HC Deb 20 February 1901 vol 89 cc620-45

"If the statement made in vol. v., p. 31, under the heading 'Ratio of all licensed premises to population.…is studied in connection with Map iv. here inserted ('Drunkenness:' Judicial Statistics, 1893, signed by Mr. C. Troup of the Home Office, a witness before us), it is seen at a glance that there is apparently no relation between the number of licences and the amount of drunkenness."

On page 7 of the Report they give statistics of two groups of counties marked A and B. In group A they state the average licences as one to a population of 164, and the average drunkenness as 492 to a population of 100,000. In group B the average licences are one to a population of 276, and the average drunkenness 892 to a population of 100,000.


And yet they recommend a reduction?


Certainly. But the statistics cannot be denied; and the figures seem to be as I have stated them.


I deny not the figures, but the inference drawn from them.


I am in agreement has to the desirability of diminishing the number of licences, but I say you must not rely upon that reduction of licences as affecting very largely the quantity of liquor consumed.

MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the counties?


Certainly. Group A includes Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Isle of Ely, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire. Shropshire, and Staffordshire. Group B comprises Cheshire, Cornwall, Devonshire, Durham, Northumberland, Lancashire, and Glamorgan. I would make one further quotation from the addendum to the Report by the hon. Member himself. It is as follows— While there can be no doubt that reductions in the number of public-houses and more stringent regulation of those which remain would be beneficial and would promote sobriety, Mr. Gladstone was giving expression to an important truth when he said, 'Mere reduction in numbers if it pretend to the dignity of a remedy is little better than an imposture.' Reduction in number is not a remedy. It is at best but a palliative. That is the position I take up. The hon. Member dealt with some figures of the consumption of drink which I gave to the deputation, and quite unintentionally, I think, misunderstood or misquoted what I said. He gave some statistics which seemed to be antagonistic to those which I gave. The hon. Member says I tried to draw a comparison between the amount of liquor consumed twenty-five years ago and the amount consumed now. The hon. Member says that I was wrong in the comparison I made. Now he took thirty years, and I took twenty-five.


I took from 1874 to 1899.


I beg pardon; I have by mistake transposed the figures; it was I who took thirty years and the hon. Member who took twenty-five years; and in order to draw his comparison he began with 1874—a year of great inflation. There can be no doubt that the comparison from 1874 to 1899 established the hon. Gentleman's contention; but if we take the period since that time what do we find? We find that (reducing the quantities to a basis of proof spirit) there has been an increase from 3.87 gallons of proof spirit consumed per head on an average, in the five years 1886– 1890 to 4.35 in 1898, an increase of about 10 per cent, in the consumption of liquor, although the number of licensed houses has been greatly reduced. That is another proof of my contention that the reduction in licences does not necessarily mean reduction in the consumption of drink.


Then why advocate a reduction?


Because I consider there are far more than are required for the convenience of the public. I am not dogmatising, and I am not expressing my own view as to the result. I am quoting actual figures which cannot be contested, and they show clearly that, notwithstanding the large reduction which has taken place in licences during the last few years, the consumption per head of liquor has increased. The hon. Member in his Amendment asks the House to say that our proposals are inadequate. Of course I know the hon. Member's view of inadequacy, because he has expressed it more than once. He addressed an Alliance meeting at the end of last year at which a resolution was proposed stating that the only adequate means of dealing with this drink question was the total suppression of licences—absolute prohibition. That is the hon. Member's position, and when he speaks about our proposals not being adequate it is well that the House should understand what in the opinion of the hon. Member is adequacy. His proposal as defined by himself was "our aim and object are to suppress the liquor trade."


I am not putting that forward now in connection with this Amendment.


No; but the hon. Member goes to a public meeting called for the purpose of considering temperance legislation, and he proposes a resolution stating that the aim and object of the Alliance and of himself are to suppress the liquor trade. That is what he wants to impose on the country; and although he is now proposing more moderate measures, we also know that he is not proposing anything like a settlement of this question, but that he is putting forward a stepping-stone to obtain that which he desires—namely, total prohibition.


Am I to understand that the right hon. Gentleman condemns me for being willing to go by stages?


No, not at all; I am only pointing out to those hon. Members who are likely to be misled by the moderate proposals of the hon. Gentleman that the proposals he makes to them are but a stepping-stone to total prohibition. If it were necessary I should have no difficulty in pointing out to the House that wherever prohibition has been tried, as it has been tried in the United States, it has been a total and absolute failure in all the towns and cities where it has been applied. Let me commend to the hon. Member the study of a most valuable book by Messrs. Rowntree and Sherwell, who have made the most minute inquiries into all the various phases of the temperance question and proposals for legislation, and have done so with an earnest desire to find a solution. They tell us that what the hon. Member proposed has been tried, and it was found to foe a gigantic failure in the United States.


And they recommend its adoption here.


No, they do nothing of the kind


They do.


They say— It has been established that, judged by the most elementary and practical tests—the tests of drunkenness—prohibition in the towns and cities has conspicuously failed. Not only is there indisputable evidence that drunkenness is widely prevalent, but official statistics show that it is relatively greater in the towns and cities of the prohibition States than in non-prohibition States situated in the same geographical division.…The absolute significance of the figures is too serious to be ignored.… The law so far from increasing the purity of civic life has been productive of serious and widespread demoralisation.


The authors recommend the adoption in this country of the enactment of Local Veto.


I absolutely deny that is so.


You will find it in the book.


Read the whole book.


Let us consider the more practical point of the appeal made to the Government as to what they propose to do. It has been suggested by some that we should adopt the recommendations of the Minority, or Lord Peel's, Report. It is a singular thing, I think it is almost unprecedented, that the Government should be asked to legislate on the Minority Report and to ignore the Majority Report. But when we come to the Minority Report what do we find? The Minority Report is signed by nine Commissioners, and seven of them think it necessary to add a memorandum. Five of them say that what they want is not simply what is in the Minority Report, but they want Local Veto; and two of them say they will agree to anything rather than Local Veto; and two of them are utterly opposed to the com- pensation proposals of the Minority, which they think absolutely indefensible. So that even the Minority Report does not come before the House as the basis of legislation with very much authority. Some reformers desire to legislate on the basis of the Majority Report. I have sufficiently indicated that the Government cannot proceed generally with the proposals in that Report.

But it is said, "Why do you not take those points which are points of agreement? "It is a very plausible statement; and I hope that I shall be able to say something on that subject which may prove more or less satisfactory to hon. Members. The question is—What are the points of so-called agreement? I refer to a circular issued by the National Union for the Suppression of Intemperance. Among the several points which they say are points of agreement they include a demand that the number of licensed houses should be largely reduced. That is a most startling pronouncement. It is not very frank, I think, to state that this is a point of agreement. It is true that both Reports agree—as we all agree— that the number of licensed houses should be reduced, but when one comes to consider terms we find that they are not at all agreed. While one proposes to give a ridiculously inadequate degree of compensation, the other proposes to give much fuller and what I think would probably be a juster measure of compensation. Take again the proposal that the sale of intoxicating liquor to children under sixteen should be forbidden under penalties. Both Reports agree as to the desirableness of doing this; but the Majority Report says it may not be done unless there is a strong force of public opinion in its favour. I frankly admit that, as far as I am personally concerned, I am in favour of the proposal, and I have always expressed that view with regard to it; but I see most enormous difficulties, as the majority of the Commission do, in carrying it into law. I do not think a proposal of this kind introduced in a general Bill dealing with the question of reform would be at all likely to help us to pass the other proposals which had been suggested. Indeed, I think there would be a general consensus of opinion that, so far, as that particular recommendation of the Commission is concerned, however desirable it may be to deal with it, the Government perhaps would act wisely if they dealt with some of the other questions rather than attempt to bring such controversial points as these into any measure of general legislation.

Well now, it is feared that the words in His Majesty's Speech are words which imply only a very small and insignificant measure. Of course, the House will understand that it is quite impossible for me to take up one by one the points which have been referred to in the course of the debate, and to say whether they will or will not be included in any Government measure. We must reserve to ourselves the liberty of explaining our proposals when we place them before the House in the shape of a Bill, and it would be impossible for me to deal with them point by point in a discussion on the King's Speech. But those who imagine that it is merely what some Gentlemen call a "chucking-out Bill" are quite mistaken as to the scope of the Bill. The hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire put to me a specific question upon this point. He said that he for one would be delighted to accept the Bill if he thought that it was likely to deal with habitual drunkenness. Well, that is one of the recommendations of the Commission which certainly will be found in the Bill. No one who has had to study the evidence which is given of offences committed against the person can fail to see that a great deal of the evil is caused by people who go about from house to house in a more or less intoxicated state, until they get into a condition almost of frenzy, when they are hardly responsible for what they do. These people may have been convicted half-a-dozen times, and yet they are supplied with drink. I think is at great offence for a publican to supply a man with more drink if he is in a state of intoxication. I do not think that the law is sufficiently strong against offences of that kind, and I hope we shall make it stronger, and I also hope that we shall be able to provide that where a man has been convicted again and again that man's name shall be put upon a list which shall be sent to the taverns and public-houses which he is known to frequent, and that a licence-holder who supplies him under those circumstances shall be liable to a special penalty. [Some Opposition laughter.] That is one of the recommendations of the Commission, and I do not know why right hon. Gentlemen laugh. Many points have been referred to in connection with the construction of the premises of licence-holders, and with what has been called the "back-door service" of drink. Suggestions have been made by the Commission that the licensing authorities should have special officers to keep them informed of the manner in which houses are conducted. All these matters may fairly be expected to find a place in the measure we propose to introduce; but there are also many other points in addition with which we hope to deal, and which will, I think, have a very considerable influence on drunkenness.

I am afraid that I can only assure the House that it is the intention of the Government not to confine the measure to the mere "chucking-out" proposals which have been suggested, but to deal in a large and liberal manner with many of the proposals which have been made in common by the two Reports. I think I may fairly ask the House to be content with that assurance on my part, and enable the Government to submit to the House in the usual form the proposals they have to make. I am quite aware, and the Government are quite aware, of the keen interest which is taken in the question of temperance on the other side of the House and on our own side; and I realise that it would be impossible for the Government to ignore the feeling which undoubtedly does exist with regard to these matters. We are not asked to deal with the great burning question of compensation; we are not asked to deal with any general reduction of licences; but we are asked to deal with some of those measures which have been agreed to by both Reports. If we were to include all these joint proposals in one Bill, as suggested by hon. Gentlemen opposite, I am afraid that it would assume such dimensions as would make it extremely difficult to pass. I agree with those who have said, on both sides of the House, that it is a mistake to crowd too much into one Bill, that it is best to try to arrive at the goal step by step, and that it is desirable to proceed by stages. Such a proceeding, in my view, is much more likely to lead in the end to satisfactory legislation than for the Government to attempt in one measure to deal with all those numerous and very important proposals which find place in both Reports. I hope I have said enough to show that we do not intend to evade the questions which have been brought before the country in the recommendations of the Commission, and I believe that we shall be able to produce a measure which will command general support, and prove that the Government are quite alive to the responsibility cast upon them in regard to this matter.


The right hon. Gentleman was occupied during his speech with two duties. He had first of all to explain and account for the action of the Government in the past, and then he had to give us some insight into the proposed action of the Government in the future. Let me say just now with regard to the Bill which is mentioned in the King's Speech, that I think the right hon. Gentleman cannot find much fault with us, or with me, for instance, who have been singled out specially, for having concluded that it was a somewhat limited police measure, because what he now represents to us is a Bill which may include a great many objects which are common to the two lines of opinion in the Reports of the Royal Commission—to that large list of thirty or forty subjects of which we have heard so much in the course of the debate. But what is the title of the Bill which is hypothetically promised, if time and circumstances permit its being introduced? It is "A Bill for the prevention of drunkenness in licensed houses and public places." Well, I think the right hon. Gentleman will have some difficulty in reading into a Bill with that limited title many of the reforms which his hon. friends behind him have been impressing upon him. But the right hon. Gentleman was mainly occupied with explaining why it was the Government have not taken any action on this important subject hitherto. He shares to the full our appreciation of the fruitful evils created I by drunkenness in the country; and, no doubt with perfect sincerity, he expresses the greatest desire to see them checked. But the Government have been in power for five or six years and have done nothing to check them. Indeed, in one sentence the right hon. Gentleman drew a little distinction between this Government and that which existed before the General Election. I do not know whether we have heard it often before; but he spoke of the Government "as at present constituted." Are we to treat this Government—the question has been asked before—as the same as the last Government, or as a new Government? But, seeing a certain continuity of faces on that bench, we are obliged to believe that the new Government is practically the same as the Government which we have had in office during the last five years. Well, during the five years nothing was done, although there was abundant opportunity; at any rate, an abundant field for action was provided by the inquiry which has taken place. I venture to say that there is no subject of equal importance on which public opinion is so well instructed as upon this subject of licensing. We have had a Royal Commission, which sat for three years, and which reported in eleven volumes with its evidence; and we have also had other inquiries conducted by private persons from philanthropic motives, I such as that to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, by Mr. Rowntree and others. Therefore we are fully instructed and informed; and, while the very largeness and complexity of the subject may make it difficult to deal with comprehensively in one measure, yet there have been exposed to us a large number of subsidiary and contributory causes of the evil with which, surely, it would be possible for us to deal separately or in smaller groups.

But the right hon. Gentleman is not alone in speaking upon this subject and in dealing with it. The right hon. Gentleman, when he met a deputation not long ago, certainly created the impression in all our minds that he was so overwhelmed by the difficulties put in his way by the great problem of compensation and reduction that he shrank from opening the subject at all; and he emphasised that attitude of his by telling the deputation that after all it was not the most important matter, that the question of housing was the key to the condition of the classes of the community with whom we are dealing, and that this question of licensing was comparatively a secondary matter.


I did not say that.


Well, that the other was the most important. But the right hon. Gentleman has not been alone. We cannot forget an episode in another place last year of a singular character. The Prime Minister was then assailed with great zeal, but, as I need not say, in a most reasonable manner, by the Bench of Bishops, or by a certain number of the Bench of Bishops, and all that Lord Salisbury could say on that occasion was that it was necessary to proceed with the greatest care and circumspection and to avoid anything like haste and precipitancy. This, too, after three years of inquiry and eleven volumes of evidence and five or six years of delay altogether.


The Report was only issued in 1899.


But surely the Government were thinking while the Commission was inquiring. I cannot imagine them putting aside the question altogether until they had the Report in their hands. Lord Salisbury, however, would not listen to the persuasions and arguments of the Bishops, "charm they never so wisely." I think it is worth while recalling the remarkable duel that took place between the Prime Minister and the Archbishop— between Church and State. The State taunted the Church with a want of confidence in the Government in bringing forward their very mild and unobtrusive motion. The Church protested that it retained its full confidence. Where upon the head of the State retorted upon the head of the Church— The most reverend Prelate may most kindly say what he likes; what I care for is what he does. And this frank declaration was received by the most reverend Prelate with a meekness which we cannot but all admire. We had almost a repetition of the same thing last night, when the hon. Member for North-West Manchester said that he and his friends, who constitute so large a section of the party opposite, were disposed to be perfectly reasonable, but if they were not properly received by the Government they would become unreasonable. For my part, if I compare the two, I have greater faith in the layman than in the Churchman, because, in the case of the Churchman ecclesiastical pride must yield to that doctrine of submission and humility which right reverend Prelates preach in the exercise of their duties, whereas the layman in this House is always stimulated and confirmed in his action by his knowledge of the feelings of the community, and especially of the feeling among the electors. I think, therefore, that on the whole we are likely to have more effect made by remonstrances from Members of this House than by all the Bishops on the Bench. Indeed, I think we have seen in the proceedings of to-day the effect of those remonstrances.

Let me say that, so far as I am concerned, I am one of those who, from the very first time I took any public part in this question either by voice or vote, have always supported giving the control of licensing to the inhabitants of the district. It matters comparatively little what your machinery or what the method may be for ascertaining that opinion; the great object is to have that principle recognised. And on two grounds. First, because the inhabitants are the men who are best acquainted with local circumstances, and are most likely to be either benefited or disadvantaged by the results of the licensing system: and, in the second place, because you get upon a sound and solid basis of principle—namely, popular control—which gives you something to stand upon, and may lead to a final settlement. No one can fail to see that a settlement on that extreme ground will be difficult of accomplishment. I am not going to enter upon the controversy about compensation, which the right hon. Gentleman has been discussing and with which my hon. friend behind me dealt last night with great moderation and in a very reasonable spirit, because that is really beyond the scope of the Amendment. Our object is to leave that question aside, and, while inviting the Government to do nothing which may compromise the future or prejudice future reforms of a more complicated and difficult kind, to urge them at all events now to set themselves to carry out such reforms as may be generally approved of. There may be a subject standing by itself on which all sections of opinion may agree. I can imagine many great questions exercising the public mind where a small step may compromise action in the future. Take for instance the whole course of proceeding in regard to the franchise. It might at any time be said that if some small concession were made, it would not be final, but would point inevitably to greater concessions in the future. But these matters, which have been brought so clearly before the House over and over again by hon. Members on both sides, are succinctly set forth in the recommendations of those two Reports—each one of them standing by itself, each independent of the other, compromising nothing beyond their own scope, each of them at the same time capable of effecting a large amount of good. Take the whole question of the licensing authorities and the checks to the licensing authorities and all these other existing provisions of the law, which, according to the moderate representations made to us last night, amounts to a scandal in the present administration of this I branch of public duty.

There is another point, I think, which may be pressed strongly, and that is the necessity of greater strictness in the administration of the law as it stands and greater authority and encouragement being given to the police. We are apt to say that the police do not exercise their powers and do not report occurrences which they ought to report. But the police act according to the spirit with which they are inspired by those who employ them. There is a department of the question, standing entirely by itself, to which. I think, at all events some attention might be paid. If those of us who have larger ideas—perhaps what may be called more extreme ideas, who seek more extreme reforms, are willing not to raise the questions connected with them, but to accept and cordially support more moderate but practical reforms, provided, of course, we are not prejudiced for the future, then I think that spirit ought to be met by a willingness on the part of those who dislike those larger reforms to effect those changes which in no degree compromise them. That those changes which have been advocated during this debate would be beneficial is admitted by all friends, not of temperance merely, but of decency and propriety in the provisions and practice of the law; and I trust the right hon. Gentleman will be able to put a little more into his Bill than he has foreshadowed. If he bad been able to say that we had altogether mistaken the scope of his Bill, and that it would be such a Bill as would include a great many of those topics to which reference has been made by friends on both sides of the House, then the object of this Amendment would have been gained. But if the right hon. Gentleman confines his Bill to the one question of "drunkenness in licensed houses or public places," as expressed in the King's Speech, I am afraid that in these circumstances we cannot accept his answer as at all satisfactory; and it will be necessary to protest, therefore, by this Amendment against any further indifference to an evil which eats deeper and closer into the life of our people than any other that Parliament can deal with, and to invite the Government, if possible, to extend their proposed Bill so as to include those reforms which have been advocated by the Royal Commission, by both sides of opinion upon it, and by both sides of the House.

COLONEL PILKINGTON (Lancashire, Newton)

I confess that at the beginning of the speech of my right hon. friend we were very much afraid that the Govern- ment did not intend to satisfy the wishes of many Members on this side of the House. But as he proceeded I admit that my hopes were raised, although I do not know that they have been very much raised. I believe that there is an open door, but the door is not open very far yet. I must confess that when I saw those words in His Majesty's gracious Speech from the Throne I was very much disappointed. A great number of Unionist Members in the House before the end of the year signified to the Government very strongly, and in a very plain manner, that they thought the time was now ripe for a reform of the licensing laws. The hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire complimented hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House on what he was pleased to call our subserviency to our leaders. If he meant by subserviency discipline and the expediency of giving support in good faith to our leaders, and obedience to their orders, then it exists on this side of the House. But, after all, there is a strong feeling— a very strong feeling—on this side of the House, that although discipline may count for much, and may stand almost for anything, so far as we are concerned, still, to disappoint enthusiastic and faithful followers in the country does not seem to me to be true policy.

I will not go largely into the matter, or weary the House, but I may say that in my opinion there was never a moment more ripe for legislation on a subject that at once is not new and is complicated. The present licensing laws are confusing and contradictory, and the licensing authorities all over the country are beset with the utmost difficulty in the discharge of their duties in the administration of these laws. I do not care at the present time about compensation, but what I do care about is that the licensing authority should have full power over licensing matters — full power over licensed premises wherever alcoholic liquor is sold. When the chairman of a licensing authority comes to discharge his duty he is often placed in the most difficult and absurd position. I recall one instance in particular. From a place close to a fully-licensed public-house, in regard to which the licensing authority have full power, there came an application to the licensing authority for an off-licence. The premises were poor and small; they were within twenty yards of the public-house; but they did not come within that line within which the magistrates could refuse at once to grant it, although they were so near the line as to make it a matter for discussion as to whether the licence could be granted or not. Other public-houses were also near. The licensing authority, of which I was a member, refused the licence. We thought it was a most improper application, and we refused the licence, being of opinion that it was against the public interest. We were threatened by lawyers, who came specially to the court for that purpose, that if we refused to grant the licence they would apply for a mandamus against us to show cause why we should not grant it. Nevertheless, we refused it—we considered it our duty to refuse to grant it. About six weeks or two months afterwards we had to go into court, and by order of the judge we had to grant that licence, and, in my opinion, in that case the law ordered us to do a thing which was wrong. That is a case which shows the absurdity of the position in which the licensing authorities are placed. I think every licence should be under the same authority, and should be granted under the same conditions. Is it fair to the publican, to the trade, that these little bits of places should be able to set themselves up anywhere without the approval of the licensing authority?

Then there are other matters before the House. It appears to me that the two things which His Majesty's Government ought to place in their Bill, and which they will settle by legislation this session, I hope, are the question of the position of all the licences under the licensing authority, and that the licensing authority—so far as I am concerned, I am perfectly content that the present authority should continue— should be enabled to deal properly and thoroughly with all the licences. I don't believe that the Government will ever have a better chance, or that this House will ever have a better chance for many years, to give to the country a very good instalment of licensing reform. Everybody is ready for it, and it only wants putting into a Bill. But I hope the idea of a mere police measure, or a small thing, will be done away with altogether, and the proper placing in possession of the licensing authority of right, reasonable and proper powers, and the reform of the licensing laws, will be the first part of the Government Bill. If any other smaller matter can be put in, by all means let it be done.

MR. BELL (Derby)

I rise to make what may be termed my maiden speech in this House. In point of time my speech shall be young, and I hope in point of observation it shall be fair. I did not intend at all to intervene in this debate until it was alleged by the hon. Member for South Leitrim that this reform was not required by the industrial classes. I want to refute that. I think that where hon. Members representing Ireland have not done justice to those who are endeavouring to improve the condition of the workers in this part of the country—the hon. Member certainly did not do so—is that they do not give credit to those of us who advocate some reform on temperance lines in the interest of the working classes. I know something of the workers in this country, and I know something of the workers in Ireland, and just previous to the passing of the new Local Government Act for Ireland I was in several towns in that country, and I am bound to say that, deplorable as was the condition which the hon. Member says he saw in a village in the north of England, I saw some centres in Ireland as bad or worse. So far as the workers of Ireland are concerned, the wages are very far below what they ought to be and what a man ought to receive, and in the interest of the workers of Ireland, as well as of England, some reform should be inaugurated, that this evil might be done away with.

I do not think hon. Members have quite appreciated the position of those who have over-indulged in the habit of taking intoxicating liquor; and the curse is that we find that many of our best workmen are the men who have fallen in consequence of over-indulgence of the liquor habit. Employers tell us, and I say also, that the workmen who over-indulge, and who lose most of their time, are the best workmen. There are a large number of workers in this country who are perhaps unable to control themselves in this respect, and there are men who have told me time after time that they cannot resist the temptation, and that they wish that something might be done to remove the evil out of their way. Therefore I claim that it is the duty of this House, irrespective of party, to pass legislation to reform this evil, and make things better. I have been to the large provincial towns in this country, and what do I find? In Manchester, for instance, they have common urinals open to the street—and I hope the Home Secretary will not overlook this in his Bill—and it does not tend to improve the morality of a town to find men half intoxicated and half exposed at these places owing to their over-indulgence in drink.

In many of the constituencies sending representatives to this House we find a large proportion of working men electors, and for working men not actually temperance men the possibility of any reform that might remove from them entirely the opportunity of their getting their glass of beer would be unwelcome, but I do not think that any man would be so extreme as to desire to deprive a man of the opportunity of having a glass of beer if he requires it. What I desire to see is some Bill introduced by the right hon. Gentleman which will, without being extreme, not be in any way too moderate. I hope he will introduce a Bill containing more clauses than those he foreshadows. Then we can call the Bill a moderate one. It is in that hope that I have approached the House with these few observations, and now, as the voice of the workers has been joined with that of the employers, all classes, all sections of the community are almost unanimously of opinion that we want legislation which is likely to advance the temperance cause. I do not know what may be the opinion of hon. gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, but I do not see how we could advance the cause in any way by bringing the House to a division on this matter, but having had the promise of the Home Secretary, I think we may trust to him on this occasion and may be content to wait and see whether the Bill he proposes to introduce will be one worthy of consideration.

I do not wish to detain the House with any further observations. I merely wished to associate myself with the Amendment in order that it might not be said in the future that it was simply the employers who desired to see temperance reform.

MR. J. W. WILSON (Worcestershire, N.)

I am one of a great many upon this side of the House who have been trying to make our voices heard to strengthen the hands of the Home Secretary in his contemplation of the proposed Bill, and I must admit I am disappointed at the very vague and shadowy promises which he has made. Not only is the proposed measure very much what we were afraid it would be from the King's Speech, but we find we cannot draw from the right hon. Gentleman's remarks any assurance that the Bill will be introduced at all. I am ready to believe that the right hon. Gentleman desires to introduce it, and I hope I do not misjudge him when I say he hopes to bring in an extended Bill, but his defence this morning was very weak. The only part of his address that was not was when he tackled local veto and compensation, which we do not ask the Government to deal with. We represent the great and growing moderate feeling in the country. It does not really matter what resolutions were passed at the conference at Manchester last week, because we know what line temperance societies take, and I for one have never had any sympathy with the line taken by them when the licensing question is before the House. But we find there is a growing opinion among moderate men that something requires to be done, and we would much sooner that what is necessary should be done by our own party than that it should be left to the other side; or, at all events, we would rather have the legislation taken in hand by the Government at the time in power.

What does the man in the street think of this position? During the last five years we saw a Commission appointed with great promise and, if I might say so, a grand flourish of trumpets; we saw also a most impartial man elected to the chairmanship of the Commission; we saw him laboriously and conscientiously proceeding through the inquiry with an immense mass of evidence before him; and, finally, we saw him produce a more drastic Report than anybody expected, based on his judgment and the facts and circumstances brought before him. We saw at the same time a Report signed by two of the most intelligent representatives of the trade, agreeing in many particulars with Lord Peel's Report. Surely the recommendations which are embodied in both Reports should be given effect to, and the Government would be safe in proceeding on those lines. I am not an old Member of Parliament, but I have sat here five years now, and I am perfectly satisfied that if things had been otherwise last autumn, and the attention of the country had not been diverted to other subjects, or if, at any rate, by the chances of the late election the Government of the country had been placed in the hands of hon. Gentlemen opposite, there would be many on this side of the House quite ready to throw the Reports of the Commission at the heads of the new administration; and as it is admitted that we have been the consistent supporters of the Government we have a right to expect more than the shadowy and indefinite promises which have been given to us this afternoon.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

, who rose amid loud cries of "Divide" and who in consequence was somewhat indistinctly heard, disclaimed any intention of talking the Amendment out. He merely desired to make one remark on the subject before the House, which he

hoped might influence the Irish party, with whom he had always been glad to act, in not throwing their weight into the scale against temperance reform. In that part of Ireland in which he resided he was perhaps better acquainted with the country districts than the hon. Gentleman who directly represented it, and he ventured to declare that no reform was so much required in Ireland as the reform of the licensing laws. That conclusion he arrived at many years ago from a knowledge of the towns and villages in his immediate neighbourhood, and he did not believe there was any rural village in the world where such bad drink was sold from such bad houses, and in which so many licensed houses existed as in the villages of Ireland. In a village near where he lived, with a population of 500, there were 20 licensed houses, and in the county town, with a population of only 3,000, there were 60 licensed houses. That was the way in which Ireland suffered, and he would like to see Irish Members assist the party to get some kind of reform. There was one figure taken from the evidence before the Commission which he desired to recall to the attention of the House, which confirmed his view, In 1842, when the population of Ireland was 8¼ millions, there were only 13,000 licensed houses; in 1887, with a population of 4½ millions, the licensed houses had increased to 18,500. That was a most extraordinary figure. In a country where the population had decreased 50 per cent., licensed houses had increased by 40 per cent. All Members of the House were eager to see some wide measure of reform introduced.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 146; Noes, 272. (Division List No. 4.)

Allan, William (Gateshead) Bell, Richard Bryce, Rt. Hon. James
Allen,Chas. P. (Glouc.,Stroud) Black, Alexander William Burt, Thomas
Asquith,RtHn. HerbertHenry Boland, John Buxton, Sydney Charles
Atherley-Jones, L. Bolton, Thomas Dolling
Brand, Hon. Arthur G. Caine, William Sproston
Barlow, John Emmott Broadhurst, Henry Caldwell, James
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Brown,George M.(Edinburgh) Cameron, Robert
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H
Cawley, Frederick Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea) Rickett, J. Compton
Charming, Francis Allston Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire) Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Colville, John Jordan, Jeremiah Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Cremer, William Randal Joyce, Michael Robson, William Snowdon
Crombie, John William Roe, Sir Thomas
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Kearley, Hudson E. Russell, T. W.
Kennedy, Patrick James
Dalziel, James Henry Kinloch,Sir JohnGeorgeSmyth Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Kitson, Sir James Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Schwann, Charles E.
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Labouchere, Henry Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)
Duncan, James H. Lambert, George Shipman, Dr. John
Dunn, Sir William Langley, Batty Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)
Layland-Barratt, Francis Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Edwards, Frank Leese,SirJosephF. (Accrington Soares, Ernest J.
Ellis, John Edward Leigh, Sir Joseph (Stockport) Spencer,RtHnC.R.(Northants
Emmott, Alfred Leng, Sir John Stevenson, Francis S.
Evans, Samuel T. Lewis, John Herbert Strachey, Edward
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Lough, Thomas Sullivan, Donal
Fenwick, Charles Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Ferguson, R. C. M. (Leith) M'Govern, T. Taylor, Theodore Cooke
Ffrench, Peter M'Kenna, Reginald Tennant, Harold John
Flynn, James Christopher Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Thomas, Alfred(Glamorgan,E.
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Markham, Arthur Basil Thomas, DavidAlfd. (Merthyr)
Mather, William Tomkinson, James
Gilhooly, James Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Goddard, Daniel Ford Morgan, J.Lloyd(Carmarthen) Wallace, Robert
Grant, Corrie Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick) Morton,Edw.J.C. (Devonport) Warner, ThomasCourtenay T.
Griffith, Ellis J. Moulton, John Flether Wason, Eugene(Clackmannan
Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton Murphy, J. White, George (Norfolk)
Whiteley,George(York, W. R.)
Haldane, Richard Bunion Newnes, Sir George Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Harcourt,Rt. Hon. Sir William Norman, Henry Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Hardie, J. Keir(MerthyrTydvil Norton, Capt. Cecil William Williams,Osmond(Merioneth)
Harmsworth, R. Leicester Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson,Fred.W.(Norfolk,Mid
Harwood, George
Hayden, John Patrick Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.
Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale- Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.
Hayter,Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D Palmer, GeorgeWm. (Reading) Wodehouse,Hn. Armine(Essex
Helme, Norval Watson Partington, Oswald Woodhouse,SirJT(Hudderst'd
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H. Paulton, James Mellor
Holland, William Henry Perks, Robert William Yoxall, James Henry
Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Philipps, John Wynford
Pickard, Benjamin TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Jacoby, James Alfred Price, Robert John Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. M'Arthur.
Joicey, Sir James Reid,Sir R. Threshie(Dumfries
Acland-Hood,Capt.Sir Alex.F. Beach,Rt Hn.SirM.H.(Bristol) Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc.
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Beckett, Ernest William Chapman, Edward
Aird, Sir John Bignold, A. Charrington, Spencer
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Bigwood, James Churchill, Winston Spencer
Allsopp, Hon. George Bill, Charles Clancy, John Joseph
Anson, Sir William Reynell Blundell, Colonel Henry Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.
Archdale, Edwin Mervyn Boulnois, Edmund Coddington, Sir William
Arkwright, John Stanhope Bowles,T. Gibson (King'sLynn Coghill, Douglas Harry
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Boyle, James Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse
Arrol, Sir William Brassey, Albert Compton, Lord Alwyne
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Cranborne, Viscount
Austin, Sir John Brown, AlexanderH. (Shropsh. Cubitt, Hon. Henry
Bailey, James (Walworth) Bull, William James Cullinan, J.
Bain, Colonel James Robert Butcher, John George Oust, Henry John C.
Baird, John George Alexander-
Baldwin, Alfred Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Dalrymple, Sir Charles
Balfour,Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Carlile, William Walter Daly, James
Balfour,RtHnGeraldW(Leeds Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Dewar, T.R. (Tower Hamlets)
Balfour, Maj. K.R.(Christchch) Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbysh. Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-
Banbury, Fredk. George Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Dimsdale, SirJosephCockfield
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Dixon-Hartland, SirF. Dixon
Hartley, George C. T. Chamberlain, RtHon. J. (Birm. Doogan, P. C.
Dorington, Sir John Edward King, Sir Henry Seymour Plummer, Walter R.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Doxford,SirWilliamTheodore Lambton, Hon. Frederick TV Pretyman, Ernest George
Duke, Henry Edward Laurie, Lieut. -General Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. H. Law, Andrew Bonar Purvis, Robert
Lawson, John Grant
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Leamy, Edmund Quilter, Sir Cuthbert
Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. E. H.
Faber, George Denison Lee, Capt. A. H (Hants, Farehm Radcliffe, R. F.
Fardell, Sir T. George Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Randles, John S.
Farrell, James Patrick Leighton, Stanley Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E. Leveson-Gower, Fredericks.S. Reddy, M.
Fergusson, Rt. Hn.Sir J(Manc'r Loder, Gerald W. Erskine Reid, James (Greenock)
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham) Remnant, James Farquharson
Finch, George H. Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S) Renshaw, Charles Bine
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lonsdale, John Brownlee Ridley,Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge
Fisher, William Hayes Lowe, Francis William Ridley,Samuel F (Bethnal G'n
Fison, Frederick William Lowther, C. (Climb., Eskdale) Ritchie,Rt.HonChas. Thomson
FitzGerald,SirRobertPenrose- Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. (Kentl Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Fitzroy, HonEd ward Algernon Loyd, Archie Kirkman Ropner, Colonel Robert
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft Rutherford, John
Flavin, Michael Joseph Lucas, Reginald (Portsmouth) Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-
Fletcher, Sir Henry Lundon, W.
Flower, Ernest Sadler, Col.Samuel Alexander
Forster, Henry William Macartney, Rt. Hn. W. G. E. Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Macdona, John Camming Seton-Karr, Henry
Garfit, William MacIver, David (Liverpool) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Gibbs,Hn. A.G. H(CityofLond. Maconochie, A. W. Shaw-Stewart, M.H. (Renfrew)
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Simeon, Sir Harrington
Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) M'Calmont, Col.J. (Antrim,E.) Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Gordon.Maj Evans-(T'rH'ml'ts M'Fadden, Edward Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. M'Killop, James(Stirlingshire Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East)
Gosehen,Hon.George Joachim M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Smith.H. C(N'th'mb,Tyneside
Goulding, Edward Alfred Malcolm, Ian Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)
Green, W. D. (Wednesbury) Manners, Lord Cecil Spencer, Ernest(W.Bromwich)
Greene, Sir E.W.(BurySt.Ed,) Maple, Sir John Blundell Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)
Grenfell, William Henry Martin, Richard Biddulph Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Gretton, John Massey-Mainwaring, Hn W.F. Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart
Groves, James Grimble Maxwell,W.J. (Dumfriesshire) Stirling-Maxwell,Sir John M.
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Melville, Beresford Valentine Stock, James Henry
Guthrie, Walter Murray Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Stone, Sir Benjamin
Middlemore, J. Throgmorton Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Halsey, Thomas Frederick Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Hambro, Charles Eric Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G. Talbot,Rt. Hn. J.G. (Oxf dUni.
Hamilton,RtHnLordG.(Mid'x Milton, Viscount Thorburn, Sir Walter
Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'y Milward, Colonel Victor Thornton, Percy M.
Hare, Thomas Leigh Molesworth, Sir Lewis Tomlinson,Wm. Edw. Murray
Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Tufnell, Col. Edward
Haslam, Sir Alfred S. Mooney, John J. Tully, Jasper
Haslett, Sir James Horner Moore, William (Antrim, N.)
Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. More, R. J. (Shropshire) Valentia, Viscount
Heath, ArthurHoward(Hanley Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.
Heath, James (Staffords,N.W. Morton, H. A. (Deptford) Walker, Col. William Hall
Helder, Augustus Mount, William Arthur Wason,JohnCathcart(Orkney
Henderson, Alexander Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Welby,Lt-Col.A.C.E(Taunton
Hermon-Hodge, Robert T. Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute) Welby,SirCharlesG.E. (Notts)
Hoare, Edw. B. (Hampstead) Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich) Nannetti, Joseph P. Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L
Hope, J. F. (Sheffield) Newdigate, Francis Alex. Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Hornby, Sir William Henry Nicholson, William Graham Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)
Hoult, Joseph Nolan, Col. JohnP.(Galway, N. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Hozier, Hon. J. H. Cecil Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Wilson,A.Stanley (York,E.R.)
Hudson, George Bickersteth Wilson, John (Falkirk)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Jackson,Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies O' Doherty, William Wilson-Todd, Wm.H. (Yorks.)
Jameson, Major J. Eustace O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) Wodehouse,Rt. Hn E. R.(Bath)
Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick O'Dowd, John Wortley, Rt.Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton O'Malley, William Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Johnston, William (Belfast)
Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Young, Com'nder (Berks, E.)
Parkes, Ebenezer Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H. Pemberton, John S. G.
Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh) Perm. John TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury) Percy, Earl Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm. Pilkington, Richard
Kimber, Henry Platt-Higgins, Frederick

Main Question again proposed.

Debate arising; and, it being half-past Five of the clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed To-morrow.

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