§ Order for Second Reading read.
Motion made, and Question Proposed—
That the Bill be now read a second time.
§ MR. J. WILSON (Lanark, Govan)
moved the Second Reading of this Bill. He reminded honourable Members that attempts at similar legislation had been made for the last 30 years. The strength of the demand had been indicated by the vote of the Scotch representatives for the Local Option Resolution in 1880, 1881, 1883, 1893, and 1895; also by the large majority of Scotch Members in each successive Parliament pledged to support the present Bill. The title of the Bill was "To enable electors to have effectual control over the liquor traffic in their respective are ms in Scotland." As would 1226 be seen, the Bill contained three options,—First, that by a majority of two-thirds of the ratepayers in a parish or district all licensed houses might be prohibited; secondly, that by a majority of votes the number of licences might be reduced; and, thirdly, that the first or second option, if adopted, might, be repealed at the end of three years. It might be asked why the Bill should be limited to Scotland? The reasons were many and cogent. The first wag that he believed the people of Scotland were more advanced in regard to temperance legislation than those of any other part of the United Kingdom. They had had for the last, 45 years entire Sunday Closing in Scotland, and for the last 10 years they had restricted the hours for the sale of intoxicating liquor. In both cases there was no question of compensation. Speaking generally, the people of Scotland believed that there was no legal right on the part of the publican to compensation. He entered the business with his eyes open, knowing that he had no legal right, to his licence beyond the year. Men of all classes, public bodies, church courts, and every section of the temperance party were in favour of this Bill; and the expression of the mind of the communities by plébiscites taken in the leading cities and towns of the country brought out the remarkable fact that there was an overwhelming majority, especially in the working-class districts of Scotland, in favour of the principle of this Bill. It was an undisputed fact that the people were entirely at the mercy of the licensing authorities, and that, while people who had wealth could keep out of the reach of the licensed houses, the working classes had to put, up with houses which were surrounded by these licensed premises. There was a suburb of the burgh of Govan which had now a population of about 8,000 well-to-do artisans engaged in the shipbuilding yards on the Clyde, who had determined to do all they could to avoid having licences in their neighbourhood, and year after year, by strong remonstrances, they had been successful in. securing that there should be no licence in that place. But why should they be compelled year after year to appear in the licensing court? Again, the drink traffic had become to large employers of labour a, source of great irritation and of great loss of money in 1227 carrying on their works. It was also a question of trouble to the police, and entailed a great burden upon the community. The chief of the police at Govan reported that last year, of the 3,017 persons apprehended, only 478 when arrested were sober. Surely that showed the necessity for passing such a Measure as this into law. He might state, to the credit of the municipal authorities in Glasgow, that they had abolished all licences on corporation property, thereby acknowledging that the liquor traffic was incompatible with the welfare and the best interests of the citizens. It was all very well for Chancellors of the Exchequer to revel in the large sums of money derived from the drinking power of the nation. But there were other considerations to be taken into account. Much of that money might be called blood-money—got at an enormous waste of life and deterioration of the morals and the happiness of the people. There had been exceptions in some Chancellors of the Exchequer. The late Sir Stafford Northcote, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, was asked what he would do without the revenue from drink, and his reply was—Give me a sober people, and I will have no difficulty in obtaining my revenue.To show the feeling of the people of Scotland on this subject, the plébisncites proved that 12 to 1 of those who voted were in favour of the direct veto as embodied in this Bill. As an instance of the feeling of the ratepayers in Stornoway, in Lewis, 3,945 ratepayers declared themselves in favour of prohibition and 32 against; in Edinburgh the vote was 21,673 for, and 433 against; in Glasgow the vote was 77,246 for, and 8,535 against. He observed also that Sheriff Campbell, in passing sentence of imprisonment on a fisherman for breach of the peace in Stornoway, said that after some years' study of the subject he had come to the conclusion that the best thing that could happen to the Island of Lewis was that strong drink should be excluded from it. That would be the best thing that could happen in many other places in Scotland. The licences in Lewis had been forced upon the people, not by the local Court, but by the Court of Quarter Sessions, in spite of the protest of the licensing magistrates of the island itself. Again, at the 1228 Edinburgh Licensing Court, on April 11th, a remarkable instance occurred. The agent for the proprietors of "The Scotsman" stated that his clients had. bought a large area on the east of the town and had acquired property on the north and west on which there were several licensed houses, and the agent stated that the only object of John Ritchie and Co., the proprietors of ''The Scotsman," in seeking to have the licences removed, was in the interest of their own employees and the public generally. The editor of "The Scotsman" had all along maintained that the diminution of licensed houses did not tend to diminish drunkenness; yet here they had the proprietors of the paper, a paper which had strongly opposed the objects of this Bill, saying that it was in the interests of their own workmen and of the city generally that the court should refuse to grant these licences. He (Mr. Wilson) held that every employer of labour might equally ask that licences should be taken away. At his own works in Govan he had 400 or 500 men, and they could not go to a single meal without having to run the gauntlet of three public-houses. The strange thing in connection with this matter of "The Scotsman" was that they never referred to the question of compensation. The proprietors desired to take away these licences, but would not promise anything to compensate the publicans for taking away their licences. The Bill was not a. hard and fast one; it was elastic and permissive. If passed it would not shut one public-house unless the people were so minded. He made bold to say that there was no Measure of greater interest to the people of Scotland than this. It did not interfere with the existing licensing authority, only in the event of the two options in the Bill being adopted the licensing court would be bound to give effect to the result of the poll. In passing this Measure they would put an instrument into the hands of the people which would enable them to work out their own salvation from the evils and baneful effects of this terrible trade, and in time, it was hoped, would do away with the inebriate homes or the necessity for inebriate homes, and to a large extent our penitentiaries, our lunatic asylums, and our workhouses. He pleaded with right honourable and honourable Gentlemen to pass this Bill, 1229 which would bring, in its results, hope and joy to many a home, and would be the means of bringing prosperity and happiness to the people of Scotland.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at th end of the Question to add the words 'upo this day six months.'"—(Mr. Faithfull Begg.
§ *MR. FAITHFULL BEGG (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
said he had listened to the speech with which the honourable Gentleman had introduced the Bill, but he had not heard One single new argument or one single new fact which would lead him in the smallest degree to alter the opinion which he had now held for many years on this subject. He had no hesitation whatever in asking the House to reject the Measure of which the Second Reading had now been moved. The honourable Member had said that for 30 years this subject had been agitated in Scotland. He gave the honourable Member credit for the great persistency with which he had advocated it, but after 30 years of advocacy he had utterly failed to make any impression upon that House.
§ *MR. FAITHFULL BEGG
His argument had not carried conviction to the minds of honourable Members, and the experiment he advocated, where it had been tried in other countries, had proved a complete failure. Why was this Measure introduced at the present time? A Licensing Commission had been sitting for the past three years which had taken exhaustive evidence, and he was sure that all who were interested in the subject looked forward with great interest to its verdict upon this question. We knew that the members of that Commission had failed to come to any common understanding, but we also knew that whatever their finding might be, this proposal of local veto, as far as we had any information, was at least one with which they would have nothing to do. We did not know, of course, what the view of the minority of the Commission would be, but we had sufficient information to know that the majority would not give a verdict in favour of local veto. He asked, therefore, why it should be 1230 endeavoured to—he was going to say smuggle, but he would say pass—this Bill through the House of Commons at the present moment. It would have been better in his judgment to have waited until they knew what the result of the labours of the Commission was. It might have enabled them to form a better judgment upon this most intricate problem. He had been favoured, along with other Members of the House, with a circular issued with regard to this subject by the National Temperance Federation, and he gathered from it that at all events the promoters of this Measure had very poor faith in their chances of getting it through the House. For what was the appeal made in that circular? It urged them to support the Measure "so that it might be further considered in Committee." They were thus to understand that even at this time of day the promoters were unable to make up their minds as to the precise form of the Measure. If they had as much faith as they professed in the Bill or the efficacy of its provisions after all these years of discussion, why were they not able to bring in a Measure to-day which would not require to be amended in Committee? His honourable Friend, in moving the Second Reading, used a phrase which was also in the circular. He said the Bill would not close one single public-house unless the people were so minded. It was one of his great objections to this proposal that statements of the kind were put forward in support of it which were only half truths. It was not accurate to say that a Measure such as this would not close one public-house unless it was the will of the people. In this matter it had been found impossible in other countries, by means of any votes such as those proposed in this Measure, to obtain the real mind of the people. The Bill, it was stated, would enable the electors to have effectual control over the liquor traffic. He would observe in passing that there was a material modification in this Measure as compared with that introduced in 1895. The latter contained a statement to the effect that—Whereas the traffic in intoxicating liquors is the main cause of poverty, disease, and crime, decreases trade and commerce, increases local taxation, and endangers the safety and welfare of the community.1231 He fully expected to find that repeated in the present Bill, but it was entirely absent. Had honourable Gentlemen opposite given up that contention?
§ *Mr. FAITHFULL BEGG
Then why was it eliminated from the present Bill? The fact was that that statement had been riddled in the country over and over again. The figures did not substantiate it, and he admired the prudence of the promoters of the Bill in leaving it out of their present Measure. When they examined it they found that this Bill was not, as it professed to be, one to enable the electors to obtain effectual control over the liquor traffic. It was a Bill to enable, in certain circumstances, the electors to prohibit the liquor traffic, and in certain other circumstances to limit it. Why was not power given, however, to the electors to increase, if necessary, the number of public-houses? He did not advocate an increase of public-houses, but his point was, Why give effectual control in only one direction? Was it not conceivable that a district might require more public-houses as well as less? It was a misuse of language to describe the Bill as one for the effectual control of the traffic, when it gave control only in one direction and not in another. Control implied authority to do what one felt to be necessary or right, not authority to move only in one particular direction. The Bill, in other words, proceeded by a statement which was calculated to mislead. There was one peculiar provision in the Bill to which he wished to draw attention. It provided that all liquors seized were to be destroyed, but all the utensils were to be sold. Why not include both in a common anathema and have utensils as well as liquor destroyed? He made the sugestion in all good faith. He observed that chemists under the Bill were to be allowed to sell liquor. Why should they be allowed? He knew the results of such a provision in the United States and Canada. A Yankee friend of his, when asked whether it had produced a diminution in drunkenness or the consumption of intoxicating liquors, said, "No, I don't think it has produced a reduction in drunkenness, 1232 but it has produced an increase of stomach-ache." He meant that it was perfectly easy for a person to obtain liquor at a chemist's shop, even though. the public-houses in the locality were nominally closed. This was essentially an unjust and tyrannous Measure. It had no provision in it for the compensation of those who were at present engaged in the trade. His honourable Friend, in moving the Second Reading, repeated the statement that compensation was unnecessary, and that the licence was granted to publicans for one year, and no longer. That was another statement of the species to which he objected, and which were so commonly made by the advocates of this Measure. It was true that licences were annual, but everybody knew that there was a presumption that there would be a renewal, and that the reason why these licences were only granted for the year was that there might be control over the character of the house, and that if necessary the licence might be taken away. But it was a perversion of justice to say at the end of the year, if everything had been conducted according to the regulations laid down, that the man had no moral or equitable claim to the renewal of his licence. How could they imagine that anyone would be found to put his capital into a public-house, which was a legitimate enterprise, according to the laws of the country, if they said that they might arbitrarily take away his licence at the end of the year without compensation? Why, when slavery was abolished, even the slave owners were compensated. He did not know that it was in the power of those by whom the renewal of licences was granted to take into account anything but the law as it stood, and the usages of the country, to use the words of the Justice of the Peace oath. In other words, the mere letter of the law would be a gross injustice in this case, and he was surprised that those who proposed this Measure should take their stand upon a quibble such as that. The party who promoted this Bill called themselves the Temperance Party. His honourable Friend the Member for Govan had been temperate in his language, but generally those who advocated this Measure, in the country at all events, had never shown temperance in their language or their proposals. He had, since he entered the House, re- 1233 ceived a minatory telegram from certain of his constituents threatening him with the withdrawal of the Temperance vote at the next election if he proceeded with his action to-day. He cared nothing for the Temperance vote. He was not sure that he ever received it, but no threat of this sort would ever prevent him from doing what he considered his duty in a matter of this kind—namely, protesting against this tyrannous Measure. He denied the right of those who advocated this Measure to call themselves the Temperance Party. Temperance implied moderation and self-restraint. But this was a high-handed attempt to coerce other people into doing what the promoters considered right, but with which other people had no sympathy. It was interfering arbitrarily with personal liberty in a matter in which every individual had a right to judge for himself. If this Bill should by any chance become law, as he ventured to say it would not, a fanatical minority by means of organisation could impose in the name of a sham majority a gross act of tyranny upon the people of the district. That was precisely what had happened in Canada and the United States. He yielded to no man in his desire for increased temperance in the habits of the people; but he denied the efficacy and the possibility of carrying out any good scheme under a Bill such as this, because the facts were all against it. The teachings of experience in this matter were worth more than all the theories of his honourable Friend. Temperance would be most largely promoted by a change in public opinion. A considerable change in public opinion had taken place in this country in recent times. The common sense of society now looked down upon the four-bottle man, and temperance had made its way without coercive measures such as those proposed in this Bill. The views expressed by the honourable Member for Dumfries-shire (Mr. Souttar) the other day were illustrative of the extraordinary ideas that seemed to permeate the minds of the advocates of the Measure. The honourable Member seemed to be firmly convinced that if there had been a Local Veto Act in force in the south of England at the time of the Battle of Hastings, the Norman Conquest would never have occurred. He admitted that it was exceedingly bad for 1234 people to over-indulge in alcoholic liquor, but it was infinitely worse in his judgment to drive them to drink, by stealth, adulterated liquor in shebeens, and that would inevitably follow from the passing of a Bill such as this. Legislation like this, compulsory laws with regard to religion, excessive game laws, high Customs duties, had all resulted in worse evils than those they were intended to remedy. Why did his honourable Friends opposite not face the facts which had occurred in the United States and Canada during the last half-century? There measures dealing with the liquor traffic had been put into execution as far as they could be, and the result had been hopeless and demonstrable failure.
§ *MR. FAITHFULL BEGG
said her hoped his honourable Friend who said "No," would give them some facts in support of the other side. In the meantime that was his judgment. A member of the Commission which recently reported on the subject in Canada had told him that anything in the nature of prohibition was, in his judgment, absolutely hopeless as a remedy for this evil. In the last few days there bad been very strong corroboration of that view in a document issued by the Canadian Government. The recent Canadian plebiscite yielded a majority of votes in favour of the principle of prohibition, and the Government were pressed to give effect to what was claimed to be the logical result. The number of votes was—Ayes 278,487, and Noes 264,571. The opinion of the Canadian Premier on that was that there was no occasion for the Government to pronounce either one way or the other. He pointed out that the electorate to which the question was submitted comprised 1,233,849, and the number who voted for prohibition was less than 23 per cent., or a trifle over one-fifth. Consequently he held that no good purpose would be served by forcing on the people a measure which had been shown to have the support of less than 23 per cent. of the electors. The votes recorded at the poll did not represent such an expression of public opinion as would entitle the Government to introduce into Parliament a prohibitory Measure. Here was the result of legislation and 1235 agitation in Canada for upwards of a quarter of a century, that only a small fraction of the electors thought it worth while to record their votes in favour of this proposal. But that was not all. There was a Commission appointed in Canada in 1892, and it reported in 1895. That Commission took exhaustive evidence to the extent of 1,000 pages, and collected every kind of information that had the remotest bearing upon the question. After going through all the labour to which be had referred they reported in the following terms—The combined system of licence and regulation, which for centuries has been the rule of civilised nations with such amendment as experience has proved to be needful in order to make it more efficient, should not be departed from. The undersigned consider that the aim of any system of regulating or prohibiting the liquor traffic is to lessen or extinguish the evils arising from intemperance or from the improper use of intoxicating beverages, and after most anxious and careful consideration of the subject, they have come to the conclusion that this would not be accomplished by the enactment of a law prohibiting the manufacture, importation, and sale of intoxicating liquors, and that if such a law was passed it could not be efficiently enforced. Finally, it is illusory to anticipate that a general prohibitory law could be enforced with any reasonable degree of efficiency.That was the finding of the Commission after a most exhaustive inquiry. He might quote many other passages to prove that this Act had been a failure in Canada, but he thought that he should only be wearying the House if he went into further details. The fact he wished to emphasise was that the experiment of prohibition in Canada had proved a failure; that while in the earlier years the number adopting the Act went on increasing, since 1886 or 1887 the number of districts remaining under the. Act had steadily decreased, and it had now been reduced to a very limited number indeed. In the United States the experiment had been going on for nearly half a century, one by one the States which had adopted prohibition had given it up, out of 17 States which originally adopted it 10 had repealed it and it was now only retained in seven States, representing a population. of 5,000,000 out of a total of 6,000,000. In other words, four-fifths of those who adopted it had abandoned it, and he was assured that the total consumption of alcoholic liquors had not 1236 decreased in those States, the only result having been that almost every chemist sold liquor in an underhand way. Throughout those prohibition districts, first of all the buyer lied in order to get alcoholic liquors, and the chemist winked at his fraud; then the police were bribed to overlook the fraud, and the moral sense of the people was corrupted and the law brought into contempt. He thought he had now said enough to justify his position in moving the rejection of the Bill. He did so because he considered that, as it stood, it was a sham. It was not for the promotion of temperance, although it was intended to be, but it was a Measure which would promote secret drinking and bogus clubs, The Bill was wrong in theory and impossible in practice, and was supported by exaggeration and perversion of facts. It would produce perjury in the courts, meanness in the individual, and contempt for the law. It was a tyrannous Bill, impracticable, wholly mischievous and bad, and he begged to move the Motion standing in his name.
§ MR. H. V. DUNCOMBE (Cumberland, Egremont)
said he seconded the Motion which had just been made on two broad grounds. First of all, he believed most firmly that the method proposed was a wrong method. Anybody who had listened to the facts put forward as to the working of this law could not possibly come to any other conclusion than that prohibition or local veto was the wrong way of dealing with the drink question. The proper method of dealing with the question was by greater supervision over adulteration, the closer supervision of the houses wherein it was sold, and improved education. If there was anything which had been shown conclusively during the history of this country it was that the worst possible way of dealing with the drink evil was to endeavour to deal with it by compulsion. It was a most extraordinary thing that honourable Members opposite, whenever they had a pet scheme, always endeavoured to carry it out by compulsion. They had not yet got in their hands the Report of the Commission which had been inquiring into this very subject, and until that Report was forthcoming it would be departing from a very useful precedent to prejudge 1237 the question as far as Scotland was concerned. He begged to second the rejection of the Bill.
§ *MR. J. COLVILLE (Lanark, N.E.)
said the honourable Member for St. Rollox had taken up the question in a way which would be complimentary to anyone who wished to advocate the interests of the trade, and the licensed victuallers could not have a more earnest advocate than the honourable Member who had just spoken. He had said that actual facts were worth more than theory, and he desired to refer to the facts of the case with respect to the action of other legislatures. The honourable Member did not explain to the House, when he spoke of the recent plebiscite taken in Canada, that it was for the total prohibition of the importation, manufacture, and sale of intoxicating liquor. It was not like the Bill which they were considering, which simply asked for power to be given to the people of Scotland to control the granting of licences. Notwithstanding the considerable majority which was cast against a proposal in Quebec, there was still a substantial majority over the whole Dominion of Canada of 12 or 13 thousand votes in favour of total prohibition. From the conclusion which the honourable Member drew, one would be led to imagine that through the action of the Canadian Government Canada was now without local option. All the supporters of this Bill desired was simply to be put in the position of Canada which she had enjoyed for many years, and if the electors of Scotland did not choose to use the facilities of such legislation then the onus must remain with them. With regard to America the honourable Member's figures seem to be terribly at fault. In the 46 States of the Union there were no fewer than 42 which had given the people in one form or other local veto, and there were 24 States which had given the people a direct veto in dealing with this traffic. In addition to this, of these 24 there were five which were total prohibition States. The honourable Member for St. Rollox spoke of the result of the experience of prohibition in America, but he forgot that the premier State of Maine, while it went back for a short time, had now reaffirmed its action and had adopted total prohibition of the traffic. This 1238 resulted so satisfactorily that when an attempt was made a few years ago to repeal the Act the electors had it incorporated in the constitution of the State of Maine that there should be total prohibition. There had been similar local veto Measures in Cape Colony and several of the larger Australian Colonies, where the people could now prohibit the granting of new licences or reduce the number. Since 1828, when the licensing laws were amended the authority for granting licences in rural districts was practically in the hands of justices of the peace, who were appointed by the Lord Lieutenant of the counties, and while not amenable to the influence of the electors in the counties in which they granted licences, they were lamentably open to undue pressure from those who were interested in obtaining new licences. This had become a scandal in Scotland which was admitted not merely by temperance reformers, but by all moderate men, and the existing system was just about as rotten as any system could possibly be. When a man wanted a licence he set influences at work upon the magistracy, but the only influence that could be brought to bear in the interests of the people was that of a few self-sacrificing citizens who had set themselves the task of stemming the tide of intemperance and putting what pressure they could to get the justices to bring an unbiased mind to bear upon this question. The result had been woeful in the extreme. When the bailies who were responsible to the localities had thought fit, in the interests of peace and order, to reduce the number of licences, their decisions had been ruthlessly overturned by the Quarter Sessions, who, knowing that they were not responsible to the electors, but having been appointed by the Lord Lieutenant, had gone in the face of the expressed wishes of the community. Some years ago in the City of Glasgow the local magistrates decided to refuse certain objectionable licensed houses. An appeal was made to the Quarter Sessions, when the Chairman intimated that they had decided to temper justice with mercy, and the decision of the responsible bailies was defeated in case after case without any attempt at justification or reason being given why 1239 their decisions were overturned. In the Borough of Lanark the local magistrates decided that there were two very objectionable houses which had given the police a great deal of annoyance, and they refused to renew the licences. Notwithstanding this, and also the fact that the police protested that they could not possibly maintain order and the proper government of the town, if the licences were again granted, the Quarter Sessions again overturned their decision. At Motherwell the police had reported the necessity of restricting drinking facilities because of the great temptation put in the way of the working classes, but notwithstanding this ten additional applications were made in April last for licences. In view of this the inhabitants of Motherwell took a plebiscite of the inhabitants, and out of an adult population of 10,000 there were 7,051 who voted against increasing the number of licences. This result was made known to the licensing authorities, but in face of it three additional public house licences were foisted upon the community. He put it to the House whether any right thinking man could believe that the existing state of the law was satisfactory. There was another strong argument in favour of this Bill, and it was that since 1876 a majority of the Scotch Members had steadily voted for this principle. To-day there were 39 Members for Scotland who had declared themselves in favour of the direct popular control of the liquor traffic, and there were 15 others—and he had reason to believe that the Lord Advocate was amongst them—who, while they did not pledge themselves to support the Bill, had declared themselves in favour of some Measure of local option.
MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
said the honourable Member was mistaken. About 10 years ago, when he was first elected, he did give such a pledge. He had since come to be of opinion that it was such a mistake that the next time he got an opportunity of meeting his constituency he told them that he would not be bound by any such pledge. Consequently, both in the last Parliament and in this Parliament, he was not pledged to anything of the kind.
§ *MR. COLVILLE
said he would accept the honourable Gentleman's assurance that he was mistaken. The information he had was given on the authority of the Scottish Permissive Bill and Temperance Association, who got up the statistics from which it appeared that there were 39 Scotch Members not all on this side of the House, who had expressed themselves in favour of local option. They had the result of the passing of the Forbes Mackenzie Act.
§ *MR. COLVILLE
It was significant that when the Forbes Mackenzie Act was passed it was said it would be treated as a dead letter, but there had been in the succeeding 10 years a great decrease in the consumption of British spirits in Scotland. In the years 1887 and 1888 there were 22 towns, including the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, which, by overwhelming majorities, declared that the people ought to have some control in respect to the issue of licences, and this was practically made a test question at the majority of elections in Scotland. If this question were left to the decision of the Scottish Members alone, it would be settled satisfactorily in the interests of the great majority of the people of Scotland. He thought the House of Commons should have some regard to the claim of Scotland, that Scottish questions should be dealt with in conformity with the clearly expressed opinion of the majority of the Scottish Members. The honourable Member who moved the rejection of the Bill considered it an unjust and tyrannous proposition that they should seek to give the people power to close the public-houses at an earlier hour without compensation. The result of closing at 10 o'clock in Scotland had been eminently satisfactory, and no serious attempt had ever been made to put back the hour of closing to 11 o'clock. There had not been the faintest suggestion that compensation should be paid to the publicans for the withdrawal of the last hour, which usually was the hour in which the most intemperance took place.
§ MR. COLVILLE
said this Bill was not merely a total prohibition Bill, but it also proposed to give the people power to restrict the existing number of licences. The honourable Member said this legislation had been a failure in other countries, but he (Mr. Colville) maintained that in the State of Maine it had been a success. When compensation was talked of he would ask the honourable Member who was to compensate the families, the widows and the orphans, who had suffered incalculable injury from this nefarious traffic? Who was to compensate the ratepayers, who had been heavily taxed for the maintenance of the police to keep the streets in anything like decency as the direct result of the liquor traffic? If compensation was to be given, it should not be given to the licence-holders, but to the multitudes of families who had suffered by the perpetuation, of this great injustice to a freedom-loving people. Scotland was two generations ahead of England, Wales, and Ireland in respect of temperance sentiment, and he appealed to the House to give a favourable consideration to this. Bill.
§ MR. JOHNSTONE
said this Bill was not only a shining example of ill-conceived and ill-thought-out legislation, which to his mind was more calculated to do mischief than good, but it was one of the most remarkable Bills that had probably ever been brought into that House. The first section of the Measure was one of the most extraordinary provisions which had ever been embodied in an Act of Parliament. According to that section, in one of the prohibited areas it would became unlawful not only to sell or to possess, but even to dispose of, any alcoholic liquor. Imagine the position to which they would be reduced by the passing of this Measure. Anybody with half a decanter of sherry in his possession would not be able to dispose of it. He could not drink it. He could not even use it in cooking or throw it away. A man who had his cellar full of alcoholic liquor would have to lock the door and, he presumed, hand the key over to the local authority. He could not even dispose of it in his own house.
§ MR. COLVILLE
The honourable Member is entirely misrepresenting the 1242 provisions of the Bill. There is no such prohibition as to personal use.
§ MR. JOHNSTONE
said he was perfectly satisfied to take the judgment of the House upon the meaning of the clause. It was a very good example of the ingenuity which had been displayed in the framing of the Bill. By a later section it was proposed that every utensil which was used for alcoholic liquors, and which had the taint of alcohol upon it, was to be forfeited, so that the unhappy owner of alcoholic liquor would not only be unable to dispose of his liquor, but he could not even draw a cork, because he supposed that the cork would be forfeited, and every tumbler he had used would also be forfeited. It was an unjust Measure, inasmuch as it provided no compensation for those who might suddenly find the means of livelihood taken away from them. The great weakness of the Bill was that it would come into operation where it was least needed, and would not be put into operation at all where it was most needed. It would only be put into operation in the communities where there was a strong growing temperance feeling, while in those communities where the friends of temperance were in the minority the Bill would never come into operation at all. That, in his opinion, constituted one of the strongest reasons against accepting a Measure of this character. He would briefly indicate what he considered was the direction in which reform ought to come if the idea was to remove temptation out of the way of those who are likely to succumb to it. If the desire was to limit the facilities for obtaining intoxicating liquor, he believed that by far the most effectual mode of accomplishing that would be by giving increased powers to the licensing authorities. At present their powers were unduly limited. He would propose to give the authorities power to close the houses in a, particular district at an earlier hour, if they thought fit, for a month or for a longer period. He should 1243 give them the power to say that in the winter the houses should be closed at eight o'clock, and in the summer they might be open to a later hour. As magistrate having to deal with licensing questions, he had often felt that they were powerless in the everyday matters of licensing, and he believed if the magistrate had extended powers, such as he had indicated, they would exercise those powers honestly and fairly, and with advantage to the people. It was quite impossible for him to support the Bill before the House, because, in his opinion, it was ill-conceived and unjust.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON
said he gave the Bill his most cordial support. The main principle on which it was based was that the powers now exercised by nominated justices should be banded over to the control of the people themselves. The honourable Member who had just sat down proposed to give greater power to the licensing magistrates, but he was curious to know what the honourable Member's objections were to give that power to the people themselves. There was no valid reason why the people themselves should not have the same power over licensing as they had over all the other details of local administration.
§ MR. JOHNSTONE
The people are not responsible for the peace and good government of their neighbours.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON
said that might not be so in the metropolis of London, but in the City of Glasgow, for instance, the bailies, who were the licensing authority, were also responsible for the maintenance of peace and good order in that city. He did not approach this subject either as a teetotaler or as a prohibitionist, and for his own part did not believe that prohibition powers would be exercised in Scotland to any appreciable extent, but the powers that would be exercised, he thought, would be those in favour of the reduction of the number of licences. Having regard to the ravages of the liquor traffic in Scotland, and the imperfections of the present licensing system, they must feel that there was some need for a considerable change in the manner in which the traffic was carried on. Various schemes of reform had been suggested into which 1244 he need not enter, but, quite apart from all considerations of temperance, he maintained that there was no good reason why the control of the liquor traffic should not be placed in the hands of the people themselves, and that until that was done they would have very little prospect of any very great change for the better.
§ On the return of the SPEAKER after the usual interval—
§ MR. ASCROFT (Oldham)
rose to oppose the Second Reading of the Bill, but in doing so he wished to say that he was quite as ready as any Member who had backed or advocated the Bill to adopt measures which he thought would in any way tend to reduce drunkenness. A great many people made the mistake in believing that local veto in different districts would carry out the desires of the inhabitants. His own experience was that drunkenness was not caused by the love of drink, but by a feeling of desperation into which many poor fellows got when trade was bad, when they could not get work, when they felt that life was not worth living, and when at last they rushed to drink for some little consolation in their trouble. He believed that the improvement in the country which had been going on was due to better homes, open spaces, free libraries, museums, recreation grounds, and other means of attracting the people away from the public-houses, which in former times were the only places to which these people could go for relaxation. An extension of these attractions, he believed, would be a far greater means of increasing temperance than any compulsory Bill which could be passed by the House. This Bill, he contended, was unfair, unreasonable, cruel, and dishonest. He would rather see England drunk than dishonest. Honesty was the one thing on which Englishmen prided themselves more than anything else, and the principle of the Bill was dishonest from beginning to end. It put power into the hands of unprincipled men to go before the local authority with a requisition for a poll, the signatures of which might be forged; and in little more than a fortnight from that requisition being presented, power was given to cast into the streets a great body of respectable men and their families. 1245 What had they done to be thus ruined? They were not felons, they had committed no crime, nor no offence even against the licensing laws. The Bill was ruinous, unjust, and dishonest, and, if passed, it would be resented by the public opinion of the country. He could not understand the position of the honourable Members who had brought in the Bill, and who wished for prohibition if they could get it. It was confined to Scotland, but he always thought that Scotland was the place where whisky was made. If they were sincere, why did they not take steps to stop all the distilleries, and prevent the manufacture of the whisky which, as they said, was ruining the people. They did not do so, because, in the first place, the Scotch liked Scotch whisky; and, in the second place, because they liked the money produced by the whisky. He looked to the names on the back of the Bill, but he found that the seven Gentlemen there represented constituencies of no great size. The total votes polled at the last election of these constituencies was 25,226, and the whole of their majority was only 3,407—a majority just sufficient—if the Bill passed—to pass the restrictive resolution, but not sufficient for total prohibition. He was astonished to find that the name of one of the most active Members of the House was not on the back of the Bill—the honourable Member for Ross and Cromarty. That honourable Member took an interest not only in Scotland, but in every portion of the globe,From Greenland's icy mountains,To India's coral strand.But why was it that amongst all the questions he put in the House he never asked one regarding the drunkenness of Scotland, for he (the Member for Oldham) presumed that the drunkenness there must be terrible to demand such a Bill. He maintained that the absence of the name of the honourable Member for Ross and Cromarty from the Bill was one of the strongest proofs imaginable that the Bill was not required. Again, before a Bill of this kind was introduced there ought to have been some data to support it. Reference was made to Canada and the United States, but they could manage their own affairs in this country. Not a single figure had been produced to prove that drunkenness had 1246 increased to such an extent that the present law was unable to deal with it, or that the magistrates were corrupt. The magistrates had been described as a mob of unorganised justices of the peace in favour of licences. That might be a reason for bringing in a Bill either to alter the licensing authority or to remove magistrates who would not do their duty, or to provide other checks on irregularities that would be satisfactory. But that was not a sufficient reason to bring in a Bill to punish the innocent. They had not only to deal with drunkenness—if the law was not strong enough to deal with drunkenness they should make it stronger; but that was no reason why they should commit a ten times more serious offence against people who carried on a legitimate trade. They had to consider how this Bill would affect the traffic, the mind of the public, and the moderate man who took his glass. But all these considerations had been dealt with by the Royal Commission. Why was this Bill to be rushed through the House before the Royal Commission had brought in its Report? The honourable Member for Mid Lanark and the honourable Member for Leith Burghs had spoken of some objections to the decisions of the justices in Quarter Sessions, but that had nothing to do with the Bill. He should like to ask the honourable Members who backed the Bill how they voted the other night on the increased duties on wines. He believed that nearly every one of the Party to which they belonged voted against the increase of the duties on the foreign wines; but he should have thought that, if they were in favour of temperance they would have supported the Government in putting an extra duty on foreign wines, which was likely to decrease their consumption. There was another point; if the Bill was carried it would not effect the desired object. In the case of towns or burghs divided into wards, a poll might be taken in each ward. What would be the result? Take Glasgow, for instance, with its 12 wards.
§ MR. COLVILLE
Does not the honourable Gentleman know that Glasgow 1247 is the second city of the Empire, and has a population of 700,000?
§ *MR. ASCROFT
Suppose it was; it was in so dirty and drunken a state, or ought to be, to necessitate this Bill. Nothing in the world would justify the introduction of this Bill unless it was, and it was not in that state when he last visited it. Well, suppose all the public-houses in one ward were closed as a result of one of the resolutions in the Bill being passed, the people who wanted a drink would have simply to cross the street and get the drink. There were one or two items in the Bill to which he wished to call attention. In the first place, if a requisition was signed by one-tenth of the inhabitants of a locality a poll could be demanded. Now, he asked, why should one-tenth of the inhabitants of a place have the power of putting the other nine-tenths of the inhabitants to all the trouble, expense, and annoyance of an election a week after. His next point was that some unprincipled men might get up a requisition, and demand a poll on a day when a great number of the electors were out of town; the result would be that many thousands might be disfranchised, and a large number of houses might be closed, and the public made to suffer a great deal. If they intended to act fairly they ought to provide sufficient checks and safeguards so that the public might know that the requisition was speaking the voice of the electors instead of something like one-tenth of the names being possibly forgeries. He felt that every time a Bill of this kind was brought into the House which was not prepared in the interests of all, but in the interests of a small section who held very exaggerated views on the temperance question, that it threw back the cause of temperance at least 20 years The public resented anything that savoured of being unfair or dishonest, and there was no country in the world where working men would reject anything of that character sooner than the working men of this country.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
said that perhaps he might be allowed, although an English-man, to take part in a Scotch Debate. He presumed that if the fate of this Bill rested upon the votes of the Scottish 1248 Members alone it would be carried, and if the Bill was defeated it would be by English votes over-riding the votes of those Members who were sent to represent Scotland. They all had the same object in view, for nobody was in sympathy with intemperance. He was quite in sympathy with the honourable Member opposite, who said that he did not understand why certain Members of the Opposition were called the temperance party. For many years he had rebelled against its being called the temperance party, for everybody belonged to that party. He was not aware that there was an intemperance party, or at least he never heard of anybody avowing that they belonged to it. They had been called the extreme temperance party. Temperance was a good thing in itself, and that was admitted, and they were called extreme persons because they went to the extremity of trying to make the whole kingdom as sober as possible. They had hundreds of Acts of Parliament to regulate the liquor trade, and even the trade itself was against drunkenness. He had read in certain trade papers that if there was one thing which a liquor seller hated more than anything else it was a drunken man, whom he looked upon as his greatest enemy. The publican, however, seemed to act upon that passage in the. Bible which stated—If thy enemy thirsts give him drink.Many associations had been formed to deal with this great evil, and Lord Shaftesbury once said that if it had not been for the temperance societies this country would not have been worth living in. Personally he did not think that all those valuable bodies would accomplish much, more than they had done so long as the legalised temptation to drink in public houses and beer shops were set up all over the country as they were at present. Instead of helping sobriety the law at present hindered it. There were only three attitudes which the legislature could take. First of all, they might have free trade. He was in favour of free trade in everything that was good, but not when it was bad. It was now nearly 70 years since the Duke of Wellington and his Government, feeling very much concerned with the evils arising from drink, thought they would cure that evil by having free trade in beer. Apparently 1249 they did not know that beer did as much harm as spirits, and they thought that if they had wholesome beer and abolished the monopoly they would effect a great reform. The carrying of that Bill through the Houses of Parliament pleased the Duke of Wellington so much that he said it was a victory second only to the Battle of Waterloo. What was the result? Sydney Smith told them the result was that after the operation of free trade in beer, for about three months the beer began to work, and that everybody who was not singing or bawling was in a beastly state. Mr. Gladstone brought in the Grocers' Licenses Bill, which was introduced to promote temperance, and he said, "Fancy a woman going into a public-house." Ever since then the temperance people had been crying out against grocers' licences, because they promoted drinking amongst women. He did not think anybody in the House would say that they were in favour of free trade in drink, for free trade in this respect was dead and buried. There was a system of regulation which they had been trying now for 400 years. The legislature had arranged who should sell, when they should sell, how they should sell, and how much they should sell. The magistrates picked out the best men they could of the highest character to sell drink, and the man who sold the most drink was picked out by the Government of the day, and created a peer. He wished to knock to pieces the talk about adulteration. In the first place, that was a libel on his friends the publicans. He did not believe it, because there was no evidence about it. It had just been found that drink was less adulterated than any other article of consumption in this country.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
That is quite true, and I have no doubt the honourable Member knows all about it. How could it be made any worse, for they could not get anything cheaper in order to make it worse. Those who believed in the regulation in the liquor traffic had had a fair trial, and he did not know what more they could do. The result had been that their gaols, workhouses, and lunatic asylums were filled with the victims of drink, while the country was overflowing with a wealth almost fabulous. Free trade was dead, regulation 1250 had failed, and nothing now remained but the prohibition of the liquor traffic. The House shuddered at the word "prohibition," and many honourable Members believed that if the facilities for getting drink were abolished the world would become a desert, and would not be worth living in. He remembered the story of a Kentucky colonel who fell into the Mississippi, and after being fished out and resuscitated he opened his eyes and said, "Where am I?" "On the river bank," was the reply. "Which bank?" asked the colonel. "Iowa," was the reply. "Iowa, Prohibition State. Throw me in. again," said the colonel. He had heard of the person who had said if he lost the key of the cellar on Sunday that Sunday would be no Sunday to him. They could not legislate for those few people. His theory was—and it was the only bit of Latin he knew—salus populi lex suprema, which was only another way of saying that he desired the greatest good for the greatest number. John Stuart Mill had said that every increase of duty upon an article was prohibition to the poor man, and if the price of a glass of beer was 2d. and a man had only got a penny, they prohibited that man from purchasing beer, and that was prohibition, only not so effective as he desired. The ease of America was a good subsidiary argument, but he was quite satisfied with what had gone on in this country. The experience of the United Kingdom was decidedly favourable to the local prohibition. of the liquor traffic, and that was the principle of the Bill which they were now discussing. Let them take as an illustration Liverpool, which floated, breathed, and was a very Mecca of alcohol. There was a large district in Liverpool which was called Toxteth Park, where they prohibited all publichouses, and the result was that whenever a house in that district was vacant there were 20 applications for it. The same result was to be found at Shaftesbury Park, near London. He once had the honour of attending a meeting, and sat next to Mr. Disraeli on the platform. He had never sat side by side with a Tory Minister before, and he did not think he should ever do so again. At that meeting Mr. Disraeli made a speech, and he said—You have solved the future of the working classes of this country by getting rid of the drink shops.1251 Many landlords stipulated that no beer-houses or drink shops should be erected on their estates, and the result had been just what they might have expected. He remembered Lord Cranbrook, when he was Mr. Gathorne Hardy, saying—There was not a proprietor of land who did not stipulate that beer shops or public-houses should not be erected on his property without his consent, and, therefore, let them not legislate on false pretences. Let the influence of philanthropy which animated them in their private capacity in checking drunkenness on their own estates animate them in like manner in checking it throughout the country.Now that was all they wanted. They desired to give the people the same chance as the landlords had. They had gone on forcing the licensing of those drink shops up and down Scotland, and now his honourable Friend said by this Measure that it was time this state of things should be stopped. He believed his honourable Friend, who had introduced the Bill, spoke for the multitudes in Scotland. Some of them were enthusiasts, some of them were lukewarm, but they all thought that it was better to do something in the matter than nothing at all. Some were incredulous, and did not believe the Measure would do any good, but the vast number of the Scotch Members united in supporting his honourable Friend because they thought that whether it would do good or harm it was only right and fair that the people themselves should have a chance of dealing with what affected them more than anybody else. In the last Parliament, when they passed the Local Government Bill, it was said that when the people had their parish and district councils they would be able to control the parson and the squire. If the parson and the squire were to be controlled by the people, why was the publican not to be so controlled? He thought he had shown that there was a chance of doing some good by this Bill. There had been plenty of schemes of licensing reform—in fact, there appeared to be as many schemes as there were people, but there was no great weight of public opinion at the back of any of them which would carry them against the opposition of the great drink traffic. They talked about the publichouse being the poor man's cellar, but all they wanted to do by this Bill was to give the poor man the key of his cellar. If they only had the chance of doing some good after 1252 all that had gone on the Measure was worth carrying. They came there to protect the life and property of their people. They raised £50,000,000 for armaments for the purpose of keeping off the Russians, the Prussians, the Chinese, and the Japanese. It was quite right to do that if they were afraid of them, but he was not. Let them remember what Lord Wolseley said—and he is not a gloomy fanatic like himself, not a man with a fad, but a good, sound, statesmanlike warrior. He said—England has many enemies, but the most pressing enemy is drink.He hoped that nobody would call him a fanatic after that. They did not need large sums of money to meet this enemy. They would not disorganise any industry or drain the resources of the country, but they simply wished to trust the people with a simple weapon by which they could defend themselves against this great enemy. He thought a great deal of the Debate had travelled too far into detail, and he was not going to defend the machinery of the Bill. In the old days they used to Debate only the principle on the Second Reading, but now they had got into the habit of discussing the details. He was supporting the principle of the Bill, and he would leave the details to be dealt with in Committee. Those who went into the "Aye" Lobby would say, "We trust the people to defend themselves against this enemy," and those who went into the "No" Lobby would say, "We do not trust the people to defend themselves against this enemy." If they were not in a majority upon this Measure it would be because the English Members would overrule the Scottish Members. If they desired to do something to give hope and encouragement to those who, after long years of disappointment and discouragement had been fighting for the overthrow of this enemy, they would pass this Measure, for the Colonial Secretary himself had stated that the drink tyranny which was pressing upon this country must be overthrown if ever England was to be as free and as happy and as good as they wanted to see it.
§ SIR M. STEWART (Kirkcudbright)
said he believed that he had done as much for the cause of temperance as a good many other honourable 1253 Gentlemen on the other side. At all events, he had done what he could to promote the cause of temperance in the district in which he lived, and he had met with some success. He had put down a publichouse at considerable pecuniary loss. He had purchased another house, and attempted to put it down; but he found that the prevailing opinion of the district was very strong. If they gave the people the power of putting down houses, they must give them the sole power of control, also of granting them where they were required. This Bill did not trust the people. They gave it to the people to decide whether they voted for a licence or not, but they did not give them the power to decide whether they would have a publichouse in the district or not. Surely for every working man that was an essential factor in this question. He was anxious to test the feeling of a rural district in regard to this matter. He had the School Board franchise to guide him, and a regular day set apart, with due notice as to what the vote would be. He himself took no part whatever in it, and he insisted that any over whom he had any control should take no part, and the decision was left to the freewill of the people. The result was, roughly speaking, two-thirds of the number polled were in favour of the retention of the public-house. He wished to remind the House of the large number of female voters who voted on this occasion, for 18 in 27 voted for the retention of the publichouse. He was afraid that if his honourable Friend carried his Bill he would find that instead of putting down publichouses there would be a very strong inclination on the part of the people to have more publichouses in their midst. He could assure them that the people took a great interest in keeping up these publichouses, and so strongly did they feel that they were robbing a man by taking away his licensed property that they declined to be a party to it. He was not opposed to the principle of the Bill, but it did not carry out what it was expected to do. He was in favour of the principle of compensation, for if a man in possession of lawful property was deprived of it by law he ought to be compensated. In legislating upon this question their great endeavour should be to reduce the number of licences. He maintained that this Bill did not even carry out the wishes of 1254 its promoters, and if it passed into law it would prove most disastrous. If one house was closed and another remained, the other would retain such a value that the operation would be practically beggaring one man in order to make another rich.
§ MR. DOUGLAS (Lanark, N.W.)
said he thought there was very little difference of opinion in the House as to the importance of this question. Those honourable Members who supported this Measure appreciated the sympathetic tone of the honourable Gentleman who had just spoken. He thought there was very little difference of opinion as to the importance of the matter, but the difference came in as to whether anything could be done in the way of improving the licensing arrangements of the country. He thought that even those who were most earnest in their support of this Measure must admit that the whole question of temperance reform was not a question which could be isolated and treated by itself, but it formed part of a much larger question affecting the condition of the working classes of this country, especially in large towns. He thought they must look for a complete improvement and for temperance reform to a very general improvement in intelligence and a growth in the appreciating of the higher and less injurious pleasures, and, perhaps, in a larger provision for the recreation and the leisure of the working classes. There was no more real source of delay in all these matters than the existence of intemperance, and they must also admit that the licensing arrangements had something to do with the question. It was not because he thought this was a perfect Bill that he supported it, but because it seemed to him to embody a principle on which alone they could progress towards the satisfactory settlement of the question. That principle was that this matter ought to be subjected to popular and local control, and he thought both these aspects of this principle had been fully admitted even in the arguments used against the Bill. The honourable Member for St. Rollox urged that popular control had failed, and that you could not hope to deal with the matter on a large scale. This question must be dealt with locally in such a way as to take into account the existing 1255 opinions and feelings of the localities themselves; and in what fell from the honourable Member for St. Rollox he thought there was a very powerful argument in favour of the principle of popular democratic control. How could they in any other way ascertain the opinion, the wishes, and the needs of the people in the districts for which they desired to legislate except by consulting them and taking them into their confidence by placing the control of this question in their hands? The magistrates were popularly elected, and had the initiative, but that was subject in every case to the veto of the Quarter Sessions. The result was that that stultified any reform that might be demanded from any particular district. For his part, he thought it would be most unfortunate if it was sought to decide municipal election upon any issue of this sort, for he was confident that the result would be that many men capable of rendering valuable municipal service would be excluded. Town councillors became magistrates without having had any sort of understanding with those whom they represented in regard to those important functions which they were to discharge in their representative capacity. As to the form of control which was proposed to be given under this Bill, he frankly confessed that he wished to see a more practical and a more effective method of giving effect to the principle of the Bill. He believed that it would be very much better that this question of licensing should be controlled by boards popularly elected for that purpose. If that reform was adopted he was very strongly of opinion that a better result would be obtained. He was very well aware of the difficulties in the way of his suggestion, and he admitted it was extremely undesirable to multiply the number of local elections. Those difficulties, however, did not convince him that this method was impossible, for he believed it was the best system they could have. That preference which he had expressed indicated a certain difference of opinion between himself and some other honourable Members who had supported this Bill. As to the likelihood of prohibition taking place, for his part, he did not believe that the effect of this Measure, speaking generally, would be prohibitive. He believed it would lead to a reduction of licences, and, in his opinion, a matter of that sort 1256 was much better entrusted to an elected board than to a popular direct vote. It was the right of the people of any locality to protect themselves by prohibition against what they believed to be inimical to their highest interests. The liquor traffic was no more obliged than any other to see that its business was carried on so as not to be a public scandal and evil. But there was a special obligation in this respect upon a trade where the profits obtained were so vast and were maintained by what was practically a monopoly under the present system of licensing, and, above all, where the interests involved were so vital. It would be the merest affectation to pretend that the liquor traffic was not conducted without a vast amount of unnecessary scandal and evil. It was common knowledge that the most ordinary and necessary rule which prohibited the sale of drink to intoxicated persons was violated every day, and the traffic, as it existed, was a source of the greatest evil and danger in many communities. The power of visiting the punishment of prohibition on any continued violation of public order by the liquor traffic would be one of the greatest weapons that could be put into the hands of communities. The people of Scotland felt that the interests of the community were being subordinated to those of a powerful monopoly. They believed this had gone on long enough, and too long, and there was no mandate Scotch Liberal Members held more definitely from those who sent them to Parliament than, if possible, to procure from the house a remedy on the lines of the Bill now before them.
§ MR. CORBETT (Glasgow, Tradeston)
said it was stated that it was only in neighbourhoods where such measures were least required that they would be enforced. From his own experience he always found that the reverse was the case, and that it was where the strongest liquor was drunk and the greatest amount of drunkenness prevailed that temperance sentiment ran highest. It was where the nuisance was felt most that the desire to put it down was strongest. Therefore, it would be in the most drunken, and not the most temperate, neighbourhoods that this Bill would be most fully enforced. There was absolutely no real doubt that 1257 Scottish opinion was in favour of the Bill, and it was a striking fact that no representative of a Scottish constituency could be found to second the Motion for rejection. English and Irish Members must follow their conscientious convictions, but in the consideration of a Measure of this sort it was important to remember that the people in the country concerned believed in the effect of such legislation, and earnestly and persistently desired that the Bill should pass. He was glad to be able to give the Measure his fullest and heartiest support.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
said the almost unbroken testimony of Scottish Members was in favour of the Bill, and the Debate offered a refutation to the conclusion he had seen attributed to the Licensing Commission, that in Scotland there was no great demand for popular control of the liquor traffic. The Commission had not yet reported, and if it contained any such proposition he only regretted that it had not had better evidence on the subject. It would be very disappointing indeed if the Lord Advocate should be nearly the only Scottish Member to pronounce decisively against the Bill. The state of business in the House was such that a vote on any Bill introduced by a private Member could only amount to an expression of opinion on an abstract resolution, and the most enthusiastic supporters of the Bill would not be likely to expect more. In that position he had no hesitation in giving the Bill his hearty support, but, of course, without committing himself to the machinery proposed or the limits of its operation, nor would he be prevented by his action towards this Bill from giving full consideration to the threefold option contained in another Bill before the House. The present Bill, it might be said, made no provision for the consequences that might follow its adoption. Its leading principles were, however, limitation of licences and prohibition, and it was to be anticipated that it would be most exercised in the first-mentioned direction, and from this there would arise an enormous increase in the value of licences. On the other hand, there was no provision for compensation for licences suppressed. It was, in his opinion, a fatal omission in the complex history of the licensing question that no public claim had been established in 1258 regard to the monopoly value of licences. The duty from licences was comparatively unimportant, and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, in common with his predecessors, had passed by this source of public revenue of vast amount. Why had not temperance reformers seen that this question was to a large extent a financial question? Why had they not insisted that this monopoly value. purely the creation of the State, should go into the pockets of the community? Was it not a scandalous instance of misapplication of public funds resulting from the present system? He thought it was the duty of the Government to lay before the country some approximate estimates of the amount of public money now secured in licences. The honourable Member for Oldham taunted some of them with having voted last night for practically a reduction of the wine duties, but he would remind the House of the great difference between the wine duty and the demand that the full value of licences should be taxed. A tax on a commodity was a tax upon the consumer; an additional tax on licences would not be a burden on anyone. They were entitled to demand that the full worth of the liquor monopoly should be taxed, and he hoped that all temperance men would support that demand. He was not in favour of the tax going to the municipalities, as then it would go to the rich in larger measure than to the poor. There could be no objection to its going to the State. It was the State that ought to have it, and if an investigation were made it would be found they were now deliberately throwing away millions a year of State money, brought into existence by the policy the State, had adopted. He would now refer to the question of compensation. It was stated that a licence was only a yearly licence, and that no compensation was due. On the other hand, it was said that, there should be compensation for all houses suppressed. He ventured to think there was a certain amount of confusion of ideas in the controversy. It was very difficult to deny that a person, whose business was taken away by Imperial legislation, was entitled to compensation. Suppose it was resolved that the tobacco trade should hereafter be carried on by the State, could it be denied that the tobacconist, whose shop was taken away, was en- 1259 titled to compensation? What would apply to the tobacconist applied also to the publican, and he was therefore not concerned to deny that the publican whose licence was taken away was entitled to compensation. But what compensation? Just the same compensation that a tradesman who had no monopoly would be entitled to. Let the publican get the full value of his goodwill, deducting, of course, the full value of the State monopoly he now enjoys. That appeared to him a reasonable proposition. He believed that the future of the temperance question would show that it was largely a financial question, and that the taxation of these exceptional values brought into existence by the action of the State itself, was on the same footing as the taxation of land values which had made such remarkable progress during the last few years. He hoped that when both Parties were seeking a new mandate from the country, these two questions would be brought before the electorate, and that a majority would be returned committed to insist on land values bearing their fair share of local taxation, and licences being taxed for the benefit of the State.
MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)
hoped that honourable Members from England and Ireland would remember the different circumstances they had in Scotland. In Scotland the evil was much more serious than in England. In Scotland, liquor was used separately from food as a stimulant or intoxicant. The feeling in Scotland in favour of temperance reform was stronger than in England. He could not, however, assent to the Bill now before the House. The honourable Member for Dundee had spoken of the Bill as if it was simply an abstract resolution in favour of giving localities power to control licences. It was a great deal more than that. There were two great principles put forward by the temperance party; one was local veto, the other the principle of no compensation, and that licences, being precarious and lasting only a year, could be taken away without compensation. Honourable Members voting for the Second Reading of the Bill would therefore be not only voting for local veto, but also against compensation. They should not endeavour to make the country righteous at the cost of the ruin of certain indivi- 1260 duals. To attempt to do so revolted the sense of justice of all parties concerned. Even the minority of Lord Peel's Commission had come to take that view strongly. He introduced last year a Bill entitled the Threefold Option Bill; it contained three alternatives. In all cases it provided that where a licence was taken away from a man through no fault of his own, he should not be punished, and that he should be given compensation in some form, and that if it were a money compensation, it should not be derived from the ratepayers, but from an increased duty upon licences. That was highly approved in many quarters of Scotland. It was supported by the temperance committee of the Church of England and had been strongly approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the most devoted of temperance advocates. He found it impossible to get the Bill beyond the First Reading, and it was, therefore, never discussed. He hoped it would come home to the minds of temperance advocates in the House that they were in too great a hurry. It was a hurry which, he believed, defeated its own object. If they were only prepared to propose fair terms, and to deal with those whose vital interests were concerned, then he thought they would find a large measure of support. He could not vote against the Bill before the House because of the principle of Local Veto it contained, but he did not find himself able to vote for it.
§ MR. THORBURN (Selkirk and Peebles)
said he did not take the pessimistic view as regarded drunkenness in Scotland which was taken by the honourable Member who had just spoken. With the exception, perhaps, of one or two large towns, Scotland as a whole had improved immensely. It had been said the Debate was purely academic. He did not suppose that the most ardent supporter of local veto would expect a majority for the Bill, and even if he did, the state of business absolutely prevented it going through. It was remarkable, as far as could be gathered from the public prints, that both the Minority and Majority Reports of the Licensing Commission were rather averse to the principle of the Bill. He had been reading the utterances of many prominent men in connection with the 1261 question, and he found Mr. Gladstone always distinctly emphasised one point, and that was, they were under a moral obligation to compensate any member of the trade who was dispossessed in the public interest. He had also been reading a speech delivered by the right honourable Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, who, when Member for Oxford, addressed a meeting in his constituency many years ago. He said—There seems to be day by day a growing disposition more and more to invoke the interference of legislation in every department of social life. I believe this to be a most dangerous tendency, and one to which it is necessary to offer resolute and determined resistance. I dare say I shall be told I am the advocate and the apologist of drinking. I care very little for imputations which I know to be unfounded. I am just as much opposed to intemperance as the Permissive Bill gentlemen themselves. But this is not the question. The question is, 'Can you, or ought you, to put down drinking by legislation?' That is a very different matter, and I should like to argue it out. It is sometimes said, 'You cannot make a man sober by Act of Parliament,' but that is not an accurate way of expressing the matter. You might, of course, make it impossible for any man to get anything to drink, and then, of course, no man could be drunk. Just in the same way you might make an end of all crime by putting everybody into prison. But when you have put your population into prison, you will not have made your population virtuous. No more will you have made a nation moral when you have compelled them to be sober against their will. … If there be any Party which is more pledged than another to resist a policy of restrictive legislation, having for its object social coercion, that Party is the Liberal Party. The proud title which it has assumed proclaims the principle on which it is founded to be that of liberty. … It is this practice of allowing one set of people to dictate to another set of people what they shall do, what they shall think, what they shall drink, when they shall go to bed, what they shall buy, what wages they shall earn, and how they shall spend them, against which the Liberal Party have always protested. And now, when we have laboured to get rid of one vicious system of legislation, we are invited to set to work to build up another fabric, founded on exactly the same false and vicious basis. We no longer prescribe the course of trade by Act of Parliament, but it seems to me we are to establish protective and prohibitory duties upon the habits of the people. We have removed religious tests of every description, and now we are to have a new set of Thirty-nine Articles for the tavern. The policy of the Liberal Party has been for generations a policy of emancipation from restriction, and if it is now to set to work to forge fresh fetters for the free. I, myself, will have no part in such a perversion. I am against the whole system of petty molestation and irritating dictation, whether by a class or by a majority. I do not 1262 admire the grand-maternal Government which ties night-caps on a grown-up nation by Act of Parliament. I am against putting people to bed who want to sit up. I am against forbidding a man to have a glass of beer if he wants to have a glass of beer. I am against public-house restriction and park regulations. I do not approve of, and took some part in preventing, people being sent to prison for saying how they voted. These are not actions of a Liberal policy, for they are the negation of the principle of liberty. These matters may appear trivial in detail; but, depend upon it, they involve a false theory of government. It is a matter which is growing more and more serious day by day. One set of people want to attack the liberty of individual action in one respect; another set of people want to attack it in another respect; some people want to dictate the conduct of employers, others to impose terms on the unemployed. Some want to meddle with the rights of the owners of public-houses; others to invade the rights of the owners of public houses. The form is different, but the error is the same. Unless we resolutely make a stand against this sort of thing, depend upon it, liberty itself will seriously suffer.At one time he had his name on the back of a Local Veto Bill, and it would be quite as justifiable for him to change his views as it had been for the right honourable Gentleman to change his. He was going to explain his own position as regards local veto. When he entered Parliament 13 years ago, at the request of certain local veto promoters he allowed his name to be put on the back of a Bill. The Bill provided that two-thirds majority should decide the question of either restriction or prohibition, but subsequently that provision was altered to a bare majority, whereupon he requested his name to be removed. He had always been, and was still, in favour of well-considered, popular regulations for the liquor traffic, but his first objection to the Bill before the House was that it did not provide anything in the shape of compensation. He had over and over again stated on public platforms that he would never vote for any Measure regulating the liquor traffic which did not provide compensation either in money or by a time limit. His second objection was to the provision that a vote should be taken over a ward area. Another objection was that the two-thirds majority should be two-thirds of all entitled to vote, not a two-thirds majority of all who came to the poll. He thought that if a majority of two-thirds of all the electors on the roll were established, that there would be such a powerful and strong recommendation 1263 of the people that veto would take effect, and he believed when it did it would have a permanent effect. He approved of the principle of popular control, and consequently could not consistently vote against the Bill. On the other hand, as compensation was excluded from the Bill, he was equally precluded from voting for it, and, therefore, he would not vote at all. He had nothing to gain by being in politics. If he were to study his own interests, and count how many votes he would get by voting far or against the Bill, he would vote against it, but he held that an independent Member should be as honest and straightforward in his public duty as he would be in the ordinary everyday affairs of life. He could not, for the sake of sitting in that House, vote for any Bill which his conscience told him was not for the good of the country. He believed that the regulation of the drink traffic was necessary for the well-being of the country, and consequently he had put his name on a Bill which embodied what appeared to his own mind, at all events, to be the most excellent way of dealing with the question.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
Perhaps my honourable Friend who has just sat down will allow me to offer him two separate bits of friendly advice. In the first place, I would advise him, when he wishes to bring an elaborate indictment for grave inconsistency against a Member of this House, as he did against my right henourable Friend the Member for West Monmouth, that he should not spoil the effect of it by immediately pointing out that he has himself been even more inconsistent. And, in the second place, I would advise him, as a rule, to avoid putting his name on the back of Bills. It is not only in financial matters that this is sometimes an inconvenient proceeding. If my memory is as sharp as it ought to be, no farther back than last Wednesday the honourable Member's familiar name was on the back of another Scotch Bill—that dealing with Ecclesiastical Assessments, and he then said that there were many details in it with which he altogether disagreed or of which he disapproved. I would suggest to the honourable Member that, under these circumstances, it would be safer for 1264 him to keep out of the practice altogether. I offer my honourable Friend my own example, because I have never, unless it was some official Bill, when I have been in the Government, allowed my name to be put on the back of any Bill since I have been a Member of this House. I prefer very much to criticise other people's Bills. I do not know how the honourable Member for Partick will vote, but at any rate he has his name on the back of a Bill which includes as two or three alternatives to be put before a community the very propositions which are complained of in the present Measure, while the House has heard from the honourable Baronet the Member for Kirkcudbright that he himself has actually put the principle of the Bill in practice on his own estate. I daresay, if I could go farther among Scotch Members on the other side of the House, I should find other scraps of support either of a negative or positive character. What I wish to impress upon the House is that we are dealing with a Scotch Bill and not an English Bill. I say that not only because the operation of the Bill being confined to Scotland we ought surely to be guided by Scotch opinion and not by English or Irish opinion, but also on the more definite ground that Scotland is greatly in advance of England in respect of temperance legislation. The honourable Member for Partick said that there was more drunkenness in Scotland than in England. I am not so sure of that; but whether there is or not, it would have been a great deal worse had it not been for the legislation we already have in the interest of temperance. in Scotland. It was in 1857 that the Act which we know as the Forbes-Mackenzie Act, introducing Sunday Closing into Scotland, was passed into law. We have had working for 42 years in that Act a principle which is hardly yet in the range of practical politics in England. Scotland has also had a shortening of the hours of opening of public-houses and other restrictions. Although I cannot say that 40 years ago I was a, very diligent student of political matters, I distinctly remember the passing of the Forbes-Mackenzie Act, and it is most curious to note that, all the arguments with which we are familiar against local option and prohibition, and against any thorough-going temperance reform, were in full blaze in 1857 against the adoption of the Forbes- 1265 Mackenzie Act, and were used with great force. And certain leading journals then, as now, poured ridicule and wrath upon the advocates of temperance reform, and used the arguments of tyranny; of the majority compelling the habits of the minority, and of the interference with the vested rights. But having seen the actual working and effect of that Measure, we know what those protests are worth. Is there, I ask, a single man of any shade of politics in Scotland, or belonging to any of the divisions into which opinion is formed in Scotland, who would repeal, or suggest the repeal, of the Forbes-Mackenzie Act, in order to throw open the public-houses in Scotland on Sunday and lengthen the hours? No, not one. I do not, therefore, think we need be alarmed at the strong opposition which in some limited quarters this Bill and its proposals are receiving. This is not in the least degree a Party question in Scotland. That is proved by the fact that it is supported by several Members on the other side of the House. The truth is that we are all aware that the drunkenness which prevails in Scotland, and the facilities for the sale of liquor, cause to our country a terrible evil and a terrible disgrace. I am glad to say that I think we can all recognise a very great improvement in the habits generally of large classes in Scotland. I think there is a quickening of the sense of disgrace attached to drunkenness which was not formerly so keenly felt. For that very reason there is a greater earnestness in the effort. to save those people who are most exposed to the temptation of drink. The question raised in this Bill is simply this—whether the people in the locality should have the control of the matter? All the details after that—whether it should be by a poll or by the election of a board, what the conditions and restrictions should be, and the question of compensation—come after the acceptance of the main principle of whether the people themselves should have the determination of the matter. Undoubtedly there are great errors and faults in the present system which this Bill does not touch. There are the evils which arise from the constitution of the licensing authority, and from the power of appeal from those who know all about the case to those who know nothing about it—an appeal which, in many cases, has 1266 worked so entirely against the diminution or refusal of licences. That, I believe, has had a paralysing effect upon even the action of the police, who know that it is no use bringing forward cases of contravention, as they would lead to no result in consequence of this appeal. There is also the abuse referred to by my honourable Friend the Member for Dundee, which has shocked public opinion to a great extent—namely, the fictitious value given to public-house property by the monopoly which has been practically conferred upon those in the trade. These are points which can be dealt with otherwise than by a Bill of this sort, and which really lie outside its scope. The local popular power is the keystone of this legislation, and we are ready for it in Scotland. We are not afraid of it. The circumstances of Scotland and England are very different in the matter of drink consumption. In England for the most part drink is taken as a matter of diet with a man's meals; whereas in Scotland it is a stimulant, which can be kept without damage if anyone had enough strength of mind to keep it. I remember that in one of the Debates on the Irish Sunday Closing Bill, the late Professor Smythe, then a Member of this House, said that in England, where beer was drunk, if a man took home a pot of beer on the Saturday night it was not much to his taste on the Sunday; but if an Irishman took home a bottle of whisky on the Saturday night and it did not keep until the Monday it was not the fault of the whisky. That is a substantial reason for the difference between the two countries. am bound frankly to say, although I am thereby finding fault with my own conduct as a Member of the Cabinet, that I think it would have been very much wiser and more effective if the late Government had confined their action in this matter to Scotland, and brought forward a Local Veto Bill for that country, where the people are prepared to receive it and would be glad to work it. Then, when we had had, as I believe we would have had, the favourable experience of some years in Scotland, we might have trusted to some influence being brought to bear upon the opinion of England. We are told with regard to this Bill that we should wait until we have before us the findings of the Royal Commission. We heard vaguely what the 1267 views of the Royal Commission were likely to be, and I trust that, notwithstanding the considerable amount of confusion among the opinions expressed by its members, there may be some substantial results from its labours. But we are not going to wait for the results of the labours of the Royal Commission for a definite purpose of this sort. What has been our experience of Commissions? In 1878 a strongly-constituted Commission sat upon the question, of licensing in Scotland. This Commission recommended the abolition of grocers' licences, and made 17 distinct recommendations for improvements in the licensing system, not one of which has vet been carried into effect. Therefore, with such an experience in the matter, we are not going to be damped in our zeal for pushing on the Bill now before the House. I would ask the House to consider this as a Scotch Measure, to deal with it, not to please Scotch Members, but as Scotch business affecting the interests of the people of Scotland, to be decided by Scotch opinion and Scotch circumstances, and leave the determination of this important administrative matter in the hands of those whose individual, personal, and family comfort, as well as the general well-being of the community, are so largely affected.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said this Bill had been brought in and backed and had been chiefly supported by Gentlemen whose only common bond, he supposed, was that they belonged to what was commonly knoswn as the temperance Party. He was quite aware that the honourable Baronet explained that he thought that was a phrase which had been rather given them by their opponents than their friends, and said they were all temperance men. They all were very glad to accept his assurance on that point. At the same time, it was quite evident there was not only a great deal of difference of opinion everywhere, but even a great deal of difference among those who had spoken to the House that day. They all knew the honourable Baronet's views. He had always thought what the honourable Baronet wanted would be the working of the first miracle the other way. If he could only turn wine, including beer and spirits, into water, he believed he would die happy. That difference of 1268 opinion was of considerable importance, because he (the Lord Advocate) had experienced difficulty, not in finding out what was the principle of the Bill, but what was the theory of the Bill. He wanted to know, was it put forward as a temperance Measure? He was very much struck by the speech of the honourable Member for Govan, who moved the Second Reading of the Bill. There was not a single attempt in that speech to show that if the Bill passed it would help the cause of temperance. The honourable Member might think it would, but he did not think it necessary to argue that it would. The honourable Member based his plea for the reception of the Bill upon the ground that it was wanted by a majority of the Scotch Members, and also especially upon the fact that there had been a great many plebiscites in Scotland. The honourable Member quoted statistics which, however, showed that only a minute fraction of the constituencies in each case responded to the invitation of the postcard. The figures in Edinburgh were a minute fraction of the Edinburgh ratepayers. After all, that was not remarkable, because it rather reflected upon the means provided in the Bill. If that had been their experience in plebiscites, what would have been their experience in this election which was suddenly to be forced upon them—not sooner than one week, but not later than three weeks after it had been requisitioned—and which election might be repeated at very early periods? The seconder of the Bill, the honourable Member for Lanarkshire, went upon completely different lines. He said that local veto was a great success, and quoted statistics, which he hoped bore out his view, from the practice of the United States and Canada. He (the Lord Advocate) need not say that these statistics were entirely denied by the honourable Member for St. Rollox, who moved the rejection of the Bill.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order‡ There is no point of order. The right honourable Gentleman is in possession of the House, and he does not give way.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said that the point he wished to make was that the honourable Member for Lanarkshire said that the existing system of licensing was a rotten one, and quoted instance after instance in which he thought the decisions of local persons had been overruled by justices of the peace sitting in Quarter Sessions. What he (the Lord Advocate) had to point out was that that was a perfectly different view. The mover of the Bill held that the Bill did not touch the licensing system, and when the seconder came he said that the use of the Bill was to give them something else than the present rotten system. Honourable Members opposite had, therefore, not quite settled among themselves exactly what it was they wanted. Did they look upon the question of licensing as more or less a judicial determination of a certain thing? They knew perfectly well that, according to the present licensing law, what the bench, had to consider was whether there was a need for the premises, whether the premises were suitable, and the suitableness of the applicant who asked for the licence If this was a judicial question to be determined, he thought that probably the very worst body they could give it to was a popular body—to the snatch vote of a popular body. He did not know that there was any better demonstration of that than the very interesting speech, to which he might be allowed to add his humble meed of admiration, of the honourable Member who addressed the House for the first time. He showed clearly he was in favour of a licensing board, and he thought it was a judicial question, and that the worst persons to decide it would be popularly-elected persons. If it was not a judicial question, if it was a question whether the people in a certain locality wanted it or not, even in the interests of temperance they were bound to show that the effect of giving legislation as proposed in this Bill would be a real advantage to the cause of temperance. It was controversial whether local veto would, or would not, be a help to the cause of temperance. The Bill was crammed full of defects. Certainly the framers of the 1270 Bill seemed to have learnt nothing from the discussion upon a Bill of this sort, for, after all, this Bill was very much the Bill which was proposed by the late Government in the year 1895. Anyone who had read, as he had, the speech of the Member for Plymouth on that occasion, would find ample material for criticising the provisions of this Bill. One resolution was not prohibitive entirely, but was to reduce the licences, and if that Resolution was carried the licences were to be reduced to three-quarters. There was absolutely no guide as to what quarter of licences was to be taken out. The influences that were brought to bear now would be as nothing to the influence that would be brought on the point of what quarter of licences were to go, and the real crucial point for A., B., and C. was, Is your licence to go or is mine? He noticed also that honourable Members were not at all at one as to whether the practical effect of this Bill would be that there would be this diminishing resolution or total prohibition. The point he made was that when they had to support this Bill, not upon a reform of licensing, but upon the ground of being a real step in the direction of temperance, that depended upon very different questions upon which light might be thrown by experience, and as to which they were surely entitled to have the experience of the Commission now sitting. It was for that reason, he would vote against the Bill, not because he was necessarily pronouncing against the principle, but because he thought it dealt with only one fringe of the subject. It did not touch licensing; it did not touch clubs; it did not touch illicit forms of selling drink; but it asked them to accept, he would not say a panacea, but as a real step in the direction of temperance, a particular form of prohibition by local veto, as to which there was a great diversity of opinion, and as to which diversity of opinion there was a Commission sitting, for whose judgment they ought surely to wait. For these reasons he should vote against the Bill.
That the word 'now' stand part of the Question.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 143; Noes 217.—(Division List No. 113.)1273
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Holden, Sir Angus||Pease, Sir J. W. (Durham)|
|Asher, Alexander||Holland, Wm. H. (York, W.R.)||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Horniman, Fredk. John||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. H. Henry||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Jacoby, James Alfred||Randell, David|
|Baker, Sir John||Johnston, W. (Belfast)||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. J. B. (Clackm.)||Joicey, Sir James||Reid, Sir R. Threshie|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bayley, Thos. (Derbyshire)||Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)||Richardson, J. (Durham)|
|Billson, Alfred||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Kearley, Hudson E.||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Blake, Edward||Kinloch, Sir J. Geo. Smyth||Robertson, E. (Dundee)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Kitson, Sir James||Robson, Wm. Snowdon|
|Brunner, Sir J. Tomlinson||Labouchere, Henry||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hn. James||Lambert, George||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.|
|Buchanan, Thos. Ryburn||Langley, Batty||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Burns, John||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land)||Scott, C. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Burt, Thomas||Leng, Sir John||Shaw, T. (Hawick Burghs)|
|Caldwell, James||Leuty, T. Richmond||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow)||Lewis, John Herbert||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Lloyd-George, David||Souttar, Robinson|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Logan, John William||Spicer, Albert|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Stanhope, Hon. P. J.|
|Clark, Dr. G B. (Caithness-sh.)||McArthur, W. (Cornwall)||Steadman, Wm. Charles|
|Clough, Walter Owen||M'Ghee, Richard||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||McKenna, Reginald||Stuart, J. (Shoreditch)|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.||McKillop, James||Sullivan, D. (Westmeath)|
|Crombie, John William||Maddison, Fred.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Cross, Alex. (Glasgow)||Maden, John Henry||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Dalziel, Jas. Henry||Mappin, Sir Frederick T.||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Mellor, Rt. Hn. J. W. (Yorks.)||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Douglas, C. M. (Lanark)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Duckworth, James||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Ure, Alexander|
|Dunn, Sir William||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitchapel)||Wallace, Robt. (Perth)|
|Ellis, John Edward||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton)||Morley, C. (Breconshire)||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Morley, Rt. Hn. J. (Montrose)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Fenwick, Charles||Moss, Samuel||Wills, Sir Wm. Henry|
|Ferguson, R. C. M. (Leith)||Moulton, John Fletcher||Wilson, J. (Durham, Mid.)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||O'Connor, A. (Donegal)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||Oldroyd, Mark||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Neill, Hon. R. Torrens||Woodall, William|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Woods, Samuel|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Scale-||Palmer, Geo. W. (Reading)|
|Hazen, Walter||Paulton, James Mellor||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hedderwick, T. C. H.||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)||Mr. John Wilson (Govan)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. C. H.||Pease, J. A. (Northumb.)||and Mr. Colville.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Barry, Rt Hn A H Smith-(Hunts)||Cecil, Lord H. (Greenwich)|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden||Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor)||Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. (Birm.)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Bartley, George C. T.||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Bathurst, Hon. A. Benjamin||Chelsea, Viscount|
|Archdale, Edw. Mervyn||Beach, Rt Hn Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Arrol, Sir William||Beach, W. W. B. (Hants.)||Clare, Octavius Leigh|
|Ascroft, Robert||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorks.)||Beresford, Lord Charles||Coddington, Sir William|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Bond, Edward||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Bonsor, H. Cosmo Orme||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Baiilie, J. E. B. (Inverness)||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Colston, C. E. H. Athole|
|Baird, John G. Alexander||Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Balcarres, Lord||Brassey, Albert||Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Brown, Alexander H.||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.|
|Ballour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Butcher, John George||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Banbury, Fredk. George||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Cecil, E. (Hertford, E.)||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Howard, Joseph||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Curran, Thos. (Sligo, S.)||Howell, William Tudor||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Curzon, Viscount||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Priestley, Sir W. 0. (Edin.)|
|Dalbiac, Col. Philip H.||Hudson, George Bickerateth||Pryce-Jones, Lt. -Col Edw.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Purvis, Robert|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Jackson, Rt. Hon. W. Lawies||Pym, C. Guy|
|Daly, James||Jeffreys, A. Frederick||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Denny, Colonel||Johnson-Ferguson, J. E.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Dickson-Pounder, Sir J. P.||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)|
|Dorington, Sir J. Edward||Kenyon, James||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Doughty, George||Keswick, William||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.|
|Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Ryder, J. Herbert Dudley|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Knowles, Lees||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Egerton, Hn. A. de Tatton||Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks.)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Elliot, Hon. A. R. Douglass||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Leigh-Bennett, H. Currie||Sharpe, William Edw. T.|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r||Leighton, Stanley||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Finch, George H.||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.)|
|Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)||Sidebottom, W. (Derbysh.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lopes, Henry Y. Buller||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Fison, Fredk. William||Lorne, Marquess of||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Fitz Wygram, Gen. Sir F.||Lowe, Francis William||Spencer, Ernest|
|Flower, Ernest||Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. (Kent)||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Stanley, Edw. J. (Somerset)|
|Forster, Henry William||Macaleese, Daniel||Stanley, H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Garfit, William||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gedge, Sydney||Macdona, John Cumming||Strutt, Hon. C. Hedley|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Maclure, Sir John William||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd U.)|
|Gibbs, Hn A. G. H. (C. of Lond.)||McCalmont,H. L. B. (Cambs.)||Usborne, Thomas|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||McDermott, Patrick||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.|
|Gilliat, John Saunders||Malcolm, Ian||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir W. H.|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)|
|Gold, Charles||Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.||Warner, T. Courtenay T.|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Mellor, Col. (Lancashire)||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Gordon, Hon. J. Edward||Melville, Beresford V.||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Goschen, Geo. J. (Sussex)||Mevsey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Wharton, Rt. Hn. J. Lloyd|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.||Whiteley, Geo. (Stockport)|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Milward, Colonel Victor||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.|
|Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Monckton, Edward Philip||Whitmore, Chas. Algernon|
|Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Monk, Charles James||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Gretton, John||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Morrison, Walter||Wodehouse, Rt Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Gunter, Col.||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Sir Chas.||Muntz, Philip A.||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Halsey, Thomas Fredk.||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Young, Samuel, (Cavan, E.)|
|Helder, Augustus||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Younger, William|
|Hill, Rt. Hn. A. S. (Staffs.)||Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.|
|Hill, Sir E. Stock (Bristol)||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Mr. Faithfull Begg and Mr. Duncombe.|
|Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Phillpotts, Capt. Arthur|
|Holland, Hon. L. R. (Bow)||Pierpoint, Robert|
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to:—Second Reading put off for six months.