HC Deb 22 July 1887 vol 317 cc1764-5
MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether it is the fact that, under the Native Kings of Independent Burmah, the sale and. use of intoxicating spirits and of opium wers strictly prohibited to Natives; whether the Government of India has lately inquired from the officers in charge of districts in Upper Burmah, their opinion as to the propriety of licensing the sale of intoxicating' spirits and opium; whether the great majority of the officers so consulted have reported against the introduction of such a licensing system, and stated that it would prove highly injurious to the Native population; and, whether, notwithstanding such reports, the Government of India have lately made an order for the issue of licences for the sale of spirits, and intend to authorize the sale of opium?


My answer to paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Question is Yes. With regard to paragraph 3, the Reports have not yet reached the Secretary of State; but he understands that the introduction of a general licensing system for the sale of intoxicating liquor and opium is deprecated. As to paragraph 4, no such order has been reported to the Secretary of State. But it may become expedient to grant licences for the sale of spirits in such towns as Mandalay, Bhamo, and other places where Chinese and other non-Burmans chiefly congregate. The Chinese, Shans, Kachins, and other non-Burman races have long been in the habit of consuming opium, which is imported from Yunnan, and it may be expedient to regulate the sale of opium by restricting it to the larger towns, and forbidding its sale to Burmans, or in country districts. Whatever regulations are made will be for the purpose of restricting the sale of spirits and opium in the interest of public order and of preventing their sale to Burmans, and most certainly not with the view of raising revenue thereby.


asked, whether the Government would have any objection to presenting the Report when received from the Commissioners; and whether they would undertake that any regulations should not come into force before they had been laid on the Table of the House, and the House should thus have had an opportunity of discussing them.


said, that when the Reports were received it would be for the Secretary of State to judge whether they could conveniently be laid on the Table or not. It was, therefore, impossible to pledge the Secretary of State before he had received them and read them. With regard to the second part of the Question of the hon. Member, it was one of which Notice ought to be given. He could not, at present, see his way to give a pledge that any regulations necessary for public order, and for preventing the sale of spirits and opium to the Burmans, should be postponed till next Session.

MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

asked, when the promised Papers with reference to the Burmah Ruby Mines would be laid on the Table?


said, he was sorry that the hon. Member had so long been kept in a state of expectancy; but as the matter had not yet been decided by the Secretary of State in Council, he could not give any pledge in the matter.


gave Notice that if the Papers were not laid on the Table before then, he would raise a debate on the Appropriation Bill.


also gave Notice that, in about a week, he would repeat his Question with regard to laying the liquor traffic regulations on the Table.