§ Order for Second Reading read.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER
(Kent, Thanet): Upon a point of order I wish to call attention to the order of leave which provides "for a Bill to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquors to children." Upon a reference to the standard work of Sir Erskine May upon the practice of 566 Parliament in regard to the withdrawal of Bills I find it laid down that in preparing Bills care must be taken that they do not contain provisions which are not authorised by the order of leave. Sir Erskine May also draws attention in a footnote to cases where breaches of this fundamental rule have been brought to the notice of the House, and the decisions have been based upon the special circumstances of each individual case. A reference to Clause 2 of this Bill will show that it goes far beyond the order of leave. The Bill provides for certain penalties upon—Every holder of a licence who sells or delivers or allows any person to sell or deliver any description of intoxicating liquor to any person apparently under the age of sixteen years.The House having granted leave for the introduction of this Bill I think we are justified in asking how far compliance has been made with that order of leave. The order of leave confines the operation of the Bill to the sale of intoxicating liquors to "children," and this is not a mere verbal quibble. Petitions have just been read and presented to the House showing signatories in large numbers who were no doubt guided by those terms. We find that whereas the Bill as sanctioned on its introduction goes merely to the length of prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors to children, the present Bill—altogether apart from the question whether it is right or wrong—would prevent a boy messenger under sixteen years of age from fetching articles bought by any subscriber to a co-operative store, and would make it a penal offence for the manager of the store to deliver the goods to a messenger boy. I know that this is not the proper occasion to discuss that point, but I merely point to it as an illustration, of the very great length to which the Bill has gone beyond the order of leave. To restrain the delivery of goods to a person by a manager on behalf of a person whose credit is pledged would be a proceeding wholly different to that sanctioned by the order of leave. Sir Erskine May gives several illustrations where Bills were withdrawn because they did not comply with the order of leave. This was the case with Bills relating to the qualifi- 567 cations of Members and election expenses. I venture to say that, whatever your decision may be, Mr. Speaker, it will be in the public interest that the House should watch the strict observation of this rule.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
It is quite true that the title of this Bill might have been made somewhat fuller and clearer. The words of the title are "Sale of Intoxicating Liquors to Children," and, no doubt, in strict legal phraseology these words imply contract of sale between the publican and the child itself. It would have been clearer if the words had been "Sale or Delivery" or "Sale or Supply," or some words of that kind. But, at the same time, it must be borne in mind that in sales of the kind which are dealt with by this Bill delivery almost invariably accompanies the sale, and in common parlance people often speak of the sale of liquor to children as meaning the handing of goods over the counter to children in the course of sale. I do not think the House has been misled at all by the title of this Bill. The words "Sale of Intoxicating Liquors to Children" may be viewed in their popular sense, and not necessarily in their strict legal sense. Under the circumstances, therefore, I see no reason why the hon. Member should not proceed.
§ *MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
In rising to move the Second Reading of this Bill, I may say that I do so entirely owing to the good fortune of the ballot. I drew a high place, and being fancy free and pledged to no Bill, I resolved to bring forward a Bill with these three qualifications—in the first place a Bill which was not a party measure; secondly, a Bill dealing with a subject for which the country was clearly ripe for legislation upon; and thirdly, a Bill which was quite within the limits of private Members' Bills. In the Bill I have brought forward I find all these qualities, for it has warm supporters both on this and the opposite side of the House, and has been recommended by both sections of a Royal Commission. This is a moderate temperance reform, and what hon. Gentleman in any part of this House does not affect to be a moderate temperance reformer? Nothing is more significant than the change of spirit that 568 has come over the advocacy of temperance in recent years. There was a time when temperance measures seemed to fall between two extremes. On the one side it was felt there was no way of reforming the liquor traffic except by reforming it out of existence altogether; while, on the other side, it was held that the slightest reform was an undue interference with the liquor trade. A new spirit has arisen, and a new party has arisen, and that party is the great majority of the people of the country at large. The country finds that the question of temperance is no longer a question of argument, but one for action. They have realised the evil that drink is producing on the nation.
The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary the other day gave us an eloquent pictured the connection between drink and crime. The question is not only one of morals only, but one which involves our very national existence. Nothing is more certain than that in the future we shall have a keen struggle with the other nations of the world for the supremacy of our commerce. That struggle will be of an internecine character, and we shall always be seriously handicapped in the struggle as long as the stain of drink is upon us. The future still lies before us, and we can still save the children of this country. It is they who will have to carry on this struggle when it has passed from our hands, and it is to save them from this danger that I ask the House to pass the Second Reading of this Bill. It would be easy for me to give painful cases which have arisen of this danger which have been brought before the special Commission in evidence. Remember that those cases are given in evidence not by hysterical philanthropists but by hardened officials. I wish to save the time of the House, and I will only give a short abstract of what the evidence brought before the Commission shows. That evidence overwhelmingly proves that the public-house is no place for a young child. I wish to make no accusation against the publicans. I believe that they do their best to prevent drunkenness, and there are many perfectly respectable public-houses. But I do not believe that even in the case of the most respectable public-house any respectable working man would like his child to be familiarised with what goes on there. If this is 569 true of the most respectable public-house, how much more must it be of those in a low gin-drinking locality of a great town. They are simply focuses of all the vice, the impurity, and the drunkenness of the district, and it has been shown that of those who enter such public-houses quite 14 per cent. of them are children who are sent as messengers.
That is the first point which the evidence proves, but there is a second and more important point. The sending of children to the public-house in this manner teaches them to drink. There is no doubt whatever of this. Anybody who knows children and their imitative ways will not be surprised that they readily try to taste that which they see is relished by their elders. We have overwhelming evidence that this actually happens. We have evidence which proves not only that these children are taught to drink in this way, but it often happens that they buy drink for themselves in the public-house and consume it outside. At the present time the law forbids the publican to supply children with intoxicating liquors on the premises, but that provision is futile so long as you allow the children to buy drink on the premises and consume it off the premises. We have some terrible proofs of the prevalence of drink among young children. It is true that the number of arrests among children is not very great—believe it reached forty in one year; but that is by no means the limit of drunkenness among young children. It must be remembered that these are only the arrests for disorder, and according to the evidence of many police officers the prevalence of drunkenness amongst young children is very great. This reform which we advocate is really at the bottom of all temperance reform. You can hardly carry any moderate temperance reform unless you carry out this proposal first. The Government are going to bring in a Bill to deal with the very important question of selling drink to intoxicated persons. The Government intend to increase the penalties for this offence against the publican, and they are going to post up the names of inebriates in the public-houses. That reform will be useless unless this Bill is passed. I say, penalise the publican as much as you like, and post up the 570 names of the drunkards; but so long as you allow the drunkard's child to go and fetch him drink while he lies hopelessly and helplessly drunk at home, surely your efforts in this direction will be futile and ridiculous. This is what the evidence before the Commission has proved.
How does the Royal Commission propose to deal with this question? As all hon. Members know, there are two reports—one issued by the minority, which contains the views of the most advanced temperance reformers, and there is also the Majority Report. The Minority Report is entirely in favour of this Bill. But what does the Report of the majority say? It says: "If, as we are inclined from the evidence before us to believe, the weight of public opinion now supports the proposal, we are of opinion that serving children under the age of sixteen for consumption either 'on' or 'off' should be forbidden, and that the present penalties should also be imposed on those who send children knowing them to be under age." We have adopted this recommendation with one exception, and that is that we do not propose to penalise the sender. We are even more moderate than the moderate section of the members of the Commission. The majority tell us that we should not attempt to legislate beyond public opinion upon this matter, and I think that is a very wise precaution. But it is fair to say that there were four dissentients, though they were all immediately connected with the liquor trade. The main reason for the reservation of these gentlemen was that they did not think public opinion was advanced enough in favour of this Bill. They say that in the year 1886 a Bill was passed prohibiting the sale of drink to children on the premises, and at that time an attempt was made to include off the premises as well, but Parliament did not pass it, and what has happened since then? Why. everything has happened since. The Commission has happened, a Bill on the subject has been unanimously passed through the House, and two Home Secretaries have expressed themselves in favour of this principle. If anything is certain I. think it is that the country is in favour of this Bill. Hon. Members are aware of the amount of letters and petitions which have been coming in, and these petitions have come 571 not only from temperance associations, but from school boards—including the School Board of London—county councils, town councils, parish councils, and from many if not all of the borough councils of London: from boards of guardians, from benches of magistrates, and from every kind of public body. Meetings have been held in many parts of the country, attended by as many as 2,000 or 3,000 persons, where resolutions have been passed unanimously in favour of this Bill. I do not believe that in recent years there has been a Bill upon which the country has more clearly expressed its opinion.
I now turn to another point. The majority of the Commission recommend that the sender should also be penalised. The question is whether we should or should not include that recommendation in this Bill. I believe that recommendation was suggested by Mr. Charles Walker, who was one of the four gentlemen who entered these reservations. He says:—The proposal to impose penalties upon those who send children, knowing them to be under age, would be nugatory, as the proof necessary to conviction would be practically impossible. How could young children be called as witnesses against their parents?That is the opinion of Mr. Walker, who is not friendly to the Bill, and I think great stress should be placed upon that opinion. I do not wish to express an opinion upon its justice or injustice, but it is one which is well worthy the consideration of the Committee. A proposal has been placed on the Notice Paper by the hon. Member for West Bradford not to penalise the sender, but the parent or guardian, of the child. I would like to show that would work out unjustly. Take the case of a man who is perfectly respectable, and let us suppose that he is a teetotaller. Suppose he has a child, and that child is bribed by a drunkard to go and fetch him drink. Who is to be punished? Not the sender, but the innocent father, who may regard it as an outrage that his child was sent at all, would be penalised. I do not think that the Bill, if passed in that form, would be practical. I believe that there is no one who has more the welfare of the masses at heart than the hon. Member opposite, 572 and I am perfectly certain that he can have no desire whatever to do anything that would wreck so useful a Bill as this.
Those of us who promote this Bill do not throw it at the House as a cast-iron Bill. Since introducing this measure many points have been brought before me by hon. Gentlemen opposite and other gentlemen who come to the lobby representing publicans and others, and I think that many of the suggestions made would greatly improve the Bill. This is not a Bill to penalise the publican, and it is not a Bill to prevent the legitimate sale of drink. It is a Bill to save the children from contamination so far as is practicable, and so long as that one purpose is effected I do not care what Amendments are inserted. What I do say is, that the Committee is the place to discuss those. I do not know what arguments are going to be used against this Bill. I have heard only two. I have heard it said that this measure will be very inconvenient to working men. Well, I think working men can speak for themselves, and they are largely in favour of this Bill. I think, as a rule, that the British publican is quite as enterprising as any other tradesman. He possesses a good and lucrative trade, and if this Bill is passed into law I think he will find some means of supplying the British workman with his dinner beer. There is only one other objection raised, and it is this. We are told that this Bill will be mischievous, because if we prohibit young children being sent to the public-house, men will have to send their daughters of eighteen years. I welcome that argument, because it admits up to the hilt the principle on which this Bill is based. Those who use this argument admit that the public-house is so contaminating a place that no respectable man, would send his daughter there. If hon. Gentlemen hold that view, what is their logical course? Their only logical course is to come and ask us to extend the age limit in. this Bill, so as to include persons at the age of eighteen. I will not stand further in the way of the discussion. We private Members have done everything in our power upon this question, and we have joined hands across the floor of this House. We have given to this Bill every advantage that a private Member 573 or the most powerful combination, of private Members can give to a private Bill. But our rights are circumscribed, and unless the Government give this measure their countenance it will, no doubt, be impossible to pass it. I call upon the Government, therefore, to help us to pass a Bill which is recommended by their own Commission, which is desired by the House of Commons and the country, and which will confer on the masses of the people not only moral but material benefits.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HOULDSWORTH (Manchester, N.W.)
My hon. friend on the opposite side of the House has stated the case for the Bill so forcibly and fairly that I should not have thought it necessary to intervene at this stage if it had not been for one reason, and that is, that I desire to emphasise what he has alluded to—that this is in no sense whatever a party measure. It is a Bill which is supported as heartily on this side of the House as on the other side, and although some of my hon. friends have some doubts and some criticisms to make on the details of the Bill, I trust the House will remember that we are at present engaged upon, the Second Beading, and we are debating the principle of the measure, which is, that the time has come when there should be an Amendment of the laws regulating the sale of intoxicating liquors to children.
This is not a new matter, as hon. Members are aware. We have Acts on the Statute-book which protect the children to a certain extent, and certainly it cannot be said that this is reckless or rash legislation, because we have taken very nearly the whole century to reach the point at which we have now only just arrived. It may be interesting to know that the first Act passed in reference to this question was a Metropolitan Act solely. It was passed in the year 1830, and related only to the serving of spirits. It was not until 1872 that that was made a general Act applying to the whole country, but it only related to spirits and to consumption on the premises. It was not until the year 1886 that the sale of intoxicating liquors was prohibited to any person under thirteen years of age for consumption 574 on the premises. The hon. Gentleman has already referred to a state of things which is most deplorable. It is very often assumed that there are Acts which prevent the serving and supplying of intoxicating liquors to children of a certain age. That is not the case. At the present moment the law permits any child of any age to be served and supplied with liquor if only the child does not consume it on the premises. So that it is a fact that at the present time there is no protection whatever against the serving of children of any age, even though they be only six. seven, or eight years of age, and these children are perfectly free to consume intoxicating liquor so long as they do not consume it on the premises. It appears to me that the Commission thought there was a justification for an alteration in the law consonant with common-sense, and certainly with public opinion. This is a dangerous trade, and we have repeatedly in Parliament, especially of late years, been legislating for the protection of women and children, and even of men, from dangerous trades. Therefore, I say that this Bill is in perfect harmony with legislation, that has been passed over and over again.
I know that the great difficulty we have to contend against in urging this. Bill is the question, of messengers, and at first sight it does seem a hardship for a respectable man, who wishes to have his dinner or supper beer, that he should not be able to send his child to the public-house for it. I would like to say that my experience in the north of England leads me to believe that there are not a great many artisans who want their dinner or supper beer fetched. Their habit is generally to take their meals without any intoxicating liquor, and if they do indulge in it, it is taken quite separate from their meals. Therefore,, I do not think that the inconvenience to the ordinary artisan throughout the country would be very great. The real fact is that the great majority of these messengers are practically distributors of liquor on behalf of the publican, and they are sent by good-for-nothing men and women who are very often too drunk to go to the public-house themselves, and so these children of tender age are utilised. The publicans ought to be 575 ashamed of employing the young children of this country as their distributors, and if they want to distribute their liquor they ought to employ distributors of their own. If hon. Members who feel a difficulty about this messenger question were to examine the evidence given before the Commission, they would come to the conclusion that, whatever may be said in its favour, there was an overwhelming case in favour of putting it down, owing to the serious evils which resulted from this messenger system. I admit that it is impossible to pass legislation of this kind without causing inconvenience to somebody. What they had to consider and take into account was the balance of advantages and whether there were sufficient advantages to justify legislation even though there were some inconvenience caused on the other hand. My hon. friend referred to two cases, and I will give two short extracts from the evidence on this point with regard to the consumption of liquor which was procured by the children for consumption by themselves. If it was proposed that in no ease did they consume it themselves, it might be a stronger argument, but the evidence is overwhelming that not only do they do this but they actually commence to drink at a very early age, and thus get a taste for liquor, and you are creating through these messengers what becomes habitual drunkenness, because it is well known that if the taste is acquired strongly in early age it will be very difficult to stop the practice afterwards. One of the witnesses was Miss Johnson, visitor of the District Provident Society, and I should just like to read two or three questions and answers which occurred in her evidence. She was asked—Q. It is not for their own consumption?A. They are mostly acting as messengers, but they think it on the way.Q. They do not drink it in the public-house?A. Sometimes they do.Q. Have you known any families in which evil has resulted from this drinking?A. Yes. where they have had boys and girls spending their coppers in drink, as soon as they earn them themselves they have got into the way of being, one might say, habitual drunkards at a very early age.Q. Have those cases occurred in families you have been personally acquainted with?A. Yes.576 Lady Henry Somerset's evidence is very striking indeed. She gave a case in Manchester of a girl of thirteen being brought before the magistrate charged with being drunk. She was asked how she got drunk, and she replied—I was cold, and as I had sixpence I went into a public-house and bought six penny worth of whisky and drank it on the doorstep.There is no law at the present time which prevents young children from getting drink, not as messengers but absolutely for their own consumption. Lady Henry Somerset was asked—Q. At how early an age have you seen children coming out of public-houses?A. At live, six, seven, and eight, and at any time at which they could possibly hold a jug and walk.I think this evidence will be accepted as authoritative, as far as it goes. We know that these witnesses are interested in the temperance question, not because they are faddists, but because they take a deep interest in the welfare of the children. Many people who are not temperance men, who have seen the good results produced by the work of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children also feel that some alteration of the law is required. The same kind of evidence is given by constables, police, and other authorities, and the petitions which have been presented on this subject show that public opinion is thoroughly aroused. I have tried to get the number of petitions which have been presented on this occasion, but, owing to the fact that they have been coming in in large quantities both yesterday and to-day, and probably will continue to do so for a few days longer, I am unable to get the number and make the analysis which I should like to make. I wish, however, to mention that last year there were 5,627 petitions presented in favour of this Bill, and of this number no less than 3,423 were from official authorities throughout the country. That shows that those who come in contact with the great mass of the people are in favour of this measure. Upon this occasion a petition has been presented by the City Council of Manchester, the School Board of Manchester, and the Board of Guar- 577 dians, and I believe if we had the Return we should find that there is not a city in England, and scarcely a local board, which has not petitioned in favour of this measure. Under these circumstances, I think that it is without doubt that public opinion in favour of this measure is overwhelming.
I should like to mention another matter. In Liverpool this question is being solved, although, unfortunately, I do not think it is being done quite in accordance with the law. At any rate the Liverpool magistrates have taken a step which, whether legal or not, shows that there is no real opposition to a movement in this direction. The magistrates there have simply by a resolution ordered the chief constable to report to them all cases of public-houses where children are served under thirteen years of age. The effect of that resolution has been that not only has there been no outcry against this, but the publicans themselves have accepted the situation, and gone so far as to put notices in their windows to the effect that they will not serve children under thirteen. Therefore, I am entitled to believe that if a moderate measure extending the age were passed we should have not only the working classes supporting it, but also the best of the publicans. I cannot understand why any hon. Member on this or the other side of the House should hesitate for one moment in giving his support to the Second Reading of this Bill. My hon. friend opposite has referred to the Reports of the Commission, and therefore I do not think I need say anything more on that point, except that it will be understood that this recommendation is unanimous among all sections in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Scotland is at the present in advance of us, to some extent, although not so far in advance as the great mass of people of Scotland would like. The age there is fourteen. I submit to the House accordingly that the time has arrived when we ought to agree, at any rate, to send this Bill to the Committee upstairs. The question is now ripe for legislation, and if any Amendment is suggested which is not intended to wreck the Bill we shall be very glad indeed to accept it in 578 order to make the Bill more workable. All we have to avoid is not to take a retrograde step. We have arrived at a certain position, and if the Bill is passed as it stands we shall have no difficulty whatever in carrying it into effect. I beg to second the motion for the Second Reading.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MAJOR JAMESON (Clare, W.)
I rise to move that this Bill be read a second time this day six months. I should like to say to the mover and seconder of the Bill that I will not give way to them or anyone else in my earnest desire to ensure the sobriety of those children who are dear to us all. I may add that I have no interest in any licensed house in England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales. I will endeavour to show to the House that this Bill in the form in which it is presented to us will absolutely defeat the objects it is meant to bring about.
The Bill is based on false sentiment. It would absolutely fail in securing children of a certain age from being able to obtain intoxicating liquors, and it would more than ever tend to increase drinking in private houses and so-called clubs. In my opinion it fails signally, first of all, in making license holders responsible for selling strong drink to children, instead of making the parents or guardians of those children responsible for their conduct and responsible for guarding the interests and health of those children who depend upon them. Sentiment does not always take a fair view of these social questions, and. as the promoters of this Bill have endeavoured to show that they are following out the recommendation of the Royal Commission, J will endeavour to prove that they have not done so. In the second clause of this Bill it is stated that—Every holder of a licence who sells or delivers, or allows any person to sell or deliver any description of intoxicating-liquor to any person apparently under the age of sixteen years, for consumption either on or off the premises shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding forty shillings for the first offence and in the case of a second or any subsequent offence to a penalty not exceeding five pounds.579 The Bill sets forth the penalties against the license holder, but what does the Report of the Royal Commission state?—Under the existing law no boy or girl under fourteen may be served or supplied with any kind of intoxicating liquor for his own or her own consumption. But it is not unlawful to supply liquor to any child, however young, who obtains it as a messenger for an adult. As in the case of England, we recommend that no child under the age of sixteen should be served or supplied with liquor in any circumstances, and that the sender of a juvenile under that age, as a messenger to obtain liquor, should be liable to the came penalties as the licensee who supplied the liquor. It should not, however, be forgotten—and here is one of many great points—that this might prove a serious interference with parental discretion and the convenience of working men. Legislation in this direction should only be undertaken after the fullest discussion with those best qualified to peak for them, otherwise strong reaction of opinion might follow. In Scotland it is an offence to supply children under fourteen for their own consumption, whether on or off the premises.Now here you have a direct finding by the Royal Commission, that the parent or guardian or sender of a juvenile under the age of sixteen should be liable to the same penalties as the licensee who supplies the liquor, and it also adds that this might prove a serious interference with the convenience of the working man, and legislation in this direction should only be undertaken after the fullest discussion with the working classes themselves. I am sure of one thing, that there is not one single petition signed by artisans and working men only who have ever agreed to allow their liberties to be taken away by such a Bill as this. There is also a very curious omission—I presume it was a fault in drawing Clause 2 in this Bill. It prevents the license holder from selling any description of intoxicating liquor to any person apparently under the age of sixteen for consumption either on or off J the premises, but in this penal clause it does not say that a messenger under that age may not be sent. I suppose the backers of this Bill are so much alive to the folly of it that in the penal clause it makes no such statement, and it is not until Clause 4 that any mention is made of a messenger, and that for Scotland only. In this penal clause (Clause 2) it 580 altogether omits the recommendation of the Royal Commission to provide the only safeguard possible—namely, that similar penalties should also be imposed upon those who send the children knowing them to be under age.
In speaking of the Act of 1886 the Royal Commission stated—'It should, however, be remembered that the above-named Act (49 and 50 Vict. c. 56) was passed after a considerable debate in 1886. In the original Bill, Parliament was then invited to prohibit the 'off' sale to children under thirteen years of age, but deliberately refused the words 'for consumption on the premises by any person under such age as aforesaid' being inserted. It, therefore, appears that as recently as 1886 Parliament considered the proposal to forbid the serving of child messengers a serious interference with the parental discretion and the convenience of working men. Legislation in this direction, therefore, should only be undertaken after the fullest discussion with those best qualified to speak for the class affected, otherwise a strong reaction of opinion might follow.Now, even if there has been an increase in drunkenness amongst children, I say that if you interfere with the parental discretion and convenience of the working men you must put a similar penalty upon them as you do on the holders of licences. I defy any hon. Member to go down to hi constituency and obtain 90 per cent. of the working men to agree to this House placing such a restriction on their liberty.
§ MAJOR JAMESON
I would like to point out to the House the practical effects which this Bill would have if passed into law. In the first place no boy under sixteen could be employed by any licensee. On this point the Commissioners say—Such a veto upon their employment in the licensed trade would be a serious loss to the parents and guardians of children, for such apprentices and messengers receive generally higher wages than in other trades and occupations. And to the boys themselves it would seriously affect their prospects in life, and considerably extend their apprenticeship.Now, it may be interesting to the House to know what the boys are, at present employed as messengers, who would be turned out of employment. In the first 581 place it would abolish hotel page-boys. In public-houses and restaurants it would prevent boys (it may be the, publicans' own children) from being employed as servants or messengers, or from handling or delivering refreshments to customers, and so invidiously restrict the age of boys being employed. At railway stations it would prevent boys from carrying refreshments to railway carriages. At golf course and similar places it would prevent boys from acting as messengers for golfers and obtaining luncheon and refreshment for them. I wish very much the First Lord of the Treasury were here; he is a great authority on the golf course, and I am sure the House would not like to prevent him having his whisky and soda after making one of those magnificent strokes of his in a match. Again, grocers and wine merchants, while they would be allowed to employ a boy for delivering groceries, could not employ him for delivering liquor, though corked and sealed, and this would prevent the apprenticeship and training of boys to a trade at a suitable age. It is not suggested that boys or girls should be prevented from acting as messengers in the drug or chemical trade, though spirits form an important item in the preparation of these goods. Wines and spirits sold by wine merchants and licensed grocers and delivered by messengers are in corked and sealed bottles or in barrels; and, a part from the serious inconvenience to the traders, no reason can be alleged for prohibiting shop boys from delivering sealed bottles any more than tinned goods. Such a statutory provision would handicap such merchants by depriving them of the service of youths who constitute a large proportion of their shop assistants and vanmen, and so give unlicensed traders an advantage. And yet while you exclude all these unfortunate boys from sixteen downwards and turn them out of their employment, a page-boy in a club, or in a bogus club, would not be prevented from serving, nor would it prevent these clubs from supplying the children of the members. The present law enables a working man who is a member of a bona fide club to have a share in the distribution of liquor sold therefrom. What is to prevent him from giving an order to the steward or 582 caretaker, or manager, say for half a gallon of beer, which would be fetched by his children, even of very tender age, at some time during the day?
Another serious evil would arise if children are not allowed to be used as messengers by hard-working parents. The mothers will not themselves go to the public-house; several of them will undoubtedly club together, buy these gallon jars of beer, and in this way drunkenness amongst females, which is at present the bane of the country, will be increased to a most alarming extent, so that the remedy would in this case be far worse than any of the evils alleged to be caused by the serving to children under the present system.
And now as regards the existing law. In the greater majority of licensed houses, both in England and Ireland, there is a bottle and jug department where no drinking goes on, and where the children cannot mix with those who are drinking at the bar. There is nothing in this Bill about licensed grocers. There is nothing to prevent, and rightly so, their supplying intoxicants in quart bottles to children, while your licensed victualler is absolutely excluded from doing so. You are in reality making your license holder usurp the place of a parent or guardian, and making him responsible, and not even dividing the responsibility with the parent and the guardian in question. I presume the introducers of this Bill dare not ask the working men and artisans who are their constituents to deliberately penalise themselves, and so, in an underhand way, by placing the penalty on the license holder they have placed a restriction which their constituents would not endure on the working man and on the artisan. I defy the honourable Members who support this Bill to show me a single petition wholly signed by artisans and working men in favour of this restriction of their liberties.
And now let us turn to how penalties have been placed on parents as regards the employment of their children in shops, factories, and workshops, and also on those whose children sell newspapers. The following are a few examples:—(I) 41 Vic., cap. 16, secs. 83–84 (the Factory and Workshop Act, 1878) makes it an offence for the parent of a young person under 583 age to allow, contrary to the Act, the youth to be employed in a factory or workshop; and it is also an offence if the occupier of a factory or workshop employs such young person; but it is a good defence to both the parent and the occupier if they prove that the offence was committed without their knowledge, consent, or connivance. Section 87 provides that the occupier, on being charged with that offence, may charge the actual offender, and have him taken before the Court. The same section empowers the Inspector to proceed against the person whom he believes to be the actual offender. (II.) Public performances.—42 and 43 Vic, cap. 34, sec. 3, makes it an offence for any person to cause any child under 14 to to take part in any public performance. It is also an offence for the parent or guardian of such child to aid or abet the person causing such child to perform. (III.) Singing, selling, performing, begging.—55 and 56 Vic, cap. 41, sec. 2 makes it offence for (a) any person causing or procuring, and (b) any person having the custody or care of the child, allowing the child—being a boy under 14 or a girl under lb'—to be in any public place or premises for begging, under the pretence of singing or offering anything for sale, etc. It is also an offence for a person to cause or procure, or, having the custody or care of the child, to allow it (under aforesaid age) to be on any licensed premises for the sale of liquor for the purpose of performing for profit, or offering anything for sale between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. It is, further, an offence to cause or procure a child under the age of 16, or on one having' the custody or care of it, to allow the child to be in any place for being trained as an acrobat, contortionist, or performer, or in any exhibition which in its nature is dangerous. (IV.) Selling Newspapers.—55 and 56 Vic., cap. 55, sec. 276 prohibits any child under 12 from selling newspapers who has not obtained a license and a badge from the magistrates. Nor can such child sell after nine o'clock at night. The parents or guardians of the child who knowingly suffer such child to vend newspapers are liable to a penalty. And any person supplying such child with newspapers, knowing it to be under 12, that has no licence, is liable to a penalty. (V.) Shop hours.—58 Vic, cap. 5, sec. 10. (The Shop Hours Acts, 1895) provides that the young persons under that Act (i.e., under the age of 18) does not include such young persons who are members of the family dwelling on the premises or any house attached. That provision should be applied to this Bill, so as to exclude from it children who are messengers of the family of the licensee.In Ireland in our trade, which is well conducted, in the greater part of the shops in which liquor is dispensed, groceries are also sold, and surely it is a monstrous law that would prevent a boy or girl of fifteen years of age buying wines or spirits for their parents at the same time that they buy tea and bread. I do not believe that you can show a single instance where young persons under the 584 age of sixteen, acting as messengers, have been found under the influence of drink while they were being used as-messengers by their parents. My hon. friend says that they are in Scotland ahead of England and Ireland. They are ahead of us in drunkenness, for I find that the liquor bill per head in Scotland is £4 10s., and only £2 14s. in Ireland; and yet the Licensing (Scotch) Act of 1897 made the age fourteen, whereas in Ireland and in England the age is thirteen, so up to the present it has had no effect in Scot land on sobriety. That shows how use less these restrictions are, and how every restriction increases drunkenness in every possible way. I cannot believe that the Government will lend them selves to piecemeal legislation, or that any Government worthy of the name will allow a few private Members to decide what are the results of the Royal Commission, and to snatch the passing of an Act, which is contrary to the finding even of that Commission, by a Bill founded upon false sentiment and upon sham.
Let the Government consider for a moment the enormous number of extra police they would require to what they have at present in order to really carry out this law. You would want pretty nearly one policeman to every public-house, in fact, the question of the number of police reminds me rather of a riddle which I will give to the House, as it explains what would happen under this Licensing Bill. It is this. If you took up one of the square paving stones opposite to the Members' entrance of the House of Commons from Westminster Square and sowed it with barley, what would come up? The answer is, A policeman; and that is precisely what would have to come up opposite the door of every public-house in the United Kingdom. I will ask this House and Government not to consent to pass this Bill, which cannot be fully, freely, and fairly discussed on a Wednesday afternoon. It is a question entirely for the Government when they should bring in a Licensing Bill, and say what restrictions should be placed upon the trade and upon the working classes of this country. They are responsible for restrictions being passed on the working classes. They are responsible that no undue restriction 585 should be placed on the habits and customs of our people; and it would be most unfair to legislate in this matter, without the fullest inquiry, and without considering the wishes of the people, and the facts and circumstances of the case, by allowing a meddlesome and bungling Bill like this that is before us to-day to be passed into law.
I see on the back of this Bill several Members whose names always appear on such measures. Of course the Member for South Belfast, and all those temperance Members who are associated with him are ever ready to make remarks hurtful and galling to those who do not entirely agree with them on this subject of temperance and of religion. The hon. Gentleman will not allow any good to be in the thoughts of those who differ with him. My friends and colleagues who sit with me on these benches have good reason to know that and the slights that he always places on their religion; and those connected with the trade have similar reasons for disliking any measure of the kind being placed upon us at his bidding. I entreat the House not to be carried away by this sham and false sentiment, not to allow piecemeal legislation of this sort to be imposed upon us. I adhere to the fact that the licensed trade, as a whole, is conducted in an honest and honourable manner. I myself have no interest in any licensed house in the three kingdoms, and, although some of those whose names are on the Bill may not allow it, I have as much interest in the future and the welfare of the children of this country as they or anybody else; but I have no hesitation in saying that this Bill will be of no use to them. See that the children are properly housed, fed, and educated, do not make a mystery of drink and even of the terrible results to them of excess, and, believe me, without this arbitrary interference of the liberty of the subject, our youths will grow up as they ought—sober, honest, and industrious—without laws being made for them by faddists and by people of extreme notions.
§ *MR. TULLY (Leitrim, S.)
I beg to second the motion of my hon. friend for the rejection of this Bill. I think a sufficient case has not been made out for the Bill by the hon. Members who have 586 moved and seconded the Second Reading. They ask us to accept the Bill after a very short explanation as to its nature. On the face of it, the Bill appears to be a very small affair, but when closely examined it is found to be very wide-reaching in its consequences. The Bill is headed "Sale of Intoxicating Liquors to Children Bill." I, for one, am as strong as any man for preventing the sale of intoxicating liquors to children but I say that the machinery provided in this Bill will not accomplish this object. As my hon. friend has pointed out, this Bill conflicts to a large extent with the report of the Peel Commission, which did not propose that the penalties should be confined to the publican, but which said that the parent or guardian responsible for having sent the child for drink should be punished as well as the publican, Under the licensing law at present, in questions relating to the bona fide traveller or to persons found on premises after hours, the person who gets the drink is just as liable to punishment as the person who supplies the drink. If a child is found to go to a, public-house it is easy to trace the parent or guardian who sent it. and to punish that parent or guardian. It appears to me that one of the objects of the Bill is to treat the licensed trader as if he were a public outcast, as if he were some person outside the law, who is to get no consideration or mercy, and. no matter what happens, is always supposed to be a sinner. I do not think that is a fair or prudent thing to do. If children have been led into drinking habits or into vice by being sent into public-houses there are other remedies. Why not send them to industrial or reformatory schools? They do it in Ireland, where the children then get a proper chance of starting in life. If a parent allows his child to get into habits of drink, it should be taken from him and sent to an industrial school, and the parent made to contribute to the support of the child. We have been told that the Peel Commission reported in favour of the proposals of this Bill, but because a Royal Commission has reported in favour of the principle of a Bill, it does not follow that this House should accept it without any further discussion. I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite who are in favour of this Bill—some of 587 them from Ireland—do they treat every Commission with the same respect as the Peel Commission? Do they treat the Financial Relations Commission with the same respect as they wish to treat certain portions of the Report of the Peel Commission? I say they do not, and it is absurd for them to ask us to treat the Peel Commission in a different manner from what they treat the Financial Relations Commission.
I take the special objection to the Bill that it is extended to Ireland. If there is any necessity for it in England or Scotland, let it be confined to these countries, and I would not object. The English and Scotch people should be left to legislate on social questions of this kind for themselves; but the legislation should not be made applicable to Ireland unless there is a strong case made out for it in Ireland. The hon. Member for South Belfast, who seems to claim a monopoly of all the Christian virtues, taunts us as if we were committing the unforgivable sin because we object to this Bill being adopted for Ireland. I object to the Bill being extended to Ireland on the ground that there is not a sufficient demand from the people of Ireland for it, and that no sufficient case has been made out for it. In my capacity as a pressman I have attended courts covering nearly a fourth of the counties of Ireland, and I have never seen a case coming up in any court of Summary Jurisdiction, or any other court, which in any way required legislation such as is brought forward by this Bill. In any case where a child has been led into depravity it is dealt with under the Industrial Schools Act or the Reformatories Act. What will be the effect of penal and coercive legislation of this kind. It will lead to hypocrisy on the part of the people affected, and to corruption on the part of the police into whose hands the administration of the Act will be placed. I know that Acts of this kind are applied in Ireland according to the politics and religion of certain people. I believe you might search through six or seven counties in Ireland, and you would not get in twelve months six cases to which this Bill would apply. Why, then, for the sake of six cases in a twelvemonth should you hamper hundreds of respectable people? Why should we pass a law which might be 588 used as an engine of tyranny and oppression against Nationalists? Why are Nationalist publicans to be worried by the police who have a spite against them? I know something of how the licensing laws are administered in Ireland. I know that certain publicans can break these laws as they like. They understand how by indirect methods to affect the people who are charged with the administration of the law. The result is that one class of men can break the law and another class of men who do not come up to the police requirements are hampered in their work. I maintain that if this Bill is applied to Ireland it will enable the Royal Irish Constabulary to worry and harass publicans who are Nationalists, and in some districts publicans who are Catholics. No justification has been offered for introducing this Bill or for making it apply to Ireland.
Then, I contend that the heading of the Bill, "Sale of Intoxicating Liquors to Children," is an attempt to intimidate this House. That is an old trick. I remember some sessions ago the "Verminous Persons Bill." Several members objected to it because of its repulsive title, and successfully blocked it. The title in this case is meant to frighten opposition away, and that if you object to its machinery or its details you can be taunted, "Oh, you are for making little children drunkards!" I think that if this Bill were carried it would have a very serious effect on the rural districts of Ireland. There is not sufficient population there to enable a man to run a public-house, as in England, and accordingly the publican combines many other avocations. He sometimes sells drapery, and often groceries. In the summer time, in the harvest time of the year, when people are engaged in their work in the fields, and it is of vital importance to the farmers to watch for every hour of sunshine, and to be on the land in order that they may harvest their crops, they cannot go themselves away from their work, and they have to send into the small towns for their supplies of provisions and groceries, and so forth, and they have to send their children. If this Bill is passed and applied to Ireland the effect will be that a farmer who is unable to leave his land 589 will not be able to send his child, as he does at present, for his provisions and groceries if the man with whom he deals has a licensed house. That would be a most intolerable state of things; because a man has a licence to sell drink, although the greater part of his business may be the sale of provisions and groceries, a child under sixteen cannot be served, and as a consequence a farmer cannot send his child to fetch his supplies.
§ *MR. TULLY
My hon. friend suggests that the case I have endeavoured to illustrate would not occur. I am afraid he has not read the Bill, and gone into all the details; if he had he would have seen that the case I illustrate is just the case that would be likely to occur, and the police in Ireland, if they had a grudge against a man holding a licence, because he happened to be a member of the United Irish League, or because he was a supporter of it, would have another opportunity given them to wrong him. We know how they apply every technicality of the law, and twist them in order to persecute, injure, and often ruin men against whom they have a grudge. If this Bill passes and is applied to Ireland in its present form, we shall put a new weapon into the hands of the constabulary to persecute the people. By Clause 1 it is an offence for children to be seen near a public-house.
§ *MR. TULLY
Hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House seem to me to be as intolerant as hon. Gentlemen opposite I object to this Bill because, it is in my opinion, an interference with the personal liberty of the people. [Loud laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen who scoff at my proposition have not done me the honour to listen fully to the arguments I have tried to adduce in support of it. I was arguing that a farmer could not send his child to the village.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order ! I must warn the hon. Member against tedious repetition of his arguments.
§ *MR. TULLY
One of the effects of this Bill will be that a publican will not be able to employ about his house a child under sixteen years of age. He may not employ him as a messenger lest he should deliver drink. There never was such a dearth of servants in Ireland as at the present time, and if you make it penal for a man who has a public-house, and who combines with that other trades, to employ a boy of under sixteen years of age—
§ *MR. TULLY
Very well, Mr. Speaker, I will not further occupy the time of the House except to say I support the motion of my hon. friend below me who has moved the rejection of the Bill. The Bill, in my opinion, is brought forward by the well paid officials of the temperance leagues from which it emanates. The public opinion of which we have heard is not true public opinion but a machine made opinion. The Bill, in my opinion, is a direct interference with the rights of the people, and so far as Ireland is concerned it is not necessary, and I shall vote against the Second Reading.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Major Jameson.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ *MR. REGINALD LUCAS (Portsmouth)
This measure, I imagine, is one which at first sight everybody would be disposed to support; nobody would deliberately oppose a measure aiming at the suppression of intemperance; especially one which deals as this does 591 with the case of children, and therefore I feel a little unwilling to appear as a critic of a measure having so much good in it. I do not associate myself with the sweeping condemnations which have fallen from hon. Members on the other side of the House, but it seems to me that in this measure that which is practical is overshadowed by that which is sentimental. The Bill goes too far. It is founded on two fallacies: one, that all children are presumptive or at all events potential drunkards, and the other that all public-houses are dens of vice. First of all I may say that all working men—the class for the protection of whom this Bill is brought forward—are entitled to have and will have their beer to drink with their dinner. With all due deference to the hon. Baronet the Member for North-West Manchester, I say it is the universal practice of the working men of this country to drink beer with their dinner, and my point is this, that there is not essentially any more harm in a child going to fetch the parents' beer than going to fetch the parents' food—
§ *MR. REGINALD LUCAS
Hon. Members who have not forgotten their Dickens will remember—particularly in the Christmas Carol—the reference made to the familiar practice of people sending to the bakehouse to have their dinners cooked; how through bye-streets and lanes and numerous turnings the people came carrying their dinners to the bakers' shops, and my point is that it is not worse to fetch the beer than the dinner with which it is to be drunk. I know that there is one objection, but I should say that the parents in these classes were the first to take the greatest care to protect their children. In the second place I am at a loss to know where there is anything dreadful in a child taking malt liquor. I have always understood that stout is a perfectly wholesome drink, and I see no harm in the children having their share of what is admittedly 592 a wholesome article. We all know that in the schools where we were educated we were allowed to drink beer before we reached the age of sixteen, and I am not aware that any of us ever suffered in consequence.
Another solution of this difficulty is this. I am told it is the practice of many publicans to send round to their customers at dinner time. That may or may not be so, but I do not see why operatives should be put to the inconvenience of waiting the punctuality of the messenger, and if their children did not go to fetch their beer the parents must go themselves, I do not see why they should be interfered with and interrupted in their duties by having to go round and fetch their own beer. We are told, and. told repeatedly, that one of the greatest evils was the increase of intemperance among women, and it seems to me that if the mother of the family has continually to go to the public-house there is a great danger of staying there to gossip and taking drink. I think, it is much better and safer for the child to go than the mother.
As to the question of age, I imagine that is a matter to be more properly dealt with in Committee, but for my part I should say that a girl of fifteen going into a public-house is much less likely to come to harm than a young woman of nineteen or twenty. Of course I know that a child going into a public-house may run the risk of hearing conversation detrimental to her moral well-being, but of this I am persuaded, that one of the great characteristics of the class of people of whom we are speaking is their tenderness towards children, and I am sure that people finding children coming into a public-house to get their parents' dinner beer would refrain from saying or doing anything that could bring any harm upon them. The only other observation I would make is this, that if young-people are forbidden to go into public-houses the public-houses will take upon themselves a sort of charm which they would not otherwise possess. Coming to the question of the habitual soaker, this Bill, in my opinion, has nothing but good in it. I will refrain from quoting individual cases which have come under my notice. I may 593 say that a friend of mine, a clergyman, for whom I have a great regard, told me that he followed a child into three public-houses, followed that child home, and found three women in a disgusting state of intoxication. That is a state of things which requires an immediate and certain remedy, and it is well worth our while to try and do something to remedy it, but I do not know that it is necessary in dealing with that to go so far or draft such a drastic measure as this which is under discussion. One thing which I do advocate is that the parents should be allowed to send for their dinner and supper beer. Those are the points which I desire to bring before the House, and on which I am bound to say I think we can allow some license. There is one part of the Bill which seems to me to be unpracticable, and that is the liability so far as the publican is concerned. I do not see how we are going to safeguard ourselves in a matter of this kind by the word "apparent," as it is obviously impossible for publicans in the busy time of the day to make the necessary inquiries and investigations; it would be extremely difficult for him to see if he was dealing with a person of fifteen or seventeen. Mr. Childers, in 1886, contended that children might be allowed to do certain things without any fear of corruption, and going into a public-house would not necessarily mean going into a den of wickedness, and in my opinion we should do more good by dealing reasonably with the proposals before the House than by attempting to pass an heroic measure.
§ *MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)
I desire to trespass on the indulgence of the House for the first time, and for a short time only, in order to give the results of my experience with regard to the action first taken by the licensing authority of the city of Liverpool, which has already been alluded to by my hon. friend the Member for North-West Manchester and, following immediately upon that example, by the Standing Joint Committee of the county of Chester, of which I am a member. They issued an instruction 594 to the licence holders of the county not to serve children under fourteen years of age with intoxicating drink. In the county the proposal was met with the usual objections, many of which we have heard in this House to-day—the difficulties as to the age of the children, the hardship upon the parents, and the injustice to the licence holders were all freely aired and discussed. The instruction has been in force for some years, and at every potty sessional annual meeting the superintendent of the division reports to the magistrates the result of the working of that instruction and the number of cases in which the licence holders have disregarded it. Speaking from my own experience as chairman of one division, I may say that the cases have been almost nil. The licence holders have one and all freely and fully accepted the situation. They have behaved extremely well, and I am glad to say that the gloomy predictions of the results which would ensue have been proved to be nugatory, nothing but the best results having followed. I maintain that in this one piece of practical experience we have an argument in favour of the present Bill which is better than any amount of theoretical difficulties or special pleading in the opposite direction. In supporting this Bill I will only say that we ask that the action which the Liverpool magistrates and the authority of the, county of Chester have taken ought to be made compulsory, and that the age should be raised from fourteen to sixteen. I firmly believe that if this Bill passes into law it will be of the greatest benefit not only to the children, but to the country generally and its future.
I think the House will unanimously congratulate itself upon the hands into which, by the chances of the Ballot, the moving of the second reading of this Bill has fallen. We have all listened with the greatest interest and delight to the admirable speech of the hon. Member. I have in regard to that speech only one regret, and that is, that on account, I understand, of important duties in another place it was absolutely impossible for the Home Secretary to be in his place to hear it. I believe, however, that we have, on his part, something more than a mere 595 benevolent neutrality, and I trust that with his kindly help this Bill may be passed into law in the present session.
§ MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)
I wish to add to the tribute paid to the hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill. He did so in a speech, if I may say so, the earnestness and eloquence of which charmed the House, and most rightly evoked the sympathy of all who heard it. The speech had also, I think, another valuable quality. It was couched in moderate language, and whilst in the observations I have to offer to the House I cannot attempt to rival the eloquence of the hon. Gentleman, I shall at least endeavour to follow the precedent of moderation he set in the matter. There is not in any quarter of the House, so far as I am aware, any reluctance to recognise, or any fear to grapple with, the gigantic evil of intemperance. We all recognise that among the many great topics which have woven together into a tangled skein and constitute the programme of social reform there is none more important, none more intricate, and none more difficult to deal with than this problem of drink. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Bill spoke of the evil effects which are involved in the sale of drink under present conditions, and he spoke of those effects as tending to increase the amount of juvenile intoxication. No figures one can quote on the question of juvenile intoxication can be held to be satisfactory, because it is a terrible thing, take it even at its smallest figure; but there has been presented to this House from time to time a statement of the extent to which juvenile intoxication prevails in England and Wales. I endeavoured, as some Members may remember, by a question which I put yesterday to elicit the corresponding figures for Scotland and Ireland. The figures for the whole of England and Wales in the year 1893 were 50; in 1894, 41; in 1895, 24; in 1896, 31; in 1897, 26; in 1898, 44; and in 1899, the last year for which Returns have been compiled, I am glad to say the number has fallen to 17. With regard to Ireland we were told yesterday by the Chief Secretary that the figures last year were only 8. Whilst we may admit that even 596 these figures are extremely unpleasant, yet the evil, so far as juvenile intoxication is concerned, is not one so gigantic as to call for the extreme and drastic measure now before the House.
The Bill is, as the hon. Gentleman who introduced it observed, no stranger to the House. I dare say he was present, as I was myself, on that memorable evening last year when, by the almost unanimous consent of the House, the Bill was read a second time.* It will be remembered that on that occasion one or two suggestions were made. I am sorry that the promoters of this Bill did not avail themselves in the interval which has elapsed since last June to carry out some of those suggestions and incorporate them in their Bill, for had they done so I think their Bill would have met with a very favourable reception on the whole, and I do not anticipate that there would have been any fear or risk but that the main portion would have become law. But they have not done so. The Bill as it stands to-day before us is substantially and practically the same Bill as that which was introduced last March, and which passed the Second Reading in June. Therefore, I think it is very desirable to press upon the promoters of the Bill once again some suggestions and alterations for its improvement. I do so in no hostile spirit to the principle of the measure. No one who has taken, as I have done for some years, an interest in the welfare of the children of London can fail to wish to do all that is practicable to remove from them every sort of temptation and every risk of contamination, as far as it is possible to do so.
The hon. Gentleman, in introducing the Bill, made one statement which I was very glad to hear. He said he did not wish to penalise the publican, and by that statement I think he meant that he wanted the Bill to work fairly towards the publican who would honestly try to carry out the law if this change should be placed on the Statute-book. But if that is so—and I do not doubt that the statement of the hon. Gentleman is correct—why have not the promoters of this Bill taken the precaution which* For the debate on this occasion see The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxx., page 517.597 was taken in the Bill of 1886? In the discussion of the Bill it was pointed out that it was exceedingly difficult for a publican, the holder of a licence, to arrive at anything like an accurate estimate of the age of a person applying to him to be supplied with liquor, and we know that it is very difficult. We read every day in the newspapers of boys under age who enlist in the Army; and if a recruiting sergeant, with all the leisure and opportunity necessary for arriving at a sound conclusion, so frequently makes a mistake, is it to be a matter of wonder if a publican who is serving liquor should find a difficulty in arriving at an accurate estimate of the age of the person applying to him? That was brought before the House very strongly, and it was pressed from both sides in the debate on the Bill in 1886, and as a result the Attorney General of that day, the late Lord Russell of Killowen, introduced the words, "knowingly serves." It was a very valuable safeguard to prevent harsh and inequitable use being made of the law, and it was a safeguard which the Royal Commission in dealing with the Bill expressly laid down. In the Report of the majority they expressly use the word "knowingly"; and the minority in their Report, I believe, also use that word. I sincerely hope that the hon. Gentleman, who tells us he does not wish to penalise the publican, will take good care at some later stage of the Bill to see that the word "knowingly" is inserted. I should have hoped for that with stronger confidence had it not been for the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for North-West Manchester. He said this Bill was not a piece of hasty legislation. Well, I quite agree with him that it is not hasty in the sense that it has been here before, but, like the Bourbons, the promoters seem to have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.
There are many points in connection with this Bill which will call for closer examination at the hands of this House when the Bill passes the Second Reading. There is, in the first place, the question of the extent to which this evil can be really remedied by legislation. When the Bill had passed the Second Reading last year, I went down to the East End of London, to a district which I was 598 representing on the London School Board, in order to see for myself the working of this child messenger business. I went down to a very poor part of London called Bow Common Lane, and I asked a publican there to give me leave to stand near the bar during the dinner hour in order to observe what took place. Well, nothing very dreadful happened. There was a separate department called the "Jug and Bottle Entrance," and from ten minutes past twelve to, roughly speaking, half-past twelve, I suppose, some fifty or sixty-people entered that bar and were served with beer. One person took the twopences and pitched them into the till and another person served the beer. People of all ages came. I recognised some of the brightest and most promising boys in the school of which I was in charge. They came in and paid twopence and went out again. Boys and girls of all ages—of school age, at all events—a few women, and still fewer men came in. There was nothing to contaminate a child in doing that, and I cannot but think that the promoters of this Bill would have done wisely to have, at all events, introduced some scheme for limiting the hours during which their measure was to apply, because, after all, what the House of Commons wants to do, and what I think the country expects us to do, is that we should save the children as far as possible from contamination, while inflicting a minimum of inconvenience on the publican, and dealing justly and equitably with all the parties concerned. I do not think it will be contended that the sale of beer over the counter from twelve to two o'clock in a compartment specially reserved and set apart for such sales is an operation that tends to contaminate children. It has been stated also that children are in the habit of sipping the beer while conveying it to their homes. I am inclined to doubt that statement. I have made some inquiry and obtained some testimony on the point. I should have thought myself that the average British working man coming home to his dinner and sending his boy to fetch a pint of ale and having to pour out that ale would see if there was an insufficient quantity, and if there was he would apply such a 599 rough and ready method of dealing with the boy as would prevent the repetition of the offence. I very much doubt whether the offence referred to by the hon. Member for West Clare is one which could be indulged in to a large extent by the juvenile class without personal consequences to themselves.
I think the promoters of the Bill would have done well to consider the convenience of that section of parents who do send their children to the public-house for dinner beer. We are legislating for a class to which we do not belong, and is there not a risk that in this legislation, however good and sympathetic and kind, we may be acting on imperfect and inaccurate information? In the next place I think the promoters of this Bill should have considered this question of the hours. The hon. baronet the Member for North-West Manchester spoke in terms of reprobation and indignation of the action of those drunken parents who send their children to fetch drink from the public-house in order to minister to their own vice. The hon. Baronet would, I am sure, be the last man to say that the majority of parents who send their children into licensed premises to obtain liquor are drunken or dissolute. They are ordinary, everyday, average people. I would venture to say that in the average the person who sends his child to the public-house to fetch liquor is just as fond of that child, and just as eager for the welfare of that child, as any one of us sitting on these benches. Humanity is neither wholly good nor wholly bad. You must take it in the average. We cannot safely deal with abnormal cases by a Bill of this kind. This a Bill for dealing with the normal parent, and it is the normal case we have to consider. A terrible catalogue recorded in a newspaper—I think it was the Daily News—has been circulated amongst Members of Parliament, and those cases are terrible enough. If it be possible by legislation to deal with those cases, in God's name let us do it, but this Bill will not help those cases. If the House passes the Second Reading of this Bill—and I am inclined to hope that it will—is it prepared to say that, subject to a certain age, it is unwise to send young people to the public-houses? That is the 600 principle. It is a broad principle, and it is intended to be applicable not merely to the abnormal circumstance of the intemperate and vicious home, but applicable to the average everyday life of the working classes. That being so, let us unite to make this Bill effective. Let us remove from it those sources of, I think, needless inconvenience to the community, and see how far it is possible to make the Bill useful and practical as an everyday working measure in social life.
I have touched on the question of hours. Let me touch next on what seems to me of almost equal importance, and that is the circumstances and the conditions under which drink is retailed. Many speeches which have been made not only here but in the country on this question seem to lump in one category all classes of licensed premises. They select the flaring gin-palace in our great city, with its sources of temptation, and they speak of other places as if they were open to the same criticism and the same charges to which, I fear, some of the flaring haunts of evil are open. But we know it is not so. We know that there are many quiet and respectable houses, and that the great majority of the license holders use their licenses wisely and well. Remember that they hold their licences on very frail tenure indeed, endeavouring to conduct their business in such a way as to merit the respect of the community. There is a great danger, I think, when we come to legislate on these matters, of looking upon the flaring gin palace and forgetting the other places of popular resort and refreshment which hold licenses under similar conditions, and which would be affected alike by the operation of the Bill. I fully agree that there can be nothing more unhappy to witness than to see a little child pushing through a crowd of people round a bar late at night to obtain liquor for his parents or those who have sent him. I should be inclined to say that we can do nothing better than to limit the sale of liquor to children strictly and solely to those premises which are provided with a separate exit and entrance for the sale of such liquor. That is a definite and clear proposition. If a licence holder was willing to provide such accommodation I would be inclined to allow him to supply liquor.
601 The Report of the Royal Commission touches upon another matter which I think goes to the root of this evil. I am referring to the Report of the majority which is to be found on page 19. The Report states that similar penalties to those imposed on the publicans who serve children under age should also be imposed on those who send children knowing them to be under age. I have dealt with the word "knowingly" as it affects the publican. Now we come to the question of the parent who. knowing the child to be under age—I suppose the parent is perhaps of all people best qualified to judge—sends him for liquor. On this point the Minority Report does not express any opinion, Opinions have been expressed that it would be exceedingly difficult to obtain their conviction, and that it would naturally be a painful process the putting of children into the witness-box to give evidence against their parents or guardians. That would be a very painful state of things, but it is a condition of things that prevails from day to day in cases affecting cruelty committed on children. But would it be necessary? The production of a birth certificate would be evidence of the guilt or innocence of the parent of the child, and is it right for us to make a law imposing a penalty upon the publican, who cannot know the age accurately, and who at the best has to judge and guess—and the penalties on him must in their cumulative results inevitably entail the loss of his licence—while we let the parent off scot free? If a parent made up his mind to defy the House of Commons and the law, he could send his boy to a public-house one day and to another next day, and the holders of the licences would in turn be fined, and the parent would go scot free all the while. I do not think that is in accordance with the sense of equity and justice which ought to govern our decisions when a law of that kind is made. Punish the publican if he breaks the law, but punish the parent also, who is more responsible than the publican for the breach of the law. I press that point most strongly upon the promoters of the Bill. At all events, the same measure of punishment should be awarded to each.
602 I now come to another matter, and that is with regard to the age. I want to ask the promoters of this Bill to consider whether the age of fourteen or fifteen would not be a safer age than that proposed in the Bill. [Cries of "Committee." My hon. friends opposite say "Committee." I quite agree that these are Committee points, but they are points which have been again and again brought before the notice of the promoters of the Bill. This is not a hastily drawn measure, but it is the calm and deliberate conclusion of those interested in the Bill, and it is their fault and not mine if I have to reiterate once more arguments and suggestions with which they are already familiar. I would respectfully suggest that the age here fixed is too high. It is dangerously near the limit at which the children can obtain liquor for themselves. It is a very undesirable meeting of two periods, and the promoters would do well to reduce the age to fourteen or fifteen years.
We have heard a good deal about the Committee stage of the Bill. Hon. Members opposite have cried "Committee, Committee" when points of objection have been taken. May I appeal to them to let the Committee be a Committee of the whole House? The Bill applies to England, Scotland. Wales, and Ireland, and I think the House has no more profitable or useful way of employing its Wednesday afternoons after Whitsuntide than in its collective, capacity, sitting as a Committee and making this Bill, which contains in it a principle of much good, a useful and practical measure which should inflict small hardship upon the community and no injustice upon any class, and which should at the same time do something to safeguard the children of the poor from the evils of a too early contamination from association with drink.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY (Limerick, W.)
In rising to address this House for the first time, and to support this most important Bill, I ask for its indulgence for a few moments to enable me to give expression to my views, as I feel very strongly upon the matter. The object of the Bill is indeed a noble one, namely, 603 to check and prevent the evil of intempe-perance, which, sad to say, plays havoc in many a comfortable home. The object is to rear and educate a race of men into the knowledge that to be sober is to be free; to recognise the fact that sobriety is a very great element in the making of their material happiness and prosperity; and, acting on that conviction, to endeavour to attain a high moral standard of which a nation may feel proud. I speak from an Irish point of view and on behalf of every right-minded and hopeful person in my constituency who loves his country and desires to see her lifted up again into the proud position she once held, when she was recognised throughout the world as a great and glorious nation. The Bill is not the product of temperance fanatics. It is backed up by thousands and thousands of men, who, like myself, desire to see moderate reform in the licensing laws, and who will feel greatly disappointed and aggrieved if the Bill does not become law. The Royal Commission were almost unanimously in favour of legislation in this matter. They even went beyond the provisions of the Bill, as they were of opinion that a penalty should be imposed not only on the seller of intoxicating liquors to children under age, but also on those who send the children, knowing them to be under age. I also am of that opinion, but that, I understand, is a matter for Committee. What did the Royal Commission say with regard to Ireland? It said:—In our opinion it is desirable that children under the age of sixteen should not be served with intoxicating liquors for consumption by themselves or other persons either on or off the premises, and that the law should thus he assimilated to that which we recommend for England. The same remark which we have already made with regard to England applies here, namely, that great caution should be used in not hastily legislating in advance of what public opinion would sanction.What is the general feeling in Ireland with regard to the Bill? I am glad to say the hon. Members for South Leitrim and West Clare do not speak the sentiments of the great majority of the Irish party. The Chairman and the majority of that party are entirely in favour of the measure, and, as expressing the opinion of the 604 people of Ireland, I will read two resolutions which were unanimously adopted at most representative conventions. In February last a meeting of the National Temperance Conference was held in Dublin, at which the following resolution was unanimously adopted—That this representative Conference begs most earnestly to urge upon the Government and upon Irish Members of Parliament the pressing necessity and importance of giving legislative effect to the following recommendations—amongst them being the prevention of the sale of intoxicating liquor to children under sixteen years of age. On the same evening, at a meeting of the Irish Association for the Prevention of Intemperance, the following resolution, on the motion of the Protestant Bishop of Killaloe, was also unanimously adopted—That this meeting, realising the grave evils, both physical and moral, arising from the employment of children as messengers to public-houses, and being convinced that public opinion in Ireland is unanimous in desiring that children should be safeguarded for this practice, calls upon the Government to promote such legislation as will carry into effect the unanimous recommendations of the Royal Commission by prohibiting all sale of intoxicating drink to any child under sixteen years of age for any purpose whatever.In addition to that, a great number of representative bodies in Ireland have passed resolutions in favour of the Bill, amongst them being the Corporation of the City of Dublin. It may be argued that if the parents are deprived of the right of sending children under sixteen years of age to the public-houses they will send others who are beyond that age, or perhaps go themselves. Even though that be so, which is the greater evil? Is it not that where the young plant is exposed to the storm the chances are that it will perish in the tempest, whereas the full-grown tree will stand a great deal of weather, and though it may bend for the moment it will right itself if sown in good soil? At all events, the fault lies with the grown-up people themselves if they do not shelter themselves behind the ramparts of their own modesty, common-sense, and virtue. I unhesitatingly affirm that the greatest evil exists where young-people, whose eyes and ears are open to everything, whose impressions are last- 605 ing, and who have not a mind of their own, are exposed to the temptation. Let us, then, in the name of God, adopt this remedy at once. Let us not lag behind Canada, New Zealand, and parts of Australia, where a similar provision is already in force. Let us east aside all political differences of opinion for the moment in solving this great social problem, and act immediately for the good of our respective countries, as we can do in a humble way, by voting in favour of the Bill now before the House.
§ MR. MIDDLEMORE (Birmingham, N.)
I suppose there are very few Members of the House who do not feel that it is an extremely undesirable thing for young children to frequent public-houses or in any way to associate themselves with the drinking habits of the country. I certainly hold that opinion very strongly, but yet I am of opinion that I cannot give any hearty support to this Bill, I listened with much respect to the speeches of the mover and seconder, and I must confess I was almost anxious to be convinced, but my opinion remains the same. The Bill, in the first place, limits the parents' rights, and what is more, it limits their ability to discharge a duty in regard to selecting which child they think best to discharge a duty special to themselves and special to their own children. The State is rather to select the child, or at any rate it is to suggest the selection. Strangely enough, the State selects just the very worst possible age. It enters the house of a working man, and, laying its insensitive hand on a boy of fifteen, says, "You are not to go," and then laying its hand on the girl of sixteen it says, "You may go." Unless the parent is doing what is really wrong, the State has no right to do that. The parent is not doing what is wrong, he is doing what is relatively right in sending the child under sixteen; but the law will be doing what is relatively wrong in insisting that a child over sixteen should be sent. The age of sixteen is the most capricious, difficult, and unreliable age of all. It is the age at which boys and girls begin to sow their wild oats. In boarding houses in Canada it is considered most unwise to send children between 606 the ages of fourteen and eighteen to the public-house, and that sixteen is of all ages the worst conceivable. I admit the evil, but my fear and belief is that you are going to abolish one evil by the creation of another of a greater and more serious character. You are attaching a special disability to the parents of the working classes, but I do not lay very great stress upon that. You are modifying the relations they have with their own children, but I do not lay very great stress upon that. I simply say that hon. Members here would not like to be placed in a similar position. The law will very frequently be broken. The parent and the child will be accomplices in. breaking the law, and. worse still, if there is a prosecution the child will have to appear as a witness, not, it is true, against the parent, but against the man who supplied the beer. You will embitter the relations with the parent; you will create ill-will, and that, it seems to me, is an undoubted objection to this Bill. If the law is actually obeyed, the parent will often have to fetch his own dinner and Sunday beer. Is that wise? If he has to fetch his beer will he not stay in the public-house to drink it? and will he not drink more than he otherwise would? Are you not substituting drinking on the premises for drinking off the premises? Up to a certain point I am a friend of this Bill, and I have spoken to friends of the Bill about it. They say that this Bill is to save the children, and if the parent will have to go for his beer he must. That is a very superficial view. A man cannot suffer alone. Supposing his wife and children suffer with him? I would that I only could be punished for the wrong I have done, but that cannot be. My life is not isolated; others are involved; you cannot do the children greater harm than by putting temptation in the way of the parents. What moral right have we in this of all countries to say, "You may send that girl of sixteen, but you may not send that boy of fifteen"? I contend that if this Bill passes, not only will the law be broken, but the law of God also will be broken. The parents ought to use their right of selection. It may be quite fair to consider whether local option is good or whether public-houses should be closed at certain hours; but it is not fair to enter a working man's house and 607 prevent that working man doing his bounden duty in making a selection as to the child he should send to the public-house. That is the parents' special business, it is nobody else's business, and they only should discharge that duty.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
The speech of the hon. Member for West Limerick afforded the last proof that was wanting that this Bill is the Bill of no section or party. It has been advocated from every section of the House in a fashion which shows that to-day the House of Commons is discharging one of its most important duties. Whatever outside critics may say, upon this occasion we are giving or trying to give effect to what is obviously the drift of matured public opinion. In that condition of things I rise not for the purpose of addressing to the House any detailed arguments in support of the principle of the Bill, because upon the principle, I think, there has been general agreement even on the part of those who have criticised the Bill, but for the purpose of suggesting that the right hon. Gentleman who represents the Government should as soon as possible put us in possession of the views of the Government on the matter. I cannot doubt that those views will be friendly, and that they will show a disposition on the part of the Government to assist private Members to put upon the Statute-book what, after all, has been under consideration for a very long time, and what we all, or nearly all, desire to have embodied among our laws. It is the more necessary that we should have that expression of views soon, because I noticed from the speech of the hon. Member for West Bradford that there may be a question as to the form the subsequent proceedings with regard to this Bill should take. The hon. Member threw out a rather ominous suggestion about a Committee of the whole House. To send the Bill to a Committee of the whole House instead of to its obvious place—a Grand Committee—would be to stultify the professions of those who profess to be favourable to the measure. I therefore hope we may soon be able to vote on the principle of the Bill, and then 608 settle what form the subsequent stages should take.
The hon. Member for North Birmingham argued mainly upon the fact that the Bill proposed to take out of the hands of parents the right, I think he said, to select the child who should discharge what might be a family duty. The hon. Member comes from a city which took a very leading part in formulating the great Education Act of 1870, and if the State has decided one thing more definitely than anything else in that Act with regard to children it is that it has the right to limit the powers of parents over their children in directing their duties whenever it thinks the individual direction of their duties might conflict with their well-being. The hon. Member for West Bradford made a very interesting speech, but I must confess it was a speech which puzzled me very much. He expressed himself very decidedly in favour of the principle of the Bill. That did not surprise anyone who knows with what real zeal the hon. Member has worked in educational matters in London, and in such matters as prison reform touching child life. But when the hon. Member puts upon the Notice Paper a motion inviting the House to decline to proceed with legislation excepting upon the basis of imposing a punishment upon the parent as distinguished from the publican, and then further talks of a Committee of the Whole House, I confess I feel a little puzzled, and I think the hon. Member himself must feel a little puzzled, as to what the tendency of his speech really was. If the House is in favour of putting a penalty on the parent as well as on the seller of the liquor, I, for my part, do not see why it should not be done. It is all a question of what is thought best. I look upon this Bill as one meant not to harass either parents or publicans, but to develop and form public opinion by laying down a standard to which the public may be expected to conform. I look upon it as endeavouring to raise the standard of public opinion upon this matter, and to introduce a new practice which will preclude the evils with which we are only too familiar. Therefore any mere question of what should be the form of penalty, or where there should be this or that clause germane to the carrying out of an object 609 upon which we are all agreed, seems to me to be beside the point in a Second Beading discussion on a Wednesday afternoon. The hon. Gentleman also referred to the absence of the word "knowingly." If he had read the Bill he would have noticed that the promoters have provided for that very point, because the penalty is imposed upon anybody who sells to a person apparently under the age of sixteen. There must be such an appearance as brings home to the mind of the person selling the liquor a guilty knowledge. The very object of the word "apparently" is to prevent an innocent man who has made a mistake being punished. If the thing can be made better in Grand Committee it should be done. I, for my part, have never wished in these matters to pass legislation which might make it impossible for people to carry on a business which the State has authorised. In dealing with this question to-day, I think it is one of the best signs that we have had for a long time that, as the mover of the Second Beading said, the House has approached the temperance problem from a new point of view—from the point of view neither of attacking the liquor interest nor of refusing moderate measures of reform because larger measures are not forthcoming. The House seems to me to be treating this matter in an eminently practical spirit. It has taken up a great social question, but not in a party sense. The general principle has been supported from all sides, and I think this would be a convenient time to hear from the Government a statement of the attitude they are going to assume.
§ *THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. JESSE COLLINGS, Birmingham, Bordesley)
I will first of all refer to the earnest and moderate manner in which this discussion has been carried on, and I am not surprised that the House would be glad to know the view of the Government with regard to the measure. That I can give in a very few words. The Government regard this as in no sense a party measure, and they propose to adopt the same course as on a previous occasion, and to leave the question absolutely in the hands of the 610 House. I regret that the Home Secretary cannot be present, and still more regret the cause of his absence. He is confined to bed by illness, and very much regrets not being able to be present. I have very carefully ascertained his views on this question, and those views he wishes me to place as well as I can before the House. In giving those views he speaks, of course, for himself, and not for the Government. He wishes that this Bill might be read a second time, as he has already expressed himself in favour of a similar measure, but he thinks the House should consider very carefully certain points, which, although details, might be regarded as almost equally important as principles. He lays great stress on the age, which, he thinks, should be fourteen instead of sixteen. He goes further, and lays stress on what he considers to be a vital part of the Bill—the penalising of a publican for serving children under sixteen years of age. It is quite true that the word "apparently" is in the Bill, but there are one or two things in the minds of those who placed it there. Either "apparently" is more vague than "knowingly," in which case I presume it was put in for that purpose, or it is the same thing as "knowingly," in which case why cannot "knowingly" be put in?—especially as the word "knowingly" is recommended by the Royal Commission Reports, both majority and minority. It would therefore be interesting to learn from subsequent speakers whether the promoters are willing to accept this less vague word, which provides a greater safeguard than the word "apparently" against unjustly penalising the publican.
There is also another matter upon which the Home Secretary lays great stress, It is alleged that both the Majority Report and the Minority Report are unanimous in recommending the principle of the measure so far as serving children under sixteen years of age is concerned. That is not quite an accurate statement of the case. The Report of the majority lays great stress on the necessity of there being public opinion behind the proposal. It states—Legislation in this direction, therefore, should not be undertaken except after the fullest discussion with those best qualified to speak for the class affected, otherwise a strong reaction might follow.611 On this point my right hon. friend makes a very important suggestion, which I am inclined to think will recommend itself to those who wish to see a measure of a practical kind. He has come to the conclusion that a measure of this kind should be of an adoptive character. I think myself that that is a statesmanlike suggestion, and one which will overcome very many difficulties, because, as the right hon. Gentleman states, there are many districts which are naturally very apprehensive as to the working of a measure of this kind. If it were put into force in districts where it was adopted by the local authorities, it is very likely that all those apprehensions would be found to be groundless, and that the result of this legislation, strong as it is, would be unaccompanied by the evil and inconveniences which too many appear to attach to it. It would therefore seem to my right hon. friend that the best way to obtain the general adoption of a measure such as this would be by securing the consent of the local authorities, which undoubtedly is a greater guarantee that public opinion is behind the change than any other form of expression which could be obtained. The promoters will signify whether or not they accept such a suggestion as that. I confess, as far as I am concerned—and I have no doubt there are others in the House in the same position—the course they adopt would influence my vote to a very large degree. The point is whether or not a local authority would consent, and, perhaps, on the pressure of its constituents, should be allowed to put the Bill in force, or whether it should be applied in all districts whether they want it or not. My right hon. friend is also of opinion that public opinion is greatly growing in favour of this Bill. That is another argument, I think, in favour of the suggestion he makes. He is in all cases most heartily in favour of any measure that can save the children from any evil which may attach to their being sent to public-houses.
I have, as accurately as possible, given the House the views of my right hon. friend which he would have given had he been able to be in his place to-day. If I may say a word or two, not as a member of the Government, but from my own point of view, I should be very thankful if the House will allow me to state them, because 612 I am, and have been all my life, in favour of temperance and all temperance movements. It seems to me we are considering two classes of questions, or rather two positions for separate treatment, and this different treatment can only be secured by making any measure that might be passed one of an adoptive character. There are two sets of opinion—London and provincial. I am afraid of London I have a very small opinion. I do not know much about its social aspect. I seriously mean what I say when I remember the influence which appertains to the capital of any other country in Europe and the influence which appertains to the great provincial life of our nation. Provincial life and opinion are more worthy of being followed than any opinion that emanates from London.
* MR. JESSE COLLJNGS
Any Bill for the treatment of the supply of drink to children is applicable to London, where there are gin-palaces, bars, and all the appurtenances of great drinking establishments.
§ *MR. JESSE COLLINGS
Yes, no doubt there are, and in Liverpool, Manchester, and other large towns. What I say is that a measure which is applicable and beneficial to these large places may be altogether mischievous and unacceptable, and cause inconvenience to other smaller places in the United Kingdom. With regard to sending one's own children to fetch beer—and that is the best test—it seems to me that I would rather send a child of tender years to these gin 613 palaces where drunken men may congregate and where drunken women may he found, than a young person, especially a girl, of sixteen years of age.
§ *MR. JESSE COLLINGS
In the one case the harm would be but passing; in the other it might be permanent. But what about the thousands of parishes in this country where the working classes are not drunken, where they are as careful of their own children as any other people, where they go home to dinner—I speak from some experience of the conditions of the village life and the small towns—and where the mother with only one pair of hands, having no servant and no cellar, and where the only unoccupied member of the family available is under sixteen years of age I There are thousands, I might say millions, in the position so well described by the hon. Member for Portsmouth. Is that man to be prevented from sending that child to the public-house of a small town, where there is no more danger than in sending it to a grocer's shop? I want hon. Members to consider whether they are going to try to impose on the working-class families who exist under the conditions I name. It is all very well for those who have servants, or who do not consider beer necessary, to suggest these restrictions; but beer is considered by the great bulk of the respectable working people of this country to be necessary. Setting aside the large towns where these dangers are supposed to exist, are you to prevent the working-class women from sending the only unoccupied child to fetch that which they consider necessary for the legitimate consumption of the family? Such action would, I think, be regarded as an interference with domestic life and with the liberty of the subject. It would be resented as such, and it would defeat the object of the Bill. I am advancing these views in order to ask the promoters of the Bill whether the acceptance of the adoptive principle is not the nearest way to securing the universal approval of their measure. I admit that there is a large amount of public opinion in 614 favour of this Bill. Thousands of petitions have been presented in its favour. But too much importance must not he attached to those petitions. The temperance party, which has the finest organisation in the country, can turn out petitions by the thousand. They can turn out such petitions at the word of command, and he hoped the House would not, therefore, attach undue importance to them.
§ *MR. JESSE COLLINGS
I know nothing about the London School Board. I do not want the petitions ignored, but I do not want you to attach too much importance to them. But there is another kind of public opinion. I have noted organised public opinion, but there is the unorganised public opinion, which consists of the masses of individuals not organised, and who do not express their opinion, but who, if a law of this sort were passed, which interfered with their daily convenience and affect them in a manner they would consider unfair, would show their opinion in some quarters by almost rebellion. My hon. friend the Member for Portsmouth referred to a pamphlet which has been issued by a committee presided over by the Bishop of Hereford. This pamphlet represents children as spending all their money in drink, as swilling glasses of raw whisky and being summoned for drunkenness before the police courts. I do not doubt the truth of those statements, but they are put in such a form that if any stranger to the facts were to read them he would think that it represented the type of the children of the working classes of this country. The great masses of the working class of this country ought not to be subjected to any such inference as may be drawn from that statement. As a class they are as careful of their own children as any other class. They look after them as well as circumstances will allow, and except as regards an infinitesimal percentage that state of things does not represent them at all. They are more thrifty, more temperate, more respectable, and better educated, and in a 615 better condition generally than at any previous period of the history of this country. Therefore, I protest against putting it in a form to indicate that there is such a prevalence of these shocking cases as to render universal legislation necessary. With regard to the provision for penalising the publican, I may say I was not at all satisfied with the reasons given for that action by the mover and seconder of the Bill. Are they afraid to put the penalty on the parents who alone can know whether they are breaking the law? They do not propose to penalise the parent, but the publican, who they think can pay the penalty. By making the measure adoptive, although altering the character of the measure, they would be able to determine the amount of support which it will receive, not only in the House, but in many parts of the country where the Bill is not accepted at the present time. I thank the House for listening to me, and I hope we shall hear something from the promoters of the Bill as to whether the suggestion of the Home Secretary is received with favour or not.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
The right hon. Gentleman need not have apologised for speaking on this subject. We were glad to hear him. His speech was divided into two parts, one of which was devoted to expressing the views of the Government—
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Well, when I was Home Secretary and spoke in this House, I expressed the sentiments of the Government, especially on this question. The Home Secretary we heard a few weeks ago, in speaking to a deputation on the temperance question in language not encouraging. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bordesley has now confided to us his personal sentiments upon this subject. He protested against language likely to give foreign nations a bad opinion of this country. And yet the right hon. Gentleman has declared 616 that he himself has the meanest opinion of London. The right hon. Gentleman, though he said he knew nothing about the social aspect of London, knew something about London elections. I do not know what he calls the social aspect of London, and whether his judgment is founded on his experience of Society in the West or in the East End of London. What has caused him to come to his present opinion? Was it the most recent election, or was it the election which took place in the autumn?
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
If the adoptive principle is to be introduced it must be introduced somewhere—and perhaps by the very Metropolis of which he has such a mean opinion. When I first entered Parliament the voice of Birmingham was very different from what it is now. In those days I acted with Mr. Dixon as a supporter of the Birmingham Educational League; and there was not the same objection to the compulsion of parents at that time.
I am bound to say that that movement advanced education in the greatest degree and ultimately secured for us compulsory education. Is it not an invasion of the rights of parents to say that a child shall not be kept at home, but must be sent to school? When did the right hon. Gentleman acquire this horror of interfering with the rights of parents? As to the part of the speech in which the right hon. Gentleman expressed his personal opinion, I confess I can hardly make out what that opinion is. During the latter part of the Under Secretary's speech the right hon. Member for East Fife, a former Home Secretary, came into the House and said, "Is he speaking for or against the Bill?" The answer which I was obliged to give to my right hon. friend was, "Honestly, I cannot tell you." The right hon. Gentleman has said he is in favour of the Second Reading of the Bill, but in expressing his own opinion he has set up in his speech every possible objection that can be imagined against it, and the latter part was as adverse to the Bill as it was possible to conceive. 617 He has spoken of the rural districts. I am happy to say J live more of my life in the country than in the town, and if there is any part of this country in which the evil of drunkenness requires to be dealt with more it is in the rural districts. [Ministerial cries of "No."] That is my observation, made from my own knowledge, and if I may be allowed to give my reason it is because the police themselves are not encouraged to put it down. [Cries of "Question" and a laugh.] I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman who laughs in that way is a magistrate of quarter sessions or not.
Now I pass from the personal views of the right hon. Gentleman to those of the Home Secretary, which he translated to us. The Home Secretary has stated that his experience in his present office has impressed upon him the tremendous evil produced by drunkenness. The present Bill is intended to prevent children from being exposed at an age when their judgment gives them no defence to the incitements and habits of drink. While I am in doubt as to the real spirit of the right hon. Gentleman in regard to this Bill, I am still more puzzled by the right hon. Gentleman's interpretation of the views of the Home Secretary. But it is clear at least that the Home Secretary desires the Bill to be read a second time. For the purposes of this afternoon we all ought to be satisfied with that. Let us read this Bill a second time, and then let us consider the objections that have been made to it. One objection to it is the use of the word "apparent," as though it implies some covert meaning, and it is proposed that there should be an explanation of the introduction of that word in the Bill in justice to the public. It is a remarkable fact that this word is employed in the Act of 1872. It has also been used in the Act prohibiting the sale of explosives to children and in the Pawnbrokers' Act. In fact, whenever Parliament deals with the age of children, and where they are prohibited from certain acts in these matters, the word "apparent" has been used.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I did not say it was. I was pointing out a proviso which I think is worthy of the consideration of the House. In the Criminal Law Amendments Act there was a proviso which fixed the age at which outrages should be punishable, and which laid it down that it should be a sufficient defence to any charge under this section if brought before a court and jury, providing that the person so charged showed reasonable cause of belief that the girl was over the age of sixteen. I am speaking with the authority of the gentleman promoting this Bill when I say that they are perfectly willing to deal with this word "apparrently" by the substitution of any other phrase that may be regarded as satisfactory. I confess I think the proviso to which I have referred is a very reason able one.
The right hon. Gentleman has cited the opinion of the Home Secretary in favour of this Bill with the adoptive principle, but he has not told us what is to be the machinery for adopting it. Is it local option? I should like to know that, because it is a very incomplete revelation that we are not to be told who are the persons to adopt these measures, and when the right hon. Gentleman offers us his support he does not tell us what the method of adoption is to be. Has the Home Office already got its amendments to this Bill, with a complete scheme of adoptive measures? Let us be thankful for such mercies and let us read this Bill a second time. Let there be an opportunity for all to understand the proposal of the Government. There are said to be objections which, if not properly dealt with, would destroy the main objects of the Bill, which is to keep young children out of the public-houses. Let us, then, sec whether we can carry this Bill with such modifications and such mitigations as would carry it to a successful issue. My hon. friend who introduced this Bill, in a speech as distinguished for lucidity as any I have ever heard, stated that the success or the failure of this Bill depended upon the treatment it received at the hands of the Government. I hope the Government will give it every facility and a 619 cordial reception. I hope hon. Members on both sides of the House will work together, and I trust it will be dealt with in a proper spirit before it is sent to the other House. We have heard the views of young Ireland on this matter. We have had a speech from the hon. Member for West Limerick, distinguished by eloquence and earnestness, and I am sure hon. Members on both sides of the House will hear that voice with pleasure on future occasions. With that unanimity of feeling on this Bill, why should we divide upon the Bill.? I hope we shall send it to a place where alone it will be dealt with with advantage. It has been proposed to deal with it in Committee of the whole House, but that is a proposal which would destroy it. I will not detain the House any longer, but I trust there will be a concordance of sentiment and unanimity of opinion that will lead us to read this Bill a second time.
§ MR. BARTLEY
said he would like to add his views to the debate, because he had always taken a great interest in social questions. The reason why he objected to this measure was that he regarded it not as a measure tending to promote temperance nor one which would alleviate and improve the social position of the families of the working classes. The real issue they were to consider was whether the working man was to be allowed to drink beer or not. Was it to be made a crime for him to have a glass of beer at his midday meal? Personally, he was almost a teetotaller, but it seemed to him odd that the men who employed servants in their houses and clubs and rang the bell for wines and spirits should have the audacity to say that a man should not be allowed to send his child to the public-house. Why could not hon. Members have the courage of their opinions, and bring in a Bill to prohibit the sale of alcohol absolutely? That would be a reasonable and a straightforward action. But they were not prepared to do that. They knew very well that the legitimate use of beer was not a crime, and ought not to be considered a crime. It was a reasonable, natural, and proper beverage for a man to drink in moderation. 620 Were they to say that a working man who could not keep a cellar for his beer was to be deprived of this privilege of getting it? But if he were to be deprived of this means he would say that it was more dangerous for a girl of sixteen years of ago and upwards to be sent to a public-house than it was for a younger child. If the law prohibited girls under sixteen years being sent they would still have the evil of sending girls of seventeen and eighteen years. He had a higher opinion of the people of London than the representative of the Government, and he believed that the whole of the metropolis would hold its own with those great provincial centres that the right hon. Gentleman had referred to. But he would say this, that if the measure wore voted simply upon its merits they would never dream of carrying it. The House had given way to a sort of momentary sentimentality. Everyone agreed that alcohol should not be sold to children for them to consume, but surely if he chose to take his boy out for a bicycle run, and they entered an inn for refreshment, no one would say that it was a crime that that boy should have a glass of beer? When he was at school they used to have beer and they called it "swipes." It was unreasonable thus to interfere with the habits of the people. If the Government interfered with this and similar privileges, they would have the whole mass of the working classes against them. There would be a great reaction which would be very serious to the country itself. Nobody could say that he had not done his utmost to promote temperance. Yet he believed it would be a great mistake to carry this measure, as its effect would be to retard the progress of temperance.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
My hon. friend who has just sat down does not appear to have read the Bill, because if he were going down with his son into the country on a bicycle, there is no reason why he should not have a glass of beer if he wanted it. His difficulty seems to be that if this Bill is passed his son will not be able to "stand" the liquor for him. Now, on this Bill I should like to say three words upon the 621 mistaken views taken by the opponents of the Bill as to what we want to do. We want to prevent these children going into public-houses and acquiring in that atmosphere what we believe to be pernicious habits, and we believe that if this Bill is passed into law, and it becomes the law of this country that children under sixteen years of age should not be sent, we should find in years to come that children never would be sent. If the hon. Gentleman who moved the Bill and the hon. Gentleman who seconded it had devised a means for carrying this Bill through the House, they could not have devised a better one than by getting the two speeches made which were made in support of the rejection of it. The hon. Member who moved the rejection said it would interfere with golf players. I never remember seeing a golf player send for liquor, even when he was in a bunker. The hon. Member for South Leitrim opposed the Bill because it would interfere with Ireland—that it was another injustice to Ireland. Now, I agree with the Bill, not only because I think it is a good measure, but because I know that people of all creeds and all classes in Ireland are in its favour. The working men representatives in this House are almost unanimous in its favour, and no one can doubt that it the working classes of this country were opposed to a Bill of this kind they would make their voices heard against it. I am entirely in favour of this Bill, and I think most of the objections we have heard are objections which ought to be made in Committee. As for the right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench, I am unable from his remarks to gather whether he is for or against the Bill. I have not the slightest idea what position he takes up, but in a matter of this kind, which so deeply touches our hearts, I think a responsible Minister of the Government ought to have given us some intimation of what the concensus of opinion of the Government is upon this subject. I regret that so few Members of the Government are present, but I can assure the right hon. Gentlemen who are present that they make a very great mistake if they think that this measure can be set aside or burked in Committee. The country will hold the Government responsible 622 for seeing that this measure, if it passes its Second Reading, is carried into law this session, and, knowing as I do that no Bill has ever been brought into this House which is so backed by public opinion as this measure, I say the Government will make a great mistake if they do not offer to this Bill every facility to pass it into law. My principal object in rising was to make this appeal to the Government in order to get some Member of the Government to tell us if it is their intention to allow the Bill to become law.
§ *MR. MARSHALL HALL (Lancashire, Southport)
said he cordially supported the Bill, his justification in so doing being that it was impossible to over-estimate the interest taken in this subject in his constituency. He regretted that the Government had not thought fit to make it a Government measure, and if the Government took any notice of the Bill at all he hoped it would not be for the purpose of attempting to shelve it. After the Janus like speech from the Front Bench it was difficult to know whether the Government supported the Bill or not. The real object of the Bill was to safeguard the moral health of the children and to prevent them from being contaminated by the evils of drink. It was not to deal with the adult population at all. But if the age at which a child could be served with drink was fixed at sixteen the real object of the Bill might be defeated, because if the age limit was fixed too high the people to whom this measure would apply would have no person to send. Beer could not be stored in the same way as spirits, and therefore if a working man wanted beer with his dinner, either he must go and get it or his wife must go and get it, or he would have to send somebody over the age of sixteen. It was very improbable that he would have anybody at home at that age, because that was the age when a workingman's children had to go out and begin to earn their own living, and if the age was fixed at sixteen the effect would be that children of a more tender age would be sent, and told on reaching the public-house to ask the first bystander to go in and buy the beer, in return, probably, for the "long pull." No man would be hard-hearted enough to refuse, and the result 623 would be the very mischief at which the Bill was aimed. He believed that if the age was fixed at sixteen the object of the Bill would be defeated, and he suggested that the age of fourteen should be substituted. The question had been asked why beer should be put on a different footing to milk; he thought it should not, but that it should be allowed to be taken round in the same way as milk. He took no notice of the ridicule of the House upon that point, because if between the hours of 12 and 1.30 in the day facilities were given to respectable publicans to supply their customers in this way with beer the difficulty of the child messenger would at once be got rid of. The working man would have an opportunity of getting his beer as he wanted it, both as to quantity and condition. He put forward that suggestion because he thought it was worthy of consideration. He did not think that the word "apparently" was a word that should remain in the Bill, because the publican would be liable if he supplied a person who was over the age of sixteen, but ap-
§ parently under that age, and he thought the word "knowingly" ought to be substituted for it when the Bill became an Act, or a clause similar to that in the Criminal Law Amendment Act inserted. It also might be possible to make a distinction between the gin palace and the off-licensed house. What was wanted to secure the passing of such a Bill was a consensus of moderate opinion. Such a Bill was required, and they must support the best measure for the purpose before the House. The principle of the Bill was sound, however imperfect the details, and he hoped the Bill would become law at the earliest possible moment.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 407; Noes, 31. (Division List No. 80.)627
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Boland, John||Colville, John|
|Abraham, Wm. (Rhondda)||Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex.F.||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bousfield, William Robert||Cook, Frederick Lucas|
|Aird, Sir John||Bowles, Capt. H.F. (Middlesex)||Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Grlouc.,Stroud||Brigg, John||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge|
|Ambrose, Robert||Broadhurst, Henry||Craig, Robert Hunter|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.||Cremer, William Randal|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Brown, George M.(Edinburgh)||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Bull, William James||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Burke, E. Haviland-||Cullinan, J.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Burns, John||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Burt, Thomas||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Butcher, John George||Daly, James|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Caine, William Sproston||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cameron, Robert||Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Dewar, T.R. (Tr' H'mlets,SGeo.|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Carew, James Laurence||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Bayley, Thos. (Derbyshire)||Carvil, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Digby, John K.D. Wingfield-|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Causton, Richard Knight||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield|
|Bell, Richard||Cavendish, V.C.W (Derbyshire||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cawley, Frederick||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Doogan, P. C.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Chapman, Edward||Douglas, Charles M.(Lanark)|
|Bigwood, James||Clancy, John Joseph||Doxford, Sir William Theodore|
|Bill, Charles||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.||Duffy, William J.|
|Black, Alexander William||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Duncan, James H.|
|Blake, Edward||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Dunn, Sir William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Elibank, Master of||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Myers, William Henry|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Jacoby, James Alfred||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Ellis, John Edward||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Newnes, Sir George|
|Emmott, Alfred||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)|
|Faber, George Denison||Joicey, Sir James||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Joyce, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Connor, James (Wicklow)|
|Field, William||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||O'Doherty, William|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh)||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury)||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||O'Malley, William|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||O'Mara, James|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Kitson, Sir James||O'Neill, Hon. Robt. Torrens|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Labouchere, Henry||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lambert, George||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||O'Shee, James John|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||Langley, Batty||Palmer, George W. (Reading)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hn. Sir Henry||Law, Andrew Bonar||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Lawrence, William F.||Parker, Gilbert|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Lawson, John Grant||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Garfit, William||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Partington, Oswald|
|Gilhooly, James||Leamy, Edmund||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert J.||Lecky, Rt. Hn. Wm. Edw. H.||Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Leng, Sir John||Percy, Earl|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Leveson-Gower, Fred. N. S.||Perks, Robert William|
|Grant, Corrie||Levy, Maurice||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Greene, Sir E.W. (Bury St. Ed.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Pilkington, Richard|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Lloyd-George, David||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Gretton, John||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Lough, Thomas||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Groves, James Grimble||Lowe, Francis William||Price, Robert John|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Priestley, Arthur|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Pryce-Jones, Lt. Col. Edward|
|Hain, Edward||Lundon, W.||Randles, John S.|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||MacDonnell Dr. Mark A.||Rankin, Sir James|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Maconochie, A. W.||Rea, Russell|
|Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Hammond, John||M'Cann, James||Reddy, M.|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. Wm.||M'Crae, George||Redmond J. E. (Waterford)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||M'Kenna, Reginald||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Hardie, J. K. (M'thyr Tydvil)||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Reid, Sir R. T. (Dumfries)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Malcolm, Ian||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th||Manners, Lord Cecil||Renwick, George|
|Harwood, George||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Markham, Arthur Basil||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Rigg, Richard|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Mather, William||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)||Maxwell,RtHnSirHE(Wigton||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Helder, Augustus||Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfriessh.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Mildmay, Francis Bigham||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Milward, Col. Victor||Roche, John|
|Hobhouse, Hy. (Somerset, E.)||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Holland, William Henry||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Ropner, Col. Robert|
|Hope, John D. (Fife, West)||Mooney, John J.||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.|
|Horniman, Frederick John||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire||Round, James|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Howard, Capt. J. (K'nt,Faversh||Morley, Rt. Hn. J. (Montrose)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Howard, J. (Midd.,Tottenham)||Morrell, George Herbert||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Morrison, James Archibald||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Hughes, Col. Edwin||Mount, William Arthur||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J|
|Humphrys Owen, Arthur C.||Murphy, J.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Taylor, Theodore Cooke||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Sharpe, William Edward T.||Tennant, Harold John||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)||Thomas, Alfred(Glamorgan,E.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)||Thomas, J. A. (Glam'rg'n, Gow'r||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth|
|Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)|
|Smith, HC (North'mb.Tyn's'de||Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.||Thorburn, Sir Walter||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Tollemache, Henry James||Wilson, Fred. W.(Norfolk,Mid|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Tomkinson, James||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.|
|Soares, Ernest J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Spear, John Ward||Valentia, Viscount||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R(Northants||Walker, Col. William Hall||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)||Wallace, Robert||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.|
|Stevenson, Francis S.||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir WilliamH||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Stewart, Sir. M. J. M'Taggart||Walton, John Lawson(Leeds,S.||Wodehouse, Hn. Armine(Essex|
|Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Stock, James Henry||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E.||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hudrsfld.|
|Stone, Sir Benjamin||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Stroyan, John||Warr, Augustus Frederick||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Wason, John C. (Orkney)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Sullivan, Donal||Weir, James Galloway||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Crombie and Mr. Tritton.|
|Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A.C.E (Taunt'n|
|Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf.Univ.||Welby, Sir Charles G. E (Notts.)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Gibbs, Hn A.G.H. (City of Lond.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||O'Dowd, John|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Heaton, John Henniker||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Boyle, James||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsm'uth||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Major Jameson and Mr. Tully.|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Fadden, Edward|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Majendie, James A. H.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the I word 'now' stand part of the Question."628
§ The House divided: Ayes, 372; Noes, 54. (Division List No. 81.)631
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Bigwood, James||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Black, Alexander William||Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Blake, Edward||Causton, Richard Knight|
|Aird, Sir John||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Boland, John||Cavendish, V.C. W. (Derbysh.|
|Allen, Charles P (Glouc., Stroud||Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Cawley, Frederick|
|Ambrose, Robert||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bousfield, William Robert||Chapman, Edward|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middle'x||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H.A.E.|
|Asquith, Rt Hn. Herbert Henry||Brigg, John||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Broadhurst, Henry||Colville, John|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Bagot, Capt. JoscelineFitzRoy||Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Burke, E. Haviland-||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Burns, John||Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Burt, Thomas||Craig, Robert Hunter|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Butcher, John George||Cremer, William Randal|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Caine, William Sproston||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Cameron, Robert||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Bell, Richard||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Cullinan, J.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Carew, James Laurence||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Daly, James||Heaton, John Henniker||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants.)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Helder, Augustus||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Mooney, John J.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Hobhouse, Hy. (Somerset, E.)||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Hogg, Lindsay||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Holland, William Henry||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Dimsdale, Sir J. Cockfield||Hope, J. Deans (Fife, West)||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Horniman, Frederick John||Mount, William Arthur|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Murphy, J.|
|Doogan, P. C.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Myers, William Henry|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Howard, J. (Midd.,Tottenham||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Newnes, Sir George|
|Duffy, William J.||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway,N.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Duncan, James H.||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Hutton, John (Yorks., N.R.)||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W|
|Elibank, Master of||Johnston, William (Belfast)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Joicey, Sir James||O'Doherty, William|
|Ellis, John Edward||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Joyce, Michael||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone||Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Malley, William|
|Faber, George Denison||Kennaway, Rt.Hn. Sir John H.||O'Mara, James|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Kenyon, Hn. G. T. (Denbigh)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Fenwick, Charles||Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Ffrench, Peter||King, Sir Henry Seymour||O'Shee, James John|
|Field, William||Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Kitson, Sir James||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Labouchere, Henry||Partington, Oswald|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lambert, George||Paulton, James Mellor|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||Pease, Sir Joseph W.(Durham)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Langley, Batty||Peel, Hn. Wm. Rbt. Wellesley|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Law, Andrew Bonar||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lawrence, William F.||Percy, Earl|
|Flower, Ernest||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Perks, Robert William|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Leamy, Edmund||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||Lecky, Rt. Hn. Wm. Edw. H.||Pilkington, Richard|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Leng, Sir John||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Garfit, William||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Gilhooly, James||Levy, Maurice||Price, Robert John|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||Lewis, John Herbert||Priestley, Arthur|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lloyd-George, David||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Randles, John S.|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, South||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Rankin, Sir James|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Lough, Thomas||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Lowe, Francis William||Rea, Russell|
|Grant, Corrie||Lowther, C. (Cumb.,Eskdale)||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Lundon, W.||Reddy, M.|
|Gretton, John||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Groves, James Grimble||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Maconochie, A. W.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Hain, Edward||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||M'Cann, James||Renwick, George|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||M'Crae, George||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||M'Kenna, Reginald||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'd'nderry||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Ridley, S. Forde (BethnalGreen|
|Hammond, John||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Rigg, Richard|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Malcolm, Ian||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Manners, Lord Cecil||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Markham, Arthur Basil||Roche, John|
|Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Harwood, George||Mather, William||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfriessh.)||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Round, James|
|Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Welby, Sir Charles G.E (Notts.)|
|Sadler, Col. Samuel Alex.||Sullivan, Donal||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||White, Luke (York. E. R.)|
|Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos Myles||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'dUniv||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Taylor, Theodore Cooke||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Saunderson, Rt Hn. Col. Edw. J.||Tennant, Harold John||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Schwann, Charles E.||Thomas, Alfred(Glamorgan,E.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Scott, Chas. Prestwick (Leigh)||Thomas, DavidAlfred(Merthyr||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Shaw, Chas. Edw. (Stafford)||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Shaw-Stewart, M.H.(Renfrew)||Thomas, JA(Glamorgan,Gow'r||Wilson, A. Stanley(York,E.R.|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan,N.||Wilson, Fred.W(Norfolk,Mid.|
|Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)||Thomson, F. W.(York, W.R.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.|
|Smith, HC (N'rth'mb,Tynes'de||Thorburn, Sir Walter||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)||Tollemache, Henry James||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Tomkinson, James||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wilson, J. W (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Soares, Ernest J.||Wallace, Robert||Wodehouse, Hn. Armine (Essex|
|Spear, John Ward||Walrond, Rt Hn. Sir William H.||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Stanley, Hn Arthur (Ormskirk)||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd|
|Stevenson, Francis S.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||Warr, Augustus Frederick||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Stock, James Henry||Wason, Eugene(Clackmannan||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Crombie and Mr. Tritton.|
|Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney|
|Stroyan, John||Weir, James Galloway|
|Acland-Hood, Capt Sir Alex. F.||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Farrell, James Patrick||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||O'Dowd, John|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Gibbs, Hn A.G.H. (CityofLond.||O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor||Greene, Sir EW (B'ry SEdm'nds||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Howard, Capt. J. (K'nt,Faversh||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Boyle, James||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Valentia, Viscount|
|Bull, William James||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E.|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. (Kent)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Colston, Charles E. H. Athole||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lucas, R. J. (Portsmouth)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Crean, Eugene||Macartney, Rt. Hn. W. G. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Major Jameson and Mr. Tully.|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||M'Fadden, Edward|
|Dewar, T. R (T'rH'mlets,S.Geo||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
Bill read a second time, and committed for to-morrow.