, and read the first time.

Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."


asked the hon. Member for Nottingham to explain the effect of his clause.


said, the clause would permit of the mixture of water with spirit. His object was to prevent, as far as possible, unnecessary prosecutions taking place under the Adulteration of Food Act.


considered the Amendment a reasonable and proper one.


objected to the new clause, which struck at the root of the Adulteration Act. They had never allowed price to be pleaded as an excuse for selling an adulterated article. Take the case of coffee; if that was adulterated with chicory it had to be sold as a mixture, and it was no defence to plead that it was sold at a lower price as a justification for adulteration. In the case of this new clause, what was proposed was that spirit and water should be sold as spirits, and that the seller might allege that no injury had been done because the price was reduced.


said, the effect of the clause would be to prevent anyone saying they were damnified or injured by the mixing of water with spirits after notice, provided the price were reduced proportionally.


said, the Lord Chief Justice of England had already decided that where notice was given that water was mixed with the spirits, that prevented any charge being laid against the seller. Therefore, he saw no harm in admitting the clause so far as regarded spirits; but he should certainly oppose it in the case of milk.


said, as the Lord Chief Justice had so decided, there was no need for the clause.


said, if a man asked for spirit, he ought to have it; but he would not if the clause were passed.


thought the clause a perfectly fair one.


said, the Lord Chief Justice had decided that spirits and water might be sold as such, and this was, of course, done every day; but publicans were not now permitted to sell a bottle of spirits which was diluted with water as spirits. But the effect of the clause would be to admit it, and, therefore, it struck at the very root of the Adulteration Act.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 29; Noes 8: Majority 21.—(Div. List, No. 247.)


said, in order to meet objections which had been made by hon. Members to the clause, he would, on Report, with the consent of the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Isaac), introduce a slight change to the effect that the clause should apply where notice of such mixture had been given.


said, he would agree to the Amendment.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.