HC Deb 10 February 1897 vol 46 cc87-123

in moving the Second Reading of the Sale of Intoxicating Liquor on Sunday Bill, said that his connection with this subject was one of long standing. In 1889 a similar Measure was carried in that House by a majority of 22; and last year a Bill on the subject was again carried, though in a very small House. He had brought in the present Bill in order to afford an opportunity for the subject being again debated, and he hoped that the House would be allowed to go to a Division on the Measure. As far as his long Parliamentary experience went there were few Measures in which greater interest was taken by hon. Members on both sides of the House than in the one he had under his charge. There could be no doubt that the principle of the Measure was supported by every hon. Member on the Opposition side of the House, who directly represented labour constituencies. That fact ought to make hon. Members opposite who were opposed to the Measure hesitate before they voted against a Bill of this sort, in which the working classes of the country were so deeply interested. He thought that he might safely say that the Ministers of the Church of England, of the Church of Rome, and of every one of the Nonconformist bodies without exception supported the principle of the Measure. There might, of course, be some differences of opinion as to whether the provisions of the Bill required modification, but that would be a matter to be discussed in Committee and not in a Second Reading Debate. As, however, some votes might be influenced by the extent to which modifications might be made in the Bill, he might say that personally he was prepared to accept any modifications which the Committee might deem it necessary to make in the details of the Bill. It must be remembered that the principle of Sunday closing had been carried out in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, and that England alone had not adopted it. In 1853–54 Scotland had obtained the Forbes Mackenzie Act, under which public houses were closed on Sunday. In 1860 the working of that Act was approved by a Royal Commission, and in 1862 the Act was extended and strengthened. In the Division that took place upon the Bill of last year the Scotch Members were almost unanimously in favour of the principle of the Measure, which also received the support of many of the Conservative and Liberal Unionist Members of the House. On that occasion there voted in favour of the Bill:—Scotch Liberals, 15; Scotch Conservatives, six; and Scotch Liberal Unionists, three; whilst there voted against it one Scotch Conservative and three Scotch Liberal Unionists. He thought that those figures ought to be accepted as an indication that the principle of the Measure had taken a strong hold of the Scotch people. Since 1862, as far as he was aware, no attempt had been made to set aside or to modify the Scotch Act. With regard to Ireland, a Sunday closing Measure had been carried in 1878. The operation of that Act was limited to a period of four years, and the principal towns of Ireland were exempted from its operation. In 1888 a Select. Committee of that House recommended that the Act should be made permanent, and that the large towns should be brought within its operation. A Bill which was introduced embodying those recommendations was carried in that House by a large majority. Last year four Irish Conservatives and live Irish Nationalists voted in favour of the Bill; while one Irish Liberal Unionist and 14 Nationalists voted against it. He thought that that was an act of ingratitude on the part of the Irish Nationalists to the Liberal Party, who had done their best to obtain Home Rule for them. ["Hear, hear!"] With regard to Wales, a Sunday Closing Act was passed in 1880. and in 1890 a Royal Commission reported that the Act was doing good, but needed modification and strengthening. His object in introducing this Bill was to induce the House of Commons to take a step in the direction of temperance, which was necessary to enable the country to maintain the position we were now proud to occupy. ["Hear, hear!"] In conclusion, he begged to move that the Bill be Head a Second time ["Hear, hear!"]


said that he did not wish to give a silent vote upon this Bill, because he had received numerous letters pressing him to support the Measure. He, however, found that he could not honestly take that course. The objects of the Measure were undoubtedly to promote temperance and to bring about a more proper observance of the Lord's Day. He submitted that the supporters of this Measure had to show first that there were good reasons logically for it, and, secondly, that if it was carried, it would have the desired effect. The Bill was based, first, upon the sacred duty of keeping the Lord's Day, and, secondly, on the duty of temperance; but when these two grounds were examined, it would be found that they must of necessity carry the House a great deal further. The first duty was just one of those duties as to which it was very doubtful whether Parliament had any right to interfere beyond a very limited extent. There were many things which were wrong in themselves, yet could not he remedied by legislative action: and in regard to this particular matter, the same high authority which directed the observance of the Lord's Day, held, he believed, that its observance was a matter of conscience with every man. No doubt it was right that every obstacle should be put in the way of a man working on that day, but if hon. Members were asked to close houses where liquor was sold on Sunday because it was the Lord's Day, they were driven to this—that it was no greater sin to drink, buy, or sell a glass of beer on Sunday than it was to drink, buy, or sell soda water on Sunday. Therefore, if they were to prohibit the one, they were equally bound to prohibit the other. Under the Lord's Day Observance Act, a baker or tobacconist who traded on Sunday would be punished, not by being deprived of his livelihood, but by a small fine; and he thought that if the Act were generally applied or harshly interpreted there would be an agitation for its repeal, which he would be very sorry to see. Then, again, if this Measure were supported for the sake of temperance, they would be driven a great deal further than the Bill took them. If it was wrong from the temperance point of view to drink, buy, and sell beer on Sundays, it was equally wrong to do so on any other day, and from that point of view they would be bound to have total closing of public houses, not on Sunday only, but on every day of the week. ["Hear, hear!"] But hon. Gentlemen who cheered that had not the courage of their convictions. He believed that in these matters they were bound to respect personal liberty, and though he was ready to consider and support the extension of the restrictions on Sunday opening, he could not support this Bill. There were in the Bill some very remarkable exceptions. There were exceptions in favour of lodgers in hotels and of bonâ fide travellers. Why were these exceptions put in? If the principle was so sacred, why should bonâ fide travellers and lodgers in hotels be allowed to obtain drink on Sunday? Their convenience was to be allowed to override what was put forward as a sacred principle. Were there not hundreds and thousands of others whose convenience ought to be consulted? Take, for instance, the case of lodgers not in hotels. Was an ordinary lodger who had to get his dinner out to be restrained from getting his modest glass of beer? Why should all these young men be confined to places where they could not get a glass of beer? Take the case of the married workman with a large family and a small house. Was he to be driven into the streets in order to consort with I his neighbours? Why should the only public room to which he could resort be shut against him? Hon. Members in that House had their clubs to go to, where they could receive their friends in their dining-rooms or drawing-rooms. Why, then, were they who did not bear any of this inconvenience to insist on putting it on others who were not so well off? ["Hear, hear!"] That seemed to him to be class legislation of a very bad character. ["Hear, hear!"] It was said that the working man desired this change. If his desire was genuine, they could close the public houses on Sunday themselves by not going into them. If they were bound to close public houses on Sunday to shield the working man from temptation, they were equally bound to do so on the other days of the week. ["Hear, hear!"] But hon. Gentlemen who cheered that did not propose it. Let them have the courage of their convictions and vote for the total closing of public houses. In all large towns this Bill, if passed into law, would have this great evil. Drinking would be increased in this way. Instead of public houses which were under police control, a great number of drinking clubs not under police control would be established, and then there would be a great deal more drinking on Sunday. Again, a great deal of beer and spirits would be taken into the home, and instead of the man alone drinking, the wife and the children would drink also. Believing that the Bill would do more harm than good, he hoped the House would not pass it. The drink traffic resulted in evils which they all desired to lessen, but it must be remembered that repressive legislation could not do away with the desire to drink, and that if a man wanted intoxicating liquor he would get it somehow. The way to reduce the evil was by diminishing the desire for drink, which arose in very many cases from the dulness of men's lives. This and the miserable conditions of their homes drove them to the public house. By making their lives brighter and happier more would be done in the cause of sobriety than by repressive legislation. Among the upper classes the habits of intemperance that once prevailed so largely had disappeared. Books describing the manners of the community in the first decades of the century showed that drunkenness was then a common occurrence in society. Men considered it almost a duty to take their three bottles, and thought nothing of being conveyed home in a wheelbarrow. They thought they were behaving very well if they joined the ladies after dinner without walking unsteadily and speaking thickly. Now, of course, all that was changed, and he did not know why there should not be a similar improvement in the habits of the wage-earning classes. Surely the spread of education would lead to a better state of things and to greater refinement. He remembered conversing on one occasion with a cats'-meat man, who owned that he always got drunk of an afternoon when his work was over, his explanation being that, as he was quite uneducated and could not read, he found it difficult to kill time. He believed himself in the curative effects of education, and trusted that the House would not by restrictive legislation of this kind put difficulties in the way of honest and sober men who drank in moderation.

On the return of MR. SPEAKER, after the usual interval,

*MR. SHARPE (Kensington, N.)

said that he had been a life-long advocate of temperance on temperance lines, and had had large experience of official life in Ceylon, where he had been familiar with the difficulties and responsibilities of administration—the administration of large provinces, where he had been the chief officer in succession in various parts of the island, and where the administration of the licensing laws had been practically in his own hands just as much as it was in this country in the hands of the licensing magistrates. Speaking, therefore, from that broad point of view, he felt no hesitation, after having thoroughly considered the position, in undertaking to move that the Bill be read a Second time that day six months. He believed the Bill was in every point of view a wrong Measure with regard to the promotion of the cause which it was supposed to have in view. The question of restricting the hours of Sunday trading in liquor had been before the House on many occasions. The discussion that took place on the proposal of Mr. Abel Smith in 1868 to reduce the time to something like three hours was closed by a report against it by a strong Select Committee, presided over by the right hon. Member for North-East Manchester, and comprising some very distinguished men. The present, Earl of Derby, the late Mr. Roebuck, and Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen were on the Committee, among others; and in the result the Committee rejected Mr. Abel Smith's report in favour of further restriction, and adopted that of Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen. The Report admitted frankly:— that there is a large public opinion in favour of further restriction of the sale of liquor on Sunday; but added that: from the whole review of the subject they did not adopt that view. There had been many attempts to canvass localities on this question, and it was said that the result of these canvasses was always in favour of Sunday Closing. He opposed this appeal to localities in itself as an attempt to throw upon them the responsibilities which should attach to the Legislature only; but with respect to such canvass, the Report of the Committee said:— Although no imputation of dishonesty rests on the canvassers, it has been proved in many instances that the canvass has been of a partial nature, and does not adequately express the real sentiments of the community. The men employed in making the canvass were generally interested in the result being in one direction. In the case of Manchester, the opinions of 36,562 voters were taken, and of these 30,000 were in favour of Sunday Closing. But the value of the result was discounted by the fact that the total number of voters was only one-third of the number of householders in the Division. In Bristol there was a canvass, in which 14,125 votes were given, the great majority for Sunday Closing. But here the total number of persons entitled to vote was 35,000. In Bermondsey 1,480 votes were taken by canvass, and though the majority of those were in favour of Sunday Closing, the opinions of the rest of 11,000 householders were not inquired into. The only canvass worthy of mention as satisfactory, impartial, and fairly representative, was made at Cardiff. There 8,583 persons voted for partial Sunday opening, and only 2,574 for total closing. He was opposed to any attempt to restrict the freedom of grownup men and women in this matter. But it was said that the majority of the Labour Members were in favour of the Bill. It would be a strange thing if the representatives of the working men were desirous of having what, after all, was class legislation of the narrowest and most unfair character. The Bill would simply prevent the ordinary working man, who went into the country for exercise on Sunday afternoon, from obtaining much-needed refreshment on his way home. While well-to-do persons could go to their clubs, the working men were wholly dependent on the public-house for refreshment. The public houses on Sunday were closed till one o'clock, while the Church services were going on; they were then open from one to three, to give the working classes an opportunity of getting their Sunday dinner beer; and then they were closed again until six o'clock. He stood up for this arrangement on the ground of justice. He also urged that the Bill would punish an immense majority of sensible and temperate persons in the vain hope of promoting temperance among those who were unable to resist the temptations of drink. How far did the circumstances of the case call for this legislation? Under the present law the convictions for drunkenness had steadily declined in England and Wales between 1888 and 1895. In 1885 there were 13,000 convictions, and in 1895 only 11,000 convictions, though in the same period the population had increased from 26 millions to 30 millions. That Sunday Closing had been adopted in Ireland, Wales and Scotland was due to the fact that in those countries the Celtic races prevailed; and they were a spirit drinking people. The English were beer-drinkers. The Committee whose Report he had already quoted declared that the laws suitable to the Scotch would not be acceptable to the English, owing to the difference between the habits of the two peoples, and that the success of the Scotch law was no trustworthy guide to its applicability to this country. It was a remarkable fact that the majority of the expert witnesses examined before the Royal Commission now sitting on the Licensing Laws were in favour of the moderate policy in regard to the public houses which now prevailed. Sir Henry Poland, one of the most distinguished members of the Bar, said, in reference to the working classes:— To legislate for them, when they have no private cellars, and none of the comfort of the upper and middle classes, to the extent that they shall not go into public houses on Sunday at all, is to create a restriction which I do not think will be tolerated in this metropolis in any way. Sir John Bridge, the well-known Metropolitan Police Magistrate was asked:— Q.—" Does that suggest to you any change in the hours of closing? A.—" I see no reason to find fault with the hours of closing as they are. Q.—" Neither on Sundays nor on week-days? A.—"No, neither on one nor the other. Superintendent McWilliam, City of London Police, was asked:— Q.—" Have you any views with regard to Sunday Closing which you could give us? A.—" I think that, as regards the hours of closing on Sundays and other days, the present arrangement is very good. Mr. Hannay, Metropolitan Police Magistrate, was asked:— Q.—" As to the hours of closing in London, I think you said that they were satisfactory in your opinion? A.—" What I said, or intended to say, was, I thought the public were fairly satisfied with them. Q.—" What would be your personal opinion on that point? A.—"I think that possibly public houses might be open all Sunday afternoon from 1 o'clock—the opening hour. I cannot say I have formed any strong opinion about it, but when a working man goes out with his wife and family for a walk on Sunday afternoon, it seems rather hard he cannot get a glass of beer between 3 and 6 o'clock. Q.—" Then you would be in favour of extending the hours? A.—"Yes, in that particular way. Colonel Moorsom, Chief Constable of the County of Lancashire, was asked:— Q.—" The club hours are practically longer (on Sundays) than the public-house hours? A.—"I have not noticed particularly, but the clubs are very often open when the public houses are closed. Q.—"So that any further restriction of hours in larger centres would inevitably, in your view, induce large additions to the number of clubs? A.—" I should think it would. Q.—" Are you in favour of Sunday Closing—absolute closing? A.—"No. Mr. McKenzie, Chief Constable of Cardiff, was asked:— Q.—"Was not Sunday Closing the cause of the great amount of illicit trading in Cardiff? A.—" More or less, no doubt. It was originally the cause of it. He thought the closing of public houses on Sunday would inevitably lead to two results—an immense amount of illicit drinking and a large increase in the number of bogus clubs. In London, bogus clubs were a serious and increasing evil. They were open on Saturday night, when they caught hold of the working man with his wages in his pocket and detained him often until Monday morning, when he was turned out without a penny of his wages left for his unfortunate wife and children. That was an evil that would be enormously aggravated if the Bill became law, and he was therefore strongly opposed to the Bill, and begged to move the Amendment standing in his name.

MR. HUBERT DUNCOMBE (Cumberland, Egremont)

said he rose to Second the Amendment for the rejection of the Bill. The hon. Member who proposed the Second Reading of the Bill had said it would doubtless be described as class legislation. That was quite true. One of the chief objections to the Bill was that it was class legislation, and class legislation of the very worst kind. There were two kinds of class legislation—one in favour of a class which was well able to take care of itself, and the other against a class that was not able to look after itself. This Bill belonged to the latter, and the worst category of class legislation. It had been said that Sunday Closing was already in operation in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. He would take the liberty of reminding hon. Members that this was not the first time in recent history that England declined to follow the lead of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. He would also remind hon. Members from Scotland who sat on both sides of the House that, though Scotland had achieved for itself a worldwide reputation for many good and great things, she had not yet won renown for making her Sundays more than usually attractive. [Laughter.] Hon. Members who defended the Bill had told the House that since 1854, when Sunday Closing was introduced into Scotland, a great decrease had taken place in the consumption of spirits; but that decrease in the consumption of spirits was not so much coincident with the passing of the Sunday Closing Act, as with the rise of the duty on spirituous liquors in Scotland. That brought him to another point which had been brought forward by his hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, when he said that he was as anxious as any hon. Member in the House to promote the cause of temperance, but that he did not believe the method proposed by the Bill was the right method to achieve that most desirable result. The idea of hon. Gentlemen who were in favour of the Second Heading of this Bill was that the cause of temperance could be promoted by the use of repressive legislation. After all, repressive legislation was similar to suppressing a disease rather than curing it. He did not believe that a disease suppressed was anything like cured; on the contrary, he believed it assumed a more virulent form, and that was what this Bill would lead to in the case of Sunday drinking. His hon. Friend who moved the rejection of the Bill was laughed at when he said that the total closing of public houses on Sunday would lead to secret drinking. It was obvious it must do so. If a man had a certain amount of money to spend on drink he was bound to spend it, and no legislation that could be devised would prevent him from spending it; but if, instead of being able to go to a public house, when he might be rebuked or stopped, he took the drink into his own house over night, and consumed it on Sunday, his drinking then assumed a far worse and more dangerous form. Even if the Bill would prevent drinking on Sunday, which he denied, he did not think it was the right way to set about stopping drunkenness. There were other and better ways of stopping the vice. First and foremost there was the line suggested by his hon. Friend the Member for Walsall. His hon. Friend had proved that in England, during the last 25 years, without any Sunday Closing, drunkenness was rapidly on the decrease; and that in the other three sisters of the Kingdom, where Sunday Closing prevailed, the decrease in drunkenness was not so marked. A far better way, and a way which would offend no one, was to use so far as they could the powers they possessed to prevent harmful adulteration of liquor, and if these powers were not effective, to increase them. Such action would meet with no opposition from the licensed victuallers, for it was not to their interest to sell bad liquor. It would raise the price of good stuff, and with the raised price consumption would go down. It stood to reason, that, if a man had only a small sum to spend in drink, and if the price of that drink was raised he would drink less; and besides, the drink he consumed in these circumstances being good would do him little or no harm. Why did not hon. Gentlemen interested in this question propose that spirituous liquors were not to be sold until they were a certain number of years in bond? He would appeal to medical gentlemen in the House, whether it was not the fact that one of the greatest evils of drinking, particularly in the lowest class of public house in this country, was that the drink sold was nothing more than raw potato spirits doctored.


Then why do you want to sell it on Sunday?


replied that he was one of those who thought that if a thing was wrong on Monday it was wrong on every other day of the week. That was one way to stop the sale of those dangerous drinks. Another was to use the power they had in their hands to shut up the low public houses where all the harm was done. At any rate, that such legislation would be open legislation and could achieve the object desired, which repressive legislation would not do and must always fail to do. It had been tried in various parts of the world and had always met with failure. [Cries of "No, no!"] He should like to see the hon. Members who supported this Bill put their professions into practice. Those hon. Gentlemen said that this was not class legislation; but he should like to see a Return granted which would show how many of those hon. Members had private cellars of their own, and how many of those hon. Members who had not private cellars were members of clubs. [Laughter.] None of the Gentlemen who would be mentioned in such a Return could possibly be affected by this Bill, though a large number of their constituents would be. He would like to see another Return showing how many hon. Gentlemen who took a glass of wine once or twice during the week-day, would refuse to take it on Sunday for conscience sake. The third Return was the most important, as it related to Sunday labour. How many hon. Members would forego one or two hot meals on Sunday in order to lessen Sunday labour? The reducing of Sunday labour was an argument which, however well it sounded, was impossible to carry out in practice. Did anyone suppose that the public houses open on Sunday in the United Kingdom employed anything like the number of people employed by the railways or the Post Office services? They had been told by the hon. Member for Hull that in Committee he would be prepared to accept an Amendment which would enable public houses to be opened during certain hours on Sunday. That was not an Amendment which would cause hon. Members to forego their opposition to the Bill; but the Bill was before the House 12 months ago, and the same thing was said. ["No; there was no Debate."] It was not said in the House, but it was said elsewhere.


There was no Debate on the Second Reading.


asked if it was to be understood that only those pledges which were made across the floor of the House were to be kept? ["Hear, hear!"] It was known 12 months ago that some Members who opposed the Bill would forego a large portion of their opposition if some such provision as that he had named were introduced, but the Measure was again introduced in its original form. He could only suppose that the promoters of the Bill had no intention of making the alteration. He denied that the working class were emphatically unanimous in favour of the Bill, and declared that what hon. Members who supported the Measure really desired was total prohibition, a result which had never been achieved. He appealed most confidently to the House to reject decisively this Bill, which would inflict unnecessary hardship on tens of thousands of sober and industrious working people, while it would fail to achieve its professed object—the curing of the habitual drunkard.

*MR. T. P. WHITTAKER (York, W.R., Spen Valley)

said the hon. Member had argued that repression and restriction were of no use in dealing with the question of drinking, and he advised the House to rely on education. Without wishing to depreciate in the slightest degree the value of education as bearing on the question, he reminded the hon. Member that the most sober part of the United Kingdom was the sister country of Ireland, where the expenditure per head of the population was less than in any other part of the United Kingdom, and where education was most defective and less efficient than in any part of the United Kingdom. He also reminded the hon. Member that from the year 1840 to 1876 there was a marvellous improvement in the education of the people of this country; yet, during that time drunkenness and crime increased at a most alarming rate, until they culminated in 1876. Since 1876 there had been an improvement in respect to the drinking habits of the people, and the main cause of that, he maintained, was the considerable diminution in the hours of sale and in the number of public houses in proportion to the population. If there were as many fully licensed houses in the country in proportion to the population as there were 20 years ago, there would be 20,000 more public-houses than there were at present. There had been a great diminution in the facilities for obtaining liquor, and as a consequence there had been a great diminution in drinking. It was said this was class legislation, and legislation against the class who were unable to protect themselves. Did anyone seriously contend that the working men of this country, who formed a majority of the electorate, were not able to protect themselves? No permanent working men's organisation had petitioned the House against the Sunday Closing Bill, in fact the man who objected most to such a Measure was the loafer and the boozer. ["Oh, oh!"], All the objections that had been urged against this Bill were urged against the Scotch, Irish, and Welsh Sunday Closing Bills, and yet all those Measures had resulted in great good. One or two hon. Members had spoken of the claims of individual liberty in this matter, and had declared that Parliament had no right, by legislation, to prevent a man from obtaining a glass of beer on the Sunday. But that argument indicated, to a great extent, a misconception of the idea and purpose of the Bill. The main ground of this legislation was rather to protect other people to whom the opening of the public houses in the district on the Sunday was an annoyance, in consequence of the noises, the scenes, and disturbances caused thereby. While a working man might have the right to get his glass of beer on the Sunday, he had no right to demand that, in order to get it, a public house should be opened which was an evil, a nuisance, and an injury to the community. In some districts the rest and quiet of the Sunday were now destroyed for the great body of the inhabitants in consequence of the opening of the adjacent public houses, and he contended that those people had a right to come to Parliament for protection in this regard. ["Hear, hear!"] There were, no doubt, a large number of people who desired that public houses should be kept open on the Sunday; but surely that was no reason why the system should be continued if it was proved to be a nuisance to a large number of the community. Surely some consideration should be shown for people living in the neighbourhood who desired to have a quiet Sunday. ["Hear, hear!"] A special reason for closing public houses on the Sabbath was, that Saturday was the great drinking day of the week—the day on which, according to the police returns, there was the largest number of arrests for drunkenness, and when also the loss of life from the overlying of children was greatest. ["Hear, hear!"] The results of the Saturday's drinking, and the opportunities given on the Sunday for further drinking, led to what was understood by the well-known phrase "Saint Monday," and this state of things often seriously interfered with work and business. ["Hear, hear!"] The warning given by the right hon. Member for Hull, who was one of the best authorities in the House on commercial matters, as to the effect which the vice of drinking was having on the shipping and sailors of the country might well be taken to heart. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Member for Walsall had suggested that the Bill would lead to an increase of drinking; but he had an idea that if the Measure would have any such effect much of the present opposition to it would not have been raised. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] Similar legislation had not led to increased drinking in Scotland and Wales. ["Hear, hear!"] Moreover, considerations of health were of great importance in this matter. The House had passed many Acts to improve the sanitary conditions under which the people lived. Now, according to Returns issued by the Registrar General 10 years ago—he could not obtain any more recent returns—as to the death-rate in various occupations in the country, it was shown that the trade in alcoholic liquors was the most deadly of all trades to those engaged in it, the death-rate among the employees of publicans and hotel keepers being given as three times greater than among those engaged in many ordinarily healthy occupations. ["Hear, hear!"] Something had been said about the hours of the employment of women. We passed Factory legislation specially to protect women against excessive hours of work. In his opinion employment in a public house was one of the most dangerous and unhealthy kinds of occupation, morally and physically, in which a young woman could possibly be engaged. By this Measure something might be done to reduce their excessive hours by securing for them a complete rest on Sundays. ["Hear, hear!"] It was curious that all the outcry about depriving the working man of his beer on the Sunday did not come from the working men themselves, but mainly from those people who had no difficulty in getting their own liquor. ["Hear, hear!"] The Sunday beer difficulty was not a practical one; it could be easily solved, and he ventured to say that if the public houses were closed the publicans would soon devise a method of supplying beer in bottles, or in some other way, for use on the Sunday. ["Hear, hear! and ironical laughter."] Hon. Members might gather some information as to the working of legislation of the kind proposed by looking abroad. In Sweden and Norway, where the liquor traffic was more under the control of the people, not only had Sunday closing been nearly universally adopted, but the public houses were closed at an early hour on the Saturday evening; and those laws had been attended with success. It had been urged that they could not make people sober by Act of Parliament, It might also on the same grounds be said that they could not make people honest by Act of Parliament. Yet they passed laws against stealing. ["Hear, hear!"] At any rate, the laws against dishonesty made it difficult, and the consequences unpleasant, to steal. As Mr. Gladstone once Very wisely said, it was the duty of the Legislature to make it difficult for men to do wrong and easy for them to do right. It was only reasonable to presume that a law which would prevent Sunday drinking would tend to promote sobriety. ["Hear, hear!"] The existing laws, at all events, had failed to prevent drunkenness, and the terrible extent of the vice was a sufficient justification for a trial of this and other Bills having a similar object. He should support the Second Reading of the Bill, and he trusted that others who desired modifications of details would also do so, with the view of introducing Amendments in Committee. [Cheers.]


said the object of the Bill was to stop the poor man from having his drink, but there was nothing in it about the rich man at all. If a Bill were brought in making it illegal to sell drink in England except by chemists, who, on a doctor's certificate, should be allowed to sell brandy or whatever was needed for the sick person, and if people were allowed to sell drink only to the people who slept in their houses, he should not support such a Bill—[laughter]—he should think it, as he did of the present one, an unjustifiable interference with the liberty of the subject—but still it would be free from the taint which hung over this Bill, the taint of doing everything that could be done against the poor man, who, until the next General Election, would be unable to help himself, and leaving the rich man as comfortable in his club in or about the neighbourhood of Pall Mall as he was before the passing of this Bill. ["Hear, hear!"] He had heard no argument practically in favour of this Bill. The hon. Member opposite, who had just sat down, told them that in certain portions of the country the public houses were pandemoniums, that they were kept open for loafers and "boozers," and that nobody but loafers and "boozers" required to drink on Sundays. [Cries of "No!"] So he understood the hon. Member, and he apologised if he had misrepresented him. But surely it was the fault of the districts themselves if these vile excesses took place on Sundays. In such districts the Standing Joint Committee first, the chief constable next, and the police next, must be extraordinarily to blame; and it seemed to him absolutely useless to bring in a Bill of this description when the present law, if properly carried out, was perfectly competent to stop these excesses. ["Hear, hear!"] The present law allowed the conviction of persons for drunkenness. He must say, as a magistrate, that the cases in which persons were prosecuted for drunkenness alone were very few. He thought they might properly be made more. As to the sale in excess of drink on Sundays, surely the law was stringent enough in that respect? Any publican who permitted drunkenness on his premises was liable to be fined, was liable to have his licence endorsed, and he was very liable indeed to have his licence taken away from him; and if his licence was taken away from him he was a ruined man. He was perfectly certain that if hon. Gentlemen, instead of bringing in this sort of Bill, would look after their Standing Joint Committees, their chief constables, and their police, and see that the present law was properly carried out, they might possibly do some good, and they would, anyhow, gain the respect and the esteem of every honest and honourable publican in the country. There was no man who was so opposed to drunkenness as was the publican. [Opposition cries of "Oh!" and "Hear, hear!"] His worst enemy was the drunkard. His living depended on keeping his house properly and decent, and on preventing drunkenness on his premises. He did not say that the publican was always or ever great friends with the total abstainer, but there was no doubt in his mind that everything that could be done to prevent drunkenness without infringing upon the liberty of the subject, was excessively welcome to the publican and the brewer. He was not a publican or a brewer, and he had never in his life had one shilling out of what was called "the trade." He spoke absolutely from a perfectly independent standpoint. A great many of his own constituents were angry with him because he was going to speak and to vote against this Bill, which he considered an unjust, an unfair, and a perfectly useless Bill. It was not as though the Bill would stop people getting drunk on Sunday. A man who got so drunk on Sunday that he could not go to work on Monday did not do it in a public house. He ran too many risks. There was the risk of falling down, the risk of being turned out by a justly irate publican, and of being "run in" by the policeman in the street. They might depend upon it that such a man would take the drink home with him, and lie in bed, where he could get drunk without the risk of falling down or of being "run in." Nothing would induce him to believe that the man who drank to that excess was likely to run the risks he must run by getting drunk in a public house on Sunday. No effort had been made to prove that this outrageous drunkenness took place in public houses on Sunday, and until that was proved he ventured to say they had not the smallest right to shut up what, in his own district, was the poor man's only club on his only day of leisure, and yet leave the rich man in full possession of his club. ["Hear, hear!"]


asked what right that House had to interfere with what a man ate or drank or the time he ate or drank, if it was not detrimental to the interests of society? ["Hear, hear!"] What right had they to interfere with the people who desired to have their liquor on Sundays? They might as well legislate, at the instance of a number of vegetarians, to shut up all shops for the sale of beef or mutton or veal, and, at the instance of those who were opposed to the use of tobacco, all tobacconists' shops. It was another question if it were for the public good. He was in a position to say that in proportion as they drew the cords tighter round the publican, who was doing business in the light of day, under the surveillance of the police, and under the care of the magistrates, so would they create bogus clubs and shebeens. ["Hear, hear!"] Giving evidence before the Licensing Commission the other day, a gentleman from Dublin declared that before 1888 there were no clubs practically in Dublin, and that shebeens and bogus clubs had increased very much since Parliament legislated on this question. Ireland had been put forward as an example for Sunday Closing, but they had not Sunday Closing in Ireland, and he denied that Ireland wanted it; the vast majority of the people of Ireland were not in favour of Sunday Closing. With regard to Wales, he found, looking over the evidence given before the Commission that dealt with the liquor laws, that a gentleman was asked the question, "Has Sunday closing decreased drunkenness in Cardiff?" The answer given was, "I do not think it has." That was Mr. Mackenzie, a first-class expert in this business. In answer to another question, he said that drunkenness had somewhat increased with the increase of population. Mr. Mallond, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Force in Dublin, was asked, if licensed houses were allowed to remain open later on Saturday or for a longer time than at present on Sunday, did he think that would check shebeens and bogus clubs, and his reply was, "I should say it would, certainly." Now, all the morality and all the desire for the improvement of the people were not with teetotallers. He was as desirous for education and the moral improvement of the people, quite as anxious for good order and higher social conditions among the working classes, as any of those who made yard-long speeches against the use of alcohol. If he believed that the closing of public houses on Sunday or on Saturday evening would benefit society, he would vote for the closing of public houses. But he conscientiously believed that the very opposite effect would follow. People would have their beer or their whisky. The better classes had their refreshment at home; they could smoke their cigars and take their wine, and there was nobody to say a word against this, and they might do the same thing in first-class social clubs. For the poor man, who earned some 18s. or 20s. a week, and could not command these social comforts, the only method was to pay a few pence at the public house for social enjoyment, and certainly he would be the last man to take this away. It had been suggested that the petitions presented were evidence that popular opinion was in favour of Sunday closing, but was there any Gentleman in the House who had a particle of regard for these petitions? The fact was, you could get any number of signatures to a petition; you could get the signatures of a whole family, many members of it under age, and from one school 60 to 80 names might be collected. Petitions offered no criterion of popular opinion; he put them aside as ciphers; they were got up by teetotallers to blind people; they had no other effect or intention. A Liquor Licensing Laws Commission had been appointed, and upon this Commission sat 24 gentlemen with terms of reference to include a question such as the House was now asked to deal with. The investigations of that Commission were proceeding; evidence from witnesses was accumulating from day to day, and in due time this Commission would present its Report. It would be exceedingly unwise for the House to deal with a subject which would come under the consideration of the Commission, and be dealt with in an exhaustive manner. He therefore hoped that upon this, apart from every other rational consideration, the House would now reject this Bill. Undoubtedly, he thought, it would be tyranny for a few well-meaning persons in a particular locality to claim the right to impose restrictions on the tastes and habits of a majority of the population, and he hoped the House would reject a proposal for arbitrary interference with property and liberty.

*MR. ARTHUR PEASE (Darlington)

could not understand upon what principle public houses could claim exemption from a restriction which applied to other Sunday trading. Last week in the City of London a Jewish baker was lined for baking bread on Sunday, although he had kept his own Sabbath the day before. It seemed a monstrous absurdity to give to a trade of this character privileges withheld from other and more beneficial trades. The whole of our licensing laws made a system of restriction, not arranged simply for fiscal and re venue purposes, but because, the nature of the articles sold being injurious to the community, it was necessary to put restraint upon the trade. In 1872, under Mr. Bruce's Act, restrictions were made in the hours of sale on every day in the week, and the hours of sale on the Sabbath Day were restricted. Further restrictions had been imposed on Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, and everywhere they had proved beneficial. Contemptuous allusion had been made to petitions presented and to opinions collected by papers left at houses; but, beyond doubt, every effort had been made to obtain the faithful opinion of those canvassed. Papers were left for two days and then collected, and no influence was exercised by those who left the papers. There were a great number of persons who had made no replies, and it was not unfair to assume that these had no strong opinions to put forward. It was an honest attempt to obtain an indication of public opinion. Again, it could not be said, having regard to the number and character of the petitions, that the signatures were those of people who were indifferent on this subject. Other methods had been adopted to obtain expressions of public opinion. Hundreds of meetings had been held in various parts of the country, and he was not aware that at any of them any strong feeling was expressed against Sunday closing. The Bishop of Wakefield said that he attended a meeting at the East End of London, and there put forward suggestions for opening public houses part of the day on Sundays; but he found that at this working class meeting there was a unanimous desire in favour of Sunday closing. With reference to gentlemen having their clubs and cellars the working classes were not concerned; they wanted to be placed in a position to protect themselves. He had received a great many representations in favour of the Bill from associations representing hundreds of thousands of the working classes; while, on the other side, the representations were from those whose interests were more or less connected with an increase in the trade in intoxicating liquors. There might be some who would say the Bill went too far, and that they were ready for some restriction short of total closing on Sunday. He claimed the support of these, and was ready to give fair consideration to such suggestions as steps in the right direction. He was quite sure that the House must recognise that the whole religious opinion of this country was in favour of this Measure, as were also the working classes. In that House they were always anxious to reduce the excessive hours of labour of the working man. The employees in the public houses worked long hours—as many as 12, 14, and even 16 hours a day in some cases. Was it unreasonable to ask, in the interests of these people, that they should have the Sabbath's rest and the same freedom from labour on that day as the great body of the working classes of this country had? There could be no doubt that the fact that a man obtained the proceeds of his week's labour on the preceding day made Sunday, on which he had leisure, a day of temptation. If the House passed this Bill it would be found—as in the case of similar legislation for Scotland, Ireland, and Wales—that it would prove a great blessing to the country, and would lead, to a large extent, to that use of the Lord's Day which they as Christian people desired. The question had been fully discussed that afternoon, and, whatever the views of the House might be, he hoped they would have an opportunity of taking a vote upon it so that the opinion of Members might be obtained.

MR. C. E. TRITTON, (Lambeth, Norwood)

in supporting the Bill denied that he was in favour of repressive legislation. He desired, he said, to speak on behalf of the Church of England Temperance Society, of which he had the honour of being hon. treasurer. That society had a Bill dealing with Sunday Closing, which was shortly to be introduced, and which gave to the licensing authorities in each district power to permit off-sales for an hour in the middle of the day and at night, so that working men might have an opportunity of getting their dinner and supper beer. The promoters of the Bill had intimated their willingness to accept modifications in this direction, and he should therefore give his vote ill favour of the Measure. He was in favour of Sunday Closing in the interests of the publican, of the persons employed by the publican, and in the interests of the public generally. As regarded the publicans, he wondered how many hon. Members had received a single petition from any publican asking them to vote against the Bill? He believed himself that there were enormous numbers of publicans who would welcome this Bill with the greatest possible delight if it were carried into law. A large number would close their houses now but for the tierce competition that existed on the one hand, and the fact that, on the other hand, they were not free agents. They could not move hand or foot because they inhabited tied houses, and had to do what their masters told them to do. There were 300,000 people employed in public houses, many of whom had to work on Sundays, and the passing of a Bill like this would enable them to obtain the blessings of Sunday's rest. He fancied if Mr. Speaker, who was subjected to the atmosphere of the House for so many days in the week, had also to put up with its atmosphere on Sunday, the right hon. Gentleman would object most strongly to the proposition. But what about the atmosphere of a public house bar, where these pour people had to remain on Sundays as well as the rest of the week? He thought, to put it mildly, that the atmosphere of such places could not be the purest, the nicest, or the most refined in the world. Again, taking the question of the interests of the public generally, what did Sunday Closing mean? It meant the removal of the temptation to spend Saturday's wages in Sunday drink. He believed that Sunday Closing meant more money for the wife, more clothes for the children, more food in the cupboard, more fuel in the grate, and tens of thousands of happier homes throughout the length and breadth of the land. Where did the opposition to this Bill come from? Did it come from the publican? He thought not. Did it come from the publicans' servants? Again he thought not. Did it come from the public generally? They did not see it. They had had a test lately which, he thought, had thrown some little light on this question. What did the working men of Walthamstow do? On the one hand the gentleman who was returned was a strong advocate of Sunday Closing—one of those who backed the Bill of 1893—and a labour representative knowing, he took it, far better than any of them the feelings of labour generally as regarded this question. On the other hand, the gentleman who was rejected was actually engaged in the promotion of the liquor trade. He thought his Party, from the result of that election, might learn the lesson that the working classes preferred the man who went in for Sunday Closing to the man who was engaged in the making of intoxicating liquors. The hon. Gentleman opposite spoke of teetotal tyranny, but he confessed he could not see where the tyranny came in. He had received a remarkable document from the United Parliamentary Council of the Retail Liquor Trade, who desired that he should be in his place in the House—and thus far he was able to meet their views—and record his vote against this Measure, "which must," they said, "of necessity be so distasteful to a large majority of your constituents." If the Measure was of necessity so distasteful to a large number of his constituents, surety one, at least, would have written to him and asked him to vote against the Bill; but not one single constituent in the Division he had the honour to represent had, either by word or letter, requested their Member to vote against the Bill "which must of necessity, be so very distasteful" to them. He would tell the House what was distasteful both to his constituents and himself, and that was the amount of intemperance in their land, with all its train of sin and sorrow, poverty and distress; and they could not help seeing and saying that a very large amount of this wholesale intemperance was promoted by the retail trade in intoxicating liquors. What, again, was distasteful to many of his constituents was the way in which "the trade "did all in their power to prevent any extension of temperance reforms, and the way in which they dictated to free and independent Members of that House how they should vote on subjects such as this. When he came forward as a candidate in 1892 he was utterly repudiated by the Licensed Victuallers' Association because his answer to their questions was so entirely unsatisfactory. He welcomed that Debate as giving him an opportunity of which he should avail himself—with the greatest courtesy and good humour in his possession—of entirely repudiating the Licensed Victuallers' Association and all their works, and of protesting against the supposition which, he assumed, might have entered their mind, that because a Member of Parliament sat on the Tory Benches and was a Tory at heart, therefore he was opposed to temperance legislation for the benefit of the country and the people at large. He believed the Bill would be fraught with good consequences to the country. It was not introduced in any spirit of repression, but because it was thought it would be of the greatest possible use in promoting the prosperity and happiness of a large number of the poorest of Her Majesty's subjects. Lord Salisbury, speaking at Watford, in October, 1895, said:—"The question that lies before us now is the question of social amelioration. We have got as far as we can to make this country more pleasant to live in for the vast majority of those who live in it." Because he himself believed that this Bill, with the modifications proposed, would make this country a vast deal pleasanter for the majority of people to live in that he gave it his hearty and earnest support. [Cheers.]

*MR. CUTHBERT QUILTER (Suffolk, Sudbury)

said he told his constituents in 1892 that he would support a Measure for closing public houses in the country districts on Sundays provided the publican, if he so desired, had power to open his house for two periods in the intervals of Divine service not exceeding one hour each. If the hon. Members in charge of this Bill would undertake to support an Amendment of that kind in Committee, he would vote for the Second Reading. If not, although he yielded to no one in his desire for temperance—he should deem it his duty as an Englishman to vote against the Bill. There was a Committee sitting on Beer Materials which made it improper for him to deal at length, with that part of the question, with which he was more especially connected, but he must say he could not help thinking that if half the energy that, was put into what was called the temperance movement—sometimes intemperately he thought—was put into the prosecution of the purity and improvement of our national beverage, they would find the true solution of many of their difficulties. [Cheers.] When pure or home-brewed beer was consumed there was much less drunkenness and violence than when beer made from other materials than malt and hops was drunk, and this difference was more noticeable when the beer was partaken of more freely. [Laughter.] Men who took pure beer in moderation could go about their work and conduct themselves quietly; when it was taken in large quantities it might be said to have rather soothing and sedative qualities. [Laughter.] He hoped the House would have an unmistakable expression of opinion from those in charge of the Bill that, if the Bill passed its Second Beading, they would agree to the very moderate and reasonable Amendment he had suggested. It was monstrous to think that a man who lived in a little cottage—perhaps in one sitting-room—should be forced to get his beer on Saturday night for his Sunday dinner and supper. Why it would not be fit to drink, even if it were pure, much less the decoction which many people had to put up with. [Laughter and cheers.] He hoped the Amendment he had suggested would be adopted. Then, and then only, would he be able to support this Bill.

MR. ALFRED THOMAS (Glamorgan, E.)

said that if it had not been for a statement made in the course of the Debate with regard to the so-called plébiscite taken in Cardiff with reference to the Sunday Closing Act, he should not have risen at all. A plébiscite should not be taken until after due notice had been given; but he contended that the plébiscite at Cardiff was a one-sided affair, although the gentleman who presided over it was one who took a leading part in temperance matters. Some of those who voted for the opening of public houses in Cardiff are political supporters of his own; and therefore to say that the plébiscite represented the feeling of that town was ridiculous. Recently an intending publican came to him and said that he should like to take a possible lease in Cardiff, but he refrained because, he said: "If a man does not drink on Sunday he will not want to drink on Monday." ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] He had happened to be Mayor of Cardiff when the Sunday Closing Bill came into operation, and all he could say was that if Sunday Closing would be the blessing to England that it had been to Cardiff, the sooner it came about the better. [Cheers.]

*MR. HARRY MARKS (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

said the inevitable effect of this Bill, if it became law, would be to drive those who were now supplied in public houses to unlicensed clubs. The public house was under police surveillance, the club was not. The public house did not have theatrical performances, musical entertainments, dancing, and card playing, frequently all night, and almost invariably on Sundays—["Hear, hear!"]—nor was it the resort of men, women, and children from the early hours of the morning till late at night. ["Hear, hear!"] The respectable working man at present avoided the bogus club, and if he wanted a glass of beer he went to the public house for it, but if by legislation the public house was closed, the respectable man would be driven to the club or do without a glass of beer. The respectable working man did not require legal intervention to make him behave like a decent citizen on Sunday. He thought the proposal for total closing on Sundays was a preliminary step towards total closing all the week, and the hon. Gentlemen who were supporting this Measure were almost without exception prominent and more or less influential advocates of total prohibition. [Cries of "No!"] He said chiefly, not exclusively. They had been told that Saturday was the great drinking day, but he had never discovered that fact for himself. The assertion came with peculiar effect from a Gentleman who was a conspicuous member of the party which insisted upon making Saturday the day upon which County Council Elections, and other elections, whenever possible, should be held. Whether that was done because that day was said to be the one on which there was the most drinking, or in spite of it, he would not pretend to say. The experience of those who represented London working-class constituencies was that, where there was Sunday disorder due to drunkenness, it arose from the drinking in the clubs, and not from that which went on in the public houses. The right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire, in an admirable speech delivered some years ago at Oxford, said he was "against forbidding a man to have a glass of beer if he wants a glass of beer, against public house restriction and Parliamentary regulation. Some want to meddle with the rights of owners of public houses; others want to invade the rights of owners of private houses; the form is different, but the error is the same. Unless we resolutely set our faces against the whole system, liberty itself will suffer." [Laughter.] That was a judgment which should carry weight.


I do not propose, Sir, to argue the merits of this oft-told question of Sunday Closing. We have heard it debated with eloquence and vigour on both sides of the House; but what I desire to call the attention of the House to is the extreme difficulty of the question. ["Hear, hear!"] I think I may ask hon. Gentlemen who are against legislation of this sort to admit that there is a great amount of popular feeling on the side of Sunday Closing. I think they will also admit that that feeling not only comes from enthusiasts in the cause of temperance, or intemperate advocates of temperance, but that this object is also dear to the hearts of earnest men who believe that by total prohibition on Sunday they may not only improve the keeping of the Sunday in England, but may at the same time remove many of those extra causes for intemperance which may be supposed to occur in, an interval of leisure such as Sunday should be. But I would ask those who argue on the other side of this question whether the history of this question within the United Kingdom does not show how completely it is surrounded with difficulties of a practical nature. ["Hear, hear!"] In this House, whatever use we make of our Wednesdays, at all events we ought to aim at making our attempts at legislation practical, and we ought not merely to Debate theoretical and abstract legislation. What this proposal comes to is that we are called upon to vote that something ought to be done in the direction of temperance on Sunday. I admit that. I imagine that there is no man in this House who would not desire to see proposals, legislative or otherwise, carried out which would make our Sunday the most sober and temperate day in the whole week. I will not speak of Ireland, because we all know that the Irish people are differently constituted from us in England. [Laughter.] We are told that the Celtic people are in favour of Sunday Closing. In Ireland, with the exception of the five great cities, according to the Report which has recently been made and according to all the information I have, it is a success. [Cheers.] I believe it is fair to admit that there is no considerable proportion of the people of Scotland who would desire to see the Act repealed. But Wales has not been a great success in the matter of Sunday Closing. With reference to the case of Wales, I believe that all the evidence we have goes to show that the Act initiated and carried with the support of Mr. Bruce, afterwards Lord Aberdare, with the general consent of the Welsh people, contained defects, not inherent in the machinery of the Act only, but in its principles. I may quote the words of Lord Aberdare when he said, subsequently to the appointment of the Welsh Commission that examined a portion of that Act, that a Measure of total prohibition was absolutely incapable of enforcement, and that were its repeal introduced he should not feel able to vote against it. I do not quote that for the purpose of showing that the Welsh Sunday Closing Act has been a total failure, but I do quote it for the sake of showing that those Gentlemen who advocate total closing on Sunday ought to remember that when it was introduced with the good will of the population, as it was in Wales, and with a people who evidently were more disposed to receive it than admittedly the people of England are, within a very short space of time of its introduction its principal promoter was found to give utterance to the expression I have quoted. ["Hear, hear!"] I am not arguing on the merits of the question, but I am desirous of pressing on the House the fact that there are great difficulties surrounding the question. This Bill is a Bill for total Sunday Closing, and although in the course of the Debate we have heard two or three Members on both sides get up and say that as it meant something else they would support it, we must take the Bill as we find it. ["Hear, hear!"] I am not prepared to support the Bill in view of the difficulties which, as I say, surround it. We have heard something of this Commission which is now sitting. Is it not a corollary to the fact that statesman after statesman has endeavoured to deal with this question without success, and to the fact that a Royal Commission is now considering the subject, that it is almost a duty of the House of Commons not to pledge itself to a Bill which is now under the consideration of a Commission appointed with the general consent of Parliament? ["Cheers and cries of "No!"] I venture to think that hon. Gentlemen opposite have no right to ask the House to pledge itself in advance upon a very difficult question when it has been submitted to the judgment of a Royal Commission for the purpose of enabling this House to legislate. That Royal Commission was appointed not for the purpose of inquiring into the advisability of Sunday Closing in particular, but of inquiring whether any improvement can be introduced into our licensing laws generally. Certainly, in the face of the reports which have been made, and of the Bills which have been introduced, and of the Acts which have been passed on this subject, it is not reasonable to ask the House of Commons to give their vote in favour of total closing on Sunday until we have the Report of that Commission before us. ["Hear, hear!"] Some reference has been made to the case of clubs. I do not wish to enforce the argument that has been put forward in connection with those institutions; but everyone who reads the public Press must admit that the case of the clubs is intimately connected with Sunday Closing, and it is with reference to clubs that the evidence is now being taken before the Commission. In these circumstances I think that, in an admittedly difficult question like this, we ought to wait until we have the recommendations of the Royal Commission before we attempt to interfere with the habits of the people of this country. ["Hear, hear!"] I will not say a word more upon the particular merits of this question; but I submit that it is only right and proper that the House of Commons should pause before it sanctions the proposal for total Sunday Closing which is involved in this Bill at a time when the whole subject has been relegated to a proper body for inquiry. ["Hear, hear!"]


by leave of the House, desired to say that, after the discussion that had taken place on the Bill, and especially after the eloquent speech of the hon. Member for Norwood, he was quite prepared, after consultation with his hon. Friends, that when the Bill got into Committee, which he hoped it would, to accept Amendments that would permit public houses to be opened on Sunday for one hour in the middle of the day at dinner time and one hour in the evening at supper time.

MR. J. W. LOGAN (Leicester, Harborough)

said that he was not in favour of that House taking upon itself to pledge the whole country to abstain from obtaining any refreshment on Sunday, whether people desired to do so or not. He thought that the question was one that should be left to the local authorities to determine. Personally he should be glad to see the number of public houses in the country hugely reduced, provided always that it was the wish of the great majority of the people that that should be done. He, however, was not prepared to see the wishes of the people overridden by a hard-and-fast rule made in that House. He was a local optionist as far as Sunday Closing as well as week-day closing was concerned, and he was no more in favour of arbitrary restrictions being imposed on Sundays than on other days of the week. They were told that the people of this country were in favour of this Measure. If that were the case it was an additional reason for leaving the question to be determined by local option, and why Parliament should not be asked to compel people to abstain from obtaining a reasonable amount of refreshment on Sundays. Under the provisions of the Bill wealthy people would be able to obtain as much drink as they wanted on Sunday, whereas the poor men, who had no means of storing drink at their homes, would be unable to go to the public houses to get what they required for their dinners. In making these observations he was not unmindful of the enormous evils that resulted from the drink traffic in the country, but he recognised that the great majority of the people looked upon drink as a luxury, and made use of it with discretion. A great many of them, however, he believed were prepared to forego their right to this luxury in the interests of their weaker brethren if they were asked to do so in a proper manner, but he did not think that they would be disposed to be forced in the matter by such Bills as this. He did not believe that the Bill in its present form was calculated to mitigate the evils arising from excessive drinking, which had led its promoters to introduce it. The provisions of the Measure would be unendurable in the villages in the neighbourhood of large towns, to which numbers of bonâ fide travellers resorted on Sundays. On this question he was in favour of trusting the people. He believed that the majority of the people of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales were in favour of Sunday Closing, and what he claimed, on behalf of the majority of the people of England was, that they should not have Sunday Closing thrust upon them without their consent. Let the majority of the English people be given the power of dealing with the licensing question, and he should have no fear of the result. If it were sought to compel the people, by legislation of this character, to abstain from drink against their inclination, they would certainly find means to thwart its object and to render it abortive.

MR. J. H. STOCK (Liverpool, Walton)

said he should not detain the House for more than a few moments while he stated the reasons that induced him to give his vote in favour of the Second Reading of this Measure. He should vote for the Measure because its promoters had promised to accept Amendments that would enable refreshments to be procured on Sundays at certain limited times. If the Bill were so amended he did not think that it would do injustice to anyone, and on that understanding he should vote for its Second Reading.


said that he should support the Bill. He was not in favour of total closing on Sunday, and therefore he should reserve his right to vote against the Third Reading of the Measure in the

event of it not being so amended in Committee as to enable the working classes to obtain necessary refreshment on Sunday.


asked why it was that the hon. Member for West Hull had not inserted the Amendments which he said he was prepared to accept in the Bill before he introduced the Measure into the House?


Order, order!

Question put, "That the word 'now,' stand part of the Question: "The House divided:—Ayes, 149; Noes, 206—(Division List—No. 22—appended).

Abraham, William (Rhondda) Fenwick, Charles Parkes, Ebenezer
Acland, Rt. Hon. A. H. Dyke Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Paulton, James Mellor
Allan, William (Gateshead) Firbank, Joseph Thomas Perks, Robert William
Allen, Wm.(Newc. under Lyme) Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk) Packard, Benjamin
Allison, Robert Andrew Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Arch, Joseph Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Wol'tn) Pinkerton, John
Arrol, Sir William Fowler, Matthew (Durham) Pirie, Captain Duncan Vernon
Asher, Alexander Fry, Lewis Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Atherley-Jones, L. Gordon, John Edward Quilter, William Cuthbert
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Gourley Sir Edward Temperley Reckitt, Harold James
Bainbridge, Emerson Griffith, Ellis J. Reid, Sir Robert T.
Balfour, Rt. Hn. J. Blair (Clackm) Haldane, Richard Burdon Rentoul, James Alexander
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Hazell, Walter Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Bethell, Captain Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Biddulph, Michael Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord Arthur (Down) Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Birrell, Augustine Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Saunderson, Col. Edw. James
Blake, Edward Howard, Joseph Savory, Sir Joseph
Bolitho, Thomas Bedford Jacoby, James Alfred Schwann, Charles E.
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Johnston, William (Belfast) Scott, Charles Prestwich
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Joicey, Sir James Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Bousfield, William Robert Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Shaw, William Rawson (Halifax)
Brigg, John Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn. Sir U. Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Broadhurst, Henry Kearley, Hudson E. Souttar, Robinson
Brown, Alexander H. Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Kitson, Sir James Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'land) Stock, James Henry
Burns, John Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry) Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Caldwell, James Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington) Tennant, Harold John
Cameron, Robert Leng, Sir John Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swans'a) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cawley, Frederick Lloyd-George, David Ure, Alexander
Clough, Walter Owen Lockwood, Sir Frank (York) Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Colville, John Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham) Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lough, Thomas Wayman, Thomas
Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H. Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Wedderburn, Sir William
Cozens-Hardy, Herbert Hardy McArthur, William Weir, James Galloway
Currie, Sir Donald McKenna, Reginald Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Curzon, Rt. Hn. G. N. (Lanc. S. W.) McKillop, James Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Dalziel, James Henry McLeod, John Williams, John Carvell (Notts)
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Maden, John Henry Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Davitt, Michael Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Wilson, John (Govan)
Denny, Colonel Mellor, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Yorks.) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Dixon, George Mildmay, Francis Bingham Woodall, William
Donkin, Richard Sim Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel) Woodhouse, Sir J. T (Hudd'rsf'ld)
Doughty, George Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Woods, Samuel
Dunn, Sir William Morton, Edward John Chalmers Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Ellis, John Edward (Notts) Mundella, Rt. Hn. Anthony John
Ellis, Thos. Edw. (Merionethsh.) O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal) TELLERS FOR THE AYES, Mr.
Evans, Sir Francis H. (South'ton) O'Neill, Hon. Robort Torrens Charles Wilson and Mr. Alfred Pease.
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Finch-Hatton, Hon. Harold H. Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Fisher, William Hayes Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)
Aird, John Fison, Frederick William Melville, Beresford Valentine
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Fletcher, Sir Henry Milbank, Powlett Charles John
Allsopp, Hon. George Flower, Ernest Milward, Colonel Victor
Anstruther, H. T. Flynn, James Christopher Monk, Charles James
Arnold, Alfred Forster, Henry William Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)
Ascroft, Robert Forwood, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur B. Moon, Edward Pacy
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) More, Robert Jasper
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis Morrell, George Herbert
Bailey, James (Walworth) Galloway, William Johnson Morrison, Walter
Balcarres, Lord Garfit, William Mount, William George
Baldwin, Alfred Gedge, Sydney Murdoch, Charies Townshend
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r) Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond.) Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Balfour, Gerald William (Leeds) Gilhooly, James Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Banbury, Frederick George Godson, Augustus Frederick Myers, William Henry
Barry, Francis Tress (Windsor) Goldsworthy, Major-General Northcote, Hon. Sir H. Stafford
Bass, Hamar Goschen, George J. (Sussex) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. H. (Bristol) Goulding Edward Alfred O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)
Beach, W. W. Bramston (Hants.) Graham, Henry Robert O'Keeffe, Francis Arthur
Beckett, Ernest William Gray, Ernest (West Ham) O'Kelly, James
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry) Penn, John
Bhownaggree, M. M. Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Bigwood, James Gretton, John Pierpoint, Robert
Bill, Charles Greville, Captain Pollock, Harry Frederick
Blundell, Colonel Henry Halsey, Thomas Frederick Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bond, Edward Hanson, Sir Reginald Pryce-Jones, Edward
Boulnois, Edmund Hare, Thomas Leigh Rankin, James
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex) Harrington, Timothy Richardson, Thomas
Brodrick, lit, Hon. St. John Heaton, John Henniker Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matthew W.
Bullard, Sir Harry Helder, Augustus Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter Roche, Hon. James (East Kerry)
Carew, James Laurence Hickman, Sir Alfred Russell, Sir George (Berksh.)
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Hill, Rt. Hon. A. Staveley (Staffs.) Rutherford, John
Cecil, Lord Hugh Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampstead) Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Hoare, Samuel (Norwich) Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles
Charrington, Spencer Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Chelsea, Viscount Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Seely, Charles Hilton
Clarke, Sir Edward (Plymouth) Hudson, George Bickersteth Simeon, Sir Barrington
Coddington, Sir William Hughes, Colonel Edwin Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice- Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.) Smith, Abel (Herts.)
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Isaacson, Frederick Wootton Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Jenkins, Sir John Jones Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Compton, Lord Alwyne (Beds) Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Johnstone, John H. (Sussex) Stephens, Henry Charles
Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Jolliffe, Hon. H. George Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Cranborne, Viscount Kemp, Ceorge Sutherland, Sir Thomas
Crilly, Daniel Kenyon, James Taylor, Francis
Cripps, Charles Alfred Knowles, Lees Thornton, Percy M.
Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal) Laurie, Lieut.-General Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Lawson, John Grant (Yorks) Usborne, Thomas
Dalbiac, Major Philip Hugh Leighton, Stanley Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset) Walrond, Sir William Hood
Davenport, W. Bromloy- Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Warkworth, Lord
Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool) Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)
Doogan, P. C. Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller Webster, Sir R. E. (Isle of W.)
Dorington, Sir John Edward Lorne, Marquess of Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent) Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L
Drucker, A. Loyd, Archie Kirkman Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John Wilson-Todd, Wm. H (Yorks)
Edwards, Gen. Sir James Bevan Lucas-Shadwell, William Wodehouse, Edmond R. (Bath.)
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Macaleese, Daniel Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Engledow, Charles John Macdona, John Cumming Wyndham, George
Fardell, Thomas George Maclean, James Mackenzie Young, Samuel
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Maclure, John William Younger, William
Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc.) McDermott, Patrick
Field, William (Dublin) Malcolm, Ian
Fielden, Thomas Marks, Henry Hananel TELLERS FOR THE NOES, Mr.
Finch, George H. Martin, Richard Biddulph Duncombe and Mr. Sharpe.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to. Second Reading put off for six months.