HC Deb 23 August 1887 vol 319 cc1534-5
MR. ROWNTREE (Scarborough)

asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether his attention has been called to the Report of the Acting Commissioner of Customs at Bombay, recently presented to Parliament, and dated the 24th November, 1886, with reference to a combination of Natives in certain districts to abstain from purchasing spirits from the shops of Government farmers, in which it is stated— The question for decision is, shall we sit quiet and allow the movement to continue and to spread, and thereby to forfeit a large amount of revenue, or are measures to be adopted which will bring the people to their senses; and, whether the Government proposes to take any action with regard to this Report?


My attention has been called to the Report, and also to the Official Statement of the views and attitude of the Government of Bombay, expressed on January 22, 1887, in these words— The temperance movement, as it is called, no doubt affects the Revenue of Government; but Government views the movement, so far as it is a genuine movement in favour of temperance, with satisfaction, feeling sure that it will be repaid for any loss of Revenue by the increased prosperity of its subjects. It is to be feared, however, that the whole object of the movement is to induce the Government to reduce the tax on toddy, and thus to make liquor cheaper and so promote intemperance. The Secretary of State has expressed his concurrence in the views of the Government of Bombay.


May I ask the hon. Gentleman, whether he thinks that, under any conceivable circumstances, the inducing of Natives to frequent Government spirit shops can be called "bringing the people to their senses?"


Well, that seems to be rather an argumentative Question, and I cannot answer it.