HC Deb 10 May 1882 vol 269 cc400-45

Order for Second Reading read.


, in rising to move that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that it dealt with a subject of great interest to every Scotch Member—an interest which, perhaps, might not always be of a spontaneous kind, and which, in relation to the agitation which was carried on by his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), he thought he might say was very often of a compulsory kind. In taking that step he was certain he need offer no apology to the House, for he thought there was a general disposition, at least on that side of the House, to regard the question as one which must very soon engage the practical attention of Parliament; while he thought it was not less true that some disposition had been evinced both in the House, and certainly out-of-doors, to show that nothing but the most urgent political necessities had justified, or would continue to justify, its indefinite postponement. He was one of those who had regretted the inaction of the Government on this question. He regretted that the Government had not found themselves able to introduce a measure which should give effect to the clearly-expressed opinions of the House as declared in 1880 and last year. But he thought it was impossible now—looking at the state of public affairs, and at the general programme of the Government, and the particular programme which they now had in view owing to recent deplorable events—it was impossible to conceive that they could have the time or opportunity to introduce a measure dealing with the question, and, there fore, he thought he should not be challenged when he said that if that question was to advance—if any progress was to be made—it must be made, until the Government had time to take it up, by the efforts of private Members. He thought he might point, as an evidence of the recognized utility of discussion, to a speech by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. John Bright) last year, in which the right hon. Gentleman expressly recognized the value of discussion upon the question; and, therefore, he (Lord Colin Campbell) thought he should not be blamed if he ventured to send up what he might call a pilot balloon, to demonstrate those peculiar currents of opinion which had been sent up by the hon. Baronet (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), and which had already—he spoke of the temperance feeling of Scot land—threatened to make shipwreck of this Bill, and had made him feel profoundly thankful his own existence was not involved in it. There would, he thought, be one question which hon. Members would be inclined to ask at the outset, and that was, why should Scotland have exceptional and isolated legislation? He was inclined to answer that question simply by suggesting the insertion of the one word "not" in the question, and then ask, why should not Scotland have exceptional legislation? He held in his hand an extract from a speech made by the Prime Minister in 1881 on the point, and in that he said— It appears to me that this is eminently a question on which the feeling of one of the great sections of the country may be well ascertained; and when tested by an experience of some length of time, when placed entirely beyond doubt by sufficient evidence, it ought to command the greatest attention, and, I would even say, a willing assent in this House."—[3 Hansard, cclx. 1771.] He was sure the Scottish Members could testify to the strength of the feelings throughout the country, and to the fact that the feeling in Scotland in favour of reform had been a very strong one. From his own recollection, he had no hesitation in saying that it was very urgently desired in Scotland that there should be some legislation upon this question, and he would point to the authority of the Predecessor of the present Lord Advocate. In December, 1880, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said he would make it his duty to inform the Government that a general desire existed in the Northern part of the Island for an improvement of the licensing system. If he were asked for further proof, he would cite the vote of Scottish Members during the last two years. On the first occasion when the hon. Baronet moved an Amendment, the Vote was in the proportion of 8 to 1 in favour of his proposal; and on the second occasion, the proportion was still further increased in the same direction. Lastly, he wished to point to one great fact—one great precedent it might be called—namely, the fact that Scotland for more than a quarter of a century had led the way in the matter of Sunday prohibition. He could assure the House that, but for some departures in the provisions of the Bill from that which was associated with the name of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, he (Lord Colin Campbell) might have been able to point to the most conclusive evidence in support of the Bill, in the form of a great number of Scotch Petitions in favour of it. In referring to the departures in his Bill from that known as the Permissive Bill, he did not think that by introducing a measure which in any degree resembled the Permissive Bill he should have done anything to advance the question in the slightest degree. The Bill which was known as the Permissive Bill was nine times before the House; it was, he believed, considered by three separate Parliaments; and he thought he should not be going far wrong if he said that if the lines of that measure had not been abandoned, they had at least been despaired of, by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle. [Sir WILFRID LAWSON: No, no!] The hon. Baronet said "No!" but he (Lord Colin Campbell) should like to ask him why he did not introduce a Bill clearly defining what he meant by that ambiguous phrase, "Lo- cal Option? "He (Lord Colin Campbell) had ventured to give his definition of the phrase; but he would like to explain, first of all, that he had another reason for not introducing a measure which might have reminded hon. Members, by its resemblance, of the Permissive Bill. That reason simply was that he was not himself a believer in the justice or in the expediency of the Permissive Bill—in the first place, because it proposed to subject the rights of individuals, and of minorities, to the arbitrary decision of majorities; and, in the second place, because it proposed to sweep away a trade which, whatever might be said of its effects upon the happiness or prosperity of the people, had enormous and most extensive vested rights. There were two points in his Bill which distinguished it from the Permissive Bill of the hon. Baronet, and which had aroused some opposition. First, it endeavoured to protect the rights of minorities; and, next, it gave the trade compensation for the changes which might result from the exercise of the popular vote. He did not think it was necessary to cite special and particular authority in support of those two proposals; but if he might venture to say so, in the presence of the hon. Baronet, they seem to him to be at the foundation of the principles of social liberty and political justice. But, if authority were needed, he found it would not be necessary to go a very long way in search of it. Mr. J. S. Mill, speaking on liberty, said, with regard to the authoritative intervention of Parliament— There is a part of the life of every person who has come to years of discretion within which the individuality of that person ought to reign uncontrolled either by any other individual or by the public collectively. That there is, or ought to be, some space in the human existence thus entrenched round, no one who professes the smallest regard for human freedom or dignity will call in question. I apprehend that it ought to include all that concerns only the life, whether inward or outward, of the individual, and does not affect the interests of others, or affects them only through the moral influence of example. Those, he submitted, were weighty words, and they embodied principles which might be accepted by even the most zealous temperance advocate; and he could not help thinking they would do violence to those principles if they allowed majorities to deprive minorities—not, indeed, of personal or private rights in the abstract, because that might be legally, if not morally, impossible, but of what came to very nearly the same thing—to deprive minorities of the reasonable means of exercising those private and personal rights which they had hither to exercised with the sanction of the Legislature. The 20th clause of the Bill certainly aimed at protecting minorities by giving them what he might call a veto upon a veto—that was to say, that wherever, by the operation of the machinery of the Bill, the popular vote resulted provisionally in total prohibition, the minority should have power to put in their veto in the form of a requisition, which should require the licensing authority to grant one licence to the proportion of 200 or 300 ratepayers who had signed that requisition. That proposal had been met in Scotland by those who had made themselves prominent in the agitation with almost unqualified condemnation; but he (Lord Colin Campbell) sincerely trusted the hon. Baronet would not consider it necessary to lend his powerful voice to swell the chorus of disapprobation which that proposal had aroused; otherwise he should feel even more completely than he had done what a rash thing he had done in taking the hon. Baronet's advice in introducing a Bill dealing with the Licensing Question in Scotland. He had heard, however, the hon. Baronet say, both in his public utterances and in his whispers in the Lobby, that he never had opposed, and he never would oppose, anything which went in the direction of mitigating the evils which he deplored; and he took hope from that fact. With regard to the principle of compensation, he must confess that he could not entertain the slightest doubt as to the justice or expediency of it; but he thought there was no one who had given this question even a very small degree of attention who could fail to be perplexed somewhat with the great difficulty and complexity of it. On this head there were two questions arising under the Bill—first, as to the basis upon which compensation should be given; and, secondly, as to the source from whence the money was to be derived. As to the basis of compensation, he thought it would be only necessary to say that the proposals in the Bill were based on the system of awards which were given in the town of Greenock, when that town adopted the provisions of the Artizans' and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act. They were awards which resulted from disputes on questions of compensation, and the Bill entirely followed those awards. He would not enter into the question of whether the basis of compensation, as defined in the Bill, could equitably be the basis for the entire country. If the Bill came to Committee—of which he was not very hopeful—that was a matter for discussion, and for amendment in Committee. As to the source from which the money should be derived, he thought that if they admitted the justice of the principle of compensation, and if that, in respect of which compensation was demanded and given, was purely a local act of the ratepayers, then the conclusion seemed to be indisputable that the locality should bear the cost. As a set-off to the expense which would be entailed by this proposal, it was proposed to put up the licences to auction, and if the sums thus realized should not be sufficient, then the local authorities would be empowered to make an assessment to supply the deficiency. As might have been expected, these proposals, affecting, as they did to a considerable extent, the pockets of his countrymen, had been met with most rigorous opposition; and nothing but the conviction that only by recognizing the principle of compensation, and by acting upon it, would they ever be able to attain the object which so many of them had at heart, had induced them to persevere with these clauses which had met with such a degree of hostility. He should like to anticipate the criticism which the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Herbert Maxwell) would not be slow to make. There was a proposal in the Bill that licences should be reduced to the proportion of one for every 500 of the population. This proposal was apparently inconsistent with the principle which he had just ventured to lay down, that the cost of reducing the number of licences being the local act of the ratepayers, should be carried out at their cost; but he should like to distinguish between the general operation of the Bill and its local or particular operation. Before, however, arguing further on that point, he should like to say, by the way, that the epithet "arbitrary," which had been applied out-of-doors, and he had no doubt would be heard in the House as applied to this proposal, seemed to him to have no logical significance whatever. The opponents of any system of reform of our licensing system were always ready to urge two objections. One was that the proposals were purely arbitrary, and the other that they were unworkable. As to the argument about the arbitrary character of the proposals, he would like to make the admission that that certainly could not be said to give Local Option which imposed any restriction whatever on the number that the ratepayers were entitled to vote. He was as willing to make that admission as he was anxious to assert that there could be no real Local Option without a representation of minorities. But what was it which lay at the basis of a demand for reform? The principle of the existing law and the whole argument in favour of reform might be summed up in one phrase—the necessity for regulation. It was the recognized necessity of regulating the trade which was at the bottom of the existing law; and it was the desire of regulation, passing into the desire of repression, which lay at the basis of the temperance agitation throughout the country. Therefore it would be, he thought, wholly illogical and absurd to ask Parliament to change the existing licence system, and at the same time assert that the principle of Local Option must be carried out in its entirety. It was obvious that that might result in some cases, though it might be in very few cases, in the very opposite of reform. He had received a paper from the Wine, Spirit, and Beer Trade Association of Scotland, which seemed to him to furnish the most incontestable proof that if the term "arbitrary" could be applied to any system it should be applied to the existing system. He would quote a few figures, with the permission of the House, to show the arbitrary character of the existing system. He would take towns and Parliamentary burghs which had about the same population. He found, for instance, that in the town of Peterhead, with a population of over 10,000, and less than 11,000, the proportion of licences was 1 to every 192 of the population. In Dysart, with about the same population, the proportion was 1 to 453; while in Port Glasgow it was 1 to 225. In four towns, with a population of over 2,000, and less than 3,000, they were—Kilrenny, 1 to 276; Cullen. 1 to 284; Kirkcudbright, 1 to 214; and Pittenweem, 1 to 115. In Forfar, with a population of 12,000, the proportion was 1 to 237; and Galashiels, with about the same population, it was 1 in 336. In Hawick, with a population of 16,000, the proportion was 1 to 359; and in Stirling, with the same population, 1 to 168. He thought these figures showed that, if the term "arbitrary" could be applied to any system at all, it could with justice be applied to the existing one. It seemed to him to work much after the manner in which the judicial clauses of a certain Act were said to work. No rules had been laid down for the guidance of the judicial mind; and, consequently, one magistrate acted upon the supposition that the proper proportion should be one licence for every 75 of the population, while another magistrate thought and acted on the opinion that it should be 1 to 300. It was admitted, even by those who had compiled the paper to which he had referred, that the magistrates all over the country were endeavouring, as far as possible, to reduce the number of licences. But what was that but an admission that the licensing system had worked badly in the past; and they had now to ask themselves this question—Had the magistrates power to reduce the licences in the proportion which was desired by the people; or, if they had the power, were they willing to use it? He thought that the present agitation had had the effect of making the magistrates act in this matter upon an entirely new principle; and that whereas formerly they seemed to think that they were at liberty almost to establish free trade, and to grant any amount of licences, they were now brought to see that licences should be granted in strict accordance with the requirements of the people. But though that had been the case, he should like to point out that one of the consequences of this excessive liberality towards the trade had been that a vast amount of property had grown up, and a vast amount of capital had been sunk in the trade; and he would appeal to hon. Members, whether they had not constantly seen reports of deputations which had gone to magistrates and asked them to reduce the licences, and whether the al- most invariable reply of the magistrates had not been that they would reduce the number as much as it was in their power, but that they could not confiscate lawfully-acquired property? He would now go back to a point from which he had made a long digression. He had alluded to the provision in the Bill which proposed that, instead of the arbitrary system which now obtained throughout the country, there should be one line drawn by the Legislature—namely, the line of proportion of one licence to every 500 of the population. That proposal was, to a certain extent, inconsistent with other proposals in the Bill relating to compensation; but he should like to point out that the proposals in the Bill on the subject of compensation were entirely consequential upon the recognition of the principle that the locality should bear the cost of the diminution. If they were inclined to grant compensation on a more liberal basis, then the question would arise, were the ratepayers justly liable, not for the diminution, which was not the consequence of their own act, but of the act of the Legislature alone? He thought if that was the difficulty, the solution ought certainly not to be as he heard that some people out-of-doors were inclined to think—namely, in the direction of denying the principle of compensation. He must say he regretted the attitude of some of the temperance associations in Scotland. They seemed to him to fail in recognizing what he believed to be an undoubted fact—that if Parliament was to take up this question, and if licences were to be reduced throughout the country, then the people of Scotland must to a very considerable extent bear the cost and burden of the change. He hoped the people would not take the course of saying that the trade in which the publicans engaged was a trade which was abhorrent to the sound morality of the country. He would like the House to consider whether it was altogether a vain illusion on his part which made him think that if this question of compensation presented such enormous difficulties, Parliament might not be induced, in accordance with the expression of the popular will, to take a course competent to it, and comparable to that which Parliament took when it decided to abolish the institution of Slavery. He hoped the comparison might not be thought invidious. He did not wish to draw a comparison between the present matter and the matter which was then discussed. He wished only to point to what was the action of Parliament. Parliament did not say to those who were engaged in the Slave Trade—"You have no claim to compensation; you are engaged in a trade which is repugnant to the well-being of the country. You should rather disgorge your ill-gotten gains." Parliament said, on the contrary—"It is true that this trade is contrary to the spirit of British law, that it is a principle which is repugnant to every principle of justice and philanthropy; but it is an institution which has flourished under the sanction of the Legislature, and therefore we say that when we change the law and put your property on a new basis we will recognize emphatically your claims for compensation." The case was a peculiarly strong one, because Parliament did not act upon the certain knowledge that of course those who employed slaves would suffer loss. That compensation was given merely upon the allegation that the law might result in loss; and it seemed to him a fortiori indisputable, that whether they were discussing the abolition, or rather, he should say, the more stringent regulation, of the trade, it was a matter of certainty that loss would ensue, and justice demanded that Parliament should compensate the trade on account of certain claims put forward by them. He should like now very briefly to refer to another matter which had been the subject of dispute out-of-doors. The Bill proposed to institute what he might call the 10 years' system. He could not help thinking that this proposal had been misapprehended, and its effects exaggerated. It was said that licences were only now given for one year, and that if they gave them for a longer period they established a vested right. That was, no doubt, true to a certain extent; but he should like to point out that a misconception had arisen from the non-recognition of the fact that the Bill made no change whatever in what he might call the fiscal arrangements which now obtained, and which obliged a publican to take out a licence every year. The proposal was that the certificate only should be put up to auction, and that the licencee should be required to take out the annual licence. As to the reasons which had induced him to make this proposal, it was entirely consequential upon the proposal to have a limit of one licence to 500 of the population—a limit which, owing to the period the Census was taken, could only be authoritatively determined once in 10 years. Another reason was that it would be unwise, and in every way undesirable, that the country should be subjected to the inconvenience and turmoil of frequent elections such as those proposed in the Bill; and, lastly, the certificate which it was proposed to put up to auction, being capable of lasting for a period of 10 years, would have a saleable value of a considerable extent. That was a proposal the value and the necessity of which he thought would be obvious when the proposal as regarded compensation was taken into consideration. As to the allegation that a vested right would be created, he would like to point out that, under the existing system, the licencee had a far greater claim to be considered in possession of a vested right, because he need hardly point out to hon. Members who knew the method in which licences were annually renewed, that it was the fact that if a publican conformed strictly to the conditions of his certificate, he was absolutely certain of having his certificate renewed annually until it resulted in his getting the licence for a considerable number of years—something like 15, or even for 20 years. Now, he thought it was unnecessary for him to speak at greater length upon the provisions of the Bill. He merely wished to say, in conclusion, that he did not believe it was possible to effect a sudden and violent revolution in our existing licensing system. He believed the wrench would be too great and too widely felt to make that possible or desirable. He believed it was necessary for Parliament to provide for a transitional state of things; and it was because he believed that the provisions of the Bill, however crude and faulty it might be said to be—[Mr. WARTON: Hear, hear!]—the hon. and learned Member for Bridport thought it was—well he hoped the hon. and learned Member would devote his energies to introducing a better one—he said that however faulty his proposals might be deemed, still he ventured to think that they might afford some indication of the change in the law which Parliament might be willing to sanction, and he, therefore, ventured to move the second reading of the Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Lord Colin Campbell.)


, in rising to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months, said, he thought that if the hopes of the temperance reformers of Scotland depended for a stimulant upon the speech to which the House had just listened, those hopes must be at a very low ebb indeed, because the whole of that speech was characterized by a tone of the most lugubrious despondency. The noble Lord the Member for Argyll (Lord Colin Campbell) had catalogued with considerable precision and accuracy most, or at all events many, of the objections which he (Sir Herbert Maxwell), in common with a great many others, felt in regard to the measure. The noble Lord had altogether adopted an apologetic tone, and had, in fact, intreated the House to deal tenderly with the Bill, which he had spoken of as a pilot balloon, lest it would utterly collapse. He (Sir Herbert Maxwell) must congratulate the noble Lord on having approached this subject in a spirit of moderation, which was very often absent from the speeches and utterances of those who were interested in the temperance movement; but, having said so much, he must point to some of the defects of this, in many respects, remarkable Bill. He thought the noble Lord could hardly have realized to himself the revolution which his measure, if carried into law, would effect throughout the length and breadth of Scotland. It would cause a disturbance of the social system in every district; and he agreed with him in thinking it was, indeed, a measure of so sweeping a character, that if it was to be brought forward it ought not to be intrusted to any private Member, but to have been dealt with by no one other than a responsible Minister of the Crown. He thought, indeed, it was possible some such idea as that might nave influenced the noble Lord in regard to the preparation of that Bill, because he found he had apparently felt some mistrust in placing his name on the back of it with the usual amount of support, and had taken to himself eight other Members more private than himself. It was not only his (Sir Herbert Maxwell's) experience, but the experience of hon. Members who had sat a much longer time in the House, that they had never seen a Bill with nine names on the back of it. As he had said, he had considerable sympathy with the object of the noble Lord in regard to the Licensing Laws, for he believed them to be capable, in some respects, of amelioration; but this improvement should take place, not with the violent and convulsive interference proposed, but gradually. The principal provisions of the Bill were contained in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 17th, and 21st sections. The 7th section provided for a preliminary confiscation of all licences in excess of one in 500 of the population. He had had no means of obtaining the total number of licences granted in Scotland, but he had the number of licences granted in Parliamentary burghs, and that section would reduce the number at once from 6,810 to 3,252. That gave some idea of the magnitude of the step that was proposed to be taken. He (Sir Herbert Maxwell) had called it confiscation, though he did not desire to use the word in any offensive sense; but he was unable to find any other word which expressed what would take place, because, although compensation was alluded to, it was merely a nominal compensation. He believed that the existing licensing authority was engaged in a work as acknowledged by the noble Lord, which, if time was given, would at no very distant period bring about the results which he had in view. If they took the population of the 79 Parliamentary burghs of Scotland, they found that in 10 years it had increased 175,490, whereas in five years the number of licences had been decreased 237. That showed that the present licensing authorities, the magistrates, had at heart the proper regulation and control of the liquor traffic. He could not go beyond those 10 years; but his right hon. and gallant Friend (Sir John Hay) had just reminded him that in the parish in which he resided, whereas in his youth there were 19 licensed houses, there were now only five. He (Sir Herbert Maxwell) believed that was only a part of what had been going on all over Scotland. It had often struck him as strange that the fact was not realized that the municipal bodies of Scotland had already something approaching to practical Local Option. The ratepayers themselves elected the magistrates, who granted the licences, and therefore the control of the public-houses and the liquor traffic was in their hands. He altogether denied that the magistrates in rural districts were influenced by some of the motives which were at times alleged. They were, no doubt, exposed to considerable solicitations, especially in times of political excitement, and it was possible that in some instances they had yielded to those solicitations against their better judgment; but he believed the magistrates of Scotland had most carefully and, to a certain extent, successfully endeavoured to control and keep within due limits that traffic. If the preliminary confiscation suggested by the vote of total suppression contained in the Bill were to take place, some 20 of the burghs would at once lose all their licensed houses. For instance, Culross, which now had five licences, and New Galloway, which now had three, had each less than 500 inhabitants, and would, therefore, lose all their licences.


pointed out to the hon. Member that there was a provision in the Bill that wherever the licensing authority were of opinion that a particular burgh or district was in special need of licences in respect of inns or hotels, they might decide upon the number of such licences, to be voted for in the manner provided by the Bill.


said, that that provision had escaped his notice. He would point out, however, that although the resident population in these burghs was under 500, that by no means represented their occasional and periodical requirements. The burgh of New Galloway, which he knew well, was a small but very ancient Royal burgh, situated in a moorland district, and, its ordinary requirements being small, probably one public-house would suffice for those wants; but there were periodical sheep markets there, and large numbers of farmers, shepherds, and drovers came in from the neighbouring moorlands. They certainly required accommodation of some description, and if there was only one licensed house in the town, it would be most inadequate. The noble Lord had spoken of Peterhead, and had given it as an instance of the uncertainty and want of system which characterized the administration of the local licensing authority at present. He had told them that at Peterhead the licensed houses were in the ratio of one to 192 of the population; and in contrast to that he had mentioned Dysart, where the ratio was one to every 458. What principle, he asked, actuated the licensing authorities which caused so great a difference in the proportion of these two towns? Peterhead was a seaport town, and during the herring season, he (Sir Herbert Maxwell) supposed its requirements and its temporary population were enormously in excess of its general requirements and general population. Port Glasgow was also a seaport, and, of course, the population of seaports was liable to fluctuation; whereas inland towns were not. He would remind the noble Lord that temperance, like other virtues, began at home, and he should like to take the case of Inverary, with which the noble Lord was well acquainted. The population of Inverary in 1871 was 902, and in 1881, 863. Last year the number of its licensed houses was eight, and under that Bill the maximum number would be one. He should like to know if the noble Lord had the approval of the ratepayers of Inverary in his proposal to lay upon them at once the burden of compensating seven out of the eight licensed victuallers in that town? Further, by Section 20 of the Bill, if one of the ratepayers of Inverary were to vote for the suppression of the licensed houses, they would be swept out of Inverary. The Bill put that enormous power in the hands of one of the ratepayers, which the House had already refused by rejecting the Permissive Bill which put that power in the hands of two-thirds of the population. He should also like to allude for a few moments to what the noble Lord had said in regard to compensation. He seemed to think that the publicans ought to be grateful that their claims for compensation were recognized at all. He could not imagine anything more illusory and more trifling than the compensation which was offered. If they took the compensation provided for in Section 40, they found that the holder of a licence under tenancy from year to year was to receive one year's net profits, being at the same time de- prived of his occupation and of his property. This was called compensation. Then a tenant whose tenancy was within three years of expiring was to receive one and a-half year's net profits, or he was to have the option of continuing in his present occupation and premises for 10 years; in other words, the confiscation—or the disturbance, if the word confiscation was disapproved of—was deferred for 10 years. He could not see the difference between an injustice proposed to be committed now—if it was an injustice—and an injustice proposed to be committed 10 years hence; neither did he see the advantage of allowing a man to continue in occupation for 10 years, if he were to be deprived of his licence at the end of that time. In subsection 0, a tenant, however long his lease might be—he might have entered into a lease for 19 years—was to be deprived of it. He supposed he would have to come upon his landlord for compensation, and that his landlord would be asked to give him the value of the lease; but in the case of a leaseholder under trustees this would be impracticable. There was really no provision for compensation in the Bill. Sub-section D was retrospective, and went back to February 1st of this year. Why did the noble Lord take that retrospective view? Was there any fairness or any justice in going back to leases signed at that time, and before the introduction of this Bill? Then there was another provision which was altogether absent, and in which was involved an important point as regarded the tenant. Who was to take over the stock? There was no provision whatever for the taking over of the stock-in-trade. The utensils and furniture of the house, he believed, were provided for; but there was no provision for compensating the licencee for the liquor which he might have on hand, and which would be perfectly useless to him if his licence were taken from him. Turning to the compensation offered to the landlord, there was even less provision. If he had let his premises to a licensed victualler on a yearly lease, he was to receive as compensation—and really there was something too ludicrous in the use of the word compensation—one year's rent. He would receive that in any case; there was no compensation in it at all. Under sub-section B, if he had granted a lease to his tenant, he was to receive two years' rent. It seemed to him (Sir Herbert Maxwell) to be equally ludicrous to call that compensation; and the cases he had given were only instances of the general inadequacy of the compensation offered. Again, sub-section E of Clause 46 was a most singular instance of vicarious punishment. If any convictions had been obtained against the tenant for a breach of his agreement or licence, the compensation was not to be paid to the landlord. He would like to hear it explained why any breach of a certificate of agreement, or any offence on the part of one man should be visited pecuniarily upon another. Section F of Clause 46 provided that if the licensing authority selected the premises of the landlord for one of the licensed houses under the new system, he should receive no compensation whatever; but it might be remarked that the landlord's property, even though it were selected for one of the new licensed premises, would be very much deteriorated, because it would be the duty of the licensing authority, in the interests of the ratepayers, to get a house at as low a rent as possible. There would, probably, be numerous premises offered to them—barns and all sorts of places—anywhere that would do for drinking purposes—at competition low rents; and they would be obliged, in the interests of the ratepayers, to take the lowest, and so depreciate the landlord's property, for which he would receive no compensation. He (Sir Herbert Maxwell) would like to know why that should be so? Clause 11 contained one of the most unjust and objectionable proposals in the whole Bill. It provided that— No person who is, or is in partnership with, or is proprietor or part proprietor of any premises in which is carried on the business of a brewer, maltster, distiller, or dealer in or retailer of ale, beer, spirits, wine, or other excisable liquors, shall act as a member of the licensing authority; and if he is a member of the Town Council he shall not vote nor take any part in the carrying out of this Act, in any way, under penalty. From the noble Lord's point of view he could understand the licensed victuallers being shut out from voting under this Act; but he could not see why a member of the Town Council, who presumably was a responsible person, elected because of his high character and his ability for business, should be deprived of a vote. Neither did he see any objection to the same privilege being granted to the proprietors of premises. It had been a very common practice, especially in the rural districts, for the owners of landed property to take into their own hands licensed premises, in order that they might retain their control over the liquor traffic. He (Sir Herbert Maxwell) had done it himself, and had no doubt that other hon. Members in that House had done the same. They had a perfect right to keep licensed premises in their own hands, in order that they might put in suitable and respectable tenants to carry on the business. These persons—the landlords—would be entirely shut out from participating in the working of this Bill. Then why should the licensing authority be taken entirely out of the hands of municipal corporations? He did not wonder that the Royal Parliamentary burghs in Scotland, in convention assembled, had petitioned against the Bill in the proportion of 44 to 7. This was a direct and a violent interference with that Local Government in favour of which last week they had heard so much from the Treasury Bench. Then he would like to know why the licensing authority should be different in counties from boroughs? In the counties the licensing authority would be elected by the magistrates, while in the boroughs they would be elected by the ratepayers. He conceived the greatest objection to this unnecessary and apparently unlimited multiplication of elective bodies. There were existing corporations, existing Boards, and existing authorities which had to be elected. Why could not these be made use of in the controlling of the liquor traffic? He thought before the Bill could be seriously considered by the House, it should be shown to the satisfaction of everyone that the existing authority had failed; the fact being that the noble Lord had himself admitted that they had advanced so far in the line in which he was proceeding. Perhaps the most dangerous effect in relation to this Bill would be the effect it would have in encouraging illicit traffic in spirits. Anyone who had studied the Report issued by a Select Committee of the House of Lords upon the subject must remember the significance of the figures which were given ill regard to what was known as "shebeening" in the large towns of Scotland. It was shown that the very control which was now exercised over the liquor traffic in Scotland had the effect, so far, of encouraging illicit traffic. Parliament closed public-houses at 11, but the "shebeens" were open all night. Of course, this was not an argument against regulation; but it was an argument against altogether suppressing that which they had a right to regulate. Then there was a further evil akin to "shebeening," of which they had not had much experience in Scotland, and that was the evil of spurious clubs or drinking shops. If they suppressed public-houses in every great town in Scotland there would still be drinking shops that would be conducted in this way. There would probably be a list of rules copied from those of the Reform or the Carlton Clubs, or from any other club, printed and stuck up over the mantelpiece. Then men—and women, too, for these were generally "ladies' clubs"—would go in and drink just as freely, and without the same control from the police, as they would in a public-house. If anyone doubted this, he would refer them to a report which appeared in The Preston Herald of November 26, 1881, where a long list was given of 31 clubs, all situated in Bradford, some of the particulars of which were very interesting. They all seemed to be of the same character. In one of the local Conservative clubs there were billiards, smoking, and other rooms, nearly 200 members, subscriptions 5s. a-year, payable quarterly. Intoxicants were sold here, especially on Sundays, and it was a common practice for 100 or 200 persons to assemble there on Sunday evenings and continue to sing, smoke, and drink for many hours without intermission. He would not trouble the House with the particulars of more of these clubs, but they were all of much the same character as this one. The police had no power to interfere with these clubs, and it was very difficult to legally describe what was a club. He presumed membership of a club consisted in election, and in the payment of a subscription. They might depend upon it that the ballot in these clubs was not so strict as it was in the case of—[Mr. WARTON: The Reform.]—some of the more prominent clubs; and, possibly, the officials were not over-scrupulous in the collection of subscriptions. If they sup- pressed public-houses to the extent contemplated by the noble Lord, he (Sir Herbert Maxwell) had very little doubt that they would encourage a class of houses such as were fortunately very little known now in Scotland, but of which there were, he believed, in the United Kingdom altogether about 10,000. Having alluded to some of the defects of the noble Lord's proposals, he felt bound to indicate some of the measures to which he looked for the remedy of the existing state of things, for he admitted that it needed remedy. He had great confidence in the effects of education; and in this respect he was able to concur in the sentiment recently expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. John Bright), when he laid the foundation-stone of a school at Llandudno. He believed a system of State education, properly conducted, might be found the truest remedy for the evils of intemperance. Bring up children with an adequate and perfect knowledge—as perfect as possible—of the physiological evils and the moral results of intoxication, and they would then imbue the mind of the nation with such a horror of it that its influence would be infinitely more effective than any artificial legislation such as was now proposed by the noble Lord, and which had been supported by arguments untenable in themselves, and sentimental in their character.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Sir Herbert Maxwell.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


said, he would not follow the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Herbert Maxwell) in the speech he had just made. The hon. Baronet had not made a second reading speech at all; but had gone very much into small minute details of the Bill, and had criticized it adversely. At the same time, he could agree with the hon. Baronet in a great many points. Though his (Mr. Anderson's) name was on the back of the Bill, he did not approve of everything that was in it, for he had always opposed the Permissive Bill; but he supported the Local Option Resolution, and he thought the Bill was a fair and honest attempt to give expression to the meaning of the House when it voted in favour of Local Option. ["Hear, hear!" and "No, no!"] He could only say to those hon. Members who said "No!" if they were Members who voted for Local Option, that he would like them to bring forward their views, and let the House know whether they could introduce a more satisfactory measure than the one under discussion. The main object of the Bill was to reduce considerably the number of public-houses, and to give the vote upon such matters to the ratepayers. The hon. Baronet said that the ratepayers in burghs already had that vote, because the ratepayers elected the magistrates. He did not think the hon. Baronet was quite correct in that. The ratepayers only indirectly elected the magistrates. They elected the Town Councillors, and the Town Councillors elected the magistrates; but he did not think it would be a very good thing in the municipal elections of the country that they should hinge on the drink question, and the only tendency of referring the drink question entirely to the magistrates would be in time to make that one of the great questions at the election of Town Councillors. He did not think that would be a good thing to do; and he thought it was a sufficient answer that the noble Lord in his Bill suggested a totally new form of licensing authority. But while the burghs had a certain control at present, there was not the same control in the hands of the ratepayers in counties, and therefore some amount of authority should be placed in the hands of the ratepayers in counties. The noble Lord proposed to do that; but, at the same time, as the Government held out the hope of dealing by-and-bye with the question of county government, the noble Lord in his Bill had provided for the licensing authority ultimately being vested in any system of county government that should be established. In his opinion, one of the great points in the Bill was that in no case should there be an absolute veto, because he did not think that in the Bill, as drawn, it would be possible in any borough whatever to have a total absence of public-houses; because if feeling ran high on one side, and a large number of ratepayers voted for no public-houses at all, feeling would also run high on the other side, and that side would vote for the maximum number, so that a comparatively small number of votes would be sufficient to prevent a total and complete prohibition. The hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) would think that one of the blots of the Bill; but he (Mr. Anderson) thought it was one of its advantages. He thought it much better that the principle of the Bill should be discussed now, and that such matters as were discussed by the hon. Baronet opposite should be discussed when the Bill went into Committee, if it went to that stage. While he should like to see the Bill go to Committee, he thought it might perhaps be desirable that it should go to a Select Committee in the first place, to see whether it could not be put in a shape that would make it somewhat more acceptable to the House, and thus gain a larger amount of support. In that way a great many of the more objectionable clauses would be got rid of; and he thought there were some such clauses. Such a clause was Clause 11, in which persons connected with the trade were in a manner deprived of their citizen rights. That was a clause he could not approve of. The question of compensation also required to be dealt with somewhat differently from the way it was dealt with in the Bill. But if the Bill were brought before a Select Committee, chosen from all parts of the House, it might be possible to bring the Bill into better shape; and though it might not be possible to get it through this year, a large step might be gained towards the settlement of the question in some future year. He did not know what course the Government intended to take; but he thought it might be very well for them to agree to the second reading of the Bill, conditional upon its being referred to a Select Committee afterwards.


said, he could not understand the position of the supporters of the Bill; and he must be allowed to express his surprise that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, and who had his name on the back of the Bill, should recommend sending the measure to a Select Committee for the purpose of removing some of its objectionable clauses. He admired the courage of the noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell) in endeavouring to deal with a thorny question, and he could only regret that he had not introduced his Bill in a spirit of greater hopefulness. The noble Lord, having combatted some objections which probably would not have been raised by anyone else, spoke of his own Bill as "crude and thorny." That remark would have come better from the hon. Baronet who had preceded him on that side of the House (Sir Herbert Maxwell). It was very easy to raise objections to the Bill; at the same time, it would be difficult to introduce any measure dealing with the liquor traffic in regard to which such objections could not be raised. The Bill should certainly be discussed in a spirit free from political bias, but he could not fail to notice that it was backed with the names of eight Liberal Members of the House. The only explanation he could give for the uniformly Radical character of the measure was that it must be significant of the intentions of Her Majesty's Government. He did not, however, seriously attach any importance to the paternity of the measure. As he had on former occasions been identified with this question, he was familiar with its details. That proposal for limiting the number of public-houses had formed a loading part of what was known as Sir Robert Anstruther's Bill in former years. Though he admitted that there would have to be exceptions to it, he considered it a valuable provision which would be beneficial, and which should continue to be aimed at. He agreed with the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) in his remark about Clause 11. He thought that clause was of an unnecessarily offensive character to persons connected with the liquor trade. He could not for the life of him see why a man, because he was connected with the liquor traffic, should be deprived of his rights of citizenship. He had just as much right to give expression to his views in matters affecting the place to which he belonged as the representative of any other trade. The noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire, in his opening remarks, had referred to the opposition he had met with in reference to the question of compensation. He (Mr. Dalrymple) was quite sure that whatever measure was introduced of this kind must, if it was intended to be successful, contain a reference to compensation; and those who were inclined to oppose the Bill on the gronnd that compensation was contemplated in it were really not the best friends of temperance. But when they came to consider the sources from which the compensation was to be drawn, he admitted that a difficulty immediately arose. The hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) had complained of the details of the measure being referred to in a speech on the second reading; but the fact was, that in a Bill of this kind the details were everything, for they were all agreed upon the principle, and it was inevitable that on the discussion on the second reading these details must be referred to. He (Mr. Dalrymple) awaited with great interest an expression of opinion by Her Majesty's Government. The right hon. and learned Lord Advocate had received deputations on many subjects of interest of late in Scotland, and he (Mr. Dalrymple) was quite sure the views of those who were interested in this subject had been laid fully before him. He should be glad to hear what the opinions of the Government were, not only in reference to this Bill, but in reference to the question of Local Option, not only because it affected great interests, but because on the last occasion on which Local Option was before them the Government, in the person of many of its Members, supported that Resolution. He was very sensible of the defects of this measure. He thought that in some respects it was a too ambitious measure; but having in times past interested himself in this question, and done what he could in the direction of the measure of the noble Lord, and having also on different occasions supported the Local Option Resolution, he could not withhold a vote in favour of the second reading of the Bill, even although he recognized defects in the measure. The noble Lord, in complete agreement with the general tone and character of his speech, seemed to think the Bill might never reach Committee. He should recommend the noble Lord, when he dealt with questions of this kind, to look forward more hopefully to the result of his efforts, even to the extent of his measures reaching Committee. If the Bill of the noble Lord went to a second reading, he should certainly support it; but he considered that many of its details would require attention and correction, and he would hope that even if the Bill went no further at the present time, it might form the basis of legislation in the future in regard to Scotland, where the people were so much interested in this question.


said, his name was on the back of the Bill, and he had readily consented to its being put there, because he looked on the Bill as a laudable effort on the part of the noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell) to deal with what was a most difficult subject; and, in the second place, because it largely tended in the direction of restriction of a traffic which was most injurious to the character of the country. In the third place, he had put his name on the back of the Bill because although, like others, he could not say he agreed with all the details of the measure, still it presented to the House and the country a good basis for discussion; and although the noble Lord did not seem to expect to be able to pass it in its present shape, yet he (Mr. Williamson) sincerely hoped that good would flow from it, and that, next Session, if this Bill failed, another might be brought in of a more practical character, and, if possible, a Government measure. Perhaps the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate might give it his attention, and deal with it in a more suitable manner. He was quite sure that few Members could come to the House representing Scotch constituencies who were not pledged, and who were not required to declare in the face of their constituencies the desire, that this dangerous liquor traffic should be restricted. The hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Herbert Maxwell) had spoken of this Bill being a censure on the present licensing authorities. But afterwards he had admitted that there were grave evils requiring a remedy. How did he reconcile these different statements? The licensing authorities had done their best, no doubt, but they had failed, and a remedy was required. He (Mr. Williamson) was perfectly sure the people of Scotland would not rest satisfied unless a remedy was sooner or later found. The Bill did not please the publican; it did not please the extreme Temperance Party. Undoubtedly, the cause of this was the clause dealing with compensation. Licences were only granted for one year, and why, it was asked, should communities be fined in very large amounts for the extinction of these licences at the end of the periods for which they were granted? Of course, other circumstances attaching to these licences came into play; and, speaking for himself, he was not disinclined to the consideration of this question of compensation. Undoubtedly, it formed the most difficult part of this Bill, or any Bill dealing with the restriction of the liquor traffic. Having said this much, and being hopeful that if not this Session, at least soon, a measure dealing with this dangerous traffic would pass the House, if the noble Lord went to a division, he should support the Bill.


Sir, I feel considerable sympathy with the noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell) in the circumstances in which he is placed, because it appears to me that he is, as he has explained himself, attacked on both sides. I remember that several years ago the Prime Minister, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, brought in a Bill dealing with the liquor traffic, and that he was opposed both by those who are called the friends of temperance and by the licensed victuallers; I remember also that at the time it was said in an article in The Times that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was attacked by a combination of knaves and fools. I do not know which were the knaves and which were the fools; but I suppose no one would think of calling the people who deal in drink knaves, so the knaves on that occasion must have been the friends of temperance. The noble Lord is attacked, as he knows, by both these parties; and, therefore, it becomes us to look carefully into his Bill and see what manner of Bill it is, and whether it should have a second reading in this House. I certainly have felt some little difficulty in speaking on this matter; but I felt that I was to a certain degree bound to speak, because I am afraid that if the noble Lord has got into any trouble in this matter, it is partly at my instigation. The fact was, he and I were at a large meeting in Glasgow during the winter of last year. The noble Lord was in the chair, the meeting was very enthusiastically in favour of attacking the liquor traffic; and towards the conclusion of the meeting, I ventured to make the suggestion—perhaps, unwisely—that the noble Lord was a very fit and proper person to bring in a Local Option Bill confined to Scotland. I, as an Englishman, am here to-day to thank him for having set us such a good example in Scotland, and for having made this laudable effort to do something to diminish the evil of the liquor traffic in his own country. The hon. Baronet who moved the rejection of the Bill (Sir Herbert Maxwell) has found fault with the speech of my noble Friend as not being very serious; but, surely, his own was very serious. All of us observed the serious and earnest manner in which my noble Friend approached the subject; and what he has done, as far as I can understand it, is to gather up Scotch opinion, and endeavour to give effect to it by bringing in some measure which shall limit the operation of the liquor traffic in Scotland. But if I did lead my noble Friend astray in the suggestion I made at the public meeting in Glasgow, I must make a little defence of myself. What I suggested that my noble Friend might very properly do was to bring in a Local Option Bill for Scotland; I never asked him to bring in a Licensing Bill. So he has erred, if he has erred at all, through excess of zeal—he has tried to combine licensing with the popular veto, of which I am an advocate. I am no authority on a Licensing Bill. I believe I am the only man in the Kingdom who has not got a scheme for licensing; I have never felt myself competent to propose a licensing scheme. Licensing has been discussed by this House, by the people of this country, and by the ablest men in the country for generations past; but I have never yet seen a Licensing Bill which could stand the test of logical examination, and I have not been called upon to rush in where all the ablest people have hitherto failed. All I have ever proposed, and what I did think the noble Lord might have safely confined himself to—although he is quite within his right in endeavouring to reform the Licensing Laws—was Local Option. All I wanted him to propose was that the people of Scotland should have a popular veto on the issue of licences; that they should be able to protect themselves, if they did not wish to have public-houses forced upon them. I think I was justified in suggesting that, because, as has been stated several times already in this debate, the Members for Scotland, by a majority of 8 to 1, have on more than one occasion declared in this House that Local Option is a right to which the people are entitled, that the people should be no longer left in leading-strings like children, and that they should not be left to the tender mercies of magistrates capable of overriding popular opinion; they have declared that the time has come when Scotchmen are fit to manage their own local affairs. If that was all that the Bill of my noble Friend provided, I am sure it would not only have had my most hearty co-operation, but it would have secured an immense amount of enthusiastic support throughout the whole of Scotland. But in his very laudable effort he goes a little further than I go—he not only proposes to give the popular veto, but he wishes to reform the licensing system at the same time. He has incurred a certain amount of opposition which I hope will not discourage him, and which I regret to find has been incurred by one engaged in such noble work. Now, as to the Bill itself. Are we justified in giving it a second reading, or are we not? There is one argument, I think, very strongly in its favour, and that is the fury of the publicans against it. Day after day I have got circulars denouncing the noble Lord as a confiscator and an agitator, and accusing him of all that is vile and wicked, because he is endeavouring to restrict this traffic, which is endangering his fellow-countrymen; and I cannot help thinking that when those whose main object is to live by the means of that traffic throw so much obloquy upon the author of this Bill, it must be a Bill which would do a great deal to restrict and restrain the traffic. I think it must be so, because hon. Gentlemen have no doubt seen the table which was presented to them, showing what the effect will absolutely be if the Bill comes into force. I see that in the Parliamentary burghs of Scotland, the number of places licensed for the sale of drink will, by the operation of the Bill, be at once reduced by more than one-half. If this is not a Bill to promote temperance, I really do not know what Bill would do it. But, of course, there are objections to the Bill. I do not want to dwell upon them, because they are more a question for Committee; but I am afraid I must say a word or two upon them, lest I should be understood to approve of the objectionable portions of the measure. The noble Lord, I think, in his Bill, provides that a man may hold a licence, under certain circumstances, 10 years. That is quite a new thing in our legislation. Never before has a licence for the sale of drink been granted for more than one year. Then the noble Lord puts in a small veto in a reverse way, which may override the opinion of the majority of the people if that opinion is in favour of total prohibition of places for the sale of drink. These two points I should certainly like to see struck out of the Bill. And then there is the question of compensation. That, also, is a question for Committee. The proposal, however, is one which has aroused very great hostility to the Bill throughout Scotland, so far as I have been able to learn, because it is quite a new idea that people who pay for their licence for one year, and get the benefit of it, are, if the State refuses to renew the bargain at the end of the year, to be compensated. There are so many difficulties surrounding the matter that people cannot understand this question of compensation. For instance, some persons ask why a man who has been refused a licence, as well as one whose property has been deteriorated by the establishment of a licensed house near it, should not be compensated. All these questions are so intricate and so puzzling that they have aroused hostility to my noble Friend's Bill. I see the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. O'Sullivan) opposite; he is always ready when there is a Drink Bill on, and I suspect he will make us a very able speech before the conclusion of this debate. He knows all about compensation; no one knows the subject better. I heard him say in this House that if the Irish Sunday Closing Bill were to pass, 16,000 Irish publicans would be absolutely ruined. [Mr. O'SULLIVAN: NO, no!] Oh, yes; I take all these things down, in order to bring them out at the right time. The hon. Member said that, and what happened? The Bill was passed, and when an hon. Friend of his got up and proposed that there should be compensation to these publicans, the proposal was absolutely laughed out of the House. The 16,000 Irish publicans have not got a penny of compensation, and yet my noble Friend comes down to the House and asks that the publicans of Scotland should be compensated. Surely this would be creating a new Irish grievance? But now, Mr. Speaker, all this, as I have said before, is for the Committee. I am only obliged to touch upon these points to show that I differ from my noble Friend upon them; and if these points are for the Committee, let us deal with the Preamble, the real object and intention of the Bill. When I used to bring forward the Permissive Bill in this House I used to tell the House, every time I did so, that I did not care a straw about the details or clauses of that Bill, because on the second reading we discussed the principle of the Bill, and nothing else. I never could persuade the House to take that view; they always would single out particular clauses, and enlarge upon them. I never could see the propriety of such a course. So at last I yielded to their arguments, and I said—"We will not have any Bill at all; but we will simply have the Preamble in the shape of a Resolution;" and, as the House knows, on two occasions I have got that Resolution carried by the House. At the present moment we are only waiting to get that Preamble turned into law by the action of the Government, who will have to take up this question, and will be obliged to act upon that Resolution before very long. I tell them distinctly they will have to take up this question, and found an Act of Parliament upon that Resolution, if they wish to retain the confidence of the country which placed them in power. ["Oh, oh!"] Ah! hon. Members may laugh. They do not know the feeling of the country upon this point as well as I do. I am not speaking without the book. I know there is no question on which the people of this country have so determinedly made up their minds as this—namely, that they will have the power to protect themselves from this liquor traffic, which is bringing ruin and devastation to the country. That being the case, I say my noble Friend is going in the right direction, whatever the details of his Bill be. He has gathered up, as well as he can, Scotch opinion on this matter; and the House, by the second reading of this Bill, will declare that the Scotch people are ready and anxious to take some decisive step towards reducing in some way or other the deadly influence of this liquor traffic, against which they are now roused to such a great extent. If the House gives the Bill a second reading, as I hope they will, they will simply say that Scotland is determined that the liquor traffic shall be diminished in its great power; that Scotland is ready and willing to take the lead in this matter, and give to the people power to protect themselves against the evils of the drink traffic—if not by the exact details of this Bill, at least by some measure aiming in the same direction.


said, although he did not intend to support it, he was one of those who thanked the noble Lord opposite (Lord Colin Campbell) for the measure he had introduced to the notice of the House. The subject was one of such difficulty, that he (Sir John Hay) thought him a bold man who, as a private Member, attempted to draw a Bill of that character; and he confessed that, far from deprecating the tone in which the Bill was introduced, he thought the noble Lord was really serious in discussing his measure, and that the speech which he delivered was one of great interest. But he must also confess that he thought the speech of his hon. Friend who moved the rejection of the Bill (Sir Herbert Maxwell) was one worthy the attention of the House, and he concurred in the reasons which his hon. Friend gave for refusing to support the measure. The hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson)—though they were aware that those whom he ordinarily represented were not entirely in concurrence with the proposals of the noble Lord—thought that, for certain reasons, it would be desirable to give the Bill a second reading. But there were two classes of persons in this country, and two only. There were the friends of temperance, represented by, he trusted, the majority of this House; and there were the friends of total abstinence, of whom the hon. Member for Carlisle was the advocate. What, however, the House had to consider was what was best for the interests of temperance. If they were a new community, he (Sir John Hay) supposed one of the first arrangements which the community would undertake would be to see that these hostelries and taverns were provided where persons might find necessary refreshment; and it seemed to him that because they were an old com- munity, it was equally necessary that, under due regulation no doubt, these conveniences for the public use should be continued. He (Sir John Hay) had now been for some 41 years a magistrate in his own locality, where sobriety had greatly increased. The population in that district had not greatly increased in 40 years; but the public-houses considered necessary for the population had been diminished by two-thirds. That was the case in other parts of Scotland; and, if so, to what better source could they look for the regulation of this subject than to the magistracy of the country? He objected to the question of the number or nature of the public-houses being thrown into the arena of a popular election. It would be very much against the peace of a district. Therefore, looking to the fact that the Bill which the noble Lord had introduced, and had introduced, he had no doubt, for excellent reasons—looking to the fact that it left to the majority in each district the determination of the number of public-houses which should be permitted, that condemned it, in his opinion, and prevented him from voting for some other provisions which he should be glad to see introduced. It had been pointed out that the circumstances and nature of districts should be taken into consideration, as well as the numbers of the resident population, in determining how many public-houses should be licensed. Allusions had been made to the burghs of Peterhead and Dysart, which had the same normal population; but it should be considered that in Peterhead, besides the ordinary local population of industrious fishermen, there was, at certain seasons, a large accession of strangers taking part in the herring fishery. Now, it appeared to him that during the dull season the local vote might be given in favour of the reduction of the number of licensed houses, without any care for the convenience of visitors, who might not be able on their arrival to find that accommodation which they had a right to expect. On the whole, he considered that the power of licensing could not be placed in better hands than those of the resident magistrates; and he was entirely averse to any arrangement which would take away from the local magistracy, or from the burgh magistracy, the power which they now possessed of determining the necessities of their particular dis- tricts. He believed they were more capable of determining wisely what might be necessary for their district than the breath of popular opinion, influenced, perhaps, by the eloquence of his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle, or other persons who might persuade them that they did not require the particular assistance and convenience which was afforded by the public-houses in the respective districts, and thereby lead them to inflict an injury, not only on occasional visitors, but upon others who were permanently resident there. For these reasons, he must vote against the principle of the Bill which the noble Lord had introduced. His belief was that this Bill, if passed into law, would inflict a great amount of injury, not only on the casual visitors, but upon licensed traders themselves throughout the length and breadth of Scotland.


said, that, as an Irishman, he had to apologize for interfering in a discussion relating to a Scotch Bill; but he had a strong objection to any measure which involved the principle of confiscation, whether it affected Ireland or any other part of the Empire. If the Bill were carried for Scotland, it would be sure to be proposed for Ireland next. That made it a matter of great and momentous consequence, and one which should not be left in the hands of a private Member. In his opinion, Government itself should take the subject up, for he did not see why the interests of a large trade and the properties of those engaged in it should be made away with by means of crude Quixotic legislation. Before he sat down he wished to correct what had fallen from the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson). That hon. Gentleman had stated that during the discussion upon the Irish Sunday Closing Bill, he (Mr. O'Sullivan) said that 16,000 Irish publicans would be destroyed, unless they got compensation. He did not think he had made that declaration. The fact was, the subject was so frequently before the House, and he among others had spoken so frequently on it, that he forgot what he really did say, and the hon. Baronet had himself so often joined in the discussion that it was impossible he could recollect what had been said by each one of his opponents. To the best of his recollection, however, what he did say was that if the Bill passed the Irish publicans would lose one-sixth of their profits under the operation of the Bill, and that for that loss they ought to be compensated. The truth of that had been amply proved. The Bill had turned out a failure. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, a failure; for a man who wanted to get drunk had only to declare that he was a bonâ fide traveller, and forthwith he could be served with as much as he required. There never was a character so expansive as that of the bonâ fide traveller. The best definition he had yet heard was that given by Mr. Baron Dowse, who declared that a bonâ fide traveller was anyone who wanted to drink and had money in his pocket. This Bill certainly proposed to compensate the licensed traders in Scotland; but how were they to be compensated? They were to receive the amount of three years' profits as disclosed in the Income Tax Returns. But was the noble Lord aware that these men had paid for their houses 10 or 15 years' purchase of the profits? He was, therefore, bound to say that it was a most extraordinary thing that anyone could be found so cruel and inconsiderate as to bring in a Bill to confiscate all beyond the three years' price and the price the publicans themselves had paid for the business. He hoped the House would not be so unjust as to sanction any such measure. They had heard from the right hon. and gallant Baronet who represented Wigtonshire (Sir John Hay) enough to satisfy them. That right hon. Gentleman had told them that under the jurisdiction of the local magistrates the licensed houses in his district had been reduced one-third; although, in his (Mr. O'Sullivan's) opinion, the number of public-houses had nothing whatever to do with the matter, for if a man wanted to get drunk he could get as much to drink at one public-house as he could get with the full range of 10 public-houses, if the landlord though the had not already had enough—for there was no greater nuisance to the publican than the drunkard; no man inflicted upon him a greater amount of injury; for such was his conduct that he turned respectable customers out of the place. He repeated that this was a matter which ought to be left in the hands of the magistrates, under whose jurisdiction the number of licensed houses had been reduced, although the population had largely increased. Again, he had to say that he did not wish to interfere in what was a purely Scotch matter, were it not that he felt that this measure, if it became law, might be made the precedent for the introduction of a similar measure of confiscation with respect to Ireland, and finally as regards England itself—["Oh, oh!"]—for, from what he knew of the Temperance Party, they cared little about confiscating the property of the licensed victuallers, whether they were Irish, Scotch, or English.


said, that, discussing the Bill at the present day, it would be out of place to dwell upon the evils of the traffic, which were generally recognized in the country. He quite concurred with the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Dalrymple), that this ought not to be made a Party question. On both sides of the House, he thought, there was a general agreement, that it was one which ought to be dealt with by the Legislature without delay. At any rate, so far as Scotland was concerned that opinion was very strong. Scotland, however, was much in advance of England on the question; and, therefore, he felt indebted to the noble Lord for having given his attention to this question, and for having attempted to deal with it in a manner in accordance with the wishes of the people of Scotland. He did not intend, on this occasion, to enter into the details of the Bill. As far as he was personally concerned, there were some parts of it which he would wish to see amended; but he thought that in Committee was the time to deal with these. The recommendation of his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson), that the second reading should be taken on the understanding that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee, was one which might be agreed to by the House. The Bill had very much to commend it, and it would be a great pity if the second reading were rejected; and, on the other hand, there were several novel features in the Bill which might be dealt with in a Select Committee with more effect than in a Committee of the Whole House. He certainly should give his support to the second reading, in the belief that the Bill might be amended in Committee.


said, that the right hon. and gallant Baronet opposite (Sir John Hay) told them how it was for the magistrates to see that public-house accommodation was provided, and how they had done their duty admirably, and how they had done it by cutting down the number of licences by a third. Well, that was exactly what he (Dr. Cameron) wanted to see done to a greater extent. But in discussing the local circumstances of Scotland, the right hon. and gallant Baronet forgot that a number of different licensing systems existed there. In the counties the control of the licensing system was certainly entirely intrusted to magistrates appointed by the Crown; but in the burghs a veto power on all new licences was placed in the hands of magistrates elected—though not perhaps directly elected—by the people; and, again, in the country there was the power of the landlords, overriding that of the magistrates, to declare that upon their estates they would have no licensed houses. Therefore, he thought any argument founded upon the existing state of things went as far in favour of the noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell) as of the right hon. and gallant Baronet. They had been told that the Bill was one of such magnitude that it ought to have been introduced by the Government. He (Dr. Cameron) admitted that it was a Bill of great magnitude, and it would have been desirable if it could have been introduced by the Government. There were a great many important Bills relating to Scotland which they would like to see introduced by the Government. The time at the disposal of the Government, however, was so limited that Scotland was favoured with very few Government measures indeed. He did not say that for the purpose of reflecting in any way upon the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate, or anyone else connected with the Government; but he thought, under the circumstances, it was hardly fair when a private Member stepped in and placed a cut-and-dried plan in the hands of the Government, and secured a time for its discussion which the Government could not afford, that he should be met with such objections, and told he should not step in to try what could be done. He did not think his noble Friend expected to be able to pass the Bill in the House by his own unaided efforts; but he thought the noble Lord had done eminent service in bringing it forward, and in obtaining the discussion which had taken place. He must say he trusted the effect of his introducing the Bill, and in embodying in it so many practical points, would be to induce the Government to deal with the question; for there was no subject affecting Scotch interests in which, according to his experience, there was such general interest felt. At no political meeting could Scotch Members attend without being asked questions on that particular subject, and on no subject were so many meetings held and so much said as on the Scotch Licensing Question. He therefore trusted the Government would deal with the question themselves; and he was sure no Member in the House would view them doing so with greater pleasure than the noble Lord who introduced the Bill. A great deal of fault had been found with the details of the Bill. The hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) had possibly dealt in a more prudent fashion with the Licensing Question. He never introduced any details at all. He (Dr. Cameron) had heard the way in which the hon. Baronet dealt with the question compared with the way in which the prize-fighter of the old times used to meet an opponent. He used to have his hair cropped and his ears greased in order that his opponent could not get hold of him. If he might use the expression, he would say that the hon. Baronet had done the same thing, and had reduced his Bill to a Preamble, so that it might pass the House. But his noble Friend had not gained the experience of the hon. Baronet, though, no doubt, when he had, he would follow that example and cut down his proportions more. But he really did not think the present was an occasion when they ought to discuss the minutiae of the Bill. The hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. O'Sullivan) had a measure before the House which he had introduced for the promotion of temperance. He was impressed with the great evils worked by newly-distilled spirits, and he had a measure for detaining spirits in bond until they had become less obnoxious. A large section of the Temperance Party did not quite agree with him as to the efficacy of this specific against drunkenness; but he (Dr. Cameron) could not refuse to agree with him on the question of a scientific fact, and he had therefore given the Bill his support, as he thought that it would do some good. The principle of the present Bill appeared to be the transfer to a large extent of the granting of licences to popularly-elected bodies, and the restriction of the number of licences granted. Taking that into consideration, he thought the suggestion made by his hon. Colleague (Mr. Anderson), that the Bill should be read a second time, and then referred to a Select Committee, was an eminently practical one. The Bill contained so many points that the whole Licensing Question of Scotland would be brought before the Committee; and if the postponement of the Bill for six months would meet the views of the hon. Baronet who had proposed the Amendment (Sir Herbert Maxwell), that certainly would be attained by referring the Bill to a Committee, while a large amount of information would be obtained by that course, and would be embodied in its Report.


said, that if the object of the noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell), in introducing the Bill, was to raise a discussion on the question, he should have no objection; but if the object was to secure the approval by the House of the general principles of the measure, then he thought the House ought to pause before it sanctioned a Bill, part of which he considered a flagrant injustice, and other portions of which he considered to be impracticable. If the object of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson), in proposing that the Bill should be sent to a Select Committee, was to leave the Committee open to consider the whole question, and to draw its own conclusion as to what was desirable and what was not, that would merely be a Committee on the whole question of Temperance; and he (Sir Edward Colebrooke) should have no objection. He would not go into the details of the Bill, which were very elaborate, and difficult to deal with in discussion. Looking, in the first place, to the reasons why legislation was required at all, he, for one, believed, and had always contended, that the existing licensing body had been very hardly dealt with by the public. They had done their duty fairly, and in confor- mity with what he conceived to have been the intention of Parliament, which had never been that the object of a licensing body was, as far as they could, to restrict the liquor traffic. The main object had been a matter of police—of putting the whole of the public-houses under such control of public authorities that all publicans should be upon their good behaviour, and their licences should be taken away in the case of bad behaviour; and there was a restriction as to new licences, in view of the demands that existed for them. He thought the magistrates had behaved in a manner which justified the confidence of the country. In regard to the point of new licences, there had been, he thought, a fair complaint made. He thought there had, perhaps, been a tendency to show somewhat greater latitude than was desirable, and the demands which had arisen for a reform was chiefly in that direction, especially in Scotland. He thought the hon. Member for Glasgow had done good service in putting the law upon a much better footing, so that the function of licensing was performed by a more select body. He (Sir Edward Colebrooke) was prepared to go with the Bill, so far as it proposed to give a greater amount of popular control in the matter of licensing. Up to that point, and to that point only, he was quite prepared to go with the noble Lord in the reforms proposed in the Bill. Beyond that, he thought the proposals were such as would never work, and must lead to injustice. If they went beyond a certain point they ran far greater danger of increasing the intemperance of the country than any chance of reducing it, and would probably encourage low "shebeens," and give a great impulse to intemperance. To attempt to reduce the existing public-houses by one-half could not be done without injustice; and how was it to be done? Not by the voice of the licensing body, who should determine what houses should be retained; but the houses were to be put up to auction to the highest bidder, and the result would possibly be to throw the trade into the worst hands. He looked upon the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) as the greatest advocate of intemperance in the country. That was not the hon. Baronet's views; but it was the natural result of the legis- lation he wished the House to adopt. The attempt of the noble Lord to introduce a compromise in the Bill must certainly fail. He proposed to give the right to a majority in a district to suppress public-houses; and then he went on to say that the minority had rights also, and that they might have public-houses for their own benefit. The two principles were irreconcilable. He (Sir Edward Colebrooke) wished to know how far this measure was proposed as an experiment of the Gothenburg system. It was on the lines of that system. It proposed to put the licences into the hands of licensing bodies, with a view to having each public-house put up to auction. He had always been anxious that some experiment of that kind should be tried; but it must be tried only as an experiment. Then it was proposed that there should be compensation; but, under the Bill, the people who were to pay were not simply those who voted to do away with the public-houses, but the whole community. He asked hon. Members representing either burghs or counties to look at the Bill again, and consider what it was they were voting for. It was that the whole expense should be thrown, not upon those who voted for the proposal, but upon the whole body of the ratepayers, though they might object to the system altogether. He objected to this proceeding altogether. The system might be carried out by voluntary effort, and a proposal of that kind might be deserving of the attention of Parliament. He could not, therefore, vote for the Bill in the shape in which it was brought forward. If Her Majesty's Government were desirous that it should be referred to a Select Committee, he should then have no objection to its second reading, with the view of the whole question being considered.


said, the hon. Baronet the Member for North Lanarkshire (Sir Edward Colebrooke) had made a valuable contribution to the discussion; but his criticism bore chiefly on details which did not necessarily affect the second reading. He trusted, therefore, they might have the support of the hon. Baronet on the terms he offered, and which he thought the noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell) would accept—namely, to refer the Bill to a Select Committee. For his own part, he intended to support the second reading of the Bill; because, although he thought that many of the details were complicated, and perhaps some of the minor principles were objectionable, yet he was in favour of the main principle. He could not, however, support it silently, because, in the course of the debate, there had been so much difference of opinion ex pressed as to what was the principle of the Bill. Perhaps the haziest form in which it had been presented was, as usual, the form in which the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) had put it, for, avoiding, as he habitually did, a close grappling with the difficulties, he represented the principle of the Bill as being simply this—those who voted for the Bill would express the opinion that the House was ready and anxious, in some way, to take some decisive step to reduce the deadening influence of the liquor traffic. Well, if that had been the principle of the Bill, he (Mr. C. S. Parker) conceived that almost every Member of the House would be willing to support it. He supposed even the warmest opponents of it would not refuse, in some way, to take some step to reduce the deadening influence of the liquor traffic. But elsewhere in his speech, the hon. Baronet took good care also to say that the principle of this Bill was the principle of the Permissive Bill—virtually the Pre amble of the Permissive Bill


The hon. Member has misunderstood me. I said that the Resolution which I had twice carried in this House was virtually the same.


said, he would accept the correction; but did not think it made very much difference to his practical argument, He was himself voting for this Bill on the principle of Local Option, as he understood it. But the hon. Baronet was very much in the habit of telling the country that the principle of Local Option was the same as the principle of the Permissive Bill. He had told the House that day that the Members of Scotland had voted in the proportion of 8 to 1 in favour of the principle, which he sometimes called that of Local Option, and sometimes that of the Preamble of his Permissive Bill. It was quite true the Members for Scotland had voted in that proportion for the principle of Local Option; but it was distinctly explained in the debate in which it was first brought forward that Local Option by no means necessarily involved the principle of the Permissive Bill. He (Mr. C. S. Parker) should like to remind the hon. Baronet of what he said in the first debate on the Local Option Resolution. He then said that hon. Members were very suspicious, as if he had got a Permissive Bill concealed somewhere about his person; but he begged them to lay aside suspicion, because if anyone still thought that Resolution were a Permissive Bill, he could refer them to the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) and the right hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright), who were about to support him. Everyone knew that those right hon. Gentlemen were opponents of the Permissive Bill; and the right hon. Member for Bradford was careful to say that he only gave his support to the Local Option Resolution on the understanding that some provision should be made by which, in every district, the minority should be able to obtain liquor. But to return to the present Bill, the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron), whose name was on it, told them that the chief principle of the Bill was to transfer the licensing to some popularly elected body, and to endeavour to restrict the number of licensed houses. He (Mr. C. S. Parker) thought that was a very fair description of the principle of the Bill. He should not go into the details of the Bill; but there was one point on which he should like to make a remark—namely, that a good deal of the opposition with which the noble Lord had been met—he thought, rather unkindly assailed—came from the very quarters in which he was induced to bring forward the Bill, and was due to the fact that while he placed elected authorities in the burghs, in the counties, as a temporary measure, he left the licensing in the hands of a body to be elected by the magistrates. He could understand that it might be politic, as a transitional measure, so to vest the licensing; but he thought the noble Lord might rest assured that a great deal of the lack of popular support, and of the lukewarmness in regard to the Bill, was due to his having been unable to place the licensing authority throughout the country in the hands of bodies elected by the ratepayers, and he thought if the Government were to take up this question, it would be most important that they should deal with it as a part of the larger question of Local Government. It would be unfortunate if they attempted to bring in a Bill dealing in that way with only one-half of the subject, placing burghs under elected boards, and leaving counties still under the present authority, or under a committee elected by them. He hoped that next year the Government might be able to take up that great measure, which they had dropped this year, of general reform of Local Government; and it seemed to him, when they had reform of the Local Government of the country, that the licensing power, as well as many other powers, should be vested in new boards, so elected as at once to command the confidence of the country, and retain the ripe experience of those who had administered the licensing system. On another objection made, he did not at all see the truth of what had been said, that it was inconsistent to give in some degree a popular veto, and yet again place, as it were, a veto on a veto, and give the minority the means of obtaining their habitual beverages. On the contrary, it was the very provision which was demanded by the right hon. Member for Bradford when the Local Option Resolution was first introduced. As he (Mr. C. S. Parker) understood that provision, it was intended that the power of veto should not go so far as total prohibition, but that in every district there should be some opportunity for the minority to obtain their usual refreshments and beverages. He should vote for the second reading of the Bill, not because he thought that all the minor principles in it might prove to be defensible, but on the principle of the Local Option Resolution, not understood in the sense of the Permissive Bill, but in the sense of vesting the licensing in a power directly responsible by election to the ratepayers of the district.


said, he should vote for the second reading of the Bill, although he thought it was objectionable in many respects. He hoped that if it passed that stage, it would not be referred to a Select Committee, and that the House would not hear any more of it this Session. He thought that the Bill did not contain material out of which a working Bill for Scotland could be elaborated by a Select Committee; but he trusted that the Government would, early next Session, take up the whole question, in consideration of the growing interest in it throughout the country.


said, if this Bill was sent to a Select Committee it would be thought by the people of Scotland that its principle was approved of. He therefore objected to the suggestions made by the hon. Member for North Lanarkshire (Sir Edward Colebrooke); but he had no objection to the whole question of licensing being referred to a Select Committee, if the Government thought it was necessary. This Bill raised very important questions, not only as to social arrangements, but as to the taxation of Scotland; because if the plan of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Colin Campbell) were adopted, it would add a very heavy burden to the existing taxation of every parish and burgh. As to the idea of three years' purchase being paid for what a man had probably given 10 or 15 years' purchase—of course, that was monstrous confiscation; and he hoped the Government would have nothing to do with such a scheme. He thought they went on very well in Scotland as it was. Let them wait until the measure promised by Government for County Boards was introduced. Until that was brought forward, he hoped the Government would not allow any such Bill as this to pass the second reading.


Sir, I do think the House and the country are much indebted to my noble Friend the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell) for having brought this large and important question before them in the shape of the Bill now before the House. It is impossible to exaggerate the magnitude and importance of the question, and I think I am correct in saying that there is no part of the country in which its importance is more recognized than in Scotland; nor is there any part where there is a larger, a more wide-spread interest in it, than in that country. It has been said that on the Resolution of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) the Scotch Members manifested their opinion as to the direction which legislation should take on this subject; and, undoubtedly, it was very significant that the votes on that Resolution—I mean the votes of Scotch Members—were somewhat in the proportion of 8 to 1 in its favour. That, I think, must be taken as expressing very clearly that North of the Tweed there is a strong opinion in favour of conferring large powers of regulation and control upon local bodies in the matter of the liquor traffic. It is no doubt true that there was a considerable range of opinion involved amongst those who voted for the Resolution—that is to say, there was a good deal of difference of view as to the precise mode in which, and as to the precise extent to which, the idea of local government implied in that Resolution ought to be carried out. It is because we have in the present Bill a very courageous and sincere attempt to formulate one of the phases of that range of opinion, that we owe a debt of gratitude to the noble Lord. But I think the discussion which has taken place to-day, as well as the many objections which have been raised, must have shown that there is not at present such a consensus of opinion as to the best mode of giving effect to the principle of local self government in the matter of the liquor traffic as to make it expedient that my noble Friend should press the Bill further through this Session. It has been truly stated that this is part of a larger question—the general question of Local Government—and, undoubtedly it is a very important part; but still it is only a branch of that question which has received, and will continue to receive, great attention at the hands of the Government. Therefore, without going into the details of the Bill, or following some of the criticisms which have been made upon it, I would put it to my noble Friend whether he should not for the present be satisfied with the very important contribution which has been made to the ultimate, and, I hope, not remote, solution of this question, and not press the Bill further. I would not even willingly assent to the Bill being sent to a Select Committee, because there are important questions of principle involved in it; and it would be unfortunate, if those who are desirous to co-operate in the settlement of this great question, but who are not agreed as to the best mode of settlement, were put to a disadvantage in going to a division. I therefore throw out the suggestion to my noble Friend not to carry the Bill further; and I believe that in doing so I express the prevalent sense of the hon. Members from Scotland.


said, that when the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) threatened the Government that they would have to yield their places to others if they did not concur in his views, the House should be prepared to discount what emanated from that amiable enthusiast. The noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell), in moving the second reading, had objected to putting the people into leading-strings; but to prevent them drinking when they chose was to treat them worse than children. It was the right of every man to get drink whenever he wanted it; and he should be trusted to his own sense of moderation not to drink to excess. To control the community as to drinking was to subject them to Radical tyranny. Of the noble Lord's eight bridesmaids—he meant "supporters"—four had spoken during the debate; but not one of the four had expressed concurrence with the Bill. If they did not agree with it, they should not back it merely for the sake of temporary popularity. He hated political insincerity; but that was what kept the Party of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle on its legs, If the supporters of the Bill wanted it referred to a Select Committee, why did not they begin by proposing a Committee, instead of wasting the time of the House with a crude Bill like that? The noble Lord himself had called it a crude measure.


denied that he himself had called the Bill a crude measure. He attached no value to that criticism as coming from hon. Members opposite. If the Bill was crude, it would be for the House to alter it in such a way as might convert it into one which could not be so described.


understood the noble Lord to admit the crudity of the Bill; but if that was not so, he was sorry for him. It would be well for the noble Lord to be delivered from the false kindness of his friends.

And it being a quarter of an hour before Six of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned till Tomorrow.

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