HC Deb 05 May 1905 vol 145 cc1032-87


Order for Second Reading read.

MR. HUNTER CRAIG (Lanarkshire, Govan)

in moving the Second Reading of the Bill pointed out tha1: this was not a new measure. It had been brought forward by successive Members of Parliament. In 1884 a Bill specially dealing with Scotland was introduced by the late Mr. McLagan, but long before that date—as early as 1864—the hon. Member for the Camborne Division, who, with continuous zeal and heroic effort, had ever since then taken the lead in endeavouring to get legislation on this great national question. The principle of this Bill had been affirmed on three successive occasions by increasing majorities of that House by the following Resolution— That inasmuch as the ancient and avowed object of licensing the sale of intoxicating liquor is to supply a supposed public want, without detriment to the public welfare, this House is of opinion that a legal power of restraining the issue or renewal of licences should be placed in the hands of the persons most deeply interested and affected—namely, the inhabitants themselves, who are entitled to protect themselves from the injurious consequences of the present system, by some efficient measure of local option. In 1880 the Resolution was carried by a majority of twenty-six, in 1881 by forty-two, in 1883 by eighty-seven, and on each occasion the Scotch vote was practically unanimous, there being only three against the Resolution in 1880, three in 1881, and two in 1883.

At this point, attention having been called to the fact that there were not forty Members present, and the House having been counted.


There being less than forty Members present I now leave the Chair until four o'clock, or until such time as I am informed there is a quorum present.

A quorum being present at 12.52,


, resuming his speech, said that when this regrettable interruption took place he was reviewing the past history of the question and calling the attention of the House to what occurred on three successive occasions when majorities of the whole House voted in favour of the local veto, beginning with twenty-six in 1880, forty-two in 1881, and eighty-seven in 1883. No facilities were granted by the House for passing this measure. On each of these occasions the Scotch Vote was almost unanimous in favour of the Resolution, thus deciding that this great social question should be left to be dealt with by the inhabitants themselves who were most interested and affected, by some measure of local option. But in 1893, -when the Liberals were in power, the late Sir William Harcourt made an heroic effort to introduce a Local Veto Bill declaring that "it was a matter dealing with a great national evil." He also reintroduced his Bill in 1895, but a dissolution taking place shortly afterwards brought the Bill to an untimely end. Then no facilities were;given for the Bill, although from 1884 it had been regularly brought before the I House, until 1899, when Mr. John Wilson, the late Member for the Govan Division of Lanarkshire, was successful in getting a debate and division. Hisproposal was negatived by a majority of English and Irish Members, though the Scotch vote showed a large majority in favour of it. No less than forty Scotch Members voted in favour of it, and only fifteen against it. It was urged in favour of delay that the final Report of the Royal Commission would be issued that year. The Royal Commission was appointed in 1896, after the Unionist Government had promised in the preceding year to bring in an adequate measure of temperance reform. Delay was consequently obtained by the appointment of the Royal Commission on the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors. In 1899 they issued their final Report. The majority of the members of the Commis- sion, including eight members of the liquor trade, gave a very scathing pronouncement upon the subject upon which they had been engaged for three years. They said— It is undeniable that a gigantic evil remains to be remedied, and hardly any sacrifice would be too great which would result in a marked diminution of this national degradation. The House was, therefore, considering a traffic which the Majority Report declared to be a gigantic evil, leading to national degradation. That declaration affecting the national condition of their people was the most powerful argument he could bring before the House to accept and pass that reasonable, just, and simple measure, and thus do something really effective to diminish that "gigantic evil" declared by the Royal Commission on the sale of intoxicating liquor to be a "national degradation." Since then the Government had made no adequate or serious attempt to deal with the question. There had been a few small measures of reform for which they were thankful. They had also had that gigantic retrograde Act of last year which the Scotch people were glad the Government had not extended to Scotland. In regard to that measure Lord Balfour, speaking in the House of Lords, said— There was hardly anything in the Act that would be welcome to Scotland. Some great principles of wide application were infringed by it, and he would regard it as a gross injustice if applied to Scotland. He entirely agreed with that opinion, and so did the people of Scotland, and that was why this Bill was brought in specially for Scotland. There were special reasons why Scotland should be treated separately from England. In the first place, Scotland was sixty years ahead of England in temperance reform. Sunday closing had been in existence for over fifty years. That was a prohibitory Act to the extent of one day in seven, and no compensation was even suggested when that Act was passed, nor had any one asked that it should be rescinded. They had also the Early Closing Act by which all public-houses were closed at 10 p.m. The circumstances of Scotland were peculiar as compared with those of England in respect that the national drink was whisky, which was more deleterious in its effect and more injurious to the brain and character of the people than beer, the national drink of England. The frequenters of the public houses in England to a large extent drank beer, but the people who went into the public-houses in Scotland were of an entirely different character. They were of a lower grade of society—men who were living under the enslaving appetite for intoxicating liquor. Notwithstanding all the efforts made in the interest of temperance reform they had been entirely inadequate to stem the tide of criminality, poverty, insanity and disease which was cursing not only Scotland through strong drink but the whole of their beloved land. The consumption of a'coholic drinks increased in Scotland 1–76 gallons from 1856–1861 to 1–85 gallons, 1896–1901. In the last forty years there had been an increase of 24,000 offences annually in Scotland, entirely through drink. These were cases in which the offences were attributable to drink, but when men committed capital crime or serious offences when intoxicated they were not called cases of drunkenness and they were put on a different list, so that the above figure was not the limit of offences through drink. In 1900 criminal offences in Scotland rose to the enormous total of 179,821, and no fewer than 114,207 or 63½ per cent, were due to drink. his was surely of itself (not to speak of the physical and moral degeneracy of their people through drink) sufficient reason why they in Scotland i should demand an effective measure to deal with that deplorable state of affairs. There was another lamentable result of this pernicious liqour traffic, and that was i the increase of insanity in Scotland. From 1874 the inmates of lunatic asylums had risen from 15 £ per cent, to 24 per cent, at the present time. An overwhelming majority of the Scottish people, so far as could be ascertained, not only desired this Bill now, but had been calling for it for the last twenty years.

This was not a licensing Bill. It was a permissive measure. It left the control of the liquor traffic to the people themselves. If the people did not desire any change of the law then the Act would not come into operation. It was a measure to enable those most affected by the trade to control the sale of liquor in respective areas.

It contained three options: first, a prohibitory clause; second, a limiting clause with respect to the hours of sale; and third, if no change was desired the status quo was maintained. A majority vote of the ratepayers—the legal and constitutional vote—would decide the question which would remain in force for three years. The plea, and the only plea, which was always put forward when an applicant obtained a licence was that the people desired it, and that was the only plea to which the Licensing Court would listen. Licenses were conferred as a monopoly to the licensees for one year and one year only without payment. The Bill simply left the decision to the people themselves, as to whether they really desired to have drink shops planted in their midst against their will and to the detriment of their home and neighbourhood, producing temptations, drunkenness, and social disorder.

Every section of the people of Scotland had declared by petitions and resolutions, and on public platforms in favour of this Local Veto Bill. Petitions in favour of it had been sent by town councils, parish councils, school boards and church courts. And in order to ascertain the mind of the Scottish people on this great question,, plebiscites had been taken in no fewer than eighty centres throughout Scotland, including Glasgow, with the result that-thirteen to one were found to be in favour of the principle of the Bill.

Then there was a local veto already in existence. To a large extent the landlords vetoed the sale of intoxicating liquors on their estates, and nobody considered that a hardship. It had been affirmed by many reports that in accordance with the amount of liquor shops, so was the amount of crime; and that as the number decreased, crime decreased, or as the number increased, so crime increased.

This subject of local veto, although it had not yet been adopted in this country, was not an untried experiment throughout the world. In every State in America, except four, local veto was in operation. At all events, 30,000,000 of people were living in the United States under local veto, about as large as the combined population of England and Wales, and with no idea of giving compensation to the publicans in the veto districts when they were dispossessed of their licences. Local veto existed in many of the Colonies and abroad in Norway, Sweden, Scandinavia, etc., with most beneficial results. Then there were many legal authorities in Church and State in favour of local veto. The Convocation of Canterbury had passed a resolution very much on the lines of this Bill, approving the principle of local veto. And the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham in 1876 said— The attempt to deal with this subject for the people, and without the people, has been a conspicuous failure…. I am still sanguine that the people themselves, if wholly trusted, would do something to mitigate the plague, and stay its ravages. When the late Sir William Harcourt made his heroic effort to deal with this, the greatest of our social questions, on the principle of local veto in 1893, he declared it to be— One of the very first magnitude and of the greatest urgency. Drink being the mainspring and the source of the poverty and crime and misery of great masses of the people, you have to deal with a great national evil. You cannot trust interests so vast as this, you cannot cope with evils so deeply rooted by leaving them to the discretion of any selected class or any delegated body. To form habits of moral obligation you must appeal direct to the conscience of the people. This was not, and ought not to be, a Party question; it was a national question of the greatest importance, dealing with the well-being of our people, and it was sufficient to demand the greatest amount of concern from the Legislature. The Edinburgh Review long ago pointed out that— Any trade, employment, or use of property, detrimental to the life, health, or order of the people, is, by English law, a public nuisance. And in suppressing it, the State assumes the right of sacrificing private interest to the public good. And this not only when the detriment is physical or economical, but also when it is moral. The affirmation of that principle justified the right to extinguish drink shops if for public good. Regarding crime there was not only an increase of crime through drink in Scotland, but what they deplored more—if that were possible—was that drunkenness among women was largely on the increase. In his own con- stituency working girls years ago would not have been seen to go into a public-house; but now they went in in company, got drunk and spent their Saturday to Monday in the police office. Some one said that a nation might last on the condition that drunkenness was only confined to the males. He did not agree with that; but how much more serious it was when the motherhood of the nation was being, cursed by this indulgence in intoxicating liquors! In his own constituency there was one bright spot in contrast with the state of affairs in regard to the drunkenness of women and girls. In South Govan there was a population of over 6,000, and there was not one police case per week on the average, and the apprehensions were only seven per thousand per annum, while in the other wards in Govan where public-houses were, they rose to seventy-six apprehensions per thousand. That was a concrete exampb of what they might expect in Scotland were the control of intoxicating liquors left to the people themselves. But the law was so constituted as to enable public-houses to be thrust on a locality unless a vigorous opposition existed.

There was a vigilance committee which went round and got up petitions to the licensing magistrates to prevent this plague being forced on the people, which entailed a great amount o f labour. So far their efforts had been successful, with the result that crime was almost nil. There was not one case of crime per week in that district containing over 6,000 of working class population.

Well, what about the British working man and the extent to which he was handicapped by this terrible stream of intemperance which existed in the country? There was no man better or more able to do his work than the British workman, if he was a sober man; but I the commerce and trade of the country were terribly handicapped through intemperauce. To give an example which had come to his own knowledge. A ship-builder on the Clyde told his men that but for broken time, largely owing to drink, he could build two vessels of 6,000 tons each annually, in addition to what his firm was turning out ill the year. That was a terrible indictment, and there were ship-builders in the House who could confirm that statement. The fact was that the plant was not only not put to profitable use, but other men were kept standing idle, and so the price of ships was increased in competition with foreign countries. It was the case that when a leading "gaffer" on a job went off on a spree, which he probably did once a fortnight, and was absent from the yard from Monday till Thursday, a whole squad of men were left idle until the "gaffer"came back—sober certainly, but terribly deteriorated in physique through his drinking bout. Now, they had heard a good deal of late—and they all rejoiced to find that Parliament was beginning to take an interest in these questions—about underfed children, overcrowding, and the increase of degeneracy among the youth of our population; but if the drink problem were solved, to a large extent these social problems, which were of the greatest importance to the well-being of the people, would be solved also. They were a loyal people in Scotland, and Members of Parliament from Scotland had come for all these years asking that this measure should be passed by this Imperial House, but without avail. But really their patience was becoming exhausted; and it was only fair that Scotland, which was so hard hit by the liquor traffic, should have this measure. Why should not the Government consent to allow this measure to be tried in Scotland as an example for what might be done in England 1 In conclusion, he hoped that all who were lovers of the people, all who were interested in the national welfare of this great country, would face the terrible evil which existed in the centre of the Empire, eating out the strength of the people; and that, before long, the blindness which seemed to affect the Government and the country would be removed, and that their eyes would be opened to see the enormity of the evil which existed in their beloved land. That was the reason why he asked the House to pass this measure, and he begged to move that it be now read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

SIR LEWIS MCIVER (Edinburgh, W.)

said he rose primarily for the purpose of most cordially associating himself with the temperance sentiments which had been so energetically voiced by the proposer of this Motion. It was most gratifying to an old temperance worker once again in this Chamber to hear such sound views, couched in familiar old phrases, and to know that while the views were practically universal, the phrases were still held in esteem in some faithful hearts. All the same he had been wondering, while the hon. Member was speaking, what was the connection between those views and those phrases and the seemingly irrelevant proposition which they had been employed to support. He had hoped to have heard some new evidence—some hard and dry facts—dealing with the proposition itself, some experiences and some results from other lands; because, although this experiment had never been tried in this country, it had been tried elsewhere. It was over half a-century since it was first started. Since then, it had been tried in many places and in many forms, and what one would have wished—what the House was entitled to expect—was that those who, presumably, had made this matter one of close, impartial, and exhaustive examination, should have placed the result of their studies at the disposal of the House. That, he submitted, had not been done.

It was claimed for the Bill that a Resolution to a similar effect was carried in the House in 1883. Well, that was a long time ago, and they knew less of this matter then than they did now. He was free to confess that, had he been in Parliament at that time, he believed he would have voted for that Resolution. He was engaged at that time in working in one of the poorest and blackest quarters in London, doing, in fact, what, in modern phrase, was called "slumming;" and what he saw then of the evil effects of excessive drinking was so appalling as to have the effect on him—which it frequently had had on worthier people—it produced a feeling almost amounting to I despair, and a willingness to try pretty well anything that gave promise of mitigation. The evil was so pressing, so staring, so terrible that one lost one's sense of proportion. But, that was more than twenty years ago. They were now twenty years older, and ought to be at least twenty years wiser. At all events, they had twenty years experience of the working of this idea in other places. And it was some part of that experience—a conscientious and unbiassed account—that he maintained the House was entitled to expect from the mover of the Second Reading. He was not qualified today to undertake that task. He did not know the latent facts and the lates£ figures. But the facts and figures which he acquired some years ago led him, at that time, to believe that they would never hear any more of this subject—that the thing had been abundantly tried under most favourable circumstances and had failed hopelessly. They satisfied him that this well intended temperance measure had proved, where it had been tried, the deadliest foe which real temperance reform had ever encountered. That the only places where it had worked at all satisfactorily were where it was not needed—or where statistics were wanting—in thinly-populated rural districts in one or two of the American States. That where it had been applied, in urban communities, the drunkard had become a worse drunkard; the drink had become worse drink, and that, in addition, it brought in its train other civic evils for which there had been no compensation whatever.

The facts to which he had referred were common knowledge in America. For twenty years they had been open to anybody who chose to study them. They were embodied in a dozen reports and in hundreds of articles scattered broadcast to the public; but such material—apart from the laboriousness of its study—was always open to the charge of bias and prejudice. Happily the question had been examined, analysed, and dissected in the most cold blooded way by a great body of distinguished American scientists, known as the "Committee of Fifty," a body of sociologists, examining existing problems in the dry light of naked truth. And they had unanimously denounced prohibition, not only as a failure, but as a deadly and corrupting influence against temperance and many other civic virtues. From one of their reports he took the following passages— There have been concomitant evils of prohibitory legislation. The efforts to enforce it during forty years past have had some important effects on public respect for Courts, judicial procedure, oaths, and law in general, and for officers of the law, Legislatures, and public servants. The public have seen the law defied, a whole generation of habitual lawbreakers schooled in evasion and shamelessness, Courts ineffective through fluctuations of policy, delays, perjuries, negligences, and other miscarriages of justice, officers of the law double-faced and mercenary, legislators timid and insincere, candidates for office hypocritical and truckling, and officers unfaithful to pledges and to reasonable public expectation. Through an agitation which has always had a moral end, these immoralities have been developed and made conspicuous. The liquor traffic, being very profitable, has been able, when attacked by prohibitory legislation, to pay fines, bribes, hush-money, and assessments for political purposes to large amounts. This money has tended to corrupt the Law Courts, the police administration, the political organisations, and even the electorate itself. Wherever the voting force of the liquor traffic and its allies is considerable, candidates for office and office-holders are tempted to serve a dangerous trade interest which is often in antagonism to the public interest. Frequent yielding to this temptation causes general degeneration in public life, breeds contempt for the public service, and, of course, makes the service less desirable for an upright man.' A whole generation has grown up trained from early infancy in the belief that the law is their natural enemy, and that their special province is to connect themselves, directly or indirectly, with an occupation which exists in defiance of the very constitution of the State. There are three reasons for the failure of the police—the commonly accepted theory that it is not their province to enforce these laws, except when specially called upon to do so; lack of sympathy with the laws, which is quite openly expressed; the influence of the money of the liquor sellers. Labour leaders and others in position to know the habits of wage-earners incline generally to the opinion that among this class drinking is on the increase. As a cause of intemperance, especially among young men, was mentioned the dearth of good pleasure resorts and public amusements. We are told that the "hard" liquor sold in prohibitory cities is of an inferior quality, producing the quicker and more violent forms of intemperance.

Then we also find a Judge of the Supreme Court declaring— It is a question whether the prohibitory law makes more hypocrites or more drunkards. While a local Judge, in speaking of conditions under a prohibitory law not enforced, said— The value of the oath has been reduced 50 per cent, in this State. Perjury—for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for life—is so common that it no longer attracts attention. And it is not confined only to the liquor element; the effect of it is far-reaching aid growing. People talk of it openly without a blush. Turning to another source of information, we have it from a well-known temperance work by Messrs. Rowntree and Sherwell that it is— A noteworthy feature of the history of State prohibition that, in every instance where the system has been applied to States containing large urban populations, the experiment has resulted in failure and the system has often been abandoned. In Maine we find that arrests for drunkenness have risen, with fluctuations, from 16 per 1,000 in 1852–56 to 42 per 1,000 in 1899. Prohibition has been adopted at various periods by sixteen States. The number has now been reduced to five. In the last twenty years prohibition has been carried seven times and negatived thirteen times.

In Canada, since the passing of the Scott Act in 1878, local veto— Has been submitted to public opinion in nine cities and seventy-three counties. It remains in force in one city (Fredericton) and twenty-seven counties. Eighteen cities and counties altogether rejected local veto, while thirty-six, after once adopting it, on a subsequent vote rejected it. In Australasia local prohibition, at that time, was nowhere in force except in one district, Clutha, in New Zealand, containing two towns with a joint population of under 1,500.

And it is stated on the whole that— The evidence from the United States and from other countries appears to be decisive that local veto will not solve the problem of intemperance in the great urban centres. Properly presented, the case today ought to have examined the facts and allegations to which he had alluded, or, if possible, combated them with new facts and more favourable experiences. The House had heard nothing substantial in either direction. And, therefore, what they had before them today was the proposal to introduce into an old, overcrowded community a system which, happily for them, had been tried elsewhere and had failed. The truth was that, to use a favourite phrase of the advocates of this system, they were asked to give the people an effectual control of the liquor traffic, while it was proved that the proposed method gave no I control. They were asked to approve of the belated revival of an exploded idea. I which had failed, because it involved an exaggerated and an intolerable repression of human desires, and it had failed—as all such attempts at repression must necessarily fail. Abolish this system regulated and controlled and it was replaced by clubs unfettered and unrestrained. The open house of refreshment merely yielded to the street pedlar of liquid poison. Unnatural repression, always led to natural revolt. They had a somewhat heartrending instance of this truth only the other day. With the best possible intentions the Glasgow Corporation exercised a right, which it possessed, to close all public-houses on a general holiday—on Easter Monday—with the result that they made a very handsome profit on their tramcars conveying thirsty souls to neigh bouring towns where the public-houses were open. These public-houses made a handsome profit, and the Glasgow police at night had their hands full. The number of drunk and incapables for the week ending Saturday, April 29th last, was 323 as against 229 for the corresponding week of last year, when the public-houses were open the full week and the number of "drunks" before the police court at Paisley for the week ending April 30th last was forty-one as compared with eleven for the corresponding week of last year.

There was one other fascinating phrase which was employed in support of this proposal as in support of many an equally bad cause: 'Won't you trust the people?" The answer was, "Certainly, in any popular question. But what have the people got to do with the colour of my necktie?" He refused to let the odd man in the street decide whether he should have his herring boiled or broiled. It was none of his business. That was the central fallacy of this proposal. What right of interference had the so-called people with his personal convenience and personal tastes? Yet that was what this Bill invited them to sanction. Some of the best of them were too often carried away by the smoothness of a phrase. Trust the people in everything which concerned them, but he would rather they trusted him in a matter which concerned himself. And the point was that, in doing what was called "trusting the people," they were forcing on them the right to adjudicate on a matter on which they were not capable of adjudicating, and, as experience had shown, they very soon discovered this for themselves and repudiated the system. But, meanwhile, an infinity of mischief had been done to the social system. They had dislocated business. They had destroyed property and had generally disturbed the public mind and social arrangements merely with the result of going back on their tracks.

In his time and within his own ken, there had been three great movements of temperance reform: the first against drunkenness; the second against "drink"; and the third against "the trade." The first of these three had been successful—not completely or wholly successful; but it was the only temperance movement that had ever succeeded. And he claimed that it was a reform which had worked down through the classes of society—and it was ridiculous not to recognise that classes existed—from the highest to the lowest. A hundred or even fewer years ago, in the highest clashes, drunkenness, so far from being a crime, was an elegance—almost a virtue. The reign of the great Queen changed all that. He need not tell the House how drunkenness was regarded amongst the educated classes of to-day. Rut he asked it to realise that amongst skilled artisans it was stigmatised just as sharply as in Mayfair. Example—fashion—what they would—had done this work. Opportunities to do something else besides getting drunk had been amongst the agents. One could easily quote other agents. The fact remained that excessive drinking and drunkenness had enormously diminished during the last fifty, forty, thirty years. But of the other two campaigns! Against "drink"—against "the trade"—what had been done? And how would this so-called reform touch any of these? Experience showed that it did not reduce drunkenness. Experience showed that it did not stop drink, but only deteriorated its quality and generated new crimes. But it would unquestionably touch the publican—in the interests of a certain class of dispensing druggists, of drinking clubs, of sheebeens, of street pedlars. Now, he held no brief for the publican, and he never had had a direct or indirect interest in "the trade" in his life. But he did recognise that "the trade" was a lawful trade, conducted by citizens of quite the average standard of morality, and that this proposal showed a complete disregard for the rights of that trade—rights recognised bath by law and equity. But, leaving the "Trade" alone, his chief objections to this measure were that it proposed a gross infringement of the individual liberty of the citizen—that it invaded the domain of private conduct, placing it at the mercy of the odd man in the street, and that it was purely class legislation. It dictated unwarrantably the poor man's mode of life, and it left the rich untouched. And it denied to the poor man what h; was entitled to consider his right of choice in articles of consumption.

Now, the only conceivable ground on which such a course could be justified was the general assumption—or, at all events, the assumption on the part of the backers of this Bill—that alcohol was a poison of so dangerous a character that at all costs it must be kept out of the way of the people; that it was to be legislated for far more stringently than dynamite or explosives. But was this the case? Was it a reasonable proposition? Did the backers of the Bill make this immense assumption? He ventured to think not. He had in his hand some exceedingly interesting sentences from one of the backers—the Member for West Aberdeenshire, whose absence they all regretted. In an article entitled "The Case for Moderate Drinking" in Blackwood's Magazine of June, 1892, the hon. Member wrote— We must take ourselves as we are, artificial products of an artificial age, often depressed and worried, eating bad food, badly cooked, breathing bad air, and crushed down by money difficulties. It is at these times, when responsibilities are around us, and the troubles of the world begin to close in over our heads, that a cheering glass, in strict moderation and at carefully selected times, is of real use, and can be defended both by physiology and common-sense…. A moderate dose has some stimulant effect, and may send up the pulse by a few beats and remove the faintness of fatigue. Generally and more beneficially, however, it soothes and rests, and brings consoling quiet into the routine of life. As to quantity, the hon. Member declared that— In a general way we would advise everyone, with sufficient self-restraint, to regulate his own proper quantity for himself…. Everyone, speaking generally, must also choose the kind of liquor which suits him best…. In nine cases out of ten the man, himself, understands the outs and in of his stomach, and can arrange his scheme of solid and liquid diet to conciliate his tyrant. Thus we find that whilst beer is the favourite beverage of many and is specially believed in by the working man, it makes some of us heavy and unfit for work, and we shake our heads sadly when we see it on the table. Later, warmed by a sympathetic theme, the hon. Member grew really enthusiastic— Burgundy," he said, "is the king of wines and feeds the watery blood of the anæmic with red corpuscles and stills the crave of neuralgic nerve for stimulation and support. Again he said— Champagne, which is invaluable to the weak and sinking, and the very pop of whose cork seems to give a fresh start to conviviality, sometimes causes sleepless nights. But he cautiously adds— It therefore requires no more explanation to prove that we should do our drinking in a very systematic way. And on the whole he gives— A scientific denial to the oft-repeated assertion of temperance reformers of the more 'rabid' class, that moderation in its physical effects is only one degree less hurtful than excess. As to details he explains— A man has been wet through or thoroughly chilled, and comes home cold and shivering, A smart lit tie nip, taken at once, will whip up his heart, relax the vessels of the skin, take off the spasm of congestion and fend a warm glow through him from end to end; and although exact science tell us that this feeling of heat is rather apparent than real, it is actually felt." Because the blood "returns to stoke up the internal organs, and light a temporary fire which will probably prevent the dangers from chill. The hon. and learned Member, after a kindly word for the petit very, said— Finally, there can be no possible shadow of doubt that weakly and old people are often the better for a nightcap," and, "that judicious stimulation directly predisposes to longevity. All the most healthy veterans whom we have known take some wine or spirits. He confessed he could not go quite the length of the hon. Member, the backer of this Bill. He was a temperance Member, speaking as a temperance Member, and he considered these ware pernicious doctrines. They might or might not be scientifically true; but they had better not be said, and he would rather that no child of his read them. But what he asked the House to observe was, these were the comfortable doctrines of one of the comfortable classes who would not be touched by this Bill; but, all the same, they were doctrines which, if they were true doctrines, were doctrines of universal application, and that this Bill, sponsored as it was by the hon. and learned Gentleman, who did not hesitate to promulgate these doctrines, would shut out the working men of this country from everyone of the advantages which he so eloquently insisted on.

He regretted to have detained the House so long. It was only at the last moment that it fell to his lot I o take a part in this discussion, and, consequently, he had not had time enough to be concise. There were many other sides of the question upon which he might well have touched. But he had no fear but that they would have ample justice done to them by those who followed him on this side. And he doubted not that the belatedness of this exploded experiment would be made clear. For himself, he repeated that he approached this subject as a temperance advocate. He repeated the claim that he was working in the temperance cause when most of the supporters of this grotesque proposal were at school; and he claimed that, where this or analogous measures had been tried elsewhere, they had hopelessly failed to further the true cause of temperance—that they had led to crime and a general moral deterioration in the communities where they had been tried—that they could only be made effective in thinly-populated rural districts where they were not needed, and that, in most cases, they had been abandoned as failures; that, in a crowded country like this, they would lead to similar evil consequences in an aggravated degree— that they would prove wholly unworkable and lead to an evil reaction, and that, while defeating the ends of temperance, they would flout justice, outrage a!l equity, and would differentiate, in a manner absolutely unconstitutional and indefensible, the private rights of the rich and the poor.

MR. GROVES (Salford, S.)

formally seconded the Amendment.

Amendment proposed— To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.' "—(Sir Lewis McIver.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

MR. THOMA SHAW (Hawick Burghs)

said that this debate had taken an extremely curious turn. A Motion had been made "that this Bill be read a second time this day six months," and, curious to say, this proposal had been made by an ostentatiously avowed temperance reformer. A good many of the high-sounding phrases which had been used against this Bill were now getting rather played out, and they now understood them in a different sense to when they were first used years ago. When a Motion by a temperance reformer from Scotland was seconded by a member of the brewing trade in England then the situation was very curious. What was the use of getting up a case against this Bill by citations from old books? It seemed to him that wherever a stray expression either before or after dinner was made by a public man, showing the slightest sympathy with a glass of liquor, it was culled and served up by the liquor trade in the House. He thought the way in which the subject had been treated by the hon. Member who spoke last but one was deplorable, and, indeed, it was clear that the hon. Member had not read The Times that morning and the report of Sir F. Treves's address to the Women's Union of the Church of England Temperance Society. In that address all the arguments of the hon. Member had by anticipation been exploded on the highest authority. What did Sir Frederick Treves say. He dealt with it not from its moral, but from its physical aspect, and he mentioned all the different points which had been referred to by the hon. Member for West Edinburgh. Speaking of intoxicating liquor, he said— As for its 'aiding digestion,' it hindered digestion even when taken in small amounts, as could be easily demonstrated. Then there was the idea that alcohol was strengthening. As a fact, it curiously modified the nourishment of the body; it greatly lessened the output of carbonic acid—a very important matter—so that the drunkard was necessarily an ill-nourished man; and to reach the acme of physical condition was impossible if any alcohol was used. Its stimulating effect was only momentary, and after that had passed off the capacity for work fell enormously. Alcohol, as it were, brought up the whole of the reserve forces of the body and threw them into action, and when these were used up there was nothing to fall back on. It dissipated rather than conserved bodily energy. As a work producer it was exceedingly extravagant, and might lead to a physical bankruptcy; and he was not speaking, he would remind them, of excessive drinking. Then Sir Frederick gave a most striking illustration, which, he ventured to say, would much affect the mind of the country. He said— It was a curious fact that troops could not march on alcohol. In the Ladysmith relief column, which he accompanied, the first men to drop out were simply the men who drank. The fact was as clear as if they had all borne labels on their backs. As for the statement that alcohol was 'a great thing for the circulation,' it increased the heart-beat and reddened the skin by using up the body's reserve power, but the heart's action became emphatically weaker, a temporary effect being got at an enormous cost. The action of alcohol on the central nervous system was very definite, and was that of a functional poison, first stimulating; and then depressing the nervous system. The higher nervous centres went first, becoming slightly dulled. The man who worked on even a moderate amount of alcohol were not at his best Fine work could not be done under that condition. The use of alcohol was absolutely inconsistent with a surgeon's work, or with any work demanding quick and alert judgment. He was much struck by the number of professional men who for this reason had discontinued the use of alcohol in the middle of the day. The last notion he would refer to was that alcohol kept out the cold—that a 'little nip' was good when going out into cold air, and so forth. In the words of a great authority, alcohol really lowered the tempersture of the body by increased loss of heat and to some extent by increased oxidation, and much reduced the power of the body to resist cold. Finally, he would say that the great and laudable ambition of all, and especially of young men, to be 'fit' could not possibly be achieved if they took alcohol. It was simply preposterous to suppose that any young healthy person needed any alcohol whatever; and, indeed, he was much better without even the smallest amount of it. Having spent the greater part of his life operating, he would say, with Sir James Paget, that of all people those he dreaded to operate on were the drinkers. He hoped that what he had said would help his hearers to answer such absolute fallacies as 'a glass of port can do you no harm. That opinion exploded the whole of the arguments of the hon. Member opposite, not by arguments which but for the care and assiduity of the liquor trade would be forgotten, but by the highest medical authority whose opinion was given in that day's Times. That opinion bore directly upon this Bill because the leading proposition of Dr. Treves was "That alcohol was, of course, distinctly a poison. It had certain uses, like other poisons, but the limitations on its use should be as strict as on arsenic, opium, and strychnia."

The Bill was an extremely moderate Bill, and from the medical point of view was defensible in every line of it; only from the same point of view it was not drastic enough. The reference to the United States was a reference to something entirely different to what was contemplated in this Bill. The only analogue to a prohibition State under this Bill would be that Scotland, England, or Ireland should become a prohibition State. Why had five prohibition States in America abandoned prohibition? They abandoned prohibition, but adopted local veto. How did the case stand all over the United States? Out of forty-six or forty-seven States there were thirty-nine that had local veto and five absolute prohibition. The question here was not as to national or State prohibition, but as to granting to limited localities all over the country the power of local option or local veto for the purpose of checking the liquor traffic. Was local veto as terrible as prohibition? Local veto existed in many parts of Scotland at the option, not of the community, but of the governing landowners. All they wanted, therefore, was to give the community the same power as that which had been exercised by the high-minded, courageous, good landlords, without any result of debauching the respect for the law in any of.the communities throughout the country.

It was said that the regulation of the drink traffic meant then crease of drunkenness, but the Report of the Committee on Physical Deterioration showed that this was altogether wrong in the case of countries, like Norway and 'Sweden for example, where the consumption of drink was controlled by wise legislation. The proposition which had been put forward was that State regulation of the drink traffic meant an increase of drunkenness. On page 34 of the Report on Physical Deterioration reference was made to the increase in the consumption of alcoholic liquors and the increase in lunacy and in the percentage of recruits refused as unfit for service. It says— Diagrams are also given illustrating a totally different state of things in the countries where the consumption of drink, owing to wise legislation, has been steadily decreasing, viz., Norway and Sweden. In the last-named, the reverse of the picture presented by France is complete. Thus in Sweden the consumption of spirits containing 50 per cent, alcohol in 1830 was forty-six litres, and in 1890 six litres per head. A fact like that put on one side altogether the argument that regulation by the State meant an increase of drunkenness. Foreign experience was helping temperance reformers on both sides. The principle of the Bill was not new, for it was founded on the doctrine of trusting the various localities. The opinion of Scotland on temperance reform was shown by the fact that forty-three Members out of the seventy-two representing Scotland were pledged in favour of this Bill. Medical opinion was also ripening on the subject, and he cited the evidence of Dr. Clouston, the most distinguished authority in lunacy, and Sir F. Treves as being conclusive of the evils of alcoholism.

In face of the Report which had been made he wished to know what the Government were going to do to cure these evils. The Report on Physical Deterioration says— The question of drink occupies a prominent place amongst the causes of degeneration. The close connection between a craving for drink and bad housing, bad feeding, a polluted and depressing atmosphere, and long hours of work in over-heated and ill-ventilated rooms, only relieved by the excitements of town life, is too self-evident to need demonstration.

Mrs. Mackenzie

said— I think that if the drink question were removed three-fourths of the difficulty and the poverty and degradation would go along with it And then the Commissioners add— Not only is poverty the result of drink but it becomes an active agent in promoting it. Was this, then, not a case for an experiment to be made? They were following sound American analogies, and it had been admitted that the effect of drink on the national physique was certified in the Report of the Physical Deterioration Committee. He dissented entirely from the view that it was a novel principle to interfere with the habits of the people in the consumption of drink. They had been doing that all along; drink was not a free trade; it was a monopoly granted by the State under regulations, and in Scotland they were much ahead of England in respect of their regulations of the trade.


said he had listened with very great interest to the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down, and he rejoiced to think that he had not drawn so black a picture as the hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill. When he heard the hon. Member for Govan say that Scotland was sixty years ahead of England in this matter, and then went on to describe the condition of Scotland, he was almost disposed to be thankful that England was lagging behind. He noticed that hon. Members who had spoken had not said very much about tie Bill which had been submitted to the House. No attempt had been made to show the House how the Bill would work out as a practical measure. The Bill took no notice whatever of the legislation passed in 1903; indeed, it referred to the Licensing Acts of 1828 to 1897, although those Acts, he believed, had been repealed by the Act of 1903. In the Bill of 1903 a great measure of licensing reform was passed, and he did not think that they had yet realised the great benefit of that measure. He thought a great improvement had been brought about in the general state of matters by that Bill. The hon. Member for the Border Burghs found fault with the hon. Member for West Edinburgh for having brought or ward the question of what happened in Glasgow upon a recent occasion. He happened to be in the neighbourhood of Glasgow at the time alluded to, aid he knew that special trams were run all day to those localities for the purpose of carrying people out of Glasgow to the neighbouring towns.

SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cornwall, Camborne)

Why did not they shut up as well?


said the closing days were New year's Day and four other days, and they had to be declared, and after that they could not be varied. The days were fixed under bylaws, and that was the reason why one locality could close at one time, and another locality at another time. The Bill proposel that a poll was to be taken either in favour of prohibition or limitation, the area being a ward in a burgh, or a parish or ward of a parish. That, thought, was not a practical proposal. In the first place, the decision arrived at, which was to be binding on a locality for three years, was to be by a bare majority, which was unfair, and against the recommendation of the Minority Report of the Commission, which preferred a substantial majority. In this very small area a bare majority was to have the power of enforcing its will on the minority, which might be a very large minority, for a period of three years. There was in the Bill no provision that in order to make the vote valid and effective a certain proportion of the electors on the roll must come forward and vote. That, he thought, was a great blot, and it was not fair to omit such a provision from the Bill. But was it quite fair to suggest that this was to be done by a bare majority? He did not think that it would be felt to be so by those in the minority. He would like to remind the House that the Minority Report of the Royal Commission, which had been referred to in the proceedings to-day, suggested that if a veto of this kind were taken it would have to be carried by a substantial majority. In the English Local Veto Bill introduced by the hon. Member for the Spen Valley Division la t year, it was proposed that a two-thirds majority should be necessary in order to be effective. The proposal for a bare majority in Scotland was introduced now for the first time.In the earlier Bills he thought, the proposal was for a two-thirds majority. Not one word had been said by the authors of the Bill as to the reason for this change.

He submitted that another impractical proposal of the Bill was the small-ness of the area. Anyone conversant with the administration of public affairs in Scotland realised how much that would militate against the working of the system of prohibition if ever carried into effect under the Bill. A country parish might be divided for the purpose of parish council elections into three, four, or five wards, and one side of a street or read might be in one ward, while the other side was in another ward. Supposing that in one of these wards a bare majority were to determine that no liquor was to be sold there for a period of three years, the magistrates, who had to exercise their jurisdiction over a much wider area, would have to consider the wants of that particular parish, and to have regard to the fact that prohibition had been applied in one part of the parish, and it was possible that because they found the public houses closed on one side, it might be necessary to open public-houses on the other. He did not think in that way they should get further forward in this matter.

There was another great blot on the Bill. Hon. Gentlemen who supported the Bill had not said a single word as to any proposal in connection with compensation. He would put this to the House: granted that this Bill was carried, what would be the prospect in any ward of a parish, or in any parish, of local veto being practically applied in that ward or parish, if those who had to vote knew perfectly well that two, three, or four of the citizens amongst them were going to be deprived without compensation of their means of livelihood? He knew enough about the clannish feeling in Scotland, and about the feeling everybody had for the interests of their neighbours, to believe that this Bill, unless some provision were made for compensating the individuals whose livelihood was going to be taken away, would never be carried into effect. Mark what the effect would be. Suppose a parish had four wards, in each of which there was a public-house, and suppose that by the application of local veto the public-houses were closed in two of the wards, the result would be that the value of the two houses that remained would be enormously increased. That would be an infliction of hardship and injury on two individuals in order to benefit two other individuals. He did not believe that public feeling would sanction that for a single moment. He should like to remind the House in connection with this matter that in the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on the Liquor Traffic, whilst there was a strongly expressed view that no money compensation from the rates or taxation was to be given, there was a proposal that a time notice of several years should be an element in compensation. What was the proposal of this Bill? The proposal of this Bill was harsh and arbitrary.

SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)

No money compensation is proposed in the Bill.


said the hon. and learned Gentleman had entirely misunderstood what he said. He quoted what the Minority Report said in regard to a time notice of several years, and if the hon. and learned Member would refer to the Report he would find that while it was suggested that there should be a period of seven years in England it was also suggested that it should not be more than five years in Scotland. What were the provisions of this Bill? On the 15th of May if a poll was taken, and if it was decided to prohibit the save of liquor in a locality, the public-houses were to be closed absolutely. He would ask whether a provision of that kind was not extremely harsh and unfair. It was a direct contravention of the suggestion of the Minority Report, and it was one which the House certainly ought not to agree to.

There was no doubt that whilst there were practical objections to the provisions of the Bill there were directions in which a change was desirable in Scotland, and in regard to which there would be a general consensus of opinion if the hon. Member for Govan would only limit his ambition to something less heroic than the proposals made in this measure. He did not believe the proposals of this Bill would really be effective in Scotland because the Bill was so drastic in character that he did not think the people would ever agree to apply it. But a suggestion had been made of a much less drastic and severe character, and that was, that an effort should be made to reduce the number of public-houses in those localities where they were excessive, so that the number should bear a reasonable proportion to the inhabitants of the locality. He should like to call the attention of the House to the figures in regard to that matter. There was in the Minority Report a recommendation that the limit with regard to population should be one public-house to 400 in the counties, and one to 750 in the burghs. He was not today going to express any opinion as to whether that proportion would be fair or unfair. Ever since a suggestion of that kind was made in 1871 by, he thought, the then Home Secretary Mr. Bruce, he had always publicly stated that that was the direction in which he wished temperance reform to move. What were the actual facts brought out at the time the Report of the Commission was made? The number of public-houses was one to 333 in Scotland, and one to 219 in England. But it varied very much in Scotland. In the county of Nairn there was one public-house to 2,251 of the population, while in the county of Kinross there was one to 202. In the burgh of Dumbarton there was one public-house to 833 of the population, while in the burgh of Auchtermuchty there was one to sixty. These differences were very striking. Those who, like himself, had been associated for many years with licensing administration in a particular locality had been struck with the differences in their own counties. In his county the proportion varied from one to 270 in one parish to one to 800 of the population in another parish. It was in this direction that he looked for a beneficial change. Localities could make representations now to the magistrates who constituted the licensing authority, and they would have every reason to believe that those representations would be carefully considered. A gradual change could be worked out over large areas, and in that way, as competition was lessened, there would be an improved class of public-house. He did not believe any legislation was necessary for this, although, perhaps having regard to the largeness of the areas of some of the licensing districts it might be desirable that a larger area should be introduced in order that a poll for the licensing area might be taken. Any proposal to reduce public-houses in that way would have to be made on fair and equitable terms, and to have for its main object the establishment of general uniformity in the number of public-houses to popular on He believed that a reform of that kind, which would be fair, would be a substantial reform, and it was one for which legislation was scarcely needed at all. If the Member for Govan and his friends would concentrate themselves upon, that reform he believed it was one which, when brought before the House of Commons, would be met with undivided sympathy, and could be made of very great benefit throughout the whole of Scotland. He would be glad to see a moderate system of reform,such as he had suggested, carried into law, but he regarded the Bill now before the House as impracticable. He did not believe it should achieve the object which the hon. Member for Govan thought it would achieve, and for that reason he should certainly vote against the Second Reading.

MR. LEIF JONES (Westmoreland, Appleby)

appealed for the indulgence which the House was always ready to extend to new Members. He thought he ought to apologise for thrusting himself thus early into the debates of the House. This was a question in which for several years he had taken special interest. Although this Bill dealt exclusively with Scotland, the principle of it was one which he should like to see extended to England and Wales, and he hoped that very soon it would be so extended. While he recognised the claim which Scotland had to advanced temperance legislation he thought that Wales also could claim to be on an equality with Scotland in that respect. But he would not enter specially into Scottish circumstances. He would address himself to the principles which he thought underlay this Bill. In listening to the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for West Renfrewshire he could not but feel that there was a very sympathetic tone in his utterances towards the object they had in view. The hon. Baronet might have given a vote for the Second Reading since most of the points on which he criticised the Bill could certainly have been dealt with in the course of the Committee stage. Less than justice had been done to those who had spoken in favour of the Bill. They had not addressed themselves to details, but had spoken in regard to the principle. He ventured to say that this Bill was strictly in conformity with the principle? of our licensing law. It was spoken of by the hon. Member for West Edinburgh as an interference with freedom. That was an argument which had often been used in regard to this particular proposal. The late Lord Salisbury in a famous passage spoke of the "free indulgence" to which the public have "a right." The Stafe in this country had not recognised any such right for many hundreds of years. There was not now, and there had not been for centuries, any freedom or Tight to sell intoxicating liquors in this country. In 1601 King James I. in a Privy Council circular letter exhorted the justices to suppress forthwith all unnecessary houses, and pointed out to them that— By the law and statutes of this our realm, the keeping of alehouses and victualling houses is none of those trades which it is free and lawful for any subject to set up and exercise, but inhibited to all save such as are thereto licensed. He did not wish to speak hard words of the liquor trade, but the fact remained that for 400 years the Legislature of this country had recognised that the trade was of so dangerous a character that in all its operations it must be carefully restricted and regulated.

What was the present state of the law? Prohibition was the common law of the land. Most of them were forbidden to sell drink in this country. He sometimes read the reports of those high annual festivals which the members of the liquor trade held in different towns throughout the country—the licensed vistuallers' banquets. He read the other day the report of a banquet held at Leeds. The chairman of that banquet, speaking with the expansive frankness which came at such times, declared— So stringent was the law that in order to pet a licence a man must have the character of a saint. He did not dispute it for a moment, but it was not enough to be a saint. There were many other requirement to be fulfilled before the sale of drink was allowed in this country. A man had to give notice of his intention to apply for a licence to the overseers of the parish That was because, he presumed, if the? licence was granted there would be more paupers for the overseers to look after. Notice had to be given to the superintendent of the police. There would hi more criminals if the licence was granted. Notice had to be pasted on the church door so that the vicar and the churchgoers might know that rival ministrations to those of the church were likely to be opened in the immediate neighbourhood. Notice must be posted on the premises to be licensed, and, lastly, notice must b3 inserted in the local newspaper, so that the inhabitants of the district might be aware that a new licence was to be applied for in the district, and in order that they might have an opportunity of going before the justices and defending or arguing against the opening of the place. When all this had been done, the justices had to see a plan of the premises in order to satisfy themselves that the accommodation was suitable for its purpose,and if the applicant had the character of a saint, then, and then only, the magistrates might grant a new licence on the one consideration that the public convenience demanded a new licence in the locality. It was only on that plea that licence had been granted. It had never been considered that the trade was carried on for the good of those connected with it. It was only on that plea that the admission of some to, and the exclusion of others from, the trade could be justified. It was on that ground that they as patriotic citizens submitted to the monopoly. It would be a gross injustice to prevent any man from deriving profit from this trade unless it was for the public good that he should not engage in it. In the old days the justices were the interpreters of the public good. He did not say that they were always the best interpreters. It was certainly not for Members on the other side of the House to argue that the justices were the best interpreters, for no sooner had they shown themselves alive to the responsibilities of their office than down came the Prime Minister and de prived them of the discretion which they proposed to exercise. The supporters of this Bill claimed that the public themselves were the best judges of what was for their convenience and their own interest. They claimed for the people mandatory power to declare their will in this matter.

This was not a novel principle after all. The hon. Member for West Edinburgh spoke of it as an entirely new principle. The truth was that the justices throughout the past centuries had repeatedly endeavoured to ascertain local opinion on the question of licences and they had frequently acted on that opinion. He had there an extract from an account of the Gloucester Petty Sessions in 1786— At the Gloucester Petty Sessions, a petition was presented to the justices by the principal inhabitants of the parish of Pitchcombe, stating that their poor's rates before the licensing an alehouse in the parish were two shillings in the pound; but since two alehouses had been opened, the common people have become idle, drunken, and profligate, and have spent their wages in the public-houses, leaving their families to be supported by the parish; by which means the rates have lately risen to eight shillings in the pound. Whereupon the justices suppressed both the alehouses. This power had remained in the hands of landowners up to the present time, and owing to the action of landlords, in London, Liverpool, and Glasgow there were districts where public -houses were to be found side by side with districts where there were none. The result was that in those districts where there were no licensed houses rents were higher, because they were what were called uncontaminated zones. The promoters of this Bill were endeavouring to secure similar advantages for the people throughout the country.

They had been much terrified by the accounts of what happened in Glasgow two weeks ago. When he heard those accounts he was reminded of an Act in force in Tennessee known as the Four Miles Act. An Englishman who rode through the State said it seemed to him that it was not a four miles Act but a sixty-four miles Act, for the limit was renewed at the end of every four miles. If the inhabitants of Paisley did not like the drinkers from Glasgow to come into their midst, let them follow the example of places in Tennessee and pass the drinkers on. That would at least benefit the railway companies and the tramways companies of Scotland.

Bills of this character had received endorsement from leading statesmen on both sides of the House. He would like in his first speech in the House to express his gratitude as a temperance reformer to the late Sir William Harcourt for the great work he did when Chancellor of the Exchequer in adopting as his own the principle that underlay this Bill. Lord Randolph Churchill, a statesman of quick insight, framed and introduced a Bill embodying this principle. Lord Randolph declared— The main principle of the Bill is popular control of the issue of licences. It is alleged that you cannot make men sober by Act of Parliament. You cannot, it is true, but I will tell you what you can do. You can give the people by Act of Parliament the power to make themselves sober. This Bill was now opposed in the name of temperance. He was thankful when any testimony was paid to temperance from whatever quarter it came and he could not forget that the Licensing Act last year was passed in the name of eternal justice and temperance. This gave them a formula by which TO interpret those professions. There were two bodies of experts on this question—the temperance societies on the one hand, and the drink trade on the other. What was the attitude of those two bodies? All the men and women of the temperance societies supported this measure, and the drink trade were in a body against it. The temperance societies knew from experience that this measure provided the one power that would enable the people to deliver themselves from the evils of the drink traffic, and for the same reason the members of the trade were opposing it with all their might. It had been said that the measure would not be put in force where it was most needed. He thought that even the victims of the drink traffic would support the closing of houses which were a temptation to them. It was true that in moments of excess they would not do so, but in moments of sobriety they might do so. Tasks in hours of insight willed, May be through hours of gloom fulfilled If the opponents of the measure thought it would not be put in force, why not let it pass? It was optional, and it would not take effect where the people did not want it. He thought they opposed it for the reason that even if it were not enforced it would be one of the most effective weapons for the better control of the liquor traffic. The Morning Advertiser a few days ago in a leader on the deputation that waited on the Liberal Leader in regard to licensing matters said— The local veto spirit is capable of working an infinity of mischief short of the full accomplishment of its purposes. It was precisely that "infinity of mischief" which the liquor trade was afraid of. They knew that if the power were once put into the hands of the people of closing houses it would have an immense effect in screwing up the standard of the liquor trade and making them realise that if they outraged the feeling of the people they would do so at the peril of losing their licences.

This Bill was in the direction of legislation on the subject the whole world over. It was continually thrown in their teeth that this was an un-English measure. The fact was that the most conspicuous thing about an Englishman was his capacity to swallow, and that did not by any means apply only to liquor. He was willing to swallow any good institution he saw flourishing in any part of the world. If lion. Members would reflect they would see how much comfort and convenience we owed to foreign countries. We introduced many things in this country, and they flourished as on their native soil. We had imported tobacco, Normans, tea, potatoes, horses, mathematics—in fact, most of the things which made up the comfort and pleasure of our life at present had been imported, and when brought to this country they had flourished. But, as a matter of fact, the principle laid down in this Bill was a purely English principle, and absolutely consistent with those principles of local self-government which were the peculiar mark of Englishmen wherever they went. Except in this country, throughout the English-speaking world this law was in operation. He remembered going to a New England town meeting, where the people annually settled the affairs of their village, and one of the matters discussed which struck him and which was decided by a vote for or against—was the issue of public-house licences for the coming year. Throughout the English-speaking world this power was in the hands of the people themselves. And what had been the result? If they sought out the soberest countries in the world, it was those where the people had in their hands this power of local option. Over the whole of Canada the local option law was in force. That had been challenged in the course of the debate, but he found that Prince Edward Island was in 1903 under prohibition. In Nova Scotia there was local prohibition in sixteen out of eighteen counties; in New Brunswick in nine out of fourteen counties; in Quebec 600 municipalities out of 900 had prohibition; in Ontario there had been a steady reduction of licences on account of local option; and the same applied all over Canada. In New Zealand, where the people had the power of local option, there had been a steady growth of opinion in favour of the reduction of licences, and at the election in 1902 there were six districts from which licences were excluded. There was to be another election this year, and he would be very much surprised if more districts did not vote "No licence." He could not close this part of his argument without a reference to Norway and Sweden. These countries forty or fifty years ago were notoriously the most drunken in Europe; today they were the soberest, and that was because a local option law had been enforced.

Of drink it was profoundly true that "the means to do ill deeds makes ill deeds done." The removal of temptation from the people should be the aim of statesmanship in this country. He had been very much struck with a case tried at Bow Street Police Court the other day. A man named Henry Davis, who had thirty-four convictions recorded against him since 1897, was tried for some offence. Mr. Marshall put this question to the prisoner— What public-house did you go to? The answer was— The nearest, guv'nor, the nearest. I don't waste no time when I'm going to have a drink; but opportunity is a fine thing. There they had the case in a nutshell; and therefore they claimed from this House consideration for those temperance movements which consisted in the removal of temptations from the people. He had been very much surprised to read a speech by a Bishop in which ha said that he could not join in the crusade against public-houses— Because he held that the removal of temptation was not the highest form of virtue. They certainly did not make a man absolutely virtuous when they put all temptation out of his way. It would be unbecoming in him and presumptuous to enter into a theological argument with a Bishop; but he must confess that this doctrine was odd to come from the mouth of one who daily prayed, "Lead us not into temptation." For the comfort of the Bishop he thought that if every public-house were removed there would be ample temptation in the world and enough evil in the mysterious nature of man to provide full occupation for all the Bishops in Christendom. He urged them not to expect too much from this measure if it passed into law. A change of habits took time to operate, and any reform was a work of slow progress; but all who had studied the problem of intemperance knew that if they were to engage successfully in fighting these evils they must rouse the will of the people; they must summon to their aid that democratic principle by which alone they could solve the problem of enabling the mass of the people to lead a higher and a nobler life. The licensing laws, the restrictions, the efforts of reformers had failed to save the people. He implored the House of Commons not to reject this Bill, but to place in the hands of the people a weapon by which they might save themselves.

SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbrightshire)

said he hoped he might be permitted as an old Member to congratulate the hon. Gentleman on the speech which he had delivered, and the House on the admirable acquisition the hon. Gentleman had made to their numbers. The only criticism he would dare to make of that speech was that the hon. Gentleman had occupied the time of the House too long. He wished not to make a long speech, but to state his views on the question: Was this Bill likely to be a really practical measure, operating for good, or was it not? He confessed he agreed with most of what was said by the hon. Member who moved the Second Reading. All, on both sides of the House, deplored the temptations to drink and pitied the victims of it: and they trusted that some means would be taken to reduce the number of public-houses in their own country; but would this permissive Bill accomplish that object? He had voted on different occasions for a permissive Bill and, in fact, had himself brought in such a measure, but his own experience was that, except in some rural districts, there was not much interest taken in these Bills by the working classes. In fact, he believed that most of them would like to have not fewer but more public-houses. He lived in a parish where there were very few public-houses and one licence was taken away. Down came the rent of the house 50 par cent. It had bean the only public-house in a very wide district and what was the consequence? In some respects good and in other respects not so good. It was good in preventing young men going to the public-house and treating each other to drink, and instead of walking three miles to get a drink they walked home. On the other hand, bakers' and butchers' carts now brought the drink to the cottages. It was very difficult to fix responsibility for that on any individual, because it was done with great secrecy. He bought a public-house once with the intention of pulling it down. There was no other public-house within eight miles one way and five miles the other, and there was a great uproar in the countryside. Travellers, after driving sixteen or eighteen miles, naturally wanted some refreshment for their horses and themselves, and they considered it a great hardship that the public-house which was on the main road should ha pulled down. So he took a plébiscite, on the school board register, and was some what mortified to find that the enormous majority, including the women, were in favour of keeping the house open. He believed that the people, if they had their way, would have more and not fewer public-house.

No Veto Bill would have any practical effect unless it included a system of compensation for owners when licences were suppressed. It would be an intolerable injustice to deprive a man of his property, when he carried on a lawful business, simply because, in the opinion of a number of well intentioned people, it would be in the public interest to do so. It would be absolutely impossible to carry out such a policy in a small parish. The only fair and practical method of effecting a reduction in the number of licences would be upon a system of compensation similar to that which had been applied in the English Act of last session. He had been in the United States and had seen the Maine Liquor Law abused, although he believed it was better carried out now. However, he would not argue that matter on this occasion. He believed that it would be impossible to carry out this measure in small parishes, for a public-house would be at once started in the next parish. He beleved with the hon. Member for Renfrewshire that the only fairway to reduce-public-houses was to provide compensation for the licences taken away. Feeling the deepest sympathy with the temperance cause, he could not vote for a Bill which he was convinced would prove worthless.


said that his hon. friend who had just sat down was not quite so old as he was. When the hon. Baronet got to his age he would give up prophecying as to what the people of this country would do. They had disappointed him over and over again. He was not going to say now—he had never said it at any time—that he was quite sure when the people had the power they would do away with all liquor shops. He was an old agitator, and he had said, as he said now, that it was the right of the people to do a3 they pleased in this matter, and it was upon that ground, and that ground only, that he supported this Bill. The idea was that the people themselves knew their own needs aid wishes better than any outsiders. The man who wore the shoe knew where it was pinching; and the inhabitants of a district must know their own minds. What was wanted was to give them the chance of saying whether they wanted a paiticular kind of public house. The only objection he had to the present public-house was that it was a place where drink was sold. He did not want to shut up a public-house, but only to take the drink away from it. The authority of the Edinburgh Review had been already quoted; that magazine said that the liquor trade was a nuisance socially politically, and morally; but he would give another quotation and that was from The Times That great newspaper some years ago said— It would be impossible to find anything which stands for so much loss to soul, body, and estate as the public-house. It is a huge nuisance and misery. There is not a vice or a disease or a disaster or a calamity of any kind which has not its frequent rise in the public-house. It degrades, brutalises, and ruins a large fraction of the British people. That was very good for The Times.He had never heard anything stronger than that from the leading organ of public opinion in this country. It might be said that that was a long time ago, and that things were not so bad now; and that a great deal had been done to ameliorate the liquor trade since then.I Soon after corning into this House he-remembered a right hon. friend making his maiden speech in which he used the expression that it was the duty of Parliament to turn the licensing system from a curse into a blessing, That was very well put. His right hon. friend had seen many efforts made by good and great men to turn the licensing system from a curse into a blessing.Philanthropists, philosophers, patriots, and politicians had addressed themselves to I the task of turning the licensing system from a curse to a blessing, but with what result? A Royal Commission on the liquor business, composed of a third trade representatives, a third temperance reformers, and a third consisting of Christians at large, had declared the evil so gigantic that to remove it no effort would be too great; and only the day before Sir F. Treves, the greatest authority in the medical world—it was almost providential that he should have given this strong argument the day before this debate—had found it necessary to again remind the public that— Alcohol is an insidious poison, and that limitations on its use should be as strict as on arsenic, opium, and strychnia. If that was so, in the opinion of a high authority, was there not justification for saying the people should have the right to protect themselves against it?

They heard quotations about what happened in prohibition districts and so forth; but they did not get very accurate information. He maintained that whenever liquor prohibition had received a fair trial, great success had resulted. True, prohibition was not always enforced, as might be seen in. the American illustration, where a man was asked, "Are you in favour of the Maine Law? "and the rejoinder, "Yes, but I'm again its enforcement." All he would say in support of his hon. friend was that wherever public opinion and honest officials had been at the back of local prohibition, there it had been a great success. He would mention one fact, that the amount of alcohol consumed in the United States was only one-half per head of that consumed in the United Kingdom. He would tell what the Bill before the House did not do. It did not enact any fresh penalties on anybody. It did not run counter to our canons of local self-government. It simply allowed the inhabitants of a district to inform the magistrates whether they wished to be emancipated from drink shops or not. Any reform which crystallised the public opinion of a locality into law was the very essence of freedom. If the Bill became law it would have the effect of giving the opportunity to remove temptations from the people which he believed the people would be thankful for. Let the people have the same power as the landlords had now, because it concerned them more than the landlords. It was probably true that if, in respect of liquor supply, one place was dry, another place would grow wetter. An object-lesson of that fact was seen a short time ago in Scotland, when the magistrates of Glasgow closed the public-houses on Easter Monday. What was the result? All the soakers, topers, rowdies, the horse, foot, and artillery of the drinking band, went by tram-car to the neighbouring towns to procure the drink impossible to be obtained in Glasgow. These people created such a hullabaloo in Paisley that the publicans took the action that the magistrates should have taken and closed their housjs.

SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

Because all the liquor was sold.


said that that was his information. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman knew more about the drink traffic than he did. At any rate, Glasgow that day became dry and Paisley wet; Glasgow was at rest and Paisley was a pandemonium.

It was all nonsense to talk about prohibition not prohibiting. Of course it did not when it was not acted on, but he could tell the House a story where it did prohibit. A Kentucky colonel once fell into the Mississippi and was nearly drowned, but they fished him out and brought him round, and when first able to speak he asked, "Where am I? "and they said, "On the bank." He said," Which side," and they said, "Texas." Whereupon he murmured, "Prohibition State, throw me in again." Another extraordinary argument that had been used was that this power of doing away with the drink shops would be used by the topers and the soakers to increase their number, that they would be the people least likely to try and get rid of this drink fiend. He believed that there was a desire in this country to improve, and that even the old drinkers, who were perhaps more helpless than they were credited with being, had also a desire to improve. He had read recently of a place where they had local option and where the people were asked to give a vote on the question of drink or no drink, and to the surprise of every one all the old topers and soakers came up and voted against drink. Asked why they voted against the drink of which they were so fond they answered, "It will not help us, our day is gone, but it may save the boys." His hon. friend in charge of the Bill wanted to save the boys of Scotland, and he himself desired to help in saving them, and he hoped that the House would help them to achieve that good end.

One of the most interesting de-hates which they had had in the House that session was when his hon. friend the Member for Camberwell and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University brought forward the question of the underfed children. Everybody who had a heart must have had it wrung when he heard of the alarming numbers of underfed children who went to the schools, but every man in the House knew perfectly well that if they had inquired into the circumstances of those underfed children not one in a hundred would be found to be the child of teetotal parents. That question was not raised in the debate, they were too cautious to refer to it, and the hon. Member for North Islington ought to be congratulated for the courage he showed on that occasion. When no one would speak of the cause he got up boldly and showed that it was the drinking of the parents that caused the misery of the children. That showed that this question of drink came into everything somewhere, and that it permeated and aggravated every evil from which the nation suffered. It was as true now as it was when Mrs. Davenport Hill called attention to the fact, that it was a strange thing that in whatever direction one turned with a desire to benefit the people of this country that there the drink demon started up and blocked the way. This year or next year or some time hon. Members on both sides of the House would go down to their constituents and say that what the country really needed was social reform. What did social reform mean? It meant doing something to help to make the people better, happier, and holier. If social reform did not mean that it was a sham or a delusion. They could not carry out any social reform on any great scale or on any scale at all without striking at the great power of the liquor traffic. Persons who lived in these bad houses, crowded and huddled up together, were not teetotalers it was drink which caused people to live in bad houses. Then there was gambling that was another reform that was re- quired. It was notorious that the public-house was in many cases only the anteroom for the bookmaker. Then there was sanitary reform, but where bad drainage and sewer gas killed its thousands of victims drink killed its tens of thousands. He appealed to the House to give the people this power so that they might exercise it for the benefit of themselves, their children, and their country, and thus place a weapon in the hands of the people which would enable them to overthrow their greatest enemy. He thought if this Bill were passed this House might rest on the strong and well-grounded hope that they had done something to start the nation on a better and purer path than it had ever trod before.


said he agreed with many of those who had spoken that this question could not be treated, and ought not to be, as in any sense a Party question. For his part, he had never regarded it as such. On the other hand, he did not quite see the relevancy of many of the arguments that had been adduced in the direction of exposing the evils of intemperance, because he took it there was no one in the House who did not recognise and deplore those evils, and who was not ready to do anything which to the best of his belief would conduce to their mitigation. The point to which too little attention had been paid was how would this Bill bring about that result? Considerable time had been taken up in pointing out the many evils drink brought upon the people; but having heard quotations from medical men of eminence not only in their profession but politically, they were driven to the conclusion that in this case, as in others, doctors differed. Sir Frederick Treves had said— The use of alcohol is absolutely inconsistent with surgeon's work or with any work demanding quick and alert judgment. That seemed to him to be a proposition too extreme to receive acceptance from ordinary, reasonable men—and when they heard it stated that alcohol was a poison, he wondered if hon. Members were aware that the Minority Report of the Royal Commission stated— We must recognise the fact that most people still regard alcohol as an ordinary article of diet, which is only harmful if taken in excess. It was idle to say that alcohol was a poison and nothing else, and that the use of it was inconsistent with any work demanding acute and alert judgment.

MR. BLACK (Banffshire)

Sir Frederick Treves says so.


I know.


How long ago was the Commission?


It is true that life is long, no doubt, but alcohol cannot become a poison from being an article of diet in six years.


But opinion changes an six years.


said that a strong argument had been used by the supporters of the Bill that they must trust the people. But that was what the supporters of the Bill would not do. If it were proposed to bring in a Bill to allow the people to say whether they should increase the number of licences or diminish them, the temperance party, as they called themselves, would have nothing to do with it. That was not trusting the people. It was because the temperance party were afraid of trusting the people that they brought in a Bill of this one sided character.


Who said so?


Will they take a Bill of that kind?

MR. WHITTAKER (Yorkshire, W. R., Spen Valley)

Will you give us a Bill on that footing?


Will hon. Members opposite try their hands at a temperance Bill of that kind?


Will you give us one?


said that the present Bill had been brought in by those whose reading on the subject stopped at a more ancient date than 1899. It stopped at 1897, because the promoters said that any offence against the Bill was to be subject to the penalties of the Licensing Acts, 1828–1897, completely forgetting, apparently, that there had been the Report of the Royal Commission in 1899, and an important Licensing Act passed in 1903 for Scotland, which in very many material respects changed the whole situation. Neither the Majority nor the Minority Reports of the Royal Commission was in favour of a Bill of this kind. The Majority Report was against it, and the Minority Report said that they (the minority) were in favour of it if there was compensation, and if there was a period of five or seven years allowed to elapse. The Report which the hon. Member for Open Valley signed did not believe in this Bill and did not approve of compensation. This Bill did not allow the prescribed time or give compensation, and did not intend to. He therefore claimed the support of the hon. Member for the Spen Valley as one who should vote with him against this Bill. Would the House remember that under the Act of 1903 a very large representative element was introduced into the Licensing Court, which made a most material change? What was proposed now was to substitute a chance majority, a majority even of one, instead of the magisterial discretion. That would be a retrograde step. It was the kind of legislation to which the hon. Member for Camborne took exception years ago.


said he had always, ever since he had been in the House, supported every moderate temperance reform that had been brought in.


asked what did the Bill propose? It proposed that, taking a town with ten or twenty wards, there might be alternative wards where drink shops were prohibited, and alternative wards where there might be as many shops as the magistrates cared to allow. Was that calculated to increase temperance? [OPPOSITION cries of "Yes."] The same would apply to country parishes, but, with regard to that, it was suggested that all the places should take their holidays on one day under the Act. But then the Act said that the Licensing Court might pass a by-law for closing licensed premises wholly or partly on New Year's Day, or on such other days, not being more than four in any one year, as the Licensing Court might deem fit and expedient for special reasons. Just fancy the feelings of the people in Paisley when the Magistrates proposed to close all the public-houses in that town because it-was a Glasgow Spring Holiday. That,, surely, would not be local option.

MR. MCCRAE (Edinburgh, E.)

It would be a special reason.


What about Paisley when their holiday came? They would have exhausted their power of closing, and would have to go up to Glasgow. When they had such a measure as was passed two years ago, surely it was a little too much to say that Parliament was to be asked to upset the whole of the discretionary power then conferred and to place the matter absolutely in the control of the chance majorities. Surely in a matter of this kind it was much more like trusting the people to say, "We shall allow you, in the management of your affairs, to regulate this matter, and if you do not regulate it we will turn you out at the next election." He confessed that to his mind there had been no argument adduced to show that this Bill, if passed, would mitigate the evils of drunkenness. That was the point of the question. Nobody doubted there were great evils from drink, but many of them doubted that a Bill of this kind would bring about the result which its supporters said it would. On the contrary, he thought this panacea would tend to create evils-worse than those which existed at present, and because of that he would vote against the Bill.


said the Lord-Advocate had claimed his vote against the Bill on the ground that the Minority Report of the Royal Commission recommended popular control at the end of five years grace, but the right hon. Gentleman in his reference to the Minority Report had omitted to notice the fact that there was a reservation embodied in a Memorandum, which five of them signed, to the effect that people were entitled to have the right at once to prohibit the issue of licences in any district where they were considered unnecessary. That was the broad principle of this Bill. Personally he was in favour of a large majority, not because he did not think a bare majority would not be perfectly right and just, but because he thought it desirable to have a distinct majority behind the law in order to have it more efficiently enforced.

As to the actual working of prohibition, the Commission did not hear a single witness from any foreign country or any colony. They had evidence as to the advisability of applying prohibition here but no evidence of its working abroad or in the Colonies. With reference to the pictures which had been drawn of the dire results of having prohibition in one area and not in an adjoining one, he, perhaps, might be allowed to point out that this condition practically obtained at present in parts of London and elsewhere, where, as a condition on which the land was held, public-houses were not allowed. These were virtually prohibited areas, and it was all to their advantage, as the people flocked to them the more readily because the houses were better and the conditions of life were more desirable. The right hon. Gentleman had twitted them with the fact that they would not trust the people with the power to increase the number of licences. Would the right hon. Gentlemen's objection to this Bill be removed if such were not the case? Would the right hon. Gentleman give them such a Bill? As to the allegations of perjury and immorality in the prohibition States of America, unfortunately there was a great deal of corruption in the administration of almost all laws in the United States, but it would be strange news indeed to learn that in Chicago and New York corruption and immorality were absent and that in the prohibition States they abounded. Corruption in its worst form was to be found in Chicago and New York, where they had never had prohibition.

In order to show how the prohibition law was evaded he was taken, when in the United States, to the towns of Lewis-town and Auburn, where he had been told liquor was being sold freely. He was taken by the sheriff of the adjoining county to the store of a large tradesman, a friend of the sheriff, and that gentleman undertook to show him where drink could be obtained; After they had been out for an hour and had been unable to get a drop of liquor they went to lunch, and on their return they met a gentleman—just the sort of person who would be found on a racecourse—and after considerable negotiation that gentleman was induced to show him where liquor could be obtained. He was taken then to a mean sort of refreshment place in the French portion of the town, in which there was not five shillings worth of stock, where he had to pass through twelve doors, most of which had to be closed before the next could be opened, till at length he reached a little dark scullery, in which was a jar of whisky, from which a small quantity was supplied in a flask. When he got out and inquired what all the he got out and inquired what all the manœuvring meant, he was informed that there was an electric bell in the front shop, that when any suspicious person approached they sprang the bell, and that thereupon the man in the scullery emptied the jar of whisky down the sink. The doors took the police so long to get through that when they reached the scullery there was no whisky on the premises. That was the way the prohibition law was violated, and he submitted that it was fairly effective prohibition. There were a good many laws in this country which were evaded much more barefacedly. He admitted that in the town of Portland, Maine, liquor was sold when he was there because it was done with the connivance of the sheriff himself. He asked the sheriff one day why he did not make them shut up, and the reply was, "Oh, I think the sale ought to be allowed under control and that they ought to pay for being allowed to sell, so I bring them up every month or two, and have them fined one hundred dollars for selling liquor, and then let them go on again." But in the case of Portland, the sheriff's action had been of so outrageous a character that a law was passed that so frightened him that he was now shutting up the houses in Portland where liquor was sold.

This was a Local Veto Bill. In the State of Maine prohibition was carried by a vote of the whole State, and it might be that some place might not be in favour of prohibition, and that though they might be able to enforce prohibition over a wide area like Maine, in one particular place they might not be able to do so. That was why several of the American States had abandoned State prohibition, and had adopted local veto instead where the localities were in favour of the principle. This was the proposal contained in the present measure. There was no attempt made in it to interfere with individual liberty; all it was proposed to do was to interfere with the public sale of liquor. What they said was that if a man wanted liquor then he would have to make his own arrangements to get it, but if the people of a district believed that a public-house in their midst would create a great evil, then they should have the right and power to shut it up. Mr. Bass, when a Member of this House, passed a Bill through which gave power to any one man in a street to stop a barrel organ or a German band from playing if it was a nuisance to him. Mr. Bass thought it was just and right for one man in a street to have that power. All they asked now was that by a substantial majority the people should be allowed to protect themselves from a great evil, an evil which extended, not for ten minutes, but from Monday morning to Saturday night.


said he did not approach this matter as a total abstainer, but as a citizen who was anxious for the healthy development of the life of his own countrymen. The evil of intemperance was not disputed by anyone. That evil was in some cases more formidable in Scotland than in England by reason of the character of the liquor which was mostly con-consumed there. The liquor was thoroughly bad. It was not good whisky, it was often very bad, very raw, and very immature, and it did incalculable harm to the people who consumed it in large quantities. He himself believed that Scotland was capable of leading the thought of mankind throughout the world, and would do so were it not for this cursed drink traffic, which people were only too anxious to control by pro- i per laws, but were not allowed by Parliament to do. The Lord-Advocate deprecated looking at this question from a Party point of view, but he did not think the right hon. Gentleman was himself wholly free from Party bias in the manner in which he handled the subject. On behalf of the Government the Lord-Advocate had not the smallest suggestion of any sort or kind to make for the purpose of meeting this terrible evil. That showed that the Government was not fit for its place in dealing with a matter of this kind. He maintained that no Government was fit for its place that was not prepared to do a great deal more than had ever yet been done in regard to the question of intemperance in Scotland.


We did in 1903 by the registration of clubs more in the direction of temperance than has been done for the last twenty years.


said he was speaking rather of what the Government were prepared to do. For the Lord-Advocate to regard the registration of clubs as a temperance reform of a very important character was a mistake and delusion. There never had been the pretence of fixity of tenure in regard to public-houses in Scotland, and people had frequently been dispossessed of their public-houses on the ground that they were not required in the public interest. The hon. Member for Renfrew proposed to give compensation in the case of many of these public-houses which were discontinued in the public interest, He did not think the hon. Member would find much Scottish opinion in support of such a proposal. Local option limited to small areas was quite a different thing from prohibition over large areas, such as prevailed in the United States. He did not doubt that in a great many parts of Scotland the power of local veto would not be exercised, but of this he was certain, that the mere fact that they had that power would have the effect of revolutionising the whole system of licensing in Scotland.. The- whole objection to the Bill seemed to be that it contained no proposal for compensation. Such a proposal was scouted by all Parties in Scotland. This subject in one form or another had been brought forward four times in the last twenty-five years, and this was the fifth time. In 1880 the principle of this Bill was affirmed by thirty-eight Scottish Members against three. In 1881 the principle was affirmed by thirty-seven Scottish Members against three. In 1883 the principle was affirmed j by thirty-six Scottish Members against I two. It took sixteen years from the year 1883 onwards to get an opportunity of discussing this vital question again in the House of Commons, and when at j last it was brought before the House in 1899, forty Scottish Members voted in favour of the principle of the Bill; and fifteen against it. He thought j that when the opinion of Scotland was so strongly in favour of this Bill, and had for five and twenty years been endeavouring to give it effect, English Members had no right at all constantly to outvote the Scottish Members and to prevent j the opinion of Scotland from taking j effect. It was not the result of the opinion of the English people; it was I owing to the influence of a great English trade in the House. It was the influence of the liquor trade in the House and in "the country, and by the unjust and unfair influence of that trade the voice of Scotland upon a matter deeply affecting her had been overridden. He protested against that as a Scotsman and as a Scottish Member. He appealed to the fairness and good sense of English Members not to allow it to be done any longer. He hoped whatever Government might be returned at the next election, Scotland would determine that they would not be further humbugged in this matter?.


, said he did not believe an Act of this kind would be for the benefit of the people of Scotland. He quite agreed that an Act of local veto was much better than an Act of prohibition. Canada had proceeded by way of a Prohibition Act but she had not become more sober in consequence of that Act. Canada was sober before there was such an Act, and had not improved so far as sobriety was concerned since. The drink bill had gone up, yet it was still the most sober country of the world because the temperance spirit was greater there than in any other country in the world, but public opinion was always turning towards the sign of prohibitory legislation. The Daily News said with regard to Canada, where the Scott Act had been in operation for twenty-five years— It is a rare thing to see any wine, malt liquor, or other intoxicant on a dinner table in Canada. A good deal of drinking takes place, but not in the open. In England drinking intoxicants is social orthodoxy; in Canada not to drink intoxicants is social orthodoxy. In England legislation lags behind public opinion on the temperance question. In Canada legislation has got ahead of public opinion on the temperance question. The law in most of the provinces is so stringent that it is generally disregarded not openly, but only with a pretence of disguise. It was twenty years since he had lived in Canada, but when he lived there he saw the operation of the Scott Act, and the result its operation was that it was adopted in some places and not in others, so that it was not unusual to find that in one portion of a town prohibition existed and in another it did! not. The same thing would occur in Scotland under this Bill under similar circumstances. The effect was that in the country where prohibition was adopted it did not decrease but only increased private drinking, because it was lawful to prohibit the selling of liquor but not its manufacture. So long as it was obtainable by crossing the street, or by going on to the next town, no Bill would tend to increase the temperance spirit in the people. The Christian Guardian said— It was easier to secure the Scott Act in the counties than to secure its enforcement and permanence. In Canada in every one of the twenty-six counties that had adopted the Scott Act the law had been steadily evaded. He was not stating these facts as arguments against the principle of local option but as the experience of countries and people who had found it impossible to make such Acts operative and effective.

It had been admitted in this debate that this was a question largely of sentiment. The Presbyterian articles in the Westminster Gazette offered the same evidence. They said— Neither missing the election nor the passing of legislation was the vital consideration. Experience has taught us a few lessons on the futility of hasty or imperative legislation. Temperance reformers of the most extreme type are nursing their theories of reform and are recognising more clearly the importance of constant education and active moral agencies as essential to effective prohibitory laws. The English Church newspaper, the Church Record, said— We should like to impress upon our readers that the Church's work is to teach temperance on the basis of the moral and not the civil law. He offered those opinions, because they were founded on twenty-five years experience of the working of Prohibition Acts.

He would oppose in every case a Bill which left any decision in this matter of temperance to a majority of the people in the parish, the county, or the city for the simple reason that there never had been a case where, a power of this sort having been granted by Parliament, it had been possible to get more than 50 per cent, of the people to vote on the question.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 109; Noes, 142. (Division List No. 151).

Ainsworth, John Stirling Haldane, Rt. Hon. Eichard B. Philipps, John Wynford
Ashton, Thomas Gair Harcourt, Lewis Pirie, Duncan V.
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries
Atherley-Jones, L. Harmsworth, R. Leicester Riekett, J. Compton
Beaumont, Went worth C. E. Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Bell, Richard Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Benn, John Williams Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Robson, William Snowdon
Black, Alexander William Higham, John Sharp Runciman, Walter
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Bright, Allan Heywood Horniman, Frederick John Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Brown, George M. (Edinburgh) Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Schwann, Charles E.
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Jacoby, James Alfred Shaw, Thomas (Hawiok B.)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Johnson, John Shipman, Dr. John G.
Burt, Thomas Joicey, Sir James Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Caldwell, James Jones David Brynmor (Swansea Slack, John Bamford
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Jones, Leif (Appleby) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Cawley, Frederick Jones, William (Carnarvonshire Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Cheetham, John Frederick Lamont, Norman Sullivan, Donal
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow Langley, Batty Tennant, Harold John
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.
Cremer, William Randal Layland-Barratt, Francis Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan. E.)
Crooks, William Lewis, John Herbert Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)
Dalziel, James Henry Lloyd-George, David Ure, Alexander
D'lvies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan Lough, Thomas Wallace, Robert
Delany, William Lundon, W. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Dobbie, Joseph Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) M'Crae, George Weir, James Galloway
Duncan, J. Hastings M'Kenna, Reginald White, George (Norfolk)
Ellice. Capt E C (S. Andr'wsBghs Markham, Arthur Basil White, Luke (York E. R.)
Evans, Sir Fraticis H. (Maidstone Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Morley, Rt. Hon. John (Montrose Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Eve, Harry Trelawney Moss, Samuel Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Moulton, John Fletcher Yoxall, James Henry
Findlay, Alexander (Lanark, N. E Newnes, Sir George
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Norton, Capt. Cecil William TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Hunter Craig and Mr. Crombie.
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Horber (John O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Grant, Corrie Parrott, William
Griffith, Ellis J. Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Allsopp, Hon. George Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John
Agg-Gardner, James Tynto Anson, Sir William Reynell Aubrey-Fletcher. Rt. Hn. Sir H
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Arkwright, John Stanhope Austin, Sir John
Bailey, James (Walworth) Grenfell, William Henry O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Bain, Colonel James Robert Gretton, John O'Connor, James (Wieklow, W.
Baird, John George Alexander Groves, James Grimble' O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Balcarres, Lord Halsey, Bt. Hon. Thomas F. Percy, Earl
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hamilton. Marq. of (L'nd'nderry Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Hare, Thomas Leigh Pym, C. Guy
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M Hay, Hon. Claude George Ratcliff, R. F.
Bigwood, James Heaton, John Henniker Reid James (Greenock)
Bowles,Lt.-Col. HF(Middlesex) Helder, Augustus Remnant, James Farquharson
Bowles,T.Gibson(King's Lynn) Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Hoare, Sir Samuel Renwick, George
Brymer, William Ernest Howard, J. Midd., (Tottenham Richards, Henry C. (Finsbury, E.
Butcher, John George Hudson, George Bickersteth Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A (Glasgow Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.) Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Round, Rt. Hon. James
Cautley, Henry Strother Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Royds, Clement Molyneux
Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton Keswick, William Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Chapman, Edward Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Sharpe, William Edward T.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Laurie, Lieut.-General Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Coddington, Sir William Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Colomb, Rt. Hon. Sir John C. R Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th Smith, Hon. W. F. D (Strand)
Craig, Charles C. (Antrim, S.) Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lawson, Hn. H. L. W (Mile End) Stanley, EdwardJas. (Somerset)
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Lawson. John Grant (Yorks. N R. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Dalkeith, Earl of Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'dUniv
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Logge, Col. Hon. Heneage Thornton, Percy M.
Davenport, William Bromley Leveson-Gower, Fredericks. S. Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Denny, Colonel Lonsdale, John Brownlee Tuff, Charles
Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) Loyd, Archie Kirkman Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Dickson, Charles Scott Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Valentia, Viscount
Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C Maconochie, A. W. Vincent, Col. Sir C E H (Sheffield
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Doogan, P. C Malcolm, Ian Warde, Colonel C. E.
Doxford, Sir William Theodore Melville, Beresford Valentine Welby. Lt.-Col. A. C. E (Taunton
Duke, Henry Edward Milvain, Thomas Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und Lyne
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart Mooney, John J. Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Morgan, David J (Walthamstow Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Finlay, Sir R B (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs.) Morrison, James Archibald Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H (Yorks
Fisher, William Hayes Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Wodehouse. Rt. Hn. E. R (Bath)
Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Gardner, Ernest Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Lewis M'Tver and Sir Gilbert Parker.
Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby. Nicholson, William Graham
Goulding, Edward Alfred Nolan, Joseph (Louth. South)
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) O'Brien, Kcndal (TipperaryMid

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Words added.

Second Reading put off for six months.

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