§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ *(12.20.) MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)
It has fallen to my lot on the present occasion to introduce to the consideration of the House a subject which is not altogether a new one, but which contains certain new features connected with legislation on this topic. The real question underlying this Bill, from the point of view which I wish to put before hon. Members, is whether it is desirable or practicable to secure for drinkers of the English beverage known as beer some assurance that it contains those ingredients of which in large measure it is supposed to be composed, viz., barley, malt, and hops. Whatever other things may be used, whatever other adjuncts may be utilised, malt and hops are, after all, the prime constituents of beer. It is so very large an article of consumption that, apart from the interests involved, that this House cannot be indifferent to what is really a matter of national interest, namely, to secure that due care is taken to have it brewed from wholesome materials. Such materials should be not merely whole some; they should be of a kind most suitable to the purpose. Speaking apart from the interest of the general public, which ought not to be left out of sight, there may be said to be four parties particularly concerned in this matter. I put first the one on whose behalf I am here today—the consumer of beer. Another who has a claim to be considered is the producer of beer, and the third is the grower of barley. I am not going to say much on his behalf, because the interests of my constituents are those of the consumer of beer, and not of the barley grower. Still, we must not lose sight of the case of the barley grower, because, unless due encouragement is given to him, we cannot expect that beer, properly so called, can be produced in fit condition for the British market. The fourth party concerned is the 1078 Inland Revenue Department to which it is proposed to entrust the carrying out of the provisions of the Bill.
Now, the consumer of beer and the grower of barley are united in support of this Bill. It is quite true, indeed, that some barley growers would like more stringent provisions to be introduced into the Bill. In the measure of last year it was provided that beer should be brewed entirely from malt and hops, but in this there is nothing to prevent any brewer who can produce a good article using within a limited scope certain other sound materials. The Bill is in fact a concession to certain arguments used last session on behalf of the beer producer. It was alleged that owing to the difficulties of the British climate British barley was not suitable for brewing beer, unless it had added to it the element of sunshine. We were supposed to be short of sunshine in this country, and it is therefore necessary to introduce into the manufacture of beer a sugar element which is not necessary where a country has a larger amount of sunshine, in order to produce an article suitable to the prevailing taste of the times. As I have before said, my constituents are consumers of beer, and think I may add that they take much interest in this question. Last year, of course, a great deal of feeling was aroused by the sale of beer into which foreign deleterious matter had been introduced. I quite admit that that particular accident has been probed to the bottom, and I hope and believe that the same mistake is not likely to happen again. It was disastrous, not only to the unfortunate consumers of beer but to those who produced this unsatisfactory article, and under these circumstances I am confident greater caution will be exercised in the future. But I cannot help contrasting the state of things existing twenty years ago with that which prevails at the present day. In all populous places the smaller brewers are fast disappearing, and the trade is falling into the hands of great companies. During the days when small breweries were in existence beer was brewed by many persons entirely from British grown barley and hops. No other ingredients were introduced, and those who thought that beer made of malt and hops was the most suitable 1079 form of drink had no difficulty in finding places where it could be obtained. But as I have said, these small breweries are fast disappearing, and the consumer has no choice but to go to houses which are supplied from the large breweries. It occasionally happens that one company dominates a whole district, which is absolutely at the mercy of one brewer. I do not think I need go into the causes of this change, but I may say I believe that the high duty on beer has largely contributed to it. All we are asking under this Bill is that brewers shall brew from barley malt and hops, coupled with such other ingredients as maybe necessary to produce an article saleable and Suitable to the present taste. I cannot help remarking that this is not the only country in the world where such restrictions would be imposed. They are imposed in other countries, and those places where they are the most stringent are not the least tamed for the excellence of their beer. I may instance the case of Bavaria, where the restrictions are as strong as anywhere, and yet the Bavarian beer has a reputation second to none in the world.
I will now say a few words on the Bill itself. I see some exception has been taken to the definition of beer. All I will say in regard to that is that it may be amended in Committee, and I am sure that the promoters will not be unwilling to listen to any suggestions for a more satisfactory definition. Then we come to Clause 3, which provides that—It shall not be lawful in brewing or preparing beer for sale to use a less quantity of barley malt than eighty-live per cent. of the total saccharine yielding materials employed, the quantity of materials other than barley malt being calculated according to their respective equivalents in malt, as fixed for the time being for the purposes of the change of duty on beer.That really is the cardinal point of the Bill. In it we make a concession to the manufacturer of beer, by giving him power to include in his beer a certain amount of other saccharine matter. While we would desire that beer shall be made wholly of malt and hops, we are willing to concede this percentage in order to take the first stop to set up a standard. In my view that is the first thing to be done, and this conception constitutes the main difference between this Bill and previous Bills. 1080 We prohibit absolutely the use of any substitute for hops, and, as far as I know, that proposal does not meet with any great opposition. Clause G deals with the importers of foreign beer, and prohibits the sale of such beer, in this country otherwise than under the description of imported beer. The duty of carrying out the provisions of the Bill is thrown upon the officers of the Inland Revenue. I do not know what those who represent the Inland Revenue Department may have to say on this point. What we desire, in the first place, is to set up a legal standard for beer, and I believe that generally the brewers of this country being honest men will work up to that standard if required to do so by law, and it will not need a very large amount of supervision to see that the standard is adhered to. I believe that they will make the returns which the Inland Revenue Department now require, giving details of the sub-stances used in brewing, and if that is done the officers of Inland Revenue will find but little addition to their present duties. There may, of course, be a residue of brewers who may require more attention in the way of seeing that they carry out the law, and in their cases it is possible that a certain additional amount of inspection will be required. It maybe necessary, too, for revenue officers to visit such breweries and apply certain tests; but if the returns are properly made, I think there will be entailed but little additional work on the Department. Of course the amount of work depends largely on the number of breweries. Now, in 1853 there were 15,294 breweries which had to be supervised by the Inland Revenue Department. In 1879 the number had been reduced to 22,278, and now there are only about 6,000; thus the industry being concentrated in a very few hands, the amount of supervision required is very much less than it was formerly, and I the duties of the officers are proportionately decreased. I can only add that if the Department desire to put in any modified form of words to guard against undue work being laid upon it, we shall be ready to listen to any suggestion of the kind in Committee.
I now come to the consideration of the nature of the opposition to the Bill. Two statements have been put forward, and from them I gather that the 1081 opposition comes largely from the brewing trade. I do not see a trace of opposition from any other source. My hon. friend the Member for West Bradford has put on the Paper an Amendment in the following terms—That this House declines to proceed with the consideration of a Bill interfering with freedom in the manufacture of beer in this country, which, whilst it imposes upon the scientific development of British brewing industries arbitrary restrictions that cannot be enforced upon foreign competitors, in no way provides safeguards for the public health, or secures for consumers a guarantee as to the parity of the materials employed.What is the meaning of the reference to foreign competitors? The Bill provides for labelling a foreign production as an imported production. At the present time the consumer has no means of knowing of where the beer comes from, but under the Bill he will know when a foreign article is sold to him. The main objection which ray hon. friend puts forward, however, is that the Bill interferes with the freedom of the manufacture of beer in this country; and that it imposes on the scientific development of British brewing industries arbitrary restrictions that cannot be enforced upon foreign competitors. I should like to know what he means by "scientific development." Does he mean the substitution of other ingredients for barley malt, and hops? If that is meant, then we have the statement of the best brewers, who say that barley malt is mainly the proper thing to use. This, indeed, is the view of scientific men. The hon. and learned Member for the University of London told us only last year that barley malt is absolutely essential to good beer. What are the scientific methods with which the Bill interferes? It interferes with nothing but the unlimited use of ingredients in substitution for British malt. And, therefore, if the Amendment means anything it means that the Bill is an interference with the substitution of some other material for British malt. I speak in the interest of the consumer when I say we have a right to prevent that substitution, and I ask the House to affirm that the British consumer is entitled to know that his beer is made mainly of malt and hops. We do not propose to place any restriction as to where the barley comes from, although we do hope that the Bill will result in making a better market for British barley. 1082 We may come to the time when chemical compounds will take the place of natural productions. If it be possible to get a good extract from petroleum or some other ingredient which can be made into a wholesome liquid, and from the consumption of which no harm will result, by all means let it be manufactured, but it must not be called beer, and in that case the consumers of beer will have no right to complain.
Another section of the opponents of the Hill are represented by the statement which has been issued by the Country Brewer's organisation. They say first that it interferes with the freedom of the manufacture of beer. Of course, it does. Then, too, they claim that scientific development is interfered with, and they further point out that the Bill does not guarantee the purity of beer. It may not do that, but it goes a step in the direction of guaranteeing it. They talk, too, about the principle of the free mash tun. It is alleged that when Mr. Gladstone substituted the beer duty for the malt duty, there was a sort of compact by which brewers were to be left absolutely free for all future time with regard to the material they employed in brewing, and apparently no question as to the wholesomeness or soundness of the ingredients used was ever to be raised. I do not know whether that view is going to be maintained on the present occasion, but I cannot think that anything which is not of a wholesome character will be demanded. It must be remembered that before the introduction of the free mash tun, the process of browing had often to be disturbed, and the great boon offered to the brewers was that the process of brewing was to go on uninterruptedly. But it was not intended to make profits more secure making the choice of brewing materials unlimited. Now that is not necessary. Brewing has always been a profitable business and I should be sorry indeed if it ceased to be so. It would be a bad day for the consumer of beer. I do not think, however, the brewers have any ground for fear that their profits will be destroyed by providing a reasonable security for the use of malt and hops. I do not know that I need labour the question any further. There are many hon. Members who wish to speak on it. The Bill has 1083 been introduced in the spirit of conciliation, and with a view of protecting as far as possible the interests of all who are connected with the production of beer, while securing that a proper and wholesome beverage shall be laid upon the table of rich and poor alike. I beg to move.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ (12.45.) MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)
I think we shall all, whether promoters or opponents of this measure, feel that the House approaches its consideration under somewhat different conditions to those which prevailed when the Bill of last year was under discussion. Then we had a great deal of excitement out of doors, which, of course, had its influence on this House, in connection with what was known as the arsenic scare. Indeed, as I listened to the gentle and—to use his own word—conciliatory speech of my hon. friend the Member for Preston, and contrasted it with the far graver tone adopted by the hon. and learned Member for Peterborough, who was in charge of the measure of last year. I could not help feeling that the difference in tone between the two speakers very aptly illustrated the change in public feeling upon this question of legislating for the brewing industry. Last year my hon. and learned friend, in his peroration, said—Now that we are brought face to face with the stern facts, after the deaths which have occurred from poisoned beer, after the widespread sickness and suffering from poisoned beer, after the public has appealed to us in various petitions to this House for protection from this pest lence that walketh in darkness, I maintain that the present state of things ought not to be suffered to continue for an hour.And the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division, in the course of his massive contribution to the debate, observed—My first object was to prevent the recurrence of the poisoning of hundreds and thousands of people in all parts of the country.This Bill is not only introduced in circumstances widely different from those which prevailed last year, but it is in itself an 1084 entirely fresh Bill, and it must be considered on its merits as it stands, because it enshrines proposals which have not previously been the subject of debate. It is for these proposals that I ask the consideration of the House.
One essential point of difference between this and previous Bills is that in former measures it was sought to earmark beer by labelling part malt beer as an inferior article. This Bill proposes to admit that beer may contain 15 per cent. of other substitutes for barley malt. The argument we heard last year that a man ought to know what he is drinking obviously falls to the ground, since, if it was chemically impossible to distinguish between beer made with 40 per cent. of substitutes and beer made of all malt, how much more difficult will it be when it contains 15 per cent.? I do not think that it will be contended that this is in any sense a Pure Beer Bill, and I shall be surprised to learn that it is put forward as a safeguard against such a lamentable accident as that which occurred a couple of years ago. The materials, the use of which my hon. friend proposes by this Bill to limit, are not deleterious to health. The evidence of Mr. Salamon before the Departmental Committee on Beer Materials is interesting on this point. He is a gentleman who has had great experience as an analytical and consulting chemist, and whose authority is widely recognised in this House as well as outside. He was asked; "Is there anything deleterious in the use of malt adjuncts? His answer was—Absolutely nothing; I know of no deleterious substitutes employed in brewing, and I may say I should certainly know of it if they were employed, as I have the means of ascertaining everything that goes on in a very large number of breweries.And he goes on in the course of his evidence to point out that, without some prepared materials, such as starch sugar, adopted for fermentation, and the like, it would not be possible to produce the beer required today. Later on in his evidence he says that if English brewers are to hold their own at home and abroad, it is quite impossible that they can brew only from English barley malt. The Committee, moreover, in their Report, said—With regard to glucose made from sago, maize etc., it is generally admitted that there have been great improvements in the process 1085 of manufacture in recent years, and we believe that all impurities which might be considered injurious to health are eliminated.And again, later on in their Report, they observe—From the evidence put before us we are satisfied that no deleterious materials are introduced into beer by way of substitutes for hops.Moreover, the Royal Commission, now sitting, in their preliminary Report, observe—As regards the ingredients of beer, other than brewing sugar and malt, which are liable from their preparation to contain arsenic, we are satisfied that, by the exercise of care in the selection of these materials (i.e., maize and rice), no risk of the introduction of arsenic into the beer need arise.The enforcement of a strict limitation of the kind proposed in this Bill must, I think, have the effect of causing the brewing of stronger and more alcoholic beer in order to aid the preservative powers of the beer, because the use of sugar, rice, and maize enables the brewer to brew a weaker and more popular beverage, and at the same time gives it power of preservation. The very limited use of these materials, sugar, maize, and so forth, will necessitate the brewing of a beer of greater gravity.
In connection with all these Bills an idea is widely prevalent outside this House, and held by some Gentlemen on this side of the House as well, that the British agriculturist will profit by the passing into law of a measure of this kind. In that connection I should like to read a letter which I have received from one of the leading brewers in the city of Bradford. He says—I am at present using about 25 per cent. of sugar and other materials, and 75 per cent. of bailey, of which from 50 to 55 per cent. is English grown barley; and if this Bill is passed it will be necessary for me to exactly reverse the proportions of British and foreign barleys in the future.This will, therefore, tend to injure the British farmer by the increased use of foreign barley in British breweries. You will, by passing this Bill, injure the sale of British barleys, and particularly of those grown in the Northern counties, and indeed of any which are not first-class barleys, but which under the conditions prevailing today can be utilised in breweries. It may be that my hon. friends in framing this new measure have thought that by allowing 15 per cent. of malt adjuncts to be used it 1086 would leave it possible for the brewer to rely on home-grown barley for his malt, and at the same time, by limiting the malt adjuncts to 15 per cent., to increase the quantity of barley he would require. This argument seems to me to break down. The only way in which the total quantity of homegrown barley used by brewers can be increased would be by increasing the use of malt adjuncts, which to a great extent supply those qualities which homegrown barley generally lacks, and for which foreign barleys must be resorted to in their absence. Clause 4 of this Bill prohibits the use of hop substitutes. So far as we can gather from the evidence brought before the Departmental Committee, only a very small amount of hop substitutes is used in brewing in this country. I believe they were resorted to during a year of hop famine, but certainly at the present prices of hops I imagine it to be exceedingly unlikely that any English brewer would resort to the use of substitutes. Clause 5 is a very important clause, as it provides the machinery by which these new regulations on the manufacture of beer are to be enforced. As my hon. friend has said, the duty is placed upon the Inland Revenue officers. Let me quote the Report of the Departmental Committee on this point—We are satisfied that in the present state of scientific knowledge it is not possible to determine by chemical analysis with sufficient certainty to obtain a conviction whether malt adjuncts have or have not been used, except, perhaps, in cases where excessive preparations of such adjuncts have been employed. Consequently, a law making declaration of materials compulsory could not be enforced if we were to rely upon analysis for deduction and valuation of it.If that be so, how can these regulations be carried out? At the present time the Excise has no absolute check upon the quantities of materials used. They have, it is true, printed forms, which a brewer fills in with regard to his daily operations; but these are looked upon by the Government officials as rough checks, and are only required in the rare instances where a brewer has to be charged with duty upon raw materials instead of upon his finished work. The reason why there is such a wide margin between the standard and the actual results produced, is that the duty is very rarely charged on the raw material. Malt on 1087 these Excise forms is entered in quarters, and the weight per quarter may vary from 10 to 20 per cent. One may see at a glance that to work the Bill properly the malt must be weighed under the supervision of an officer, who will have to be always on the premises—always, at least, when the operation of weighing is going on; and in a large brewery, where the raw materials are handled by machinery and passed in enormous bulks, it is not easy to see how the weight can be checked. As to sugar, I should like to read a letter I received from a gentleman who is largely interested in the trade. He says—Sugar is entered in a column in quarters; seeing, however, that the Excise are content, to levy their duty upon the resulting worts, the officers of the Excise are aware of the fact that a brewer could readily use sugar without making an entry. If the Bill were adopted, it would necessitate the keeping of a strict account in the brewery, and having the sugar under lock and key. Moreover, unless the Excise officer were always on the spot, it would be possible to make an entry of sugar to be used for the day's work, but yet to add it to the varions vessels containing the brew in whatever proportion the brewer chose. For example, the brew might contain. 3 per cent. or 25 per cent. so long as the total of the day's operations did not exceed 15 per cent.I would incidentally point out to my hon. friend that no correction of error or accident which might occur during the brewing operations would be possible. I think it is obvious that to work the Bill satisfactorily would entail a very large increase in the number of Excise officers, and I need not point out that this work must in that respect be rather a harassing one to the brewer. I do not, however, resist it on that ground, and if considerations of popular health and convenience or the like can be put forward, I agree that we ought not to allow the interests or convenience of any industry to stand in the way of the public good.
I hope we shall hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer some expression of opinion as to the effect of this Bill upon the revenue of the country. Last year, the right hon. Gentleman, speaking on the Bill then before the House, said—There is nothing to interfere directly or indirectly with the revenue or with the freedom of the mash tun, which some regard as such a prized privilege in the brewing of beerI do not think the right hon. Gentleman will say the same of this Bill today. I have to thank him for his courtesy in 1088 sending me, and I believe he sent also to the promoters of the Bill, some interesting figures for the year ending 30th November last year. I have worked out a calculation based on figures for the year ending 30th September, 1900, and as the figures do not vary very greatly between the two Returns, I think the House may allow me to place before them the figures prepared on the basis of the year 1900 Return. The quantity of materials used in brewing during the year ending 30th September was as follows; Malt, 57,167,801 bushels, or 7,145,975 quarters; sugar, 2,980,039 cwts., or 1,303,767 quarters; and rice and maize, 1,201,845 cwts. or 525,807 quarters. The percentage of ingredients was; Malt 2094, and deducting 1,500,000 quarters for all malt beers, 24.5; sugar to malt 17.4; and that of malt to rice and maize, was 7.0. The sugar, which is mostly colonial cane sugar, is returned at 149,000 tons, and on reduction from those returned as using no sugar the proportion would be 89,000 tons. The quantity possible under this Bill would be 60,000 tons, and deducting the average duty of £2 12s. per ton there will be a net loss to the revenue of between £156,000 and £156,000 per annum.
In the present Budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by putting the duty at 3d. per cwt. on all imported corn, has already gone a long way to limit the use of maize and rice in brewing, and to absolutely restrict their use to 15 per cent. would surely be to crush out of existence an industry that has done much to secure better and lighter beers for the people of this country, and provides, not even barley excepted, the purest and most wholesome materials used in brewing. A great deal was said last year as to the danger of effecting a divorce between science and the development of an industry, and I believe the passing of this Bill into law would be a very serious blow to the advancement of science in relation to brewing operations, because any old rule of thumb brewer can brew from barley, hops, yeast, and water if he has sufficient time given him for the operation, and can secure a sufficient price for his beer. I am afraid that the inevitable effect of this Bill will be to take away from men of science the inducement to introduce fresh methods or 1089 to use new and perhaps more wholesome materials, if possible, than hitherto used. No one who has watched the growth in popularity in this country of the light German beers which are now so largely in vogue can fail to realise the enormous gain to the commerce of Germany, which has resulted from the application of science to the brewing industry there. My hon. friend put one or two questions to me on this matter. He seems to speak of substitutes, or aids to development, with something of a feeling of horror—as if these things conveyed in themselves the essential principle of permitting adulteration. But all the evidence given before the Commission appointed to inquire into that subject goes against him, and he cannot show that the use of these substitutes, or aids to development, are deleterious to health. Surely, until that can be done, it seems absurd to place restrictions upon the manufacture of beer from perfectly innocuous substitutes. I will leave to others the task of dealing more closely with the scientific aspects of this industry.
I have tried to show, at all events from my point of view, that the passing of this Bill will not only fail to assist, but will positively prove to be detrimental in its incidence to the British agriculturist. I think I have been able to show that the passage of this Bill will in no way benefit the public from the point of view of safeguarding them against poisonous substances; that it will impose additional cost and trouble in the administration of the Inland Revenue Department; and that side by side with the increased cost there will be an inevitable diminution of the revenue of the country. I venture to submit that it will most seriously cripple the scientific development of an industry which has already sufficient difficulties to face in the way of dealing with foreign competition. It is for these reasons that I bog to move the Amendment standing in my name.
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, This House declines to proceed with the consideration of a Bill interfering with freedom in the manufacture of beer in this country, which, whilst it imposes upon the scientitic development of British brewing industries arbitrary restrictions that cannot be enforced upon foreign competitors, in no way provides safeguards for the public health, or secures for consumers a guarantee as to the purity of the materials employed.'"—(Mr. Flower.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ *(1.16.) MR. GRETTON (Derbyshire, S.)
I have not taken any part previously in these controversies, but the Bill which we are now discussing is of a very different character from that which we had discussed in former years. It has been contended previously by the promoters of the Bill that beer should be made only from barley, malt, hops, and water, and all hop substitutes prohibited. The promoters of this Bill have abandoned that contention, and now admit that substitutes are not to be condemned on the ground of their impurity or danger to public health, and they come forward with a proposal to limit these to an empirical standard of 15 per cent. There is no virtue in this 15 per cent. It will achieve no public object whatever; it is merely an attempt to fix some proportion between substitutes and barley in the interests of agriculturists. My object in rising is to warn the agriculturists of this country that so. far as I am able to see they will gain no advantage whatever from the proposal now before the House. My experience leads me to think that it will rather diminish the proportion of English barley used in brewing. There is no doubt that in an average season in this country not sufficient barley is grown of good quality to meet the requirements of brewers. There must be some admixture of something to enable the deficiency of English barley to be used so largely as it is today in brewing. There are only two substances which I know that can be used with advantage—saccharine or glucose substances or foreign barley. There is no doubt that the saccharine substances achieve their purpose much more readily than foreign barleys, and in much smaller quantities. Therefore that leads me to believe that if the use of saccharine substances was limited in this country, the only result would be the larger use of foreign barley and less English barley. But I will not dwell on so scientific a subject. I am one of the old rule-of-thumb brewers, but, very often, even with the so-called rule-of-thumb, scientific knowledge is 1091 necessary to achieve success. I rose to oppose this Bill. My sympathies with the agriculturists are very great, and I oppose this Bill because it will not in any way favour their interests or safeguard them. This Bill is no safeguard, either, to public health. It will only entail, and must entail, considerable expense and trouble upon the Excise, and on all those grounds I oppose it. Perhaps I might enlarge for one moment on the changes which would happen to the Excise. At present the brewing materials go into the brewery in bulk and are checked so by the Excise, and if the amount produced in the mash fun is not what it is deemed it should be you are charged the excess on the amount that you make. But if this Bill passed there would have to be a man constantly in the grinding room to see the proper quantity of malt and other materials going in, and that the proportions did not exceed those prescribed, because it is conceded that no chemical analysis will find this out subsequently. If this duty is intrusted to the Excise, no doubt they will carry it out impartially. They cannot assume that one brewer is honest and another dishonest, but must carry out their duties, if these are imposed upon them by this House, impartially to all alike. I do not wish to examine this question scientifically or go more fully into that, aspect of the matter. I oppose this Bill because it can be of no public advantage, and will only damage the agricultural interests, and therefore. I shall not support the Second Heading. I support the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for West Bradford.
*(1.22.) SIR JOHN DORRTNGTON (Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury)
I support this Bill. I am not able to controvert all that was said by the hon. Member for Derbyshire, but only this morning I received an assurance from a country brewer that this duty will not throw any substantial additional work on the Excise, but that, trusting as they generally do to the honesty of the brewers, the whole thing would give no trouble whatever if it is really put into practice. I am rather surprised that the hon. Member for South Derbyshire, representing as he does a great 1092 brewing community where a very small proportion of substitutes is used, and where they buy largely not only of foreign but English barley, should have made so much in his speech as he has done of the injury that might accrue to British agriculture. I rather believed with regard to the other "Pure" Beer Bills introduced before this, that there was some risk to British agriculture but there certainly is not so in this. I cannot concur in the expression of the Committee that sat to consider brewing materials that it cannot be permitted for a liquor made from malt and hops only to be called beer. Public opinion is that beer ought to be made of malt and hops, and until last year, when the scare occurred, the public believed they were drinking a liquor made from barley, malt, and hops, and were not aware how largely sugar and other substitutes entered into beer. When there is an impression of that sort, it is right on the part of the Legislature to see that the standard the public has made for itself shall be made the legal standard by some definition. The analysts who were examined before the Commission complained that they had not a definition of beer, which made their duties very arduous. We provide for that; we put in a limit of 15 per cent. We want to protect the British public from this growing evil of substituting other materials for the barley, malt, and hops from which the Englishman believes his beer is made. Chemical science in England says that you should use these sugars and brewing substitutes, but chemical science in Germany has come to a diametrically opposite conclusion, and it is only reasonable therefore that this matter should be well considered. Bavaria has absolutely prohibited the use of any sort of substitutes, and in North Germany it is nearly the same thing. The North German brewers, according to the evidence given before the Beer Materials Committee, have asked their Government to place on them the same restrictions that have been placed on the brewers in Bavaria, because they believe it would increase the consumption by giving greater confidence to the people who drink their beer. That is exactly what we want to do here. When we have the scientific knowledge of Germany opposed to the scientific knowledge of England, how do we know the scientific knowledge of 1093 England may not come in time to ask for a Pure Beer Bill for England? With regard to the deleterious substances which the hon. Member quoted, I know of no absolutely deleterious substances in beer dangerous to health. Of course, in using these invert sugars we come very near to serious danger. If carefully prepared, they are not only perfectly harmless, but useful; but if not carefully prepared, it becomes a dangerous matter. When you go to a great factory with the high reputation of Messrs. Garton, you are perfectly safe, and can rely on the extreme care that has been taken to see that every sample they send out is free from arsenic. But suppose these substitutes are made an ordinary marketable commodity bought anywhere, we should have no such ground for assurance that the danger which occurred at Manchester will not occur again. These dangers are a good reason for prohibiting the use of substitutes except within reasonable limits, and to the extent only to which it may be necessary to employ them in order to make a perfect beer. At present the average is less than 10 per cent. If this Bill passes, the condition of the law, from the point of view of the public health and a knowledge of what is used, will be put in a much sounder position than it is at present. The Legislature has imposed restrictions on the manufacture and sale of margarine and butter and other articles, and what the promoters of this Bill desire is a similar measure of protection to the consumers of beer.
§ (1.30.) Dr. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
said the House had been told that all the opposition to this Bill had come from the brewers. He was not a brewer, and had no interest in the trade. He did not even hold any brewery shares, He approached the consideration of this Bill from the point of view of the man in the street who sometimes drank a glass of beer. He would not venture to discuss the scientific side of the question. In his view, this Bill was opposed to the dictates of common sense, was retrograde in character, injurious in itself, and might become dangerous. The Bill, though less stringent, was more dangerous than that of last year, and under no circumstances could he support 1094 it. He did not know who wanted the Bill. Scientific authority was against it. He sniffed Protection in it. Protection was in the air now. The Budget had dealt a heavy and crushing blow at the principles of Free Trade, and the present was he thought, another advance in the direction of Protection. Still, he could not see whom the measure was going to protect. It was intended to protect the farmer. He represented an agricultural constituency. His constituents were the best barley growers in the world. If he thought this proposal would enable his constituents to get better prices for their barley, he might pocket his Free Trade principles and vote for the Bill. But it would do nothing of the kind, whilst it would give the consumer no protection against dangerous adulteration. What provisions were there in the Bill to protect the consumer against such an injurious ingredient as arsenic, which was accidentally introduced during the process of manufacture or otherwise, and which appeared to have destroyed so many lives and constitutions? They did not know yet how this arsenic got into the beer, and would it not be a more sensible plan if the promoters of the Bill waited until they heard the Report of the Royal Commission which was now sitting? The clause dealing with hop substitutes was highly oppressive. The only people whom the Bill seemed to protect were the hop growers, who would obtain great advantages if this Bill passed into law. It would also confer some benefits on the large brewers of this country, who would therefore agree to one of the clauses in this Bill which protected them in some way against the invasion of large quantities of light beers. He entirely agreed with his hon. friend who moved the rejection of this Bill in his estimate of the admirable qualities of these light foreign beers. He drank them himself. They were all in the interest of temperance. They contained little alcohol, and they were altogether light, innocent, and refreshing; and he wished they were more largely consumed in this country than they were. The consumption of what he considered a beneficial beverage would be hampered by the operation of this Bill. Clause 4 seemed to him most extraordinary. They had evidence from the Commission, which no one could deny, that 1095 substances used as substitutes for hops I were entirely devoid of any deleterious effect. The late Lord Playfair had stated that, the various ingredients, such as might be occasionally used by makers of beer, were not in any way deleterious to the public health. Then what was the reason of placing on the brewer this highly restrictive penalty.? Surely it would give rise to great contusion in the Revenue Department, and it would do no good at all to the public. which this Bill was supposed to protect. A still more oppressive provision was that in which a brewer was to be fined from £50 to £100 if any of these substitutes were found in his possession. Suppose be happened to have a tonic, say an infusion of gentian, in his possession at the brewery, or any other article which was or might be used in the manufacture of beer. What would happen then? He (Dr. Farquharson) very much preferred the old Bill, in which the brewer was compelled to state from what ingredients the beer was made; and if the present measure had contained a provision of this kind, he might have seen his way to vote for it. This penal clause was a serious matter, and constitued a new offence, for which a man might be summarily convicted, without appeal, and fined a large sum of money. This was a condition of things to which he would give his determined opposition. The first thing to be considered about beer was that it should be palatable. It should be free from injurous ingredients, and of such a kind as would not be deleterious to the public health. This Bill gave no guarantee of that kind, and he would therefore oppose it.
§ (1.43.) COLONEL BROOKFIELD (Sussex, Rye)
The speech to which we have just listened was most interesting by reason of the most singular state of confusion into which the hon. Member got. Among other things, be told us that in the event of a sufficiently high duty being put upon foreign barley, he was prepared to vote for the Bill. I think it most unfortunate that in preparing his opposition on the present occasion he should have apparently studied a Bill which was brought in last year, and not the Bill we are discussing at the present moment. But 1096 my reason for rising was to repel the attack the hon. Gentleman has made on the fourth clause. How does he justify the statement that he has made that this clause is highly oppressive, when he can hear from many Members of the House, and has heard from every brewer, that these hop substitutes are not used?
§ COLONEL BROOKFIELD
Because we propose to make what they say is the case the law also. I was sorry that the hon. Member, who has scientific attainments, should have thrown in his weight with the opposition to this hop substitutes clause, for this is the first time I have heard any attempt to attack that clause, which, I understand, is generally accepted even by the brewers themselves. I always feel diffident in advancing the claim of apparently so small an industry as that of the hop-grower, but until the speech of the hon. Member we were met with general sympathy from every quarter. We have no reason to conceal the fact that the clause has a more or less Protective object, and that we are anxious to promote an industry which gives such exceptional and remunerative employment to the poor people of London and elsewhere. Brewers sometimes ask why we were not content with introducing a hop substitute Bill. But I have already stated that we for many years did introduce a Bill of this kind, but we were extremely unfortunate in the ballot, and the measure was always blocked when it came in to the House. Therefore we are willing to throw in our lot with our more powerful friends the barley growers.
I refreshed my memory by reading over again the speech made on this Bill last year by the hon. Member for the London University, and the conclusion I came to was that the hon. Member was boldly advocating the interests of science in the abstract as against the health and comfort of the general consumer of beer. The motto of the hon. Member, like that of the vivi-sectionists, appears to be—Fiat experimentum in corpore vili. Nevertheless, I see a 1097 great inconsistency between some of the observations that have fallen from time to time from the hon. Member for the London University and the remarks of my hon. friend the Member for West Bradford, He foreshadowed that this Bill would produce a more alcoholic kind of beer. Last year the hon. Member for the London University deprecated the passage of this Bill on the ground that it would restrain brewers from the laudable object of producing the greatest amount of alcohol. I have often wished to know the attitude of the temperance party with reference to this question, and whether they consider it is worse to produce the maximum amount of alcohol in any given product. I certainly believe that whether we produce more alcohol or less by legislation of this kind, our object ought to be a pure product, and one which would be wholesome to the general consumer.
There was one point in the remarks of the hon. Member for the London University which interested me very much for he referred to the necessity for defining whether beer came under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act. Very often, when we are striving desperately hard for some particular kind of legislation, we find that it already exists it we only knew how to put the machinery in motion, and I should like to know from the Minister who appears to be representing the Government on this occasion something upon the plain question of whether beer is food, and whether the prosecutions which have taken place in connection with the arsenic scare, were not taken under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act. I believe they were. I do not, however, think this in the least does away with the necessity for this Bill, but I think it would strengthen the position if we knew that we could appeal to a Hill which is already in force. It would he very presumptuous on my part, and indeed for most hon. Members in this House, to attempt to argue with scientific experts in their criticisms of this Bill, but I should like to hear from the hon. Member for the London University something upon the subject of what are called preservatives. I should like to know why it is, when there is such a very rapid consumption of beer going on, when 1098 barrels are full in the morning and empty in the evening, becoming more and more necessary to use what are called preservatives of different kinds.
I think in the beginning of the last century when heavy beers were used and kept for a long time, to the best of my knowledge none of these preservative chemicals were employed. On the other hand those beers were more heavily hopped in those days, and I think it is that question which scientific critics ought to answer, and they ought to inform us whether it is not true that the hop is one of the most effectual and wholesome preservatives that can be employed. I have had to consider in connection with this Bill the meaning of the term "hop substitute." As the House is probably aware, one of the functions of the hop is purely that of a preservative. Its object is not only to impart a bitter taste to the product and to clarify it, but it is also to preserve it, and I shall have to consider at some future stage of this Bill, which will no doubt pass this year as it did last year, whether we should not hold to this clause prohibiting the use of any hop substitutes and prohibiting also the use of any preservatives whatsoever. I think I may call in evidence the Central Chamber of Agriculture, and say that they are strongly in favour of excluding all these preservatives of this particular kind, and as to the efficacy of the hop as the old-fashioned preservative which the general public wish to see used I should like before sitting down to quote some evidence which is in my possession.
Messrs. Briant & Meacham made ex-periments in 1895 and 1896 testing the efficacy of hops as preservatives. These tests showed that wort kept in sterilised flasks for twenty-one days without hops developed acidity, expressed as lactic acid, to the extent of 0.414 per cent., whereas when new hops were added the acidity did not exceed 0.090 per cent. An additional quantity of hops still further reduced the proportion. Therefore we claim that hops are all sufficient and most wholesome for the preservation of beer, and that as any preservative displaces hops they should each and all be classed as substitutes and prohibited. At a later stage of the Bill it may be 1099 desirable to emphasise this fact and include some of these preservatives in the schedule to be added. We shall not forget the opinion expressed by the right hon. Gentleman who last spoke, and he must forgive me for attacking him because he made such a wanton attack upon the interest which I represent. We shall always remember the opinion he has expressed in favour of the free use of every kind of abomination that can be employed as a substitute for hops, and I should like him to take some opportunity of stating whether hydrosulphite of lime, hydrosulphite of magnesia, sulphite of calcium, sulphite of soda, potassium sulphite, bisulphites of soda, and many other abominations such as salicylic acid and sulphurous acid used as preservatives in beer, tend to make that article more wholesome.
§ COLONEL BROOKFIELD
I am contending that they are substitutes for hops and I have quoted them in answer to the hon. Member who dealt with this question. I apologise for having detained the House so long, but I merely wished to give my warm advocacy to this Bill, and I express the hope that it will pass the Second Reading by a very large majority. (2.5.)
§ (2.35.) MR. PRICE (Norfolk, E.)
The hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire seemed to have some great fear that the supporters of the Bill were animated by Protectionist instincts and desires. Perhaps he will be somewhat reassured that I myself am in favour of this policy, and I think he will not suspect me of being a Protectionist. I think he will also feel very much reassured if he will study the Division List which somebody has sent round to all the Members of this House showing how Members voted on the last occasion when the Bill was before the House. He will not suspect of any Protectionist leanings a large number of the Gentlemen who gave their support to the Bill on that occasion—not this Bill in its present form, but this Bill in its essence. I should like to refresh the 1100 memory of my hon. friend and his scientific friends. He may have forgotten that on the last occasion its supporters were not by any means the only representatives of the barley interest and of the country districts, for every working man representative in the House supported the Bill. The hon. Member for Battersea, and the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, whose interests are peculiarly those of the working classes, were in favour of the Bill, and therefore I am entitled to take the position I have always taken, because the measure tries to carry out what the public asks for. My own experience in regard to the subject of pure beer, is that this proposal is more heartily received by those who are not farmers, than by the farmers who are in favour of it. Perhaps these farmers take a purely Protectionist view of the situation. If this Bill should pass, I believe it will be for the public interest, and if it does have a beneficial effect on the barley interest, it is not for me to complain. I do not complain, and I wish the farmers all the prosperity they can get out of it.
I support the Bill for the reason that I believe it is wanted by a large majority of beer consumers. If that is so, what we have to decide now is whether it is a fair and proper thing to have a standard for beer. I believe that until a few years ago, the vast bulk of the beer drinking public absolutely believed that in drinking beer they were drinking the constituents of barley and hops, but their confidence of late years has been rudely shaken. I. have a recollection that in my childhood I was taught that the constituents of beer were barley, hops, and malt, and I believed it until quite a late period of my career. Now that the public have some knowledge of the state of affairs, I think they are fairly entitled to demand something in the nature of a definition of beer, or at all events a standard of beer. If that is so the question arises whether we in this Bill have given a fair and reasonable standard. I was not concerned in the preparation of the Bill from the outset, and I do not exactly know what guided my hon. friends who prepared the Bill as to the particular 1101 proportion of glucose matters, or matters other than malt when they put down 15 per cent. in this Bill, but when I saw the figure my mind went back to a remarkable speech we had five years ago, when a similar Bill was before the House, and when Mr. Osborne, then the Member for Chelmsford, spoke on the subject. It was an epoch-making speech so far as this controversy is concerned, because I think it has been present in the mind of every man who has drafted a Bill on the subject ever since. It affected the House very much at the time. Throughout the House it was felt that a notable contribution had been made to the debate by a man who thoroughly understood the subject. He was a brewer, and was very much respected both professionally and otherwise. He gave us particulars how he brewed himself, and why it was that pure beer at that time would render it impossible to carry on business on the present lines. He told us that he used 80 per cent. of Essex barley, 10 per cent. of foreign barley, and 10 per cent. of glucose or sugar, and from these he got his brew. The particular barley he bought was not of specially fine and valuable quality. It was ordinary Essex barley, and his beer I have no doubt was as good as his character and reputation. At that time the whole of the brewing interest in this House applauded his utterances, and I believe the trade took him as their spokesman on that occasion. We have given an extra 5 per cent. margin, and I put it to my scientific friends in this House, who are so anxious that the claims of science should not be overlooked and who say that science should assist in brewing the best possible beer, that that is an extremely good margin to work upon, and if science cannot do something to improve beer with that margin then science is not showing itself in the best way. J. should like very much to see any brewer get up and say that he used more than 15 per cent. I do not think there is any brewer who would commit himself to that statement, and I do not believe that any brewer in the House does use it.
The hon. Member for West Bradford, who moved the Amendment, referred to certain communications he 1102 had from brewers who did use malt, and think he rather astonished the House, and I think he would have astonished the scientific Members of the House who were not then present, when he stated that in an American brewery 70 per cent. of malt substitues was used. A friend of mine the other day, who is interested as a large shareholder in an American brewery, told me that he was rather disturbed by the fact that he got little or nothing from that investment. I told him that there was wonderful recuperative power in beer, and that the investment would get better as time went on; but after these revelations I am inclined to withhold my judgment. If they find it necessary, in order to get a market at all, to use such an enormous amount of malt substitutes, I think they must be uncommonly near the end of their tether. I hardly believe that many American brewers use such an amount of malt substitutes as 70 per cent. of the whole brewing materials. I remember last year an admirable speech was made by a scientific gentleman, the Member for the University of London, and his speech was founded on the fact that undoubtedly malt was the flavouring material, at all events of beer, and that it did not very much matter how you got the alcohol. One hon. Member seemed to think, so far as one could gather from his speech, that he was in favour of a material to make as much alcohol as possible, but he was quite clear that the flavouring material could be got from malt only. We shall expect the hon. Member on this occasion, although I see he signed the Whip on the opposite side, to tell us why it is when you use so much barley it is necessary to use more than 15 per cent. of sugar. Even supposing that 15 per cent. is putting it a little too low, that is a point which the Committee can consider. Our only wish is that there shall be established some reasonable standard in which the public may feel confidence. To tell you the truth, I do not think the public would feel confidence in what I would call the unlimited application of science to beer. I do not know that I feel very much confidence in the unlimited application of science to wine. I noticed last night that the Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed 1103 to think that British wines were almost indistinguishable, so far as flavour went, from foreign wines.
§ * THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EX-CHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
When properly managed.
§ Mr. PRICE
That may mean properly managed with scientific assistance. I confess that I have not had the opportunity of dining with the right hon. Gentleman or with the hon. Member for the University of London, but I do not know but that I would lather have a dry dinner than one with scientific wines. I confess it does not till me with any trust in their taste, cither in beer or wine, to think that scientific interference may form such a very important feature of it. I quite admit, and I think we all admit, that probably the production of beer has been very much improved by chemical discovery. To enable chemical discoveries to be made, and to allow them a margin to still further improve the brew of beer, we leave them 15 per cent.; but if the Committee thinks at a subsequent stage of the Bill that it should be 20 per cent., that could be made the margin.
I believe that the promoters of the Bill have honestly tried to meet the objections made against it from time to time. I think we need not imagine that the growers of barley in this country are going to be ruined if so large a percentage of added material is allowed, and I do not know that the brewers are going to be ruined. I do not think there is a single brewer in this House—and there are several of the most eminent—who will get up and say that they use more than 15 per cent. of substitutes; and that being so, where does the objection to the Bill come in? With reference to the machinery of the Bill, and the method by which it is to be discovered whether or not its provisions have been infringed, there is undoubtedly a difficulty in obtaining convictions in cases of the kind. The hon. Member who moved the Second Beading said very truly that we would have to rely more on the good faith of the brewers than on the detective quantities of the officers of the Inland Revenue. I am, however, afraid that the Chancellor of the Exchequer may object to new duties being put on the 1104 officers of Inland Revenue. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Tewkesbury Division, in his very able speech, quoted an authority whose view was that these duties would be very light and almost nominal, and a very small addition to the present duties of the officers of Inland Revenue. I would put it to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, even if there were a serious addition to the duties of these officers, it would be worth it, in order to have a standard of purity for beer. The public are distinctly in favour of it. I do not think it would be possible to attend any public meeting composed chiefly of the working classes without finding that they were in favour of a proper standard of beer. It is the favourite and usual drink of the working classes. They like to have it good; and if it is good, there is no particular reason why they should not drink reasonable quantities of it. It is in the hope that we have at last discovered a reasonable solution of the difficulty that I earnestly commend this Bill to the favourable judgment of the House.
§ *(2.53.) MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN (Kent, Tunbridge)
Whatever may be the particular merits of this Bill, the supporters of it may, at all events, congratulate themselves on the extreme weakness of the opposition. No attempt has been made to show that the demand which hon. Members on both sides of the House are making is an unfair demand, or that it is less on the part of the public now than it was when my hon. friend first brought in his Bill ten or twelve years ago. No attempt has been made to grapple with the Bill as put before the House on the present occasion. The hon. Member for West Bradford, who began the opposition to the Bill, appeared to me to take the weakest possible line. He told us that, so far as questions of public health went, there was no need for this Bill at all; and he fortified that view by quoting from the evidence given before the Beer Materials Committee, and also the Report of that Committee. In his evidence before that Committee, Mr. Salamon said that there were no deleterious ingredients 1105 used in the manufacture of beer, but only two years later the arsenical poisoning occurred. In the Report of that Committee it was stated that the Committee believed that in the manufacture of glucose all impurities were eliminated, and yet it was glucose which caused all the deaths which occurred two years ago. It might have been accidental, but certainly the impurities were not eliminated, and that shows that something is wanted in the interest of the public health. The hon. Member proceeded to use once more the old argument that if this Bill were passed, less English barley would be used. The hon. Member must evidently have been considering the Bill of last year, not the present Bill; because the point that if no saccharine matter other than malt is to be used foreign barley would take its place has been fully and fairly met in this Bill, as the promoters provide that 15 per cent. of saccharine matter may be used in the manufacture of beer. Then my hon. friend proceeded to give examples, and I think he was rather unfortunate in referring to Munich beer. Munich is in Bavaria, and in Bavarian the most stringent rules are in existence against the use of substitutes. At Neuberg, in Bavaria, on May 26th, 1885, twelve brewers were sent to prison for twenty-one days for using hop substitutes. There is nothing in this Bill which would send my hon. friend to prison for using hop substitutes; but, as he referred to Bavaria in opposition to the Bill, I think I may also refer to it as a very strong reason in support of the measure. Bavarian beer is so good that that in itself is a very good reason why we should pass some regulations prohibiting the use of substitutes. Then the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire also made a speech against last year's Bill.
§ * MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN
The hon. Member told us that he would have voted for the Bill of last year 1106 had he been present, but that he objects to this Bill. Yet the one thing he objects to in this Bill is a clause which was also in last year's Bill, and it is on this particular clause, with reference to hop substitutes, that I wish to speak at the present moment. I do not profess myself to have any detailed knowledge of brewing; but, after all, this is not entirely a brewers' question. It is a question for the general public. I do not profess to be able to state in any full sense the views of the barley growers, but I know a little about the hop question and the use of substitutes. It is objected to this clause that it is unnecessary, because it is said that hop substitutes are not used. I say in reply that we know in Kent that they are used, although perhaps not to any great extent just now. If they are not used, how comes it that advertisements constantly appear in brewers' papers offering them? I have two examples from the Brewers' Journal. One is—The hop supplement called H.S. To save one-third of the hops, and supplement them with valuable keeping properties. The H.S. produces a most delicate flavour in the finest pale ales. By post, packet equivalent to four pounds of the best hops, 1s. Private testimonials from high-class brewers who have used it successfully for 17 years.Here is another advertisement from Burton—A hop composition which gives a line Kent aroma. Price on application.People do not advertise articles in papers like the Brewers' Journal unless they are used, and my answer is that these advertisements are pretty good evidence that hop substitutes are used. Before the Beer Materials Committee, on which the hon. Member for West Bradford relied to such an extent, very important evidence was given by Mr. Read, who, I am sure, will be recognised as a great authority on these questions. He said—It appears clear that there is no efficient substitute for hops any more than there is for barley, and although the quantity of substitutes used may at present be comparatively small owing to the low price of hops, they would no doubt be again largely reverted to if the price of hops materially appreciated.The price of hops is at present so very low that it does not pay to use hop substitutes, or at all events it only pays to use them in very small quantities, but directly the price of hops went up these substitutes would be used to a very large 1107 extent, with the most deleterious effect on the public and to the great disadvantage of the hop growers. Hops are a very variable crop. The price varies more than in any other kind of produce. It may vary from £2 per cwt. to £15 or £16 per cwt. Year after year the price of hops may be very low, and hop growers may sell at a loss; but they look forward to a year when the price goes up, and then they take their profit. They must take their profit on an average of years; but if hop substitutes are brought into use in the year when prices are high, the hop growers will be deprived of their profit. My predecessor in the representation of Tunbridge gave some very significant figures on this point. In 1882, which was known as the year of the hop famine, the price of hops was very high, and the hop substitutes which were generally used rose in price in an extraordinary way. In August of that year Colombo root rose from 22s. to 95s.; camomile from 40s. to 120s.; quassia from. £5 to £40; guinea grain from 32s. to 60s.; and cherita from 3d. to 3s. That shows that in that particular year, when the price of hops was exceedingly high, these substitutes were in great demand, and the price went up. I contend, therefore, that hop substitutes are used, and I contend also that it is very unfair on the public that they should be used. The danger of impurity in the brewing of beers depends most of all on the extensive use of a great number of ingredients. If the ingredients are few, the impurities are all well known and can he guarded against; but if we are to allow the use of almost any chemical substance in order to supplement the use of hops, we not only run the risk of using deleterious substances but of substances which, though not deleterious in themselves, are capable of rendering other ingredients injurious. Therefore, at all events, we ought to pass this clause, which prohibits the use of all hop substitutes. We recognise the difficulty of dealing only with a branch of the subject, and we feel, therefore, that it is a wiser policy to support a Pure Beer Bill as a whole. It is because I wish to see all hop substitutes put an end to, and that the public demand for a standard of beer should be granted, that I hope this Bill will receive Second Reading.
§ *(3.4) SIR EDWARD SASSOON (Hythe)
My hon. friend who has just sat down seemed to confine his observations to the exposure of the alleged frequency of substitutes for Kentish hops, but I take it that the object of this measure is rather to discourage the use of sugar and other substances in the manufacture of beer. Therefore, I think my hon. friend does not take a general and comprehensive view of this Bill. Personally, I would rather associate myself with the very excellent speech of my hon. friend the Member for West Bradford and follow him in condemning both the principle and the provisions of the Bill now before the House. I think the task of the opponents of the Bill was very much facilitated, if I may say so without disrespect, by the somewhat flimsy and unsubstantial case made for it. This Bill, or a singularly cognate Bill, was debated very fully last year, but I wholly fail to observe any violent manifestation or desire on the part of consumers of beer in this country for that compound of ambrosial nectar with which he wishes to regale them with. Last year the title of the Bill contained the attractive word "pure," which might have been expected to attract many votaries, but it has been eliminated from the title of this Bill. What is the object of the Bill we are considering? It seeks to enact certain stringent restrictive measures as against the present method of manufacturing beer, and it proceeds to provide that not more than 15 per cent. of saccharine and similar substances may be used in the mash tun. I fail to observe the magic of 15 per cent. There is no doubt that the motive power of this Bill, as well as the Bill of last year, was the arsenical scare at Manchester; but if saccharine substances are all deleterious, if they are poisonous, and if they contain toxic elements of a murderous character, not alone should 15 per cent. not be allowed, but even their use to the extent of one per cent. ought to be prohibited. As an abstract proposition, the desire to safeguard the consumer of beer is very pretty; but I put it to the House whether this attempt to harass and interfere with the freedom of trade is at all likely to be of any real or tangible good to the consumer. I have yet to 1109 learn that beer brewed from barley malt and hops is better or purer than beer brewed from sugar and other saccharine substances, since they are chemically indistinguishable. There is no doubt that the public demand nowadays is for some light beer which will drop bright quickly, and surely the promoters of this Bill know that it is only possible to produce such a beer by using a certain quantity of sugar. I am credibly informed that 95 per cent. of the brewers of this country use a certain proportion of sugar, and it is certain that sugar is not used for the sake of economy. I am perfectly able to prove—indeed, it is a matter of common knowledge—that sugar is dearer than barley malt and hops. It is used because it is absolutely indispensable to obtain a particular brew to suit the taste and requirements of the public.
The hon. Member for Preston used what he doubtless considered a clinching argument when he said that one of the avowed objects of the Bill was to stimulate and encourage the growth of English barley. My right hon. friend the Member for the Sleaford Division has also used that argument. If I thought it were at all likely that that excellent object would be brought about by the passage of this Bill, I should not hesitate to vote for it. But will it? I maintain that that object would be defeated if this Bill is passed, because it would mean a very large reduction in the consumption of British barley in the manufacture of beer, for the reason that sugar and hop substitutes are now used by brewers in order to counteract and neutralize and reduce the very heavy albuminous properties unfortunately in-separable from lower grades of British barley. Therefore the inevitable consequence of the passage of this Bill would be that it would not only lessen the consumption of British barley, but would very largely stimulate and open a fresh field for foreign barley. I had the advantage of consulting one of the greatest maltsters in Kent, and he assured me; that the inevitable effect of this Bill would be to destroy the use of British barley in the manufacture of beer. He, being a brewer as well as a maltster, was able to take a comprehensive view of both standpoints, and speaking with 1110 great knowledge and authority, declared that not only would the use of British barley for the manufacture of beer be considerably curtailed, but also that heavy loss would be inflicted on the Exchequer, while it would confer no safeguard on the consuming public. I venture to think that the speech of the hon. Member for Preston conveyed neither illumination nor conviction to those who had an open and unprejudiced mind on the matter, and also that the time of the House might be more favourably occupied even on a Wednesday afternoon than in discussing a Bill which I hope the House will reject by such an overwhelming majority as will give it its quietus for many years to come.
§ (3.14.) MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Yorkshire, W.R., Pudsey)
The Bill which we are now discussing is unquestionably a better Bill than that of last year, and I think that that in itself will be some justification for, the House not adopting this measure and passing it into law. In all probability, if the House rejects this Bill, the promoters will come to Parliament next year with a better Bill still. I am anxious not to give a silent vote on this occasion. It seems to me that the Bill is founded on what I may describe as a fallacy and a misconception. The promoters are, as far as I can judge, of opinion that beer brewed from barley malt and hops is the very best possible liquor that can be consumed by the British public. I entirely dissent. What is generally consumed in the North of England is what is called mild ale. Bitter beer is not consumed by the working classes to any extent in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and I venture to say that beer brewed from malt and hops alone would be greatly inferior to beer brewed with an adequate proportion of sugar. An addition of 25 per cent. of good sugar makes the best possible beer that can be brewed for the people of this country. I agree with my hon. friend who has just spoken that sugar is not used for the sake of cheapness, but because it produces a better liquor. Hon. Members are entirely wrong in thinking that the nearer the standpoint of having nothing but barley malt and hops is approached, the better the beer. The beer brewed from sugar cannot be detected by analysis. It is absolutely the same article, when placed before the public, 1111 as beer brewed from barley malt and hops, the only difference being that it is more palatable and a better liquor. What hon. Members are endeavouring to do is to oblige brewers to place before the public an inferior article; and they are doing that in order to increase the demand for a certain commodity which many of them provide, and which they think ought to be more largely consumed. I maintain that is not a fair thing to do, and that it is not a straightforward way of dealing with this matter. It practically amounts to Protection. If hon. Members can prove that beer brewed from barley malt and hops is the best, then all our arguments go by the board; but if it can be shown that beer brewed with an admixture of sugar is a better liquor, then there is nothing in this Bill. I would further wish to point out that if this Bill is passed into law it will disorganise the arrangements of every brewery in the three Kingdoms. The brewers will have to increase their plant very largely, because everyone knows that beer brewed from sugar fines much more rapidly than other beer, and, therefore, the brewer need not keep a very large stock. I venture to suggest to hon. Members whose names are on the back of this Bill that they are altogether wrong in their way of dealing with this matter. I agree with the hon. Baronet that if a man wants beer composed of malt and hops he has a perfect right to go into any public house in the country and demand it. I suggested to the hon. Baronet last year that he was creating a statutory liquor. There is no reason why it should not be distinctly understood that if a man desires malt beer alone he should be able to obtain it, and that every publican should he compelled to keep it; and if the hon. Baronet would only introduce such a measure, I would most heartily support him. Protection is at the bottom of this Bill, and I hope the House will reject it by a large majority, which will probably have the effect of a much better Bill being introduced next year.
§ *(3.20.) MR. PURVIS (Peterborough)
As I was responsible for the Bill of last year, the House may not consider it unfitting that I should say a few words on the present proposal. This Bill is the same, and not the same, as the Bill of last year. 1112 Last year's Bill said that what was made from barley should be called beer; this Bill says that what is called beer shall be made from barley, a grain which is the main constituent of beer in substance as it is wholly in name. Indeed, barley is still called beer in the Northern part of this island. This perfectly simple proposal is founded on the common sense truth that the best way to seem to be a thing is to be that thing in reality. But this Bill is alleged to be guilty, among other enormities, of interfering with the free mash tun, as if to do so, were, so to speak, to lay sacrilegious hands on the very Ark of the Covenant. By the Act of 1880, by which the malt tax was converted into the beer duty, the tax was removed to a later stage in the process of brewing, thereby giving the brewer a wider choice of substances for his purpose as regards his duty to the revenue, but not a wider choice of conduct as regards his duty to his customer. For aught I know that Act might give him the right to brew from shirt collars and sawdust, but not the right to say expressly or impliedly that the product was brewed from barley. Moreover, if the Act of 1880 gave such a right it was not sacred. If the public benefit requires that the Act of 1880 should be altered or abolished then this ought to be done. Beer is brought into existence for the sake of the public, and the public his not been brought into existence for the sake of beer. These Beer Bills are always charged with, obstructing the march of science. But, Sir we are not hampering the march of science, but the abuse of science. Her votaries in trade must not seek their reward in a way not yet recognised in the British commercial code of morality by selling an imitation under the cloak of an idea that it is the genuine article when, in point of fact, it is not the genuine article. It is idle to say one is as good as the other, the buyer has a right to have what he asks for and what he pays for. The high priests of science the chemists say that malt beer and substitute beer are indistinguishable. That is one of those half-truths which are far more deceptive than complete untruths. Indistinguishable may be true of certain properties which the two kinds of beer possess in common with each other and various other 1113 things, but it is not true with regard to certain peculiar properties which differentiate substitute beer from the rest of beers. It is true they are the same as far as concerns starch, sugar, and alcohol, but it is untrue as regards the peculiarities of barley malt made antecedently in nature's laboratory which give it valuable, nutritious and strengthening properties, distinguishing barley malt from chemical imitations.
Then the Bill is charged with infringing the doctrine of Free Trade. It would be interesting to know how many fallacies have masqueraded under the garb of that much misunderstood and much belied theory. The touchstone and test of Free Trade is the interest of the consumer and not the interest of the producer as such. The consumer must have the last word in every article and the casting vote in every decision. That is the cardinal principle upon which the present Bill turns. It will be a great boon to the consumer, for even as regards the lighter beers it has been admitted today that there is a growing opinion that none are equal to those Bavarian beers which are made exclusively from malt and hops, and which it is a criminal Act not to make exclusively from malt and hops. English beer of the same kind will always be cheaper and will gain greater popularity than imported beer. This Bill will also be a benefit to agriculturists. I never could quite make out why some agriculturists have doubted this statement. I remember the criticisms poured upon my Bill last year, and the vaticinations which have been repeated this afternoon about the threatened inroad of French barley, as if a good sample of English barley would not be able to hold its own in the English market. I cannot but suspect that since farmers made their great mistake in getting the repeal of the malt tax, reasonable self-distrust has in some cases developed into unreasonable fear of their own shadows.
As regards the friendly critics who fancy that this Bill does not go far enough in the way of protecting English barley, their arguments, drawn from interested premises, are double-edged and likely to alienate, not conciliate, public support of this Bill. Each of us whose 1114 names are on the hack of this measure may well breathe the aspiration of the Psalmist—Let the righteous chasten me friendly and reprove me, but let not their precious balms break my head.And last but not least, in my opinion, after much study of the subject, I think it will be no small advantage to the brewer himself. The liking for English beer will revive when public confidence in the composition of English beer has been restored. With all due respect for the hon. Member for West Bradford, I think the brewer will be less worried about Excise requirements and will be less wearied with making declarations about cunningly devised but perfidious and even fatal materials. He will not be continually distracting his mind from legitimate brewing and devoting his attention to puzzling substitutes, but like the successful Bavarian brewer he will be occupied with the study of genuine improvement in the preparation of malt, the boiling process and fermentation, and his reward will be as great as that of his successful competitor, the Bavarian brewer. I hope that the House will pass the Second Beading of this Bill with even a more triumphant majority than that which crowned our efforts upon a like occasion last year.
§ *(3.35.) MR. MOULTON (Cornwall, Launceston)
The carefully prepared speech of the last speaker would have been one of the most comic speeches which I have ever heard in this House if I had not felt that it had been made upon a question of stopping that advance of industrial science of which England above all other nations sought to he proud. On such a subject I am surprised that a speech of this sort should be delivered by a Member of this House.
There is no question as to the aim of this Bill. It is to render criminal the processes by which I should think certainly one-third, and probably one-half of the beer now made in England is manufactured. There was one admission which the last speaker made which I hope the House will bear in mind, and that is that upon this question the last word is with the consumer. The consumer has pronounced on these new beers versus the old beers, and there is no doubt as to what his verdict has been I want just for 1115 a few minutes to call the attention of the House to what the real question is. I want to show how this measure affects the consumer and how it affects the producer, because in my conversations on the subject I have found a great earnestness and a great desire to go right on this question, but I have also found the profoundest ignorance as to what the question at issue was, That is not to be wondered at. This is an instance of what those hon. Members who take an interest in industrial advance will find occuring again and again. When an industrial art passes to a science, when peeple develop it in such a way that it is out of sight of the old-fashioned tentative methods that knew not the reason why they did a thing, then the further it advances and the further it gets away from the common notions of the art the more open the people who cultivate it are to attacks by the interested based upon some misrepresentation of what they are doing. They are open to these attacks in a greater degree because the audience appealed to must necessarily be ignorant of the special work which has taken this industrial science out of the sight of the common people. The assailants with the exereise of a little skill can always misrepresent an advance, and as it were, rouse prejudice against it, and they can do this with safety, simply because the people to whom they speak, having their own business to see to, cannot keep themselves abreast of that special knowledge which alone can appreciate the advance which has been made.
Take the case of the Bessemer process. That process has added countless wealth to England by making it possible to get the best iron from our native iron ore deposits. Supposing a man argued today that because our forefathers were in the habit of taking a good iron ore and never meddled with an ore containing phosphorus in order to make good iron that we should always do the same. The merit of the Bessemer process is that it makes good iron out of bad ore, and just in the same way in every one of our industrial pursuits the more we advance the more we are able to turn to good account that which the comparative ignorance of our fore fathers failed to utilise. Therefore you will often find attacks made on those industries which have made the most advance simply because the people 1116 cannot understand the advances which have been made, because they have gone beyond them. No better case can be given than this case of brewing. I do not pretend to be a practical brewer, but I do know that scientists have now turned brewing from a rule of thumb trade into one of the most beautiful processes in industrial science. The various steps by which this has been done arc, of course, known only to brewing specialists, but it happens that I have some knowledge of them because almost every one of them has come under my notice, for I have had to master them all in connection with some invention or other. I want to give to this House some idea how, chiefly through the work of Englishmen, this science has grown, and I want to point out how these things which have been spoken of as a kind of crude adulteration, which spoil the perfection of our forefathers' beer are all of them advances made for the sake of purity, cheapness, efficiency and quickness in the production of beer.
The critical moment in the history of beer was when lager beer first began to be largely imported into England. Up to that time you had only the old English beer. The great bulk of the old English beer would not be drunk now-a-days. It was strong in alcohol, and so heavily narcotized with hops that it was well known to the medical men that the symptoms of drunkenness partook more of the character of narcotic poisoning than of alcoholic stimulation. It was thick and more or less acid. When the lager beer came it was found to be light and lightly hopped, not narcotized. It was much appreciated by the English people, and I have no hesitation in saying that a large portion of the brewing trade would have passed into German hands, but for the labour of those English investigators who had mastered the chemistry of this delicate process of fermentation, and thus had placed in the hands of English brewers the weapons by which we could drive the foreigners out by beating them in the beer we ourselves produced. What was the nature of those investigations? Consider for a moment what is the nature of investigations in industrial science. You perform an operation which produces a certain effect. You investigate it, in 1117 order to find out how it came to produce that effect. The investigator thus finds out the cause, and as soon as he has isolated the cause that gives him some freedom. He now knows that if he keeps that cause unchanged he will get the same result, in spite of his changing the other circumstances. In that way he gets more and more freedom from old restrictions; he gradually gets more and more command of his material until he can work with certainty where before he worked merely tentatively. I will take a single instance—one that shows powerfully the mischievous nature of this Bill, and the absurdity of the excuses for it to which we have just listened. it was found out ages ago that malt would make beer, because the starch in malt put into water would turn into sugar. But it required somebody to find the cause. Then it was found that in sprouting a little ferment was generated that turned the starch into sugar. The purpose of this is evident. The starch is the food of the young plant, and can only be absorbed when soluble as sugar. Then they began to find out how much of this ferment there was in the malt, and to their surprise they found that the amount of ferment was far more than enough to turn the starch of that grain of malt into sugar. Naturally, when we think of it, it must be so, because in a downpour of rain, and in exposure to the weather, much must be lost in the plant, and there must be a large surplus provided by nature. It then occurred to them—the sole object of malting being to get this ferment which turns the starch into sugar—"If we have more ferment than we want, why should we malt so much?" That idea has been followed and worked out, and now we know that you need malt only half your barley, that with the proper appliances and the proper processes, the proper manipulation, that is to say, of temperatures, you may use half your barley unmalted, because the malted part is quite sufficient to take double its bulk and turn it into the sugar from which you make beer. Is not that a very beautiful idea? But it is made criminal by this Bill to use that idea.
§ * MR. MOULTON
I thought I should hear that from my hon. and learned friend the Member for the Rugby Division, whose position on the back of this Bill has been a standing wonder to me since the Bill was printed. If he will look at the Bill, he will find that only 15 per cent. of the sugar-forming materials may be unmalted barley, but I say you can do it up to 50 per cent. It follows, therefore, that this Bill forces you to use malted barley when you can use it as well as unmalted, Why? To keep the maltster going, I suppose. That is to say, scientific discovery is not to be allowed to have its natural reward in this direction; and, although that malting is absolute waste, although it produces no effect, because you can get exactly the same sugar from exactly the same starch by exactly the same ferment as by malting, yet by this Bill you are to be made a criminal and fined £500 if you dare to dispense with it.
§ * MR. MOULTON
Not a criminal? I do not know what my learned friend thinks, but a person who disobeys the law of his country and is fined £500 is a very good pocket edition of a criminal, I think. I have given this illustration because in the speeches to which we have listened, these malt substitutes, as they are termed, have been treated as though they were unwholesome matters which wicked adulterators had been putting in the place of this beautiful product of nature—malt. But in this case the substitute is a pure natural product. Art has had a little to do with making malt, but art has nothing to do with making barley meal, and yet it is to be criminal to use barley meal when you can do so. I chose that instance because I desired to show how this Bill, which practically says to the industrial science of brewing, "You shall stand still," is based on complete ignorance of the facts of the case. Do you think that many of the Members whose names are on the back of the Bill would have said, "I am going to force a man to 1119 use malted barley, although it is exactly the same whether he uses it malted or unmalted?" They are men of such intelligence and position that I am perfectly certain they would not lend their hand to such a proposal But that is what I say—this science has grown out of common knowledge, and they do not know enough of this special science. It is not their business to know it. A man who perpetually runs after every science and tries to master it will be a jack of all trades and master of none. It is no reproach to a man that he does not understand the science of fermentation; but it is a reproach to him if, not knowing the subject, he attempts to restrict the free action of those who have to carry on industrial pursuits.
But I pass from that to another development of the science of fermentation which has led to this modern beer. It was not so much the use of unmalted grain which saved England from the intrusion of foreign beer; it was the use of what are known as brewing sugars. The greater part of English barley is unsuited for our light beers, and for a very simple reason. Barley is composed very largely of starch, which becomes the sugar out of which you make your alcohol, but there is a large amount of nitrogenous—call it albuminous—matter besides, and, according as you grow it in the fierce heat of a more tropical sun or in a damper climate, the proportions of the two elements are altered. The greater part of the English barley is so heavy in its albuminous portions as compared with its starch that it is exceedingly difficult to get from it beer of anything like the quality which is now insisted on. I know there are a great many brewers who use only malt and hops. How do they do it? They buy not only the very best English barley and hops, but they buy also very largely foreign barley to enable them to accomplish their object. When the struggle between German and English beer came, there were two courses open. The public would have the light beer. One course was to abandon the heavy English barleys, and to brew from light foreign barley. The other was to strengthen the English barleys in that portion in which they were weak—that is, the 1120 starch or sugar-forming portion. Now it fortunately happened that before this time it had been discovered that it was not only by malting that starch could be turned into sugar, but that it could also be done by an acid which could be removed, and that the sugars into which the starch was turned by the acid were exactly the same as were made by the little ferment in malt. Thence came the way of rescuing English barleys without going to the foreign barleys, and it was this; they took the starch from the grain, and, by means of the acid, turned it into these sugars, and these, when added to the English malt, restored the proportions necessary for the light beers.
What is the consequence of that? It is that, without having to apply to foreign malt, English malt has always found a good market, and is brewed into the clear light beer of today by the use of these things which are stigmatised as substitutes, but which really are sugars, made from the same source as the sugar in malt, but made in a laboratory instead of by fermentation. The real enemy of English malt is foreign malt, and the real friend of English malt was that sugar which enabled you to put English malt in the same position as its more starchy rival, and rendered it fitted for that kind of beer which is preferred by the people, and from which I hope you will not be able to drive them. These things are stigmatised as substitutes. The hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill said that it was of great national importance that beer should be brewed from wholesome materials. I should like to know where, in wholesomeness, there is any difference between these sugars and the sugars in malt. They are chemically identical. They are both produced from starch, one by one method, the other by another, neither method leaving any trace in the starch, except its conversion into sugar, and, if you choose to arrange it properly, neither leaving any trace in the sugar. In what sense, then, ought you to stigmatise these as substitutes? They are substitutes just in the same way as mutton is a substitute for beef; that is, you do not have them both for the same dinner, and the one makes the 1121 other unnecessary. But in wholesome-ness, in the way in which they brew a pure and good beer, there is nothing to choose between them, except this; that where you bring in the sugar that you get from starch you do not increase your trouble with the albuminous matter; whereas, when you are dealing with malt, you cannot get the sugar without the concomitant of albuminous matter. A certain amount of that albuminous matter is good, or at all events, it gives a flavour, that is appreciated, and that amount must always be there; but why it should be more wholesome to increase the amount of the substance that you do your best to get rid of, I do not see.
The case, therefore, stands thus. No step here has been a step in adulteration. It has been a true scientific step, based on understanding what you are doing, seeing how you can do it better, more quickly, and sometimes more cheaply. With regard to cheapness, I am not, as I have said before a practical brewer, but I know something of the chemistry of brewing, and I can assure hon. Members that there are hundreds of brewers using sugar at this present moment, when it would be cheaper for them to use malt. I will tell you why they do it. First of all, because it gives so much greater accuracy to their brewing. Perhaps the House will follow me for a moment, while I explain this point, though it is somewhat difficult. In these sugars, both in the sugar of malt and in the sugars obtained otherwise, there are more than one sugar, so closely allied as to be difficult to separate, but still not quite identical, differing mainly in the speed with which they take up fermentation. Consequently, coming to the real question of practical brewing, in order to got a good beer, it will be appreciated that you have not only to think of the fermentation by which the alcohol in the first instance is made, but you want your beer to be in condition at the time it is drunk; you want the carbonic acid to be there to make it fresh, foaming, and attractive. For that purpose you must have a certain amount of sugars which more slowly ferment. You do not want them to ferment and have done with it; you want the fermentation to go on, so that right to the end the beer will be fresh and sparkling. Now, 1122 when you come to the sugars, you can analyse them, and so apportion the amount of the one and the amount of the other as to regulate the time at which the beer will be in condition. They are all equally wholesome; they are all equally nutritious if you take them as sugars; but, by reason of the fact that some outrun others in the speed of fermentation, you are able to graduate that speed so as to get a beer which shall be in condition at the time it is to be used. These are refinements which nobody ever dreamt of until the science of fermentation had made these advances, and now science gives to the brewers, not only cheapness, quickness, and better quality, but also that which always accompanies the growth of science—greater certainty. They have become musicians who can play on the keys of the instrument and produce the result they want. Do you mean to tell me that it is a good deed to send us hack from this state into the ignorance of the past, or that any people here are in a position to say, "You have got on so far; you have saved us from German beer coming in; you have given us a beer of which the whole nation approves, but you shall stop now. You shall not go on adding to your triumphs; you shall not even use freely those triumphs you have already achieved?" Will anyone here say that we in this House are in a position to state in regard to one, I am sorry to say of the biggest industries of England that it is not in any way to grow? Why. it brings to one's mind those two lines of Shake-peare where he refers to limits sought to be imposed even in his day—And art made tongue-tied by authority,And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill.Now I hope I have placed before you the defence, or rather it is not a defence, but simply the history of this industry. I could point to very many things in addition, but I just want to appeal to hon. Members to consider two things. The first thing I want to put to them is this. Just consider the injury you are doing to the development of England if you put forward that it is the function of Parliament to step in and stop the development of an industry. Why? half the people whose names are on the back of this Bill go about preaching that larger sums ought to be given to secondary education, and that we are 1123 being passed by other nations because we are not ready to take up the new inventions of science and put them into practice. But here they come and ask you to say, when an industry has gone on successfully, that there is to be no further advance in the future. You must not even use what you have been using. When a manufacturer is considering whether he shall take up a new process and instal new plant, the question comes before him as to whether he will be harried in so doing. If this Bill were passed, you would double the trouble which inventors find in getting manufacturers to take up their inventions. You would put in the way of inventors, on whom the prosperity of this country so largely depends, a most terrible stumbling block, if it is always to be thrown in their teeth that the proposed advance will be adjudicated upon by those who have no knowledge of the subject.
And now for my last point. In the debates on Procedure there have been references to the way in which private Members' legislation has fallen into desuetude, and all sorts of reasons have been given. May I suggest that one reason for the falling away of private Members' debates is the irresponsibility of the proposals. There have been four attempts from the same quarter to pass a Beer Bill, and they are all framed on different lines. The first two aimed at monopolizing the name "beer" for the product of malt and hops alone. Last year's Bill abandoned this idea and allowed brewers to use what they liked, provided they said what they were doing. This year's Bill prevented them from using what they liked, but they need not say anything about it. The present Bill was printed, I think, the day before the Easter holidays, and it came as a perfect surprise, because everyone who had spoken in favour of the previous Bill pointed out, as a great merit, that it left people perfectly free, and that it would not interfere with the freedom of trade at all. But just before the Easter holidays out came this Bill, which says," Oh! you are not, under the penalties of this Bill, to do so-and-so." Just think of asking the House of Commons to pass a Bill of this kind without one word of external evidence or inquiry! A non-technical body like this House is asked to pass a measure 1124 affecting an immense industry! If that is not irresponsible legislation, I cannot think what it is. Suppose that the Government had intended to legislate on this subject; it must have begun years before. It must have ascertained by inquiry all the facts bearing on the proposal before introducing such drastic legislation. It would have had to find out whether there was a considerable body of public opinion supporting it before it dared to interfere in this way with a great industry. I cannot think of a parallel ease in which a Government has dared to do such a thing; but here, as if it were a kind of casual occupation for a Wednesday afternoon, after learning the nature of the proposal two or three weeks ago, we are asked to commit the unutterable absurdity of interfering in this way with a great industry.
§ *(4.8.) SIR CUTHBERT QUILTER (Suffolk, Sudbury)
I do not think that many in the House will envy me in having to reply to the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman. I have listened to it with admiration, and can well appreciate the wisdom of the brewers in selecting the hon. and learned Gentleman for their advocate to get them out of the extremely difficult position in which they were placed by the use of substitutes at Manchester.
§ * MR. MOULTON
I. beg the hon. Member's pardon. I was not selected as their advocate at all. I was Chairman of a Commission consisting of some of the best scientific men, and I thought it a very great honour so to be.
§ * SIR CUTHBERT QUILTER
I beg my hon. friend's pardon if I have made a mistake. I fancy that I read in the papers that the Commission was addressed by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and that his remarks made a great impression. I want the practical men of the House to come down from the heights of Olympus to solid ground, and ask themselves the simple question, whether they would do to others as they would like to be done by in this matter. All the speeches I have heard against the Bill, except the last, reminded me of those I have heard over and over again. They all had the 1125 same ring, and evidently were inspired from the same source; and if the actors are different, there is the same machinery behind the stage. The best performer has been kept to the last. I admit that the hon. and learned Gentleman has made a great sensation, but the House of Commons fortunately is not one of those places which will allow itself to be carried away, even by the greatest eloquence, when it emanates from a Gentleman who is known to have been recently, whether professionally or not, very much identified with the makers and users of substitutes. I would say to the hon. Gentleman that I would be quite prepared to go down to Launceston with him, and on a public platform there ask his constituents whether, when they go into a public-house and ask for a glass of beer, they want to know that they will get what they ask for.
Now, I would ask the hon. Gentleman this—if the argument in favour of beer made with substitutes is sound, why do the large majority of brewers not use any substitutes at all? Is that majority so ignorant that they decline to avail themselves of these wonderful substitutes? The hon. Member has made fun of the Pure Beer Bill, but he could not impugn the honesty of the intentions of those who are responsible for it. Of course, I and the other promoters may be stupid. We feel that we are. We represent agricultural constituencies, it is true; but we are elected by people because we know something about the interests of these people. The hon. Member held us up not only as ignorant, but as people who had taken no pains to inform ourselves. To that I would say that for sixteen years I and my friends have been honestly endeavouring to settle this matter. In the course of the controversy we have been contradicted in a quotation from Herodotus by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, whom I am sorry not to see present, and the remarks I had prepared concerning him I will be obliged to forego. I have been to Egypt to see whether the light hon. Gentleman or myself was right, and I found from an examination of various inscriptions that it has been conclusively established that beer was made from barley, not merely 2,000 but nearly 5,000 years ago. I 1126 believe it was Herodotus whose veracity the right hon. Gentleman took exception to, and whom he called by a name which certainly, if used in regard to an hon. Member, would have caused the intervention of Mr. Speaker. I have with me here a certain nmmber of inscriptions, which go to prove that beer was made from barley not only 2,000 years ago, but nearly 5,000 years ago. Of course, I know that scientific hon. Members will say that it would be difficult to prove the exact constituents of beer at that time, but, after all, there were great scientific authorities in those days. There is nothing new under the sun, and we must call in the old world to redress the balance of the new. It is quite clear that beer has been made from barley for many thousand years, but it is equally clear that if we go on as we are going, beer will not be made from barley much longer.
I should like to quote some figures to show the increased use of substitutes in brewing. In 1856 the quantity of sugar and other substitutes used was 1,790,000 lbs., in 1876 it was 98,144,000 lbs., and in 1901 it was 475,617,000 lbs. To put the matter in another way, the percentage of substitutes to barley malt has increased in the case of Scotch brewers from 3.36 per cent. in 1886 to 20 per cent. in 1900—very clever people the Scotch—in the case of English brewers from 11 per cent. in 1886 to 35 per cent. in 1900; whereas in the case of Irish brewers the percentage in the same period fell from 2.49 per cent. to 1.8 per cent. That is a great honour to Ireland, and in that respect, at all events, Ireland stands at the head of the United Kingdom. Yet there is a great deal of money made out of brewing even in Ireland. Ireland may be backward and ill-informed, but yet, as regards the purity of its beer, it is far ahead of either England or Scotland. The difficulty of putting the Bill into operation has been very much exaggerated. We are advised—and we have taken the best possible advice in the matter—that an Excise officer would even now be able to determine, within very narrow limits, whether more than 15 per cent. of materials other than barley malt and hops were being used. At any rate, the test would be sufficient to give an indication as to 1127 whether the prescribed percentage of barley was being used. It is said that, if the Bill were passed, it would impose an additional duty on Excise officers. I do not believe that they would shrink from it in the public interest, but it must not be forgotten that since Mr. Gladstone brought about his change, the number of brewers has fallen to less than one third and, therefore, the task of inspection would not be nearly so great as it would have been in Mr. Gladstone's time.
I should like to say a few words as to the character of the opposition. We all recollect that during the last fifteen or sixteen years Beer Bills and Pure Beer Bills have been introduced on every possible occasion. As regards many of these Bills, we had to meet with very formidable opposition. There was Mr. Cosmo Bonsor, the Member for Wimbledon, a very bad man to have opposed to one; there was Mr. Samuel Whit bread, Mr. Money Wigram, and Mr. Edward Greene. There were giants in those days; but whom have we to meet now? We have to meet Gentlemen inspired by the manufacturers of substitutes, and by the brewers who use these substitutes. I should like the brewers themselves to stand up in this House and give us an opportunity of answering their arguments. In the old days, the right hon-Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth was their doughty champion; but, as he is not present today, I will postpone my remarks with reference to him.
It is impossible in the limits of a Wednesday afternoon debate to do justice to all the details of this complex question. The hon. and learned Member for Launceston said that the components of beer cannot be ascertained by analysis. A little reflection will enable us to analyse the speech of the hon. and learned Member, and when we have analysed it we will find that it is a most eloquent defence of the advance of science as a whole, and an extremely valuable help to the interests with which the hon. and learned Member is connected.
§ * MR. MOULTON
Is it right, Mr. Speaker, to suggest that I am connected with interests with which I have absolutely nothing to do? I speak my 1128 opinions in this House from a very deep feeling on the subject of industrial art, and I have got no interest whatever, either directly or indirectly, with the brewing trade. I should act in precisely the same way if the tanning trade or any other industry were attacked in this House.
§ * SIR CUTHBERT QUILTER
I am very sorry to have imputed to the hon. and learned Member any connection with the brewing trade; but I should like to ask the hon. and learned Member if it is not a fact that he did appear at Manchester on behalf of the brewers and the substitute makers. However, I will not pursue the matter further. All I would urge on the House is to look behind the speech of the hon. and learned Member, and see if it really attacks the principle which the promoters of the Bill have in view, namely, the establishment of a standard for beer in order that the national drink should have some considerable percentage of what Englishmen believe it to be brewed from. In altering the Bill, we have no doubt laid ourselves open to the charge of inconsistency, but we have altered it with an honest desire to meet the advance of science, and in accordance with the opinion expressed by brewing scientists in this House that a limited quantity of other substances is necessary for the purpose of brewing good beer from certain classes of barley.
§ *(4.32.) SIR MICHAEL FOSTER (London University)
My name has been referred to in this debate, and I rise under a certain sense of difficulty. In the first place, it would give me very great pleasure if I had been able to support, or at all events not to oppose, a Bill supported by my hon. friend who has just sat down; and secondly, I feel that I bear the badge of science. I gather that science in this debate has been somewhat under suspicion. I have heard allusions which came very near references to sleight of hand; and, at all events, there is, I think, a feeling, bursting on expression, that science is not practical. I venture to trust that the little I have to say on this matter will have a practical bearing, and I may certainly say that 1129 anything I have to offer will not be in the interest of mere science, but in the interest both of the consumer and the maker—in the interest, in fact, of all venture to think that the hon. Member has no right to speak of this Bill as affording a standard for beer. It affords a standard for the materials of beer, but does not afford a standard for beer itself, and as such a required standard, I venture to think that it falls short, because with the same materials, but with various treatment, you may make on the one hand good beer, and on the other hand bad beer. What we have to ask is whether the process which this Bill strives to stop has resulted in the production of bad beer. I venture to say it has not, and that the beer which is produced by the methods against which this measure is directed is good beer, and is not only indistinguishable from beer made from barley malt only, but might be, and often is, better.
We have to deal in this matter mainly with the so-called light beer—the mild, light, bright beer which the hon. and learned Member for Launceston states has come so much into use. In brewing you have to deal in the malt with two things, the nitrogenous portion of the malt and the starchy portion; and the essence of successful brewing consists in maintaining a balance and due proportion between these two great constituents. That is so, not only because, as has been roughly stated, the nitrogenous matters give the flavouring and the starch gives the alcohol but because in this excessively complex process by which the malt is converted into beer the steps of the process depend on this relation, and if you have not a proper quantity of nitrogenous substances in relation to starchy substances, you get a variety of secondary products, which make the beer bad. There can be no doubt that in ordinary English-grown barley the relation of the nitrogenous substances to the starchy substances is not the proper relation that makes really good light ale. That is the fundamental fact of the whole business. In this English-grown barley the relation of the nitrogenous substances to the starchy substances is such that you cannot make beer out of it without adding something 1130 to it. You cannot use it alone in order to produce the light bright beer that is in demand. Now, there is a considerable quantity of foreign barley which differs in constitution in many ways from our English barley; it contains more starch. You can use this to supply the lack of starch in English barley. If you do not, you must use sugar or saccharine material. That is the whole business. In order to properly utilise commonplace English barley, you must treat it in some way in order to add to it increased saccharine yielding materials. You must add more than 15 per cent. That is the evidence of the most skilful brewers, and therefore, if this Bill becomes law, it will prevent the manufacture of good light beer from English barley, unless brewers have recourse to foreign barley.
§ *(4.42.) MR. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)
Surely the question of whether 10, or 15, or 20 per cent. of substitutes should be the maximum employed is a question of detail which might be left to the Committee stage of the Bill, and the mere fact that an hon. Member does not agree with the particular percentage laid down in the Bill is no reason why he should refrain from supporting the Second Reading, or should take the step of voting against it. I hope the House will not be carried away by the flood of eloquence with which we have been overwhelmed by the hon. and learned Member for the Launceston Division of Cornwall, whose contribution to the debate was an extremely valuable one. The argument of my hon. and learned friend would apply to every trade or industry, but when he went on to endeavour to prove that the Bill would interfere with the whole progress of research and check the progress of industry, it was going beyond what was even in his capacity to prove. No one will dispute that those who are engaged in scientific research should have full liberty to make all the inventions they can for the purpose of cheapening the price of beverages, but why should they apply that process to a beverage which has come to have a recognised and well-defined meaning? That inventive genius can still be applied, if this Bill passes, to other 1131 beverages, called by other names. What is objected to is that by the use of certain drugs and ingredients, some of which are innocuous, and some deleterious, a beverage should be concocted and sold under the name of "beer," which for very many centuries has been understood to be a particular concoction of malt and hops. To meet objections raised by the hon. Member and other opponents of the measure on previous occasions a certain compromise has been arrived at, to the effect that a certain proportion of substitutes should be admitted—15 per cent. of the whole. Now it seems to me, especially after what has fallen from hon. Gentlemen in this debate, that a concession of this kind ought to be accepted in the spirit in which it is made. It ought to be welcomed, and every opportunity should be given for this question to be threshed out in the Committee stage of the Bill. But for the House to be carried away by the flow of eloquence which, as I have said, came from my hon. and learned friend the Member for Launceston, would be, to my mind, a great misfortune. The hon. and learned Gentleman, in the course of his speech, quoted Shakespeare; and his speech reminds me of the words in which Touchstone addressed Agricultural William—I will deal in poison with thee, or in bastinado, or in steel. I will bandy with thee in faction. I will o'errun thee with policy. I will kill thee 150 ways, therefore tremble and depart.And so the hon. and learned Gentleman, by means of his well-trained and scientific observation, says to the Agricultural Williams of this Bill, and bids them to tremble and depart. So far as I am concerned, his speech will not have such deterrent effect upon me, nor will it have on any of those who intend to support the Bill, seeing that these matters of detail may be thoroughly threshed out at a subsequent stage of the Bill.
§ (4.48.) MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
When I saw the condition of the Benches on both sides of the House and the utter lack of interest apparently taken in this debate at an earlier hour of this afternoon, I thought to myself that it was one of the results of the new Rules of Procedure, many of which have already; been passed. Everybody knows that no Bill of this character when those Rules, become operative can have even a 100 to 1132 I chance of making further progress or passing into law. It seems to me that this is a purely academic discussion, and there appears to be a great change in the interest which is taken in it as compared with the debates on a similar measure last year. It was only after the learned and eloquent speech of the hon. and learned Member for Launceston that the House began to wake up and take some interest in the subject, and I shall ask with some diffidence the House to allow me to follow some of the hon. and learned Member's argument as nearly as I can. I understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to say that science said that you need malt only half of your barley, that that malt properly treated will use so much sugar, and that the other half you can do without. He traced the developments in recent years to the use of sugar, and he showed by a process, which he described in great detail, how, apart entirely from malt, that sugar which is necessary according to him could be obtained, and he designates the attempt on the part of this Bill to limit the freedom of the use of that kind of material in the future, as an attempt to send us back to the depths of darkness and ignorance, and to interfere with and hinder the researches of science as far as possible. Sir, that is not what we want at all; what we want is to be allowed to go back to what has been proved by experience to be the path of safety. When we see this sugar made which the hon. and learned Gentleman describes with so much ability and enthusiasm, how do we find it is obtained? It is obtained in this way—and this is the proof of the fatal weakness which underlies the whole of the hon. and learned Member's argument—it is obtained by the use of acids, and it is precisely through those acids that the poison came into those beers which were so unhappily used to such an extent in the North of England, and caused that terrible epidemic which must be fresh in the minds of those who are now in this House. Now, I do not pretend for a moment to compete with the hon. and learned Member opposite or with the hon. Member below me in my knowledge of science, but I have done my best to learn something of the merits of this question, and I think I have put the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman fairly. He talks about going back 1133 to the depths of ignorance on this subject. Are we to be told that the greatest brewers in the United Kingdom do not understand their business quite as well and perhaps rather better than the hon. and learned Member? Take Guinesses of Dublin; they use absolutely nothing but malt and hops; are they to be dubbed as ignorant and knowing nothing of their business? Take Messrs. Bass of England; they use in their brewery malt and hops entirely, with this single addition, that, after the beer is put into the barrels, it is true that they use 1½ per cent. of sugar, solely for the purpose of bringing on the last stage of fermentation in three days instead of three weeks, solely to make their beer at once saleable. I don't know whether any hon. Gentlemen here are in the habit of drinking Bass's beer, but I drink it whenever I dare, and it is impossible to drink anything better; it is brighter and lighter than anything else in the world. [AN HON. MEMBER What about water?] What! Water! Oh, I cannot say. But I say it is impossible to find brighter and lighter beer, yet is it absolutely free from these adjuncts; yet, according to the hon. and learned Member, if we go back to using malt and hops we go back to the depths of ignorance. I cannot help thinking, as was said the other night, that the hon. and learned Gentleman, in his singularly able and instructive speech, has been able to prove a good deal too much.
But, passing from the scientific aspect, I would ask the House to regard the question from the agricultural point of view. It is customary nowadays in many quarters to say that agriculture has greatly improved, and that the depression has considerably lessened during the last few years. In some parts of the country it is probably true; indeed, I am pretty sure it is the case, but in the great corn-growing districts, such, for instance, as some parts of Norfolk and Lincolnshire, I doubt whether the farmers ever had a worse time than during the last two years. Wheat is no longer a profitable crop to grow; barley, to a large extent, has taken its place. But two bad barley crops, with correspondingly bad prices, have left many, even of the very best, men in those districts in positions of the greatest possible 1134 difficulty. The problem of how to keep the plough going and the people employed on the land is becoming every year, every month, every day, more difficult of solution. The Budget of my right hon. friend, too, however admirable it may be from a revenue point of view, will do little or nothing for these people. On the other hand, I hold the opinion that no measures have ever been proposed to Parliament, at any rate, within my recollection, which would have done more, or indeed as much, to help the agricultural interest, including the tenants and labourers as well as the landlords themselves, as would have been done, had they passed, by the Bills upon this subject which have been introduced during the last few years. The reason is very simple. The amount of sugar used in brewing in substitution of barley of late years has been, and I believe is still, enormous. If hon. Members would consult the Blue-books already in the Library, and also the evidence of the Royal Commission now sitting—if ever we get that evidence, it is two years old already—it will be found that 60 per cent. is sometimes used, while the use of 50 per cent. is by no means uncommon. If the use of these substitutes was limited to the extent suggested by this Bill, it would mean an enormous displacement of sugar which must be replaced by something else, and that something else must be barley. There would be, in consequence, an enormously increased demand for barley. The hon. Member for London University, following the example of many others, has, in reply to that, stated that foreign barley would be used. I am not prepared to make that wholesale and sweeping admission myself, but, assuming that it was foreign barley, it must be remembered that there is no illimitable supply of that commodity. Therefore, if there is an increased demand for foreign barley, up will go the price, and with the price of foreign barley increased, up will go the price of English barley also. It is not too much to expect that under the provisions contained in this Bill, or others of a similar character, the price of barley might be raised by from 5s. to 7s. a quarter all round. If that were so, what a revolution 1135 it would be in the agricultural districts. You would hear no more of agricultural depression. No better means could possibly be devised of providing work for the population, and of putting a decided check on what is spoken of as the rural depopulation of the present day, which we all rightly deplore.
Remember, also, lest I might appear to be leaving out of sight the rights and advantages of the brewers, that the justification for making this proposal, which we defend and have defended, is that the use of sugar in beer-brewing—sugars treated as they were by these acids—was the cause of the poisonings which occurred not long ago in so many parts of the country, which led to so many deaths, and caused so much illness and suffering. If this Bill were passed, we should have taken a long step towards ensuring the use of pure and wholesome ingredients, free from any dangers of that kind, in the future. These being the facts of the case, since that outbreak I have always taken a deep interest in this movement, and have done my best in and out of Parliament to support it. I have always thought it was a golden opportunity of which any Government might have availed themselves for effecting a double purpose—that of safeguarding the health of the people, on the one hand, and, on the other, of aiding the greatest but, at the same time, most depressed interest in the whole of the country, viz., that of agriculture. At one time my hopes were very high. Last year a member of the Cabinet—I think it was the Postmaster General—made a speech, in which he said that in his opinion the passing of a Bill on the subject during last session had become inevitable. I then hoped most sincerely that the Government would deal with the matter themselves. It was actually rumoured at one time that there were proposals already formed. Whether that was the truth or not, I do not know; but at all events when Parliament met it was quite clear that the Government did not mean to be friendly on the subject. We private Members passed a Bill by a large majority, but we lost all chance of making any further progress with it entirely in consequence of the action of my right hon. friend the Leader of the House. In spite of all requests, he refused to grant facilities for the Bill to be referred to a Grand Committee until it was too late. 1136 Two months, during which the Grand Committees were doing absolutely nothing, were wasted, and my right hon. friend would not be induced to give us the opportunity of availing ourselves of their services. This year still more effectual means have been taken to prevent any real progress with either this or any other private Bill which is open to opposition, however large may be the majority in its favour, or whatever may be the merits of the Bill itself. Under the new Rules, any progress with those Bills after Whitsuntide will be an absolute impossibility. For my own part, since I have seen the general tendency of those Rules, and the way they have been treated, I heartily wish I had supported the Motion to refer them to a Select Committee.
The position of the Government appears to me to be this—they will not deal with the question themselves, and they take care that nobody else shall deal with it for them. I regret that attitude more than I can say. It is not in their own interests in the country; in fact, it is a great mistake. It is unwise to take a course so calculated to alienate many of those who, for many years, have been their best and strongest supporters. I quite recognise the difficulty of the subject. Nobody is more aware than I am that it can be dealt with only by great care, and that no alteration of the law on the subject should be made until the whole matter has been threshed out in Committee. But there are so many Members of the House possessing expert knowledge that I really do not think it would be a matter of very great difficulty. While that is my view, I earnestly hope there are still gentlemen enough left in this House who recognise the importance of this question to the industry to which I have referred, and who, at all events, will give their votes in favour of the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ *(5.8.) SIR M. HICKS BEACH
My right hon. friend has expressed himself as somewhat aggrieved by the action taken by the Leader of the House, in regard to the fate of the Bill introduced last year. I do not think that is a fair complaint. What was the Bill introduced last year? It was a Bill, as the hon. and learned Member opposite wittily said, for allowing the brewers to do what they liked, providing they told people what they did. This Bill, as he 1137 also has observed, is one which is to prevent brewers from doing what they like, provided they say nothing about it. The two Bills are as totally different as any two Bills dealing with the same subject could very well be. Therefore, I fail to see on what grounds my right hon. friend can possibly find fault with the Leader of the House for not granting special facilities last year for the passing of a Bill which its own supporters have not ventured to re-introduce this session.
I do not wish to detain the House with regard to the principle of the Bill now before us. That has been amply debated by others. My object in rising is only to make a few observations with regard to the effect of the Bill upon the Exchequer, and upon the officials of the Inland Revenue. With regard to the effect on the Exchequer, my right hon. friend has said, as is perfectly clear, that the main object of this Bill is to reduce the quantity of sugar used in brewing. Well, last year, in imposing the sugar duty, I imposed it upon sugar used in brewing, so that as a matter of fact at the present time a brewer in using that material uses a more costly material than he did before. If the use of sugar in former years was cheaper, as compared with barley, malt, or other materials, certainly so far as that can be put an end to, it has been put an end to by the imposition of the duty on sugar. Yet the right hon. Member says that brewers continue to use sugar to an extent of which he disapproves. Why? Is that not some proof of the correctness of the argument in the admirable speech of the hon. and learned Member opposite, enforced by my hon. friend the Member for London University, in which both of those high authorities prove, I think, that the use of sugar is in many cases essential in order to produce that particular class of light beer which is such an enormous improvement on the beer we used to have? As to the extent to which the revenues might be affected by a reduction in the use of sugar, I cannot form an estimate, because the amount varies in different breweries; but that it would be considerable I have no doubt whatever. I wish, however, to dwell more upon the statement which was made by my hon. friend the Member for Sudbury and my hon. friend the Member for Gloucestershire, who have asserted that the enforcement of the Bill 1138 would be a simple matter, and that, without materially increasing the staff of the Excise, officers by gauging the mash-tun could check the proportion of articles used in the manufacture of beer. I have directed the authorities of Inland Revenue to examine the matter very carefully, for I do not wish to throw obstacles in the way of the Bill from this point of view, and those authorities have reported to me in a totally different sense. I do not think it will take me long, and I should like to read to the House the material points of this report. They state that—There would be very great practical difficulties in carrying out the proposal contained in the third section of this Bill. A check sufficient for revenue purposes is now exercised over the quantity of malt used in brewing by taking a gauge of the 'grains' which remain in the mash-tun after all the worts are drawn off; but owing to the fact that the brewers, in accordance with the law, enter the quantities of malt by weight, there is often a very wide discrepancy between the quantity of malt entered by the brewer and the quantity shown by a gauge of the residual grains in the mash-tun. Malt varies in weight from 32 lbs. to 44 lbs. per bushel, and assuming that a brewer used malt of the weight of 36 lbs. per bushel every bushel (that is every 42 lbs.) entered by the brewer would represent 1⅙ bushels by gauge or measure. The quantities found by gauging the residual grains may vary from 10 or 15 per cent. under to 20 per cent. over the quantity of malt entered by the brewer. But rough as the existing check is upon the quantity of malt it certainly becomes more inexact when flaked maize, rice, or other prepared starchy substances are used in addition to malt, for those substances pass mostly into solution from the mash-tun and leave but little residue. The gauges now obtained in the mash-tun would, therefore, give but very imperfect evidence as to the total quantity of 'barley malt' and malt adjuncts used in a brewery, and would certainly not afford any means by which the relative proportions in which barley, malt and other starch or saccharine substances are used, could be even roughly estimated. The only way in which the quantities of barley malt and of malt adjuncts could be ascertained would be by weighing the materials before mashing. But in large breweries the malt is usually crushed in a mill-room, from which it is passed through a hopper into the mash-tun, and no attempt could possibly be made to weigh the malt shortly before brewing. All that an officer could really do would be to weigh before its removal to the mill-room a certain quantity of malt which the brewer stated he intended to use in brewing, but this would, of course, not be a check of any value, for the brewer might; use more malt or other material than the officer had seen weighed. In order that any effective control could be exercised over the proportions in which malt and malt substitutes are used, it would be necessary that the brewers' operations should be carried on in the presence of an officer of the revenue, and this 1139 would mean a large increase of the staff and in the cost of supervision. I see no steps of a reasonable, practicable character which can be taken under section live of the Bill to enforce the provisions of the Act should the Bill become law.I think that is a conclusive answer to the views of the hon. Member.
§ * SIR M. HICKS BEACH
Here is a Bill which imposes a penalty of £500 for a breach of a certain mode of manufacturing beer, and the House is told that the working of the Bill will rest on the good faith of the persons who will be subject to the penalty. That is a most extraordinary method of legislation. I am prepared to admit that what I have said with regard to the loss of revenue, or with regard to the additional charge that might be thrown upon the Exchequer, is not a conclusive argument. If it be essential in the public interest that the manufacture of beer should be confined to the method proposed in this Bill, and it should be a penal offence to manufacture beer in any other way except as proposed in this Bill; of course, the Revenue must lose and the Inland Revenue staff must be increased. That is a matter for the House to decide, but I think that as an answer to this argument the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Launceston is sufficient. For what public object is the House asked to say that beer shall always be made of barley malt, and other materials in the proportions suggested by the Bill? Is it for the public health?
My right hon. friend the Member for Sleaford trotted out again the argument from last year's debate, but if the brewer is allowed a margin of 15 or 20 per cent. beyond the barley malt, is there not a good deal of room for a good deal of injury to the public health? Where is the guarantee for purity as far as the public health is concerned? If it is merely the desire of hon. Members to perpetuate the beer they remember in their youth, beer mainly composed of malt and hops, I venture to say that it will be an interference with a most important industry, and detrimental to the State. The change from very heavy beer to the light beers now so generally used had been of enormous public advantage, 1140 and I should be sorry to see anything sanctioned by Parliament which would, as has been pointed out by the hon. and learned Member for Launceston, interfere with the proper development of this industry. In what I have said I do not wish to lead the House to suppose that I am doing anything more than expressing my own individual opinions with regard to this Bill. Some of my colleagues in the Government held a different view; I speak for myself alone; but I am bound to look at the Bill from the point of view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in that position I trust that the House will not give it a Second Reading.
§ (5.25.) MAJOR JAMESON (Clare, W.)
I wish to congratulate the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon the manner in which he has demolished the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford. I did not envy the hon. Baronet the Member for Sudbury when he had to answer the magnificent speech made by my hon. and learned friend the Member for Launceston. I would also like the hon. Baronet to know that, at all events in the opinion of many hon. Members in this House, innuendoes and not arguments are in no way calculated to add to the popularity of his Bill or to the likelihood of it becoming law. The hon. Baronet held out his little sop to Ireland, and he spoke of the great purity of the beer made in Ireland. I wish to say, however, that I think the hon. Baronet and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford have fallen into a great fallacy in regard to brewing processes. I would like hon. Members who have listened to the speeches of the hon. Baronet and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford to listen for one moment to a point which has been erroneously impressed upon this House, and that is in regard to the great example that Ireland has shown in the way in which they manufacture beer in Ireland. Would it surprise the House to hear that, as a matter of fact, the great firm of Messrs. Guinness do not manufacture at all the beer as you regard beer in this country? Would it surprise the House to know that when hon. Members opposite were discoursing so eloquently upon brewing processes and the commodities used in light beers in Ireland, 1141 Dublin stout and Dublin porter are as teetotally different from light beers which they were talking about, as last year's snow is from a summer's day? The hon. Members opposite have the absolute effrontery to speak in this way of the so-called Irish beer, and by so doing they show their entire ignorance of the whole matter. In all my life I have never heard before such lamentable ignorance as has been displayed upon this question. [Cries of "Divide, divide!"] I should like to point out the differences between this Bill and the Bill of 1901, a point which I do not think has been sufficiently discussed
§ in the different arguments which have been used today. I would point out that in the Bill of last year two definitions—
§ (5.29.) Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 140; Noes, 212. (Division List No. 129.)1143
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Hammond John||O' Brien, Kendal (Tipper'y Mid)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||O' Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Allen, C. P. (Glouc., Stroud.)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd||O' Donnell, T. (Kerry, W)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Hayden, John Patrick||O' Dowd, John|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hope, John Deaus (Fife, West)||O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Banes, Maj. George Edward||Howard, John (Kent. F'v'rsham||O' Malley, William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hozier, Hon. James Hy. Cecil||O' Mara, James|
|Bignold, Arthur||Hudson, George Bickersteth||O' Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Bill, Charles||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Partington, Oswald|
|Boland, John||Jacoby, James Alfred||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Joicey, Sir James||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jones, David Brynmor (Sw'nsea||Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham)|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Joyce, Michael||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir. John H.||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard|
|Campbell John (Armagh, S.)||Kennedy, Patrick James||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lambert, George||Purvis, Robert|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Lawson, John Grant||Quitter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Leamy, Edmund||Reddy, M.|
|Cremer, William Randal||Levy, Maurice||Redmond, John E (Waterford)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (C'rdigan)||Lewis, John Herbert||Rigg, Richard|
|Delany, William||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Round, James|
|Digby, John K. D. (Wingfield)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Russell, T. W.|
|Dillon, John||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lough, Thomas||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Doogan, P. C.||Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)||Smith, H C (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Edwards, Frank||Lundon, W.||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Evans, Sir Francis H. (M'dstone)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M' Cann, James||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||M' Govern, T.||Wason, John Cat heart (Orkney|
|Fenwick, Charles||M' Hugh, Patrick A.||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M' Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Field, William||Malcolm, Ian||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Finch, George H.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Garfit, William||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Gilhooly, James||Morrison, James Archibald||Wylie, Alexander|
|Gore, Hn G. R. Cormsby (Salop.||Murphy, John||Younger, William|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Newnes, Sir George|
|Grant, Come||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Tomlinson and Mr. Price.|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Hamilton, Mrq. of (L'nd'nderry||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bartley, George C. T.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bain, Col. James Robert||Beach, Rt Hn Sir Micha|
|Allen, William (Gateshead)||Baird, John George Alexander||Beckett, Ernest William|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Balcanes, Lord||Blake, Edward|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds)||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn Herbert Henry||Banbury, Frederick George||Bolton, Thomas Dolling|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Barlow, John Emmott||Bond, Edward|
|Austin, Sir John||Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)|
|Brigg, John||Harris, Frederick Leverton||O' Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n|
|Bull, William James||Heath, Archur Howard (Hanley||Penn, John|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Helder, Augustus||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Burke, E Haviland-||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Pirie, Duacan V.|
|Butcher, John George||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Caldwell, James||Higginbottom, S. W.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Campbell, Rt Hn J. A. (Glasgow)||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||Randles, John S.|
|Cavendish, V C W (Derbyshire)||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Holland, William Henry||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Horniman, Frederick John||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Charrington, Spencer||Houston, Robert Paterson||Ritchie, Rt. H n. Chas. Thomson|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Robinson, Brooke|
|Coddington, Sir William||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jones, William (Carnarv'nshire||Rollitt, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Kearley, Hudson E.||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Keswick, William||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kimber, Henry||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Kinloch, Sir John George Sinyth||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Crean, Eugene||Kitson, Sir James||Shiptnan, Dr. John G.|
|Crombie, John William||Knowles, Lees||Simeon, Sir Harrington|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Labouchre, Henry||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)||Spencer, Rt. Hn C R (Northants|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw H.||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lee, Artlhur H. (Hants, Fareham||Stanley, Hn. Archur (Ormskirk|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lees, Sir Elliott, (Birkenhead)||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Davies, Sir Horation (Chatham||Leese, Sir Josehp F (Accrington)||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Denny, Colonel||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Leng, Sir John||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Leveson-Gower, Fredericks. S.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Logan, John William||Tennant, Harold John|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Macdona, John Cumming||Thomas, David Alfred (Mhyr|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Thomas, J A (Glamorgan Gower|
|Dunn, Sir William||McArthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Thompson, Dr EC (Monagh'n, N|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||M'Crae, George||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edingb'ghW||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||M'Killop, James, (Stirlingshire||Tomkinson, James|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||M'Laren, Charles, Benjamin||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir. J. (Manc'r||Maxwell, W. J. H (Durfnesshire||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Vincent Col Sir CEH (Shellield)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Milvain, Thomas||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Mitchell, William||Wallace, Robert|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Mooney, John J.||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Morgan, David J (Walthamst'w||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Morrell, George Herbert||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E.(Elgm&Nairn||Morton, Arthur H. A (Deptford)||Williams, Rt Hn. J Powell (Brim|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Moss, Samuel||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry||Moulton, John Fletcher||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Greene, Sir E W (Bry S Edm'nds||Mount, William Arthur||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wyndham-Quin, Major H. W.|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Groves, James Grimble||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Young, Samuel|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Nolau, Joseph (Louth, South)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Flower and Dr. Farquh arson.|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Words added.
§ Resolved, That this House declines to proceed with the consideration of a Bill interfering with freedom in the manufacture of beer in this country, which, whilst it imposes upon the scientific development 1144 of British brewing industries arbitrary-restrictions that cannot be enforced upon foreign competitors, in no way provides safeguards for the public health, or secures for consumers a guarantee as to the purity of the materials employed.
§ Adjourned at ten minutes before Six o'clock.