HC Deb 05 March 1880 vol 251 cc441-528

Sir, I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name— That, inasmuch as the ancient and avowed object of Licensing the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors is to supply a supposed public want, without detriment to the public welfare, this House is of opinion that a legal power of restraining the issue or renewal of licences should be placed in the hands of the persons most deeply interested and affected, namely, the inhabitants themselves, who are entitled to protection from the injurious consequences of the present system, by some efficient measure of local of option. I am sure, Sir, that I shall not be thought to be bringing forward a subject which is not of the greatest importance. The attendance in this House shows that there is an interest taken in this question which is, I am sure, equalled out-of-doors. Now, if I want any excuse for bringing this subject forward—if I want any reason to prove the very great evil that I am attacking—I think I could find that proof nowhere better than in a speech which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer made at the close of last year. I will just quote one sentence from that speech, which was delivered at a meeting of the Licensed Victuallers of Exeter. In speaking there, he said— The evils of drunkenness become more and more patent every day. If we examine into the matter, we are more and more impressed with the frightful evils which arise from it. And the right hon. Gentleman concluded by saying— The conscience of the country is fairly aroused upon the subject. Well, I believe this is the case. This is the reason why I bring the subject before the House; and I hope that hon. Gentleman will not for a moment be possessed with the idea that this is a teetotal question—I mean one which is only interesting to those who advocate temperance or total abstinence. We are not here to discuss whether drunkenness is a sin or a vice; but we are discussing a national question—whether drunkenness and drinking which exist to so large an extent in this country is not a national evil, and there fore one which it behaves the House to deal with in the best way it can. Now, Sir, I will endeavour to say something about the power which we have of dealing with this evil; and I think that everyone will agree with me when I say that the laws which we have now for the regulation and distribution of drink amongst the people in this country are not perfect laws. I think that most people, and that all parties in the House, will agree that they might be improved, or, at any rate, that they are not working thoroughly satisfactorily. It may be held that those laws are so arranged that there are some people who procure too little drink; but everybody will agree that they are so arranged that a great many people get too much, more than is good for them, and more than is good for the State. Sometimes people talk of Free Trade; but I do not think I need occupy the time of the House in arguing against Free Trade in drink. That is very nearly, if not quite, an exploded idea. The House must remember that it is because Free Trade in drink failed—because it was found impossible to allow the sale of liquor in the same way as other commodities—it was because of that that you have had to do away with Free Trade and to resort to a system which is sometimes called a restrictive system, and sometimes called a regulated monopoly. This is rather an important matter to remember. We have tried what we may call alcoholic facilities in almost every shape in the country. The House will remember that 50 years ago great efforts were made to promote sobriety by giving the people cheap beer. The cry was—"Cheap wholesome beer to keep people from spirits;" but I think that everyone will agree that that Act failed. It had to be abandoned about 11 years ago. In 1860, the then Prime Minister (Mr. Gladstone) made a point of introducing cheap wines, and gave facilities for doing that. That was done with the very best intention, and some people thought it would be some good; but again that has utterly failed, as all agree, in checking a great evil. Then we had the licensed grocers, whom we hear so much about. That was another system of dealing with the evil; but everyone agrees that the licensed grocers are most injurious to the community—["No, no!"]—at least, almost everyone will agree, but not absolutely everyone. I beg pardon of the House. I should not generalize on this matter. It is principally the publicans who condemn the licensed grocers, and who say that they are the cause of all the crime and immorality of the country, and they are making a great attack upon licensed grocers, in which I heartily join; and when we have succeded in putting down licensed grocers, I hope the licensed grocers will join me in attacking the publicans. I may say that for generations now we have tried to arrange the How, the When, and the Where to supply drink to the people; and I am entitled in my argument to assume that we have made the law as perfect as we could make it, because all the great Parties in the State have tried their hand at it. Everybody remembers Lord Aberdare's Bill—the Licensing Bill of the late Liberal Government—and everybody remembers—we have painful cause to remember—the Licensing Bill of the present Government, and which was the best they could do for us. And when both Governments had tried to amend the system—and they both failed—we had one of the most important Committees ever nominated; I allude to the Committee of the House of Lords on Intemperance. It sat for the long period of nearly three years to inquire into the state of intemperance in this country and the causes which led to it, and whether it could be cured by any legislation. Remember this was a very valuable Committee, and it has proved very valuable to a variety of people. The Secretary of State for the Home Department hardly ever made a speech for some years without hoping that the Lords' Committee would soon report. It was the greatest godsend to him that ever a Secretary of State for the Home Department had; for he never received a deputation from Teetotalers, Tipplers, Good Templars, Licensed Vic- tuallers, or anybody else, but he must conclude—as you will see if you look at his speeches—that the whole subject was under the serious consideration of Her Majesty's Government, but that, unfortunately, nothing could be done until the House of Lords' Committee had reported. Well, it has reported. I was all on tip-toe of anxiety to know what would be done. I asked last Session from the Ministers what they meant to do? but, of course, they were unable to give me any information on the subject then. I took the first of opportunity I had this Session of asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer again what steps the Government meant to take in order to carry out the recommendations of the Lords' Committee?—and there were 20 recommendations of that Committee, all of them, I am happy to say, going in my direction, and tending to reduce the facilities for the sale of intoxicating drink. But, instead of obtaining any satisfactory reply, I have always been assured that the Government are going to do nothing; therefore, as I have said already, I am justified in concluding that the licensing system is not going to be amended by this House and by the right hon. Gentlemen on that Bench, and that it is intended to allow it to continue as at present. Therefore, let me describe that system, and then proceed to show what I would propose as an amendment of the present system. I have said that we have first to consider how this drink is obtained; and here you notice the curious fact that there is no other trade in existence in which character is so strongly insisted upon except that of the Church. An applicant for a licence has to go before a magistrate to prove the soundness of his character, and once a-year he has to go up again to show that he still retains that excellent character that he had at first. I do not think I can give the Licensed Victuallers too high a character; because the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in that remarkable speech, which has been such a great blessing to me, that he made at Exeter, the Chancellor of the Exchequer described "the publicans and beer-shop-keepers of this country as of the very highest class." He went to Scripture, and said—"If you turn to the pages of the Old Testament"—[Laughter.]—these are the Chancellor's words remember, not mine— You will constantly see that mine host is the person of the greatest importance, and that he exercises a very considerable influence and authority with regard to those who come under his hospitality; and I need not say that this is a position which he has not altogether lost in the present day. We know very well that when a stranger goes into a town or country, and, perhaps, requires information and assistance, mine host is the man to whom he naturally applies to give him the assistance and the support which he requires. If I am not mistaken, I see the hon. and learned Member for Southwark (Mr. Clarke) sitting of opposite to me. We are all glad to see him in the House—not as a politician, but as a man—and I am quite sure he will endorse the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and say that when a stranger or a candidate goes into any town, he finds all the support and assistance which he requires from the Licensed Victuallers. Sir, I say seriously that I do not wish to run down the Licensed Victuallers. I think there is nothing more foolish than getting up and calling them all sorts of names. It has been done now and then by some of those who take what is called an extreme temperance view; but any man who does that damages the cause in which he is engaged. I wish to give them every credit. I should no more blame the publican than I should blame the faggot-voter. Both of them are carrying on a legal business, and those who revile them revile this House, which allows faggot votes and other evils to exist; and when we run them down we are running down ourselves, since we gave them the commission to carry on their trade. Then we come to the When this traffic is to be carried on, and here the law has most carefully dealt with it; because we in this House have been constantly called upon to say the hours, the days, the times, and seasons licensed houses should be of en. There is to be no Sunday drinking in Scotland, and no Sunday drinking in Ireland, except in four or five of the largest cities—now, I believe, called the cities of refuge—where people can get drunk if they like. Then we have extension of hours. The publican goes before the magistrates and asks them to extend the hours during which the sale of drink may be carried on in certain cases, where the public are likely to want something more to drink. The last extension was a curious one, I have heard. It took place at the "Liverpool election," where both Parties on the Bench united to permit an extension of hours for the declaration of the poll, and the plea on which that extension was asked for was, that it was intended for the maintenance of "peace and order." That is one way in which they maintain peace and order in Liverpool. Then you come to the Where—so we have had the How, the When, and the Where. There, again, the law is most particular in what place the trade shall be carried on—the rateable value, the kind of house. When the publicans go before the magistrates, they generally have to explain that they have no back doors. Now, that is a very great point, though I never could understand it; but I believe that the reason is that the people who visit these places may be seen coming out by the front door; and I find in studying the works of my friends the Licensed Victuallers, that if there is one thing they have a rooted objection to it is the practice of secret drinking. We have not only the How, the When, and the Where; but we have the arrangement of the house to attend to; and then we have to consider the kind of people to whom the drink shall be sold. We passed a Statute declaring that nobody should sell it to a person who was under 16 years of age; and the publicans themselves have said that they would never sell anything to those who had had what they considered to be enough liquor. At the Exeter dinner, where the Chancellor of the Exchequer was in the chair, Mr. Alderman Harding, speaking for the "respectable members of the trade"—though I supposed that they were all respectable—said they were all determined not to serve any man who showed the slightest sign of intoxication. Well, that shows that the law is a failure; because although the Licensed Victuallers, according to their own confession, took the greatest care not to sell any liquor to a man who had had enough, it is a fact that in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, a year or two ago, there were about 350,000 persons dealt with for drunkenness; and if you question any intelligent police officer on the subject, he will tell you that for every one person who is so caught at least 10 escape. Therefore, although the law is so very stringent and lays down these rules, and the country is anxious to carry them out, you sea what the result has been; and I think I am justified in saying that that law has been one of the greatest failures which the world has ever seen. Now, we see that every man who contemplates the sale of drink has to go before the magistrates and has to prove three things—firstly, that he is an excellent man; secondly, that he has an excellent house; and, thirdly, that he has an excellent intention not to make anybody drink too much; but on this matter what I want to point out is this—that for the benefit of the public the Justices of the Peace have a protective veto. They have the power of saying—"Although this man's character is good, although his house is good, and although he himself is a suitable person as any we can find, yet, in our opinion, it is not desirable that he should sell drink in that particular locality." The neighbours around about him do not want another public-house or a gin-shop set up in their midst, and the magistrates have the power of vetoing the application, and they have the power to exercise this veto for the benefit of the public at large. In this matter they are representatives of the public, although they are not a representative body. They are one of the few public bodies which exercise considerable power without being representative. That power of regulating the sale of drink, that power of protecting the public, is individual option—the of option of four or five individuals on the magisterial bench. In many cases it is exercised to the greatest satisfaction of their countrymen; but there may be other cases where it is not, and where I think the wishes of the people ought to be consulted as to whether they would have another gin-shop set up amongst them or not. In addition to individual of option let us have local option. Let us get at the of opinion of the inhabitants themselves to make quite sure that injustice is not done, and that the drinking system is not forced on the local community against the wish of that community. Now, I wish this important matter to be dealt with by all. I do not want to confine it to one class. I want the rich and the poor to stand on the same footing, and to get the opinion of the public on the matter as largely and truly as you can possibly get it. You know that the rich man has plenty of means now of influencing the Justices as to licensing, and of prevent- ing public-houses being set up near the place where he lives, because he considers them a nuisance; and all I ask is that that same power should be given to the poor which the rich man enjoys, and finds so much advantage from. This is not a teetotal question. I wish all men to express their opinion—sober men, moderate drinkers; aye, even drunkards, for I believe that they would be the very first people to say "Put it away." I want to have the of opinion even of the drink dealers—to let all have the chance of saying how much they like the publicans and whether they want them or not. Why do I want this to be done? Because I know as well as I know anything, and anybody else may know it, too—I know that when these facilities for getting drink have been removed from the people there they have had the very greatest benefits, and everybody is contented with the system. I do not know whether the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge shire (Mr. Rodwell) is here tonight—oh! yes, I see him sitting there on the other side, and I am very glad to see him. I did not see him at Cambridge the other night. I was going to pay him a compliment on that occasion; but as he was not there I have reserved it for this House. He is a local optionist, although he does not know it. I have been informed that there is a very nice village belonging to him, somewhere or other, called Ampton, which contains somewhere about 120 inhabitants spread over a large area; and I have been told—the hon. Gentleman will correct me if I am wrong—but I have been told that he will not allow a public-house to be established or of opened in the place. I am right; he takes his hat off. I wish he had gone down to Cambridge and assisted me the other night to get the people of that county to support local option; instead of which he was rattened by the brewers, and ran away, leaving me ignominiously driven from the platform by his own constituents, waving bottles in their hands. I hope he is going to speak to-night; and if he does I hope he will explain why the people of England in every locality are not to have the same power which he is beneficially using at his own place in getting rid of the drinkshops? I hope I need not occupy the time of the House by going over the whole world; but it will be found, and it is the same everywhere —go to Sweden, for example, and you will find that since the people abolished drinkshops Sweden, instead of being one of the most drunken countries in Europe, is one of the most sober. It is all the same everywhere you go. There is a lie-port of a Committee of the Convocation of Canterbury which tells you of thousands of places in England where good landlords have prohibited drinkshops on their estates, and thus promoted sobriety. I am glad to see the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) in his place. He made a very effective speech the other night in defence of the soldiers who are charged with committing outrages in Zululand. He said—"The charge may be true or not, but wait for the evidence;" and then he added—"The House must remember this of these men. They had been in Zululand, and then they came back into a civilized country where they could get drink." That is civilization. I am pleading, Sir, for the power of getting rid of that kind of civilization. I was in hopes that my hon. Friend, and I may say my venerable Friend, the senior Member for Manchester (Sir Thomas Bazley) would second my Motion to-night; but I am sorry to say that, owing to the state of his health, he is unable to be present. My hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt), however, will supply his place. But what I would say of the senior Member for Manchester is this. He also, like the hon. and learned Member for Cambridgeshire, has put this local option, or individual option, in force with the best results. In the year 1864, when I first took up this question in this House, I did not know where to find a Seconder. The question has grown, at any rate, since then. But I got for my Seconder the senior Member for Manchester, and I will tell you how I got him. Some working men were talking to him just before my Motion came on, and they said to him—"Mr. Bazley"—for he was Mr. Bazley then—"have you not some property somewhere in Lancashire, and have you not done away with all the public-houses on it?" "Yes," he said, "I have." "Then," said they, "won't you let us working men have the same power of protecting our families as you have?" and my hon. Friend said," I will." He seconded me on that occasion, and he has voted for me ever since. I am very glad that these good landlords are doing this up and down the country and setting an example. If people would only use the power they have of doing good the country would be very much benefited. There is the case of Lord Zetland, who proposes to exercise the right which he happens, from the accident of property, to possess, and to prevent the sale of drink in the town of Grangemouth; and in consequence of his so doing Scotland is ringing with his praises. [Admiral Sir WILLIAM EDMONSTONE: No, no!] Well, all except the hon. and gallant Admiral. What I want to point out is that about four-fifths of the ratepayers in that town have already sent up a Memorial to his Lordship thanking him for what he has done. I want the majority in other places where there are no good landlords to be placed in the same position. I want to give them the same power that Lord Zetland has exercised. Now, I must make a quotation. Let me read what Lord Lorne said only a few months ago. This is what he said at some Celebration—I think the opening of a Town Hall, or something of the sort. He had just visited several towns in Ontario, and he said he had there seen some hundreds of thousands of Her Majesty's subjects, and he was happy to say that he had not seen amongst them one whose attire did not indicate what he called comfortable circumstances; and he added— I have to congratulate you also upon the absence of those buildings which in other countries are but too conspicuous. I allude to the gin and liquor palaces, which in Canada are almost entirely absent, and, looking at the country round, I cannot imagine a more prosperous, and more smiling, and a more delightful country. Mr. Speaker, they have local of option there, just what I now propose. But they have schemes for licensing, and elective boards, and so on. They have power of deciding not to have drinkshops if they do not like; and by a large majority they are clearing them out in many districts, and restoring the country to the happiness which would be found in most places if these drinkshops had no existence at all. At the Exeter dinner, the Chancellor of the Exchequer drew a moving picture of a land without liquor-shops as the most miserable place he could imagine. It is something very different to hear Lord Lome—a competent witness—giving this evidence on the other side. I say you may call us fanatics or fools, or one-idea men, or what you will; but when there is any chance of getting the same blessings for our country which these Canadians have already got, we do not care what you call us, we will go on until we get the power for which we ask. But how are we to get it? I have tried very hard for a long time without success, possibly because I do not advocate the thing as I ought to. I have brought in year after year what is called the Permissive Bill: and, in doing so, I had no other object than to pass a measure giving localities power to prevent the sale of intoxicating drink. I had no new bodies to create. I simply said—"Let public of opinion be allowed to have its due weight, as it should have." As the House knows, I was much of posed as to the details of my Bill. Hon. Gentlemen can hardly find fault—in their sober moments—with the principle of the Bill—that if licences are for the public good the public should say whether they want them or not. The machinery of my Bill may have been very bad. I do not say it was, because I did my best; but very likely much cleverer fellows than I saw that it was bad. I proposed that a two-thirds majority should decide the matter. Hon. Members did not like that proposal. I took a parish or a borough as a limit; that was wrong. I took voting papers to get at the public opinion. They did not approve of that. I said, let three years' trial be given, and then let the people revert to the old system if they wished. But people said—"Oh, but there is no compensation in your Bill." Well, there was not; but that should not prevent compensation being given if it was proved to be right. I do not attempt to propose compensation tonight; that is not the question before the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) when he was in Midlothian alluded to this subject; and he said, so far as I can remember what he said, that he did not object to the principle of local option; but he said— If it can be carried out, you will have carefully to consider the rights of those who are interested and involved in the matter, and they will have to have fair compensation awarded to them if it is proved to be necessary. I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I say, let us have fair com- pensation "if it is proved to be necessary." The whole thing depends on what is fair compensation, and I shall wait until I have the Bill sent in to me. Nobody pays a bill until it is sent in; and as soon as the Licensed Victuallers present their Bill and say—"We want compensation," I am sure the House will hear fairly what they have to say on the subject. This House delights in compensation. There are no interests or rights in the world which they will not compensate if they have a chance. Is it likely, then, that they would refuse to compensate these—the best men of the country, who are so very useful at elections? But I do not talk of compensation in my Resolution, because I do not know myself what the claim would be. I do not know whether a man who, having a valuable monopoly given him, and his house having been increased in value by a couple of thousands through a single stroke of the magisterial pen, I do not know why the man who has been given such exceptional advantages over his fellows for nothing at all is to be entitled to anything when he has to quit them; and if he has lost money in carrying on his business, surely he is not entitled to compensation when he is deprived of that business, while, if he has neither gained nor lost, I do not see how he should form the object of charity either. Perhaps we ought also to consider whether the man who did not get a licence is to be compensated. Suppose both A and B go to the magistrates and make application for a licence. A says "licence me," and B says the same. A gets a licence, and his property is at once increased in value by £2,000. B does not get one, and his property is damaged to a very large extent by the neighbourhood of A's house. Surely we should have to consider B's case as well as A's. Now, Sir, I wish to say what I propose to do. I have explained that I do not intend to move any Bill, and I have explained the reason why—namely, because I found that the details of a Bill as suggested by myself were much objected to. I now propose a Resolution instead; and I dare say a good many will say—"Oh, this is really the Permissive Bill in a new shape." Now, I challenge anybody on either side of this House to prove to me that a Bill is a Resolution or a Resolution a Bill. I say that is entirely impossible. What I propose is no Bill, but a Resolution. Then I am told that this is a Resolution to catch votes. Of course, it is. Show me a Member of Parliament who brings in a Resolution which is not calculated to catch votes, and I will show you a man who does not know his business. Every Resolution and every Motion made in this House, every pamphlet published, every newspaper article written, every sermon preached, is intended to catch votes. That is to say, that every man who has a truth in which he believes, and who wishes to announce it to his fellows, or a principle to advocate, tries to put it before his countrymen in the way to secure the greatest measure of support. That is what is called catching votes; I am not ashamed of it; and if I could catch an enormous vote to-night I should be extremely glad. This is not a Party question. I believe that is a proper thing to say when anybody brings in anything. This is not a Party question. Some people say it is only the Liberals who are against the publicans; but last year I am sorry to say that more than 40 Liberals went against me. There were 42 who voted against me. Why did they do that? So far as I can make out, they were awaiting the Report of the Lords' Committee. Well, if they had that reason, I do not quarrel with them. They will not have that reason for voting against me to-day; and I hope I shall have those 40 Members of the Liberal Party who rather unkindly deserted me before. Although there were 40 Liberals who went against me, I am proud to say on the opposite side I got no less than 17 hon. Gentlemen, headed by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester (Mr. Birley), who seconded me on that occasion; but to-day he declined to do so, not because he objects to the Resolution, but because he has some Local Option Licensing Bill in store for us. I have alluded to the Resolution, and what does it mean? That is the point. It means that power ought to be given to local communities to put themselves in the same position as the tenants of the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge in the village of Ampton. That is what I mean by the Resolution, and if it means anything else that is for good I am exceedingly glad; but that is my meaning, and do not let hon. Members run away with the idea that I am establishing a plebiscite.There is a great prejudice against the Plebiscite,and I do not say you are to take the opinion of the neighbourhood by a vote of that kind. You may elect someone if you please—I am not bigoted, I leave out all the details, and move the Resolution. I know what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leeds (Mr. Wheelhouse) means. He will, no doubt, get up and talk about the Plebiscite and majorities of two-thirds, and go over the whole thing just as if he were making a speech against the Permissive Bill—as he has made many a one; but there is nothing of that machinery in it, and if he makes a speech against the Resolution he will make a speech against his fellow-countrymen having power to express by vote their wishes on the subject. He shakes his head; but the vote to-night is—Aye or No—ought drinkshops to be forced on a community against their will, or ought they not? I wanted to make the Resolution plain, and to say what power it ought to be. I copied the Resolution from the Report of the Convocation of Canterbury. Those who drew up the Report, after they had written the sentence which forms the Resolution which I tonight move, added the following sentence, which makes it quite clear:— Such a power would, in fact, secure the district willing to exercise it the advantages now enjoyed by numerous parishes in the province of Canterbury, where, according to reports furnished to your Committee, owing to the influence of the landowner, no sale of intoxicating liquors is licensed. Now, my policy is simply that neither magistrates nor any other irresponsible power should be allowed to act on the "crotchet" that the only way to secure sobriety is to force drinkshops upon the people. I think that is a very mischievous crotchet. Sir, this is no large and comprehensive measure; it is simplicity itself. It does not propose any great change in the mode or machinery of licensing; it is simply to let the opinion of the neighbourhood be effective by some means or other. Now, Sir, I want to look for a moment or two at the Amendments which have been put upon the Paper. I do not exactly know what the course of the fight will be tonight; who is going to vote, or how; or what arrangements have been made. I do not even know whether Her Ma- Jesty's Government have summoned their supporters to oppose me; all I know is, I have seen a Circular put out by certain minor leaders of the opposing Party, calling upon the Members to come down and oppose Sir Wilfrid Lawson's Resolution, and it is signed by William St. James Wheelhouse, Denzil Onslow, Saul Isaac, and Thomas Thorn-hill. What they are going to do, what Amendments they are going to support, I do not know; all I say is, that the Amendments are quite irrelevant. I have no particular objection to any of them, except the one proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Leeds. Of course, I could not accept that; but the others may run on the same line as my Resolution. I do not want to find fault with any of them. But they might as well propose—"The British Constitution is a good thing," "Drink is delightful," "That Sir Wilfrid Lawson is a political nuisance." Any Resolution of that kind might be received with cordiality and unanimity in the whole House; but I do not see why they should be proposed as Amendments to my Resolution. I am glad to see the hon. and learned Member for Leeds there. I am, indeed; for I road in the newspapers in the autumn that he had been appointed Resident of Zululand. [Laughter] Well, the House laughs; but I am sure he would make a very efficient one, for he would there have had full scope for carrying out his policy for the protection of Native industry and the licensing of Native drinking. But here he is with his old Amendment, which was negatived last year by a vote of the Whole House; here he comes up to the scratch again and talks about having "a tribunal subject to periodical election," which would probably lead to repeated instances of turmoil. Then he talks about the tumults and the riots, the disturbing of the peace and quietness of every neighbourhood in England. Why, it is peace and quietude we want; it is his beloved public-houses that disturb the peace and quietude; and he ought to know better, because even if I had the plébiscite there would be no disturbance. In Manchester, last year, they took a vote of 60,000 electors as to whether they should be supplied with water by a certain scheme; but there was no rioting. Does he think there would be any tumult if a vote was taken with re- spect to gin? If so, it speaks very ill for his beloved gin. Well, then, I come next to my noble Friend the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice). I am not going to stay upon that. I have no objection to his scheme at present. I dare say it is a very good one; but I am sure he would agree with me, if he had that Board he would not be so illiberal as to say that Board should force drinkshops upon the people who did not want them. Then I come to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Serjeant Simon), and he is at his old game again of swearing. That hon. and learned Serjeant requires swearing, the magistrates "cannot tell without sworn evidence." That is rather a slur on the magistrates, for they would not know much better even with sworn evidence. Now, I have a number of friends who belong to the order of Friends, and they object to swearing. Then I come to the hon. Baronet the Member for Scarborough (Sir Harcourt Johnstone). He has a scheme which is very elaborate, with which I am not going to find fault, but let him get his Board; would he have them force drinkshops upon those who do not want them? I am sure he would not. Then there is my hon. Friend the Member for Hull (Mr. Norwood). The same remark applies to his Resolution; it is almost the same as mine, and why he cannot vote for mine I do not know. Well, Sir, I think I have gone through the Amendments now in a very brief manner, for I do not want to detain the House. I have done my best to explain what I mean; and I hope I have made it clear, and put it in such a position that hon. Gentlemen will not have any excuse for misrepresenting what I want. If anybody has any new plan to try which is likely to be adopted, any new licensing scheme that might put things on a new footing, well and good; but as we do not hear of anything of that sort, I say that any locality ought to be allowed to try that plan, that has never failed, of decreasing drunkenness wherever it was applied. We do not get on in these matters. You have had one or two generations of what I may call painstaking legislation; you have had an age of sanitary reform and an age of religious teaching; more education than you ever had before; more temperance teaching; more argument to induce people not to drink; and yet the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said—as I believe correctly—that the evil of drunkenness was still one it was impossible to exaggerate; and it does seem to me a little selfish in us who are rich and comfortable, and able to resist temptations, to refuse to our fellow-countrymen the means of removing those temptations which they believe would add to their benefit and advantage. I feel sure that many an hon. Gentleman on the other side of the House, who agrees with me in heart, will feel somewhat sad when to-night he, at the bidding of an unseen power, goes into the Lobby to refuse his poor fellow-countrymen the means of protecting himself. Now, Sir, I am going, just before I sit down, to place the whole case in a paragraph, which, I think, places it very convincingly before us. I thank the House for the kindness with which they have heard me, and I will conclude by reading the ease, as stated here in the Report of the House of Lords' Committee. It is stated by the Committee that— When great communities, deeply sensible of the miseries caused by intemperance; witnesses of the crime and pauperism which directly spring from it; conscious of the contamination to which their younger citizens are exposed; watching with grave anxiety the growth of female intemperance on a scale so vast and at a rate of progression so rapid as to constitute a now reproach and danger"— Those are not my words; I am not exaggerating— Believing that not only the morality of their citizens, but their commercial prosperity is dependent on the diminution of these evils; seeing, also, that all that general legislation has been hitherto able to effect has been some improvement in public order, while it has been powerless to produce any perceptible decrease of intemperance; it would seem somewhat hard, when such communities are willing, at their own cost and hazard, to grapple with the difficulty, and undertake their own purification, that the Legislature should refuse to create for them the necessary machinery, or to entrust them with the requisite powers. That, Sir, is my case; and that case I now very respectfully leave to the consideration and decision of this House.


I rise, Mr. Speaker, to second the Resolution. I readily acceded to the request of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle when he asked me to second the Motion which he has just submitted to the House. At the same time, I should certainly have felt better satisfied if the duty had devolved, as it was originally intended it should do, upon my hon. and venerable Friend the Member for Manchester (Sir Thomas Bazley). I entirely agree with the principle embodied in this Resolution; I understand the principle to be, to give the inhabitants of localities—those who suffer and pay the cost—the power of saying whether or not they will have public-houses in their midst. I shall follow the example set by my hon. Friend in not dwelling at any great length upon the evils of intemperance, as those evils, I think, are generally admitted. It may, however, be doubted whether many people realize the gravity of those evils. Perhaps the most fanatical teetotaler never exaggerated the evils flowing from intemperance, even in his wildest flights of rhetoric. The best summary I have seen of those evils was in a pamphlet that was published some time ago by an eminent brewer, who, I believe, was once a Member of this House, Mr. Buxton. Mr. Buxton in that pamphlet commenced on the very first page with this sentence— If we add together all the miseries generated in our time by war, pestilence, and famine, the three great scourges of mankind, they are not exceeded by those that arise from this one vice of intemperance. Mr. Buxton seems to gain power as he proceeds, because he soon speaks of intoxicants as devils; and he goes on to say— That the struggle of the schoolhouse, the library, and the church, all united against the liquor traffic, is but one development of the war between heaven and hell. I have not heard my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle use stronger language than that. I shall not, Sir, enter into the discussion as to whether intemperance is or is not on the increase; but I think it is very clear, at any rate, that drinking is on the increase, and one of the most deplorable facts in connection—and I trust we shall all agree upon that point—the most deplorable fact is that referred to in the closing extract which my hon. Friend has just read to the House with reference to female intemperance—the great increase of female intemperance. I find from the Report of the Lords' Committee that in Salford the number of female arrests for intoxication doubled in the last seven years. In Manchester, in 1851, they were 18 per cent, and in 1876 they were 28½ per cent. In Sheffield the arrests were 18 per cent, and in two years the proportion of arrests increased from 15 to 24 per cent; and in London very nearly as many women as men have been arrested for drunkenness. I find, too, from the Judicial Statistics of 1878, just lately published, that there has been a very much greater increase in the number of deaths from excessive drinking amongst females than amongst males. Well, I think that we all agree that that is a matter, at any rate, to be very much regretted, and we are all of opinion that this is a fit subject for legislation. As my hon. Friend has pointed out, this House has very frequently had to deal with the question of the liquor traffic. I believe that during the last 200 or 300 years not less than 400 Acts of Parliament have been passed to control the liquor traffic and make it respectable. Now, I will put the question which my hon. Friend has put, as to whether our licensing system is a satisfactory system, and as to whether it is a success or a failure? Those who oppose repressive measures are jubilant when they can quote the experience of travellers who have visited some parts of America where those measures have been adopted and where they can assure us that the Maine Liquor Law has been evaded. Now, I am not advocating the Maine Liquor Law; but I say that the test of the failure or success of that measure is not, in my opinion, to be found in the question whether the law can be evaded or not, because I think that nearly every law can be evaded; but the real question is, whether it is effective in suppressing drunkenness and the evils that flow from drunkenness? Are there as many drunken people reeling about the streets, are the goals and workhouses as full of criminals and as full of paupers as they were when the liquor traffic was in full swing? Tested by that standard, I do not think we can say that our licensing system is a complete success. What is the object of this licensing system? If I understand it aright, it is to control the traffic in intoxicating drinks; to allow the people to have drink without drunkenness, and without public disorder. According to the law as it exists at the present time, drunkenness is illegal; every man who is seen in a public place under the influence of drink is liable to arrest, and the Licensed Victualler who has supplied him with drink has also subjected himself to a fine of from £10 to £20. Well, what do we find with regard to the statistics of drunkenness? I find that in a single town—in the town of Liverpool—for the last year there were 15,705 arrests for drunkenness, and in addition to these 1,166 persons who were arrested for other offences while in a state of intoxication, making a total of 16,871. Now, I would ask if any legislative measure could be a more complete failure than our existing licensing system, when tested by those statistics? And I should like to know—we have here thousands of arrests for drunkenness, there must have been a great number of publicans and Licensed Victuallers who violated the law—and therefore I should like to know the number of those who were subjected to fines for the violation of the law, and then we shall see how far our present licensing system is a dead letter. Well, Sir, I shall follow the example of my hon. Friend, too, in not making any attack upon any particular class of persons such as the magistrates. I consider that the magistrates devote a great deal of valuable time to the transaction of their duties; and I should think there are very few duties they have to perform that are less pleasant or more harassing than those connected with the licensing of public-houses. But what I have to say with regard to the magistrates is that believe, from their position, they are not, nor can they be, able to fully know the wants of the neighbourhood for which they have to provide licences; nor can they be expected to sympathize with the intense, with the strong conviction of a great number of the respectable working people in their objections to having public-houses placed in their midst. The magistrate, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, is generally a wealthy man; he seldom lives in the neighbourhood of public-houses himself. We see nearly every day advertisements of public-houses to be let, and it is set down as a strong recommendation that they are in the neighbourhood of a large population of working people. Well, now, Sir, there is a very strong feeling on the part of a great number of working people against having those public-houses forced upon them. These men love their children, and they do not like to have to bring them up surrounded by the corrupting atmosphere of the public-house. The hon. and learned Member for Leeds (Mr. Wheelhouse), a short time ago, very good-naturedly put me through a private examination as to my personal habits as regards this question, and extracted from me the damaging admission that I am a teetotaler, and I have no doubt he will be using that as the groundwork of a very powerful argument why the House should refuse to accept this Resolution. Though I am a teetotaler, I do not advocate this question on teetotal grounds. I do so on the broader grounds of good citizenship; and if I were to cease to be a teetotaler to-morrow my attitude towards this traffic in intoxicating drink would not change one iota. Well, Sir, I wish to point out to the House that, in seeking that magistrates should be relieved from the duty of dealing with licences, my hon. Friend is not altogether an innovator. Forty-five years ago, when the Corporations Reform Bill was before the House, an attempt was made in that Bill to take the power of licensing from the magistrates. In an able and interesting speech, three or four years ago, my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) entered at length into this subject. This is not a new proposal of the hon. Baronet, and an examination of the debates which took place at the time I have referred to (1835) I think will be interesting and instructive to some timid Whigs who may suspect they are deserting the traditions of their Party if they do not maintain that magistrates are the persons most fitted to deal with licences for intoxicating drinks. The debates, as I have said, were of a very interesting character, and the Bill, as originally introduced by Lord John Russell, was a very liberal measure. Among other things, it proposed the abolition of the property qualification for members of Town Councils. But the 52nd clause of that Bill dealt with the question of licences, and this clause provided that the power should be handed over from the magistrates to the Town Council. The Bill was strongly supported by the late Lord Derby; it passed its second reading without a division, and, in Committee, the 52nd clause was attacked by Sir James Graham, the Mem- ber for Cumberland, and, after a long debate, a division was taken, and out of 377 Members a majority of 45 decided to retain the clause. It was, however, thrown out afterwards in the House of Lords. That Division List is a very interesting one, and contains some very eminent names. Among others, there is Sir George Grey, my distinguished predecessor in the representation of Morpeth, three Lords Russell, headed by the late Earl Russell; and for the encouragement of my Irish Friends, I may say Ireland was well represented in that division by five O'Connells, among them the great orator Daniel, Mr. Sheil, and Sir Henry Parnell. The debate, too, was of an interesting character. But I will not trouble the House with quotations from speeches delivered on that occasion; but it is interesting to notice the grounds taken by the opposition. Those grounds were that the publicans had a great amount of electoral influence, and to vest the power of licensing in the Town Council would lead very likely to a corrupt system. Well, I say the publicans have still a great deal of political power, and whether they make a better use of it maybe matter of opinion. It has never been my practice to in any way attack the Licensed Victuallers. I do not, however, exactly believe, as my hon. Friend seems to do, that they possess almost angelic virtues; nor do I believe with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that they are the great missionaries of temperance throughout the country. I have nothing at all to say against their character; but I may question their doctrines, or the principle they avowedly lay down. I understand that doctrine to be that they subordinate everything to the interest of their trade. Now that is a bad principle to be adopted by any class; and I do not think it is improved when adopted by those who are connected with a trade which, to say the least of it, is the most demoralizing and destructive of good of any carried on in the country. What the hon. Member for Carlisle wants is to put the interest of the public before that of the publicans, and I think the House of Commons ought to support my hon. Friend in his effort to do this. It is because I believe this is the principle of the Resolution, and that it is a just and liberal principle, that I give it my cordial support. What are the objections that are raised to the Resolu- tion? Like my hon. Friend, I have been carefully looking over these Amendments; and I think I am not mistaken in saying that, with the exception of the first, no one directly attacks the principle of the Resolution. The hon. and learned Member for Leeds, however, does make that attack. He seems to think that things are quite perfect as they are, and that there is no necessity for a change. He gives us his reason, and that reason is rather a curious one. He says— Because any tribunal subject to periodical election by popular canvass and vote, might, and in all probability would, lead to repeated instances of turmoil, and thus be detrimental to the peace and quietude of every neighbourhood in England. Well, I think the hon. and learned Gentleman must have been seized with a fit of preternatural nervousness when he prepared this Amendment. The hon. Member for Carlisle does not propose any tribunal whatever; but I think, while his Amendment has reference to the Licensed Victuallers, the hon. and learned Gentleman must have had before his mind visions of another tribunal, a greater tribunal, which is also elected by popular canvass and vote, and in connection with which he, in common with many others, will shortly have to take a somewhat prominent part. When the hon. and learned Member for Leeds expresses his dread of "turmoil," I can tell him how to avoid all that in connection with elections. Can he tell us how much of the turmoil is due to the use of intoxicating liquors? Then prevent the the use of such on these occasions by entirely closing the public-houses. I have had a good deal to do with elections, directly and indirectly, in one way and another, and it has frequently fallen to my lot to meet large numbers of men under somewhat exciting circumstances; and I can testify that I never felt this great nervousness unless when the excitement of intoxicating drink has been added to that of Party zeal and political passion. No doubt, we shall hear before long that old cry against the tyranny that would rob a poor man of his beer. To hear this, one would suppose that these Licensed Victuallers were a sort of ministering angels, always ready to feed the working man with these liquid refreshments of theirs, and that a lot of wicked misanthropists, led on by my hon. Friend, stood in the way to prevent them from carrying out their beneficent designs. But this does not altogether represent the facts of the case. I should be very sorry to deny that those who oppose us are actuated by motives as good and as honourable as those which animate us who support the Resolution; but I trust I am not exceeding the bounds of propriety, if I say I am suspicious of those who demand that the working man shall have his beer, when I find that those who are so anxious in this direction are unwilling to give the working man his political rights, the power to educate his children, and other things far better for him than his beer. I would like to ask those who cry out so loudly for the working man's beer, whether they really think this beer is a necessary of life, if it is something more than a luxury or convenience, an absolute necessity? And then, if they think so, I should like to know what they have to say to the great number of landlords up and down the country who refuse to have public-houses on their estates? The hon. Member for Carlisle has referred to a great number within the Province of Canterbury—upwards of 1,400 parishes—where no public-houses exist, and this is independent of the Province of York, of Scotland, and of Ireland. What do they say to landlords having this power? I have never seen that my hon. and learned Friend has brought in a measure to protest against this abuse of power on the part of the landlords. I approve of it entirely. I believe these landlords are actuated by the best of motives. I can scarcely conceive how they could have any bad motive. I approve of it entirely; but from my hon. and learned Friend's point of view, what does he think of it? I cannot understand the consistency of people who cry out against robbing the poor man of his beer—who never utter a whisper of condemation against those arbitrary landlords who refuse to have beershops or public-houses on their estates—but, at the same time, refuse to the inhabitants a voice in saying if they will or will not have these houses in their midst. I think I have said enough, and I thank the House for the attention with which they have listened to me. I appeal to the House either to pass this Resolution, or give some power to the people for having an effective voice in saying whether or not they will have these houses among them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone)—and I hope we are going to have his views on this subject—on one occasion said something like this—"The business of the Legisture should be, as far as possible, to make it easy for people to do right and difficult for them to do wrong." That principle I entirely accept, and I think it is eminently applicable to this question. The whole subject is beset with difficulties, I admit; and I allow that we cannot legislate advantageously if we run in advance of public opinion. To do this, if it were possible, would be not only abortive, but mischievous. But I think there is danger also in lagging behind public opinion on this subject. At present, I think the House is behind public opinion. I do not advocate this from an exaggerated notion that the people can do no wrong. It is an old saying that "the voice of the people is the voice of God;" but, democrat though I am, I do not believe that. I believe that the voice of the people is always an honest voice, though it is often mistaken. I believe it is often the voice of ignorance or of passion rather than that of reason and ripe wisdom; but this I will say—if ever the voice of the people deserves to be called the voice of God, it will be when it speaks the doom of that greatest of social curses—the traffic in intoxicating liquors.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "inasmuch as the ancient and avowed object of Licensing the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors is to supply a supposed public want, without detriment to the public welfare, this House is of opinion that a legal power of restraining the issue or renewal of licences should be placed in the hands of the persons most deeply interested and affected, namely, the inhabitants themselves, who are entitled to protection from the injurious consequence of the present system, by some efficient measure of local option,"—(Sir Wilfrid Lawson,) —instead thereof.

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


I think, Sir, we shall all agree that this Resolution has derived all the advantage which it is possible it could have derived from the speeches of its Mover and Seconder We invariably listen to the hon. Baronet the Mover of the Resolution, not only with the respect due to his sincerity and zeal, but with gratitude for the entertainment that he never fails to afford us, and with respect to which, I am bound to say, not only that he never fails to afford it, but that he never suffers it to interfere in any manner or degree with the great object which he has in view. I regret extremely with him the absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester (Sir Thomas Bazley); but if my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester was to be absent from us and from the duty he had undertaken to perform, his place could not have been better supplied than by the speech of my hon. Friend who has just sat down, and whose most touching conclusion, coining straight from the heart, and, at the same time, clearly framed, as it was, by his manly understanding, was well calculated to recommend this Resolution to our favourable notice. As far as feeling is concerned it is impossible, I think, for us not to go a very long way with the views of our two hon. Friends. But I am in this unfortunate position—that I am not able to follow their arguments to their conclusion. The conclusions they have arrived at are embodied in the Resolution before the House; but before I proceed to examine that Resolution I must say that I do not think, from the speech of the hon. Baronet who moved it, that there is the slightest rational ground for hoping that he ever would be contented with any of the Amendments which propose to apply a less extensive and less drastic remedy for the evil he seeks to remove than that which he has himself put forward on this and on other occasions. And I feel this the more, because the hon. Baronet, honest as he always is, rather went out of his way to comment in detail upon the alternative propositions which have been placed upon the Paper, and particularly upon that of the hon. Member for Scarborough (Sir Harcourt Johnstone), who distinctly admits and embodies in his proposal the principle of popular control over the sale of intoxicating liquors. My hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle said that this is all very well so far as it goes, but that he would object to see a Board so framed, and embodying that element of popular control, overriding the will of the inhabitants at large. That, I think, as far as the speech of my hon. Friend goes, is undeniable; and I must say, in passing, that I think my hon. Friend went a little beyond the facts in one of the assumptions he made, when he touchingly called upon us, appealing to the comparative ease and lightness of our position—when he appealed to us not to be guilty of selfishness in refusing the demands of the people for power to put away from them this great national curse and scourge. I think we had, in the case of the Irish National Sunday Closing, a case where it is impossible to deny that that demand had been made, that the sentiment of Ireland had boon sounded to the bottom, and that the answer made to that sounding process was perfectly unequivocal. The voice of Ireland called for many years in vain for the passing of such a measure. The answer of Ireland was virtually for the passing of the Irish Sunday Closing Bill. I must say I do not think we have the same positive evidence of the unanimity of the national sentiment in England for anything like the Permissive Bill of my hon. Friend. I will not affirm the contrary; but it is a very serious matter, as my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth has just stated, to go greatly ahead of public opinion in questions of this kind; and I do not think that public opinion has afforded us those means of judging which, undoubtedly, if they had been afforded, would be one very great element indeed—in my mind, at least—in considering a question like that of an optional power for the total prohibition of places for the sale of intoxicating liquor. My hon. Friend is quite entitled to say that his speech does not bind the House. All that I have to say is, that I do not think his speech affords a very great prospect of concurrence between himself—after the supposed passing of this Resolution—and those other persons who might be inclined for some less stringent application of the principle of popular control, than that which he has formally submitted to you. When I look at the Resolution, what I find is this—that it is a Resolution on which I should hardly think it possible to give a vote. I do not find it possible for myself to give a vote without being subject to misconstruction, which I might not find it easy to remove. A vote against the Resolu- tion, I am aware, Sir, might be justified on very sound Parliamentary grounds as a simple vote for the Previous Question. That, undoubtedly, is what it is. What such a vote means, in a Parliamentary sense, is that we will go into Committee of Supply instead of entertaining the proposal of my hon. Friend. But we are not considering Parliamentary forms. We are giving utterance to the people at large of a great principle on a subject in which great interests are involved, and in which many deep feelings are also involved. A vote against this Resolution, unless accompanied, especially on the part of Her Majesty's Government, with some very explicit declaration of positive intention—a vote against this Resolution is really taken and understood to be, and I think not unjustly, a vote in favour of things as they are; a vote in favour of the existing state of the law, not absolutely as being perfect, but yet as not being so imperfect as to require immediate alteration. I am not ready to give that vote. I find myself in the same position of impotence when I look at the Resolution of my hon. Friend, and upon the ground which I will now very briefly state. I think the Resolution of my hon. Friend will not only be construed, but will be justly construed, to go at least so far as this that a man who votes for it either is a friend of the Permissive Bill, or, if he is not a friend of that Bill, that he has got some other plan of local option ready, which he is prepared to propose, or which he is ready to support. As to the principle of local option, I am not an objecting party; but I am bound to say that I have not as yet heard of any plan which fully gives effect to that principle, and which it would not be premature to submit to Parliament. If Gentlemen are in so happy a position as to say—"I am ready to pass a general law carrying through the country the principle of local option," they may consistently support the Resolution of my hon. Friend, although they might come to variance with my hon. Friend after the Resolution has been passed. I do not know any plan of the kind; consequently, I am not in a position to vote either for or against the Resolution. But, on the other hand, I do not think it right that we should stand where we are; and I would endeavour to appeal before I sit down to Her Majesty's Government upon the subject of the present state of the law, and upon the duty which is incumbent upon them, I think, to propose an Amendment. I am bound to mention another point on which, though it does not embrace the whole case, I have some feeling. My hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle has said he is perfectly ready to entertain the question of compensation to Licensed Victuallers in the event of the introduction of the principles of local option. But I doubt very much whether the full exposition of his views which my hon. Friend gave on the subject of compensation, when taken as a whole, would be very re-assuring in the minds of hon. Members. I think we ought to go as far as this:—I am not prepared to say whether there is a case for compensation, or whether is not a ease for compensation, because that must depend upon particulars that are not now before us. We ought not to allow our prejudices with regard to this particular trade, or our sense of the enormous mischiefs associated with its working, to cause us to deviate by one hair's breadth from the principle on which Parliament has always acted in analogous circumstances—namely, that where a vested interest has been allowed to grow up, the question of Compensation should be considered when such vested interests were proposed to be interfered with by Act of Parliament. What I am prepared to say is neither more nor less than this—that the Licensed Victualler has the same right to fair consideration that is enjoyed by persons following every other trade or calling which is interfered with by Act of Parliament, and to whom compensation is awarded owing to such interference. We must not allow—I need not say that Gentlemen on this side of the House will not allow—any political feeling or prejudice to interfere with the rectitude of our judgment, or to prevent us from giving the same measure of justice or indulgence to Licensed Victuallers that we should give to any other class in the community. If that be so, I am inclined to think that this Resolution, which is to be regarded as a sort of charter laying down the lines of our future conduct, ought to contain at least an allusion to the question of compensation. When Parliament enacted Negro Emancipation it was preceded by a preliminary Resolution, in which the prin- ciple of compensation was recognized. My hon. Friend says that we must wait till a claim for compensation is made. Parliament does not act on that principle. Where the facts presented the possibility of such a claim, the recognition of the possibility has, I think, taken place in the original proceedings of Parliament. In the face of these difficulties, I am not able to support the Resolution of my hon. Friend, while I certainly shall not place myself in the position of appearing to give a constructive sanction to the present law. I do not know that the question is one of which we have yet obtained a thorough mastery. On the contrary, it appears to me that while in some subjects we trace in the mind of the country, and in the mind also of Parliament, a regular progress from the first beginnings of a conviction, along I clear and definite lines, to the period of their maturity, this is a subject on which the course taken by Parliament—and, possibly, the public opinion of the country—have been attended by a marked irregularity, and even by a singular reversal. It may "not have passed out of recollection that the whole of this subject was under most serious consideration just 25 years ago, and that a Parliamentary Committee was appointed by this House, I think with its unanimous consent and approval, to consider this question. The best endeavours of the Government and of the House were applied in order to form that Committee from the impartial choice of its Members, and, by having on it men of the greatest weight on the subject, to give to the Committee all the influence and authority the House could impart. That Committee reported in 1854 in favour of the system of what is called "Free Trade." I may say that I am now only referring to this matter to show how tolerant we ought to be of the various opinions which have been pronounced, and how cautious we ought to be before arriving at a belief that we have ourselves at length found out some specific solution for the difficulties which have troubled the legislative mind of the country for at least a quarter of a century. For the last 10 or 15 years the course of legislation on this question has been in direct contrariety to the Report of the Committee of 1854. And what do these things show? They seem to me to show that we have not yet got out of the stage of experiment in this matter. I am not prepared to admit, as my hon. Friend states—and, indeed, I contest the statement—that the system of Free Trade, as it is called, has been tried and has egregiously failed. That system has not been tried. The partial trial it has had in the case of beerhouses cannot be said to have embraced the whole, or, indeed, more than a corner of the question. I must say—though here I may seem to pay a compliment to myself—that it was to me a matter of very deep regret when the people of Liverpool, endeavouring to exercise the principle of local option as an experiment, were refused by this House the opportunity they sought of applying that principle. It is a fact in the history of this subject which is well worth calling to the recollection of this House. In Liverpool the majority of the magistrates adopted a system of licences to be granted to all persons properly qualified and with properly qualified premises. They adopted a system, as they called it, of Free Trade, and contended that the system was a beneficial one; and the Committee of the House of Lords, which has just conferred so great a boon on the country by the extent and the comprehensiveness of its labours, has, to some extent, confirmed the proposition of the Liverpool magistrates. But we are in this happy position—that the publicans of Liverpool, taking, as I think, a very rational view of their position, and one, I think, entirely different from the political one on which, in the exercise of their discretion, they have lately thought it prudent to stake their fortunes—the publicans of Liverpool, justly vexed with a system of Free Trade uncertain in its duration, and affording no element on which a calculation of the future could be made, came to that House, and solicited it to pass a Bill for Liverpool under which this system might have been tried. The basis of the Bill was this. There was to be a preference for vested interests in the charge for licences. I think that was a very fair claim indeed. There was also to be a high taxation for new licences, and a strict and rigid system of police conduct and administration of the law. I thought then, and I think now, that the experiment—I will not call it anything more—would have been eminently worth trying; but a combination of con- flicting elements, which entered in a sort of chemical unison, brought about its defeat. The country was not satisfied to let the Liverpool publicans try their fortunes in this way, and a doctrine of uniformity was set up, which seemed to me not agreeable to common sense. The experiment was opposed by men of temperance and men of intemperance, and had not been permitted to be tried. Yet the facts, so far as they go in Liverpool, are these—that with the open grant of licences by the magistrates, which, of course, enabled them to exercise a much more rigid power of investigating character than could be exercised under a system of monopoly, and with the increase of licences which that discretion brought about, there was a great diminution in the number of apprehensions for drunkenness. We are now going through another course of experiment; and not professing to be in possession of any panacea for the solution of these difficulties, I do not presume to set up any other system in opposition to the present one. But I observe these two things. The enhancing of a monopoly means the enormous enhancing of the value of public-house property—it means that every man who has entered into the trade is obliged to risk a larger stake in the undertaking. The purchase or goodwill is far more extensive than it was, and the position of the publicans has become one of greater and greater danger. The withdrawal of the licence is the confiscation of his estate, and what is the effect of that? Inefficient administration of police. It is absolutely impossible to reconcile efficient and stringent administration of police laws in connection with liquor-houses to this system of monopoly. Then we have this curious fact—that while Parliament has been for so many years busy in diminishing the number of public-houses, you have not, in the slightest degree, diminished the number of apprehensions for drunkenness. Nay, more—when you come to make a more minute investigation of the case, you find that, so far from there being a correspondent or direct ratio between the apprehensions for drunkenness and the number of public-houses, you find the evidence rather points to the two being in an inverse ratio to each other. The portion of the Report of the House of Lords' Committee which bears on this subject is well worthy of attention. It is at page 86, and it appears from it that Norwich is the town that has the greatest proportion of licensed houses to population—namely, one public-house to every 124 persons, yet, at the same time, it has the smallest proportion of apprehensions for drunkenness—namely, 1 to 137. Halifax, on the other hand, which, with the exception of Leeds, has the smallest number of public-houses in proportion to the population—namely, 1 to 252, yet has a larger proportion of apprehensions for drunkenness—1 in 74. There are only five towns which show a smaller number of licensed houses in proportion to population than Liverpool—namely, 1 to 209, yet Liverpool has the greatest number of apprehensions for drunkenness—namely, 1 in 24. I am sorry that the House lost an opportunity of trying a useful experiment by rejecting the Resolution of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), which was accompanied by a plan which he had, with sufficient care, drawn up to become the foundation for working it—I allude to the Gothenburg system, modified by my hon. Friend, allowing the sale of liquor, but separating it entirely from private property, and placing it in the hands of a public body. That was an experiment which it would have been most desirable to try in the condition of darkness and blindness in which we are endeavouring to grope our way. The House, however, thought otherwise, and rejected the Resolution. How do we stand at the present moment? The hon. Member for Carlisle says that last year 44 Liberals voted against him, probably because they were waiting for the Report of the Lords' Committee, and now that Report has appeared he expects to get their votes. Has my hon. Friend read that Report? If he has, I think he should see that the 44 Liberals are more likely to vote against him again than otherwise.


I said, or meant to say, I thought those 44 Liberals would now vote for the Resolution; because, since the Report of the Lords' Committee had been presented, it was clear nothing would be done.


But is it clear nothing will be done? For my part, I have always been glad to avail myself of any opportunity—as in the case of the Irish Sunday Closing Bill, where there appeared to be safe and solid ground for the formation of true views—for the promotion of moderate and liberal progress. We have now in our hands the Report of the Committee of the House of Lords, which embodies many propositions and many recommendations of great value; and my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle is quite justified in looking upon it as in some sense a triumph for him—a triumph, that is to say, in favour of the tendencies of his general views and arguments, if not in favour of the extreme proposition which he advocates. I separate the Gothenburg system from the other recommendations of the Committee of the House of Lords, although I must own it appears to me, notwithstanding its executory difficulties, to be in its idea a very happy conception, as it is one which has worked perfectly harmoniously in the country of its origin. It has not been attended, I believe, with injury to those engaged in the trade which it superseded, and it was carried into practice with a just compensation of their interests. I will not speak further of that law; but I must express my hope that we shall hear from Her Majesty's Government tonight that they intend to propose some measure on the basis of the Report of the Committee of the House of Lords, not in the least as if they were bound by it—far from it—but on the basis of the Report, because they have themselves referred to the appearance of the Report as marking an epoch in the history of this question. They spoke of the Report, intimating that they must await its appearance before making up their minds as to the course they should adopt. It has now appeared, and is the product of very prolonged labour, and of the application to the subject of great patience and great intelligence in dealing with the difficulties of a most complicated question. Under these circumstances, I hope we shall hear from Her Majesty's Government that they intend to give us their responsible judgment upon the recommendations of that Report. There are not less, I believe, than 20 recommendations contained in it; and I can hardly conceive it possible for anyone to read the Report and not admit that many of those recommendations are of the most practicable and valuable character. The Government awaited that Report, and the House is ready to lend no prejudiced or unfavourable ear to the plans which they may propose; for it would, I think, be very difficult for the Government to show any good reason why they should not now announce to us the result of their deliberations on the important proposals contained in the Report. For my own part, I cling to the hope that, even before this debate closes, Her Majesty's Government will announce to the House that they intend to submit for its consideration some practical amendment of the present law. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the words quoted by my hon. Friend, has given his adhesion—and so perfect was the harmony between them that I might almost say the Licensed Victuallers also gave their adhesion—to the assertion that the existing state of the law is disgraceful. It was stated just now that greater is the calamity and curse inflicted upon mankind by intemperance than by the three great curses—war, pestilence, and famine. I believe that that proposition is true—but for whom? Not for European civilized countries in general; certainly not for Italy, or Spain, or Portugal, or Greece. Of France or Germany it would be ludicrous to assert that the effects of intemperance are comparable with those of the three great historic curses. But it is true for us; and the fact that it is true for us is, I believe, the measure of our discredit and disgrace for the state of the law as it now.


who had the following Amendment on the Paper:— That it would be undesirable and inopportune to change the arrangements now legislatively provided for the regulation of the trade now carried on by the licensed victuallors of this Country, because any tribunal subject to periodical election by popular canvas and vote, might, and in all probability would, lead to repeated instances of turmoil, and thus be detrimental to the peace and quietude of every neigbourhood in England, said, he would accept the text of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, for the right hon. Member for Greenwich, like himself, appeared to be fully alive to the fact that there could be no one in this country who would not only in the first instance denounce, but would afterwards endeavour, as far as he possibly could, to put an end to excessive drinking; and he understood the right hon. Gentleman, like himself, believed that with our present ideas, with our present knowledge on the subject, it would be most undesirable and inopportune to make the change which was suggested by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle. That was practically the point to which his (Mr. Wheelhouse's) own alternative proposition extended. He had never been one of those who said non possumus.He was as anxious as anyone that there should be a limit to excessive drinking; but the result of the present Resolution, crude as it was, would be infinitely for the worse in every direction. What did the hon. Baronet, by this Motion, ask the House to do? He wanted to take the licensing power out of the hands of the gentlemen who had exercised it for between 200 and 300 years, and to place it—where? In the hands of the Town Council, the Local Board, the Vestry; or, at all events, in the hands of some body of gentlemen who were responsible to some other body—the electors—who had the power of replacing them at intervals, it might be of 12 months, or, at most, three years. With every respect for the integrity of the view expressed by the hon. Baronet, with every desire to follow as closely as he could the argument of the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt), he could not understand upon what possible principle any tribunal which was subject to periodical elections, which was the subject of canvass and vote by almost all classes of the community, could exercise a discretion equally free and equally unfettered with that of the local magistracy in matters of this kind. If, for the purpose of argument, it could for a moment be conceded that magistrates were likely to be influenced by any local considerations whatever, would not every one of those considerations occur with ten-fold force in respect to any body which had to be elected? Was it reasonable to suppose that an elected body would be less liable to influence than the local magistrates—he thought he might say gentlemen—who had nothing whatever to do with the property beyond seeing, for the sake of their own households as well as for the sake of the neighbourhood, that public-houses were properly conducted. But could anyone who knew what popular elections were doubt that if the principle of this Resolution were applied every influence which could be brought to bear on elections now would hereafter be intensified? Popular elections were, no doubt, very well under certain circumstances and with certain subjects; but if there was one question more than another that would be likely to add to the turmoil and disorder of an election, it was this matter. At all events, such a change in the law would be likely to do so, and the placing the power of granting licences to public-houses, as indicated in the Resolution, would become in every town and district a Party question. He thought that these considerations would fairly meet the arguments of those who had introduced and supported the Resolution. But by what means did the hon. Baronet propose to carry out local option? Was it to be conterminous with the Town Council? Well, unfortunately, in the North of England every Town Council was elected upon what were called political principles, and it was known that in the election of almost all local bodies quasipolitical considerations had great influence, and, indeed, were allowed to dominate over nearly every other. Therefore, he contended it was not desirable to put a question of this kind—the granting of licences—in the hands of those whose political predilections had placed them in authority. But, in the absence of a Town Council, was the local option to be placed in the hands of the School Board, or of the Local Government Board, or in the hands of a Vestry, however select? How was the House to frame a measure on premises so vague as those laid down, or attempted to be shadowed forth, by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle? This was, it was true, an abstract Resolution; but if it was adopted by the House, would it not be converted by the hon. Baronet into the Permissive Bill, or something stronger even than that? It was simply an attempt to get in the thin end of the wedge, so that it might afterwards be driven home. The right hon. Gentleman saw in a moment the weakness of the hon. Baronet's position, and demonstrated as clearly as could be shown that this abstract Resolution must, at least, load to the re-proposition of the Permissive Bill, and that it was large enough, net-like enough, to include within its meshes a very much larger proposition even than that Bill. He had heard with satisfaction the right hon. Gentle- man's observations with respect to vested interests. Personally, he was no advocate of monopolies; but where a monopoly had been allowed to grow up, and had been regulated by licences and restrictions, then it was only fair that the vested interests of those engaged in carrying on that monopoly should be equitably considered. Without, in the slightest degree, saying the hon. Baronet was not justly within his right in choosing to proceed by abstract Resolution, he thought it would be infinitely more to the purpose, and a saving of the time of the House, and a more statesmanlike proceeding, to bring the question forward in the shape of a Bill, so that the House might have the details of the proposal before it, and be enabled to proceed in a legislative and statutory manner. He was told that this was not a teetotal question; but it was brought forward by one total abstainer, seconded by another, and it would, no doubt, receive the support of almost every total abstainer in and out of the House, so that it looked more like a teetotal question than a question involving merely temperance. He trusted there were none who did not like temperance for itself, none who preferred insobriety and disorder to comfort and good order; but when he was told that drunkenness was on the increase, he begged leave, not merely to deny that statement, but to assert that it was on the decrease, although the extra vigilance displayed in arresting drunkards might seem to point to the contrary. We were daily becoming a more sober people; and if there was any exception to that rule—he was sorry to have to say it, and especially of the female population—it was not the fault of the Licensed Victuallers, but because of the facilities for drink that had been given by granting grocers' and other licences that were beyond the control of the magistrates. It had been said that this was a national question. He quite agreed with that view, and therefore thought that it would be infinitely better if it were left in the hands of a national body like the magistrates, rather than to little cliques of an irresponsible description. He admitted that there were anomalies in the present system of distribution; but contended that if they went back upon the Alehouse Act of Geo. IV. the charge against the Licensed Victuallers as a body of promoting drunkenness, would fall into comparative nothingness. But it was said, and upon high authority, that it might be desirable to have Free Trade in drink, and that the Liverpool experiment had never been properly tried; but he did not believe it to be possible to obtain complete Free Trade in England in anything, and it would be undesirable to have it, most of all, in drink. The hon. Member for Carlisle had told them that the measures for the sale of cheap beer and cheap wine had been failures. He was very much inclined, for once, to agree with the hon. Baronet. They had been failures, and they were likely to be failures. Those who were old enough to remember the beerhouse legislation of Lord Brougham and his day would probably recollect that it was then foreseen that it was 'doubtful whether cheap beer, under the beerhouse system, would be the unmitigated good which it supporters claimed for it. But when it came to the Wine Licences Act, when it was thought advisable, under a so-called Treaty of Commerce, to bring in cheap clarets, he knew very well what the consequence would be, and foretold it, and every prediction which he made, a quarter of a century ago, had come to pass. Were the wage-earning class of this country any better for the importation of cheap clarets? No. From the period of their introduction females, and persons in rather a better class of life than those who habitually resorted to the public-house, had become more and more subject to intoxication. That was a fearful responsibility, and he was one of those who would hark back from the lines of that legislation, and the sooner the evil was arrested the better it would be for the country. He was as much astonished as amused when he heard scraps and extracts from the Report of the Lords' Committee on Intemperance quoted either in support of the Permissive Bill or local option. With one single exception, there was scarcely a paragraph or passage in the whole of that Report which fortified the position taken by the hon. Member for Carlisle. The Permissive Bill, in so many words, was actually denounced. They were told in that Report that whatever else they did they must not legislate on the lines of the Permissive Bill. If they were to take a Report they must take it as a whole, and not take out scraps and little bits here and there which suited particular lines of argument or squared in with particular views. They were told that many important bodies were in favour of local option, and clergymen were said to be foremost in support of the measure. It was very odd, however, that they scarcely ever found amongst the clergymen signing either Petitions or Memorials, for local option, that any of them were Justices of the Peace. If they were they would probably tell a very different story. He was prepared to admit that the Church in all its branches was acting as a part of the great police system of the country; but those clergymen—and for the Profession he hoped he had his fair proportion of respect—who went to the extent of signing Memorials in favour of local option did not exactly take in the whole scope of the question, nor did they consider into whose hands the power now vested in the magistrates would be intrusted in their own parishes and their own ecclesiastical districts. When the clerical body told them that local option would be an advantage to the country, the statesmen in that House begged respectfully, and by a very large majority, to differ from that view. If they began to deal with matters of this kind upon the local option principle secret drinking would increase tenfold. Everybody would endeavour to evade the law, and there would be in every locality an increase of that most pernicious system of secret drinking and social inebriety. They were told that the licensing plan was the greatest failure that the world had ever seen. Statements of that kind might be made, but they meant nothing. He had been reminded, since he entered the House, that in Middlesex and Westminster, no fewer than 500 and 450 licences had been re-granted to applicants, against not one of whom was there a shadow of complaint. Did that say nothing in favour of the magisterial supervision that was exercised? He apprehended that under no other supervision could they have such an amount of good management, reflecting credit alike on the publicans as a body, and on the bench of magistrates. He was not going to talk of depriving the poor man of his beer; but so long as the Clubs and cellars of the rich were allowed to dis- tribute drink to the tipper classes of society, it was but right to leave to the humbler classes the only cellar which, practically, they possessed—namely, the public-houses. Hon. Members could not hide from themselves that if they legislated upon the lines of local option or total abstinence it would place the humbler class of the community in a far worse position than they were ever placed in before. With regard to the Gothenburg system, it was impossible to institute any fair comparison between this country and Sweden; the necessities and wants of the two people were so dissimilar. The hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle described himself as one of the plagues of the House. Whatever might Be said of his views, the hon. Baronet, personally, was deservedly a favourite with the House, and infused into its deliberations a good humour of which it was to be regretted they had not more. It was said that it was only reasonable to give power to the majority in each district to prevent drink shops being established where they were not wanted. The fact was, however, that drink shops would never be found where they were not wanted, because no body of men could exercise a more strict—not to say a more severe—control over the granting of new licences, than the present magistrates did. He contended that the magistrates were much fitter to exercise that control, and were less likely to be acted upon by extraneous influences, than any other local bodies. Believing that the Licensing Act was efficient for its purpose, and that the measure proposed by the hon. Baronet was unjust, uncalled for, and calculated, if adopted, to prove injurious to the community, he would vote most decidedly against the Resolution.


congratulated his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle on having made a change of front which enabled many hon. Gentlemen who had long desired to offer him a certain degree of support to do so without difficulty. The hon. and learned Gentleman who last spoke had argued as though the Motion before the House were substantially the same as the Permissive Bill. If he thought so he would frankly admit that he could not support the Motion of his hon. Friend. It always appeared to him to be one of the merits of his hon. Friend's Motion that it got rid of his hon. Friend's Bill. Two objections to the Bill always seemed conclusive to his mind. One had been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone)—namely, that his hon. Friend proposed to extinguish a vast trade which had received the sanction of the State for centuries back, and in which an immense amount of capital was embarked, without any compensation whatever. The hon. Baronet used to say that he wished to leave the question of compensation untouched; but that was just what the robber, said who picked his pocket. It was all very well to say that the licence was only granted for one year, and that the power which originally granted it could refuse to re-grant it; but that was a mistake, for the Justices could not refuse to do so without reason assigned, so that so long as the business was carried on without misconduct it could not be interfered with, and even if there was misconduct it would not be sufficient, unless persisted in after repeated warnings. Another equally fatal objection to his hon. Friend's Bill was very well put last year in a speech delivered by the hon. Baronet the Under Secretary of State (Sir Matthew White Ridley), when he said that "we ought not to subordinate the privileges of the sober man to the reformation of the drunkard." The rights of the individual were so completely sacrificed by that Bill that, had it become law, all facilities for procuring an essential article of diet would have disappeared over a very wide area. Possibly the Motion before the House had suffered somewhat from the advocacy of his hon. Friend, because no one would believe that he had not a Permissive Bill concealed about his person; yet the Resolution simply declared the new principle that the inhabitants of a district should be entitled to exercise some sort of control over the number of public-houses existing among them. If the House wore dealing with a Bill, it would have been necessary, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had said, to consider the whole question of compensation, and with the best means of preserving, to some extent, the rights of the minority. His own constituency contained many men in whose minds the question had never been allowed to slumber; but he had never voted for the Bill, though, as far as the Resolution went, he thought his hon. Friend had proved his point. It was a monstrous thing, considering the powers already conferred upon localities, that they should be crowded and crammed with public-houses without being able to offer anything like an effective resistance. Few persons had better opportunities of gauging the strength of an agitation than the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle. He was apparently of opinion that there was no radical cure for intemperance but total prohibition, though much might be done by restrictive legislation. It was to be hoped, then, that his hon. Friend would not renounce the opportunity of making a real attack on the intemperance of the country. For his own part, he should vote for the Resolution; because he saw in the recognition of the principle of local option some chance of setting up an enlightened public opinion—some hope of escape from the great moral disease of the country.


wished to say a word or two with reference to a remark of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) that was, to a certain extent, personal to himself. It had been stated by the hon. Baronet that in the village of Ampton there was not a single beer-house or public-house. That was the case; but if he thought the inhabitants required a public-house, or that their wants justified the presence of one, and that he refused to give them that accommodation, he should consider himself as most selfish and unworthy of the position which he held. Whatever the rights of property might be, he repudiated the notion that a person ought tyrannically or arbitrarily to interfere with the wants of his poorer neighbours. With regard to the Resolution of the hon. Baronet, it professed to affirm the principle of local option; but, reading it by the light of the addresses delivered by the hon. Baronet and his followers, and by what was said of it in those public organs which advocated temperance, he firmly believed that the intention was, not to give local option only, but to suppress and close all public-houses. It was because he feared this tyrannical result that he could not give his vote in favour of the Resolution. The people to whom the right of exercising local option would be given were people who were entirely independent of public-house accommodation, and who had all the means at their own firesides of enjoying every comfort and indulgence. The Motion would introduce class legislation of the very worst description, and a great deal of discontent throughout the country. He was willing to allow that the Licensing Laws required amendment; but not in the sense proposed by the hon. Baronet. That hon. Gentleman wished to make the granting of a licence the subject of a popular vote. Now, he (Mr. Rodwell) admitted that all classes of the community should have the same means of expressing their opinions and views; but he thought that could be done without altering the existing machinery if the magistrates, when a new licence was applied for, took care to ascertain the feelings of the people. He might be allowed, perhaps, to mention one matter to which the hon. Baronet had alluded with very good taste and in an amusing manner—namely, the local option meeting at Cambridge. Now, he would offer the hon. Baronet a little bit of advice, as he believed he had brought upon himself the indignation of the meeting by the intemperance of his language. If his language had been more moderate, if he had not levelled an attack upon himself, and refrained from, sarcasms upon the rosy appearance of the Licensed Victuallers, he would have been heard with patience. However, he had not taken the chair at that meeting, as had been arranged; neither had he even attended it, for a good reason. At first, he supposed it would be a public meeting; but afterwards, when opposition was apprehended, admission was granted by tickets only, and the meeting became one-sided and exclusive. He thought it a great farce that he, acting as it was said as a "moderator," should preside at a meeting where no discussion was to be allowed, and where he could not call upon anyone to move an amendment. He said, therefore, that the promoters of the meeting had better get somebody else, and then it was stated that he ran away. He should be quite ready to join Cardinal Manning, Canon Wilberforce, or the hon. Baronet at a meeting, so long as there was free discussion, people could ask questions, and inform themselves what local option really meant. He flattered himself that had the promoters allowed him to pre- side at the meeting, and there had been free discussion, the people, knowing his views, would have been more orderly, and the hon. Baronet would have had a better reception and would not have had to run away, which he really did.


said, he would venture to intrude a very few words on the House in explanation of the course he proposed to take. Last year he made the statement that in voting for the Motion he most distinctly protested against being considered to be supporting the Permissive Bill. That protest he would emphasize in more distinct words. He was only sorry that when the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) brought on his Motion he did not explain a little more fully its real meaning. Though the words of the Motion were the same as that of last year, he, like his hon. and learned Friend who had just sat down (Mr. Rodwell), felt very much perplexed; and he had hoped that they should have had more light thrown upon the matter with regard to what was really meant. He would, however, endeavour to state what meaning he attached to it himself, and it would only be in that sense that he should support the Resolution. A great deal of discussion had taken place, and they had heard of the difficulties which surrounded the question, and some speakers had asserted that Free Trade in drink had proved a failure; but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich now asserted that it had never been fairly tried, and could not be considered, therefore, to have been played out. And another question had been brought forward—that of total prohibition, though it had been touched upon, comparatively, in a slight degree. His hon. Friend the Member for Leatham—[Laughter]—he meant the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Leatham)—had made a speech which, contrary to his usual clearness, was perplexed; and, instead of grappling boldly with the question, he avoided touching the root of it at all. What they had to consider that evening was, whether it was desirable to place further restrictions on the liquor traffic. He should be glad to hear that the Government intended to bring in a comprehensive measure dealing with the question, as hon. Members had now had time to read and thoroughly understand the Report of the House of Lords' Committee on Intemperance. If something was not now done in the way of legislation it would be impossible to avoid effecting a reform in the next Parliament. It seemed to him that it would be impossible to subordinate the privileges of the sober to those who imbibed too freely. Any measure which gave the whole power into the hands of a plebiscite or local majority would hit very far from the mark in doing good. Further than that, he did not himself think that the real remedy lay in that extreme. It lay rather between the two extremes. He did think that what that House ought to study was as far as possible to give liberty, and also to consult public convenience. It did not do for hon. Members, who had not the inclination to go into a public-house, or who did not imbibe wines or any drinks at all—it did not do for them to hold up their hands and inveigh—to them, with, righteous indignation—against those who actually felt, from the necessities of their nature, that they ought to take some stimulants during the day. Everyone had his own particular nostrum, everyone had his own particular way of dealing with this important question as he thought best, and the consequence was that nothing at all was done. He gave all possible credit to the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) for having so systematically brought this question year after year before the House, and for having, by his humour, made interesting that which in other hands would probably be most uninteresting. There was a great amount of feeling about disturbing the magistrates in the possession of the power which they now used with great intelligence and for the well-being of the community; and it was felt that those magistrates, who had had the power for 330 years, ought not to be rudely pushed aside and their power put into the hands of persons who had never felt such responsibility. There was another class of Members, and there were persons outside the House, who believed that education had something to do with the question, and felt that, by the statistics of education, it was proved that intemperance was diminishing among the better educated. There were other men's interests and the customs of the population, and there was the point which the right hon. Member for Greenwich made on the question of vested interests—a point which appeared to him (Mr. Mark Stewart), without imputing any motive, to be one they were not so accustomed to hear from the Opposition side of the House, but which ought to be specially guarded and protected. Then, again, hon. Members felt that the fluctuation of public opinion, varying, as it did, and spreading about and over, was against the publican unless he was guarded by law. A magistrate did not feel himself in duty bound to renew a licence when there was nothing against the character of a publican; and if it were not for that, they would get a class of men in the trade without capital and without means, and very much the class of men whom they did not want to have. But he would pass on to some of the points involved in the Resolution before the House. He conceived that the true principle of all this licensing question was this—that it ought to be legislated upon for the good of the entire people, and it ought not to be a matter regulated here or regulated there, but what was the general good ought to be the general wish; and what the House desired to promote would be, that the matter should not be vested entirely in the hands of the people, but that there should be associated with the magistrates a certain number of assessors, who should know the individual wants of a particular district. If that were done, then he should say they were going in the direction which carried force and weight of conviction to the minds of the people. In Scotland the people, in the first instance, elected the Town Councils, and then the Town Councils selected from among their number the bailies, who were borough magistrates; and no new licence by the Act of 1876, brought in by the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson), could be granted, unless it was by the concurrence of the magistrates elected by the Town Council, and also with that of the magistrates of the county in which the borough was situated. In that case, there was a prohibition which might be brought into exercise, and it was a great boon on this question of new licences. If he understood the matter, that was not the case in England. Well, what should be the position and the duty of the magistrates? He took it there ought to be assessors. Suppose there were one or two assessors elected by the people to assist in advising the magistrates. He thought it would work well. He might say that, acting upon this Resolution last year, he brought in a Bill, along with several other hon. Members, and the point of that measure was that the licensing authority should take into consideration the circumstances of the district, and that no new certificate should be granted unless required by the public, and the character and circumstances of the population of the district, the description of the premises to be licensed, and the number of rooms therein should be described, and that the application should be supported by signatures of persons in its favour. He took it that he had so far been persistent in support of local option in endeavouring to carry that Bill. The measure passed the second reading; but, under the half-past 12 Rule, he was unable to get it advanced further. Not only would the assessors sit and advise the magistrates, but they would be able to make inquiries, which the magistrates could not prosecute, as to the population, and in other respects they would be able to check abuses, and bring abuses to the knowledge of the magistrates, and they would be able to supervise transfers and enable the system of licensing to be thoroughly supervised. In reading between the lines of the Resolution—which, he thought, they would be justified in doing, seeing that it was an abstract Resolution—he would make it a strong point that, whilst there must be a minimum restriction, licences must not go beyond a maximum. Taking these views into consideration, that the question was not only of great importance under the circumstances to the whole country, and not alone to the particular constituencies, it would reflect credit on the Government if they would bring in, or give the House to understand they would bring in, some measure which really would deal with this question, and proclaim to the country their intention of grappling with the evil.


said, he should not have risen to address the House but for the prominence which had been given to the case of Norwich by the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, who quoted from the Report of the Lords' Committee on Intem- perance, that Norwich, with the largest number of public-houses in proportion to the population, had yet the smallest amount of drunkenness. He wished to assure the House that there was no laxity on the part of the magistrates or police in dealing with the drunkenness of the city. He had himself observed with considerable satisfaction, while going through the city late at night, the extreme quietness of its streets, where there were a larger number of public-houses than he cared to see. However, he did not wish the House to infer that the magistrates in Norwich felt that the more public-houses there were the less drunkenness prevailed; but they had been, on the other hand, very careful of the number of new licences granted. He also felt, and it seemed to him to be the strongest argument that could be put forward on behalf of the Resolution of the hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), that communities should have the same power as individuals. When they knew that individuals had power on their own estates to prevent public-houses being established he could not understand why the community should not have the same power. But he wished to dissociate himself from the doubtful views on compensation expressed by the hon. Baronet, and to say distinctly that if the community shut up the public-houses they were bound to compensate the owners of them, for that was simply doing what an individual would have to do. If an individual on his own property wished to close a public-house he would have to buy the licence at a considerably enhanced cost, and in that sense he believed communities were bound to do the same thing. Therefore, he thought if a measure were brought forward which had for its object the reduction of the number of public-houses some compensation should be given to vested interests. With that explanation, he should vote for the Resolution of the hon. Baronet.


said, he was well acquainted with Norwich, and quite agreed with what had been stated in regard to it by the hon. Member who had just addressed the House (Mr. Colman); but what he could not understand was that, after the favourable experience of Norwich, the hon. Gentleman was still determined to vote for the Resolution. He was at a loss to understand what was the meaning of local option. Did it mean that a community, say of 100 inhabitants, should be enabled to decide by their vote that the number of public-houses should be increased or diminished? If it meant anything it ought to mean that; but the public were of opinion that by local option the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle proposed to give communities an option in regulating the number of public-houses, but only in one direction. He (Mr. Bulwer), however, ventured to say, from his experience of a great number of localities, that in all probability, if local option, in its widest sense, were adopted it would cut two ways, and that, so far from the number of public-houses becoming fewer, there would be a great many more than were wanted. As to the meeting at Cambridge, to which so much reference had been made, he had received an account of it from an authority upon which he could rely, and the statement agreed with that of the hon. and learned Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Rodwell) that the confusion was entirely owing to the hon. Baronet himself. He (Mr. Bulwer) had been told that the University students would have consented to listen to Cardinal Manning or Canon Wilberforce; but they did not like to be addressed in the tone which was adopted by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle. Although they liked a good joke, they did not, as they said, like to be addressed in the language of a clown in the circus. If the hon. Baronet and his friends would be more temperate in their language without being less jocular they would probably do more good, and would have more chance of promoting the cause they had at heart. He ventured to say that if, instead of asking Parliament to pass stringent measures on this subject, every man were personally to exert his influence to pro-vent drunkenness, the evil would be put a stop to to a great extent. There were other vices which they all deplored which produced greater evils than even drunkenness; and could anyone suppose that they could do away with these evils by shutting up the places where they were practised? The only mode to deal with this matter was to do what they could to promote education, to give people rational amusements, and more comfortable homes; but to ask Parliament to pass a Resolution or an Act to make men sober was simply a waste of time. He fully admitted that considerable amendment might be effected in the Licensing Laws and in the mode in which licences were granted; and he approved the system in force in the City of Dublin, where absolute power to grant or refuse them was placed in the hands of the Recorder, who was an independent authority, and who would not be influenced by considerations which might affect large bodies of persons in determining whether to grant or withhold them. There was very great scope for improvement in the licensing authority, and appeals from that authority; but as to the question of local option, he did not understand what it meant, and, therefore, he should vote against it.


observed, that all in that House were agreed as to the evils of drunkenness; but the question was, did the Resolution propose the best remedy for those evils? The Resolution asked the House to vote for some undefined and uncertain thing, and, in fact, to sign a blank cheque for the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Law-son) to fill in at his leisure and according to his fancy. That was not what the House wanted. They wanted something tangible; they were not to be dashed on a quicksand by a Resolution like that. It began with an assertion altogether erroneous, and ended with a recommendation that nobody could understand. It began by stating— That inasmuch as the ancient and avowed object of Licensing the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors is to supply a supposed public want, without detriment to the public welfare. But did not the hon. Baronet know that wines and beer and spirits were sold in this country long before licences were known, and that licences were invented originally to fill the King's Exchequer. Then the Resolution went on to propose that the legal power of restraining the issue or renewal of licences should be placed in the hands of the inhabitants. But who, he (Mr. Muntz) should like to know, were the inhabitants? Taking his own borough, it must contain some 400,000 people; and how, he should like to know, could such a vast number of people as that express their opinion on the subject? Were they all to be placed on the register at the expense of many thousands of pounds, or were they to vote indiscriminately, in which case the American principle of "voting early and voting often," would be largely carried out? He did not admit that the licensing system of this country was a complete failure, or that there was any alarming increase of drunkenness, except among a class of women who ought to know better, and who certainly did not obtain their intoxicating liquors from the public-houses. It would be impossible to put a stop altogether to the traffic in drink, except on the condition that the publicans were compensated for the loss such a course would occasion to them; and he greatly doubted whether Parliament would be willing to vote £150,000,000 to carry out the plan. He denied that the permissive system had worked successfully in places where it had boon tried. In Massachusetts it had been tried for 22 years, and eventually the old licensing system had to be resorted to, to put a stop to the evils which the permissive system had given rise to. The same thing had occurred in Canada. Friends of the hon. Baronet had been tolerably well bullied in order to induce them to support the Resolution; and, as regarded himself, he had never received so many threats since he had been a Representative in Parliament as he had in the event of his voting against it. He, however, should be ashamed to yield to coercion of that kind. He should vote for what he thought right and best for the interests of the country. If his constituency did not like such independence on the part of their Member they must get somebody else to represent them, because he would never consent to act the part of a mere delegate. If the hon. Baronet really wanted to try the question fairly, let him begin at the right end and move a Resolution to affirm that the Members of the Houses of Parliament should not be henceforth supplied within the Palace of Westminster with spirituous liquors, wines, or beer; and if a Motion of the kind was supported by 20 votes he (Mr. Muntz) would be almost persuaded to become a teetotaler. As far as his own experience enabled him to speak, however, the most ardent supporters of the Permissive Bill in Parliament were Members who drank more than any others at the refreshment places provided in different parts of the House. When they, the Representatives of the people, had denied themselves the opportunity of taking refreshments, they could call upon the people to do the same; but while the Members of that House and others could enjoy the luxuries of life at their homes and their Clubs, he could not vote for putting down the poor man's public-house and beer-shop—the only club he had to go to. If the hon. Baronet would bring forward a measure which defined clearly what he really proposed to do, it should have his (Mr. Muntz's) candid consideration; but so long as he brought before them a Resolution which might mean something or mean nothing, he could not vote for it. This was a Resolution which he did not understand; and, therefore, he should vote against it.


, in opposing the Motion, thought the House always had a great deal of sympathy with the cause of temperance; and if they did not agree altogether with the hon. Baronet (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) they admired his sincerity, and the consistency, persistency, and moderation with which he brought forward these questions. The hon. Baronet might be sure of one thing—that since he had commenced to work against intemperance the cause of temperance had increased in the country. He did not think that closing public-houses would lessen the amount of drunkenness amongst women, but that it would be apt to increase that evil, because it was not in such places that women usually gratified their craving after intoxicants. It would force people who now drank at public-houses to keep intoxicating liquors in their houses; and the effect of that, he was afraid, would be to increase the amount of drunkenness amongst women. A great deal of drunkenness was the effect of a life of hard toil without sufficient recreation, and to close the public-houses would be only to deal with the effect, and not with the cause. If they wished to lessen drunkenness, they must provide amusement and recreation for the great masses of the country, by means of music-halls, to which men could take their wives and families; by providing more open spaces, and by other means of that character. A great deal had been done in that direction by the sanitary legislation of the present Government. The Government had endeavoured to provide healthier homes for the working classes, which was a step in the right direction. Although the hon. Baronet had endeavoured to mystify the House as to the meaning of his Resolution, there could be no doubt that its object was that it should be the basis of a Bill similar to that which the hon. Baronet had repeatedly failed to carry through the House. He (Mr. Ritchie) was surprised that the hon. Baronet, with his experience, should ask the House to agree to an ambiguous Resolution. The House did not, very properly and naturally, like abstract Resolutions, and all the ordinary objections to abstract Resolutions applied ten-fold to this Resolution. It was one on which it had already been proved a Bill of a practical character could not be founded. The hon. Baronet brought in his Bill, which was found to be unworkable, and then, having proved that the proposition was impracticable, he asked the House to assent to a Resolution which it was impossible to work out in a Bill. Was the proposition made by the hon. Baronet just, and was it practical? He proceeded on the principle that all who drank were drunken. ["No, no!"] Well, the hon. Baronet desired to prevent everyone from drinking, and he asked the House to give a majority of any locality the power to stop those who used, and did not abuse, alcoholic liquors from obtaining any drink at all. If the Resolution did not mean that it meant nothing. To pass a Resolution of that kind would be one of the worst instances of class legislation he (Mr. Ritchie) had ever heard of. The hon. Baronet did not attempt to apply his Resolution to the class to which Members of that House belonged. The artizan was not to be at liberty to procure a pint of beer for his supper; but Members of Parliament could procure whatever they required in the shape of intoxicating drink either in that House, in their Clubs, or in their homes. If they were to stop the consumption of intoxicating liquors on the ground that they were injurious, even when taken in moderation, they would have to go to the root of the evil, and stop their importation and manufacture. The Resolution did not give them any information. The hon. Baronet asked them to commit themselves to a principle without going into the details. How was the kind of election proposed to be carried out? Suppose, also, that in one parish all the public-houses were closed, and that in an adjoining one the public-houses remained open, they would be—following out the hon. Baronet's reasoning—giving peace and quietness to the one at the expense of the other, because that part of the population who wished for public-houses and were overruled would simply resort to the locality where they existed. The hon. Baronet might say that the Resolution could only become operative at the will of a majority of the inhabitants of a locality. Well, they all knew the activity of the party to which the hon. Baronet belonged, and they could well conceive how his supporters would move heaven and earth to procure the votes nominally of a majority, which might actually be a minority, of those entitled to vote. The hon. Baronet had not absolutely said that there should be no compensation to Licensed Victuallers. They might gather his opinion, however, from his speeches, from which he seemed to think that if a magistrate, by a stroke of the pen, increased the value of a man's house, he ought not, if disturbed, to obtain compensation; but he (Mr. Ritchie) would remind him that large sums of money were spent by Licensed Victuallers who went into public-houses, the process being comparatively infrequent of taking a house and then applying for a licence. As to who was to pay the compensation, the hon. Baronet had left them unenlightened. If the principle of local option were adopted in this matter, where were they to stop? Tobacco was regarded as very injurious by many people; were they to leave the question of its use to the decision of a majority of residents in a particular district? Early marriages were held to be a great evil; were they to be similarly prevented? Indeed, there were numbers of other instances that could be quoted. He quite acknowledged that in some places the licensed houses constituted a nuisance, as they were far too numerous, and that licences were obtained occasionally with too great a facility. The previous night, however, he had been fortunate enough to carry through its last stage a Bill which would have the effect of preventing the granting of hundreds—he might say of thousands—of licences. As a matter of fact, magistrates all over the country were extremely cautious about granting new licences, and it seemed to him that this power should still be vested in their hands, instead of in the hands of an elective body. In conclusion, for his part, he was ready to support any well-considered measure for the amendment of the Licensing Laws; but he could not vote for a measure which would prevent one man using intoxicating liquor in moderation because another man, by his excesses, abused it.


said, that in listening to the debate, which he had done with great attention almost from its commencement, he could not help thinking that he did not overstate the ease when he said that many speakers had done some injustice to his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson). They had not treated him fairly, and the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Ritchie) had been, perhaps, the worst of those to whom that observation applied, when he charged his hon. Friend with a wish to mystify the House. That was the very last charge that ought to be brought against his hon. Friend. Probably, if his hon. Friend had been a little more disposed to mystify the House, he might have more voters than he was likely to have that night in favour of his Resolution. Again, the hon. Member said—and it had been assumed generally by hon. Gentlemen—that the question before the House was the question of the Permissive Bill, and nearly all his speech had been directed against the clauses and propositions of that Bill. But the Permissive Bill had disappeared, and probably never would be seen again in the House. It had been assumed, and, in his opinion, in many cases most unjustly, that the Proposer of the Resolution asked the House to pledge itself to the Permissive Bill, or, at all events, that he had endeavoured to persuade them to enter into a trap which he had set and baited, and out of which they would find, if they passed the Resolution, there was no escape. Now, he (Mr. John Bright) had always, from the first time the Permissive Bill was before the House, been strongly opposed to it. He voted against it, at least on one occasion; and many years ago he spoke against it, and in favour of that which now would come under the Resolution of his hon. Friend as a measure of local option. He might say, too, that if that Bill which he opposed before should appear again he would meet it with the same opposition, because the more he thought of it the more he believed that his arguments against it were sound and just. But he should vote for the present Resolution, and, having voted for it, would feel that he was just as free to deal with the drink question at any future time when it might come before the House as if he had never heard of the Permissive Bill, and as if the present Resolution had never been before them. He objected to the Permissive Bill because there was in it no element of representation. It was a great and powerful weapon that was to act by what they might call a mass vote. It was not intended to restrain, for in it there was no power to restrain, the granting of licences; its only power was to be used to suppress public-houses altogether. All that was to be done with no sufficient notice, and with no compensation to those who were disturbed under any circumstances. It occurred to him what must happen if it were proposed, in great cities like Manchester and Birmingham, to put in force the Permissive Bill. Perhaps 1,500 or 2,000 persons and families would be connected with the trade against which the Permissive Bill was directed. It was clear that no vote of the population in either of those cities would have been a sufficient plea to turn out of their business and homes, without notice and without compensation, 1,000, 1,500, or 2,000 persons engaged in the distribution of alcoholic drinks; and, therefore, he came to the conclusion long ago that the Bill was absolutely impossible in Parliament; and if it could possibly pass through the House it must be rejected in every city in which it was proposed to enforce it. It would have been absolutely impossible to persuade the population of our great cities, or oven considerable towns, to adopt the Bill, and so deal with a considerable portion of the members engaged in that trade, even though they were determined that the trade, by some process or other, should be put an end to. The proposal of to-night showed that his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle and his Friends had become wiser during the discussions that had taken place. They had found, as all had found, that there was no growth of opinion in that House in favour of the Permissive Bill. He was not sure that he could count five Members—he thought he only knew two, perhaps three really—who were in favour of the Permissive Bill as it was proposed. The votes in favour of the measure were votes like many that would be given to-night. They were votes to express, on the only opportunity offered, a belief that the evil against which the Bill was directed was gigantic in its proportions, and that it was necessary for Parliament to take some step to endeavour to abate it. They all knew that the Bill had disappeared; and if the persons out-of-doors who promoted it, or his hon. Friend who introduced it, should again introduce a Bill, he had no doubt it would be free from many of the faults of the former Bill. But he did not anticipate that the hon. Member for Carlisle or his Friends would introduce any Bill; but when this Resolution, or some similar Resolution, should be carried, it would then become the duty of the Government—of this Government, or of the Government that would succeed them—to deal with this question. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Wheelhouse) made objection to the Resolution that it was an abstract Resolution. That was an objection which he (Mr. John Bright) had often heard. His right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich never liked abstract Resolutions; but abstract Resolutions were legitimate weapons which an advancing Party, proposing a new policy to Parliament, as a matter of course, must always use. An abstract Resolution was a legitimate weapon of progress. All Parties used it; and if this Resolution were carried, it would declare, in the main, that the present mode of licensing public-houses was productive of great evil, and that a new and better mode should succeed it. Then it would become the duty of the Government to consider the question fully, and propose some improvement upon the system which now existed. The hon. and learned Member said this Resolution mystified the House; the hon. and learned Gentleman must have great suspicions of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle. The Resolution was one, however, which anybody of any Parliamentary experience could easily understand. It said— Inasmuch as the ancient and avowed object of Licensing the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors is to supply a supposed public want, without detriment to the public welfare, this House is of opinion that a legal power of restraining the issue or renewal of licences should be placed in the hands of the persons most deeply interested and affected, namely, the inhabitants themselves, who are entitled to protection from the injurious consequences of the present system, by some efficient measure of local option. Now, the House had been told already, more than once, that that Resolution was one that his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle had borrowed from a very—a Gentleman opposite called it not merely a respectable, but almost a—sacred source, the Lower House of Convocation of the Province of Canterbury. He (Mr. John Bright) did not know exactly what that was; but he presumed, as the principle embodied in the Resolution was endorsed by a Memorial of the Archbishops and Bishops, signed by 13,600 clergy, 15 Bishops, 22 Deans, 66 archdeacons—and here he was perfectly bewildered—65 canons, 178 prebendaries, and 205 honorary canons, it would meet with approval on the other side. Now, there were only three or four words at the end of the Resolution which had been added by his hon. Friend, and they did not add anything to the sense of the Resolution, because the wish that these great dignitaries declared and wished them to declare was—"That this House is of opinion that a legal power of restraining the issue or renewal of licences should be granted"—well, the end of the Resolution was merely this—"by some efficient measure of local option." Well, a legal power restraining the issue or renewal given to those most interested—that was, the inhabitants of a borough or a district could only be given by some mode of representation, and it was no use giving it at all, unless it were by some efficient measure of local option. Now, there was nothing mystifying about his hon. Friend's proposition. He (Mr. John Bright) was sure that hon. Gentlemen opposite did not think that the 13,000 clergymen and all the rest of it would wish to be parties to a mystification. Would anybody deny that the inhabitants had the right to complain of the way in which the licensing system was worked? Was it not known perfectly well that there was in the licensing of places for the sale of drink a great injury to property? Was it not certain that offences against decency and morality were committed? Did anyone deny that, wherever one went, in all the poorer districts especially, there were complaints on this score? He recollected a gentleman in his neighbourhood, in the town of Rochdale, who had four or five or six daughters growing up, and he complained to him one day that opposite his house the magistrates had recently granted a licence, and there was a most odious and offensive nuisance planted exactly opposite his house; and his friend said, speaking of the magistrate who had been the principal person in the granting of the licence, and of whom there were three he thought—"Mr. So and So would take a great care that no house like that would be placed within 100 yards of his gates." And so it was that in hundreds of districts there were other complaints of this kind. The magistrates about whom the hon. and learned Member for Leeds spoke in language of great laudation were just as honest and honourable as other men would be in their place. But they were in this matter irresponsible. They were appointed by the Lord Lieutenant of the county, or in the Duchy of Lancaster by the Chancellor. ["No, no!"] He was speaking of the boroughs. The Crown knew nothing about them, the Home Secretary knew nothing about them, the Lord Chancellor knew nothing about them, and the population had no influence over them, except when some great excitement took place, and that acted merely as a spasm for a year or two, and the magistrates would be rather shy of granting licences; but the moment the nuisance had subsided, and the local newspaper did not write any more about it, the local magistrates fell into their old way, and the licences were granted the same as before. What was the change that was proposed by the Resolution? They had no right to insist that any particular change would follow. The opinion which the hon. Member for Carlisle might have still about the system would have no effect upon the opinion of the House. If the Resolution passed they would be as free as he was, and could make any proposition they liked in regard to the shape which future legislation should take; and if the Government proposed a measure which did not meet with his ap- proval, the hon. Member for Carlisle might take a division upon it, as any other hon. Member could. No doubt, the hon. and learned Member for Leeds would have some proposition of his own to propose by way of Amendment to the Government Bill, however feeble it might be. ["Oh, oh!"] He did not know why hon. Members opposite were offended with that observation. The hon. and learned Member for Leeds, with the view he held, quite entitled him (Mr. John Bright) to make that observation without saying anything offensive to him. Now, what form of change would it be possible to propose? The House of Commons, 45 years ago, voted in favour of transferring the licensing of public-houses from the magistrates to Corporations within boroughs. What was more reasonable? Surely, if they intrusted the Corporations of Birmingham, or of Manchester, or of Leeds, or of Liverpool, with the purchase, at an enormous cost, of gas works and the supply of gas, with the purchase, at an enormous cost, of water works and the supply of water, with the management of the police in the town, with the administration, to a large extent, of justice—for the mayor was the chief magistrate in a borough—if they trusted to an elected board the education of 10,000 or 20,000 children in one of those large towns—he thought his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) proposed originally—and he was sorry he did not succeed in carrying it—to give to Corporations the power afterwards given to School Boards—but if they did all this through their Corporations, and if it was admitted, he would undertake to say, by the very large majority of the Members of that House, that there was nothing connected with their social condition which was, on the whole, more satisfactory to the country than the municipal government of their large boroughs—if all this were so, where would be the harm of trusting to these great Corporations the control of the licences and the administration of this function of the Public Service? It would be open to them afterwards to discuss what might be done with reference to the subject. But, with regard to the Corporations, the more they gave them high and important duties, the more they would find them filled by men of the best character and ability; the more they gave them dignified and important work to do, the more they would find the office of town councillor held by men of honourable and dignified character. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ritchie) no doubt, believed—at least, he (Mr. John Bright) judged from his speech—that if the Resolution was carried, the House—a majority of the House—would be bound, in some shape or other, to accept with considerable favour the Permissive Bill, of which he spoke so much. He (Mr. John Bright) did not believe it in the least. They would be as free as if the Resolution had never passed. The only thing which would happen would be this—that the House would have expressed an opinion condemning the present system and suggesting a now one; and the Government would be called upon, as soon as other pressing Business permitted them to undertake it, to submit to the House a measure which should accept in some degree the question of local control, with regard to the curtailment, distribution, or granting of licences throughout the boroughs. He would admit that, in the counties, there was no authority at present, that he knew of, which would undertake that duty. Therefore, if he were called in to advise on a matter like this, he would propose a Bill which would have reference only to the boroughs and the Corporations. It would be a great measure. If it succeeded everybody would be glad. If it did not it need not be extended; but he would leave the distribution of licences, and the whole matter in that portion of the country which was outside the municipal boroughs, to the magistrates as the magistrates had it now. The Resolution appeared to him to be worthy of the attention of the House, especially on this ground, that he thought public opinion was every—he was going to say every day—but was every year advancing to the point at which it would compel the House to deal with the question. If the House expressed its disapproval of the present system the friends of the Resolution would attempt some reform; and its opponents, he presumed, would go before the country as men who were unwilling to move in the matter. He would like to ask any hon. Gentleman on the opposite side of the House, what would be the opinion to-morrow—he would not say of the decision, but of the force—of hon. Members on one side or the other? Those who voted for the Resolution would be held to be in favour of a change which they believed to be good. They on the other side, and also some on that, who voted against it would be held to believe that the present system of magisterial management was as good as any that could be established. ["No, no!"] He was almost gratified, but he was much surprised, to hear that observation, because he thought the opinion of those who did not like the Resolution, and did not wish any Resolution to pass, was that local option was itself not a good thing, and that the possession of the power of granting licences by magistrates was a plan entirely, or nearly, satisfactory to all those who were opposed to the Resolution. Might he ask the House for a moment, before he sat down, who were the people that the Resolution represented? From whom did the hon. Member for Carlisle derive whatever authority he had on this question? On whose behalf did he speak in the House that night, as he had spoken in past Sessions? He had read the little paragraph about the Church—the 13,600 clergymen, the 15 Bishops, and all the other dignitaries, which he need not enumerate—but it said nothing of another great class of persons in the country. He spoke of the Nonconformists. If there were 13,600 clergymen of the Church of England who asked them to deal with the question, he would undertake to say there was a still larger number of ministers of the Nonconformist Sects who would join with the Church in asking them to take that course. If they went over England, Scotland, and Ireland, he had not the least doubt there were more than 20,000 ministers of one class or another of various religious Sects and Churches who would join with the ministers of the Church of England in asking them to take the question into their favourable consideration. More than that, he believed—and he thought his hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt) would not fail to support him in the view—that the great majority of the sober and industrious working men, as well as their wives and families, in every part of the United Kingdom, would ask them to support a Resolution like this. And still further, there were many working men who were not always sober, but who, in their moments of soberness, would add their penitent voice to the claim that they should deal with this question. They were all sensible of the fact that the national intellect had been stimulated and enlightened on the subject, and that the national conscience had been awakened, and so awakened, he believed, that it would never sleep again until a great and substantial change had been effected. The facts of the case were overpowering; they were not contested. He did not know whether he ought to omit the hon. and learned Member for Leeds (Mr. Wheelhouse); but the hon. Gentleman who spoke last (Mr. Ritchie) told them in the strongest terms about the deplorable amount of drunkenness that was complained of in nearly all parts of the country. He said, then, the facts were overpowering; they were not contested; nobody called them in question; and, besides, they had, as they knew, science, education, morality, religion, and all the great forces which moved good and wise men to action were gathering to the conflict. They had, then, the prayers of their Churches. They had the cry from their workhouses. They had the moans from the sufferers in their prisons. These all joined in one voice, and asked them to deal with the question. They knew the gravity of the evil. They had some difficulty as to the remedy; but they had a proposition of a most moderate character that would lead them to only one step further; and after listening to that cry he thought nobody could say that the consciences of the Members of the House of Commons could not be touched by the consideration of that great and solemn question. He voted for the Resolution most cordially. He propounded no scheme of his own that should follow it. He thought he could propound a scheme very much better than that which was now at work; but he left it until there came a time when the House would give its consideration to some proposition that would be made. At present, at any rate, let them manifest their anxiety in the highest interests of their countrymen, by giving their vote for the moderate and the reasonable proposal offered to them by the hon. Member for Carlisle.


said, he must appeal to the House for the indulgence which it traditionally gave to a new Member when addressing it for the first time, and he appealed to both sides for indulgence in the special circumstances of the debate. He hoped hon. Gentlemen on the other side would acquit him of presumption in desiring to speak immediately after one of the great ornaments of the House; but, while hoping to be acquitted of presumption, he should be ashamed, desiring to express his opinion, to refrain from doing so because the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. John Bright) had just spoken. The right hon. Gentleman attempted to justify the passing of the Resolution, although an abstract Resolution, on grounds which one would not expect him to have urged. To call a Resolution an abstract Resolution was not to pass a conclusively hostile opinion upon it. Although the House had on many occasions accepted abstract Resolutions, he (Mr. E. Clarke) believed that it had usually done so, only either when the Government alone possessed the power of carrying them into effect in accordance with the declared will of the House, and required to be instructed so to do; or upon some great subject of public interest, on which it was desired to convey clearly to the constituencies and the world the meaning and purpose of Parliament. Neither of these circumstances could be found in the present case. This was a question on which the Government had no information and no means of action that were not equally open to both sides of the House; it was a matter on which all assistance could be got from the country by the strong and vigorous organization that was at the back of the hon. Baronet. There was nothing to hinder that great organization from making the fullest inquiry into the circumstances of the case, and from suggesting the best remedy for the evils complained of. No information, no power, was in possession of the Government which was not found in that organization. Yet the Permissive Bill was brought forward and discussed, year after year; and after the ignominious defeat it had sustained and it had been withdrawn by its author it suffered that night the final condemnation of the emphatic censure of the right hon. Member for Birmingham. These were not grounds for asking the House to accept an abstract Resolution; and still less said that it was asked to express its mind and purpose on a public question. If the Permissive Bill did not express the mind and purpose of the House, still less did the Resolution. Mind and purpose! There were two minds and purposes. There was the mind and purpose of the hon. Member for Carlisle, and there was the mind and purpose of the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Leatham). They were absolutely distinct—nay, they were contradictory; for while one desired to suppress altogether, as a nuisance, a great trade in this country, the other wished only to take securities for the better regulation and carrying on of that trade. And when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham objected to the Resolution being described as a mystification, he (Mr. Clarke) could not help regretting that his speech was not delivered in the presence of the right hon. Member for Greenwich, for nothing could show more clearly the mystification which had arisen on the subject than the way in which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), with balanced reason swaying here and there, had discussed it; and the fact that he had deserted the Council of the nation that night, and declined to record his vote either for or against the proposition under discussion. For himself, he hardly knew what local option meant; but, as had been stated by his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Bulwer), the power proposed to be conferred by the Resolution was a power of restraining, not of dealing in any other sense with the licences of the country. He could understand what local option meant, if the people were to say how many or how few public-houses should be in a particular district. If so, he was quite satisfied that in many localities it would lead to a multiplication of public-houses. If the Resolution meant that the principle would be distinct and logical. But what was now proposed would be a local option which would have no choice but restraint; it was simply an attempt to revive that happily defunct measure, with regard to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich was not quite clear whether it was permissive or prohibitory, or which was the most important part, the prohibitory or the permissive. Although the Resolution had been, to a certain extent, a mystification, no doubt could be entertained as to the meaning of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle. There could not be the slightest doubt that the understood purpose and intention of the Resolution, which had brought such crowds to that House and exposed its Members to that pressure of which the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) spoke so pathetically, was the Permissive Bill, and was meant to be the Permissive Bill. If it were not the Permissive Bill, if it were a mere question of regulating the mode of electing a local tribunal, would there have been all this excitement, agitation, and pressure on the subject? The most active agitators for the measure, in common with the hon. Baronet, knew very well that the question of the number of licences did not affect that which they had most tenderly at heart. He did not yield to the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, or anyone else, in his anxiety to promote temperance; but the advancement of that object by legislation must be accompanied with care that that legislation should be founded on right principles, and that it should not bring about more mischief than it could cure. That was the great object present to the minds of hon. Members on both sides of the House. But the mere question of the regulation of licences had little necessarily to do with the promotion of temperance. The figures quoted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, the facts stated by the hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. Colman), the still more remarkable figures given by the hon. Member for Birmingham in a paper written in The Nineteenth Century in February, 1878, conclusively proved that there was no discernible relation between the number of public-houses and the temperance of the district. If that were once proved, then all the excitement and enthusiasm of that agitation could find no scope or object in the mere addition of a certain number of members to a local tribunal for the purpose of regulating the number of public-houses. It had been assumed—and, in his opinion, unnecessarily assumed—that there were serious defects in the present licensing authority. Now, it had been his lot for some years to be closely concerned in professional life with licensing matters. Since he became a Member of that House, however, he had abandoned that part of his professional occupation which had to do with it, and had chosen to sacrifice that portion of his income rather than come under the suspicion that in dealing with these questions he was at all personally interested; and, having done that, he could testify in regard to one great county, at all events—the county of Surrey—that it would not be possible to invent an authority which would deal more fairly with the issue of licences than the authority which now existed. They were gentlemen who, as Justices of the Peace, had seen the sad effects which occurred from intemperance; they were interested in the prosperity of the country; they were interested in the peace and good order of the district; they were absolutely free from suspicion of improper influence; and he doubted whether the same could be said of any tribunal elected by the ratepayers. If that were the proper time to discuss the details of a measure for amending the licensing system, he thought it would not be difficult to satisfy the right hon. Member for Birmingham that the suggestions he had made with regard to the magistrates were without foundation, and that it would not be easy to introduce a better and more independent tribunal. What would be the result of local option? The conflict that was now raging about that House in regard to the matter would be transferred to each locality, and the result would be a tribunal which could exercise no discretion, and whose decisions could be absolutely predicated by counting the number of candidates which each association had returned. But it was not an amendment of the licensing system that was wanted. The real secret of all that was the Permissive Bill which was put forward frankly by the hon. Baronet. He told them there would be no mistake about his meaning. The hon. Baronet had instanced some landowners who had refused to have public-houses on their estates, and he wanted to give the same power of prohibition to local authorities. It was the Permissive Bill, and the Permissive Bill without a compensation clause. A compensation clause, it was now admitted, however, was absolutely necessary, if there was to be any legislative dealing with this matter. It had almost been admitted by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, although he (Mr. E. Clarke) should be sorry to intrust his interests to the hon. Baronet in the matter of compensation. It was frankly and fully admitted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. Compensation, and full compensation, must be paid to persons whose trade was taken away. But if this plan was carried out there must be a popular vote by people in a district as to whether they would close all licensed houses in that district or not, and people who made no contribution to the rates would be allowed to exercise their vote and close public-houses. That vote would pledge the district to pay compensation for a very doubtful experiment; for, supposing public-houses were closed, that would not suppress or prohibit drinking. The evils of drinking might possibly be found in private houses, and it would certainly be found in those Clubs which the working-men would probably establish in every district in the country, and in which working-men who paid their 5s. would have just as much right to enjoy themselves as members of the Carlton or Reform who paid their 10 guineas a-year. Then those Clubs would not be subjected to the restrictions that were now placed upon licensed houses. It was, therefore, possible that in a district where public-houses had been abolished the experiment would break down, and the whole district might consent—as in some parts of Canada had been the case—to restore them, and in that case a large amount of compensation would have been paid for an unsuccessful experiment. Another point was that compensation would have to be paid by the people, who were, at the same time, protesting that they were being deprived of their material rights by the closing of public-houses. To open a licensed house near the house of a man who did not want to go to it was less a hardship than to shut a licensed house against the man who did want to go to it. The hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle had said to-night that people did not want to have the drink traffic forced on them; but nobody compelled people to go into public-houses. The parallel would be complete if it were proposed to introduce a Bill under which the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle and his Seconder, the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt), were compelled every day to drink a certain quantity of ardent spirits. In that case, no doubt, they would protest against a tyrannical law, and they would have a right to do so. The hon. Member for Carlisle would say—"This is contrary to the habits of my life, and I believe it will be injurious to my health." Precisely the same words might be used, and used with perfect truth, by the man who used public-houses, which, under that local option Resolution, might possibly be taken away. He would say—"You are doing that which I believe will be injurious to my health;" and he could not see the difference between the tyranny which would force the hon. Baronet and his supporters to drink whisky-and-water of an evening and the tyranny which would prevent a moderate drinker from taking that which he had been in the habit of taking all his life. The House must remember the difference between the rich and the poor in that respect. The public-house was the place at which alone the poor could obtain that which the rich could keep in their houses. The words of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle might be retorted in answer to himself. Why should a man be compelled to do that which was injurious to his health, or be compelled to abstain from what he believed to be good for him? He could not help thinking there was something unreal about the debate in that House, and for this reason. It was assumed that there was an enormous amount of drunkenness in this country; that there were great excesses on the part of the labouring classes, of whom hon. Members spoke as though they were of a different class and race from themselves. For his part, he did not believe that there did exist the amount of drunkenness which had been spoken of. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham said that the facts were indisputable. If he meant it was indisputable that drunkenness produced great mischief to the community, he (Mr. E. Clarke) agreed with the proposition; but if he meant it was indisputable that drunkenness was largely prevalent amongst the working classes of this country, he denied that proposition absolutely. He was well acquainted with a very large working-class population, and he ventured to say that amongst the working-classes of this country 19 out of 20 men would think it as degrading in them to give way to drunkenness as would any hon. Gentleman on the opposite side of the House. But they had their opportunities of drinking and obtaining refreshments, and though they differed in character from those which were open to Members of that House they did not differ in principle. They must bear in mind that the club was the rich man's public-house, and the public-house was the poor man's Club. But there was this difference—that the rich man could get what he wanted at any hour of the day, and on any day of the week, at his Club, while the poor man's Club was fettered and regulated—and properly regulated—as to hours of opening and closing on particular days of the week. He protested against the Resolution in the name of the working classes of that country, for a very considerable number of whom he was proud to speak in that House. It was time to protest that they were not, as a class, the drunken creatures who had been spoken of in the course of that debate, and to protest that it was a monstrous thing to interfere with that moderate use of intoxicants which they enjoyed in common with nineteenth-twentieths of the Members of that House. It was monstrous to suggest that stimulants should be absolutely taken away from them, because one in 20 of their class occasionally drank to excess, or because the sight of an open public-house door was too severe a trial for the feeble virtues of the friends of the hon. Baronet opposite. The hon. Baronet had kindly referred to him personally, and had suggested that he owed his entrance to that House to the support of a particular trade. [Sir WILFRID LAWSON: Hear, hear!] He was glad to see that the interpretation he had put upon it was correct. During the last fortnight he had been reading with great impartiality the attempts, arithmetical and otherwise, which had been made by hon. Gentlemen, and even right hon. Gentlemen, on the other side of the House, to explain the grave misfortune of his having obtained an entry into that Assembly. He was bound to say that in that matter he was quite content with the distribution of the parts; and while he was entitled to speak in that House for a large constituency—and he was sent there by the special mandate of a larger portion of that constituency than ever before voted for a single candidate—while he enjoyed that position, it would be cruel to deprive hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite of the satisfaction they might find in those explanations. But, with regard to the suggestion that he had found that particular trade a great assistance to him in his contest of the borough of Southwark, he answered at once that he did so find it, and he should be ashamed to speak otherwise of service which was freely and most generously rendered to him, a service to which, with that of other classes and trades, he owed his position in that House. But, in avowing that, he could say that that service was not purchased by any pledge on his part, but was obtained solely by the exposition of opinions which he ventured at the earliest time after his return to put before that House. He was sorry that the question should ever have become a political question. It was not the fault of that side of the House. When hon. Members opposite remembered the threats, menaces, and cajolements to which they had been subjected on the part of a small, but probably influential and certainly energetic, section of their constituents to support the hon. Member for Carlisle, he would ask whether the total abstainers only were to be allowed to subordinate every political consideration to one special question? It was hard to attack, as the Seconder of the Resolution had done, the publicans, who found their interests actually threatened with confiscation, because they banded themselves together in order to avert these threatened evils. He was very sensible of the indulgence which the House had given him, and thanked them for their kindness. He hoped they would, by a decisive majority, reject the proposition, which it had already been shown could not be carried into practical legislation, and which he believed in principle to be hostile to personal liberty.


Sir, although I cannot support the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), I have no complaint to make of the conduct of my hon. Friend for the course he has thought it necessary to pursue in this and previous Sessions in bringing this Resolution before the House. I have expressed before my opinion and regret that the Resolution to which my hon. Friend invited the House to assent was expressed in terms so vague as not to afford the House the best means of entering upon a calm and useful discussion of the question. I have also expressed my opinion that there is a very considerable objection to dealing with this very important subject by means of an abstract Resolution. I am ready and very willing to admit that the mode which my hon. Friend has taken may be the best, perhaps the only one by which he may compel the attention of the House and the country to this subject, and that he and those of his Friends who wish for some step as drastic as that which he himself recommends may be compelled to adopt the form of an abstract Resolution in order to obtain an effective discussion on the subject which has been brought before us to-night. Although I complain, and although I think the House has some reason to complain, of the extremely vague and general character of the Resolution of my hon. Friend, nevertheless I must acknowledge that there is, if the subject is to be dealt with by an abstract Resolution at all, very considerable difficulty in framing such a Resolution as shall accurately and specifically express the views which any section of the House may hold upon this subject. A very large number of Amendments to the Motion have been put down upon the Paper, and yet I cannot say that in all these attempts to define and amend the Resolution I have found anything to my mind of an entirely satisfactory nature. I must acknowledge that I myself have tried my hand in this matter, and have endeavoured to see whether there was any alteration which I could suggest in the Resolution of my hon. Friend which would accurately express my opinion upon this subject. But I have come to the conclusion that I know of no means by which a question involving so much detail can be dealt with by an abstract Resolution. I must say that the speeches of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle, and of the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt), who seconded the Resolution, have not made it easier for any Member who, like myself, voted against the Resolution last year, to support it this year. I admit, with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, that the House is not bound by the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Resolution. Still, we cannot help being influenced to a great extent by the nature of the ar- guments which are brought forward; and when I find that the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Resolution are devoted from beginning to end to an advocacy of the Permissive Bill, I cannot help thinking that the fact ought to be taken into consideration in connection with the vote we are about to give. In my opinion, this very difficult and important question, which has been brought forward by my hon. Friend this evening, is one of the very last to be dealt with by means of an abstract Resolution. It is essentially a question, of detail, of management, and of administration. In the present position of this question, if we are to revert to any broad grounds of principle, there are only two upon which it is possible to take our stand. One is the principle of prohibition, and the other the principle of Free Trade. The first is advocated by my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle and others on this ground—that the sale of intoxicating liquors is open to so much abuse, and creates so much mischief and misery, that interference, otherwise unjustifiable, with the members of a minority by a majority, is in this case justified. But, Sir, is it possible for anyone holding these views to be altogether consistent? Even the hon. Member for Carlisle himself is not consistent in this matter. If that principle be true; if, in the opinion of Parliament, the sale and consumption of intoxicants is accompanied by so much mischief that such an interference as I have referred to of a majority with a minority is justifiable, then it seems to me that Parliament, in its superior wisdom, ought to undertake to decide the question itself, and ought not to leave to a chance majority in any particular district to say whether this trade is to be interfered with or not. Although my hon. Friend dealt partially with the Report of the Lords' Committee; although he concluded his speech by reading a passage from that Report in support of his proposal, which was not in reality a passage in support of that proposal, but of a totally different one; although my hon. Friend paid considerable attention to the Report of the Lords' Committee, he altogether omitted to pay any attention to the arguments—in my opinion, the conclusive arguments—which that Committee advanced against the proposal which he virtually brings again be- fore the House. I will not trouble the House with extracts; but the Committee, it seems to me, pointed out, conclusively, that there was an inconsistency in the principle of the Permissive Bill, inasmuch as it proposes to restrict and forbid the sale of that which is considered to have a mischievous effect, and which it yet permits to be manufactured and sold wholesale. The proposal of my hon. Friend seems to me to be open to that charge of inconsistency; and, therefore, I do not think that it is necessary that I should take up any further time in discussing this one of the two principles upon which we could take our stand—namely, the principle of prohibition. That one being thus done away with, the only other broad principle upon which we can rely is the principle of Free Trade, and which has been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich; and I am myself of opinion that there is very much to be said in favour of that principle, subject only to Excise and police regulations. I am, however, aware that it is a principle which has found no great amount of favour with either of the sections into which public opinion on this question is divided—namely, those of the supporters of the Licensed Victuallers' trade, and the advocates of temperance; and I do not, therefore, think it worth while to take up the time of the House in discussing it this evening. The position, therefore, in which we are is this—that of having discarded both the great principles on which it is possible to take our stand. We have, in short, agreed to a compromise, the main foundations of which it seems to me neither Party is desirous of disturbing. What is the nature of that compromise? We have established a monopoly in the sale of liquors, because it has been thought that by that means the trade will be brought more readily under control. Therefore, the only practical question before us at the present time is in what way that monopoly can be best controlled and regulated. That is a question which cannot be answered by any appeal to general principles, but rather by experience and a full consideration of the circumstances of the case. I am not now prepared to assert by my vote to-night that the regulation of a monopoly can be most satisfactorily intrusted to a popular vote, and if the Resolution under our consideration does not mean the Permissive Bill, it seems to me that the only other principle which it contains is that the regulation of the existing monopoly should be intrusted to such a vote. But, in saying that, I am far from being satisfied with the present state of things. I should very much regret that the vote which I may give should be construed into the expression of an opinion that that state of things stands in need of no amendment. I very much doubt if the opinion which has been expressed by the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just addressed the House with so much ability (Mr. E. Clarke) is the correct one in regard to that point. I must join issue with him entirely, and say I do not think it has been satisfactorily proved that a large amount of intemperance does not exist at the present time. It appears to me that the figures in the Report of the Lords' Committee are conclusive on this subject, and more especially will they be so when we remember from our own experience how very small a proportion, indeed, the charges of drunkenness brought under the cognizance of the police bear to the whole. It is known to all of us that excessive drinking does prevail; but while I am not prepared to hand this question over to the popular vote, I am not prepared to say it is best that it should be regulated by a select and irresponsible body. Therefore, the experiment which we are now trying of a monopoly regulated by magistrates cannot be altogether satisfactory. That is a state of things which needs a practical remedy, and that I am prepared to consider, from whatever quarter it may come. I can only express my regret that no Member of the Government has risen to state their intentions on the subject. We heard a great deal last year about the consideration which this subject was receiving at the hands of the Lords' Committee, and we were led to expect that when that Committee had reported the Government would have same proposals to make. I am far from complaining that, in a Session in which so much work still remains to be done, and at the close of a Parliament so much in arrear on the score of legislation, that the Government have not brought in a Bill on the subject. I am, however, of opinion that we ought to have had an earlier statement of their views with respect to it, consequent upon the Report of the Committee of the House of Lords; and I think we have a right to know from the Government whether they endorse some of the opinions which have been expressed on their own side of the House that the present state of things is as satisfactory as it can be. Believing the present state of things to be far from perfect, I am, as I said, prepared to consider any practical remedy which may be suggested. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), who spoke last year on the subject, has, I think, in his mind some changes in the law, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham others, which he would be disposed to advocate. Although I am about to vote against the Resolution, I believe there is no practical or essential difference between my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and myself upon the question, and that there is nothing in the vote I am about to give which will preclude my favourable consideration of any practical remedy which may be suggested from the existing state of things, except the Permissive Bill, which, under no circumstances, could I support. I am of opinion, as strongly as any hon. Member of this House, that it is most desirable that the force of public opinion should be brought to bear upon the question of sobriety as well as upon that of say, sanitary improvement. Within certain limits, I think the ratepayers or their representatives should have some control over the number and character of the licensed houses, and a certain supervision of their conduct. With regard to the question of compensation, I am fully of opinion, as has been stated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich—that this interest, like every other interest, ought to be protected in any change this House may think it necessary to make; but I will make this reservation, that I think those who enjoy the monopoly to which I have referred should enjoy it under certain conditions, and that those conditions should be enforced with much greater stringency than heretofore. When, without any imputation of misconduct, a licence is forfeited in the interests or the supposed interests of the community, I cannot conceive why there should be any doubt that the person so losing his licence should receive some sort of com- pensation. Nor do I think there would, be any difficulty in providing compensation in such a case, when we consider the enormously increased value of the monopoly to those who still remain to enjoy it. We know that the value of property of this description has risen in consequence of the restrictions placed upon it, and further restrictions would, no doubt, have the same effect. But, while ready to consider any practical scheme of reform, I do not see that the attainment of that end will be facilitated by the passing of an abstract Resolution like this. There can be no doubt that the form in which it has been presented to the House, rendering it open to differences of construction, has also given rise to great differences of opinion, and is calculated to make the House look on it with suspicion. It is open to the traditional three courses, and I could find reasons for adopting any one of them. I might vote for the Resolution, because I find something in it which I can cordially support; or I could vote against it, because it covers a great deal too much of what I entirely disapprove; or I could, for these reasons combined, take the course of not voting at all. I think that would be, perhaps, the most prudent course. But, in my opinion, Resolutions of this description, so far from assisting in the settlement of the great complicated questions, are inconvenient, and tend rather to confuse than otherwise. That being my opinion, I have no alternative but to take the course I took last year, and vote against the Resolution.


I shall not detain the House at any length; but, after the appeal which has been very properly made by the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington), and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, it would not be respectful to the House to be silent, and I therefore desire to say a few words upon this question. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright) asked a question which must first of all be answered. He said—"What is there in this Resolution which can possibly mystify any person who wishes to give a vote upon it?" I will answer him in words which have been put into my mouth by the noble Lord opposite. He can either vote for the Resolution, or against it, or not at all, and any one of these courses will be satisfactory to himself. I think the observations of the noble Lord and of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich are quite sufficient to answer the question of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham—"What is there to mystify the House in this Resolution?" There is everything in it to mystify the House. The first point I would ask the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle and the House to consider is the history of his Resolution. Year after year he has brought forward the Permissive Prohibitory Bill, which he found so distasteful to the House that he was beaten by very large majorities. Finding himself in that position, he still knew that a considerable number of hon. Members had a yearning desire to do something in the matter. Now, that is exactly the most dangerous position a man can find himself in—to do something, and not to know what you are going to do. This is, however, precisely the position which the hon. Baronet took up after having been defeated over and over again in what he really thinks to be right. I give the hon. Baronet every credit for desiring to find a solution of the question; but, having found the one he offered was not acceptable, he said—"I pass that over, and now I present it under the form of what I call 'local option.'" That was received somewhat coolly by the House; but this year the hon. Baronet binds us somewhat further. [Sir WILFRID LAWSON: This is exactly the same Resolution as was proposed last year.] But, at all events, the debate has taken a somewhat different turn. The speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich and of the noble Lord have so completely satisfied the House that we shall not know what we are voting for if we support the Resolution that I must ask the House to reject it. Its ruling characteristic is its extreme vagueness. In saying that I give every possible credit to the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle for the sincerity of his motives and the earnestness of his speech. I also sympathize entirely with the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt). I believe he truly expressed the opinion of a large portion of the working men of this country when he spoke of their intense horror of drunkenness; but in doing so he is only doing that which I claim for myself, and, as we have the same object in view, the only difference between us is as to the means of attaining the desired end. I trust it will not be supposed those who vote against the Resolution, believing it to be not a practical, but a mystifying Resolution, are not just as anxious to promote the cause of temperance as the hon. Baronet himself. There are two parts of this Resolution which it is necessary to discuss from a practical point of view. The hon. Baronet wants to restrain, first, the legal power of issue, and, secondly, the legal power of renewal of licences. These are two totally different things. With regard to the first, I expected to hear in the course of the debate an attack on the magistrates for the way in which they have issued licences during the last few years. But I have not heard a word to that effect. I heard a great deal of declamation from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham as to magistrates granting an enormous number of licences; but not a single fact was adduced. The facts are contrary to what has been stated, because anyone looking at the facts will find that for the last 10 years the magistrates have granted scarcely any new licences. I believe that the tendency of the action of the magistrates during the last 10 years has been entirely against granting new licences. This is just one of those ways in which public opinion has a practical result. No doubt, in a great many places years ago magistrates did grant licences when they ought not to have granted them; but public opinion has had a great effect on the magistrates, and the result is that they have for the last 10 years been most sparing in the issue of licences. I have not the statistics before me at the present moment; but I had them taken out about a week ago, and I believe I am correct in stating that the new licences during the last 10 years have been marvellously few. I agree, however, with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, that it does not always follow that an increase in the number of licences means an increase in the number of drunkards. It is not for 10 years, but I think for 30 years, that the magistrates of the City of Manchester have steadily refused to grant new any licences except on the most special occasions possible; this I speak of as from my own positive knowledge. Therefore, I am bound to stand up for the action of the magistrates in regard to this question. I quite agree, however, that every possible fact ought to be brought before the magistrates. As I stated last year, I have no objection to the magistrates being allowed, as of right, to inquire into the opinion entertained in the neighbourhood where a public-house is proposed to be placed. Landowners and others in the immediate neighbourhood are perfectly entitled to say that they do not want a public-house near them. But what I want is, that there should be something like uniformity and something like a judicial decision in the matter. There ought not to be a tribunal appointed ad hoc, and it ought not to be appointed by a popular vote. If you are going to consider this question wisely, temperately, and carefully, I cannot conceive a worse tribunal than a popular vote. I venture to say this—that the object of all judicial or quasi- judicial decisions should be that they should be so impartial as to command the assent and respect of those whom they concern. But if the matter comes to a popular vote of the ratepayers, and the change is made by a small majority, the minority, I am confident, will not regard itself as justly bound by that vote. There will, in fact, be no satisfaction in the neighbourhood, and the decision will seem to be wrong. Then we come to the second question raised, which is quite of a different character—namely, the difficulty as to the renewal of licences. There you have at once a question of vested interests, and I am bound to say that I entirely agree with all that the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone) has said on that point—that, in that case, the question of property will have to be settled, and that if the Resolution is going to touch vested interests something should have been said on the subject of compensation. I believe that in the Bill brought forward some time ago the question of compensation was lost sight of; but, as far as a Resolution is concerned, it is absolutely impossible that we should ignore those who have real and proper claims. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright) has made an appeal for sympathy, and asks how many hundreds and thousands does the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle not represent? Well, he certainly does represent a great number of people, I might say millions, if the right hon. Gentleman means those who wish to do all in their power to do away with this vice of drunkenness; I am one of them, and their number includes all my right hon. Friends beside me. But if you ask whom he represents by this Motion, I must ask, in turn, who those are who understand the Motion? I believe that of all the thousands he is said to represent he will not find as many tens who understand it. Everyone puts upon it a different interpretation. I can only say that if the question is to be discussed, let us discuss it either in a Bill with all the details before us, or else let us have a Resolution about which no one can make a mistake. Now, the noble Lord has asked a question which I must endeavour to answer. He asks whether, in certain places, the ratepayers might not have some control, not only over the regulation of licences, but also over their granting? My answer is that they have that power of regulation already—they have their watch committees; and in the boroughs, where the great mass of drunkenness is found, it is the popular elements that has control of the Town Council and of the police. I wish to pay every possible tribute to the borough police; but I may remind the noble Lord that it is to the boroughs that the hon. Baronet has chiefly called our attention, and not to the action of the county magistrates. The noble Lord also observed that some time ago the matter was brought before the House of Lords, who appointed a Select Committee to make inquiries; and it would be well for us to say which of their recommendations we are going to act upon. I do not know what effect the Report of that Committee has had on the mind of the noble Lord; but it is clear that it has not made a deep impression on the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. It appears that none of the recommendations of that Committee have commended themselves to his mind as being satisfactory; and I may candidly confess that I, too, have not found in any of them a clear indication of the best way of dealing with the difficulty. To increase further the doubts and difficulties of the case, the right hon. Gentleman has certainly opened up a very large question in asking whether we and all the laws of late years are not altogether wrong in not resorting to absolute Free Trade as the only way to grapple with it? Moreover, the noble Lord, though he admitted that the Committee of the other House has made several important recommendations, has foreshadowed the idea that in his mind there are grave doubts whether the question of Free Trade is not still one that should be seriously entertained by the House. I am bound to say upon the point that the Report of the Lords' Committee, though I willingly bear testimony to the great ability and care with which they examined the question, has disappointed me. On the question of Free Trade I give no opinion at the present moment; all I can say is that, when the action of the Liverpool magistrates was reported to me as to throwing open all the public-houses as freely as possible, I took a strong part against that course, and I see no reason to depart from that view. As at present advised, I do not believe Free Trade will at all answer. I do not like the monopoly of the present system; but I do not believe if you put Free Trade in its place you would be any better. I quite agree with hon. Members who urge that the monopoly in the Metropolis might be broken down, and I do not like the system by which great brewers hold an enormous number of public-houses; but the whole question is very difficult, and Free Trade might complicate it still further. I am inclined to think that, after all the careful consideration given to the subject by the House of Lords, and after all our inquiries, we are still not perfectly informed on the question. Having a monopoly, we must regulate it, and subject to a very strict inspection the regulated houses. We must also trust, to a great extent, to that which has mainly improved our own class a generation ago—I mean the change in public opinion—to continue to improve the workmen and the artizans. I am confident that in that class in my own county there is a growing and positive dislike to drunkenness, a disposition to avoid and cast out the intemperate, that cannot fail in time to effect a great social and moral reformation. That, and the spread of education, and, above all, trying to make comfortable the homes of the people, and doing all possible to provide innocent amusement and recreation, instead of a man having to go to a miserable hovel, with no air to breathe, no water to drink, no pleasures to resort to, except the public-house, are the better influences now at work, and they will speedily settle the question.


said, he was anxious to say but a very few words in favour of a scheme which might, perhaps, recommend itself as a practical one to his noble Leader below him. He was prepared to accept the principle of local option by ratepayers; but, looking at the question from a partly Conservative point of view, he believed that the fairest way of settling the question was by amalgamating the ratepayers with the magistrates. This was no new principle; it was already in operation in the case of Boards of Guardians, highway boards, school boards, and sanitary boards, while the Home Secretary had already introduced it into his new scheme for the water supply of the Metropolis. It was, therefore, no new principle which could not be adopted by hon. Members on the opposite side of the House; only at that moment he could not expect them to accept it, because they were at present satisfied with the condition of the trade as it stood, and because they had the undivided support of that monopoly in the country. They never could imagine that any fresh good was likely to accrue from interference with the system of licensing under the magistrates. He could not believe hon. Members opposite were, therefore, likely to adopt his proposal; but he thought that on that side of the House it might be accepted as a sensible alternative scheme. It would, at all events, have this recommendation—that it acknowledged the existence of an authority already constituted, and it amalgamated with that the body of ratepayers who of all people in the world were most directly interested in the sobriety of the country. The ratepayers had to bear the expense of prisons partly, and, to a great extent, the expense of lunatic asylums, as well as that of maintaining the poor; and if it were true that the pauperism, crime, and lunacy of the country arose, as in all probability it did, from drink, he thought that the ratepayers should be consulted upon any change that was found to be neces- sary in the licensing system. His hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle believed in nothing but the ratepayers; but, in his opinion, if it was desired to end this question, the House, before it went in for prohibition, would adopt this scheme. Free Trade, if they could start afresh, would no doubt be the best solution; but it had been proved so distasteful that he could see no chance of its being adopted. It was, no doubt, the true and honest answer to the question, and would, at all events, destroy that gigantic monopoly existing at the present time, and make this question infinitely more easy of settlement, because the whole trade would be thrown open. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich that at Liverpool the principle was never properly tried, and he believed that had it been drunkenness would not have increased. He believed, also, that in all matters relating to trade there should be no monopoly. It would be found that there existed in every constituency the strongest feeling that the people of the country should have some direct vote with regard to licences; and, in his opinion, they were fully and fairly entitled to it, and he hoped that at a future time the constituencies would be strong enough to express their view—that the people and the ratepayers of the country, who had to bear the burden which resulted from the present system, should have a voice in the issuing of licences.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 248; Noes 134: Majority 114.

Agnew, R. V. Bentinck, rt. hon. G. C.
Allcroft, J. D. Bentinck, G. W. P.
Allsopp, C. Beresford, Lord C.
Allsopp, H. Birkbeck, E.
Arbuthnot, Lt.-Col. G. Blackburne, Col. J. I.
Arkwright, F. Boord, T. W.
Ashbury, J. L. Bourke, hon. R.
Astley, Sir J. D. Bourne, Colonel J.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Bousfield, Col. N. G. P.
Balfour, A. J. Bowen, J. B.
Baring, T. C. Brassey, H. A.
Barrington, Viscount Brise, Colonel R.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Broadley, W. H. H.
Bass, A. Brooke, Lord
Bates, E. Bulwer, J. R.
Bateson, Sir T. Burghley, Lord
Beach, rt. hon. Sir M. H. Buxton, Sir R. J.
Beach, W. W. B. Callan, P.
Bective, Earl of Cartwright, F.
Cartwright, W. C. Herbert, hon. S.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Hervey, Lord F.
Chaplin, Colonel E. Hicks, E.
Chaplin, H. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Charley, W. T. Hill, A. S.
Childers, rt. hn. H. C. E. Holker, Sir J.
Christie, W. L. Holland, Sir H. T.
Clarke, E. Holmesdale, Viscount
Clive, Col. hon. G. W. Holt, J. M.
Cobbold, T. C. Hope, A. J. B. B.
Cole, Col. hon. H. A. Hubbard, E.
Collins, E. Isaac, S.
Cordes, T. Jackson, Sir H. M.
Cotton, W. J. R. Johnson, J. G.
Crichton, Viscount Johnstone, H.
Cross, rt. hon. R. A. Johnstone, Sir F.
Cubitt, G. Kavanagh, A. MacM.
Cust, H. C. Kingscote, Colonel
Davenport, W. B. Knatchbull- Hugessen, rt. hon. E.
Denison, W. E.
Dickson, Major A. G. Knightley, Sir R.
Digby, Col. hon. E. Knowles, T.
Dyott, Colonel R. Laurie, R. P.
Eaton, H. W. Lawrence, Sir J. C.
Edmonstone, Admiral Sir W. Lawrence, Sir T.
Learmonth, A.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Lee, Major V.
Egerton, hon. W. Legh, W. J.
Elcho, Lord Leighton, S.
Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H. Lewisham, Viscount
Emlyn, Viscount Lindsay, Colonel R. L.
Estcourt, G. S. Lindsay, Lord
Evans, T. W. Lloyd, S.
Fawcett, H. Lloyd, T. E.
Fitzwilliam, hn. W. J. Lopes, Sir M.
Folkestone, Viscount Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Forester, C. T. W. Lowther, hon. W.
Forster, Sir C. Lowther rt. hn. J.
Forsyth, W. M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.
Foster, W. H. Makins, Colonel
Fothergill, R. Mandeville, Viscount
Fraser, Sir W. A. Manners, rt. hon. Lord J.
Fremantle, hon. T. F. Marten, A. G.
Freshfield, C. K. Master, T. W. C.
Gabbett, D. F. Mellor, T. W.
Galway, Viscount Merewether, C. G.
Gardner, J. T. Agg- Miles, Sir P. J. W.
Garfit, T. Mills, A.
Gathorne-Hardy, hn. A. Mills, Sir C. H.
Giffard, Sir H. S. Monekton, F.
Giles, A. Monk, C. J.
Gilpin, Sir R. T. Montgomery, Sir G. G.
Goldney, G. Morgan, hon. F.
Goldsmid, Sir J. Muncaster, Lord
Gordon, W. Muntz, P. H.
Gorst, J. E. Naghten, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Grantham, W. Newdegate, C. N.
Gregory, G. B. Noel, rt. hon. G. J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.
Hall, A. W.
Halsey, T. F. O'Donoghue, The
Hamilton, Lord C. J. O' Gorman Mahon, Col. The
Hamilton, right hon. Lord G.
Onslow, D.
Hamilton, hon. R. B. O'Shaughnessy, R.
Hamond, C. F. Paget, R. H.
Hankey, T. Parker, Lt.-Col. W.
Hardcastle, E. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hartington, Marq. of Pell, A.
Harvey, Sir R. B. Pemberton, E. L.
Hay, rt. hn. Sir J. C. D. Pennant, hon. G.
Heath, R. Percy, Earl
Helmsley, Viscount Phipps, P.
Pim, Captain B. Somerset, Lord H. R. C.
Polhill-Turner, Capt. F. Spinks, Serjeant F. L.
Powell, W. Stanhope, hon. E.
Praed, C. T. Stanhope, W. T. W. S.
Price, Captain G. E. Stanley, rt. hn. Col. F.
Raikes, H. C. Starkey, L. R.
Rendlesham, Lord Starkie, J. P. C.
Repton, G. W. Storer, G.
Ridley, E. Swanston, A.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Tennant, R.
Ritchie, C. T. Thornhill, T.
Rodwell, B. B. H. Thwaites, D.
Rothschild, Sir N. M. de Thynne, Lord H. F.
Round, J. Torrens, W. T. M'C.
Russell, Sir C. Tremayne, J.
Sackville, S. G. S. Turnor, E.
Samuda, J. D'A. Wait, W. K.
Sanderson, T. K. Walker, O. O.
Sandon, Viscount Walker, T. E.
Sclater-Booth, right hon. G. Walpole, rt. hon. S.
Walter, J.
Scott, M. D. Watney, J.
Seely, C. Wells, E.
Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J. Wethered, T. O.
Wheelhouse, W. S. J.
Shaw, W. Williams, W.
Sheridan, H. B. Wilmot, Sir H.
Shirley, S. E. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Shute, General C. C. Wolff, Sir H. D.
Sidebottom, T. H. Woodd, B. T.
Simon, Serjeant J. Wynn, C. W. W.
Simonds, W. B. Yarmouth, Earl of
Smith, A. Yorke, J. R.
Smith, F. C.
Smith, S. G. TELLERS.
Smith, rt. hn. W. H. Dyke, Sir W. H.
Smithwick, J. F. Winn, R.
Smollett, P. B.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cowen, J.
Allen, W. S. Cowper, hon. H. F.
Anderson, G. Dalrymple, C.
Ashley, hon. E. M. Dalway, M. R.
Balfour, Sir G. Davies, D.
Barran, J. Davies, R.
Baxter, rt. hon. W. E. Dickson. T. A.
Beaumont, Colonel F. Dilke, Sir C. W.
Bell, I. L. Dodds, J.
Biddulph, M. Douglas, Sir G.
Biggar, J. G. Duff, M. E. G.
Birley, H. Dundas, hon. J. C.
Blake, T. Edge, S. R.
Briggs, W. E. Egerton, Adm. hon. F.
Bright, Jacob Ferguson, R.
Bright, rt. hon. J. Fletcher, W.
Brogden, A. Forster, rt. hon. W. E.
Brown, A. H. Fry, L.
Bruce, Lord C. Gladstone, W. H.
Cameron, C. Gordon, Sir A.
Campbell, Lord C. Gourley, E. T.
Campbell, Sir G. Gower, hon. E. F. L.
Campbell-Bannerman, H. Grant, A.
Hamilton, Marquess of
Chadwick, D. Harrison, C.
Chamberlain, J. Harrison, J. F.
Chambers, Sir T. Havelock, Sir H.
Clifford, C. C. Herschell, F.
Colman, J. J. Hibbert, J. T.
Corbett, J. Holms, J.
Corry, J. P. Holms, W.
Cowan, J. Home, Captain
Howard, E. S. Rashleigh, Sir C.
Howard, G. J. Redmond, W. A.
Hughes, W. B. Reed, E. J.
Hutchinson, J. D. Richard, H.
Ingram, W. J. Roberts, J.
James, W. H. Russell, Lord A.
Jenkins, D. J. Rylands, P.
Jenkins, E. St. Aubyn, Sir J.
Johnstone, Sir H. Samuelson, B.
Kenealy, Dr. Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.
Kensington, Lord Smith, E.
Laing, S. Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.
Laverton, A. Stevenson, J. C.
Lea, T. Stewart, J.
Leatham, E. A. Stewart, M. J.
Leith, J. F. Stuart, Col. J. F. D. C.
Leslie, Sir J. Sullivan, A. M.
Lusk, Sir A. Tavistock, Marq. of
Mackintosh, C. F. Temple, right hon. W. Cowper-
M'Arthur, A.
M'Arthur, W. Tennant, C.
M'Clure, Sir T. Tracy, hon. F. S. A. Hanbury-
M'Laren, D.
Maitland, W. F. Trevelyan, G. O.
Milbank, F. A. Vivian, A. P.
Morgan, G. O. Vivian, H. H.
Morley, S. Waddy, S. D.
Noel, E. Wedderburn, Sir D.
O'Clery, K. Whitworth, B.
Palmer, C. M. Williams, B. T.
Palmer, G. Wilson, C.
Parker. C. S. Wilson, I.
Pease, J. W. Wilson, Sir M.
Peel, A. W. Young, A. W.
Pennington, F.
Philips, R. N. TELLERS.
Playfair, rt. hon. L. Burt, T.
Plimsoll, S. Lawson, Sir W.
Potter, T. B.

Thirty-Fourth Resolution read a first time.

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.